Spotlight: Gallant Capture of a Bushranger (25/09/1872)

Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 – 1931), Wednesday 25 September 1872, page 3

Gallant Capture of a Bushranger.


(Communicated to the Inverell Courier.)

ON Friday morning last, a messenger arrived from Stoney Batter, in great haste, for senior-constable Scott to proceed to that place, as a bushranger, armed to the teeth, had stuck-up Mr. Baldwin, of the Loopanda Hotel, and stolen a horse, saddle and bridle. Our worthy senior-constable, with praiseworthy energy, lost no time in starting, accompanied by constable Sharp, both well mounted. They accomplished the distance, thirty miles, in one hour and thirty minutes. As far as I can learn, the bushranger, who gives his name as James McPherson, came to Mr. Baldwin’s Hotel about 8 o’clock on the evening of the 12th instant, without either swag or horse, and having ordered tea, he remained in the house until bed time, occasionally having a glass of grog. He asked for a bed, and was shown it by Mr. Baldwin. About half an hour after Mr. Baldwin had retired, he thought he heard someone trying to open a bedroom door off the parlor, where a lady passenger by the coach was sleeping. He got up, went to a parlor, and, seeing McPherson, he (Mr. Baldwin) told him to go to his own room. McPherson left for that purpose, and, Mr. Baldwin having fastened all the doors, again retired, thinking all was right; but, to his astonishment, after a short time, he heard a noise, as if a horse were walking in front of the hotel. He got up, and looking out of the window saw a horse with saddle and bridle on, tied to one of the verandah posts. He knew the horse belonged to a man named Edwards, from Bendemeer, who was at his hotel that night. He next heard a shot, and then went to the back to rouse the groom up, whom he told to go round to the front, and, if possible, secure the horse, and put him in the stable, and lock the door. During this time it seems McPherson went again to the door of the room where the lady was sleeping, and, with revolver in hand, threatened to blow her brains out if she did not admit him into the room. Mr. B. and the groom, hearing some one talking, went into the parlour, and saw the bushranger standing at the bedroom door. The bushranger then said to the groom, “You b—— wretch, you have put my horse away; go and get him, or I’ll blow your brains out;” and at the same time made Mr. B. and the groom go in front of him to where the horse was. The horse was brought to him, and he led it to the front of the hotel, fastened it, and then shouted to Mr. Baldwin to open the door, and give him a nobbler; and if he did not, he would burn the house over his head. The bushranger was, of course, admitted, had his grog, after which he demanded powder, caps, and bullets, which were refused. He then said he would have to bail him up for some; however, he got none, and he went away. The house was again shut up, but Mr. Baldwin and his groom remained up for some time, thinking the bushranger might come back, and bring his mate with him.

They had not long to wait; and, for the third time, they heard him in the parlour. Mr. Baldwin was determined to have him this time, or die in the attempt. The groom was told to go outside and secure the horse. Mr. B. then went into the parlour, and, seeing the scoundrel undressed, with revolver in hand, Mr. B., who has known him for years, said, “Jemmy, I did not expect this from you,” and requested him to leave the house.” The bushranger replied, “Well, Baldwin, I will go,” laying the revolver on the table to dress himself, and, after so doing, Mr. Baldwin seized the revolver, and stepped back. The bushranger then made a rush past Mr. B., for the purpose of getting on his horse, which the groom was then leading round to the stable, and, whilst in the act of put his foot in the stirrup, Mr. B., who had followed him out, struck him on the back of the head, and felled him to the ground. He was then secured until the police arrived, when he was delivered over to them. I am informed McPherson will be brought up for trial at the Bundarra police court, on Tuesday next.

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: 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: The Execution of Smith and Brady (13 May 1873)

Ovens and Murray Advertiser (Beechworth, Vic. : 1855 – 1918), Tuesday 13 May 1873, page 2


Yesterday was enacted in the Beechworth Gaol, one of those tragedies which are the necessity, as they are the curse, of civilised communities. Two men, James Smith and Thomas Brady were hanged till they were dead. They had been convicted of one of the most causeless and brutal murders which has ever occurred in this colony. John Watt, of Wooragee, a man who was never known to do an ill turn to another, was shot down in his own house, without provocation, and he died from the effects of his wounds. Three men, Smith, Brady and Happenstein were arrested on the charge of being participes criminis, but Happenstein turned Queen’s evidence, and seriously inculpated the others. Smith and Brady were tried with painful care by a jury, Judge Williams presiding, at the last Beechworth Circuit Court. They were found Guilty, and sentenced to death. Yesterday morning that sentence was carried out. There were about sixty spectators present, some compelled, by duty, but others, and these formed the larger part, simply avid of strong excitement. For these latter, we have no sympathy; they were present to gratify a morbid taste, and they gratified it; c’est tout! If they enjoyed it, no one will grudge them their enjoyment; if they did not enjoy it, it may perhaps be hoped that they learned a useful lesson. Seldom have men gone to the scaffold more self-possessed and self-contained than these showed themselves to be. One of them said a few words, to be mentioned elsewhere, but the other was scarcely standing on the drop before the death-dealing handle was pulled by Bamford. It should be stated that both prisoners had previously informed the sheriff that their dying statement was contained in a written paper, which had been handed to the governor of the gaol for the sheriff, and for publication, and that they would not, personally, address the public. That understanding was not fulfilled.

The sheriff received the paper in question, and refused to hand it to the representatives of this journal, or rather of the Press generally. That request was refused; on what ground Mr Brett probably knows. At a later hour, Mr Warren, proprietor of this journal, called at Mr Brett’s office, and saw that gentleman. He asked some questions with reference to the serious matter at issue, and received only indefinite replies. Stronger language might be used, but that Mr Brett, being an officer of the Government, and therefore unable to reply, we have no desire to characterise his conduct as it deserves. Failing to obtain a definite answer to his request, Mr Warren took further action immediately by telegraphing to two of the Government departments, viz., the Hon. the Chief Secretary and the Hon. the Solicitor-General, to ask that authority should be sent to Mr Brett to communicate the contents of the document in his possession. We append the substance of the telegrams, viz.:—

Beechworth, May 12th, 1873.

Applied personally to sheriff for Smith’s written document. He (Smith) expressed wish made public after execution. Mr Brett not only refuses to give the document, but declines to intimate his course of action or any way in which the public can get it. Please advise by telegram.


The following correspondence passed between Mr Warren and the sheriff, and we commend it carefully to all whom it may concern:—


The Ovens and Murray Advertiser Office, May 12th, 1873.

