It was 68 years on Saturday last, (according to Tom Lovett in “Temora Star”) since Johnhy Gilbert the bushranger, was shot dead, at Binalong, by Constable Bright. Dunn (his Companion) escaped, but was wounded in three places, evading capture until January 9, 1866, having recovered from his injuries, which were attended to by sympathisers in different parts of the, bush.

Gilbert’s grave can be seen from the roadside just outside Binalong, on the main road to Harden.
Creek goes Dry for First time In 70 Years.
On Saturday last Mr. Sunderland, of Temora Station, handed an interesting relic of the bad old bushranging days, in the shape of a pair of handcuffs to the Temora police.
He found them in the bed of a creek, below the junction of the Trigalong and Walladilly creeks, near the old station property. It is. said that this creek had not beeh previously dry for something like 70 years. The handcuffs are very much rusted, of course, but they are in a sufficiently good state of preservation as to show, the kind of “bracelets’ used in the early days.

19th century darbies
Mr. Tom Lovett’s Story
Mr. Tom Lovett, Temora’s memory man, who knows more about the history of the  bushranging days than any other man we know, and can recite all the outstanding deeds of the outlaws from memory, was asked by representative of “The Star” to give readers the history of these handcuffs, and how they came to be thrown into the creek.
Mr. Lovett readiiy consented, and here is his story, and he challenges anyone to refute it:—
“When Gilbert, Bow, Fordyce and Manns made a rush to get away to Victoria,” said Mr. Lovett, “they reached somewhere between Ariah and Warri Stations (both big properties) now known as Ariah Park and Ardlethan respectively. While riding along a track, Sir Frederick Pottinger, Constables Mitchell and Lyons overtook the outlaws, and rode along the track for some distance; the police were unknown to the bushrangers
but Potiingèr knew Gilbert and pulling his horse up along side Gilbert he said, ‘That’s a nice looking horse you are riding, young man., Gilbert said ‘Yes,’ Pottinger said, ‘Is he your own?’ to which Gilbert replied ‘Yes.’ Pottinger said, ‘Have you got a receipt for him?’ Gilbert was now suspicions, and said, ‘Yes: I’ve got it here in my pocket,’ and put his hand
into his pocket, and stood up in the stirrups, pretending to feel about for the receipt, till Pottinger got a step or two ahead of him. Then Gilbert wheeled his horse round, put the
spurs into him, and galloped on before the surprised police realised what had happened.
  “The police let Gilbert go, but arrested Bow, Fordyce and Manns, handcuffing them took them to Quandry Station, near ‘Little George which was then owned by the Harmons, Mr. Don Harmon, of Temora being a dsecendant of that family. They stayed there the night. Searching the bushrangers, the police found over 100 oz. of gold in one man’s swag, and £438 in notes in another.
 “The next morning the party left Quandry and started for The Old Rock Public House, which was nine miles from where Temora now stands, and is now known as ‘Narraburra
Hills.’ They got to within 100 yards of Sproule’s Lagoon, which stood between The Old  Rock and Trungley Road.
 “Gilbert had travelled fast and got back ahead of the police and persuaded three men to help him to rescue his mates from the police.
 “Gilbert and his three companions came out of a scrub of saplings, with veils over their faces, and at a convenient place on the track, bailed up the police.
 “Pottinger had the gold strapped on in front of him, and got away, back to Quandry, and so did Mitchell, but Lyons, who had the notes had his horse shot in the neck and fell with him. Gilbert regained the £438 in notes and secured his mates, handcuffs, and the men could not get them off their wrists.
 “However they went, to Sproule’s Lagoon house and got a tomahawk and cut the chain across a fence, the ‘bracelets’ still on the wrists.
 “Gilbert then went back to the Weddin Mountain. Bow, Fordyce and Manns hid in the hills close to the Sproule’s Lagoon house and got the handcuffs off each hand, though it is
not known how they did it, and threw them into the creek.”
That was in August, 1862 and they remained there till found by Mr. Sunderland last week.
A fortnight later Bow was arrested in a pine scrub on the Lachlan River; eight days later Fordyce was arrested in an abandoned shaft under the Pinnacle mountain, near
Grenfell ; and a fortnight later Manns’ was arrested in Ryans stables at Murrumburrah,
and 80 odd ounces of gold which had been planted in the dirt floor finder his bed was found.
 “Manns was sentenced to death for the part he played in the Gold Escort Robbery of the Eugowra Mail, and was subsequently hanged; Bow and Fordyce were sentenced to 15
years’ imprisonment each, and Gilbert was shot dead at Binalong.
Source: “WHEN JOHNNY GILBERT AS SHOT AT BINALONG” The Gundagai Independent (NSW : 1928 – 1939) 25 May 1933: 2.


  1. I also have watched the movie ‘The Legend of Ben Hall’ recommended to me by Johnny Gilbert’s great-great-great niece.
    Great to have ‘Happy Jack’ in our family tree.

  2. Just watching the movie: The Legend of Ben Hall now. Being a Victorian, we weren’t really taught about Ben Hall at school. I know OF Ben Hall, but never really knew much about him, or his story. It’s not a great movie, but interesting to watch and learn about Ben Hall and his gang! 🙂

Leave a Reply