Fremantle Stuff > People > John Patterson Beresford

John Patterson Beresford

John Beresford in 1908 was the manager of the Esplanade Hotel at the time that he shot himself at the age of 55. He had been suffering from 'dropsy and insomnia'. Dropsy is oedema (swelling) and could mean a number of things. He was interred at Anglican AA1165. He had earlier been licensee of the Pearlers (later the Terminus - extant) and Star hotels.

TRAGEDY AT FREMANTLE.

DEATH OF MR. J. P. BERESFORD.

At about half-past one o'clock on Thursday morning, Mr. John Patterson Beresford, licensee of the Esplanade Hotel. Fremantle, committed suicide in very tragic circumstances. The deceased, who was formerly a sergeant of police in Western Australia, had been suffering from dropsy and insomnia, and was under the care of Dr. Paget. It is understood that his conduct of late had been such as to cause some alarm. On Wednesday night he and his wife went to bed, and at about 1.30 in the morning Mrs. Beresford went to sleep. Shortly afterwards she awakened and discovered her husband lying across the foot of the bed with a revolver near him. She did not hear the report of the revolver shot, and was horrified to find that be was dead. The police were sent for, and on examination a bullet was found in the left breast, right over the heart. In the revolver were found two undischarged cartridges. One cartridge had been discharged, and two others were found at the foot of the bed.

Western Mail, Saturday 10 October 1908, page 34.

This was reported also in: the Barrier Miner (Broken Hill) of Friday 9 October 1908, page 4; the West Australian, Friday 9 October 1908, page 3; the Argus (Melbourne) of Saturday 10 October 1908, page 16; the Sydney Morning Herald, Monday 12 October 1908, page 8, the Register (Adelaide) of Friday 9 October 1908, page 7; in newspapers in Bendigo, Geraldton, and Brisbane; Beresfordand in the Kalgoorlie Miner, Friday 9 October 1908, page 6, in rather more detail that the Western Mail account. >

SUICIDE TO END SUFFERING HOTELKEEPER'S TRAGIC END.
Perth, Oct. 8.
Under particularly tragic circumstances John Patterson Beresford, proprietor and licensee of the Esplanade Hotel. Fremantle, committed suicide early this morning. It would appear that for some time past the deceased, who was formerly a sergeant of police in West Australia, had been suffering from dropsy and insomnia, for which ailments he had placed himself under the care of Dr. Paget. It is understood that his conduct of late had been such as to cause his wife alarm, and she took the precaution of hiding a revolver and cartridges, which he kept in the bedroom. Mrs. Beresford locked the weapon in a box which she hid in a chest of drawers, placing the keys in her apron pocket. When on Wednesday night the deceased and his wife retired, Beresford appeared to be in his usual condition. At about half-past 1 a.m. Mrs. Beresford went to sleep, but shortly afterwards she was awakened and discovered her husband lying across the foot of the bed with a smoking revolver near him. As she did not hear any report of a revolver shot, she was horrified to find that he was dead. Shortly after half-past 2 o'clock the officer-in-charge at the Fremantle Police Station received a telephonic intimation of the occurrence, and Constables Bannon and Levy went to the hotel. They found the body of the deceased lying on the bed, clothed in pyjamas and a singlet. An examination showed that there was a bullet wound in the left breast, right over the heart. In the revolver were found two undischarged cartridges, and one, upon which the hammer rested, discharged. Two further undischarged cartridges were found at the foot of the bed on the floor. It is surmised that finding his wife was asleep the deceased prosecuted a thorough and successful search for the revolver. John Beresford, son of the deceased, stated that his father had always enjoyed robust health until a little time back, when he became subject to a complication of ailments. The agony which he suffered daily and nightly was pitiable, and recently he had asked whether nothing could be done to ease the pain. On learning that nothing could be done he exclaimed, 'This pain will drive me mad.' His medical adviser had, the deceased's son stated, intimated that there was no chance of saving his father's life, ard that he might die at any moment. It was surmised that by some means the deceased had learned of his fate, and determined to end his painful existence rather than submit himself to an operation which was to have been performed on him. Beyond his illness the deceased, it is understood, had no worries, financial or otherwise.
Kalgoorlie Miner, Friday 9 October 1908, page 6

Heath Adams has provided more information about the Beresford family in his blog, where he has John's middle name as Pattinson. All other records have Patterson.

He quotes there 'Rates Book Information' to this effect (in part):

This group of three houses at 38/40/42 was built in 1902/03 for the owner John Pattinson Beresford who also built the adjacent properties at 9/11 and 13/15 Wray Avenue. Beresford worked as a police officer, brewer and publican. At different times he ran the ‘Pearler’s [sic] Hotel’, ‘Star Hotel’ and the ‘Esplanade Hotel'. The properties were used as investment properties and were leased out to various tenant [sic].


Garry Gillard | New: 1 December, 2014 | Now: 5 August, 2019