Joe Watson, aged 92, sings the complete “Ballad of the Kelly Gang’, a song he learnt around 1900. Recorded by Warren Fahey, Caringbah, NSW, 1974
In 1879 J. H. Heaton published a ‘Book of Dates’ relating to the early years of the Colony of New South Wales. It is an extraordinary work and provides facts, figures and observations on a wide range of ‘colonial doings’. All spelling, including place names, has been left as per the original documents. The various articles and lists provide a valuable insight into public attitudes to bushrangers. It is interesting to note that the Kelly Gang entry appeared the year before Ned Kelly was hanged to death.
. Robbery under arms, at Michelago, of Levy’s store, Michelago, June 1, 1866; robbery of the mail near Moruya, July 16;of W. & J. Morris’s and John King’s stores, at Mudmelong, July 16; of the Yass mail, July 27; of F.H.Wilson, Esq., at Manar, July 24;of the Boro mail, July 30; of Messrs. Myers and Badgery, at Jembaicumbene, August 27; of John Hoskings, at Foxlow, August 23, and again on September 10; of Guelch and Dallas, at Long Flat, September 25; of Joseph Taylor, at Little Bombay, October 20 ; of Messrs. Smith and Dawson, on Braidwood road, October 22 ; of a number of Chinamen, on the Araluen Mountains, October 28 ; of Ah How, at Jembaicumbene, November 20 ;of ChongChang, at Major’s Creek, November 20 ; of the Yass mail, December 7 ; of a Chinaman, at Mudmelong, December 31 ; of John Hyland, at Crown Flat, December 31 ; suspected of assisting to murder the four special constables, at Jindera, January 9, 1867 ; of Hornsby and others, on the Araluen Mountains, January 15 ; of Henry Lamb and Chowry,Mongarlon road, January 14; of G. Myers, at Jembaicumbene, January 26; of the Yass mail, January 27; of the Goulburn mail, February22; of Frazer’s store, at Gundaroo, March 2; of F. Louise, at Bungendore, March 4; of Williams, publican, at Boro, March 7; feloniously wounded Constable Walsh and the black tracker. Sir Watkin, when being captured at Jindera, April 27; tried at Central Criminal Court, Sydney, May 29, 1867; executed at Darlinghurst, June 25, 1867.
Escaped from Braidwood Gaol, whilst under committal for robbery, being armed, October 3, 1865; stole a horse from C. E.Dransfield, at Jembaicumbene, October 27;stole a horse from Mulligan, at Jembaicumbene, December 1; stole a horse from John Mallon, of Mericumbene, December 13; robbery of Mr. Hoskings, at Foxlow, December 29; of Summer’s store, at Jembaicumbene, January 13, 1866; of Frazer & Matthison, on Major’s Creek Mountain, January 13; of the Araluen and Braidwood mail, January 15; of the Post-Office at Michelago, February 13; of John M’Elroy, at Manar, February 10; of Ed. Eaton, at Crown Flat, February 23; of Cullen and Harnett, near Cooma, March 22; of the Nerrigundah mail (Mr. John Emmett wounded), April 9; murder of Miles O’Grady, at Nerrigundah, for which he was outlawed, April 9 ; robbery of Morris’s store at Mudmelong, February 23 ; of Armstrong’s store, at Araluen, May 22 ; of Levy and others, at Michelago, June 1 ; of Thomas Wall, at Jindera, July 4; of the Moruya mail (Mailboy’s horse taken), July 16 ; of King and Morris’s, at Mudmelong, July 16 ; fired at the Ballalaba police, July 17 ; robbery of the Yass mail, July 27 ; of the Queanbeyan mail, July 30 of F. H. Wilson, at Manar Station, July 24 ; of Hosking’s, at Foxlow, August 22, and also September 10; of Myers and Badgery, at Jembaicumbene, August 27 ; of a Chinaman, on the Araluen Mountain, October 9; of Joseph Taylor, at Little Bombay, October 20 ; of R. Smith and T. Dawson, on Braidwood road, October 22; of a number of Chinese, on the Araluen Mountain, October 28 ; of a Chinaman, at Jembaicumbene, November 20; of a number of Chinamen, at Major’s Creek, November 20of the Yass mail, at Razorback, December 7 ; of a Chinaman, at Mudmelong, December 31 ; of attempt to rob James Hyland, at Crown Flat, December 31 ; suspected of murdering the four special constables at Jindera, January 9, 1867 ; of robbery of John Hornby, on the Araluen Mountain, January 15 ; of Chowry and Lamb, at Mongarlo, January 14; of James Myers, at Jembaicumbene, January 26 ; of the Goulburn mail, February 22 ; of the Yass mail, January 22 ; of Frazer’s store, at Gundaroo, March 2 ; of Mr. Williams, at Boro, March 7 ; feloniously wounding Constable Walsh and Sir Watkin. The black tracker, when being captured at Jindera, April 27, for which they were tried at the Central Criminal Court, May 29; executed June 25, 1867.
