Spotlight: Death of Gipsy Smith, the Bushranger (13/07/1852)

South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 – 1900), Tuesday 13 July 1852, page 2


The particulars of this occurrence have been communicated to us by Mr. Weymouth, of Kensington, who arrived in Adelaide on Saturday last, overland from the Diggings. Mr. Weymouth left the Loddon on June 21st, and met inspector Alford and his party on the 3rd inst. about five miles beyond the border. The party were proceeding most satisfactorily, and Mr. Weymouth noticed that the horses were in good condition. Inspector Alford was endeavouring to fall in with Gipsy Smith, who with his gang had lately committed several outrages on travellers and persons residing near the overland road, and Mr. Weymouth had the satisfaction of informing him of the death of the Bushranger. It appears that Smith and two of his companions, by name Bailey and Sullivan, had taken possession of a dray, belonging to a man from Adelaide, who with his wife were proceeding to the Diggings. Smith, having previously separated the man from his wife, arrived with his companions at Roston’s Station. It is stated that whilst camped there, and when Smith on one occasion was washing himself, one of several pistols that he always carried in his jacket went off accidentally, and killed him almost instantly. Considerable suspicion, however, attaches to one of his companions, Sullivan, who immediately after the event took Smith’s horse and rode away. This man Mr. Weymouth met on the evening of the occurrence. Sullivan asked two or three questions of Mr. Weymouth’s party, and then proceeded in the direction of the Diggings. The man and his wife who were with the dray taken possession of by Smith, are now residing at Roston’s Station, having taken service there. The number of persons on the road is stated to be still very considerable; so that the death of Gipsy Smith, and it is to be hoped, the consequent dispersion of his gang, will tend very considerably to allay the apprehensions of travellers. Two of the Mounted Police remain at the midway station which has been formed at Scott’s woolshed, about fifteen miles beyond the desert, and eleven miles this side the border line.

Spotlight: Gilbert (08/07/1865)

Albury Banner and Wodonga Express (NSW : 1860 – 1938), Saturday 8 July 1865, page 4

THIS week we are able to give an illustration of the death of the notorious Johnny Gilbert, the bushranger, and accomplice with Hall, Dunn, and O’Meally in many an act of robbery and crime within the last few years. 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 violent end of Gilbert, coupled with the similar fate of two of his comrades and of Daniel Morgan, shows the fallacy of such a delusion. Throughout the year 1863, Gilbert, associated with either Ben Hall, O’Meally, and, Dunn, and, sometimes with the whole of them, perpetrated several daring crimes, such as robbing stores, stealing race-horses, stopping the mails and taking therefrom everything of value. Every thing was of late done by them in the most daring manner and in the most open way. They would ride up to places, bail up, as it is called, a whole village, adjourn to a hotel and compel those whom they pleased to join in all kinds of revelry and amusement and treat every one with the liquors, &c. of the landlord, who was forced to submit to this barefaced levy of black-mail. No one attempted to lay a hand on them, or if they did, the intended attempt was signalised to these freebooters and then vengeance was sure to fall upon the head of the person having the courage to endeavor to rid society of those who were making it their prey. The burning of the store of Mr. Morris, at Binda, is an instance in point, and it will be remembered that he nearly lost his life through attempting to secure Gilbert and Dunn. So matters went on every week, the list of crimes and offences swelling in magnitude until the 15th November last, when Gilbert, Hall, and Dunn stopped the mail from Gundagai to Yass at about four miles from Jugiong. The mail was escorted by two of the police, and on that occasion the bushrangers fired at them and Sergeant Edmund Parry was shot dead. Great excitement arose upon this and large parties of police were sent in pursuit and scattered about their haunts, but they were always “five minutes too late.” More robberies were committed, and on the 26th January last another police constable named Samuel Nelsen, was shot at Collector by these ruffians, it being believed that Dunn fired the shot which killed him, but both Gilbert and Hall were with him and were accessories to the murder. A reward of £1,000 was then put by Government on their heads, and the well known Felons’ Apprehension Act was passed into law, leading eventually to the breaking up of these gangs of robbers and murderers. At length in May the police got well on the trail of Gilbert and Dunn, Ben Hall having, been shot by a party of them near Forbes on the 29th April. On the 12th May, information was given that Dunn and Gilbert were in the neighborhood of Binalong, and that night Senior Constable Hales, with Constables Bright, King and others went to the hut of a man named Kelly and watched it all night. Kelly’s son came out in the morning, and, on being asked, denied that any one was inside. Hales, however, doubted him, and went up the door, when the elder Kelly called out, “here are some troopers surrounding the house.” King and Hales rushed inside and saw two men in another room, the door of which was shut to instantly, and a shot was fired at the police, who returned the fire, and called upon all to surrender, threatening to burn down the hut if they did not. Gilbert and Dunn thereupon jumped through a window at the back and commenced running to a paddock where their horses were, turning round and firing at their pursuers as they ran. Gilbert got into a creek, the bed of which was dry and ran along it, when Hales called on him to stand. This was unheeded, when Hales fired; Gilbert looked round and the next moment Bright aIso fired and Gilbert fell. King was close and was fired at by both Gilbert and Dunn and a shot from the latter hit him in the ankle and rendered him unable to give further assistance. Dunn got off in the scrub and was lost by the police, who, on their return, found Gilbert dead. On a post-mortem examination by Dr. Campbell, it was found that the bullet had passed through the left lung and the left ventricle of the heart, causing almost immediate death, and the jury, on the occasion of the inquest at Binalong the next day, immediately returned a verdict of “justifiable homicide.” Our illustration shows Gilbert falling from the wound, and Dunn firing at King. Dunn has not yet met his fate, which is, however, impending; and with him we hope there will be an end to our bushrangers.

Spotlight: Death of Donohoe

Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842), Saturday 4 September 1830, page 2


This daring marauder has at length been met by that untimely fate which he so long contrived to avoid. On Wednesday evening, at dusk, as a party of the Mounted Police were riding through the bush at Reiby, near Campbell Town, they came up with three bushrangers, one of whom was Donahoe; on being called upon to stand, they threw away their hats and shoes, and ran off, when the Police fired, and killed Donahoe on the spot, one ball entering his neck and another his forehead. Favoured by the dusk, the others made their escape, and in defiance of the dreadful fate of their comrade, that very night broke into a hut and carried off what they wanted. The body of Donahoe was removed to Liverpool, and will be brought to Sydney this morning.

Thus is the Colony rid of one of the most dangerous spirits that ever infested it, and happy would it be were those of a like disposition to take warning by his awful fate.

Spotlight: Shooting of Pat Connell

Queanbeyan Age and General Advertiser (NSW : 1864 – 1867), Thursday 26 July 1866, page 2


From the Braidwood Dispatch.

INFORMATION was brought into town on Wednesday morning last of the police having, the day previous, pursued the bushrangers whose depredations at Mudmelong on Monday last were recorded in our last issue, and of the death of one of their number, Pat Connell, during the encounter which ensued. The news was brought into town at an early hour in the morning, between one and two o’clock the same day the body of the dead outlaw was brought in by Sergeant Creagh and his party from Ballalaba, where it had been conveyed and detained the previous night. It appears that the bushrangers, after their outrageous proceedings at Mudmelong on Monday afternoon, camped in the Araluen mountains somewhere about Betowynd, only a few miles from Mudmelong, that night Sergeant Creagh, in charge of the station at Ballalaba, having received instructions the previous night from the superintendent at Braidwood, proceeded, early on Tuesday morning with a party of police consisting of Senior Constable Byrne, constables Kelly and Gracy, and a black tracker, to intercept them or pick up their tracks and follow them on the route they had taken from Mudmelong through the mountains to their haunts at Jingera.

As will be seen by the narrative of that officer and of constable Kelly given below they proceeded about fifteen miles on a track leading to Araluen, and when they had arrived at a position the most likely to pick up the bushrangers’ tracks or to intercept them, on the side of a mountain contiguous to the valley, their efforts after waiting some short time were rewarded with success, the black tracker pointing out to them Pat Connell and another of the gang driving a mob of horses along a path leading through the mountains to a point of the table land higher up than the path along which the police party had come. The police then followed their tracks for about fifteen miles and came upon the robbers encamped in the Krawarre ranges, at about three o’clock in the afternoon. The police were made aware of their near approach to the robbers by the signs of several horses having been feeding. The black tracker having been ordered to reconnoitre in advance, while the remainder of the party having dismounted, cautiously proceeded behind him on foot, was not long in scenting them out. In about ten minutes from the time the party dismounted, the tracker put up his hands to caution his companions to be silent, and pointing down the side of the hill upon which they were proceeding they obtained a full view of the robbers’ camp down in the creek, and observed one man moving about. Leaving the horses in charge of the tracker the police stole cautiously and unobserved to within sixty yards of the camp. They then saw four men, one of them (Pat Connell) being at that moment about to jump upon a horse. The other three were engaged round the fire and were evidently preparing for supper, a pot being on the fire and a quantity of provisions strewn about. They had a tent and appeared to be quite at their ease without the most distant apprehension of being disturbed. Pat Connell it was supposed was about to ride round the camp to see that all was safe for the night and to look after the horses which he and one of his companions had been observed driving in the morning.

