Did you know that frogs are cannibals, fashion can be fatal and the dinosaurs never died? Or that redheads were once burned at the stake as witches? Find out why rubbish tips are like lasagna, and how maggots help solve crimes!
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Teaching notes for the It’s True! series are available on the website: www. I. electronic or mechanical. Title. (Series : It’s true! . ISBN 1 74114 298 9.First published in 2006 Copyright © text John Barwick 2006 Copyright © illustrations Stephen Axelsen 2006 Series design copyright © Ruth Grüner All rights reserved. John.allenandunwin. to be photocopied by any educational institution for its educational purposes provided that the educational institution (or body that administers it) has given a remuneration notice to Copyright Agency Limited (CAL) under the Act.au
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thief: Black Caesar 1
He wrote in blood: Michael Howe 7
Gangster or gentleman? Matthew Brady 15
Cash converted: Martin Cash 24
Thunderbolt and Moonlite (and Mad Dan) 41
Like a dog shot down: Ben Hall 57
last but not least? Ned Kelly 65
But wait. there’s more! 81
Quiz 84 Where to find out more 87 Thanks 87 Index 88
Wild Colonial Boy: Jack Donohoe 33
Call Me Captain: Melville.
If you’re brave enough. when I was young. sieges and man-hunts. Were they driven to it. robbing from the ruthless rich who ran the country and doing good deeds for poor people. Now I’ve taken a close look at what the bushrangers really got up to – and I warn you. There are shootouts and robberies. or were they bad to the bone? You be the judge. They were Australian Robin Hoods. I was taught that bushrangers were good men driven to bad deeds. and grown men running around in the bush with no clothes on.WHY BUSHRANGERS?
Long. you can read all about the wild men of our history. it’s not a pretty picture. the ones who broke the rules and lived outside the law. long ago.
He became a bushranger for one simple reason.
. In London he stole money and food to survive. He escaped and stowed away on a ship bound for England. THIEF:
Australia’s first bushranger was an African giant. John Caesar was one of the convicts of the First Fleet. STOWAWAY. He had been kidnapped from his West African home and sold as a slave in the West Indies. He wanted to survive.1 SLAVE. RUNAWAY. But who’d like to be a slave? Not Caesar.
but was soon caught. The judge sentenced him to be transported to Australia. Caesar was a huge man.
Steal or starve
Life in Sydney Town was tough. and he needed more.
. But stealing was very. couldn’t keep going on the small amounts of food given to convicts. He arrived at Sydney Cove with the First Fleet in 1788. Black Caesar. as he came to be known. He had to steal food or starve. No wonder convicts were desperate to escape. very risky – Governor Phillip had said that anyone caught stealing food would be flogged (whipped). or even hanged.
WAS CAESAR GREEDY?
The food ration given to each male convict per week was: B Either 3 kilograms of dried salted beef or 1.
Only a few weeks after the First Fleet landed. This was an unbelievably brutal punishment. The Governor never sentenced him to
. Female convicts and soldiers’ wives only received two-thirds of the male ration. weevil-infested bread • 450 grams of weevil-infested flour B 400 grams of rancid butter B 225 grams of rice B 31⁄2 litres of dried peas (the only vegetable!) For a man doing hard labour in chains. He kept on stealing. Caesar was caught robbing the food stores. He was given 500 lashes. but one that Caesar would endure many times. Women were even worse off.8 kilograms of dried salted pork B 3 kilograms of stale. this was a rock-bottom diet. and each time he was caught and flogged.
he was too useful. In May 1789 he stole a gun and some ammunition and escaped.
No more Mr Nice Guy
Finally Caesar had had enough of starving and getting flogged.
. After being recaptured. and this time tried to join an Aboriginal group. stealing food from settlers’ gardens. though – as the strongest worker in the colony. he was flogged again. escaped again.hang. He stayed in the bush for a month.
Finally. an Aboriginal leader. Pemulwuy was also badly hurt. Once more Caesar escaped.There’s a story that he fought with Pemulwuy. people in Sydney Town used rum as a type of money. John Hunter. set a ‘bounty’ on Black Caesar’s head. The gang held up travellers and raided farms for food. He put out a notice saying that anyone who brought in Caesar and his weapons would be rewarded with five gallons (about 23 litres) of rum. and was so badly injured that he limped back to Parramatta and surrendered. guns and ammunition. getting five gallons of rum
. He also said that anyone who gave the gang ammunition or help would be treated as accomplices and punished – probably flogged. and this time he was joined by six or seven other runaways (or ‘bolters’). a new Governor. and took many months to recover. Caesar became the leader of a gang. In fact. At this time.
The African giant’s bushranging career did not last much longer.was like winning the lottery. The lucky settler was a man named Wimbow. near the present-day Sydney suburb of Burwood. In February 1796 he was shot and killed by a settler at Liberty Plains. People everywhere started looking for Caesar. No one now knows if he drank or spent his reward. hoping to earn the reward.
Tasmania (then called Van Diemen’s Land) was one of the most dangerous.2 HE WROTE IN BLOOD: MICHAEL HOWE
Demons in Van Diemen’s Land
Tasmania today is a quiet. It was where Australian bushranging really took off. It was home to the worst and
. Hobart. The capital city of Van Diemen’s Land. things were very different. Two hundred years ago. was a prison settlement. Some people think that the most exciting thing to happen there is the apple harvest. crime-ridden places in the world. peaceful island.
Howe do you do?
A man called Michael Howe arrived in Hobart in 1812 on the ship Indefatigable. But his freedom didn’t last long – someone plucked him from the Derwent River straight away. (Highwaymen were the British versions of bushrangers. and most of them were either convicts. so you could say Howe was a bushranger before he arrived in Australia.
. and farms to rob if you decided to become a bushranger. or soldiers guarding the convicts.most desperate criminals – the ones who were too bad to stay in Sydney. Fewer than 2000 people lived there.) His punishment was transportation to Van Diemen’s Land. There was plenty of bush to escape into. He jumped over the side of the ship as it berthed at Hobart docks. He’d been a soldier in England. but he deserted from the army and then tried to hold up a coach. Howe hadn’t even set foot on Hobart’s dusty streets before he tried to escape. He was convicted of highway robbery.
Anty cruelty campaign
Michael Howe wasn’t going to be put off by a dip in the Derwent. and Michael Howe stepped forward. The gang was renowned for its cruelty. The gang needed a new leader. The soldiers were tough customers too. In October 1814 Whitehead was caught by some soldiers and shot dead. The gang stole sheep. One man who had given the police information about the gang was tortured by being forced to wear a pair of shoes filled with bull-ants. the man died in agony. They hanged any bushranger they caught and left the body to rot by the roadside. as a warning to others. A few weeks later he ran away again and joined a gang of 30 escaped convicts led by John Whitehead.
. Soldiers combed the bush looking for them. burned farmhouses. Bitten hundreds of times by angry ants. and shot people who tried to stop them.
John Whitehead knew that soldiers would hunt him down. The other gang members had to swear on a prayer book that they would obey him. of the gang’s crimes. He also kept a diary. To make it really special. He asked Howe to cut off his head and hide it so that no one could claim a reward for capturing him. a newspaper report told of a head found wrapped in a handkerchief. Howe must have done so. he wrote it in blood. (And it must have been a very big handkerchief!)
After taking over the gang. Two years later. It was probably Whitehead’s head. Howe soon made some strange changes. (Do you think this man was weird?)
. bound in kangaroo hide.
