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: Execution of the Norfolk Island Rioters (1846)

Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), Saturday 14 November 1846, page 2


(From late Australasian Papers.)

Twelve of the desperadoes at Norfolk Island had been hung, among whom were the notorious Jackey Jackey, and Lawrence Kavanagh, the Van Diemen’s Land bushranger.


Jackey Jackey was twenty-six years of age only when he suffered. On the scaffold he solemnly protested his belief in the innocence of four of the men who suffered with him. He left behind him, in the possession of the clergyman who attended him, a long written history of his career in guilt, of which the following is the last paragraph : “Sir the strong tyes of earth will soon be wrentched and the burning fever of this life will soon be quentched and my grave will be a heavens – a resten place for me Wm. Westwood. Sir out of the bitter cup of misery – I have drank from my sixteenth year 10 long years, and the sweetest draught is that which takes away the misery of living death – it is the friend that deceives no man – all will then be quiet no tyrant will disturb my repose I hope – Wm. Westwood. Sir I know bid the world adiue and all it contains. Wm. Westwood his wrighting.”

South Australian Gazette and Colonial Register (Adelaide, SA : 1845 – 1847), Saturday 14 November 1846, page 3


NORFOLK ISLAND. — The Lady Franklin arrived yesterday morning, bringing intelligence of considerable interest. She had as passengers, Mr Gilbert Robertson, Superintendent of the Agricultural Department, and others, who have been suspended by Mr Price the Civil Commandant. The criminal sessions had not closed when the Franklin sailed. As principals in the riots, and the murders of Smith, Morris, and others, fourteen prisoners were tried. Of these twelve were found guilty and two acquitted. Of the twelve found guilty, and sentenced to die, were William Westwood (the well-known bushranger in New South Wales, and in this colony by the name of ” Jackey Jackey,”) and Lawrence Kavanagh, the associate of Cash and Jones in this colony. The twelve men found guilty were executed on the morning of Tuesday, Oct. 13. Six of them at eight in the morning, and the other six at ten o’clock on the same day. The scene has been described to us, by eye-witnesses, as one of most awful solemnity. All the men died penitent. — Courier, 28th Oct.

Spotlight: Trial of Kavenagh.

Austral-Asiatic Review, Tasmanian and Australian Advertiser (Hobart Town, Tas. : 1837 – 1844), Friday 15 September 1843, page 4


Contrary to general expectation, it being now after two o’clock, Laurence Kavenagh was ordered to be placed at the bar, to take his trial for the robbery of the Launceston coach at Epping Forest. After some little delay, he was accordingly ushered into the dock, and a fresh jury was called, the other jurors being discharged altogether.

Laurence Kavenagh was capitally charged, under the colonial Act of Council, with robbing James Hewitt on the 3d of July last, being at the time armed with a certain offensive weapon, to wit, a gun — with puting [sic] the said James Hewitt in bodily fear, and stealing from him a watch of the value of 50s., and seven one pound promissory notes.

To this information the prisoner pleaded Not Guilty; in a very cool manner, and addressed the Court, requesting to have counsel assigned for his defence. He had no ways and means, he said, of employing one.

His Honor said that he had no power to appoint a counsel for the prisoner. He had read the depositions, and he did not see anything in them to justify him in doing so. It must not go abroad that, in all capital cases, a counsel was to be appointed. At Port Arthur, his Honor knew that, in all cases of murder, it was supposed that the Court would assign counsel to the prisoner; this was a common notion there. His Honor did not see he could appoint a counsel in the prisoner’s case, unless upon petition. The Attorney-General observed, that at home the Judge asked the counsel to assist a prisoner in his defence, if the Judge thought it was a case which required the aid of counsel. The learned gentleman stated, that on looking over the depositions in the recent case of the two boys who were charged with the murder of their overseer at Port Arthur, he had felt it his duty, as Crown prosecutor, to suggest the appointment of counsel, as he saw that points of law were likely to arise; but there was nothing, in the present case, to warrant such an appointment.

His Honor told the prisoner, that he did not think he should be justified in putting the public to the expense of assigning counsel to him. It would do him no good, nor the public either. In cases where points of law were likely to arise, or in which there was any difficulty, his Honor would always appoint counsel; but here there was nothing complex or ambiguous in the evidence, and it would be of no service to the prisoner.

The prisoner — As you think proper, your Honor.

The Attorney-General, after a short address, in which he explained the law of the case, under the Colonial Act, proceeded to call his witnesses.

James Hewitt, coachman to Mrs. Cox — Had seen prisoner at the bar before, on the 3rd of July, in Epping Forest, witness was driving the coach; Mr. Darke was with him on the box; it was about a quarter-past ten in the morning; there were three men came up, and desired them to stop; they were armed with guns; the prisoner at the bar was one of the men; he had a gun of some description; they came up in front of the horses, and desired witness to stand, and said they did not want to molest any one, only to rob them; they told them not to be afraid; the three men had their guns pointed from their shoulders; witness could not tell which of the three men told him to stop; witness stopped his horses, because he expected they would have shot at the horses, or something of that sort; the arms were presented at witness; the passengers were Miss Hilton, Mr. Darke, and Mr. Jacobs, who with Mrs. Cox, was inside; witness was ordered off the box; he came down, because they presented their arms at him; they robbed him of his watch; they asked him for what he had got, and witness told them they had better take it themselves, and then they would be sure of it; witness let them take his watch, to save further bother; witness expected that if he had not let them take the watch quietly, they would have taken it by force; he was afraid to refuse; they took £7 in notes, and a watch; the watch from his fob, and the notes from his breeches pocket; witness had no doubt the prisoner at the bar was one of those persons.

By his Honor. — The prisoner stood guard at the side of the road, when witness first saw him; this was after he (witness) got off the box; they made no threat, but told witness to stand, which he instantly did.

Mr. John Charles Darke was passenger on the Launceston coach in Epping Forest, on the 3rd of July; Hewitt was driving it; a man made his appearance in front of the coach, armed with a double-barrelled gun; the prisoner was that man; when he got to the horses heads, he desired the coachman to stop, when two other men came out of the bush; one of the other men desired them to get down; the prisoner told them to stay where they were, until he had ascertained who were in the coach; Hewitt got down from the box; witness saw one of the men take something from Hewitt, which witness thought was money; the double-barrelled gun appeared to be presented at witness and Hewitt, on the box. The prisoner at the bar said, “I dare you to stir; don’t stir, or I will shoot you.” His gun was then pointed to witness and Hewitt; the gun was under his arm, not to his shoulder; witness had never seen the prisoner before, nor either of the other two persons; witness had not the slightest doubt that the prisoner was one of the men; he knew him the moment he saw him in the jail; he (witness) never looked through a hole in his cell, to identify Kavenagh.

By the prisoner. — You were carrying the gun with the butt-end to your arm pit; I never came to look through the cell; the gun was a double-barrelled gun; I am quite sure of that; when I heard that one of the bushrangers was wounded, I thought there were strong doubts whether they were the party that robbed the coach, and I went to the gaol to ask Mr. Capon about it, as I was about to leave the colony.

By His Honor. — Mr. Price addressed the prisoner as Kavenagh, but this was after I had recognized him; I recognized him going up the stairs, before he was brought into the room.

By the Attorney-General. — The moment I saw him I knew him, as one of the men who robbed the Coach, but did not know his name till Mr. Price addressed him.

Prisoner. — Pray Sir, did you come free to the Colony?

Witness. — I did come free into the Colony.

By His Honor. — I knew him by his face, his figure, and his voice.

By a Juror, (Mr. Carter). — He had not the same dress on when he robbed the Coach as he has on now; he had on a drab coat.

Mrs. Mary Ann Cox corroborated the testimony of the other witnesses, as to the stopping of the Coach in Epping Forest, by the three men, the prisoner at the bar as one of the persons who stopped it; she was quite positive he was one of the men. This being the case for the prosecution, his Honor intimated to the prisoner that this was the time for him to make his defence. The prisoner bowed, and spoke as follows:— I have seen a good many scenes of misery in my time; but what I saw at Port Arthur beat all. There is one circumstance that I feel bound to mention. I was driven to a place of worship by the lash of the law. My own prayer-book was taken out of my hand by the Superintendent, and I was forbidden to read it under pain of severe punishment. I do not blame the Superintendent; it was not his fault. But I put it to any conscientious Protestant in this Court, whether he would like to be driven to a Catholic place of worship, or punished for going there! All men are not of one mind at Port Arthur. There are some men who forget that they have been men. I have not forgot that. I flew from Port Arthur on this account, at the hazard of that life I am now about to forfeit. While I was in the bush, I would rather have been shot than have fallen into the hands of the Government. But I fell into a mistake; for since I have been in custody, I have been treated well (with emphasis), and I am very much obliged to the gentlemen for their kindness and attention.

Gentlemen, after I went into the bush, and when I was under arms, I committed no act of violence or cruelty, and did nothing but what became a man. I did no violence to anybody. Stains of blood we always avoided — both me and my companions; and if I have been unfortunate, and done wrong, thanks be to God I have no stain of blood upon my hands! If I abstained from violence, it was not because I expected any mercy while standing at a bar like this. I did not surrender through any exportation of mercy, but through a feeling that I had in my own breast, having met with an accident. I would have pleaded guilty to this charge, only I was accused of having used violence, and violence I never used to any one; but if I came against armed men, I would stand against them the best way I could; but as to using violence against an unarmed man, or an unarmed party, I would not be guilty of so cowardly an act. I have nothing more to say, your Honor. I have no witnesses.

His Honor addressed the Jury; he explained in his usual lucid manner, the nature of the charge against the “poor man” at the bar, and the fatal penalty attached to its commission. Upon the evidence little was said, as it was explicit, plain, and incontrovertible. The defence set up by the prisoner, his Honor observed, was being forcibly driven to a place of worship contrary to the tenets of his own religion, and this was the only defence; but it touched not the duty of the jury, neither had they any evidence of such a fact; yet if that was the case, it was most detestable and cruel tyranny, and an instance of bigotry against which his Honor, for one, would most resolutely set his face. Why the prisoner should have stated this circumstance, his Honor did not know, unless it was to excite the compassion of the jury; but their duty was plain and straightforward, and must be performed without favour or affection.

