Spotlight: Morgan the Bushranger – Latest Particulars (19 April 1865)

Gippsland Times (Vic. : 1861 – 1954), Wednesday 19 April 1865, page 3


MORGAN, THE BUSHRANGER

The following are the latest particulars, epitomised from the Herald, concerning the movements of the desperado a few days prior to his death:–

His last exploit in New South Wales was sticking up the Kyamba mail, after which he proceeded by way of Tumberumba, in the Billabong district, to the Murray, crossing that river at Yoe or Thugulong, about 20 or 30 miles from Albury. He was next seen at Mr. J. Wilson’s station, Wallangatta, from which he stole a racing mare and another horse dur[ing] the night, being able to get clear off with his spoil, as Mr. Wilson was from home and the superintendent away to the back country with weaners, taking all the shepherds and dogs with him. There was thus nothing to give the alarm; and Morgan was allowed plenty of leisure to effect his depredations. The mare (Victoria) stolen was a very valuable animal, and had been purchased by Mr. Yuille for the Champion Race in January next. She had been brought in only a few days before for the purpose of allowing an agent of Mr. Yuille to inspect her qualities, and he having approved of her, the bargain was concluded in Melbourne with Mr. Wilson’s agents on the 3rd April, nine hours after the animal had been abstracted. On the station was found a strange horse, with a very large tumour full of matter on one of the cheeks, which was supposed to have belonged to Morgan, he being in the habit of kicking his horses on the side of the head to accelerate their speed. From this it was supposed to be the animal on which he had entered Victorian ground.

He was next seen at Mr. McKinnon’s station, Tawnga, on the Little River, on the Wednesday evening. This place is distant 50 miles from Wallangatta. He stuck up two men who were in the yard, and drove them, pistol in hand, before him into the house. He chatted familiarly upon the qualities of his horse with McKinnon, and accounted for a swelling in her fetlock by saying that a log had rolled down and struck her while he was leading her down the ranges. He then took a man with him as guide, as far as Mr. Roper’s station, Mullindolingong, where he pressed another man into his service, and made for the Messrs Evans’ station, on the King River, crossing the Ovens at Wodonga. Here Morgan bailed up every one he saw, and among the rest Mr. Evans’ brother, whom he informed that it was his intention to shoot Mr. Evans and Mr. Bond, of Degamero. Mr. John Evans asked him why he should wish to hurt his brother, when it was Mr. Bond who inflicted the injury of which he complained, to which Morgan replied that Mr. Evans was equally as bad, being an accessory to the affair. He searched the house, but took no money, and behaved in a very polite manner to Mrs Evans, saying he did not wish either to hurt or frighten her. He would not partake of a glass of grog offered to him, saying that he only drank occasionally. He conversed freely about his past career, and said he had been imprisoned in Pentridge for a crime of which he was guiltless ; that he got 12 year lard labour, but was released when he had done six years and 15 weeks ; that he came up to Yackandandah where he asked a man for a job, which was refused him on account of his having been at Pentridge, and that he then determined never again to ask for employment. He seemed to have a bitter recollection of his treatment at Pentridge, and swore he would rather die than serve another three years in it. After breakfast he bade Mr. Evans accompany him to a creek where he had left his horse, and in the course of a walk of two or three miles he entered into a defence of his conduct respecting the Round Hill murder, denying that he was either drunk or mad. Upon Dr. Evans asking him if he felt any remorse for the people he had killed, he said he did not; the only thing he felt sorry for being the wounding of Mr Heriot. It was very fortunate for Mr. Evans’ brother that he was from home, and that what may be considered a special chain of circumstances prevented him when he returned following in the wake of the bushranger as he had intended for most assuredly had Morgan set eyes upon him, he would have slaughtered him, such a deadly hatred did he bear against him.

He was next seen on the adjoining run of Mr. McBain where he bailed up a Melbourne hawker, taking from him a sum of between £5 and £6. He afterwards bailed up three dray-men, telling them he was Morgan, robbed them of what they possessed and told them he was going to shoot Mr Bond. With one of them he exchanged boots, observing – “I hear they have got my ‘phiz’ in the Waxworks ; these are a policeman’s boots, if you sell them you may get something for them.” He thence proceeded to Winton, a small township about 20 miles south of Wangaratta, on the main line of road between Melbourne and Albury, where he arrived about dusk on Friday evening. As he rode past the fence of Whitty’s public house his peculiar style of horsemanship, riding in-kneed, attracted the attention of Miss Whitty, who was standing at the verandah of the hotel. She exclaimed, ” I shouldn’t wonder if that man is a Sydney native; look at the way he rides” She then took another look at him, and said loudly, ” Why, he is very like Morgan ; he just resembles the man in the Waxworks.” The horseman, hearing the remark, turned turned round and scowled at her, but made no observation, and rode out in the direction of Wangaratta, robbing a carrier who had camped for the night a short distance from the hotel.

