Spotlight: Supreme Court (14/09/1830)

Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas. : 1828 – 1857), Friday 17 September 1830, page 3

SUPREME COURT, Tuesday, Sept. 14

Charles Routley was indicted for the wilful murder of John Buckly, in the month of July, 1825. The first count charged the prisoner with burning the said John Buckly, by which means he met his death; in the second he was charged with wrapping him in a hide, and suffocating him; and in the third with striking him in divers parts of the body, after which he was wrapped in a bullock hide, being still alive, and thrust into a fire and suffocated.

The Attorney-General opened the case on the part of the Crown, and detailed to the Jury the circumstances under which the prisoner was brought before them. The Learned Gentleman briefly stated the nature of the evidence he should bring forward in support of the prosecution, and proceeded to call the following witnesses :—

Hugh M’Ginnis, jun., examined by the Attorney-General.— I have resided at the Carlton about 12 or 13 years, am well acquainted with the country round about there. [The Attorney-General handed him a plan of that part of the country, which he thought to be a correct representation of the situation generally.] In July 1825, my brother John lived on an adjoining farm, my father also had one adjoining on the other side. Remembers some bullocks were lost about that time; I went in search for them — my brother went with me — I think it was on a Monday or Tuesday, about the 18th or 19th. Bartholomew Reardon lived at the Green Hills, about 4 to 5 miles from my house; I knew the prisoner, but do not know where he was living at that time. I went towards the Carlton; after travelling a mile and half or so, we found a place where there had been a very large fire, I should think as large as the table before me; the ashes appeared to have been scraped together; I raked the fire about, it was so hot that I could scarcely bear my hand in the ashes. The fire was on the top of a hill, near a deep scrub, so as a person might soon disappear from view. We found some bones in the fire — we did not take any particular notice at that time of what sort of bones, but concluded some cattle had been burnt. I saw marks of feet travelling round the fire, as though persons. had been picking up wood. We then endeavoured to find the bullocks, by tracing the steps along some sandy land; the tracks where we first found them were about 100 yards from the fire; we followed them to the lower settlement of Pitt-water, as also the footsteps of two men, who, it seemed by the marks, had been driving them. I thought the traces of the men’s steps were the same as I had seen at the fire. I traced the steps to a house close to Harry Aiton’s; I followed them further on till they became lost with those of other cattle, We went to Constable Kettle, and told him what we had seen. In going back to the fire, we traced the tracks of three men going towards the fire; we fell in with the tracks about a mile from Kettle’s — we did not follow them close up to the fire. I noticed the foot marks — one was of a very large and broad foot; I saw them at intervals all the way to the fire, and when I got there the ground was quite soft, there having been rain just before. The steps at the fire seemed to shew that they had been backwards and forwards for wood; saw the foot marks in several places about the fire. We then again raked the fire about, and examined the bones that were there; we found some short bits of bone, similar to those of a human being; a large bone appeared to be a hip-bone, and the upper jaw-bone with one or two teeth. We found also a button or two, and bits of a steel and knife, and likewise a flint; and upon the ground, under the ashes, there was something in a cake something like blood, and under that there, were the remains of something that had been wove, thought it was cloth, and when I touched it, it crumbled away. I am sure it was blood that was in a cake ; everything we found we took to Mr. Gordon’s, the Magistrate; he was at home — we gave them to Mr. Gordon. — Next day returned with Mr. Gordon — Kettle and my brother John were with us; I then saw several more buttons and bits of bones. we traced the footsteps to the ground where my father’s cattle fed generally, within half a mile of my father’s house. — The shoe marks I there saw, I am sure are marks of the same shoes that I saw about the fire. As I was going home, I traced the bullock tracks, they came directly from my father’s place; I did not particularly trace them, but saw them at different places. I also saw the traces of two men and followed them; I compared the footmarks that followed the bullocks with those at the fire, and they corresponded both in length and width — one of the shoes appeared to have been worn at the toe; I think the marks must have been made within two days. The bullock tracks were not nearer the fire than about 100 yards; the men’s steps were visible all the way from the fire to those of the bullocks. Knew a man of the name of “Pretty Jack;” when I knew him, he resided about Pitt-water; I had heard him say his name was John Buckly — he worked for me in January 1825; I remarked he had very large feet. The nearest road from my house to Reardon’s was over the Green Hills — it was the most secluded road that could have been taken; never knew any cattle drove that way before. Knew a man named William Griffiths in 1825; he is just become free — he is a labouring man. Cannot say whether the prisoner ever knew “Pretty Jack” — never saw them together. I went with my brother to a place where there was another fire. One of the bullocks lost was a coal black, the other was of a leopard colour, and had very rough long hair; I never saw any bullock like it either before or since. It was about a mile and a half from Reardon’s house where I lost the tracks of the bullocks; the other fire was about half a mile from Reardon’s house. We found there some skins of beasts and some entrails burnt. It did not appear to have been more than five or six days since the fire was alight — it was then quite cold out. My father, Smith, and my brother John were with me when I saw the fire; I there saw two large pieces of skin, one was black and the other a leopard colour — there was no brand mark on the black one: the other was scorched and shrivelled up. From the knowledge I have of my brother’s bullocks, I think this was part of the skin of one of them; I saw some bits of marrow, fat, and bones, about a bushel, lay down upon the ground, and a little blood was about the bushes; the pieces of marrow and fat were quite fresh. By the bones of the back and other bits, I think it was beef. The cart track went from here towards Reardon’s brewery; I followed the track till I came within about 30 yards of the brewery — the brewery was about 100 or 150 yards from Reardon’s house. I could see by the bullock traces, that the cart went from the fire to the Bluff; I do not think there were more than two bullocks. The second fire was on the side of a hill by a creek near the road; I saw some traces of other beasts about 5 or 600 yards from the fire. I did not see any marks of any struggling of the bullocks or lying down; I have no doubt that the piece of leopard colour hide belonged to my brother’s bullock. I did not like to go to Reardon’s, I thought it was useless.

By the Court.— I measured the tracks as I was going from the fire when they followed the bullocks. I thought the second fire had been alight about five days, by the state of the entrails and pieces of meat that were about, but not less than two or three. From the place where the first fire was to where my father’s bullock run is, is about half a mile. The place where the second fire was, to where the bullocks were turned out, was about five miles.

Cross-examined by the Prisoner.— Many strange bullocks came on the same ground my father’s fed on.

