It would seem that on the night of the day that the Warialla mail was stuck-up, Thunderbolt, alias Ward, and his companions went to a paddock on the station of the Messrs. Lloyd, at Manilla, where there were a number of horses, and took two of the best. Proceeding onwards towards Barraba, we hear that two more horses were taken belonging to the Messrs. Sinclair, they at the same time leaving there the horse they had taken from the postman when they stuck-up the Warialda mail, and one they stole from Lloyds’ station. On the morning of the following day (the 20th instant), they went to Mr. Cheesborough’s station, about twelve miles from Barraba, and stuck-up the inmates. Mr. Cheesborough was from home, but one of the women gave the gang a sound rating for their daring to come there. After making some anxious inquiries about Mr. Cheesborough, they took a horse, a gun, a revolver, and some rations, and then left, going in the direction of Mr Lethbridge’s station. Continue reading Spotlight: Captain Thunderbolt and His Gang (06/05/1865)
On one occasion I chased a wild bull and fired at him repeatedly to train our horses to it. We chased this bull for two miles, constantly firing, until we killed him. It occurred to me that this was about the best practice men should be drilled to who are sent after the bushrangers; for it teaches them to ride, to fire while galloping, and to exercise caution. For a wild bull, with a couple of bullets in a fleshy part will test a rider on the side of a mountain to keep beside him. One drill of that sort would be of more service to a man than twelve months drill in Sydney, and for the horse to. Well, if two or three of us could travel about, firing our arms off occasionally, and camping about without attracting the notice of the police, how long could a man whose object was occasional plunder, remain in those ranges without being taken? As things are now Thunderbolt can remain there five years longer, perfectly secure, with police stations all round him, and he may become the father of a numerous family. I know the men who were with me will try hard to take him, but what can they do? Their horses were done up when I left, and they were ordered to remain at home till they got fresh again. They wanted ammunition, but could not get it. They had only six rounds when I left, the most of this being damaged by camping out in the wet. The Gunnedah police were put on Ward in his camp, when I left, and my old tracker who was up there was left behind for some reason or other — it would be hard to tell. So they sneaked on the camp and blazed away at Ward and his mate, but they both got away on foot. The boy took one road and Ward the other — so ended the encounter. Continue reading BUSHRANGING AND OUR POLICE SYSTEM (Part Twelve)
The fact is the natives are not required in the force. They are considered as only fit to make bushrangers, and many a promising young man has been driven to the bush by police persecutions. Do you suppose that all the young people who have taken to the bush have done so for the sake of robbing and plundering? They are usually disliked by the police and are taken on suspicion for some supposed case, acquitted, and retaken, and they are pointed at until they take the bush in disgust under the mistaken notion of recovering their self-respect. Not many are driven to this, but it is well known that two or three of the most formidable bushrangers took the bush from their self-respect being wounded by some police interference. But it is also a well known fact that many bush natives live by nothing else but rowdyism, and by horse and cattle stealing. There are black sheep in every flock, and I do not exempt my native countrymen, more especially those in the back parts of the country, where they run almost wild. Continue reading BUSHRANGING AND OUR POLICE SYSTEM (Part Eleven)
It has been ascertained that the two men who stuck up a hut at Gostwick are the identical two who escaped from Cockatoo Island some time ago. It appears that after their affray with the police they managed to elude all further pursuit by secreting themselves in a hut belonging to one of Mr. Stitt’s shepherds while he was absent, who upon his return found one of them quietly feasting upon his supper. Continue reading Spotlight: Britton and Thunderbolt at Gostwyck (07/11/1863)
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.
Continue reading Spotlight: William Monckton (various excerpts)
It seems that when constables Lynch and McCausland came upon Ward, Mason, and the mistress of the former on the Borah Ranges, they directed their efforts almost exclusively to the apprehension of Thunderbolt, but he managed to escape with the loss of the spare horse he was leading. Mason could have been then arrested had the police been as anxious for his apprehension as for Ward’s, but as he was not such a dangerous character, he was temporarily allowed to escape.
Continue reading Spotlight: Capture of Mason, the mate of Thunderbolt (21/09/1867)
The Pastoral Times hears that Mr. Commissioner Lockhart is engaged in the district around Albury in trying to clear the country of the wretched villains who aided and abetted the recently slain murderer. Little mercy should be shown to those who, residing on Crown Lands illegally, gave shelter and food to Morgan while he went forth to rob and kill. It is to be hoped that the other Commissioners of Crown Lands in the Wellington districts, and the country where Messrs. Hall, Gilbert, and Co. carry on their avocations, will see that the powers invested in them are used to rid their districts of the aiders and abettors in these crimes.
Continue reading Spotlight: Local & General Intelligence, Tumut and Adelong (11 May 1865)
An extract from Will Monckton’s memoir that recounts his meeting with Thunderbolt. Continue reading Spotlight: Will Monckton meets Captain Thunderbolt
A short time since, a police party, consisting of senior-sergeant Kerrigan, constable Scully, a black tracker, and a volunteer – Norman Baton, went through the New England and Stroud district in search of Ward, alias Thunderbolt, and on Tuesday last, at a place called Pignabarney Creek, about thirty miles from Nundle, they sighted a half-caste woman with horse, saddle, bridle, and swag, and believing her to be Ward’s wife, they asked her where Ward was; she said she was “the captain’s lady,” and Ward had been chased two days previously by the police; that she had since been in search of him with provisions and was unable to find him in the mountains. Continue reading Spotlight: Capture of “Thunderbolt’s” Wife (10 April 1866)
Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 – 1875), Monday 11 March 1867, page 5 “MRS THUNDERBOLT.” – We learn that the bushranger Thunderbolt’s wife, who was lately sent to gaol for three months by the Paterson bench, for having property in her possession, which she could not account for, has within the past few days been released from the Maitland gaol, the statements of a petition sent by her to the Governor, setting forth that she had put purchased the property from Messrs. Wolfe and Garrick’s store in West Maitland, having been borne out. We are informed that the unfortunate woman … Continue reading Spotlight: Mrs. Thunderbolt (11 March 1867)