A native of Dublin, arrived, a prisoner, in the colony by the “Ann and Amelia,” 1825. Soon afterwards escaped, and took to the bush; depredations committed chiefly in the vicinity of Liverpool, Penrith, and Windsor; was joined by tenor twelve others, forming a band that carried terror through all the more populous parts of the interior during 1828 and 1829; shot dead, in a skirmish, by a soldier named Maggleton, at Raby, September 1, 1830;several of his companions afterwards caught and executed. Donohue was 5 feet 4 inches in height, and had flaxen hair and blue eyes.
One of the Gardiner gang of bushrangers, captured on the Marthaguy Creek, below Dubbo, by Constable James A. G. M’Hale, assisted by Senior-Constable Elliot and Constable Hawthorn; Dunn shot M’Hale in the leg, and was himself wounded and afterwards tried and hanged at Darlinghurst, December 24, 1865. <
Commonly known as “Frank Gardiner,”alias Christie, aliasClarke; born at Boro Creek, near Goulburn, New South Wales, in 1830, height 5 feet 8” inches, brown hair, sallow complexion, hazel eyes; was first tried on the 21st and 22nd October, 1850, at the Geelong Circuit Court, Victoria, on a charge of horse- stealing, for which he received a sentence of five years’ imprisonment with hard labour. On the 26’th March, 1851, he escaped from Pentridge prison, Victoria, and was next convicted at the Goulburn Circuit Court, New South Wales, on 17th March, 1854, on two charges of horse-stealing, for which he received two sentences of seven years each on the roads. He obtained a ticket-of-leave for Carcoar on 31st December 1859, but it was cancelled on 5th May 1861, for absence from district and being suspected of cattle stealing. For several years he kept a great part of the country in terror by his lawless deeds, aided by a gang of ruffians that he got together, the names of the principal ones being Gilbert, O’Malley, Hall, and Dunn. No less than six mail robberies under arms were committed by him, and scores of persons were bailed up and plundered. The most memorable crimes were the robbery of the gold escort from the Lachlan at Eugowra, in 1862, when the three police were overpowered by a large number of ruffians, several thousands of ounces of gold stolen; and the shooting and wounding of Troopers Middleton and Hosie in a desperate encounter with the gang. Notwithstanding the efforts of the New South Wales Police, Gardiner escaped out of the country into the neighbouring colony of Queensland, and he set up business as a storekeeper, and successfully carried it on for two years at a place called Apis Creek, on the road from Rockhampton to the Peak Downs, where lie was captured by Constables Pye,McGlone, and Wells, in February, 1864. He was brought to Sydney, and tried and convicted before Sir Alfred Stephen on the 8th July of that year for the wounding of Trooper Hosie and the robbery of Messrs. Hewett and Horsington. For these offences lie received sentences amounting to 32 years’ hard labour. In consequence of strong pressure being brought to bear upon the Executive and the Governor, Gardiner as released from prison in July 1874, on condition that he left the colony, and accordingly he went to America, where he now (1879) is. Mrs. Brown, Gardiner’s paramour, was the wife of a respectable settler; having been seduced by Gardiner, she left her husband and family, breaking up a comfortable home, and lived with the outlaw until he was captured. She afterwards went to New Zealand and died a violent death by her own hands on the Thames goldfields in 1868.