James Gordon. J.P., examined by the Attorney-General.— I am a Magistrate, and reside at Pitt-water, and did so in 1825, and many years previously. In the month of July — I think the 18th, 1825, in the evening about 7 o’clock, the last witness and Constable Kettle came to my house, about 7 o’clock in the evening, and produced to me a common clasp knife, a piece of skull, and a lower jaw-bone with one tooth in it, part of a back-bone, one or two bones of human fingers, and two or three other small pieces of bone. The jaw-bone was that of a full-grown person. It was by its size. So were the bones of the fingers. I measured them by my own hand, and they were nearly as long. They also produced to me some buttons, covered with cloth. It was blue cloth. Four buttons were produced. I laid them by in my bed-room. I gave them two years ago to a servant of mine to bury. The bones were very much scorched, and I could crumble them with my fingers. The other articles were burnt. The handle of the knife was burnt away, and the cloth on the buttons singed. I have no doubt but the finger bones and jaw-bone, were those of a human being. On the following morning, I accompanied Kettle and the two M’Ginnis’s, to the place where they said they found them. There had been a large fire, and the ashes had been strewed about, in a very secluded spot, half way from the lower settlement to the Carlton River. When we came there, it was on high land, but so situated that a fire could not have been seen any great way, through high land. It was in a valley. It was very barren ground, and scrubby all round. We raked amongst the ashes, and found more bones. I found two finger-bones. It was still hot. There was also part of a butcher’s steel found, and some buttons. I took then all home, and placed them with the others. They were buried with the others, after keeping them three years. The bones of the finger were similar to those brought the night before. The traces of bullocks and men were pointed out to me. They were in the direction of Pitt-water from the Carlton.

By the Judge.—I knew “Pretty Jack,” had often seen him. Had known him for three or four years. He wandered about wherever he could get employ. Few would employ him. He bore a bad character, I believe he had no settled place of residence. He had lived about a month on Mr. Lakeland’s farm, about a mile from my house. I had seen him about three months previous to July, 1825, at Aiton’s house. He was once on a charge of felony before me. He told me his name was John Buckly. He had a very disagreeable face, pockpitted, a very clumsy man. The prisoner had a house near the Lower Ferry, but chiefly resided at Reardon’s. There were warrants out against Buckly, but he could not be found. I have never seen him since July, 1825. It was generally reported that he was lost between the Carlton and Pitt-water. Smith, and some one else, brought some pieces of hide to me. M’Ginnis had a very peculiar coloured bullock, which I had often noticed. I understood from him that it was that bullock that he had lost. It was a bullock of a white colour, spotted about the size of my hand all over of a leopard colour. I do not think any of the spots were larger than my hand. The piece of hide brought to me, was spotted with no fewer than five spots. After lying about my house for three years, they were thrown away.

Cross-examined by the Prisoner.—It is customary to set the dogs at cattle which go through the feeding ground. They then get scattered about in the bush. I will not swear that “Pretty Jack” has not left the country. It strikes me I never did see all the bullocks in Van Diemen’s Land. I believe that it was M’Ginnis’s by no other reason than the peculiarity of the spots. Would not swear there is not another bullock in Van Diemen’s Land of the same description.

Hugh M’Ginnis, senior, examined by the Attorney-General. — In June, 1825, I resided at the Carlton. Remember my son John lending me a pair of bullocks for the seed time. The last time I saw them was at my own house on a Saturday, at 8 o’clock. I turned out eight bullocks at that time. The feeding ground was about 60 or 70 rods from my house, towards the Carlton. It was then uninclosed Government ground. It is now belonging to my son John. There were no cattle belonging to any body else there. I went to look for the bullocks on Sunday morning. I found all but three, namely, two of my sons, and one other. One was a leopard-coloured bullock with down hair. I never saw one like it in the country. The other was a black one. The other five I found all together. My cattle generally fed down by the banks of the river. I remember my sons, Hugh and John, going in search of them, on the Monday after the one bullock was brought back. I remember going with Smith and my sons to a place near Reardon’s brewery. I remember seeing a place where fire had been. I saw some pieces of skin. I have been a number of years in the Colony. I never saw one like the leopard-coloured bullock of my son’s. One piece of skin resembled that of the leopard coloured bullock. There was a piece of a black hide. It might have been a cow’s hide for all I know. The skins were singed with the fire. It was about half a mile from my house.

Cross-examined by the Prisoner.— I cannot say there were no other bullocks on the ground when I turned mine out, on the Saturday. But I saw none. From my house to the settlement, it is feeding ground all the way. The whole settlement turn their bullocks out on this ground. The bullock that was brought to me, said to have been found at the Bluff, had his eyes shot out. Will not swear that my bullocks were not stolen from the Bluff. It is a mile and a half to the Bluff from my house. The furthest place I have been up the country, is Prosser’s Plains. Smith was a Government man of mine. I did not have him apprehended for stealing. I did not suspect him of stealing, but only of giving them away. I do not call giving away my property stealing the property.

Re-examined by the Attorney General.— I fed the bullocks upon grass, and about the farm yard. Many bullocks were at that time fed in the farm-yards.

John M’Ginnis examined by the Attorney General.— Corroborated the evidence of the former witnesses.

Ralph Dodge examined by the Attorney-General.—I knew John Buckly or “Pretty Jack,” heard that he is missing. I heard it first about July, 1825. I have not heard that he was ever seen since.

By the Court.—The broadest of the three feet marks was not the longest. The shortest was the narrowest.

William Sale Smith examined by the Attorney-General.— In 1825 I lived at Pitt-water. I heard that John M’Ginnis had lost some bullocks. My son in-law, John M’Ginnis, came to me and asked me to assist in searching for them. A few days after I was splitting shingles at a place called Bullock-hill. I found where a fire had been — the ashes were very fresh, but the fire was out. I found two pieces of bullock hide sticking to a log which was not burnt through. I took the two pieces of hide, which I thought belonged to my son’s bullocks, and placed them under a tree, one piece was full of small spots, and the other black. I believed at the time they were part of my son-in-law’s bullock, and I believe so now. There was the paunches of two beasts in the middle of the fire, which I opened and found to contain several grains of wheat among the dung. I found some pieces of bone; they were very small, and I could not tell to what animal they might have belonged. The hide and paunches were fresh. I saw the track of a cart, about two or three rod off the fire, I traced it to the bridge against Reardon’s brewery, both backwards and forwards. The track was very fresh, and within a rod or two of the bridge. I saw some bits of meat and bones, as if a beast had been chopped up. I went with M’Ginnis the next morning to the spot where I had hid the pieces of hide, and shewed them to him, and placed then on the logs as when I first found them. I took them to Mr. Gordon’s. It was near two miles from Mr. Lakeland’s where I was splitting shingles. It was a quarter of mile from where I split the shingles to the fire.

By the Court.—It was a large fire. The fire was out. It had rained between my first finding the fire and going again — the ashes were damp.