Aboriginal men who tried to defend the women were shot. He signed it ‘Lieutenant-Governor of the Woods’. Thomas Davey.Howe organised raids on Aboriginal camps.
‘Governor of the Woods’
Howe wrote a letter to the Lieutenant-Governor of Van Diemen’s Land. kidnapping women that he and others could take as ‘wives’. Howe said that he’d never committed murder and had only been
to Sorell.violent when he had to avoid capture. who began cracking down on crime. Howe was nearly captured several times. He and his Aboriginal ‘wife’ Mary were ambushed. (Do you think this man was forgetful?) Davey was replaced by William Sorell. probably by mistake. This time he called himself ‘LieutenantGovernor of the Ranges’ and he offered to give
. He wrote another letter. Howe became nervous. before running away. and in the shooting that followed he shot her.
with bounty-hunters scouring the bush looking for him. Two former convicts found
. He was declared an outlaw. For a time Howe walked the streets of Hobart as a free man. They would not be charged with kidnap or murder.
OUTLAW. OUT OF LUCK
An outlaw is someone who is. Sorell accepted. and a bit of a celebrity.
Howe’s gang no longer trusted him. then anybody could capture – or kill – him or her. and once more took to the bush. But he heard rumours that he would soon be arrested. outside the law. as the name says.information about his fellow bushrangers’ hideouts in return for a pardon. so he found himself on his own. If a person was declared an outlaw. with (a £100) hundred-pound bounty (reward) to anyone who captured him.
Worrall’s bullet hit Howe. but he certainly led a risky.
. and tied him up. Then Pugh rushed up and clubbed him to death with the butt of his rifle. colourful life. But somehow Howe broke free. sending him crashing to the ground. he challenged Worrall to a duel: ‘Black beard against grey beard.him asleep in the bush. (What’s with these heads?) Thus died the ‘Governor of the Ranges’. The second one died soon after from his wounds. some people saw Michael Howe as a hero. but he slipped while going down a bank. The two soldiers cut off Howe’s head and took it back to Hobart as proof that they had killed the famous bushranger.’ he said. Realising he was trapped. Despite his grim record. Howe’s end came soon after. In 1818 a kangaroohunter led soldiers William Pugh and John Worrall to Howe’s camp. It’s hard to see a killer who informed on his own gang as a hero. killing one man and wounding the other. Howe made a run for it.
As a boy he received some schooling.
. but he also got into some mischief. some rice and a piece of bacon.3 GANGSTER OR GENTLEMAN?
Matthew Brady was a soldier in the English army. He got into trouble for stealing a basket containing some butter.
treacherous entrance called Hell’s Gate. The harbour had a narrow.
. Even if you managed to escape. He often tried to escape. and for being a ‘troublemaker’. He was caught. far away on the west coast. Brady did not like being a prisoner. which made it a perfect prison. wind-blasted place far. and sent to Van Diemen’s Land for seven years. but like many others he was tracked down each time and flogged. a freezing. row your boat
The worst convicts in Van Diemen’s Land were sent to a terrible place called Macquarie Harbour. you then had to somehow get a boat and manage to slip unseen through the harbour entrance (without sinking!). By 1824 he had received a total of 350 lashes as punishment for trying to escape. This was the end of the line for a convict.Later he tried to pay off a debt by forging the signature of his boss on a cheque. row. or walk across Tasmania through some of the most rugged country in Australia.
stole a whaleboat (a large rowboat). 14 convicts. but that is another story. clothes and guns and set up a camp in the bush. and he was sent to Macquarie Harbour in 1824. robbing farmhouses and travellers.
Through Hell’s Gate
The authorities soon decided that Brady was indeed one of the worst. including some who survived by eating their companions. near Hobart. The escaped prisoners had no choice but to become bushrangers. But it was no good going to Hobart. One dark night. For the next two years they roamed the Tasmanian countryside.Some did try. The gang robbed a settler of food. They knew they would be quickly recaptured and returned to Macquarie Harbour.
. But not even the bleak surroundings of Macquarie Harbour could stop Brady from trying to escape. including Brady. They managed to navigate through Hell’s Gate and row all the way around the southern coast to the Derwent River.
Flirting in farmhouses
Brady was the first of many bushrangers to receive the name ‘the Gentleman Bushranger’. He also tried to be friendly
. and liked to flirt (joke and chat) with the ladies when he held up a farmhouse or coach. He was very good-looking. rather than poorer people. He became very popular with the women of Tasmania. The men were less impressed!
Brady usually robbed magistrates and army officers.
to the convicts and farm workers. thinking this would make them less likely to inform on him and his gang. George Arthur. When the owner returned. Guv
But the Governor. Another time Brady’s gang took over the town of Sorell. He had the servants prepare a huge meal. shelter. and threw all the troopers in jail. weapons. They released all the convicts in town. some of them helped with food. Poor people saw Brady as a hero. was not so impressed by Brady’s exploits. The gang had grown to 100 men.
Tit for tat. Brady made him watch as servants and bushrangers gorged themselves on his most expensive food and wine.
. Law-abiding citizens – especially rich ones – demanded that Arthur do something. One time Brady invaded a farmhouse while the wealthy owner was away. In fact. Then he stole all the family’s jewellery and watches and escaped. others even joined Brady’s gang. It was becoming a real pain for the government.
Even his head would be enough! A convict who captured Brady (or his head) would get a full pardon and a ticket back to England.’ Arthur was furious!
. He rode into Hobart and pinned a notice to the wall of an inn.Arthur proclaimed a reward of £25 for the capture of one of the bushrangers. Brady had a cheeky answer to this. Twenty gallons of rum will be given to any person that can deliver this person unto me. ‘It has caused Matthew Brady much concern that such a person as Sir George Arthur is at large. It said. and more than 300 guineas (over £300 – a huge sum) for whoever brought in Brady himself.
Several of Brady’s men were shot dead. Governor Arthur was swamped with letters and petitions asking him to pardon Brady. but Brady escaped. He asked instead for a pardon for a young woman who had ‘captured his heart’. Brady’s gang was chased down by soldiers who had been told where to find them by a convict spy. but it wasn’t money. But it was not all bad news.
. The sentence? Death by hanging. She was pardoned.Eventually. He was shot in the leg during a fight and then taken to Hobart for trial.
Brady was tried in front of a packed courthouse. The convict spy who betrayed Brady received a pardon. Meanwhile. a group of Aboriginal trackers commanded by John Batman ran Brady to ground near Launceston. John Batman got a reward. the reward and a ticket back to England. and soon after became Batman’s wife. and that made her an outlaw. Soon after. She had escaped from her overseers.
he made them drink so much rum that they passed out. and most of the letters to Governor Arthur. but he also caused a lot of trouble. The pleas fell on deaf ears. Sometimes. came from women. to make sure that the servants didn’t remember much about the robberies. It seems he was still popular with the ladies. One of
. Most of these gifts.Brady received baskets of flowers and gifts of cakes and fruit.
Rum and rules
Was Brady really a gentleman bushranger? It’s true that he was polite to the ladies. Several women sobbed aloud as Brady was taken to the public gallows and hanged on 4 May 1826.
There is no peace. Brady had very strict rules for his gang. He told them violence was to be used only as a last resort. violence and death went hand in hand. And Brady himself shot one man dead. despite Brady’s rules. There is constant fear of capture and the least noise in the bush is startling. day or night.
But at least he kept his head.these unfortunate people later died of alcohol poisoning.