Sir,—I beg, as proprietor of The Ovens and Murray Advertiser, to request formally from you, permission for a member of my staff to take a copy of the paper handed to you, by or from, one of the convicts, Smith and Brady, this morning. According to your own statement, this paper was given to you to be made public by the special request of the men now dead. It is therefore the property of the public, and as an act of justice to Smith and Brady, as well as to the public, it should appear at the same time as the record of the death of these men. Should your official instructions compel you to refuse this request, I shall publish a copy of this letter to satisfy my readers that all that was possible has been done to provide them with the words of a paper, the publication of which they have certainly a right to expect.

I am, Sir,

Your obedient servant,


W. G. Brett, Esq.,

Sheriff of the Beechworth District.


I regret that I cannot comply with this request pending the decision of the Government, to whom the statement has been referred by me, and perhaps Mr Warren will be kind enough to address his request to the Hon. the Chief Secretary.

W. G. BRETT, Sheriff.

Mr Brett is afraid to do his duty to the public, and afraid, it seems, of doing anything! We must urge that the withholding from publication of the paper handed in by the deceased, even for a single day, is without justification, any law in that case made and provided notwithstanding. Mr Brett will have to regain wisdom, and to drop down to the level of his really very commonplace functions soon! Till then, we can afford to wait.

Spotlight: Young Kelly on remand (13 May 1870)

Benalla Ensign and Farmer’s and Squatter’s Journal (Vic. : 1869 – 1872), Friday 13 May 1870, page 2

The Benalla Police Court was crowded yesterday to see the young bushranger Kelly, and to hear the result of the charges laid against him. The prisoner has greatly improved under the better and regular diet he has had since his incarceration, and has become quite “flash.” We are told that his language is hideous, and if he recover his liberty at Kyneton, and again join Power—as no doubt he soon would—we are inclined to think he would be far more dangerous than heretofore. He has managed to get out of several ugly scrapes, and this success has not only emboldened but it has hardened him. Kelly was dismissed on the first two charges—that of robbing Mr. McBean in company with Power, and of the robbery near Seymour. Mr. McBean could not identify him, and the man robbed near Seymour could nowhere be found. It will be remembered that Mr. McBean did not see the face of the young man who was with Power when he was stuck-up, as he turned his back on Mr. McBean all through. But the Seymour case looks very like aiding and abetting. We shall see how the young criminal will fare at Kyneton, to which place he has been remanded, and where he will be brought up on Friday next, when it will be soon whether Murray can identify him. We regret to learn that there is no word of Power, who is believed to be in ambush in this vicinity.

Spotlight: Smith and Brady on Trial (22 October 1872)

Ovens and Murray Advertiser (Beechworth, Vic. : 1855 – 1918), Tuesday 22 October 1872, page 3


Monday, 21st October.

(Before Messrs. G. R. Berry, J. Turner, G. Graham, and Dr. Fox, J.P.’s.)

Robbery under Arms and Attempted Murder. — James Smith, Thomas Brady and William Happenstein, three men in the garb of bushmen, were charged with robbery under arms, and attempted murder at Wooragee. Mr Superintendent Barclay said that the defendants had been to a certain extent identified by some of the persons who were present when the robberies took place; as, however, they had only been arrested on Saturday afternoon, he would ask for a remand, in order that proper enquiries might be made. Remanded till Monday next.

Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 – 1933), Wednesday 27 November 1872, page 3


(Abridged from the Melbourne Age.)

At the Beechworth Police Court, on 31st October, James Smith, William Heppannstein, and Thomas Brady were charged with the murder of John Watt, of Wooragee. Thirteen witnesses were examined. The following is the evidence chiefly bearing on the case:—

Catherine Mitchell, wife of Peter Dominick Mitchell, living at Wooragee, deposed: I was at home on the 15th instant; was alone; about half-past 7 in the evening, heard a knock at the door; opened it and saw two men, one of them came into the house, the other remained outside; the one that came inside said, “Where is your money?” I said “I have none;” he said nothing further, but took a gun down; I only saw one of the men; I should take the man standing next the constable (Smith) to be the man who was in my house and took the gun; I saw the two men taking my husband away from the cowyard; about five minutes afterwards the men came back with my husband, and came into the house, one of them — the tall one — came into the front room, the other stayed out in the back room; they asked my husband for ammunition; he gave them some powder and shot; the men remained for about a quarter of an hour whilst we were looking for caps; did not find any caps; they then left; heard the report of a gun about 9 o’clock, about an hour after the men had left; had heard the report of my husband’s gun many times; it had a peculiar sound; when I heard the gun fired I did not recognise the report as being that of my husband’s gun; the gun was not loaded when they took it away.

Peter Dominick Mitchell, a gardener, residing at Wooragee, deposed: On Tuesday, 15th instant, about half past 7 o’clock in the evening, I was standing near a cow that was in the bail, when I saw two men come out of the house towards me; one of the men, whom I believe to be the prisoner Smith, said, “Come this way,” three times; they told me to go back and deliver the powder and shot I had; I walked in front of them back to the house; I gave the powder and shot to the tallest of the two; I took particular notice of the face of the tallest man; both men had something dark on their faces, with holes cut for their eyes; to the best of my belief I can recognise Smith, from his eyes, his build, full chest, and his voice; could not recognise the second man, who had a kind of dragging walk; when they left the house the tallest man said that if they catched me down the road they would shoot me; about an hour or an hour and a half afterwards I heard the report of firearms.

