Bushranging Gazette #4

Tuesday 1 June, 2021

The past month has seen fewer headlines, but by no means has it been without news. In this issue of Bushranging Gazette we discuss some recent occurrences and highlight related articles that have popped up, including a book announcement and the passing of two popular authors.

A Guide to Australian Bushranging on the radio

7pm tonight Aidan Phelan will be discussing Tasmanian bushrangers with Paul McIntyre.

Tassie locals can tune into 936 AM (radio) or Channel 25 (television) for ABC Radio Hobart.

You can listen to the broadcast online here: https://www.abc.net.au/radio/hobart/


New book announced covers the diversity of bushrangers

In early May it was announced that NewSouth publishing will be releasing a book by historian Dr. Meg Foster titled Boundary Crossers: the hidden history of Australia’s other bushrangers, set to go into production next year.

Dr. Foster proudly announced the project on Twitter and went on to expand upon what to expect from the book:

Bushrangers were not just white men. In my book you’ll find the history of Aboriginal, African-American, Chinese and female bushrangers. Can’t wait to share these remarkable figures’ stories.

Dr. Meg Foster [Source]

Details at present are not available, but as more information comes to hand it will be published in a future issue of the Bushranging Gazette.

Vale Ian MacFarlane

Author of The Kelly Gang Unmasked, Ian MacFarlane, passed away in early May. His family used the Facebook page set up to promote the book in order to convey the news to his followers.

It is with profound sadness that we as a family announce the passing of Author Ian MacFarlane. We wish to thank all his followers and readers of his books, whether or not you agreed to the points raised, but that he helped form new thought provoking discussions, and further learning, was all he ever wanted.Thank you from his family.

Via Ned Kelly “The Kelly Gang Unmasked” by Ian MacFarlane

MacFarlane’s hard-line, anti-Kelly biography of the bushranger was somewhat controversial among some, but has remained a prominent text in the myriad of books relating to the outbreak of 1878-1880.

Vale Chester Eagle

Another prominent figure in the Kelly world has sadly passed. Attendees of the Kelly events at Greta-Hansonville Hall will be familiar with Chester Eagle who had been a panellist, and whose writings had been given out in the showbags.

A post on the Greta Heritage Group Facebook page related the news:

It is with a very heavy heart that I learnt of the passing last night of our friend Chester Eagle. Teacher, Mentor, Author, Lover of good wine, food and conversation. Drinker of tea from fine china! Never a tea bag….. Art collector and book READER, not just collector. Chester was the inspiration for our first, now annual event at Greta. It was over a conversation with him about his good friend Max Brown, and the 75th Anniversary of the publication of Australian Son, that this event was born. Chester was born and raised as a boy on a farm out from Finley, he spent much of his adult life teaching in small communities. He knew the struggles of a small district and those on the land. He loved old buildings and the hall. He knew the importance of keeping history and memory alive. We had many a robust conversation – once he discovered my dislike of red wine, he stocked a good Sauvignon Blanc just for me! When it was too early for wine, we drank tea out of Spode China – because he knew the value of ‘using the good china’. We talked about art ( I still know nothing), books, history and travel We listened to music – what a range of classical VINYL as well as CD’s he had! Mostly we talked. Laughed. He was still writing and publishing – he gave away most of his writings via mini mags. His generosity was legendary. The world has lost a mighty man. Wherever you are Chester (because we debated that too), I hope you find the conversation stimulating, and that the wine flows freely. we will miss you my friend..

Noeleen Lloyd [Source]

4WD Bushranging

An article published this month on 4×4 Australia promotes the exploration of NSW bushranger country from the comfort of your personal chariot.

Wherever there was gold discovered, there were bushrangers trying to pry it out of the government’s hands, and you can still follow their trails and misdeeds in NSW.


The article describes selected locations and the stories behind them, including Escort Rock, Bang Bang Hotel, Ophir, Bathurst, and Hill End, and also gives excellent information for people looking to do a road trip around the territory that was once home to outlaws like Ben Hall and Frank Gardiner.

Exploring a cave in the Hunter where the Jewboy bushranger gang hid from the law

Readers of the Gazette may be interested to check out an article by Damon Cronshaw from March this year, wherein he chats to Col Maybury about a cave he explored, believed to have been a hideout for Edward Davis and his bushranger gang.

I approached Clarry Harris of Edgeworth, a superb horseman of times past. He directed me to the cave just north of the Richmond Vale railway line on Blue Gum Creek. I found it […] Now 40 years later with my son Kieran and grandson Arlo, I led them to the cave below the brow of the Hunter Expressway and slightly northeast of the Nuttyoon Bridge. As we sat in that cool safe refuge, Arlo found a large lump of pure Sugarloaf coal and I thought of the bushranger gang that once sheltered here and their cruel end.

Col Maybury [Source]

This month’s features on A Guide to Australian Bushranging

* The Nerrigundah Raid – A recounting of one of the most notorious bushranging incidents in New South Wales history, which saw the Clarke bushrangers become one of the most infamous gangs ever.

* Bushranging: A Female Perspective – a look at some of the women who are helping to preserve bushranging history and redefine popular perceptions through their work.


Jacky Jacky and company find a feast

“Along with three other men I took the bush, with the intention of making a canoe. After being out several days with nothing to eat, we became quite weak. One morning I smelt a great smell, like the smell of meat roasting. We were more like hounds put on a scent, and seeking the hare. At last, we got to the sea, and there on the beach we saw a huge whale, dead, I should say, several days. It had been harpooned at sea, and washed in by the tide. It was this dead whale we had smelled. We were now supplied with meat in plenty, and subsisted on the flesh of it for several days while making our canoe.

Southern Right Whale [Source]

When it was almost finished the constables came on us and called on us to submit; but this was out of the question, and we ran for it, hoping they would fire on us and we should be shot, as death was preferable to life at Port Arthur at that time. After a short pursuit my companions were taken, but managed to give the constables the slip for some days longer; but I was taken, and the whole party were tried before Captain Booth, and each received 100 lashes, with heavy irons, and to be chained to a ringbolt while we were stone-breaking, and in a small room by night.”

– William Westwood

Source: Australasian (Melbourne), Saturday 22 February 1879, page 7

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