Richard Green examined by the Attorney-General.—In July, 1825, I lived at B. Reardon’s, and had been there since May, 1823, when I first came into the country. I was employed in shoemaking and tanning. I knew a man named “Pretty Jack,” and had for some time before. I had seen him often at Reardon’s, in company with Charles Routley and James Hanaway. He was doing no work. The last time I saw him was a week before the robbery of Mr. Minett, in Pitt-water. The last time I saw him was at the Eastern Marshes, at Reardon’s run. I was living at Reardon’s house all July, 1825. Routley, Hanaway, and another were at the house one Saturday, about two or three o’clock. Hanaway went out first, Routley followed, and I saw no more of them that day. I saw Hanaway on Sunday afternoon, he came to Reardon’s place and yoked four bullocks, filled a keg of beer, took a cart, and said he was going to the lower ferry. I saw the cart and Hanaway about two or three o’clock on Monday. I got up, and saw a cart coming from the brewery by the road-way — the night was moon light. I heard the cart and Hanaway at the door. It was Reardon’s cart and Hanaway was driving it. The bullocks also were Reardon’s. It was the same cart I saw go on Sunday afternoon. It was loaded with meat above the sides. It appeared to be a large bullock. I cannot exactly say what sort of meat it was, but it was fresh killed meat. I got up next day at day-break — say six o’clock. I saw Charles Routley standing at the end of the house; as soon as he saw me he walked down the paddock. I went about my work until Routley was gone from sight. I went to the front yard and saw the cart covered in blood. I knew Routley was in the bush a run-away. There were several of my fellow servants saw him. He came armed with a gun. I was with him the night he took the bush, in Reardon’s brewery. I saw him contriving to get ammunition to go at that time. He was afraid of being taken upon a warrant. I saw him get the ammunition, and knew he went into the bush. I saw him at Reardon’s two or three months after this — it was on a Sunday night, in the parlour — there was a wedding there that night — Thomas Miller was married. I heard Routley talking in Reardon’s bed-room. Hanaway, Reardon, and his wife were in the room, I heard Routley say, that he had put “Pretty Jack” into the fire he turned his head round and grinned at me. I knew that Routley said it. They were all talking and joking in the room. I went away to my lodging, and have never seen “Pretty Jack’ since. I had been at the door about two minutes when I heard Routley say it. I went up to the door, and just as I got there I heard Routley say it. I went up to the door, and as I got there I heard Routley say those words. I will swear he mentioned “Pretty Jack’s” name. I did not hear him say I put him. I was in the passage only two minutes. I did not see Routley that night. I never swore that I saw him that night. I have have [sic] left Reardon’s four years. I do not recollect how long I lived at Reardon’s after Routley was in the bed-room. I was an assigned servant. I had heard that “Pretty Jack” was missing when I heard this, but did not go to the Magistrate at that time. I did not tell of it until I had got my liberty from Reardon two or three years afterwards. I first gave the information to Captain Glover. I went voluntarily.

Cross-examined by the Prisoner.—I did not say on a former trial that you was in Reardon’s bed-room. I said you would settle any person who said any thing about you. (Examination read as taken before Mr. Spode.) I did not say before in the Court that I first saw the cart from the window. I did see the cart as I passed the window, after it was gone into the yard.

In answer to a question as to how many days after M’Ginnis lost the bullocks, he saw the prisoner at Reardon’s?— It was not after, but before.

Re-examined by the Attorney-General,— I saw “Pretty Jack” in the Eastern Marshes about a week before Mr. Minett’s robbery, and about three weeks or a month before the bullocks were lost. I saw Routley at Reardon’s, in the parlour, on the day of the wedding, I said before. The moment I was out of bondage I thought it my duty to bring these things forward. I was never before the Magistrate till I made the statement.

Robert Cockburn, examined by the Attorney-General.—In April, 1829, I resided at Kangaroo Point. I lived at Bailey’s house, and Jones lived there at the same time. The second time, Dec. 1, 1828, it was about from 9 to 11 o’clock, a voice asked was Bailey at home? Bailey went out, and Routley followed him in. He was dressed in coarse cloth trowsers, a sort of blue jacket without sleeves, skin cap, and half-boots. He complained of having been chased through the Bagdad Tier by a party of men. Bailey told me to make him some tea, and I did. He then laid down alongside me in bed. After going to bed we talked of Macquarie Harbour. I said when I was there, I heard you burnt “Pretty Jack” alive, what did you do it for? He said, we had been in so many concerns together, that he was afraid when he was apprehended he would tell of all. I said it was a cruel death, I should sooner have shot him, or knocked his brains out. I told him it had been said he forced Jack to carry the wood. He said yes, you would have carried it had you been there. I then said, how did he take it, when you threw him upon the fire? he said the b——r turned his face and grinned at us as if he had been laughing. He said Perkins was with him when he did it. I asked him how it ended? He said, by rousing up the fire and breaking the bones, so that they should not be discovered from any other bones. I asked him no more questions. I had known him more than seven years. I got up soon after day-light and gave information the same morning in Hobart Town. I knew “Pretty Jack.” I asked him no more questions — I was afraid as he had a large knife like a butcher’s knife. It was in his jacket pocket. When I was a prisoner, in Mr. Simpson’s house drinking, I was introduced to Routley by a man named Edwards, as a fit person to be trusted to join in such a robbery, as Mr. Simpson’s. I said when all is ready let me know, but I was removed from Pitt-water to the Coal-River, and had no opportunity of seeing Routley afterwards. The first time he came to Bailey’s house, I heard a voice call Bailey, he said come in. Bailey went out and came in again, and opened the bed-room window, and let Charles Routley in that way, I saw Charles Carter and Chief District Constable Robertson leave the Police-office. A few minutes before they left, I saw Buckly go away. Buckly and me came over together, I did not tell him I was going to give information against Routley. We were warned to go by Mr. Lascelles.

Cross-examined by the Prisoner.—There were several persons in the same room with us. There was myself, you, and a child. Jones did not sleep with us, under the same blanket. Mr. John Lord, a Magistrate, did not live there. His house was some way by land.

Margaret Donovan examined by the Attorney-General.— I was not a servant to Reardon, but used to stop there now and then. I remember the time when Reardon came to town to be tried here. It was on a Monday. I remember in the morning, in the kitchen, hearing conversation about the cart. I went to the front of the house. I saw the cart near the front door. It was bloody and had straw in it. I heard of some bullocks of M’Ginnis’s being stolen. After this. But cannot say at what time. I believe it was within seven days after.

W. Webb, examined by the Attorney-General.—I live at the Carlton, and lived with M’Ginnis as a servant in 1825; I remember his bullocks beings stolen, I was minding bullocks at the same time; I knew the bullocks were missing on Sunday. I knew “Pretty Jack” for nine years; he had worked at the Carlton the harvest before. I am a shoe-maker; I made a pair of shoes for him, he had a middling sized foot, but very broad, it was wider across the instep than the length; I have not seen him since. The Thurday previous to the Sunday when the bullocks were missing, he came to me near the barn, asking me for one Shoe; I understood there was a warrant against him — he had been living for one or two harvests at the settlements of the Carlton and Pitt-water.

