Spotlight: Mrs. Thunderbolt (11 March 1867)

Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 – 1875), Monday 11 March 1867, page 5

“MRS THUNDERBOLT.” – We learn that the bushranger Thunderbolt’s wife, who was lately sent to gaol for three months by the Paterson bench, for having property in her possession, which she could not account for, has within the past few days been released from the Maitland gaol, the statements of a petition sent by her to the Governor, setting forth that she had put purchased the property from Messrs. Wolfe and Garrick’s store in West Maitland, having been borne out. We are informed that the unfortunate woman stated to the Paterson bench, that she bought the property from the store named; that they remanded the case to allow her to prove her statement, but that being kept in custody she was unable to produce evidence when the case was again called on, and was therefore sent to gaol. – Ensign

Mount Alexander Mail (Vic. : 1854 – 1917), Monday 18 March 1867, page 2


Mrs Thunderbolt.— The “wife ” of Fred. Ward, better known by the soubriquet of ” Captain Thunderbolt,” the bushranger, has been released from Maitland gaol. This woman was incarcerated by the Paterson magistracy on a charge of having goods in her possession for which she failed to offer a satisfactory account. She made a statement before the court that she had obtained the goods at a certain store in West Maitland, but was unable to prove it before the bench. Her imprisonment created some discontent, and the Government ordered her enlargement within the last few days.— Maitland Ensign.

Illawarra Mercury (Wollongong, NSW : 1856 – 1950), Tuesday 26 March 1867, page 2

MR AND MRS THUNDERBOLT – A story has been brought to Tinonee by the Gloucester mailman that Thunderbolt, the celebrated bushranger, called at Mr Thomas Brown’s inn, Gloucester, a few days ago, and left a child either there or or at Mr Lavers’s accommodation house in the same neighbourhood. It is also stated that Thunderbolt’s wife is now in the same vicinage. – Manning River News

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: Mother of the Kellys

The following article from 1923 begins with the death of Ellen Kelly then recaps the story of the Kelly Gang as it was understood at the time. Mrs. Kelly (she had returned to using her first husband’s surname) was a remarkable woman who lived almost a century, outliving nearly all of her own children. She had been cared for by her only surviving son Jim but lived in desperate poverty. The hardships of colonial life, and of the drama that unfolded around her family, must have taken a severe toll on her. It wasn’t until authors like Max Brown began researching and writing about the Kelly story that public opinion began to soften toward them, but right up until Ellen’s death there remained a strong sentiment of condemnation that was only exacerbated by the half-remembered and outright fabricated stories that were circulating at the turn of the century. The following article demonstrates this point remarkably well. Statements about how bloody their record ~AP

Daily Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1903 – 1926), Sunday 8 April 1923, page 11



Stories of Blood and Terror. Outlaws’ Last Stand at Glenrowan.

The death of Mrs. Ellen King. formerly Kelly, which took place at Greta West, near Wangaratta (Victoria), last week, recalls memories of her sons, Ned and Dan Kelly, leaders of the most notorious gang of law-breakers that ever infested the Australian bush. From 1878 to 1880 the Kelly gang terrorised a considerable area of Victoria and New South Wales. They were practically the last of the bushrangers, as they were undoubtedly the worst, their record being the most daring and bloody in all the list. Several histories of their career have been written, and the story has been dramatised for stage and film. They serve to illustrate a period in the development of the country that has happily passed, and which, with increased settlement, and improved means of rapid communication, will never come again.

The mother of the Kellys was 95 years of age at the time of her death, and for the past 40 years she has lived in the wild hills of Greta West, the scene of many daring exploits by her sons. She was a native of Antrim (Ireland), and came to Australia with her parents in 1841. Her maiden name was Quinn. In 1851, at Ballarat, then in its heyday as a goldfield, Ellen Quinn married John Kelly, who had been transported from Ireland some time previously. Their son, Edward, was born in 1854 at Wallan Wallan ; James was born in 1856, and Daniel in 1861. There were, besides, four daughters. At the time of the brothers’ exploits one of these was married to a man named Gunn, another to a man named Skillian, and two others, Kate and Grace, were single.


The Kellys, like the Kenniffs in later years in Queensland, appear to have started on the downward path by stealing horses. F. A. Hare, P.M., who, as Superintendent of the Victorian police, was personally concerned in the hunt for the Kellys, declares in his book, “The Last of the Bushrangers,” that “Ned Kelly was regarded as a horse and cattle thief from earliest boyhood. He was known to steal carriers’ horses at night, ‘plant’ them in the bush until a reward was offered for them. and then in the most innocent manner produce them and claim the reward. When he was 16 years of age he joined the bushranger, Power, taking charge of the outlaw’s horses whilst he committed his depredations. In 1870 he was arrested and charged with having assisted Power, but no one could identify him, and so he was discharged. In 1870 Jim Kelly, then only 15 years of age, was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment on two charges of horse-stealing. On his discharge in 1876 he went to New South Wales and stuck up a number of people, but was captured immediately and was sent to gaol for 10 years, so that he was out of the way when his brothers were outlawed. In 1871 Ned Kelly was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for horse-stealing. Many stories are told of the manner in which the Kellys and their associates used to run mobs of horses into the Warby and Strathbogie Ranges, fake the brands with iodine, keep them until the marks had healed, and then drive them to Melbourne, Ballarat, Geelong, and even as far as Sydney, where they would be sold openly in the auction yards.


The plunge to crime of the most violent character was taken in 1878. Warrants had issued for the arrest of Dan Kelly on no less than six charges of horse stealing. Constable Alexr, Fitzpatrick, on April 15, 1878, went to the Kellys’ hut at Greta, with the object of effecting an arrest. As he rode up he saw Dan standing at the door, and he said, “You’re my prisoner.” Dan replied. “All right; but wait until I get something to eat. I’ve been riding all day.” The constable agreed. After Dan sat down, his mother said, “You won’t take Dan from here this night.” Dan told her to shut up. The woman continued to grumble, and presently asked, “Have you got a warrant?” Fitzpatrick replied, “I have a telegram, which is just as good.” The constable then accepted Dan’s invitation to have some food, and as he sat down Mrs. Kelly said, “If my son Ned was here, he’d throw you out of the window.” Dan looked out of the window and said, “Why, here he is!” As Fitzpatrick turned to look, Dan sprang on him, and at the same moment, Mrs. Kelly struck him on the head with a heavy spade that had been used as a fire shovel. As Fitzpatrick fell several persons rushed into the room, including Ned Kelly, who held a revolver in his hand. Evidently he had fired, for Fitzpatrick was wounded in the arm. Ned Kelly said, “I’m sorry I fired. You are the civilest — — trap I’ve seen.” He offered to cut out the bullet and bind the wound, but Fitzpatrick refused to let him touch it. Ned said the constable could not be allowed to go until he had promised not to tell how he got wounded, and Mrs. Kelly cried, ” Tell him if he does tell he won’t live long after.” Fitzpatrick promised not to tell, and after himself extracting the bullet he bound up the wound with his handkerchief and was allowed to depart. On the following day a party of troopers arrested Mrs. Kelly, who was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for her part in the affair. William Skillian and William Williams were each sentenced to six years.


A party of 25 troopers with black trackers were sent out to capture Ned and Dan Kelly. On October 25 one party of searchers went into camp at Stringy Bark Creek, about eight miles from the Wombat Ranges. Sergeant Kennedy, who was in charge, had information of the movements of the wanted men, but it appears that his informant had also told the Kellys of the approach of the police. Sergeant Kennedy and Constable Scanlan went into the scrub seeking track of their quarry, whilst Constables Lonergan and McIntyre were left in charge of the camp. Lonergan was making tea when four men rode up on horseback and cried, “Bail up ; put up your hands.” Lonergan made a jump to get behind a tree at the same time reaching to his belt for his pistol. As he did so he was shot dead, his last words as he fell being, “Oh, Christ, I’m shot.” McIntyre, who was unarmed, surrendered. Ned Kelly, after examining Lonergan’s body, said, “What a pity ; why didn’t the —— fool surrender.” The bushrangers then hid themselves until Kennedy and Scanlan returned. As they came close, McIntyre said, “Sergeant we’re surrounded; you’d better surrender.” Scanlan put his hand to his belt, and Ned Kelly fired at him, but missed. Scanlan jumped from his horse and made for a gum tree, but was shot dead before he reached it. Kennedy wheeled his horse and started to gallop off, but was brought down by a bullet from the rifle of one of the terribly accurate marksmen. As the frightened horse dashed through the camp McIntyre threw himself upon it, but it had not galloped far before the animal was shot through the heart. McIntyre fell clear, and crawling into a patch of scrub, he secreted himself in a wombat hole, where he lay hidden whilst the bushrangers searched all around, swearing what they would do to him when they found him. After dark he got clear, and walked 20 miles to Mansfield, where he made known the facts of the murder of his three comrades.


