Spotlight: William Monckton (various excerpts)

Manilla Express (NSW : 1899 – 1954), Saturday 7 October 1905, page 4


WILLIAM MONCKTON.

Among visitors at the Howell races on Monday last was Mr. William Monckton, interest in whose earlier career has been revived of late by the publication of his Narrative “Three Years with Thunderbolt’ in a city paper. It was a long while since our repre sentative had previously seen Mr. Monckton. Mr. Monckton informed us that a book dealing with the history of his adventures whilst with “Thunderbolt” will shortly be published. A sensational drama founded on the outlaw’s career is shortly to be staged at the Theatre Royal-Sydney, and it is not improbable that Mr. Monckton will add to the realism of its production by representing in his own person one of the characters in the play. Mr. Monckton looks well. He has led an uneventful life for a long time now, but we could not help observing that his old love for the race meeting is still uppermost, and he was an interested spectator at the good sport provided by tho Howell Jockey Club in celebration of Eight Hour Day. — Inverell Times.


Warialda Standard and Northern Districts’ Advertiser (NSW : 1900 – 1954), Tuesday 10 October 1905, page 3


WILLIAM MONCKTON.

Among visitors at the Howell races on Monday last, (says Wednesday’s “Inverell Times”) was Mr. William MonCkton, interest in whose earlier career has been revived of late by the publication of his narrative ” Three years with Thunderbolt ” in a city paper. It was a long while since our representative had previously seen Mr. Monckton. He was then under arrest, having surrendered to the police voluntarily. Now he is a well-respected resident of the district, a man anyone would trust with their last coin. Mr. Monckton informed us that a book dealing with the history of his adventures whilst with Thunderbolt would shortly he published. A sensational drama founded on the outlaw’s career is shortly to be staged at the Theatre Royal, Sydney, and it is not improbable that Mr. Monckton will add to the realism of its production by representing in his own person one of the characters in the play. Mr. Monckton looks well. He has led an uneventful life for a long time now, but we could not help observing that his old love for the race meeting is still uppermost, and he was an interested spectator at the good sport provided by the Howell Jockey Club in celebration of Eight Hour Day.


Uralla Times (NSW : 1923 – 1954), Thursday 8 October 1931, page 1


THUNDERBOLT.

LECTURE BY WILLIAM MONCKTON.

His first public speeches in a life of almost 80 years were made by Mr. William Monckton on Saturday last, at Uralla Picture Theatre.

Mr. Monckton, who, as a boy, spent years with Thunderbolt, consented to lecture on his experiences, to help the funds of Armidale hospital, and accordingly addressed gatherings during the afternoon and night.

The addresses were given in conjunction with a splendid, educational film, “The Romance of the Reaper,” showing the amazing development of harvesting machinery in the past hundred years.

The Secretary of the hospital, who was introduced by Mr. A. L. Munro, thanked Uralla Pictures Ltd. and the I. H. Co., and McRae’s Ltd., for assistance in connection therewith, the Uralla Workers’ Union for foregoing their weekly dance, and last, but, not least, Mr. Monckton for giving his address.

“I am glad to be here to show appreciation on behalf of the hospital,” said the Speaker. “It exists for all those who can’t pay, as well as those who can — and so far it has paid its way, but now it needs assistance more then ever before.”

Mr. R. G. Crapp as chairman, in his usual breezy style, referred to the wide spread interest in Uralla on account of its being the centre of many of Thunderbolt’s exploits and of his death. Visitors from all parts left notes, many of them in terms, of endearment, on Thunderbolt’s grave. “You couldn’t apply them to the bushrangers of to-day”‘ added Mr .Crapp.

Mr. Monckton’s story, which in the main followed that given by him to Ambrose Pratt for the book “Three Years with Thunderbolt,” threw fresh light on various incidents during those three years, but chiefly on the animosity between him and his stepfather and on the identification of Thunderbolt’s body at Uralla after the outlaw had been shot by Constable Walker.

Mr. Monckton told how his father died when he was but five years of age, and some time later his mother married again, more for the children’s sake than her own. From the first his stepfather treated him with the utmost harshness and, failing to enforce obedience otherwise, tried to do so by claiming that he was really his son. This final insult, hotly resented, also failed and acts of fiendish cruelty followed. Several times he ran away, only to be dragged back and flogged. In his last attempt to escape, his father learned of his hiding place, and, with capture imminent he fled for protection to Thunderbolt, who was camped in the vicinity.

Thus began his three years career of adventure, which ended when he left Thunderbolt, gave himself up, and was released for good conduct after serving fourteen months of his sentence of three years.

Stories circulated at the time of Thunderbolt’s death (1) That the man shot was not Thunderbolt, (2) that Mr. Monckton was a prisoner when he identified him, were given the lie direct. He was on his way home, a free man, when Supt. Brown, of the Armidale police galloped up to ask him to view the body, which he did. At his direction the police looked for and found certain old bullet wounds and he further identified the dead man by marks on his hat. “If anyone still maintains that Thunderbolt was not shot, let them tell us where he is, or what became of him,” he challenged.

“Finally, if anyone thinks I have been in the slightest degree a desperate character since that time, they are invited to make inquiries in the Inverell district centres I have lived in ever since,” said Mr. Monckton.

Rousing applause greeted Mr. Monckton at the close of his address.

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