Cross-examined by the Prisoner.—I have made other shoes from the same last, but made them longer than “Pretty Jack’s.” It was on the Thursday or Friday before M’Ginnis’s bullocks were stolen, that I saw him.

James Shelby, examined by the Attorney-General.— I am a constable and have been for three or four years. I remember in December, 1828, going out in search of a prisoner; had a warrant for felony. We watched Dalton’s house, on Bagdad Tier; got there before sun rise, and planted ourselves in the bottom opposite to the house, but could not see it. Before the sun rose, some one from Dalton’s house went up the tier, and I went after him; he got away from us — a short time after we found him again. Sewell had him in custody; I asked him what he had done with his arms, and he said if he had arms he would have dropped one of us; he was in a miserable state as to clothing; said he had torn his clothes in getting away from Mr. Robertson and Carter. I took him to Mr. Armytage’s; he wanted Mr. Armytage to give him a character. He said he was more afraid of Charles Carter than any other man; he said that he thought Cockburn was the only enemy he had, and if he was out of the way he should get out of all his troubles.

Cross-examined by the prisoner.— I was a good distance from Sewell when he took me. I will not swear, I saw Sewell take you. There were three constables in the party; I was down in a gully below the house. I had not heard you were working at Dalton’s in ploughing and sowing; I did search you. I found nothing about you.

——— Tripp, examined by the Attorney-General.— I was a servant to Mr. Gordon, the Magistrate, for four years. Mr. Gordon gave me some things; I saw bones, a knife, and a steel. I buried them, and have since looked for them, but cannot find them

Charles Carter, examined by the Attorney-General.— I was a constable in December, 1828, attached to the Richmond Police. I was in Hobart Town, and went over the water to apprehend Routley; I went over to Kangaroo Point. As soon as we landed, we ran up the side of a hill; saw Routley jump out of a window from Bayley’s house, and run away. I chased him two or three miles; I came up within 50 yards of him, when he jumped into a scrub and disappeared. I searched the scrub, but could not find him; he had nothing on but his shirt, and a small parcel under his arm, like a pair of shoes. I know Robert Cockburn, saw him in Hobart Town; I did not learn that there was a Sheriff’s warrant after him for debt.

This was the case for the prosecution.

The prisoner then addressed the Court to the following effect:—

Your Honor and gentlemen of the Jury.

I need not trouble the Court with any observations, as I have a clear conscience, that I am innocent of this charge. I am charged with killing a man, whom it is not proved is dead, or has been murdered;— it is not proved that “Pretty Jack” has not left the country.

At 11 o’clock on Wednesday morning, the Chief Justice proceeded to sum up the evidence, and to deliver his charge to the Jury. His Honor pointed out in the most clear and distinct manner the law as applicable to the various counts in the indictment, and dwelt at very considerable length upon every to point that could be favourable to the prisoner, admitting the Jury, that if they did not believe the evidence of Green and Cockburn, there really was no count upon which to identify Routley with the murder charged against him; but if gave credit to the testimony of these witnesses, then that part of the case which, without such belief remained unimportant, would in consequence become collateral and important evidence for the Crown; so that in point fact, the decision as in the guilt or innocence of the prisoner must depend upon the fact of those persons being the witnesses of truth, or the inventors of that which they had sworn to have heard from the mouth of Routley.

After a most patient and luminous explanation of the evidence as it affected the prisoner, and giving to him the full benefit of every thing, that would bear a favourable complexion, the Jury retired, and in about a quarter of an hour returned a verdict of — Guilty.

The Judge proceeded to pass the dreadful sentence of the Law, pointing out to the prisoner the enormity, and more than inhuman barbarity that had been exemplified in his atrocious case, and at the same time shewing him how clearly the finger of Providence might be traced in putting an end to his long career of crime, and at the same time holding him up as an example, that the perpetrators of such horrible outrages become their own accusers, and furnish out of the very excess of their depravity, the clue that may be followed to their final condemnation. After exhorting him to avail himself of the few hours that remained to make an atonement to his God and his country, by making every confession that lay in his power, he sentenced him to be executed on Friday morning.

Through the whole of this extraordinary trial, which lasted from 10 o’clock on Tuesday to nearly 4 o’clock on Wednesday morning, the prisoner conducted himself with a propriety that could scarcely be expected from a person of his class in life, standing in such a situation.

September 16.

George Scott and George Parker, were found guilty of stealing in a dwelling-house. The following prisoners were discharged by Proclamation:— James Tansley and Joseph Carter, for absconding from Macquarie Harbour; Daniel Wilkinson, cattle stealing; John Donnelly and Arthur M’Lane, burglary.

Spotlight: A Black Bushranger Caught (13/08/1872)

Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), Tuesday 13 August 1872, page 4

A BLACK BUSHRANGER CAUGHT.— Sergeant Byrnes of Mundooran, brought into Dubbo (says the Dispatch) last Friday a blackfellow named Bungarribee Jack, whom he arrested on charges of horse-stealing, bush, ranging, and hut-robbing. It is believed Jack is the aboriginal who, not long ago, stuck-up Brophy’s shepherd’s hut near Mitchell’s Creek. He is supposed to have been armed, and in the bush with two other blackfellows. For some time he has been at large in the Merri Merri and Marthaguy districts. One story told of him is that he called at Mr. Morris’s public-house, and inquired if Sergeant Byrnes were there, because, if he was, he had come to shoot him.

Spotlight: Bushranging on the Lachlan (22/07/1871)

Goulburn Herald and Chronicle (NSW : 1864 – 1881), Saturday 22 July 1871, page 3


(From the Forbes Times.)

John Thomas and William Reed, who were a short time back captured by Inspector Stephenson and others, after a chase of over six hundred miles, were brought up at the Forbes police court on the 14th instant, charged with robbing, under arms, Roto Station on the Lower Lachlan.

