Spotlight: Brady, Jeffries and McCabe reports (07/01/1826)

Hobart Town Gazette (Tas. : 1825 – 1827; 1830), Saturday 7 January 1826, page 2

On Saturday evening Brady and his party, appeared at Mr. Haywood’s, and robbed him of a large quantity of tea, sugar, tobacco, rum, and flour, besides all the bedding and wearing apparel in the house. Brady alone was mounted on horseback. On coming up, he said, “Mr. Haywood, I am Brady.” He desired him to be under no apprehension of being hurt on account of the late execution of Broadhead, who, he said, was not a bushranger. He wanted provisions only and after remaining about 3 hours, they departed, taking with them 2 horses, besides the one Brady had mounted, to carry their plunder. They said Jeffries, the runaway from Launceston watch-house, had tendered them his services, and had been rejected. While they, were in the house the Messenger arrived with the letters, which they took from him, saying, they wanted only the Government despatches, but carried the whole away with them. They are believed to have crossed the Derwent within these last few days, and to be not many miles distant from Town. We pray and trust most fervently that their iniquitous career may be drawing to its conclusion.

McCabe, Brady and Bryant

The reward offered in another column, by the Government, for the apprehension of that monster in human shape, the murderer Jeffries and the others, though large, will, we are informed, be materially increased by a public subscription. A feeling of horror, and an ardent desire for justice, is roused throughout the Colony, and a public and private effort is making which will give a speedy and decided blow to robbery and bushranging for ever in Van Diemen’s Land. As far as pecuniary means can assist, and it can do much, the Government, we are sure, will be both prompt and liberal. Were these circum-stances known in London to-night, what thousands would be subscribed to-morrow!

Extract of a Letter, dated Launceston, January 1, 1826

“We have three or four fellows out on this side, and yesterday morning they went to the house of a Native Youth named Tibbs, about a mile from this Town and in sight of it. They robbed him, and it is supposed murdered and disposed of the body of his stock keeper. They shot Mr. Tibbs in the neck, and what is more than all they took his wife away with them, with an infant, her first child, sucking at her breast, and she has not been heard of since. Since writing the above, I have heard that Mrs. Tibbs has arrived in Town, but without her child, the villains having murdered it.”

EXECUTION.—Yesterday morning Jas. McCabe, William Priest, John Johnson, Samuel Longworth, Charles Wigley, Jas. Major, W. Pollock and George Harding, underwent the dreadful sentence of the law. All the eight unhappy men died truly penitent, praying most fervently; McCabe in particular offered up an earnest ejaculation, which we trust will be heard, that his associates who are now at large may see the error of their ways and give up their wretched and destructive course.

Richard Brown, James Brown, John Green, Thomas Bosworth, Richard Miller, and William Craven, will likewise undergo the awful sentence of the Law this morning.

James McCabe, post mortem.

Spotlight: Inquest on William Drew and other news (18/10/1817)

Hobart Town Gazette and Southern Reporter (Tas. : 1816 – 1821), Saturday 18 October 1817, page 1


Sitting Magistrate – Reverend R. KNOPWOOD, A. M.

SHIP NEWS – On Tuesday arrived the ship Frederick, Capt. WILLIAMS, from Calcutta, via Bencoolen and Batavia, with a valuable cargo of merchandize, – Passengers, Mr. WINDER and Lieut. STEWART, who removed to the Pilot, and sailed the following day for Sydney. In this vessel arrives 7 male and 3 female prisoners, destined for Port Jackson.

On Wednesday sailed the ship Pilot, Captain PEXTON, for Port Jackson, having on board Colonel DAVEY, late Lieutenant Governor of the Colony, Mr. O’CONNOR, Lieut. STEWART, and Mr. WINDER. The following prisoners, lately committed to take their trial before the Criminal Court at Sydney, were sent up in this Vessel:- Collier, Hillier and Watts, the bushrangers; Clarke, Scott and two Crahans, for sheep stealing. A number of evidences on behalf of the Crown also went up in this vessel, amongst whom is Black Mary, a native of this Colony, who some time back was an active guide to the military parties in quest of the bush-rangers.

Remain in the harbour the ship Frederick, and the brigs Spring, Jupiter and Sophia.

On Tuesday Colonel DAVEY, our late Lieutenant Governor, embarked on board the ship Pilot, under a Salute of 13 guns from the Battery. He was accompanied to the Government Wharf by His Honor the Liuetenant Governor, and most of the Principal Officers and inhabitants of the Colony; and on leaving the shore, was greeted by the cheers of a numerous assemblage of spectators.

CORONER’S INQUEST.—An inquest was taken on Monday last at the County Gaol in this town, before A. W. H. HUMPHREY, Esq. Coroner, upon the body of William Drew, whose death we mentioned in our last.

The first evidence was Mr. Assistant Surgeon Hood, of the 46th regt., who deposed that the death of the deceased, William Drew, seemed to have been occasioned by a musket ball passing through the thorax, by entering the back a little below the right shoulder, and shattering the breast bone in its passage; he did not perceive any other injury about the body.

The next witness was Mr. W. Williams, who stated that the deceased was his servant, and employed in looking after his sheep in the vicinity of New Norfolk. It appeared by the testimony of this witness, that he left Hobart Town on the Wednesday prior to the death of the deceased on a visit to his flock; and that when he got to the First River, he found Drew in the hut there. The next morning, Mr. W. went to his grazing ground for some sheep, which he brought back and sheared himself; and on the following morning, soon after daylight, he sent Drew for some more to the same place. Drew being absent for upwards of 4 hours, witness became alarmed, and went to look for Drew; and when he arrived at the place where he had sent him, he walked about for nearly an hour before he found him, who was then running towards witness with a gun, and a dog; upon his coming up, Mr. W. asked him what was the matter, to which he replied, “George Watts was stopping with Howe, whilst he came to acquaint him of it,” and delivered his musket to Mr. W. saying “he did not want it as they had got Mich. Howe’s gun, and that Watts had one of his own.” During their conversation Drew shewed Mr. W. two knives, which he said he had taken from Howe; and upon Mr. W. asking him if he could be of any assistance, he replied “no, as Howe was secured;” he then ran away; Witness and the deceased had previously agreed to take Howe the first opportunity.

