The Gang


John O'Meally
taken from the painting by
Patrick William Morony
(1858-1839)

Courtesy NLA
John O'Meally ("a murderous-looking scoundrel")
b 1840- d.Nov 19 1863.

John O'Meally was born at the Weddin Mountains, NSW in 1840, (the Weddin Mountains are close to the township of Grenfell) his father Patrick O'Meally was from County Mayo, Ireland, employed as a Boatman labourer and was single when convicted of sheep stealing on 22nd March 1831, along with his brother Peter O'Meally aged 18yrs, at the time Patrick was 34yrs old and both were sentenced to seven years transportation to NSW arriving at Port Jackson on the 'Norfolk' (3) on 9th February, 1832. The 'Norfolk' was 536 Tons, and under the command of Captain, William Henniker with Surgeon Superintendent, William Cliffordon, and a Crew of 37 men, with 199 Irish male convicts on-board. The transport records for Patrick show his surname is recorded as Malley and his brother is recorded as Mally? 
Patrick O'Meally's Indent 1832. Note Malley.

Patrick Malley served four years of his sentence and was granted a 'Ticket of Leave' in November 1836, followed by a 'Certificate of Freedom' in February 1839. In the same year Patrick married Julia Downey at Gulgong NSW. The marriage produced ten children with John O'Meally the eldest, born in 1840. It is unknown when Patrick changed his name spelling from Malley to O'Meally, but suffice to say many ex-convicts changed or altered their names when entering new districts or for business reasons. In 1848 when John O'Meally was 8yrs old, Patrick O'Meally entered in to a partnership with a John Daley, husband of Patrick O’Meally’s wife's sister, they also produced ten children of whom John's cousin Patrick 'Patsy' Daley was one. The two brothers-in-law obtained the lease for 'Arramagong Station', 26,000 thousand acres at the foot of the Weddin Mountains on the eastern side, and where the old road to Forbes from Lambing Flat passed by. Patrick obtained the run in 1848, as published in the Government Gazette, September 1848;


CLAIMS TO LEASES OF CROWN LANDS
BEYOND THE SETTLED DISTRICTS.
(From the Government Gazette.)

LACHLAN DISTRICT. COLONIAL Secretary's Office, Sydney, September 27th, 1848 -His Excellency the Governor directs it to be notified, for the information of all persons interested, that in pursuance of her Majesty's Order in Council, of the 9th March, 1847, the undermentioned persons have demanded leases of the several runs of Crown Land, particularised in connexion with their respective names.

92. Maley Patrick. Name of run, Arramagong. Estimated run, twenty-six thousand eight hundred and eighty acres. Estimated grazing capabilities eight hundred cattle. -Bounded on the north by the Weddin Mountains; south by White's creek until meets Burramunda Troy boundary; east by Whites creek and a marked tree line running north and south from the Tygong Creek one mile of Watt's sheep station at the Black waterhole; west by the Black waterhole."¹


Arramagong Station.
The property ran sheep and cattle and the two families lived and worked on the station at different locations roughly a mile and half from each other. However, in 1854, Patrick O'Meally was called as a witness in the murder of a woman names Sarah Atkins, during O'Meally's evidence it was revealed that O'Meally had employed a school teacher named Mr. John Smith, early 1854 to take charge of his children's education, including young John O'Meally. John Smith at the trial stated; "...I was living with Maley in September last, as schoolmaster to his children."² Then in 1855, a sheep disease call 'Scab' broke out forcing many producers to destroy stock for which they were compensated, Patrick O'Malley received £209. The proximity of the O'Meally homestead to the Forbes road, and with good foresight, Patrick built at first a bark and slab Shanty, but as gold miners started to flood into the district Patrick O'Meally constructed a larger brick Public House, with stables and gardens and a good water supply which became known as 'The Weddin Mount Inn'.
Compensation payment for Patrick, note that Patrick's name is still spelled Malley,
in 1855, also note some of the wealthy land holders, ie Cropper, Pringle. 

However, for the O'Meally's whilst operating the Hotel, it soon gained the attention of the constabulary with the well-known bushranger Frank 'The Darkie' Gardiner a frequent visitor, operating and controlling the nearby roads between Lambing Flat and Forbes. This was remarked on Gardiner's appearance and subsequent influence over John O'Meally's early life; "...John O'Meally was little more than a boy when Gardiner commenced operations on the road. His father kept a shanty at the Weddin Mountains. Here he fell in with Gardiner. From being a sympathiser he soon became an active ally, and having joined in the bold exploit at Eugowra, he threw off all restraint, and plunged into the robber business with an energy and daring that would have been meritorious in a better cause."³

The O'Meally's themselves were not immune from crime, as on the 1st February 1862, the O'Meally public house was robbed. Moreover, the robbers who were reported in the newspaper were possibly new chums and may have not of been aware of who the O'Meally's were or that who the eldest son John O'Meally was, nor their alliance to Frank Gardiner, a close friend to have taken such a risk; (The Spelling of O'Meally's surname would vary considerably in the press from Malley, Meally, Maley, O'Meally and O'Malley.)

STICKING OF MR. GRIEG'S COACH BY BUSHRANGERS -"Intelligence was brought last evening by the four horse coach belonging to the above-named gentleman, that it had been stuck up on its journey from the Lachlan gold fields, by two armed bushrangers. It appears that when the coach arrived at Meally's station, about 32 miles from Lambing Flat, between 12 and 1 o'clock yesterday afternoon, on the passengers, six in number, alighting from the vehicle, they were ordered by an armed bushranger to join about eleven more captives they had made, and who were under the charge of a bushranger armed with two revolvers of six barrels each; of course the ruffians searched and robbed the passengers, but fortunately did not find much of value about them, as they had taken the precaution, having been warned that these desperadoes were on the road before them, to secrete their watches, money, etc., in the roof and various other parts of the coach. One passenger, a lucky miner-lucky in every sense of the word, having, sold a good share in a golden hole at the Lachlan, was returning to Lambing Flat with the proceeds, no doubt a very tidy sum, but he had done like the rest, secreted it, and his loss was confined to a valise with some clothing in it, not, we believe, of any great value, at any rate easily replaced. The bag containing letters for this township was opened, but it is not known what was taken out of them, but of course they took what they liked. It appears that before the arrival of the coach at Meally's, the bushrangers had bailed up every one in the house, and had them standing outside as before-mentioned. We believe the inmates of the house, and the house itself, were robbed of everything of any value; the particulars of this we have not yet received, but they will appear in full in our next. We are likewise informed that the ruffians overhauled and robbed every dray they met, and bailed up the owners, taking from them everything of any value. We can scarcely comprehend how the seventeen persons at Meally's could stand quiet and allow themselves to be kept prisoners, and robbed by one-armed man- it does not seem passing strange we confess why there were enough present to eat him; and these bushrangers must, we think, have been rather new chums at their trade, when they searched the coach so badly, and passed over the money, watches, &c, planted in it."


Forays by Gardiner and the like, forced the police through government sanctions, to close the hotel permanently due to its notorious reputation in 1862, then in early 1863, the police under command of Captain Zouch, removed the family from their dwelling for the establishment of a police station; 'Burrangong Star', 11th March 1863;- "We understand that Captain Zouch intended on his journey to form a police station at O'Mealy's station (at the Weddin Mountain), ejecting by orders of the government, him and his family, thus breaking up that rendezvous for bushrangers and their accomplices. The Captain returned yesterday afternoon to the camp."

c. 1863.
The ‘Yass Courier’, of the 21 March 1863 reported“The government appear to be vigorously carrying out their plans for the suppression of bushranging in the south-western district. We hear that O'Mealy's farm has been taken possession of for a police-station. If a few more of these resorts of bushrangers were served in a similar manner the roads about Lambing Flat and Forbes would again assume a state of order, and once the criminal population were dispersed they would find it difficult to gather themselves together in any other part of the colony."  This was followed by; NOT AN ADEQUANT PUNISHMENT. — "The Government of N.S.W. have ejected O'Mealy from his station on the Wedden Mountain, on the ground that he has afforded countenance to Gardiner the bushranger. The house, is to be turned into a police station; and Capt. Zouch has gone there with a lot of mounted troopers."

'Yass Courier'
June 1861.
John O’Meally worked as a stockman on his father's farm Arramagong Station, looking after cattle and sheep. Arramagong Station was one of the best properties, stocked with over five hundred head of cattle as well as some 40-50 horses of good quality, in stock alone the value was over £6000. In June 1861, Patrick O'Meally then 68 yrs. old placed all the stock and buildings up for auction, unbeknown to his partner John Daley, who then, unsuccessfully took court action against Patrick O'Meally and failed in a bid to be paid his share of the sale, as when Arramagong was registered, O'Meally only placed his name on the lease, soon after Daley received an eviction notice from the new owner, however these notices where ignored and the families stayed on for some time. Arramagong was sold for a paltry sum, as noted in the 'Yass Courier', 20th July 1861; Pastoral Property. - "On Wednesday, Mr. Godfrey disposed of the Arramagong station, Wedden. Mountain, by public auction, for £1370, the purchaser being Mr. P. H. Throsby, of Throsby Park, near Berrima." (roughly $113,700) There is a record of John having received an education via a tutor, but before long O'Meally was building a reputation as a 'Wild Colonial Boy'. John O'Meally was described as;"...tall, smart, and a splendid horseman, who was what in the vernacular of the bush is known as 'flash', there were six sons and three daughters. The sons were all 'six-footers' and as straight as pine-saplings.”

However, there is no doubt that O'Meally's leap into criminal activities commenced early and O'Meally was often seen in company with Frank Gardiner and as with, John Gilbert, were the 'Darkies' protégé’s. One of O'Meally's first holdups was in company with Frank Gardiner, John Gilbert and Tom McGuinness when on the 10th March 1862, the four bushrangers bailed up and robbed two shopkeepers from Wombat, Mr Horsington and Hewitt, also present was Mrs Horsington, the following report is from the 'The Sydney Morning Herald', 15th March 1862; "Yesterday there was great excitement in the town in consequence of information being given to the Camp that two storekeepers, on their way from the Wombat to the Flat, had been stuck up and robbed of £2000 by Gardiner and his mob. I now send you the particulars: Yesterday morning Mr Horsington and Mr Hewitt, storekeepers at the Wombat, and large purchasers of gold, started from there about nine o'clock, for the purpose of taking their gold and money into the Flat, and depositing it at the bank. Just before they started, four men were observed to leave a public house, and gallop along the road. Mr. Horsington and his wife started for the Flat in a spring cart, accompanied by Mr Hewitt on horseback, between the Wombat and Stoney Creek they were stopped by four armed men on horseback-neither Mr Horsington nor Mr Hewitt were armed-but   Mr Horsington, when stopped, put his hand to the bottom of the cart as if to reach some weapon, when he was immediately fired at by one of the men, the bullet passing between himself and wife. Mr Hewitt turned his horse around in the direction of the Wombat when he was immediately stopped by one of the men, and what money and gold they had was taken from them, Mr Horsington having £1100, and Mr Hewitt £700, in gold and notes. Mr Hewitt is quite positive that one of the men was the notorious Gardiner that has so long infested the neighbourhood of Lambing Flat and the Lachlan. Sticking-up on the Lachlan Road still continues, several parties being robbed by armed men on that road on Friday and Saturday last." (Horsington should read Hossington)

John O'Meally was quick but not quick enough and whilst being pursued by a police patrol lead by Captain Battye, and with his cousin Patsy Daley and another named Downey who was also a first cousin of John O'Meally and who was originally thought to be involved in the Horsington robbery, where captured in the vicinity of the Weddin Mountains, as reported on the 21st March 1862 in the 'Sydney Morning Herald' as stated; "During the past week "sticking-up," and the reports of various robberies committed on the roads leading to this place, have caused far greater excitement than any news with respect to the progress of the various rushes that have lately taken place. Captain Battye has been indefatigable in his endeavours to capture the perpetrators of these outrages: and in addition to the apprehension of Smith and Buster-the former being committed to take his trial at Goulburn, being the third party that stopped and robbed the Bathurst mail on the 6th of January last (particulars of whose examination I annex-three others have been apprehended, namely, Downey, John Maley, and Deely-Downey being identified as one of the men that stuck up Messrs. Horsington and Hewitt, on Monday last, the other two on suspicion of highway robbery. Sticking-up still continues, and without the Government increase the police force in this district considerably I see no chance of its being put down. In my telegram informing you of the robbery of Messrs. Horsington and Hewitt, the amount lost is understated-the total loss by the robbery being upwards of £1900; this includes nearly four hundred (400) ounces of gold."

With O'Meally's capture, Captain Battye presented O'Meally before magistrate G. O. M. Clarke, Esq., J.P., who placed O'Meally on remanded; "...John Maley, stockman, was brought before the Court on suspicion of highway robbery. He was remanded for seven days for the evidence of sergeant Musgrove."⁷ Sgt Musgrove was away on patrol and had arrested a man who had previously escaped gaol and was thought to have robbed the Mudgee Mail some weeks earlier and returned to Yass on the 28th March 1862. Patsy Daley was released.

John O'Meally's first cousin James Downey, was identified as one of the men concerned in the Horsington robbery. Downey was placed before the Yass Court for trial. After all the evidence was presented, witnesses for Downey were called and placed Downey at the O'Meally's home on the day in question, as stated in the 'The Sydney Morning Herald', 23rd May, 1862; Frederick Trotter deposed; “Am a German and coach proprietor, residing at Lambing Flat, on 10th last I was at Malley's place, at the Weddin Mountain, used to change horses there, know it was the 10th, because on the previous day (Sunday) my coach broke down at Malley's, and I had to stop there on Monday; know prisoner for twelve months; between nine and ten o'clock on the 10th March prisoner passed Malley's and called to him, knowing him, to assist me to lift the body of the coach, prisoner's mother resides about a mile and a half from there; the distance from Malley's to Wombat through the bush is thirty seven or thirty eight miles, and about forty by the road; it would be impossible for the prisoner to have been at Wombat at eleven o'clock that morning; am not connected with prisoner in business or otherwise.”

His Honour elaborately summed up, at the same time, he told the prisoner that the case for the Crown had not been such as to convince the jury that he was present at the outrage, however he (the prisoner) himself knew whether he was guilty or not. The jury returned a verdict of not guilty. The prisoner was then discharged."

In May 1862, John O'Meally and his cousin Patsy Daley were again arrested in company with long time scoundrel Owen Fox and were held on charges of Rape and Highway Robbery as reported in the 'Empire', as stated; RAPE AND HIGHWAY ROBBERY – “John O'Mealey, Owen Fox, and Patrick Daley were brought up on this charge, and remanded until Tuesday next. There were another two charges against Fox, which also stand over.” However, being charged and convicted are two different things and at the time of O'Meally's second court appearance, it appeared that unfortunately the reporter for the Police Court at Burrangong was banned from reporting the events, which caused great indignation amongst the local residents, suffice to say, both O'Meally and Daley were, it is believed, released, further evidence shows Fox served a short sentence for criminal offences, the rape allegation outcome is unknown. As history has demonstrated both O'Meally and Daley were now free to roam the bush from May 1862 onwards.

NSW Police Gazette
6th August 1862.
On 15th June 1862, the escort coach which brought the gold from the goldfields of Forbes to Bathurst was attacked and robbed outside the town of Eugowra. The heist was planned for June 1862; John McGuire a long-time acquaintance wrote in his narrative 'The Biography of a Reliable Old Native(written by P.H. Pinkstone, owner of the 'Hawkesbury Herald' and first published in the said newspaper after many in-depth interviews and fireside talks, c. 1906)"...it was with Gardiner that the idea of taking the escort originated and took a fortnight to prepare for the attack. For some months before Gilbert and O'Meally were Gardiners constant companions, and they had been talking about it together. They were getting full of the petty bailing-up business, and wanted to make a grand haul and then quit the country." The Eugowra Robbery was one of Australia's biggest robberies. The gang was led by Frank Gardiner with Ben Hall, John Gilbert, Alex Fordyce, John Bow, Henry Manns, Daniel Charters and John O'Meally, the robbery was a complete success. Before long the police were quickly making arrests of those suspected of being involved and Ben Hall and Daniel Charters along with John McGuire were taken in to custody. John O'Meally was arrested along with his father Patrick and another petty criminal Frederick Trotter, at the time of old O'Meally's arrest it was reputed that an exchange of words took place between the arresting sergeant, Sanderson, and the old man;[sic] "...Patrick O'Meally was arrested in his hotel near Forbes. The following dialogue is reported to have occurred when a police sergeant arrested him. Sergeant: I arrest you in the Queen's name. O'Meally: What Queen? Sergeant: Queen Victoria. O'Meally: She's not my Queen. She's not the Queen of Ireland." After some time in custody the three were released on bail except for McGuire and Charters. Charters became an informant. Dan Charters refused to identify John O'Meally as one of the participants; Daniel Charters: examination resumed, His Honor: "You were asked a question yesterday, whether you would not swear that some other people named were not the persons who were with you at the robbery. What were the names of these persons?" Witness: "Benjamin Hall and O'Mealy." Mr. Isaacs: "The witness was asked whether, amongst the eight persons present, there were not persons named Benjamin Hall, O'Mealy, Charles Darcy, and William Forster; and his answer was that Hall and O'Mealy were not there, but that there were men named Charley and Billy, and that he did not know them by any other name." Charters' cross-examination resumed: "I stated that I had been arrested on suspicion before I made up my mind to state all I knew of this matter. I was not confined in the same cell as Ben Hall. I was under the same roof, but not in the same apartment. I was confined for about eight days at the same time as Hall, I had no communication with Hall at that time; nor had I any with him on this matter after my release. I cannot give the exact date of when I was apprehended, nor can I say the day on which Bow and Fordyce wore apprehended. It was after my apprehension. Neither directly nor indirectly have I had any communication with O'Mealy or Hall relative to this matter. I will swear that I have not been offered a sum of money to leave their names out of the information I have given in regard to this robbery."
John O'Meally's Bathurst Gaol Entry September 1862.


The commencement of 1863, John O'Meally, who was already a close friend of John Gilbert, and had conducted many bushranging acts in his company, as both were Gardiner’s apprentices, although often at times Gilbert and O'Meally's friendship was very strained due to the differing notations of what constituted bravery, as recorded by John Vane in his memoirs 'John Vane, Bushranger', transcribed by Charles White. (Being a true narrative of his career — illustrative of varied phases of country life 50 years ago— in which his experience as bush boy, gold seeker, cattle-stealer, and a member of the notorious gang of bushrangers led by Ben Hall, which terrorised the country-side in the early sixties, are faithfully depicted.) Soon after Vane joining the Gang in mid-1863, reflected;op.cit. "...Gilbert told us later that O'Meally had called him a coward for running away up the ridge, and he replied that if he had not done so he would not of got the 'Bobbies' revolver," Vane continues,op.cit. "...at this O'Meally growled and said to Gilbert, "if I hadn't followed you the 'trap' would of shot you in the back, and that is the way you will be shot yet." Vane goes on to say that,op.cit. "...more than once Burke and I had to act as peacemakers for the two often used to have little growls, and we had to step in when they were getting too hot on the job." Vane also remarked;op.cit. "...but Gilbert was certainly fond of 'turning tail' and we all occasionally had a peg at him for dodging in that fashion." It was not long before O'Meally would also joined forces with Patsy Daley (who was O'Meally's first cousin) and along with Ben Hall would continue violent deprivations against the Lachlan locals and the wider parts of the Western and Southwestern districts of NSW.


Bathurst Court where John O'Meally appeared 1862.
John O'Meally bail and conditions, 1st November 1862,
O'Meally would never see the inside of a court again.
Mrs J.B. Wood.
Barraminda Station.
c. 1870's.
Courtesy NLA.
John O'Meally had developed a reputation as a vicious scoundrel, showing little regard for anyone, accordingly, even in his very early youth, O'Meally was a noted tormentor of others, and once when very young would be sharply admonished by a Mrs Wood of 'Burraminda' station for his actions. Mrs Wood had an insight into young O'Meally's future, as recorded here from the reminiscences of a pioneer in the 'Western Champion' newspaper in November 1916; "...when John O'Meally was a small boy he was rather fond of teasing a girl who was employed by Mrs. Wood to do house work. He took a delight in hindering the girl from her work, and Mrs. Wood remonstrated with him, saying, "There is a pick and shovel waiting for you at Cockatoo Island." Fifteen years afterwards he was a notorious bushranger, and he stuck up Mrs. Croaker on Burrowmunditroy Station, 16 miles from Young, robbing her of £7 she protested severely, and told him that the money belonged to Mrs, Wood, here was O'Meally's revenge. "I am glad of that" he said. "You can tell Mrs. Wood that the pick and shovel is not waiting for me at Cockatoo, but that the rope and soap are waiting for me at Darlinghurst."¹⁰ The article continues"Later that day O'Meally stuck up and robbed several people, who were returning home with money. He met a Frenchman on the road who had a particularly fine ring on his finger, and O'Meally made up his mind to have it; The Frenchman, however, did not want to part with the ring, and assured the bushranger that it was a fixture and would not come off. O'Meally saw no difficulty about such a small matter, and he took a large knife out of its sheath and commenced rubbing it up on a rough stone "We will soon manage that,' O'Meally replied, drawing the knife with great rapidity over the stone, 'and you will get used to being one finger short.' But the Frenchman had taken the ring of and was begging O'Meally to take it as a free hearted gift."¹¹

However, the success of the Escort Robbery, and its participant Jack O'Meally, although implicated and arrested had escaped justice, and immediately returned to the bush, unfortunately for those who place their surety for bail for O'Meally, forfeited their cash. After O'Meally's release from Bathurst, the wild colonial boy commenced his bushranging spree in the company of Ben Hall and John Gilbert, with occasional help from his brother Patrick and first cousin Patrick Daley. Before long John O'Meally would be implicated in an atrocity. It appeared from the evidence, that on the 15th February, 1863, O'Meally perpetrated his first murder, through the shooting death of a Lambing Flat publican, Mr Adolph Cirkel at Stoney Creek. The report of this diabolical murder widely appeared in the newspapers shortly after the sad events. However, at the time there was wide spread speculation and some confusion as to who the two men were, with the description of one closely fitting John O'Meally, and the other, long been believed to be John Gilbert. On the night of the 15th February the two suspects arrived at the Miners Home Inn via the rear entrance and bailed up all those present. Shortly after Mr Cirkel fatefully entered via the front door only to be confronted and in the struggle, was shot in the head at point blank range, by John O'Meally. A correspondent from the Burrangong Star describes the events; NEWS of this horrible event reached the township on Sunday evening last, about eight o'clock, during the meeting of the German Association at the Empire Hotel. The excitement, consternation, and poignant feeling of grief it caused among the deceased gentleman's country-men, when the particulars were detailed to them, may be imagined, but it is difficult for the pen to describe. Personally, known as he was to all of them, they were horror-struck at the fearful account. To some there present, he was looked upon as a brother-to other he was considered a dear and valued friend; by all he was justly esteemed and respected. A sense of mournfulness oppressed the spirits of the members of the association, and they naturally turned their thoughts to the departed soul suddenly and awfully called before its Maker, through a vile murderer's deed.

Generally speaking, the inhabitants were not aware of what had taken place till very early on Monday morning, when but one feeling prevailed-deep sorrow for the murdered man, and justice upon the ruffian murderer. At an early hour, a great number of the townspeople proceeded to Stoney Creek, to look once more upon the body of the murdered man, and view the scene where the dreadful tragedy had been enacted. At one time, so great was the excitement that as many as three hundred people were present, all anxious to hear the particulars on the spot. We proceeded there with the same intention, and to take a report of the inquest. At all dreadful scenes of this kind, where intense excitement prevails, it is very difficult to extract the truth out of the thousand rumours that are afloat; it is equally difficult to find two persons agree in the same account of the transaction. Even those who were present some, times vary in their statements, from the simple fact that they are so horror-struck and nervous that the brain gets confused and wandering, and memory fails. We furnish the particulars as we received them on the spot. On Sunday evening, last, between six and seven o'clock, two men came to the Miners Home Inn, and proceeded to the back of the home. One of them went into the house after fastening up his horse, and the other hooked his on the garden gate, and asked the ostler to go into the bar and have a nobbler. He complied with the ruffian's request: When he did so, he was ordered by his companion to go and sit down in the corner of the taproom, not far from the bar. The shortest of the two men (the one that first went in) walked behind the bar, and said to the man who acted as barman during Mr. Cirkel's absence, that he wanted the money, and helped himself to the contents of the till-about five pounds in silver. Both the robbers had nobblers.

"shoot the b-------;" 
Artist unkown.
They were each well-armed with revolvers. The taller of the two stood near the entrance to the bar, covering with his revolver the people bailed up in the corner, the back door, and the one leading into the next room close to the back door. Whilst this was going on, Mr. Cirkel, who had been in the bakehouse, entered the taproom by the front door, which is opposite the counter. The tall man asked him to go and sit in the corner with those already there. He answered, "What for?" A struggle then ensued between the tall robber and him and there is little doubt that Mr. Cirkel who was a, strong, powerfully built, and very determined man, would have overpowered the other, had not the stout robber behind the bar called out to him according to the report of one witness to the scene "Blow his bloo- y brains out," and to another's-"Shoot the bu--er." The tall ruffian immediately fired, and shot the unfortunate gentleman dead. The deceased never spoke afterwards-death was instantaneous; The diabolical ruffians, after committing the murder, rushed out of the house, mounted their horses, and fled, and up to the present time no tidings have been heard of them.¹²


Furthermore, evidence from the later robbery of Solomon's store on the 25th February, 1863, saw O'Meally bragging that unless the occupants obeyed orders, they would suffer the same fate as Cirkel, at this point it becomes veritably apparent that John O'Meally was indeed the shooter of Adolph Cirkel, but not in conjunction with, as has long been attributed, John Gilbert, but another person even possibly Ben Hall? or another who would be arrested over the murder named John Clarke. Furthermore, the following article appeared in the 'The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser' on the 12th of March, 1863, when the said John Clarke, a known acquaintance of John O'Meally, and very similar in build to Ben Hall, was apprehended by Captain Battye and Detective Wolfe regarding Cirkel’s murder. Clarke on his arrest was perceived by Captain Battye to be of ‘bad character’. Moreover, a few days earlier, in conjunction with his brother, Clarke had been arrested for suspicious behaviour near Cirkel's hotel, but both were released, as nothing could be proved against them. 'Empire' 26th February, 1863; “What makes the suspicion strong against John Clarke is, that the horse, or pony, on which he was riding when apprehended, was identified as having been stolen from a digger at Stoney Creek, on Sunday afternoon last, not more than half a mile from the house where the murder was committed. Another curious circumstance is, that Clarke was apprehended about ten days ago, with a man said to be his brother. The trooper who arrested the prisoners, found them under very suspicious circumstances lurking about the bush at Stoney Creek, not far from the late Mr. Cirkel's premises. No charge could be proved against them, and they wore discharged; but the police considered them both of them very bad characters.”

However, on Clarke’s arrest, and afterwards interview with Captain Battye, Clarke had initially claimed that; “...he had come from Mealey's at the Wedden Mountain, on the Lachlan-road,"¹³ with severe questioning by Battye and seeing the jig was up, Clarke went to all manner of deceit and deflection in his culpability by stating that Frank Gardiner was involved in the Cirkel affair, and that he was, although there, only waiting outside the Miners Home Inn with Gardiner, (if Gardiner had been involved he would not have remained outside), unfortunately, as has been well established Gardiner had long fled the Burrangong/Lachlan district for Queensland in late 1862. It is more likely, therefore from Clarke's initial statement to Captain Battye, that Clarke was attempting to distance himself from the events inside the hotel. However, what is true is that one of the protagonists was clearly described as short and stout, this description does point to John Clarke as being possibly the other assailant involved with John O'Meally. 'The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser', reported Clarke's arrest and confession, not to the murder, but to his presence at the hotel, states; THE MURDERER OF MR CIRKEL;- "We are indebted for the following information to a respectable storekeeper of Burrangong it appears that on the day after the murder at Stony Creek, Captain Battye, with several volunteers, left Young on the track of the bushrangers and succeed in apprehending a man named Clarke under circumstances which warranted them in believing that he was one of the murderers At the time of his apprehension he was riding a horse which had been stolen on the previous day from Spring Creek, and which his captors were able to identify. Clarke, seeing that the case was so strong against him made the confession to Captain Battye, to the effect that the murder of Mr. Cirkel had been committed by Gardiner, Gilbert, O’Meally, and himself, and that it was O’Meally who actually fired the fatal shot."¹⁴ (In many recent robberies Ben Hall was often mistaken for Gardiner.)

However, the shooter O'Meally's companion on that fateful night, apart from the suspect Clarke, could well have been Ben Hall, who had just earlier in company with Patrick Daley, O'Meally's first cousin, robbed the Pinnacle police station on the 7th February, and then in company with Ben Hall flogged a woman on the 13th February 1863 for reputedly assisting the police. (see Ben Hall page) Furthermore, the description of the shorter man in many of the reports point to the other ruffian as being short of stout build and roughly thirty years old, around 13 stone, which describes Ben Hall (26yrs old), also Hall was 2 or 3 inches in height shorter than O'Meally, although no witness commented on the second villain as having a pronounced limp or lameness. Gilbert however, was always described as of slight build, light hair and around 10 stone, and slightly taller than Ben Hall, therefore this known description eliminates Gilbert as a suspect, as the witnesses were adamant that the second man was short and stout. It must also be remembered that in these early stages of their crimes, Ben Hall and Daley, although not implicated, had not the notoriety of Gardiner or Gilbert or the fast rising O'Meally. Although the two were known to many locals in the districts, their link to bushranging was just beginning to emerge. Cirkel's murder would draw them well and truly into the public light, as confederates of Gilbert and O'Meally. O'Meally, born and bred in the district, with a large amount of relatives and a wide circle of friends, who where fringe criminals, no doubt including John Clarke, who was roughly the same age as O'Meally, were seen frequently at the Shanty O'Meally operated on his fathers former station, in company with John Gilbert, who was recently back from a stint in New Zealand and in the game once more. At Cirkel's the first person who came in contact with the two bushrangers was Mr James Fisher, yardman, who recounted the events and gives a good description of the assailants recounted at the recent inquest into Cirkel’s death, and deposed; “I am a labourer, and live at Stoney Creek; I knew the deceased well; I was employed by him as ostler and gardener; yesterday evening, about six or seven o'clock, a person, a stranger to me, came to the back of the house and said he would hang his horse to the paling for a few minutes; I asked if I might put it in the stable, but be replied no; another person soon after came and hung his horse up at the fence also, and said to me "Came and have a nobbler, old fellow;" on going inside I did not get a nobbler, for he ordered me to go and sit down in the corner with the storekeeper and cook; there was a short man and a tall one; the former had no beard or hair on his face; he seemed about thirty years of age; the short man went behind the bar and put all the money in his pocket from off the shelf; then Mr. Cirkel came in at the front door, he had been at the bakery; the tall man laid hold of him by the collar, and a scuffle ensued; Mr. Cirkel endeavoured to get round the corner of the bar, but was pulled back by the tall man; the short man then shouted to his companion, "Shoot the bar---d," and immediately a shot was fired, and Mr. Cirkel fell, and never moved again, nor spoke; he was shot by the tall man; both men were strangers to me; they immediately fled, got on their horses, and were off by the back of the house into the bush, as if going to Mr. James's slaughter yard.”¹⁵

Moreover, all eyewitness accounts and description of the assailant standing behind the bar, being described as short and stout, do point to either John Clarke or Ben Hall as the other perpetrator, where from behind the bar the stout man yell’s out to O’Meally to “shoot the bastard.” However, all the witnesses as to Clarke's identity, failed to place Clarke at the hotel bar; “…although two or three persons witnessed the occurrence, none of them seem to be able to identify either of the ruffians. Captain Battye and Detective Woolf brought forward a prisoner named Clarke, but none of the witnesses could speak with certainty as to this person being connected with the committal of the murder. Clarke had been apprehended on a charge of bushranging, and in his possession, was found a pistol, which formed part of the property stolen from the Demondrille station some time since, and also a horse, which we understand has been claimed as the property of a person residing on the diggings.”¹⁶ Therefore, despite what had long been believed, that is, that other assailant was John Gilbert, the evidence suggests this is definitely incorrect, remembering that Gilbert was described as 5ft 9in in height, slim around 10 stone (63Kg) and fair haired, therefore, it is my hypothesis, that Gilbert has been wrongly linked to this particular crime of murder. Furthermore, at the inquest, witnesses remarked that the shooter was much taller, and John O’Meally was 5ft 10in to 6ft, even taller in riding boots. Accordingly, upon Clarke facing court on the charge of bushranging and Clarke’s known involvement in the late January 1863’s hold-up of Demondrille Station, and inconsequence of some stolen items found in his possession, namely a garment and pistol including his very evasive and vague statements to Captain Battye regarding his movements, appears to draw Clarke well and truly into these events, however, Clarke to deflect involvement, implicated others of a more notorious character. There was insufficient evidence to convict Clarke over Cirkel's death, as the witnesses had failed to identify him, as a result suspicion fall's to Ben Hall, who was very similar in build and stature to Clarke and was well known to be constantly in O'Meally's company in those first months of 1863.

At the inquest the Physician who did the autopsy, Henry Wilkinson, gave a detailed account of Mr Cirkel's fatal injuries; “I am a legally qualified medical practitioner, and live at Young; yesterday, by direction of the Coroner of the district, I made a post-mortem examination of the body of the deceased at Stoney Creek; on external examination I discovered a wound, apparently made by a ball about an inch above the left ear; not being able to find any place where it had made its exit from the skull, I proceeded to deflect the scalp, when I discovered a fracture of the occipital bone; on removing the fractured portion of bone the brain protruded externally. and I at once found a portion of the bone flattened just inside the substance of the brain; I then removed the skull-cap, and made a careful and lengthened examination of the brain and base of the skull; having broken down its substance and carefully washed it, but without being able to find any further appearance of the ball; I am of opinion that the wound was sufficient to cause instant death.”¹⁷

Patrick O'Meally
 c. 1880's

Coloured by me.
It may also be that those witnesses may have felt highly intimidated and even fearful of reprisals by identifying those responsible. The saying “there is no honour amongst thieves” holds true with John Clarke as he attempted to deflect his culpability in the murder of Adolf Cirkel to the two most well-known bushrangers John Gilbert and Frank Gardiner both with £500 on their head. Ultimately due to lack of evidence John Clarke would be sent down only for two years with hard labour for horse stealing.

From 'The Sydney Morning Herald' Tuesday, 16th June 1863- YASS. Monday, 6pm- At the Quarter Sessions, John Clark, charged with horse-stealing, was found guilty, and sentenced to two years in gaol.¹⁸ Clarke would be discharged on the 22nd December, 1864, after 18 months.


John Clarke prison entry for Parramatta Gaol, October 1863.

John Clarke, Parramatta Prison with sentence and discharge, October 1863.

Following the inquest, the jury returned a verdict that the deceased came to his death by a wound from a pistol, fired by the taller man of the two men, and delivered a verdict of 'Wilful Murder' against both parties, names unknown. Furthermore, John O'Meally's brother Patrick bore a striking resemblance to his older brother was arrested and held on suspicion in relation to Cirkel's murder. However, Patrick would be released as the witnesses could not identify him as well. On his release, it was reported in the 'Burrangong Star' that he left court laughing; BURRANGONG. – “Patrick Meally, who had been apprehended on suspicion of being concerned in the murder, of Mr Cirkel, at Stoney Creek, was discharged on the 24th ultimo. The Star says he left the court laughing.”¹⁹ Was the second accomplice Ben Hall?, it is not from the realms of possibility.

Authors Note: In 1871, Patrick O'Meally would marry one Mary Ann Hadcroft at Binda, Mary Ann is the half sister of James Dunleavy who would join Ben Hall some months after the death of John O'Meally.

Clarke, NSW Police Gazette
25 Feb 1863. The 4th Feb
note for Demondrille robbery of
January 1863.
 
John O’Meally would next appear in the robbery of Solomon’s store at the township of Wombat some 8 miles from Lambing Flat, where dressed in police uniform in company with Ben Hall, Gilbert and his cousin Patsy Daley, the bushrangers take their time and steal £250 worth of goods. During the robbery reference is made to the earlier shooting of Mr Cirkel which also confirms that O'Meally was the man who fired the shot. (see article below).

Solomons Store robbery.

Ben Hall c. 1862
Coloured by me.
In March of 1863 John O'Meally in company with Ben Hall and Patsy Daley, the three bushrangers would capture a police Inspector. Whilst proceeding to rendezvous with other troopers near Wheogo, Inspector Norton and the black-tracker Billy Dargin observed three riders approaching them and were soon confronted by John O'Meally, Ben Hall and Patsy Daley. Norton is called on to ‘Bail-up’ and fired at, immediately Norton prepares to return fire. After a gun fight where between fifteen to eighteen shots were fired by O'Meally, Ben Hall and Daley at the two police officers, and Norton discharging his pistol he is taken prisoner. However, Norton’s tracker Billy Dargin after escaping and pursuit by two of the bushrangers and where dogging from tree to tree heads for the Pinnacle Police station on foot to raise help. The Inspector is chastised by the three and after some hours released. Below is Norton’s own words on those events from the 'Sydney Morning Herald' 9th March, 1863;-“I was proceeding through the neighbourhood of Wheogo, accompanied by a black tracker, each of us leading a horse; about 9 o'clock I saw two men riding, about 500 yards before us, one of whom had a led horse, and the other a gun on his thigh; I beckoned to the tracker, who was on the hill opposite, and he came down; on nearing the men, they made off; we followed them for some distance into the scrub, and got off, and then fired on them; we then returned to our horses, to pick up our led horses, and, on preparing to start, saw them again watching us; we followed them again, and fired on them, when, finding our horses unable to overtake them, we returned to some huts, and remained there for twenty minutes or half an hour; seeing no more of them, I thought it advisable to go to the police station to get some men, who were to have met us in the neighbourhood, to follow them; about three or four miles from those huts, the black fellow called out that there were three men coming up behind us; they were so near that I could hear them; I could hear them shouting, " Bail-up," evidently with the intention of stopping us; the black fellow passed me and left his led horse; I dropped mine also. and turned round, and, on seeing me do so, the tracker stood at about fifty yards distance; The three men were scattered at about 100 yards apart, one on each side of the road, and one near the road; the man on the left side advanced within eighty yards of me, and then commenced firing; the man on the left charged and fired a double-barrelled gun; I cannot swear to the man on the right firing his rifle, but he fired a revolver; the man I supposed to be O'Maley took up his position about eighty yards from me; Hall and the prisoner a little farther off; O'Meally cried out, "Throw up your arms, repeatedly; they then commenced firing with revolvers; we fired several return shots; they might have fired fifteen or eighteen shots; my ammunition was then expended, and O'Meally with Hall rode up to me; the latter presented a revolver at me, while O'Meally and Daley ran after the black-fellow, and fired after him; after a few minutes, Hall rode up to me, and said that they had nothing against me, and that I might go; Hall spoke of a trooper named Hollister, who had threatened to shoot him, and that he would return the compliment when he got hold of him; Hall returned me a revolver which he said was no good to him; he spoke of Sir Frederick Pottinger; how Sir Frederick had brought him (Hall) several times into Forbes, and had him remanded from time to time, until really the magistrates were inclined to believe that there was some charge against him, and those with him; that it was his opinion that Sir Frederick detained them till he could make up a case; Hall referred also to the case of young Walsh who was then suffering in the lock-up, as he(Hall) had suffered before; I asked for my horse, and he said that I could take them; but he inquired if there was anything particular in the swag on one of them; I told him there was nothing of any consequence; the three detained a Government revolver, a Government carbine which the black-fellow had dropped, a Government saddle and bridle, and the horse on which the black-fellow rode, remarking that they would shoot the horse, and so teach people not to lend horses to policemen; the man who I supposed to be O'Meally, said to me, "you had better not give our description when you return to town; “they then rode round, and picked up their discharged arms, and cleared off; I cannot swear positively that the prisoner is one of the men; I never saw O'Meally but once before, and the prisoner never but on that occasion; I could not have been close to the prisoner more than three or four minutes; Hall was the one who was in conversation with me, and whom I would swear positively to; the names were given to me by the black-fellow as Hall, Daley, and O'Meally; O'Meally was dressed differently to the prisoner, the hat is exactly like what I have seen Daley wear." When Norton’s brush with the bushrangers is reported in the newspapers it creates a sensation throughout the colony.

Inspector Norton
c. 1880's.
The same article goes on to say; ...Inspector Norton arrived in Forbes yesterday, shortly after noon. The inspector, it appears, owes his release to his being a " new chum " in the district, and the fact of his having a wife and family at Sydney. Inspector Norton is satisfied that O'Maley is a "cur," as are the others they were afraid to come near him while he had a "shot in the locker;" and he feels convinced that had he hit any one of the men, the others would have quitted the field of action without any more trouble. The safe arrival of the worthy inspector in the town created quite a "sensation."