I reside at Roto Station, on the Lower Lachlan; I am living there for colonial experience; on the morning of the 13th May last I was riding with Mr. McKinnon, the manager of the station, about half a mile from the homestead, when two men armed and masked met us and ordered us to go back to the station; we went back, accompanied by the men, one riding behind and the other by our side. When we got back the men ordered Mr. McKinnon into the house, and ordered me to go and fetch the horses up from the horse-paddock, telling me that if I attempted to give the alarm they would shoot Mr. McKinnon, or making use of words to that effect; the homestead is in the horse-paddock, and I had to go about half a mile for the horses, which I fetched up and put in the yard after bringing them up, I stopped with some fencers who were camped on the creek, about eighty or one hundred yards from the house; there were three or four fencers; they were travelling. and I believe had a gun in the cart; while I was with them one of the bushrangers came down, and ordered the fencers and myself to go up to the house; we went up, the bushranger accompanying us I was told to get into the house, and the fencers were sent into the kitchen; the bushranger who came for us was armed; we did not attempt to resist; they threatened too shoot us if we resisted; one remained to guard us, and the other collected articles to take away; there was only a woman cook living in the house besides ourselves; the bushrangers took away a Snider rifle, breechloading gun, and revolver my preperty; those now produced I recognize as my property, and what they took; they also took cartridges of mine like those produced; they also took three saddles and bridles; the saddles now produced are two of the saddles in question; the third saddle now produoced was, left at Roto by the bushangers; they also took three horsees out of the yard, and left the two they had ridden to the station — one was a bay and the other was a roan; a man named Foster came and took away time bay a few days after; the other is now in the possession of the police; the bushrangers took some money out of the store-room till, I think about thirty shillings; the gold breast-pin produced they took from McKinnon, and also the valise produced; two serge shirts, like those now produced, were taken from the store; the bullet mould produced is mine; the mackintosh is also mine; the shot-belt produced I reconize as belonging to the station; the bushrangers packed the goods taken from the station on the horses, and went off in the direction of the Bogan; they left about noon; I could not indentify either of the men as they were masked the whole time; I only heard one of them speak; he seemed to direct everything; on the following day information was sent to the police at Booligal, about eighty mlles from Roto station; the men were about five feet six inches in height.

The evidence taken previously having been read, Thomas Bursten, was called, and on oath said:

Cross-examined by Reed: There were three other men bailed up in the kitchen besides the fencers.

When asked if they wished to say anything, the prisoners said they were not guilty.

The bench committed both prisoners to take, their trial at the next court of quarter-sessions to be holden at Forbes.

The same prisoners were then charged with sticking-up and robbing under arms Mr. Edward Owen’s station, Lower Lachlan.

The evidence in the case taken previously having been read, Edward Owen was called, who on oath said:

I am a squatter, residing at Jandra West, Lower Lachlan, also called Gunneguidrey, about fifty-two miles from Roto station; the saddle now produced in my saddle; I left it hanging in the verandah of the store at my station about the 7th or 8th of May; the cook, Henry Nevell, was in charge of the station while I was away; I never saw the saddle from that time until I saw it in the possession of the police, about a fortnight ago; the pouch produced I believe is mine; it resembles one which was attached to the saddle when I left.

Thoman Bursten, witness in the previous case, deposed to the saddle having been left at Roto Station by the bushrangers who stuck it up on the 13th May, and that it was afterwards given into possession of the police at the station.

The prisoners had nothing to say and were committed to take their trial at the next court of quarter-sessions to be holden at Forbes.

Spotlight: The Melbourne Mail Robbery (30/05/1851)

Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1847 – 1851), Friday 30 May 1851, page 2



Present — His Worship the Mayor, and Captain Fyans.

THE MELBOURNE MAIL ROBBERY — At 12 o’clock yesterday Owen Suffolk alias Mason and Christopher Farrel, committed for robbing the Portland Mail, were placed in the dock, to answer to the charge of robbing the Melbourne and Geelong mail. Both prisoners maintained the same firm composure they evinced on the former occasion.

John Ross, sworn. — I am the driver of the Melbourne mail. I know the tall prisoner, by the peculiarity of his walk, he is one of the parties who robbed the Melbourne mail on 15th May I do not recognise the short man sufficiently to swear to him, but believe him to be the same man that was with the tall prisoner when the robbery was committed. They took from me my watch, a money order, and my strap. The order produced was taken from me by the tall prisoner. I recognise the watch and strap. I cannot describe his dress exactly beyond a sou-wester” hat painted of an oil color. The hat produced I can swear to as the one worn on the occasion of the robbery by the tall prisoner. I know it by the hole in the brim. They presented pistols at me very like those now shown to me. I reported the robbery at the watchouse.

The prisoners declined to put any questions to the witness.

Sophia Henry, sworn — I reside in Geelong, and was a passenger in the mail, on the 15th May, when the mail was robbed; I can swear to the tall prisoner, he robbed me of fifteen shillings and a silk purse; the purse now shown to me is not the one stolen from me; I remember them taking a belt from the mailman, but I cannot swear that the one produced is the same; one of the robbers wore a sou-wester, like the one produced: they presented pistols at the mailman, but I cannot say what they were like.

The Chief Constable — Reiterated the details of his apprehension of the prisoners, and described the property found.

John Matheson, manager of the Union Bank — Recognised the draft for £14 11s 9d, as being drawn by their Branch on the Geelong Bank; he received the envelope in which the draft was transmitted from the Postmaster of Geelong, on the Monday after the robbery.

The prisoner Farrell then applied to the bench for £9 18s, which had been taken from him.

The Bench not seeming to comprehend the nature of the request; Owen Suffolk very coolly leant on the dock, and said, “he wishes to know, your Worships, if you will allow the money taken from his person to be employed to fee counsel with, for his defence.”

His Worship — That will be a question for the Judge to decide.

The prisoners stated that they had no remarks to make, and were then committed for robbing the Melbourne Mail.

Spotlight: A Mysterious Bushranger (26/05/1870)

Kilmore Free Press (Kilmore, Vic. : 1870 – 1954), Thursday 26 May 1870, page 3


Mr Thomas Field, landlord of the Whim Holes hotel, has lodged the following singular information with the Smythesdale police —

On Monday evening, about eight o’clock a man, whom Mr Field supposed to be an Englishman, and about twenty eight years of age, five feet ten inches in height, medium build, and who had fair hair, slight moustache, small goatee, called at the Whim Holes Hotel and had a few drinks at the bar. The stranger represented himself as a detective from Melbourne on leave of absence, and on his way to Giblins’, Break-o’-day, to shoot rabbits. About eleven o’clock, he suddenly presented a revolver, demanded money, and commanded them to show him through the house. Mr Field said there was no money to be had, whereupon the fellow snapped his revolver at the barman, but the pistol did not go off. The stranger then loaded his revolver, and immediately decamped. Mr Field’s man instantly got a double barrelled gun and went out after the fugitive, who, however, got away. A short time afterwards his visitor came back to the window and asked for a drink, but the alarm being raised he scampered off and managed to escape. It was further stated that there could be no doubt as to the traveller having ammunition with him, as some cartridges were found in the house where he had dropped them. It was supposed that he had gone in the direction of Rokewood. On Tuesday evening Mounted constable M’Grath, of Smythesdale, with others, started off in search of the alleged offender, and up till after four o’clock on Wednesday had not returned. It was then. beginning to be ap prehended that something serious must have caused the delay.

