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Adelaide Medical School Initiation Death, Rough Hazing, 1951

Adelaide Medical School today

John Gregory Neill, 18, a first-year medical student at Adelaide Medical School, drowned when he was tossed into the River Torrens by older students despite his pleas that he could not swim. Sydney Morning Herald, May 16, 1951. –Moderator Hank Nuwer

–Trial Here

 

Charged were Gerald Maxwell Hansberry, 23, Edward Francis Haywood, 22, Kenneth John Westphalen 26, John Herbery Mickan 22, John Horton Spurway, 23. 

 

POSTSCRIPT

Aug 8, 2011 – HANSBERRY: The Funeral Mass for Dr Gerald Maxwell(Max) Hansberry of South Perth, will be celebrated in the St Columba Church.

Ducking’
ADELAIDE, Tues-
day. – John Andrew
Rogers, a fifth year
medical student, told a
packed court here to-day
that he helped to search
the River Torrens after
seeing a “fresher,” John
Gregory Neill, of Chelten-
ham, being thrown into the
water by fellow students
during a “rag” at Adelaide
University on March 14.
‘ Accused of the manslaughter
of Neill are these five students:
Gerald Maxwell Hansberry, 23,
of Dalaston Avenue, Glenunga;
Edward Francis Haywood, 22, of
Marlborough Road, Westbourne
Park; Kenneth John Westphalen.
23, of Leader Street, Goodwood;
John Herbert Mickan, 22, of Ger-
trude Street, Brooklyn Park; and
John Horton Spurway, 23, of
Myall Avenue, Kensington Gar-
dens.
“FOUR MEN’.’
J. A. Rogers, of Jeffcott
Street, North’ Adelaide, said he
went to thc university about 7
p.m.
Later he went to the university
bridge with a companion. From
there he saw some students in the
water.
“Just as I looked from one side
of the bridge, I saw a student in
the process of being tossed into
the river,” said Rogers.
“I have the feeling that four
men threw him.
“I saw thc student hit the
water about four yards from the
bank. He did not reappear.
“1 first thought that perhaps
the student might have been a
good swimmer and, playing a
joke, had swum up the river and
hidden in the bushes.
“With a companion, I ran to
the bushes, but could not find thc
student. Then I ran back to the
spot where he had been thrown
in, where I saw Hansberry, who
had undressed, diving into the
water.
“COULDN’T SWIM”
“Hansberry came out of the
water and asked me if I would
help. It was at this juncture that
Hansberry said: ‘The silly –
said. he could not swim,’ ” said
Rogers.
“After that 1 undressed and
started to dive. The water was
about 10 to 15 feet deep there.
I continued diving for about 15
minutes. 1 was exhausted and
left the water, dressed, and went
to telephone the police. .
“Returning to the. river bank
afterwards, I found that the stu-
dent had been recovered from
the water.
“In the car I took deceased
to the hospital.”
The hearing goes on to-day.

By Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His new book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press.

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