The police under the direction of Sergeant Creagh, gave one volley into the camp when they had approached within the distance stated and then rushed upon the robbers, each of the attacking party drawing his revolver in readiness for the fight in close quarters. The robbers fled however before their assailants, the three on foot making direct for the creek, and Pat Connell, who was on horseback, making off up the creek. The three who made for the creek returned the fire before retreating, but neither volley had any effect. The police then fired upon them again, but the robbers who had run across the creek were protected by a dense scrub at the other side, a feature of the position admirably chosen for affording an escape in the event of a surprise of this kind. Sergeant Creagh and senior-constable Byrne followed the fugitives across the creek. When retiring into the shelter of this scrub, one of the robbers (John Clarke we believe) knelt down on one knee and presenting what appeared to be a revolving rifle, took deliberate aim at Byrne, and fired, the shot fortunately missing him, but not being very far wide of the mark. As soon as the robbers got into the scrub they commenced blazing away at their two assailants, after which their firing ceased for some time, when Sergeant Creagh and Byrne called out to them to come out and face them, and make good their braggadocio at Mudmelong, and other places about themselves and the police, but the birds were not to be caught with chaff, they merely emerged from their cover for a moment to take aim, and then retreated again into the scrub.

While this was going on here, constables Kelly and Gracy had pursued Pat Connell in an opposite direction, and the luck which has hitherto attended this robber, who is said to be the real captain of the gang, he being the most powerful and active as well as the most experienced man amongst them, on this occasion deserted him. He appears to have been caught in a fix, and to have been placed at a great disadvantage in the saddle, a position in which he has hitherto been unassailable, and in which his splendid daring feats have so often carried him triumphant out of the most hair breadth difficulties. As a bush rider he, perhaps, has never been surpassed by any man in Australia, and it is quite possible he may have placed more faith in his powers in the saddle than on his legs, and mounted his horse from choice and not for another purpose unconnected with his escape. If so, however, his disappointment must have been fearful when he found that he was unable to rush his horse up the hill which he was trying to get over speedily enough to get out of reach of constable Kelly’s revolver. Kelly says that when he got within sixty yards of him he fired upon him. Just before doing so Connell all intent, apparently, upon urging his horse over the hill, looked round and said, “Stand back you —– .” These were the last words the robber uttered for immediately the words were out of his mouth Kelly’s bullet had accomplished its fatal mission, and passed through his back between the left shoulder-blade at the bottom of the shoulder and the spine. The outlaw threw up his arms, groaned, and fell backwards from his horse, with his head foremost to the ground.

Kelly remained with him a few minutes, and believing he was mortally wounded, left him to rejoin the remainder of the party. The firing with the remainder of the bushrangers continued for about an hour and a half after this, and the police party then resolved upon returning to the station, and having placed the body of the dead bushranger upon the horse he had been riding, and secured the things left in the camp, which will be found enumerated below in Sergeant Creagh’s statement, they started at about five o’clock for Ballalaba, which they reached about midnight. We may mention that it is rumoured that the names of the other bushrangers are John Clarke, Thomas Connell, and Thomas Lawler, a young man, a resident of Collector, who has for some time been suspected as connected with this gang. Thomas Clarke, the principal outlaw, was not seen amongst them at all, and it is impossible to say whether he had been with them or not. There was some talk of a fifth man being seen at Mudmelong, but whether there was or not it is hard to say. If there was it is probable that Thomas Clarke was the other man, and was absent at the time the police came upon the camp, tailing the horses. The expedition after the robbers appears to have been conceived and executed with a promptitude and decision which reflects the greatest credit on all parties. The robbers will have been now taught a lesson which they have long been in need of, viz., that an equal body of police meeting them on equal terms, doubly armed, as they are in the justice of their cause, can make them flee before them, with all their of boasting, like so many demons before their avenging angels. It will teach them that they can be hunted down in their mountainous strongholds as successful as across the stretching plains, as it is apparent that they can be taken at a great advantage by a pursuing party, who can espy their position from the surrounding hills and pounce down upon them unawares as in this instance. It is a matter of surprise indeed, that the assailants’ first volley did not do some execution amongst them, and the manner in which they escaped unharmed was a piece of luck which it is very improbable they would meet with in any attack under similar circumstances again.

The dead body of the outlaw, Pat Connell, underwent a post mortem examination at the hands of Dr. Pattison, on Wednesday, in the Braidwood lockup, when the ball was taken out from the right breast, having passed through from where it entered in his back. The body was afterwards given over to Mr. Thomas Farrell, the undertaker, by whom it was placed in a coffin and removed, at the request of the deceased’s family, to Jerrabatgully, to be interred with others of the family there buried. We learn from those who saw the body that the deceased appeared to be in a better state of physical health at the time of his death than he ever had been known to be during his life. He was about 36 years of age, and presented as fine a form as ever nature endowed mortal man with. When living he stood about five feet ten inches, and was a most compact and firmly knit, athletic, active man, and one of the best riders in the colony.

A magisterial inquiry touching the death of Connell was held at the Braidwood police-office by J. H. Griffin, Esq., on Wednesday afternoon, when Sergeant Creagh, in addition to what is stated above, said as follows :– At the camp we took possession of the following articles which the bushrangers had left; four saddles and bridles, three revolvers, one calico tent, one cloak, and a pair of saddle bags, besides a quantity of provisions, clothing, blacksmith’s tools, one bottle of old tom, and also some mail bags. The camp had not been long made. They were getting ready for supper when we came up to them; we sewed the body up in some blankets, and while we were doing this I saw two of the bushrangers returning and we fired upon them, when they went back to the scrub, and as it was getting dark we could see no more of them. When we got to the police station found a silver watch (Flaville Brothers,) two gold rings, (one horse shoe pattern and the other a Chinese ring), and four £1 notes and £1 11s. in silver, in a leather clasp purse, and a meerschaum pipe. I brought the body this morning to Braidwood.


Cornwall Chronicle (Launceston, Tas. : 1835 – 1880), Wednesday 24 May 1865, page 2



(From the S. M. Herald, May 16.)

Yass, Monday Evening.

On Thursday night a horse was stolen out of a paddock at Murrumburrah, of which no particulars could be ascertained till about eleven o’clock on Friday morning, when a man named Furlonge, who was travelling with sheep, stated that he had been visited by Gilbert and Dunn, who rounded up his horses and took a favorite animal, leaving in its stead the one taken from Murrumburrah. On Friday night the bushrangers camped at Rieley’s-hill, two miles from Binalong, some one having seen them there apparently fast asleep. When the police received their information they went to a farmer’s hut, in which a man named Kelly resided, who is the grandfather of Dunn. The police watched all night, but they saw no indication of the bushrangers, and left in the morning, being hopeless of success. Fresh news, however, reached them between eight and nine o’clock on Saturday morning which induced a fresh start to Kelly’s. When the party arrived there, they watched for about an hour, when Kelly came out of the hut and walked up and down in front of the door; and afterwards his wife came out. A little while after Kelly’s youngest son, Thomas, made his appearance, and was beckoned by Constable Hales, who inquired whether there was any one besides his parents in the hut, to which the boy replied that no strangers had been in the house during the night. Hales, however, proceeded to the house, and burst open the door, when he was saluted by a volley from the two bushrangers. The fire was returned, and the police withdrew for a short distance, when almost immediately after Gilbert and Dunn were observed running through a paddock adjoining the hut. Constable Bright started in pursuit, and was followed by the three other troopers. Several shots were then exchanged on both sides, when the bushrangers again retreated, and Hales and Bright fired together, and Gilbert fell. The pursuit after Dunn was continued, but although several shots were fired at him none took effect; and he has since been heard of at Bogolong, ten miles from Binalong, having stuck up Mr Jullian’s station yesterday, and whence he took a horse, saddle, and bridle. The inquest on Gilbert’s body was held yesterday at Binalong. The evidence of Constables Hales, Bright, and King was taken as to the shooting of Gilbert; the body was identified by Messrs Hewitt and Barnes and Constable Bright — the latter knew him for five years, and Hewitt knew him when a storekeeper at the Wombat. Barnes, who was stuck-up by Hall and Gilbert and kept two days in camp, had a good knowledge of Gilbert, and was able immediately to identify him. Dr Campbell, from Yass, made a post-mortem examination of the body, and found that a single bullet had entered the left part of the back, gone through the centre of the heart, and passed out through the left side, fracturing one rib. Dr Campbell stated that death must have been immediate. After Gilbert was shot, constable King received a bullet in the ankle from Dunn’s revolver. The revolver rifle taken from Mr Davis has been recovered. Gilbert had possession of it, and he made several attempts to use it, but the rifle missed fire three times; three chambers were loaded, and one had been discharged. The following is the verdict :— “That the said John Gilbert came to his death by a gunshot wound inflicted on Saturday, 13th May, 1865, near Binalong, in the said colony, by one of the constables in the police force of New South Wales, in the execution of their duty; and that they were justified in inflicting said wound which caused his death. The jury desire further to express their approval of the conduct of the constables, and in their opinion they are deserving of great credit for the gallant manner in which they effected the capture of Gilbert.”