The jury retired for about twenty minutes, and then returned a verdict of Guilty.

The prisoner was then remanded, his Honor deferring his sentence, but affording him no hope that the capital part would be abandoned. The many outrages committed by the prisoner and his companions, and the anxiety and terror which they had caused in so many families, rendered an example necessary. His Honor was glad to see the prisoner in a state of mind so favourable to the reception of that religious instruction and consolation which would be abundantly afforded him. He earnestly hoped that such a state of mind was sincere; and although his Honor could not deny that the prisoner had used no violence, yet no mercy could be extended to him on that account.

The trial lasted but a very short time, and the prisoner throughout preserved a demeanour cool, firm, and collected; there was nothing of the bravo about him, and he appeared fully aware of his situation; he expected no mercy — and he asked for none; and he delivered his defence in a style of natural but simple eloquence which was extremely affecting. He related the cruel treatment which he had received at Port Arthur, with an expression of indignant feeling, which to our minds carried a conviction of its truth, while he avowed his abhorrence of bloodshed, with a fervor which evinced his sincerity. He was dressed in a long dark great coat, and had his left arm in a sling; he appeared, otherwise, in good health. He is rather a good looking man, with an expression of vivacity and intelligence on a fair countenance. We need scarcely add, that the Court was crowded throughout the whole day. — Colonial Times, September 12.

Spotlight: The Trial of Martin Cash – Second Day

Austral-Asiatic Review, Tasmanian and Australian Advertiser (Hobart Town, Tas. : 1837 – 1844), Friday 15 September 1843, page 4



This morning the court, with the space in front was crowded, if possible, more densely than it was yesterday; a few minutes before 10 o’clock, the jury was marshalled from “The Macquarie” by three javelin men, and escorted by some policemen, who had some difficulty in clearing an entrance for them into the court-house; precisely at 10 o’clock, Mr. Justice Montagu resumed his seat on the bench, and the court was opened. The prisoner being placed at the bar, Mr. Justice Montagu said, that in looking over his notes of the evidence, he had resolved upon the manner in which be should put the case to the jury; the learned counsel for the prisoner had taken an objection to the authority of Winstanley as constable, and to the “hue and cry,” which was not constituted in this colony as it formerly was in England; he had also stated, that there was no evidence to show that Winstanley knew that the prisoner was Martin Cash.

Mr. Macdowell replied, that it was his intention to put it to the jury, that Cash ought to have had some notice that Winstanley was a person in authority.

His Honor said, that would have been impossible: the matter occurring in the night time, and in a manner so instantaneous, the deceased could not have given any notice of his authority. His Honor then intimated, that he should put the case to the jury, on the following questions, which he should wish to have answered seriatim, after they had delivered their verdict: his Honor also requested that the jurors would write down the questions as he propounded them :—

1st If guilty, whether they thought that Winstanley, at the time he ran out into the street, had reasonable cause to suspect that the prisoner had committed a felony or other offence?

2nd. Whether they thought that, at that time, Winstanley had reasonable cause to believe or suspect, that the person he attempted to secure was an absconded offender, or a convicted offender illegally at large?

3rd. Did they think, that constables Thomas and Agar had reasonable ground to suspect or believe, that the prisoner at the bar was an absconded offender, illegally at large?

4th. Did they think the prisoner had committed a felony, by discharging a pistol at the constables, in Murray-street?

Upon these questions, his Honor wished a decided answer, should they return a verdict of Guilty against the prisoner; and there was another question, which he would also put to them, namely,—

5th. Whether at the time Martin Cash fired at Winstanley, they thought he intended to murder him, or do him some grievous bodily harm?

Having put these questions, his Honor remarked that he did not think there was anything in the conduct of Winstanley to reduce the case of the prisoner to manslaughter, and nothing to justify the use of so deadly a weapon as a pistol by the prisoner. His Honor also declared, that every man who joined in a hue and cry after a person suspected of felony, or other offence, was justified in pursuing him. Whether the offence was a felony or a misdemeanor, it was the duty of every one to assist in the pursuit; and it mattered not whether an offence had been actually committed or not, for it would be impossible for persons at a distance to ascertain in what a hue and cry originated. On the other hand, those who raised an unjust hue and cry were liable to be indicted for creating a breach of the peace, or a public disturbance.

The Attorney-General, while he perfectly concurred with the learned Judge, would request that his Honor would add to the other questions, the following:— Whether it was necessary for the prisoner to fire in defence of his life? whether (before he did so) he retreated as far as he could? and, in short, whether anything was done by the deceased, by using unnecessary violence, or otherwise, to justify the prisoner in using fire-arms? The learned gentleman contended that Winstanley had used no violence, merely holding out his arms; and that in a sudden affray of chance medley if the party assailed kills another, without using some degree of retreating, or, as it was called, “without going to the wall,” it would be murder; and he never knew a case of that kind mitigated to manslaughter. The Attorney-General here referred to certain authorities contained in East’s Pleas of the Crown, sub vocehomicide se defend in chance medley,” where the law was laid down by one of the first of lawyers, and had never been controverted. The learned counsel also quoted Hawkins’s Pleas of the Crown, and other authorities, in support of his opinion.

Mr. Macdowell now proceeded to address the jury in behalf of the prisoner; and the points of law being decided in reference to the evidence, he contended that, although the crime of murder consisted “in taking away the life of one of the Queen’s subjects,” yet it was necessary that it should be so taken away deliberately, or in the language of the law, with malice aforethought. The jury, who had attended to the important trial throughout with the most deep and earnest anxiety, would fail, he humbly apprehended, to discover, in the conduct of the prisoner, any of that malice aforethought which was required by law to constitute the crime of murder. There was something in the term “murder,” most revolting and shocking to reflect upon — it was a most foul and unnatural proceeding; but how stood the present case? There was a man, to use the strong language of the Attorney-General, a PROSCRIBED MAN! whose only offence on the present occasion was an effort to effect his emancipation, so to speak, from that society by which he was proscribed, and to free himself from a crowd of persons who were in hot pursuit of him! There was nothing to show that the prisoner and the unfortunate deceased had ever seen each other before, and it did seem to him (the learned gentleman) as different a case from malice aforethought as any two cases could possibly be. In the one case, they had the assassin selecting his prey, and awaiting the moment to compass his vile purpose; in the other, they had a man who had committed no offence in the town that any one knew of, hunted and pursued through the streets for his very life, till he suddenly and accidentally came in contact with the deceased; there was nothing to show that, as respected the firing of the pistols in Murray-street, Thomas did not fire his pistol first; Thomas, indeed, stated, that the prisoner fired first; but Agar, who was more calm and collected than Thomas possibly could have been, declares that he could not say which fired first, the report was like one and the same report. The learned counsel again submitted, that between this case and that of deliberate murder,- there was a vast distinction; and after commenting upon the alleged pointing of the pistols by the prisoner while being pursued, and the improbability, or indeed rather the impossibility, of Mr. Ebenezer Smith seeing the size of a pistol by its flash, while standing in advance of the person firing, contended that the attempt to apprehend the prisoner was not justifiable, unless he was made acquainted with Winstanley’s authority; he referred also again to the hue and cry not being in force in the colony; the learned gentleman put it to the jury, of course under His Honor’s direction, that the prisoner could not be held responsible for Winstanley’s death, unless he had some notice of the authority by which he acted. (In support of this opinion, Mr. Macdowell quoted Forsters Crown Law, article “Homicide.”).

His Honor observed, that the case to which the learned counsel referred, was very different. That case had reference to frays or riots, and by common law, if a constable during such fray or riot held up his staff, or otherwise declared his authority, that was an indication for the rioters to keep the peace; here there was no riot or tumult.

Mr. Macdowell. — The deceased interfered to stop a man in the street, for which it was very certain he ought to have had some authority.

His Honor. — The law was this: — if a man apprehended another without just cause, he was liable to indictment; so also were the originators of an unjust hue and cry.

After some further observations relative to the evidence respecting the pistols, Mr. Macdowell said, that he had undertaken the defence of the prisoner with great unwillingness, on account of his indisposition; but, learning from the prisoner, that if he, Mr. Macdowell, would not defend him, he would not have anyone else, be deemed it his duty to do so — and he had so done to the best of his ability and as well as physical capacity would allow; he trusted that the jury would give such a verdict as would be satisfactory alike to the crown, to the public, and to the prisoner’s counsel.

His Honor addressed the Jury at some length and with much ability, clearly pointing out the law of the case as was laid down on the several points, during the progress of the trial. All that the jury had to do was to find whether the deceased came to his death by the gun-shot wound, and whether that wound was inflicted by the prisoner. If they found the prisoner Guilty, there was malignity about the case; every argument had been used, and every question raised by the prisoner’s counsel upon the points of law, with great ingenuity and ability; but in his Honor’s mind the case was perfectly simple. His Honor then referred again to the questions, which he intended to put seriatim to the jury, and read over the whole of the evidence, commenting upon it as he proceeded. He deprecated the negligence — as it would seem — of the police authorities, in not taking Winstanley’s statement of the transaction, and gave great praise to the conduct of Mr. Cunliffe, “to whose coolness, courage, and promptitude, the public were indebted for the capture of the prisoner.” Those persons who refused to aid in the pursuit when called upon by Cunliffe, his Honor imputed great blame, as not only a cowardly act but a “gross dereliction of duty as good citizens and subjects,” and he regretted that their names were not known to the police, that they might be prosecuted. He directed them to discard all previous impressions as far as they could — from their minds, and to consider their verdict upon the evidences upon which alone they were to decide; and concluded by saying, that in his opinion, the offence was murder — deliberate murder — a very bad case indeed.

The Jury retired, and after an absence of twenty minutes, returned a verdict of Guilty generally; and an answer in the affirmative to the questions of the learned Judge, with the exception of the second, which they answered in the negative — His Honor, with reference to the fourth question, desired them to say, whether they were of opinion the prisoner shot at Thomas or Agar?

The Foreman replied, that they were of opinion he shot at constable Thomas.