William Jarvis, a bullock-driver, residing at Wooragee, deposed: On Tuesday, 15th instant, I was in Gale’s store between 7 and 8 o’clock in the evening; Mrs. Gale was also in the store; there was no one else there; whilst there my attention was called by a knock at the door; when I opened the door there were two men with firearms, one at each side of the door; one had a single-barrelled gun, the other appeared to have a double-barrelled pistol; the man with the gun said, “Come outside here, you wretch, or I’ll blow your brains out;” I walked out on the verandah alongside of him; he asked me whether there was anybody else in the house; I told him there was only a woman there; he called out two or three times; he said that if he had to call her out again he would blow her brains out; I cried out, “Mrs. Gale, you had better come outside;” she came out, and stood alongside of me on the verandah; the man with the gun said to Mrs. Gale, “There’s £50 in that house; I want it, and I’ll have it; go in and get it, or I’ll shoot you;” she said there was no money in the house; after the man with the gun and Mrs. Gale had gone into the house, he called out to me to come in, and I went and stood inside the door, the man with the pistol taking up his place on the step of the door; I heard the man who carried the gun ask Mrs. Gale to go and get the fifty pounds; Mrs. Gale said she would give him anything she had in the shop, but that she had no money for him; he told her that if he had to ask for money again he would blow her brains out; I said to Mrs. Gale, “If you have got any money you had better give it to him;” she said she would, and took him to a little box behind the counter, she laid the box on a little bench behind the counter, and he took the money himself; the other man was outside the house all the time; the man with the gun then went towards the door, when he turned round and said to Mrs. Gale not to allow me to leave there that night, or he would blow her brains out; he said there were two more men down the road waiting; he told me not to go away from Gale’s that night, or also I might be shot; I told him that I would not go away; the men then went away; it would be from twenty minutes to half an hour from the time they came to the store until they went away; during most of the time I had a good opportunity of seeing the man who carried the gun; he had a kind of handkerchief over his face; it was very thin and very dirty; the color of the skin could be seen through it; there were two holes for the eyes, and a hole on the side of the cheek, through which skin appeared quite plain; Smith is the man; I am positive of it; the next time I saw him after that evening (15th instant) was in the police yard, Beechworth, on the following Monday; he was with a number of others; I picked him from amongst them, and had no hesitation in doing so; after I had picked him out I heard his voice; it was the same voice that I heard at Mr. Gale’s house; indentified the prisoner Smith in the yard by his whiskers and hair; I could see the whiskers and hair through the handkerchief when he was at Gale’s.

Margaret Gale corroborated the evidence of the previous witness, and further deposed: I recognise that man there; that is him standing in the corner (Smith); I am as positive about him as I am about my husband; I pointed him out as soon as I saw him from the expression of his face, his make, and his hand; also recognised his voice.

Henry Gale, storekeeper, Wooragee, deposed: On the evening of the 15th instant I was coming out of my bakehouse, about 250 yards from my store; on my way home I met two men, one of whom had a gun, and the other what I took to be a pistol or revolver; the men called out to me “Stop, hold on,” and presented their pieces at me, one in front and the other at the side; the place where I was stopped was about sixty yards from my store; I was about to pass on, when the man with the pistol said, “Stand or I’ll shoot you;” I stood and said, “Are you really in earnest; I thought you were only joking;” the man with the pistol said, “If I put a ball in your head that will not be a joke;” he then said, “Turn out that money;” I told him that I had no money; he insisted that I had, and I turned out my pockets to show that I had not; the man with the gun then stepped forward and searched me; having satisfied himself, he fell back again; The man with the pistol then said, “It’s no use, he has the money,” and then addressing himself to me, said, “Go in the bush; ” I said, “What is the use of taking me in the bush, are you not satisfied?” he said that they had been told I had £50; the man with the pistol then said, “Go to your store, and don’t come out to-night; there are men up the road and down the road; ” I do not think I could recognise the men again; I had an idea that I had heard the voice before; I have an idea that Thomas Brady was the man who stood in front of me with the pistol; Brady I have seen several times, and he has been at my store, and I firmly believe that the voice I heard when I was stuck up was that of Brady; not only the voice, but I think there is a resemblance in the stature of the man.

John Alexander Kennedy, poundkeeper, Albury, deposed: Was at the Wooragee Hotel on Tuesday, 15th instant, about 9 o’clock in the evening; I was in the kitchen; there were present Hugh Pierce, Thomas Fraser, and the late John Watt; Mrs. Watt was going in and out of the kitchen; when Mrs. Watt was outside heard her call out, “John, there’s a knock at the door, will you open it?” Mr. Watt got up and went to the door; between half a minute and a minute afterwards I heard the report of firearms; directly after the report I felt as if I had been burned on the arm, and a numb sensation followed; when Mr. Watt came into the kitchen he said, “I am shot”; there was blood running down the front and left side of his coat; he sat down on a form, and immediately afterwards got up, and fell over on the floor; I picked him up, and put him in a sitting position against the wall.

Ellen Watt, wife of the late John Watt, of the Wooragee Hotel, deposed: On the evening of Tuesday, 15th instant, saw two men passing the gate, along the main road; had them in sight from one to two minutes; about one minute after they had passed, I called out to my husband there was someone knocking; heard him leave the kitchen and go along the passage to the front; about a minute afterwards I heard the report of a gun; when I got into the kitchen I found that my husband had been wounded; my husband told me that he was mortally wounded; Dr. Walsh attended him shortly after; he lived till the 25th instant; my husband described the men to me whom he saw at the door; he told me that he was shot by two men; one was a fair tall man with high cheek bones; he said that he had very little hair round the chin, and that it was of a lightish color; the other he said was shorter, and had a sandy complexion; my husband said that one of them said to him, “Come out, you wretch, or I’ll blow your brains out;” I believe that Smith and Brady would answer the description of the men as described by my husband; Smith was about the same size as the man who passed the gate first, and Brady appeared like the second one.

Mr. Superintendent Barclay put in the declaration made by Mr. Watt, before Mr. J. Turner, J.P., believing himself to be dying, as follows:—

“Between 7 and 8 o’clock two men came to my place. They knocked at the front door. I went outside and opened the door. The man with the gun said, ‘Stand out here or I will blow out your brains.’ There was another man with him. I then ran through the passage to the kitchen, and received a shot in the left side. I got to the kitchen, when I dropped down. I don’t think they followed me. The one that fired was a medium sized man, ill-looking, and thin. He had a cap on. I don’t think he had very much whiskers, which were dark. I believe the smallest man fired. He spoke with a gruff voice. He was a youngish man, I think.”

The Rev. W. C. Howard, incumbent of Christ Church, Beechworth, deposed: On the 23rd ultimo saw the deceased, Mr. Watt, at the Wooragee Hotel; remember the prisoners Smith, Heppannstein, and Brady being taken to Wooragee; was in the room with Mr. Watt when they were brought in separately to see Mr. Watt; he was at that time in an extremely feeble condition, hardly able to speak; Brady was first placed before him; Mr. Watt said he thought that was not the man who fired the gun; Brady was then taken out; Heppannstein was placed before Mr. Watt, who said, “That is not the man at all; he is much taller than the man who fired the gun;” Heppannstein was then taken out; Smith was then brought in; Mr. Watt was then becoming more feeble, and I could not hear exactly at the time, whilst Smith was in the room, the exact words which he used; afterwards Mr. Watt kept speaking partially to himself; I stooped my head down to the pillow, and asked him what he was saying, when he replied in a sufficiently strong voice for me then to hear him, “That is very much like the man who fired the shot; ” when Smith was in the room Mr. Watt made a movement with his hand, which I could not interpret.