The inquest on Ben Hall was held at the police barracks, Forbes, on the 6th inst. We take the following report of the evidence from the Yass Courier :—

James Henry Davidson, on oath, states: I am sub-inspector of police stationed at Forbes. On last Saturday morning, 29th April, I left the police camp with five men and two trackers, and started in pursuit of the bushrangers — Hall, Gilbert, and Dunn. On the evening of the fifth day from leaving Forbes, we came upon two horses hobbled in the scrub, about twelve miles from Forbes, near Billabong Creek. We watched the horses for about half an hour, when we saw a man approach who caught the horses. He parssed close by where we were standing. He caught the horses, and led them away about 100 yards. This was about ten o’clock in the evening. We did not recognise the man. He took the horses about 100 yards, and hobbled them again. Shortly after, a tracker, Billy Dargan, informed me that he heard the mean he saw lead away and hobble the horses making a noise among the dead leaves, as though he was preparing a bed for himself. I then placed five of the men in my charge where we were standing, and went with Sergeant Condell, and Billy Dargan on the other side of the man, with the intention of attacking him in his camp should we discover that he was Ben Hall. We could not get within 100 yards of the man, in consequence of his horse snorting at our approach. I then determined to wait until daybreak. About half-past six in the morning I saw a man with a bridle in his hand, about 150 yards from where I was, approaching the horses. By this time the horses were feeding on a plain bordering the scrub, and when the man was about half the way from the border of the scrub to the horses, myself, Sergeant Condell, and Billy Dargan ran after him. After running about fifty yards the man became aware of our presence, and ran in the direction where the five men were posted. By this time I identified the man as Ben Hall. I several times called on him to stand. After running about one-hundred yards, I got within forty yards of Hall and fired at him. I shot with a double-barrelled gun. Hall after my firing jumped a little, and looked back, and from his movements I have reason to believe that I hit him. Sergeant Condell and Dargan ( the tracker) fired immediately afterwards. They were running a little to the left of me and not far away. From the manner of Hall, I have reason to believe that Condell and Dargan’s shots took effect. From that time he ran more slowly towards a few saplings. The five police who were stationed beyond him, immediately ran towards him and fired. I noticed Trooper Hipkiss firing at Hall with a rifle, and immediately afterwards the belt holding his revolvers fell off him. At this time he field himself up by a sapling; and upon receiving Hipkiss’s fire he gradually fell backwards. There were about thirty shots fired in all. Hall then cried out, “I am wounded; shoot me dead.” I then went up to the body, and noticed that life was extinct. I also observed that the bullet fired by Hipkiss passed through his body. I searched the body, there was £74 in notes in two chamois leather bags, one in his trousers pocket, the other in his coat breast pocket, three gold chains, and a gold watch, a portrait of a female, three revolvers, and a number of bullets in his pocket, and a gold ring keeper on his finger. Along with his saddle was a quantity of wearing apparel. There were also two single blankets. I knew the body to be that of Ben Hall. His clothing I observed to be perforated with bullets. We caught the horses and fixed the body of deceased on the saddle, and in this manner brought him to Forbes.

James Condell, on oath, states :— I am sergeant of police stationed at Forbes. On Saturday night last, in company with Sub-inspector Davidson, four constables, and two trackers, in pursuit of the bushrangers — Hall, Gilbert, and Dunn. On the Thursday night following, we observed two horses hobbled in the bush. We watched the horses for about an hour. We then saw a man approach the horses and take the hobbles off, and lead them through the bush for about one hundred and fifty yards. He then hobbled the horses, and let them go. He afterwards proceeded into the scrub, and immediately afterwards we were informed by the black tracker, Billy Dargan, that he heard him scraping on the ground as if to make a place for a bed. Sub-inspector Davidson and myself then posted the men in a half-circle on one side, and Sub-inspector Davidson and myself proceeded to the opposite side. Myself, Mr Davidson and the tracker crept about through the bush in search of his camp. Finding that we could not succeed in discovering the camp, we resolved to watch the horses all night, and about six o’clock next morning I saw a man emerge from the scrub into a piece of open country, and walk in the direction of the two horses, we started in pursuit, and ran about fifty yards before he observed us. He then looked up and saw us, he turned and ran from us. Sub-inspector Davidson then called on him to stand; he looked round and still kept running. Sub-inspector Davidson then fired at him. Immediately afterwards I saw Hall jump; he still kept running. I then levelled my rifle at him, covered him full in the back, and fired. I believe the shot took effect between the shoulders. After this he rolled about, and when running appeared very weak. The tracker then fired with a double barrelled gun, and I believe hit the deceased. We called out for the men stationed on the opposite side. When he saw them emerge from the scrub, he turned and ran in another direction. The men all fired, and I believe most of the bullets hit him. Deceased then ran to a cluster of timber, laid hold of a sapling, and said, “I am wounded; I am dying.” The men then fired again, and he immediately rolled over. He threw out his feet convulsively once or twice, and said, “I am dying, I am dying.” We all then approached him, and found he was dead. Sub-Inspector Davidson searched the body, and found £74 in notes, a gold watch, three revolvers capped and loaded, a powder, two boxes of percussion caps, a bag of bullets, and a quantity of wearing apparel. At his camp we found a saddle and bridle and a pair of blankets. We then packed his body on a saddle, and removed it to our camp, and then to Forbes. I have known the deceased for four years. About three years ago I escorted him a prisoner to Orange, and saw him frequently afterwards. I identity the body of deceased as that of Ben Hall.

William Jones, on oath, states: I am a storekeeper, residing at Forbes. I have seen the body of deceased, and identify it as the remains of Ben Hall. I have known the deceased seventeen years, and have seen him continually during that period, except during the last three years. I am perfectly certain as to his identity.

John Newall, on oath, states: I am a licensed publican, residing at Forbes. I knew Ben Hall nine years ago, and have frequently seen him since until within the last two years and a half. I have seen the body now lying in the adjoining room and identify it as that of Ben Hall.

Charles Assenheim, on oath, being duly sworn, saith: I am a qualified medical man. I have examined the body of deceased, and find it perforated by several bullets. The shot between the shoulders, the two shots into the brain, and the one through the body were severally sufficient to cause death.

Spotlight: How Gilbert Died by A. B. “Banjo” Paterson

There’s never a stone at the sleeper’s head,
There’s never a fence beside,
And the wandering stock on the grave may tread
Unnoticed and undenied;
But the smallest child on the Watershed
Can tell you how Gilbert died.

For he rode at dusk with his comrade Dunn
To the hut at the Stockman’s Ford;
In the waning light of the sinking sun
They peered with a fierce accord.
They were outlaws both – and on each man’s head
Was a thousand pounds reward.

They had taken toll of the country round,
And the troopers came behind
With a black who tracked like a human hound
In the scrub and the ranges blind:
He could run the trail where a white man’s eye
No sign of track could find.

He had hunted them out of the One Tree Hill
And over the Old Man Plain,
But they wheeled their tracks with a wild beast’s skill,
And they made for the range again;
Then away to the hut where their grandsire dwelt
They rode with a loosened rein.

And their grandsire gave them a greeting bold:
“Come in and rest in peace,
No safer place does the country hold –
With the night pursuit must cease,
And we’ll drink success to the roving boys,
And to hell with the black police.”

But they went to death when they entered there
In the hut at the Stockman’s Ford,
For their grandsire’s words were as false as fair –
They were doomed to the hangman’s cord.
He had sold them both to the black police
For the sake of the big reward.

In the depth of night there are forms that glide
As stealthily as serpents creep,
And around the hut where the outlaws hide
They plant in the shadows deep,
And they wait till the first faint flush of dawn
Shall waken their prey from sleep.