Rewards of £100 each had been offered for the capture of Ned and Dan Kelly, and these were increased to £500. As time went on the rewards offered by the New South Wales and Victorian Governments, and the associated banks were increased until they totalled £8000 for the capture of the gang, which now included Steve Hart (aged 20 years), and Joe Byrnes (aged 19 years); who had been identified as having been with the Kellys in the fatal encounter just described. The next exploit of the bushrangers was the sticking up of Younghusbands station on Faithfull Creek on December 8. This was a carefully planned coup, the statlon hands, manager, and several callers being locked up in a store room. The outlaws helped themselves to arms and clothes, they took it in turns to sleep, two reposing whilst two watched, and an itinerant hawker who called during their stay had his stock ransacked for new clothes, etc. Some quaint fancy led the outlaws to smother their clothes with the contents of bottles of perfume from the cart. On December 11 Joe Byrnes was left in charge of the prisoners, whilst the others rode to Euroa, where they robbed the National Bank, taking possession of just on £2000 in notes, gold, and silver, besides 31oz of smelted gold. Everything was carried out in the boldest possible manner. The telegraph lines had been cut on each side of Younghusband’s station, so that no alarm could be given, and Mr. Robert Scott, the manager of the bank at Euroa, was forced to put his wife and child in a buggy and drive the whole party back to Younghusband’s after the robbery. That night the robbers left the station with the booty, after first threatening that the manager, Mr. Macauley, would be ‘shot like a b—— dingo,’ if anyone stirred for three hours after they had gone.


At midnight on February 8, 1879, Constables Devine and Richards were at the station and lock-up, just outside the town of Jerilderie (N.S.W.), when they were advised that a row had taken place at Davidson’s Hotel, and a man killed. When the police reached the scene they were confronted by Ned Kelly who, with revolver in hand, ordered them to bail up. As they were unarmed there was nothing for it but to comply and the two officers were locked up in their own cells. The next day was Sunday, and the outlaws, donning the uniforms of the police, spent the day at the police station. On the Monday they took possession of the Royal Hotel, the largest in the town, they locked up everyone likely to interfere with their plans, and proceeding to the Bank of New South Wales, which adjoined the hotel, they surprised the officials, overpowered them, and obtained possession of sums which again totalled over £2000 in notes and gold. At the hotel Ned Kelly had drinks served to everyone. In a speech, he blamed Constable Fitzpatrick for all that had happened. He said he had not been within 100 miles of Greta when Fitzpatrick was shot; he blamed Lonergan for having threatened his mother and sister ; and said he was going to shoot Devine and Richards. He added “The police are worse than the —— black trackers.” The robbers remained masters of the whole town, consisting of about 300 inhabitants, from Saturday night. until the afternoon of the following Wednesday, when they rode off, flourishing their revolvers, and shouting “Hurrah for the good old times of Morgan and Ben Hall.”


For some time after this the gang remained in hiding, and little was heard of them until on June 27, 1880, they shot and killed Aaron Sherritt for giving information of their whereabouts to the police. Sherritt, it appears, had been engaged to a sister of Joe Byrnes, but he was suspected of playing traitor, and the engagement was broken off, Sherritt then marrying a daughter of a settler on Woolshed Creek. On the date mentioned, a party of four policemen were secreted in Sherritt’s house, watching the home of Byrnes’s mother. Dan Kelly and Joe Byrnes held up a German named Weeks, who was walking along the road, and they compelled him to call out to Sherritt. When Sherritt came to his door to see who had called, he was shot dead by the outlaws, who called to Mrs. Sherritt: “Send out some of the — traps to bury your husband. We’ve shot him for being a traitor.” The outlaws were hidden in the outside darkness, and there was a bright wood fire burning in the house, which would have made the police easy marks for the rifles of the murderous pair had the officers moved. Finding the police would not come out, the bushrangers fired their rifles several times through the windows and doors. At about 2 o’clock in the morning they rode off without doing further mischief.


The news of this fresh outrage led to the despatch of a strong party from Melbourne by special train. These included Sub-inspector O’Connor of Queensland, with six black trackers, Superintendent Hare, Inspector Pewtress, several other Victorian police officers and Press representatives. Amongst these latter was Mr. J. Melvin, a veteran who, many years later, worked in the Parliamentary Press Gallery at Brisbane. As the police train drew near to the scene of the trouble, it was pointed out that the brightly lighted carriages provided a fine mark for the rifles of the outlaws. Mr. Melvin thereupon climbed on to the roof, as the train sped through the darkness, and he put out all the lights. Approaching Glenrowan the party learned that the bushrangers had torn up the railway line a short distance ahead, and had taken possession of the Glenrowan Inn, about 100 yards distant. The inn, which was fated to be the scene of the bushrangers’ last stand, was a long, low weather-board building, with a wide veranda on the front. Into this building the gang had collected a total of 62 of the townspeople, including Constable Bracken.


The police besieged the building, and in the exchange of rifle fire between them and the outlaws a number of innocent people were wounded. Supt. Hare’s wrist was shattered. Mrs. Jones, the landlady of the hotel at one stage rushed on to the veranda calling the police “murderers,” and declaring that her son had been killed and her daughter wounded. The police ceased firing, and the boy was removed and taken to Wangaratta Hospital, where he died. An old man named Martin Cherry was also killed. During a short truce the whole of the non-combatants were removed from the hotel. Shortly after day-break police reinforcements from Benalla were being placed in position, when they were fired at from behind a tree, which stood some distance behind the hotel, and a tall, stout figure, with what looked like a nail can over his head, was soon to appear. Several of the besieging force fired at this, but the bullets seemed to rebound. Sergeant Steel then fired at the legs, and at the second shot the figure toppled, crying : “I’m done for.” It proved to be Ned Kelly. As the police rushed forward he raised himself on his elbow, and commenced shooting wildly, shouting: “You shall never take me alive.” However he was soon overpowered and handcuffed. In the meantime a successful attempt had been made by the police to fire the building. Whilst this was being done Mrs. Skilllan. a sister of the Kellys, attempted to ride up to the building to persuade her brother Dan to surrender, but was stopped by the police, who pointed out that she would be in great danger. As the flames began to envelope the building the Rev. Father M. Gibney walked to the front door, crucifix in hand, and followed by a number of police. On entering the front bar they found the body of Joe Byrne, who was said to have been shot dead as he drank a glass of brandy. The bodies of Dan Kelly and Steve Hart were found dead in a small parlour off the bar. It was surmised that they had either suicided or had shot each other simultaneously. Ned Kelly was convicted and hanged in Melbourne gaol on November 11, 1880. And so at last the law was vindicated, as it must ever be, and the whole gang of desperadoes perished as violently as their victims had done. It was officially estimated that the cost of capturing the gang was not less than £40,000, exclusive of the salaries and wages of those engaged.