The learned Judge perfectly concurred in the finding of the Jury; he addressed the prisoner in a brief but a very feeling manner, and while he held out to him no hope of mercy in this world, he should, nevertheless, remand him, in order again to look over the evidence, and to re-consider the points of law which had been raised by his counsel, who had kindly undertaken his defence when suffering under severe indisposition; he conjured him to entertain no hope that his life would be spared, but to believe that the extreme sentence of the law would be speedily carried into effect, for his Honor had no doubt that everything had been done that could have been done in his unfortunate case.

The prisoner then said, I have always been against taking the life of any man; I would do anything rather than deliberately do so. I never acted in a cowardly manner, nor in any other way than became a man. I have saved lives in the bush, and prevented many murders; if I had been a man to do murder, there would have been many murders committed in the bush. When we were in the bush we acted like men to every one; when we went to a house we took what we wanted, but we did no violence to man or woman; I could not suffer this. I hope you will not consider I am a man that would do a cowardly and deliberate murder; if I was driven into close quarters with a man I would fire at him and try all I could to get away; but I would not kill him, I would cripple him.

His Honor. — I do not doubt but you have throughout endeavoured to avoid shedding blood or using violence; from all that we have read and heard of you this is true; but still, I cannot hold out any hope to you.

The Prisoner. — I beg your Honor’s pardon, I did not mean that; I did not beg for my life — I do not value it one straw.

Spotlight: The Trial of Martin Cash – First Day

Austral-Asiatic Review, Tasmanian and Australian Advertiser (Hobart Town, Tas. : 1837 – 1844), Friday 15 September 1843, page 4



It being known that Martin Cash would be tried to-day, for the wilful murder of constable Peter Winstanley, the court was crowded with respectable citizens for some time before His Honor Mr. Justice Montagu took his seat on the Bench, and the greatest anxiety prevailed to obtain a view of the prisoner. At ten o’clock His Honor took his seat, and Martin Cash was ordered to be placed at the bar. The prisoner walked into the dock in the most unconcerned manner, which he preserved during the trial, standing erect, with his arms folded; he was dressed on this occasion in a blue jacket and trowsers, a blue striped shirt, a black handkerchief round his neck, and a green one round his head to cover the numerous wounds he had received at the time of his capture; while the information was being read, he gazed scowlingly at the dense crowd of spectators which filled the area of the Courthouse. The prisoner was then charged in a very elaborate manner, with shooting Peter Winstanley on the 29th of August, with “a certain pistol, of the value of 5s., being then and there loaded with gunpowder,” which gunpowder exploded, and discharged a leaden bullet, which did “strike, penetrate, and wound” the left breast of the said Peter Winstanley; of which wound the said Peter Winstanley “did languish, and languishing did live,” until he died on the 31st of August. To this information the prisoner pleaded, in a firm voice. Not Guilty! The Attorney-General, assisted by the Solicitor-General, conducted the prosecution, and Mr. Macdowell defended the prisoner. The following Jurors were then sworn: Messrs. Corbett, (Foreman), Blackhall, White, Bramwell, Holmes, Season, Large, Curry, Somers, Sadler, Meredith, and Wellard. Upon the application of Mr. Macdowell, all the witnesses, except the medical gentlemen, were ordered out of court. The Attorney-General having stated that the prisoner, as the jury would have learnt by the information which had been read by the officer of the court, was charged with the wilful murder of Peter Winstanley, observed that it would be folly in him to suppose that when the name of Martin Cash was first mentioned, the jury heard it for the first time; it would be gratifying to him indeed to know that this was the first time they had heard of that unfortunate man, all that he could do in the onset was to implore them, as far as in them lay, to divest their minds of any reports they may have seen in the newspapers, or have heard in other quarters — to discard in fact from their minds every particle of information they might have heard elsewhere. It ill became him to adduce any facts relative to the previous life or former transactions of the prisoner unconnected with the present case: but, anticipating the defence which his learned friend intended to adopt, it would be necessary for him to state certain facts which he otherwise should not have referred to, for he felt quite confident that his learned friend would suffer no point of law to escape, nor omit any ingenuity and effort in behalf of the prisoner. In looking to the manner in which he the Attorney-General should conduct this case, and in anticipation of a portion of the defence contemplated by his learned friend, he should have to show that the unfortunate man now placed at the bar, was a proscribed man, having absconded from the Penal Settlement at Port Arthur: and that he was to be captured at all risks, at all hazards, and for a specified reward: he did not think this course would be objected to, but if it was, he conceived that his Honor would overrule the objection.

The person who was wounded on the 29th of August, was sworn in as a constable, who for certain purposes was always considered to be on duty when his services were required; it was on this account that he, the Attorney-General intended to offer such evidence as he had described. Having done this he should lay before the jury such a body of evidence, as would enable them to come to a conclusion as to the guilt of the prisoner; it was for them to judge from the evidence, without fear or affection, and irrespective of the reports they might previously have heard. The learned counsel then entered into a brief and succinct account of the capture of Cash; and in reference to the circumstance of Winstanley hearing the cry of “stop him— it’s Cash, the bushranger,” as uttered by the witness, Cunliffe, observed, that if Winstanley had not been a constable, it was his duty, as a good subject, to capture the prisoner; and in doing so, Mrs. Smith would tell them that he did no more than his duty. He used no violence — he committed no assault; but did the least that could be done, by merely extending his arms towards the prisoner, who immediately shot him. Cash, it would be shown, struggled violently when on the ground and it was necessary, perhaps, to use some violence in taking him. He was a man of great prowess, of great strength, and resolute determination; and one of the constables beat him on the head with a pistol, while another constable kicked him on the head. The learned gentleman regretted that it was necessary to beat him thus severely; but the circumstances of the case seemed to require more than ordinary exertion, on the part of those engaged in his capture.

The Attorney-General concluded his address by directing the jury not to allow anything to operate against the return of a fair and a conscientious verdict, and again implored them to discard from their minds any preconceived impressions which they might have imbibed from hearsay reports. The learned gentleman then proceeded to call his witnesses, who delivered the same testimony as we have already reported in our account of the inquest, observing the following order of examination:— Mr. Price, Constables Thomas and Agar, Messrs. McDonald and Cunliffe, Mrs. Smith, Mr. Ebenezer Smith, Drs. Crowther and Officer. A considerable time was occupied in discussion upon technical points of evidence, chiefly with regard to the authority of Winstanley as a constable, and the identity of the prisoner with “Martin Cash, the bushranger,” his Honor rejecting the Gazette as prima facie evidence until its publication was proved, for which purpose Mr. Barnard, the Government printer, was called. There was some evidence given which, as bearing more especially upon the particular points of the case, we think it necessary to repeat; and, first, a portion of that deposed by constable Thomas, who was examined to the following effect by his Honor.

I swear I heard “Martin Cash” called out before we got to Argyle-street, as well as after — but I do not know by whom; I heard it called by several people before and after the pistol was fired off.

Cross-examined by Mr. Macdowell. – It was about twenty-six minutes before nine o’clock that I first saw the prisoner in Murray-street; I did not speak to him; it was not a very dark nor a very-light night; when the prisoner first spoke to me, it was, I should think, about 700 or 800 yards from Brisbane-street; I swear I heard two pistols fired in Murray-street—one by me, and one by the prisoner; I was following him, anxious to apprehend him, and he was running, anxious to get away; he never stopped to interfere with me; I found him on the ground.

By his Honor. — I knew the man that was running; I first knew it was Cash in Murray-street, from the description I had heard of him, and from Agar, who said, “Tom, this is the man we want;” I said, ” yes;” I picked him out from the description I had heard, and from his accent; I understood, by what Agar said, it was Martin Cash; I was looking for Martin Cash, or Jones; we were stationed at this spot for that purpose; I ran after Cash to take him prisoner, being an absentee, and having committed robberies; I had been instructed by my superior officer to take him on that charge if I could — by Mr. Symonds, the senior district constable; he told me to take him as a thief, a runaway, an absentee. At the close of Mrs. Smith’s examination, after she had mentioned the period of Winstanley’s de-cease, his Honor complained that no inquiry had been made by the magistrates, or the Coroner (as we understood), of Winstanley before his death, as to whether he had heard the hue and cry, and upon what grounds he had acted in attempting, the capture of the prisoner; also, as to whether he, Winstanley, knew the prisoner to have been Cash, or believed him to have committed come felony. The Attorney-General stated, that an inquiry was proposed, but forbidden by the medial attendant. His Honor observed that there had been great xxxx somewhere, and he should inquire into the matter. He never heard of a case where an inquiry was not made of the wounded man, as to the circumstances and cause of his death. His Honor should say nothing upon the subject at present.