But Gilbert wakes while the night is dark –
A restless sleeper aye.
He has heard the sound of a sheep-dog’s bark,
And his horse’s warning neigh,
And he says to his mate, “There are hawks abroad,
And it’s time that we went away.”

Their rifles stood at the stretcher head,
Their bridles lay to hand;
They wakened the old man out of his bed,
When they heard the sharp command:
“In the name of the Queen lay down your arms,
Now, Dunn and Gilbert, stand!”

Then Gilbert reached for his rifle true
That close at hand he kept;
He pointed straight at the voice, and drew,
But never a flash outleapt,
For the water ran from the rifle breech –
It was drenched while the outlaws slept.

Then he dropped the piece with a bitter oath,
And he turned to his comrade Dunn:
“We are sold,” he said, “we are dead men both! –
Still, there may be a chance for one;
I’ll stop and I’ll fight with the pistol here,
You take to your heels and run.”

So Dunn crept out on his hands and knees
In the dim, half-dawning light,
And he made his way to a patch of trees,
And was lost in the black of night;
And the trackers hunted his tracks all day,
But they never could trace his flight.

But Gilbert walked from the open door
In a confident style and rash;
He heard at his side the rifles roar,
And he heard the bullets crash.
But he laughed as he lifted his pistol-hand,
And he fired at the rifle-flash.

Then out of the shadows the troopers aimed
At his voice and the pistol sound.
With rifle flashes the darkness flamed –
He staggered and spun around,
And they riddled his body with rifle balls
As it lay on the blood-soaked ground.

There’s never a stone at the sleeper’s head,
There’s never a fence beside,
And the wandering stock on the grave may tread
Unnoticed and undenied;
But the smallest child on the Watershed
Can tell you how Gilbert died.


Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Chronicle (NSW : 1860 – 1870), Saturday 15 April 1865, page 2


In the prime of life—but 34 years of age—and in the midst of a career of usefulness, has died Sir Frederick Pottinger, as genial hearted, affectionate, and charitable a man as ever lived. Sir Frederick on his way from Forbes to Sydney about a month ago, unfortunately was severely wounded by the accidental discharge of his revolver at Wascoe’s “Pilgrim Inn,” Lapstone Hill, on the far-famed and wild Blue Mountains. When able to be removed, he was brought to the Victoria Club (Sydney), and received all possible care and attention from his medical adviser; indeed with so much success that the bullet was extracted from the wound, and Sir Frederick was pronounced convalescent. Unhappily, by one of those strange changes which characterise this kind of wounding, inflammation set in, and on Sunday last, about 2 o’clock in the afternoon, he died.

Sir Frederick was the son of Sir Henry Pottinger, Bart., so eminently distinguished in India. The deceased gentleman (Sir F.) entered the army while very young — the Guards; and anyone knowing anything of that fine regiment, must admit, with all its gallantry, the fast life it leads. However, Sir Frederick sold out, and came to Australia, tempted at the time with its character of being a fine country for dazzling prospects. He failed to find the employment which one of his attainments might have expected ; but with the courage always his, he obtained the humble appointment of trooper in the Mounted Police, and acted as such, a long time with Captain Zouch of Goulburn.

He was then appointed Clerk of Petty Sessions at Dubbo, where he was universally esteemed, but on the passing of the new Police Act he was made an Inspector of Police and was stationed at Forbes, close by the nucleus of bushranging. It is as familiar as household words, how he put down crime in that quarter, and how his name was a terror to evil doers there. His was a triumph of usefulness not only from the fear of him by the criminals, but for his hearty sociability everywhere. His enemies, if any, were very few, his friends were legion. Good-tempered, clever, and thoroughly charitable, he gained the hearts of all.

He was fond of writing, and to kill the dull monotony of his Dubbo life, was in the habit of writing for a Bathurst and local journal. Some gems of poetry under the soubriquet of “Wussa Australiana,” may be familiar to some of our readers. The Crown will miss in him a valuable and gallant officer, his friends a warm and kind companion, the country a good man. We sometimes find out the excellencies of a character after death, and so it will be now. Many who rebuked his warmth of heart and scoffed at his gallant bearing, will now — we venture to assert, at least to hope — say of him who is gone.

Nil nisi bonum.

This lamented gentleman was buried on Tuesday morning. The cortege, consisting of the hearse, three mourning coaches, and the carriages of several of our leading citizens, moved from the Victoria Club, at half-past nine o’clock, and proceeded to the Randwick cemetery, where the last rites of the Church of England were solemnised. Amongst those assembled to pay the last mark of respect to the deceased baronet, were the Hon. the Premier; the Hon. the President of the Legislative Council; the Hon. the Secretary for Works; the Hon. T. Icely, M.L.C.; Mr Egan, M.L.A.; Mr Stimpson, M.L.A.; Mr Pickering, M.L.A,; The Inspector General of Police; Mr G. F. Wise; His Honor, Judge Carey; Mr Morrissett, Superintendent of Police; the Surveyor-General; the Sheriff; the Water Police Magistrate; Major Wingate; Mr Mitchell, and many private friends. The late baronet is succeeded in his title by his brother, now Sir Henry Pottinger, a barrister in England, and a gentleman of considerable literary attainments.

Spotlight: The Capture and Death of Morgan (13/04/1865)

Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954), Thursday 13 April 1865, page 6


We take the following detailed account of the termination of the career of this ruffian from the Ovens and Murray Advertiser, of 11th April : — Daniel Morgan, who for two years has been the terror of the neighboring colony of Now South Wales, from the frequency and malignity of his bloody outrages, made his first attempt at robbery in Victoria at Mackinnon’s station, on the Little River, on Wednesday, the 5th inst., and lay dead, shot through the body by a Victorian civilian, near the banks of the Murray, on Sunday, the 9th, at two o’clock. This notorious scoundrel visited the Messrs Evans’ station, on the King River, about 25 miles from Wangaratta, on Thursday morning. About an hour before daybreak, the people at the station were aroused from sleep by observing one of the haystacks on fire. After the alarm of fire was given, all the inmates of the station gathered round to extinguish it, not knowing at this time the origin of the fire. After all the inmates had left the house, they heard the report of a firearm, with the order from a person who suddenly appeared from the back of the kitchen, to ‘ bail up.’ He ordered all the persons employed on the station to stand in the square opposite the house, including the female servants, who were only partially dressed. He asked for Mr. Evan Evans, and was told that he was from home. He said he was very sorry, as he particularly wished to see him and Mr. Bond, of Degamero station, who, he said, had acted very cowardly to him some four years ago. He took off his coat, and showed Mr. John Evans, brother to Mr. Evan Evans, his arm. He said he had extracted the shot some few weeks after having been fired at by Mr. Bond and Mr. Evans, and mentioned that, if he came across either of the above gentlemen, he would give them something they would not extract so easily. He showed a pair of pistols, and said they at one time belonged to Sergeant M’Ginnerty. He mentioned that New South Wales was getting too hot for him, and that the ? detectives were now walking about the country in the garb of pedlars. He bade one of the servants go and milk the cows, and get ready some tea for him. He also opened the stable door and let the horses loose, and confessed, if he thought Mr Evan Evans was in the house, he would at once set fire to it. On Mr. John Evans asking him for liberty to proceed to the house for his coat, as he felt extremely cold, he set fire to a second stack a short distance from the already burning one, and placed him between them, and asked him if he felt warm enough now. After a while he ordered Mr. John Evans to follow him into the bush a short distance. Mr. Evans obeyed, and came to a horse tied up. Morgan told him that the mare Victoria belonged to Mr. Bowler, of Albury, and that there was a reward of £50 for her, and, as the mare was knocked up, he might as well have the reward as anybody else. He also stated where he could find a fresh horse. During the time Mr. John Evans was away with Morgan, the bailed up inmates felt anxious concerning his safety. They imagined the ruffian intended murdering him in cold blood, but he shortly afterwards appeared. Previous to Morgan’s departure, about nine o’clock in the morning, he asked if they had any spirits in the house. On being answered in the affirmative, he ordered one of the female servants to bring him two bottles of brandy. He afterwards rode off, stating he intended visiting Mr. Bond’s station. The news arrived in Wangaratta of the sticking-up of the station about eleven o’clock. As soon as Morgan left, a lad was despatched with the news to the police here. Sergeant Montfort and Mounted Constable Duggan instantly left in pursuit. The Benalla police were also telegraphed to. It appears both the police from Benalla and Wangaratta instantly proceeded by the bush to the upper part of the King River.