Spotlight: Examination of “Blue Cap”, the Bushranger

Australasian (Melbourne, Vic. : 1864 – 1946), Saturday 30 November 1867, page 15





At the Police court, Young, on the 11th and 14th instant, the following examinations took place :—

Robert Cotterell, alias Blue Cap, was charged with robbery with firearms. William Marshall said. — I am an inn keeper, and reside at the Rock Station, on the Levels. I know the prisoner. I have seen him several times. My place was robbed in the middle of July last by three men. The prisoner is one of them. They took about £11 in money, a saddle and bridle, a gun, a revolver, Crimean shirts, a coat, grog, and several other articles. They were all armed. On the evening of the robbery, about half past six o’clock, and while sitting at tea, a knock came to the door. I sent the girl to see who it was. As soon as the door was opened the prisoner and another named Scott rushed in and told us all to bail up. Scott went through the passage, while the prisoner kept sentry over us with a gun. It being a cold night I told him to come to the fire. He said he did not want fire, but “tin.” I told him he had come to a wrong place for it. He searched my coat pockets, and when attempting to rifle my trousers pockets, I took out what money I had in the pockets and laid it on the table; there was about £2. There was a third person with the bushrangers, whose name, I believe, is Duce. Scott and Duce went to the store and helped themselves, while the prisoner kept sentry over us in the house. They had tea. The prisoner kept guard while his mates had their repast, and they relieved him until he had his. They stayed about an hour.

The same prisoner was further charged with a like offence. Jeremiah Lehane said. — I am a grazier, and reside at Reedy Creek. On the 24th July last my place was robbed. I was close by the house, at a well which some men I had employed were cleaning out. The prisoner came up to us and asked for Mr. Lehane. I told him I was Mr. Lehane. The prisoner then ordered all of us to go up to the house. I asked him if he belonged to the police force. He said, “No, I am a bushranger.” The prisoner was armed. He marched us up to the verandah of the house, where we saw an accomplice of the prisoner’s. He was also armed, and called himself the “White Chief,” I believe his name is Jerry Duce. The prisoner gave the men in charge of Duce, and then ordered me to accompany him to my private office. Prisoner then said he wanted a revolver I had. I gave it to him. He then ordered me to open a certain drawer in my desk, in which were several papers and a pocketbook, the latter containing six one-pound notes. He opened the book and abstracted the money. He searched about for more money, but found none. He took a double-barrelled gun, which he returned as he was leaving. He ordered me to proceed with him to the stable; he took a saddle, but, being told it belonged to one of the labourers, he put it back, and took another belonging to my stockman. The whole of the articles stolen, including the money, I value at about £20 10s. I identify the saddle (produced) as the one prisoner stole from out of my stable.

The same prisoner was charged with robbing Philip Saunders’s Sydney Hotel, in June last. Philip Saunders said. — I am a publican, and reside at the Halfway-house, Lachlan-road. Some time in June last my place was robbed. I was then residing at Spring Creek, Young. I cannot swear that prisoner was one of the two men who robbed me. Two men came to my place on the evening of the day, referred to about four o’clock- They asked for some drinks and departed. One was riding a chestnut mare, and the other a bay mare. They returned after dark about seven o’clock. Mrs. Saunders went to the bar and asked them what they wished to drink. They said, they did not want drink, but money. Mrs. Saunders said they would not get much money from her. She produced a box containing some silver. One of the men said, ” You’ve got more money than that.” Mrs. Saunders said, “Not much.” She brought another box, in which there were some half-sovereigns and other money. I don’t know how much it amounted to. There was also a revolver taken and a bottle of grog. I can swear that the man who demanded the money is not the prisoner. If the second man is the prisoner he is much altered. I cannot swear he is one of the men who robbed me. — The same prisoner was charged with having robbed Mr. Lehmann at Stony Creek, on the 28th June last.

H. Lehmann deposed. — I am a publican, and reside at Stony Creek. On the 28th June last, about ten o’clock at night, I was in my store. Two men came into the store ; one was a stout man, with a revolver, the other a sparer man with a gun. The first man said, “Hand me over the ‘tin.'” I thought he was joking. He said, “Be quick.” I gave him the cashbox saying, “Here, take it.” There were notes, half-sovereigns, and silver in the cashbox, amounting to about £8 or £9. He then asked for a revolver, which I gave him.He then wanted some clothing and took some Crimean shirts, socks, two ponchos, three silk handkerchiefs, and other articles. He then asked me to go into the bar to have a drink. On going to the bar his companion was there. The prisoner is the second man. They then locked the doors and remained inside until the police arrived. I heard a knock at the door, and called out, “Who’s there?” The reply was, “Police.” The prisoner, or his companion, then said “We’re too long here, it’s time to be off.” They went out, at the back, secured their horses, and escaped. It was very dark.

Spotlight: Ben Hall’s Gang, December 1864

The following detailed depictions of the final form of the Hall Gang give an intriguing insight into the state of the trio in the period between the murder of Sgt. Parry and that of Const. Nelson. The incident is almost farcical in the sheer scale of the roundup of prisoners (typical of this gang) and the gang appear quite weathered by their criminal lifestyle. There is some discussion of the gang’s own account of what happened at Black Springs, which brings an interesting insight into their attitudes about the events. As none of the gang ever wrote letters or memoirs that have been made public (Hall was illiterate) reports like these are our only insight into their lived experiences. Criminal or not, they had a story to tell and it’s a shame that only one member of the Gilbert-Hall Gang (John Vane) lived long enough to record his memoirs.

Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 – 1875), Tuesday 20 December 1864, page 3


LAST Saturday morning, about ten o’clock, as two of Mr. Frederick Taylor’s sons (George and James) were riding from the Fourteen to the Sixteen-Mile Road, a horseman rode down the side of a steep range and told them to “stand,” but at the same time telling them not to be frightened but to come along with him. This was the notorious Dunn, who led his two young captives up the hill, where just over the brow of which were already twenty prisoners congregated under the guard of Hall and Gilbert. The robbers, had chosen their ground admirably; for the captives were so seated that the top of the hill intecepted their view of the road, and the three highwaymen kept just so far down the “off” side of the hill, as to render their horses invisible to passers by. The first person that they, stopped was a storekeeper from Young, named Henry; this was before six o’clock; then another storekeeper named Conley, both of whom they searched, but found nothing upon them but cheques and silver, which they returned. Soon after a lot of diggers and others were brought in. At about, eleven o’clock, Dunn expressed a desire for something to eat, when Hall told Mr. Henry to fetch six or seven dozen of eggs out of his cart, so that all hands might have a feed; meanwhile another man was sent to fill a large “billy” with water; a third was told to make a fire, boil the eggs and roll them out. Gilbert produced some bread, which he divided as far as it would go among all who would accept it, and a hearty meal was the result. Thus matters jogged on for hour after hour, Dunn and Gilbert alternately and sometimes together topping the hill, riding down its declivity, and shortly reappearing with more captives, until at about three o’clock p.m. there were not less than forty prisoners. Any man that had a poorish look or in diggers’s costume was not searched, but was simply told to keep quiet until the gold buying banker from Young passed, and then all hands might stop and see the fight with his escort, or go where they liked, but those who appeared at all like storekeepers were closely watched. It was now four o’clock, and the banditti appeared to wax wrathful at the non-arrival of their longed-for prey — their impatience testifying itself by great restlessness and almost incessant gazing up the road. Suddenly Hall exclaimed “where’s that — boy who was just now sitting there.” At the same time he and his confederates sprang up and commensed hunting about for their late captive, when Gilbert said “by — he’s slithered; come on lads, we’ll take the Young road for it, and see if we can’t meet the — gold buyer.” Whereupon they all jumped on their horses, and after telling all hands to go where they pleased, galloped down the hill and along the road towards the Flat. My informant, who is a very intelligent young man, and who was for six hours a captive, during which time he paid the greatest attention to all that the gang said and did, says that Gilbert and Dunn seemed very cool and jolly, whereas, Hall’s manner was rather serious and anxious. Gilbert and Dunn’s waistcoats were festooned with gold watch-guards, and their general appearance was that of flash well-to-do young stockmen; but, on the contrary, Hall had a quiet and respectable air — by wearing nicely-shaped high boots and a well-fitting pair of brown cord pants, with fashionably cut cloth coat and vest of the same colour, and only one gold chain, and not much of that to be seen. Were I to tell you half of the robbers’ conversation it would occupy too much space, but what I’m about to state you may rely upon as being unexaggerated truth, that is, that it was really said. Respecting poor Parry’s death, Gilbert remarked that he (Parry) fought unfairly, for after he had shouted ” I surrender,” and he (Gilbert) had ridden close up to him to receive his arms, that Parry fired slap at him, whereupon he shot him. Hall said that O’Neill fired one shot, flung his revolver at their heads, at the same time loudly exclaiming “I surrender.” Likewise, Hall said that constable Roche acted the wisest part of the three, for he did just what he (Hall) would have done had he been a trap, he bolted. Mind you, I do not say that poor Parry, or O’Neill, or Roche really acted thus, but that the bushrangers said they did is perfectly true. Gilbert has not the fresh, clear expression of countenance he used to have. His features are now much embrowned by the sun, and the skin in many places is peeling off. He, in the course of conversation, admitted that he bad not long returned from Queensland, and that when there he was three times chased by the police; and furthemore, that on one of these three occasions, upon his horse knocking up, he jumped off and challenged his two pursuers to come on, whereupon they halted and jawed a bit, and then turned tail. Hall is the only one of the three who cultivates any moustache or whiskers, and he is getting fat. Of his two companions in crime, one wears his hair so long as to touch his shoulders, and the other has it in short crisp curls. They all once or twice stated that they were determined never to surrender, but to fight to the last. Each had six large-sized revolvers in his belt. — Yass Courier.

