Capture of a Bushranger Morgan and Maher in Tasmania




Courier Hobart 1848 April 12

We have the satisfaction of recording another capture of a bushranger, under circumstances exhibiting considerable coolness and bravery on the part of a constable named Clough. It appears that two prisoners, William Morgan and Jeremiah Maher, absconded from the settlement at Port Arthur on the 20th of March. They reached Long Bay the first day, and on the second made Norfolk Bay, where, after waiting for night fail, they swam across, having previously fastened their clothes to a log of wood. They then started for the Sounds, and lost their way, but eventually succeeded in making Bay Neck, which they crossed without being discovered. On Sunday, the 2nd instant, Morgan was apprehended. Constable Clough, having heard that there was a suspicious individual at Sutton’s public-house, on the main road between Oatlands and Jericho, set out to ascertain, if possible, who it was. On the road he met two men, one of whom had the external appearance of a gentleman, being dressed in black, with a black cloak. Clough, recollecting the description of the articles of clothing taken from the man.

Mr. Dunne, the Catholic priest at Richmond, who was robbed by Maher, had his suspicions aroused, and challenged the men. The bushranger “disguised like a gentleman,” said it was like his impertinence to interrupt him in his progress, attended by his servant. Clough, however, was not so easily shaken off, and proceeded with the tolerant gentleman and his servant until they fell in with a man named Griffiths, whom Clough called upon to assist in apprehending the pair. Upon this the “gentleman” bushranger became very wrath, and asked Griffiths who that fellow was. – Griffiths informed him that Clough was an Oatlands constable.

” Oh,” said the honourable. Mr. Bushranger, ” I thought it was some scoundrel who was going to rob us; I shall go to Mr. Bogle’s, at any rate.”

Here he proceeded to get over the fence, when Clough said, ” If either of you attempt to get over the fence, I will shoot you dead; as for you, Maher, I know you well.” Maher then ran off; Clough followed, and overlook him, the other man coming after him. As Clough neared Maher, he turned round, and they grappled, falling to the ground together. Clough had drawn his bayonet (his piece being injured,) and stabbed Maher in the back as they fell; both the bushrangers then tried to wrench the bayonet from Clough, who succeeded in keeping it, and stabbed the other man in the lower part of his stomach. After this, the men succeeded in obtaining the bayonet, and Clough received a stab through his wrist, when he again got possession of the bayonet. Griffiths, although continually called by Clough, did not assist him. The constable then used the bayonet at random, and laid hold of the man who pretended to be the servant. Maher then picked up the gun, and, after several efforts, succeeded in planting a blow on Clough’» head, which caused him to drop for a moment on his knees. Maher then made off to the fence. Clough pursued him, when Maher turned round and snapped the piece at him, which, having been injured did not go off. Clough rushed in and stabbed Maher again in the stomach, when he surrendered, saying, “spare my life.” The other man in the meantime escaped, and Clough having obtained assistance from Mr. Pikes, the bushranger was conveyed to Oatlands.