Bent’s News and Tasmanian Register (Hobart Town, Tas. : 1837 – 1838), Friday 22 June 1838, page 3
We copy the following from a Contempo-
Another attempt at bushranging has been made by five armed men, named Thomas Fisher, John Beard, Benjamin Ball, George Birrell, and James Ely, (the last mentioned having been since apprehended.) They commenced their depredations at Mr. Edmund Bryant’s, whose house they robbed. They took away a double-barrelled gun from a shepherd’s hut belonging to Mr. Bryant, and also visited Mr. Corbett’s farm, and took away another double-barrelled gun-and at the hut of Mr. J. Glover, of Benlomond ; they tied all the men there, and shot a man named Samuel Day. This atrocious murder was, we regret to say, accompanied by an attempt to burn the body of the unfortunate man — the bed on which he laid bearing the appearance of having been set on fire, and the body much burnt. His hands were tied behind his back, and some cord (exactly corresponding in appearance with that used for this purpose) was found in Ely’s pockets. The ball with which he was shot appears to have entered the heart, and to have come out through the opposite shoulder blade. A respectable young man, Mr. Pyke, was kept a prisoner in the hut where the deceased lived, and port wine was poured down his throat until he was rendered almost intoxicated ; he was twice fired at after he left the bushrangers, who appear to have been acting under the influence of inebriety. An inquest was held on the body of the unfortunate man Day, on Tuesday last, the particulars of which have not yet reached our office. As soon as Mr. Bryant’s, and Mr. Glover’s letters were received by Mr. Wales at Morven, the utmost promptitude was used, not only in giving information at head quarters, but in giving notice to all the Police-offices of the adjoining districts. In every Police district there are parties on the alert, independently of roving bands instantly dispatched of soldiers, constables, and volunteers, bearing down upon different points. We cannot do less than notice this activity and energy in the Police department ; at the same time that we carefully abstain from a notification of the instructions given to the different parties, and the routes they are pursuing, lest by giving them premature publicity we should defeat their plans. It will, however be extremely grateful to the settlers generally to know that every exertion is being made to secure the speedy capture of these daring and brutal ruffians. His Excellency’s instructions the moment he was officially informed of the existence of this fresh gang of robbers, were to the following effect :— “No efforts must be spared to secure the speedy capture of these men.” The cruel act of blood with which they have commenced their career has raised every man’s arm against them, and with this unanimous feeling of detestation, and the promptitude and liberality of the Government in issuing rewards for their capture, we cannot believe that they will much longer be permitted to pollute the earth with their diabolical deeds.