Spotlight: Captain Thunderbolt and His Gang (06/05/1865)

Newcastle Chronicle and Hunter River District News (NSW : 1859 – 1866), Saturday 6 May 1865, page 3



(From the Tamworth Examiner.)

In our last issue we gave the particulars of the robbery of the Warialda mail near Manilla by this newly-fledged gang of bushrangers, and we now furnish an account of their proceedings since that time, supplied us by our correspondent at Barraba, Narrabri, and Wee Waa.

It would seem that on the night of the day that the Warialla mail was stuck-up, Thunderbolt, alias Ward, and his companions went to a paddock on the station of the Messrs. Lloyd, at Manilla, where there were a number of horses, and took two of the best. Proceeding onwards towards Barraba, we hear that two more horses were taken belonging to the Messrs. Sinclair, they at the same time leaving there the horse they had taken from the postman when they stuck-up the Warialda mail, and one they stole from Lloyds’ station. On the morning of the following day (the 20th instant), they went to Mr. Cheesborough’s station, about twelve miles from Barraba, and stuck-up the inmates. Mr. Cheesborough was from home, but one of the women gave the gang a sound rating for their daring to come there. After making some anxious inquiries about Mr. Cheesborough, they took a horse, a gun, a revolver, and some rations, and then left, going in the direction of Mr Lethbridge’s station.

From the 20th till the 24th we heard nothing of them, but on the morning of that day it appears that they got to Mr. Munro’s inn, at Boggy Creek, when they bailed up all the inmates, and took property and cash from the house amounting in all to between £70 and £80. A portion of the property stolen consisted of rations and clothing, of which they took a good supply. They did not molest anyone, although Mr. Munro bravely challenged to ‘tackle’ each of them separately. They declined his invitation, and, after enjoying themselves for a little time, and drinking a quantity of spirits, shot a valuable dog, and left in the directon of Mr. Walford’s public-house, at Millie. On the road to this place they met Mr. Baldwin, stuck him up in the usual fashion and proceeded on their road to Walford’s place. They reached the inn between twelve and one o’clock the same day. It would seem that Mr. Walford had heard of the bushrangers being in the neighbourhood, and that he might expect them very shortly, and accordingly everything valuable and portly was concealed. On reaching the inn they bailed up those who were about the place, and obtained a small amount of cash, but nothing else worth mentioning. Here they remained for about an hour, where we will leave them in order to give an account of the movements of the police.

It would appear that on the police receiving intimation of the presence of the bushrangers at Manilla, intelligence was sent to all the police stations, and constables Dalton and Linch, of the Tamworth police, were dispatched to Barraba, via Manilla. On reaching the former place, constable Norris, of Barraba, joined them, and hearing the affair at Cheesborough’s, they started at once to that place, which they reached on the morning of the 21st instant, just a day after the bushrangers had left. They then took up the tracks and went on to Mr. Lethbridge’s station, where they obtained the services of a black tracker, and continued the search. After tracking them from that time till the 24th, they reached Millie (Mr. Walford’s public-house) about an hour after the bushrangers had arrived there.

The situation of this house is on an open plain, without a tree for miles in any direction. The bushrangers, four in number, were at the house at the time, one being outside on guard, and on the latter seeing four men galloping across the plain, a whistle was given to those inside, and all four came out to see who it might be. On learning that it was the police, they all mounted their horses, one of them holding up his revolver as a challenge to the police to come on, at the same time retreating from the house to the open plain at the rear. They had all drawn their revolvers, but the police, nothing daunted, gave chase, and came within pistol range a short distance from the house. Thunderbolt fired the first shot, to which the police replied — at the same time endeavours were made to cut off the young lad from the rest of the gang, who semed not so well mounted as the others. Firing was continued on both sides with great vigour, when a well-directed ball from the revolver of constable Dalton took effect on the young lad, entered the back and came out near the stomach. He fell from his horse, and constable Dalton shouted to constable Norris to take charge of him whilst he went after the others. On leaving with that intention, he fortunately turned round, and saw the young vagabond, while on the ground, presenting his revolver at him. He threw himself on his horses neck, and the ball passed over him. Constable Norris came up at the moment, and again fired at the ruffian, the ball taking effect, having entered the jaw and escaped at the neck. During the whole time, constable Lynch was keeping the others at bay, and succeeded in doing so, notwithstanding that Ward, who was mounted on a fine chesnut horse, several times rode between the youth and the police, constantly discharging his revolver at the same time, in order to give his mate time to escape. He was, however, unsuccessful. About forty shots were fired by the police, and their ammunition was all expended. After securing the youth, they proceeded a short distance after the others, but their horses were completely knocked up, having ridden them fully five hundred miles.

The fight is described by eye witnesses as an exceedingly plucky affair, and highly creditable to the police engaged. We hope their conduct will not be overlooked by those in authority. The encounter lasted about an hour, and the balls from the several revolvers flew about in all directions, one passing through the whiskers of one of the police, but not injuring him.

The youth who was shot was at once taken to the inn, and a doctor sent for to Moree, but he is in a very weak state, and it is doubtful if he will recover.

We hear that several volunteers, in conjunction with the Wee Waa police, have started after the other three bushrangers.

The head of the gang, who goes under the soubriquet of ‘Thunderbolt,’ is named Ward, and has been engaged in numerous robberies. He was at one time employed in breaking in horses at the Tareela station. The second is supposed to be a man named McIntosh, and is said to be a brother of McIntosh, who was mixed up with Picton in a cattle-stealing case some years ago. The bushranger who is shot is named John Thompson, a youth of about sixteen years of age, and is described as a very dangerous vagabond. He was at one time in the service of Mr. Cousins, of Terriaro, near Narrabri, and was subsequently employed on the Terrehihi station by Mr. Bowman’s superintendent. Before leaving there, about three months ago, he threatened to shoot the superintendent (Mr. Sullivan), and left the station, taking a horse. He had frequently expressed a wish to join the bushrangers. The fourth man was known by the name of ‘Bull’ or ‘Bully.’ Thompson and Ward are well acquainted with the part of the country in which they have been recently committing their depredations, and the latter with his companions will doubtless make for his old haunts at the head of some of the creeks running into the Barwon, near Walget.

At a late hour last night, we learned that the wounded lad, Thomson, was left at Millie, in charge of constables Norris and Lynch, and that constable Dalton had, with four others, supposed to be volunteers, started from Millie in pursuit of the other three men.

Since Mr. Cropper’s place was stuck up, Hall’s gang had been hovering about the stations between Forbes and Condobolin. From Mulgutherie they took a racer, known as Goldfinder, formerly belonging to the late Sir Frederick Pottinger. They afterwards called at Borambil, Mr. Suttor’s station, where they left a horse which they had taken from there.