In June of 1863, John O'Meally in company once more with John Gilbert arrived at Junee on the evening of the 7th July 1863 and held up the Inn of a Mr Harris and the store of a Mr Williams. The account of the robbery is reported in the ‘Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Chronicle’ Saturday 18th July, 1863; BUSHRANGTNG AT JUNEE. - "On Tuesday evening an appearance far from welcome, was put in at Junee by the two bushrangers, Gilbert and O'Mealy, in their usual charming free and easy style. Up to the time of going to press we are not in receipt of authentic police information, and therefore give the leading facts, as gathered from the various reports circulated. It appears that the two men went into Harris' public house, George Harris being at the time serving in the bar. They went up to the counter and called for drinks; but G. Harris, who had suspicion of them, as he states, from the moment of their entering the house, made an essay to go into an inner room. This was the opening of the ball; two revolvers were presented at his head, and he was ordered to go to the tap tub: one fellow leaning over the counter with his pistol in Harris' face, while the other went and brought out Harris, Sen., and John Harris, the latter just getting out of bed. They were ten all three bailed up in a corner of the bar and searched, and while this pleasing operation was going on, up rode a Mr Howell, on which, of course, the Harrisses were ordered, with denunciations to keep quiet. Gilbert walked into the verandah, put his pistol to Howell's head, and ordered him inside to be bailed up, search being also made on him. The searching being concluded, it appears Mr Howell, considering it rather dry work, asked for a nobbler, upon which O'Mealy, usurping the functions of barman, began serving the company generally. G. Harris asked if they would not like their grog hot? and on the pretense of getting the sugar, went into the bed-room and managed to secrete the watches and the cash-box for the time, at a subsequent period John Harris getting a better chance of hiding them in the kitchen. After the nobblers had been duly discussed, O'Mealy (so Harris states, but others say Gilbert) went into Williams' store adjoining, leaving the other guard over the prisoners; Mr and Mrs Williams were then politely walked into Harris' place; Mrs W. and Mrs Harris being accommodated with a seat in the dining room, before the fire, the robbers never offering to go near them. While Gilbert or O'Mealy was ransacking a back room in Williams' place, a Mr. Hammond walked into the store to post a letter, and seeing a revolver lying on the counter, picked it up, and after examining it, was replacing it, when Gilbert walked out of the inner room, and after staring a moment or two at the intruder, walked up to the counter, picked up the revolver, and asked Mr Hammond who and what he was. It seems that nothing was taken from Hammond, who shortly afterwards managed to slip off, and going to his own place, mounted a horse, and rode top speed to the police station at Wagga Wagga. The police, however under the usual cumbrous incubus of official routine, the weighty question of regimentals, and other momentous particulars, were almost as long getting to saddle as it took Mr Hammond to ride the entire distance, he having done it in something more than an hour as we are informed. No tidings are yet to hand of the result of the search, but Mr Farnham, who came into Wagga Wagga on the following day, saw the police at Palmers (Bethungra), twenty miles from Junee, at about, break of day, and a little mutual misapprehension appears than to have arisen, for he took Sub-Inspector Morrow for Gilbert, and vice versa; the mistake, however, being quickly cleared up. It appears the bushrangers started in the direction of the Levels, but of course it is impossible to say how far they might follow in that lead. The amount stated to be taken from Williams'- store in goods and money is put down at £42, Harris' place appears to have escaped scot free. Of the amounts taken from the respective persons, we have no actual information., Mr Howell, it is said, was relieved of his watch and £2, but on pleading for the watch as a keepsake, it was returned; a revolver in his pocket escaped detection till Gilbert drawing liquor behind the bar, and Mr Howell leaning over the counter, O'Meally noticed the handle of it protruding from his pocket. It is said that at this time Mr Howell was playfully suggesting to Gilbert - one arm resting on the latter's shoulder - how easy it would be to take him, to which Gilbert with equal facetiousness told him he had better try. On the discovery of the weapon he was at once relieved of it, and on his offering a cheque for £5 for its recovery, the offer was refused, the bushranger asking, "what was the use of it (the revolver) to him?" It is also said that Gilbert offered to shoot with Mr Howell for a pound, and on the latter pointing out that he had taken his money, one pound was returned to him. Mr Harris, Sen., in the extremity of the case, wrung his hands and said, "the police ought to be stationed there;" he had known long ago they ought to be there, for he knew the bushrangers would come. "The answer made to this by our heroes was to the effect "what was the use of the police, for if they were there they could not take them." Amongst other articles taken from the store were one or two articles of female apparel, Gilbert mentioning in confidence to those present that he wanted them for his "girl." These are all the facts we have at present to lay before our readers."

With one of the gang fleeing after the murder of miner McBride and the police smothering the Burrangong area Gilbert and O'Meally quickly leave the district for the unfamiliar territory of the Carcoar district, and in July 1863, O’Meally and Gilbert attempted to rob the bank at Carcoar (see article below) in broad daylight. This is believed to be one of the first attempted daylight bank robberies in a NSW country location. At this point in time John Vane and his good mate Micky Burke commenced bushranging and soon joined up with O'Meally and Gilbert. Where before long they would also rendezvous with Ben Hall. O'Meally and Gilbert who were unfamiliar with the Carcoar district, sought out John Vane a local of the district for fresh horses and also to seek Vane's help in preparing and showing the way into Carcoar for the robbery. Vane had stated earlier that he knew John O'Meally;op.cit. “…Johnny O’Meally was known personally to me, I having occasionally met him when droving cattle, and when residing near the Weddin Mountains.”
The Carcoar Chronicle 
Saturday, 30th July 1863
Carcoar Bank attempted robbery and Mr Hosie's store robbery.
( should read 30th July 1863 not 22nd)
John Gilbert.
Coloured by me.
In the first week of August 1863, three of the gang's bush telegraphs were arrested, one of them was the cousin of Micky Burke and a good mate of John Vane who along with Burke had recently commenced riding full time with Gilbert, O'Meally and the yet to be met Ben Hall. Loyalty to the telegraphs needed to be demonstrated for the gang to continue to receive relevant information from other bush telegraphs. Gilbert, O'Meally and Vane attempted a rescue of the rascals, although Vane's efforts were not as enthusiastic as the seasoned professionals Gilbert and John O'Meally. It is also quite possible that the coach was just a target of opportunity, as inferred by the handler of the horse team used to narrow the road and therefore, upon coming across the police on board the coach and on horseback, the meeting soon turned into a battle royal. In the hours before the Carcoar coach appeared Gilbert bailed up the horse team and its whip, a Mr. M'George who retold the encounter at John Vane's future hearing into bushranging and how O'Meally later reported as hit pulled the bullet from his clothing. 'Sydney Morning Herald', 12th January, 1864; John M'George, being sworn, said: "I am a bullock driver and reside at Colo; about the beginning of August last I was driving a horse team from Blayney to Carcoar, and when about a mile on the other side of the Five-mile Waterholes a young man rode up to me on a grey horse, who I believed to be Gilbert; he asked me if the coach had passed, and I replied I had not seen it; he said "You stop there till it does come;" the coach then came along, and he galloped up to it and told the driver to stand; two other men then came out of the bush, and they all fired at the coach; two of the men then rode away and one of the police, on horseback followed them; Gilbert came back round by the coach again, and met the policeman coming back and chased him towards the coach, two of the men kept about the place, but I did not see the third until afterwards, one of them got off his horse and picked up a revolver and said it was a pretty thing to ride forty miles for; they asked me how many police there were, and I said four, they said they did not expect any would have been there, but that they could stick the coach up easily; one of them pulled a bullet out of his trousers and shewed me, saying it was a nigh go; they talked with me a little while and then went away; the prisoner Vane was one of the three men and was riding a grey horse; I had known Vane six or seven years and cannot he mistaken as to his identity; he had a double barreled gun, and said he had fired two shots; one of the men asked me whether any of the police had been shot, I said yes, the one on horseback; he said he knew-well he was shot; I made a statement before the Police Magistrate at Carcoar on the same day that the occurrence took place; the statement produced bears my signature."

The article below shows how close the three came to another murder this time a police constable named Sutton, who escaped with his life after bravely confronting the bushrangers, the report is from the 'The Sydney Morning Herald', dated 11th August, 1863;


Superintendent Morrisset
 c. 1860
DESPERATE AFFRAY WITH BUSHRANGERS. - (From the Bathurst Times of Saturday 8th August 1863.) "On Thursday afternoon, one of the most daring outrages that have yet been committed by the scoundrels who infest our highways, was perpetrated within four miles of Carcoar, close to the Waterholes. By the mail, which left Carcoar at mid-day, three prisoners, named Thomas Morris, Charles Green, and James Burke, were conveyed under the custody of Superintendent Morrisset and constables Grainger, Merrin, and Sutton. The prisoners are supposed to be bush telegraphs, and it was to rescue them that the attack we are about to chronicle was made. There was, by-the-way, a lady passenger, who sat on the box between the driver and Mr. Morrisset. In the interior of the coach were constables Grainger and Merrin, whilst constable Sutton was on horse-back behind. On nearing the Waterholes, a dray was seen in the road a little ahead, and riding in the direction of the coach were three horsemen who, as they came close to, were recognised as Gilbert, O'Meally, and a man called Vane, whose brother is now in custody on a charge of robbery. The horses ridden by O'Meally and Gilbert were identified as those lately stolen from the stables of Mr. Icely. The bushrangers came galloping down upon the coach, and as they approached opened out, O'Meally coming in front of the horses, while Gilbert and Vane galloped to the sides. They shouted to the driver to "bail up," but he paid no attention to the command, and then coming up quite close to him, one of them threatened to blow his brains out if he did not stop. Mr. Morrisset ordered him to pull up, and passing the word to the men within, leapt from the box and took his station at the side of the coach. Constable Grainger and Merrin immediately followed his example. We have omitted to mention that, just as Mr. Morrisett jumped from his seat, O'Meally, who had levelled a piece at him, fired, and the bullet passed through the coach, making its entry at a point which the moment before had been covered by that gentleman's body. The prisoners inside jumped from their seats, and attempted to leap out of the coach, when Mr. Morrisset turned upon them, and ordered them to remain quiet, at the same time threatening to shoot the first man that stirred. A regular battle now ensued between the police and the bushrangers, who were armed with carbines. Vane it appears kept aloof, while Gilbert and O'Meally carried on the content. These two advanced and receded as they fired at the police, and it is said they exhibited extra ordinary expertness in the management of their horses -at times dropping at their sides, and then ducking down to the pommel, as they received and exchanged shots. O'Meally is said to have thrown his arms out, and swaying his body like a drunken man, called upon the police to "shoot at me now," " now try and hit me," &c, &c, whether their horses would not stand, fire, or whether it was a part of their tactics, it is hard to say, but they kept alternately advancing and retreating at full gallop, occasionally riding round the coach as they fired, always contriving to keep separate. Once, however, when they were both together, constable Sutton rode between them, and levelled his revolver at O'Meally; but the bushranger raised his carbine and fired before the other could pull his trigger, and the bullet entered at the man's elbow, traversed the arm, and came out at the collar-bone. His arm dropped, and the revolver fell out of his grasp. O'Meally seeing this, jumped from his horse, snatched up the revolver, and, waving it over his head, exclaimed, with an oath, if he got nothing else, he would have that. Throughout the attack, O'Meally is described as giving vent to the most frightful oaths and imprecations. A shot at last took effect upon Gilbert's horse, the animal, it is thought, being struck between the saddle and the hip. They of a sudden ceased firing, and Gilbert, whose horse was getting unmanageable, rode down upon the coach, and said that but for their ammunition getting short they would "follow them to hell" and fight it out. However, foiled in their enterprise, they rode off, when attention was directed to the lady, who had fainted, but happily suffered no other injury. Constable Sutton's wound appeared to be very dangerous, but after recovering from the first faintness he decided upon riding as far as Blayney, where he stopped. From thence the coach made all speed into Bathurst, where the services of Dr. Machattie were at once secured for the sufferer Sutton, to whose relief he at once started. Having deposited his prisoners in the lock-up, Superintendent Morrisset, with fresh men, immediately started in pursuit, and we trust has been able to come up with his assailants. At ten o'clock last night, we learned from Dr. Machattie, that, he, with Mr. West, had brought Sutton into Bathurst and said his patient was progressing favourably. Yesterday the three prisoners, were brought up at the Police Court before Dr. Palmer, P.M., and remanded for three days."

Constable Sutton c. 1865
Courtesy Craig Bratby.
From Bathurst, Superintendent Morrisset sent this urgent telegram to the Inspector General as follows; Bathurst, August 6, 1863, 8.15, "From Superintendent Morrisset". "I have just returned to Bathurst per coach, with three prisoners whom I arrested for being accessories to all the robberies that have lately taken place about Carcoar. About three miles this side of Carcoar an attempt was made by Johnny Gilbert, Johnny O' Mealy, and John Vane, to rescue our prisoners. The bushrangers galloped up to the coach, armed with double-barrelled guns and revolvers, and ordered us to stop. I told the coachman to pull up and then jumped from the coach, followed by the constables. We immediately fired, and the bushrangers discharged their guns at us. Mounted constable Sutton, who was riding up, horse behind the coach, was shot through the arm, the bullet coming out at his chest. We left him at King's Plains, the bushrangers would not come a second time but followed us for a mile. I shot one of their horses through the ribs, but he carried his rider away. O'Meally and Vane were riding the two horses lately stolen from Coombing stable I have a good deal to do tonight, and return with same party to Carcoar at day light tomorrow."
The link above shows the place were O'Meally, Gilbert and Vane attacked the Police as described above, filmed and narrated by Craig Bratby. (see link page for Craig's book on the life of John Vane.)
NSW Police Gazette,
August 1863.
Another of the police officers involved in the fracas in which Constable Sutton was wounded was Senior Sergeant Grainger who was seated with another constable, Trooper Merrin, in the coach as it was attacked on its way from Carcoar to Bathurst. It is also interesting to see that the female passenger caught up in the gunfight was none other Miss Flanagan who would have her own encounter with the gang in September, 1863, when they hold a party at Canowindra. The episode is described in the 'Sydney Morning Herald', 12th January, 1864; S. S. Grainger, being sworn, said: "I was on duty on the 6th August last escorting prisoners to Bathurst; about four miles from Carcoar I heard S. Merrin say, the coach is bailed up; I looked out and saw two men on horseback riding towards the coach; Superintendent Morrissett said, "Jump out of the coach;" we got out of the coach as quickly as possible, and when getting out I heard two or three shots fired; I ran towards the horses heads and fired at one of the men who was riding a grey horse; that man I believe was O'Meally; he was about thirty to fifty yards from the coach; he at once turned and rode up the hill; In a minute or two afterwards, I heard some shots fired in the direction O'Meally had gone, and then saw constable Sutton riding towards the coach, he was pursued by the man I had previously fired at; Sutton rode up to the coach, and the other man rode past the horses, about thirty yards away; I then fired at him with my revolver; I had seen O'Meally before, and believed he was the man I fired at. I did not see the man who was riding the bay horse; when Sutton came back he appeared faint, and he told me he was shot in the arm; Sutton afterwards got into the coach, and we left him at Blayney, while we came on to Bathurst with the prisoners; I do not recognise the prisoner Vane as one of the party; I believe one of the horses ridden by the bushrangers was Mr. lceley's property, I had seen it before; the prisoners wanted to get way, and I heard the superintendent say If they attempted to do so he would shoot them. There was a lady passenger, Miss Flanagan, from near Cowra, and she displayed great coolness. Two of the prisoners in the coach turned sick with fright, but the third, a man named Burke, enjoyed the episode."

In January 1864, constable Sutton recounted his near fatal wounding and encounter with O'Meally, Gilbert and John Vane. 'Sydney Morning Herald', 12th January, 1864; S. C. Sutton, being sworn, said: "I recollect being on duty on the 6th of August last, in company with the last witnesses; I was riding behind the coach on the superintendent's horse; when about four miles from Carcoar, two mounted men rode out from the bush and shouted to the coachman to pull up, nearly at the same time firing two shots out of two double-barreled guns; the superintendent ordered the coachman to pull up; the men shouted out, "There is a bl--dy lot of traps;'' the superintendent jumped off the coach, and O'Meally, as I believe, fired at him with a revolver; O'Meally then rode in the direction of where a dray was bailed up; the man on the dark horse rode into the bush and I followed him a quarter of a mile, and as I was chasing him he fired six shots at me; I fired one at him, but we were riding too fast, and the distance was too great to hit him; as I was nearing him, O'Meally came up and fired at me, the shot striking me on the breast; O'Meally fired a second shot at me, which cut the string by which my hat was secured to my head; they followed then for about two hundred yards, firing at me; on riding towards the road, I saw a third man on a grey horse coming towards me; that man was the prisoner Vane; he had a revolver in his hand; I turned my horse round to make the best of my way back to the coach; the prisoner said "Now you bas---d I have got you;" I rode towards the coach, and the bushrangers were on the hill, about three hundred or four hundred yards away; they were shouting, "You bas---ds, if we had ammunition we would follow you to hell;" Vane was riding a horse belonging to the police; I knew it was Mr. Sub-inspector Davidson's horse which had been stolen from Coombing; I have no doubt as to the identity of the prisoner; after I was wounded Dr. Rowland, of Carcoar, and Dr. Machattie attended me, the wound was in the breast and the ball came out through the arm; I was laid up for four months from the wound, and am still suffering occasionally from the same cause."

On the morning of the 30th August 1863, as a new day dawned, John O'Meally and John Vane, who on the evening before had held up and robbed 'Demondrille Station', in company with Ben Hall, Gilbert, and Burke, and who after the robbery had separated from the main gang, arrived at the hut of known harbourers the Tootle's and where the two bushrangers stayed the night prior to what would become a fateful day for John O'Meally, when just before daybreak four troopers and the manager of Demondrille Station, Mr Edmonds arrived at the Tootle's hut after information had reached them at Murrumburrah’s new police station. As the police approached the hut the alarm was sounded by the barking of dogs catching Vane and O'Meally by surprise, and like a scene from the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, John Vane and John O'Meally cornered, burst out the door firing at the startled troopers to affect their escape, wounding Constable Houghey in the knee and shooting three horse in the melee, John Vane in his narrative describes the scene;Vane op.cit. "...the police called on us to come out, and as we made no sign they poured a regular storm of bullets into the slab walls, fortunately without doing any damage... O'Meally and I took a revolver in each hand and suddenly throwing open the door we sent out a blaze of fire, discharging our revolvers simultaneously, and rushed out while the smoke filled the doorway. I heard one of the policemen call out "I'm shot, but look after their horses."

At the trial of the harbourers some weeks after the gunfight Constable's Churchman and Houghey recounted the affair in court; Edward Churchman, who deposed: "I am a mounted constable; on the 30th August I was at Tootle’s hut, two miles from Demondrille ; I went with Senior-constable Houghey and two others; when we were five or six yards from the hut we saw three or four horses tied to a tree; we proceeded to the hut; when I came to the front door I saw a man put his face out of the door; I called out to him to stand; he did not stand; he withdrew his head and instantly two shots were fired... it was a quarter past five in the morning; the moon had just gone down; it was near daybreak; the door was not completely shut; my horse was wounded and has since died; I returned the fire; they commenced firing in all directions from the hut, firing on both sides continued for five minutes; one or two horses and senior constable Houghey were wounded; two men came out of the hut and one fired at us; one got on one of the horses; the other escaped on foot; we pursued them; we returned in a quarter of an hour..., twenty or thirty shots were fired from inside the hut..., I believe the man supposed to be O'Meally had a revolver; he fired at me as he went across the paddock; I don't know whether the other man had a revolver or not."²⁰

Thomas Houghey, who appeared on crutches and who was accommodated with a chair deposed: "I am senior-constable stationed at Murrumburrah; on the 30th August I was out on duty with Senior-constable Pentland and Constables Churchman and Keene; went to Tootles' hut; we saw four horses hung up; I called out to Gilbert and O'Meally to surrender; the door opened; I saw young Tootles and prisoner; Tootles was discharged; two shots were immediately fired; the shots came from the chimney; I was wounded in the right knee in the second volley which was fired from the back of the hut; Pentland was with me; I think there were more than two shots fired together at the time I was wounded; I have had some experience; I was in the Irish police; three horses were wounded; we got there about five o'clock; it was the darkest time of the morning; the firing did not continue at the hut more than two minutes; I followed one of the prisoners; he left his horse at the fence and got away; I found the blood running down my leg, and could not overtake him; I returned to the hut; young Tootles said to Churchman that he would not let him search the house without a warrant; I arrested him and prisoner; I won't swear positively, but believe prisoner to be one of the men I saw at the door; I can't say how many shots were fired from the hut; I think about twenty; they were cracking very quick; Mr. Edmonds was with us, and identified some property found in the hut."²¹ Tootle's was acquitted but his companion George Slater was convicted and sentenced to five years’ hard labour.

O'Meally and Vane effected their escape from the troopers and arrived at the hut of Mr. James Brown who recounted as follows; "...two men came to my hut, which lies a little off the road leading from Murrumburrah to Cootamundry, and told my wife to get them something to eat which she did when I came in they demanded my hat, which I gave them on seeing they were armed with revolvers; they then demanded my boots, but they would not fit them they tried on two pairs; they were both too small; one of them was going to cut them, the other said "don't, we'll get plenty up at Mr. MacKay’s at this moment two men rode along the road, a short distance off; they said we'll go and stop them and we'll get a saddle from them; I observed when they came they had two horses but only one saddle, and a rug and surcingle on the other horse; they then left my hut (having only taken my hat) in pursuit of the two men."²² The two unsuspecting men where Mr Barnes aged 51 and an employee Mr. Hanlon...

Later that day of the 30th August 1863, John O’Meally, seeing the two riders jumped on one of the horses the two bushrangers had and galloped over too and bailed up businessman John Barnes and his employee Mr. Hanlon near Wallendbeen station, Mr Barnes owned stores in the towns of Cootamundra and Murrumburrah. On leaving Browns hut, O’Meally called on Mr. Barnes to stop and surrender to him his saddle and bridle which O'Meally required after losing his in the recent skirmish with police. Mr Barnes without warning put the spurs to his horse and galloped away. As Mr. Barnes fled, John Vane who was with O'Meally covered Mr Barnes' employee Mr Hanlow with his revolver leaving O’Meally to pursue the brave Mr Barnes, O'Meally at full gallop took aim fired a number of shots some of which took effect in the back of the fellow and as Mr. Barnes entered the grounds of Wallendbeen station fell from his horse and in great agony sighed a last breath and died. (see article below for full account.) There has been some confusion by various sources over whether or not it was actually Gilbert with O'Meally and not Vane present when Mr. Barnes was murdered, but this is not the case, Vane was the other bushranger present, evidence points to the reason the Brown's boots didn't fit, was that Vane was too big at almost 6ft, whereas Gilbert was more shorter to the height of Brown, another point is that Gilbert would have made himself known at McKay's through his own ego and notoriety and not slinked in the background so as not to be identified. Also, Vane describes the escape from Houghey verbatim.

Barnes family arrival 1841.
Note: John Barnes was born at Bletsoe, Bedfordshire, England on 27th June, 1812. John Barnes married Elizabeth Ellen King at St Antholin, Budge Row, City of London on the 16th June 1833. The family resided in London prior to leaving for Sydney in 1839 where they had conducted business at cnr Wood/Bread street, Cheapside, London, arriving at Port Jackson on the 5th April 1841 as free settlers onboard the ship Abbotsford, 407 tonnes, Master Hicks in command. On establishing his residence at Concord, John Barnes became a merchant and held a number of businesses first at Concord then George St, Sydney and later Crown St, Darlinghurst. Gold discoveries in Victoria saw the Barnes family make the move to Victoria in 1855 where they remained for 4 years, returning to Sydney in 1859, on their return the family then moved in 1860 to Murrumburrah, close to the newly discovered goldfield at Lambing Flat, where Barnes opened a store in 1860 to service the diggers en route to the goldfield, the merchant store was on the corner of Albury and Bathurst Streets. The success of this business enabled Barnes in conjunction with his sons to open a store at Cootumundry to service those diggers coming from Victoria. John Barnes' stores would be robbed by Ben Hall and Gilbert a number of times, as the bushrangers committed their depredations in the area of the goldfield, culminating in John Barnes' cold blooded murder by gang member John O'Meally.
The true account of the death of Mr. Barnes, murdered
by John O'Meally with John Vane present.
This appeared in the 'Sydney Mail', 5th September, 1863;"...have just seen a young man from M'Kay's station, who states that Mr. Barnes, of Murrumburrah, was on his way to Cootamundra, on Sunday, accompanied by another man, and, when near M'Kay's house, was stopped by O'Meally and another, and ordered to dismount and give his saddle and bridle; instead of complying he galloped off towards Mackay's house, followed by O'Meally, who fired at him and shot him under the shoulder, and he then fell heavily from his horse, smashing his forehead."

As O'Meally rode into the Station searching for Barnes, he learnt that Barnes was dead, O'Meally said"...I am sorry for it; it was his own fault---he ought to have stood, and he would not have been shot."²³ Subsequently, at the Coroner's inquest into Mr. Barnes' death it was reported in the 'Empire' 21st September 1863, that the jury found; "The Coroner of Young held an inquest on the body of Mr. Barnes, the storekeeper who was shot by O'Meally for refusing to submit to be robbed. The unfortunate man had three bullets in his body. The jury returned a verdict of wilful murder against O'Meally."²⁴ 

Note: In John Vanes' auto biography, Vane conveniently excludes himself from the Barnes killing, concocting a yarn that Gilbert was the other person involved, yet the day prior to Mr Barnes' death, Vane describes he and O'Meally's narrow escape from police where they lost equipment in their escape, see page 103, John Vane's Biography "In a tight corner', on links page.


In September of 1863 as John O'Meally in the company of John Vane was conducting outrages at will between Yass and Young, and was noted that O'Meally stated on 12th September 1863, on the killing of Barnes;  'The Newcastle Chronicle and Hunter River District News', Wednesday 7th October 1863. YASS. "O'Meally, the bushranger, has been seen in the vicinity of Yass. He says Mr. Barnes would not have been shot had he given up the saddle which was wanted. He has vowed vengeance against parties who have done him injury."

However, vengeance against his own family was soon carried out and following a two month notice for Patrick O'Meally to vacate Arramagong Station, the police took action against his family, although the O'Meally's had no ownership in Arramagong since mid-1862, the family still resided on the property and the police under the Lands Act of April 1863, saw them face the same punishment as Ben Hall and burned them out under the pretext of illegal squatters; 'Sydney Morning Herald', 14th September, 1863; BURNING OF OLD O'MEALLY'S HOUSE. "The day before yesterday (September 14) a party of police, headed by a sub-inspector, surrounded Patrick O'Meally's ex-public-house in the Weddin Mountains; they searched the house for bushrangers, but found none. The officer told O'Meally to clear himself, family, and chattels out of the house, as he was going to burn it down; but the old man refused to budge an inch, saying, "the police have often threatened to burn us out, but they have never done it yet, and I don't believe ever will." Whereupon the sub inspector took from the hearth a firestick, went outside, and instantly commenced the work of destruction; and in a very short-time naught remained of the once substantial inn but a heap of charcoal and smoking embers. This O'Meally is the father of the notorious (not celebrated, as he is sometimes called) Johnny O'Meally. The old man and a portion of his family are now living in a tent contiguous to their late homestead. Setting aside the legality (?) I mush question the good policy of the above proceeding, as within the last two years several bad characters have been captured at O'Meally's; therefore, this burning down looks like destroying the trap that ensnared the vermin. Such Culverhouse acts will never stop bushranging; they are more likely to increase it, as in the case of Ben Hall, who was rendered the desperate outlaw he now is principally through the police burning down his once comfortable homestead, and thrusting his wife and family into the shelterless bush. At least one of the victims in Hall's case must have been innocent, for it was an infant at the breast. But acts of indiscriminate harshness have been, and always will be the distinguishing characteristic of a weak government. People around here say that as some police inspectors find themselves incompetent to take the leading bushranger, they vent their disappointment and rage upon the robber’s relatives, i.e., by rendering houseless their aged parents, wives, and children. Such retaliation indeed smacks of the medieval ages, and is unworthy of the enlightened nineteenth century. An error crept into my communication of the 10th instant, about the re-taking of Jamieson; however, I was right in stating that Sir Frederick Pottinger escorted on the 9th instant the bushranger Jamieson through Marengo; but the officer who re-arrested the supposed robber was Sub-inspector Roberts-who who has since thrust the firebrand into O’Meally’s house." This event carried out against John O'Meally's family may have tipped the scales for O'Meally to grasp his revolver firmly in what would now become a war against all when next in company with Ben Hall, Gilbert and Vane with Mickey Burke the gang captured three constables and treated them with contemptible ridicule as reported in the 'Goulburn Herald', 24th September, 1863; BATHURST CAPTURE of THREE TROOPERS BY BUSHRANGERS.-"Gilbert, O'Meally, Ben Hall, Burke, and Vane, stuck up three troopers on Tuesday afternoon, at George Marsh's on Mount Macquarie, near Carcoar, and took from them their arms and accoutrement's. The bushrangers tied the troopers to a fence, stripped off their jackets, and put them on in derision. After keeping them for two hours they returned their clothing and permitted them to go. These troopers had been sent out specially to capture bushrangers. The government, on receiving information, immediately forwarded a message requiring an explanation, and we are informed that the answer received was, that at the time the police were captured they were engaged catching a horse on a station near Carcoar, and that they were attacked when separated from each other, and thus taken at a disadvantage."

After the taking of the three troopers at Marsh's farm and with complete embarrassment the NSW Government demanded an explanation from the Officer incharge of the police for the district of Carcoar, Superintendent Morrisset, into how three troopers could be captured and relieved of all their weapons and equipment by bushrangers. Upon receiving the demands of the Government, Superintendent Morrisset fired off several telegrams in response and received telegrams over the serious injury brought to the NSW police reputation and Colonial Secretary. In the 'Sydney Mail' 7th November, 1863, Superintendent Morrisset's and the Colonial Secretary's telegrams over the Marsh episode came to light. Here Morrisset in his response points out the difficulties with the local populace in obtaining information and of the willingness of those citizens in harbouring the bushrangers.

To the Editors of the Herald. Sir, —Having received permission from the Government, may I ask the favour of your inserting the following telegrams, in refutation of the slanders which have lately been so freely circulated, —that I had, in a communication to the late Colonial Secretary, Mr. Cowper, stated the un-willingness of the police in my district to ''risk" their lives in endeavouring to capture Gilbert and his gang.
I have the honour to be, Sir, your obedient servant,
E. V. MORISSET,
Superintendent of Police, Western District.

1. Bathurst, September 23, 1863.
To the Inspector-General of Police, Tumut, and the Secretary of Police, Sydney.
Information has just reached me from Carcoar that Gilbert, O'Mealley, Ben Hall, John Vane, and Mick Burke, yesterday, stuck up three mounted constables and took their arms from them, near Carcoar. The constables were not together, and could not help themselves. Until Mr. Davidson returns from prisoner escort there are no more men here to send, he will be back to-night, and I will start with a party to-morrow morning. There are already two strong parties of police in the Carcoar district, but the bushrangers are kept well informed of their every movement. The bushrangers have now three breach-loading rifles and plenty of ammunition.
(Signed) E. V. Morisset, S. W. D. (Copy of Telegram)

2. September 23, 1863.
From: Secretary Police Department, Sydney, to Superintendent
Morrisset, Bathurst.
Have you names or further particulars respecting police stuck-up? Cannot you form a party to start with you at once. The most active measures should be promptly adopted.

3. Bathurst, 23rd September, 1863.
To the Secretary of Police, Sydney.
The names of the constables stuck up yesterday are Trumbull, Crummie, and Evenden. They were at a station when they received information that Burke's horse was loose in the bush close at hand, with a saddle on him. Constable Crummie, with Mr. Marsh, the owner of the station, went to get him in, they were absent a short time, when Trumbull heard a couple of shots, and went to see what it was. He had only just left the house, when he saw a party of five men riding towards him, whom be took from their appointments, &c, to be police; he rode up to them, and was immediately surrounded by the bushrangers, and dispossessed of his arms; they then rode up to the house, and took the other constable prisoner. Crummie and Mr. Marsh had, in the meantime, been tied up in the bush. Had it been possible to form a party I should have left when I heard of it. There are no mounted men now in Bathurst, but those in from out-stations to give evidence at the Quarter Sessions now sitting, One, if not both of the parties of police, near Carcoar, are sure to hear of it before I could get there, and as the bushrangers are not likely to remain in the same place, nothing could be gained by my starting away without some assistance.
(Signed) E. V. Morisset. S. W. D. (Copy of Telegram)

4. 23rd September, 1863.
From: The Colonial Secretary, Sydney, to Superintendent
Morisset, Bathurst.
The conduct of the three Constables in allowing their arms to be taken from them in the manner described seems unpardonable. It is such negligence and disgraceful behaviour as this which is rendering the police contemptible upon the back of so many other failures, the effect upon the public mind and the bushrangers will be most disastrous. I wait for further reports, and to know how you deal with the constables.
Bathurst, September 23, 1863.

To the Hon. the Colonial Secretary, Sydney.
I have just forwarded particulars to the Secretary of Police (per telegraph), concerning the three constables who were disarmed by bushrangers yesterday. Almost the whole country about Carcoar is on the side of the bushrangers, and every trap and scheme is laid to assist them and bewilder the police. I will send full particulars of this unlucky affair as soon as possible; but as far as I can see at present, unless the men had determined to sacrifice their lives they could not under the circumstances have acted otherwise.
 (Signed) E. V. Morisset, S. W. D.

At the time of the exchange the current Colonial Secretary, Mr. Cowper's days were numbered.


Nevertheless, the very next day O'Meally and his companions once more held up and this time destroyed the business of Mr Stanley Hosie at Caloola, as well as shooting dead some horses after being unable to catch them, as reported in the 'Sydney Morning Herald', 30th September, 1863; "...about five o'clock on Wednesday afternoon, Ben Hall, Gilbert, O'Meally, Burke, and Vane rode up to the stores of Mr. Hosie, at Caloola, and jumping off their horses surrounded the house. Three of them took up such a position as to command full range of the premises, while the other two entered the door. Mr. Hosie, who was in the shop, caught up a double-barrelled gun when he saw the men enter, under the impression that there were no other accomplices, and was about to raise it to his shoulder when he found that, besides the revolvers in the hands of the two ruffians, he was covered by the carbines of their three mates outside. Finding resistance useless, he threw the weapon down, when without more ado they handcuffed him with the handcuffs taken from the police the day before. Some of the party then went to a blacksmith living opposite, and handcuffed both him and his mate, and next paid a visit to the village shoemaker, and treated him in a similar manner. They then returned to the store, driving their captives before them. A scene now commenced such as our informant states he never saw equalled. Mr. Hosie's goods were thrown from the shelves, the whole store ransacked, and everything turned upside down—the bushrangers appropriating and putting on one side every article they took a fancy to, or which was of any value, and wilfully destroyed what was of no use to them—by this means completely gutting the store, and consummating the ruin of their hapless victim. They said they did this because he had dared to give information to the police when he was formerly robbed, and they threatened, if he breathed a word about the present transaction, to blow out his brains the next time they visited him. They packed their booty in three-bushel bags, and, proceeding to Mr. Larnach's paddock, which adjoined the store, endeavoured to capture some horses that were grazing in it. They managed to secure two (one belonging to Mr. Larnach and the other to Mr. Hosie), and being unable to catch the others, deliberately shot them. Returning to the store, they packed the goods they had selected upon the two horses and another they had brought with them, and then adjourned to a public-house, a short distance off, where they remained carousing till ten o'clock at night. We have omitted to mention that the scoundrels robbed the blacksmith of £1 in cash, a saddle and bridle, a ham, and some bacon. Information was brought into town on Thursday night that the five villains were camped within fifteen miles of Bathurst. Next; The Carcoar mail, with one passenger, was stuck up on Saturday by three men, supposed to be Gilbert, O'Meally, and Vane. The coachman was ordered to drive off the road, about 300 yards, to a camp of fourteen others who had been stuck up and kept as prisoners, of them a trooper. The Mail-bags were cut open and the contents rifled. After detaining their prisoners about two hours the bushrangers allowed them to depart, the bushrangers preceding the coach in the direction of Blaney when, as the coach came in sight of the town, the same party of robbers were met engaged in bailing up Mr. Beardmore, of Forbes."
O'Meallys Description June 1863.
On the 8th December 1863, Stanley Hosie at Vane's trial gave an account of the robbery of his store, which was the second robbery by Gilbert and O'Meally, from the 'Empire'; Stanley Hosie, being duly sworn said: "I am a storekeeper and reside at Caloola; I know the prisoner before the court; on the 23rd September last, he and four other bushrangers came to my store; I was sitting in the parlor writing; when I first saw them I thought they were police by their equipment; when I rose from my chair I recognised one of them whom I supposed to be O'Meally; I had been robbed on a previous occasion by the same man and Mickey Burke whom I know; when I saw they were bushrangers I seized the double barreled gun which I kept in the place; the doors were open and one of the men who I thought was Ben Hall, rushed into the store: I pushed the parlor door to, and he retreated; he was coming into the parlor when he retreated; Burke and Vane sat on their horses outside, pointing their guns at me through the window: the one I thought was O'Meally ran to the door, and ran in, with a revolver in his hand, which he presented at me; Hall was still in the store; O'Meally called on me to surrender, and I said that as there were five of them I would do so; I then gave up my gun to him; after that they took me into the stores and handcuffed me; some of the party went out, and returned with the blacksmith and his man, and the shoemaker and his man, who lived just opposite; they were handcuffed in couples and brought into the store; the bushrangers then fastened their horses to the post in front of the store, and fed them with corn from my stock; they then ransacked the place, pulling the store goods down and selecting what they thought proper; Gilbert and O'Meally came into the parlor searching for money; they took about 15s. from the cash-box; O'Meally took half-sovereign from my pocket but left me what silver I had; Gilbert afterwards searched me and took the silver O'Meally had left in my pocket; the men then selected six three bushel bags and filled them with store goods; there was a horse of mine just outside the door, the prisoner ran him in and caught him and put my bridle and saddle on him; they also caught another horse and took a saddle from the blacksmith and put on it; they had a led horse with them when they came to the store; they tied the sacks together and slung, two over each of the three horses; they then released us from the handcuffs and went away, saying they would watch me, and if I went for the police that night they would shoot me; they said they had come the second time to, rob me because I had informed the police the first time; Hall took possession of my gun and they took several articles from me besides store property; they went into the bedroom and took some of my wife’s brooches and trinkets; they also took some silk handkerchiefs from the drawers and some pillow-cases to put sugar in."


Illustration of Loudon
hold-up, Grubbenbong
Station.

Courtesy NLA.
The Bushrangers after departing Caloola, then appeared at nearby Mr Loudon's Station Grubbenbong; "News has just reached here that Gilbert, O'Meally, Ben Hall, Burke, and Vane have stuck up that the residence of Mr. John Loudon, at Grubbenbong, fourteen miles from here, had been stuck up about eleven o clock on the night previous, by Ben Hall, O'Meally, Gilbert, Vane, and Burke, who made up to the house and knocked at the door. Upon Mrs Loudon inquiring who was there, they answered "Police." Mr Loudon then inquired who was their officer-when they answered Saunderson. "Mr. Loudon told them that he would not admit them, and the words were no sooner spoken when a piece was fired, sending six slugs through the door into the passage. The door being unpanelled the bushrangers immediately entered, and having bailed up Messrs. Loudon, Kirkpatrick, and Wilson, putting handcuffs on them, they ordered Mrs Loudon and her niece into another room. They then commenced ransacking the place, and searching the men, taking what they pleased. They demanded some supper, and Mrs. Loudon ordered some ham and eggs to be cooked for them, apologising for not having something better to offer them. However, they did ample justice to what was laid before them, ordering, as an additional zest, some wine, which was at once brought them. During the whole of this time the gentlemen were in the verandah handcuffed. After supper they had a smoke, Gilbert proposing to go outside as the smoke might be annoying to the ladies. After staying three hours (till two o'clock am.) they took their departure; but before doing so all, except Vane, returned what they had previously taken in the shape of jewellery and trinkets.

