Spotlight: Bushranging on the Lachlan (22/07/1871)

Goulburn Herald and Chronicle (NSW : 1864 – 1881), Saturday 22 July 1871, page 3


(From the Forbes Times.)

John Thomas and William Reed, who were a short time back captured by Inspector Stephenson and others, after a chase of over six hundred miles, were brought up at the Forbes police court on the 14th instant, charged with robbing, under arms, Roto Station on the Lower Lachlan.

I reside at Roto Station, on the Lower Lachlan; I am living there for colonial experience; on the morning of the 13th May last I was riding with Mr. McKinnon, the manager of the station, about half a mile from the homestead, when two men armed and masked met us and ordered us to go back to the station; we went back, accompanied by the men, one riding behind and the other by our side. When we got back the men ordered Mr. McKinnon into the house, and ordered me to go and fetch the horses up from the horse-paddock, telling me that if I attempted to give the alarm they would shoot Mr. McKinnon, or making use of words to that effect; the homestead is in the horse-paddock, and I had to go about half a mile for the horses, which I fetched up and put in the yard after bringing them up, I stopped with some fencers who were camped on the creek, about eighty or one hundred yards from the house; there were three or four fencers; they were travelling. and I believe had a gun in the cart; while I was with them one of the bushrangers came down, and ordered the fencers and myself to go up to the house; we went up, the bushranger accompanying us I was told to get into the house, and the fencers were sent into the kitchen; the bushranger who came for us was armed; we did not attempt to resist; they threatened too shoot us if we resisted; one remained to guard us, and the other collected articles to take away; there was only a woman cook living in the house besides ourselves; the bushrangers took away a Snider rifle, breechloading gun, and revolver my preperty; those now produced I recognize as my property, and what they took; they also took cartridges of mine like those produced; they also took three saddles and bridles; the saddles now produced are two of the saddles in question; the third saddle now produoced was, left at Roto by the bushangers; they also took three horsees out of the yard, and left the two they had ridden to the station — one was a bay and the other was a roan; a man named Foster came and took away time bay a few days after; the other is now in the possession of the police; the bushrangers took some money out of the store-room till, I think about thirty shillings; the gold breast-pin produced they took from McKinnon, and also the valise produced; two serge shirts, like those now produced, were taken from the store; the bullet mould produced is mine; the mackintosh is also mine; the shot-belt produced I reconize as belonging to the station; the bushrangers packed the goods taken from the station on the horses, and went off in the direction of the Bogan; they left about noon; I could not indentify either of the men as they were masked the whole time; I only heard one of them speak; he seemed to direct everything; on the following day information was sent to the police at Booligal, about eighty mlles from Roto station; the men were about five feet six inches in height.

The evidence taken previously having been read, Thomas Bursten, was called, and on oath said:

Cross-examined by Reed: There were three other men bailed up in the kitchen besides the fencers.

When asked if they wished to say anything, the prisoners said they were not guilty.

The bench committed both prisoners to take, their trial at the next court of quarter-sessions to be holden at Forbes.

The same prisoners were then charged with sticking-up and robbing under arms Mr. Edward Owen’s station, Lower Lachlan.

The evidence in the case taken previously having been read, Edward Owen was called, who on oath said:

I am a squatter, residing at Jandra West, Lower Lachlan, also called Gunneguidrey, about fifty-two miles from Roto station; the saddle now produced in my saddle; I left it hanging in the verandah of the store at my station about the 7th or 8th of May; the cook, Henry Nevell, was in charge of the station while I was away; I never saw the saddle from that time until I saw it in the possession of the police, about a fortnight ago; the pouch produced I believe is mine; it resembles one which was attached to the saddle when I left.

Thoman Bursten, witness in the previous case, deposed to the saddle having been left at Roto Station by the bushrangers who stuck it up on the 13th May, and that it was afterwards given into possession of the police at the station.

The prisoners had nothing to say and were committed to take their trial at the next court of quarter-sessions to be holden at Forbes.