A bushranger’s life is wretched and miserable. Brady said. Some people were killed. It seems that. for bushrangers. Shortly before he was hanged. But Brady’s men were not always as gentlemanly as their leader. His men had to treat women gently (one who didn’t was kicked out) and never injure an unarmed person.
Most of what we know about Martin Cash comes from the autobiography he wrote in 1870. It might just tell us what Martin Cash wanted us to think were the true facts. when he was an old man. But there was an Irishman of that name who said he did. But that might not tell the complete story.4 CASH CONVERTED:
You would think that a person called Cash would never need to steal money.
worked hard and rarely got into trouble. It was a ‘crime of passion’. near Newcastle. we know for certain that in 1827 Martin Cash was transported to New South Wales for seven years. he was 17 years old when he shot and wounded another youth who was ‘embracing’ his girlfriend. Mary. Three years later. he wrote later. Historians who have studied old court records think that his real crime was breaking into houses. But whatever crime he committed. disaster struck. He was a model prisoner. Convicts in New South Wales were often set to work on farms. This may be just a Cash whopper. and then stayed on in the area working as a stockman.Martin Cash grew up in Ireland in the early 1800s.
Martin was asked by a friend to help brand some cattle. He served his seven years. Martin was sent to a cattle station in the Hunter Valley. He claimed in his book that he thought his friend had
. According to his book.
Cash was accused of stealing a watch. Cash was arrested. His sentence was by no means chicken-feed. and this time he was found guilty. and a neighbour tipped off the police. Cash decided not to wait around to be arrested. he had chains and heavy iron balls attached to his legs. Once again. building roads. trouble followed the ex-convict. All the same. and slipped south to Tasmania with his girlfriend Bessie.
. Then one day some chickens were stolen from a farm. but he was found not guilty of the crime. He had to serve another seven years as a convict. He hadn’t. he’d stolen them. he punched the trooper who arrested him and got into more strife.bought the cattle. Like other convicts doing this back-breaking work.
Treatment like this could drive a man mad. tiny cells with no windows.This time Martin Cash was not a model prisoner. Like Macquarie Harbour. Over the next two years he found that it was possible to escape from the chain gangs. The only way out by land was along a very narrow strip of land called Eaglehawk Neck. and sometimes locked them away for days or weeks in total darkness inside cramped. chopping down trees or mining coal. he was sent to Port Arthur for eleven years. After escaping and being caught for the third time. Warders flogged prisoners often and hard. but also easy to be captured again. Prisoners had to toil all day building boats.
. violent jail several days journey east of Hobart. slipping into the bush when the guards were looking the other way. Everybody thought that escape from Port Arthur was impossible. it was kept for the very worst convicts.
Swimming with sharks
Port Arthur was a grim. He escaped from a chain gang at Coal River.
When they reached Eaglehawk Neck. It was a very scratchy start to their bushranging career. But what about escape by water? The only way to do this (unless somehow you could steal a boat. ‘Better sharks than dogs. Cash really wanted to escape. Naked. The bad news? The water was icy cold. they spent a very uncomfortable night sheltering under a prickly bush. cold and exhausted.It was only a few hundred metres wide. they were buffeted by huge waves and they lost their clothes. and was guarded by soldiers and a line of chained.’ he decided. half-starved and very fierce dogs. they stripped off their clothes to make swimming easier and tied them to their bodies with their belts. Lawrence Kavanagh and George Jones. but the boats were very well guarded) was to swim through shark-infested waters.
. Cash escaped prison with two companions.
The naked truth
The good news was that they didn’t meet one shark.
boots and food. and told people that they stole only from the rich. Cash and his companions carried out many robberies. They were nearly always polite to the people they robbed. Inside were clothes. and their reputation as ‘good’ bushrangers began to grow. Soon they were known throughout the colony as ‘Cash and Company’. their luck changed. Sneaking through the bushes they came across a deserted hut.
Over the next weeks and months.Next morning.
. But this was not always true.
Cash disguised himself as a sailor and travelled to Hobart.
. Martin heard that his girlfriend Bessie was going to marry another man. and there was a fight. found guilty and sentenced to death. Burning for revenge. the Governor decreed that Cash should live. but Martin fired his pistol. dead. but took a wrong turn and was trapped at the end of a one-way lane. He was madly jealous. He wanted to kill them both. Perhaps his reputation as a ‘gentleman bushranger’ had spread to the Governor. But Martin Cash’s good luck didn’t desert him.Shootout
Now for Norfolk
Cash was tried for murder. The unfortunate constable fell to the ground. He recognised Cash and tried to grab him. some troopers saw him. He ran away. A police constable came out from a nearby inn to see what was going on. Just one hour before he was due to hang. Before he could reach Bessie.
Cash was transported to Norfolk Island. Not even Martin Cash could swim to freedom from there!
Change for Cash
But there was no need to worry about Cash escaping. Maybe he was tired of criminal
. an even harsher prison than Port Arthur. Norfolk Island was a speck of land in the middle of the Tasman Sea. He was a changed man. more than 1500 kilometres from Sydney. There could be no escape this time.
Cash arrived back in Hobart in 1854. Unlike other bushrangers. and then a police constable. He met and married Mary Bennet. It seems that he was wrongly accused of some crimes. He would be sent to jail. Then Norfolk Island prison was closed down. He and Mary had a son. a free man once more. If he was alive today. He became a convict overseer. and he left the police force to become the overseer of the government gardens and eventually a farmer. and all the convicts were sent back to Tasmania. Of all the bushrangers. Martin Cash is perhaps closest to being a ‘gentleman’. a servant of one of the prison officials.
. he would certainly not be looked on as a hero. and he didn’t harm the people he robbed.life. But he did end up killing one man (the constable) and possibly wounded another (the rival kissing his first girlfriend). Martin Cash died peacefully in his own bed.
There was a wild colonial boy. It tells the story of a poor but honest lad who fell foul of the law and became a bushranger. He was his father’s only son. Here is verse 1. Jack Doolan was his name. he was born in Castlemaine. Of poor but honest parents.5 WILD COLONIAL BOY: JACK DONOHOE
‘The Wild Colonial Boy’ is a famous Australian song. And dearly did his parents love this Wild Colonial Boy. his mother’s pride and joy.
This wild colonial boy is called ‘Jack Doolan’. In other versions of the same and other songs he is called Jack Dugan, Jack Doogan, Jack Donohue, Jack Donahue, Jack Donahoo, Jack Donohoo and Jack Donahoe. At least they all got the ‘Jack’ part right! In fact his real name was Jack Donohoe. He was born in Dublin, Ireland, and arrived in Sydney in 1825 as an 18-year-old convict. Like many convicts, he was soon in trouble, and was put on a chain gang building roads around Sydney. After a while he was promoted – to looking after a pig farm near Quakers Hill. Like many other convicts, he ran away. Perhaps he and the pigs didn’t get along. Whatever the reason, Jack suddenly found himself as a bushranger.
