Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1843; 1854 – 1876), Thursday 21 January 1864, page 1


CAPTURE OF A BUSHRANGER. – Intelligence, says the Sydney M. H. of the 5th inst., was received from Maitland last evening that Sergeant Shannon, with a trooper, had, after several days’ pursuit, succeeded in capturing the bushranger who has been perpetrating the recent outrages on the Northern road, including the robbery of the Tamworth mail. We are informed that this bushranger is identified as the prisoner Mackie who escaped from the train near Liverpool, while en route from Goulburn to Sydney. It is expected that he.will be brought to Maitland to-night.

CAPTURE OF MACKIE. – We have much pleasure to record the capture of this notorious villain, through the energy of senior Sergeant Thorpe and some other members of the police force. It appears that having learnt that Mackie was in this district, senior Sergeant Thorpe, with senior Constable Gordon, and Constables McMorrow, Leonard, and Warren, proceeded last Sunday evening to the residence of a free selector, living at Batty’s Creek, near Falbrook, where they arrived about half-past one o’clock on Monday morning. They immediately surrounded the house, and searched it, but could not discover the object of their search. The police, however, remained about the place, and at daybreak Constable Leonard discovered what appeared to him to be Mackie lying asleep, concealed under some bushes of a cockatoo fence which had been used as a temporary fence around a corn paddock. Four of the police immediately surrounded the spot, and Mackie having in the meantime awoke and got up, attempted to escape. He was however secured, and upon being searched a large quantity of cheques and notes stolen at the late mail robbery were found upon him. Near him were found a double-barrelled gun, and also two single-barrelled pistols, capped and loaded, which he attempted to grasp before being seized. He afterwards said that he was sorry for not having made a show, for that certainly he would have shot some of the Constables if he had done so. After being secured with a double pair of handcuffs, he was strapped to the saddle, and after having been conveyed about three or four miles, he made a sudden jerk, jumped off the horse, and attempted to climb over a fence alongside the road. He was, however, again secured, and handcuffed to senior-sergeant Thorpe, who arrived safely with his prisoner in the Singleton lock-up about eleven o’clock this (Monday) morning. Mackie admitted that he robbed the mail the other day, and also stated that they might think themselves very lucky of having captured him, as it was his intention to have stuck up the bank at Singleton on a Court day, when the Constables were absent at the Court. Sergeant Thorpe informs us that Mackie is certainly one of the most determined villains that he has ever come across, and states that it was very lucky the way he was captured, otherwise probably the lives of some of the Constables would have been sacrificed. — Singleton correspondent of the Maitland Mercury.

SUPPOSED CAPTURE OF “CAPTAIN THUNDERBOLT.” – The Maitland Mercury 7th inst says :– On Sunday evening senior-constable O’Sullivan apprehended a man on a charge of highway robbery or bushranging. The fellow captured is supposed to be the highwayman who gave himself the somewhat terrible name of “Captain Thunderbolt,” when committing some petty thefts in the neighbourhood of Maitland. He was apprehended about fourteen miles beyond Dungog, on the road to Gloucester. Mr. Superintendent Lydiard deserves praise for the tact he has manifested in the disposal of the men under his command, by which they have succeeded in ridding the district of the few scoundrels who endeavoured to settle themselves in it after the fashion of the bushrangers in the south and west.

GILBERT AND HIS GANG. – The Marengo correspondent of the Yass Courier, writing on the 28th ultimo says:– Rumours are current that the Gilbert brigade are meditating an attack on a station not a hundred miles from here, as the respected proprietor of the said extensive station has, in the opinion of the robber chief, been guilty of the most heinous of crimes, viz., that of harbouring and entertaining the police. However, before making this attack, let them take a retrospective glance at the fate of O’Meally and Burke, as the owner of the threatened station is well known to be a man of determined courage and a crack shot. When the mail of the 6th instant was stopped and plundered by Gilbert and Hall, two of the servants belonging to the station I refer to were among those previously bailed up, and Gilbert sent a verbal message or warning by them to their master.