George Graham, merchant, residing at Wooragee, deposed: On the 23rd instant I was at the Wooragee Hotel; was standing alongside Mr. Watt’s bed when the prisoners Heppannstein and Smith were brought into the room; as soon as Heppannstein was brought in Mr. Watt, who was in a very low state, shook his head and said, “No.” When Smith was brought in I lifted up a portion of the curtain; Mr. Watt partially turned his head, looked at Smith, and pointed with his hand and said, “That’s the man;” there was a brief pause, and I heard something like “me” after. There might have been another word between, but did not hear it.

The prisoners were then charged with highway robbery under arms. Evidence at considerable length was taken, and the usual caution having been administered by the Bench, the prisoners, as in the former case, said they had nothing to say. All three — James Smith, William Heppannstein, and Thomas Brady — were then committed to take their trial at the next circuit court to be held in Beechworth for wilful murder; they were also committed to take their trial at the same court for robbery under arms.

Ovens and Murray Advertiser (Beechworth, Vic. : 1855 – 1918), Friday 18 April 1873, page 3


The following is the list of cases remaining for trial :—

James Smith and Thomas Brady, murder, Wooragee.

James Smith and Thomas Brady, robbery under arms, Wooragee.

David Stewart, breaking into and stealing from a dwelling, Beechworth.

John Mulhall, unmentionable crime, Benalla. James Quin, on remand from last Circuit Court, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.


Thomas Gidley, sheepstealing, Beechworth.

Ah Hen, wounding cattle, Beechworth (2 cases).

Cornelius Foote, perjury, Wangaratta.

Kilmore Free Press (Kilmore, Vic. : 1870 – 1954), Thursday 24 April 1873, page 4


(From the Ovens and Murray Advertiser, April 19th.

A crime that for a time seemed to be enshrouded in mystery has been sheeted home to the criminals. After a fair and impartial trial, James Smith and Thomas Brady have been found guilty of the murder of Mr. Watt, at Wooragee, and have been sentenced to expiate their crime on the scaffold. So far as we can judge, after hearing the evidence brought forward, the verdict returned by the jury is a righteous one. The testimony of Happenstein, an associate of the prisoners, and who was to some extent connected with them in the crime, supplied the one link that was wanting in the chain. Without the evidence of the approver, the case against Smith and Brady left no moral doubt. His testimony, corroborated as it was by the statements of other witnesses, cleared away whatever legal doubt there was as to the guilt of the prisoners. Mrs. Gale’s identification of Smith as one of the men who stuck up and robbed the postoffice and store at Wooragee was complete, that of the witness Jarvis was not less so. Both witnesses swore positively to his having been the man, who, armed with a gun, compelled Mrs. Gale to deliver up the money she had in the store, and who made use of threats as to blowing her brains out and that of the witness Jarvis, in the most approved bushranging fashion. The evidence of Mr. Mitchell and his wife, from whose house the gun was taken, was scarcely less conclusive. Both were positive in their own minds that Smith was the man, but they had that shadow of a doubt which prevented them swearing directly to his identity. So far as the outrages at Mitchell’s and Gale’s were concerned, the testimony of the independent witnesses sufficiently established the complicity of Smith, whilst Mr. Gale’s testimony proved the identity of Brady as one of the robbers. Morally, there was not the slightest doubt that the same men who visited Mitchell’s and Gale’s were those who called at the Wooragee Hotel, and finished a night of crime by shooting Mr. Watt; legally there might have been some difficulty in connecting them with the firing of the shot, had not Happenstein come forward and told what he knew of the matter. As a rule, we have a strong dislike to the evidence of approvers, but in Happenstein’s case there are several circumstances that lift the testimony out of the usual category. In the first place it was known from the outset that his share in the crime was no more than that of an accessary before the fact, and it was doubtful whether, if he had not turned approver, the crown could proceed against him on the capital charge. None of the witnesses — neither the Mitchells, the Gales, nor Jarvis — deposed to having seen him in conpany with Smith and Brady; in fact, it was evident, as he himself stated, that he had acted as waiting man to the party, taking charge of the horses and keeping guard while the others went on their marauding expedition. Under these circumstances, and considering that no promise was held out to Happenstein to furnish any statement, we consider that his evidence — more especially as it was corroborated in almost every important particular — was entitled to the credence it received. Looking back, we cannot help agreeing with the Crown Prosecutor in his statement that the manner in which the case was got up reflects the highest credit on the police; there is no doubt that both the officers and men engaged showed great sagacity and skill by the way in which they added link to link until they made the chain of evidence complete. It must be remembered that the crime which formed the subject of the trial at the Circuit Court yesterday was of no ordinary nature. Two men visit a lonely wayside public house, after dark knock at the door, and when they are answered they order the landlord to stand outside threatening in case of refusal to blow out his brains. He turns round to regain the shelter he has quitted, is fired at and mortally wounded; the murderers speed away in the darkness, and excepting a passing glance at their forms caught by the murdered man’s wife, they are not seen by anyone in the house. Unless for the traces the murderers left by their visit to Gale’s, in all human probability the Wooragee murder would have been added to the list of undiscovered crimes, of which there have been not a few in Victoria. Fortunately for the peace of mind and security of lonely dwellers in the bush, and perhaps also for those who may be inclined to enter on a criminal career, justice has been vindicated by the charge having been brought home to the guilty parties. Some complaints were made when those men were arrested as to the delay that must take place before they could be placed on their trial. But all things considered, we are of opinion that it is as well that the delay did take place. The excitement that was occasioned in the district by the shooting of an inoffensive and much respected resident in his own house, has had time to die out during the six months, that have elapsed since the murder took place. Whatever the character of those accused of the crime, they were entitled to a fair and impartial trial, and they have received it. Mr. C. A. Smyth, in conducting the case for the Crown, strained no point to secure a conviction, but, as is his wont, while doing justice to the side on which he was engaged, he treated the accused with every fairness. It is necessary that the law should be vindicated; at the same time it is lamentable to see two healthy strong young men sentenced to have their career cut short by an ignominious death. A little sin, says a high authority, is like the letting in of water. Smith commenced criminal career with the too common and much too-lightly esteemed offence of cattle stealing, and ended it as a murderer’s doom. His fate and that of his fellow convict ought to be a warning to others lest they trangress against the law. Once a criminal career is commenced it is hard to tell where it will end. In a country like this, where honest labour is well rewarded, crimes of every description are as unprofitable as they are wicked.