Constable Thomas was recalled and questioned, as to whether he had seen the Proclamation or placard, offering a reward for the apprehension of Cash and describing his person; when he stated that he had, and that he had raised the hue and cry from no motives of reward; he would have raised it had he never seen the placard. (Cash, when the witness made this avowal, laughed contemptuously.) Upon this he was cross-examined by Mr. Macdowell, when he said, again, that Agar told him in Murray-street, that the man was Cash; his reply to Agar was “Yes; ” he did not remember saying to Agar, “do you think so?” he could not positively swear that he did not use those words, but he did not believe he did. Dr. Crowther, after describing the cause of Winstanley’s death, stated, that after he was first called to him, he returned, when he found him better and perfectly sensible, and able to relate how the accident occurred; when witness first saw the deceased, he, witness, thought the wound was mortal, and on his return he thought so, also; he had a conversation with the deceased, who said something to him relative to the nature of the wound and its probable result; this was between eleven at night and two o’clock in the morning; when Winstanley said this, he was in a perfectly sane state of mind; he said repeatedly that he was dying —that he was a dead man; it was hard, he said, to be killed by such a rascal, or words to that effect; witness suggested to him the propriety of preparing for an event that might take place in a short time; Winstanley made no reply but shut his eyes and groaned as if in pain; nothing fell from Winstanley expressive of the slightest hope of recovery; witness left him under the impression, that Winstanley himself thought he would die; at this visit Winstanley related the circumstanoes under which he came to his death ; he said, that when be heard the landlady (Mrs. Smith) call out “Peter, there is a thief,” he went into the road, and saw a man running down the street; he raised his arms attempting to stop him, and instantly received a shot; he exclaimed immediately, “the rascal has shot me,” or “I am shot;” witness did not recollect the exact expression; Winstanley said he then left the man who shot him, and was carried into the house; witness was not aware that he named any person’s name as having shot him; he made use of this expression, “who would have suspected that man to have been armed?” On his cross-examination. Dr. Crowther said, he extracted the ball after death; it was unnecessary to have done so before, as it would only have put the deceased to needless pain and would have accelerated his death, as he had already lost a great deal of blood. Dr. Officer concurred in the propriety of the treatment adopted by Dr. Crowther, and coincided in the cause of Winstanley’s death; it would have been highly improper to have extracted the ball during the life of the deceased, as it might have extinguished life; there were, doubtless, cases where it was proper and necessary to extract the ball, but this was not one of them. The case for the prosecution being closed, Mr. Macdowell rose and addressed the Court:—He submitted that upon that information, and upon the evidence adduced, there was no case to go to the jury, the charge against the prisoner being that of Wilful Murder. The learned counsel admitted that the evidence went to show that the deceased came by his death by an act of the prisoner, but there was nothing to show that the prisoner was actuated by malice aforethought; on the contrary, it was clear that the prisoner did not know the deceased, who, as the learned counsel should contend, without any legal authority, stopped the prisoner as he was proceeding along tbe street. The original attempt which the constables Thomas and Agar made to apprehend tbe prisoner, was a question altogether irrespective of the interference of Winstanley; if those men had reason to suspect that the prisoner at tbe bar was as absconded offender, there was nothing to show that the unfortunate deceased had any such knowledge. It had been said, that a “hue and cry” was raised; but that old formality of the law has been long since abrogated; the statutes which enacted and supported such a proceeding have been repealed, except in the instance of the simple offence of angling in a river in tbe day time on a Sunday. It was certainly in evidence that the constables Thomas and Agar, with a number of other persons, pursued the prisoner with loud cries, but that, legally speaking, was not a “hue and cry;” there was, in fact, now no such thing; and even when such was in existence, tbe constables raising the cry were obliged to be armed with a special warrant. Under those circumstances, if any person who joined in the hue and cry, for people were compelled to do so, met with his death, that was murder; in the present unfortunate case, there was no warrant to apprehend, neither was there a knowledge of any offence committed. The learned counsel quoted from Blackstone’s Commentaries, an explanation of tbe old “hue and cry,” as enacted by the 4th and 5th of William and Mary, and the repeal of the laws in reference to them, by the 7th and 8th Geo. IV. His Honor observed, that the “hue and cry” to which the learned counsel adverted, and which had been repealed, had reference only to certain particular offences; it was still applicable in cases like the present, and any person was justified in attempting to apprehend a suspected felon who was running from his pursuers. Mr. Macdowell would then admit that, but, supposing that the hue and cry was proper, was there anything to show that it had ever reached the de-ceased? all that they had heard on this point was, that Mrs. Smith had told Winstanley there was a thief running away, and that there upon he immediately ran out to apprehend him. Then there was the dying statement of the deceased to Dr. Crowther, in which be plainly infers that be did not know who tbe prisoner at the bar was; he Winstanley observed “who would have supposed that the fellow was armed?” The learned counsel submitted that the offence which the prisoner had committed could not be murder. No one could regret more deeply than himself the lamentable consequences that had ensued, but he must say that Winstanley having interposed in a manner for which he was not authorised, the consequences however deplorable rested upon his head and upon his bead alone. His Honor could not concur in the view of the case which had been taken by tbe learned counsel, neither could he allow if to go forth to the public, that a constable in the exercise of his functions, was not entitled to the protection of the law, because as had been averred, the statutes respecting hue and cry were repealed, they were in his Honor’s opinion still in force for all practical purposes in cases similar to the present. The Attorney-General briefly replied, he said that the statutes enforcing the hue and cry were only enacted in aid of the common law, by this law the deceased, even as a good subject and citizen, was called upon to act, and he was bound to interfere as a constable when he heard cries in the streets, if it were only to protect the pursued party from the violence of his pursuers. His Honor having conferred some time with Mr. Hone, the Master of the Court, who sat on the hench during the whole trial, observed that he was very happy to have his views of the case concurred in by the learned Master of tbe Supreme Court. His Honor then explained the law in reference to the justifiable interference of officers attempting to arrest suspected offenders; it was for the jury to say whether the unfortunate man Winstanley was justified in his conduct; if they were satisfied of that, be should call upon them for a verdict if not, he should reserve the point; at all events there was a clear case to go to the jury. Mr. Macdowell who was evidently labouring under severe indisposition, proceeded to address the jury, but his Honor perceiving his exhaustion, suggested an adjournment; to this the learned counsel acceded and the court was accordingly adjourned until the next morning at ten o’clock. The jury were then conducted under the charge of Mr. Under-sheriff Crouch, to “The Macquarie,” where they were allowed fire and refreshments, and where they remained excluded from communication from without until the next morning. There was a report in the Town that Mrs. Cash, the prisoner’s wife was present during a portion of the day, we did not recognize her amongst the few females who had the courage to brave the crowd and gain admittance into the court-house.


Spotlight: Apprehension and Committal of Martin Cash

Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 – 1857), Tuesday 5 September 1843, page 3




On Friday morning a highly respectable Jury was summoned to enquire into the death of Constable Peter Winstanley, who had been shot by Martin Cash, in Brisbane-street, on Tuesday night when in the act of capturing that daring and desperate man, and who expired on Thursday morning, at the Old Commodore. As Winstanley’s body lay at that house, and as he was shot opposite the door, the Jury was summoned to attend there, and accordingly, at ten o’clock on Friday morning the following Jury was impanelled :— Mr. Rout, senior, Foreman ; Messrs. J. Robertson, J. Johnston, J. Wilkinson, E. Howe, W. Lindsay, and S. A.Tegg. Having viewed the body of the deceased, and returned to the jury jury-room, the Coroner, Mr. Champ addressed them and observing that as there would be great impropriety, as must be obvious to them, in having Martin Cash dragged there through the streets, and as it was desirable that he should be present, at the enquiry, it was proposed that the inquest should be held at the gaol ; he also directed the jury to discard from their minds the various contradictory reports they must have heard, and judge the case solely by the evidence to be adduced.

Mr. Rout, the foreman, believed, that, according to a recent law, it was not necessary that the party accused should be present at the enquiry. The Coroner said, as we understood him, that perhaps it was not legally necessary, but in the present instance it was highly desirable. The jury accordingly repaired to the gaol, and about half-past ten the enquiry commenced. The jurors having taken their seats, Martin Cash, was brought into the room, very heavily ironed, so much so, indeed, that he was assisted up the stairs by three persons ; he looked embrowned and weather-beaten ; the upper part of his face was cut and bruised, but the cap which he wore concealed the injuries inflicted upon his head by the constable Thomas Thomas, who broke the butt of his horse pistol in beating him over the head [see his evidence] ; the prisoner was dressed or rather, scantily covered with a flannel jacket and trowsers, ragged at the knee, and exposing his thigh, without shoe or stocking ; he sank into his seat in sullen indifference and sat scowling, and apparently unconcerned, and with his arms folded during the examination of the several witnesses. Before the examination was commenced, Mr. Champ addressed the prisoner, and told him that he had sent for him, in order that he might be present at the enquiry ; so that he might have an opportunity to hear the evidence, and to put such questions, to the witnesses as he might think proper.

Prisoner (in a careless manner) — Oh! there is no occasion to say anything here.

The Coroner wished him to pay attention to the evidence. He had thought it better for the prisoner to be present, seeing that he stood charged with the murder of the deceased, whether rightly or not he, the Coroner could not say.

Mrs Mary Ann Smith.— I am the landlady of the Old Commodore public house in Brisbane-street ; I had known the deceased, Peter Winstanley, for several years ; he was at my house on Tuesday night, when he told me he was a prisoner of the crown, and had two or three months to serve before he got his emancipation ; about twenty minutes before nine on Tuesday night, the deceased was in my bar, having been in the house about half an hour ; I heard a cry of “stop that man!” I ran into the street, and saw a man running a-head of his pursuers, and going down Brisbane-street, towards the Government paddock ; there were a great many people after him, and as near him as the Man of War public-house ; I called to Winstanley, and said, “Peter, come out and stop this man, who has been thieving or murdering his wife ;” the man was running in the middle of the road ; Peter Winstanley came out instantly, and stood in the road, opposite the man who was running ; Winstanley held his arms in the middle of the road ; the other man ran against him with some force, and then drew back a little, and fired ; I did not see with what the man fired, but I saw a flash, and heard a report, I should say of a pistol ; Winstanley cried out, “Oh, Mrs. Smith, I am shot — I am a dead man ;” he came towards me, and leaned against me, and I and my son assisted him into the house ; when he entered the house, he fell on his back ; I cannot tell what became of the other man ; there was a great rush and noise in the street, and I locked the door instantly ; the deceased was standing about two yards from me when he was shot ; I sent immediately for Doctors Meyer and Crowther ; just before I heard the shot, the man who was running appeared to take some-thing from about his breast, and he held out his arm towards the deceased ; there was no one else standing by him ; the flash seemed to come from his hand ; I am quite positive that the man who was running was the man who fired the shot ; I did not see his face ; he was dressed in dark clothes ; there was no light, except from the fire-arms, by which I could distinguish that the man was tall, and that he was dressed in dark clothes ; I did not observe what was on his head, or what kind of trousers he had on ; Dr. Crowther came about five minutes after Winstanley was shot ; he was then lying on the ground, where he fell ; Dr. Meyer was very ill ; he went away, as he could not attend upon the deceased ; nobody had interfered with the deceased, or touched him, before Dr. Crowther came ; he had not spoken at all ; when Dr. Crowther came, the deceased’s clothes were taken off, and he was removed to bed ; I saw a hole in his side before he was put to bed, and while the doctors were examining him, the wound was bleeding ; Dr. Crook was also there, and he and Dr. Crowther attended the deceased till he died ; I saw no other marks of violence on his body ; the deceased died a little before eleven o’clock yesterday (Thursday) morning ; I knew the deceased to have been a constable, but did not call to him in that capacity ; I should have called to any one.