THE COOMA MAIL ROBBERY. – The Golden Age gives further particulars of this robbery, by which it appears that the perpetrator is a man named Bermingham, a printer by trade, who lately has been engaged shearing in the neiglhbourhood. On Tuesday, a man was sighted by sergeant Donohue, chased, and captured; and although he is not the perpetrator of this particular felony, it appears that there are charges equally serious against him. He is the man who was fired at by the police in the streets of Queanbeyan as mentioned in our last. The following particulars are from the paper above referred to :– Mr. Superintendent Markham on Monday dispatched sergeant Donohue and another trooper on search, mounting the former on his (Mr. Markham’s) favourite horse. On Tuesday sergeant Donohue, accompanied by one of the Micalago police, both in disguise, in the course of a search for the mail robbers, came upon two men in the bush tailing a small herd of cattle. One of them was seated on a file chesnut horse, to all appearance answering the description of the horse ridden by Bermingham at the time of the mail robbery. Sergeant Donohue immediately singled this fellow out, and an exciting chase ensued. For several miles the pursued led the pursuer at a full gallop over the most broken and dangerous country lying to the east of the Cooma road, and towards the Jingeras, evidently with a view to baffle his pursuer and exhaust his horse. But the sergeant’s horse was as good as the horse of him who led the chase; and sergeant Donohue, after some miles’ riding, had the satisfaction of finding himself gaining on his foe. Being now within pistol-shot he commenced firing at every opportunity presenting, and after sending seven shots after his man he had the pleasure of seeing his horse fall under him exhausted. On coming up to his prisoner, sergeant Donohue demanded his name, which he said was William Dunne of the Rob Roy. Unwilling yet to surrender, Dunne continued to offer resistance, and was not subdued until a blow on the head from a loaded whip was administered by the sergeant, who then threw Dunne his handcuffs and made him put them on himself. Being in a strange country, and not having observed the direction he had travelled, the sergeant was at a loss to retrace his steps with his prisoner; seeing which Dunne became unwilling to afford him any information on the subject, and it was only by threatening to strap him to his horse and drag him where he pleased, that he was induced to act as guide; and thus after a while they reached the high road near the Rob Roy, where Dunnes’ relations reside. Here the sergeant made the prisoner lie down in the road, in sight of his father’s house, and kept sentry over him with his loaded revolvers, forbidding any one to approach the spot. Ultimately the other police, three in number, who had been scouring the bush in different directions. came up, and the prisoner was then securely escorted to Queanbeyan. There are several charges against the prisoner of horse and cattle stealing; and in addition to these he will be charged with being an accomplice of Bermingham in the robbery of the Cooma mail. The chestnut horse he was riding is said to be the one ridden by Bermingham when the mail was stuck up by him and there are other evidences of Dunne’s being a participator in that robbery. Dunne is said to be one of the best riders in these districts; and his first remark on being overtaken by the sergeant was to the effect that he was the first man who had ever overtaken him in pursuit. He also admitted that the shots fired after him all went close by him, and one even passed through his hair, yet he would not surrender till compelled. Doubtless the success of this capture is mainly owing to the fleet and enduring horse ridden by sergeant Donohue, who assured us that with one of the ordinary horses of the service he could never have kept sight of his prisoner. The merit of the arrest, however, belongs entirely to sergeant Donohue; and his success shows plainly that if we are to have bushranging suppressed it must be by the services of men qualified as he is, and by no others. Sergeant Donohue has long been accustomed to rough bush riding, having been for some time superintendent of cattle stations. Light in weight, of an active and determined character, and a thorough horseman, he is just the man for his work. -– Last night the police returned to town, having recovered the whole of the bags, which they found off the road near the scene of the robbery. The bags had all been ransacked, and every letter opened – their contents lying scattered around. There was no money left, of course, but several cheques were recovered amongst the letters and papers gathered up by the police.

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