Spotlight: Smith and Brady Convicted (21 April 1873)

Herald (Melbourne, Vic. : 1861 – 1954), Monday 21 April 1873, page 3




At the Beechworth Circuit Court on Friday last James Smith and Thomas Brady were arraigned on a charge of having feloniously murdered one John Watt, at Wooragee.

Prisoners pleaded not guilty, and were defended by Mr. F. Brown, instructed by Mr. G. Smith. The evidence. in the case has already been published and it is therefore unnecessary to recapitulate it. Happenstein, who was committed for trial with the prisoners, was allowed to turn Queen’s evidence. At the conclusion of the case, as we learn from the “Ovens and Murray Advertiser,” the jury retired, and after an absence of three-quarters of an hour, returned into court with a verdict of guilty. Prisoners were asked if they had anything to say why sentence of death should not be passed upon them Smith made no reply. Brady made an indistinct murmur, which was understood by come of those nearest the dock to be “yes,” but he said nothing further. After a brief but impressive pause, his Honor addressing the prisoners, said that all through the case they must be aware that this result was inevitable, they must have seen that no other verdict could be returned. The evidence of Happenstein, corroborated, as it was, by that of other witnesses, had proved that they were

The two men who shot Mr. Watt.

For years, no case like that which had been tried that day had occurred in the colony. Men had been executed for murder committed in hot blood, for crimes committed under the influence of passion, but a cool-blooded murder such as that of which prisoners had been found guilty had not been committed for years. In times past, when men were determined on obtaining gold at any cost, murders like that committed at Wooragee had occurred; these times had happily gone; but the prisoners had resuscitated this class of crime, and had murdered Mr. Watt

In the most cold-blooded manner.

The man was doing no harm; was interfering in no way with the prisoners, yet had been shot down by them at the door of his own house. The prisoners seemed. to have issued from their lair in the recesses of Mount Pilot, like wild beasts of prey, bent on bloodshed. Had Mrs. Gale not followed the advice given her by the young man Jarvis; had she refused to obey the orders of the prisoners, as did the poor man, who fell a victim to their murderous instincts, it is probable her life would have been forfeited. It was not probable that anything he could say would affect the prisoners, if they had not been moved by the sight of

The woman, whom they had made a widow,

in the witness-box. The crime of which they had been found guilty was one which there was nothing to extenuate; it was a cold-blooded murder. It was evident that the prisoners had distrusted Happenstein, as they had kept him away with the horses; it was evident that Happenstein was not so criminal-minded as they, and therefore they had not admitted him to a full share of their confidence. The consequence was that he had appeared against them in the witness-box that day, and had assisted materially in sheeting home the crime to them. They had bestowed on Happenstein only half their confidence, and in that they had committed a mistake; they ought either to have reposed full confidence or none. In consequence of the verdict that had been returned by the jury — a verdict in which he fully concurred — he had a serious duty to perform, to proceed to pass

Sentence Of Death

on the prisoners. Before doing so he would advise them to see their clergymen, and employ their remaining time in preparing for another world. He would beseech them, not as the judge to the criminal, but as one man to another, to see their clergymen, think seriously of the awful position in which they were placed, and make fitting preparation for their approaching doom. The sentence of the Court was, that prisoners be taken to the place from whence they came, and there hanged by the neck until dead, on such day as may be appointed by the Governor-in- Council. The learned Judge, who seemed to be much affected in passing sentence, was very indistinctly heard in court. Prisoners, who during the proceedings had maintained the greatest composure, seemed to be

Overpowered by the passing of the sentence.

They were then removed from the dock, and the court adjourned.

Spotlight: Thunderbolt’s Wife

Grenfell Record and Lachlan District Advertiser (NSW : 1876 – 1951), Thursday 13 October 1927, page 5


In the early seventies of last century (writes ‘Hawkeye’ in the ‘Northern Champion,’ Taree) a young Manning River man had to drive a spring cart from Raymond Terrace to Manning River. Some distance on his way towards Stroud he saw a woman on foot ahead carrying a child. When he caught up and offered her a lift, he found it was the wife of Frederick Ward, who had been down to see him in gaol. With a brave heart she had set out to walk to the Stroud country, where her home was. As they went along, she told the driver odd items of Thunderbolt’s history — and, of course, he was always more sinned against than sinning. That is always the way — and people believe it, sure. Mrs. Ward gave the driver certain bush-Masonic signs and information to be used if he were ever overtaken by her captain. Over hill and dale the long day wore on. Suddenly a man appeared ahead, driving tandem toward them. The lady shouted to him, and then passed her child to our hero, without so much as ‘By your leave.’ Springing from the cart she followed the other vehicle some distance, and conversed with the driver. “He’s not a bad sort,’ and she flashed a bundle of 25 notes he had given her. There is no doubt it was a case of ‘saving the stock on the station’ by helping the bushranger’s wife, and Mackay understood quite well. Many miles farther on the strong, self-reliant woman left, thanking the man with the spring cart, and waving her hand as she left the main road for tracks across hills that only the initiated knew. The driver assured me he had occasion to use the secret code some years after, and found her instructions true in every particular. The flight of time, and the glamor of romance, have surrounded those tribesmen, but, taken all in all, bushranging was a wretched life, and a passing phase of history that can never come again.

The Bluestone College: Bushrangers at Pentridge

Of the myriad of Australian prisons, few have as fearsome a reputation as Victoria’s H. M. Prison Pentridge.

First opened in 1851, Pentridge was envisioned as a state of the art prison where the worst of the worst would be sent to learn the errors of their ways. Unfortunately, Pentridge went from being an easily escapable stockade to a home of cruel and overly harsh punishment. Here many bushrangers did time for their transgressions and this list gives the accounts of several of the more notable cases.

