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)

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.

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

Spotlight: Conviction of the Bushrangers, Thomas & John Clarke (1 June 1867)

The Solicitor-General, in opening the case said the jury had a duty of a most difficult nature to perform. They were called upon to try the prisoners at the bar on a capital charge and it devolved upon them to weigh the evidence carefully as it applied to one or both prisoners Thomas Clarke was outlawed by an Act of the Legislature for several felonies. It therefore became the duty of the police to pursue him and secure his apprehension. In the discharge of this duty, it is alleged by the Crown that a constable was shot at and wounded by Thomas Clarke. With regard to the prisoner John Clarke, it was alleged that he also, in company with his brother, fired upon the police sent to arrest them, and that by Thomas Clarke constable William Walsh was wounded. He was not anxious to anticipate any portion of the evidence; but he believed it would be such as to bring the charge, from the lips of three or four witnesses, conclusively home to the prisoners. Continue reading Spotlight: Conviction of the Bushrangers, Thomas & John Clarke (1 June 1867)

Spotlight: The Story of Constable Miles O’Grady

At the top of a street in the ancient gold diggings town of Nerrigundah, N.S.W., stands this monument on a small plot of grass-covered ground, that has been reserved from the pick and shovel of the gold-seeker, although rich claims were worked just a few vards from the monument. It stands opposite the site of the old police barracks, erected after the death of the brave fellow. It is of substantial construction, and is of sandstone, enclosed with iron railings.

Continue reading Spotlight: The Story of Constable Miles O’Grady

Spotlight: Shooting of Pat Connell

INFORMATION was brought into town on Wednesday morning last of the police having, the day previous, pursued the bushrangers whose depredations at Mudmelong on Monday last were recorded in our last issue, and of the death of one of their number, Pat Connell, during the encounter which ensued. The news was brought into town at an early hour in the morning, between one and two o’clock the same day the body of the dead outlaw was brought in by Sergeant Creagh and his party from Ballalaba, where it had been conveyed and detained the previous night. Continue reading Spotlight: Shooting of Pat Connell

Spotlight: The Execution Of The Clarke Brothers As It Was Reported

Mount Alexander Mail (Vic. : 1854 – 1917), Wednesday 26 June 1867, page 3 LATEST INTELLIGENCE [PER GREVILLE AND CO., REUTER’S AGENTS.] (BY ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH. ) Sydney, June 25. The convicted bushrangers, Thomas and John Clarke were executed at 9 o’clock this morning. The scaffold was erected in the yard of Darlinghurst Gaol. There were only about the usual number of officials and spectators present, and nothing special marked the ceremony. The men bad been most assiduously attended by their spiritual advisers, and a subdued and quiet manner, with expressions of penitence for their crimes, marked their last moments. In … Continue reading Spotlight: The Execution Of The Clarke Brothers As It Was Reported

The Clarke Bushrangers: A Clash of Cultures, First Edition (Review)

It always astounds that so few books have been published about the Clarkes. Of course, this likely has to do with the fact that for the longest time it was a taboo and much of the story has been lost as subsequent generations disappeared, a phenomena not suffered by Ned Kelly or Ben Hall. So it is with much excitement that one approaches a tome that tries to shed new light in the dark corners of this complex and intriguing story. Judy Lawson’s book, may appear slim and a quick and breezy read but it is quite deceptive in this … Continue reading The Clarke Bushrangers: A Clash of Cultures, First Edition (Review)