Croy’s public house, on Old Pipeclay, Mudgee, was stuck up by a number of diggers. About £30 cash was taken, and a quantity of stock drank and destroyed. The Police Magistrate, Mr. W. R. Blackman, and Mr. T. Cudoll, J. P . accompanied by Alderman Hugson, and Messrs. G. Flood, A. Hill, and Delany, who were sworn as constables with the regular police force, proceeded to the spot and arrested three of the ringleaders. Messrs. Charlton, Broaderick, Winter, Farrar, Christian, and others were soon on the spot to render assistance as volunteers, a good proof that in case of our being visited by bushrangers we are in a position to show them a bold front.

The Ovens Constitution adds the following bit of information to the biography of Morgan:— ‘It is stated that Morgan’s father is an old man, now selling cakes with a barrow near the Hay market, in Sydney; and that his mother was a gipsy woman at Campbelltown.’

Spotlight: Braidwood (09/02/1871)

Newcastle Chronicle (NSW : 1866 – 1876), Thursday 9 February 1871, page 2



Yesterday, the coach with the Sydney, and Goulburn mail was stuck-up by a bushranger. All the Goulburn letters were taken. The police went in pursuit about noon, and at 7 o’clock, the bushranger was brought in by senior-constable Hurley and constable Bragg, after a smart chase. His name is William Maher, a native of Goulburn. He had previously robbed a Chinaman of £5, with horse, saddle, and bridle. He also took a fresh horse from a paddock near town. Great credit is due to senior-constable Hurley for the rapidity with which he overtook and captured Maher.

Spotlight: Morgan the Bushranger (30/01/1864)

Freeman’s Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1850 – 1932), Saturday 30 January 1864, page 7


Morgan the Bushranger. — The old friend of the inhabitants of the Billybong, known as the celebrated Morgan, on Tuesday last, the 12th inst., paid a visit to Wilberforce’s Hotel, Piney Ranges. He said that he called there in consequence of reports that had been circulated about him which were untrue. He was bad enough, but did not want to be made worse than he really was. He behaved in a very gentlemanly manner. The landlord asked him to have a drink, which he accepted, and had a bottle of porter. While drinking it, Morgan said, “Wilberforce, you are smoking a very handsome pipe; I should like to have it.” The landlord then said, “Morgan, you shan’t take it; I will make you a present of it.” He said, “I don’t want to take anything form you,” and thanked Mr. Wilberforce for the pipe. After this a bottle of porter was tossed for, which he lost and paid for. He then stated that he had no wish to molest anyone, and if he was not interfered with, be would not interfere with them. He remained for nearly three hours, sitting in the verandah; then left saying, “Good afternoon, Mr. Wilberforce.” Mr, Wilberforce told him he would publish all that transpired. Morgan said, “Publish what you like but don’t make the devil blacker than he really is.” — Border Post.

“What do you ask for this article?” inquired an exquisite of a young shop-woman. “Fifteen shillings,” was the reply. “Arn’t you a little dear?” said he. “Well,” she replied, blushing considerably, “All the young men tell me so.”

Spotlight: Miscellaneous Bushranging News (21/01/1864)

Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1843; 1854 – 1876), Thursday 21 January 1864, page 1


CAPTURE OF A BUSHRANGER. – Intelligence, says the Sydney M. H. of the 5th inst., was received from Maitland last evening that Sergeant Shannon, with a trooper, had, after several days’ pursuit, succeeded in capturing the bushranger who has been perpetrating the recent outrages on the Northern road, including the robbery of the Tamworth mail. We are informed that this bushranger is identified as the prisoner Mackie who escaped from the train near Liverpool, while en route from Goulburn to Sydney. It is expected that he.will be brought to Maitland to-night.

CAPTURE OF MACKIE. – We have much pleasure to record the capture of this notorious villain, through the energy of senior Sergeant Thorpe and some other members of the police force. It appears that having learnt that Mackie was in this district, senior Sergeant Thorpe, with senior Constable Gordon, and Constables McMorrow, Leonard, and Warren, proceeded last Sunday evening to the residence of a free selector, living at Batty’s Creek, near Falbrook, where they arrived about half-past one o’clock on Monday morning. They immediately surrounded the house, and searched it, but could not discover the object of their search. The police, however, remained about the place, and at daybreak Constable Leonard discovered what appeared to him to be Mackie lying asleep, concealed under some bushes of a cockatoo fence which had been used as a temporary fence around a corn paddock. Four of the police immediately surrounded the spot, and Mackie having in the meantime awoke and got up, attempted to escape. He was however secured, and upon being searched a large quantity of cheques and notes stolen at the late mail robbery were found upon him. Near him were found a double-barrelled gun, and also two single-barrelled pistols, capped and loaded, which he attempted to grasp before being seized. He afterwards said that he was sorry for not having made a show, for that certainly he would have shot some of the Constables if he had done so. After being secured with a double pair of handcuffs, he was strapped to the saddle, and after having been conveyed about three or four miles, he made a sudden jerk, jumped off the horse, and attempted to climb over a fence alongside the road. He was, however, again secured, and handcuffed to senior-sergeant Thorpe, who arrived safely with his prisoner in the Singleton lock-up about eleven o’clock this (Monday) morning. Mackie admitted that he robbed the mail the other day, and also stated that they might think themselves very lucky of having captured him, as it was his intention to have stuck up the bank at Singleton on a Court day, when the Constables were absent at the Court. Sergeant Thorpe informs us that Mackie is certainly one of the most determined villains that he has ever come across, and states that it was very lucky the way he was captured, otherwise probably the lives of some of the Constables would have been sacrificed. — Singleton correspondent of the Maitland Mercury.

SUPPOSED CAPTURE OF “CAPTAIN THUNDERBOLT.” – The Maitland Mercury 7th inst says :– On Sunday evening senior-constable O’Sullivan apprehended a man on a charge of highway robbery or bushranging. The fellow captured is supposed to be the highwayman who gave himself the somewhat terrible name of “Captain Thunderbolt,” when committing some petty thefts in the neighbourhood of Maitland. He was apprehended about fourteen miles beyond Dungog, on the road to Gloucester. Mr. Superintendent Lydiard deserves praise for the tact he has manifested in the disposal of the men under his command, by which they have succeeded in ridding the district of the few scoundrels who endeavoured to settle themselves in it after the fashion of the bushrangers in the south and west.

GILBERT AND HIS GANG. – The Marengo correspondent of the Yass Courier, writing on the 28th ultimo says:– Rumours are current that the Gilbert brigade are meditating an attack on a station not a hundred miles from here, as the respected proprietor of the said extensive station has, in the opinion of the robber chief, been guilty of the most heinous of crimes, viz., that of harbouring and entertaining the police. However, before making this attack, let them take a retrospective glance at the fate of O’Meally and Burke, as the owner of the threatened station is well known to be a man of determined courage and a crack shot. When the mail of the 6th instant was stopped and plundered by Gilbert and Hall, two of the servants belonging to the station I refer to were among those previously bailed up, and Gilbert sent a verbal message or warning by them to their master.