Runaway and robber
Jack’s first forays into crime were fairly mild. He joined up with two other escapees holding up slow-moving bullock wagons on the Windsor Road. Three months later his small gang was arrested, and all three were
soon standing in the dock in a Sydney law court. The judge took a dim view of their bushranging ways. After hearing the evidence, the judge sentenced all three to hang. As the three condemned prisoners were being led from the court-house back to the police cells, Jack Donohoe took a chance. He broke away from the troopers and fled. The troopers gave chase, but Jack was a fast runner and was soon well away. The other two were not so lucky. Both were hanged. Jack Donohoe travelled west, and carried on his career as a bushranger in earnest. Sydney had become dangerous for him, so he crossed the Blue Mountains and joined other outlaws in terrorising landowners
around Bathurst. After a while his gang moved east again, robbing travellers and isolated farmhouses between Windsor and Campbelltown. Once he approached a farmhouse intent on robbery, but then he discovered that it belonged to the famous explorer Charles Sturt. Sturt was a hero to Jack, and so he ordered his gang to find another farmhouse. Jack wasn’t so kind to the Reverend Samuel Marsden, ‘the flogging parson’, who was famous for the severe punishments he dealt out to convicts. He took £4 from the reverend gentleman.
Jack Donohoe became the people’s idol. The newspapers printed stories about his daring acts. They reported that he was seen in the streets of Sydney drinking ginger ale, that he only robbed people who were cruel to their servants or workers, that he shook hands with people he robbed, and that his gang was clean and well dressed. Jack was a celebrity before the word had been
although most of the exploits were invented. One of the offending songs included the lines ‘I’d rather roam these hills and dales Like a wolf or kangaroo. If they’d had pop stars in those days. The Governor.invented. You can see why the government didn’t like it. Sir Ralph Darling.
‘NO SINGING. he would have been one.
.’ Cried bold Jack Donohue. became angry that this young Irish upstart was becoming so popular. Than work one hour for the Government. He decreed that singing songs about Donohoe was against the law. GOT THAT?’
Ballads (songs) were written about the exploits of ‘Bold Jack’.
The more popular Bold Jack became. Sometimes he even took their clothes. although he would take as much as possible from rich people. Maybe he’d stolen them. the more determined Governor Darling was to capture him. soldiers
. a fortune in those days. a blue coat lined with silk and a pair of plaited boots. Bold Jack was careful not to rob from the poor. leaving them naked! One report described him wearing a black hat. Soon after. in September 1830. it seems the stories may be close to the truth.Jack the stripper
This time. He lifted the reward for Jack’s capture to £200.
This gruesome display did not work. Carved into them was a figure of Jack Donohue with a tiny bullet hole in the head.spied Jack in the bush near Campbelltown. Then a trooper’s bullet struck Bold Jack in the head and he dropped to the ground.
. but one was ambushed and killed a month later. and most were much wilder than the very mild Wild Colonial Boy. dead. one shop in Sydney started selling special smoking pipes. Bold Jack Donohoe. Days after Jack’s death. They sneaked up to him and opened fire. His two companions managed to escape. Many bushrangers took to the hills over the next 50 years. Jack Donohoe’s body was sent to Sydney and strung up on a public gallows to persuade other young men not to take up bushranging. and the other was captured soon after. Donohoe and his two companions fired back.
‘soul ’ or ‘bold ’!
. pray for the soul of bold Jack Donohue! ’ What really happened was not quite as romantic as this. just before Jack died he let fly with a string of swear words directed at the troopers. ‘ Convicts all. His last words mostly contained four letters. but they didn’t include ‘pray ’.THE DEATH OF DONOHOE
Jack Donohoe’s death is described in ‘ The Wild Colonial Boy ’: As he closed his mournful eyes. He bade the world adieu [goodbye]. Apparently.
Others had different aims – like ‘Mad Dog’ Morgan. THUNDERBOLT AND MOONLITE (AND MAD DAN)
Some bushrangers took on heroic names to make them seem more important than they really were.6 CALL ME CAPTAIN:
MELVILLE. who probably wanted to frighten people rather than impress them.
an ex-convict from Van Diemen’s Land. he returned part of the loot so they could at least afford some celebration. money and horses from travellers and sheep stations between Geelong and Ballarat in Victoria. The bushranging career of Captain Melville started in 1852. but it didn’t last long. In fact it lasted just one week. There was one good story about the ‘Captain’. William Roberts. When they told McCallum this. all keen to make their fortune on the goldfields. It also brought criminals keen to steal fortunes from lucky diggers. With his offsider. One of them was Frank McCallum. McCallum held up two gold miners on their way to Geelong. McCallum went on a crime spree.
. He decided to change his name to ‘Captain Melville’ – much more dashing and heroic than ‘Frank’.‘Captain Melville’ goes for gold
The discovery of gold in Victoria in 1851 attracted thousands of new settlers. They had made a lucky strike. and were heading to town to celebrate. For one very busy week they stole gold.
The murderer was never found. strangled with a scarf. and one of the inn workers. I mean the dashing and heroic Captain Melville – and Roberts ended up in Geelong. eager to get the £100 reward.At the end of their first (and only) week of bushranging. During an unsuccessful escape attempt he killed a prison guard with a hammer.
. they went to an inn and got drunk. After a chase and a brief struggle. McCallum was found guilty of highway robbery and sentenced to 12 years jail. He only served four. sneaked away and told the police. The dashing Captain boasted about his exploits. Celebrating their sudden good fortune. McCallum was captured. McCallum – oops. Later he was found dead in his cell.
heroic name! Here’s the story of Fred Ward. In 1855 he was caught stealing horses from the owner of the station he worked at in the Hunter
. as there was so much sticking up and horse stealing. there was Fred. But ‘Captain Thunderbolt’. Many a poor fellow had been put out of the way [killed] during those times and never heard of any more. . tie them to trees. Bushrangers stick up returning diggers. .
Fred swims to freedom
After Frank. . One traveller on the road to the diggings wrote: Everyone had to go armed. Fred Ward started his life of crime as a simple horse-thief. now there’s a fine. rob them of their gold. also known as Captain Thunderbolt. whether concealed in belts or boots . . ‘Fred’ is just an ordinary name. It was every man for himself .EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF
Bushranging was common during the gold rushes. Like ‘Frank’.
Ward’s partner.Valley of New South Wales. There’s a story that she swam to the island at night and gave Ward a file so he could saw through his chains. convicted of another horse theft. she stood on
. a prison in the middle of Sydney Harbour. travelled to Sydney. Fred was obviously a slow learner. He was sent to Cockatoo Island. but soon was sent back to the island prison. Mary Anne Baker. After five years he was released. Several nights later. Can you guess why? Yes – sharks! Having a large iron ball chained to their ankles was an extra reason not to plunge into the water. Even though it was not all that far from shore. most prisoners on Cockatoo Island didn’t dare try to swim to freedom. It was an unpromising start to his career.
Captain Thunderbolt was a superb horseman who rode stolen racehorses. Did these events really happen? We don’t know for sure. farmhouses.
. the reward for his capture went up and up. coaches and travellers. The police were riding pretty average horses. He held up inns. It would be like a modern criminal in a Ferrari being chased by police in a small hatchback. That probably explains why he was able to escape from the police so easily. As Thunderbolt’s fame and crime list grew. but they make a great story. always managing to evade the police who doggedly followed him. from £25 to £100 to £200 to £400. Over the next seven years he roamed north-western New South Wales. Once free. especially the New England area around Armidale. Ward took on a new and memorable name: Captain Thunderbolt.the shore at Balmain waving a lantern to guide Ward as he swam to freedom.
Thunderbolt got away. Mary Anne could usually find some bush tucker. and was sent to jail. hunt and track. at their mountain hideout. Thunderbolt’s career came to a sudden end in 1870. thanks to Mary Anne Baker. When they ran out of food.