Pentridge in 1861 [Source: State Library of Victoria]

1. Ned Kelly

Ned Kelly [PROV]

By the time Ned Kelly had graced the bluestone walls of Pentridge Prison, he was already something of a minor celebrity in the criminal world. In May 1870 Kelly had made headlines for allegedly being Harry Power’s bushranging apprentice. The charges against Kelly were dropped, as was a charge of assault that came up soon thereafter against a Chinese man named Ah Fook. His first prison stint was in Beechworth for three months for assaulting a hawker named McCormack and sending his wife an obscene letter. Ned’s reputation as a young man to be wary of was cemented and shortly after his release he was spotted by Senior Constable Hall in Greta, riding a chestnut mare that had been missing from the Benalla postmaster’s residence. Hall pulled Ned aside and told him he had papers to sign from Beechworth Gaol and as the teen was dismounting, Hall grabbed him. A prolonged scuffle broke out, during which Ned managed to straddle Hall and dig his spurs into the portly policeman’s thighs. They fell and knocked over several lengths of a brush fence and Hall ordered some workmen to restrain Kelly. As Ned’s limbs were secured, Hall bashed him over the head repeatedly with the butt of his revolver until the sixteen year-old’s head was split open and bleeding freely. Once unconscious from the head trauma, Ned was dragged across the road to the lock-up, leaving a trail of blood in the dust. The attending doctor gave Kelly twelve stitches and complained about Hall’s seeming compulsion to crack open the head of an Irishman like a macadamia. Ned Kelly was charged with horse theft, but as his court case went on this was changed to feloniously receiving a stolen horse. Apparently, Wild Wright had borrowed the horse without permission and gotten her lost. He had subsequently loaned a horse from Ned so that he could ride home (he was a friend of Ned’s brother-in-law Alex Gunn). The agreement was that if Ned found her they would do a swap. This is what Ned was in the process of doing when he was bailed up by Hall. Ned was found guilty and received three years hard labour. For taking the horse, Wright was given 18 months.

The start of Ned’s sentence was in Beechworth Gaol, but after several months he was transferred to Pentridge, then on to Point Gellibrand as his ability as a labourer was considered useful for the work occuring at Williamstown. Prisoners from the prison hulks at time were generally employed building sea walls and repairing military structures. So, having spent several months becoming acclimatised to Pentridge, Ned was transferred to the hulk Sacramento. Ned was, by most accounts, a model prisoner. His record only shows one blemish: two days in solitary confinement for giving his tobacco ration to another inmate on Sacramento. Rather than simply smashing rocks, Ned’s time in Pentridge and Sacramento taught him trade skills, namely bricklaying, which he would use for a period once he was released in 1874. No doubt the time in gaol was gruelling, and being completely cut off from everyone he knew and loved for almost three years would have been a huge thing for a teenage boy to endure. Oral tradition recounts that Ned would often state, upon his release, that if he ever went back to gaol they’d have to hang him.

2. Andrew George Scott

Andrew Scott [PROV]

The troublesome preacher and convicted bank robber, Andrew Scott, became something of a celebrity in Pentridge. The press took much delight in using his supposed alias, “Captain Moonlite”, when recounting his supposed misdeeds. There remains some doubt as to whether Scott truly did committ the daring robbery that sent him to gaol, despite many of the details proving compelling such as the motive (Scott was broke due to the church withholding his wages), Scott’s relationship to the men previously accused of the crime and Scott’s subsequent escape from Ballarat Gaol while on remand. Regardless, Scott was given seven years to think about his next move. Sent to Pentridge by Sir Redmond Barry, Scott would prove to be nothing short of a nuisance. His prison record demonstrates a series of infringements, which indicate that Scott had become something of a go-to guy in Pentridge for contraband. Whatever you wanted, Scott seemed able to get for you whether it’s newspapers or even new trousers. If you were able to make a deal then he would hook you up.

Scott became something of a nuisance to the prison authorities and any opportunity they could take to punish him was too good to miss. On one occassion Scott was found with a length of lead pipe that he claimed he found by the perimeter wall. The warders asserted that he intended to use the pipe to make a gun. During the subsequent hearing Scott, a qualified engineer, explained in painstaking detail exactly why the proposition was ludicrous. He maintained that basic physics dictated that the pipe was totally unsuited to a firearm because of the pressure build up caused by the act of firing a projectile in such a narrow tube. The authorities were unswayed and sent him to solitary confinement. This only put more fire in Scott’s belly.

“Life in Pentridge. The prisoners’ school. ” Australasian Sketcher, 01/11/1873

When Scott learned of a fellow inmate, Weachurch, attempting to murder a warder while in solitary confinement, he took it upon himself to act as a witness in the trial and use the opportunity to make public what he claimed was a massive cover up of institutionalised brutality. The cries fell on deaf ears however and Weachurch was eventually hanged for the crime.

While in Pentridge Scott befriended a juvenile delinquent from Richmond named James Nesbitt, who would become his closest confidante and, by some accounts, his lover. On one occasion Nesbitt was even punished for smuggling tea to Scott. When Nesbitt was released, Scott still had a significant portion of his sentence left. The friendship was enough to motivate Scott to pull his head in for the remainder of his sentence so that he was able to join Nesbitt outside the prison, which he promptly did when he gained his liberty.

3. Harry Power

Harry Power [PROV]

Harry Power was to become one of Pentridge Prison’s most well-known inmates. His first stint in the prison came in 1863 when he was imprisoned for stock theft. Having done time on the prison hulk Success, he found himself back on dry land in Pentridge. By now Power had begun to develop the health problems that would plague him ever after, most notably a bowel stricture. The stricture made hard labour difficult and thus he was put on light duties. The prisoners were tasked with clearing the scrub by the Merri Creek end of the compound in preparation for the bluestone boundary wall to be built. Power’s job was to man the handcart that took the green waste to the mullock heap, but Power had a plan. He had begun piling the waste over a depression in the ground and when tools were downed and muster was called, he hid in the depression and covered himself with branches. When the coast was clear he climbed out and left via the gap in the incomplete perimeter wall. Crossing the creek, Power managed to make good his escape by allegedly hiding in a crowded pub.

Entrance buildings Pentridge Gaol. 1861 [Source: State Library of Victoria]

The next few months saw Power increase his reputation as one of Australia’s most indomitable highwaymen. Covering vast territory and committing a number of robberies comparable to legendary bushrangers such as Gilbert, Hall and Morgan, Power managed to attract a reward of £500. He briefly operated with a teenage sidekick (Ned Kelly, as mentioned earlier) but was not fond of the arrangement, reportedly abusing the boy frequently when in camp, prompting his exit.

The reward money proved too tempting and he was sold out by one of his harbourers, Jack Lloyd, who helped police to locate Power’s hideout. After a dramatic capture by police, Power was tried in Beechworth and soon found himself back in Pentridge to serve fifteen years.