native of Canada, and the son of an old soldier, came when a boy to New South Wales with his father. He was engaged as stockman on a station near Marengo, from which place, lured by the false colouring given to bushranging in the neighbourhood, lie, in 1862, joined Gardiner’s gang; he was present at the sticking up of the gold escort in June of that year, and subsequently, when Gardiner had left the gang, he, in company with Ben Hall and John Dunn, made their names a terror to the country; he with his own hand shot Sergeant Parry who, deserted by his comrades, attempted to defend the Gundagai mail of November 16, 1863; on May 13, 1865, being betrayed by the farmer in whose house he and his comrade John Dunn had taken shelter for the night, lie was shot in an encounter by a constable named John Bright, who, in company with Senior Constable Hales and Constable King, were brought to the spot by the informer. John Gilbert at the time of his death was about 22 or 23 years of age.
‘The Ballad of Ben Hall’ sung by Sally Sloane. This is one of the great Australian bush ballads and, typical of the highwayman tradition, shows the bushranger as generous, brave and a man of great dignity. The truth is Hall and his gang hold the world record for the second most ‘bail ups’ – he wasn’t a killer, but he was a true highwayman. John Meredith first recorded this outstanding singer (and musician) in 1956, some twenty-five years before I recorded this version in Lithgow, 1987.
Ben Hall was for some years a small squatter in the Lachlan district when lie made the acquaintance of Francis Gardiner, then a ticket-of-leave man who was engaged in the occupation of a butcher. He was for a long time suspected by the police of being an accomplice of this man and his gang, and the close supervision, under which he was kept, together withthe alleged misconduct of his wife, at length drove him to desperation, and he openly joined Gardiner. On the retirement of the latter from his lawless career, Hall assumed command, and in company with Gilbert and Dunn, became the terror of the Goulburn and Lachlan Districts. At length he determined to relinquish his desperate life, and leaving Dunn and Gilbert, applied to a connection, in whose hands lie had placed some money for safe keeping, for the amount. This man, under pretence of going into Forbes to obtain the money from the bank, revealed to the police Hall’s hiding place, which they, under Sub-Inspector Davidson, closely surrounded at night, and as Hall arose the next morning, May 5,1865, his body was riddled with slugs, as many as 34 wounds being counted. £1,000 reward had been offered for his capture, £500 of which his betrayer received, the other half being divided amongst the police present at his death.
Notorious bushranger in Van Diemen’s Land, shot by Private W.Pugh, and captured October 21, 1818.
THE KELLY GANG
Constable Fitzpatrick, of Benalla, Victoria, whilst armed with a warrant to arrest Daniel Kelly, was overpowered at Kelly’s house by the prisoner, his brother Ned, his mother, and two men, named Williamson and Skillion. The constable was maltreated and rendered insensible, but allowed to depart on solemnly promising not to report the occurrence. The three latter were subsequently imprisoned for the crime; the brothers Kelly took to the bush April 15, 1878, and thus originated the Kelly Gang, consisting of Edward Kelly (native of Victoria, aged 27), Daniel Kelly (native of Victoria, aged 18), Stephen Hart (native of Fish River, New South Wales, aged 20), and Joseph Byrnes (aged 21). Ned Kelly had, as far back as 1870, been arrested by the police of the Ovens District, Victoria, on suspicion of having been an accomplice of the bushranger Power. A reward of £100 was offered by the Government of Victoria for the capture of Daniel Kelly, for shooting Constable Fitzpatrick, April, 1878; their next reported act was the murder at Stringybark Creek, Wombat Ranges, near Mansfield ,Victoria, of Sergeant Michael Kennedy, and Constables Scanlan and Lonergan, by shooting, October 26, 1878. On October 30, the gang were outlawed, and a reward of £500 offered by the Victorian Government for the capture of each of them, dead or alive. Stuck up Faithful Creek Station, near Euroa, December 9;robbed the bank of Victoria, at Euroa, of £2,000, December 10; stuck up the Police Barracks at Jerilderie, New South Wales, and bailed up the police, Saturday evening near midnight, February 8, 1879; paraded through the township, held possession of it for two days, keeping the police in charge prisoners in the lockup, cutting the telegraph wires, and generally terrifying the inhabitants, robbing the bank of £2,000, and burning some of its valuable documents, February 10, 1879.
