John Gilbert was a bushranger of terrible renown for sticking lots of people up, and shooting others down. John Gilbert said unto his pals, “Although they make a bobbery about our tricks, we’ve never done a tip-top thing in robbery. We’ve all of us a fancy for experiments in pillage; but never have we seized a town, or even sacked a village.” Continue reading Spotlight: The Diverting History of John Gilbert (29/10/1863)
For the last three weeks Sir Frederick Pottinger and a party, consisting of two troopers and a black tracker, have been paying particular attention to the movements of Hall’s gang, and on Sunday evening, after a hunt from the Lachlan to Cowra, and a most industrious scour of the bush between this place and Forbes, they had the good fortune to come on the bushranger’s camp, at a place in the bush, about six — seven miles from the Seventeen Mile Rush, and a short distance from Pring’s station.
Gilbert was but twenty-five years old at time of his death, but was of a stout build and capable of undergoing great exertion. He was the son of respectable parents, and his father is now living Taradale, in Victoria where he has for some years resided, following the occupation of mining, and is stated to have been much grieved at the lawless habits of his unfortunate son. But little is known of the early life of Gilbert, except that he was engaged as stock rider in some stations about Forbes, and that at the end of the year 1862, he, like several other young men of loose habits, became inflamed with the passion and desire of becoming highwaymen, thinking it no doubt a grand thing and a noble pursuit instead of honestly and quietly working industriously for a livelihood.
At 8 p.m. on the 2nd instant, the house of George Gatewood, Norwood, near Goulburn, was forcibly entered by four armed men (not described), with blackened faces covered with crape, and the following property stolen therefrom, viz., £12 sterling, a watch (not described), gun, canister of “powder, box of caps, three pairs blankets, and several articles of clothing. The robbers afterwards proceeded to the house of William Gatewood, son of the above, and forcibly stole therefrom a quantity of wearing apparel and trinkets.
This party of highwaymen consisted of four well mounted, and armed men, each leading a pack-horse, and headed by Lieutenant Gilbert in person, who was mounted on the stolen Burrowa race-horse, Jacky Morgan. The only resistance they met with was from a person at Chard’s store, when Gilbert, without a moment’s hesitation, drew a revolver and fired point blank at him, the hall passing in such very close proximity to the party’s skull as to cause him to rush away, his retreat being still further increased by another shot from the same desperado. I regret to state that this affair, like nearly all others of the same class, appears to have been a complete success; for neither the robbers nor their plunder have since been seen or heard of.
I have just received information to the effect that Messrs. Gilbert and Co , yesterday, at Young, took advantage of all the police being engaged at the races, to pay a professional visit at the Redshirt Store, Petticoat Flat (Mr. Herbert’s), and ransacked its contents, carrying off much booty. As Mr. Gilbert seems to possess all the ubiquitous and invisible power of his arch-prototype Gardiner, I suppose it is almost unnecessary to remark that neither he nor the booty has since been seen or heard of. [We have heard that the same party stuck-up Mr. Chard’s store, on the same day.
Continue reading Spotlight: Johnny Gilbert at Young (6 June 1863)
About seven o’clock this morning, as jockey in trainer Harry Wilson, was giving the horse his customary diurnal exercise near the Burrowa police barracks, a ponchoed horseman rode up to him, whom Wilson immediately recognised to be no other than the notorious Johnny Gilbert, whom Wilson has known for years. Gilbert instantly told the jockey to dismount, as he wanted the racer, but Wilson refused to do so, when Gilbert drew a revolver, and placing it close to Harry’s skull said, “Off at once, or take the consequences;” Wilson replied, “For God’s sake, Johnny, don’t ruin a poor fellow,” but all to no purpose, for Gilbert took the horse, and along with it a new jockey’s saddle and bridle, Wilson’s private property, which he had purchased only the day before. Continue reading Spotlight: Johnny Gilbert at Burrowa (27 May 1863)
The Pastoral Times hears that Mr. Commissioner Lockhart is engaged in the district around Albury in trying to clear the country of the wretched villains who aided and abetted the recently slain murderer. Little mercy should be shown to those who, residing on Crown Lands illegally, gave shelter and food to Morgan while he went forth to rob and kill. It is to be hoped that the other Commissioners of Crown Lands in the Wellington districts, and the country where Messrs. Hall, Gilbert, and Co. carry on their avocations, will see that the powers invested in them are used to rid their districts of the aiders and abettors in these crimes.
A correspondent of the Western Examiner reports that on the evening of Sunday, as Mr. Brazier, land lord of the Nubriggan Inn, with some other gentlemen, were enjoying their pipes, four horsemen well mounted, three of them with every appearance of wealthy gentlemen, dashed up to the door. The stoutest immediately dismounted, entered the inn, and walking up to Mr. Brazier, ordered him to turn out his pockets, Mr. Brazier thinking it was making rather free, asked him sternly what he meant, and ordered him behind the bar, but the sight of a revolver in hand and a number round his waist caused him to unbend his brows, and submit with as good a grace as possible.
On Thursday night last Messrs. Collins, do Body, Brown, and Victor Frank arrived here, and reported that about noon on that day they were attempted to be stuck-up by two men near McKay’s dam, on the road leading to Gundagai, and about three or four miles abreast of Cootamundry. They stated that when the two bushrangers galloped out of the bush towards them, they made off at the top of their horses’ speed; Mr. Collins, who was the best mounted, took the lead, followed by the others. The bushrangers having galloped after them for about a mile they were joined by seven others, all of whom took up the chase for a short time, when they turned back, and allowed the Gundagai-bound men to go their way. Continue reading Spotlight: Bushranging reports in the Yass Courier (20 April 1864)