This time, Power’s health had deteriorated rapidly and he was frequently in the prison hospital. On one occasion he had the cheek to try and escape by cutting through the hospital floor with the intent of tunnelling out. Unfortunately for him he was caught in the act. As his ability to engineer escapes diminished he became belligerent and was frequently punished for minor offences, which were usually related to smoking his pipe or starting fights with other inmates. During one of his many stints in the hospital he was interviewed by an undercover journalist who called himself The Vagabond. The account was colourful and portrayed Power as something of a vainglorious raconteur. Power would begin to settle somewhat in the later years of his sentence, eventually getting out in the mid 1880s.

4. Frank Gardiner

An extract from Francis Christie’s prison record [PROV]

Frank Gardiner, the alias of Francis Christie, spent his first prison sentence for stock theft in Pentridge. On 10 June 1850 he and John Newton attempted to shift 21 head of stolen cattle from Salisbury Plains, South Australia, to sell them in Portland (at that point Victoria was still part of New South Wales). They were nabbed near the Fitzroy River a couple of days after setting out, then taken to Geelong to await trial. The pair were tried in Geelong at the Circuit Court before the Resident Judge William A’Beckett, and upon being found guilty on 22 October 1850, were given five years hard labour on the roads. Gardiner remained in Geelong Gaol until he was transferred to Pentridge stockade on 4 February 1851.

At the time Pentridge was little more than portable wooden cells and brush fencing. The inmates were the ones tasked with preparing the grounds and building the fortifications, but during these early days escape was frequent due to the lack of barriers and poor security, and the rate of recapture was laughable.

On the afternoon of 26 March 1851, a group of seven convicts broke out of Pentridge, one of whom was Gardiner, at that time still being referred to as Francis Christie. Gardiner managed to make good his escape and headed for the McIvor goldfields where he fell in with a gang of bushrangers who planned to rob a gold escort.

“ESCAPED CONVICTS” Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 – 1875) 21 April 1851: 4.

In 1853 the notorious heist was executed and the gang made off with almost 3000oz of gold and £700 cash. Within days the police had tracked down Gardiner, then still using his real name, and arrested him in the middle of having sex in his tent. He was assumed to be the mastermind and somehow evaded imprisonment, likely by ratting out his accomplices, and quickly made his way to New South Wales where he continued his criminal career.

Ten years after his stint in Pentridge he would cement his place in bushranging history as the mastermind of the Eugowra Rocks heist.

5. James Nesbitt

Jimmy Nesbitt [PROV]

Nesbitt was not a master criminal by any stretch. He was raised in Richmond (at that time a massive slum) with an extremely abusive father, who was in and out of gaol for his violent behaviour, and few prospects to better his lot. Using his mother’s maiden name, Lyons, he fell in with a larrikin “push” that tailed a man who was flashing cash around from having struck it rich on the goldfields. They cornered him and beat him unconscious before liberating him of his cash. Nesbitt did not engage in the bashing, but rather acted as a lookout. The boys were arrested soon after and tried. Nesbitt was given five years.

His sentence began in Melbourne Gaol on 15 July 1875. He had previously done a stint of three months in Melbourne Gaol in 1873 for larceny. Only a few days later he was transferred to Pentridge, where he was obviously a troublesome convict. The infractions marked on his record include idleness, talking to a prisoner, claiming paper improperly and having trousers improperly, quarrelling and leaving his seat at divine service. This was all prior to his transfer in mid-April 1878 to Williamstown, where he was stationed in the barracks in order to work on improvements to the garrison. Here he was housed in the old military barracks at Fort Gellibrand and it is around this time that he befriended a teenager named William Johnson. Nesbitt seems to have mostly behaved himself at Fort Gellibrand, only getting in trouble for using improper language the day before his transfer back to Pentridge.

Upon his return to Pentridge, it seems, that Nesbitt befriended Andrew George Scott. Nesbitt now seemed to have settled down somewhat and the only remaining infractions on his record are two counts of him sneaking tea to Scott in the last two months of his sentence. On 17 September 1878 Nesbitt gained his freedom by remission and kept his nose clean on the outside until March the following year when he reunited with Andrew George Scott, who was fresh out of Pentridge himself.

Nesbitt and Scott tried desperately to find employment but their criminal history proved to be too much of an obstacle. Scott also had theatrical ambitions and roped Nesbitt into accompanying him on a tour of the colony to preach prison reform to the masses. The police caught wind of this and tried everything they could to silence Scott. Scott and Nesbitt then found themselves the target of false accusations by the police, who were desperate to pin something on them. One such case was when Scott and Nesbitt, with their pal Frank Johns, were seen in Williamstown and allegedly tried to help Nesbitt’s old prison mate William Johnson escape from the barracks at Fort Gellibrand. They were accused of forcing open a window to pass Johnson revolvers, but there was no evidence and the case was dropped.

This persecution was inevitably what led to Nesbitt joining Scott in his bushranging expedition into New South Wales, which resulted in his violent death by police at McGlede’s farm in Wantabadgery.

THE PENAL ESTABLISHMENT AT PENTRIDGE. – PRISONERS AT DINNER. Illustrated Australian news for home readers, 20/08/1867

6. Owen Suffolk

Owen Suffolk led a very eventful life, like something out of a Dickens novel. Prior to coming to Australia, the Englishman had been a student at a boarding school, worked as a cabin boy, fallen into vagrancy, and become a conman. He was convicted for forgery in 1846, and the following June departed for Australia on the ship Joseph Soames. He arrived in Port Phillip on 24 September and was received at Geelong. He was one of the privileged prisoners who, upon arrival in the colonies, was allowed to roam freely under surveillance rather than be imprisoned or assigned. This would prove to be a terrible decision on the part of the authorities.

On 19 December 1848 Suffolk was given a sentence of five years on the road for horse stealing, the first three to be served in irons. Prior to this conviction he had been brought up on a different horse stealing charge but was acquitted due to inconsistencies regarding the ownership of the stolen horse in the paperwork. Knowing he had other warrants out against him, Suffolk attempted to bolt before the authorities could nab him. He was chased on foot by three police for only about thirty yards before he was re-arrested and charged with stealing a horse worth £10 from a man named Thomas Seal, on which charge he was found guilty. He was sent to Cockatoo Island where he was received in March 1849.

Suffolk was infrequently in trouble during his time on Cockatoo Island, receiving additional punishments for having letters and fighting in the square. He was granted a ticket of leave on 2 March 1851, but promptly absconded and took to the bush.

An extract from one of the various prison records for Owen Suffolk. [PROV]

Suffolk was sent to Pentridge in 1851 for ten years for robbing the mail coach at Portland, the first three to be done in irons. The sentence was served at Pentridge as well as the prison hulk President at Port Gellibrand, the most notorious at the time for the cruelty inflicted upon prisoners there at the time.

