BUSHRANGING AND OUR POLICE SYSTEM (Part Seven)


Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 – 1875), Thursday 14 November 1867, page 6


BUSHRANGING AND OUR POLICE SYSTEM

(BY A NATlVE TROOPER).

VII

We went back to our station after Alick’s conviction, and had a couple of days spell, for we had been out constantly night and day, wet, cold, or dry, and were getting knocked up. I had been out from the time Tommy Clarke began, and to be always wearing two revolvers, with a lot of ammunition round one’s waist, was making me weak; Most of the other chaps were new comers.

TOM CLARKE WOUNDED – TOM CONNELL SURRENDERS.

About this time the Ballalaba police came upon the Clarkes in the gully. The boys were off their horses, at a little distance but when they heard the police they ran to their horses and galloped away, whíle the Ballalaba police, being close on, blazed away, at them. So the boys turned round and fought for it. They were pretty close to each other. Tommy Clarke was shot in the leg, and was led away by his brother John, while Tom Connell covered their retreat, and kept the police back till they had got to the top of the hill, when Connell waved his hand triumphantly at the police and, with the two Clarkes, rode away. The police did not think it worth their while to follow, so mounted their horses and returned to their stations. The party to which I belonged were in the gully that day; about two miles from the scene of the encounter and rescue. We were told that Tommy was carried away on foot by his brother, while, Tom Connell alone kept the party pf police, under sergeant B. at bay, till they escaped. We hunted about, but seeing nothing, returned to head-quarters, where we only got a very imperfect and partial sketch of this affair.

A short time after the Ballalaba police came on them again, near Ballalaba. The boys were getting their dinners and had just time to mount their horses as the police rushed on them. The police being well mounted the boys could not get away until Tommy Clarke drew up and boldly faced them, firing right and left. Tom Connell, having a bad horse,, sneaked down towards the creek, when the whole of the police went after him and bailed him up. He surrendered, as he always would, quietly, when in the least danger. The police did not then pursue the Clarkes, who were near, but permitted them to go on, unmolested. Tom Connell was taken to the police station in triumph. For this B. was made sergeant, and he deserved his promotion, but there were men in his party who also merited consideration, but they were overlooked.

POLICE AMENITIES.

After this affair you could not go near Ballalaba unless you took your own grub with you. They fancied they had everything right, and became jealous of the police of other stations. The party to which I belonged have gone there as they were sitting down to meals, either dinner or supper, but they would eat away without, offering you a mouthful. So the police of other stations never went to Ballalaba except they could not help it. You could never get any information from the Ballalaba police about the boys; they kept all to themselves to prevent others from succeeding. They cared not two pence how long the boys were out, so long as no other police, took them. They went so far as to request the superintendent to prevent me from crossing the range. It was surmised that our party had the right information. The superintendent most unwisely complied with the request and ordered us not to cross the range. It will be seen presently that our information was correct. The “bush informer” previously alluded to, was our friend. It may be here stated that this young person got a moiety of the reward for the apprehension of the Clarkes, but I would rather tell these things in my own way, though perhaps not exactly in regular order to your mind. Well, they even tried to prevent us from coming up the gully, but we went in spite of them. For where else could we work with any prospect of success? It was in this locality the Clarkes were stopping.

Now here was the country crying out about people being robbed and murdered, and Carroll accusing the whole lot of us to the Colonial Secretary, and before magistrates, for not doing our duty, when one portion of the police were positively trying to keep the other portion of the police in the district from coming on the bushrangers. No doubt the Ballalaba police would have liked to reap all the honours, but why complain to the superitendent and prevent other parties of police from using their exertions? Were robberies and murders, to be perpetrated until one particular party of police arrested the criminals? The whole affair was a grievous blunder. Each policeman, of whatever rank, fancied he had the best clue. An impartial mind, must admit that it was becoming high time for the Government to interfere in some way.

THE BIG TAILOR JOINS THE CLARKES.