On being asked if he wished to put any questions to Mrs. Smith, Cash replied — “I have no wish to put any questions to the woman ; I don’t know her — what questions should I put to her ?”

In answer to a question by the Coroner, Mrs. Smith said, there were two lamps near — one over her door, and another at the corner of the street, by the church ; she could not at all distinguish the features of the man who fired.

John Price, Esq., Police Magistrate for Hobart Town, deposed as follows :— I know the deceased, as “Peter Winstanley,” he was a constable since the 10th April, 1842, and was attached to the Hobart Town Police Force ; he was not on duty on Tuesday last ; I had sent him up the country on special service, with two absconders in his charge ; constables are always considered to be on duty when their services are required ; I know the prisoner Martin Cash, I know him well ; I first saw him about eighteen months since ; he is a prisoner of the crown and an absconder from Port Arthur ; I tried him summarily and sentenced him eighteen months’ ago, to hard labour in chains for two years, at Port Arthur ; I sentenced him for absconding ; I think, also, he had two years extension of sentence, he being a seven years’ man ; I have seen his name in the Gazette, as having absconded from Port Arthur ; there is no other Martin Cash in the colony ; there is a Martin Cass, but not Cash ; I know of a Proclamation offering a reward for the apprehension of the prisoner, published by authority of the Government ; I have also issued warrants for his apprehension ; this was known generally to the police, but I cannot say whether the deceased knew it ; I issued a warrant for robbing the Coach — a highway robbery, likewise as being a prisoner at large with fire arms ; on being told that Winstanley was dead, Cash said he was glad ; I think it right to say, however, that he sent me a message this morning, saying, he was sorry for the expression he had used relative to Winstanley’s death ; Cash at first refused to have his wounds dressed, until I threatened to use force for the purpose.

The Police Record Book was now produced, by which it was found that Cash had been tried summarily on 2nd June 1842, by Mr. Price & Mr. Gunn, when he received two years’ extension of his sentence, and was recommended to be sent to Port Arthur, he being at large a long time and suspected of having committed several felonies.

Mr. Ebenezer Smith, son of Mrs. Smith, stated, that on hearing the cry of “stop thief,” or “stop that man,” he ran out, and he corroborated so much of his mother’s evidence as proved the shooting of the deceased ; he stated, also, that Winstanley grappled with the man before he drew back and fired ; Winstanley also held the man till some of his pursuers came up, when he let him go, and said, he was a dead man ; the pistol which the man fired was a foot long ; witness distinctly saw it by the flash; the man was running with his arms crossed when witness first saw him ; as soon as he shot Winstanley the people came up and grappled with him ; he struggled a great deal to get away, and kept the people away till he got to the curb, when he fell ; witness thought there were two or three hundred people following him ; when he was down a man beat him with the butt-end of a large pistol, while the people called out — “use him fair, don’t kill him!” The man that beat him was a tall man dressed in light clothes, but witness would not know him again ; witness never lost sight of the tall man from the time he fired at Winstanley till he fell down ; he got by some means to the foot of the sign post, where, in about five minutes afterwards another pistol went off ; witness did not know by whom that was fired ; after this there were cries of “murder him! kick him!” and the man with the pistol beat him again ; he must have been dragged to the sign-post by the movement of the people ; all the time he was on the ground he struggled very much ; witness heard that a man was shot in the face by the second pistol ; about ten minutes after the second pistol was fired, the man was got up and taken to the Penitentiary ; witness could not trace the man’s features, and did not know whether it was the same that shot Winstanley ; he was, however quite certain that the man that was beaten with the pistol was the same as was taken to the Peniten-tiary ; being requested to look at Cash, the witness did so, but said, that he did not see his features sufficiently distinct to enable him to recognize him, he had on a dark dress but no cap when witness saw him.

By the Foreman.—He appeared to have on a close-bodied coat, down to the knees ; his clothes were dark.

Prisoner. — Have you wrote down everything this young man knows about me ?

Coroner. — He has not mentioned you yet .

Prisoner. — Well, the man you think to have been me ; he says had on a frock coat.

Coroner. — He says it was so dark, he did not rightly know ; but I will write it down, if you wish it.

Prisoner. — Ah! well —

John M’Donald. — I live at No. 45, Brisbane-street ; at half-past eight o’clock on Tuesday evening I heard the report of a pistol, in the direction of Murray-street ; I ran out, and saw a man running, and some people crying ” Stop him ;” he turned round the corner into Brisbane-street ; I went up to him, when he said, “They want to rob me ;” I went closer to him, when he said, “If you dare to stop me, you are a dead man!” No one else was near, and I was in advance of the man. On hearing this, I let him pass, but hearing cries of “He is a murderer” I threw off my coat, and feeling an irresistible inclination to stop him, I ran after him ; when near Roxboro’ House, he turned deliberately round, and fired at me — fortunately, the pistol did not go off ; he was not then running very fast, but appeared exhausted ; a man named Cunliffe came up ; he was close to me when the man pointed the pistol ; I think I was rather the foremost of the two ; I could not swear it was a pistol the man pointed at me, as I did not see one, but I heard a snap ; I saw neither flash nor sparks ; we both continued to run, calling — “Stop him, stop him !” we passed several persons, ; some laughed, some stood still ; we came near the Old Commodore, when a man rushed out of the house ; I saw Cash shoot him ; I never lost sight of Cash since I first pursued him. [The witness here corroborated the shooting, as explained by the other witnesses.] Cunliffe and I then closed upon the man, and threw him on his back ; a constable came up, and took up a pistol that was lying on the ground, and beat Cash about the head ; we succeeded in holding him on the ground till other persons came up ; I should not know the constable again who beat Cash with the pistol ; thinking Cash was going to bite my leg, I let go my hold, when Cash took out another pistol, and fired it off at random ; I heard some one say he was shot in the face, and he ran off; I am not quite sure that the constable took the pistol off the ground.

The Coroner here desired the witness to be more particular in his answers, as it was a matter of great consequence to the prisoner, observing that he said just now the constable picked it up.

Prisoner. — He has sworn it.

The witnesses were here ordered to withdraw, and M’Donald’s examination was resumed — I am quite positive Cash is the man ; I never lost sight of him until he was taken to the Penitentiary ; I did not see the pistol fired, but I heard the report and could feel him rummaging about his breast, and I immediately heard the pistol go off ; the constables soon after handcuffed Cash, and lodged him in the Penitentiary ; I did not know the deceased ; neither can I say that the body I saw this morning was that of the person shot by Cash.

By the Foreman. — I could tell by his accent that he was an Irishman ; he spoke like Cash, whom I heard speak at the Penitentiary ; I was leaning over his face, and could recognise his features ; it was dark, but I could see sufficiently for that purpose.

By Mr. Lindsay. — I could not say what dress the prisoner had on ; I believe it was dark ; I will not swear positively, but I think he had a coat on ; I asked the constable his name who struck Cash with the pistol, but he would not tell me ; I took off his hairy cap, put it in Cash’s hat, and gave them to Mr. Gunn. On being pressed, as to his recognition of Cash’s face, the witness said, that when he was in the “Tench,” he saw his face distinctly by the lamps, and he had never lost sight of him ; he could say positively that Cash was the same man that was lodged in the Penitentiary.

By the Foreman — I was six or eight yards behind Cash when Winstanley first came out of the “Old Commodore,” and within two yards of him when he shot the deceased ; he just put out his hands, and touched Cash, when he was shot ; the deceased did not hold Cash after he was shot.

The prisoner declined to ask this witness any questions.

Charles Cunliffe. — I reside in Murray-street, and am a carpenter and joiner by trade ; on Tuesday evening, between eight and nine o’clock, I heard the report of a pistol ; I went out to my gate, and saw a man coming in a direction from Veteran’s Row, in a blue dress ; I ran to meet him, and asked him what was the matter ; he turned round and pointed something at me ; I will not swear it was a pistol, or, if it was, that he snapped it ; he made me no answer ; I then heard a voice behind the prisoner, saying, “stop him — it’s Cash — stop thief!” or words to that effect ; I then pursued him down Brisbane-street, and overtook him near the Independent chapel ; he then turned round, and pointed at me again ; I drew back, and cried out, “stop him — it’s Cash, the bushranger ;” I met three people, who crossed to the other side of the road ; no one was then with me, but some persons were behind me ; we ran till we came to Trinity Church, when I saw a man run across the street. (The witness here corroborated the manner in which the deceased was shot.) After Cash fired, I seized him by the shoulder and said, “you murdering rascal, do you know what you have done ;” I threw him on his back, and M’Donald and I fell upon him ; I did not see M’Donald till I put my hand on Cash’s shoulder ; I put my hand on his throat, and my knee on his chest, a constable came up, to whom I said, “keep off, for God’s sake — he has got fire-arms about him ;” other persons then came up, and as they were taking Cash’s fire-arms away, a pistol went off, and slightly wounding me in the hand, shot a person in the face ; Cash was then secured, and conveyed to the Penitentiary ; he was there searched, and one or two watches, and some notes, were taken from him, but no fire-arms ; I recognise him as the same person I had seen conducted to the Tench ; he was smothered with blood, so that Mr. Gunn could not recognise him ; the prisoner Cash is that man ; I did not call out to the prisoner to stop till I captured him ; the man who ran out of the Old Commodore must have heard me say, it was “Cash, the bushranger ;” he must have heard me a quarter of a mile off from the way I hallooed ; I did not know at the time who that man was, but I have since heard he belonged to the police ; I do not recollect whether I saw any pistol at the time Cash was taken ; there was one went off at the time, which I felt, but I did not see it ; my hand was on the muzzle of the pistol, when it went off.

By a Juryman (Mr. Howe) — I saw a constable beat the prisoner on the head with something that I heard was a pistol ; this I prevented ; this pistol could not be the one that went off.