During his time in Pentridge, Suffolk was able to gain the trust of prison authorities and was given a bookmaking job. However, Suffolk used the position to secretly alter documents and shorten the sentences of his mates. It seems his forgeries were so well executed that he was kept in this role long-term, and on 28 March 1853 the prison authorities received a letter from the sheriff notifying them that his sentence had been commuted to five years.

Suffolk was referred to as “The Poet” because, despite his criminal leanings, he was an accomplished writer of poetry and even managed to write a popular autobiography during his stint in Pentridge, which was later released as Days of Crime and Years of Suffering. Many of his works actually pertain to his time in Pentridge and offer a unique insight into the experience of the inmates.

On 10 September 1853 Suffolk received his ticket of leave and was discharged. He would not enjoy his liberty for long as his tampering with the books was discovered in his absence and on 28 February 1854 his ticket of leave was revoked and he was sent back to President.

For this he was sent to the hulks at Williamstown, doing time on President where the worst offenders were sent to be broken. A little over a year later his poor health saw him transferred to Success and Sacramento.

When he eventually gained his ticket of leave just before Christmas in 1857, he was permitted to find employment in Ballarat but he was unable to, turning to crime yet again. It seems that his convict background had proven to be the biggest hurdle to his walking the straight and narrow and crime was the only way he could think of to survive. However, Suffolk was no ordinary crim. In 1858 he faced court of charges of theft where it was revealed he had taken a horse and tack in one instance, and £2 in another, by pretending to be an undercover detective.

In the 1866 Suffolk gained his liberty after his brother back in England had gotten him a pardon from the colonial governor. He almost immediately became involved in a forgery racket but skipped town before the headquarters was raided by police. Suffolk made his way to England where he pretended to be a wealthy squatter and journalist in order to gain the confidence of the wealthy English he mixed with. Through this he conned a wealthy widow named Mary Elizabeth Phelps into marrying him to gain access to her fortune. He then faked his death by drowning and ran away to America with his newfound fortune with his teenage niece, with whom he claimed to be married, where they lived the high life in New York. In 1868 his autobiography was serialised in the press, which coincided with his return to Australia. Following he was sentenced to fifteen years imprisonment for theft and bigamy. By September 1880 he was out of prison and back in England where he married Eliza Shreves. It seems that after this Suffolk, now in his fifties, managed to settle down as he fades out of the pages of history thereafter.


By Owen Suffolk

‘Twas a calm summer ere when a mother led forth

Her fair child to gaze at the beauties of earth;

She bade him look up too the bright stars on high.

Tiny islets of light in an ocean of sky;

Then she pointed him down were the silver moon threw

Her beams on the flowers beshangled with dew:

And the boy as he gazed with a heart undefiled;

Seemed an angel of love in the form of a child.

Then the boy turned and said with a voice sweet and soft,

Like the lay of a lark carolled out from aloft,

“How pure and how good must that wise Being be

Who created such beautiful wonders for me;

Oh, teach me to love and commune with in prayer

The maker of all things so holy and fair.”

And the fond mother wept with emotion of joy 

As she clasped to her bosom her God-loving boy.

Years passed; and the boy had grown up to a man

When I saw him with visage so woe-gone and wan.

No longer he worshipped at purity’s shrine,

For his soul was enslaved by the demon of crime.

An alien to love and an exile from home

He lay shackled with chains in a dungeon of stone:

Whilst those phantons of evil – remorse and despair –

In terrible form ever haunted him there.

“Oh man,” groaned the captive with voice harsh and wild,

As he rattled his fetters and savagely smiled,

“How relentless in feeling, how ruthless in wrath,

Art thou to the wretched and guilty of earth;

On the fallen one wreak all thy vengeance; and though

He may crouch to the storm, or be crushed by its blow,

Yet thy chains and thy cruelties teach him to be

A fiend in his nature, and a terror to thee!

I saw him once more in a forest of flowers,

Where Nature smiled forth from her leaf-shaded bowers,

And the Spirit of Beauty that reigned o’er the scene

Poured a soul-soothing song from her wild haunts of green.

There his stern heart, o’ercome by the influence sweet

Of the music and calm of that sylvan retreat,

Expanded with love and a prayer rose above

To the God of all Nature – all Beauty and Love!

Oh! ’tis sad that the good may be soon clothed with shame

By the vices of earth which enchant and enchain;

But ’tis sweet to reflect that the worthless and vile

May be won back to virtue by Purity’s smile;

Be exalted in heart by a God-given zest

For all that in Nature is noblest and best;

Whilst the pitiless stroke of severity’s storm

May conquer and crush, but can never reform!

Pentridge in 2020 – the site of decades of misery and violence is now a family-friendly community venue with a cinema, shops and cafes.

Spotlight: Power’s Cub

Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), Thursday 12 May 1870, page 3


Power’s cub has been taken, though (states the Benalla Ensign) the old fox has up to the present managed to escape. It was hoped when the information reached here that Kelly was visible in his old whereabouts, that Power was not very far off, and superintendent Nicolas himself went to look after the prey. We purposely pass over the particulars ; but it came to pass that very early on Wednesday morning, while everybody else was sleeping, Mr. Nicolas, with sergeant Whelan and mounted-constables Arthur and Mullane, found themselves surrounding Mrs. Kelly’s shanty, about four miles on the Benalla side of Greta, on the Eleven Mile Creek, well armed with breech-loaders and revolvers, where they captured their quarry at daybreak, and conveyed him to the lock-up. The entrance of the escort into Benalla was quite imposing, the prisoner being surrounded by his captors, and every now and then a smile passed over his face as he recognised some one he knew. Prisoner has grown since he was last in the dock charged with robbing a Chinaman at the shanty, when the cunning of himself and mates got him off. On being lodged in the lock-up he became very moody in his old quarters, not relishing them at all, and appeared quite exhausted with the life he had been leading. He is very pale, and has learned to smoke while out at night with Power. It is well known that he professes not to care for his life, but we rather incline to think that, however well he might be armed, if he was met by a firm, bold man, equally well armed, he would give in. We hold the same opinion of Power, but might be mistaken. Kelly was brought up at the Police Court on Thursday morning, and two charges were preferred against him — the first for robbery in company, and the second for highway robbery under arms. Mr. Nicolas applied for a remand for a week, as he said it would be impossible for him to collect the evidence in a shorter time, and the application was granted, when it is to be hoped we may have the satisfaction of witnessing Power arraigned alongside the young man whose ruin he has sealed.