At about this time Tom Clarke got another mate, called the Big Tailor, whose proper name was James Doran. They commenced by sticking up some Chinamen’s stores at Major’s Creek, but Stafford and his party of police came on them and obliged them to shift, though they took their own time to retreat. Here was another party who wanted to do the thing quietly. They had received reliable information that the Clarkes were to stick up in Major’s Creek that night. In fact, when half a mile away only, this party were informed the bushrangers were at the Chinese stores. Now mark this. This party of police belonged to Araluen. There were police stationed at Major’s Creek, who had only just returned from patrol, and were sleeping soundly in the barracks. The Araluen party, after being told the boys were at the stores, had to pass the police station at Major’s Creek; but instead of the officer in charge calling them up, so that all could go down and surround them, as it was his duty to do, he went down with only two policemen. And they went down, not with circumspection, but openly rode along the road to the store. Of course they could be easily seen. The Big Tailor gave the alarm at once to the Clarkes who were inside the store. The Clarkes came to the door as the police came up. Constable Reilly, a plucky fellow, was in front and as he rode up Tom Clarke went to him and coolly asked him who he was. Reilly told him he was a policeman. “Well” said Tom Clarke, “take that!” – as he suddenly let fly at him with his rifle. The other two police, the sergeant and the constable then came up and fired in return; Reilly fired a shot or two, and then retreated after his mates, and tried to rally them, but they did not like the smell of it, and so kept at a civil distance, thus enabling the bushrangers to mount their horses and ride away with a spare horse loaded with booty. Not only this, the bushrangers actually took time to light their pipes before riding away! Here are your regimental policemen when in action.

Now, it will not be found that the Clarkes gave away such a chance as this during the whole time they were out. If S. had got the men from the Major’s Creek police station, went down on foot together, and surrounded the place, they could have taken alive or shot the lot of them. However, he received nearly as many thanks as if he had captured them.

THE POLICE AND CARROLL’S PART.

We shifted our station at this time to Foxlow. After being there a short time we heard that the Big Tailor was crippled through a fall from his horse, and was harboured at a certain place some distance above Mick Connoll’s. So Egan and myself started one evening in the wet to the head of the gully, riding all night so as not to be seen. We arrived at a settler’s place at about 7 o’clock in the morning, and as we neared the place, saw two men coming in our direction on horseback. As they looked rather suspicious we kept behind some bushes till they were within shot, when we rode steadily towards them, prepared for contingencies. They would have pulled up only for shame’s sake; so after looking about, as if they could not help it, they came on. They were two of Carroll’s mates. As soon as we saw that, we bade, them good morning, and rode fast to the house, where we saw a man walking about, with a gun in his hand. On approaching nearer, we saw it was Carroll; and his third mate was near. We bade them good morning and walked into the house. We learnt Carroll’s mission was to take the son, our “bush informer” for sticking up the stores at Major’s Creek with the Clarkes. Of course. we knew this to be wrong, but said nothing, determined not to interfere with the detectives. In fact, we did not let on that we knew them to be Carroll and his party. Carroll was waiting for the son. We were told inside that he was over at Guineas’ helping them to get in their potatoes; and for us to go and take him if there was anything against him. But we had no charge against him. In fact we had reason to believe he was the most straight-forward young man in all Jingera. We saw at once that Carroll had been urged on by Lucy Hurley, who was anxious to get rid of him because the young man had refused to do certain jobs and to help her to take some horses to Tom Connell. In fact the “boys” determined shortly after this to shoot him, but he managed to escape.

Carroll had sent the two men we met to Guineas’ to arrest young —. When we came out, Carroll called Egan, and told him who he was, and who he was going to arrest. He sent Egan to me to say he was an officer of police and requested me to go to Guineas’s and keep young — in a string, till he and his men came up and arrested him. This I declined (1) because we had come expressly to arrest the Big Tailor; (2) because we did not like being interfered with by Carroll; (3) because we knew where young — was on the night of the robbery; and (4) because we had orders not to ride in the bush alone; and it was seven miles across to the range to Guineas’. After considering a few minutes, I told Egan to tell Carroll my objections. He asked my number as well as my mate’s, and reported us to the Colonial Secretary, or to some one high in authority.

Here was a pretty kettle of fish, four men well armed going to take an innocent young man, and charge him with robberies, while the police were to be brought into it for a reprimand. The whole affair was absurd. It was absurd to send a trooper seven miles off to take a man, and keep him in a string for an hour or two, till Carroll’s men came up. It would have been illegal for us to take him without a sufficient charge; and even then, to obey the order for arrest, the policeman must know that he who orders has power to enforce obedience. Carroll did not possess this power over the police. Well, Carroll and his party took this person and had him brought up at the Braidwood Police Court. He was remanded from time to time; the only particle of evidence, which Carroll could adduce being that of Lucy Hurley, and so, finally, he was discharged. But of this more presently.

Now, on the morning we met Carroll at the house in the gully, he had passed one place and enquired for the Big Tailor, who was soon told by friends that he was “wanted,” and, of course he was shifted at once. So that our night’s ride in the wet, and swimming rivers in the dark went for nothing, and this through the imprudence of a man who was charging the police with all sorts of crimes, with being too familiar with the Miss Clarkes, and for being in a public-house getting a nobbler after being out in the cold and wet bush two or three days. The Big Tailor was actually in the pig stye when Carroll was inquiring in the house for him, and telling the inmates he was a special detective, and that he wanted the Big Tailor for the robbery at Major’s Creek. But he was not in the pig stye when we called there about an hour after wards. As soon as Carroll and his party left, the Big Tailor was removed to a thick scrub half-a-mile off, on the hillside. We felt so disappointed when we went to the pig stye, and afterwards heard what Carroll had said inside the house, that we said to ourselves “This is a clear case of aiding and abetting a bushranger to escape.” Through this ocurrence the Big Tailor was never arrested.