Thomas Thomas. — I am a constable, and was on duty, with constable Agar, on Tuesday night, in Murray-street, near the Blue Bells of Scotland public-house, between eight and nine o’clock ; I saw two men coming down the street, a tall one and a short one ; they came from Brisbane-street towards the Blue Bells of Scotland ; they stopped, while Agar and myself kept out of sight ; we then stepped out to them, when the short man asked Agar “if he knew a man named Pratt about here?” Agar said he did not exactly, and asked me if I knew him? I said, I did not exactly, but there is a man of that name living hereabouts, on the other side of the creek, first house on the right, up a sort of alley ; the short man went up towards the house, about twenty yards ; the tall man stood with me, and Agar went after the short one ; the short man turned back, and said to the tall one, “here, I want you!” he was away about a minute, but did not go into the house ; the tall man took no notice, but went on towards Brisbane-street, and I kept behind him, Agar going with us ; the tall man must have heard the other ; he quickened his pace and began to walk very fast, and set to running, when I ran too, and said, “you must stop, my man ;” he stopped directly, and pointed his pistol at me and fired ; I was ready for him, and fired at the same time ; I saw his pistol most distinctly ; he then set off running very fast, and Agar and I ran after him down Murray-street, towards Brisbane-street ; before he reached Brisbane-street, he stopped, and pointed his pistol two or three times, but did not fire ; I pointed mine too, but I had nothing in it ; we stuck to him ; I could not see the pistol ; another man came up, and Cash fired again, but whether at me, or Agar, or the other man, I cannot tell ; he actually fired in Brisbane-street, about one hundred and fifty or two hundred yards from the corner; I do not know the other man who first came up ; I am quite positive Cash fired, I saw the flash ; Cunliffe had not joined us at that time ; this was in Brisbane-street, about one hundred and fifty or two hundred yards from the corner of Murray-street ; when Cunliffe joined us he asked what was the matter? I was now getting “winded,” and Cunliffe being fresh, I said to him, “my good man, take him if you can, it is Cash, follow him up ;” Cunliffe pursued him ; he joined us first-near Elizabeth-street.

The Coroner here directed Cunliffe to be re-called, when Cash said, “Can’t you take one man’s statement at a time? You had better call them all up at once, and tell them what to say.” Thomas recognised Cunliffe, who said, that Thomas had told him that it was Cash the bushranger.

Examination continued — I followed the pursuit, raising a hue and cry with the others, till we came to the Old Commodore, when the man Cash was down ; I then set to, and being satisfied it was Cash, struck him on the head with my pistol ; this pistol I had from Mr. Symonds, Chief District Constable ; I broke it beating Cash, about the head ; I beat the man because I thought I stood a good chance of being shot if I did not secure him ; when the pistol broke I seized him by the throat, and called upon Agar, who had a thick pair of boots, to kick him about the head ; when he was nearly strangled and pretty quiet, I called to Agar to put the handcuffs on ; while putting on the handcuffs, Agar took a pistol from

him, which went off at the same moment ; Agar has that pistol ; (it was a small pistol, the barrel of which corresponded with the ball that was taken from Mr. Oldfield’s cheek 😉 the prisoner had the pistol in his hand when Agar took it from him ; when the pistol went off, I called out to Agar to give it him in the head ; it was the only chance we had ; he was then handcuffed and taken to the Penitentiary ; I should know the man again ; the prisoner Cash is the man ; I did not hear any one call out anything besides “stop thief, and stop him!”

Constable Agar corroborated the testimony of Thomas, and Drs. Officer and Crowther deposed to the cause of the deceased’s death, occasioned by the wound inflicted by the pistol shots, which had penetrated the anterior portion of the left lung, and lodged in the opposite side of the body, causing considerable hœmorrhage.

On being asked if he wished to say anything in his defence, Cash said, it was of no use saying anything there ; he begged the jury to notice the quantity of false swearing that had been adduced, and observed that, because there was a reward offered for him, the witnesses had sworn that he had arms about him sufficient to shoot all Hobart Town.

The Coroner addressed the jury, and, in a plain and lucid manner, placed before them the leading points of the case, and after a consultation of nearly half an hour, they brought in a verdict of “wilful murder against Martin Cash.”

The Surveyor-General was present during nearly the whole time, till half-past four o’clock, and a few respectable persons were admitted into the jury room. We beg to express our thanks to Mr. Champ for the urbanity and readiness with which, when the jury was adjourned, he acceded to our request for permission to attend the inquest in the jail.

Spotlight: Cash & co. rob a coach in Epping Forest.

Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), Thursday 27 July 1843, page 2

THE BUSHRANGERS. – Cash and his party, about ten o’clock on Monday morning last stopped the Launceston coach on Epping Forest. They came up in a direction from the South Esk River, by a by-road which leads to one of Mr. Gibson’s farms. They desired the coachman to stop, and all bands to alight. Mr. Jacobs said to Mrs. Cox and another lady inside, “don’t be frightened, these men won’t hurt us.”
“No, no,” said Cavanagh, “we are not the men to hurt the women – let’s see what you have got,” and Jones proceeded to search all hands, but used no violence, only asked them for their watches and money. Jones stood by and took the booty whilst the others stood near and watched. They were all well armed ; one was without his hat, and neither had a knapsack. Jacobs gave Jones his purse with four sovereigns in it, and a valuable watch and chain ; Jones then asked Jacobs for the key of his box, which was on the top of the coach, unlocked it, and examined it, and called out “Martin, do we want any clothes?”
“Oh, never mind,” said Cash, and Jones only took out of it a pair of trousers ; he took Jacobs’s hat from his head, and tried to put it on his head: Jacobs said, “Give us that back, it won’t fit you.”
“No, no,” said Jones, “that won’t do.”

Mrs, Cox gave him her pocket-book, in which were some notes and papers ; she said, “give me my book and papers,” some of which had dropped out with a pound note on the ground ; he returned the book and papers, and she said “Why you are more frightened than us, you have dropped a pound. Pick it up and keep it, you are so civil; why what a miserable life you must lead.”
“Miserable, be d—d,” said Cavanagh ; he then took a pound note from Miss Hilton; two pounds from Mr. Darke; and seven one pound notes and a watch from Hewett, the coachman ; searched the residue of the coach, then asked how far it was from Thornhills, and made off the same road they came ; the coach drove on, and soon after met a police party from Campbell Town – so that there is every possible reason to believe, one being without his hat, that they had been closely, and were closely pursued. The above facts have beep sworn to at the police office. – Hobart Town Advertiser

The Midlands Highway as it runs through Epping Forest towards Cleveland.

Ten Bushrangers Who Deserve Their Own Movie

With multiple film productions about Ned Kelly underway, it’s clear that bushrangers are becoming a popular topic once more. However, there are many bushrangers who deserve their own films as well and here are some of the great stories waiting to be brought to life. Some have been brought to the screen before in silent films that have since vanished, some were slated to be filmed but the projects never got off the ground and some just had bad outings in the past.

10. William Westwood: Few stories in bushranging are equal parts adventurous and tragic. William Westwood fills this to a tee. Westwood arrived in Australia as a teenage convict and soon became a highwayman, many oral traditions painted him as a gallant bandit who was courteous to women and more prone to larking about than committing robberies, his horsemanship considered second to none. However, the brutality of the penal system saw him lead a riot on Norfolk Island during which he murdered three men in cold blood. A film exploring just what causes a man not known to be violent to snap and commit a triple homicide would be gripping viewing and a tale that to date has never graced the screen.
Potential Casting: Tom Hughes (Victoria)


9. Teddy the Jewboy: Edward Davis aka Teddy the Jewboy was Australia’s only known Jewish bushranger. Starting out as a street kid in London, he was transported for a failed shoplifting and absconded from Hyde Park Barracks to become a bushranger. Thanks to his father’s connections he soon joined a gang of bushrangers and rapidly climbed the ranks to become their leader. This diminutive, heavily tattooed Jew with a penchant for pink ribbons began a campaign to punish the cruel superintendents who brutalised the convicts assigned to them – but never on a Saturday, according to the legends, as that was the Sabbath. No doubt a colourful character such as this would make for exciting viewing as well as highlight the cultural diversity present in Australia in the 1800s, even if it is within the criminal fraternity.
Potential Casting: Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter)


8. Dan Morgan: Morgan has been brought to life on screen twice already, the first time in a silent film that has since disappeared and the second in 1975’s Mad Dog Morgan starring Dennis Hopper. Why, then, does Morgan deserve his own film when so many bushrangers haven’t had even one film? In short the true story of Morgan is yet to be shown on screen. Mad Dog Morgan took frequent and somewhat bizarre liberties with the facts despite using Margaret Carnegie’s Morgan the Bold Bushranger as a source. Examples of the weird liberties taken in the ’75 film include: Dennis Hopper’s Irish accent; making John Wendlan and Sergeant Smyth recurring villains; turning Success from a prison hulk into a fortress prison; the inclusion of Billy, an Aboriginal bushranger; removing Morgan’s moustache to make him look more like Abraham Lincoln and references to the Tasmanian Tiger as an “extinct animal” despite the last Tasmanian Tiger dying in captivity in 71 years later. The true story of Morgan would make for an incredible Gothic Western or psychological drama with the gaps in the history making room for some artistic license to explain what made Morgan the man he was.
Potential Casting: Sam Parsonson (Gallipoli, Coffin Rock)

7. Jessie Hickman: Elizabeth McIntyre aka Jessie Hickman was commonly known as the “Lady Bushranger” in the Blue Mountains district. A former circus trick rider and champion rough rider, Hickman found herself in a life of crime, stealing cattle from the neighbouring farmers and hiding out with her gang of young men in her headquarters in the Nullo Mountain. Hickman was an amazing rider and master of disguise, she was a wild child who would rather give up her family than leave the bush. Hickman’s story is the subject of an in-development film entitled Lady Bushranger, so here’s hoping that production grows some legs so it can get up and running.
Potential Casting: Teresa Palmer (Hacksaw Ridge)


6. Matthew Brady: He may not be a household name now but at one time Matthew Brady was the bushranger’s bushranger. Transported to Van Diemans Land in the early days of the colony, he and nine other convicts stole a boat and rowed from Sarah Island to Hobart where they took to the bush and set the bar for all bushrangers that came after. They robbed travellers and farms but Brady also enjoyed grander gestures such as breaking into the prison at Sorell and releasing the inmates then locking up the redcoats who had been hunting him. His chivalry towards women was famous and in his condemned cell he received letters and gifts from dozens of female admirers. Brady’s life was full of adventure and drama – perfect for a big screen experience.
Potential Casting: Thomas Cocquerel (In Like Flynn, Red Dog: True Blue)

