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South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA)
Date: June 21, 1889
Page Number: 4
The Sydney Fossil. — A few weeks ago Australia was startled and delighted by the report that a petrified figure, which might be regarded as a perfect specimen of primitive man, had been discovered in New South Wales. Further enquiry has unfortunately proved that the discovery is an unmitigated fraud. Everybody who has the interests of his country at heart ought to be sorry to learn that this is so. The one thing that was necessary to prove the full fitness of this country for inhabitation by white men was something to show that we could boast of antiquity. Egypt has its mummies and its pyramids, and is, besides, mentioned, with more or less credit to itself, in the Bible. Other countries have their petrified elks and mammoths of all kinds. Why should not Australia have something to compare with them ? This, it turns out, was the line of thought adopted by Mr. G. F. Sala, of Cow Flat— odious and unpoetical name! Mr. Sala, yielding to the popular aspiration, thought that fossils, as well as other things, should be procurable. He was a good Protectionist, and he accordingly made within the colony of New South Wales a figure of marble which might do duty as the fossil remnant of an antique personage. He sent it up to the city, where it deceived the very elect. His figure was a 'petrifaction,' it was a fossilized party, and, presumably, the living image of the people who inhabited this continent of Australia thousands of years before Botany Bay was an institution. Mr. Sala chuckled to himself whilst the wise men were examining his 'fossil.' He thought everything was all right, not knowing that Nemesis was after him. Nemesis took the shape of a policeman— she often does in these degenerate days. She found out, through this prosaic agency, that Mr. Sala had manufactured his fossil and that, to use common parlance, 'there was nothing in it.' All the theories which had been formed and which were about to be formed about this fossil crumble into dust. The truth, which, was hidden from the learned, was revealed unto the police man as the reward of vigilant observation, and the scientists of Sydney who professed their faith in the 'fossil' are now in Queer-street. The policeman concerned, who knows as little about petrifactions as a cow knows about the military manoeuvres on Monteficre Hill, has upset all their calculations and made hay with their theories. Can the ingenious Mr. Sala be punished for his action ? Is It nothing to befool the wise men of a nation, and to cheat a lot of citizens out of their reasonable expectations ? We say nothing about the moneys which individuals gave to inspect the 'marble man,' who is now proved to be all marble and no man. It is not fair to induce people to make fools of them selves. Mr. Sala is 'little better than one of the wicked.' He can be no relative of the famous journalist of the same name. But at least he has founded a claim to the regard of posterity— to a place of honour amongst the forgers of base coin. The proudest boast of the first Roman Emperor was that he had found Rome built of mud and that he had left it built of marble. Mr. Sala, when he is comparing his deeds with those of the Macphersons and the Pigotta, can at least claim that his forgery was in high-class material— that his lie was enshrined in marble.
The Marble Man
The Sydney Mail (NSW)
Date: June 22, 1889
Page Number: 26
It must have been with feelings unutterable that the proprietors of the marble man read the reports of the Orange constables respecting his origin and birthplace. When he was first introduced to the world, as many of our readers will recollect, we explained the hollowness of the effort to palm the object off as a petrified human being. It was asserted, with more pertinacity than wisdom, that this alleged petrified man had been cut out of a block of marble ; and notwithstanding that this was a physical impossibility, and that it was equally impossible that a petrified human body could possibly have been preserved its human shape so perfectly, there were actually men esteemed, learned in our community, who asseverated over and over again that the thing could be nothing else than a fossil or a petrifaction ; and the newspapers were deluged with correspondence on the subject, much to the profit of the owners and exhibitors. It was in vain that the believers in the marble man were assured that a petrified human body could not have existed in marble, inasmuch as marble is formed untold ages prior to the existence of man upon the earth, and that therefore he could not have got into the marble, and if he did he could not have become petrified, but would have formed part of the marble itself. Some saw the absurdity of the thing, and then the story was raised that the man must have been murdered, his arms cut off, and the body placed in some limestone, or had limestone rock piled over him, and the water (it was never said where the water came from) dripping over him reduced the body to petrifaction. The stories told were so extraordinary, that it is singular that any one should have been found to believe in the thing. Now we have the reports of the Orange police, who have obtained evidence proving that the object was carved out of marble at a quarry between Bathurst and Orange. Apart from the physical aspect of the question, there was another which should have explained the thing at once. Had the object been a prettified man, it would have been worth its weight in gold. All that was necessary to prove it was to cut a toe-joint off, or a bit of some other part of the body, and it would have been obvious at once whether it was marble or petrified human flesh. This little operation was, however, not undertaken, and people viewed the corpse-like thing with wonder and awe. The marble man, in fact, though dead as a door-nail, speaks very plainly for himself.