George Watts deposed, that after Mich. Howe had been to Drew, at William’s hut, with a letter for the Lieutenant Governor, about six weeks ago, he (Watts) went to Drew, and enquired of him whether he had seen Howe; he replied he had a or 3 times successively, and was again to see him on the Friday following at sunrise; he said should he come on Thursday or Friday, they could take him.

On the Thursday night Watts went to New Norfolk, took Triffit’s boat and proceeded across the river, and concealed himself along-side of a path, near the place Drew appointed to meet him, till daylight. About sunrise Drew came, and told him he was to meet Howe at a place called the Long Bottom, where William’s sheep were. Watts told Drew to leave his gun, as he thought Howe would not come up to them if he perceived it; Drew left it hidden; they then both proceeded to the place where they expected to meet Howe; upon arriving there, Drew called two or three times, which Howe answered, from the opposite side of the creek. When Watts came within ninety yards of Howe, he told him to knock the priming out of his gun, and he would do the same, which both parties did; they then went about 50 or 40 yards and began to light a fire. The first opportunity, Watts caught Howe by the collar and threw him down; Drew tied his hands, and took two knives from his pocket; Watts and Drew got breakfast, but Howe refused to eat; they then were about proceeding to town, when Drew proposed to take his master’s musket and dog back, which Watts agreed to, desiring him not to inform his master of any thing, which he promised. Upon Drew’s return, they all proceeded towards Hobart Town, Watts with his gun loaded walked before Howe and Drewe behind. When about about 8 miles on the road, Watts heard Drew scream and on turning round received a wound in his stomach from Howe; but how he got loose, he did not know, excepting by cutting the cord. Howe said, that “he would settle Drew’s business,” as he had by this time got possession of Watt’s musket; he immediately fired at Drew; Watts being amongst some wattles did not hear him speak or see him fall; he enquired if Drew was dead? Howe replied “yes,” and “he would shoot him as soon as he could load his piece.” Drew carried Howe’s musket previous to being shot, but it was not primed. Watts dreading being shot, ran about 200 yards, and lay down a few minutes from cold and loss of blood. Upon being able to walk, he made all haste to a hut belonging to James Burne, and on being put to bed he told Mrs. Burne that he was stabbed by Howe, and requested her husband to get Waddle the constable to take him to town; by the time Waddle arrived he was hardly able to speak; he only informed him of his name, and, when able to talk next morning, he told him Drew was shot. The testimony of the other witnesses merely relates to searching after, and finding the body of Drew, and conveying it to town.

The Jury, after a short deliberation, returned a verdict that the deceased, William Drew, was murdered by Michael Howe.

Thomas Jeffries: an overview

Con-artist sailor turned cannibal convict murderer.

He was referred to as “the monster”, accused of a string of horrific crimes including murder, infanticide and cannibalism. His reputation was so repulsive that the gentleman bushranger Brady threatened to break him out of prison so he could have the privilege of hanging the villain himself. But was Thomas Jeffries (aka Jeffrey) as bad as he was claimed to be?

Jeffries (or “Jeffrey” as he would write it) was a native of Bristol, born in 1791. His father was a butcher, and as a young man Thomas pursued a career in the British Navy. After three years, the harsh discipline of the Navy pushed him to abscond, which was not altogether uncommon. He then did a stint in the army before absconding again, and after discovering that he no longer fit in with his old mates back in Bristol he attempted to give the Navy another shot. This ended with him robbing the ship.

After an elaborate scheme to rob his well-to-do uncle, Jeffries found himself burning through money. To combat this he joined a gang of highwaymen. After one of their victims was murdered they were captured but released due to lack of evidence.

Jeffries was eventually transported in 1817 for robbery. Sailing on the ship Marquis of Huntley, his experience as a sailor allegedly saw the captain order his irons be struck off so he could work as one of the crew.

The “H.C.S. Marquis of Huntley” coming out of Penang by William John Higgins [Source]

Some sources suggest that he had a wife and children that were left behind when he was transported, though this is unlikely and doesn’t seem to tally with the records of him as a convict. It must also be pointed out that some sources claim Jeffries was a hangman from Scotland, which is certainly not the case. Misinformation about Jeffries goes back to at least the mid-1800s when James Bonwick cobbled together a very inaccurate depiction of Jeffries (among other bushrangers) in a book about the bushrangers of Van Diemen’s Land.

Jeffries landed at Sydney and was quickly assigned, but his misbehaving saw him handballed back to the authorities. He was allocated to a work party at Coal River, where he absconded with a party of four others. They took to the bush, but after a time their supplies ran out and two of their number were, according to Jeffries, killed and cannibalised by the others.

Jeffries was recaptured and sent on a ship to Van Diemen’s Land. He arrived in George Town, where he was sent to the prisoners’ barracks. Soon he climbed up the food chain and become an overseer. He would later brag that in his time as constable the incidence of misbehaving steeply decreased, though there is no evidenceto back him. It was here that his troubles with alcohol began to become evident.

He was stripped of his position after drunkenly attempting to stab the chief constable who had busted him breaking through the wall of the barracks with a pickaxe. Attempts to put him in irons failed but he was subdued and locked up in the George Town Gaol. He was to be transported to Macquarie Harbour but instead was considered more useful in the work party at George Town. In February 1825 he absconded from his work gang and was at large for a time, but was soon recaptured, given 50 lashes and sentenced to hard labour.

In April that year Jeffries was transferred to Launceston, where he became the watch house keeper. In addition, Jeffries was made the flagellator. In the convict world the flagellator was the most despised man. This job was usually given to inmates whose cruel streak was considered useful to the governor for keeping others in check by inflicting as much severe pain and injury on others as they could muster. Many convicts viewed the flagellator as a traitor to the convict class, as they had essentially fallen in with the oppressors to break and brutalise their peers.

Old Launceston Gaol from Wellington Square [Courtesy: Tasmanian Archives, LPIC147/4/62]

Here, even by his own admission, his alcoholism spiralled out of control, leading to reprimands. He was also fined in August for allegedly falsely imprisoning and assaulting Elizabeth Jessop. Although the witness accounts differ greatly and tend to support the idea that Jessop was heavily drunk at the time of the alleged offences and lied about what happened, she was believed over Jeffries. Later writers have tried to construe this event as evidence of Jeffries’ sexual deviancy by claiming he raped the women in his custody, which is not supported by the evidence.

