A headstone in the Hillgrove Cemetery tells us that James Briggs was accidentally shot on April 20, 1902.
A little more detail comes from the Sydney Evening News of April 23 1902. It tells us (twice):
HILLGROVE, Tuesday.—A sad shooting acci- dent occurred on Saturday at Jeogla. Thomas Purcell, 16, and James Briggs, 22, were out shooting, and Purcell accidentally shot Briggs through the head, death being instantaneous. The coroner held an inquest yesterday, and a verdict of accidental death was returned. ARMIDALE, Tuesday.— News has been receiv- ed that Thomas Purcell, 16, accidentally shot James Briggs, 22 years, at Jeogla, about thirty five miles from Armidale. They were shep- herding. Both young men were lying down about eight yards apart, when the gun which Purcell was handling went off, the bullet enter- ing Briggs's eye. Death was instantaneous.
Very nice image and story to go with it.
I bought a house in the old slate-quarrying village of Talysarn, Gwynedd some years ago. When I carefully removed years of internal plasterwork, I found a layer of newspapers from the 1880s, which was commonly used as a wallcovering. One of them recounted a fracas in the village where one pub-going man shot another. Not unusual in some gun-toting parts of the world, but very unusual indeed in backwater north Wales!
I’ll send a link to an image of the report one of these days…