THE COOMA MAIL ROBBERY. – The Golden Age gives further particulars of this robbery, by which it appears that the perpetrator is a man named Bermingham, a printer by trade, who lately has been engaged shearing in the neiglhbourhood. On Tuesday, a man was sighted by sergeant Donohue, chased, and captured; and although he is not the perpetrator of this particular felony, it appears that there are charges equally serious against him. He is the man who was fired at by the police in the streets of Queanbeyan as mentioned in our last. The following particulars are from the paper above referred to :– Mr. Superintendent Markham on Monday dispatched sergeant Donohue and another trooper on search, mounting the former on his (Mr. Markham’s) favourite horse. On Tuesday sergeant Donohue, accompanied by one of the Micalago police, both in disguise, in the course of a search for the mail robbers, came upon two men in the bush tailing a small herd of cattle. One of them was seated on a file chesnut horse, to all appearance answering the description of the horse ridden by Bermingham at the time of the mail robbery. Sergeant Donohue immediately singled this fellow out, and an exciting chase ensued. For several miles the pursued led the pursuer at a full gallop over the most broken and dangerous country lying to the east of the Cooma road, and towards the Jingeras, evidently with a view to baffle his pursuer and exhaust his horse. But the sergeant’s horse was as good as the horse of him who led the chase; and sergeant Donohue, after some miles’ riding, had the satisfaction of finding himself gaining on his foe. Being now within pistol-shot he commenced firing at every opportunity presenting, and after sending seven shots after his man he had the pleasure of seeing his horse fall under him exhausted. On coming up to his prisoner, sergeant Donohue demanded his name, which he said was William Dunne of the Rob Roy. Unwilling yet to surrender, Dunne continued to offer resistance, and was not subdued until a blow on the head from a loaded whip was administered by the sergeant, who then threw Dunne his handcuffs and made him put them on himself. Being in a strange country, and not having observed the direction he had travelled, the sergeant was at a loss to retrace his steps with his prisoner; seeing which Dunne became unwilling to afford him any information on the subject, and it was only by threatening to strap him to his horse and drag him where he pleased, that he was induced to act as guide; and thus after a while they reached the high road near the Rob Roy, where Dunnes’ relations reside. Here the sergeant made the prisoner lie down in the road, in sight of his father’s house, and kept sentry over him with his loaded revolvers, forbidding any one to approach the spot. Ultimately the other police, three in number, who had been scouring the bush in different directions. came up, and the prisoner was then securely escorted to Queanbeyan. There are several charges against the prisoner of horse and cattle stealing; and in addition to these he will be charged with being an accomplice of Bermingham in the robbery of the Cooma mail. The chestnut horse he was riding is said to be the one ridden by Bermingham when the mail was stuck up by him and there are other evidences of Dunne’s being a participator in that robbery. Dunne is said to be one of the best riders in these districts; and his first remark on being overtaken by the sergeant was to the effect that he was the first man who had ever overtaken him in pursuit. He also admitted that the shots fired after him all went close by him, and one even passed through his hair, yet he would not surrender till compelled. Doubtless the success of this capture is mainly owing to the fleet and enduring horse ridden by sergeant Donohue, who assured us that with one of the ordinary horses of the service he could never have kept sight of his prisoner. The merit of the arrest, however, belongs entirely to sergeant Donohue; and his success shows plainly that if we are to have bushranging suppressed it must be by the services of men qualified as he is, and by no others. Sergeant Donohue has long been accustomed to rough bush riding, having been for some time superintendent of cattle stations. Light in weight, of an active and determined character, and a thorough horseman, he is just the man for his work. -– Last night the police returned to town, having recovered the whole of the bags, which they found off the road near the scene of the robbery. The bags had all been ransacked, and every letter opened – their contents lying scattered around. There was no money left, of course, but several cheques were recovered amongst the letters and papers gathered up by the police.

Spotlight: Morgan’s Outrage at Kyamba (16/01/1865)

Illustrated Sydney News (NSW : 1853 – 1872), Monday 16 January 1865, page 9


ON the 13th ultimo this notorious murderer paid a visit to Kyamba.

At about noon he made his appearance, at the camp of Mr. Adams, road contractor, and bailed up all his men, and, as the contractor had no cash in hand, he set fire to the tents thus. ruthlessly destroying at least £15 or £20 worth of property. Five Chinamen having made their appearance he ordered them to strip, with a view to searching their garments; they, not understanding the command, and, therefore, apparently hesitating to put it in force, he shot one of them in the arm, just below the shoulder joint. He then robbed the lot, but all the money he found on them was trifling — one small gold piece, and about thirty shillings in silver — the latter he threw away, from his chagrin. He remained at the camp till 5 p.m., having caused tea to be made and a damper prepared for him. Everything, including the account-book of the contractor, was destroyed.

He did not tie the men or secure them in any way, but kept them in such a position as rendered it difficult to have rushed him without incurring a further loss of life. The only weapon in the place was a double-barrel gun unloaded. Morgan said, “He did not like double-barrel guns,” and took it away with him. In the afternoon, Mr. Jones, another contractor, paid a visit to the camp soon after it had been set on fire; he was likewise secured, together with a traveller and two or three other men residing in the neighbourhood, who came there on horseback. On leaving he took these men with him. He made one of them carry the gun, and took them over the mountains to eight miles south of Kyamba. Here he met two buggies, in one of which was Mr. and Mrs. Manson, and in the other were two young men. These he immediately stopped, ordering them out of their buggie; and because Mr. Manson seemed to hesitate, he threatened to shoot the whole of them on the spot. Having got them out, he stripped Mr. Manson, and searched the pockets of the others, taking about £6 in all. He conversed freely for some hours, detailing his various exploits at great length, and dwelling, particularly upon the murder of M’Ginnerty and Smyth, of which he made no attempt at concealment. He stated that he had watched Smyth’s party five days, in order to make sure of the right man. He spoke of three men whom he was determined to shoot before “retiring from business:” — Mr. M’Kenzie, late of Mundarloo; Mr. M’Laurin, of Yarra Yarra; and Sergeant Carroll. On these he expressed himself determined to be revenged; and with respect to the former he declared that if he once had him in his power, £5000 would not save his life. Soon after Mr. Manson had escaped, the mail to Albury arrived, but being very light, Morgan allowed it to pass. Shortly afterwards, the Albury mail arrived, when he ordered the driver to stop. This not being instantly complied with, he fired a shot at him to bring him to. He then made him get out and hold the horses’ heads, while he ransacked the mails.