Joined by John Perry, William Russell and James Hopkins, Jeffries escaped from Launceston watch house. The prison authorities had suspected this and lay in wait as the gang headed out. When they were fired upon by a guard, Jeffries dumped his kit and the gang bolted into the bush.

Jeffries was now on the run, and he and his gang were about to seal their infamy with a string of horrendous crimes ranging from robbery to murder and cannibalism.

A description of Jeffries from 1 April 1825 describes him thus:

Thomas Jeffreys, 210, 5 ft. 9¼ in. brown hair, brown eyes, 35 years of age, painter, tried at Notts, July 1817, sentence life, arrived at Sydney per Prince Regent, and to this Colony per Haweis, native place Bristol, castle, hearts, and darts, flower pots, and several other marks on left arm, absconded from the Public Works at George Town, Feb. 1, 1825.—£2 Reward.

“RUNAWAY NOTICE.” Hobart Town Gazette and Van Diemen’s Land Advertiser (Tas. : 1821 – 1825) 1 April 1825: 1

The gang first robbed a hut at Springs, taking flour, a musket and ammunition. They continued towards the South Esk River, robbing huts as they went. They are said to have expressed at this time a desire to join Matthew Brady’s gang. Brady would later express that Jeffries had offered his services to him but refused. Whether or not this occurred at the same time is impossible to say.

In mid December 1825, the gang stayed for ten days at James Sutherland’s farm, Rothbury, near Campbell Town. On Christmas Day there was a shoot out and one of Sutherland’s men was killed. The gang raided a hut then continued into the bush.

Thomas Jeffrey (illustrated by Aidan Phelan)

On 31 December they raided John Tibbs’ farm near Launceston. Several people were bailed up including Mrs. Tibbs and her infant, as the bushrangers robbed the house. The bushrangers then took their prisoners into the bush, carrying the plunder. The group was split up with Perry and Russell taking one group, Jeffries with the remainder.

Tensions grew as the groups were matched through the bush, resulting in Russell shooting Beechy, a bullocky, and Perry shooting Tibbs in the neck. Despite being badly wounded, Tibbs managed to escape and raise an alarm in Launceston. Beechy would later die from his wound.

The two groups rejoined and continued to head north. During the trek, Jeffries and Russell took Mrs. Tibbs’ child from her and went into the bush where he was killed by one of the bushrangers who dashed his brains out on a tree. Jeffries told the distraught mother they had sent the child to a man named Barnard. After camping for the night the prisoners were released in the morning.

Soon after, a reward of $200 or a free pardon was issued for Jeffries and company.

Thomas Jeffries: on Trial for the Murder of Mr Tibbs’ Infant, by Thomas Bock (1826) [Courtesy: The collections of the State Library of New South Wales, DL PX 5; IE1076928; FL1077014]

The gang’s next robbery was committed near George Town, followed by several days of walking in the bush with captives. On 11 January 1826, the gang encountered Constable Magnus Bakie who was robbed and ordered to guide them through the bush. When Jeffries became convicted the Constable was trying to steer them into the path of a search party he executed Bakie by shooting him.

They set their captives free and continued into the bush, where they ran out of food and became lost. Perry murdered Russell in his sleep and he and Jeffries ate their comrade’s flesh to sustain themselves. Several days had passed between Bakie’s murder and when Jeffries and Perry re-emerged near Launceston at a farm where they found provisions and slaughtered two sheep for their meat. Nor wanting to waste anything, Jeffries and Perry ate the remaining “steaks” made from Edward Russell with fried mutton.

The bushrangers camped overnight but were separated where Perry supposedly became lost while looking for water in the bush while caring their only cooking pot. Around this time the gang’s departed fourth member, Hopkins, was captured.

On 22 January, search parties went out looking for Perry and Jeffries. While one party was at breakfast at a farm near Evandale, an Aboriginal boy who had been recruited as a tracker pointed out Jeffries approaching. The party overwhelmed Jeffries and he surrendered. The creek where “The Monster” was taken was later renamed Jeffries Creek and ran under what is now known as Logan Road. The creek has long since dried up.

The successful posse took Jeffries and back to Launceston where crowds tried to attack the wagon. He was then lodged in the old Launceston Gaol. Shortly afterwards Matthew Brady would write to the Lieutenant Governor, declaring his intention to break into the gaol and murder Jeffries. Perry remained on the run until the end of the month and was captured near Launceston.

When Brady was also captured in March, he and his associates were sent by ship to Hobart to stand trial with Jeffries and Perry. Brady vociferously refused to share a cell with Jeffries, threatening to decapitate him if he was not moved to a different cell.

Thomas Jeffries on Trial for the Robbery at Mr Railton’s and John Perry, by Thomas Bock (1826) [Courtesy: The collections of the State Library of New South Wales, DL PX 5; IE1076928; FL1077004]

Jeffries was tried and found guilty of murder, then sentenced to hang. He was executed alongside Matthew Brady, having confessed to his life of crimes in a self-penned memoir, but laid the blame for his criminal behaviour on his alcoholism. He was buried in an unmarked grave in Hobart Town.

Selected sources:

The following is an incomplete list of some of the sources and references used in the research for this biography. — AP


The Bushrangers, Illustrating the Early Days of Van Diemen’s Land by James Bonwick

Bushrangers Bold! by Bob Minchin

A Compulsion to Kill: The Surprising Story of Australia’s Earliest Serial Killers by Robert Cox

Newspapers and Gazettes:

Hobart Town Gazette (Tas. : 1825 – 1833), Saturday 17 December 1825, page 2

Colonial Times and Tasmanian Advertiser (Hobart, Tas. : 1825 – 1827), Friday 20 January 1826, page 3

Hobart Town Gazette (Tas. : 1825 – 1827; 1830), Saturday 29 April 1826, page 2

Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842), Wednesday 17 May 1826, page 3

Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842), Wednesday 24 May 1826, page 2

Colonial Times and Tasmanian Advertiser (Hobart, Tas. : 1825 – 1827), Friday 5 January 1827, page 4

Spotlight: Local Intelligence (Launceston, 09/08/1855)