On that night and Saturday morning Morgan was in possession of the road within three miles of Benalla to within six miles south of Wangaratta. He stopped nearly every person he saw, but seldom searched them, being apparently satisfied with their assurances that they had got no more cash. One man named Cochrane drew out his purse, and while opening it managed to press a £5 note against the side in such a manner as to render it invisible, and showed to Morgan 3s. 6d. in silver, then he replied, “It’s just like you b___y Victorians, none of you are worth sticking up!” He here missed a rich haul of £200, as he allowed a contractor named Stewart to escape his toils, fancying he had nothing worth while robbing him of. He then went to Warby’s station, but found the master from home ; he, however, behaved very politely to Mrs. Warby, plucking grapes with her in the garden, and chatting quite familiarly. Hearing the sound of horses’ feet coming up, he requested her to go inside, saying it was the police, and that he would show her some fun, as he was determined to fight them. He stood in the doorway, carelessly twirling his revolver, but finding it a false alarm, he stole a horse, and struck across the country for Connelly’s, but, the evening being bad he lost his way.

He, however, came upon a road leading to Peechelba, where he met Mr. Telford, a relation of Mr. McPherson’s, and two other men, whom he compelled to accompany him to the station. Mr Telford remonstrated with him upon compelling an old man like him to travel on such a miserable day ; but Morgan replied: that he had a head to lose, and if he let him go he might give information to the police. Since he had entered Victoria he had travelled about 200 miles, something in the shape of three fourths of a circle, and was now at Peechelba, only seven miles from the Murray border. It was here that the ruffian’s career of crime was to be brought to an inglorious close, but the particular as to how he met his death, have before been published in our columns. The following extract will serve to show how even ministers were affected –

“Among the volunteers was a clergyman, who remained at the station during the night, and was on the spot when Morgan was shot. Instead, however, of offering him any of the consolations of his religion, he left that duty to be performed by a pound-keeper, and mounted his horse to return to Wangaratta, ostensibly for the purpose of preaching to his flock, but when he got there he was too much excited by the scene he had witnessed, to be able to fulfil his ordinary avocation. Surely he must have remembered the saying of his Master, “They that are whole need not a physician, but those that are sick!” and though his exertions to bring him to a sense of his condition would doubtless have proved of no avail, he might at least have done his best to effect that object.

It would take up too much space to narrate Morgan’s career within the last few years. Suffice it to say that on the 10th June, 1854, he was tried before Sir Redmond Barry (the then Acting Chief Justice) under the name of John Smith, alias the Sydney Native, for robbery under arms at Avoca. The plundered men were a hawker named John Duff and a bullock driver in his employ. The prisoner ordered a shepherd of Mr. Orr’s to tie each separately to different trees, and then he compelled the shepherd to go to his hut, where the prisoner tied him up also, fastening him by his belt to the bed. He stole from the hawker a revolver, a coat, trousers and £5 in money. This took place on the 17th April 1854, and on the 5th May following he was arrested by Sergeant Cahill, of the Mounted Police, and a trooper, concealed under a bed in a hut on Menzies’ run. He made a violent resistance, presenting two revolvers, one in each hand, at the two constables; and it was only when the officers threatened to shoot him that he surrendered. Some of the stolen property was found in his possession, and the evidence being considered conclusive, he was convicted and sentenced to 12 years on the roads, the first ten in irons. The description which is given it the gaol books leaves no doubt that John Smith and Daniel Morgan were one and the same party. He is decribed as follows:

“John Smith, alias the Sydney native, native of New South Wales born 1821, five feet 10¼ inches in height, slight build, dark complexion, black hair, hazel eyes, can read and write well, three moles on his left hand, and several on his back, a native of Campbelltown, N,S.W. a Catholic, trade a labourer.”

He was sent to the hulk President on the 20th August 1854, and was subsequently removed to Pentridge whence he was released in 1860 with a ticket-of-leave for the Ovens.. Here he commenced stealing horses, and a warrant was issued for his apprehension from the Wangarratta Bench, which was never executed. Finding the Victorian territory too hot to hold him, he went over to New South Wales, and his history there for the last two years, when he first resorted to violence, must be fresh: in the memory of our readers.

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