alias the Wild Scotchman, was the most notorious bushranger in Queensland; he came originally from New South Wales, and carried on for some time his depredations single- handed. As there was but little gold at that time discovered in the colony, his raids were principally on stations and travellers; was captured once, but managed to effect his escape on his way to Rockhampton Gaol; at last was, after a chase of eighty miles, captured by two magistrates, who managed to obtain fresh horses at various stations on the road whilst Macgregor had but the one; he was safely conveyed to Brisbane, where he was sentenced to twenty years’ hard labour, 1863.
Born at sea. This notorious scoundrel, who gained some sympathy from a few, for his being the most daring of Victorian bushrangers, died by his own hand in the Melbourne Gaol, at the age of 35, August 12, 1859. He was undergoing his sentence of thirty-two years’ hard labour when he headed the first outbreak of convicts at Williamstown, which resulted in the death of a boatman, Owen Owens, whom he was accused of having killed with a hammer, and for which he was sentenced to death at Melbourne, November 21, 1856; he was respited, but before the intelligence arrived he had strangled himself.
carried the palm over all bushrangers for cool audacity and bloodthirstiness. His murderous exploits at the Round Hill Station were never equalled in Australia. Five hundred pounds reward was offered by the New South Wales Government for his apprehension, January 5, 1864. In June, 1864, he shot SergeantM’Ginnity dead, and took his horse and firearms. Verdict of the wilful murder of John M’Lean returned against him, June 23, 1864,
and a reward of £1,000 was offered for his arrest by the New South Wales Government, June 27. In the following September he shot Sergeant Smith, who died a few days afterwards. Reward offered for his apprehension by Government increased to £l,500, March 8,1865. On April 6, 1865, put in force a threat often attributed to him of making a raid upon Victorian territory— and he stuck up the station of Mr. Evans at Whitefield. Several carriers were also bailed up on the road near Wilton. On April 9 following, Morgan reached Mr. McPherson’s house at the Peechelba Station, about twenty miles from Wangaratta. He immediately bailed up all whom he found on the station. But a servant girl ran to the house of Mr. Rutherford, a partner of Mr. M’Pherson’s, situated at a distance of 400 yards. A man was despatched to Wangaratta, and the police force arrived, which, combined with Mr. Rutherford’s men, made a party of about 28 men. Morgan, meanwhile, unsuspectingly was spending the night in a free and easy manner, Mrs. M’Pherson playing on the piano. In the morning, after reconnoitring in the front of the house, he prepared to start. The force had been carefully posted in ambush all round the place. After having duly breakfasted, Morgan left; Mr. McPherson and three others going with him to the paddock to get a mare. On his way he approached within 100 yards of the ambush of John Quinlan, a labouring man, who jumped from behind a tree and shot the bush-ranger through the back. He died a few hours afterwards, without confessing anything. Next day an inquest was held on the body, and the jury returned a verdict of justifiable homicide.
stuck up the mail coach near Porejsukka, in the Ovens District, May 7, 1869; stuck up the Buckland mail coach within five miles of Beechworth. The Government of Victoria offered £500 for his arrest, August 28, 1869; captured by Superintendents Nicholson and Hare and Sergeant Montford, whilst asleep in a hut on the Glenmore Ranges, at the head of the King River, Victoria; there was a revolver by his side, and a gun close to his head (he supposed that he was betrayed by Edward Kelly, who turned out bushranger in the same locality), June 5, 1870. Found guilty at the Beechworth Assizes on three charges of robbery, and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment on each charge, sentences to be cumulative. He showed bravado in Court, and on being sentenced requested the Judge to “ draw it mild”: August 2, 1870.
a notorious scoundrel at whose house, in the western district, it is supposed the Gardiner gang received assistance, encouragement, and support. Peisley was tried and convicted of murder and executed at Bathurst April 25, 1862.
one of Donohue’s gang, was captured after a slight resistance, and was condemned to death; was, however, pardoned by the Governor, in consequence of disclosures he made as to the receivers of the booty taken by this gang (it was chiefly on his evidence several convictions of receivers subsequently took place), January 5, 1831.