People’s Advocate or True Friend of Tasmania (Launceston, Tas. : 1855 – 1856), Thursday 9 August 1855, page 2


DIDO, AND HIS MATE.— The following is a description of these two individuals from the Government Gazette :— William Driscoll, per Norfolk, tried at Middlesex, 17th June, 1833, 14 years; again at Hobart Supreme Court, 24th October 1843; life; and again at Launceston Supreme Court, 7th April 1847, life, sawyer, 5 feet 2, complexion florid, hair brown, eyes blue; native place St. Giles’s, London, two pigeons, compasses rose shamrock thistle McDonnor fish wreath of laurels bust of a woman on right arm; a full rigged ship on left arm, ring second finger on right hand. — George King, per Hindoston, tried at Leicester Boro’ Q. S., 27th February 1840, 10 years; again at Oatlands Supreme Court, 28th June 1818, life, sweep, about 5 feet, age 32, complexion rather dark, hair brown, eyes black, native place Leicester, small scar on forehead. Parties of constabulary both from Hobart Town and Launceston being out in search of these desperadoes, we expect soon to hear they are laid by the heels,

THE LATE ROCKY WHELAN. — The Governor has directed that fifty pounds be paid to Constable John Mulrennon for his meritorious conduct in capturing the notorious Whelan. Constable Mulrennon has Also received £15 from the Richmond reward of Fifty Poutids, and £40 from the friends. of the late Messrs. Axford and Dunn.

LONGFORD GAOL.— We noticed in our last issue, the escape of a notorious bushranger, named Padfield from Longford Gaol, and hinted that great negligence at least was exhibited in the supervision of the prisoners in confinement there. We are confirmed in this, opinion, now ; for since Padfield’s. escape, the irons of three prisoners, under sentence of transportation have been found cut through, and an examination of the cells has discovered the blankets cut up into strips with a brick attached to the end, showing a deliberate, and determined attempt to escape from the gaol. We trust the affair will be strictly investigated, as Padfield has been again secured.

Spotlight: The Man Whelan and Convict Discipline (28 May 1855)

Tasmanian Colonist (Hobart Town, Tas. : 1851 – 1855), Monday 28 May 1855, page 2


This celebrated man will be put upon his trial for not only absconding, but for robbery with force and violence. An offence for which in this colony, if convicted, his life is forfeited. We have seen Whelan before to-day, or before his apprehension, and we cannot accord with those who would represent him as a ferocious looking man, whose very appearance would strike terror into the mind of the way farer. If he were one of those blood-thirsty beings which some would represent him, he would not have been apprehended as easily as he was. We do not regard him as a man of ordinary courage. We would put the term courage out of the question when speaking of such a man. He is the mere creature of a system, which never ought to obtain in any country, where pretensions to civilisation have been made. He has been for years the play-thing and sport of officials, who scarcely deserve the name of men. Many years ago he was sentenced to transportation beyond the seas for a limited period. That sentence did not say one word about the petty tyranny which has been practised upon him and upon his fellows, under the name of prison discipline. Those who are conversant with the history of Botany Bay, at the time when Whelan was sent there, will be free to acknowledge, that it was not a convict paradise. We have conversed with many men who were transported to New South Wales, and although some of the convicts became wealthy, others had to endure great hardships, and the most downright tyranny which could be practised. When this tyranny was exercised by the master to whom the convict was assigned, there was no redress for the unfortunate. The magistracy always upheld the masters in their cruelty. If a prisoner happened to get into good employment and turned out successful, this fact was blazoned forth in England, and transportation was thus held out as a boon to the young thief at home, to induce him to become bolder and more expert in his profession. This operated differently in the colonies. Whelan like others, saw that some of his copartners in crime got on well, while he was enduring tyranny. His uncontrolled spirit rebelled against such a state of things. Some of his comrades escaped to the bush, and remained away from the townships until their periods of transportation had expired, and then returned to claim their freedom and to settle down quietly to the ordinary business of life. Whelan made his escape in Sydney, and was taken sentenced, and sent to Norfolk Island. He was there in the days of Captain Maconochy, and any person who knows anything about convictism must know that if that excellent man was allowed to exercise his own judgment in the management of the prisoners, he would have carried out a system reformatory in its nature; but he was not permitted to do it, so far as Sydney prisoners were concerned. Whelan was in Norfolk Island in the days of Major Child, who was no more fit for the situation in which he was placed, than a child of ten years old, if what we have learned respecting him was true. Whelan was in Norfolk Island in the days of John Price. In a word he was there in the days of the Spread Eagle, the period of diurnal flogging, and of repeated gagging. He was there when those scenes occurred, to which the Rev. Mr. Rogers referred, and for doing which, that poor man endured a fearful amount of persecution from all parties in this colony who were in the receipt of large government salaries. There was not, to the best of our belief, any description of punishment practised on Norfolk Island from which Whelan escaped. He must be a very bad fellow indeed! is the exclamation of those who know nothing about discipline at a penal settlement. We have ourselves seen men sentenced to two or three months’ imprisonment to hard labour in chains, for having in their possession a bit of tobacco, not one-fourth of a fig. We know that convict constables have been instructed to open the mouths of the men working in chains, to ascertain whether they had been chewing tobacco, and if they could scrape a bit off a man’s tooth, that was a good charge against him. When once we begin to think over this system, we feel indignant at the men who carry it out, and at the parties, whoever they are, who can in any way sanction such refined cruelty. When we see men like Whelan and Driscol take to the bush, we do not wonder at it. We only wonder the number of bushrangers is not larger. When we see a man like Whelan easily arrested, we do not wonder at it. Tyranny and slavery make men cowards; they do not reform them. The system of discipline adopted by the present convict authorities cannot be known in England; it is such, that if we were to return and lecture there on it, we are confident we should raise such a storm of indignation against the government which could tolerate it, as would be astounding, in any country where the English language is understood. By facts and figures we have proved that convict labour is the dearest that can be obtained, and we are prepared to prove that convict discipline is a tissue of cruelty from beginning to end; yea, that the most refined cruelties have heen practised in the name of the late Lieutenant-Governor, whether with or without his consent we will not pretend to say. We mention this to put Sir H. F. Young on his guard.