Morwell Advertiser (Morwell, Vic)
Date: June 22, 1889
Page Number: 2
The BULLETIN notices that the alleged finders of the Marble Man of Crow Flat--which is still being most profitably, run in Sydney as, a two shilling show--don't come forward with any affidavits in support of their story. Are they "game" to defy the statute, we wonder ! But they could easily be forced into a position in which they would have to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Let the Coroner accept Dr M'Carty's vigorous contention that the Marble Man once lived and breathed, and let it be officially declared that it is in the circumstances necessary to hold an inquest on the scalped remains. Let Sala and Co. be sumnmoned to give evidence, and let Dr. Soulter and M'Carthy each hold a handle of a cross cut saw and cut our marble friend in halves. Then shall we see how the show is stuffed. In our mind's eye, Horatio, do we hear the coroner (in the presence of the "finders" and the proprietors including and the squatter who is said to have given four figures for a fourth share in the concern) saying, like another King Solomon, that the murder of the infant is to proceed. If the finders can unflinchingly face such a spectacle then we shall be ready to believe--that they have got adamantine cheek !
Clarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser (Grafton, NSW)
Date: June 25, 1889
Page Number: 2
THE ''petrified man" controversy is not yet settled. Mr. SALA, the alleged manufacturer of the object, has declared that he did not make it ; and Dr. M'CARTHY still adheres to the opinion that it was once a human being. In his letter Sala proves a great deal too much, and by so doing raises a doubt concerning the veracity of his statements. Thus, he declares that he can neither write nor speak the English language. Yet an English friend of mine who knows no tongue but his own, told me a day or two ago that he had had several long and interesting conversations with Sala without the medium of an interpreter. Those who are acquainted with Sala affirm that he is a very clever person ; his knowledge of marble, it would appear, is nearly complete, and having travelled over a great part of the civilised world, he possesses a lot of information that has not been obtained by the average citizen. But whatever he or Dr. M'Carthy may say to the contrary, the people here will no longer believe that the marble man is petrified human remains.
Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal (NSW)
Date: June 27, 1889
Page Number: 2
That singular fraud — the marble man— has not yet handed in its checks, Dr. McCarthy having stood sponsor for his being really the metamorphosis of flesh and blood, will not confess himself hood- winked until a section is made of the figure, and to that the enterprising proprietors will not consent. The Minister for Mines has received chips of marble picked up at the place where Sala is said to have been very busy with the silent stranger, and they correspond with the marble found at Cow Flat. Yet Sala denies positively that he sculptured the figure. "Fore Heaven they are all in a tale," as Dogbery said. Surely it needs no knowledge of theology to see the absurdity of Sala's statement. If it were a petrified human body would it be embedded in soft earth in a perfect state, or in a quarry hermetically cased in kindred marble ? And would it not be considerably damaged by the process of unearthing with crowbar and powder ?
The Petrified Man
Did It Ever Live ?
Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW)
Date: June 29, 1889
Page Number: 3
SYDNEY, Saturday.
A partial dissection of the marble man was made yesterday by Dr. McCarthy, who all along has held that the figure is a true petrifaction. He reports that the results amply justify the theory that the figure is a petrified man. He says that the internal organs being petrified indicate the genuineness of the whole. A full dissection will shortly be made in Melbourne.
A Startling Development?
The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA)
Date: June 29, 1889
Page Number: 4
[By Telegraph.] Sydney, June 28.
The much discussed petrified man difficulty, which it was thought had been finally disposed of, has cropped up again. Dr. McCarty, who has all along held stoutly to the opinion that the figure was really petrified, has, it is stated, obtained partial sections from the figure, which are said by him to bear traces of internal organs. The figure is being taken to Melbourne where a full section will be made, so that the mystery may be cleared up. It is a coincidence that amongst the estates sequestrated to-day was that of Mr. Sala, the owner of the "marble man."
Gippsland Times (Vic.)
Date: July 1, 1889
Page Number: 3
"The marble man of Cow Flat" is still creating a good deal of argument in New South Wales, one party declaring that it is an imposture, while another as stoutly affirms that it is a true petrifaction. The "subject" is now to be brought to Melbourne so that a full dissection can be made, and this will certainly settle the matter once and for all. Dr. M'Carthy, a Sydney physician, who has all along contended for the genuineness of the specimen, is reported to have made some incisions into the body, "with the result that unmistakable evidence of the internal organs has been revealed." The result of the Melbourne investigations will be awaited with curiosity and interest.
The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW)
July 2, 1889
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The Marble Man
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11
Part 12
Part 13
The Marble Man part 7