Morgan bails up Italian Jack (from Mad Dog Morgan)

We next hear of the scoundrel at Winton, at about eleven o’clock in the morning; so he must have ridden rather quickly, the distance from Evans’s station to Winton being about twenty five miles. He entered Whitty’s Hotel and ordered dinner, and told the landlord’s daughter he was Morgan, the New South Wales bushranger. After partaking of dinner he proceeded on the road to Wangaratta, and bailed up several teamsters who were returning from the Ovens, the majority of whom had cash in their possession. He took from one man £30 in cash ; from another, £35 ; from another, £3. It is supposed he plundered the down waggoners to the extent of about £110 in a few hours. It would appear, for two or three hours, he was engaged sticking-up on the metal between Glenrowan and Winton. He stuck up a poor waggoner of the name of Italian Jack. He asked how much money he had in his possession. He answered, a few shillings. He pulled up his poncho, took out a roll of notes, and handed him a £1 note. The Italian says he saw several revolvers in his belt. He rode up to another waggoner, and asked him to pull up. The waggoner, thinking the man was joking, laughed, and paid no attention to him. Morgan said, if he did not pull up quick, he would send a bullet through his body. He asked the man the amount of money he had on his person. He pulled out a few shillings, and said that was all he had. Morgan said it was not much use in sticking him up. He said he had heard the flash Victorian police had been blowing about what they would do with him, if they found him over on the Victorian side; he intended to stop some time in Victoria, and give them a chance of getting the blood money. Morgan said he had got some brandy, and asked if he would have a nobbler. He told the man it was good stuff, and that he need not be afraid of being “hocussed.” We have also been told of a waggoner being stuck up, who had his wife with him. On the poor woman learning the message of Morgan, she burst into a fit of crying. The ruffian told her not to put herself about, and handed her a £1 note. One of the waggoners states that he knew who their mysterious visitor was at once, from his likeness in Madame Sohier’s wax-work. The man says the figure in the wax-work is life-like, and he knew him to be Morgan before he mentioned his name.

Mr. Porter, traveller for Messrs Burrows and Tomlins, states that he met a man answering to Morgan’s description, riding at a rapid rate towards Glenrowan, on Friday at dusk, when he was proceeding from Benalla towards Wangaratta. Mr. Charles Bowsey reported, on Saturday forenoon, that, when running cows in at daybreak, at Warby’s dairy station, about three miles from Glenrowan, he was hailed by a person on horseback. The person asked him what he was making so much noise for. Bewsey answered that was done in the part of the country he came from. Bewsey asked him if he had got bushed. Morgan, for he it was, said no. Bewsey asked again at what hour the storm took place on that morning. He said about two o’clock. Bewsey asked him if he would have some tea. Morgan said no. He then asked the distance to Ben Warby’s home station, and, on being told, he asked if Ben Warby had any trained horses, as he wished to purchase a good one. He then rode off in the direction of the home station. Bewsey says he had no idea who this man was, until a lad of the name of Barnes told him that the stranger’s description tallied with that of Morgan. Superintendent Winch, Detective Mainwaring, and three other constables arrived about an hour afterward, asking for a man answering to the one he saw an hour previous. He told them the direction he had taken. The bushranger then proceeded to Warby’s home station, where he arrived about eight o’clock, but found no one there but Mrs. Warby, with whom he was chatting familiarly in the garden, when three other ladies came out, to whom he paid the compliment of the fine morning ; but they expressing some indignation at his familiarity, he turned on them, and said, “You need not be — flash ; just hand me over what money you have.” They having only eighteenpence between there, he handed it back, saying that was no good to him. It is said he then told them who he was, but this has been contradicted, and it is believed no one on the station knew him to be Morgan, and this part of the story evidently had reference to something hereafter related. He also stuck-up two men on Broken Creek, with whom the police come up soon after. The police, under Superintendent Winch, arrived about half an hour after he had left Taminick, and it is certain they were dead on his trail, and determined to have him.


Saturday, ten o’clock p.m. — A horseman arrived at the police camp about five minutes ago stating that the notorious Morgan had stuck up Peechelba station, belonging to Messrs Rutherford and Macpherson, about 20 miles from Wangaratta. The man said that after the thunderstorm this evening, about six o’clock, Morgan arrived at the station and bailed all the people up, amounting to ten. He ordered them into a room, and took out several revolvers, and said he had as many more in his saddle bags, and that if a single man moved his finger he would shoot the whole lot. Mr. and Mrs. Macpherson, who had just arrived from Melbourne, were among the number bailed up. He allowed one female servant her liberty, and ordered her to bring him something to eat, and also ordered her to bring him spirits. He was compelling Mr. and Mrs. Macpherson to drink, and it appears he was drinking freely himself. The man who arrived on horseback escaped without Morgan’s knowledge by a strategic move. He ran to the stables, saddled a horse, and made off without Morgan’s knowledge. The man says Morgan was drinking freely, and did not appear to be in a hurry to leave. He was afraid of a repetition of the Round Hill station massacre. He was only about an hour and a half in coming in from Peechelba to Wangaratta. He says Morgan appears to be nearly knocked up, and if he partook of a little more drink he would be captured easily. About eight or nine volunteers instantly started with the man back to Peechelba. They left here about eleven o’clock, and would reach Peechelba at about one o’clock on Sunday morning. It is also probable that Superintendent Winch and party are on his trail. The rain that fell on Saturday night would make the tracks of the bushranger more discernible. If Superintendent Winch tracks him to Peechelba there is likely bloodshed before this hour (half-past three, Sunday morning). A great number of the inhabitants are walking about the streets expecting to hear the glad tidings that the brute is shot. It appears that he is almost hemmed in, and if he escapes it will be next to a miracle.

(From History of Australian Bushranging by Charles White)


Wangaratta, Monday. — News reached here at ten o’clock yesterday morning that the hell-hound Morgan was shot at Peechelba station, on the Ovens river, about twenty-three miles from Wangaratta, on the road to the Murray. Your reporter at once started off to the station, and arrived there shortly after one o’clock, at which time Morgan was lying at the point of death, and about thirty persona witnessing his dying agonies. A bullet from a rifle had entered his back, close to the shoulder bone, and penetrated the jugular. I made inquiries of those present, as to the manner in which he came by his death, when the following particulars were furnished me, which may be relied on as correct. Mr. Ewen Macpherson, partner of Mr. Rutherford, in the Peechelba station, stated that, on Saturday evening, about six o’clock, immediately after the thunderstorm, he observed a person passing his front window, which looks on to the verandah. Thinking it was some person looking for work, he paid no particular attention. Shortly after he heard a knock at the door, when he ordered his son to open it. On the door being opened, the person whom he had observed to pass the window immediately ordered him to stand back, at the same time presenting a revolver. Two men, working on the station, were at the same time ordered to enter the room. All those present were then ordered to range themselves on one side of the room. After they had done so, a servant girl entered the room. She was told to take her place with the rest, amongst whom were Mr. and Mrs. Macpherson, Miss Macpherson and her brother. The girl thinking that some practical joking was going on refused to obey. The man followed her into a passage, when she playfully gave him a slap on the face with the back of her hand. He said, “My young lady, I must take the flashness out of you,” and presented a revolver at her head. He then asked her if she knew who he wad. She answered, “No.” “Well, I must tell you, I am Mr. Morgan, and I will not allow you to play any tricks with me.” He ordered her to take a seat beside the rest. Two or three other servants shortly afterwards appearing, they were also ordered to sit down. Morgan took out two revolvers from his coat pocket and placed them on the table, and took a seat opposite the door. He told the servants to go and get him some tea ready. When he got what he wanted, he told Mr. Macpherson that he had been out in the bush for five nights, and had had no sleep for that time, but he said he hoped to have a sound sleep when he got to the Piney Range, New South Wales, on Sunday evening. He said he had heard that the Victorian police were blowing about capturing him, but if he met any of them he would take the flashness out of them. He said he had heard the tones of a piano as he entered the house, and asked who played the instrument, and, on being told that it was Miss Macpherson, he asked her politely to favor him with a tune, which was instantly complied with. He told them he was frequently out in the bush without meeting a living soul, and very often for weeks with little to eat. Mrs. Macpherson addressing him as Mr. Morgan, he said he did not like being called Mr, and preferred the more common appellation of Morgan. He said he had not come to take any money from them ; all he wanted, and that he must have, was a good horse to carry him to the Piney Range. Mr. Macpherson asked him if he liked his line of life. He said he was forced to it. He mentioned about his having received a very severe sentence in 1851 for a crime he was innocent of. He was tried at Castlemaine under the name of Smith, alias Bill the Native. He said he intended to have revenge on mankind ever after. He also told Mr. Macpherson that squatters now were getting very saucy, and would not give a feed to a poor man, but that he had been informed that Peechelba station bore an excellent character for liberality. He also stated to Mr. Macpherson that he was belied in the Round Hill station affair, and, if they would have only behaved themselves properly, he would not have adopted such cruel measures. He said the man who was sent for the doctor took the wrong road, and that was the reason for shooting him, as he imagined he meant to betray him. He mentioned that the revolvers lying on the table were those taken from M’Ginnerty, the trooper. Little did the villain know that means were being adopted that, if carried out properly, would eventually end in his capture and death. Alice Keenan, one of the servants, seeing Morgan busily engaged talking with Mr. Macpherson, took the opportunity of running down to the lower station to Mr. Rutherford’s residence, and mentioned to that gentleman the whole of the particulars of Morgan’s visit. Mr. Rutherford immediately despatched James Fraser, a carpenter, engaged on the station, on horseback, to Wangaratta. Fraser arrived about half-past nine o’clock, and mentioned his errand to Mr. Sandforth, the police magistrate. That gentleman lost no time in equipping a party of volunteers with the best firearms they could get, under the superintendence of Mr. Evans, senior constable. This party, consisting of about seven or eight, among whom were Messrs Harry Connolly, E. Collin, Henry Faithful, G. Church, two men in the employ of Mr D. H. Evans, the miller, of the names of Ryan and Dixon, and others, whose names we forget, instantly started for Peechelba. They reached there about one o’clock on Sunday morning. They instantly communicated with Mr. Rutherford, who informed them that Morgan was still at Mr. Macpherson’s, the upper station. The whole force at this time, including the men on the station, numbered about a dozen. Mr. Evans, the captain of the band, arranged them in places behind trees, bushes and fences, and waited in patience for the morning and the appearance of Morgan. Mr. Shadforth had especially instructed Evans, the constable, on no account to attack the house, but only to surround it at a short distance. The reason for this was obvious. Morgan being such a dare-devil, would fight to the very death, and might sacrifice any number of lives before his capture could be effected. This injunction was obeyed to the very letter. In the meantime the servant got a chance of communicating to Mr. Macpherson the stratagem that was laid for the capture of Morgan.

