Gilbert was but twenty-five years old at time of his death, but was of a stout build and capable of undergoing great exertion. He was the son of respectable parents, and his father is now living Taradale, in Victoria where he has for some years resided, following the occupation of mining, and is stated to have been much grieved at the lawless habits of his unfortunate son. But little is known of the early life of Gilbert, except that he was engaged as stock rider in some stations about Forbes, and that at the end of the year 1862, he, like several other young men of loose habits, became inflamed with the passion and desire of becoming highwaymen, thinking it no doubt a grand thing and a noble pursuit instead of honestly and quietly working industriously for a livelihood.
The town of Goulburn was thrown into a state of great excitement on Wednesday morning last, by a report that Mr. Rossi’s house at Rossiville, only two and a half miles from town had been stuck up the previous night by Hall, Gilbert, and young Dunn. It was at first stated that the robbers had their faces covered when committing the outrage, and this led to the rumour being discredited as to the identity of the men, as it was well known the three individuals named never resort to concealment of their faces; it proved, however, that there had been no concealment. Continue reading Spotlight: Robberies by Hall & Co. (November 1864)
Beyond the Kelly Gang, only one other bushranging gang has truly cemented its place in the culture of Australia so firmly and become synonymous with bushranging. The early 1860s belonged to a rotating roster of brigands that operated mostly on the Lachlan Plains and came to be known under the name of their most distinguished member, Ben Hall. They were said to have committed hundreds of crimes ranging from robbery to murder. The following is not a detailed account of their story as the sheer scale of their depredations makes for heavy reading, but rather it is a summary of the career of the most legendary bushranging gang of the 1860s. Continue reading The Gilbert-Hall Gang: An Overview
At the beginning of 1865 the Ben Hall Gang were the most wanted men in Australia. Their success on the roads was problematic and they were nigh on untouchable. However, after a failed coach robbery in Black Springs resulting in Johnny Gilbert killing Sergeant Edmund Parry, the gang now had to tread carefully. The new recruit John Dunn was working out splendidly, taking to his role with a natural gift that saw him very quickly gain equal notoriety to his colleagues. Things were about to become far more serious as the gang descended upon Thomas Kimberly’s Inn in Collector on the outskirts of Forbes on January 26, 1865. Continue reading Tragedy at Collector: John Dunn and Constable Nelson