SUSPICIOUS DEATH OF THE BIG TAILOR.

The Big Tailor, in due time, rejoined the Clarkes at their camp near Michelago. We were told he was being harboured at a settler’s place named P—, and that he had a double-barrelled gun and revolvers with him. Our opinion of the Tailor, was that he would have shot as many men as came in his road sooner than be taken. We went after him, but it was a wild-goose chase. When, at one end of the gully we heard he was at the other, near Michelago. He got wind we were after him, and managed to slip off towards Gippsland. It is generally supposed that he got drunk on his way there, fell against a tree, and was killed. Now the Tailor sadly wanted to leave the Clarkes. When he went away he had with him a railway wrapper and a double-barrelled gun belonging to the Clarkes. When the Tailor’s body was found there was neither gun nor wrapper near it, and it was not ascertained that his death was otherwise than accidental. But the Clarkes were camped not far from where his body was found, and as the Clarkes never liked to trust a confederate who had left them, it is more probable that they killed him and took the gun and wrapper from him. The Clarkes then got another mate by the name of Bill Scott, a real rowdy, and a customer that would deliberately shoot any man in New South Wales for sixpence.

THE DOINGS OF CARROLL AND HIS PARTY.

At about this time Carroll was nearly every day arresting some of the people in the Jingera country; some were guilty enough, but others he was “rigged” to take by his informant who had a down on them. We knew he was being misled, but, could say nothing. It was about this period he made the great mistake of seizing some wine and spirits which had just been transferred from one store to another. Carroll was “rigged” to this by another store-keeper. It is questionable whether Carroll ever knew the facts about this case, at all events, it did him much injury, for after keeping the wine for some time, the magistrates ordered him to return it. This turned many people against Carroll; for the store-keeper in question had a license all the while, and entered an action for damages, but Carroll’s death stayed proceedings.

As we are approaching the period of the “Jinden murders” it would be as well here to devote a few lines as to Carroll’s position preceding this occurrence.

When Carroll first came up to Braidwood he was in Flynn’s party. Flynn went out to Foxlow where he had friends who told him truly of the movements of the boys. A certain police-sergeant heard of Carroll being at Foxlow, and went over, stuck him up, and made him exhibit his authority before all the civilians. This was a cut which Carroll never forgave. Flynn had got on the right scent, and saw the boys come over to an old hut. They went to this hut after an encounter with us in the Molongo range, close to Foxlow, previously described. It was to this hut we wished to go when sergeant C. refused, and so we made a mess of it. Now, there can be no doubt that Flynn would have done some good then, but Carroll, most unwisely, fell out with him, and got the party broke up. Carroll then formed his own party and came to Braidwood again with Kennagh, Phegan, and McDonald. The last named had been in gaol for forgery, and Carroll made up a plan with him to entrap the Clarkes through the instrumentality of James Clarke who was in gaol. This plan was as follows: McDonald was to go to old Mrs. Clarkes’ house on a visit with a message from Jemmy, and he was to see the “boys” Tommy and Johnny, and concoct some plan for Jemmy’s escape from gaol. By this dodge, McDonald hoped to find out the haunts and movements of the Clarkes. He was supposed to be acting alone, but it was concerted how, where, and when he should report progress to Carroll and his other two who were to be pretended, surveyors, and they pitched their camp not far from old Mrs. Clarke’s hut, and went about their business for awhile in a very fair manner. The scheme was admirable if cautiously carried out; but Carroll was too eager. He went spying about the house too frequently, and in such a way that anybody could see he was no surveyor. The vigilant “bush telegraphs” were not long before they found out what he and his party were up to. McDonald would go from old Mrs. Clarkes straight to Carroll and talk to him. The rumour that secret detectives had been sent out began to be confirmed in the minds of the ” telegraphs,” who had not permitted these strange “surveyors” to pursue their innocent avocations without being well watched. The proclamation of outlawry had put Tommy Clarke on his mettle. The Felons’ Apprehension Act stimulated the ingenuity of relatives, and sympathising friends. Hence a higher class of bush telegraphs sprang up. Old Mrs. Clarke was not long in detecting the designs of McDonald. She was as deep as McDonald, and had more in her heart to sharpen her perceptions for the safety of her recreant sons. Hence, when she discovered that Carroll was a detective she hunted him from her house. The whole design oozed out, and appeared to be so treacherous on McDonald’s part that the Clarkes, or some one, fired into their camp at night. Carroll then shifted into Braidwood and took up his quarters at Vider’s public-house, whence he would make occasional trips to the gully and back. He reported that he never could see any of the police about Mrs. Clarke’s hut. Carroll was perfectly correct in making this report, for the police could not be induced to watch this most important locality. It was about the time we took Bruce that Carroll made his visits to the gully, and in one of these excursions he made a woeful mistake in arresting our best bush friend; This person put our party on Tom Connell, Bruce, and Lucy Hurley, after his “confidential inteview” at Mick Connell’s. We only got Bruce. I obtained a warrant against Lucy for the carving knife attempt at me, with a view to stop her gallop. She was examined and committed but let out on bail. She as certained from the police — mind this — who had betrayed her and her paramour. So she “rigged” Carroll to arrest young —. She swore she had often seen him sticking up with the boys, and that he helped to stick up Foxlow the first time, but we knew him to be at home at the time the robbery was committed. She told Carroll he helped to stick up Major’s Creek, but we knew he was camped on the road with a load of goods, going to market, accompanied by his mother. He satisfed us that the Big Tailor was at the Major’s Creek robbery. He told us also where the Big Tailor was stopping, namely, near his mother’s hut.