CAPTAIN THUNDERBOLT HIDES BEHIND A ROCK
In fact. He later took up with another part-Aboriginal woman.SAVED BY MARY
Despite this. one only a baby. Thunderbolt had a longer career (about eight years) than most bushrangers. Ward saw some travelling
. By now he was ill with tuberculosis and his life of adventure would soon be over. Hiding behind Split Rock. She could read and write. and her tracking and bushcraft skills saved them from disaster many times. a large boulder beside the Walcha–Uralla road. She was the daughter of a convict man and an Aboriginal woman. She was finally caught with their two children. Louisa or Yellilong.
until the bushranger came to Kentucky Creek. ‘Bail up!’ After robbing them. Giovanni Cappisotti. There was a wild pursuit through the bush. shouting. managed to get away and rode to nearby Uralla to raise the alarm. and arrived just in time to see Thunderbolt riding away.salesmen coming towards him. gave chase. Thunderbolt forced the men to go with him to a nearby inn. One of the salesmen. He jumped in front of them. One trooper. Alexander Walker.
Two troopers raced to the inn.
. which ended suddenly when Walker shot Thunderbolt in the chest. For his trouble. Walker shot the horse. Thunderbolt replied with a shot from his pistol.He leapt from his horse and tried to lead it across to the opposite bank. but missed. and then called on Thunderbolt to give himself up.
Thunderbolt’s body was taken to Uralla and buried next day. Walker plunged into the creek to try to capture the bushranger with his bare hands. Constable Walker was promoted and got the £400 reward. There was a struggle.
I’m native to this isle.LEGEND LIVES ON
Even though Frederick Ward had robbed the citizens of New England for seven years. Split Rock – now renamed Thunderbolt’s Rock – and his grave in Uralla cemetery are popular tourist stops. There was a poem about Thunderbolt that went:
I’m Frederick Ward. Some say that he aimed to miss.
. not wanting to hurt another living soul. The Thunderbolt legend lives on today. Thunderbolt never shot anyone. but it did help Thunderbolt’s image as a ‘good’ bushranger. During his years as a bushranger.
It isn’t the greatest poem ever written. they claimed him as a local hero. I rob the rich to feed the poor And make the children smile.
entered the local bank and confronted the bank manager. For his plan to work. Of course he was not a real preacher. He became a preacher at the Anglican church of Egerton. Scott needed a very good disguise and the skill of an Academy Award actor. A couple of months after moving to Egerton. Scott carried out his first major crime. Ludwig Brunn. He didn’t have either.
. He covered his face with a mask and. armed with a pistol.The sun goes down on Captain Moonlite
Andrew Scott was a small-time criminal and trickster who arrived in Victoria in 1868. near Ballarat. Ludwig Brunn happened to know Scott well. He pretended to be one to get people’s trust before he robbed them.
) After serving his sentence in New South Wales. Brunn followed Scott to Sydney. These charges were soon dropped for lack of evidence. Perhaps this explains the poor spelling.
. Brunn went to the police and told his story. but Brunn lost his job. They charged Brunn with the robbery. so Brunn wouldn’t get into too much trouble. He signed the note ‘Captain Moonlite’. During his trial. Scott was returned to Victoria and convicted of the Egerton robbery. copying an American criminal who used that name. But the police didn’t believe that the local preacher could possibly rob a bank. Scott became a minor celebrity. Scott wrote a note saying Brunn had tried to protect the money. Brunn soon changed his mind as Scott forced him to hand over £1000 worth of cash and gold from the safe.Brunn instantly recognised Scott and thought he was playing a practical joke. Before he left. He was jailed for seven more years. (A police boat caught him as he set sail for Fiji in a boat he hadn’t paid for. and found that the criminal had already been arrested for fraud. After Moonlite left.
HEY. He’d become a dashing bushranging Captain. but people stayed away. LOOK AT ME!
Moonlite wanted to be a celebrity again. he had been forgotten by the public. Moonlite went north to New South Wales in November 1879.
. A new bushranging hero called Ned Kelly had grabbed the limelight.By the time of his release. He tried to get some attention by giving public lectures on the terrible life he had led in jail. Gathering five young friends. Captain Moonlite had faded in the public eye. There was only one thing for it. though.
hiding under a bed. All were found guilty. Moonlite was one of many criminals to be called ‘the Gentleman Bushranger’. along with two of the young bushrangers. but were trapped by police at a nearby farmhouse. including the station workers and the local schoolteacher. near Wagga Wagga. Rogan. The four bushrangers were taken to Sydney to be tried for murder. even though he was a murderer and probably half-mad. They rushed into the homestead and took about 30 people hostage. Soon after that. Strangely. Scott and another two were captured – and the fifth man. After a two-day siege the bushrangers escaped.The gang held up the store at Clarendon. Would he be remembered today if he’d kept the name Andrew Scott? What do you think?
. was found next day. and Scott and Rogan were hanged. In the battle that followed. Three hundred locals gathered to watch. a policeman was shot dead. This was an exciting event. they came to Wantabadgery station.
he was the least nice to know. or to be on the side of the poor. He was born John Fuller. or just plain Mad Morgan. He took on the name of a famous pirate. in the 1860s. he didn’t seem to mind killing people. Dan Morgan was not even his real name. There was a very good reason for these nicknames. Dan was Mad.
. Mad Dan Morgan. In fact.Nobody’s hero: Mad Dog Morgan
The three Captains tried to make themselves popular by taking on a romantic name. At his first court appearance he was tried (and convicted) for theft under the name John Smith. Daniel Morgan. Of all the bushrangers. But nobody pretended that Daniel Morgan was anything but mean and vicious. Any way you said it. He didn’t bother with all that ‘Captain Nice’ stuff. and was known at one stage as ‘Native Bill’. and often killed his victims. Morgan usually worked alone. terrorising the citizens of southern New South Wales. Morgan never wanted to be a gentleman. He actually liked to be known as Mad Dog Morgan.
. It was a nasty end for a nasty man. Then Dan’s head was cut off and sent to Melbourne for scientific research. His body was photographed and his beard ripped off his face as a souvenir.ANOTHER HEADLESS BUSHRANGER
Dan Morgan was finally killed in 1865 after a siege near Wangaratta in Victoria. A policeman asked for the skin from the face so he could ‘peg it out and dry it like a possum skin’.
. People thought he was a champion of the poor. even though he stole from struggling farmers just as often as he stole from rich squatters. Ben Hall’s story is familiar. His gang even robbed small children. He kept the same name from the day he was born until the day he died 28 years later. though.7 LIKE A DOG SHOT DOWN: BEN HALL
Unlike the three Captains and bad Mad Dan. In other ways. Ben Hall didn’t feel the need to name himself after a pirate or to take on a fancy title.
robust-looking man. In his teens he worked as a stockman near Forbes. including two policemen. He looked set for a rosy future. things went very wrong.
Fine and frank
Ben Hall started life as an honest man. Soon. Gardiner was a well-known bushranger famous for leading the
. a member of Frank Gardiner’s gang.Members of his gang also murdered three people. frank-looking face’. By the time he was 23 years old he had started his own cattle station on the banks of the Lachlan River. He was handsome and popular. only falling into bushranging after a stroke of bad luck. New South Wales. A local described him as ‘a rather tall. and when he was 19 he married a young girl called Bridget Walsh. Both of Ben’s parents were convicts. with a fine. One of the criminals Ben was seen with was Johnny Gilbert. though. but early on he showed no signs of following in their criminal footsteps. Some of the local men he mixed with were involved in bushranging.
