Article Series Index

Here you will find links to all parts of various multi-part articles. Some are archival in nature, some are original content.

James Erskine Calder’s Histories

James Erskine Calder

The First Troubles of Governor Arthur – A Sketch of Old Times, Embodying the Bush Career of Matthew Brady

Part One – Concerning Brady’s early life, transportation and escape from the penal settlement at Macquarie Harbour.

Part Two – The members of Brady’s gang come and go as the law gradually catches up with them but Brady eludes capture. He falls in with a crooked cop named Thomas Kenton whose treachery almost puts an end to Brady’s career.

Part Three – The gang perform a robbery at George Meredith’s property, and a subsequent murder at Grindstone Bay leads to McCabe quitting the gang and attempting to make it on his own with tragic results.

Part Four – There is hysteria in Hobart Town at the suspected presence of the outlaws, whose bold movements across the Derwent River right under the noses of vigilantes demonstrate them as a force to be reckoned with.

Part Five – Brady’s gang perform a daring raid on the Sorell Gaol to send a message to the authorities, and in response the authorities conspire to bring down the gang from the inside.

Part Six – Brady dabbles in piracy at Swanport; performs an audacious robbery of Francis Flexmore at Green Ponds; engages in a gunfight with the authorities near Bothwell, and a drunken raid in the Lake River district ends in disaster.

Part Seven – The story takes a grim turn with a fatal raid on Elphin Station, and Brady gets revenge on Thomas Kenton.

Part Eight – The remarkable story of Matthew Brady reaches its conclusion as murder and treachery tears Brady’s gang apart, and the forces of law and order finally catch up with the notorious bushranger.

Early Troubles of the Colonists – Illustrated by a Sketch of the Career of Michael Howe, “the Last and Worst of the Bushrangers”

A rare account of the life and times of Tasmania’s most notorious bushranger, Michael Howe, drawn from official records, contemporary news reports and interviews with witnesses.

Part One – Calder sets the scene, discussing his aims, the social and political context of Howe’s rise, and especially addressing the blight of the harsh and overbearing treatment of convicts in the colonial penal system.

Part Two – We learn about Howe’s time in the armed forces, which eventually led to his transportation as a convict for highway robbery. We follow Howe as a convict in Van Diemen’s Land and his fall into the bushranging game, the depredations committed by the bushrangers he mixed with, and the government’s early response to it.

Part Three – The narrative of Howe’s bushranging career continues, detailing brazen attacks on authorities, especially Magistrate Humphrey, and discusses the government’s attempt to reply to the lawlessness breaking out on a larger scale than ever predicted in the colony.

Part Four – Things take a dramatic and gruesome turn with the death of Whitehead. Howe rises in the ranks and the gang goes on the run in 1816. Their gentlemanly (and not-so-gentlemanly) behaviour by the bushrangers is recorded as well as Colonel Davey’s direct pursuit of the outlaws in the bush, and the robbery of Stocker’s cart at Bagdad.

Part Five – The gang maintain movement in an effort to evade capture, continuing to escalate their depredations to include large scale stock theft, and even dictating terms and threats to the colonial government via letter. We also learn more about “Mad Tom” Davey, the eccentric lieutenant governor, and the introduction of his successor, William Sorell, leading to Michael Howe attempting to take advantage of a proclamation made by the newly incumbent leader.

Part Six – Michael Howe goes solo following his escape from Hobart, and a fatal incident involving the betrayal by his old companion Watts, and their mutual associate Slambo takes place. We also learn of Howe’s brush with bushranger-to-be, Musquito.

Part Seven – In the penultimate installment of Calder’s biography of Michael Howe we learn of the outlaw’s final days and his gruesome death.

Part Eight – In the epilogue of his biography of Michael Howe, James Calder sets the record straight on some of the falsehoods peddled by other writers, and goes into more detail about some of the other figures that appeared in Howe’s story such as Black Mary and James Geary. He concludes with a reflection on the nature of crime and punishment in colonial Australia, and its impact on crime.

The Glenrowan Siege

A concise account of the key moments and figures involved in the legendary Glenrowan affair.

Part One – From the initial plot to Sherritt’s murder, the prisoners at Glenrowan, and the police and journalists heading off in pursuit of the Kellys.

Part Two – From the haphazard police response to Sherritt’s murder, to the siege and destruction of the outlaws and the aftermath.

The Mystery of Dan Kelly’s and Steve Hart’s Demise

An exploration of the evidence surrounding the deaths of two of the Kelly Gang at Glenrowan, and debunking the survival myths.

Part One

Part Two