A CHINESE miner plunged down a mineshaft, 166 years ago.
He landed with a back-breaking thud.
Above him, men shouted and screamed.
The man who pushed Chung Wing legged it, with angry miners hot in pursuit.
This is a story about Charles Jansen, alias "Swedish Charlie", and a criminal element looking for trouble on the goldfields of 1850s Bendigo in central Victoria.
These ne'er-do-wells have stumbled back out of history after Swedish Charlie made a cameo in the latest episode of podcast Voice of Real Australia.
The episode - created by Bendigo Advertiser journalists and ACM's podcast team - explores what happened to Chinese miners who arrived in the Gold Rush.
Chung Wing's unfortunate run-in with Swedish Charlie might not be the subject of the episode, but it is so strange it rates a story of its own.
We've scoured the Advertiser's back issues to reveal more about this thug and the fallout from his vicious crime.
Neither we or the team at the Bendigo Regional Archives Centre have found a physical description of Swedish Charlie.
But it's tempting to picture him as a towering Northman: explosive, opportunistic and dangerous.
Chung Wing appears to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Swedish Charlie and some friends sauntered into an area Chinese miners were working in, one afternoon in July 1856.
Accounts of exactly what happened differed slightly, but Swedish Charlie's friend Charles Jardine appeared to have taken a bucket of dirt belonging to a Chinese miner, during a small dispute about a mining claim.
That might seem like an odd thing to start a fight, but this was 1850s Bendigo and simmering racial tensions were an ugly reality on Victoria's goldfields.
Swedish Charlie and his mate, a butcher called John Lamont, got involved.
Fists started flying.
Swedish Charlie grabbed a bamboo pole and began swinging it around, knocking Chun Wing down a 16-feet deep hole.
Then he fled Bendigo.
A group of shell-shocked Chinese and European miners remained. They hauled a broken Chung Wing out of the mineshaft.
James Hoyle was a doctor working the goldfields and was called in to examine Chung Wing.
He found a man bleeding from the mouth, paralysed from the waist down and in extreme pain.
Two days later, Hoyle heard the miner had died.
"He never expected he would recover," a Bendigo Advertiser reporter said in an account of the doctor's testimony at the inquest that followed.
The inquest ruled that Swedish Charlie should be tried for manslaughter, while Jardine and Lamont should face court for their part, and allegedly helping the Swede escape.
Jardine spent a few days on remand before he was bailed. Lamont - or "the Butcher", as the newspapers relished calling him - went into hiding.
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He surfaced a month later at a swanky-sounding "grand ball" in Spring Gully, according to an Advertiser court report from the period.
"Unfortunately for himself, but fortunately for the ends of justice, he embarked in a personal squabble," the newspaper reported.
That squabble devolved into threats, abusive language and Lamont's arrest.
By October, a judge had thrown Lamont and Jardine's cases out, despite Chinese miners' calls for convictions.
What happened to Swedish Charlie is unclear.
He might have lashed out at a hotel owner during a fight in Beechworth, a few months after Chun Wing's death.
A Swede called "Charles Jansen" appears to have faced murder charges after attacking a hotel owner.
"I will cut your ----- heart out," Jansen screamed before stabbing his victim in the abdomen, one account suggests.
Jardine and the Butcher drifted in and out of the courts in the years that followed.
Police hauled two people into court after they allegedly beat the snot out of Jardine in 1859.
Jardine had rocked up outside a tent, allegedly looking for a fight.
He came off second best after being beaten with an iron bar, apparently.
He may well have slunk out of Victoria after that, though it is hard to say for sure based off accounts at hand.
Meanwhile, The Butcher got caught up in another manslaughter case.
He had picked a fight with two people at a Spring Gully pub that Christmas Day, 1858, prompting "three rounds of up and down fighting", the Advertiser reported.
The Butcher's festive fight ended "amicably" but a bloke he'd thumped dropped dead a few days later. Turns out the bloke, died of pneumonia and the Butcher walked free.
He kept getting into fights and by 1871 had been sentenced to 12 months' prison, with hard labour.
The Butcher probably left Bendigo after that, dragging his fists with him.
This story's the latest in our history series entitled "WHAT HAPPENED?" Our thanks to the Bendigo Regional Archives Centre's Sue Walter for her help scouring historic records.
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