Spotlight: The Bushrangers John and Thomas Clarke (22 June 1867)

After the surrender Tom Clarke was very communicative, and spoke of the many hair-breadth escapes he had had with particular gusto, and this man’s mind and feelings are so deadened that he looked upon the awful position he was then in as a piece of by-play. His brother, on the contrary, was extremely morose, and it was with some difficulty that he would allow Dr. Pattison to dress his wound, which was a very bad one, the shot having taken a piece of his shirt into the orifice. The doctor had to probe the wound, at which he called out lustily. The ball passed right through the top of the left arm.

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Spotlight: Committal of Power the Bushranger (18 June 1870)

Thomas Oliver Thomas, storekeeper, residing at Wangaratta, stated that on 7th May, 1869 he was on the Buckland road travelling on horseback to Hooper’s Crossing. He was riding one horse and leading another, and when within about seven yards of him observed that the prisoner had him covered with a double-barrelled gun. Prisoner called out to witness to stop. Witness was on the point of going when prisoner called out “If you go, I’ll fire.” He (witness) then came towards prisoner, who told him not to come too near, and said that his gun could kill at 300 yards. Prisoner then asked witness what money he had. Told him first that he had none. Told him afterwards that he had a couple of notes. Prisoner said to hand them to him, which witness did. Prisoner then asked him what had become of the other fellow who was with him (witness). Told prisoner that he did not know. Witness then asked prisoner to give him one of the pounds back, as he had taken all his money. Prisoner said he would not, as he had just stuck up the coach and got nothing. He further told witness  to consider himself lucky that he did not take his hat and coat from him.

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Spotlight: Robbery Under Arms (17 June 1863)

At 8 p.m. on the 2nd instant, the house of George Gatewood, Norwood, near Goulburn, was forcibly entered by four armed men (not described), with blackened faces covered with crape, and the following property stolen therefrom, viz., £12 sterling, a watch (not described), gun, canister of “powder, box of caps, three pairs blankets, and several articles of clothing. The robbers afterwards proceeded to the house of William Gatewood, son of the above, and forcibly stole therefrom a quantity of wearing apparel and trinkets.

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Spotlight: Johnny Gilbert’s Late Exploit (10 June 1863)

This party of highwaymen consisted of four well mounted, and armed men, each leading a pack-horse, and headed by Lieutenant Gilbert in person, who was mounted on the stolen Burrowa race-horse, Jacky Morgan. The only resistance they met with was from a person at Chard’s store, when Gilbert, without a moment’s hesitation, drew a revolver and fired point blank at him, the hall passing in such very close proximity to the party’s skull as to cause him to rush away, his retreat being still further increased by another shot from the same desperado. I regret to state that this affair, like nearly all others of the same class, appears to have been a complete success; for neither the robbers nor their plunder have since been seen or heard of.

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Describing the Hall Gang

Does the popular image of the Hall Gang marry up with eyewitness descriptions? Unlike with many earlier bushrangers, witness descriptions of bushrangers in the gold rush era were often quite detailed. Many in the modern day are familiar with the studio portraits of Ben Hall before he became an outlaw, as well as the illustrations of Gilbert and Dunn produced for newspapers, but these images only give us a controlled glimpse. No verified photographs of Gilbert and Dunn exist (the man photographed with Gardiner never having been officially named, and quite possibly a son of Gardiner’s close associate William Fogg), … Continue reading Describing the Hall Gang

Spotlight: Johnny Gilbert at Young (6 June 1863)

I have just received information to the effect that Messrs. Gilbert and Co , yesterday, at Young, took advantage of all the police being engaged at the races, to pay a professional visit at the Redshirt Store, Petticoat Flat (Mr. Herbert’s), and ransacked its contents, carrying off much booty. As Mr. Gilbert seems to possess all the ubiquitous and invisible power of his arch-prototype Gardiner, I suppose it is almost unnecessary to remark that neither he nor the booty has since been seen or heard of. [We have heard that the same party stuck-up Mr. Chard’s store, on the same day.
Continue reading Spotlight: Johnny Gilbert at Young (6 June 1863)