William Rothery.
Courtesy NLA.
The next night O'Meally and gang arrived at Mr Rothery's station; "On Saturday the five notorious bushrangers, Gilbert, Ben Hall, Burke, Vane, and O'Meally, visited Mr. Rothery's establishment at Limestone Creek, on Saturday, at eleven am., where they bailed up the inmates, and partook of dinner—regaling themselves with champagne and brandy. After which, Burke remained in charge, while the others went into the paddock to inspect and try the horses. Having selected three to suit them, and a saddle or two, they remained until two p.m. During the inspection of the horses, Burke showed a revolver and a breech-loading rifle, which he "took from one of the b———y traps at George Marsh's." They informed Mr. Rothery that they proposed visiting Canowindra and Bungaroo, where they expected to find Mr. T. R. Icely, whom they intended to serve out for being so officious. However, Mr. Icely arrived at Coombing all right on Sunday evening, being fortunate in having missed them on the road. They rode on to Canowindra for the first of two visits; On Gilbert and staff arriving at Canowindra, they bailed up the stores of Messrs. Pierce and Hilliar, where they took £3 in money and about £30 worth of goods, recounting, at the same time, some of their former exploits with enthusiasm. The next amusement was to visit the inns of the place. At Daley's they did not do anything worthy of notice; but at Mr. Robinson's they had quite a jollification—there being a piano, dancing was kept up until morning was far advanced. They paid for everything they had, except a valuable horse which the service required. Burke being quite overpowered, had to be roused with some force at 8 a.m., to take the line of march ordered by his Commander."²⁵


Cliefden. c. 1900
Courtesy NLA.
In response to the audacious robberies of the Bushrangers, this was written of the police effort, by a reporter of the above events and of the failures of the police to date; “I would now say something about the police:-"Information reached Number One Swamp of the sticking-up of Rothery's and the bushrangers going on to Canowindra, about five o'clock on Saturday evening. Mr Superintendent Morrisett immediately dispatched five troopers to Canowindra ordering them to call at Cliefden on their way up. Instead of proceeding direct, they first came to Carcoar, which they did not leave till nine o'clock p.m. Previous to their departure, they, however, received information that left very little doubt as to the bushrangers being at Canowindra. Now, giving them seven hours to get to   Canowindra-thirty-two miles-they ought to have reached there at four o'clock a.m., where they would have had a good chance of taking the bushrangers, but, from some cause they did not arrive at Canowindra till eleven o'clock—three hours after the bushrangers had left—thus taking fourteen hours to travel thirty-two miles! It is proved beyond a doubt, that when the bushrangers left Mr. Rothery's they kept the road the whole distance, meeting carriers and others. The police could have heard, and no doubt did hear, from the teamsters camped on the road, that the bushrangers had passed in the direction of Canowindra, and their failing to reach that place, goes to prove what Gilbert said about them that they have not "the pluck" to meet them. This, however, is not the opinion of Gilbert only, but the police believe the same thing. Certainly these five troopers should be called to account by Mr Morrisett, who to a certain extent is held responsible for the conduct or misconduct of his men. Then again we hear that a magistrate and his stockman were going into Canowindra about ten o'clock on Saturday evening when he heard that the bushrangers were at Johnson's Inn. Much to his praise he rode to the first police station, Cowra, about eighteen miles off, reaching there about twelve o’clock, and found two troopers in the barracks. He informed them of what was going on at Canowindra, and directed them to proceed there, but they refused to go, saying "two were of no use" Consequently, they could be seen the next morning turning out with polished boots, calculating, it is presumed, when the aberrants would be up, so that they might fill in their pay. Such is the state of the police system, that these same two troopers are sent down with, and to deliver, Mr Icely's horse while the mail coach comes down unprotected.”²⁶
   
Painting by
 Patrick William Marony
 (1858-1939)

Courtesy NLA.
As a member of the Hall gang, O'Meally would also participate in the second raid on Canowindra, where O'Meally was described by those at the fun filled three day event;[sic]"O'Meally is said by everyone to be a murderous-looking scoundrel", as well as a daring raid on the town of Bathurst, a brief account was reported in the 'Empire'"...the excitement caused in Bathurst on the 3rd instant was very great when it became known in that town that the bushrangers had become so emboldened as to enter it. They first went to the shop of Mr. McMinn’s watch maker, but got no booty. They then fired a revolver in the street, and went to the shop of Mr. De Clouett, from whom, they look £10 in money and two watches, the rascals brought with them the horses they had stolen from Mr. Surveyor Machattie and his son, and left them outside the town. The police immediately started in pursuit, but failed to overtake them, next day they paid a visit to Mr Bartior, and took two horses from Mr Mackie. On the 6th, Bathurst was thrown into a state of excitement on learning that a horseman had galloped into town from the Vale Creek, about a mile and a half distant, with intelligence that the bushrangers had made an attack upon Mrs. Mutton's house, and had proceeded in the direction of Mr. Heliman's. Five troopers jumped onto their saddles in pursuit of the bushrangers, but were unable to catch them."²⁷


In 1912, John Harper, a witness to the gang's appearance on the Vale road after the Bathurst raid, reminisced about the excitement of the day and recounted it in the 'The Bathurst Times', that event as follows; "...at the time of the raid upon Bathurst I was keeping a butcher's shop on the Vale Road, near the Hen and Chickens Hotel. I had received information from a very reliable source three days before that 'the boys' were to pay a visit, so assured was I regarding it that I took my informant's advice, and all that afternoon drove into Bathurst with what cash and jewellery I and my wife possessed, the landlady of the Hen and Chickens (Mrs. Butler) doing like wise. Well, I drove home again in the evening, arriving about six o'clock, here were also with me in the house my wife and young daughter and Miss May Melville a young lady visitor from Windsor, Harper then accosted one of the invaders at his home on the Vale Road by asking, "Well, what's for you, my boy." Then Harper goes on to say: He replied: "Is that you, Mr Harper?"- "Yes; what do you want?" "Come over the road; Johnny sent me over for you." I started to walk over with him, when I stopped, and said: hold on, Ben; I am going to tell my wife, for I would not have any of you chaps go in without warning her first. It would frighten her to death. So we walked back, and after Ben had said to her and Miss Melville that they would not be molested, we went over to the hotel. The candle was still burning brightly in the middle of the road.
Video of the Vale Road outside Bathurst, filmed by Craig Bratby.
We walked into the bar, where Gilbert, Vane and O'Malley had eight or nine persons bailed up round the bar. Burke was outside with the horses as I went in. Gilbert came up to me, and, putting his hand in my vest pocket, wanted to know where my watch was. "Oh, she at home over the way, and watches me pretty closely sometimes." he laughed at the joke, and then went through the others. Gilbert then went into Mrs Butler's bedroom just off the bar, and called to her to come and unlock the drawers. "No, indeed! she said; "I am not coming in there with you—unless Mr. Harper comes too, ’Oh,' said Gilbert; he can come if he likes. I went in, and Mrs. Butler unlocked the drawers.  He turned everything over, looking for cash, but found nothing but wearing apparel, he seemed a bit disappointed, and asked: "Have you no notes or gold in the place?" "Well," said Mrs. Butler, "I would be a flat to keep a lot of cash for you to come and take." We returned to the bar, and he pulled out the till, which contained about 15/s, at the same time saying: "Here! I am going to shout for all hands with this," asking all round what they'd have. As each one named his drink Gilbert called Mrs. Butler to serve it. "No, indeed, I will not," she replied. "You are the bar man; serve them yourself." After we had finished the drinks I walked over home. When I went in O'Meally was sitting in my wife's rocking chair, quite unconcerned, telling them about the exploits of the gang. After talking with them awhile he, walked across to the hotel. On leaving my house O'Meally wished my wife and Miss Melville good-night, at the same time doffing his straw hat. As we went into the bar Gilbert was asking the ostler what sort of horses were in the stables. Going to the door Gilbert took the lantern to view the horses. When walking up to a fine looking colt just being broken in the ostler, grabbed him by the shoulder, exclaiming "Don't go near that brute; he'll kick your brains out." He had hardly said the words when the horse lashed out, kicking, a couple of slabs out of the walls of the stable. Coming up to the next one—a fine bay horse belonging to a man who had put up for the night on his way from Bathurst to Trunkey Creek goldfield he ordered the ostler to take him round to the front. When we got round all the men that had been in the bar were standing outside, among them the horse's owner (a German). On seeing his horse, he wanted to know what they were going to do with him. "Oh," said Gilbert, "I only just want the lend of him till morning; I'll send him back to-morrow." Of course we all laughed at the idea of him sending the horse back. "Now, don't forget to send him back early, as I want, to get home tomorrow," said the owner. (Six months after he had not seen his horse.) Well, after packing this horse with goods—such as tea, sugar, rice, tinned fish, clothing, etc.— which they had taken from McDramed's store, they had another shout, took a bottle of gin off the shelf, wished us good-night, and started to go. They had not gone far when one of them turned back and asked us to hand up three loaves of bread tied up in a bundle handkerchief, which they had left on a cask standing at the door." 


On the occasion of the second raid on Canowindra the five bushrangers held the town for three days and created a carnival atmosphere for the inhabitants, this was stated in the 'Empire', 20th October 1863;- CANOWINDRA HELD BY THE BUSHRANGERS FOR THREE DAYS-  “Yesterday, news reached Bathurst that Gilbert and his gang had paid another visit to Canowindra, and investing the town, had held it against all comers for three days and nights their proceedings being characterised by a cool audacity, which has hitherto been unequalled. The tragedy of bushranging is a thing of the past, it is now such a familiar every day matter that it has become a broad farce.

From what we learn, the bushrangers made their appearance late on Sunday night, or early on Monday morning, paying a visit to Mr Robinson's hotel, and taking from him about £3. After this the farce commenced, some of the gang were placed so as to guard the approaches to the town, and everyone who made his appearance was taken into custody and brought to the hotel, where he was told he must remain, but that he might call for whatever he liked at the bushranger’s expense. No restraint was imposed upon them other than that they were ordered not to quit the town the bushrangers amusing themselves in a variety of ways, holding a robber’s jubilee. On Tuesday morning at ten o'clock, Messrs Hibberson, Twaddell, and Kirkpatrick drove up to Robinson's, where Ben Hall informed them that he was sorry to inconvenience them, but they really could not be permitted to proceed on their journey, and he must therefore trouble them to leave their vehicle and put up for a while. On getting out O'Meally, who was present, saw a revolver in Mr Kirkpatrick's possession and presenting one of his own weapons at that gentleman's head, he compelled him to give it up, remarking that they did not require it, but as it might be used against them it was as well to take the precaution of keeping it out of harm's way. He promised, however, to leave it at Mr Loudon's residence at Grubbenbong, as they intended to pay him another visit before long. This, and the robbery of the £3 already mentioned, were the only items of violence committed during their stay. A first class dinner was ordered for the three gentlemen, and the cost of this as well as everything else called for, was defrayed by the gang.

Every dray and team that passed was stopped, and the men belonging to them were lodged, fed, and supplied with drink, free of expense. There were twelve or fourteen drays drawn up in a line, and not the slightest attempt was made to interfere with the loading they contained. Bundles of cigars, purchased by Gilbert, as required, were thrown loosely on one of the tables in the public-house, for all who cared about smoking them, and a huge pile of sweetmeats was also provided to suit the taste of others. Everyone was empowered to call for what he liked, but the bushrangers drank nothing but bottled ale and porter, the corks of which they insisted upon having drawn in their presence. Great festivities were kept up, and from the description given of the gang, they entertained not the slightest apprehension of being disturbed, and did not seem to think that they were incurring any risk. Amongst a variety or amusements, shooting at a target seemed to be the favourite, and nothing occurred to mar the revels, except the accidental dropping of a carbine, which went off and sent its contents flying past O'Meally's legs. To some of the residents in the neighbourhood who desired to visit their homes, leave of absence of an hour's duration was granted, passes, being given to them, duly signed, in one or two instances, where the time allowed was exceeded by the pass holder Ben Hall went after them, but on meeting the individuals returning, he contented himself with admonishing them for their transgression.

On one occasion, Ben Hall said he must go and look after the policeman, and getting on his horse he rode to the barracks, where it seems a constable is stationed, and ordering the man to fix the bayonet to his gun, and place his revolver in his waist, he drove him before his horse down to the hotel, where the others amused themselves with him for a little time, and taking his arms way, told him to go in and enjoy himself till he received further orders. There were about forty persons detained altogether, and the reason given for adopting this course was that they had a number of scouts out, who they were desirous should return before any one left the town, they recounted several of their exploits, and expressed a lively contempt for policemen generally, and their officers in particular, saying that when the police came all they had to do was to ride away.

It is said that Messrs Hibberson, Twaddell, and Kilpatrick, were anxious to resume their journey, and, upon representing to Hall the fact that the river was   rising, and unless they were allowed to go at once they might be detained for days before they could cross, they were allowed to take their departure at four o'clock in the afternoon.

The same night the ruffians stuck-up Mr Grant's place on the Belubula, and burnt it down, to wreak their vengeance on the owner who had dared, on a former occasion, to give information to the police. They said they were overlooking him when he was directing the police, and saw him point out their tracks. We are told that information of the Canowindra business reached the inspector General on Thursday, but the matter was looked upon as a mere canard. We have, by the way, omitted to mention that besides the visit to Mr Loudon, the bushrangers intimated, their intention to revisit Bathurst shortly.”


After the successful raid on Canowindra it was reported that O'Meally who had family in the area paid them a visit and after the gang departed some of the captors described John O'Meally thus; "...John O'Meally was also 'rather flashly dressed', but he had neither the dignity of Ben Hall nor the geniality of Gilbert. Some of the captives of Canowindra even described him as rather morose."²⁸

Goimbla Homestead c. 1937.
Whilst perpetrating an attack on Goimbla station near Eugowra, on 19th November 1863, the Campbell family fought off Ben Hall, John Gilbert and John O'Meally, during a two-hour battle where even Mrs Campbell was fair game whilst helping her husband in their defence and exposing herself to whizzing bullets as she retrieved ammunition during the siege, during which John O’Meally was shot in the neck and killed by Mr Campbell.


During the initial confrontation with the Campbell's, the bushrangers appeared on the verandah of Goimbla, and on hearing their footsteps, Mr Campbell's brother William, of which, little of his presence in the affray has been reported, "rushed out the back door into the verandah"²⁹ where he was shot in the chest by one of the bushrangers, and survived. William Campbell's deposition is reported here; William Campbell, on oath states: "I am a squatter, residing with my brother, the last witness. While in my bedroom, about nine o'clock last evening, I heard three shots fired in quick succession, and immediately rushed into the dining room, where several shots were then fired through one of the front windows. The room was lighted, and the blinds were up. I, therefore, immediately rushed out of the back door into the verandah. I there saw a man at my bedroom window (distant about five or six yards from where I stood), who fired two shots at me in quick succession. The first shot struck me in the chest, and I consequently stumbled and fell near to the step. So soon as I recovered I escaped through the back gate, and made my way through the standing oats at the back of the barn, intending to make my way back to the house as soon as an opportunity presented itself. Very shortly afterwards a volley of a dozen shots were fired, accompanied by shouts from the bushrangers, which to me were unintelligible. While still in the oats I saw the barn on fire, and saw two men passing the back wall of the barn rapidly, in the direction of the house After the fire was lighted there was another volley fired towards the house from the direction of the barn. This is the last firing that I heard, and I saw nothing more of the bushrangers; and finding that all was quiet, I proceeded to the Eugowra police station on foot to give information to the police."³⁰

True account of O'Meally's death, by David Henry Campbell.
Painting by Patrick William Marony (1858-1939)
 of the death of John O'Meally.
On the morning after the gunfight that saw John O'Meally shot dead, a reporter gave the following account of the body of John O'Meally; "...as Saturday dawned upon the smoking ruins, the place presented a melancholy spectacle. Everything combustible inside and around the tottering walls of the barns and stables have disappeared, and the charred remains of the dead horse, swollen to nearly double its natural size, lay inside the enclosure. No vestige of nearly £1100 worth of property remains, save the crumbling shells of the two buildings. Under the verandah of an out-building hard by lay the disfigured corpse of the dead bushranger, the body covered by part of a woolpack and the face by a towel. It was clad in a corduroy, buckskin, high-boots with spurs, and three Crimean shirts, underneath his neck lay a white comforter. Underneath the ear on the right side of the neck was a gaping wound extending through the vertebrae, which was completely shattered by the ball. Decomposition had set in, and the wound was discharging freely. The hair, which was dark auburn, was saturated, with blood, as was also the beard under the chin. The features wore a scowl, and the mouth an expression as if the man had died uttering curses and imprecations. As he had been detestable in life his figure was hideous in death, and his feats will add a fearful chapter in the criminal history of New South Wales. At twenty-two years of age he died a robber and murderer of the worst type. By the bullet, he had chosen to earn his bread, and by the bullet he met his death. His features were small but coarse, and betokened habitual indulgence in the brutal passions. His frame was athletic, his arms muscular, his hands as small and delicate as a lady's. His lower limbs were light and apparently well knit, and his figure as a whole gave the impression of activity and strength combined in more than an ordinary degree, it was at first intended to remove his remains to Forbes for interment, but the rapid progress of decomposition, owing to the heat of the weather, rendered this impossible. They were interred at Goimbla, on the near bank of the Eugowra Creek."³¹

A few days after John O’Meally was shot dead, Mrs. Campbell sent a letter to her mother of the evenings drama, writing on the 21st November, 1863, Mrs. Campbell wrote: “You will be anxious till you hear direct of our safety. It is indeed owing to the great mercy of God that the lives of David and William are spared. So many people have been here taking note, that I doubt not you will read a most truthful account of all in the papers. I need not therefore weary you with another. We had no time for fear. The most dreadful part was the burning of the barn and stable. They are not much farther from the house than your stable and at one part an outhouse, which is connected with the main building, is only divided by a road. You cannot imagine my agony while the flames were towering above us. Had the wind only blown towards the house all must have gone. The ground between the stable and outhouse was strewn with straw from the haymaking; there was also a large heap of woolpacks and a cart, all of which were set on fire. I was in such deadly fear of its catching at this point, that I rushed out and succeeded in getting the road cleared with the assistance of the cook. By this time the roofs had fallen in, no that the danger was past. I imagine that the ruffians had also retreated. Mr. Campbell had ventured out to the spot where he had aimed at the man. He found his gun and hat, but not the body, for his mates, had dragged it some distance away, and his idea at the time was that the man had merely been wounded, and would return for his things. A short while after we heard a rustling as of someone creeping stealthily through the oats, and were, afraid to go out again lest the bushrangers, should be lying in ambush.

The men in the hut had now recovered from their panic and came up to see what was going on. David stationed them at various posts and they watched till morning. It was by this time 3 o'clock. I was very tired, went to bed and managed to sleep a little; but was awakened before dawn by the arrival of the police. They found the body, and I cannot describe to you the state of my feelings when I heard of it— heard that the unhappy man had been shot by the light of the fire that he had helped to raise— for at the moment he fell the country round was as light as day. It appears that the ruffians retreated to one of the huts, where they were cursing and swearing in a most fearful manner that they would yet have revenge; and I am grieved to add that a female servant heard one of them regretting not having shot the woman— meaning, I suppose myself; but his comrade called out to him to hold his tongue, and mind what he was about. When the alarm took place, William rushed to the back door not knowing that Mr. Campbell was in the house, and that the shots had been fired at him. William there received a charge of slugs in his breast, four wounds in all, but fortunately not deep. Startled, he staggered on, got outside of the place, and could not find his way back. He is now all right.”³²

'The Sydney Morning Herald' Tuesday 1st December 1863:"...in your Monday's telegram it was stated that O'Meally's remains were interred on the bank of the Eugowra Creek. Since then on application has been made to the Police Magistrate, by his brother, Patsey O Meally, for his body. The matter, I understand, was referred to the Government, and as permission was given for the removal, it is to be inferred that the reply was favourable to the application. The remains were brought into Forbes today (Thursday), and interred in the Roman Catholic Cemetery." For many years, even up to today, there are rumours that O'Meally was buried at Gooloogong and that the coffin interned at Forbes contained rocks or such materials as a form of duping the government. Patrick O'Meally would go on to live out his days at Gooloogong and is thought to have attended to his brothers last resting place close to the township near the banks of the Lachlan River.

After the siege 'The Sydney Morning Herald' of the 24th November, 1863, reported on the raw callousness of Ben Hall, John Gilbert and John O'Meally; "...when we hear of the "nobleness" of these bushrangers, and of the good they do the poor people among whom they divide their pillage, we only hear the utterance of a criminal spirit. What these men are may be seen by their attempt to shoot Mrs. Campbell, and by their brutality to that noble animal whose claims upon mankind are rarely disallowed, save by the most cruel heart. Fancy men standing by while a horse was roasted to death, enjoying its cries and preventing its escape!"
Presented to Mrs Campbell with the following inscription,

 "The ladies of Upper & Middle Adelong
  present this token of esteem
  To Mrs Campbell as an appreciation of her heroic conduct displayed during the attack at GOIMBLA by bushrangers on 19th Nov. 1863."
When news of O'Meally's death spread a Mr Edwin Rymer was one of the first to arrive at Goimbla and view O'Meally's dead body and stated; "...excitement ran high and hundreds of people viewed the dead body during the day. O'Meally was dressed as a true Australian bushman, high Wellington boots, knee breeches, fancy vest, and cabbage tree hat. His body was buried at Goimbla, but later was removed by O'Meally's parents."³³


Mr and Mrs Campbell painted by Patrick Marony(1858-1939), inscribed
"Mr and Mrs Campbell heroic defenders of Goimbla Station."
John O'Meally's grave is unknown although it is believed his body was removed from Goimbla Station to Gooloogong temporarily then on to Forbes by his father and brother Patrick. Mr Campbell received for shooting dead O'Meally, £1000, along with a letter of appreciation from the NSW Government;

The Sydney Morning Herald Saturday 5th December, 1863.

THE LATE BUSHRANGER, JOHN O'MEALLY.
Mr. Campbell, who shot this desperate man, has received the following letter from the Colonial Secretary. At first he hesitated to receive the promised reward, although property of more value than £1000 was destroyed by the bushrangers; but after consulting his friends Mr. Campbell has very properly consented to accept it.
(COPY)

Colonial Secretary's Office, Sydney 23rd November, 1863

Sir, - It has been reported to me that John O'Meally, for whose apprehension a reward of one thousand pounds has been recently offered by the Government, was shot dead by you on the night of Thursday, the 19th instant, during an attack made upon your residence by a band of armed bushrangers.

I have therefore the honour to inform you that on the identification of the body by the proper authorities, you will be entitled to the amount in question, which will be paid forth with, in such manner as you may direct.

In making this communication, I am happy at the same time to be the further means of conveying to you the very high appreciation entertained by the Government of the spirit and profound courage exhibited by both yourself and Mrs. Campbell on the occasion above referred to.

I have the honour to remain, Sir,
Your most obedient servant,

(Signed) WILLIAM FORSTER.



After O'Meally's death. 
This Plaque is at the Forbes Cemetery.
In January 1877, the death of John O'Meally's father Patrick was reported as follows;

DEATH OF AN OLD RESIDENT. -The Burrangong Argus, of 10th instant, announce, the death of Mr. Patrick O'Meally. The deceased was eights-four years old and has resided in the district many years. During the gold excitement fifteen or sixteen years ago, his house on the Weddin Mountain was well known to miners and others. In the bushranging era it was burned by the police, under the supposition that it was a rendezvous of outlaws, and the old man and his family then removed to a selection about three miles down the creek from Young, where he resided until his death, on Friday last.


In September 1923, John O'Meally's younger brother Patrick's died and his death was reported as follows; On Friday, 14th September 1923, a pioneer of the Goolagong district passed away in the person of Mr. Patrick O'Meally. Deceased, who was 83 years of age, was born at Arramagong station, near Grenfell, and spent most of his life in the Grenfell districts. Mr. O'Meally was twice married, and leaves a widow and three children, Mrs. Preston (Blayney) and Mrs. P. O'Meally (Goolagong) of the first marriage, and Mrs. T. Cummins (Cowra) of the second. Time heals all wounds and upon Patrick's death there is no word on the wildness of his youth nor the depredations he participated in or of the notorious bushranger’s he was close too.

John Vane,
prison portrait,
1880.
John Vane ("a fine, muscular, and well-knit young man, standing six feet high")


"Vane was a typical "cornstalk" when he commenced his career of outlawry—a tall, athletic, wiry young bushman, who was more at home in the saddle than upon his feet." A brief introduction of John Vane was printed in an article in the 'The World's News', Wednesday 12 September 1928 by a Mr J.H.M. Abbott and is reproduced here as follows; "He was a good-looking, generous, and kindly-hearted youth, with nothing of the typical flashness about him that was most often the distinguishing characteristic of his fellow freebooters. He was born at Jerry's Plains, in the Hunter River district, on June 16, 1842, and when about six years old was taken by his parents to live near Kelso, close to Bathurst, and thence to Teasdale, between Newbridge and the Abercrombie River. In 1850 the family removed to the neighborhood of the Weddin Mountains, afterwards to become notorious as a haunt of the bushrangers. In the following year the Vanes returned to the Trunkey district. When he was 14 he was sent to Bathurst, where he was apprenticed to a blacksmith, but cleared out from his employment two years later, and worked for 18 months at various occupations on the Turon diggings. Until he was in his 21st year he led the typical life of a young bushman of that day —droving, horse-breaking, stock-riding, bullock-driving, and sawing and splitting timber. He had just about come of age when he took part in a cattle-stealing enterprise, which was the real start of his criminal career. One of his companions in this affair was Mick Burke, who afterwards became, with Vane, a member of Ben Hall's famous organisation. There were four young men concerned, and they sold the mob of cattle they had "duffed'' at a price which gave each of them £40."

"It was no long step to a sticking-up event by which a solitary Chinaman, travelling along a road leading to Bathurst, found himself the poorer by a £5 note and two ounces of gold-dust, and a very short one to the "bailing-up" of a public-house in the neighborhood of the Fish River. Although this affair was more or less intended as a "lark," the publican gave information to the police, and a warrant was issued for the arrest of Vane and his companions. Soon afterwards he barely escaped capture by the police, and after one or two further adventures of a similar sort, found himself in a position of being "wanted," which left him no alternative but that of adopting a bushranging career in earnest. In the course of a month or two he fell in with Gilbert and O'Meally, and from that time became a real bushranger."
The NSW Police Gazette report of the warrant for John Vane.
It was this warrant issued on 3rd May 1863, that sent John Vane to the bush and to eventually joining Gilbert and O'Meally.
This was the beginning of the exploits that led, through many a highway robbery affair, gunfight's with the police and sticking-up of stores, coaches and being an accessory to murder. In July 1863 members of the Hall gang were seeking fresh horses and new districts to operate in.  John Gilbert and John O’Meally arrived in the Carcoar district and sent word out that Vane's local expertise was required.  The pair met with Vane at his camp at Millpost Creek and laid plans for an attack on the Carcoar bank.  On 30th July 1863 that plan was put into action. Vane was to provide logistics for the raid although he did not participate. Gilbert and O’Meally would ride into town and perform one of the first daylight bank robberies in the colony. Vane would now fall in with the gang and soon after so would his mate Mickey Burke.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzaTI-Ljn4E
A short video of the Millpost Creek area often used
 by Vane, Ben Hall, Gilbert and Co. Filmed by Craig Bratby.

Comus II stable, Coombing Park.
Courtesy Craig Bratby
The robbery of a store at Caloola shortly followed, and then the stealing of Mr. T. R. Icely's horse 'Comus II', a top race horse and one the bushrangers desired, during the theft a stable worker named Charlie the German challenged Vane and Burke, before they answered the groom fired his weapon, in response Charlie was wounded, shot in the mouth by Burke while taking the horse from the stables at Coombing Park head station, not long after the theft, the horse returned home. This latter affair led to the insertion in the local papers of the following advertisement, which was also placarded throughout the countryside in prominent places: —

£100 REWARD.

"Whereas the stables at Coombing Park,Carcoar, were robbed on the night of the. 2nd August, instant, by two or more men, unknown, and the man in charge was fired at and dangerously wounded. I hereby offer a REWARD OF £100 to any person who will give such information as will lead to the conviction of the guilty parties.

"T. R. ICELY,
"Coombing Park. "August 6th, 1863.¹


Demondrille Station.
John Vane would now become part of the gang and after their leaving the Carcoar district re-joined with Ben Hall outside Young and were before long holding up travellers regularly in the Young district. On the 1st September, 1863 in company with Hall, Gilbert, O'Meally and Burke they attacked Demondrille stations stealing a number of items soon after news reached the newly established police outpost at Murrumburrah where senior constable Houghey quickly prepared to take the field in pursuit of the bushrangers, accompanied by three constables Pentland, Churchman and Keane as well as a blacktracker, at the time of the report it was thought that Gilbert, Burke, Vane and O'Meally were present, along with the harbourers the Slater's and Tootles, who's Hut the gang where at, but at the time of the affray, John Vane in his narrative 'John Vane, Bushranger' transcribed by Charles White, states that only himself and O'Meally were present in the gunfight; "...the police called on us to come out, and as we made no sign they poured a regular storm of bullets into the slab walls, fortunately without doing any damage, O'Meally and I took a revolver in each hand and suddenly throwing open the door we sent out a blaze of fire, discharging our revolvers simultaneously, and rushed out while the smoke filled the doorway. I heard one of the policemen call out "I'm shot, but look after their horses."  The report of the gunfight and the police action is from the ‘Empire’; - PURSUIT OF BUSHRANGERS AND ATTACK ON THEM BY THE POLICE, -The correspondent of the Yass Courier states that, on Saturday night, the 5th inst., “A messenger arrived from Cootamundry with information that Gilbert, O'Meally, and others were sticking-up places in that village. Senior-Constable Houghey and Constable Kane who form the only police stationed at Murrumburrah, at once proceeded to Wombat, for, assistance. They had not left more than two hours when intelligence was brought that Mr. J.W. Edmonds and his family had just been stuck-up by the same parties. The last messenger having been informed that, the police had started for Wombat, he at once proceeded to that place, and arrived there just as they were about to leave for Cootamundry. Five troopers forthwith went in search of the bushrangers, and a little before day light observed some horses fastened up at a small, settler's house on Sherlock Creek, within two miles of Demondrille, the station that had just been stuck up. As the police approached nearer they could discern that the horses belonged to the bushrangers, and while consulting as to what plan to adopt, the dogs about the house began barking and howling. There was not an instant to be lost, so the police surrounded the place. Senior-Constable Houghey called on Vane and O'Meally to surrender. The next moment they (the police) received a volley from the bushrangers within the house, which caused their horses to swerve, fall back, and unseat some of the riders. The police returned the shots, and an irregular firing was kept up in the dark between the parties. The bushrangers, however, succeeded in crawling out and took to their heels, through a newly ploughed paddock. Houghey thinking it best to give chase on foot through the paddock, threw himself out of the saddle, and pursued one of the bushrangers, who proved to be O'Meally, and was closing fast on him, but he became exhausted through loss of blood from a wound he had received in the affray; The bullet had passed through the cap of the knee. Houghey made back to the house, arrested two young men there who had been in Vane and O'Meally's company, and succeeded in recovering the whole of the property that had, been taken Mr. Edmonds. One of the bushrangers' horses also was secured, together with O'Meally's whip and poncho. The horse had a number of bullet wounds. It is believed that Constable Houghey wounded one of the men, who managed to slip off his horse and crawled away in the dark.”  Vane goes on to explain their escape and wounding and during the malee the lost horse;op.cit "...at last O'Meally managed to get hold of our two horses. Mounting his own he led mine towards the spot where I was standing under cover, still blazing away at the police whenever any of them showed out. Before O'Meally reached me he sang out "Run to the fence" (a small cultivation paddock was between us and the outlet) "and throw the top rail down, and I did so, whereupon O'Meally galloped up and jumped both horses over. I then raced across the paddock, which was only a few yards wide, and lowered the fence on the other side by wrenching out a top rail, but when he when he tried to take the horses over this my horse refused the jump and broke away leaving me without a mount. Meanwhile the police had been closing in on us, keeping up a hot fire, and one shot struck O'Meally in the back, near the hip, but without inflicting a very serious wound. Another shot struck me in the wrist, but did not go more than skin deep, as it hit me sideways. "Clear for the big rocks" called out O'Meally and I started in the direction indicated, jumping into a deep creek, and following its course upwards until the rocks were reached, the police in the darkness unable to see the course I took."


During this gunfight it was reported that John Vane as well as O'Meally were wounded, Vane in the wrist but the wound was minor. After their narrow escape John O’Meally in company with John Vane soon arrived at the hut of Mr James Brown, who stated;  "...two men came to my hut, which lies a little off the road leading from Murrumburrah to Cootamundry, and told my wife to get them something to eat which she did when I came in they demanded my hat, which I gave them on seeing they were armed with revolvers; they then demanded my boots, but they would not fit them they tried on two pairs; they were both too small; one of them was going to cut them, the other said "don't, we'll get plenty up at Mr. Mackays at this moment two men rode along the road, a short distance off; they said we'll go and stop them and we'll get a saddle from them; I observed when they came they had two horses but only one saddle, and a rug and surcingle on the other horse; they then left my hut (having only taken my hat) in pursuit of the two men."² 


Post Script23rd September 1863; - SENIOR CONSTABLE HAUGHEY "We are happy to notice that this courageous officer of the police force is so far recovered from the wound received in his late encounter with the bushranger, as to be able to undertake the journey by coach to Goulburn. He started yesterday morning from the Camp Inn, where he has been remaining for the past fortnight, under Dr. Temple's treatment."³

However, after departing the hut of Brown, would see John Vane in company with O'Meally perpetrate another atrocity, when on the 30th August 1863, in an attempt facilitate new equipment and horses after the very narrow escape from Tootles, the two bushrangers would stick up local businessman John Barnes a well-respected storekeeper who owned general stores in Cootamundry and Murrumburrah and who was in partnership with his sons and his employee Mr. Hanlon. Furthermore, Mr. Barnes on a number of previous occasions been robbed by Ben Hall, John Gilbert and John O'Meally, the last confrontation was on 16th May 1863. Consequently, in the ensuing encounter, O'Meally whilst in pursuit on the road adjoining Wallendbeen station, shot Mr Barnes dead. However, O'Meally with John Vane, who as a result become involved in his second shooting following the shooting at Icely's station, Coombing Park, of the groom German Charlie by Mickey Burke, however, only the difference this time, the gunfire would result in death the of the victim. Nevertheless, at the time Mr Barnes was ordered by O'Meally to hand over his horse and saddle at which point the plucky shopkeeper spurred his horse and took flight, consequently, O'Meally levelled his revolver at the retreating Barnes and fired a number of shots which found their mark in the back of the defenceless man, after a chase of some distance, Mr. Barnes collapsed from his horse stuck his head and an obstacle on the ground, sighed a long breath and died. (see The Gang page.) At the inquest the eye witness Mr Hanlon deposed;-John B. Hanlon, being sworn, stated: "I am assistant storekeeper in the employ of Mr. Barnes' son, at Cootamundry; on Sunday last I was riding with Mr. Barnes, from Murrumburrah to Cootamundry; when opposite M'Kay's stockyard I saw horses standing at the door of a hut; near the dam I said to Mr. Barnes "that looks suspicious;" shortly after Johnny Meally, whom I knew and instantly recognised, galloped up to us, and said to me "I know you, you b——," and to Mr. Barnes, at the same time pointing a revolver at him, "bail up you b-—— too;" Meally, addressing Barnes, said, "is that a good horse?" to which Barnes did not reply; he then said "get off, I want that horse, saddle, and bridle; Barnes then said "is that what you mean?"; O'Meally said "you b—— if you stir I'll put daylight through you;" Barnes turned away and galloped off towards Mr. M'Kay's house; O'Meally fired after he had got away about fifteen yards, and then went full gallop after him; he fired again as soon as he had time to cock his revolver; they got out of my sight and I heard three shots more fired; the other man stood over me with his revolver cocked, and ordered me to dismount; I got off my horse and he said "if you stir an inch I'll do the same to you "; he ordered me up to M'Kay's, leading my horse with him, and said he would give me my horse, saddle, and bridle back again directly. During this time I saw Mr. Barnes come galloping down the hill, he sat loosely on his horse, as if wounded; he was followed by O'Meally, who shouted out, "Will you stop now, you old b—— ;" they again got out of my sight, and I heard more shots fired; O'Meally afterwards came towards me, and I said, "Where is Mr. Barnes?" he replied, "He's down in the gully there;" I said "Oh, you have shot poor Mr. Barnes;" he said " Oh, no; he fell off against a tree;" on going down to look for Mr. Barnes, I found him lying on his back; his horse was gone; he was not dead then, but unable to speak; in a few minutes he drew a heavy sigh, and died. O'Meally was then up at the store; the other man was gone; I could identify both men perfectly well; O'Meally had previously stuck up the store I am employed at on the 16th of last May; he was very black and dirty on Sunday, and looked different to what he did when he stuck up the store; then he was very smart and clean; neither Mr. Barnes nor myself had arms or money on us; one ball passed through the brim of Mr. Barnes' hat, but missed his head."


After the death of Mr Barnes and Vane's subsequent denial in his memoirs, Vane states that Ben Hall was unhappy about the murder and its repercussions wrote;op.cit "...Ben Hall did not say much in my hearing, but I could see he was greatly put out, and I saw him afterwards talking very seriously with O'Meally." Vane goes on to say that the group then split into two;op.cit "...shortly after this occurrence our party divided for a time. After we returned to Memmegong and rested there a couple of days." Consequently, the death of Barnes by O'Meally in company with Vane forced a fracture in the gang and they split for a while with O'Meally and Vane together, the division was as a result of Vane and O'Meally's action and Burke, Gilbert and Ben Hall distancing themselves from any connection to the murder and commenced moving towards the Bathurst region. Vane was careful in his own narrative to avoid any perceived participation in the death of Mr Barnes as there is no Statute of Limitations on murder and although Vane wrote of his time with Ben Hall some forty years after the events, Vane could still be held accountable and charged. Luckily for John Vane when he surrendered that Mr Hanlon was not called to identify Vane over the Barnes murder, no doubt a product of the times.


Vane and O'Meally operated together for a few weeks then rejoined Ben Hall where Vane continued to rob store owners and gold buyers. They held up the town of Canowindra and on the 22nd of September three troopers who were out in the scrub searching for the elusive Ben Hall and Co, arrived at the small farm of one Mrs Marsh situated in view of Mt Macquarie and some 2 miles southwest of Carcoar where they had hoped for some refreshment, however, whilst relaxing one of the police horses came loose and two troopers went to retrieve it when they were confronted by those they were seeking, from the 'Goulburn Herald', 26th September 1863; BATHURST. Wednesday, 5.30 p.m.- "Gilbert, O'Meally, Ben Hall, Burke, and Vane stuck up three troopers yesterday afternoon on Mount Macquarie, near Carcoar, and took from them their arms and accoutrements. The bushrangers tied the troopers to a fence, stripped off their jackets, and put them on in derision. After keeping them for two hours they returned their clothing and permitted them to go. These troopers had been sent out specially to capture bushrangers. - [A telegram to the following effort was received in town yesterday. It appears that three mounted troopers were out on duty when they stopped for a time at Mrs. Marsh's hut, on her station, near Carcoar, leaving their horses tied to the fence outside. A short time afterwards, one of the troopers, happening to look out of the window, saw one of the horses was loose. He went out to catch it but the hose took to the bush, and he followed it. One of his comrades went out to assist him, when he was pounced upon by Gilbert, O'Meally, Ben Hall, Vane, and Burke, and made prisoner. Two of the bushrangers then followed after the trooper who was in the bush, and the rest went on to the hut and secured the other trooper. The bushrangers having made all three prisoners, tied them securely, and then took from them the whole of their accoutrements, and their horses, saddles, and bridles The troopers were taken at such a disadvantage that they could not, with any hope of success, resist the bushrangers." (see Police Gazette above left.)

Another report of the 22nd September affair; 'Bathurst Times', 23rd September 1863. - "Sergeant Turnbull, and two troopers came into town last evening (Tuesday), about eight o'clock, without arms, ammunition, and chapfallen, and stated that when they joined the police they never expected to be called upon to pursue bushrangers but unfortunately the bushrangers pursued them the whole of Tuesday afternoon, and about five o'clock, bailed them up at Marsh's, about eight miles from Carcoar, and took their carbines, revolvers, pouch box, handcuffs, and sent them about their business. The troopers say it was Ben Hall, O'Mealy, Gilbert, Vane, and Burke and that when they get caught they will be enabled to swear to them, as they had a good view of them."

Furthermore, on the 1st of October, 1863, Ben Hall in company with John Vane held up two sons of the most esteemed members of the Bathurst community, they were Mr. R. Machattie son of the well-known and highly respected Dr. Machattie J.P. and Police magistrate for Bathurst and the indefatigable Captain Battye of the NSW police, Mr. B. Battye. It was this encounter which in the near future set the country alight when the two young men dared the bushrangers to visit the district capital of Bathurst.  'Empire’, Tuesday 6th October, 1863;- The Bathurst Free Press of Saturday last publishes the following:- "It appears that, notwithstanding the number of policemen engaged in the Western districts, with Captain M'Lerie at their head, little or nothing has been done, or can be done, to break up the gang which has lately caused so much annoyance in this neighbourhood; the villains are constantly prowling about, within a circuit of thirty-five or forty miles, and are frequently met with by passers-by, but, strange to say, the police cannot find them. On Thursday morning last, Mr. R. Machattie, surveyor (son of Dr. Machattie), and Mr. B. Battye (son of Captain Battye), were met by Vane and Hall in the neighbourhood of Mulgunnia, and were ordered to stand and deliver; a conversation ensued, which lasted for about two hours, during which time Hall was exceedingly amused at the propositions made by Machattie and Battye to run them a footrace, rather than lose their property. Vane wanted to handcuff the young gentlemen, but Hall would not consent to such a proceeding. The robbers took from their victims £2 in cash, but Hall gave back to Mr. Machattie a watch he had taken from him, and allowed him to retain a gold ring. Hall had a bottle of port wine with him, of which all hands were invited to partake, and when asked by Mr. Machattie why they did not give up their present evil courses, they replied they had nothing better to do, and would not give up unless Government offered them a bonus to leave the country.

Eventually they rode away, taking with them the horses, saddles, and bridles, belonging to Messrs. Machattie and Battye; saying they would leave the horses where they would be found as soon as they were better suited. Shortly after the foregoing occurrence, another man was stuck up and robbed by the same persons in the same neighbourhood, but they only took from him a few shillings. Mr. Machattie had to walk several miles before he could procure another horse, after which he rode into Bathurst and gave information to the police."

Attack on Mr. Keightley.
Courtesy NLA.
After they tied the pursuing troopers to trees and took their uniforms and weapons. The Gang raided the town of Bathurst (See Ben Hall page) and sent the colony aghast with their evermore daring exploits. The excitement and adventure came to a tragic end when on the afternoon of 24th October 1863; the gang arrived at the home of the Gold Commissioner, Mr Henry Keightley, at his property at Dunn's Plains near Rockley.  At home at the time were Mr and Mrs Keightley, the house staff and Dr Peachey, who was visiting.  During the ensuring gun battle, Vane's mate Mickey Burke was shot in the stomach and through fear of being caught by police decided to shoot himself.  There is still debate today around who actually shot Burke. Vane was enraged and wanted to kill Mr Keightley in revenge. It was decided though that the ransom Keightley would receive for killing Burke, ₤500, should be paid to the gang.  Keightley's wife and Dr Peachey rode to Bathurst that night to get the money from Mrs Keightley's father, Henry Rotton.  Peachey returned the next morning and the money was handed to Gilbert and Keightley was immediately released.