So Mr. Macpherson was cognisant through this girl of every thing that was going on ; Mr Macpherson all the time keeping up a friendly chat with the scoundrel who was so soon to meet with his deserts. At the dawn of the morning Mr. Macpherson said he felt cold, and would take a glass of whiskey. He asked Morgan if he would partake also. He said he would. The whiskey was brought by one of the female servants. Mr. Macpherson drank first. Morgan poured out a glass and took about half of it. Mr. Macpherson said he almost never tasted it. Morgan replied that he was not in the habit of drinking, he had only been tipsy twice in his life, and never since he was so cruelly used, alluding to the sentence he had received at Castlemaine, and which he said he was quite innocent of. At about dawn Morgan came out on the verandah, and stopped for about five minutes, which gave Mr. Macpherson ample opportunities of listening to the servant’s account, given in a low voice, as to what was doing to secure the capture of the ruffian. At the time he was on the verandah, Evans, who was stationed at the foot of the yard behind some paling, at one time thought of aiming at Morgan, but the morning being still dark, he declined risking the consequences in the event of a miss. At about seven o’clock in the morning Detective Mainwaring and party, consisting of Troopers Hall, Creilly, and Percy, rode up, and as some of those in ambush anticipated at once to attack Morgan in the house. Evans, seeing the danger of the whole stratagem being spoiled if Detective Mainwaring and party did attack the house, sent a young man, one of the persons in ambush, to inform them how things stood. The young man was successful in getting to speak to them without in the least attracting the attention of Morgan. The whole party now in ambush consisted of sixteen men well armed, and determined to do their duty. About this time one of the servants had the daring to bring some coffee to those in ambush without attracting the attention of Morgan. Morgan at this time was engaged in washing his face and combing his hair. Mr. Macpherson said he spent a long time in arranging his hair, of which he appeared to be very proud. After partaking of breakfast, of which he eat ravenously, he asked what horse he intended giving him. Mr. Macpherson said he would send his son for one that he thought would suit him. Morgan said “No,” I will go myself. At this time several of those in ambush communicated with one another, pretending that they were laborers engaged on the station. Morgan appeared not to have the slightest suspicion of their designs. In going to look at the horse Mr. Macpherson had promised him, he said he would require the others who were bailed up (not including the females) to accompany him. Mr. Macpherson, his son, a youth of sixteen, Mr. Telford, the overseer on the station and the other two men he originally brought to the house, were ordered to accompany him. Mr. Macpherson walked next Morgan. When they had got about 200 yards from the house, and had crossed over to a paddock where several horses were feeding, Mr. Macpherson said, “this is the horse I intend lending you,” at the same time stepping two or three yards aside so as to give those in ambush, who were closing up on him fast behind, a fair chance for a good shot. John Quinlan, a young man engaged on the station, took aim at Morgan at a distance of about sixty or seventy yards behind him, fired and brought Morgan to earth, the ruffian falling forward on his face heavily. Constables Percy and Evans, who were immediately behind Quinlan, and who were prepared to face Morgan in case of a miss, instantly rushed on the now helpless scoundrel, seized his revolver, his other revolver being left in the house unloaded, and threw it away from him. The greatest ruffian in this or any other country had received his death wound, and the demon who was the terror of thousands in a few hours would be a lifeless corpse. On the constables taking him up he said, “Why did you not give me a chance? Why did you not challenge me first?” On his removal to the woolshed, he was placed on a mattress. Some one suggested sending for a doctor. Quinlan said it was no use, he would die. The now helpless bushranger turned up his eyes, and said audibly, “You will die some day too.” The ball had penetrated through the shoulder bone, and came out by the throat. Mr. Tone, poundkeeper, asked him if his name was Morgan, to which he answered, “No.” Mr. Tone then inquired if his name was Smith, and received the same answer as before. He next asked the dying man if he had any friends in New South Wales, and received an answer in the affirmative. He then inquired if he knew Bogon Jack, and was answered, “Yes.” Mr. Tone finally asked him if he would like to hear a prayer read, to which the bushranger replied, “No.” On Dr. Dobbyn asking him if he could do anything for him, he said in answer, “I am choking.” He continued in a state of unconsciousness till a quarter to two o’clock, when he breathed his last. By this time there could not have been less than fifty persons present, nearly all from Wangaratta. As soon as the breath left his body several persons commenced cutting locks from his rather profuse head of hair. If they had been allowed to go on he would have lost all the hair of his head. This pillaging was put a stop to by Detective Mainwaring. After his death Mr. Ely took down his distinguishing marks. He has got a villainously low forehead, with almost no development, the head being of a most peculiar shape. His eyes are like those of an eaglet ; his nose very prominent. Behind the back of his head there is a skin protuberance of the size of a small egg. His mouth is well set, with beautifully even teeth. His beard is long and shaggy, He appears to be a man of about thirty-seven or thirty-eight years of age, and about five feet ten inches in height. A small piece of the third finger of the right hand is taken off as far as the nail. He answers in every particular to the Daniel Morgan described in the New South Wales Government Gazette. On his person was found by Detective Mainwaring the sum of £85 9s 9d ; a draft for £7 in favor of Charles Barton Pearson, Bank of Australasia, Sydney ; a silver open-faced lever watch with steel chain ; another open-faced silver lever watch with gold curb chain attached, a small telescope, powder, ball and some provisions. The body of Morgan was very emaciated, and my opinion is he would not weigh over nine stone. He wore a cabbage-tree hat, with tweed coat and trousers and Crimean shirt. He wore a very massive gold ring, and carried a very small meerschaum pipe, with case.

Great credit is due to all parties concerned in hunting down this live demon in human shape ; to Alice Keenan particularly, in communicating with Mr. Rutherford at the risk of her life. The two other female servants also deserve especial mention — Miss O’Dwyer and Miss M’Donald ; to the yonng man Quinlan, who fired the fatal shot ; also, to James Frazer, in riding to Wangaratta on such a dangerous mission. To Detective Mainwaring, Constables Evans, Percy, Hall, Creilly, Laverton ; and Messrs H. Connolly, Church, F. Collin, Tone, Faithful and others, whoso names I forget.