Spotlight: Apprehension and Robbery (21 May 1855)

Tasmanian Colonist (Hobart Town, Tas. : 1851 – 1855), Monday 21 May 1855, page 2

APPREHENSION OF ROCKY WHELAN. — The celebrated Norfolk Islander and bushranger John Whelan, was apprehended by constables Mulrenun and Gabriel, formerly non-commissioned officers in the 99th Regt. Whelan was in the act of purchasing a pair of boots from Mr. Gourney, of Liverpool-street on Saturday evening, when he was recognised by constable Mulrenan, to whom he was not unknown during his stay on Norfolk Island. He was not unarmed at the time of his capture, and was in no way short of cash.

HIGHWAY ROBBERY. — About 4 o’clock on Wednesday last, Mr. D. C. Brown, when riding within half a mile of Hadspen, saw a boy, son of Mr. Beams of that place, come out of the bush crying, who said he was driving a cart home when a tall well-dressed man made him go off the road, and robbed him of 17s. 6d. The man presented a pistol at him, and said if he turned his head round for the next twenty minutes he would shoot him. From the similarity of the description and the locality, this appears to be the same scoundrel who robbed Mrs. Dell about twelve o’clock on the same day. — Ibid.

Spotlight: Brady’s Threat (17 May 1826)

Australian (Sydney, NSW : 1824 – 1848), Wednesday 17 May 1826, page 4


(From the Colonial Times. April 28.)

Brady, on Tuesday night, told Mr. Dodding, one of the turn-keys at the gaol, that if Jeffries was not taken out of the cell ” he would be found in the morning without his head.” Jeffries was consequently removed to another cell. He voluntarily gave up two knives, which he had concealed about his person, either to carry his former threats into execution, or to cut his irons, in attempting to escape. McKenny, whose leg was trodden upon by a horse, and who goes with a crutch, and Bryant, are in the same cell with Brady, who we understand has received many little comforts while in the gaol, from a very respectable gentle-man, whose humanity is proverbial. On Tuesday, when the seven bushrangers were tried, they were escorted from the gaol to the Court by the military. They were all fettered, and chained together — Brady was dressed in a new suit of clothes, of decent appearance. He was quite cheerful, and laughing the whole of the morning before the trial. He has, recovered from his wounds and is able to walk. The other bush-ranger, McKenny, who was so severely wounded still uses a crutch. Brady is a good looking man, with a penetrating eye. McKenny and Brown also appeared cheerful, and are both good looking young men. The others, particularly Tilly, seemed very miserable. Jeffries has at last taken to the Bible. He has sent for the Rev Mr. Bedford, and has been crying like a child Yesterday Jeffries and Perry were found guilty of the murder of Constable Baker. — We understand that the whole of the pri-soners who have been found guilty will be brought up for sentencing to-morrow. Several are expected to undergo the awful sentence of the law on Monday. Supreme Court. — On Saturday last, Jeffries and Perry were found guilty of the wilful murder of Mr. Tibb’s child. On Tuesday, Brady and the other bushrangers were tried, for a highway robbery, and for setting fire to Mr. Lawrence’s stacks. Brady pleaded guilty, and the rest were found so. Arrived on Monday, the Australian Company’s ship Greenock, Captain Miller, with a cargo from Scotland for that Company.— The Greenock left Leith the 22d November, and the Cape of Good Hope the 4th March.— Passengers (for Hobart Town) Mr. Gracie, Mr. W. Crawford Davidson, Mr. Burn, Mrs. Robertson and family, Mr. John Davidson, Mr. John Dalzell, Mr. and Mrs. John Scott, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Mailer, Messrs. William and John Elliot, Mr. John Fitzpatrick and family, Mr. James Dow, Mr. John McRae and family.— For Sydney, Mr. Andrew Newton and family, Mr. William Reid, Mr. Shairp, Mr. Gavon Ralston, the Rev. Mr. McGarvie, (Presbyterian Cler-gyman), Mr. Rankin, Mr. James Sloan, Mr. William Jobson, Mr. Edward Middleton, Mr. Thomas Elliot, and Mr. Robert Smith. Sailed on Tuesday, the brig John Dunn, Captain McBeath for London, chartered by Mr. Petchey, and laden with bark and extract of ditto, on his account.— Passengers, Dr. Carter, R.N. Mr. Wilmot and family, and Major Loane’s three daughters.

Spotlight: Westwood writes to his parents (29 April 1847)

Britannia and Trades’ Advocate (Hobart Town, Tas. : 1846 – 1851), Thursday 29 April 1847, page 4


Recent arrivals from the Ocean Hell have put us in possession of most astounding information on many points connected with that depôt of crime, injustice, and misery. It appears that, much credit was given to its present Civil Commandant for the manner in which he, it was said, had put down the spirit of insubordination, whereas the following facts will prove that to circumstances alone may be attributed the change. Mr. Price arrived when one great source of discontent had expired. The Indian corn meal had all been used, and within a day after his arrival, wheaten flour was necessarily again issued. An extra company of soldiers had arrived from Sydney, thus placing the power of the military beyond all dispute. The great body, of the mutineers were in close and safe confinement, and the sentences passed upon many of them, relieved the mass from the fatal consequences of their example. The resident police magistrate was removed, and human blood no longer flowed in streams from the triangles. In a former number we gave the copy of a letter written by William Westwood, better known as Jackey Jackey, and at the time of its appearance an attempt was made to shew that he had died breathing a spirit of bitterness very unsuited to any man at the last hour of his existence. What the motives for doing Westwood such an injustice, it is not our present purpose to inquire; certain however it is, that such was not the fact, as the following copy of another letter will show. “Justice to free and bond” is our maxim in such matters, and we see no reason why the last dying thoughts of the malefactor should not be as fairly represented as those of him whose life has not been forfeited to the offended laws of his country.

Westwood, although an illiterate person, was a man of strong natural abilities; those enabled him to dictate every word of the following address, to a fellow prisoner, who wrote them down for him, as his (Westwood’s) thoughts flowed; but the signature, and what may be considered the postscript, were written by himself. At an early opportunity we will return to the present state of affairs at Norfolk Island; in the meantime, we have quite enough before us to show, that Mr. Gilbert Robertson, Lieut. Butler, R.N., and others, have been victimized in a manner which will assuredly bring with it, its ultimate reward.