Fr. Tim McCarthy.
Courtesy NLA.
Mickey Burke now dead and Vane despondent, Vane left the gang in November 1863, prior to the shooting death of John O'Meally at Goimbla, a priest named Father 'Tim' McCarthy who after a meeting with Vane's distraught mother came across Vane by chance in the bush. During this encounter Father Tim talked Vane into surrendering; "...shortly after this episode Vane left the gang, but does not appear to have been contemplating a life of perfect rectitude, for he was actually making bullets when chance brought him under the influence of Father McCarthy. When surprised in the bush by the priest, Vane grasped his gun and levelled it at Father McCarthy, whom he did not know, but, nothing daunted, Father "Tim" merely called out: "Don't shoot, Vane! I'm not a policeman." Vane then lowered his gun, and entered into conversation. The priest explained that he had seen Vane's mother, and that she had begged him to try to find her son, and persuade him to give himself up. He also gave him words of encouragement and advice, promising to use his influence on the bushranger's behalf. He even pledged his word that if Vane would quietly submit to the authorities he would not be hanged, notwithstanding that he had committed a capital offence. Vane agreed to accompany the priest to Bathurst and give himself up. Father McCarthy at that time lived at Malagrove, between Five Islands and Carcoar, and it was agreed that they should visit Carcoar before proceeding to Bathurst, in order to interview Mr. Connolly, the leading magistrate there. Mr. Connolly wrote out a statement giving the repentant outlaw protection against interference by the police, should any be met on the road. After an uneventful journey, via Blayney, Bathurst was reached, but in after years the bushranger confessed that the advice and good counsel given him on the road by Father McCarthy sank into his mind and heart, and had a marked influence on his future life, both in prison and after his release." He went with the priest to Nathaniel Connolly's home who supplied them with a letter to secure Vane's passage to Bathurst. The surrender was reported in the 'Empire' 24th November 1863, Vane surrendered on the morning of the 19th November 1863 and John O'Meally was killed on that evening; "On Thursday morning a rumour went flying round the town that the bushranger Vane had been brought into Bathurst by the Rev. Father McCarthy, who had persuaded him to give himself up, and that the delinquent was lodged in the gaol. The fact was ultimately ascertained to be true, and the following are such particulars as we have been enabled to glean: - It appears that Father McCarthy has had several interviews with Vane in the bush near the Abercrombie, having, on the first time, accidentally come upon his camp whilst he (Vane) was cooking his dinner- his horse hobbled, and his gun and revolvers lying on the ground. Vane, upon catching sight of the reverend gentleman, grasped his, fire-arms, when Mr. McCarthy called out that he was a priest, and not a trooper. Upon this announcement Vane dropped his arms, and invited his visitor to a share of his meal, and whilst partaking of this the conversation turned upon the lawless life the bushranger was leading, and at the earnest persuasion and resorting’s of Father McCarthy, the unfortunate youth promised seriously to consider the position he was placed in, and agreed, at the end of three days, to give an answer whether he would take the advice proffered to him to give himself up, and trust to the merciful consideration of the Crown.


Upon this Father McCarthy went on his way homewards, but had not gone more than three miles when he met a very respectable looking woman who, in the course of conversation, declared herself to be the mother of Vane. The reverend gentleman told her of the interview he had just had with her son, when she implored him by his sacred calling, to return with her and endeavour, by joining his influence with hers to persuade the misguided youth to surrender. The arguments and prayers of the mother and the priest at length prevailed, and it was arranged that on that night he should come to Mallow Grove, Carcoar, the residence of the Rev. Mr. McCarthy. He seems to be possessed of considerable strength of mind, for, from the moment his resolution was taken he did not hesitate to carry it into effect, but, punctual to the, moment, arrived at the place and time appointed. The reverend gentleman at once accompanied him to the residence of Nathaniel Conolly, Esq. J.P. to whom he formally surrendered himself, and from whom they obtained such documents as would prevent the interference of the troopers should any happen to stop them on the road."

'Surrender'
They started for Bathurst at midnight, and arrived here about five o'clock in the morning, when they put up at Mrs. Walsh's, Fitzroy Inn, George St and after a little rest Father McCarthy put himself in communication with Mr. Superintendent Morissett. Shortly after he returned to Vane, and they had breakfast together, and the Rev dean Grant having joined them, they went down to the court-house about ten o'clock, when, after going through a preliminary examination, the misguided young man, in-company with the reverend gentleman and Dr. Palmer, proceeded to the gaol, where he awaits further examination, being remanded to the 26th instant. 

Vane is a native of the colony, twenty years of age stands six feet high, and has a ruddy complexion, with black hair, and is said to be a Wesleyan. His parents are respectable and wealthy, and live about eleven-miles from Carcoar, at a place, called Number One. The reasons he gives as those which induced him to turn bushranger are, that he was implicated in the sticking-up of Boyce's public-house, at the Long Swamp, on the 12th February, last, and knowing the police to be after him, be became frightened, and took to the bush, where he fell in with Gilbert and O'Meally. [It will be in the recollection of our readers that William Vane, (his brother), [James Burke, and George Cheshire, were tried for this robbery at the last Quarter Sessions, an accomplice, named John M'Kellar, having turned approver, but, in consequence of his evidence being unsupported, and the other witnesses being unable to identify the prisoners, they were all acquitted.] 

We are informed that before he was taken to the gaol, and when in company with Father McCarthy they came in contact with constable Sutton who, it will be remembered, was shot in the shoulder at the time of the attack on the Carcoar mail, but when asked if he knew Vane, he said he did not. Sometime after, in the gaol, he was confronted again with the prisoner in the presence of Dr. Palmer, when, upon closely inspecting him, he gave his opinion that he was "very like O'Meally!" In allusion to this attack on the coach, Vane said that a bullet fired by Superintendent Morrissett had struck O'Meally in the chest, but did him no harm, as it came in contact with a watch he had in, his pocket, three-quarters of which it shivered to atoms, leaving nothing but a small section of the case attached to the ring at the end of the Gard. It “knocked the wind, out of him" for a time and he now wears the remainder as a sort of charm.


Too much praise, cannot be given to Father McCarthy for the service he has rendered to the community, in thus, by his moral persuasion, prevailing upon this misguided youth to surrender. He has arrested, in a headlong career of crime, one who might otherwise have steeped himself beyond all hope of recovery, and prevented, perhaps, the commission of offences more heinous than those with which the young bushranger is at present stained. His sphere of usefulness has been still more extended, as we are informed that he has had several interviews with the other bushrangers, and on every occasion has done his utmost to induce them to throw themselves on the mercy of the Law and we have reason to believe, that Gilbert and Ben Hall will yet place themselves in his hands.

Portrait from The Sydney Mail and
 New South Wales Advertiser.
 Saturday 18th October 1879.
What also is not well known of Vane's flight to justice, was, that the midnight ride too Bathurst would almost cost Fr. MaCarthy his life, as reported in the 'The Gundagai Times and Tumut, Adelong and Murrumbidgee District Advertiser'; "...an interesting anecdote is related of this event. Father McCarthy nearly lost his life while accompanying Vane from Carcoar to Bathurst. The reverend gentleman and a servant lad of his were mounted on spirited horses, and the ex-bushranger rode a fleet animal. It was a fine moonlight night, and they pushed at a good pace through the bush; but the trees threw heavy shadows on several parts of the plain over which they rode. After a few hours' ride they dashed into a heavier mass of gloom than had previously beset them, and were suddenly precipitated into a rough, deep gully. Father McCarthy received the heaviest fall; he lay for several minutes insensible, and was much shaken by the untoward occurrence. This accident interrupted the journey for a couple of hours, as two of the horses had to be searched for and caught; but the party finally reached Bathurst shortly after sunrise, and Vane delivered himself to justice."

Bathurst Court with Gaol in background where John Vane
 was sentenced in 1863.
Vane was sentenced to 15 years at Darlinghurst and released after six for good behaviour. 

When Vane was sentenced this advertisment appeared in the Sydney newspapers; VANE. THE BUSHRANGER—Carte de Visite PORTRAITS of JOHN VANE, the celebrated Bushranger, will be published TO-DAY at GLAISTER'S Portrait Gallery, Pitt-street.

Upon Vanes release he soon returned to the land around the Trunkey district he knew so well and even after his long incarceration for his time spent with O'Meally, Gilbert and Ben Hall, he was wont to dabble in stock theft and would again serve a sentence of five years for sheep stealing, incompany with a cousin of his long dead mate Micky Burke, James Burke, who some twenty years earlier, John Vane incompany with Gilbert and O'Meally had attempted a rescue from police of Thomas Morris, Charles Green and James Burke and where Constable Sutton was wounded severely in the arm.(See article below.)
John Vane's Trial, Sydney Morning Herald
15th April 1864.

In Vane's narrative, Vane denies his involvment in this gunfight, but on surrendering in 1863, Vane gives an account of the incident, Vane states; "a bullet fired by Superintendant Morrisett had struck O'Meally in the chest" an validation of  Vanes presence.
Below are the Gaol records of John Vane:
John Vane, Entrance Book Bathurst Gaol November 1863.
John Vane, Return of Prisoners Cockatoo Island 1866.
John Vane, Return of Prisoners Darlinghurst 1867.
John Vane, released March 1870 Darlinghurst Gaol.
Released 
Soon after release Vane was arrested on suspicion of robbery then released when evidence showed no involvment, his notoriety as a member of Ben Hall's gang would keep Vane in the police spotlight. In May 1880, John Vane was arrested for sheep stealing; "... John Vane, an ex-bushranger, has been received into the Bathurst gaol, under committal, on a charge of stealing 431 sheep, the property of T. A. Smith, P.M., of Trunkey. The principal witness against prisoner was Terence M'Cann, an accomplice who turned approver...". A month later John Vane faced court; BATHURST. TUESDAY, 7th July 1880.-At the Quarter Sessions today, John Vane, of bushranging notoriety, was indicted for stealing 421 sheep, the property of Mr. T. M. Smith, Police Magistrate of Trunkey. The principal witness was a prisoner named Hargans, who is serving a sentence of two years in Parramatta gaol, for stealing the sheep in question. Terence M'Cann, another witness; and who is under committal for horse-stealing, had been concerned in the matter with Vane and Hargans, and had given information to the police. The evidence was quite clear, and Vane was convicted and remanded for sentence. The sheep owners of Trunkey district have for a considerable period suffered through the depredations of a gang of thieves, who have up to the present, carried on their operations with impunity." In an effort to have the case dropped one of Vane's friends, Thomas Parker attempted to tamper with a witness as reported in the 'The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser', Tuesday 13 July 1880; "... a man named Thomas Parker was convicted at the Bathurst Quarter Sessions for an attempt to dissuade a certain witness for the Crown from giving evidence in the case against John Vane, for sheep stealing, He was sentenced to 12 month's imprisonment with hard labour." 
John Vane prison record 1880.
John Vane and Michael Burke at Bathurst Gaol 1880.
Sheep stealing 1880.
John Vane released September 1884.
John Vane c. 1898.


New South Wales Census for 1901
On the 20th February 1873, Vane married Jane Parker  (Age 19) sister of Thomas Parker who attempted to tamper with witnesses at Vane's trial for sheep stealing in 1880, at Carcoar, NSW. John Vane died of Ileocolitis (Crohn's disease) in the hospital at Cowra on January 30, 1906. A plaque is erected in the Woodstock Cemetery. (See Link page for John Vane's memoirs.)
Jane Vane c. 1912.
John Vane c. 1902.


Artist impression.
© Penzig. 
Michael (Micky) Burke
("an exceptionally good horseman")


Michael Burke was the only son of Michael and Bridget Burke. Burke's parent's immigrated from Templemore in County Tipperary, Ireland, arriving in the colony in 1838 on-board the 'William Metcalf' under the command of E. Phillipson, both of Michael's parents, Michael and Bridget were illiterate and arrived with the brother of Micky Burke's father John Burke and his family and whose wife Ellen happened to be the sister of Michael Burke's mother. The Burke family settled at Fell Timber Creek, NSW, where young 'Micky' was born in 1843 along with his seven sisters. Young Burke was described as 5ft 5in tall dark freckled complexion with straight dark hair and whiskerless. The Burke family farmed a number of small lots varying in size from 29 to 40 acres. As subsistence farmers, livestock was valued highly and in 1855, Michael Burke, Senior, had a horse stolen by one William Slone for which Burke offered a £5 reward for Slone and the horses' capture or £3 for the horse. (see Notices below). "Micky" never went to school, but being reared in the bush became an exceptionally good horseman. "...the bushranger Micky Burke was known in the district in which he conducted operations as 'True Blue' by reason or the fact that he usually went about dressed in a suit of blue coloured tweed. He was a neighbour and mate of Johnny Vane and they had both lived in the Carcoar district, to the south of Mount Macquarie."¹ It should also be noted that whilst with Ben Hall, Burke was often referred to as 'The Toad', possibly due to his small squat stature. It was also reported that prior to his joining with Ben Hall, Burke was employed as a shepherd for a Mr Walt a former MLA representing Carcoar; THE LATE MICHAEL BURKE, THE BUSHRANGER. – The ‘Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Chronicle’ Saturday 7 Nov 1863. says: - "...the youth, Burke, was a native of the colony, and was reared at the Dam Station, belonging to Mr. Walt the ex-MP for Carcoar. From his childhood, he was shepherding for that gentleman." 


The Burke's arrival in NSW 1838, as well as the brother
of Burke's father and his family.
Micheal Burke's fathers reward offer for the stolen horse, note, Daniel Charters senior
also had horse stolen at Carcoar.
Comus II's stable, Coombing Park.
Courtesy Craig Bratby.
It was in August 1863 when Michael Burke and John Vane, along with Gilbert and O'Meally, visited Mr Thomas Icely's Station, 'Coombing Park', the station, which was a Crown grant to, the Hon. Thomas Icely, M.L.C, took in a vast area of the central tablelands, Icely was also a magistrate and one of the wealthiest men in the district. Burke's goal was to steal the precious racehorse, 'Comus II'. The stables were guarded by a man called "Charley the German", who tried to prevent the theft and in the proccess was shot by Burke in the neck. Charley was taken to hospital where he slowly recovered.  Mr Icely offered a £100 reward for the capture of the robbers, who , with the horse disappeared into the bush.

ROBBERY OF MR. ICELY'S STABLES AT CARCOAR.

A letter from Mr. F. Rothery to his uncle, Mr. Icely, J.P , dated Bathutst, 3rd instant, gives the particulars of the daring robbery by bushrangers of that gentleman's stables, at Coombing, near Carcoar, on the previous day. The follow ing are extracts;

"I am sure you will be very surprised when you hear that the Coombing stable was  robbed yesterday evening. Mr. Icely had been down to Stoke in the afternoon, and returned a short tune afterdark, and, putting his horse in the back stable, came down to the house. Mr Morrisset and T Lawson happened to be present, and we had not been at dinner more than half an hour when Edward came in and said that he heard two shots in the direction of the stable.


Superintendent Morrisset
 c. 1860
We did not think anything more of it just then, fancying perhaps that it was the old man (whom my cousin had put in charge of the stable) bring off his gun. In the meanwhile, he (the old man) came into the house with the wound of a revolver in his lip, and saying that they were robbing the stables. Mr. Morrisset and Mr. Icely and T. Lawson immediately procured some firearms and went up (though too late for the robbers) and discovered that it was the case, and that old "Comus" and a horse of Mr. J. Davidson's, the sub-inspector of police, had gone my cousin then came down and told me that he intended going into Carcoar, and should send out the doctor as soon as he possibly could do, to see the wound. In about an hour he arrived with the doctor, who said that the ball had passed into the lip and through the tongue, but could not discover where it was. He says that it is not a dangerous wound. Everyone in Carcoar who could be got was sworn in as a special constable, Today, Mr Icely, in company with Mr. Morrisset and several others, started in search of the robbers I had to come down with letters for the police from Mr Morrisset. This morning Mr Icely wished me to tell you that he could not write perhaps for some time, as he intended making a good hunt for the men, and regain old 'Comus ' if possible". This is the second-time Mr Icely's stables have been robbed within two months. The first time the thieves only took harms, saddles, and bridles.²


On the 22nd September 1863, while in the Carcoar district Micky Burke and the gang captured three troopers Turnbull, Evenden and Cromie near Mount Maquarie after ridiculing the troopers for some hours where the gang wore the jackets of the unfortunate troopers they departed to Hosies store at Caloola, as reported, first is of the troopers capture; STICKING-UP THE POLICE AGAIN!- On Tuesday afternoon three troopors left the Long Swamp on route for Carcoar, and called at Goerge Marsh's farm, distant about 8 miles, where they had some refreshment, and were informed by Mr Marsh that he had seen a horse, with saddle and bridle on, and he believed that it had got away from the Bushrangers who were in the neighbourhood and he offered to go with one of them to get the horse. After being out about half an hour, the two troopers at the house heard two shots fired at a distance from the place, and went in the direction of the reports when they met two mounted men who ordered them to stand. Only one of them had taken the precaution to carry his rifle with him, and he was told that if he attempted to fire he would get his bloody brains blown out, and that they would go to the place where Marsh and the other trooper were handcuffed to a tree and shoot them.  As a mattor of course," the troopor gave up his rifle and revolvor. The two bushrangers were then joined by three more of their gang, and after liberating Marsh and the captive trooper, they went into the house and had something to eat, and then secured the three revolvers, three rifles, and all other traps belonging to the police. The gang are O'Meally, Gilbert, Burke, Vane, and Ben Hall: When the troopers first saw them they thought they were some of the Carcoar police, having carbines at their side, with bucket's to hold the muzzles in. They informed the troopers that they would like to fall in with M'Lerie and his men, for they would strip and handcuff them to trees for the night, having handcuffs with them for the purpose. The police, magistrate took the depositions of the three men in his office this day, and there were a lot of Specials sworn in as they will be very useful to go into the bush to protect the troopers, and prevent the bushrangers from taking the fire-arms from them! Would it not be better to furnish the police with some "make believe" firearms?  It would not be a bad idea, I think, for then the bushrangers would not be so well supplied with such, effective weapons; the loss to the country since Saturday cannot be less.than £70, and all fire arm's alone: there, were four breech loading carbines, and four revolvers, and all the holsters, straps, breast plate's, and other lumber that make up the total of a trooper's accoutrements, and all this done within 7 or 8 miles of this once quiet place. Some of our townspeople are really so uncharitable as to call the police a lot of muffs and cowards, and that they ought to wear crinoline; but some people are never satisfied. When they told the trooper not to fire as it would be worse for him, "what could the poor man do." That the police will never capture them on horseback, is an admitted fact, acknowledged by the police themselves. "Some men that can and will use fire-arms with effect" should be sent in pursuit. Then Hosie's store;

On Wednesday, the 23rd September, Gilbert, O'Meally and three other bushrangers stuck-up Hosie's store at Caloola, and stripped the place, taking away goods to the amount of £300. The villains threatened to return an blow Hosie's brains out if he gave any information to the police. They had robbed his store on a previous occasion, and gave as a reason for robbing him a second time that he had given information to the police of the first robbery. The same men then went to the blacksmith's residence opposite and robbed the owner of saddle and bridle and £1 in money; all that he had in the house at the time. The same men robbed the Carcoar mail on the previous Saturday evening.


'Clifden' c. 1900
Courtesy NLA.
Although only a member of the bushrangers for two months, Micky Burke was apart of some of the most daring actions of the Ben Hall gang and covered many miles conducting robberies, and would participate in the most audacious raid on a country town and its surrounding area starting at the wealthy Rothery's station 'Clifden' on the 26th September 1863 enroute to the gangs first raid on Canowindra; On Saturday morning news reached here that the residence of Mr. John Loudon, at Grubbengbong, fourteen miles from Carcoar, had been stuck up about eleven o'clock on the night previous, by Ben Hall, O'Meally, Gilbert, Vane, and Burke, who made up to the house and knocked at the door. Upon Mrs. London inquiring who was there, they answered "Police." Mr. London then inquired who was their officer, when, they answered "Saunderson." Mr. London told them that he would not admit them, and the words were no sooner spoken when a piece was fired, sending six slugs through the door into the passage. The door being unpannelled the busbrangers immediately entered, and having bailed up Messrs. London, Kirpatrick, and Wilson, putting handcuffs on them, they ordered Mrs. London and her niece into another room. They then commenced ransacking the place, and searching the men, taking what they pleased. They demanded some supper, and Mrs Loudon ordered some ham and eggs to be cooked for them, apologising for not having something better to offer them. ''However they did ample justice to what was laid before them, ordering, as an additional zest, some wine, which was at once brought them. During the whole of this time the gentlemen were in the verandah, handcuffed. After supper they had a smoke, Gilbert proposing to go outside, as the smoke might be annoying to the ladies. After staying three hours (till 3 o'clock, a. m.) they took their departure; but before doing so, all, except Vane, returned what they had previously taken in the shape of jewellery and trinkets. When the news reached town there were no troopers available except trooper Henry, who was, and is still, at Coombing, we believe, in good health.

On Saturday, at half-past three o'clock, p. m., Mr. Rothery, Junior, rode into town, stating that about two hours previously, Gilbert and four other bushranger had taken their quiet departure from Clifden about 15 miles from Carcoar. He stated, that at eleven o'clock that morning, he saw Gilbert, Ben Hall, O'Meally, Vane, and Burke, riding up to the house, when he gave the alarm to his father, who ordered the door to be closed and fastened. This done, Mr. Rothery and his two sons armed themselves with fowling pieces and revolvers—the cook and ostler being shortly afterwards admitted by the window. The cook was armed with a carving knife and toasting fork, and the ostler with a stable fork and a sickle. By the time these arrangements were completed, the bushrangers came up to the front of the house, when the young men wanted to fire, but their father ordered them not, directing them to plant the firearms and open the door. The bushrangers accordingly entered and took immediate possession of   the premises, so that the pluck of these three gentlemen exploded instead of their powder. The ostler and cook were despatched to their several departments—the one to feed the bushrangers' horses, and the other to cook dinner for them; of which, when ready, they partook with excellent appetites. They ordered a bottle of brandy and champagne, which was brought them without delay, when Gilbert, filling glasses round, proposed the health of Mr. Rothery, J P., and his sons, the latter of whom, he said, he hoped shortly to see gazetted as sub- inspectors; believing, as he did, that they possessed as much pluck as most of them. Mr. Rothery, J.P., in a neat speech, returned thanks for himself and sons, and assured them that he felt deeply the compliment they had paid him and was not able to express all he felt, but would represent to the Government the flattering opinion they held of his own and his sons' pluck, as no doubt they would be considered better authorities on such matters than Captain McLerie. After a few more compliments, they inquired of Mr. R. what horses he had, and being shown them they tried the animals and selected three, which they took with two new saddles and bridles. It was now two o'clock, and they took their departure, stating that they were bound for Canowindra. As there was no police in town, Mr. Rothery returned by himself, being advised to keep the back "slums" in his way back.


Canowindra township
 c. 1860's
On Sunday evening we received information that Gilbert and his four companions reached Canowindra, as promised, four hours after they left Mr. Rothery's. About six o'clock they rode into the town, tied up their horses, and commenced searching every house and person for cash, but obtained a very limited amount. They took from the only stores in town, Messrs. Pierce and Hilliar, about thirty pounds worth of men's clothing and three pounds in cash; after which they adjourned to Robinson's, junior, inviting all hands to have a ball, for which Gilbert paid—tea being first ordered. I may state that the landlord and his wife had departed that morning for Bathurst, leaving only his sister and two Miss Flanagans in charge of the house. After the tea things were cleared away, Gilbert very politely requested one of the young ladies to play him a tune on the piano. Some short time after, a dance was proposed, and commenced about nine o'clock, and continued till daylight the next morning (Sunday). Constable Sykes being amongst the company, it was proposed by Ben Hall that he (Sykes) should act as M.C. and that Burke and O'Meally should receive any company that might arrive during the evening. The company, we are informed, numbered eighteen at 12 o'clock, and the numbers were not augmented after that hour. Gilbert and his companions called and paid for all they drank during the night; and the night's amusement is spoken of as one of the jolliest affairs that has ever taken place in that small town—not a low or improper word being spoken by the gang, Gilbert kept the company in roars of laughter, at intervals, during the night, by giving an account of the police, whom he designated as a lot of cowards and said that when he left Rothery's he mentioned where be was going, so that it might be intimated to the police; knowing full well that they would not reach Canowindra until they (the bushrangers) had left. He said they never came till a day or two after. How fully borne out is this assertion I will presently show. However, to finish my narrative: The bushrangers left Robinson's at five o'clock, and retired to a paddock opposite, where they had two hours' sleep, and left Canowindra unmolested at eight o'clock.

So far I have given you an account of the bushrangers, now I have to say something of the police :— Information reached Number One Swamp of the sticking-up of Rotherey's and the bushrangers going on to Canowindra, about five o'clock on Saturday evening. Mr. Superintendent Morrisett immediately despatched five troopers to Canowindra, ordering them to call at Clifden on their way up. Instead of proceeding direct, they first came to Carcoar, which they did not leave till nine o'clock p.m. Previous to their departure, they however, received information that left very little doubt as to the bushrangers being at Canowindra. Now, giving them seven hours to get to Canowindra—thirty-two miles —they ought to have reached there at 4, o'clock a.m., where they would have had a good chance of taking the bushrangers, but from some cause they did not arrive at Canowindra till 11 o'clock-three hours after the bushrangers had left, thus taking fourteen hours to travel thirty-two miles! It is proved, beyond a doubt, that when the bushrangers left Mr. Rothery's they kept the road the whole distance, meeting carriers and others. The police could have heard, and no doubt did hear, from the teamsters camped on the road, that the bushrangers had passed in the direction of Canowindra, and their failing to reach that place, goes to prove what Gilbert said about them, that they have not "the pluck'' to meet them. This, however, is not the opinion of Gilbert only, but the public believe the same thing. Certainly these five troopers should be called to account by Mr. Morrisett, who to a certain extent is held responsible for the conduct or misconduct of his men. Then, again, we hear that a magistrate and his stockman were going into Canowindra about ten o'clock on Saturday evening when he heard that the bushrangers were at Robinson's inn. Much to his praise, he rode to the first police station (Cowra), about   eighteen miles off, reaching there about twelve o'clock, and found two troopers in the barracks. He informed them of what was going on at Canowindra, and directed them to proceed there, but they refused to go, saying "two were of no use." Consequently, they could be seen the next morning turning out with polished boots, calculating, it is presumed, when the "abstracts" would be up, so that they might fill in their pay. Such is the state of the police system that these same two troopers are sent down with and to deliver Mr. Icely's horse, while the mail coach comes down unprotected.

This morning, the mail coach arrived without the mail bags. It appears from the account given by the coachman that he was bailed up by Gilbert and party, about fourteen miles from Carcoar, and ordered to turn out the bags. Every letter was opened but of this I will give you full particulars next mail.


The Bathurst Free Press of Saturday last publishes the following: It appears that, notwithstanding the number of policemen engaged in the Western districts, with Captain M'Lerie at their head, little or nothing has been done, or can be done, to break up the gang which has lately caused so much annoyance in this neighbourhood; the villains are constantly prowling about, within a circuit of thirty-five or forty miles, and are frequently met with by passers-by, but, strange to say, the police cannot find them. On Thursday morning last, Mr. R. Machattie, surveyor (son of Dr. Machattie), and Mr. B. Battye (son of Captain Battye), were met by Vane and Hall in the neighbourhood of Mulgunnia, and were ordered to stand and deliver; a conversation ensued, which lasted for about two hours, during which time Hall was exceedingly amused at the propositions made by Machattie and Battye to run them a footrace, rather than loose their property. Vane wanted to handcuff the young gentlemen, but Hall would not consent to such a proceeding. The robbers took from their victims £2 in cash, but Hall gave back to Mr. Machattie a watch he had taken from him, and allowed him to retain a gold ring. Hall had a bottle of port wine with him, of which all hands were invited to partake, and when asked by Mr. Machattie why they did not give up their present evil courses, they replied they had nothing better to do, and would not give up unless Government offered them a bonus to leave the country. Eventually they rode away, taking with them the horses, saddles, and bridles, belonging to Messrs. Machattie and Battye; saying they would leave the horses where they would be found as soon as they were better suited. Shortly after the foregoing occurrence, another man was stuck up and robbed by the same persons in the same neighbourhood, but they only took from him a few shillings. Mr. Machattie had to walk several miles before he could procure another horse, after which he rode into Bathurst and gave information to the police.  It was during this conversation that young Machattie dared the gang to visit Bathurst.

After the recent dare by young Machattie, that the bushrangers didn't have the pluck to enter Bathurst, the gang appeared on the Sunday evening of the 4th of October 1863; BATHURST. Sunday, 7 p.m. THE BUSHRANGERS IN BATHURST. Last night, about half-past seven, Gilbert, O'Meally, Ben Hall, Burk, and Vane came into the heart of the town, and attempted to stick up the shop of Mr. McMinn, jeweller, in William-street. Gilbert and O'Meally went into the shop, leaving the others out- side, but the screaming of the females in the house raised the alarm, and they beat a retreat. Jumping on their horses, they galloped down William street, and, firing a shot in the air, passed down Howick- street, then cantered up George street, as if going out of town. In a little time a troop of police were in pursuit, but by a manoeuvre of the bushrangers, they passed them, and so were out generalled. The bushrangers, on going up George street, made for the rear of Mr. De Clouet's, and entering the house, stuck up the inmates and remained there in cool conversation for fully twenty minutes. They wanted the racehorse Pasha, but at the request of De Clouet, in whose employ Gilbert had at one time been, they relinquished their design and left quietly. Several young men volunteered immediately to go in pursuit, but there were neither ammunition nor caps in the police barracks. It is said that later in the night the police afterwards   came up with them and exchanged shots, but without any result. The townspeople are in a fearful state of excitement. It is impossible to describe the state of feeling caused by the visit of this notorious gang of bushrangers. After Bathurst the following was reported; "... a horse throughly knocked up, supposed to belong to the bushrangers, was brought in by the police last night. It had a saddle with a poncho on it, and a leather buckle to hold a rifle, but was without a bridle. A report is row circulating through the town that the mail from Bathurst to Carcoar was stuek up again this morning, twelve miles hence, at Fitzgerald's Mount. Tuesday, 8 30 p.m. A horseman has just galloped into town from the Vale Creek, about a mile and a half distant, with intelligence that the bushrangers have made an attack upon Mrs. Mutton's house, and had proceeded in the direction of Mr. Hellman's. Five troopers jumped into their saddles and have this moment left the barracks in pursuit of the bushrangers. The Inspector-General of police arrived in town this afternoon. Wednesday, 9 p.m. The committee appointed to consider the best means for capturing the bushrangers have, with the sanction of the Government, issued placards, offering £2500 reward for the apprehension of the five bushrangers— Gilbert, O'Meally, Bourke, Vane, and Ben Hall, or £500-each. Volunteers are called for, and the town has the appearance of being in a state of siege. The police have been out all day."


It was reported that Micky Burke also tried his hand at lone hold up's with the other gang members secreted nearby as stated in the 'Sydney Mail', 10th October 1863;

It has been proved beyond doubt that Micky Burke was the lad that stuck up the mail on Tuesday last, and at that time Mr. Superintendent Morrieset and his men were only a short distance from where the robbery took place. I mentioned in my last that Gilbert and his gang were at Canowindra on Sunday morning, and left there at eight o'clock a.m. They then proceeded to Bundaroo (Mr. Icely's station), and took some horses. In crossing the race at Duffy's fall, they had to swim, and in doing so Vane lost his seat, and was precipitated into the water—the horse being carried down stream distance, till he washed against a tree. The girths then breaking, the horse made for the bank, where he was secured by the others, who ran down for a mile on foot to catch him. The saddle and swag, containing three revolvers £25 in notes, and some clothing, were lost. They then returned to Canowindra, ran some horses into the town, and slept there on Sunday night. I may state that when they were within half-a-mile of the town, they (the bushrangers) sent a message by a man named Sullivan, an old resident of Canowindra, to the police, that they were prepared to meet them and would stop there for them, so long as no more than six came. That they would fight them man to man, and allow the police one extra to take the place of the first trooper that fell. Sullivan took his message, but the police said they could not cross the river. Sullivan offered to punt them across, but they declined!

This then followed the 2nd raid on Canowindra which was the first time in Australian history that a town was captured and sacked by bushrangers, as follows; MORE NEWS OF THE BUSHRANGERS. - Further news has arrived of the doings of the bushrangers. On Monday morning Gilbert, O'Meally, Hall, Vane, and Burke, visited Mr. Grant's house at Bellubula. They did no mischief there; but the same day they went to Canowindra, and stuck up all the teamsters, equestriaas, and pedestrians, who came along that road. On Tuesday Mr. Hibberson and Mr. Twaddle drove to Mr. Robinson's inn, at Canowindra, which they found in possession of Gilbert and his gang. The two gentlemen were ordered inside, where they found several others in duruance vile. The bushrangers treated all the men to grog and cigars, and prevwiled on the young ladies of the house to play the piano, whilst two of the rascals danced. The bushrangers drank nothing but ale. They treated every one who would drink, and paid cash for the liquor. They stopped three drays on the road, took from those in charge £3 and a revolver. Ten policemen started from Cowra on hearing the news, but had not arrived at Canowindrta when my informant left that town. A number of police started for Bathurst yesterday, and were ordered not to return without fighting with, or taking the bushrangers.-Bathurst telegram to Empire.- [The Bathurst Times supplies the following further particulars:-Yesterday, news reached Bathurst that Gilbert and his gang had paid another visit to Canowindra, and on investing the town, had held it aganist all comers for three days and nights, their proceedings being characterised by a cool audacity, which has hitherto been unequalied. The tragedy of bushranging is a thing of the past, it is now such a famitiar every-day matter that it has bcome a broad-farce. From what we could learn, the bushrangers made their appearance late on Sunday night, or early on Monday morning, paying a visit to Mr. Robinson's hotel, and taking from him about £3. After this, the farce commenced. Some of the gang were placed so as to guard the approaches to the town, and everyone who made his appearance was taken into custody and brought to the hotel, where he was told he must remain, but that he might call for whatever he liked at the bushrangers' expense. No restraint was imposed upon them other than that they were ordered not to quit the town, the bushrangers amusing themselves in a variety of ways, holding a robbers' jubilee. On Tuesday morning at ten o'clook, Messrs. Hibberson, Twaddell, and Kirkpatrick drove up to Robinson's, where Ben Hall informed them that he was sorry to inconvenience them, but they really could not be permitted to proceed on their journey, and he must therefore trouble them to leave their vehicle and put up for awhile. On getting out O'Meally, who was present, saw a revolver in Mr. Kirkpatrick's possession and presenting one of his own weapons at that gentleman's head, he compelled him to give it up, remarking that they did not require it, but as it might be used against them it was as well to take the precaution of keeping it out of harm's way. He promised, however, to leave it at Mr. Loudon's residence at Grubbenbong, as they intended to pay him another visit before long. This, and the robbery of the £3 already mentioned, were the only items of violence committed during their stay. A first-class dinner was ordered for the three gentlemen, and the cost of this as well as everything else called for was defrayed by the bushrangers.


Every dray and team that passed was stopped, and the men belonging to them were lodged, fed, and supplied with drink, free of expense. There were twevlve or fourteen drays drawn up in a line, and not the slightcst attempt was made to interfere with the loading they contained. Bundles of cigars, purchased by Gilbert, as required, were thrown loosely on one of the tables in the public-house, for all who cared about smoking them, and a huge pile of sweetmeats was also provided, to suit the taste of others. Everyone was empowered to call for what he liked, but the bushrangers drank nothing but bottled ale and porter-the corks of which they insisted upon having drawn in their presence. Great festivities were kept up, and, from the description given of the gang, they entertained not the slightest apprehension of being disturbed, and did not seem to think that they were incurring any risk. Amongst a variety of amusements, shooting at a target seemed to be the favourite, and nothing occurred to mar the revels, except the accidental dropping of a carbite, which went off and sent its contents flying past O'Meally's legs. To some of the residents in the neighbourhood who desired to visit their homes, leave of absence of an hour's duration was granted-passes being given to them, duly signed. In one or two instances, where the time allowed was exceeded by the pass-holders, Ben Hall went after them, but on meeting the individuals returning, he contented himself with admonishing them for their transgression. On one occasion Ben Hall said he must go and look after the policeman, and getting on his horse; he rode to the barracks, where it seems a constable is stationed, and ordering the man to fix the bayonet to his gun, and place his revolver in his waist, he drove him hefore his horse down to the hotel, where the others amused themselves with him for a little time and, taking his arms away, told him to go and enjoy himself till he received further orders. There were about forty persons detained altogether, and the reason given for adopting this course was that they had a number of scouts out, who they were desirous should return before anyone left the town. They recounted several of their exploits, and expressed a lively contempt for policemen generally, and their officers in particular-saying that when the police came all tley had to do was to ride away. It is saild that Messrs. Hibberon, Twaddell, and Kirkpatrick, were anxious to resume their journey, and upon representing to Hall the fact that the river was rising, and unless they were allowed to go at once they might be detained for days before they could cross, they were allowed to take their departure at four o'clock in the afternoon. The same night the ruffians stuck up Grant's place on the Belubula and burnt it down, to wreak their vengeance on the owner who had dared on a former occasion to give information to the police. They said they were overlooking him when he was directing the police, and saw him point out their tracks. We are told that information of the Canowindra business reached the inspector-general on Thuraday, but the matter was looked upon as a mere canard. We have by the way omitted to mention that besides the visit to Mr. Loudon, the bushrangers intimated their intention to re-visit Bathurst shortly.


On 24th October 1863 the bushrangers suddenly attacked the residence of Mr Keightley, a Gold Commissioner at his residence at Dunn's Plains near Rockley, NSW, who had on a number of occasions boasted and let it be known that he would take the gang if the opportunity arose, as Keightley had a reputation as a good shot. The bushrangers on learning the boast duly arrived and Mr Keightley and his house guest Dr Peachey (Pechey) a cousin of Keightley's wife Caroline, were fired at, however the pair showed stubborn resistance and secreted themselves into the house and then the roof during the ensuing gunfight, and where the house and front door were peppered with shots which luckily did not injure the two men. Burke as eager as always, was first to the house and was however shot at and seriously wounded in the stomach and in fear of capture muttered, his last words on earth, saying; "I'm done for, but I'll not be taken alive." Burke as a consequence of his wound, then turned his revolver upon himself and fired two shots into his head the first a graze and not fatal, the second shot fatal. The attack and subsequent ransoming of Mr. Keightley is reported here through the 'Bathurst Times', of 28th October 186, as follows;- DESPERATE ENCOUNTER WITH THE BUSHRANGERS ONE OF THE FIVE KILLED. (From Wednesday's Bathurst Times.)
Sketch of Keightley and
 Dr. Peachey observing
 the gangs arrival.

By Percy Lindsey. Truth
1935.
On Saturday evening, between six and seven o'clock, Gilbert, O Meally, Ben Hall, Vane, and Burke made their appearance at the house of Mr. Keightley (assistant gold commisioner) at Dunn's Plains, rear Rockley. Mr. Keightley was at the time outside the house, and, seeing the men advancing, thought at first they were policemen in disguise. On their coming up, they called out to him to "bail up," but, without paying any attention to the command, he ran into the house-about thirty yards off- with the intention of arming himself- four or five shots being fired at him as he went. It seems Mr. Keightley had been expecting a visit from the gang, and had provided himself with the necessary means of defence: but, owing to the most unfortunate circumstance, they were beyond his reach at the very moment he required to use them. Having occasion, shortly before, to send a letter in the letter post, he had despatched it by a man servant, who bears the character of beling a trustworthy and courageous fellow, and he, it appears, had taken a brace of revolvers with him for his own protection. Snatching up a doable barreled gun (only one barrel of which was loaded), as also a revolver, Mr Keightley, accompanied by a guest, Dr. Peachey, who stood by his side throughout, took his station at the door, Where a shower of bullets greeted his appearance, some of them passing within a hair's breadth of their bodies, and burying wiht a "ping" in the woodwork about the threshold. 
This is the front door of the Keightley home peppered with the bullets fired by the Gang. Keightley's house stood among the trees in the background, and the stables were to the right. (The bullet riddled door maybe viewed at the Bathurst District Historical Society, background photo courtesy, Craig Bratby.)
Very rare photograph of
Keightley's home
at Dunns Plains.
Courtesy NLA.
The plan pursued by the bushrangers was to keep under cover as much as possible, Burke from time to time, creeping up at the side of the house, and suddenly swinging his arm round, managed in that way, to fire at the gentlemen as they stood within the doorway. Vane is mentioned as coming out in full view and deliberately taking aim. Unwilling to risk a shot at him, Mr, Keightley waited for the next approach of Burke, who came up shortly afterwards in the way described, and incautiously exposing his body, he was instsntly shot in the abdomen, whereupon he was seen to reel like a drunken man, and stagger to the side of the house. Leaning with one hand against the wall, he cried out, "I'm done for, but I'll not be taken alive;" and then with the other hand, he pulled out a revolver, and placing it to his head endeavoured to blow out his brains. The first shot appears to have merely grazed the skin of his forehead, but the nex t blew away a portion of his skull. He then fell to the ground. The bushrangers, seeing what had happened, still continued to conceal themselves, while they kept up a constant fire upon the house, Dr. Pechey, at this juncture, made a rush across the yard towards a kitchen, in the endeavour to obtain possession of a gun placed there, belonging to his servant, William Baldock, whom we have mentioned as having been despatched to Rockley. He was, however, encountered by Vane, who, presented a revolver, ordered him back, at the same time firing at him. The dootor accordingly retraced his steps.

c 1880's
Courtesy NLA.
The two gentlemen unable by reason of the tactics pursued, to get a shot at their assailants, now resolved o effect a change in their position, and with that object in view, they walked out of the door, and, by means of a ladder, deliberately monnted to a loft above the house, being exposed the whole time to an incessent fire; but, though the 'bullets passed around them in a shower some cutting through Mr. Keigbtley's beard and hat-miraculous to say, they reached their destination unhurt. The bushrangers still kept under cover, and fired about twenty shots at the loft, when Gilbert called out to them to come down, and Ben Hall said if they did not, they would burn the home. Mr. Keightley, fearing that they would carry their threat into execution, and perhaps murder his wife and child, who were below, determined to give himself up, and accordingly called out his intention to surrender. On reaching the ground, Vane ran up to Dr. Pechey, and struck him, with the butt-end of his revolver, a violent blow on the forehead, immediately above the left eyebrow, Which knocked him down. Mr. Keightley remonstrated, asking why he treated him in that manner, when Vane made some answer, which showed that he mistook the doctor for Mr. Keightley, whom they believed to have been the instigator of the resistence they had experienced.