About the same time. The police seemed to think he was a bushranger. Ben soon found himself accused of helping in a robbery. holding up travellers and
. In 1862 Ben Hall joined Gilbert and the other members of Gardiner’s gang.robbery of the gold coach at Eugowra Rocks. his house burnt down and his cattle and sheep stolen. Not only that. he found his farm in ruins. Ben was devastated. But things went from bad to worse. so he thought he might as well become one. He spent a month in prison. He decided he had nothing to lose. but the police could not prove he was guilty and he was set free. his wife left him for a neighbouring farmer.
They hitched their horses outside Robinson’s Hotel in the main street. The people need not have worried. when they rode into town at dusk. They returned to Robinson’s Hotel. Hall made Robinson feed the hostages. but twice. the gang rode into town again. and strode inside. and once again rounded up the townspeople. Before long they held 40 terrified prisoners in the hotel. and Ben Hall took over as leader of the gang. The bushrangers and their prisoners danced the night away. and soon a party was in full swing. The next year Gardiner left the district. After overpowering the barkeeper. with Mrs Robinson providing the music on the piano.farmhouses between Forbes and Young. The first time was in September 1863. Another
Robinson’s rock ’n’ roll
The little town of Canowindra fell victim to Ben Hall’s gang not once. Early one morning a month later. the gang set about rounding up the townspeople.
on mock guard duty. Keightley saw the bushrangers approach.
. this one lasting three days.
But just two weeks later. The Hall gang captured the local trooper. and grabbed his rifle. It all began when they held up a homestead owned by a wealthy man called Henry Keightley. the gang was not laughing any more. and made him march up and down the hotel verandah.party followed. The local people thought this was very funny.
a young horse thief who had been a member of the gang for just two months. Keightley took aim and fired. the reward for capturing any of the four members of the Hall gang was raised to £1000.Micky Burke. wounded in the stomach. The gang said they would spare Keightley’s life in exchange for £500. returning just before the time was up. He was in such agony that he shot himself in the head.
Police fail on the trail
Over the next two years the Hall gang terrorised travellers and station owners in many parts of southern
. Mrs Keightley rode into town and woke the bank manager to get the money. crept towards the front door of the homestead. After this. and Burke dropped to the ground.
Police set out many times to capture the bushrangers. He was hanged at Darlinghurst Gaol. The three remaining members of the gang – Gilbert. His men were well-armed and fast. Ben Hall was a good leader. riding stolen racehorses. Dunn managed to escape. Hall set up camp
. John Dunn and Hall – split up. Gilbert and Dunn fled to the farmhouse of Thomas Kelly. Hall himself did not kill anyone (as far as we know) although members of his gang killed two policemen and a storekeeper.New South Wales. By early 1865 the police and the government were fed up. A law was passed that made the Hall gang outlaws. Dunn’s grandfather. but each time they failed. Now they could be shot on sight by anyone. His leader. nine days before Gilbert’s death. though. Gilbert and Dunn escaped through a rear window. guns blazing. On 4 May 1865. did not live that long. but seven months later was caught and convicted of murder. A troop of police rushed the house. but a single rifle shot brought Gilbert down as he tried to wade though a creek. near the little town of Binalong. in March 1866. They didn’t last long. Sydney.
a billabong not far from Forbes. Hall fell dead. At least fifteen bullets ripped into his lifeless body. They hid in nearby bushes all night. The police draped Hall’s body over a horse and took it to Forbes. waiting for their chance.at Goobang Creek. An Aboriginal tracker called Billy Dargin led a troop of six policeman to Hall’s camp. Three policemen rushed towards him. It came early next morning as Hall emerged from the scrub to tend his horse. where it was paraded along the main street as a warning to others.
. guns blazing. but the police kept firing at him in a frenzy. Ben Hall’s grave is in the Forbes cemetery.
powerful politicians and landowners who oppressed the poor. and the most famous of them all. wearing a metal helmet. a man who stood up to the rich.
. People today see Ned Kelly as a hero. The startling way he was captured – clad in armour.8 LAST BUT NOT LEAST: NED KELLY
And so we come to the last of the bushrangers. guns blazing as he emerged from the Glenrowan Inn – only adds to his fame.
into a criminal family. His father was an ex-convict known as Red Kelly because of his enormous bushy red beard. He was about 14 when he was first arrested. She later ended up in prison. Ned’s mother was born Ellen Quinn. Ned was 15. then Ned
Ned Kelly was born near Melbourne in 1854. Ned was released after a week as the police could not prove their case. When Ned was 11. suspected of assaulting and robbing a Chinese gold miner called Ah Fook.
. and Harry nearly 50. Ellen herself was known to the police. Her father John Quinn was a cattle thief. Harry Power. she was fined £2 (worth about $500 now) for abusing and threatening her neighbour.Red.
Ned soon took up with his grandfather’s bushranger friend. and a friend of the bushranger Harry Power. It’s not surprising that young Ned also ended up on the wrong side of the law.
On his release in 1874 he stayed out of trouble for three years. arresting Ned on suspicion of robbery with Power. Once again the police moved in. He also stole some horses. Once again he was released due to lack of evidence. At first Ned’s job was quite simple. but the police didn’t find out about that. He had to mind Harry’s horse while Harry did the bailing-up. He was sent to jail for three years for horse-stealing. holding up travellers and mail coaches. doing gold-prospecting and working in a timber mill. Soon Ned moved on to more impressive crimes.They worked as a team.
Of course the police believed Fitzpatrick’s story. At least that is what he later claimed. The police came again to the family hut and arrested Ellen Kelly.Flattening Fitzpatrick
Then. Later Fitzpatrick said that Ned shot him in the wrist and Ned’s mother Ellen hit him with a shovel. Ned was enraged.
. What really happened that night is uncertain. Fitzpatrick had come to the house drunk and tried to grab Kate. He said he wasn’t even there at the time. His real reason was probably that he wanted to ‘get to know’ Ned’s sixteen-year-old sister Kate. and accused Ned and Dan of trying to murder Fitzpatrick. Ned Kelly’s version is very different. A policeman called Fitzpatrick came to the Kellys’ little hut to arrest Ned’s younger brother Dan on a charge of horse-stealing. The two Kelly boys fled to the nearby Wombat Ranges and hid. and in the scuffle Fitzpatrick cut his wrist on the door latch. in 1878. Dan had come to her aid. Ned was suddenly in a lot of trouble. She was sentenced to three years jail for assisting in the attempted murder of Fitzpatrick.
Steve Hart was a part-time jockey and a friend of Dan.
. Joe Byrne was a tall. The sound of the gunfire alerted the Kellys that the police were nearby. four policemen rode into the Wombat Ranges in search of the Kelly Gang. good-looking dairy farmer. One of them made the mistake of trying to shoot a parrot. The police then showed exactly where they were by lighting a large fire. Six months after Fitzpatrick’s visit to the Kelly house. Both Byrne and Hart had spent time in jail for theft.Parrot alert
Ned and Dan were joined at their bush camp (Harry Power’s old hideout in the hills) by two friends.
Thomas McIntyre. the gang struck again. A month later they held up a station owner and his family. The Kellys were now wanted for murder – and this time there was no lack of proof. had a picnic tea with their hostages and put on a display of riding skill. but the fourth. This time they had crossed the border to the New South Wales town of Jerilderie.The four bushrangers crept up on the unsuspecting police and bailed them up. fled on horseback. At both places. so they returned to the Victorian bush. But their way was blocked by the flooded Murray River.