The Lord gave, and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Norfolk Island, South Pacific Ocean, 12th October, 1846.

My dear Father and Mother, — Heaven knows I have neglected you, to whom I owe so many kindnesses, and have in my youth acted contrary to your wishes, and parental instructions; thus it follows, that it is now my lot to address you whom I love dearly, under such distressing and to you as well as myself, such painful circumstances. You have, I am sure, had many unhuppy moments respecting me; but I now must endeavour to prepare you for a shock, which I am afraid will be almost more than you can or will be able to endure. But, my dear parents, brothers, and sisters, mourn not for me, I who long before you can possibly receive his will have been ushered into the awful presence of his Maker, and will have appeared before that great Tribunal of Justice, where all must render an account for their actions, where all hearts are open, and where all secrets are known: — therefore I say, my dear relations, mourn not for me, but let my unfortunate lot be a lesson to the living, let the younger branches of our family, and the offspring of them, learn to honour their fathers, and mothers in their youth; for neglecting those precepts, these holy and heavenly laws, has brought me to the situation I now am placed in; but it is, it must be the work of that great God who made heaven and earth, and all that therein is, and who knows all things; for it is now, and only now, that I see my error; it is now only I can see and know the multitude of God’s mercies towards me, it is now I am brought to a right sense of my duty towards Him, and it is now I can repeat, as applicable to my own case, these beautiful words of the Psalmist—

The wonders he for me has wrought shall fill my mouth with songs of praise and others to his worship brought, To hopes of like deliverance raise. 40th Psalm, 3rd verse.

No sooner I my wound disclosed; The guilt that tortur’d me within, But thy forgiveness interposed, And mercy’s healing balm poured in. 32nd Psalm, 5th verse.

I can now, my dear and beloved parents, withhold the truth of my fate no longer from you; for an outbreak took place at this ill-fated settlement on the 1st day of July last, when some lives were lost, for which I have been tried and condemned to die, — which sentence will be carried into effect before the setting of tomorrow’s sun. Bear this with humble fortitude, for I at first made up my mind not to write at all, but then I thought you might perchance see the account in the public press, and I know it would be a great satisfaction to you, even under such trying and truly heart-rending circumstances, to hear, and that from myself, that I died as a Christian, embracing the same faith as I was taught when a child, putting my whole trust and confidence in Christ Jesus, who shed his blood in ignominy for me and all repenting sinners; through his blood alone I can and must be saved: he heard the prayers of the dying thief upon the cross, and through his faith forgave his sins even at the eleventh hour. During this time or trial and affliction, I have been attended by the Rev. Thomas Rogers, of the Church of England, to which gentleman I owe everything; his attention to me has been unceasing; night and day has he laboured to bring me to a right sense of my duty towards an offended Maker. May that God whom he has taught me to fear and love, reward him ten thousand fold!

Dearly beloved parents, give my kind love and affection to my dear brothers and sisters; tell them, I trust and earnestly hope my disgraceful and unfortunate untimely end will be an everlasting barrier against their ever doing evil; tell them, with you to bear up against this unhappy occurrence, and endeavour to spend their lives in such a way as will ensure a peaceful death.

I again entreat you all not to mourn for me, for through Christ Jesus, and a hearty and sincere repentence; I hope to meet you all in the realms of everlasting bliss. May God bless you; may He be with you, may He guide your steps; direct your hearts, and in the end may he receive your never-dying souls into his mansion of everlasting happiness and peace, is the earnest and sincere prayers of your unfortunate and dying son.

William Westwood.

Dear pearants, I send you a piece of my hear in remberance of me, your son, Wm. Westwood. Good Bye, and God Bless you all.

Spotlight: Cash and Co. near Richmond (14 March 1843)

Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 – 1857), Tuesday 14 March 1843, page 3

Domestic Intelligence.

BUSHRANGERS.— On Sunday last the township of Richmond was put into great excitement by a report that Cash, Kavenagh, and Jones were in the neighbourhood. “What is to be done?” was the general inquiry, there being only two or three constables at the place. These, with the Police Magistrate and Captain Forth, were soon in pursuit, and in the end two men with a woman were apprehended ; the latter being an assigned woman from a farm near the township. It appears that being in want of wine or spirits, they sent a pressed man for a supply, who very properly laid the necessary information. We have not heard full particulars, but a report that they were armed with one old musket, a pistol without a lock, and a mopstick. In consequence of such a formidable demonstration, so near the district town, it is expected that it will be forthwith garrisoned by one wing of a regiment, aided by two of the long guns laying at the New Wharf, and that the gun-boat is to be anchored off the town, so as to cover its approaches. Several instances of great bravery, we understand, were exemplified on the occasion, and that it was with the greatest difficulty some of the volunteers were prevented from shooting each other in their praiseworthy anxiety to secure the outlaws. The country is really in a dreadful state when runaways have the audacity to think of drinking wine on a Sunday, and that, too, directly under the nose of a Police Magistrate. We thought something extraordinary would soon occur when we first saw the comet, but never did suppose that Major Schaw would so soon be called upon to act personally so far from his own Court-house. The brigands were captured, after being surrounded in a most masterly manner, about one mile from Richmond bridge. They surrendered without firing a shot, and are now safely lodged in the large stone building appropriated by the Government for such purposes. We must also congratulate our readers on another gratifying piece of information. A double-barrelled gun, which positively did belong to the firm of Cash, Kavenagh, and Jones, has been found in the bush, and forwarded to the Hamilton Police office. We regret that the report does not state whether it was loaded or not, or whether it was with or without a ramrod. This is, however, something done at any rate, and no doubt so essential a service rendered will be properly appreciated!

POLICE.— Joseph Pratt, and Eliza Cash (wife of the bushranger Martin Cash), were brought up yesterday, charged with having stolon property in their possession. It appeared information had been received that a correspondence existed between the bushranger and his wife, in consequence of which her house was searched at an early hour yesterday morning, when a considerable part of the plunder taken from Mr. Shone and others was identified, Mrs. Cash being at the time occupied in secreting a pair of stays taken from Miss Shone. It is said that a boat has been captured near Green Point, the conductor of which, there is strong reason to believe, has been the medium of communication between the bushrangers and Mrs. Cash and Pratt.