A woodcut of 
Mrs Keightley imploring
 Ben Hall "..
save his life!"
Courtesy NLA.
Just at this moment some persons in the employment of Mr. William Bowman, whose station is in close proximity, Were observed standing on a rise of ground. (In justice to these, it must be mentioned that, through private means, we are possessed of information which exonerates them from the charge of standing coldly by while the murderous assault was going on. It seems Mr.Keightley has been in the habit of firing for practice, accordingly, the reports of the firearms created no surprise, and it was not until the voice of Ben Hall was heard of threatening to burn, the house down, that their attention was aroused and they carme up the hill to see what was going on.) Ben Ball at once fetched them  down in a body to where the others were standing; and such a scene presented as we trust it will never be our fate to chronicle again. In one corner, of the yard lay the boy highwayman, while on portion of the well frame sat Mr. Keightley, under sentence of death-Vane standing close to him loading the gun with which Burke had been shot. Mrs, Keightley turned to the others and implored them to spare her husbands life, but seemingly without avail. Vane said doggedly, that Burke and he had been brought up as boys together, that they had been mates eversince, and that the gun that had deprived him of life should in turn take the life of the man who killed him. The gun being loaded, he threw it over his arm, and turning to Mr, Keightley, told him to follow him down to the paddock. In frantic-agitation, Mrs. Keightley ran up to Ben Hall and clutching him by the coat collar, said.- "I know you are Ben Hall, and they say you are the most humane, respectable and the best of them all for God's sake, do not let them murder my husband -save his life!". She then turned to Gilbert, and addressing him in similar terms, begged, him to interfere (O'Meally,it appears, was away looking after the horses), Gilbert and Hall appeared to be moved, and the latter called out to Vane to desist.


NSW Police Gazette
November 1863.
List of banknote No's
 from reward
paid to Ben Hall.
A parley ensued, when Gilbert and Hall dictated the terms upon which Mr, Keightley's life should be spared, namely, that as the Government had placed five hundred pounds upon Burke's, head, the amount of the reward - should be handed over to them; and they agreed to allow a certain time till two o'clock the following day, Sundey for the production of the money. Dr. Peahey then examined Burke, and discovored a large wound in the abdomen, through which his entrails, in a frightfully torn and lacerated condition, were protruding. He was still breathing, though unconscious, and the doctor said he could do very little for him without his instruments. He asked if one of them would go into Rockley, and fetch what he required, but they said it would be of no use, and that it would be better to shoot him at once, and end his misery. The doctor thought something ought to be done, and at length prevailed upon them to let him go and obtain such things as he wanted, having first pledged his honour that he would not raise an alarm. Before he returned, the man was dead.

We have said O'Meally was absent, and Mrs. Keightley, fearing least he might not agree to accept the ransom, prevailed upon one of the party to fetch him. When he came, he at first refused to listen to the proposal, and declared his intention to revenge the death of his companion; but he was, however, eventually pacified by the others. They then went into the house and remained there for a considerable time awaiting Dr. Peachey's return, and drank some spirits and wine, Mrs. Keightley having first tasted it, in order to assure them the liquor was not drugged. Some conversation passed, in which the bushrangers told that the reason Burke was so daring, arose from the fact that they had just previously been twitting him with the want of courage, and seemingly he was determined to convince them to the contrary. In answer to a question from Mrs. Keightley, as to what could induce them to pursue the course they did, when, by the many robberies they committed they must possess considerable wealth, Gilbert replied that with all their depredations, they had not as much as would keep them a week.
The Dog Rocks. 
The Gang, with Keightley, probably camped on the left rise as this would command a better view of the surrounding areas of Dunn's Plains to the west, Rockley to the north
 and Burruga to the south.(Photo by Craig Bratby)
Arrangements were next made for the payment of the ransom. Mr. Keightley was taken to a place called the Dog Rocks, on a hill near, and Mrs. Keightley was warned that if any information was given by which the police might be brought down upon them, they would shoot her husband immediately. She was to go into Bathurst with Dr. Pechey and fetch the money, and if any treachery was attempted, after shooting Mr, Keightley they said they would come down and fight those who approached for the £500. The position they took apon the hill enabled them to overlook the road, so that they could see whoever might arrive, and it was stipulated that Dr. Peachey should alone approach them with the money. Burke being dead, two of the men engaged at Mr. Bowman's were hired to take the body in a spring cart to the house of his father, being paid £2 each for this service by the bushrangers, On the return of Dr. Peachey Mrs. Keightley, under his escort, rode into Bathurst where she sought out her father, Mr. Rotton, M.L.A. That gentleman instantly repaired to the Commercial Bank it being about four o'clock in the morning and procured the sum required, with which, accompanied by Dr Peachey, he started to Dunn's Plains, where upon it's being handed over to the party by the brave doctor, Mr. Keightley was set at liberty, and soo after saftley arrived at Bathurst. A body of police had, however, some time previously had started in pursuit.


A dramatisation of 
Mrs Keightley
 and Dr. Peachey's
Buggy ride for the £500.
Mr. Keightley speaks most favourably of the manner in which he was treated during his captivily, and it seems he had a long conversation in the night with one or two of them, in  which he was told that the gang would never have come into Bathurst, or visited him had it not been for the taunts received from two individuals who ought to have known better then to spur them to the enterprise. They denied ever having threatened to useany violence towards him, but being told that he (Keightley) was a splendid shot, and would riddle them through as he was  in the habit of practising at a target, they imagined; he must be possessed of first class weapons, and the desire to possess these, as well as to test his courage, had induced them to make the attack they had. Personally, they did not know him. Once in the night the galloping of horses was heard, and as for some time the bushrangers had taken it in turns to rest-two sleeping while the others watched-Gilbert, who standing sentry over the prisoner, went up to the sleepers, and touched them gently with his foot, calling them quietly by name. They jumped up without noise, and held their weapons in reidiness, but as the sound drew nearer it was discovered to emanate from a passing mob of bush horses.
The video was filmed by Craig Bratby is taken from Dog Rocks with the view over Dunn's Plains.
The day before  the occurrance took place which we have just described, Sub.inspector Davidson with some troopers were encamped near to Mr. Keightley's house, and the bushrangers told Mr. Keightley that they had been watching them through the night, and mentioned several little incidents that had transpired, in proof of their assertion. Mr. Davidson, it appears, declined to accept the accommodation proffered by Mr. Keightley, preferring, to sleep out with his men, and Mr. Keightley was told of what happened daring a visit he had paid the party, and also that they (the bushrangers) had been watching; both him and the neighbourhood the whole day through. There are one or two circumstances which we have omitted to mention, but we believe the narrative we have given contains everything connected with the matter which can be relied upon. As displaying the courage evinced by Mrs. Keightley, it is perhaps worthy of remark that upon the two gentlemen having left the doorway and gained the loft, that lady, undaunted by the firing which was going on, came up into the passage, and closed the door, and barred it so as to prevent the entry of the bushrangers. As she did so, we learn she unconsciously shut out her own little sister, who appears to have been standing in the yard during the whole fray, and it is also said was actually standing by the side of Burke when he received his death wound. A report reached Bathurst yesterday that the police had fallen in with the men in driving the cart in which the body of Burke was being conveyed, and that it has been carried to Carcoar, where an inquest is to be had.

After less than fourteen weeks riding in company with one of the wildest bushranger gang's in the history of New South Wales and Australia, Michael Burke's body was taken to Carcoar for the inquest and later released to the family.  He was buried on his parents' property at Mandurama. With permission, his grave can be viewed at Fell Creek; "...the inquest on Burke, which was held in Carcoar, by Dr. Rowland conducted a postmortem examination of the body, and that his evidence was to the effect that nine leaden slugs were taken from the body of the young fellow. The Commisioner, who gave evidence subsequently, stated that the gun with which he is said to have shot the bushranger, was loaded with shot."?

At the arraignment of John Vane in December, 1863, Dr. Peachey was again asked to give evidence on Burkes death and stated; Mr. W. C. PEACHEY, being duly a sworn, said: "I gave evidence in the case against Vane yesterday; when Mr. Keightley was in the passage I was behind him: he said he had fired; after I came down from the roof I went to look at Burke's body, and saw that the bowels were protruding from the abdomen; I also saw blood coming from his mouth and nostrils; there was a wound in the head, and one of the bushrangers said Burke had shot his own brains out; after I saw the body I went to Rockley to get my instruments, and when I came, back Burke was dead; I afterwards assisted to put the body in a cart, and it was taken away; I heard it was to go towards Carcoar; a German and one of Mr. McDonald's men went with it; about two feet of the bowels were out; that would have ultimately caused death; I think the wound was of that character that it must have caused death; a portion of the shirt was driven into the wound; the shot must have been fired close-I should think within a yard or so."


DEATH OF BURKE. -A correspondent of the S. M. Herald writes; -"I saw the body of Burke in the Carcoar Hospital, shortly after death. I could not help feeling sorry for this misguided youth. The doctor took nine slugs from his stomach; but the shot that killed him was one of three fired by himself alter finding that he was wounded."


THE LATE MICHAEL BOURKE, THE BUSHRANGER -The youth Bourke, who forfeited his life at the hands of Commissioner Keightley while attempting with Gilbert, O'Meally, Hall, and Vane, to stick-up that gentleman's family at their residence, Dunn's Plains, was a native of the colony, and was reared at the Dam station, belonging to Mr. Watt, the ex M.P. for Carcoar. From his childhood he was shepherding for that gentleman, but unfortunately for himself the deeds of arms of Gardiner and his confederates seduced him to join the bushrangers; but, fortunately for society, his career was as brief as it was inglorious. It is hoped his shocking end will be a deterrent to other youths inclined to turn out upon the roads. -Yass Courier. There was also a report of the inquest into Burke's death where it was stated; "...weeks after Hall’s gang’s raids on Bathurst twenty-year-old Micky Burke’s very short bushranging career ended at Rockley. Holding up Gold Commissioner Keightley he was wounded in the stomach and, believing he was about to die, shot himself in the head. Still alive and in pain one of his friends killed him (the Coroner named Hall)."

However for many years the mystery surrounding the pulling of the trigger that fatefully wounded young Michael Burke, has persistently pointed to Ben Hall as actually shooting Burke by accident as recounted by Mr. Michael Long, J.P., of Lambridge, as revealed to writer William Freame: "that Mr. Keightley never shot Micky Burke at all, but that he met his death at the hand of his own comrade, Ben Hall, as a result of a shot fired in mistake. Mr. Long's memory is quite clear that at the inquest on Burke, Dr. Rowland deposed that he took a number of leaden slugs from the body of the young fellow, while Mr. Keightley said that his own gun was loaded with shot. And old hands in the know always reckoned that Hall admitted killing Burke by accident."  Therefore, it is my belief that based on all the evidence, that Ben Hall, contrary to the long held view of Keightley wounding Burke, that the shot fired was actually perpetrated by Hall as he moved from the back of the home to the front, and was suddenly startled by Burke, and with Hall's reflexes and his sensors heightened fired his shotgun, loaded with lead slugs.

The irony of the death of Mickey Burke was that had the attack and the consequence of Burke dying been two days later, Mr Keightley would have had to find £1000, as the reward for the gang had doubled, as stated; REWARD FOR THE APPREHENSION OF BURKE: -The Herald says: -The Government have directed that the sum of £500 be forwarded to Mr Keightley, as the reward offered for the apprehension of either of the five notorious bushrangers. The affray at Rockley, in which Burke lost his life, took place two days before, the reward was doubled, otherwise Mr. Keightley would have been entitled to £1000 for his services.


Micky Burke headstone
Footnote on Micky Burke: In the many years that followed Burke's shooting and the years following the deaths of Hall, Gilbert and O'Meally, various versions of the events at Keightley’s in which Burke died has been put forward, rovided by other eyewitness'. However, one notable witness was a Mrs Baldock, who at the time of the attack was employed as a maid at the residence of Mr and Mrs Keightley, along with Mrs Baldocks husband. Her version, though, is not corroborated by John Vane in his narration of those events, nevertheless, the outcome of that tragic day played a part in Vane's sudden decision to quit the gang, that is, that Burke was accidentally shot and wounded by Ben Hall during the initial attack, and not by Keightley, or as other evidence alludes to and suggests that John Gilbert? may have delibratley pulled the trigger, as in Burke's eagerness to show the others of his pluck, a bravery which just prior to the Dunns Plain raid Burke had been jibbed for and in which some animosity arose over who had the most courage and the comments were largley directed at John Gilbert which had ruffled his feathers. Vane stated that Burke was first to the house as the rest scattered firing and that on approaching the front door two shots were fired from it, remembering that Keightley from his inquest testimony had only one barrel of his shotgun loaded with buckshot, the other chamber was empty, shortly after the gun shots Burke then ran to the side of the homestead near a fence. Unknown at the time to Vane, it was here that Burke's sudden appearance may have startled Ben Hall, who it is believed made his own way to the house seeking entry, and armed with a shotgun, and is the one who possibly shot Burke by mistake, thinking Burke was Keightley and fired, as Mrs Baldock states; "...I then looked out at the window of the bedroom occupied by the nurse, and saw another bushranger with Mr. Keightley's man, Robert. The bushranger said, “Open the door.”I replied that the house was open and he could come in when he thought proper. He shouted out, “I tell you, open the door.” I answered, “I tell you the house is open, and you can come in where you think proper.” I then went into the verandah where I saw another robber; I begged him not to hurt anyone; he replied, “We do not come here to hurt anyone.” Whilst talking to this man, I heard someone calling on Mr. Keightley to come down or the house should be set on fire." This indicates that another bushranger was on the verandah. John Vane in his version of theses events in his biography of his short life with the gang was reluctant to point the finger at Keightley as the one who fired the debilitating shot at Burke, and was even to go so far as to avoid any mention of the pyshical assault on Peachy nor of the cries of mercy for Mr Keightley as had been throughly reported in the newspapers of the attack, Vane put forward his own suspicions as to the person who fired the shot and he did not believe that Keightley from his position at the door was capable of hitting Burke. Keightley stood 6ft 3in and Burke 5ft 5in. Vane's conclusion regarding the wounding of Burke also points to his belief that Gilbert may have been the guilty party, but Vane also had many battles bot verbally and physically with Gilbert. Vane writes that after the £500 was divided, an arguement broke out between O'Meally and Gilbert over the distribution of Burke's effects; "...naturally we talked a good deal about Burke, and O'Meally said that everything belonging to him ought to be handed over to his people. But I said I do not think we ought to let them have his firearms. "No" said O'Meally; "perhaps you are right, and had better keep the firearms." I told him I could not carry two guns, then Gilbert spoke up and said he would take the gun and saddle also; whereupon some hot words passed between him and O'Meally, as the later declared the saddle must be given up to Burke's father. Hall then interposed and told them to stop growling at each other, and then O'Meally heatedly said that Gilbert was the cause of Burke's death." At this point in Vane's narrative he comments; "...what he meant by this the reader may guess if he can. I don't feel inclined to make any assertion or venture any opinion concerning it. One thing I may say, however, and that is, that Keightley could not have shot Burke from the doorway in the position in which he was standing, as he was at an angle which he could not possibly be seen from the door." After the division of the ransome Vane and O'Meally start for Burke's parents home and disscuss the idea of once more heading off and leaving Hall and Gilbert but as events unravelled Vane goes on to say that from that point he left the gang and they didn't come and look for him and after some time alone Vane surrendered to Father McCarthy. Mrs Baldock's version was brought to light on her behalf by her husband in a letter which was republished in the 'The Queenslander' Saturday 13th March, 1869, when the question of compensation for Mr Campbell, who shot dead O'Meally, was being addressed, the Keightley attack was also raised, Mr Baldock stated in defence of his wife, her version of that fateful day, reported below in full.


Portrait of
Dr. Pechey
Mr. KEIGHTLEY AND THE BUSHRANGERS. - With reference to certain statements made by Mr. W. H. Suttor, in the Assembly, in the debate on the motion for giving compensation to Mr. Keightley for losses sustained by him through the bushrangers at the time O'Mealley was shot, Mr. Baldock writes to the Bathurst Times: — "The report in the Sydney Morning Herald of the proceedings in Parliament respecting the above affair has just come under my notice, and I think it my duty, as the husband of the person inaccurately mentioned as Mrs. Bolton, to contradict the statement of Mr. W. H. Suttor. A simple statement of some of the real facts of the case will, perhaps, be the best way of preventing the public from being deceived. My wife's statement: — "On the evening of Saturday, the 24th of October, 1863, I saw Mr. Keightley run across the yard into the house at Dunn's Plains, and heard him say, "The bushrangers have come at last.” Mrs. Keightley immediately bolted the back door, after which I saw Burke firing his revolver. Thinking I might be shot, I stooped under the dresser until the firing ceased. I then looked out at the window of the bedroom occupied by the nurse, and saw another bushranger with Mr. Keightley's man, Robert. The bushranger said, “Open the door.” I replied that the house was open and he could come in when he thought proper. He shouted out, “I tell you, open the door.” I answered, “I tell you the house is open, and you can come in where you think proper.” I then went into the verandah where I saw another robber; I begged him not to hurt anyone; he replied, “We do not come here to hurt anyone.” Whilst talking to this man, I heard someone calling on Mr. Keightley to come down or the house should be set on fire, but if he came down he should not be hurt. Mr. Keightley said,” “Honor bright?” and one of the bushrangers replied, “Honor bright!” Dr. Peachy and Mr. Keightley then came down from the roof into the garden. One of the bushrangers immediately came up to Mr. K. and said, “One of my mates has been shot, it is through you, and I will blow your brains out.” I jumped between Mr. K. and the bushranger, threw up my arms, and said, “Don't shoot him, for God s sake don't hurt him; if you have no pity for him, think of Mrs. Keightley and her dear baby.” The bushranger immediately lowered his revolver. Another bushranger then came into the garden; he went up to Dr. Peachy and knocked him down; I turned round to him and said, “Don't hurt the poor little doctor; I'm sure he never hurt you.” The bushranger exclaimed, “The doctor! then which is Keightley,” Mr. Keightley answered, “I'm Keightley.” The bushranger replied, “You wretch, you shot my mate, and I'll blow your brains out.” Mr. Keightley said, “On my soul, men, I never shot him, and if I did I never meant to.” The bushranger replied,” You’re a liar; if you didn't mean to shoot us what did you fire for?' The other bushranger, the shorter of the two (Hall, I believe), said to Mr. Keightley, “You didn't do it; I did it in mistake, when firing at you.” I then went out of the garden, thinking to get someone to fetch the troopers from Rockley, as there was neither constable nor trooper at Dunn's Plains. When I got outside the garden gate I saw a man lying on the ground, and another man standing by, looking at him; the man who was standing said to me, “Look what the wretch has done!” I replied, “Why don't you bring the doctor to him?” He answered, “The doctor! where am I to get a doctor?” I told him that it was the doctor who had just been knocked down in the garden. The man went into the garden; I went towards the hut on the hill to see if any of the men would go for the troopers; the men said it would be useless for them to make the attempt as there was a man watching them from behind a tree. All the disturbance was now over, and I stopped on the hill near the hut until Mrs. Keightley and Ben Hall came up; I asked Mrs. Keightley where the baby was, and whether I should fetch it. Mrs. Keightley said she wished me to do so."

Caroline Keightley
On the 8th of December 1898, Mrs Caroline Keightley passed away. After her death a former mounted trooper who was part of the party which conveyed Burke's body to Carcoar was interviewed by a reporter, unfortunately his name was with held, but his story goes some distance to corroborate that of Mrs Baldock, reproduced here from the 'The Manaro Mercury, and Cooma and Bombala Advertiser', Monday 12 December 1898; A reporter obtained an interview with a gentleman who was a member of the mounted police force in that district at the time mentioned, but who now holds a responsible position in one of the greatest importing firms in the city. This gentleman readily agreed to give what information he could concerning the matter, but stated at the outset that his story of the affair did not tally with that which has for many years been accepted by the public as the correct one. He believes, in fact, that Keightley never saw the bushranger Burke (better known it the time as 'True Blue') at all, but that Burke died by the hand of his own comrade, Ben Hall, as the result of a shot fired in mistake. For certain reasons which he explained, our informant does not wish his name to become public but has, he asserts, implicit belief in the reliability of the information which he obtained concerning Burke's death, and his mind and memory, he states, are especially clear upon the matter, "I have never rushed into print with it," he said, "but my friends have all heard it, and now the chief actors in the tragedy are dead, I can see no objection to your publishing it." Our informant formed one of the party of mounted troopers which brought the body of the dead bushranger Burke into Carcoar, and he was personally acquainted with all the parties concerned. The facts of the case, as stated by him, in his own words, are briefly as follows: Burke was a neighbor and mate of Johnny Vane and they had both lived in the Carcoar district, to the south of Mount Macquarie. Towards the end of 1863 the two, in company with Ben Hall, Gilbert, and O'Meally, stuck up Dunn's Plains Station, which was owned by Mr. Bowman, but the house on which was rented by Mr. Keightley, the gold commissioner. Mrs. Keightley daughter of Mr. Rotton, M. L. A., was at home at the time, and a visitor named Dr. Pechey was also at the house. Keightley and his wife were the handsomest couple in the district, Mrs. Keightley was a very pretty woman, and the Commissioner, who always carried arms, was considered as one of the best shots for miles around. There was a sort of parapet around the top of the house, which was well  adapted for purposes of defence, and when Keightley and Pechey saw that they would have to defend the place, they went on to the roof, after having discharged several shots without effect (it is generally understood that Keightley shot Burke before going on the roof.) The version of the affair, as reinterated to me afterwards, was that Ben Hall, who did not see the defenders go to the top of the house, made his way round by the kitchen in order to get a better opportunity to fire at them. On turning a corner of the kitchen he suddenly saw a man, whom he took to be Keightley, but who afterwards proved to be 'True Blue' in a small recess between the kitchen chimney and the wall of the house, Hall fired, and the man dropped down, dangerously wounded in the lions. The remainder of the gang, being under the impression that he had been shot by Keightley, became so incensed that when he afterwards surrended to them, they announced their determination to execute him summarily. Hall, however, showed less animosity towards him, and, apparently actuated by the pleadings of the young wife, used his influence with the gang in the direction of mercy. This is the version of the affair is related to me by a man who was a friend of Ben Hall, and also a friend of mine. He told me the story years afterwards, when we had been travelling together in the bush for some time. He said that he was in the immediate vicinity of the place where the sticking-up occurred, which I knew to be a fact. He went on to say that, after Mrs. Keightley had gone away to Bathurst for the money, Hall left the others and went back to the house, where he appeared to be searching for something. My informant, who knew Ben intimately, said "Why, Ben, you look as miserable as if you had lost sixpence. What's up", Hall replied, "I have done the worst day's work I ever did, that's all." "You're not breaking your heart about sticking up old Keightley, are you ?" he was asked. "No, it is not that," was the reply, "but I have shot little Micky, He never would go where I told him," he continued, "and the little devil, thinking he knew best, went and got into that niche by the chimney. I thought he was Keightley, and shot him." He told me that Ben Hall seemed greatly affected, and that he had no doubt whatever as to the truth of his statement. This little story brought to my mind the inquest on Burke, which was held in Carcoar, and a peculiar circumstance connected with it I remembered that the late Dr. Rowland conducted a post-mortem examination of the body, and that his evidence was to the effect that nine leaden slags were taken from the body of the young fellow. The Commissoner, who gave evidence subsequently, stated that the gun with which he is said to have shot the bushranger, was loaded with shot no attention, however, was paid to this discrepancy at the time, as the whole colony was ringing with Keightley's praise. He was afterwards presented with a gold medal for his gallant, conduct, and the Government paid him the reward of £500 which had been placed on Burke's head. Mrs. Keightley was also presented with a testimonial by the ladies of the colony. After the attack on the station, it may be mentioned, the reward offered for the remaining members of the gang was increased to £1000 per man...". I may mention one or two facts that have not yet become generally known. Another incident worthy of note is in connection with the recovery of the dead man's body. The bushhrangers had hired two men to convey it in a cart to his father's residence. A detachment of police, including myself, met them, but the cart was then empty. The body had dropped out further back along the road, as a subsequent search showed, and we then removed it to the Carcoar Hospital, where the inquest was held.  The above is a totally different story, as stated, to the usually accepted account of this remark able incident.

At the inquest into young Mickey Burkes death this was stated as to the shots fired at the time; "... at sunset on October 24th 1863; the gang attacked the homestead which was valiantly defended by Mr Keightley. Burke, one of the gang was shot. Mr Keightley being always given the credit for the marksmanship although as a matter of fact, the medical evidence at the inquest showed that his wounds were caused by slugs and Mr Keightley used only bullets. Some of the gang wanted to kill Mr Keightley, but Hall prevented this, agreeing that Mrs Keightley should get £500 from Mr Rotton in Bathurst as a ransom. Mrs Keightley's journey to Bathurst and her return with the money were epics of the bush." 

There was some suspicion in the press as to whether or not Keightley fired the fatal shot, as reported in the 'Clarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser', 8th December 1863, when raised at Vanes court appearence after his capture; Vane, is to stand his trial for the attack on Commissioner Keightley. One object to be attained by this procedure is the discovery of the truth in regard to the circumstances of that occurrence. We shall soon know whether Keightley has entitled himself to a monument for his "heroism" or not. It is rather a suspicious circumstance that he should have lost no time after receiving the £500, in packing up his traps, and making his way down to Sydney. He reported himself to the Lands Department, and represented that he left the scene of his duty because "his life was in danger." He was told that he might please himself with regard to his movements, so that he is still displaying plumes in the promenades of the metropolis. Now, is this "heroism?''

This painting was created many years after the day at Dunn's Plains by Patrick William Marony(1858-1939), shows Mrs Keightley kneeling and Mrs Baldock pleading with Ben Hall for the life of Mr Keightley standing with his daughter, whilst the gang waits with the dead Micky Burke and Dr Pechey observing. (nla.pic-an2292621)

The Ambrotype Photo below is said to have been "in a little red bag", tied around the neck of Burke when he was shot dead at Dunn's Plains in October 1863. It found its way into the possession of Thomas Rothery Icely (1832-1918), son of the squatter and owner of Coombing Park at Carcoar. Burke worked at Coombing Park for a short period prior to joining Ben Hall. The identity of the little girl is a mystery, but may have been a sister of Burke who died young? further research indicates that the photo maybe Burke's daughter. (source R.A.H.S.)




James Mount alias James Gordon, the"Old Man", Staven
(“a most villainous countenance”)

James Mount was born in County Monaghan, Ireland in 1817 and arrived in NSW in 1836 under a life sentence for robbery, convicted on the 29th February 1836 (a leap year) and transported on the 'Captain Cook 3', (third voyage) which departed Cork, Ireland on 5th July 1836 arriving at Port Jackson on the 13th November 1836, Mount had also served a previous sentence of 14 day's and was known as an Irish Rebel and could read and write. The 'Captain Cook' was built at Whitby in 1826, and was under the Command of George W. Brown with Surgeon Superintendent Arthur Savage as doctor. The Captain Cook 3 departed Deptford on 7 June 1836 and embarked convicts at Dublin, where Mount joined the ship and then at Cork for a total of 229 convicts in all, the ship then commenced the voyage to the Colony of NSW, a voyage that was not without incident when a number of hardened convicts attempted a mutiny, as witnessed by a passenger who described the events in a letter shortly after arrival to the 'Sydney Herald' as follows;


Street scape Co. Monaghan
 c1800's
"A few days after leaving Cork, it was reported to the Hospital attendant, John Pollen, formerly an Officer of the 48th Regiment, who served with distinction in the Peninsula, that the Convicts, incited by several who had previously been transported to this Colony, intended to take the vessel; the circumstance was mentioned by this person to the Doctor and the Officers of the Guard, who instructed him to be on the alert, but as nothing more occurred at that time, it was concluded that the report was false. Pollen, however, observing that there were small parties of the Convicts grouped together in earnest conversation, which ceased the moment that any other person approached them, felt assured that the report was not groundless. And one night, when near the Madeiras, overheard one of them say that they, (the mutineers) must all be sworn in, and that they would then overpower the Guard and ship's company, and take the vessel to America; they were  accordingly sworn in, and one Saturday, when near the Equator, it was agreed that the boatswain (a Convict) who had charge of the prison doors, was to throw them open; then they were to, make the rush. A man of the name of Dogherty was to have the command of the party attacking the cuddy, and they were to put all to death; (Lawrence) Higgins the command of the party attacking the poop, and Hamilton, an old soldier, with a man of the name of Murphy, were to head the party attacking the Guard and sailors below, to whom no mercy was to be shewn; in fact every body was to be butchered, but the women and three sailors; the sailors on coming in sight of America were to "walk the plank". Pollen immediately informed the Doctor and Officers of the Guard of the murderous intentions and thirty-eight of the ringleaders were placed in irons.  On finding that their designs were frustrated, several of them confessed the particulars as above stated, and their depositions were taken. Notwithstanding the precaution of ironing them they still persisted in their murderous intentions; and on coming towards the Cape of Good Hope; they were determined to make an attack, as they said that if the remainder would stand firm, that their irons. were of no consequence; these preparations for the second attack, were again reported by Pollen. Their manoeuvring was quite visible both to the Doctor and Officers on board, so to prevent bloodshed, they were handcuffed two by two, and remained so till they arrived in Sydney. There is no doubt they would have succeeded but for the vigilance of Pollen, and the activity and courage of the Officers and Guard, who displayed great coolness and determination on the occasion". (Mr. Pollen a convict was granted a Conditional Pardon on the 14th October 1841, for his service to the Ships Captain in preventing the mutiny.)  

The voyage lasted 131 days with 6 deaths reported. It is unknown if Mount was involved in the action, but out of the thirty two prisoners involved in the attempted mutiny, sixteen of them would be sent to the very harsh conditions on Goat Island, Sydney Harbour which operated as a sandstone quarry with sandstone used in some of Sydney’s finest buildings, the island would also become the holding place for the colonies gunpowder and convict gangs were used to construct a powder magazine on the island, this was reported in the 'Sydney Herald' on the 21st November 1836; "The Convicts per Captain Cook were landed last week; sixteen were removed,  in irons, direct to Goat Island, for being concerned in the mutiny which broke out on board that vessel on her passage to this port; and we observed twenty-two, in double irons, proceeding to Hyde Park Barracks, on suspicion of the same offence. No doubt these mutineers will make admirable Botany Bay Jurymen, at the expiration of their sentences."

James  Mount alias Gordon Indent

James  Mount alias Gordon transfer
to Cockatoo Island 1842
James  Mount alias Gordon, Mount
had a variety of alias' both First and Surname.
Mount had been released earlier in 1856 then used

 the alias of James Gordon thereafter.
James Mount absconded as a Ticket of Leave holder in June 1864,
and was soon working with Ben Hall.

The famous shootout at the Bang Bang Hotel (above)


Newspaper report of Ben Hall's Break-up

 with Gordon and Dunleavy (above)  
Mount's capture October 1864

James Mount Court Appearance (above)
The 'Bathurst Times' reported the taking of 'The Old Man' in a hotel near the Murrumbidgee; CAPTURE OF BEN HALL'S' MATE. It is reported 'the old man,' Ben Hall's mate, has been captured Constables Nichols, Summers, and Billy (the black tracker) who dogged him from Wheogo to the Murrumbidgee. It appears that White went out on the spree, and was, literally caught napping in a public house. He was taken into Forbes, and lodged in the lock-up. THE OLD MAN. This noted bushranger was brought into Bathurst under escort from Forbes (where he had been committed for trial) on Saturday last. As a matter of form he was taken before the police magistrate, who endorsed the warrant, and he was removed to gaol. In appearance he is not more than middle-aged, and we can divine no other reason to account for his being called 'old,' than that which might result from a comparison with his more youthful companions in crime. He is a man of powerful frame, walks unright, and is very tall. The expression of his countenance is somewhat scowling, though defiant and reckless. We are given to understand that he is to be brought on another charge, viz., that of sticking up the Cowra mail.

The 'Bathurst Times' then reported Mount's next court appearence as; "... he was cleanly dressed as a labouring man, wearing a Crimean shirt and dark trousers, white collar and black neck tie. The hair on the top of his head is thin, but quite thick towards the base of the brain, and of a light brown colour. The brain, to phrenologists, would indicate a low development and a considerable degree of sensuality. His general demeanour in court was that of great indifference. The witness (cook at the station) was carefully examined by Inspector Sanderson, and the evidence was conclusive as to the identity and guilt of the prisoner, and when asked if he (the old man) had any questions to ask the witness he replied to the magistrate, "I am satisfied, and I suppose you are."


James  Mount alias Gordon, Entrance book
 Bathurst Gaol November 1864.
James  Mount alias Gordon and Dunleavy, Darlinghurst Gaol
 Entrance record April 1865.



Reward payment for Gordon's capture May 1865.



James  Mount alias Gordon, description Parramatta
Gaol December 1865.



James  Mount alias GordonParramatta
Gaol December 1865 note Mounts release date of 1890
 he would be 73yrs old.
Dunleavey and Gordon, Quarter Sessions and sentence 1865.
Note Micky Burke's cousin James Burke also sentenced.

James  Mount alias Gordon, Return of prisoners
 record April 1869, note the death of James Dunleavy. 
DATE OF ADMISSION/PHOTO:16 Dec 1879, GAOL:Wagga Wagga,GAOL LOCATION:Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia, RECORD TYPE:Photograph Description Book. The information contained in this book is incorrect as has been previously noted this was Mounts alias, the ship Christina made one trip in 1840, and carried one Irishman Mr. W. Rollands convicted in S.A. transfered to NSW. Once more the authorities took for granted the identity provided by the felon.


James  Mount alias Gordon released in 1881.
James  Mount alias Gordon, back at Parramatta
Gaol May 1885.



James  Mount alias Gordon released in 1887
aged 70yrs.

Patrick (Patsy) Daley
("a bad character in the neighbourhood")

Patsy Daley was born at Yass, NSW, on 6th July 1844.  Patsy was raised on the 26,000 acre Arramagong Station, Weddin Mountains near Grenfell, with his cousins the O'Malley's, after Daley's father entered into partnership with Patrick O'Meally for the Arramagong lease, both men were brothers in law after marring sisters. (See above notes on John O'Meally.) Patsy Daley was described as nearly "...six feet tall and was a mild, youthful, whiskerless looking person, with light blue eyes, and fair complexion." Daley appears to have had an education as he could read and write. (possibly learnt during his time in prison where there was compulsory education) Daley's forays into acts of crime commenced early 1862 and he progressed to a full time bushranger around January 1863, Daley was involved in many criminal activities with his cousin John O'Meally (a natural born killer) and was arrested in 1862 on a number of occasions the most serious being implicated in the charge of rape- RAPE AND HIGHWAY ROBBERY -John O'Mealey, Owen Fox, and Patrick Daley were brought up on this charge, and remanded until Tuesday next. There were another two charges against Fox, which also stand over. Empire, Tuesday 13 May 1862. The rape allegation outcome is unknown, but as history demonstrates both O'Meally and Daley were free to roam the bush from May 1862 onwards.


William Hollister.
c. 1870's.
Courtesy R.A.H.S.
On the 7th February 1863, Patsy Daley in the company of Ben Hall robbed the Pinnacle Police station some eight miles from Sandy Creek and three quarters of a mile away from the Pinnacle public house of weapons, saddles, ammunition and uniforms, as reported in the 'Lachlan Observer'Breaking into a Police Station. — "The most impudent of robberies it has ever been our lot to record, was perpetrated on Saturday last, at the Police Station, at the Pinnacle, between Forbes and Lambing Flat. It appears that the station has been usually occupied by three troopers. Last week, however, two of these, including the officer in charge, had occasion to come to Forbes; the third was accordingly left behind, with instructions not to leave his post. On Saturday morning, when the men were returning, from Forbes, they were met by the trooper from the station, who reported that the place had been broken into during his temporary absence, and robbed of firearms, a pair of saddle-bags,, and other property. Suspicion rested upon two men who had been seen about the neighborhood, namely, Benjamin Hall and John Daley. Pursuit was immediately commenced, and Hall and Daley were soon within view. On the tracker approaching them, one of the fugitives turned and fired at him, but happily missed his aim., The tracker attempted to return the compliment, but his revolver missed fire. It is to be hoped the desperadoes are by this time in safe custody". — Lachlan Observer, Feb. 11.


Hollister's diary contact
with Hall and Daley.
Courtesy R.A.H.S.
They were spotted by Constable Hollister (an American by birth) and two Trackers Billy Dargin and Prince Charley who immediately gave chase, Billy Dargin gives an account of those events “... Followed them at that time with Prince Charlie and Trooper Hollester. Chased them for three miles and a half, and should have taken them but for Hollester getting thrown from his horse through running against a tree; saw Daley snap his revolver three times at Charlie."

Daley then became active operating as a bushranger in the company of Ben Hall and John O'Meally and John Gilbert. Patsy Daley was involved in the robbery of the Solomons store where the gang fired multiple shots during the hold up, after which they escaped with over £200 worth of goods; 

STICKING-UP AND ROBBERY OF MR. MYER SOLOMONS STORE, NEAR WOMBAT.-The Burrangong Star, of Saturday last, gives the following further particulars of this outrage:-On Saturday afternoon, about 4 o'clock, four  men accoutred as troopers, rode up to this store with three pack-horses. Upon entering they bailed up the inmates. Mr. Solomon fired at one of them and grazed his neck-he suspects, and states, that they were Gardiner, Gilbert, John O'Mealley, and his cousin. A young lad in Mr. Solomons' employ, presented a revolver at one of the bushrangers, and was about to fire, when the busbranger, supposed to be Gardiner, placed a revolver at the head of Mrs. Solomon, and threatened to blow her brains out if he did. Whilst this was going on the busbrangers coolly commenced to sort and pack up such goods in the store as they fancied-selecting some prints and female clothing, which they remarked would suit the women. Taking up some tins of lollies, they began to eat them, remarking that they would do for the children. Some gin was in a bottle, which they took, but before drinking they compelled Mrs. Solomon to swallow a portion of it, fearing, perhaps, it was poisoned. The time they were in the store was about two hours and a half, and whilst they were there, they made use of the most flash, disgusting language-cracked their ribald jests, and whilst plundering their unfortunate victim, coolly drank his gin and consumed his lollies. The ruffian, supposed to be Gardiner, ordered and directed everything that was to be done, pushing and swearing, at the others if they did not obey his orders quick enough. Some remarks having been made by Mr. Solomon about the police at Wombat Camp, one of them said-" What do we care about the b-----y police? We will muster a force, go into Lambing Flat, and stick-up the b----y camp there." They also told Solomon not to be too flash or they would serve him like they did the man at Stoney Creek (meaning poor Cirkel), who was too flash, and blow his b----y brains out, as they did his." The goods stolen and carried away were clothing of all descriptions, both for men and women; amongst the rest fifty pairs of Bedford cord trousers, rations and firearms of all kinds, with ammunition, they did not leave even one for Mr. S, to protect himself with. Saddles, bridles, and jewellery, fortunately they took only the plated, not of much value; the valuable jewellery was in a case which they could not easily open, and therefore left it behind. Two horses, one of which they fancied for a saddle horse, being a very fine animal; the other they used as a pack-horse. Solomon estimates his loss at about £200. 