FREDERICK WARD, alias Captain Thunderbolt
was a stockman on Barney Downs Station, in the New England District; was a splendid horseman, and a man of cool, determined courage. Whilst serving a sentence he escaped from Cockatoo Island. For some years he set at defiance the authorities in New England. He once stuck up a German band in the Goonoo Goonoo gap, and as they pleaded hard for their money, he promised that if he should succeed in robbing the principal winner at the Tenterfield races, for whom he was on the look-out, he would return their money, which promise he faithfully kept by sending to them, much to their astonishment, to the post office at Warwick, the £20 he had taken from them. Subsequently, when at a public house at Uralla, he was surprised by two policemen; instead of mounting his own horse he jumped on one belonging to a hawker, which turned out a bad one; a chase ensued. One constable’s horse ran away with his rider; the other constable Alexander B. Walker, a brave young fellow now sub- inspector, rode Thunderbolt down to a waterhole, when a desperate duel ensued, resulting in the death of Thunderbolt, May 25, 1870.
one of the gang commanded by Donohue, who was shot by the police, was captured (subsequently condemned and executed), January 16, 1831.
WILLIAM JOHN WESTWOOD
known as Jackey Jackey, was not, as is from his cognomen generally supposed, an aboriginal. He was the son of a farmer in County Kent, and was transported to New South Wales in 1837, when he was assigned to Mr. Philip King, at Gidleigh, 1840; he absconded from his employment, took to the bush, and joined a most determined scoundrel and murderer named Paddy Curran, who was hanged at Berrima in 1841; this man Curran attempting to ill-treat a married woman, Jackey Jackey defended her and threatened to take Curran’s life for the base act and then left him, taking his horse, arms, and ammunition, and thenceforward he carried on his “profession” single-handed. Jackey Jackey had been arrested near Goulburn, and when being escorted from there in June, 1841, he escaped from the Bargo lock-up, taking the arms and accoutrements of one of the police. A day or two afterwards he stuck up Mr. Francis M’Arthur, and took from his carriage on the Goulburn Plains a fine horse, and lie then proceeded to Gray’s Inn, called the “Black Horse,” some ten miles from Berrima, where he was set upon by Mr. Gray, Mrs. and Miss Gray (the latter showing extraordinary bravery), and a carpenter named Waters, and captured after being struck on the head. with a shingling axe by the latter. The reward of £30 offered for his apprehension was paid to Gray, and the convict Waters received his pardon. Jackey was sentenced to imprisonment for life, and after an attempt to escape from Darlinghurst was sent to Cockatoo Island, Parramatta River, N.S.W., from which place he, with twenty five other desperadoes, attempted to escape by swimming to the mainland, but were followed by the police in their boat, and all captured. Jackey was then sent to Tasmania on board the brig “Governor Phillip.” The prisoners were confined in the hold, nearly naked and chained to a cable, but on the way they managed to get loose and attempted a mutiny, and it was with the greatest difficulty they were landed at Hobart Town, whence they were sent to Port Arthur; there Jackey Jackey again escaped, but after nine days’ starvation was captured, one of his comrades, Frank Bailey, being shot. Twelve months afterwards lie again succeeded in making his escape to the mainland, but was captured and placed in Hobart Town gaol and thence forwarded to Norfolk Island, where, on July 26, 1846, nearly all the prisoners under Jackey mutinied. They murdered the overseers, and then, to the number of several hundreds, marched in military form towards Government House, under the command of Jackey. On the road, however, they were charged by the soldiers, and at last made prisoners. The principals in this rising were tried, and 18 of them, including Jackey Jackey, were executed.