BUSHRANGING AT BROWN’S RlVER.— Not having time or space to do any more than notice the attempted robbery at Brown’s River last week, we give the particulars now, which are as follow :– A short time since, three men from the Prisoner’s Barracks absconded – one of them said to be an old servant of the Rev. Mr. Gibbs, at that settlement, induced his two companions to try their luck where he was acquainted. Accordingly they started, a large axe being the only instrument of destruction they had then been able to procure. Their first attempt was made on Mr. Manley, another gentleman at the Brown’s River settlement, but his servants (three in number), one of them a young lad, would not yield to the system, and they found in their attempt there, would be, as they said “no go.” They then went off towards Mr. Gibbs’ farm. After examination of the premises and believing the servants had retired to rest, the old servant rapped at the door, and on Mr. Gibbs’ son asking who knocked, the answer was “it is me Henry, open the door.” The young man opened the door, the party entered, one of them bound the old gentleman and eased him of his gold watch, while the others went to the servants’ place, tied them, and commenced plundering a variety of valuable and useful articles. Soon after they had left Mr. Manley’s house, his three servants requested that gentleman to give them leave to follow the bushrangers, which being readily granted, they armed themselves, one with a long barrow tire, one with the handle of an old frying pan, and the third with some other iron weapon, and started in pursuit. Judging that their next attempt would be on Mr. Gibbs. They proceeded there, and arrived just as the robbers were preparing to start with their spoil. The first salutation one of Mr. Manley’s men received from Mr. Gibbs’ old servant, was a knock down blow. He did not lay long, but was up and to it again. A general engagement then took , place, soon after which Mr. Gibbs’ old servant took to his heels and was soon followed by his antagonist, but it being dark, and the villain well-acquainted with the locality, he escaped. The other four continued the battle, and although the barrow tire and frying pan handle were well-applied, victory was rather doubtful until their companion had returned from his vain pursuit. He soon settled the difference; the two were secured and brought to town next day, one of them is in the hospital, his head it may be supposed being too frequently visited by the barrow tire, he was not in a fit state for examination at the Police-office, and it may be desirable to find the third to complete the transaction. Let us now call attention to Mr. Manleys’ servants. If the servants of the settlers were to act in a similar way, there would be an end to bushranging, and we have no doubt his Excellency will at once appreciate such meritorious conduct, by granting each of them a free pardon, which will be the very best inducement for others to follow so laudable an example.

THE BUSHRANGERS.— Information has been received in town, that Cash, Cavenagh, and Jones, visited the residence of Mr. Thomas Triffett, at the Ouse, on Saturday night last, and robbed it of everything they could carry away. We have not heard the particulars, further than that they took Mr. Triffeft’s gun, as being a superior one to Mr. Cawthorne’s, which latter they left behind and requested Mr. Triffett to return it to Mr. C, telling him at the same time, that as soon as they met with a better one than his, they would return it also. How is it that the numerous parties out after these desperadoes have allowed them to slip through their fingers to a distance of, we believe, about forty miles from their former haunt on the Dromedary?

Spotlight: The Bush-Rangers – Dreadful Outrages and Murder! (10 March 1826)

Colonial Times and Tasmanian Advertiser (Hobart, Tas. : 1825 – 1827), Friday 10 March 1826, page 2


Dreadful Outrages and Murder!

Extract of a letter from Launceston, dated on Monday last :— “On Saturday evening last, Brady, with his whole party of fourteen attacked Mr. DRY’S house ; and, after putting in the necessary centinels and securing the servants in an inside room, proceeded to rifle the house of all its contents —very coolly emptying all the drawers and boxes of their contents of linen, clothes, and everything valuable, and deliberately tying them up in bundles to be conveyed away on horses’ backs. One of the servants escaped into town, and brought a strong party out, who arrived at the house while they were all inside. Owing to some unfortunate circumstance, they however escaped through the back door. They had been two hours in the house when the party arrived, and from the house they rendezvoused in Mr. WEDGE’S tent, at the back of it. An order was given by Colonel BALFOUR to some men to rush it; and at the same moment Dr. PRIEST rode in a direction which he thought the bush-rangers would take, but before he was an hundred yards from the tent, he was fired at by several men at the same moment. Two balls entered the joint of his knee, and went through it, eight balls entered the horse’s body, and killed him. A great deal of firing took place between the soldiers and the bush-rangers, but without injury to either side. The night was extremely dark, and consequently favourable to Brady’s party, which enabled them to remain about the grounds for some hours after the engagement, and finally to go away quite unobserved. Colonel Balfour came to town about 10 o’clock, and five shots were fired at him as he rode through the paddock. It therefore became extremely hazardous for any one to approach Dry’s house during the night. We were all called out to defend the town, expecting an attack every hour, being ignorant of the numbers of the banditti. The accounts vary from fourteen to nineteen ; the former is the least number that they could have had. — It is impossible now to give you all the particulars, interesting as they are ; but nothing is more remarkable than the generalship observed by Brady. Dr. Priest is not out of danger; he persists in declining to have his leg amputated, contrary to the opinions of the Medical men who attend him. Mr. Dry’s wound is not material. We have had accounts every hour almost since yesterday morning of the movements of the bush-rangers, but they are evidently intended to mislead us ; for at the time they were thought to have crossed the North-Esk, they were on the road-side, two or three miles from Captain BARCLAY’S. Yesterday morning. Brady deliberately shot Thomas Kenton, after giving him his reasons for doing so, viz. that he once asked him (Brady) to come to his hut, while some soldiers were there, who wounded him on the occasion. After Kenton’s murder, his party wounded two other men. At 8 o’clock last night, some of the party set ABRAHAM WALKER’S stacks on fire, and the whole of his harvest was destroyed ; together with a new barn. The quantity of wheat destroyed could not have been less than 2000 bushels ; and the loss cannot be estimated at less than £1000. We hear to-day, that Brady’s party are near Mr. ROSES’, at Cora Lyn.”