Portrait of Ben Hall made posthumously, but closely resembling descriptions of him during the time described in the following reports.

The Burrangong Argus gives the following account of the affair:—

BUSHRANGERS ON THE DIGGINGS.—Gilbert, Hall and Company have been again very close to Young; exhibiting that coolness and effrontery for which they have long since been notorious. The following are the particulars of one of their escapades in this neighbourhood:— On Saturday morning last Mr. John McLachlan, the news agent of Young, was, as is usual with him on Saturdays, on his way to the Rushes, and had arrived between the Fourteen and Sixteen Mile Rushes when be heard a horse galloping behind him, and on turning round be discovered tbat be was chased by Johnny Gilbert, who called on him to bail up. McLachlan said be had only a few shillings, to which Gilbert replied “Never mind, come with me.” He asked McLachlan if that was not his name; whether he had any firearms ; and what time the bankers would pass that way? Arriving at the outlaws’ “Camp” Mr. McLachlan found about eighteen persons, young and old, in durance ; some of whom had been kept there since daylight in the morning; and among the prisoners was a butcher (Mr. Archer’s partner) who had been laid violent hands on while driving out meat to his customer. During the time he was kept a prisoner, the meat was spoiled; and Ben Hall said he was worse off than any of the others. The bushrangers devoured eagerly the news brought by Mr. McLachlan; and Gilbert, after digesting the contents of the morning’s Argus, asked for a Sydney Mail, which having conned over for a short time, he told Hall that some fellows were sticking up in disguise near Mudgee, and he wondered who they were. About this time arrived Mr. Taylor, store keeper, of the Sixteen mile, and when he hove in sight Ben Hall fetched him in. Mr. Taylor offered his money; but as it was only silver, the bushrangers would not take it. Dunn caught sight of a nugget ring on Mr. Taylor’s finger, and tried for ten minutes to take it off. He could not succeed, however, and Gilbert told him to shove it back; on which he desisted. Mr. Henry, storekeeper, was the next addition to the company. Hall ordered Gilbert to go after Henry, as he was the man who had followed them with a gun at Possum Flat, some two years ago, when McConnell’s store was stuck up. This last arrival also had only silver in his pocket, but his cart was freighted with eggs and butter, tea, sugar, and a 4lb loaf. The “grub” as Gilbert called it, was very acceptable to all hands, especially those who had been there since early in the morning. One of McLachlan’s newspapers was turned, for the nonce, into a butter dish; three or four billies full of eggs were boiled, and every one was satisfied; and all the bread and butter had vanished; Gilbert remarking that Mr. Henry’s liberality was so well known that he would not object to having his eatables made free with. A man from Mr. Pring’s station was next on the list. He had a nine pound cheque, but stowed it away; and it was not discovered. Ben Hall remarked that Pring was one of his greatest friends. Mr. Connolly, baker and storekeeper, joined the crowd next; but he, like the rest, did not much enrich the robbers, having only silver which they wouldn’t take. They questioned each storekeeper narrowly about the bankers. Taylor and Henry told them the bankers would not be there, whereupon Hall rather despondingly observed “then there will be no one shot to-day.” The company at last numbered thirty ; and about three o’clock in the afternoon, one of the diggers told the bushrangers he thought a boy had got away. This intelligence created no small excitement. Hall and Dunn made a strict search for the missing boy in the gully but could make nothing of it; and Hall, then wanted to know who had put it into the boy’s head to run away. Hall said if he could find out, he’d take care, whoever it was, should never do the same again. By this time the bushrangers thought it was time to break up this camp meeting; and, previous to giving the word of command to disperse, Hall harangued the diggers. He told them they were too officious in assisting the “bobbies”; and that if they continued the same course of conduct, he would have no mercy on them whenever they might come into his clutches. The bushrangers then all mounted their horses; and told their captives that they were free, and might now run as fast as they could to the nearest police station and give information. This closed the seance, and the crowd dispersed. Connected with this affair, we may mention that Mr. W. R. Watt, on his way to Young, was showing a person the way to the Sixteen mile Rush ; when on sighting the diggings, be pointed them out to the man, and parted company with him. This man in two minutes time rode right into the bushrangers’ camp, and was made prisoner. From him they took a bridle, giving him an old one in exchange, which was all they appropriated of anybody’s property, besides a whip of Mr. Bremlin’s. One of the diggers had a pound note; being he said he wanted to buy a pick and shovel, they let him keep the money. While reading the newspapers, one of the miners read the inquiry into the conduct of Constable Roche; Ben Hall said Roche ought to be shot for deserting his mates, and that as for O’Neill he was a rank cur. The three spoke in the most contemptuous manner of Sir Frederick Pottinger — Hall saying , that he (Sir F. P) had had two or three chances at him, but he would take care not to give him another. The above particulars we have from persons who were present. It was currently reported early this week that the bushrangers were dancing at Bramler’s, at the Seven mile, on Saturday night. They seemed annoyed at not meeting with the bankers, and evidently had taken that road with the express purpose of sticking them up. Mr. Watt had a narrow escape. He could not have been more than two or three hundred yards distant from them, but they did not see him. Had they made him prisoner they might possibly have exacted a pledge from him not to retire from the contest for the Lachlan district.

Spotlight: The Burke Petition

Robert Burke, alias Clusky, received the ultimate penalty for the death of Henry Facey Hurst. His ill-fated trip to Diamond Creek had sent shockwaves through Victoria, and as he sat in Melbourne Gaol awaiting his date with the hangman there were moves to encourage the executive council to grant a reprieve. This was not uncommon as public opinion was starting to side against capital punishment. Indeed, there was reason to believe that Burke’s crime was little more than a case of self-defence gone wrong. The following 1866 article details the meeting that was meant to bring about a commutation of Burke’s sentence.