After leaving Bewsey’s station, Morgan proceeded to B. Warby’s (Taminick) station, a distance of some six miles, on Saturday morning, about seven o’clock, bailed up that station, and ordered Mrs. Warby to make breakfast for him. He told her not to be afraid as he would not hurt her. She said, “I suppose, then, you are Mr. Gardiner.” He answered, “No, I am Mr. Morgan,” and asked to borrow a horse, as his was knocked up, and as he had been riding a horse lately worth 200 guineas — meaning, of course, Victoria — but her hoof had been hurt coming down a range, and he was compelled to leave her at another station. He said he knew Mrs. Warby’s husband, and had been at school with him near Campbelltown, New South Wales, and would not harm any one on the station. There was no horse to be got, and he left on the same horse. Previous to leaving he pulled some grapes in the garden very coolly. He, then, apparently, made for either Peechelba or Killawarra. About half-an-hour after his departure, Superintendent Winch, accompanied by Detective Mainwaring, Mounted Troopers Percy, Hall, Creilly and others, arrived, and, on Mrs. Warby’s mentioning her visitor’s name, immediately got on his tracks ; and, Percy, saying he knew the road, made for Peechelba. Here it is supposed that Mr. Winch, thinking that he might double back on the ranges, sent the men mentioned on towards Peechelba, and tried back for the Murray in the nearest direction. But he had previously taken such steps as to render Morgan’s escape from Victoria nearly impossible. He had lined both sides of the Murray wherever there was a ford, or wherever a horse could be shoved in for a swim with tried men, who would have given some account of Mr. Morgan, and was prepared, in case he crossed, to follow him into N. S. W. with every available man. Mainwaring’s party lost the track, and made for Killawarra, where they thought it more likely that Morgan would take. They there made preparations for his reception ; but, as luck would have it, Morgan had gone to Peechelba ; and one of the volunteers from Wangaratta, having got off his track, struck Killawarra. By an oversight, he was nearly shot, as, on the police challenging, he answered, “Morgan,” but his voice was luckily known to the police, and he got off free. He, of course, informed this party where the villain was; and, “boot and saddle” being the word, although their horses were knocked up, they made for Peechelba, and arrived as already stated about seven in the morning. Here, Mainwaring’s party, it being daylight, were about to rush the house, not knowing the plans of the other party, but fortunately Constable Evans saw the police approaching, and sent a scout to intercept them and inform them how matters stood. This, again, altered all the plans, and a fresh disposition of the men was made out of sight and without noise. Morgan was at this time in the house engaged at his toilet, but every one know what was in preparation for him. Morgan occasionally, towards morning, appeared to doze, but always with a revolver ready in one hand, and often starting up and assuring the inmates that he slept with one eye open. He had at the same time cunningly left a revolver on the table within reach of the watchers, but this subsequently proved to be unloaded, and no doubt the man who took that up to shoot him would himself have been shot dead. During the night he chatted very freely with Mr. Macpherson, and told him that his parents were still alive and residing at Appin, near Campbelltown, New South Wales. The catastrophe is already known to our readers. There is not the slightest doubt of the man shot being the veritable Morgan. Mr. Thomas, the photographic artist of Beechworth, proceeded on Sunday night to the scene to take the likeness of the dead bushranger, copies of which will no doubt be eagerly sought. His remains have been visited by hundreds of persons from a not altogether unreasonable curiosity to see the body of a miserable man who, for two years, set the Government and police of the neighboring colony at defiance and kept its whole people in a state of abject terror. There was very extraordinary excitement indeed throughout this district, both on hearing of his arrival and on the news of his close pursuit, and death ; but the excitement was of the right kind, that of men hearing there was a tiger among them, and not the cowardly terror of New South Welshman. We have to thank the residents of Wangaratta for their kindness in favoring ourselves and our correspondent with all particulars, and we may mention that our reporter was on the spot immediately after Morgan was shot and saw him dying, and was, therefore, in a position to learn the fullest particulars. We will have some remarks to make with regard to the whole of this sad but glorious affair, but cannot close our account without expressing, not our astonishment, but our admiration of the manner in which the whole public was stirred up as one man with the determination that this monstrous villain should be swept off the face of the earth. We need not say what we think of the police and volunteers engaged in accomplishing the bloody scoundrel’s fate, but we think the conduct of the girl, who at the risk of her own life, gave the alarm, is worthy of the Victorian Cross. Indeed, the conduct of all the ladies in this district, who were brought in contact with this miserable coward, was marked by extraordinary sang froid in his presence, and giving information at once to the police. We may now remind some persons who, at the time, sneered at our remarks, when we expressed, some eight months ago, our opinion that this man would not be alive within forty-eight hours of his setting foot on this side of the Murray, that it was exactly forty-eight hours from the time that it was known that he was in Victoria, until he lay mortally wounded. We invite Mr. Benjamin Hall and other such ruffians, to pay us a visit if they dare. We are informed, upon good authority, that Morgan’s real name is Dan Moran ; the surname of Morgan being an assumed one.

The Bright correspondent of the same journal, writing on Monday, the 9th inst, says : — “On Friday, and since, the interest on the deep lead has ‘paled its ineffectual fires’ — before the excitement caused by the said Morgan — which I was an unbeliever in until Saturday. On Thursday last Constable Baird brought intelligence here that Morgan had stuck up Mackinnon’s station, and that night Sergeant Harkins, in charge here, sent an express to Beechworth with the information. The particulars, which I took some pains to learn from the mass of wild report current, seem to be as follows : — On Wednesday morning, Mr. Mackinnon and a lad named Madison, saw a stranger riding into some scrub above the station, but, perceiving he was seen, he turned, and took them to the station, where Mr. Brady was buying cattle. He asked who Brady was, and on being informed, drew a revolver, and told Brady to throw him his coat and waistcoat. This being done, and no money obtained, he called on Brady to show he had no belt under his shirt, which command was complied with. He, then ordered all hands into the hut, and took down two guns, into which he poured water. Noticing some whispering between some of the men, he threatened to ‘put a hole in them’ if it were not stopped. A Mr. Johnston (Lankey) of Growler’s Creek, now came in, and he was ordered to bail up, which Johnston demurred to, saying ‘he would fight him,’ and that ‘if he had a pistol the other would not be so cockey.’ Morgan then said, ‘come into the bush, and he would lay down two revolvers, fifteen yards apart, and let them take them up and fire.’ Johnston said he was no shot, ‘but would take him by the left hand, and let each fire with the right.’ This arrangement not suiting, Morgan told him who he was, when Johnston subsided. It is probable Morgan respected Johnston’s pluck, and had some sympathy with him from Johnston telling him (what I have heard is true) ‘that he licked two policemen rather than be taken during the Buckland riots, and would have got off, only the third man came up.’ He now ordered young Madison to act as his guide, and although, as a blind, not taking the route, he ultimately came by Happy Valley, and crossed the Ovens River at Wabonga, and kept the boy with him until Thursday morning. It appeared as if he attempted at first to preserve his incognito, but afterwards avowed he was Morgan. During the night he kept one horse tied up, and ready for instant service, and seemed as if he never closed his eyes during the night.”

Spotlight: Death of Dunleavy the Bushranger

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser (Qld. : 1861 – 1908), Tuesday 3 November 1868, page 6

Death of Dunleavy, the Bushranger. —


The City Coroner held an inquest at the Darlinghurst Gaol, yesterday, repecting the death of a prisoner named James Dunleavy, aged 24 years. From the evidence it appeared that he was received into the gaol on the 24th of April, 1865, having been sentenced at the Bathurst Circuit Court, by the late Mr. Justice Wise, to fifteen years’ imprisonment, with hard labour, the first year in irons, for robbery under arms. He was a man of delicate constitution, and had on several occasions since his imprisonment been in hospital for treatment for consumption. The disease progressed, notwithstanding all the remedies that were applied, and on the 16th of last month he Watson ordered by Dr. Aaron into the hospital. The disease from which he suffered increased, and terminated in disease of the windpipe as well as disease of the lungs, which ultimately ended in his death on Tuesday evening. The jury returned a verdict to the effect that death had resulted from natural causes. It will be recollected that Dunleavy formed one of Ben Hall and Gardiner’s notorious gang of bushrangers, and that through the intervention of a clergyman, he, in conjunction with Burke, was induced to give himself up to the police, and at his trial pleaded guilty to six diffrent charges of highway robbery. The clergyman in question wrote to the Colonial Secretary, asking that, as the prisoner had given himself up, a light sentence might be passed upon him. This letter was the subject of much comment at the time, and called forth a strong expression of opinion from Mr. Justice Wise, to whom it had been forwarded for perusal. — S. M. Herald, Oct. 24.

The Empire says:— The grave of Dunleavy offers only another lesson to those misguided young men who for so long bade defiance to the laws, and whose end in every instance has been either an ignominious one upon the gallows – that of an outlaw shot down like a dog – or, as in the case of Dunleavy, a painfully lingering and sorrowful order, in a convict’s cell. The body of Dunleavy as presented to the coroner’s jury, was a pitiful spectacle ; wasted to a very skeleton, nothing was to be seen but the frame of a fine-built young man, without a particle of flesh upon it. It is said that Frank Gardiner in his prison, more than “tamed by endurance,” is gradually sinking in the same way that Dunleavy did, and that before long it is probable a coroner’s jury will be summoned to hear evidence as to his last moments.