Big bank bust
The gang fled north.
. robbing it of £2000 (worth about half a million dollars today). stuck up the hotel next to the bank. hoping to cross into New South Wales. The gang locked the police in their own jail. in February 1879. The gunfight that followed left three policemen dead. They took the bank staff back to the farm. and then the bank at Euroa. Two months later. and again escaped with £2000.
The reward was set at £8000 – the same as $2 million today. the police also brought in six Aboriginal trackers from Queensland. Ned began to get a name as a friend of the poor. He knew that he had to keep the ordinary people onside. and told their hostages not to raise the alarm for at least three hours.the gang cut down telegraph wires so no one could get a message out. or they would inform on him and he would be quickly tracked down. The Victorian and New South Wales governments jointly offered a reward as well.
. No one was injured at either Euroa or Jerilderie. the police had to find another way of capturing the increasingly troublesome gang. It was a huge temptation – surely someone would cave in and give the gang away? But. and Ned gave some of the money to his supporters and to poor people. Ned was cunning. for information that would help them catch the gang. just in case they didn’t.
With no help from ordinary people.
and Byrne shot him dead before he could utter a word. the gang began to suspect that an ex-friend of Ned’s. What we do know is that Dan Kelly and Joe Byrne visited Sherritt at his home on the evening of Saturday 26 June 1880.
. Aaron Sherritt. but we will never know for sure. Some people today claim that in fact Sherritt was giving the police false information to get them off the Kelly Gang’s scent. Sherritt opened the front door in answer to their knock.At about this time. was giving information to the police.
but they were hiding under a bed. supports the idea that Sherritt was informing on the gang. Ned and Steve Hart had already taken over the Glenrowan Inn. there were four policemen inside the house.
The two bushrangers then rode 40 kilometres to the little town of Glenrowan. Among them were some children who’d been on their way to Sunday school. if true. They stayed there until Kelly and Byrne had gone. a bark and weatherboard hut.One part of the story. According to this story.
. and were holding 60 townspeople prisoner.
He warned them about locals who might be armed. Curnow strode down
. They hoped that a trainload of police would be sent to the town. He gained Ned’s trust. or try to stop them. A number of armed supporters were supposed to be waiting in the hills. They forced some railway workers to rip up a section of the track near Glenrowan station. but schoolteacher Curnow was smarter.The gang had already worked out a plan. As soon as he had delivered the women home. he asked if he could take his sister and wife home. and Ned agreed. The plan was to capture some policemen to use as hostages when the train derailed. Bushranger Ned was smart.
A typically clever schoolteacher
But Ned’s grand plan quickly went pear-shaped. One of the people being held in the hotel was the local schoolteacher. Just after midnight. He told them where the local police were. Thomas Curnow. Right from the start he pretended to be helpful to Ned and his gang. ready to join the battle.
NED WRITES A LETTER
At Jerilderie. Ned Kelly saw himself as a champion of the oppressed. Unlike many bushrangers.the railway line waving a lantern and scarf to warn the approaching train driver that the track had been ripped up. In it he justified killing the three policemen in the Wombat Ranges as self-defence. Ned left a 57-page written account of his bushranging life.
. His popularity grew with poor farmers who themselves had been harassed by the police or were unable to make a living because rich people owned all the good farming land. called for justice for poor farmers. He wanted it published in a newspaper. and outlined his complaints against the police. Thomas Curnow had kept his head in a crisis. This letter is now known as the Jerilderie Letter. but it never was. Some of them helped him with food or warnings of police activity.
Into a hail of gunfire
Luckily the train driver saw Curnow and stopped the train short of the damaged section of track. Byrne. But inside the bark-hut hotel. Seventeen police quickly got off and quietly surrounded the inn. Hart and Dan Kelly went back into the inn. The siege at Glenrowan had started. They stood in a line on the verandah like extras in a robot movie. firing wildly at police while bullets bounced off their thick metal jackets. the Kelly Gang had another surprise for the police.
. where some terrified hostages remained lying on the floor. and shot at both Ned and Joe Byrne’s arms and legs. As the troopers advanced in the darkness. Then they walked out into a hail of gunfire. the gang clambered into suits of armour made from scrap metal donated by local farmers. The police quickly realised that the ‘armour’ only covered the gang’s bodies.
Hit twice in the legs. Ned returned and managed to sneak back into the inn. at daybreak. clanking figure advanced through the mist – Ned. Like a beetle flipped onto its back
. Ned stumbled and fell backwards. Bullets ricocheted off the armour. That night the remaining hostages managed to slip away. Then. and he died in agony. in armour and cloak. police numbers had doubled to 30. Soon after a bullet struck Byrne. walking into a barrage of police gunfire.An eerie sight
By the next morning. the police saw an amazing sight. A ghostly. The police started firing at the unprotected bits of Ned’s body.
he struggled to roll over so he could get away. Later that day. The police set fire to the building. Joe Byrne and Steve Hart were found inside. the police discovered that Ned was wearing a green sash given to him when he was a teenager for saving the life of a drowning boy. firing from the inn ceased. but the police quickly overpowered him.
. and after the flames had died away the bodies of Dan Kelly. Joe Byrne’s body was strapped to a door so photographers could take pictures of it. When his armour was removed.
. . Let the hand of the law strike me down if it will. After a short trial. At his trial. . Ned said. But he did not survive for much longer. He was taken to Melbourne.
. where he recovered from his injuries. Ned Kelly was hanged on 11 November 1880 in Melbourne.Hanged by the neck . arms.
Ned had suffered nearly 30 wounds to his hands. the jury found him guilty of murder. legs and feet. with no witnesses for Ned’s side. but I ask that my story be heard and considered.
I fear death as little as to drink a cup of tea . Judge Redmond Barry sentenced him to death. .
Like many other bushrangers, Ned lost his head. After his execution, his head was cut off and studied by scientists who were trying to find if they could tell a person’s character by studying the bumps on their skull. We don’t know if the phrenologists (as these odd scientists were called) ever found Ned’s evil bumps, but we do know that for many people Ned Kelly is a hero, a champion of poor people. Others see him as a criminal and a murderer. Either way, Ned Kelly is still Australia’s best-known bushranger.
9 BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!
Ned Kelly was the last famous bushranger, but he wasn’t the last one of all. Two unusual bushrangers operated in New South Wales early last century.
Bushrangers or freedom fighters?
Some Aboriginal people were once labelled ‘bushrangers’ because they attacked white settlers. But now we can see that many of them were trying to defend their land and their families. They were more like freedom fighters than bushrangers.
Jimmy Governor was different. He claimed to be a bushranger, and most people would agree that he was not a freedom fighter. In 1900, Jimmy killed two women and three children. He said the women had insulted his wife. (And it seems that one of them shouted, ‘You black rubbish! You should be shot for marrying a white woman!’) Then, with Jacky Underwood and his brother Joe, Jimmy went on a rampage through central-western New South Wales that left another five people dead, and 30 homes robbed and ransacked. More than 200 police and 2000 civilians scoured the countryside in search of Jimmy, Joe and Jacky. With that kind of man-hunt going on, they didn’t stand a chance. Their bushranging career ended four months later. Joe was shot dead, and Jimmy and Jacky hanged in early 1901, a couple of weeks after Federation. And guess what? Joe’s head was taken away, for ‘scientific study’.
so she was found not guilty. Take Jessie Hickman. hiding out in central New South Wales in the 1920s.WHAT ABOUT THE WOMEN?