CARROLL’S IMPRUDENCE – THE STORM BREWS

Well, Carroll commenced operations in earnest. He began with the harbourers. He took Mick Connell, or Michael Nowlan O’Connell, as he was called in the indictment; and, then he took James and Pat Griffin. Carroll was right here for they were all guilty of harbouring, aiding, abetting and all that, but he was wrong, when he arrested young —. This young man would have been Carroll’s safety, if he had exercised prudence but he took him at the instigation of Lucy Hurley who had a terrible spite against the young man’s mother, who had a great grudge against me until she saw my intimacy with her son was for a good purpose. So, when we met Carroll at the hut we refused to aid him by going to Guineas’ for reasons before stated. Young — was kept in gaol for some time, but Carroll could get no evidence against him, so he was liberated. This made — work harder — not for Carroll — but for the “regulars,” to get the boys captured. As soon as Mick Connell was let out on bail, the storm began to brew against Carroll. He sent word to the boys that he wanted to see them, and something was arranged. Carroll was boasting that he would arrest all the settlers in the gully, and that he would get up a case against Ned Smith of the Jinden station that would astound him. He arrested Tommy Clarke’s sisters, and used them somewhat roughly. He brought them to the police court where they were examined, but the evidence being insufficient they were liberated. Smith, of the Jinden station expected every day to be taken. Thus the boys and Mick Connell became exasperated and vowed a terrible vengeance. This was about the time I got the gun from old Mrs. Jermyn, near Foxlow. I borrowed it ostensibly to shoot ducks, as her husband was in gaol, and there were swarms of ducks on the river at night. We had not left Jermyn’s long before the boys called and asked for this very gun, saying they wanted it for a particular purpose. When they heard the police had it they swore they would stick up the one who had it, but never ventured to do so.

I was told something desperate was brewing and wrote to Carroll privately to put him on his guard. We watched a certain place two nights but saw nothing. From exposure in the gully I was attacked with inflammation of the chest, and had to go to Braidwood for medical treatment. When lying sick the first day, I was told Smith from Jinden had been in town two days previously and was seen talking to Lucy Hurley, and that they were both talking to Carroll in a public house for a long time. Mick Connell was plotting something with the boys. Smith returned to his station, and the day after or so Carroll and party went there. The two Griffins were out on bail. Knowing Smith, of Jinden; knowing Lucy, and Mick Connell, and the Griffins; knowing the rancour which the Clarkes entertained towards Carroll, for arresting so many of their relatives, especially their sisters, and suspecting treachery, I wrote from my sick bed privately to Carroll, warning him to be very cautious, to keep off tracks, and not to leave the public roads. A few days after this the startling news arrived in Braidwood that two of the special constables had been found shot dead on the track between the Jinden station and Guineas’, and the next day came the appalling announcement that Carroll and Kennagh were found shot dead about a quarter of a mile from the track, and that over Carroll’s breast was placed a £1 note symbolical of the blood money he was hunting for.

These are a few matters preceding the murders, but how those murders were planned, where, and by whom; and how and by whom the murders were perpetrated, will require more careful consideration, for it will not do to mention at least one name in whose behalf high official influence may have been used to save him from a felon’s doom.

(TO BE CONTINUED)

[Links to other chapters here]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s