Spotlight: Ben Hall Wounded (22 March 1865)

Cornwall Chronicle (Launceston, Tas. : 1835 – 1880), Wednesday 22 March 1865, page 6


NEW SOUTH WALES.

BEN HALL WOUNDED

According to the “Goulburn Argus” of the 8th, there is no doubt that Ben Hall was wounded in the encounter at Mutbilly. That journal says :–

He seems to have lost blood on the spot where he fell, but be managed to make his way either on foot or horseback to the Gullen district, and being concealed in a house there, he obtained the assistance of a person, who knew something of surgery, and the ball, which had lodged in his arm, beneath the elbow, was extracted from it. He stayed several days at the place, and then left, some friend or sympathiser having in the meantime come into town and obtained some ointment for dressing the wound. The house in which he had been hid was searched by the police on Friday last, but he was then non est. It is stated that since the affair at Byrne’s, and whilst he had no other arms than revolvers, and was on foot, Hall was charged by three mounted policemen near Mr. Warne’s, at the Crookwell, but he managed to effect his escape. It is also reported that Gilbert and Dunn joined Hall somewhere in that neighbourhood, and they signalised their meeting by a round of firing. Another version is that the man now with Dunn and Gilbert, and supposed to be Hall, is not that individual, but some one personating him, and that Hall himself is still unable to join them, and has merely changed his place of concealment. This version states that Gilbert, Dunn, and the other man have been close to Collector ever since the affray at Mutbilly.

The present history of New South Wales seems to consist of a record of the murders, robberies, and other depredations perpetrated by gangs of marauding bushrangers, aided by the residents in the districts thus infested. Nothing more disgraceful to the people who tolerate this state, of things has ever existed in the worst bandit ruled fastnesses of Italy. In generalisation of this assertion we submit a few of the telegrams recently received at Sydney from the interior and from Sydney and Melbourne.

Sydney, Feb 24

News reached town today of a savage encounter between the police and Hall’s gang of bushrangers. The particulars to hand are as follows :– The police surprised the bushrangers early this morning, at Mutbilly, fifteen miles from Goulburn, when they were camping. A desperate fight ensued. Hall is reported as wounded The bushrangers eventually escaped, but were half naked. They left their arms and horses behind them. The police are in great hopes of capturing them tonight.

Feb. 27

The bushrangers, after having escaped from the police on Friday morning, procured fresh horses and firearms, and are still at large. The police have discovered notes, cheques, and drafts to the value of £1000 which had been planted by Ben Hall, near Goulburn.

March 6

Parliament assembled today. the Chief secretary, Mr. Cowper, made a statement to the effect that the Government intended the present session to be a brief one, and they would only introduce a few important measures. It was proposed to meet the existing deficiency by raising a loan and to provide for the current expenditure by the present tariff and direct taxation. Sir Frederick Pottinger, late inspector of police accidentally shot himself yesterday. The wound was pronounced mortal. Bushrangers were plundering near Berrima yesterday. Three bushrangers, not previously known to the police, have been arrested near Goulburn. A police telegram, respecting the escort robbery, states that the attack took place half a mile from Major’s Creek. The bushrangers were four in numbar, Hall, Gilbert, and Dunn had double-barrelled guns and revolvers. The gold was conveyed in an iron safe, on a coach. The bushrangers fired on the driver from behind some logs, but missed him and he fled; the police fired in return, when the bushrangers ran up the side of the mountain to their horses and disappeared. One constable kept close to the cart, and with some people that came out from the township, escorted the gold safe to Major’s Creek. Only one trooper is wounded. The ball entered his breast. Upon the receipt of the telegram troopers started from Braidwood, with Superintendent Orridge. About 200 armed diggers left Araluen to assist the police.

Goulburn, March 6

Richard Middleton, John Wilson, and Thomas Tracey, who yesterday committed highway robbery with arms near Paddy’s River, were apprehended this morning and committed for trial at the next assizes. Or Saturday afternoon, Ben Hall, Gilbert, and Dunn stopped the mail from here to Gundaroo; Mr. W. Davis, of Ginninderra, and some females were passengers. Mr. Davis was walking up the hill when the bushrangers came out and covered him with their revolvers. They took his gold watch and a revolver, and in the coach they found a revolving rifle and a double-barrelled gun, also belonging to Mr. Davis, which they took. They opened about half the letters, from which they got only £2. It has been reported since, that they have been seen at Gunning and Collector, and it is said that Hall was actually wounded in the latest encounter, and that the ball has since been extracted from his arm.

Wagga Wagga, March 9

A frightful case of suicide occurred here last night (Sunday), Mr. Renauf accountant of the Bank of New South Wales, in the most determined manner threw himself down the flue of a lime furnace — which was then in a white heat. The firemen present attempted to prevent him from doing so but failed. The body was horribly disfigured and charred. The caust which led to this terrible catas-trophe is at present unknown.

6 p.m.

News has just reached here that another victim has been shot by the ruffian Morgan, at Wollondool. The information is reliable; but it is not certain that the unfortunate man is dead.

March 11

Ben Hall’s gang paid a visit to Gunnings on Thursday night, and helped themselves to three horses, with which they got clear away.

March 12

has been committed for trial on a charge of personation at the late elections. The inquest on the body of Castor (of the Christy’s Minstrels), who poisoned himself, has resulted in a verdict of temporary insanity. The Maitland telegram reports that about noon to day D. Cohen and Co.’s store took fire. The flames spread thence to the Commercial Bank, and Mullen’s, Lipscomb’s, and Hines’s stores, all of which were destroyed. The bank saved the books and valuables, but the loss is supposed to be very heavy, probably about £80,000, which is covered by insurance, of which Cohen’s amounts to £50,000 The manager of the Victoria Insurance Office goes up tonight to protect the interests of the insurance offices. The total damage is estimated at about £170,000. Sir Frederick Pottinger is recovering.

Sydney, March 15

The total loss by the Maitland fire is estimated at £170,000. The bushrangers continue their depredations in the southern districts. Arrived: Agnes and Jessie, from Launceston.

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