Yes. She was finally captured at her hideout in the Nullo Mountains in 1928.
. She was one of the very last bushrangers. she used her extraordinary horse-riding skills to avoid capture for several years while she made a living cattle-duffing (stealing). There was no evidence. Some of her friends managed to ‘steal’ the stolen cows from her herd before the trial. But there was good news for Jessie. some bushrangers were women. An ex-circus performer.
half-starved convicts N (d) fierce. chained. half-starved sharks N (b) fierce. chained. Donohoe’s favourite person was: (a) Charles Sturt N (b) Governor Darling N (c) Samuel Marsden N (d) Mad Dog Morgan N 6 Why do we remember Captain Melville? (a) He was dashing and heroic N (b) He had the shortest career in the history of bushranging N (c) He was a champion boaster N (d) He started the gold rushes N
. chained. half-starved dogs N (c) fierce.QUIZ
1 Black Caesar needed lots of food because: (a) he had a wife and seventeen kids to feed N (b) he was greedy N (c) he enjoyed rancid butter and weevils N (d) he was really. really. chained. half-starved constables N 5 Of these. REALLY big N 2 Michael Howe’s diary was bound with: (a) apple skin N (b) kangaroo leather N (c) leather made from a bushranger’s head N (d) stolen sheep N 3 Matthew Brady’s fans were mainly: (a) Governors N (b) law-abiding citizens N (c) women N (d) farmers N 4 Martin Cash found Eaglehawk Neck guarded by: (a) fierce.
Ned Kelly knew the police were nearby when: (a) he heard them shoot at a parrot N (b) he heard them getting into their armour N (c) he heard them shoot a wombat N (d) he heard the train coming N 12 The scientific study of head bumps is called: (a) bumpology N (b) skullduggery N (c) headology N (d) phrenology N
7b 8d 9c 2b 10 b 3c 11 a 4b 12 d 5a 6b
ANSWERS: 1 d
. kind person N 10 Ben Hall’s parents were: (a) both troopers N (b) both convicts N (c) both captains N (d) Johnny Gilbert and Frank Gardiner N 11 In the Wombat Ranges in 1878.7 Thunderbolt was: (a) a champion racehorse N (b) a bushranger N (c) a big rock N (d) a cyclone N 8 Captain Moonlite would probably succeed in: (a) a spelling bee N (b) an intelligence test N (c) practical joking N (d) none of the above N 9 Mad Dog Morgan chose his name because: (a) he liked poodles N (b) ‘Captain Mad Dog’ had already been taken N (c) it was the name of his favourite pirate N (d) he wanted to be remembered as a polite.
And some would say I could easily be more than 100 years old. because I’m too lazy to rob banks. . Some children I’ve taught may claim to have been cruelly tortured (by bad jokes). and may like the idea that I will lose my head. ‘Although . I’d never ever spit. though. But at least I could have drawn my own “Wanted“ poster!’
. ‘So perhaps . and my horse would be called Philip. perhaps I should have gone back in time 100 years ago. . it’s true!’ S T E P H E N A X E L S E N says that if he’d been a bushranger. .J O H N B A R W I C K says ‘To write this book. he would have been the gentleman kind. robbed a few banks. ‘My boots would be gleaming. But that didn’t happen. I wouldn’t have been a top bushranger. . Then I would have really understood what a bushranger’s life was like. tipping his hat and giving a bit of loot back to polite victims. and holed up in the hills to evade the police. I don’t rob banks or hurt people. In real life I’m a school principal.
John Barwick The publishers would like to thank National Library of Australia. Sydney. 1970
Geoff Hocking. 1998
Thanks to the people who invented books and the Internet. victims or villains.
. Australian Bushrangers. Melbourne. 2002
• http://scs.htm The Bushranger Site created by the University of New England. has a wealth of information. La Trobe Picture Collection. Sydney. My story: riding with Thunderbolt. Bushrangers. Harcourt Education. Penguin.nedkellysworld. page 72.com and Stefan Klein for the blank poster used throughout the text. I’d like to say that each one was a-head of his time.com. State Library of Queensland. State Library of New South Wales. Bushrangers. Melbourne. page 57.WHERE TO FIND OUT MORE
Allan Baillie. Simon & Schuster. 49. Gosford. the diary of Ben Cross. State Library of Victoria. And thanks to the bushrangers.edu. and quotes by bushrangers. Five Mile Press. Scholastic. for being such an interesting bunch and giving me lots to write about. Midnite: the story of a wild. 2003 Pamela Rushby. Bail Up! A Pictorial History of Australia’s Most Notorious Bushrangers. 80. because finding things out would be an awful lot harder without them.
Robert Coupe. pages i. 78.au/
Bushrangers/home. 40. colonial boy. 79. pages 65. Thanks also to istockphoto.
• www. 2004 Jill Bruce. viii. heroes. Melbourne. New Holland.au
This site is mainly about Ned Kelly but also has a section on other Australian bushrangers.une. 2003 Randolph Stow. poems and songs. including profiles of bushrangers.
42 Walker. 3. 4. Dan 68–78 Kelly. 13. Thomas 74–6 Darling. 13 Sturt. 63 parties 19. 14. 16. 49. 21. 6. 38 Davey. 8. Ben 57–64 Hart. 3 phrenology 79 Port Arthur 27. 27. 75 Jerilderie Letter 75 Kelly. Joe 82 Hall. 71. Jimmy 82 Governor. Alexander 48–9 Wantabadgery 54 Ward. Michael 7–14 Hunter. Andrew 51–4 sharks 28. Ned 53. Jackie 81. 69 Quinn. Joe 69-78 Captain Melville 42–3 Captain Moonlite 51–4 Captain Thunderbolt 44–50 Cash. 21. 68 rum 5. Aaron 72–3 Sorell. Daniel (Mad Dog Morgan) 41. 60. 82 Van Diemen’s Land 7. Governor George 19–21 Baker. 30. 55–6 Norfolk Island 30 outlaws 13. 16. 12 Donohoe. 11. 8. 35. 69 floggings 2. 11. 10 ‘Wild Colonial Boy’ 33–40 Wombat Ranges 68–9. 31 Power. 43. 23 Hickman. 64. 12.INDEX
Aborigines 4. 71 Scott. 46. 19. 28. 66. 79–80. John 9. 81. Governor John 5 Jerilderie 70. 6. 47. 5. 3 Curnow. William 12. Thomas 11. Fred 44–50 Whitehead. Johnny 58. Charles 36 Underwood. Jack 33–40 Fitzpatrick. 32 Howe. 83 Cockatoo Island 45 convict rations 2. 10. 47 Black Caesar 1–6 beheadings 10. Mary Anne 45. 46. 27. Harry 66–7. 20. 22 rewards 5. 22. 44 Governor. 75
. 27 Morgan. 37. 35 Gilbert. 14. 65–80 McCallum. 20. Steve 69–78 heads 20. 82 Brady. 5. 73–8 gold rushes 42. 60–1 Phillip. 62. 45 Sherritt. Matthew 15–23 Byrne. Jessie 83 highwaymen 8 Hobart 7. Frank 42–3 Macquarie Harbour 16–17. Constable 68. 71. 82 Arthur. Governor Arthur 2. 17. 13. 63 Glenrowan 65. Governor 36. 21. Ellen 66. Martin 24–32 cattle-duffing 25–6.