William Westwood: An Overview

One of the most popular highwaymen of the earlier half of the 19th century, William Westwood arrived in Australia as a teenager and soon became one of the most renowned highwayman in Australian history using the pseudonym Jacky Jacky but met a grisly end on Norfolk Island. Continue reading William Westwood: An Overview

Bradley and O’Connor: An Overview

There are scores of bushrangers whose names have faded from public consciousness over the decades, a phenomenon not entirely due to the nature of their activities. Henry Bradley and Patrick O’Connor are hardly household names now but their exploits in the 1850s are nothing short of astounding and even resulted in a geographical feature being named after them: Bushrangers Bay. Continue reading Bradley and O’Connor: An Overview

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 … Continue reading Spotlight: Relics of Cash and Co.

Spotlight: Bold Jack Donohue

The first and possibly greatest bushranger Ballad is Bold Jack Donohue, a portrayal of the wild career of one of the most infamous bushrangers. Such was the perceived insidiousness of the song’s influence that singing it in public was banned for a time, along with several other bushranger songs. It provided the basic structure and content for the most famous bushranger ballad The Wild Colonial Boy. Continue reading Spotlight: Bold Jack Donohue

Jack Donohoe: An Overview

As one delves into the history and folklore of bushranging, the name Jack Donohoe comes up regularly, but there’s usually not a lot of clearly defined information to accompany the name. Donohoe has suffered the fate of Thunderbolt, Hall and Kelly – the myths have become ingrained in the story as much as the facts. Was Jack Donohoe really worthy of folk hero status? Continue reading Jack Donohoe: An Overview

Hell on High Water: Victoria’s Floating Prisons

No examination of Victoria’s penal system is complete without mention of the prison ships that were on use at Point Gellibrand in Williamstown through the 1850s and 1860s. The most renowned of these craft was Success, which toured the world … Continue reading Hell on High Water: Victoria’s Floating Prisons