The Battle of Bringelly

“Surrender to such cowardly dogs is a thing I’ll ne’er do. This day I’ll fight with all my might,” cried Bold Jack Donahue.

Lyrics from Bold Jack Donahue. Traditional.

As with most bushrangers who transcend history to become enshrined in folklore, Jack Donahoe (aka Donohoe, Donahue) made the leap from brigand to legend in his final stoush with the forces of law and order. His recklessness in the face of death seemed to strike a chord with Australians of a certain class.

This year marks 190 years since Donahoe’s death, so it seems appropriate to recount the final battle that sealed his place in history.

The Gang

Donahoe and his partners William Webber and John Walmsley had been ruling the roads, sheltered by sympathisers who kept them fed and clothed in clean garments. These merry highwaymen approached their occupation with great pluck and a level head, one time even liberating a victim of his rum by pouring it into a chamber pot that they took away with them. Naturally such flagrant lawlessness was causing the settlers to wring their hands in dread, lest they be bailed up on the road or have their homes raided.

As is typical of the press throughout Australian history, the more the bushrangers eluded the police, the more the press put them on blast. Donahoe in particular had become something of a celebrity and everyone seemed to have a story about being bailed up by him.

One could feasibly have overheard conversation in the pub that sounded like, “I was robbed by Donahoe on the Cobbity Road, I was! There he were, bold as brass, astride a cob with a pair of barking irons in his hands. ‘Up with your copper,’ says he. Who am I to refuse a bushranger? So I gives it him and off he trots waving his hat about and whooping like a mad owl! So as you can imagine, I’m a bit light on cash so you’ll have to pay for the ale this time, my handsome.”

In July, Donahoe had been shot in the right shoulder during a shootout. The wound had mostly healed, but not well, and continued to give him trouble. Victims described him as having visible stiffness in the shoulder, though it didn’t hinder him terribly. In the afternoons he and his colleagues would perform robberies then escape to their hideouts in the Parramatta region just before dark when the police were unable to track them properly.

The Hunt

The authorities were growing tired of chasing the bushrangers through the wilderness and were hoping for a breakthrough. This came in the form of locating one of the gang’s treasure troves in an old cave hideout, but the bushrangers were nowhere to be found. The search party, under Lieutenant MacAlister, magistrate of Argyle, with the assistance of an Aboriginal tracker referred to as “Black Jemmy”, decided to change tactics. Rather than root around for the bandits like a bushpig in search of truffles, they elected to split up and keep watch on hotspots where the fugitives were known to haunt.

Sergeant Hodson of the 57th regiment led a party of troopers to the vicinity of Bringelly. The team consisted of Hodson, two men named Muckleston and Warburton, Chief Constable Farley, Constable Gorman and some others. They spent a fortnight combing through the bush with no success and at sunset retired to their camp in a hollow on the property of a man named Wentworth. It is easy to imagine the frustration the mounted police were feeling after months of fruitless bush-bashing.

After yet another day without result, on the 1st of September 1830, Farley headed off on his grey horse to procure provisions as the rest of the party unsaddled their horses. It was about five o’clock when fate decided to throw the beleaguered bluebottles a bone.

A Fortuitous Arrival

The thing about bushranging that often gets overlooked is that riding horses through the bush is far more romantic than it is practical. The reality was that much of the time was spent travelling on foot, simply because it was a far more efficient way to get through tangled scrub and between the gnarled, twisted trees with branches that jut out at just the right height to peg out an incautious rider like washing. Thus, on the afternoon of the first of September the trio of Donahoe, Webber and Walmsley headed back to their hideout on foot. Of course, riding a horse in the bush is not the same as guiding one through it, and the bushrangers were leading a black packhorse laden with their ill-gotten gains into the scrub. No doubt they would have seen the police campfire about a mile away.

“‘Ere, do you see that fire over yonder?”

“Ah, probably some hapless gloak got stuck out in the bush as the sun went down. Pay it no mind; keep walking.”

And so it was that the police clapped eyes for the first time upon the men that had been causing them such frustration. They too opted not to mount up, dashing into the bush on foot to cut the bushrangers off, leaving two of their number to watch the camp. Hodson was determined to bring the bushrangers in by any means necessary. As the bushrangers approached a creek, Hodson decided to split the group up to get the bandits in a pincer movement should they cross. Hodson took two constables to the left, the others went on the right.

The right-hand party kept up with the fugitives seemingly undetected, but when they got within a hundred yards, the bushrangers knew something was up. Donahoe signalled to the others by taking off his hat and waving it. They ditched the packhorse and took shelter behind the trees. Being resourceful, they were equipped for battle already. Donahoe was the first to take a snap at the authorities.

“Come on you cowardly rascals, we’re ready if there’s a dozen of you!”

The Battle of Bringelly

Donahoe had long made it known that he’d rather receive his death on the receiving end of a musket ball than at the end of a rope. He even carried a small pistol secreted in his trousers so that in the event that he was captured he could shoot himself. Two of his previous colleagues had been sent to the gallows, one of whom suffered the trauma of his rope snapping once he fell through the drop. The poor fellow then had to wait for the executive council to decide whether he could be freed. They decided it was better to have another crack at making the bushranger dance on air, so the drama on the scaffold was played out a second time, and this time it went to plan. No doubt Donahoe was aware of how easily executions were botched and the thought of such indignity was unpalatable to him. It is not unlikely that such a fate was on his mind when he tried to encourage Webber and Walmsley to engage the troopers in battle with him.

For half an hour there was an awkward lull as both sides debated about starting the attack. Eventually it was the troopers that felt the itch in their trigger finger first. Warburton raised his firing piece and launched a ball at a tree where he had seen Webber take cover. This shot, however, only succeeded in hitting the tree trunk and sending a small shower of splinters flying out. The shot was only off by about an inch.

Donahoe waits to strike.

The bushrangers opened fire, exchanging shots with the police through the gloom and the ashen puffs of gun smoke. Though the firing was intense at such close quarters and under such limited cover none of the blows landed. Donahoe continued to taunt his attackers.

“Come on, I could beat the whole bloody colony! Charge, my boys!”

Donahoe’s reckless shouting and gesticulating made him the obvious target for Muckleston, whose aptitude with the rifle was well known. He watched the bushranger’s shelter like a hawk eyeing off a rodent in the grass, waiting for the opportunity to strike. He held his breath as Donahoe stuck his head out from cover to take aim. The smooth face and flaxen hair catching the last hints of light as darkness set in provided an ample target. Mucklesworth’s finger squeezed the trigger and his rifle kicked like a mule as it squeezed two lead balls out of the muzzle in a puff of smoke. They found their mark in the left temple and the neck of the man referred to as “Bold Jack”.

Seeing their leader fall, the others elected to give up and retreat. They ran at top speed deeper into the bush, discarding their hats, coats and shoes in order to facilitate an easier, more stealthy passage through the wilderness.

Abandoned by Webber and Walmsley, Donahoe lay on the ground, bleeding and barely conscious. As he gurgled his last breaths he must have realised that he had died as he had hoped – in battle, not on the scaffold. He hadn’t had to use his secret weapon after all. The battle had been as abrupt as it was violent.

The troopers attempted to follow Webber and Walmsley but by now the darkness had set in. They returned to Donahoe and his body was searched. As well as the horse pistol and rifle, the troopers found his secret pistol tucked away in his trousers pocket. The packhorse was also retrieved and searched. In the cargo were a watch, stolen bank documents, flour, meat and women’s clothes – hardly the treasure trove one would expect from a renowned highwayman.

Skirmish between bush-rangers and constables, Illawarra [Source]

The Aftermath

The confrontation had been brief and violent. The constabulary had their prize lashed to the back of a packhorse and taken to Sydney. The body was then taken to the hospital where it was kept until the official procedures were carried out.

Sketches were made of the body laid out on the mortician’s slab, and a death mask was made by a tobacconist. Unlike later masks that were used for phrenological study, this mask would provide a reference for a collection of tobacco pipes shaped like the outlaw’s head, complete with bullet wounds. If contemporary accounts are to be believed, they were very popular.

After the inquest was conducted, Donahoe was buried in an unmarked grave in Raby. The lack of a marker or monument meant the bushranger’s admirers would have nowhere to go to spare a thought for the wild colonial boy.

With Donahoe buried, all that remained was to catch up with Webber and Walmsley. They would not remain at large long, and when the law finally caught up with them their true colours went on display.

Donahoe’s death mask.