Inspector Norton c1880
On Sunday 1st March 1863, he was involved in the capture of Insp Norton which sent uproar through NSW. Insp Norton and the black tracker, Billy Dargin, were proceeding through Ben Hall's Wheogo property, Inspector Norton's first hand account of the affray; “I was proceeding through the neighbourhood of Wheogo, accompanied by a black tracker, each of us leading a horse; about 9 o'clock I saw two men riding, about 500 yards before us, one of whom had a led horse, and the other a gun on his thigh; I beckoned to the tracker, who was on the hill opposite, and he came down; on nearing the men, they made off; we followed them for some distance into the scrub, and got off, and then fired on them; we then returned to our horses, to pick up our led horses, and, on preparing to start, saw them again watching us; we followed them again, and fired on them, when, finding our horses unable to overtake them, we returned to some huts, and remained there for twenty minutes or half an hour; seeing no more of them, I thought it advisable to go to the police station to get some men, who were to have met us in the neighbourhood, to follow them; about three or four miles from those huts, the black fellow called out that there were three men coming up behind us; they were so near that I could hear them; I could hear them shouting, " Bail-up," evidently with the intention of stopping us; the black fellow passed me and left his led horse; I dropped mine also and turned round, and, on seeing me do so, the tracker stood at about fifty yards distance; The three men were scattered at about 100 yards apart, one on each side of the road, and one near the road; the man on the left side advanced within eighty yards of me, and then commenced firing; the man on the left charged and fired a double-barreled gun; I cannot swear to the man on the right firing his rifle, but he fired a revolver; the man I supposed to be O'Maley took up his position about eighty yards from me; Hall and the prisoner a little farther off; O'Meally cried out, "Throw up your arms, repeatedly; they then commenced firing with revolvers; we fired several return shots; they might have fired fifteen or eighteen shots; my ammunition was then expended, and O'Meally with Hall rode up to me; the latter presented a revolver at me, while O'Meally and Daley ran after the black-fellow, and fired after him; after a few minutes, Hall rode up to me, and said that they had nothing against, me, and that I might go; Hall spoke of a trooper named Hollister, who had threatened to shoot him, and that he would return the compliment when he got hold of him; Hall returned me a revolver which he said was no good to him; he spoke of Sir Frederick Pottinger; how Sir Frederick had brought him (Hall) several times into Forbes, and had him remanded from time to time, until really the magistrates were inclined to believe that there was some charge against him, and those, with him; that it was his opinion that Sir Frederick detained them till he could make up a case; Hall referred also to the case of young Walsh who was then suffering in the lock-up, as he(Hall) had suffered before; I asked for my horse, and he said that I could take them; but he inquired if there was anything particular in the swag on one of them; I told him there was nothing of any consequence; the three detained a Government revolver, a Government carbine which the black-fellow had dropped, a Government saddle and bridle, and the horse on which the black-fellow rode, remarking that they would shoot the horse, and so teach people not to lend horses to policemen; the man who I supposed to be O'Meally, said to me, "you had better not give our description when you return to town;" they then rode round, and picked up their discharged arms, and cleared off; I cannot swear positively that the prisoner is one of the men; I never saw O'Meally but once before, and the prisoner never but on that occasion; I could not have been close to the prisoner more than three or four minutes; Hall was the one who was in conversation with me, and whom I would swear positively to; the names were given to me by the black-fellow as Hall, Daley, and O'Meally; O'Meally was dressed differently to the prisoner, the hat is exactly like what I have seen Daley wear; have seen the prisoner twice since he was apprehended, and I identify him so far as that to the best of my belief he is the man; I will not swear positively to him; while the others were away Hall fed his horse at a distance from me; I was unarmed, and he had a revolver in his belt and a gun in his hand; I did not care to go near him; he looked as if keeping guard." 


Sir Frederick
Pottinger
Sir Frederick Pottinger, the scourge of many bushrangers, affected the capture of Patsy Daley on 11 March 1863. Pottinger and his troop were pursuing the suspected path of the bushrangers in the Weddin Mountains when Billy Dargin spotted fresher tracks crossing the path. Pottinger gives a first hand account of the events; “…Sir Frederick turned his course in the direction of the tracks. Billy soon pointed out the identical tree which had afforded such friendly protection to Mr, J. O. Norton, the sub-inspector of police. Sir Frederick Pottinger was directing his course again, when he espied in the distance, through the foliage of the trees in the bush, a mounted horseman, and at once gave orders for pursuit. The party were now in the vicinity of the Pinnacle reef, and, first of all ordering two of his troopers to make round the hill, on which the reef is situated, in order to intercept the flight of the horseman, Sir Frederick, with the black tracker and the two remaining troopers, continued the chase. All this was done in less time than it takes to write, and very shortly afterward, Sir Frederick pulled up before some deserted-looking huts and found a horse, with a saddle on it, tied up to one of the huts. He at once recognised the horse to be one he had seen the night before in Ben Hall's paddock, "all in a sweat." to to use the baronet's own language. The black-fellow also recognised a pair of girths on the horse as being a portion of the property stolen from the Police Barracks, at the Pinnacle station,on the occasion of that place being stuck up and robbed during the temporary absence of the police, shortly before. Entering the huts, Sir Frederick saw two or three men inside, and finding them unwilling to answer his questions, he threatened them, where upon he was informed that the rider of the horse was down a shaft on the reef above named. Proceeding to the place indicated, Sir Frederick found that the shaft was about sixty feet deep, and that a permanent kind of ladder was fixed to the side, for ascent and descent. Sir Frederick called to the man (presuming him to be there) to surrender, but received no answer. Again, after an interval, the same request was repeated, but met with no response. After several minutes, the supposed bushranger was again summoned to appear, without eliciting any reply. At length, finding mild exhortations insufficient, Sir Frederick threatened that he would at once proceed to burn and smoke him out like an opossum. The man not liking the latter alternative, surrendered at discretion, and was immediately taken into custody. It is obvious that if the notorious Gardiner selects such innocent looking striplings to execute the deeds generally left to men of sterner stuff, it must be for some new arrangment in bush tactics, such as the human telegram hinted at by a contemporary. Patrick Daley, who forms the subject of this sketch, is a mild, youthful whiskerless looking person, with light-blue eyes and fair complexion. There is nothing in his physiognomical expression outwardly, to denote the degraded villain. He certainly, during the examination, kept his head down, glancing furtively round. His eyes move quickly and, with a sinister expression, as if were in the habit of looking under his eyebrow and "taking stock" of those around him. Sir Frederick Pottinger undoubtedly deserves great credit for his prompt action and discernment in this matter; and doubtless, he is willing to accord is portion of the merit to the acute sight of his black tracker. Lachlan Observer. [prisoner was brought be the Forbes bench on the 12th instant, and remanded for a week."]


Hollister diary entry,
March 1863.
Courtesy R.A.H.S
When Daley was apprehended and placed in the lock-up, witness' were called for identification of Daley. At the time of Daley's arrest there was thought that Daley was involved in the murder of Mr. Cirkel, a publican at Stoney Creek, Burrangong in February 1863, as reported; PATSY DALEY.-This bushranger, one of Gardiner's gang, was brought in from the Lachlan (strongly guarded) by Greig's coach, on Thursday afternoon, and. lodged in the lock-up. Yesterday, Mr. Dickenson, stole keeper, of Spring Creek, preceded to the camp, and identified the prisoner as one of the bushrangers who stuck-up his store a few weeks since. Mr, D. selected him out from amongst eight other prisonors, and identified him immediately. Three persons came in from Stony Creek to see if they could identify him as one of Mr. Cirkel's murderers, but failed in doing so. We believe Mr, Myers Solomon has not yet seen him, so that at present it is not known if he was connected with the robbery at his store. Daley will be brought up for examination this morning at the usual hour.-Burrangong Star, April 4. 1863

This was said of Daley in the 'Sydney Morning Herald', 11 April 1863, as he was presented to court for trail; Patrick Daley was brought before the Police Magistrate, Mr. J. E. Pearce, on Satutday last. Dr. Falder, J.P., also sat on the Bench. The prisoner had been brought, down from Forbes, from which place he had been previously committed to Bathurst for the attack on inspector Norton, to be identified, as it was supposed he was one of the sticking-up party in the recent attacks on persons in this district. The prisoner is a mere youth, apparently not twenty years of age, and far from being a very formidable object of fear-in fact, there is something very harmless and simple, combined however with a reckless manner in his whole bearing, which points in his favour. Although the expression of the eye would indicate much cunning, there, is, notwithstanding, a peculiarity in his general appearance, and in that deep sunken eye which, once fairly observed, could not easily be forgotten. 

The prisoner was brought into court by three policemen, each armed with rifles and bayonets, and who stood by his side in court during the time the enquiry was going on - an extraordinary proceeding, as I thought, and one which the harmless and quiet demeanour of the prisoner, who seemed quite subdued and overpowered, did not altogether justify, and which does not exactly accord with the views of an enlightened public, nor tend to diminish that prejudice already existing against the prisoner, but rather must add to it, and place him in a more unfavourable light than he stood in, or that he should stand in before trial, and, therefore, however guilty he may be, and which does not exactly accord with the views of an enlightened public, nor tend to diminish that prejudice already existing against the prisoner, but rather must add to it, and place him in a more unfavourable light than he stood in, or that he should stand in before trial, and, therefore, however guilty he may be, it is a questionable proceeding, the propriety of which may be fairly doubted. On the prisoner being brought into court he was charged with having, in company with others, been concerned in the attack upon Mr. Dickerson, on the 2nd of February last, and taken therefrom  property to the value of between £50 and £70. The substance of the evidence of Mr. Dickenson was as follows. That, on the 2nd February last, between seven and nine, several armed men came into his store at Spring Creek and ordered him outside; the prisoner was put guard over him; he (prisoner) had a pistol and ordered him and others to stand back; and that  he was kept in that position while the gang were ransacking the place; his storekeeper, a Mr. David Mead, George M'Gillan, and three or four more were also bailed up; likewise, a policeman, who was passing the store at the time, whose horse they took Mr. Dickenson further deposed: One of them took my revolver, and asked me if that was all the firearms I had; I said "Yes;" they also took £5 in silver, and £10 or £11 worth of gold-dust, watches, jewellery, and clothing, in all of the value of between £60 and £70; he swore positively to the prisoner being one of the men. An advocate, who appeared for the prisoner, cross-examined Mr. Dickenson with the view of shaking his evidence, but without extracting anything favourable to the prisoner. George M'Gillan, publican, Spring Creek, deposed that he was outside his place on the evening of 2nd February, about 150 yards off, when he heard a noise, and went to see what was the matter; he was bailed up likewise, and was ordered in the ranks with Mr, Dickenson. This witness, corroborated Mr. Dickenson in most particulars, except that he did not speak so positively as to the identity of the prisoner. This closed the case for the prosecution; and, as the prisoner had nothing to say, he was formally remanded  till Tuesday previous to committal.

The next case was that of having, on the 21st February last, in company with others, attacked with arms Myer Solomon, at his store at Wombat, and with having removed about £250 worth of property. Mr Solomon deposed that between three and four in the afternoon four bushrangers came up with their packhorses; two of them had carbines and two had revolvers; they came into the store and pointed their revolvers at him; he had a double-barrelled gun in his hand, but they told him not to fire, as it was no use; he, however, did fire, and they also fired at him, after which he tried to make his escape, when one of the party having pursued him brought him back to the store, and ordered him to sit down;-they ransacked the place, the prisoner was one of them, and when he left the store he had two stockings full of lolly pops round his neck. The party took property to the value of about £250, including horses, revolvers, double barrel guns, and clothing of every description, which they packed on the pack-horses after remaining on the premises about three hours. George Johnson, in the employ of last witness, gave evidence in corroboration of the previous evidence, and swore positively to the identity of the prisoner as being one of them. This witness deposed that one of the men came out of the store several times while he was lying down, and said to the party watching him,"blow his b----y brains out." I told the man I was not frightened, and that it would be man for man. One of the men said, "I'll give you a revolver if I would stand twenty yards." I jumped up to take it, but he would not give it me; the man who offered me a revolver came out of the store and kicked me while I was on the ground, because I looked up and said it would be as well to kick my brains out as to blow them out"; when the party was leaving, Mr. Solomon asked the prisoner what he had round his neck; he said he had ''lollies." This having completed the evidence in this case, and the prisoner having nothing to say, he was formally remanded till to-day, previous to committal. Following Day; On the opening of the Court this morning it was stated that the prisoner was very ill, and that the doctor had said he was not able to appear; however, on the magistrate seeing him, he had questioned him and ascertained from him that he felt himself able to be brought up; however, on this occasion, the previous precaution of having the prisoner guarded by the armed escort was dispensed with, but he was brought into court with leg irons on; he seemed very weak, and was allowed a chair to sit down. The depositions having been read over in each case, and the witnesses being bound over to appear, the prisoner was committed to take his trial, at the Goulburn Assizes, on the 2nd of September, for robbing with firearms, in company with others, the respective stores of Mr. Solomon and Mr. Dickenson.

At Daley's September 1863 trial Sir Frederick Pottinger gave evidence of Daley's capture at the Pinnacle, after which Daley was sentenced to twenty five years jail to be severed concurrently. Daley served ten of his fifteen years, firstly at Darlinghurst and then on Cockatoo Island and Maitland gaol; Sir Frederick Pottinger, in charge of the police in the Lachlan district, deposed: I apprehended prisoner on the 9th or 10th March, at Pinnacle Reef; we were on tracks, and on coming to the reef found two horses, saddled and bridled, without riders; from information I received I called to the prisoner by his name to come out from a shaft from which he subsequently emerged; he gave no reply for a quarter of an hour, and I threatened to smoke him out, and he came up. To Mr. Windeyer: I did not smoke him out, as I found it unnecessary, or I should have proceeded to do so. To Mr. Issacs: I found nothing in the pit, nor anything on prisoner's person; I handed to Mr. Dickenson a revolver I got from a horse I believed to belong to Ben Hall. 


WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23rd;-Patrick Daley pleaded guilty to a charge of robbing underarms, in company with others one George Glen Dickenson, at Spring Creek on the 2nd February last, and taking from him £5, three ounces of gold, three watches, a revolver, &c. The jury returned a verdict of guilty. Sentenced to ten years on the roads, the first year in irons. The execution of the judgement was arrested until a point of law urged by the prisoner's counsel shall he decided by the full court.

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 24th;-Patrick Daley pleaded guilty, to the charge of feloniously assaulting one Myers Solomon, at Wombat, on the 21st February last. Prisoner was remanded for sentence.

FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 25TH;-Patrick Daley, who had pleaded guilty on Thursday to a charge of robbery under arms, and had been convicted on the same day of another charge of a similar nature, for which he had been sentenced to ten years hard labour on the roads, was now sentenced to fifteen years hard labour on the roads, the first year in irons; this sentence to commence at the same time as the former one.
Daley at Goulburn Gaol, 28th April 1863
Daley was also thought to have been involved with the murder of a German hotelier Mr Cirkell in February 1863, but the witnesses could not identify him.

Patsy Daley's Sentence
(Note above: Cummings who was Fred Lowry's cohort

and Jamieson lost his family fortune.)
Daley's transfer to Maitland Gaol, 23rd Sept 1863
Note; Cummings to Parramatta Gaol.

Patsy Daley's Maitland Gaol
 Enrty Log 25th Sept 1863.
Maitland Gaol Entry log 1863
Daley at Cockatoo Island August 1864, punishment.
Cockatoo Island 1864
Patrick Daley, Darlinhurst 1866, note conduct of Daley.
Patsy Daley at Darlinghurst Gaol with
 Francis Christie alias Gardiner 1867

Patsy Daley's release 23rd Sept 1873
Daley in his first few years did not adjust well to the rigours of prison life and within his first year saw Daley participate in an attempted gaol breakout at Darlinghurst in November 1864, as reported in the 'Illustrated Sydney News'ATTEMPTED ESCAPE OF PRISONERS FROM DARLINGHURST GAOL.- OUTBREAK AT DARLINGHURST GAOL; "At eleven o'clock, an investigation into the conduct of the twelve prisoners who were engaged in the recent riots in Darlinghurst gaol, took place in the debtors' prison, before the Visiting Magistrate (Dr. Dougless) and Captain Scot. The prisoners were called in four at a time, and pleaded not guilty, George Birmingham, William Terry, Patrick M'Manus, and Patrick Daley, with others; were charged with forcibly attempting to break out of gaol, combining together to resist and assult the officers, and destroying the school furniture; Birmingham, also with assaulting the warder.  AT about two o'clock on the 1st instant, a number of prisoners who were in a large yard where carpentering and stone mason's work is done seized some ladders from the painters' shop, hurried across the yard and attempted to scale the northern wall. Several of them managed to get on the top of the wall, and were only prevented from   descending outside by the warders on duty there. On the alarm being given, Mr. Read, the governor of the gaol, went outside, and ordered the warders to fire at the prisoners who were on the wall; but Mr. Birrell, J.P., who was passing, interposed by crying out that the warders were not to fire, and insisted that life should not be taken unless they attempted to get down on the outside of the wall. Meantime a body of police which had been sent for, arrived, and the prisoners on the wall, finding they were outnumbered, got down from the wall, and retreated into the schoolhouse, which adjoins a room used for the storage of cocoa fibre matting. They then possessed themselves of this floor of the building, and barricaded the entrance from the stairs with bales of matting, forms &c.


Darlinghurst Breakout 1864,
 in which Patrick Daley
 participated.
They lowered the schoolmaster out of the window, and effected the destruction of everything within their reach, and, for the time, obstinately resisted all attempts at capture. One of the rioters named Parsons had armed himself with a razor, which was fastened to the end of a pole, and, shielded behind the bales of matting, he attempted to stab the warders and constables who were forcing their way up the stairs. One of the constables, seeing the fellow's shoulder exposed, fired, and Parsons fell as if dead. This for an instant caused a panic amongst his companions, of which the police took advantage, and rushing in, secured them; Parsons was shot through the shoulders, but his wound is not of a dangerous character. The other rioters, twelve in number William Stanley, William Mackie, James Johnson, Peter Drynob, Jas. Hill, George Ashley, James Feeley, Michael Lawlor, Patrick Daly, Peter M'Manus, William Perry, and Geo. Birmingham, were ironed, and placed in solitary confinement. They are long-sentence men, and with two exceptions have all been convicted of mail robberies and bushranging offences. Constable Whitmore had his collar-bone broken by a bale of matting, which was thrown down the stairs by the rioters, whom he was helping to subdue. The disturbance was very quickly quelled, and quiet was restored in about an hour. An investigation was commenced next morning, before Dr. Douglass, and, from the evidence given, it appears that some of the ruffians were only prevented from murdering the schoolmaster and an other by the entreaties of their companions. There are now 434 prisoners lodged in Darlinghurst gaol, and 102 of these are under what is called ' road ' sentences. The consequences of this action saw Daley sent to Cockatoo Island for seven days and the returned to Darlinghurst and confined to cells for 28 days. It was also reported that Daley was unfit for hard labour, which he was originally sentenced to with the first year in irons.(see below)
Daley's conduct reported in 1865 at Darlinghurst Gaol.
Patrick Daley 1873.
Daley was released on 15th October 1873. Patrick Daley, after his release settled in the Cobar District, some 230 miles from his old haunt of the Weddin Mountains. Daley married Mary Josephine Kelly at Hay in 1883 and had two daughters, Ellen (b.1887) and Mary (b.1889) both were unmarrieded at his death. In Cobar, Daley resided at Wrightville and intime acquired the lease for the local Public Watering Tank (see below) and stood for the local council and after a number of attempts to win election on to the council was finally successful, the following notice's appeared in the 'Cobar Herald', of February 1902 at the introduction of proposed canditates of the electon; Aldermanic Elections. Tuesday last was election day for the election of aldermen to fill two ordinary vacancies and three additional seats. Mr Mayor Scanlan acted as Returning Officer and read the following names of candidates for the ordinary vacancies:- William S N Gill, John Owen Hunt, John Joseph Gudgeon, senr., John Gudgeon, jr. For the three additional seats those nominated are:- Michael Minogue, Henry Moxon, William Harmer, Herbert White, Charles Higgins, Patrick Bernard Daley, Thomas M. Buckland. Wednesday evening was the time fixed for the orations, and there was a good crowd present. In the crowd it was noticed that Daley had said little and a voice called: "Mr Daley hasn't spoken." Another voice: "Don't leave the publican out." The reporter noticed that "... Mr Daley seemed nervous, but retained enough composure to use the thread bare phrase that he, too, would do his best if elected." The nervousness may have been from his past becoming exposed, Daley was unsuccessful at this attempt, Mr Buckland was elected. Daley was unpeturbed and as each opportunity arose for election, Daley nominated and on the 16th July 1904, Patrick Daley was a winner and was elected to council, as reported in the  'Cobar Herald', as follows; Wrightville Municipal Election. Two nominations, namely, William S. N. Gill and Patrick B. Daley, have been received for the vacancy in the Wrightville Council. A poll of the ratepayers in that Municipality will be taken in the Council Chambers on Wednesday next, July 13th, from 8 a.m. till 5 p.m., to choose which one of these candidates shall represent them in the Council. Wrightville Municipal Election. There were only two candidates for the vacancy in the Wrightville Municipal Council, and a poll taken at the Council Chambers on Wednesday last resulted in the election of Mr P. Daley, who scored 36 votes as against Mr. W. Gill's 32.



Hunt St, Wrightville NSW
c1910
Patrick Daley joined the council and was soon involved in local affairs; WRIGHTVILLE COUNCIL. The usual fortnightly meeting of the Wrightville Municipal Council was held in the Chambers on Wednesday evening last. Present: Aldermen Gudgeon, sen. (Mayor), Higgins, Buckland, Rutland, Daley, Davis, and Feely.

Correspondence read was of minor importance. The Inspector of Nuisances' report showed that five new cess-pits had been sunk, and six new closets erected. Certain ratepayers had neglected to comply with his notice in regard to the sinking of cess-pits. Ald Buckland was of the opinion that the Inspector should use the powers conferred upon him, and prosecute the defaulters. Alderman Buckland thought that the Inspector of Nuisances' report was very unsatisfactory, and he moved that he be instructed to proceed against persons neglecting to comply with the by-laws. This was seconded by Ald. Daley, and carried.


This photo was taken in 1892, outside a hotel in Cobar.
The tall gentleman outside the front  door fits the desription of Daley? 
Daley also was a participant in various sports, mainly shooting where in 1902, Patsy's past prowess as a bushranger, won Daley some money this time shooting at targets not police inspectors or trackers; On Wednesday the final of three prize shootings took place on the range, resulting as follows: The following are the best aggregates out of the three shootings: — Francisco  118, Clifton 108, Daley 108, Bailey 105, Robinson 104, Kinkead 108, Dalgarno  99 Corbett 96, Cotton 96, The prize-winners were; — £ s d - A. Francisco ... £1/ 5s 0d H. Clifton ... 17s 6d, P. B. Daley ... 10s J. Bailey ... 5s 0, Dr Robinson ... 2s 6d. 

In 1912 Patsy Daley became ill and was reported in the 'Cobar Herald' to have traveled to Sydney for medical help; "On Thursday last Mr. P. B: Daley, the genial proprietor of the Terminus Hotel, accompanied by Miss Mary Daley, left Cobar for a short holiday in the metropolis. For some time past Mr. Daley has been suffering from a slight affection of the eyes, and it is his intention to consult an eye specialist." 


One of Daley's hotels
On the 13th October 1913, Patsy Daley was robbed of a considerable sum and received a lesson in return of the robberies Daley performed with the legends of the Weddin Mountains, as reported in 'Cobar Herald'Two cases of petty thieving were reported to the police this week. The perpetrators might be termed burglars but they savoured more of sneak-thieving. The first occurred at the Terminus Hotel, the proprietor of which is Mr. P. B. Daley. The loss was discovered about 11a.m. on Tuesday and it is supposed that the offence was committed between that hour and 4 p.m. the previous day. Some person or persons, who evidently knew some thing of the habits of the proprietor, entered the bedroom and obtained the key of the safe from a drawer where it was usually kept, abstracted the money, replaced the key, and left with, £121. The money included 60 one pound notes, 36 in sovereigns, £3 in half sovereigns, two £5 notes and £12 in silver. No trace of the thief remains. A peggy bag containing ,£20 was found on the floor, which will probably make the thief feel some what angry.

Daley's Grave at
Rookwood, NSW.
In March 1914 Daley's illness became serious as reported in'Cobar Herald' ; Mr. P. B. Daley, proprietor of the Terminus Hotel, has been confined to his bed during the past fortnight. His illness appears to be somewhat serious.


Death of P. B. Daley.
As reported briefly in our last, the death occurred at the residence of Mrs. Hilder, The Glebe, Sydney, of Patrick Bernard Daley, at the age of 70. The cause of death was a complication of complaints for which he had been treated for some months. A man of great physique, he was able to withstand the in- roads of his complaint longer than men less strong. After being treated in Sydney and latterly in Cobar Hospital, he again desired to go to Sydney for a change, and left the week before last, but medical aid was of no avail. He was a generous man, retiring in his disposition, and had resided in Cobar and district for over 30 years. He had hotels at llewong, Wrightville and Cobar, the latter two belonging to him at the time of his death. Deceased leaves a widow and two unmarried daughters — Theresa and Mary — to whom sympathy is extended. He was a native of Yass, but removed with his parents to Grenfell at an early age and then in various parts of the West until coming to Cobar. There is no mention of his days as one of the bushrangers associated with John O'Meally, Frank Gardiner, Johnny Gilbert and Ben Hall.

Daley died on the 1st May 1914, a wealthy man, and left an estate valued at over £6,000. Daley left the "Family Hotel" and his mining shares to his older brother William, who had run the Royal Hotel at nearby Ilewong, homes were left to his daughters Ellen Theresa and Mary Josephine, with the balance of the estate going to his wife Mary. Patrick's brother William would marry Patsy's widow three years later, unfortunately Mary died from cancer in 1922 after William had acquired the 'Sunbeam Hotel' at Surrey Hills in Sydney. Daley's father, John, would, after being diddled out of his earlier share of Arramagong by the O'Meally's, eventually purchase the old police station at Arramagong Station in 1869, as well as a large portion of the run in partnership with Miles Murphy. John Daley would pass away in 1876, leaving the run to Patrick's brother, Thomas Daley.

John Jameison/Jamison


Sir Thomas Jamison,
by unknown artist.
(1753-1811)
State Library of New South Wales,
GPO 1 - 18963.
It has often been said that Australian royalty has long been those descendants of the First Fleet, therefore the bushranger John Jamison also befalls that honour.


Subsequently, as one of the young tearaways closely associated with the bushranger Ben Hall at the commencement of his lawless career was young John Jamison/Jamieson who was born in 1845, at Yass, NSW, and was described as 5ft 2½in with Red hair, a fair fresh complexion with hazel eyes, protestant and could read and write. John Jamison was the son of William and Mary Jamison, who married on the 9th March 1845, at Yass, New South Wales. Young John Jamison also had the distinction of being the nephew of James Taylor, who would elope with Ben Hall's wife Bridget. John Jamison's lineage was aristocratic due to his great-grandparents, Sir Thomas Jamison and his wife Rebecca, Sir Thomas was a part of the foundation of the colony of New South Wales, arriving with the First Fleet, 1788, as surgeon's mate of the Sirius, under the command of Arthur Philip. However, after gathering much personal wealth and position in the colony, the arrival of William Bligh as Governor, replacing Governor Philip Gidley King in 1805, saw a new order commence disrupting the status quo, which brought rise to a rebellion instigated over Bligh's cessation of the use of spirits, namely Rum as trading currency, in 1807/08, whereby elements of the colonists began agitating against William Bligh, which brought Bligh into direct conflict the NSW Corps and settlers, the result of which the civil unrest became known as the Rum Rebellion. The turmoil surrounding the instability generated by the rebellion raised other questions over certain land holdings in Sydney Cove, which affected Jamison, who was opposed to the granting of small parcels of land to emancipated convicts thereby breaking up some the large holdings of self-serving officials and saw Jamison support and become a part of those who ultimately deposed Bligh in January 1808, after Bligh removed Jameison from his lucrative and influential position of Magistrate, Bligh stated that Jamison was not an 'up right man'. Consequently, Jamieson would return to England in 1809 for the enquiry into the affairs of the Rebellion and subsequently died there in 1811. Earlier, whilst in Norfolk Island as Superintendent, old Jamieson sired an illegitimate son with convict Sarah Place named Thomas, for whom he left an annuity of £20 per year, as well annuities to his five other children born in the colony to Elizabeth Colley.


Sir John Jamison
(1776-1844)
John Jamison's grandfather, Sir John Jamison arrived in NSW on board the Broxbornebury on 27th July 1814, under the command of Captain Pitcher, the Broxbornebury also carried 130 female convicts on board. Jamison also served under Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 aboard the Agamemnon as well as the Battle of San Domingo, Gunboat War. Upon arrival, Sir John Jamison assumed control of his inherited interests brought about by the death of his father. Consequently, because of death of his father, John Jamison not only inherited the title of Baronet, but also the family’s fortune as the benefactor of the tradition of Primogeniture, where the legitimate firstborn son inherits his family’s entire estate on the death of the father. Sir John Jamison had taken control of several grazing properties, including 1000 acres (405 ha) near Penrith called at Regentville, and on which Henry Parkes, later Sir Henry Parkes had worked as a labourer, (by 1869 it was known as Shiel's Family Hotel and was destroyed by fire), together with some city property, and until his arrival the estate had been administered by D'Arcy Wentworth whose son William Charles Wentworth became a close friend. John Jamison's father William was born in 1816 at Parramatta to Mary Griffiths, the daughter of an ex-private in the Marines and at the time mistress of Sir John Jamison, who in 1844, just prior to his death married Mary Griffiths thus legitimising her children, Sir John died a few months after their marriage enabling her to become Lady Jamison. Unfortunately, at the time of Sir John Jamison's death, he was considered comparatively poor through the failure of his investment in the Bank of Australia, in which he was the second largest shareholder.(Note; the spelling of Jamison was often recorded in the newspapers as either Jamison or Jameison, I have used Jamison for this biography.)


William Jamison
c. 1862.
John Jamison's father William Jamison first travelled to the Liverpool Plains after his father's death at the age of 28 to take control of Baan Baa, 107,520 acres on the Namoi River in 1840's owned by his mother Lady Jamison. By 1845, William Jamison resettled and had established a large holding in the Bland district known as Back Creek station, neighbouring the property of John Walsh's, Uoka (Weeoga) 16,000 acres, the father of Bridget Walsh nee Hall.

At Yass, NSW, Jamison married Mary Dower sister of James Taylor's wife Emma in 1845. John Jamison was the first born. The closeness of the of the two properties saw young John Jamison and Johnny 'Warrigal' Walsh become good friends, who schooled together and roamed the bush creating minor mischief. Both lads were fine horseman as well as idolizing the celebrated bushranger Frank Gardiner. Furthermore, John Jamison (Sr.) also had a close relationship with Ben Hall, Daniel Charters and other's including the O'Meally's. TBC

Representation only



James Dunleavy ("a man of delicate constitution")

James Dunleavy was far from the quintessential bushranger, and his venture into the deadly game in company with Ben Hall and an old hand at crime James Mount, alias the 'Old Man', took all those who had been in contact with the young man by surprise; "Dunleavy was a smart young fellow, about 20 years of age, and up to the time of joining the gang had lived with his mother Mrs Dunlevy, of the Tinpot Station, a back run on the Lachlan River in the Forbes district. He is twenty years of age, of a fair complexion, and about five feet eight inches in height. He presents a rather youthful and simple appearance—in fact, there is nothing in his countenance to betray the daring and pillaging bushranger. He was well-known about Bathurst, where in his youth he had attended one of the public schools, where application to his studies and general good conduct secured to him the good will of his superiors and the esteem of his schoolfellows, and those who knew him were greatly surprised when they heard that he had cast in his lot with the gang."¹ James Dunleavy was born in Kelso, Bathurst, in 1843, his parents were James and Johanna Dunleavy. James’s mother Johanna Cleary arrived as a single female, free immigrant on the ship 'Alfred' in January 1841, from Tipperary Ireland, with her cousin Bridget Cleary. James parents married in 1843. However, it appears that Dunleavy's father, James died in late 1845, following the birth of a brother Patrick in the same year. Consequently, in 1846, Dunleavy's mother remarried William/John Hadcroft at Carcoar, a reputed former convict from Lancashire, England, sentenced to seven years arriving in the colony on the 30th March 1830. Unfortunately, in August 1858, Hadcroft passed away aged 48. Furthermore, some speculation and documentation indicate that Hadcroft may have dabbled in cattle and horse theft around 1845. Accordingly, it is quite possible that young James may have been lured into his rash act of bushranging on the yarns of his deceased stepfather. However, there is some evidence that Dunleavy as well may have been acquainted with Ben Hall over many years as a boy, as his widowed mother owned a station in the same country as Ben Hall's, Sandy Creek station, named 'Tinpot' situated between Gooloogong and Grenfell and the Lachlan River. Therefore, although Dunleavy was regarded as one with a delicate constitution, Ben Hall may have trusted him, thereby allowing the reckless youth to join him. Dunleavy, who in mid-1864 became a member of Ben Hall's gang for a short period where he participated in many gun battles and robberies in company with both James Mount and Ben Hall. However, in one close scrape with the police, Dunleavy had been shot and was severely wounded in the wrist. Therefore, not long after and disillusioned with the bushranging life and the miseries it imposed Dunleavy surrendered. 
James Dunleavy's mother's arrival 19th January 1841, free on the 'Alfred' as Johanna Cleary from Tipperary, Ireland.
FURTHER OUTRAGES BY BEN HALL AND HIS MATES. From the Bathurst, Free Press 19th July 1864. "On Thursday afternoon, last after robbing the Carcoar and Cowra coaches, Hall and his party proceeded to the Half-way House, where they drank some port wine, and asked the landlord what money he had in the house; the landlord replied that he had a few shillings only. Ongoing to the place pointed out, as the spot where the money was kept, Hall, not satisfied with what he found, continued to search for more, until he discovered about £80, which had been hidden by the landlord; this he at once appropriated. While they were at the house a young man named Davis rode up to the door and fastened his horse to the fence; the old man, Hall's mate, went to him and, to his astonishment, asked him if he had any money about him. Davis replied that he had a little, and was at once ordered to "fork it out," and he handed him about £2. Davis, not knowing the party, said to the old man, "Where is Ben Hall now?" White, as the old man is called, said, "Why do you want to know?" Davis replied," Because, I was travelling a short time ago with his sister." Hall, who had hitherto taken no notice of Davis, here sprang forward and said, "What are you saying, about my sister?" Davis said, "Are you Ben Hall?" and having received a reply in the affirmative, said, "Your sister was some time looking for you at the Billibong when you had a sore leg." White seeing Hall disposed to be friendly, gave back the money he had taken from Davis. Young Dunleavy, the third bushranger, complained of sleeping cold in the bush, and was told by Hall to help himself to some blankets; he then went into a bedroom and selected the blankets that suited him. After Hall had taken possession of all the money in the house, not leaving so much as a threepenny piece, he put his hand in his pocket and took out a large bundle of notes and cheques (apparently just taken from the mail), and separating the cheques, amounting to £76, he handed them to the landlord, saying, "Take these, you may be able to make some use of them." The man Lewis, an unarmed policeman, who was conveying a message from his superior officer, was during the whole of this time kept a prisoner, and before leaving, Hall threatened to shoot him, but yielding to the intercessions of the land lord and Davis, he let him go. The robbers, taking some grog with them, then left the house. The stolen cheques have been given up to the authorities. On Saturday afternoon, the same party were still hovering about the same neighbourhood, and stuck up and robbed several individuals. A young man named Paterson was on his way to Bathurst on horseback, and was leading a horse with a side saddle. The party met him and ordered him to dismount; the side-saddle was taken from the led horse, and the animal was taken possession of by the bushrangers. Paterson wished to return home as they had taken the horse from him, but they would not allow him to do so, and he brought the side-saddle as far as Evans's Plains. They went to the house of a person in the neighbourhood and ordered her to get them some tea. They then went to a hut belonging to Mr William Smith, at Fitzgerald's Swamp, and compelled the man to put up a sack of corn for their horses. They appear to have gone afterwards to the paddock, and, cutting down the fence, to have taken three horses; one of them a fine spirited creature, the property of Mr T. G. Weavers; this animal made his escape from his captors, and has since returned, and, lest he should be again taken, has been brought into Bathurst; they also took a black mare, the property of the Rev T. Sharpe. They then went to their camping ground, and must have stayed there for the night, within a mile of the Half-way House, as on the next morning the police, in their search, came upon the camping ground and found a sack on the earth, from which the horses had evidently been fed: they also found a bottle containing Old Tom, which had been taken from the Inn. The police are still out, but at present we have no news of their success."  

Young Dunleavy would encounter a number of close scrapes with the police, in one of the ensuing gunfight Hall and Dunleavy were wounded. From the 'The Sydney Morning Herald' Wednesday, 24th August 1864; Tuesday, 3 p m. "Another fight is reported between Ben Hall the, old man, and young Dunleavy, on the one side', and three Bogolong troopers on the other, in one of Strickland's paddocks, ten miles from Bundaburra. The affair took place on Thursday afternoon. The police cut off the bushrangers from their horses and upon the latter making towards them firing commenced. Hall and his mates betook themselves to trees, many shots passed but the bushrangers escaped. Hall, it is believed, is wounded in the shoulder as he dropped his rifle, which, together with the horses, and accoutrements of the robbers, is now in possession of the police."  The affray with the troopers at Bogolong was again reported in the 'Sydney Mail', 3rd September 1864;” The history of bushranging as regards these districts has consisted of late in flying fights between the ruffianly freebooters and the police, in all of which, although the latter have had the best of it, the villains have made good their escape. It is a satisfaction to know, however, that they have not escaped scatheless. In the rencontre between trooper Battye and two other policemen on the one side, and Hall, Dunleavy, and the 'old man,' on the other, Hall was wounded in the muscle of the arm, and Dunleavy in the wrist. Both sides fired from behind trees, obtaining what is technically termed a 'pop' whenever opportunity offered. At one period Mr. Battye saw the old man, who has the reputation of being a good shot, taking deliberate aim at him. Quick as thought he leaped behind a tree. At the same moment, the crack of the rifle and the thud of the bullet entering the tree, about opposite the middle of his chest, bore testimony to the murderous message upon which it was sent."

After their wounding, the newspapers reported the close shave. From the Goulburn Herald 27th August 1864; LATEST ABOUT THE BUSHRANGERS- “On Friday (yesterday) week, Ben Hall, young Dunleavy, and their companion whose name is not known but who is generally called the old man, called at a station belonging to Mrs. Gibson seventeen miles from Strickland's paddocks, the scene of their late encounter with the police. Mr. W. Gibson, who was in charge of the station was in bed at the time and on awaking found Dunleavy standing guard over him. The bushrangers said that they would not have come had they not been pressed by the police and in want of horses. Hall declared that he and his mates were asleep on a plain when they wore awoke by being called on to surrender. They found themselves opposed to six policemen, who had already secured their horses. They were therefore compelled to decamp on foot, the police firing and wounding Hall through the fleshy part of the arm and Dunleavy in the wrist and shoulder. After making this statement they selected three horses, saddles, and bridles, and went away without touching anything else.”  It was also noted at Gibson's that; "The police are still in pursuit of the bushrangers, who are hard pressed, Hall and Dunleavy are reported to be suffering severely from their wounds. After the capture of their horses by the police. Hall and his mates proceeded on foot to Mr. Gibson's station, where they dressed their wounds, and took three fresh horses."

The three bushrangers then went quiet whilst they recovered from their wounds as reported; "There is no definite news of the bushrangers at this place, except that they are still at large. It is believed that they are harboured in a certain quarter by a number of their friends, whose scouts are continually on the look-out for the police."

When Dunleavy surrendered this appeared in the 'The Newcastle Chronicle and Hunter River District News', December 3rd, 1864; The Herald's correspondent says: — "I doubt not ere this reaches you that you will have heard of Dunleavy's secession from the confederacy of Ben Hall and Co, and that he has given himself up to superintendent Lydiard of the Bathurst police. The report is that this business has been accomplished through the agency of Father McGuinn, whose personal and clerical influence was similarly successful in the case of Vane. The autobiography of this silly, flimsy, demoralized boy is briefly told, and is of a piece with that of several other boys who are either dead, in gaol, or on the way to the gallows. A very few short years ago, he was at school, in Bathurst, where, I understand, he was remarkable for nothing except the prevalent love amongst native lads of whips, spurs, and horse flesh. After receiving about half an education, he returned to his mother's roof, which spread its shelter at a station in this neighbourhood, which rejoices in the euphonious name of 'Tin Pot,' where he gradually formed connections with bush telegraphs and bushrangers, and took a journey or two overland with cattle, during which he improved himself in revolver practise, preliminarily, as it appears, to his joining the Wheogo bandit. After a few month's criminal career, eventful to himself principally in hard riding, hard fare, and hard sleeping, and pretty nearly as profitless as it was miserable, he has ingloriously retired with a crippled limb, a felon's reputation, and a hopeless future. Like several of his mates, he had good expectations, and, if honestly and industriously disposed, could have looked forward to a prosperous and happy manhood. But the atmosphere he breathed was unfavourable to the development of his better tendencies, whilst their opposites grew apace. The rest of the story has already been told, save its finale, something of which will be heard at the next Circuit Court, and the residue at Darlinghurst or Cockatoo Island."

