Spotlight: Hunter’s River Bushrangers (1840)

Sydney Herald (NSW : 1831 – 1842), Saturday 26 December 1840, page 2


The Rubicon is past – and human blood is now shed by one of the most lawless gangs of bushrangers that ever infested the Hunter. Blood, that cries aloud for retribution at the hands of our vacillating government. Blood – yes blood, the first of a long list which it is anticipated, will mark the career of the Hunter’s River bushrangers. My last letter feebly narrated the career of this gang at the Wollombi; of their assault on the late constable McDougall, and the murderous attack on one of Mr. Crawford’s men; of their recontre at the Red House, and other particulars of their misdeeds. This, though not so full of particulars, will be more full of horror. It appears that, on leaving the Wollombi, they were joined by six others, thus making their number ten, when they proceeded to Scone, simultaneously attacking the Inn of Mr. Chivers and the stores of Mr. ‘Thomas Dangar, their approach was however observed by a young man, clerk to Mr Dangar, named Graham, who injudiciously armed himself with a pistol, which he fired at the advancing party, when one of them (Marshall it is thought) levelled his gun and shot him dead at the door of his master’s house, whose property he was defending. Davis, the chief of the robbers, on hearing the report, came forward; he seemed to regret it much, but I will quote his own words, – “I would give £1,000, that this had not happened, but as well a hundred now as one.” We may therefore expect that this one murder mentioned, is the precursor of others, each more sanguinary than the other. The last report we have had of them is at the Page.


Seven desperate bushrangers are infesting this district. They came from Jerry’s Plains via Muswell Brook. They went to Mr Dangar’s farm on Monday morning, and took a fine grey horse and several light articles, such as watches rugs, &c. They then proceeded to Scone – and called at Chivers, who they robbed of about £70, bailed up the people, and broke what fire arms were in the house. While this was being done some of the party went over to Dangar’s stores, one went to the back and another to the front of the house. Mr. Graham, the Clerk took up a piece and fired at the fellow in front but missed him. He then ran away to the constable, but one of the villains shot him dead in in the middle of the road, and thus is another valuable life lost from the lawless state of the country. The marauders then mounted and proceeded towards the Page. Mr. Day has arrived from Muswell Brook with a number of ticket-of-leave men, and is on his way after them. The magistrates have sent a note with the constables for all ticket men to muster, and form as many parties as possible, some are going by the Cedar Bush, the Wybong and Gammon Plains, and from the activity of the arrangements, hopes are entertained of their speedy capture.

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