A few months ago I mentioned how I’d bought the bound copies of past Truth newspapers from its receiver. Remember as recently as 1980 Truth was the nation’s biggest circulation newspaper by a country mile.

Here’s an amusing item from April, 1933.

“A small frail 36 year old woman, Olive May Waldron, described as a domestic and of low type mentally was sentenced to a year in prison on a charge of being an incorrigible rogue.

Six of her eight children were in state care. She admitted two were dark and had a “Hindoo” Father”.

The definition of what constitutes an “incorrigible rogue” was not given. Nevertheless if that was still an offence, probably a tenth of our population would be behind bars.


Working at the magistrates court in the 70s we received free copies of the Truth. Probably due to the contribution as court cases were reported in all their gory detail.

Well said Sir Bob I love your sense of humor

a tenth…on the key side.

Would you be part of that “tenth”, Bob? Incorrigible sounds a good word to describe you! And that is praise indeed! Happy New Year!

Knowing quite a few “Hindoo” dads, I wouldn’t be surprised if those two kids were the ones *not* in state care.

Strange that the article didn’t say what offence or action had actually brought her before the beak. When my Dad was in the British Army in the 1940’s they had a charge there called dumb insolence that some were given jankers for, simply for not answering a question. He never thought it was fair as some lads were really intimidated by uniforms, authority; anyone who had a decent vocabulary would silence many of them. Incorrigible means beyond correction or reform. Rogue has many meanings but pretty much means that as a person, you’re not going to play by society’s rules. So, why imprison her? A rule breaker, beyond reform, well, she’s going to be no fun to control in a prison environment, unless she’s chained up – no way to treat a lady. I suppose there are 10% of the population like that because she was imprisoned and then released to breed again and add to her family of 8 other no-hopers. If they had dealt with the problem permanently in ’33, we might be better off now.

If you google NZ 1866 Vagrancy act on page 3 you find

V. Any person who shall commit any of the next following offences Incorigible rogue, shall be deemed an incorrigible rogue and be liable to the punishment
next hereinafter specified-
1. Any person who shall break or escape out of any place of legal confinement before the expiration of the term for which he shall have been committed
2. Any person committing any offence against this Vagrancy Act which shall subject him to be dealt with as a rogue and vagabond such person having been previously convicted as a rogue and vagabond
3. Any person apprehended as a rogue and vagabond and violently resistlng any constable or other peace officer so apprehending him and being subsequently convicted of the offence for

Bring it back, up to 2 years imprisonment

If this were policed today, Parliament would struggle to achieve a quorum

While reading your comments, Sir Bob, I fully expected you to propose arresting all the spectators at Mt Smart Stadium at all the Warriors home games this season.

Very Interesting. The law can send them inside for two years of government assisted training.
And we say they do nothing.

The historian, Redmer Yska, wrote a history of Truth called “The rise and fall of the people’s paper” which is damn interesting. It looks like it’s out of print but Redmer may still have copies.

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