Bushranger Exploits in NSW



Bushrangers committed depredations through-out the Bathurst district in the beginning of 1826; a desperate skirmish took place between the police and seven bushrangers, and one of the gang, Morris Connell, was killed on the spot by Corporal Brown, of the Mounted Police, March 16, 1826; affray between ticket-of-leave men and bushrangers at Chiplin’s—one bushranger killed, and two wounded and captured, April 2, 1827; encounter near O’Brien’s station between police and nine bushrangers, three bush-rangers captured, Septembers, 1828; the murder of Dr. Robert Wardell, the eminent lawyer, was committed, Sept. 7, 1834. [He was frequently associated with Mr. Wentworth in the early political contests in which the colonists were engaged. He was shot on his own land by the bushrangers, one a mere boy who turned King’s evidence. The body was found next day by his servants covered over with a large bramble to keep the native dogs away, which the murderers had sufficient humanity to do.

The two bushrangers, Jenkins, who fired the fatal shot, and Tattersdale, as abettor, were convicted and executed. Jenkins, whilst judgment was being pronounced, used most blasphemous curses to-wards the Judge, jury, and counsel, and hit his fellow prisoner who was beside him a violent blow on the ear; six constables were necessary to restrain him and to remove him from the dock.  The fellow-colonists (of all classes) of Dr. Wardell testified the high respect in which he was held by crowding to his obsequies.] Consequent on the scarcity of provisions, bushranging became very prevalent in the neighbourhood of Sydney. Crime increased 50 per cent. on those of the previous year, July, August, 1839; Mr. John Kennedy Hume, a much respected colonist, shot by bushrangers at Gunning, N.S.W.   The chief of the gang was executed at Goulburn for the offence, January 29, 1840.  

Mr. Henry O’Brien, a magistrate of Yass, headed a number of settlers in order to bring the scoundrels to justice, and in an encounter with the bushrangers, the chief of the gang was killed; another having been wounded, blew out his brains. Two were taken prisoners, and of these one hanged himself in his cell, and the other (who was instrumental in the death of Mr Hume) was executed in Goulburn gaol, 1840; capture of the “Jew Boy’s gang of bushrangers” at Doughboy Hollow, near Murrurundi,N.S.W., by Mr. Edward Denny Day and party the gang captured consisted of Davis, Marshall, Chitty, Shea, and Buggy; two escaped, but one of these, named Glanvill, was captured the next day, December 21, 1840; capture of the first organized band of Port Phillip bushrangers on the “Plenty,” through the bravery of Messrs. Snodgrass,Gourlay, Fowler, Chamberlain and Thomson, assisted by Messrs. Rider, Ewart, and Vinge. Jack Williams, the leader of the gang, was shot;Fogarty, Yankee Bill, and another were brought into Melbourne in custody, April 30, 1842.


Ross, and William O’Connor, charged with robbery, firing at, and wounding Mr. Henry Stephens, found guilty at the Special Commission, Darlinghurst, and sentenced to death, February 9, 1863; a notice sent to the magistrates of all country benches, that all cases of robbery under arms and other offences of the bushranging class were, for the future, to be tried by a Special Commission, which would commence its sittings at Darlinghurst,


February 2, 1863, January 20, 1863; the public-house of Mr. Cirkel was stuck up by four bushrangers, —Gardiner, Gilbert, O’Meally, and Dunn. Mr. Cirkel was shot dead by O’Meally for having, it is supposed, given information as to the movements of the gang to the police, February 15, 1863; Alexander Fordyce, John Bow, John M’Guire, and Henry Manns, tried by the Special Commission, Darlinghurst, February 4, 1863, for the escort robbery on June 5; 1862, but after three days’ trial and one night’s consideration of the case by the jury, the latter were unable to agree, and were accordingly discharged.   On February 23 they were again placed on their trial, and on Thursday, 26, Fordyce, Bow, and Manns were found guilty, and sentence of death passed upon them. M’Guire was found not guilty, but was arrested upon another charge, February 26,1863.