Extract of another Letter:— “Watson, who was employed by Brady and his gang as a carrier, says, that on their route to Guilders, they got into such a thick scrub, that they could not extricate their horses, although they took the saddles off, and of course there left them. The first night after, their arrival, Brady went out at dusk to a high hill, to look for the Glory, and was lost all night, not returning till morning. On the third day, Guilders made his escape, (to give information, which he did to Colonel Balfour), while Goodwin was on sentry ; for this he was brought to a Court Martial, shot dead, and flung out of their prize-boat into the Tamar. They then sailed three times round the Glory, Brady advising them to take her; he went to the stern of the boat, and said, “decide among yourselves, let not my voice avail any thing ;” they then said, as the wind was foul, they would not take her. They then landed, and sent Watson into Launceston to say, they would that night rob Mr. Dry, and would go to the Gaol in Launceston, and take out Jeffries, torture him, and then shoot him. It was treated with derision! A man who escaped from Mr. Dry’s, came into Launceston at 10 o’clock, P. M. to say the banditti were there. Colonel BALFOUR instantly started with 1 serjeant and 10 soldiers, and some volunteers. They surrounded the house just as they had packed up their booty, when a brisk fire commenced ; the bush-rangers were forced out of the house into the back yard, and kept firing into the house ; it was quite dark, and the banditti were thought to have gone, when Colonel BALFOUR proceeded with half the soldiers to defend the town (rendered the more necessary, as a part of the banditti under Bird and Dunn had been previously dispatched by Brady to attack Launceston.) On his going away, the banditti went up to Mr. WEDGE’S hut, (adjoining one of the out-buildings) and began to plunder ; when the soldiers, with Dr. PRIEST; proposed to charge. The bush-rangers heard it; and fired a volley, by which Dr. Priest’s horse was shot dead, and himself shot in the knee. The soldiers, not above five in number, with some volunteers, fired and charged, but owing to the darkness, the banditti escaped. On the night of the 5th, the bush-rangers set fire and burnt down the stock-yard, with all the wheat belonging to Mr. ABRAHAM WALKER and Commissary WALKER, opposite to Mr. THOMAS ARCHER’S. The extent of damage is not yet ascertained. The bush-rangers were seen between the Punt and Mr. GIBSONS stock-yard, on the 6th. They sent word to Mr. MASSEY, on the South-Esk, Ben Lomond, that they would hang him and burn his wheat. A great fire was seen last night in the direction of his house, but it is to be hoped they have not executed, their threat. The bush-rangers have Mr. Dry’s two white carriage horses with them. They shot Thomas Kenton dead, at the Punt, on the South Esk ; they called him out of the house and deliberately shot him. Two runaways were last week sent into Launceston gaol, from Presnell’s, where they were taken ; one of them broke out of gaol, and was met by the bush-rangers, who asked him to join them, and, on his refusal, they shot him dead. Brady now wears Col. Balfour’s cap, which was knocked off at Dry’s. — When the bush-rangers were going down the Tamar, they captured Captain WHITE, of the Duke of York, in his boat. Capt. SMITH, late of the Brutus, who was with him, being well dressed, was mistaken for Colonel BALFOUR. They knocked him down ; but, discovering this mistake, they apologised. They then made Captain White go down upon his knees, and were going to shoot him. but Capt. Smith interfered and saved his life, on representing to them the misery it would inflict upon his wife and children. During the night, Captains Smith and White were allowed to depart, and they made the best of their way to Launceston, where they gave the necessary information; but, unfortunately, it was too late, the bush-rangers having crossed the river, and proceeded to commit the dreadful enormities before-stated.

Extract of another Letter :— “After the affair at Dry’s, in which Brady showed so much adroitness, in extricating his party from such a superior force, he proceeded to the house of a Mr. Field, a Settler, which they plundered of every thing useful ; from there they proceeded to Mr. Dugan’s, which they also robbed. Brady now wears Colonel Balfour’s cap, which was lost in the affair at Dry’s. It is impossible to describe the state of alarm in which these events have placed the whole of this side of the Island.”

The appalling accounts detailed this day of the proceedings of that most diabolical banditti, headed by Brady, are calculated to excite the most serious considerations. Twenty-one months have now elapsed since the escape of Brady and thirteen others from Macquarie Harbour. And several of them are still at large, carrying terror and desolation in their progress, from one end of the Island to the other, which they appear to traverse at their pleasure, without dread or apprehension. That we have not a sufficient Military Force cannot be now asserted even by the most prostrate of the adulators. We have a whole Regiment! And the sister Colony, the great Territory of New South Wales, to which no comparison with this Island can hold, has no more. We have an armed Prisoner Establishment of upwards of, we understand, one hundred and fifty men. We have a Troop of Mounted Soldiers, and a large internal Constabulary. We repeat, we have an infinitely greater numerical Civil and Military Force than have our brethren in New South Wales. To what then can be attributed the non-apprehension of this detestable and lawless banditti, whose outrages are now of a character threatening the most serious consequences! There must be something wrong somewhere. We observe, that the ruffian horde have singled as their victims individuals against whom they are not known to have any personal cause of hatred ; and latterly, mischief seems to have been as much their object as plunder. We have inserted what we believe to be accurate details of the last week’s abominable outrages. We have been obliged to withhold certain passages, in which all our Correspondents agree, by no means flattering to the discretion and conduct of Mr. MULGRAVE. We are quite convinced, from all that reaches us, that this individual is not possessed of talents fitting him for the important situation which he fills — important in itself, but much more from its being removed from the superintending eye of the Government, and from the watchful public protection of the Press. Mr. Mulgrave in private life is no doubt most honourable and respectable, but something more is required for the well filling the important office he holds. We have withheld from the public eye, because, in the present state of the Colony, we consider it proper to do so, numberless details which have been transmitted to us, of the most unsatisfactory nature. In Jeffrey’s case there are many circumstances in our possession, which exhibit, to speak “moderately,” great indiscretion. And we are convinced, that if the details before us, as to the affair at Mr. DRY’S, are also in the possession of the Executive Government, that Mr. Mulgrave will not appear to have acted there wholly without indiscretion. These are not times for the continuance in important public offices of persons who do not appear to fill them at least successfully. We trust the Executive will turn immediate attention to the necessity of adopting some measures which may be calculated to remove that dreadful state of alarm and anxiety, in which the whole Island is now placed, and which much inevitably produce the most unfortunate results.