Prior to the heavy sentence of 15 years with hard labor, character references were forth coming for young Dunleavy as follows; TUESDAY, April 11, 1865, BEFORE Mr Justice Wise- James Dunleavy was arraigned upon six different charges of highway robbery, to all of which he pleaded guilty. Mr Dalley, on behalf of the prisoner, wished to offer one or two circumstances for his Honor's consideration, in mitigation of punishment. The prisoner was not twenty-one years old, and bore an excellent character up to the time of his entering upon the foolish career of crime which had brought   him to the felon's dock. He was given to understand that he was led away by the evil persuasion of others, and when at last he awoke to a sense of his degradation, he voluntarily relinquished the life he had adopted, and surrendered himself to justice. He called witnesses as to character. The Rev. Father McGuinn deposed that he was a priest of the Roman Catholic faith, and had charge of the Carcoar district. The prisoner bore an irreproachable character before he joined the bushrangers. He sent to witness to come to him, and by his own voluntary act surrendered himself. When he first sent, witness could not go to him, having to proceed into the country. During his (witness's) absence the prisoner abstained from further acts of violence, and secreted himself. When witness at length saw him he voluntarily placed himself in his hands, without any solicitation. Dr. Palmer said he had a small cattle station adjoining that occupied by the prisoner's mother, and had occasionally met the prisoner at musters. He had always found him a very quiet and well-behaved lad, and there was not the slightest taint upon his character until he joined the bushrangers. His honor said he would take these facts into consideration, but would pass sentence on another occasion. The prisoner was then remanded.

Dunleavy was sentenced, "...on two charges, was sentenced to ten years imprisonment with hard labour, the first year in irons, and a further cumulative sentence of five years." Total 15 years hard labour and he died in Darlinghurst Gaol on Wednesday, 21st October 1868; DEATH OF DUNLEAVY, THE BUSHRANGER. - "The City Coroner held an inquiry at the Darlinghurst Gaol, on Wednesday, respecting the death of a prisoner named James Dunleavy, aged 24 years. From the evidence, it appeared that he was received into the gaol on the 24th of April 1865, having been sentenced, at the Bathurst Circuit Court, by the late Mr. Justice Wise, to fifteen years' imprisonment, with hard labour, the first year in irons, for robbery under arms. He was a man of delicate constitution, and had on several occasions since his imprisonment been in hospital for treatment for consumption. The disease progressed, notwithstanding all the remedies that were applied, and on the 16th of last month he was again ordered by Dr. Aaron into the hospital. The disease from which he suffered increased, and terminated in disease of the windpipe as well as disease of the lungs, which ultimately ended in his death on Tuesday evening. The jury returned a verdict to the effect that death had resulted from natural causes. It will be remembered that Dunleavy formed one of Ben Hall and Gardiner's notorious gang of bushrangers, and that through the intervention of a clergyman, he, in conjunction with James Burke, was induced to give himself up to the police, and at his trial pleaded guilty to six different charges of highway robbery. The clergyman in question wrote a letter to the Colonial Secretary, asking that, as the prisoner, had given himself up, a light sentence might be passed upon him. This letter was the subject of much comment at the time, and called forth a strong expression of opinion from Mr. Justice Wise, to whom it had been forwarded for perusal."  



Newspaper report of Hall and Dunleavy's wounding

Dunleavy surrendered to police

James Dunleavy Bathurst Gaol entrance book
November 1864



Dunleavy and Gordan, Quarter Session sentence 1865
Note James Burke cousin of Micky Burke sentenced.
James Dunleavy Darlinghurst Gaol April 1865
James Dunleavy Return of Prisoners
 Darlinghurst Gaol June 1866

James Dunleavy Return of Prisoners
 Darlinghurst Gaol December 1866
Coroner's Report of Dunleavy's death 20th October 1868 at
Darlinghurst Gaol

Account of young Dunleavy's death 1868 (above)
For those interested Dunleavy was buried in Rookwood Catholic Cemetery and his plot number is: Sect. M1 Row 4 Plot 2968. (no photo as yet)

Thomas Frederick
Lowry.

© Penzig
Thomas Frederick Lowry alias Frederick McGregor, Samuel Barber.

("Tell ‘em I died game")

For over three years the bushranger Ben Hall roamed the western and south-western districts of NSW, during the period 1862-1865. During this period, Ben Hall would actively conduct robberies in company with a wide range of lawless criminals. One such criminal who seconded himself to the gang was a bushranger whose entry into bushranging began as early as 1858, when arrested for horse stealing and sentenced to five years at Cockatoo Island, his name was Fred Lowry, and he was synonymous with armed robbery, attempted murder and murder. Fred Lowry was born in 1836 near the Fish River some 16 miles south-east of Bathurst, encompassing the O'Connell Plains. Lowry was well known in and around the district as a stockman and fine horseman as well as one who was also widely known amongst the districts criminal elements. Lowry was described as: height 6’2”, raw-boned and of awkward build, very long arms, long light coloured hair, small beard, small head, small and angular features, walks with an awkward gait.

Bathurst Free Press,
24th July 1858.
However, there has always been some conjecture as to Fred Lowry's identity, where on his death bed Lowry stated, as blood flowed from his throat that his name was Thomas Frederick Lowry, moreover, it is unknown why as Lowry was about to meet his maker he made this emphatic statement to the attending doctor. Records indicate that Lowry was in the habit, as were many, during the 1800's to adopt several aliases, namely, such as Frederick McGregor which would see him incarcerated at Cockatoo Island under that name, and another Samuel Barber and Boyd. However, it may well be that in the use of his aliases Lowry may have wished to cleared the decks as a form of confession over other earlier crimes. Furthermore, in a search of the government records it appears that Lowry was the son of James and Ellen Lowry former convicts, with James having served time on Norfolk Island where he met Ellen Jackson, and the couple married on their release and settled in the Carcoar district, Lowry also had one older sister born on Norfolk Island c.1830. 

Fred Lowry, Absconding
employment 1855.
Lowry first came under the notice of the authorities when a warrant was issued for Lowry's arrest, first in 1855, aged 19 for 'Absconding', a prequel to dismissal from employment, often reported to the police, then again in 1858 for horse stealing. Lowry was arrested in conjunction with Sarah McGregor, for stealing a horse and both were incarcerated at Kings Plains. The relationship between the two may have been romantic. However, whilst held at the gaol, on the 22nd July 1858, the pair where remanded for eight days, whilst in custody Sarah McGregor would be assaulted by the lockup-keeper who was subsequently charged; 'Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal', Saturday 7th August 1858 - "James Leonard, late lock-up keeper at King's Plains, was charged with having feloniously assaulted Sarah Macgregor, a prisoner under his charge. The outlines of this case have already appeared in these columns. The prisoner attempted to exculpate himself by asserting that he had entered the cell to find a bell which he had occasion to ring. He was fully committed to take his trial at the next Quarter Sessions to be held on the 6th September, but was admitted to bail, himself in £100, and two sureties in £50 each. Frederick McGregor alias Thomas Lowry, alias Samuel Barber, and Sarah McGregor alias Cowell, were charged with having at Oma stolen a bay horse, the property of Joseph West, tertius J.P., of Bathurst. The case was fully proved, and both prisoners were committed to take their trial at the next Quarter Sessions in September." 


It appears that Sarah McGregor was in the habit of using an alias as the records indicate that Sarah was actually Sarah Cowell and had arrived in NSW from Tasmania onboard the 'Waterlilly' on the 12th May 1845 as a free settler in company with Joseph, Mary-Ann and Elizabeth Cowell. Lowry and Sarah McGregor's court appearance was reported in the 'Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal' Saturday 4th September 1858; PRISONERS FOR TRIAL AT THE BATHURST COURT OF QUARTER SESSIONS, MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 6TH, 1858. "Frederick McGregor, and Sarah McGregor, Bathurst, horse stealing. John Williams, Rylston, house-breaking. John McGinnes, and John Allen, Stoney Creek, assaulting a constable in the execution of his duty. James Browley, Bathurst, larceny. Shin Chun, Louisa Creek, robbery. Susan Healy, Bathurst, robbery."

Sarah Cowell alias
Sarah McGregor.
Following the trial, Lowry alias McGregor, was sentenced to 5yrs hard labour at Cockatoo Island, However Sarah McGregor would be released. While incarcerated at Cockatoo Island Lowry first encounted one Francis Christie alias Clarke alias Frank Gardiner. Upon Lowry's release from Cockatoo Island on the 2nd March 1861 he returned to the Fish River area and by the middle of 1861, Lowry had contacted his mate, Frank 'The Darkie' Gardiner. In July of 1861, Gardiner was taken by police at William Fogg’s home near the Fish River and after a severe brawl with shots fired and the police wounded with Gardiner beaten by a riding whip wheeled by Sgt Middleton in which during the affray, Gardiner was subsequently rescued by person’s unknown. However, the rescue was attributed to John Peisley, who at his later execution denied involvement, therefore, it was possible that Lowry may have helped in effecting Gardiner’s escape. Within twelve months of his release Lowry had commenced full-time bushranging, operating in the vast Fish River area in the heart of the Abercrombie and as far as the base of the Blue Mountains. Another wily and most shady character if ever there was one, was long-time friend of Lowry's, Thomas Vardy who arrived in the colony in 1833, onboard the ‘Pamelia’ and was a native of Wexford, England, and held a publican’s licence for Limerick Races Inn, Cook's Vale Creek, about twelve miles from Binda, and who through the next few years of Lowry's life would harbour him constantly. Vardy had a reputation as a thief, if not actually the perpetrator, but more often as the fence and the recipient of stolen property with accusations of theft conducted in his own hotel. An occurrence of which was published in 1860; EXTENSIVE ROBBERY OF JEWELLERY &c NEAR BINDA—"Intelligence was received on Friday evening of an extensive robbery, of jewellery and other property at Mr. Thomas Vardy's, Limerick Races Inn, Cook's Vale Creek, about twelve miles from Binda, on Sunday morning last. It appears that a travelling jeweller, named Morris Newman, was stopping at Vardy's, and went to bed about one o'clock on Sunday morning; he had his two boxes, containing jewellery, &c, underneath his bed; the lock on his bedroom door being broken, he was unable to fasten it. About four o'clock he was aroused by hearing a man in his room; he asked him what brought him there, to which he replied, " Where is Mearnes" and then left the room; shortly afterwards Newman looked under his bed, and found that his boxes were gone. The property stolen comprises watches, rings, brooches, lockets, guards, precious stones, purses, meerschaum pipes, knives, and a variety of other articles, amounting in the whole to the value of about £180." Henceforth, Lowry would soon be committing robberies alone, and also worked in company with other local larikins of the Fish River area including John Foley and the Cummings brothers, he was also acquainted with John Gilbert, John Davis, the O'Meally's and later Ben Hall.


Frederick McGregor alias Fred Lowry and
Sarah McGregor Bathurst Gaol July 1858.

Sarah MaGregor should read Cowell and arrival 1845.
Incarcerated as under the alias of Frederick Mcgregor, however, note Fred Lowry.
 Gaol entry to Cockatoo Island 1858.



Parramatta Gaol Description and Entrance Books, 1858 for Frederick McGregor, also known as Fred Lowry, note description.

Lowry's Release from Cockatoo Island March 1861
NSW Police Gazette, 1863.
Lowry would continue to make his presence felt in the Abercrombie district and having teamed up with another long-time acquaintance who had been engaged in many acts of armed robbery, the bushranger John Foley. Foley was also a native of the Abercrombie and had also served a goal term at both Berrima and Parramatta for horse stealing. In February 1862, Foley was once more charged with horse stealing and granted bail, however, he failed to appear and a warrant was issued for his arrest. Foley now out on bail was soon in company with Fred Lowry, and the two men on the 2nd October 1862, held up the store of William Todd at the Fish River and scooped a total of £60 in gold and cash then cleared off. However, on the 8th October, it appeared that Lowry had also been joined in the robbery by two other assailants, one named John Cosgrove. On the 8th October, the four men were pursued through the bush by police resulting in Cosgrove's capture after the police had opened fire and apprehended Cosgrove and a struggled ensued between Cosgrove and Constable Wright who subdued the man with the butt of his revolver. A few weeks later on the 24th December 1862, Fred Lowry and John Foley rode up to the store of Stephen Alexander at Mountain Run near Trunkey Creek and attempted to rob the storekeeper, however, the attempt was foiled when the storekeeper fired a loaded revolver he had at hand; 'Bathurst Free Press', 31st December 1862ROBBERS DEFEATED. -"Mr. Stephen Alexander, a storekeeper in the Mountain Run locality, called at our office on Monday last, and gave us the following information. On Wednesday, the 24th ultimo, two armed men came to his store, and inquired at the kitchen door for tobacco. They were directed to go round to the shop. On coming to the store-door, one of them returned to the kitchen, and presented a revolver in each hand at Mrs. Alexander and her brother. The man who entered the store said he wanted a pound of tobacco, and Mr. Alexander stopped to supply him, when the robber immediately covered him with, a revolver, and said, "Don't move" Mr. Alexander fortunately had a loaded revolver at hand under the counter, which he immediately seized and fired at the robber, -who discharged his own' revolver in return. Neither shot, however, did any damage. Both the men soon after made their escape." However, it came to light in September of 1863, that two brothers named Hogan, close friends of Lowry, and who were the stepsons of Lowry's good mate, Thomas Vardy, were charged with harbouring Lowry at the time of the afray at Alexander's; HARBOURING A FELON;-"Robert Hogan and Henry Hogan were then arraigned on an information setting firth that, on the 24th December last one Thomas Frederick Lowry, at Trunky Creek, did shoot at one Stephen Alexander, and that afterwards, on the 24th, July, the said Robert Hogan and Henry Hogan knowing the said felony to have been committed, did maintain and harbour the said Thomas Frederick Lowry. Applications made on behalf of both prisoners, that they might be discharged on their own recognizances, stated they were freeholders in their own right Mr Isaacs opposed the discharge of the prisoners on their own recognizances. His Honor said that he would read the depositions and would decide the same day if possible, but perhaps might not have an opportunity till the following day He might state that he should admit to bail the only question was whether on their own recognizances Prisoners were then removed." Following the deliberation of the court in the case of the Hogan brothers harbouring Lowry, they were released on bail of £200 each and a surety of £100, paid by their stepfather. Note; John Cosgrove was found guilty and sentenced to five years on the roads and died in gaol at Goulburn in 1866, he was described as 5ft 2in, short dark hair, whiskers and blue eyes.


On New Year’s Day 1863, Fred Lowry and John Foley bailed-up a crowd at a race meeting at the Brisbane Valley situated near the head of the Fish River, where some 100 persons were in attendance.  However, as the two bushrangers rounded up the revellers at gun point, a young man named Foran refused to obey Lowry’s orders, and consequently rushed Lowry, who, shot him in the chest, although wounded in the lungs Foran wrestled Lowry to the ground and held him until other people apprehended him. With Lowry overpowered, Foley, who had been engaged in tying up some of the men, jumped on his horse and got away. (See article left) Subsequently, Lowry was transported to Bathurst Gaol and held pending the charges against him being heard. However, the seriousness of the charges for Lowry, who had form, was that the penalty would no doubt be Capital Punishment at the hands of the Hangman.

However, for Lowry who showed exemplary behaviour at Bathurst and appeared to become devout religiously, concocted an escaped with several other prisoners on 13th February 1863.

The escape was reported in the 'Goulburn Herald' on the 17th February 1863 as follows; THE ESCAPE OF THE PRISONERS FROM BATHURST GAOL -The Free Press of the 14th, supplies some additional particulars of this event, which was noticed in our telegraphic dispatch of Saturday. It says - "The prisoners, who were in the exercise yard, became possessed of a pickaxe, which must have ben conveyed to them through a drain communicating with the outer yard, by one or more of the road party. The men in the inner yard appear to have congregated in one corner, and while one or two were engaged in removing the bricks from the outer wall, by means of the pickaxe, they were sheltered by the others from the gaze of the warder, who was stationed on a platform at the opposite end of the yard. A hole was made in the wall from eighteen inches to two feet square, through which the prisoners made their escape. The alarm was first given by Mr H. Blunden who was crossing the square, and observed a hole in the gaol wall. He saw two men get through the hole but thinking that the bricklayers were at work upon the wall he did not take much notice of the matter until one of the men passed him, saying, "Dont say anything about it, old fellow," or something like it. His suspicions were then aroused, and he ran to the gate of the gaol and gave the alarm. In the mean time, before he could return to the hole in the wall, three other prisoners made their escape. The report spread very quickly through the town, and Mr. Joseph West jun, J.P., hearing it, and seeing one of the men running, jumped on the first horse he saw and soon headed the prisoner, who was shortly afterwards secured in a yard near Mr. John Dargin's residence, in William Street. A second prisoner was very speedily captured in Piper street, and the mounted police, having heard of the affair, were in their saddles and scouring the country without delay. About two o'clock a third one of the prisoners was  brought in by the police, having been captured about seven miles from Bathurst, between the White Rock and Macquarie Plains. The following is a list of the runaways - Lowrie, committed to take his trial for shooting Foran at Brisbane Valley, with intent to murder. Woodheart, convicted at the last Quarter Sessions, of horse stealing, and sentenced to fiveyears on the public works of the colony. Mortimer,sentenccd to three years for forgery. Saunders, committed on a charge of horse stealing, and Pollett or Pollard, committed from Sofala on three separate charges of larceny The last three named have been re-captured, but the other two are still at large. 

John Foley c. 1873
After his escape, Lowry's new found religious devoutness was commented on in the 'Freeman's Journal", 1863; "... Lowrie, of gaol breaking notoriety, has not been heard of since; and it is confidently believed that his future career will be different from his past. He, too, like Ross, became a convert in the gaol under Father D'Arcy's care; and a day or two previous to his escape he was baptized and received into the Church. From the moment of his conversion he was most penitent, and expressed his unfeigned regret for his past career, which he very much attributed to the notorious Gardiner. The fact that he is so long at large without committing crime causes many to hope that ? he will carry out his strong resolutions against crime." Alas, a criminal is never penitent until they are caught, and it would not to be long before Lowry would emerge in the Weddin Mountains area where Lowry was reported robbing a traveler shortly after escaping from Bathurst; STICKING-UP ON THE MARENGO ROAD-On Tuesday a man was stuck-up and robbed of 12s 6d on the Marengo Road, by a bushranger dressed in a poncho, supposed by his height, (about 6 ft 2 in), to be Frederick Lowry, who escaped out of the Bathurst gaol on the 15th of last month, for whose apprehension the Government has offered a reward of £ 100.


NSW Police Gazette,
March 1863.
Enroute to his joining Ben Hall and Gilbert, Lowry conducted another robbery and without a revolver utilised a knife to rob a public-house of a Cornelius Hewitt at Grabben Gullen, where Lowry secured a revolver leaving behind his swag which suprisingly contained a catholic prayer-book. However, befor long Lowry made contact with and became involved with John Gilbert, Ben Hall and John O’Meally, soon participating in a string of armed robberies and the murder of a miner named M'Bride committed incompany with John Gilbert where it is belived that Lowry fired the shots that ultimately cost the unfortunate M'Bride his life; THE MURDER OF M'BRIDE, AT BURRANGONG. - The following is an extract from a private letter, dated Young, June 24. The writer was one of the jury who sat on the inquest, held on the body of the murdered man:-"An intense feeling prevails here respecting the murder of M'Bride, by Gilbert and Lowry. He was a miner, and the miners are organising a party to take the bush after the ruffians. I am afraid, if they catch them, they will stand a poor chance of being tried by a jury. A petition to Parliament is being prepared, bringing the present police system under their notice. The miners have been advised to ask Government for arms and rations, so as to give any effort to capture them an orderly and constitutional appearance, as any body going out without some such authority, partakes too much of the character of a vigilance committee. If Mr. Cowper is wise he will grant what is asked of him." Whilst involved with the Hall gang over a period of six months, Lowry bailed-up travellers and robbed stores and stations between the Lambing Flat goldfields and Cootamundra. However, the death of M'Bride saw Lowry depart from the Burrangong area and flee back to the Abercrombie region and familiar territory. As Lowry was returning he heldup a number of persons near Carcoar and was after one in particular, a police trooper stationed at Carcoar named Sergeant Charles Higgs; "... Lowry stated that they wanted him, and expected that he would return that day, if so, they would give him fifty lashes, which they were prepared to do, as they showed that they had the appliances with them, namely rope, &c. It appears that Higgs presented Lowry for horse stealing, some six years since, upon which information he was convicted, and it was after serving that conviction that he obtained his ticket of leave, since which time his conduct has been fully before the public. I nearly omitted to mention that within five minutes of the scoundrels leaving the place, sergeant Higgs was on the very ground where the ten had been bailed up, and was congratulated by the "council of ten" that he had not made his appearance sooner. No doubt if he had he would have found it much easier to walk home than have ridden. When information reached town, our police magistrate acted with his customary energy; but sergeant Higgs got a fresh horse and went without delay in pursuit. He has been out all night. What sucess may meet is hard to conjecture."

Within days of Lowry's return to his old haunt, highway robberies were soon reported involving Lowry and his old firm of John Foley and the Cummin's brothers their first encounter was at Governors Hill near Goulburn on Friday 3th July 1863; BUSHRANGING CLOSE TO GOULBURN;-YESTERDAY morning a boy in the employ of Messrs Darby, Alexander, and Co., was sent on horseback with three spare horses, to Darby Murray's Flats where the horses were to be left in a paddock. He had just got over the brow of the Governor's Hill, about a mile and a half or two miles from Goulburn, when two mounted men, armed with revolvers, came out of the bush selzi his bridle and led him off the road. They then made him dismount, and took his horse, which they said they wanted, and turned one of their own loose. They then told him he must remain where he was until the mail passed. This was about ten o'clock. Shortly after the mail from Sydney was heard approaching; but the men said they did not want it- it was the Goulburn mail they were waiting for. In the coach which they thus declined to interfere with, Captain M'Lerie an Inspector Orridge were passengers on their way to Lambing Flat; and it was afterwards remarked in town that it was a great pity that an attack had not been made; as if so the bushrangers might have been shot which would have done something towards quieting the country; or possibly M'Lerie might have been shot which would have done much more. Shortly after two men, named Brown and Parker, passed with a dray; and the bushrangers brought them into the bush, and searched them. Brown had £2 10s. 6d; and Parke about 15s. The robbers took the £2 but left the silver. The boy said the two men were kept in the bush under guard until about half-past one, during which time the bushrangers helped themselves to some of the men's rations. The mail from here to Sydney then came along and the robbers, presenting their revolvers, stopped it There were only three passengers-a Mr. Copeland storekeeper, of Lambing Flat, and two ladies Mrs, Bollough from Yass, and Mrs. Barnes. From the former the freebooters took some £15 in money, and his gold watch and chain. With the women, so far as we have learned, they did not at all interfere. They then opened one of the mail bags, and having emptied it, proceeded to cut open most of the others and empty the letters into it. While thus engaged, Mr. Fatter and Captain Morpby came up on horseback. They were stopped, and from the former £1 was taken-from the latter £1 and his gold watch and chain. Mr. Marsh, of Jerrara, and his eldest son, a young man, then arrived. They also were searched. The younger Marsh had only a few shillings, and this was returned to him. Mr. Mars had £1, some silver, and watcb. The bushrangers at once returned the watch and the silver, and on Mr. Marsh remonstrating with them, and telling them he had just buried two sons, and needed the, money more than they, the younger of the two cried out- "For Gad's sake give him back his money," which his companion accordigly did. All the mail bags having been got out, and many of them being ransacked, the coachman was told to drive on. Mr. Martyr, of Longreach, with his family, were then seen ascending the hill in a spring cart, and whether or not that the busnrangers thought that their company might get unmanageably large or not, it is hard to say; but they threw the saddles which they had taken off the travellers horses about on the ground, and after examining Mr. Futter's valiese and taking his saddlecloth, they started the horses into the bush, and went to meet Mr. Martyr, whom they searched; but finding nothing on him but a few shillings they, allowed him and his family to prooeed without farther molestation. They then rode into the bush, on the left  hand side looking from Goulburn towards Sydney. Mr. Marsh's mare was caught directly after, and that gentleman galloped into town, and gave information to the police, with whom he returned in pursuit directly after. Mr. Futter's horse having in the meantime been caught, Marsh rode into town. The robbers are described as follows:-One man. of about five feet seven, stoutly built, of dark complexion, and about forty years of age; the other a respectable-looking young man, of not more than twenty five about five feet eight or nine. The former searched the travellers and the mail bags, while the other acted as sentry. Both were armed with revolvers, apparently in excellent order, and were well dressed, wearing ponchos, long boots, and cabbage-tree hats. The horse stolen from the boy was a strong, good-looking animal, a bay about fifteen hands high, with two hind feet white, and branded JM. The other horse ridded by the bushrangers was also a bay, and apparently a good powerful animal. On the news becoming known in town the mail contractors agents and several townspeople proceeded to the spot. A number of letters, among which were several registered, were picked up, as well as some empty mail-bags, and four (including the Goulburn bag) which had not been opened at all. These were brought into town, and will be again sent to their destination tomorrow. Mr. Marsh states that all the details of the robbery were performed with the utmost coolness. At one time he got down off the bank on which he and his companions were perched, but was instantly ordered to return or take the consequences. He adds that he proposed to one of his companions to endeavour to overpower the bushrangers, but was dissuaded from making the attempt. The robbers attempted no disguise whatever. Mr. Clarke, the jeweller, was sending, down to Sydney a small box containing jewellery of inconsiderable value; whether this has escaped or not is not yet known.-Goulburn Herald, July 4 . Later in September of 1863, Thomas Vardy would be charged with harbouring Lowry after the Goulburn robbery; HARBOURING A FELON;-Thomas Vardy was arrainged on an imformation setting forth that on 2nd July one Thomas Frederick Lowry, at the Big Hill, near Goulburn, did assault one Richard John Morpby and steal from him one watch and chain, and that afterwards, namely on the 29th August last, the said Thomas Vardy, knowing the said felony to have been committed did maintain and harbour the said Lowry. After consultation with Mr Isaacs and Mr Holroyd (who appeared for the prisoner) his Honor decided to admit Vardy on bail on his own recognizance in £200. As he had some reason to believe that the police intended to take fresh evidence, he would throw out a suggestion which he had no doubt would be attended to, that the prisoner should have notice of this, and that any additional evidence should be taken in the prisoner's presence, just as though the case were commenced 'de novo'. The prisoner then entered into his recognizance, and was discharged." Vardy was brought up again and released; FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 25.-Thomas Vardy pleaded not guilty to a charge of being accessory to a felony by harbouring a bushranger named Thomas Frederick Lowry, who robbed the Goulburn mail on the 2nd July last. Mr. Isaacs said he should not proceed with the case this assizes. His Honor admitted the prisoner to bail on his own recognizances, he having to give security in the sum of £200 to appear and stand his trial when called upon to do so by the crown.


Henry Katter, Australian
Joint Stock Bank, c. 1875
On 13th July 1863, Fred Lowry, Foley and Larry Cummins held-up and robbed the Mudgee Mail Coach near Bowenfels, west of the Blue Mountains. They took £5,700 in old bank notes from Mr Henry Kater, Manager of the Mudgee branch of the Australian Joint Stock Bank as reported in the 'The Sydney Morning Herald', Wednesday 15 July 1863;

ROBBERY OF THE MUDGEE MAIL.- A Serious and extensive robbery was committed on Monday morning last, involving the loss of upwards £5000 bank notes. It appears that the above mail left Mudgee on Sunday night at ten o'clock, having only one passenger, Mr. Kater, the accountant of the Mudgee branch of the Joint Stock Bank. This gentleman had in charge the notes above mentioned. These were carefully tied in a bundle, first in paper, then in canvas, and outside in oilcloth, attached by string to his carpet bag; the whole being stowed away in the front boot of the coach. Mrs. Smith, wife of an innkeeper on the road, got into the conveyance on the Monday morning. About half-past eleven o'clock, as usual, the two passengers were walking up the steep hill, generally known as the Big Hill, distant sixteen miles from Bowenfels. Two men on horseback were observed to be coming down the hill, and stopped when opposite the mail. One of them stopped the horses, the other approached Mr. Kater, without dismounting, and presented a revolver at his head. Mr. Kater having a revolver within his coat pocket immediately commenced unbuttoning, the robber seeing this told him to hold up his arms or he would shoot him dead. The bushrangers then commanded the coachman to lead the horses into the bush, where any person passing on the road would not observe what was going on. The smaller man of the two (the other still holding the pistol as before described) rifled the pockets of Mr. Kater, taking his revolver, gold watch, chain, pin, pocket-book, &c. During this process he had ample opportunity of noticing the men. He says they were not common looking men, but pretty well dressed, in black coats, having the appearance of settlers, or squatters. They wore gold chains, were not disguised, and the horses were not first rate. One of the latter had a brand like T. E. or T. F. They conversed freely, telling Kater they would strip him of all he had, because he dared to feel for his pistol, and wished to come "Robert Lowe" over them. Having taken from him all his personalities, excepting his clothes, they took the mail bags and the bank parcels from the coach. Mr. Kater told them the notes would be useless, as they were old, and were being taken to Sydney to be destroyed. One of them said, " Never mind, we can make a bonfire of them. "If Kater saw Inspector Norton, he was to ask him if his spurs were getting rusty, and whether he intended to catch them. When taking the revolver, one of the rascals lifted up his coat and exhibited seven revolvers putting the other in his belt, he said, "Now I have eight." Mrs. Smith, the female passenger, had between one and two hundred pounds upon her, but they said they never molested women. Having secured their booty, the scoundrels made the coachman and Mr. Kater take out the horses, destroy the harness, and then they drove them into the bush. The bushrangers then rode off in an opposite direction. Mr. Kater made his way to Hartley. and gave information to Inspector Norton, who immediately, with four mounted police, rode off in pursuit. It appears that Mrs. Smith, on the road to Hartley, met the bushrangers again, and this time they were accompanied by a third man. They enquired the way Kater had taken. The bank notes are those of the various banks in the city, and some of the other colonies. The particular numbers appear in an advertisement in another column, and it is to be noticed that the payment of all these notes is stopped. 

Sub-Inspector James
Stephenson c 1863
On 29th August, Senior Sergeant Stephenson was informed that Lowry was at the 'Limerick Races Hotel' on Cooks Vale Creek which was about 50 miles from Goulburn.  Along with three troopers, he set out for the hotel where Lowry and Cummins had themselves locked in a room. Stephenson called on them to surrender and then tried to force the door.  At the same time, Lowry fired through the door then flung the door open standing there with a gun in each hand.  Stephenson and Lowry fired a couple of shots at each other with Lowry being hit in the throat. Lowry dropped his revolvers and the Sergeant grabbed him and held the struggling Lowry until one of the troopers could help him. Lowry was then pulled out into the yard and handcuffed. Stephenson returned to the room where he found Cummins hiding under the bed. Cummins surrendered quietly with no resistance. The following is the deposition of Senior Sergeant Stephenson 

"I am stationed at Goulburn; I have seen the body on which this inquest is now sitting; on the 29th instant, accompanied by Constable Herbst and Detectives Camphin and Saunderson, I went on horseback to Thomas Vardy's public-house, at Cook's Vale Creek, about seven o'clock in the morning from in formation received and by virtue of a search warrant to search the house of Vardy, for bank-notes supposed to be stolen from the Mudgee mail; previous to arriving there I directed Herbst to go round to the rear of the house to see that no person should leave, with instructions that if he saw any one about to leave to challenge them in the Queen's name to stand, and if they did not to shoot them; I directed Camphin to keep guard in front with the same instruc tions, while Saunderson and myself would search the house; at the same time I told all the men that I suspected Frederick Lowry, the bushranger, was in the house, and to be prepared; we then dashed up to the house; we saw a girl who seemed to be fright ened and who was half-crying; Saunderson and I dismounted, hung our horses up to the front of the house, and went on to the verandah; I asked the girl if there was any one in her room; she said "no;" I looked in and saw only a little child; the girl was about half dressed; I then went into the bar and called for Vardy the landlord; Vardy came out of his bedroom into the hall adjoining the bar; I asked if he had any strangers in the house; he said "yes;" I asked where they were; he nodded his head to he room they were in; I asked if he knew who they were; he said no, and to look out; I went to the parlor-door adjoining the room he mentioned and leading to it; it was locked inside; I knocked and asked for admittance; I got no answer; I then said if the door were not opened at once I would break it open; I then knocked my shoulder against the door for the purpose of break ing it open; I failed in the first attempt, and I no sooner took my shoulder away than a shot was fired from inside, and a voice exclaimed "I'll fight you ba------s;" the shot came through the door and wounded the horse I had been riding in the back; I removed the horse from that place and gave him to Vardy, and told him I should hold him responsible for him; I then went back to the bar-door, and then the parlor-door was opened and a man came out with a revolver in each hand crying out "I'm Lowry; come on ye b—'s, and I'll fight ye fair;" at the same  time he presented one of the revolvers at me; I covered him directly; I think we both fired together; at that time we were four or five yards apart; he then advanced upon me within three feet; I covered him again, and we both fired in each other's faces; the second shot I fired he dropped his revolvers and staggered; I jumped forward and seized him by the neck, struck him with my revolver on the head, and told him he was my prisoner; I brought him into the bar; he continued to struggle; Saunderson came to my assistance; we then shoved the deceased into the yard, threw him on his back, and putting my knee on his chest I handcuffed him; he then said he was Lowry, and was done; I left Saunderson in charge of him in the yard and proceeded with Camphin to the bedroom in which Lowry had been sleeping, believing that there was another bushranger there; when I went into the parlor leading to the bedroom, I called upon the man that was there to come out, or if not I would blow the head off him; I got no answer and went in, and a man jumped out of bed; I caught him by the neck and asked his name; he said Larry Cummins; Camphin and I brought him into the yard and handcuffed him; I left Camphin in charge of Cummins in the yard; I then proceeded to the bedroom, accompanied by Constable Herbst, and found the revolver produced, capped and loaded, on the wash-stand, together with some clothing belonging to Cummins and Lowry; I produce Lowry's vest [a black cloth vest bound with blue, with buttons like silver]; it is similar to that described as having been worn by the robber of the Mudgee mail; I produce a thin black cloth sac coat claimed by Lowry, a brown Inverness cape, another heavier one, a cabbage-tree hat with broad black ribbon, and an elastic riding belt; one of the capes contained a flask of powder, a few percussion caps, two dice, a gold watch, chain, and key; I believe, from the description, that the watch belongs to Captain Morphy, who was robbed on the Big Hill, Goulburn, on the 2nd July; I also found two knives, one £50 note, and altogether £164 19s. 6d., in notes stolen from thie Mudgee mail, all except £10 in notes, £2 in gold, and 19s. 6d. in silver; the money, except the silver, was in a little bag in Lowry's trousers pocket; after I had made a search in the house I arrested Thomas Vardy for harboring the two bushrangers, Lowry and Cummins; and I also arrested Henry Hogan, Robert Hogan, James Williams, Thomas Brown, and John Watson, for being accessories after the fact; they were all on the premises; I found three horses in the stable; Vardy stated one was rode by Lowry there the night previous; he was a bay horse; the brand is very indistinct; I think it is FK on near shoulder; the others were a grey and a chesnut, both of which Vardy stated belonged to his stepson, Mick Hogan; Vardy also stated that Lowry and Cummins arrived there about nine o'clock the previous evening; Cummins rode the grey there, she having been lent him by Mick Hogan; Vardy also said that Lowry had one of the revolvers produced in his belt; I asked if he knew him; he said no, that he was a gentle manly fellow—he thought he was some swell; in the encounter with Lowry I wore the coat I now have on; the revolver I had in my hand now shows the mark of where a ball struck it on the barrel; the bullet then grazed my right knuckles and went up my sleeve; the hair was burned off my wrist; I think this was the first shot; I did not feel it till afterwards; I have another shot-hole through the right side of my coat about level with the waist; this shot did not injure me; I find, by the Police Gazette of the 4th March, 1863, that the deceased answers the description of a man named Frederick Lowry, as follows:—"27 years of age; 6 feet 1 or 2 inches high; raw-boned and awkward build, very long arms, long light hair, little hair on chin, head small, features small and angular; lower part of face recedes; walks with an awkward gait;" I had no time to observe his walk; the hair is rather darker than I should imagine from the description; I got a horse and dray, and placing Lowry in it arrived at Woodhouseleigh at half-past six p.m.; the deceased suffered very much on the way, choking in the throat, and seemed to be like suffocated; the place I shot him was near the windpipe; when I arrived at Woodhouseleigh I found that the dray-horses could not reach Goulburn that night; I stopped at Mr. Pratton's public-house, and despatched a messenger to Goulburn for Dr. Waugh and more police, as I thought Lowry would not live to arrive in Goulburn; four policemen arrived about half-past two in the morning, and Dr. Waugh about three; he attended to the deceased; Dr. Waugh told deceased he would not live long, and that he had best prepare to meet his Maker; some time after deceased asked for Dr. Waugh, and stated in my presence to the doctor that he thought he was going to die; Dr. Waugh asked prisoner what was his name; his answer was "Lowry;" the doctor then asked him his christian name; he answered that his name was Thomas Frederick Lowry; he did not live long after, about half an hour; he died about six o'clock on the morning of the 30th; Dr. Waugh was present when he died; on the same morning we started from Woodhouseleigh, about seven o'clock, and arrived in Goulburn about one o'clock the same day; I left the corpse at the hospital; Vardy offered no impediment to finding where the prisoners were; I have not the least doubt that this is the body of Lowry; the watch has just now been identified by Captain Morphy".


Detective William Camphin
When Lowry was examined it was found that he was bleeding internally. Lowry rallied long enough to ask one of the troopers Detective William Camphin to pray for him and to inform his brother-in-law named Elliot that ‘Tell ‘em I died game’.  Lowry died at 6.00 am on 30th August 1863 at the age of 27.  He had £164 of the stolen Mudgee Mail money in his pockets when he died. Detective Camphin deposed; "I am employed in the Goulburn district; I have seen the body; it is that of the person arrested by Senior sergeant Stephenson; I accompanied deceased to Goulburn, and was with him a few minutes before he died; he asked for a priest; I said have you any thing to say; he said that he had a good deal, which he would say to the priest; I said that there was no possibility of getting one till we reached Goulburn; he then asked if I would do him a favor; I said that if it did not interfere with my duty I would; he then told me that he had a brother-in-law named Elliott in the employ of a person named Cummins living on the Lachlan, and he wished me to let him know that he had died game; he said that he had always said that he would not be taken alive but would fight for it; he said that the reason why he fought so was that he knew he should be hung if taken, that he didn't like to die a coward; I said I was very near you when you broke out of Bathurst jail; he asked my name; I told him; I was at Bathurst when the prisoners broke out of jail, and I saw two men, one of whom was Mortimer and the other said to be Lowry, running away; I got my horse, went in pursuit, and captured Mortimer; I asked and deceased answered some questions with respect to the course he had taken on the occasion of his making his escape ; he asked me to stay with him, but I had to attend to the other prisoners; as he wanted prayers read to him I asked the other prisoners if they would read to him; they all said they could not read; I asked what prayers he would have; he said he was a Roman Catholic; we then all knelt down and I read the Catholic prayers; in my conversation with him I always called him Lowry; he always answered to it; I was present when he told Dr. Waugh that his name was Lowry; I read the catholic litany for departing souls, and deceased sometimes repeated the responses; in height and appearance deceased resembled the man I saw running away on the occasion of my capturing Mortimer, but I did not see that man's face; I have no doubt that the deceased was Lowry."

At the inquest into Lowry's death, it was stated that as he lay dying Lowry gave his name as Thomas Frederick Lowry there are a number of conficting records of a Thomas Frederick Lowry commencing with a Thomas Lowry given 48hrs for Disorderly conduct and confined at Darlinghurst where he paid his fine and discharged on the 28th April 1863, not possible, another Thomas Lowry arrived in the colony oboard the 'Lady Ann' in 1854 as a 20yr old from Cornwall, England, recorded as a farm labourer and could read and write, Lowry is thought to have been born in the colony, another Thomas Lowry arrived in the colony from Tipparary, Ireland in 1857 at the age of 25 onboard the 'Fitz James' as a Labourer and could read and write, which would make him 31 at death in 1863; it must be remembered that the use of their real names and ages was often to protect others from police scrutiny and to mitigate any other outstanding crimes. It is noted at Lowry's inquest as to some doubt by others as to his real identity, reported here in the 'Goulburn Herald' Wednesday 2 September 1863; 

"He appears to have been a very tall young man, measuring six feet two inches, and probably weighing thirteen stone, well made, with small hands and feet, white skin, small moustache, and a particularly well-developed chest. Taken altogether he was physically a very fine man. He is described as having been twenty-seven years of age; and although he must have led a life of mingled dissipation and hardship, he did not appear to be any older. Some doubt was expressed as to the body being that of Lowry, the bushranger; Mr. Horsford, the jailer, who had known Lowry at Cockatoo Island, where he was undergoing a sentence under the name of Frederick McGregor, considered that the hair was much darker than that of the man he had known, and that he was much stouter, and was of opinion that deceased was not Lowry, though he was not able to speak positively. Mr. Fogg, a settler at the Narrawa, and his wife came into town on Monday and saw the body, which they declared was not that of Lowry; but it seemed that they had not seen Lowry for three years; and although called at the inquest, they did not attend. On the other hand, the Rev. H. H. Gaud, who had seen Lowry some twelve months back, believed that deceased was he, as did also Mr. Moses Baird, who, however, had not seen Lowry for seven or eight years. The evidence taken at the inquest is all in favor of the view of deceased being identical with Lowry; and it is quite certain that he was the man who robbed the Goulburn mail on the 2nd July last, Mr. Futter, Captain Morphy, and the coachman, Michael Curran, having positively identified him, and Captain Morphy's watch having been found in his possession. There is every reason also to believe that he is the man who in conjunction with Foley robbed the Mudgee mail of several thousand pounds worth of bank notes some days after the robbery of the Goulburn mail. Foley and Lowry it may be remembered escaped together from Bathurst jail on the 13th February last..."
Woodhouseleigh Station Homestead, Lowry died in
building on the far left.
S.M.H. 31st August,
1863.
It was futher reported in the 'Goulburn Herald'THE LATE CAPTURE OF LOWRY.—On Thursday one of the warders of Bathurst jail arrived in Goulburn and positively identified the body of the man shot on Saturday last by Senior-sergeant Stephenston as that of Lowry. Mr. Kater, the clerk in charge of the parcel of bank-notes stolen from the Mudgee mail on the 13th July last also arrived; but he was unable to identify the body as that of one of the man who robbed him, though he stated that there was a resemblance in the features. The whiskers having been shaved off since the inquest with the view of taking a plaster cast of the features, may have led to some hesitation on Mr. Kater's part; but there can be scarcely the shadow of a doubt that Lowry was one of the robbers on the occasion, especially when it is remembered that he and Foley, who was positively sworn to by Mr. Kater, were captured together in the first instance and effected their escape together from Bathurst jail. The Joint Stock Bank therefore will be doing no more than what is right in paying the reward over to Mr. Stephenson; and the directors may think themselves lucky in having recovered an almost sufficient number of the stolen notes to enable them to pay the reward without further loss. Yesterday Robert Hogan, Henry Hogan, John Watson, James Williams, and Thomas Brown were brought up in the jail on remand. The two first named prisoners were further remanded for a week. Watson, Williams, and Brown, who it may be remembered were in the employ of Vardy, were discharged. On Tuesday night Mr. Stephenson received a telegram from the government promoting him to the rank of sub- inspector. The announcement has been regarded with general satisfaction; and a public meeting has been convened for Monday evening for the purpose of considering the propriety of presenting Mr. Stephenson with a public testimonial.

