Spotlight: Ben Hall, the Bushranger.


This engraving of Ben Hall was published twenty days after his death. It appears to portray him as robust, heavier in build than he appears in existing photographs, and heavily bearded. The low-crowned hat and single button jacket he sports were popular in the early 1860s. It is possible this portrait is based on descriptions of Hall circa the time of his death combined with a now missing portrait of Hall that was taken in Melbourne when he was a squatter. 

Like most bushrangers, Hall never made it to a third decade of life, being gunned down remorselessly by police at the age of twenty seven. The harsh living conditions, poor diet, stress and bushy beards tended to make bushrangers look far older than they truly were. Their youth added to the glamour of the outlaws, but it was often difficult for settlers to comprehend how the criminal proportions of their exploits were being carried out by boys as young as thirteen or fourteen. 

Picture Credit: Calvert, Samuel, 1828-1913 artist. Wood engraving published in The illustrated Melbourne post. May 25, 1865. SLV Source ID: 1648449

Leave a Reply