We were going along under the side of the hill, among some small oaks, when Hughes descried a horse hung to a tree, and asked me if I knew it. At the distance I could not tell, but it looked like Lucy’s, and if it were, the “boys” were about waiting for her. Some rode round close under the range, keeping a sharp look out. Suddenly we spotted them above us getting their dinner, Tom Connell was handing out some tea. We were all riding abreast, and I wheeled about towards them. Bruce was the first to see us and give the alarm. Tom sprang up and seized his rifle which was lying beside him, then jumped behind a large stump and took aim at me. He had been looking out a long time to get a good shot at me, for I was beginning “to know too much of them for their safety, and they thought the sooner I was stopped the better; Hughes saw him muzzle the rifle, and perceiving his intention called on me to dismount instantly and get behind a tree, but as I never cared a snuff for the lot of them together I was not going to run from these two. Continue reading BUSHRANGING AND OUR POLICE SYSTEM (Part Five)
When we came out we heard some one walking ahead. We both (senior sergeant C. and myself) stood behind a tree. Tommy Clarke came out and stood listening about twenty yards from us. I was levelling my rifle at him, and wanted C. to call on him to surrender, but he would not, and told me if I dared to speak, or make any attempt to take him, he would suspend me from service. I could easily have put a bullet through his thigh, but was obliged to obey orders. Before coming out I had been told that Tommy and John Clarke were there, and Tommy’s wife, and that Tommy was sick. Tommy stood listening for about five minutes, and then went back again. Now, here we could have taken Tommy Clarke, or have shot him, and Johnny would have run for his life when left alone. We could have done a clean, clever trick that day, and even if John Clarke had stood to fight we were as good as they, and our camp was hardly a mile below us, and they would hear the shots. Continue reading BUSHRANGING AND OUR POLICE SYSTEM (Part Four)
As he came up Tommy Clarke walked out and met him, and asked him who he was. Dacey told him he was a policeman, whereupon Tommy Clarke ordered him to hand over his rifle and fall in with the other men that were bailed up and standing in a row. Senior constable S. was informed of the bushrangers being at the public-house so off he went and rode in front of the place — seeing the men all the time the same as Dacey had. He dismounted and hung his horse up, and was walking over to them when Tommy Clarke asked who he was. S. told him his name, whereupon Tommy Clarke told him to hand over his rifle and fill in with the rest. Continue reading BUSHRANGING AND OUR POLICE SYSTEM (Part Three)
Just as the tracker came up I saw Clarke about forty yards off, running up the range. I pursued and called upon him to stand, but he replied that he would b— soon make me stand, and he stood as if he meant mischief. He had a Colt’s revolver in each hand. As soon as he went to raise them I let go mine at him. As soon as I fired my horse began plunging mad; but every time I got a chance I fired. At the fourth shot Clarke fell, and I thought he was shot; so I stood looking at the place for a few moments, thinking about it. I could not see him on account of a low scrub which grows about four or five feet high. Continue reading BUSHRANGING AND OUR POLICE SYSTEM (Part Two)
The public have frequently had official glimpses of our costly police force, especially during the career of Tommy Clarke and his associates in the Braidwood district; and they have frequently complained that the police should be found to be so incompetent as to necessitate the passing of the Felons’ Apprehension Act, and the organising of secret police to suppress a crime which, from the impunity with which it was committed in the South, and now being perpetrated in the North, brings so much disgrace upon us in the eyes of the world. For months, we might almost say for years, correspondence has continuously reached us — sometimes from persons of influence, sometimes from policemen, themselves — and the press, which in scarcely any instance cast blame upon the men themselves, saw good reason why the present semi-military police system should be abolished, and a system organised adapted rather to the state of Australia than of Ireland. It will therefore have peculiar interest with the public to set before them, in a popular form, the Inner Life of our Police System, from the pen of one whose personal experience as a mounted trooper in pursuit of bushrangers, whose thorough knowledge of the country, and whose respectability will be a guarantee for generally substantial accuracy. This narrative, so interesting, and in places exciting in detail, will occupy, many columns, and, for this reason, will be published as space permits. The public will, at least for the first time, have a detailed account of all the circumstances preceding and succeeding the atrocious Jinden murders. Continue reading BUSHRANGING AND OUR POLICE SYSTEM (Part One)
John Clough was called, and deposed: I am in the employ of Mr. Plunkett, at Talbragar; I remember the day that constable Ward was shot; I saw the prisoner in that neighbourhood the day after Ward was shot; I was coming through the scrub, and I saw him covering me with a gun; he asked me where I was going, and on my telling him that I was going to Mr. Plunkett’s, he said, “Go on, or I will give you one too,” Pointing to the gun and a pistol that was lying near him on a log. The gun shown me (one that had been cut down in the barrel) is the gun he had; it had a piece of leather near the nipple like that now on the gun; I did not notice the pistol-could not swear it was a pistol; the prisoner was dressed in a serge shirt and corduroy trousers like those worn by the prisoner now; he had a hat like the prisoner’s.
Continue reading Spotlight: Trial of Sam Poo for Wilful Murder (13/10/1865)
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)
During the last month, a desperate party of bushrangers has been committing a series of depredations in the neighbourhood of Bathurst, and among the out-stations of the settlers. The establishments of Messrs. Arkell, West, Armstrong, James Hassall, Dr. Harris, H. O’Brien, and T. Mein, have been respectively plundered. The party, at the robbery of Mr. Hassall’s station, were five in number, and all well armed.
Continue reading Spotlight: An Interior Settlement of White People (19/09/1828)