5. Martin Cash: Perhaps the best candidate for Tasmania’s patron bushranger is Martin Cash who is most famous for his memoirs, which were published in the 1870s. An Irish convict, he started fresh in New South Wales before a stock theft charge saw him flee to Van Diemans Land with his lover. After escaping from Port Arthur twice, he led the band of bushrangers known as Cash and Co. Cash is another character whose doomed romance forms a vital part of the narrative, his passion leading him to a long stint at Norfolk Island. Cash was handsome, cheeky, passionate and wild and with a good supporting cast to pad out the story it could very well be one for the ages.
Potential Casting: Paul Mescal (God’s Creatures, Carmen)

4. Harry Power: Harry Power was Victoria’s greatest highwayman, gaining a price on his head of £500 at the peak of his career. Best remembered as Ned Kelly’s tutor in crime, to date he has only been seen on screen as a bit part in The Last Outlaw played by Gerard Kennedy and will be seen again in the adaptation of True History of the Kelly Gang portrayed by Russell Crowe. Power, however, was an intriguing character in his own right with robberies, chases, romance and prison escapes all part and parcel of the highwayman’s tale. While his association with Ned Kelly is what most people know him for, that association only lasted a couple of months leaving so much more of the story untouched and ripe or the picking.
Potential Casting: Philip Quast (Hacksaw Ridge, The Brides of Christ, Picnic at Hanging Rock)

3. The Clarke Gang: Of all the bushranging gangs that held Australia in a state of tension and fear, few can truly compare to the Clarke Gang who roamed New South Wales in the mid 1860s. Stock theft, robbery, raids and murder are plentiful in the story of their brief and violent reign of terror that concluded on the gallows of Darlinghurst Gaol. To date this incredible story has never been brought to screen and perhaps is far too epic to contain in one standalone film, lending itself better to a mini-series given how numerous the depredations of the gang were. The Clarke story is one of family, lawlessness and the dark side of human nature.
Potential Casting: Hugh Sheridan (Packed to the Rafters, Boar)

2. Frank Gardiner: Few bushrangers earned their place in the pantheon of bushranging like Francis Christie aka Frank Gardiner. Gardiner introduced many of the greatest bushrangers to the game including Johnny Gilbert, John O’Meally and Ben Hall. Gardiner’s greatest claim to fame was the robbery of the gold escort at Eugowra Rocks which was one of the largest gold heists in history. Gardiner’s ill-fated romance with Kitty Brown (Ben Hall’s sister in law) makes for brilliant drama and no doubt the mix of romance, action and sexy outlaws on horses would be a great combination. A film version of Gardiner’s career titled The Legend of Frank Gardiner by Matthew Holmes, the man behind The Legend of Ben Hall, has been in development for a time and would be a fantastic opportunity to bring this fascinating story to life.
Potential Casting: Luke Arnold (Black Sails, INXS: Never Year Us Apart)


1. Captain Moonlite: Few bushranger stories have the potential to tug the heart-strings like that of Andrew George Scott aka Captain Moonlite. The tale of a well-educated pastor’s fall from grace into infamy is gripping, full of drama, humour and the highest profile LGBTI+ romance in bushranger history. From his romances in Bacchus Marsh and his alleged robbery of the bank in Mount Egerton with subsequent playboy lifestyle in Sydney to his grueling prison sentence in Pentridge full of misadventure and the desperation that led him to Wantabadgery Station, Scott’s story would captivate audiences. Throw in his love affair with fellow bushranger James Nesbitt and you have a scandalous and topical tale of forbidden love to boot. A Moonlite film by Rohan Spong went into production several years ago but was never publicly released, so as we reach the 140th anniversary of his hanging it would be nice to see him get some love.
Ideal cast: Dan Stevens (Beauty and the Beast, Legion, Downton Abbey)


Honourable mentions:

There are far too many bushranger stories to bring to life as standalone films, which makes a list of ten extremely difficult to choose. Here are some of the bushrangers who almost made the cut.

* Captain Thunderbolt and Mary Ann Bugg: The story of Frederick Wordsworth Ward and his family is perfect for a film. A loveable rogue with his tough and resourceful wife who frequently sacrificed her own freedom for his. It’s a love story and a tragedy.

* Captain Melville: The gentleman bushranger Captain Melville is one of Victoria’s most Infamous. From being a convict to a notorious brigand to getting busted in a brothel and beyond Melville is a colourful character who will keep audiences entertained.

* The Kenniff brothers: The tragic tale of Queensland’s most infamous bushranging family would make for a brilliant and gripping film. A movie that portrays the intense legal drama that unfolded at the turn of the century to prove that Paddy and Jim Kenniff murdered Albert Dahlke and Constable Doyle then incinerated the remains while trying to recreate what really happened would be incredibly moving and memorable.

* The Ribbon Gang: The uprising known as the Bathurst Rebellion led by Ralph Entwistle is epic and dramatic. Kicked off after Entwistle was unfairly punished for skinny dipping, it became one of the most incredible outbreaks of bushranging in history with Entwistle’s gang rumoured to have exceeded 100 men all raiding, pillaging and murdering in the district before a series of battles with the military saw the bushrangers vanquished, ten bushrangers meeting their end on the scaffold.

* The Gilbert-Hall Gang: The last days of the Hall gang were portrayed in the award-winning The Legend of Ben Hall, but aside from a long forgotten TV series from 1975 and several missing silent films, the glory days of the gang have not been committed to film – and none ever portrayed accurately. Hall and Gilbert with John O’Meally, John Vane and Mickey Burke were once the most formidable bandits in Australia, bailing up Canowindra and Bathurst multiple times and committing countless highway robberies. Few bushranging tales can compete with this one for sheer adventure, drama and tragedy.

* Henry Maple: The story of Henry Maple, the boy bushranger, would make for a tragic and spellbinding story. A taut and suspenseful film could track the brief, wild period that Maple struck terror into rural Victoria in the 1920s with his sidekick Rob Banks, culminating his fatal standoff against an armed posse in the bush. Unlike other bushranger stories it would have the unique aspect of modern technology such as automobiles and the startling youth of the lead character to make for a bushranger film unlike any other.

Spotlight: Relics of Cash and Co.

This innocuous image by C. Southey portrays a myriad of items purported to be linked to the bushrangers Martin Cash, Lawrence Kavanagh and George Jones, aka Cash and Co.

The image is a mish-mash of convict paraphernalia sprinkled with weaponry of outlaws and constabulary. The items all tell a fascinating story about crime and punishment and life in the penal system in the 1800s. For example, the convict cap appears to be a half circle of material here, but what is not on show is the functionality of the piece. The cap was made of leather to trap heat in winter and consisted of a skull cap with two wide flaps. What we see here is the cap flattened with the flaps tied up. In the heat of summer the flaps could be untied and formed a wide brimmed cap. Such was the cleverness of the design of the uniforms – at least in part.

The three bushrangers were all transportees who had done time together in Port Arthur before escaping via Eaglehawk Neck (where they lost their clothes and had to proceed into the bush nude). The gang were formidable and kept the forces of law and order overworked around the New Norfolk region of Tasmania. When Martin Cash heard of his wife’s infidelity he went on a murderous mission to Hobart which ended up in Kavanagh being badly wounded in the arm – he soon gave himself up. A repeat performance saw a man killed, another horribly disfigured by a gunshot and Cash brutally clubbed before being arrested. The following year George Jones, having formed his own gang, was shot in the face and blinded during a bungled raid and was sent to the gallows. Kavanagh was executed for his role in the Cooking Pot Riot on Norfolk Island in October 1846, while Cash lived long enough to have his memoirs published and die as an old man in the 1870s.

Curiously, a pistol in the image is attributed to “Cavanagh” yet appears to be strangely anachronistic. The pistol seems to be a colt revolver. There are two potential options for the type – a Colt Walker or a Colt Navy. Both pistols are almost identical to the untrained eye but more importantly the Colt Navy was released in 1851, whereas the Colt Walker was produced in 1846 but not released until 1847. Lawrence Kavanagh was in gaol in 1846 and hanged by the year’s end so there’s no feasible way he could have owned either of these weapons. However, it could have been a Colt Paterson revolver from 1839 near the end of its run where a loading lever was incorporated into the design, but the Paterson had a folding trigger and no trigger guard so that doesn’t match the pistol in the image. Such misattribution is not uncommon with relics of the time. With many records being vague and memories being more so, it’s unsurprising how something can be attached to a person who had nothing to do with it.

Cash & Co.: An Overview

*** Revised and Updated, 2021 ***

Few of the Tasmanian bushrangers have quite the esteem as Martin Cash. A hot-tempered Irishman with a knack for escapology, when he teamed up with Lawrence Kavanagh and George Jones he immediately walked into bushranging history. Though their reign was merely a matter of months, they flung Van Diemen’s Land into such a state of alarm that they immediately became outlaw celebrities.

Martin Cash was a native of Wexford in Ireland, and had been transported to Australia as a teenager in 1827 for (by his own account) shooting a love rival, though the official charge was house breaking. Once in Australia he was assigned as a servant to a farm in New South Wales, where he became a stockman. It was during this time that he met Bessie Clifford who left her husband to run away with Cash. Cash managed to keep a low profile until he unwittingly helped some young men brand stolen cattle. Knowing he was bound for gaol unless he kept two steps ahead of the law, he and Bessie moved to Van Diemen’s Land with the intention of starting fresh. This seemed to work fine until the law caught up with him and he found himself repeatedly being arrested, assaulted and locked up, as he had a tendency to escape custody to make his way back to Bessie in Campbell Town. Eventually, Cash was sent to Port Arthur, the so-called “Hell on Earth” on the Tasman Peninsula.

Lawrence Kavanagh was the eldest of the men who were to form Cash and company. He was a native of County Wicklow, and had two prior convictions before finally being sentenced to transportation for life in 1828 for burglary, aged 17. He was initially sent to New South Wales where he absconded from his assignment and engaged in a spot of highway robbery for which he was sent to Norfolk Island for nine years. He was sent back to Hyde Park Barracks following this, and escaped again, taking to the bush with accomplices. This time when he was caught he was sent to Port Arthur in the hope they could do something with him. During his convict days, Kavanagh proved to be a troublesome convict and was flogged repeatedly, receiving more than 200 lashes for various offences.

