Spotlight: The Port Arthur Bushrangers

Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 – 1857), Tuesday 5 April 1842, page 3


The report that Westwood, or as he is generally called “the notorious Jacky Jacky,” has absconded from Port Arthur with six of his Sydney comrades and three of the Port Arthur “old hands,” has occasioned no trifling alarm in the minds of those who may be subjected to their visitation. Bad as are many of the individuals at that settlement, those who have absconded are perhaps the worst of the whole number — men, who are regardless of consequences, and who imagine that their condition cannot be more deplorable or wretched, even with the scaffold in perspective continually before their eyes. While we cannot but feel under great obligations to the Sydney Government for sending these men to us, we hope our own authorities have taken every precaution for the prevention of mischief by these lawless ruffians, and at the same time offered every inducement for their speedy apprehension. They are designing and crafty too, so it would seem, as well as bold and desperate ; for they contrived to pretend considerable resignation to their lot, intending, no doubt, to take the bush as soon as even a chance was offered to them. We saw them marched down from the Penitentiary to the vessel which was to convey them with several others to Port Arthur. Westwood and three or four of his companions, were very heavily ironed ; they seemed to drag their chains with some difficulty, but there was in their appearance and demeanour, especially in that of Westwood and Docherty, that which betokened much sullen ferocity, and a long estrangement from the slightest intimacy with those feelings and sympathies which serve to humanize mankind. It is the general opinion, in which we concur, that if this banditti be not nipped in the bud, they will be productive of much plunder and bloodshed. They are desperate men ; strong in the intensity of their ferocity, and steeped to the very lips in crime of the deepest dye; with them no half-measures should be taken ; it must be “war to the knife,” and instant capture or annihilation. Since the above was in type we have heard that they have been all captured, and one of them shot.

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