Spotlight: News from the Interior (1840)

Sydney Herald (NSW : 1831 – 1842), Thursday 31 December 1840, page 2



On Sunday last, the 20th instant, information was received by Mr. Day, who fortunately for the inhabitants of the Hunter’s River districts happened to be here, that the bushrangers had visited a station of Sir Francis Forbes, distant about three miles from this place, and bailed up the persons there in order that a report might not reach Muswell Brook, and kept them so until nearly sundown, when they departed.

On the bushrangers quitting the station, a person named Jones, holding a ticket-of-leave, lost no time in reporting the matter to Mr. Day, who with that energy and decision so peculiar to him, immediately determined on pursuit, to carry which into effect, he caused information to be forwarded to the surrounding settlers of the contiguity of the bushrangers, and requested their co-operation and assistance in the pursuit the following morning (Monday.)

On Monday, the 21st instant, Mr. Day was joined by Mr. Edward White, Mr. R.C. Dangar, also by the Chief Constable, John Nolan, Peter Daw, Martin Kelly, William Evans, William Walker, the five latter are ticket-of-leave holders, Martin Donohoe, who is an assigned servant, and a black boy. The party proceeded in a direction likely to fall in with the tracks of the bushrangers, in which they succeeded not quite a mile from Muswell Brook, and continued on that track for about five miles, when they were informed the bushrangers had crossed the Hunter at Aberdeen the previous night; on receiving the intelligence the party in pursuit pushed on in the direction of Scone, when after crossing the Hunter, the party met a man who had been despatched from Scone, for the purpose of reporting at Muswell Brook the robbery at Mr. William Dangar’s, at Turanville, that of the Inn at Scone, from which they took £70, as well as Mr. Thomas Dangar’s store, where the bushrangers, in addition to their other atrocities added that of murder — having taken what they wanted from Mr. Dangar’s, they were on the point of quitting when a young man named Graham, clerk to Mr. Thomas Dangar, imprudently fired a pistol at one of them, who deliberately shot him on the spot — he survived but twenty minutes. On hearing these particulars Mr. Day’s party proceeded as quickly as possible to Scone; on reaching which Mr. Day proceeded to the Court House, where the Police and two other Magistrates were then sitting, and a number of settlers at the time, both in and about the Court House, who, it were only reasonable, to suppose, were equally interested in the capture of the bushrangers with Mr. Day and those then in pursuit, but strange to say no exertion was made, no notice of the occurrences above-stated forwarded to the surrounding settlers, nor could Mr. Day obtain a horse, although applying for one to the settlers then at Court!

At this time, Mr. E. Warland, Robert Evans, John Teely, the two latter are ticket-of-leave holders, and one of the border police, joined Mr. Day’s party, who now proceeded with the utmost dispatch to Page’s River, distant from Scone about twenty-five miles; on reaching which they ascertained that the bushrangers had been there about three hours before, and robbed Mr. Atkinson’s Inn, as well as Mr. Rundle’s store; the bushrangers did not appear to be in a hurry when at Mr. Atkinson’s, as they stopped to refresh, and made themselves as comfortable as circumstances would permit; they also committed some robberies on the way from Scone to Page’s River. Being now nearly confident of falling in with the bushrangers, Mr. Day’s party halted a few minutes at Page’s River, which became imperative from the party being completely drenched with rain, and the arms, from damp, were obliged to be reloaded and put in order. They were here joined by Dr. Gill, and proceeded over the Liverpool Range to Dough Boy Hollow, distant about six miles from Page’s River; on arriving at which some drays were observed encamped down the creek; the party proceeded towards the drays, and soon after saw some horses, and directly came in view of the bushrangers, it was now six o’clock. Mr. Day and his party dashed on at full gallop, cheering as they went; the bushrangers stood to their arms and took trees. Robert Chitty was first taken; he fired one shot and was not allowed time to reload until secured; Davis and Marshall (the latter the leader of the gang, and the murderer of Mr. Graham) were next secured; Davis fired four shots, in two of which he took deliberate aim at Mr. Day. Marshall fired two shots; Shea and Ruggy ascended a hill overlooking the combat, and from thence fired ten shots. The bushrangers fired in all eighteen shots during the capture, fortunately not one of which took effect. Thus in less than five minutes were five of these seven secured who have so long and so wantonly acted as they thought proper — and had it not been for the prompt and energetic conduct of Mr. Day, seconded so zealously as he was, this gang would still have been roaming through the country carrying on their system of plunder and destruction.