Mechanics’ Institute, Melbourne by Arthur Willmore, 1862. [Source: SLV]

Leader (Melbourne, Vic. : 1862 – 1918, 1935), Saturday 1 December 1866, page 8


A public meeting was held at the Mechanics’ Institute on Monday evening, for the purpose of adopting a petition to his Excellency the Governor praying him to commute the extreme sentence passed upon the convict Burke for the murder of Hurst, into imprisonment for life. The building was densely crowded. Mr. Ambrose Kyte was called to the chair. He said he regretted to find that this movement was not supported by ministers of religion, who ought to be the foremost in any work of mercy. He briefly reviewed the evidence brought forward at the trial of Burke and pointed out what to him seemed redeeming qualities in the man. He characterised the conduct of Hurst as rash, and asserted that, had he been less valiant, more circumspect, and not exhibited so strong a desire to capture a bushranger “all to himself,” he might have still been alive, and the worst would have been that Burke would in all probability have been now following the pursuit of bushranging in New South Wales. He pointed out, from the evidence given by Miss Hurst, that Burke purposely passed by an opportunity of shooting Hurst, as she swore to his covering her brother with a pistol before the gun was raised with which Hurst fired at Burke. After paying a tribute of respect to the impartial manner, in which the Attorney-General put the case against the condemned criminal, and arguing that the intention of the recommendation of the jury to mercy meant that his life should be spared, he read the petition which it was intended should be presented to his Excellency, praying for a commutation of sentence, which was to the following effect: — “May it please your Excellency, — On the 17th November, 1866, Robert Burke was tried and sentenced to be executed for the murder of Henry Facey Hurst, and at the same time was recommended by the jury to mercy, on the ground that at the time he entered the dwelling of the unfortunate man, Hurst, he had no intention whatever of committing the dreadful crime for which he is condemned to suffer. Your petitioners are under the impression that the deceased was not only the first to fire, but by his loading and appearing with his gun, was to a certain extent, the aggressor. Your petitioners therefore, pray, &c., &c.” A gentleman in the room said the petition did not state exactly the ground upon which the jury recommended Burke to mercy, which was that Hurst fired first. Mr. Kyte thought there was not any material difference between that statement and the substance of the petition, which was therefore suffered to remain unaltered. Mr Burtt, M.L.A., moved the adoption of the petition, complaining also of the absence of those who were paid for the salvation of souls, who should have been present on such an occasion. Mr. Kent seconded the motion, which was supported by Mr. Myles Garrett Byrne, who favored the meeting with some reminiscences of constable Hall, one of the witnesses against Burke, who, he said was a man whose testimony was wholly unreliable, an opinion he had formed from being professionally engaged in several cases in which constable Hall was a witness against his client. The adoption of the petition was then put to the meeting, and only one dissentient hand held up, whereupon the meeting ordered him to be turned out, and the individual was most unceremoniously handed down stairs amidst cries of ”He’s the hangman.” Throughout the remarks of the chairman, and the subsequent speakers, several pertinent, observations were interpolated by persons adverse to the object of the meeting, which were very nearly leading to a disturbance, the chairman having to remind his audience that it was not a political meeting they were attending, but one affecting the life or death of a fellow creature. A vote of thanks to the chairman, terminated the proceedings.
The petition was on Tuesday handed to the hon. the Chief Secretary by Messrs Kyte and Burtt, M.L.A.s, who were accompanied by a few gentlemen.
Mr Kyte said the petition had within a very short period obtained something like 7000 signatures, and he desired that the Chief Secretary would without delay submit it to his Excellency the Governor.
Mr. McCulloch undertook to lay the petition before his Excellency in the course of the afternoon, and make the deputation acquainted with his Excellency’s reply thereto.
The petition was afterwards submitted to his Excellency, and after mature consideration, the following reply was received by the gentlemen who presented it to the Chief Secretary : —”Private Secretary’s Office,”27th November, 1866.”Gentlemen, — I am directed by the Governor to acknowledge the receipt of the petition forwarded by you, praying for a mitigation of the sentence passed on Robert Burke, for the murder of Henry Facey Hurst. In reply, I am directed further to state that the case has received the fullest and most anxious consideration, and I am to convey to you the expression of His Excellency’s regret that the circumstances of the case are not such as to warrant the exercise of the prerogative for the mitigation of the punishment imposed by the law. I have, &c,”H. C. Manners Sutton.”

Spotlight: A Sketch of the Life and Career of Captain Moonlite

The following is an account of the life and career of Andrew George Scott that appeared in print shortly after his capture at McGlede’s farm. It is accurate to what was publicly confirmed or at least believed at the time. Despite the many inconsistencies in the case of the Mount Egerton bank robbery, it was generally accepted that he was guilty of the crime. Scott would always protest his innocence, even long after any hope of having his name cleared in the matter had passed.





The following sketch of the career of this desperado, taken from the Melbourne Argus, will be read with interest at the present time:—

His real name is Andrew George Scott, and he is now 37 years of age. He was born in the north of Ireland, was of respectable parentage, and was brought up as a civil engineer. When yet a youth he emigrated to New Zealand, and joining the volunteers there he fought against the Maories. In an engagement he received a charge of shot in both legs. The slugs were extracted, but they left their marks. Subsequently he came to Victoria, and having entered the Church of England was stationed as a lay reader at Bacchus Marsh. Whilst administering to the spiritual wants of the district he became acquainted with the manager of the Egerton Bank and also with, the schoolmaster of that township. He used to visit the bank manager very frequently, and was on the most friendly and intimate terms with him. He also associated with the schoolmaster. One night a man with a mask on his face and armed called at the bank and bailed up the manager. The manager recognised the voice to be that of his friend Scott, but this discovery did not have any deterrent effect on the robber. Gagging his friend, Scott marched him into the schoolhouse, which was close at hand, and made him write and pin upon a desk the following line : —

“Captain Moonlite has stuck me up and robbed the bank.”

He then took him out side, tied him up in his gagged state to a tree, and having obtained possession of the bank key, he ransacked the coffers and stole up wards of £2,000 in notes, coin, and cake gold. He had a horse ready close by, and immediately galloped to a neighbouring township, seven miles distant. This journey was accomplished in half an hour, and on his arrival he asked several of his friends what o’clock it was. It was afterwards seen that he did this on purpose to prove an alibi, for he argued that as he was in this township half an hour after the robbery, he could not have been the robber.

[Source: State Library of Victoria]

So successful was he in throwing suspicion off himself, that the bank manager and the school master were arrested as the criminals, and he (Scott) was used by the local police as a witness against them. At the trial the jury could not agree on the manager’s case, and he was discharged. The school master was admitted to bail, but was bound over to surrender when called upon. In the meantime Scott had gone to Sydney, and lived there for a brief period in very grand style. When his funds became about exhausted he purchased a yacht, and engaged a crew with the intention of trying his fortunes in Fiji, or in the South Seas generally. It was, however, discovered that he had passed a valueless cheque for about £150, and before he had got beyond Sydney Heads he was arrested. A charge of false pretences was established, and he was sentenced to eighteen months’ imprisonment. During his incarceration at Sydney it transpired that he had sold the exact amount of cake gold which had been stolen-from the Egerton Bank to the Sydney Mint. When his sentence expired he was therefore brought back in custody to Victoria, and a police court investigation having taken place he was committed to stand his trial for the Egerton Bank robbery. Pending the trial he was lodged in the Ballarat gaol.

[Source: Gold Museum Ballarat]

On the night before the day fixed for his trial he cut a hole through the wall of his cell into another occupied by a prisoner named Dermoodie. He made Dermoodie join him, and together they managed to take off the lock of the cell door. They got out into the corridor just as a warder was approaching. Springing upon the warder they choked and gagged him, and tied him up. They then relieved him of his keys, and liberated four other prisoners. All six of them reached the outer yard without any alarm having been raised. The wall being very high they were at a loss as to how they could scale it. Scott’s genius, however, was equal to the occasion. A blanket was brought from a cell and torn into strips, which were then tied together so as to form, a rope. Scott then placed himself at the wall, a second man climbed up and stood on his shoulders, a third did the same and stood on the shoulders of the second, and so on until Scott bore the weight of all five. They succeeded in doing this by means of their blanket rope, to which they had previously attached a heavy stone, throwing then the weighted end over the wall. The last man easily managed to seat himself on the top, and he then pulled up the one next him. The others scrambled up in turn by means of the rope. The descent on the other side was conducted in the same way, the order of the operation being: simply reversed. The six men thus all escaped.. Three hundred pounds, or £50 each, was offered for their recapture, and all but two were eventually arrested.