Gardiner’s gang captured, on the Weddin Mountains, an officer of police (sub-inspector Norton), who surrendered to them in consequence of the police he had ordered to meet him at the rendezvous having failed to obey the order, and the man Mr. Norton had with him having run away.   He was kept a prisoner for some hours, when he was released unharmed, March 1, 1863; Clarke, one of the bushrangers present at the murder of Mr. Cirkel on February 15, was arrested by Captain Battye near Spring Creek; he confessed to being present at the murder, and said O’Meally had fired the fatal shot, March 2, 1863; the two Rosses executed, March 18, 1863; O’Connor’s sentence commuted to hard labour for life. A man named Patrick Daley was committed for trial at Forbes, charged with being one of the men who made prisoner of Sub-inspector Norton, March 24, 1863; petition for mercy in the case of Bow and Manns, the condemned escort robbers (Fordyce’s sentence having already been commuted to hard labour for life), was signed by 13,000 persons in two days, exclusive of a large number of signatures attached to other petitions to the same purpose, March 25, 1863.

Bow reprieved and sentenced to hard labour for life, Manns executed, March 26, 1863; bushrangers and the confessional formed the subject matter of a letter from Father M’Carthy in the Sydney Morning Herald, May 22, 1865 (this was in consequence of Vane, a young bushranger, giving himself up to this clergyman); a hawker named Charles Young robbed at Beucenya Lake, New South Wales, by William Brown, alias Bertram, October 15, 1869; the Secret Police Party, consisting of John Carroll, Eneas McDonell, Patrick Kennagh, and John Phegan, who were sent out to capture the bushrangers (Clarke’s gang) in the Braidwood district, were murdered at Jindera, January 9, 1867 ; two mates of Power savagely attacked two constables at Benalla, one of the bushrangers being captured, the other escaping, August 29, 1870; Sergeant Sutherland, of the New South Wales police, shot dead a few miles from Cowra by two bushrangers, May 1,1872; four bushrangers, Thomas German, Charles Jones, William Kay, and William Hobbs, robbed Mr Grainger’s store at Hatfield, near Balranald, New South Wales. They were under arms, and took £50, and two horses with saddles and bridles.  Two shots were fired at a storeman named Day, who escaped and gave information to the police at Balranald, February 24, 1879.  The bushrangers, after leaving Hatfield, stuck up a hawker named Friedman, and robbed him of £40 cash, and of some valuable jewellery and other goods, February 25, 1879. They were captured at Kilfern station and brought to Balranald by first-class constable Beresford, constable Power, and special constable Day, all of the Balranald Police, who rode 180 miles from 9a.m. on Sun-day to 7 p.m. on Monday, several shots being exchanged, and Constable Power wounded, February 19, 1879.


Policemen James Condell, Andrew Moran, and William Haviland, and mail-driver John Fagan, were stopped on the Gates Road at the Eugowra Rocks by Gardiner and seven or eight of his gang, when travelling towards Sydney with the Government Escort.   The bushrangers fired a volley and then made a rush at the coach, and took the rifles of the police, the gold, amounting to 5,509 ounces, much of which belonged to the Oriental Banking Company, and bank notes to the value of £7,490; they also took the leaders out of the coach to serve as pack-horses but only used one ; and breaking open the boxes of gold packed them on the mail horse; they divided the gold and notes afterwards into eight shares, five of the men taking theirs, while the other three shares (viz., Gardiner’s, Charters’s and Fordyce’s) remained on the pack-horse which knocked up at the foot of the Weddin Mountains, and before the bushrangers could remove the gold, it fell into the hands of the police, under sergeant Saunderson who had given chase and succeeded in recovering 1239 ounces of gold ; subsequently, when Manns was arrested, 200 ounces and £135 in notes were found on him. Date of escort robbery, June 15, 1862. The names of the bushrangers engaged in this robbery were :—Frank Gardiner, alias Frank Christie, John Gilbert, Daniel Charters (after-wards turned informer), John Bow, Alexander Fordyce, Henry Manns, Benjamin Hall, and O’Meally.