The third member of the gang would be George Jones, real name George Davis, a native of South London. Jones was sentenced to transportation for life in 1829 at age 15 for robbing a till. He arrived in Sydney exactly a year after his conviction and was assigned. He also absconded from his assignment to engage in highway robbery and was subsequently sent to Van Diemen’s Land for life in 1842, his sentence to be carried out at Port Arthur.

Not being a fan of his new lodgings, Cash managed to escape Port Arthur on his own. He got past the isthmus at Eaglehawk Neck, guarded as it was by the infamous dog line, an array of half-starved hounds chained to kennels along its width. Cash’s new-found freedom wasn’t long-lived however and after being lost for five days and starving, he was nabbed and sent back to Port Arthur and fettered.

Dog Line Memorial - Eaglehawk Neck
Dog Line Memorial, Eaglehawk Neck

It was during this second internment at Port Arthur that Cash befriended Lawrence Kavanagh and George Jones. The trio devised a plan to escape Port Arthur, Cash having clearly learned the value of having accomplices and recalculated the best method of escape. On Boxing Day of 1842, Cash, Kavanagh and Jones managed to peel away from their work party and once darkness had descended they made a break for freedom. When they were not counted at muster, soldiers were sent to find them. Cash had anticipated this and the gang waited in the bush for several days before heading to Eaglehawk Neck, where they intended to cross through the water. To avoid being slowed down and chilled to the bone by wet clothes they stripped nude and bundled their clothes and boots, carrying them above their heads as they waded through the waters to give the dog line a wide berth. In their efforts to cross, their bundles were washed away and they had to proceed without their clothes. Having successfully made it across they ventured into the bush naked and without supplies. They reached a guard’s hut where the three nude convicts procured clothing and food before setting out on one of the most legendary bushranging careers of all time.

They started out by robbing farmhouses around Pittwater and Jerusalem (Colebrook) to acquire clothing, food and weapons. A reward of fifty sovereigns was offered for their capture, but there was no stopping them. They continued with robberies at Bagdad and Broadmarsh before they reached Mount Dromedary, where they constructed a log fort to use as their hideout. The fort was well placed as it offered a wide view of the terrain to see who was coming and going, while also being very close to their sympathisers, Jack Bryan and his wife Nelly. Through Nelly Bryan, Cash got word to Bessie that he was alive and at large and organised to meet her. She then accompanied Martin back to the mountain hideaway where she lived with the boys and enjoyed the fruits of their nefarious labours.

Mt Dromedary on the River Derwent … Van Dieman’s Land by J. Lycett (c.1828)
[Courtesy: Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales]

The gang established themselves quickly as a menace to society, and the military presence throughout Van Diemen’s Land was reinforced in an effort to suppress them. On 31 January, 1843, the gang stuck up the Woolpack Inn at New Norfolk, but were unaware that they had been spotted and troopers were descending upon them. Cash opened fire at the troopers who promptly returned fire. In the shootout, Kavanagh and Jones peeled away into the darkness but Cash continued to fight. Two constables were injured in the battle before Cash also took his leave.

The dramatic Woolpack Inn shootout was followed by more daring raids and robberies. On 22 February, they raided the property of Thomas Shone. The bushrangers bailed up Shone, his wife, a friend, their seven farmhands, and their neighbour and three of his men, who were all guarded in Shone’s drawing room by Jones. Cash and Kavanagh then ransacked the house before Shone’s daughter arrived with guests. Despite the prisoners greatly outnumbering the bushrangers, none made any attempts to apprehend them.

Not long after this Bessie took her leave of the gang and moved to Hobart, where she began referring to herself as Eliza Cash. She took with her many of the goods stolen for her by Martin. Meanwhile, George Jones had begun a secret affair with Nelly Bryan. Both of these women would cause the downfall of their lovers.

On 11 March, Cash and company raided James Triffitt’s farm on the Ouse River. Triffitt had a history with Tasmania’s bushrangers having been robbed by Michael Howe’s gang as well as Musquito’s and Matthew Brady’s in previous decades. As at Shone’s homestead, the occupants were bailed up and the house ransacked.

As the gang continued business as usual the authorities had been monitoring Eliza Cash. She was charged on 13 March with possession of stolen goods and arrested. She remained in remand, appearing before the courts, until she was discharged on 28 April. Caught up in it all was James Pratt, her landlord, who was considered an accessory until he was found not guilty.

On 18 March, the gang robbed Dunrobin near Hamilton. During the robbery, Martin Cash decided to pen a letter to the governor of Van Diemen’s Land. While he dictated, George Jones transcribed, and Cash warned that if Bessie was not released promptly then the gang would be forced to enact revenge. He also had Jones pen a seperate letter to Thomas Shone threatening him not to prosecute Bessie.

The remainder of the month saw more robberies near Hamilton, as well as the gang finding a new hideout in Hollow Tree Bottom. As the military presence around Dromedary had increased, the bushrangers had deemed it unwise to remain at the fort. Unfortunately they were now low on supplies and the next robberies they committed were in an effort to procure basics like food.

After robbing Thompson’s farm at Green Ponds (Kempton), Cash went into town and at Ellis’ Tavern he purchased three cases of gin, passing the local constabulary on the way out without being recognised. He returned with his companions to their bush hideaway without confrontation.

The gang continued to commit robberies around Lake Echo, Dee River and Bridgewater, planting red herrings by telling their victims that they were going to the Western Tiers. This meant that the military’s attention was drawn away from Dromedary and the fort. The result was that the gang returned to their hideout and had a big party with the Bryans, complete with musicians.

By June, there were now 500 men pursuing Cash and company and the bushrangers were on the move again, heading through the Midlands. Robberies around Ross were followed by another shootout at Salt Pan Plains, then more robberies as they headed to Cressy, where they camped for several days.

On 3 July, the gang robbed the Launceston to Hobart mail coach as it passed through Epping Forest. The next day they robbed a shepherd’s hut at the Western Tiers. Unfortunately for the gang, when travelling through Bothwell, Kavanagh tripped on a boulder and accidentally shot himself in the arm. His wound was very serious and he turned himself in on 9 July 1843, fearing he would perish if not given medical treatment. However, when he told the police how he had been injured he lied, stating he was shot in a fight in which he killed Cash and Jones.

Cash and Jones, meanwhile, continued their depredations, but news soon reached Martin via Nelly Bryan that Bessie had found a new love in the form of James Pratt. It seemed Bessie had grown tired of the bush and waiting for the rare opportunities to see Martin and had settled for something more stable. Naturally, Cash responded with his typical Irish temper, resolving to murder both his unfaithful partner and her lover. Cash induced George Jones to join him in Hobart Town.

Cash after his capture with his head bandaged due to the wounds inflicted by being clubbed in Hobart Town.

Things were moving fairly smoothly until they were recognised by a pair of constables and a running gunfight took place. Jones managed to escape but Cash was not so lucky. Cash’s famous fleetness of foot did him wonders until he took a wrong turn and ended up in a cul de sac, ironically formed by the boundary wall of the penitentiary. A constable named Winstanley was roused, and as he approached Cash he was shot through the torso. As he lay dying, others took up his cause. A shopkeeper grabbed Cash and attempted to disarm him. The pistol went off again, the bullet passing through the shopkeeper’s fingers and hitting another man in the face, shooting his nose off. Cash struggled as others piled on. One man kicked Cash in the head and another clubbed him with a revolver until he was unconscious and barely recognisable.

Cash and Kavanagh were put on trial in Hobart, Kavanagh charged with armed robbery and Cash with wilful murder. Both were found guilty and sentenced to death, though this was commuted to life imprisonment on Norfolk Island.

[Portrait of a man in the dock]
It is believed that this portrait depicts Lawrence Kavanagh during his trial, his arm in a sling due to the bullet wound he received in Hobart Town.

Meanwhile, George Jones had teamed up with some other bushrangers named Platt and Moore, possibly at the encouragement of Nelly Bryan. These bushrangers were far more rough and ill-mannered than Jones’ previous companions. In one house robbery at Black Brush, unconvinced at protestations that there was no money on the premises, Jones reputedly tied Harriet Devereaux to a table, hitched up her dress and pressed a hot shovel to her legs. It was believed that Nelly had convinced the bushrangers that Devereaux had a big cache of money hidden in the house. In the end, Nelly Bryan dobbed Jones in to the authorities, and during a raid near Richmond in March 1844 the gang were besieged. The troopers set fire to the building and as the bushrangers evacuated, Moore was shot and mortally wounded, and Jones was shot in the face with a shotgun. The shot didn’t kill him, though it did disfigure him and left him blind. With Moore dead, Jones and Platt were tried for assault, robbery, and shooting with intent to murder. They were found guilty and sentenced to death. On 30 April, 1844, Jones and Platt were hanged. Prior to his execution, Jones had been visited by Martin Cash to comfort him.

On 1 July, 1846, Lawrence Kavanagh was one of the convicts who took up arms with William Westwood in the “Cooking Pot Riot” on Norfolk Island, in response to the overly harsh and regressive measures brought in by the new Commandant, Major Childs. During the uprising, four men were murdered by Westwood, with Childs narrowly avoiding being killed himself. Kavanagh was among twelve men hanged for their part in the affair on 13 October, 1846. He too had been allowed a visit from Cash before his execution.

Martin Cash in later life.

Through all of this, a heartbroken Cash kept a low profile and in the following years earned himself a reputation as a well-behaved inmate, becoming a constable within the Norfolk Island prison. When he was eventually released he became commandant of the Government Gardens in Hobart Town and even remarried. He briefly lived in New Zealand, where he worked as a constable and allegedly ran a brothel, before returning to Tasmania in disgrace. When his young son died of Rheumatic Fever, Cash turned to alcohol and slowly drank himself to death at the ripe old age of 69. Cash’s memoirs, dictated to James Lester Burke in the 1870s, have been reprinted many times over the 100+ years since Cash’s death and the many songs and tales about Cash remain as testament to his enduring folk hero status.