[Source: State Library of Victoria]

Scott and Dermoodie stuck together, and the former obtained arms. As they, were travelling together through the bush Scott, intimated that it was his intention to stick up a bank. Dermoodie declined to take part, saying they might have to take life, and their case was bad enough already. Scott thereupon turned upon him in a passion, called him a mean coward, and gave him five minutes to live. So convinced was Dermoodie that his time had come that he fell on his knees and pleaded with tears in his eyes for mercy. Scott relented, but kicked him away contemptuously. Shortly afterwards the police authorities received information that Scott was lurking about some diggings in the vicinity of Sandhurst. Detectives Brown and Alexander and Sergeant (now Sub-Inspector) Drought set out at once to effect his capture. They arrived at the place at about 2 o’clock, in the morning, and soon learned that the desperado was asleep in a hut. The hut was in charge of a boy who was working in the neighborhood. This lad was hunted up and questioned. He frankly told them that there was a man asleep in his hut, and that he was fully armed. The hut was cautiously approached. Going round to the door Detective Brown could see through a chink a man lying on a stretcher, sleeping soundly. By his hand stood a gun, and on a table lay a revolver and bowie-knife. These things were easily recognised through a log being alight in the fireplace. How to enter without disturbing, or alarming the sleeper was, however, a question difficult to be solved. The door was made of heavy timber ; it covered the whole end of the hut, and rested on heavy side-posts. An iron chain was passed through two holes in the centre, and through the loop of this chain in the inside was passed a ponderous bar, which was turned round so that its ends had a firm grasp of the door-posts. Detective Brown endeavored to push the bar aside by inserting a knife through a chink, but failed to more it far enough. He then gave this attempt up, and resolved on using the boy as a snare for the ruffian. The lad, after much persuasion — for be was in mortal fear of being shot— consented to act as desired on Brown saying that he would simply have to speak from behind his back. The two then took up their positions at the door, and in accordance with his instructions the boy called out — ‘Please, Sir, will you give me out my billy-can? ‘ A grunt from within was the only answer, and the request was repeated. Scott then demanded “What do you want it for?’ The lad promptly answered, ‘For tea; it is now our tea time.” “What o’clock is it?” inquired Scott, and the boy still speaking as he had been previously directed, said “Just 12 o’clock — our tea time.” There was a pause for a minute, and the detective feared that the scoundrel had discovered the truth and was preparing to fight. He, however, exercised patience,and by-and-by the bar was removed. The door was then slightly opened, and a hand held out with a billy-can. Brown at once seized the man’s wrist with a firm grasp, whilst with his other hand he thrust a revolver into his face, and said, “If you move, you are a dead man.” The other officers came promptly forward, and the fellow was secured. He denied at first that he was Scott, but Brown settled his identity by pulling up his trousers and showing’ the shot-marks in his legs. For escaping from legal custody the desperado was sentenced to twelve months’ imprisonment in irons. He was also convicted and sentenced to ten years for the Egerton Bank robbery. His conduct in Pentridge has been already adverted to in previous reports. He was discharged in March last, and has now, we hope, committed his final outrage on humanity.

[Source: South Australian Chronicle and Weekly Mail (Adelaide, SA : 1868 – 1881), Saturday 29 November 1879, page 22]

Spotlight: The Capture of Patrick Daley

The following is from a news article that appeared in 1863 detailing the arrest of bushranger Patsy Daley, a member of the Gilbert-Hall Gang. Thanks to the tracking abilities of Billy Dargin, Frederick Pottinger was able to apprehend Daley without any harm or loss of life. ~AP

(From the Lachlan Observer, March 14.)
Almost coincident with the arrival of the mounted constabulary, under Mr. Inspector Black, we have to chronicle the capture of one of the notorious Gardiner’s gang. It appears that a portion of the newly arrived police were drafted off to form a station in the immediate vicinity of the Weddin Mountains. On Wednesday morning last, whilst Sir Frederick Pottinger with Billy, the black tracker, and some of the mounted police were out in the neighbourhood of the suspected bushrangers, near the Weddin Mountains, the

tracker detected fresh footprints of a horse crossing the path Sir Frederick and his party were pursuing ; and directing his master’s attention to the circumstance, Sir Frederick turned his course in the direction of the tracks. Billy soon pointed out the identical tree which had afforded such friendly protection to Mr. J. O. Norton, the sub-inspector of police. Sir Frederick Pottinger was directing his course again, when he espied in the distance, through the foliage of the trees in the bush, a mounted horseman, and at once gave orders for pursuit. The party were now in the vicinity of the Pinnacle reef, and, first of all ordering two of his troopers to make round the hill, on which the reef is situated, in order to intercept the flight of the horseman, Sir Frederick, with the black tracker and the two remaining troopers, continued the chase. All this was done in less time than it takes to write, and very shortly afterward, Sir Frederick pulled up before some deserted-looking huts and found a horse, with a saddle on it, tied up to one of the huts.

Pott 1.png
Sir Frederick Pottinger
He at once recognised the horse to be one he had seen the night before in Ben Hall’s paddock, “all in a sweat,” to use the baronet’s own language. The blackfellow also recognised a pair of girths on the horse as being a portion of the property stolen from the Police Barracks, at the Pinnacle station, on the occasion of that place being stuck up and robbed during the temporary absence of the police, shortly before.

Entering the huts, Sir Frederick saw two or three men inside, and finding them unwilling to answer his questions, he threatened them, whereupon he was informed that the rider of the horse was down a shaft on the reef above named. Proceeding to the place indicated, Sir Frederick called to the man (presuming him to be there) to surrender, but received no answer. Again, after an interval, the same request was repeated, but met with no response. After several minutes, the supposed bushranger was again summoned to appear, without eliciting any reply. At length, finding mild exhortations insufficient, Sir Frederick threatened that he would at once proceed to burn and smoke him out like an opossum. The man not liking the latter alternative, surrendered at discretion, and was immediately taken into custody. Daley is a mild, youthful, whiskerless looking person, with light blue eyes and fair complexion. There is nothing in his physiognomical expression outwardly to denote the degraded villain.

Billy Dargin (as played by Angus Pilakui in The Legend of Ben Hall)
On Thursday, Patrick Daley was brought up at the Police Court, Forbes, before Mr. D. W. Irving, charged by Sir Frederick Pottinger with shooting at, with intent to kill or do some grievous bodily harm, John Oxley Norton, sub-inspector of police, on the 28th February, near Wheogo. The prisoner was also charged with breaking into the police barracks at the Pinnacle station, during the temporary absence of the police, and stealing therefrom fire-arms, &c., the property of the Government.—Sir Frederick Pottinger, sworn, deposed that he was superintendent of mounted police for the Lachlan district. On the morning of yesterday, apprehended the prisoner (Patrick Daley) on the Pinnacle Reef—it might be called Macguire’s Reef ; he knew it as the Pinnacle. Having discovered his hiding-place, challenged the prisoner repeatedly to surrender, but received no answer. Threatened, then, that if he did not at once come up, to smoke him out, and had given directions to do so when prisoner called out, “I suppose it’s no use ; I must give myself up.” The shaft is sixty feet deep. The prisoner came up a ladder, or sort of permanent ladder. Took him into custody. Directly prisoner showed his head above the hole, the black tracker identified him as one of the three men who fired at Mr. Norton on the occasion of taking him prisoner at the Weddin Mountain. Ben Hall and John O’Mealley were the men prisoner was with when several shots were fired at Mr. Norton and Billy the tracker. Had just previously passed the tree where Mr. Norton stood.
On Thursday, Patrick Daley was brought up at the Police Court, Forbes, before Mr. D. W. Irving, charged by Sir Frederick Pottinger with shooting at, with intent to kill or do some grievous bodily harm, John Oxley Norton, sub-inspector of police, on the 28th February, near Wheogo. The prisoner was also charged with breaking into the police barracks at the Pinnacle station, during the temporary absence of the police, and stealing there from fire-arms, &c., the property of the Government.—Sir Frederick Pottinger, sworn, deposed that he was superintendent of mounted police for the Lachlan district. On the morning of yesterday, apprehended the prisoner (Patrick Daley) on the Pinnacle Reef—it might be called Macguire’s Reef ; he knew it as the Pinnacle. Having discovered his hiding-place, challenged the prisoner repeatedly to surrender, but received no answer. Threatened, then, that if he did not at once come up, to smoke him out, and had given directions to do so when prisoner called out, “I suppose it’s no use ; I must give myself up.” The shaft is sixty feet deep. The prisoner came up a ladder, or sort of permanent ladder. Took him into custody. Directly prisoner showed his head above the hole, the black tracker identified him as one of the three men who fired at Mr. Norton on the occasion of taking him prisoner at the Weddin Mountain. Ben Hall and John O’Mealley were the men prisoner was with when several shots were fired at Mr. Norton and Billy the tracker. Had just previously passed the tree where Mr. Norton stood.
The black tracker showed me the tree, and I saw the marks of two large bullets upon it, near where Mr. Norton stood ; one was just over the head, and the other in a line with the chest. Prisoner could be identified as one of the men who broke into the police comp at the Pinnacle station. The black tracker identified a pair of girths which belonged to him (Billy) ; they were stolen from the Pinnacle station or barracks.
Had received information from Captain Battye that the prisoner is implicated in several robberies committed near Lambing Flat recently. When searching nothing was found on the prisoner, not even sixpence, nor firearms. The prisoner had evidently a plant somewhere. Went down the shaft, and found nothing there. Had no further evidence to produce ; but in the absence of Mr. Norton, who, with the black tracker, was away, he would apply for a remand for seven days.—Prisoner was asked by the Bench whether he had any questions to ask the witness, and replied in the negative. Remanded for seven days.

