Spotlight: THE CAPTURE OF FEGAN, THE BUSHRANGER.

THE people of Queensland may be congratulated on the speedy termination of the bushranging career of the three ruffians who escaped from the Rockhampton Gaol and for a short time lived by plundering travellers and the residents of the surrounding districts. The credit for their extermination is due not to the police force, but to civilians, and if the same determination to put down crime was exhibited by the residents of the Southern and Western districts of this colony as that which characterized the conduct of Messrs. Jardine, Paton, and Caldwell, we should soon be rid of Ben Hall, the murderer
Morgan, and others, whose acts of violence have brought this colony and its inhabitants into unmerited disrepute, and enabled some of our envious neighbours to cast a stigma on the whole of the people of New South Wales. Howson was the first of the gang brought to justice. Webster another of the party, visited Tregilgus’ public-house on the 9th of June; the police having received information of his whereabouts surrounded the house, but Webster, though fired at by the police, rushed off, and would probably have
effected his escape but for the exertions of Mr. Jardine, who borrowed a revolver from Sub-Inspector Foran, pursued Webster, and coming within range fired, exclaiming, “That will do, he will not go any farther. ” Webster then fell, and the constables coming up took him prisoner and conveyed him back to his former residence, the gaol. In the end of June, Fegan and Wright visited and robbed a number of stations along the Peak Downs road. At Mr. Caldwell’s Fegan helped himself to a fresh horse and to about £30 in cash. Shortly after the bush-rangers left, Mr. Caldwell sent round, and having collected and armed six or seven of his employes, started in pursuit, accompanied by a young man named Paton. Near a lagoon on the outskirts of the station, Mr. Caldwell discovered his horse feeding quietly at the edge of the scrub. The party, believing that the bushrangers were not far off, and would soon be searching for the horse, concealed themselves in the scrub, and in a short time Fegan was seen coming along on foot; he was about to endeavour to repossess himself of the horse, when the party, springing from their ambuscade, surrounded him, and the sight of half a dozen revolvers levelled at his head convinced him of the folly of attempting to escape ; he therefore quietly submitted, and was conveyed back to Rockhampton, where he and his companions have since been committed for trial. Wright, the last of the gang, continued his robberies until the 4th July, when he was met by Mr. Paton and Mr. Bedford near the Wilpend station ; on seeing Wright approaching, Mr. Paton picked up a revolver and presented it at the bushranger, saying, “You are my prisoner ; throw your hands up !” Wright replied in a saucy tone, “All right,” and partially lifted his hands, but immediately afterwards lowered them towards his belt. Again Mr. Paton exclaimed, “Throw your hands up, or I’ll fire !” and the bushranger not immediately complying, he (Mr. Paton) turned to speak to one of his men who had followed, though still keeping the bushranger under cover. In turning he touched the trigger unintentionally, and the contents of the revolver were instantly lodged in the body of Wright, who exclaimed ” Oh, my God! what is that for?”and sank to the ground a corpse. On the body was found a revolver loaded and capped. Information of the circumstances was at once sent to Mr. Caldwell, the nearest magistrate, and an inquiry took place next day. Four gentlemen—-Messrs. Stanley, Gerard, Mackay, and Macdonald—-were empanelled as a jury, and concurred with the opinion of the presiding magistrate, that the act of shooting Wright was justifiable homicide.

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Source: “THE CAPTURE OF FEGAN, THE BUSHRANGER.” Illustrated Sydney News (NSW : 1853 – 1872) 17 August 1864: 1.

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