Thc next morning there were sent five men and two black boys in pursuit of the two scoundrels who escaped during the fight, when after having gone about eight miles, they came up with and secured another, named Glanville, he acknowledged to have fired one shot. The number of shots fired by Mr. Day’s party has not been ascertained; Mr. Day wounded Davis in the shoulder; he also has had a ball through his trousers. Shea has been wounded in the calf of the leg. The party who made the capture remained for the night where they had made it, and escorted their prisoners to the lock-up on the 22nd instant; when within thirteen miles of which they met a party forwarded by Mr. Robertson to assist in escorting them, as he considered, no doubt, according to his usual clear way of thinking, that a party who after riding fifty miles in eleven hours, and were able to capture them, would not be able to take care of them. I believe Mr. Day would not sit with him on the bench next day

* * *

Mr. Robertson was unable to commit the bushrangers from the Scone Bench, although the murder was witnessed, and witnesses in attendance to prove it and the robberies; they were however ultimately committed from the Muswell Brook Bench on Thursday. There were found with the bushrangers’ seven horses, nine double barrelled guns and rifles, a great many pistols, several watches, sixty or seven pounds in money, and a great many other articles.

A committee has been appointed to present Mr. Day with a piece of plate on the occasion. Upwards of £100 was subscribed at the Upper Hunter, and a very large sum is expected, as the settlers feel very grateful to Mr. Day for his exertions.

Spotlight: Hunter’s River Bushrangers (1840)

Sydney Herald (NSW : 1831 – 1842), Saturday 26 December 1840, page 2


The Rubicon is past – and human blood is now shed by one of the most lawless gangs of bushrangers that ever infested the Hunter. Blood, that cries aloud for retribution at the hands of our vacillating government. Blood – yes blood, the first of a long list which it is anticipated, will mark the career of the Hunter’s River bushrangers. My last letter feebly narrated the career of this gang at the Wollombi; of their assault on the late constable McDougall, and the murderous attack on one of Mr. Crawford’s men; of their recontre at the Red House, and other particulars of their misdeeds. This, though not so full of particulars, will be more full of horror. It appears that, on leaving the Wollombi, they were joined by six others, thus making their number ten, when they proceeded to Scone, simultaneously attacking the Inn of Mr. Chivers and the stores of Mr. ‘Thomas Dangar, their approach was however observed by a young man, clerk to Mr Dangar, named Graham, who injudiciously armed himself with a pistol, which he fired at the advancing party, when one of them (Marshall it is thought) levelled his gun and shot him dead at the door of his master’s house, whose property he was defending. Davis, the chief of the robbers, on hearing the report, came forward; he seemed to regret it much, but I will quote his own words, – “I would give £1,000, that this had not happened, but as well a hundred now as one.” We may therefore expect that this one murder mentioned, is the precursor of others, each more sanguinary than the other. The last report we have had of them is at the Page.


Seven desperate bushrangers are infesting this district. They came from Jerry’s Plains via Muswell Brook. They went to Mr Dangar’s farm on Monday morning, and took a fine grey horse and several light articles, such as watches rugs, &c. They then proceeded to Scone – and called at Chivers, who they robbed of about £70, bailed up the people, and broke what fire arms were in the house. While this was being done some of the party went over to Dangar’s stores, one went to the back and another to the front of the house. Mr. Graham, the Clerk took up a piece and fired at the fellow in front but missed him. He then ran away to the constable, but one of the villains shot him dead in in the middle of the road, and thus is another valuable life lost from the lawless state of the country. The marauders then mounted and proceeded towards the Page. Mr. Day has arrived from Muswell Brook with a number of ticket-of-leave men, and is on his way after them. The magistrates have sent a note with the constables for all ticket men to muster, and form as many parties as possible, some are going by the Cedar Bush, the Wybong and Gammon Plains, and from the activity of the arrangements, hopes are entertained of their speedy capture.