Patsy Daley


“THE CAPTURE OE PATRICK DALEY.” The Sydney Morning Herald. 17 March 1863: 3.

Spotlight: The capture and death of Fred Lowry as it was reported 

When bushranger Fred Lowry met his end after a heated confrontation with police it created a sensation across New South Wales. Here we have excerpts from an article published in the Sydney Morning Herald about some of the happenings as well as the outlaw himself.

Photograph of the deceased Fred Lowry (Source: National Portrait Gallery)

“ON Sunday last, just as divine service was concluded, considerable excitement was caused by the arrival in town of a party of policemen in coloured clothes with a dray, in which was the dead body of Lowry, the noted bushranger, and the following prisoners :- Lawrence Cummins, charged with robbery under arms, and supposed to be the man who lately shot his brother, John Cummins, when on his way to Binda in custody on a charge of bushranging; Thomas Vardy, licensed victualler of the Limerick Races Inn, Cook’s Vale Creek ; Robert and Henry Hogan, Vardy’s stepsons ; and Thomas Brown, James Williams, a lad of sixteen, and John Watson, an aboriginal native, employed in Vardy’s service. The Last six named prisoners were all charged with harbouring bushrangers, and with being accessory to robberies after the fact.

The body of Lowry was removed to the hospital, where, in the course of the afternoon, it was seen by numbers of people. He appears to have been a very tall young man, measuring six feet two inches, and probably weighing thirteen stone, well made, with small hands and feet, white skin, small moustache, and a particularly well-developed chest. Taken altogether he was physically a very fine man. He is described as having been twenty-seven years of age; and although he must have led a life of mingled dissipation and hardship, he did not appear to be any older. 

Some doubt was expressed as to the body being that of Lowry, the bushranger; Mr. Horsford, the gaoler, who had known Lowry at Cockatoo Island, where he was undergoing a sentence under the name of Frederick M’Gregor, considered that the hair was much darker than that of the man he had known, and that he was much stouter, and was of opinion that deceased was not Lowry, though he was not able to speak positively. Mr. Fogg, a settler at the Narrawa, and his wife came into town on Monday and saw the body, which they declared was not that of Lowry; but it seemed they have not seen Lowry for three years, and although called at the inquest they did not attend. On the other hand, the Rev. H. H. Gaud, who had seen Lowry some twelve months back, believed that deceased was he, as did also Mr. Moses Baird, who, however, had not seen Lowry for seven or eight years. The evidence taken at the inquest is all in favour of the view of deceased being identical with Lowry ; and it is quite certain that he was the man who robbed the Goulburn mail on the 2nd July last-Mr. Futter, Captain Morphy, and the coachman (Michael Curran) having positively identified him, and Captain Morphy’s watch having been found in his possession.

There is every reason to believe that he is the man who in conjunction with Foley robbed the Mudgee mail. Foley and Lowry, it may be remembered, escaped together from Bathurst gaol on the 13th February last.”

It is intriguing that despite there being far less consensus about the identity of the corpse there have been no noted conspiracy theories raised in intervening years about Lowry escaping death such as the one about Captain Thunderbolt, which was generated with far less supporting evidence.

The report goes on to give a run down of Lowry’s criminal history using excerpts from other publications to illustrate. The history of the deceased out of the way the article continues with the account of the coroner, Dr. Waugh who states in part (with a seeming addiction to semi-colons):

“I directed [Detective] Camphin to keep guard in front with the same instructions, while Saunderson and myself would search the house; at the same time I told all the men that I suspected Frederick Lowry, the bushranger, was in the house, and to be prepared; we then dashed up to the house; we saw a girl, who seemed to be frightened and who was half-crying; Saunderson and I dismounted, hung our horses up to the front of the house, and went on to the verandah; I asked the girl if there was anyone in her room; she said “no”; I looked in and saw only a little child; the girl was about half-dressed; I then went into the bar and called for Vardy the landlord; Vardy came out of his bedroom into the hall adjoining the bar; I asked if he had any strangers in the house; he said “yes”; I asked where they where; he nodded his head to the room they were in; I asked if he knew who they were; he said no, and to look out; I went to the parlour door adjoining the room he mentioned and leading to it; it was locked inside; I knocked and asked for admittance; I got no answer; I then said if the door wore not opened at once I would break it open; I then knocked my shoulder against the door for the purpose of breaking it open; I failed in the first attempt, and I no sooner took my shoulder away than a shot was fired from inside, and a voice exclaimed “I’ll fight you, b__s”; the shot came through the door and wounded the horse I had been riding in the back; I removed the horse from that place and gave him to Vardy, and told him I should hold him responsible for him ; I then went back to the bar-door, and then the parlour door was opened and a man came out with a revolver in each hand crying out “I’m Lowry; come on ye b__’s, and I’ll fight ye fair”; at the same time he presented one of the revolvers at me; I covered him directly; I think we both fired together; at that time we were four or five yards apart ; he then advanced upon me within three feet; I covered him again, and we both, fired in each other’s faces; the second shot I fired he dropped his revolvers and staggered; I jumped forward and seized him by the neck, struck him with my revolver on the head, and told him he was my prisoner; I brought him into the bar; he continued to struggle; Saunderson came to my assistance; we then shoved the deceased into the yard, threw him on his back, and putting my knee on his chest I handcuffed him ; he then said he was Lowry, and was done…”
To further support the assertion of the corpse’s identity various effects of the deceased’s are detailed in the article:
“Lowry’s vest [a black-cloth vest bound with blue, with buttons like silver] ; it is similar to that described as having been worn by the robber of the Mudgee mail; I produce a thin black cloth sac coat claimed by Lowry, a brown Inverness cape, another heavier one, a cabbagetree hat with broad black ribbon, and an elastic riding-belt: one of the capes
contained a flask of powder, a few percussion caps, two dice, a gold watch, chain, and key ; I believe, from the description, that the watch belongs to Captain Morphy, who was robbed on the Big Hill, Goulburn, on the 2nd July ; I also found two knives, one £50 note, and altogether £164 19s. 6d., in notes stolen from the Mudgee mail, all except £10 in notes, £2 in gold, and 19s. 6d. in silver ; the money, except the silver, was in a little bag in Lowry’s trousers pocket…”

The article closes with a note of what was to come next:

“The body will be kept till Thursday, when Mr. Kater is expected to arrive. In the meantime some photographic likenesses of deceased have been taken by Mr. Gregory.”
Interestingly, the in-depth article detailing the thrilling exploits and capture of one of the Lachlan’s greatest outlaws is followed by two curious stubs wherein we are informed of a morning tea to welcome a new pastor and that a farmer in Wollongong had killed a pig of “unusual size”, highlighting the old adage that life goes on.


Source: ​“THE CAPTURE AND DEATH OF LOWRY, THE BUSHRANGER.” The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954) 4 September 1863: 2. <;.

Spotlight: The Wanton Callousness of Black Michael by J. H. M. Abbott

In the month of March, 1819, the first book published in Van Diemen’s Land was issued by Andrew Bent, editor and proprietor of ‘The Hobart Town Gazette,’ under the very hopeful and optimistic — but altogether futile — title of Michael Howe, the Last and Worst of the Bushrangers of Van Diemen’s Land.’ It’s price was 5/-, and the first edition sold out by the middle of the year. Another was issued in July at 2/6, and of the two of them there survives but a single copy, which is in the British Museum.

BUT the original MS., or a copy of it, came to light in Tasmania in 1925. About the same time as the latter date there came into the hands of the present writer, through a descendant of the author, the original MS. of another account of the outlaw, entitled, also, ‘Michael Howe, the Last and Worst of the Bushrangers of Van Diemen’s’ Land,’ which is dated ‘Hobart Town, December, 1818.’

It was written by Thomas E. Wells, and had never before seen the light of print until it was sold on behalf of the author to Angus and Robertson, Ltd, of Sydney, who produced an edition of 100 copies in 1926. T. E. Wells was a sort of secretary for a time in the office of Lieutenant Colonel Sorell. who succeeded Colonel Davey as Lieutenant-Governor of Van Diemen’s Land, and ruled the island for seven years, between 1817 and 1824.


Neither side showed a spark of mercy. It was a war that lacked both the giving of quarter to defeated opponents and the very elements of decency.
Michael Howe was born at Pontefract in Yorkshire, in 1787, and was bound as an apprentice to a merchant ship at Hull when a youngster in his ‘teens. He only served two years before he ran away from his ship and joined the Royal Navy.
When he was 24, in 1811, he was arrested for highway robbery, and put upon trial for his life at the York Assizes in the same year. An error in the indictment allowed him to escape the capital penalty, and he was sentenced to transportation for seven years.
Aboard the transport Indefatigable, he arrived in the Derwent in October, 1812, and was assigned to a settler, but soon absconded from his assigned service and joined the gang of bushrangers under John Whitehead, which had been plundering the country for more than two years.
His advent brought their number up to 29, and they must have been as sweet a crew of pirates as ever cut a throat or set fire to a house.

Then came Macquarie’s amnesty, by which his Excellency “was pleased to extend to them the Royal clemency for all offences committed during their unlawful absence (the crime of wilful murder excepted); provided they should return to their lawful occupations by the first day of December following; denouncing all who should neglect to do so as outlaws.”

The robbers betook themselves to Hobart Town and promised to be good boys in the future.
The proclamation had been made in May, 1814 — by the following August Whitehead and Howe, together with most of their following, were back on the warpath. They looted and robbed, carrying off provisions and taking all the arms and ammunition they could lay their hands upon.
In the middle of 1815 Whitehead was killed during the attack on Mr. McCarty’s farm, when they were warmly received by a detachment of the 46th Regiment.
Whilst Colonel Davey’s proclamation of martial law — afterwards disowned by Macquarie— was in force, a party of soldiers who were looking for what Mr. Wells generally alludes to as “the Banditti,” with a capital B, came across their hiding-place in a dense tea-tree’ scrub.

Close by a primitive sort of hut were two of the bushrangers named McGuire and Burne, who immediately took to the scrub and were no more seen. Inside the hut were found many articles which had been stolen from the raided farms, besides a goodly store of ammunition, muskets, and two or three kangaroo dogs.

Messrs. Burne and McGuire had no luck. They were separated from the rest of Howe’s gang, and, after wandering several days in the woods they applied to a settler near Kangaroo Point to procure them a boat for the purpose of proceeding to Bass’s Straits; for which service they promised the reward of a watch.


“The settler pretended to come into their views, and left them with, the assurance of going in search of the boat; but he privately repaired to Hobart Town and informed the Lieut. Governor of their intentions.
“A party of the 46th Regt. was immediately dispatched, who surrounded the place of their concealment and captured both. Burne was the most aired of the gang, and was severely wounded in endeavoring to escape from the party.
“They were brought before a General Court-martial, charged with being two of the ‘Banditti’ who murdered the unfortunate Carlisle, were convicted and received sentence of death. They were accordingly executed and their bodies gibbeted on Hunter’s Island, near to that of Whitehead, their leader, when that murder was committed.”
The gang was now reduced to Howe, Septon, Jones, Geary and Collier, and were continually chased and harried until they were in such a condition as to be quite unable to carry on their side of the war.

One of them having been taken prisoner turned King’s evidence, and ‘put away’ some of the people who had helped the bushrangers.

So a man named William Stevens, a prisoner of the Crown, and two youths who had come with their parents from Norfolk Island, in whose possession some of the stolen property was found, were all apprehended. They were found guilty by a court-martial and sentenced to death.

Martial law was repealed in October, 1815, and the bushrangers carried on for some time in a lively fashion, before betaking themselves to their mountain fastnesses to lie low and rest from their labors.


On November 7 they broke out again, and were heard of as having attacked the house of Mr. David Rose at Port Dalrymple (Launceston) ‘ where, says Mr. Wells, “their conduct while plundering here was aggravated, as on other occasions, by every wanton atrocity.”

They turned up next near Bagdad, about 100 miles away, ten days later, and raided the farm of Mr. T. Hayes.
Here they found an itinerant trader named Stocker with a cart-load of valuable goods, to the whole of which they helped themselves.
Howe’s early training in the Navy induced him to impose upon his companions the discipline of a man-o’-war.
It was even said that he administered to all who joined him an oath of obedience taken on a prayer-book — but this is most likely a misunderstanding of what one of their captives saw when, before sending to the Lieutenant-Governor a letter signed by eleven of the bushrangers, Howe swore them to abide by its terms.

In the following year he was signing himself in his letters to Davey, ‘Lieutenant-Governor of the Woods,’ and in 1817, ‘Governor of the Ranges,’ and he communicated with both Davey and Sorell quite as an equal.
A sworn statement referring to the letter sent to Colonel Davey is of interest. Made by John Tooke, it tells how he fell in with a party of bushrangers on November 27.

“I observed a thick man writing, as I suppose to the Lieutenant-Governor — Geary was the man who administered the oath on a prayer book, calling each man for the purpose regularly; they did not inform me the contents of the letter,” runs the statement.

“Michael Howe and Geary directed me to state when I came to town the whole I had seen and to inform Mr. Humphrey and Mr. Wade to take care of themselves, as they were resolved to take their lives, and to prevent them from keeping stock or grain, unless there was something done for them.”

In the following February, the Commandant at Launceston sent out a party of the 46th Regiment under Ensign Mahon, and after a hunt through the bush of two or three weeks they came across Chapman, Parker, and Elliott, members of Howe’s gang, at York Plains. Mahon called on them to surrender, but the bushrangers fired and made off.
The soldiers returned’the fire, and Chapman was fatally wounded, whilst Parker was slightly wounded and managed to escape into the dense scrub. Ensign Mahon shot Elliott dead.
The heads were taken from the corpses and sent into Launceston, and the bodies buried on the spot. Parker was caught later on, and dealt with in the usual fashion.

Mr. Wells chronicles what was probably Howes’ basest action — one that puts him outside the pale of the commonest decency.

“In the early part of March it appears that some jealousy of Howe began to manifest itself in the old Gang — they conceived, from the circumstances of his being absent at intervals without their knowledge or assigning any reason, that he meditated betraying the rest. Howe was aware of their suspicions, and, feeling no longer secure among them, suddenly eloped, taking with him the native girl before mentioned.
“In April, 1817, Lt.-Governor Sorell arrived, and assumed the government of the settlement oh Van Diemen’s Land; and about this period Howe and the native girl were pursued in the neighborhood of Jericho by a small party of, the 46th Regiment.


It was a bad day’s work for Howe when he treated the black gin so villainously, for she turned against him with hatred as natural as it was bitter, and became of the greatest use to those who were on his trail In following up the hunted man’s tracks.


wanton callousness
Source: “BUSHRANGERS—NOTED AND NOTORIOUS” Truth (Brisbane, Qld. : 1900 – 1954) 18 November 1934: 22.