After Stephenson was promoted for his brave efforts in stopping Fred Lowry, the citizens of Goulburn established a testimonial for Stephenson and party as reported in the 'Sydney Mail', Saturday 12 September 1863; Testimonial to Sub Inspector Stephenson and Party.— We are glad to see that the people of the Goulburn District are subscribing to reward these intrepid and meritorious public servants. In the absenoe of a general movement to afford encouragement to similar enterprises, it is gratifying to see that individual example of merit are noted and rewarded by the community. A subscription headed by Mr. Bradley, whose name is down for £10 10s; and by Mr. Phillips for £5, has been made by the Goulburn public to the amount of £50. We shall be happy to receive, at this office, any contributions towards the object, which will be forwarded to the treasurer, Mr. Henry. I. West, manager of the Joint Stock Bank. Goulburn.

Lowry's accomplice in the Mudgee Mail robbery, John Foley faced court and was sentenced as reported in the 'Goulburn Herald' 9th September 1863; A telegram from Bathurst informs us that Foley, the bushranger, has been convicted and sentenced to fifteen years on the roads for the Mudgee mail robbery. 


Autors Note; There was a report in the mid-1860's that Lowry was believed to have had a brother who was shot dead in February 1864, by police trooper John Ward in northern NSW. At the time of the younger Lowry's killing, Fred Lowry, bushranger had been dead for 5 months and the police consequently believed the man James Lowry was a brother of the bushranger. However, young Lowry was 20 years of age at the time of his shooting and lived in the Coonabarabran region some 200 miles north of the Lachlan from a search of records it would appear they were however, not in any way related.

Photo taken at Goulburn Hospital 30th August 1863
‘Tell ‘em I died game’

John Dunn ("a terror to the colony")


John Dunn was born on 14th December 1846 near Yass, NSW and was the eldest of nine children to 'Ticket of Leave' holder, Michael Dunn, aged 26, who had been sentenced to transportation for life, for stealing cloth from a shop, and convicted at the Old Bailey on the 14 August 1837, arriving at Port Jackson from England on the 9th February 1838, on the ship 'Emma Eugenia', a 340-ton Barque under the command of Captain Wade, in company with 199 other male convicts. Michael Dunn served 3½yrs prior to receiving his 'Ticket of Leave' in 1841, and in October 1850, was granted a 'Conditional Pardon'. (see bottom of page) Michael Dunn, previous to his conviction, was recorded as a Chandler Tallow Boy and was indentured to The Tallow Chandlers, a City of London Livery Company which used to administer oils, ointments, lubricants and fat-based preservatives to manage candle making, using tallow (animal fats). Moreover, with the coming of the Gas Light in the mid-1800's followed by electricity in 1900's, Tallow boys switched to making soap. In 1846, Michael Dunn married a native of the colony Margaret Kelly, aged 23, at Yass, where beforehand they had been required to apply for 'Convicts Application to Marry' which was granted preceding their nuptials. However, on the news of his son's fall into crime, Dunn's father rode in search of him in the hope of rescuing him from bushranging, unfortunately, his horse died from over exertion, consequently, he was compelled to return home unsuccessful in his search.
Michael Dunn, England & Wales Criminal register 1791-1892.
Dunn's parents 'Application to Marry'.
Dunn and Ryan, NSW Police
Gazette 1864
This was written in the 'The Newcastle Chronicle and Hunter River District News', November 1864, regarding the circumstance which led John Dunn into becoming a member of Ben Hall's gang; Ben Hall's Latest Recruit.—The Yass correspondent of the Goulburn Argus writes :-Young Dunn, who has joined Ben Hall, is the son of a small settler living in the neighbourhood of Murrumburrah. He is accounted one of the best riders in New South Wales, which is saying a great deal. A person who is well acquanted with him told me the other day that if this young rascal was moumted and his horse placed on the roof of one of the houses in Cooma street, he would ride along the roofs of the others to the furthermost end of the town ! So much for his daring equestrian abilities. As we all know, the native youth pride themselves on their prowess in the saddle. It is a aad pity they do not aspire to something more ennobling. At the last annual races held in Yass, Dunn rode, and success fully too, the Binalong horse, Ringleader. The next time he turned up in Yass was in company with young Kennedy, a youth of his own kidney, the son of an ex-publican in Murrumburrah. They came into town late one evening, and as they were dressed in true bushranger's costume—namely, a poncho made out of a blanket ornamented with bars and stars, and Napoleon boots — they were soon spotted by the police. On being interrogated, young Kennedy said he wanted to find out where the Erlington pound was situated, as a racer had been stolen from him after the Murrumburrah races by — (mentioning another youth who has shown strong indications for hose-stealing), and that he had found out from the Government Gazette that it was in the pound. After making sundry inquiries, he obtained the requisite information, and the two hope full's departed on their journey. It appears that the horse was released by Kennedy, and he with Dunn returned towards home. On reaching Gunning, Dunn left his companion, and rode in the direction of Pudman Creek, where he fell in with another youth named Ryan, whose brother has been long the dread of this part of the country as one of the most expert and successful of horse stealers, but whose reign is drawing, or has drawn to a close. Shortly after this they stuck up and robbed some drays on the Pudman, and were subsequently apprehended and taken to Burrowa, where they were committed for trial at the Yass General Sessions. Strange to say, that although the charge was robbery under arms, the sapient justice accepted bail for their appearance to take their trial. When the sessions came on, Dunn and Ryan were called on their bail. The latter appeared, but as Dunn was absent the Crown Prosecutor applied for a postponement of the trial, consenting to take fresh bail for Ryan, and at the same time applied to the judge to estreat Dunn's recognizances and issue a bench warrant for his apprehension. All this was done. I have very good reason for believing that Dunn was in Yass at the time of the application was made, and that so soon as he heard that a warrant had been issued he mounted his horse and joined Ben Hall and Dunleavy (Gilbert was not with Hall at the time), who were only a short distance from town. See now the consequence of Mr. Burrowa Justice's folly- in granting bail. Ryan knew he would not be put on his trial without Dunn, and therefore surrendered, and I shall be most egregiously mistaken if ever he shows his nose voluntarily before Judge Meymott again.
The pending court appearence of John Dunn and Daniel Ryan, it was from this event
that Dunn fled justice and joined Ben Hall and John Gilbert.
Dunn now apart of Ben Hall's gang of bushrangers and embarked on a short but infamous career, robbing stations, inns, stores and mail coaches and ultimately murder. It was recorded years later when a former employer of Dunn's, Mr. W. Marshall had passed away at Barmedman, that he had employed Dunn shepherding cattle for him on The Flat, before Dunn started out with Ben Hall. Later, Dunn stuck up some people at the old Sydney Hotel, Young, and the late Mr Marshall was amongst them with £70 in his pockets. Dunn got the money, and asked Mr Marshall if he had any more. 'About 3s 6d,' he replied, and said, 'Surely you are not going to rob me, Jack?' 'All's fair in love and war. Bill,' said Dunn, and kept Mr. Marshall's money, though he told him he could get a drink with the 3s 6d.

John Dunn was soon described as 'the terror to the colony', and seemed to revel in the brutality of bushranging, whether it was to impress his bushranging companions who had been at the game since 1861/62 or just from the fact that he was enamoured with the notoriety bushranging brought or of the fear he instilled in his innocent victims, for Dunn too, it was noted at the end that he blamed others for his madness, and broke his parents heart. Dunn's partnership with Hall and Gilbert commenced at a time when the two old hands were at their most destructive, and displayed audacity in their robberies, and demonstrated a lack of human compassion, as the three bushrangers were quick to fire and fire to kill at any opportunity. To the South another murderous bushranger was leading the troopers a merry chase and that was Daniel 'Mad Dog' Morgan and the press were quick to draw a parallel between the two camps, as reported in the case of the death of Sgt. Parry. This is an extract of the murder of Sergeant Parry and shooting with intent to kill Insp O'Neil out side Jugiong in November 1864 as follows;

Our legislators appear to be too much engrossed in party quarrels, and our Government in their own agrandizement, to properly estimate the enormity of the crimes which are being daily committed in our southwestern districts, within a couple of hundred miles of the headquarters of a police system which cost a colony containing some 350,000 inhabitants, during the past year £242,715 7s. 11d. What wonder will it be if we hear of the people whose lives and properties have been rendered insecure taking the law into their own hands, and, following the example of California, establishing Lynch Law. Much as such a system is to be deplored, we question if it would not be preferable to the present state of things.


Morgan shooting
 Sergeant McGinnerty
During the past four months Morgan has murdered two police sergeants and an unoffending bushman. His immunity from arrest has probably rendered Hall and his gang from paying much regard to human life, for we find them following his example with all the recklessness which has marked Morgan's career. The culminating act of Hall, Gilbert, and Co.'s villainous career has been that perpetrated on the 16th ultimo. On the morning of that day Hall, Gilbert, and Dunn took up their position on the road about four miles from Jugiong, and stopped all passers by. Among the number were several residents of Tumut, Mr. Johnstone, of Gundagai, about a dozen teamsters, and thirty Chinese. About noon Constable M'Laughlin, going to Jugiong, was stopped by two bushrangers. Gilbert rode up and ordered him to surrender; his reply was a shot from his revolver, which was returned by Gilbert, who then rode off a short distance. Hall then fired at the constable, who again returned it. Dunn also fired. Some of the shots cut M'Laughlin's bridle rein, and slightly wounded his horse. Having used the whole of his ammunition, and being hotly pressed, he galloped away hoping to be able to reload; but Dunn being better mounted followed, and, firing at him, ordered him to surrender. Having no other alternative he did so, and was conducted to where the other persons were detained. On searching McLaughlin they took £7 10s. and his watch and chain, but returned the latter to him, as they admired his bravery in resisting three of them.


Death of  Sergeant Parry
About three o'clock the mail from Gundagai came in sight, escorted by Sub-Inspector O'Neil and Sergeant Parry on horse back, and Constable Roach, who was seated on the box with the driver. The bushrangers rode down the hill to meet the coach, and on being perceived by Mr. Rose, Police Magistrate at Gundagai, who was a passenger, that gentleman raised his handkerchief as a signal for the police to close up, and as they did so the bushrangers turned and rode off, but seeing there were only two policemen they drew their revolvers, and rode back to meet them, screaming like madmen. The first shot fired was the signal for Constable Roach to drop from his seat and bolt into the bush, leaving O'Neil and Parry to maintain the murderous contest; the former being opposed to Hall and Dunn, and the latter to Gilbert—the two latter fired shot for shot. Parry was first wounded in the head, but refused to surrender, and, having fired every shot in his revolver, was in the act of unslinginig his carbine when Gilbert again fired. The ball entered his back on the left side, passed through his body—and the brave fellow fell from his horse a corpse. O'Neil continued fighting until his ammunition was expended, when, seeing the uselesness of prolonging the contest, he surrendered, and was taken prisoner. Dunn and Gilbert then mounted guard on the road, while Hall ransacked the mail bags; the latter asked O'Neil where the other constable had gone to, and, on hearing he had bolted, remarked, "You should dismiss the fellow at once; he is a coward and wretch to leave you and your mate to fight; but I will say this for you both, you are two game men." Hall then addressed himself to Mr. Rose, asking his name. Mr. Rose gave it, and told them in a fearless manner that he was Police Magistrate of Gundagai, to which Hall replied, "You are as bad as the   —— traps." "That may be," said Mr. Rose, "I am what I am." After disposing of all the booty the bushrangers decamped, taking the police horses and arms. The  remains of Sergeant Parry were removed to Jugiong, where an inquest was held next day by Mr. Rose. The jury returned a verdict of wilful murder against John Gilbert, Benjamin Hall, and John Dunn, against whom warrants were issued.

Sergeant Parry was formerly a member of the detective force, and during his residence in this city was remarkable for his good conduct.


The Government have recently issued a proclamation offering £1,000 reward each for Hall, Gilbert, and Dunn, and we trust that some energetic colonist may speedily enrich himself, and rid the country of one of its plague spots.


Contemporary drawing rarely
published of the death
of Sgt Parry, from the
 'The Australian News for Home Readers',
 Sat 24 Dec 1864  titled;
 STICKING UP OF THE GUNDAGAI MAIL.
Sergeant Parry's inquest jury stated; 'That on the l6th day of November, in the year of our Lord 1864, at a spot about four miles to the south of Jugiong, in the colony of New South Wales, the deceased Edmund Parry did die from the effects of a gunshot wound, at that time and in that place wickedly, maliciously, and feloniously inflicted upon him by one John Gilbert; and that two other certain persons, named Benjamin Hall and John Dunn, were then and there unlawfully aiding and abetting the said John Gilbert in so feloniously destroying the life of the said Edmund Parry.'

YASS. Tuesday, 29th November 1864, 5.30 p.m; Constable Roach was fined £5, for deserting his post at the late encounter between the police and Ben Hall's gang.  

Soon after Sgt Parry's death at the hands of John Gilbert, the three bushrangers took command of the Young road and bailed up close to forty people of various employ whislt waiting for the expected gold-buyers doing the rounds of the diggings in the few weeks before Christmas 1864 and during the confinement of the captives the following was observed and reported of the three bushrangers; Last Saturday morning about ten o'clock, as two of Mr. Frederick Taylor's sons (George and James) were riding from the Fourteen to the Sixteen Mile Rush, a horseman rode down the side of a steep range and told them to "stand," but at the same time telling them not to be frightened but to come along with him. This was the notorious Dunn, who led his two young captives up the hill, where, just over the brow of which were already twenty prisoners congregated under the guard of Hall and Gilbert..., at about eleven o'clock Dunn expressed a desire for something to eat, when Hall told Mr. Henry to fetch six or seven dozen of eggs out of his cart, so that all hands might have a feed; meanwhile another man was sent to fill a large billy with water; a third was told to make a fire, boil the eggs, and roll them out. Gilbert produced some bread, which he divided as far as it would go among all who would accept of it, and a hearty meal was the result. Thus matters jogged on for hour after hour, Dunn and Gilbert alternately, and sometimes together, topping the hill, riding down its declivity, and shortly reappearing with more captives, until, at about three o'clock p.m., there were not less than forty prisoners... my informant, who is a very intelligent young man, and who was for síx hours a captive, during which time he paid the greatest attention to all that the gang said and did, says that Gilbert and Dunn seemed very cool and jolly, whereas Hall's manner was rather serious and anxious. Gilbert and Dunn's waistcoats were festooned with gold watch-guards, and their general appearance was that of flash, well-to-do young stockmen; but, on the contrary, Hall had a quiet and respectable air-he wearing nicely-shaped high boots and a well-fitting pair of brown cord pants, with fashionably-cut cloth coat and vest of the same colour, and only one gold chain, and not much of that to be seen... Gilbert has not the fresh, clear expression of countenance he used to have. His features are now much embrowned by the sun, and the skin in many places is peeling off. Hall is the only one of the three who cultivates any moustache or whisker, and he is getting fat. Of his companions in crime, one wears his hair so long as to touch his shoulders, and the other has it in short crisp curls. They all once or twice stated that they were determined never to surrender, but to fight to the last. Each had six large sized revolvers in his belt." 


Departing the Lambing Flat district and in the lead up to Christmas 1864, Ben Hall, Dunn and Gilbert appeared near Laggan 26 miles north of Goulburn and 5 miles from Crookwell, where the gang were to set up operations surrounding the Goulburn district and commenced sicking-up travellers and stations. However, with John Gilbert's notoriety with some local lasses the bushrangers decided to attend the small settlement of Binda's annual Ball as part of the Christmas Boxing Day celebrations in company with two local girls Ellen Monks, 17 and Christina McKinnon. The bushrangers and girls arrived at Binda around eight o'clock in the evening, with the two girls going ahead to the store of an ex-policeman Edward Morriss who was well known to the two girls. Whereupon, shortly after the three bushrangers appeared at the door revolvers drawn and held-up Morriss and greeting the two girls upon entry, "Hall at once said, after putting his revolver on one side, "how do you do, Miss McKinnon; how do you do, Miss Monks; "I said to Hall "I suppose you are Ben Hall" and he replied, "I am that gentleman;"  After stealing £100 secreted in a jar the gang forced Mrs Morriss to change dresses and all then attended the Ball with Dunn securing a neighbour named Joseph Hadfield. 'The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser', Saturday 31st December 1864. FURTHER OUTRAGES BY BUSHRANGERS. (From the Goulburn Herald, Dec. 28.)

"About eight o'clock on Monday evening Ben Hall, Gilbert, and Dunn came to the Flagstaff Store at Binda, forty miles from Goulburn, and told the proprietor, Mr. Morriss, and his wife, to accompany them to the Flag Hotel, at which the landlord, Mr. John Hall, was that evening giving a ball to his neighbours in celebration of Boxing-day. Mr. and Mrs. Morriss declined; but the bushrangers insisted on their doing so, and told Mrs. Morriss to change her dress. It may be mentioned that Mr. Morriss had formerly been in the police-force, and had gained the reputation of being a most active and successful officer; and it is supposed that on this account the bushrangers were afraid of his organising means for their capture, if they allowed him to remain at home.

Mrs. Morriss was obliged to change her dress accordingly; and while this was going on the bushrangers were searching about the place, and either then or on their subsequent return to the premises, it is supposed they secured about £100 in money, which were on the premises. They then proceeded with Mr. and Mrs. Morriss to the inn, and bailed up the inmates, numbering about a hundred-nearly the whole population of Binda. Their object, however, did not appear to be so much robbery, as that of having a spree; and they insisted on the festivities being proceeded with, and joined in the dancing and other amusements apparently with the greatest zest.

At first and at intervals they searched about the place for money. They frequently treated the company, and drank gin themselves, but not to excess. Time wore on; and between two and three in the morning Mr. Morriss proposed to one of the company to attempt a rush on the bushrangers, himself agreeing to attack Hall as the biggest man of the three. To this he assented. It was then necessary to get others to join in the plan; and one or two were accordingly spoken to, who also agreed. Whether these were traitors or not it seems hard to determine; but just as the plan was lo have been put into execution Gilbert was observed to speak to Hall and both to look at Morriss, and immediately afterwards Gilbert advanced towards him presenting two revolvers.

Of course, there was no longer a chance of taking them unawares; and Mr. Morriss lost not a moment in jumping out of the window, and making for where the bushrangers had their horses. As he fled, the bushrangers fired at him. He however actually succeeded in getting possession for a moment of their horses; but by this time, they had got out of the inn, and came furiously after him, firing several shots as they did so. Mr. Morriss was therefore compelled to make off, and fortunately succeeded in getting clear of his assailants.

The bushrangers now returned to the inn, where they declared that they would burn down Morriss's house. They then left to put their threat into execution. Mrs. Morriss in her desperation actually clung to them, and besought them in the most moving terms not to do so; but in vain. They said that Morriss was a dog; and that they would yet come across him and have his life.

They went to the store; and after again searching about, set fire to the building, watching the progress of the flames for a time, and then taking their departure. The whole building and the stock it contained, together with a number of promissory notes, and the books of account, have been destroyed; and all that remains of the store is now a heap of ruins.

Mr. Morriss having kept out of the way until he had seen the bushrangers leave, now returned; and having got a horse, left his wife lying on the ground in front of where their house had but a short time before stood, and came into Goulburn to report the occurrence. On his way in, near Dixon's Meadow, about twelve miles only from town, he saw the bushrangers camped and cleaning their arms. It is worthy of mention that all the three policemen stationed at Binda were away at the time, having brought prisoners into Goulburn, and the gang were well aware of this, stating that they saw the Binda police near Laggan on Sunday.

When Mr. Morriss reached the police barracks the superintendent was absent; and two hours after the news had come to hand troopers were seen riding about the town in search of that officer. Whether in the meantime any parties had been despatched in search of the bushrangers or not we have no means of knowing; but it was generally remarked that the foot police could very well have found the superintendent, and have apprised him of what had occurred, while the whole available mounted police force should have gone in pursuit.
It has been noticed on previous occasions that two hours have elapsed between the times of information reaching town and the police taking action; and on the present occasion the same period elapsed before the superintendent was found. There is no doubt that the barracks and head-quarters of the force have no business to be at the Old Township, nearly two miles from the center of the city. The press has called attention to this before; and it only remains for us to say that if this state of things is to continue, we might as well be without the mounted force altogether.

It may be mentioned that Binda is a police station, having a lookup-keeper and two mounted constables; but on this occasion, they were all in Goulburn, having escorted in the prisoners Seerey and Skelley and wife, whose cases will be found reported in our police column.

Mr. Morriss had been some two or three years settled in Binda, and was beginning to get comfortably off in the world, estimating himself to be worth £1000. He is now utterly penniless; the clothes be stands in being his sole worldly possessions. On the books of account that were destroyed there were about £500 worth of debts. Mr Morriss last evening applied to be admitted into the police force, and to be sent in pursuit of the bushranger; but the superintendent said that he had not power to appoint him, but could accept him as a volunteer. He was advised to agree to this."

Kimberley's Inn with Nelson
monument at right.
 c. early 1900's.
Following the events and brutality at Binda on Boxing Day 1864, the three bushrangers next appeared on the Sydney road on the outskirts of Goulburn in the first weeks of the New Year 1865 and took command stopping all and sundry and then the three rode into the small hamlet of Collector NSW and arrived at Kimberley's Inn in late January 1865. It was here at Collector NSW that Jack Dunn joined Gilbert as a murderer when Dunn cold-heartedly and bloodily shot dead Constable Samuel Nelson as the brave lockup-keeper marched up the street to confront and arrest the bushrangers, at which point however on leaving his home his parting words to his frantic wife, who implored him to await the return of the constables out looking for the gang were, "Now dear, I am only going to do my best" and set off while the three bushrangers were robbing Kimberley's Inn. Constable Nelson armed with a long rifle at the ready with bayonet fixed approached the Inn, two of his son's, one of which was forced to mind the horses and another on seeing his father followed him. Dunn called out to Nelson to 'halt', but the brave trooper marched on, Dunn then coolly took aim and Nelson for his last time spotted Dunn aiming, Nelson called out 'stop' as Dunn's revolver kicked its bullet out and struck Nelson in the cheek, he staggered and then Dunn quickly transfered to and fired a shotgun into the chest of Nelson, as his sons watched the fatal shots hit their father. As the blood pumped out of their brave father the eldest boy rushed to his side as life expired from his body, Constable Nelson was dead; "... Hall, Gilbert, and Dunn, went into Collector and stuck-up Kimberley's Inn. On this reaching the ears of the lock-up keeper, Samuel Nelson, who was the only policeman there, he took his carbine and went up towards Kimberley's. Dunn met him on the road, called upon him to stand, firing at the same instant. Nelson cried out "stop," and fell. Dunn fired again. Both shots took effect, one on the head or neck, the other in the heart Nelson never spoke after receiving the second wound. After he committed this murder, Dunn went to Kimberley's Inn and the bushrangers left the township. Subsequently the police sighted them on the brow of a hill and charged them, the bushrangers leaped their horses over logs and made off, and were lost sight of the evening being intensely dark. They abandoned a stolen horse. Mr. Voss held a magisterial inquiry on the body of Nelson last evening, and the coroner held an inquest today. Nelson had been in the police force for some years, and was much respected. He leaves a wife and eight children. Two of his sons saw him shot; one was holding the bushrangers horses at the time. The outrages by Hall's gang cause great excitement here."

After the three had galloped out of the town it was reported that Ben Hall was furious with Dunn over the fatal shooting of another police officer as stated; "...Jack Dunn shot poor Nelson at Collector, and Ben Hall was mixed up in it, although I have it from a woman that Hall confided in that they all agreed beforehand that no one was to be fired at unless in actual self-defence. There was a great row afterwards between Hall and Dunn. Dunn threatened to shoot Hall, but Hall knocked him down, took his revolvers from him, and handed them to Gilbert. He then got on his horse and galloped away." In 1909 in the 'Wagga Wagga Advertiser', Saturday 24 July, a W. A. Cuneo recounted  a version of the after effects and disgreement between Hall and Jack Dunn and Dunn's comment about the shooting; "...Dunn challenged Nelson to stop two or three times before he fired, and shot him dead, and excused himself for the deed by saying: "I called out to him not to come any closer, but he wouldn't be stopped, and I put a rat hole in him, before he could put it in me." They divided the spoil at an old hut that night, and a very severe quarrel ensued between Hall and Dunn. Hall was still very sore over the shooting of Nelson, and told Dunn that he would never have a day's luck for it; that it was unnecessary, cold-blooded, and that Nelson could have done no harm. Dunn said: "You are too chicken hearted for the game, and better go and look after that wife of yours. He was promptly knocked down, and in the after scuttle Dunn drew his revolver on Ben, but was prevented from further action by Gilbert."  Although the three bushrangers continued together friction was now ever present amongst them and where seperations of short periods ensued as Cuneo again states Ben Hall's comment; "...the police are making it very warm for us, and I am going to try and get away from the country altogether. Johnnie Dunn is a bit too strong for me; I can't agree with him, and I'm afraid I'll put a bullet through him one of these days. He made me very wild the night we took the tenner from the man I'm sending it to. They had a few chickens and a hen in an old coop, and Jack took the hen and wrung her neck. He reckoned he wanted some soup, but I reckon it was pure flashness, and I told him if ever he did the like again I'd shoot him." 


Nelson
At the Inquest, Elizabeth Nelson, widow of the deceased, deposed: "Yesterday evening I got word that the buhrangers were at Kimberley's. Deceased was out but was speedily found, ran home, put on his belt, took his loaded carbine with the baonet on it, and left the house saying, 'now, I am going to do my best,' I did not again see him alive." Next the doctor, Dr Handford deposed; "I have made a post-mortem examination of the body of the deceased. On examining the body externally, I found a bullet wound mid way between the nose and the ear, on the left side of the face; also a wound two inches long and two and a half inches broad, on the left side of the chest, and twenty shot marks round the wound. The wound took an oblique direction downwards. The stomach was protruding through the opening. On examining the cavity of the chest, I found the heart lacerated to the extent of one and a half inches at the anterior and lower half towards the left side. The remaining visera were healthy. On examining the abdomen, I found several shots in the liver, and a portion of a wire cartridge with several shots in it, which I produce. The shots correspond with those I have just taken from a wire caitridge given to me now. The stomach was perforated, but the other viscera were healthy. The fifth, sixth, seventh, and eight ribs on the left side were fractured. The brain and membranes were uninjured. The ball most probably passed into the deep muscles of the neck, as I could, not trace it. Death resulted from the wound I have described and no other cause."


Reward Notice
 1864.
After the shooting of Constable Nelson, the government addressed the issue of reward and for the first time Morgan was linked to the gang, but only by a monetary link, as the newspapers reported the new warrant on 10th February 1865, at the same time the parliament was debating the 'Felons Apprehension Act'In a special Gazette issued yesterday, it was announced that in lieu of a thousand pounds for such information as would lead to the arrest of Morgan, Hall, or Gilbert, together with a hundred pounds for information that would convict harbourers, a reward of £500 would be given for the arrest of either of these men, and a separate £500 for information that would lead to their arrest. The £100 for informing against harbourers remains as it was. A fresh sum of £375 is also offered for the arrest of John Dunn, the murderer of constable Nelson, and another £375 for information that will lead to his arrest; and all persons are cautioned that by harbouring him they make themselves accessories to the crime of murder.

Dunn was reported as 'Bounceable' during a robbery soon after the killing of Nelson expressed in the 'The Sydney Morning Herald', Friday 10 February 1865; After leaving Collector, where they robbed Kimberley's store, and Dunn shot constable Nelson, nothing was heard of Ben Hall's gang until they made their appearance at Cunningham Plains, about four miles from Murrumburrah, on Tuesday last, where they stuck-up several persons, we learn about five or six in number—one of these, named King, who together with his wife and family was returning with his team from Ironbark diggings. Dunn accosted this party in the usual bushrangiug phraseology of 'bail up.' They took from the woman seven £1 notes and nine shillings in silver; the latter they returned to her. Dunn was very bounceable, and told her that unless she was more civil he would treat her in the same manner as he did the constable at Collector. There was a hen with chickens under a coop in the dray, and the scoundrel took away the hen and wrung its neck, and turning to his companions, said that it would make a B----y good feed for the bush. The bushrangers shortly afterwards rode away leaving their captives liberty to depart. 

On the 15th April a run down of reported crimes to that date was recorded in the press as follows, and is a summary of those that the victims took the time to report, the attack at Burne's where the gang were sleeping in a barn at Mutbily, trooper Pye and Wiles were wounded as was thought Ben Hall, shot in the arm, the gang fled on foot, the robbery at Geary's Gap, Gilbert stole his longed for revolving rifle from a Mr. Davis; On the 19th January, they robbed Mr. James Christie's store; on the 25th they robbed John Ross on the Gap Road; on the 27th, several carriers near Collector—and Dunn shot Constable Nelson dead; on the 6th February, they robbed the Braidwood mail twelve miles from Goulburn; on the 18th of February, they stole valuable horses from Messrs. Brown & M'Alister's station near Molong; on the 23rd, they had a fight with the police at Burne's, in which some of the police were wounded; on the 14th of March they robbed the Gundaroo mail near Geary's Gap; on the 13th, they attacked the gold escort from Araluen near Major's Creek, when two of the police were wounded; and, on the night of the 25th, Gilbert and Dunn entered the town of Forbes and robbed a store in the principal street, and after wards stole a horse from Morris's station.


The carving, photo from 1937
On the 29th April, early Saturday evening, Hall, Gilbert and Dunn arrived at 'Yamma Station', the home of a Mr. Cropper, a long time opponent of the gang and who had on many occassions participated in hunting parties for the apprehension of the bushrangers as far back as the escort robbery of 1862. The three bushrangers split and entered the homestead from different points in what was to be the three bushrangers last act together, during the stay Gilbert took the time to carve their names into a stool. Hall and Gilbert and Dunn were also appraised of the death of Morgan, the event is reported in full from the 'The Sydney Morning Herald'

HALL, GILBERT, AND DUNN AT  YAMMA.
The appearance of the bushrangers at Yamma, the station of Mr Cropper, although unexpected, did not create much surprise in this part of the country. Mr Cropper is an outspoken man, and no consideration for his own personal safety or the safety of his property has at any time prevented him from denouncing bushrangers and bushranging, and from doing his part towards the suppression of one by the capture of the other. Gilbert and Dunn were seen coming up the hill on the top of which Mr. Cropper's residence is situated about six o'clock on Saturday evening, carrying a pair of revolvers each in their hands. They entered the enclosure by a wicket at one end of the house, whilst Hall entered by another at the opposite end. Hall proceeded on tip-toe into the sittingroom, and intercepted Mrs. Cropper's entrance from the bedroom into the sittingroom. En- treating Mrs Cropper not to be alarmed, as his party did not intend to do her any injury, he proceeded to inquire if there were any men about the place, and where Mr Cropper's arms were. Having ascertained that Mr. Cropper had deposited his arms in some place of safety prior to his departure for the metropolis, Hall and Gilbert walked into the bedroom and overhauled the contents of some drawers in search after money and other portable valuables, but succeeded only in finding a four-barrelled pistol worth about £8, which was appropriated, as also some powder, caps, and ball. Hall, determined as he said, to have something belonging to Mr Cropper, possessed himself of one of his pocket-handkerchiefs A writing desk was next carefully unlocked, and its contents looked over, but nothing was found which the chief of the gang considered worth appropriating.

Having completed the business part of their arrangements the bushrangers visited the cellar, whence they procured three bottles of porter, of which they partook, as also of a little brandy. In due course they also took tea, and politely invited Mrs Cropper to join them-an invitation which she resolutely declined accepting, and which, finding her pertinacious, they did not continue to press. Their demeanour was respectful in the extreme. They chatted freely and familiarly about themselves and their doings, their past and present history, as well as their future intentions. Hall took Mr Cropper's little boy upon his knee, called him "a fine little fellow," and   remarked that he would make a good man in a few years, winding up this part of his colloquy by observing that he would like to take him into his keeping-a proposition from which, it is almost needless to say, his mother emphatically dissented. Resolved, apparently, to make their visit as pleasant as possible, the bushrangers requested Mrs Cropper to play for them upon the piano, but this she flatly refused to do.

In the course of the evening Hall referred to a speech made by Mr. Cropper some months ago, at Lambing Flat, in denunciation of the bushrangers, and said that he himself was the man who called to Mr. Cropper from outside the window, but that the language attributed to him was not correct; the threat used by him being that Ben Hall would some day cut his (Cropper's) head off. He complained bitterly of getting credit for saying and doing things which he never said or did. But, if the above be a sample, the justice of his complaint is more than questionable. Amongst the plans for the future avowed by the gang, in the current of their conversation, are the projects for sticking-up Mr. Clements, at Eugowra Creek, and Mr. Campbell, of Goimbla, "because," as they phrased it, "of their blowing so." In the event of their party coming in contact with Mr. Cropper, it was not their intention, Hall said, to shoot him unless he fired first. After expressing strong indignation at Mrs Campbell's conduct in supplying her husband with ammunition on the occasion of the attack upon Goimbla, Hall asked Mrs Cropper if she would load firearms for Mr. Cropper under similar circumstances, to which she promptly replied in the affirmative, without eliciting any mark of disapproval.

When approaching the house, the bushrangers met Mr. Cropper's cook in an adjoining paddock, who was on his way to Mr. Bowler's, Wallawallah station, and took him into their custody. Arrived at the house, they appeared as well acquainted with its geography as if they had spent years under its roof. Even the names of the horses were familiar to them, and their whole movements were regulated by an intimate knowledge of the premises and establishment generally, clearly showing the facilities the freebooters possess of obtaining information, and the use they make of it. A carpenter was at work on the spot, whom they at once took under their especial guidance, and compelled to move about as they moved. Having expressed an intention of staying all night, Mrs. Cropper intimated that she was unwell, and desired to send for Mrs. Paterson by the servant girl.


Morgan
To this they objected, alleging that a servant girl was the cause of Morgan's death, but that out of deference to her condition they would at once take their departure, when the girl would be at liberty to proceed. They did so, apologising for their intrusion, and stating that if they had been aware of the state of her health they would not have troubled the place. They took with them a valuable racing mare, worth £40 or £50, and two other horses, but stated they would speedily drop them. Having by some means or other ascertained that a daughter of Mr. Farrand, police magistrate, was a guest in the house, Ben Hall said he wished he had her father there; he would make him write a cheque for £500 as a ransom, and, in the event of refusal, would adopt some unpleasant alternative.

Felons Apprehension
 Act, 1865
By late April 1865 the three bushrangers, Hall, Gilbert and Dunn would have been fully aware that a new Act passed in the NSW Parliament, enacted specifically to end their reign of terror and known as the 'The Felons Apprehension Act', which would enable any persons to capture or kill them and where the three bushrangers were ordered to surrender themselves to the gaoler at Goulburn by the 29th April 1865, after which the act was to come into effect on the 10th May 1865. The gang in that late April of 1865, and after the 'Yamma Station' robbery failed to arrive at Goulburn and the three separated, with Hall now alone and Dunn and Gilbert together, with probable plans to rejoin and possibly shift operations or flee the colony. There is another possiblity and that is that the three had separated for good after a quarrel, and that Hall was preparing his own departure. The news of the death of Ben Hall's arch enemy and the man Ben Hall held most responsible for his madness, Sir Frederick Pottinger, had died on the 9th April 1865, Pottinger's death became highly publicised in the Lachlan District. Pottinger's death may have taken the wind out of the sails of Ben Hall's bushranging career and altered his future and frame of mind. The following statement was made by the grandfather of John Dunn to Constable King, when King questioned Kelly about Dunn and Gilbert's movements and if Ben Hall was also with them; "No, only two ov 'em; Ben Hall's left them. Him an' Janney couldn't agree no how. So they told me." 


On the 13th May 1865, eight days after the bullet riddled body of Ben Hall lay dead and buried, John Dunn and John Gilbert were in the process of clearing out of the Lachlan, pushed hard on knocked up horses which they soon replaced, they rode on and sought refuge at the home of Dunn's grandfather John Kelly, Kelly, was described as;"... a tall, gaunt looking man, about 60 years of age. He had deep set piercing grey eyes, a hooked nose, and wore long side whiskers. He always shaved his upper lip and chin, that is when he did shave, so his face often had an unwashed appearance, augmented by a love for chewing tobacco. His grandson, Dunn, had similar features. The hooked nose in particular, and deep set, glittering, grey eyes, at once indicated kinship." Kelly, for whom the reward of two thousand pounds was too great a prize, even for the life of his own grandson. Kelly went to see the police, on arrival at the Binalong police station Kelly encounted Constable King, they then made arrangements for the capture of the now outlawed two bushrangers. Constable King recounted the conversation and events long after John Kelly's death, and stated that whilst alone at the Binalong police station Dunn's grandfather, Kelly, appeared at the door and asked for the Sergeant who at the time was absentKelly conveyed to King coyly that on recieving word of Gilbert and Dunn's impending visit "he moight be of help", King recounts the converstation; 

"I'd loike a few words wud the sargint, If ye please, Mishter King."
"Ah! Well, he'll be in presently. Mean while, make yourself at home, If I can't be of any use to you."
"Well, yo moight be able tor giv me some information."
"I will if I can. What is the trouble, John" "Well, I kem to ask if there's any truth in what Paddy Ryan's been afther tellln' me about me gran'son Johnnie bein' outlaw'd, Misther King."
"Well, I am sorry, for your sake, that it is, old man. We received, the noticess yesterday, and one is posted up outside there."
"How much is put on 'em?"
"One thousand pounds, alive or dead. Five hundred goes to the person who will give information that will lead to the capture of any one of them, and the remainder to the person who shoots or captures either of them."
"By Gor! the Guvermint manes business."
"Yes, the murder of poor Constable Nelson, the father of nine children, was unnecessary and cold-blooded.
"Whist a moment," said John, interrupting me. "Spose any wun gev the information, an' they wasn't captured or kilt, wud they git anything?"
"Not a penny." .
"I see! " . answered John, somewhat disappointed. "I thought-"
"Why! what did you suppose they would for?" 
"Well now, I'll tell you, and"-lowering his voice-''mind it's a saycret 'twixt you and me; but Jannie moight be comin' ter see me some day. He's very fond of the ould woman. Sure the Divvel himself- can't save his neck, and if five hindred pounds is to be med out ov 'im, the sooner the betther, 'fore he shoots some wan else."
It now dawned on me that John had something up his sleeve, so I took up another role.
"Quite right, John! Quite right! I always knew you as a decent, honest man, and I am glad to find you are no sympathiser with your grandson's doings, and see here, old man, If ever you give me any Information, lt will be safe and sacred, and so will your share of the reward; here's my hand on lt."He took my hand and wrung it until I winced, saying, "I belave yer a man ov yer word, Mishter King," then sitting down beside him I again ventured "I suppose you have no idea when they are likely to pay you this visit?"
He grinned, and, shutting his eye, said, "By Gor, they moight come to-night."
"Oh, that he d---d," I exclaimed, jumping off my chair.
"But I say they moight," he answered, with significant emphasis.
"Go easy, man sit down till we make a plan."
I again sat down, and he continued.
"Ye see, If it wus to git wind that I towld ye anything, an' they wus to get away, by Gor they'd cum an' shoot me loike a dog. So yez must be careful not to, miss yer game, shoot straight if ye does shoot, or don't shoot at all at all."
"John! You would make a better general than Fosbery," said I, approvingly.
"Well, now, hold yer whisht a minnt thin ye ken have yer say. They'll be at my place fur sartin to-night."
"They wur there lasht noight, and the auld woman is gettln' a good feed fur 'um ready for to-noight, and I've got a keg ov rum in the bag outside.

The above conversation is written in the language of the day, as to how John Kelly spoke. Kelly went on to devise a signal for the troopers to have his grandson captured or killed, all this was done on the understanding of anonymity. The two bushrangers now legally declared 'Outlaws' arrived again for the night and early on the morning of Saturday 13th May 1865;

Dunn's escape at Binalong
During that day the bushrangers made their way towards Binalong, and the same night, information having been received by the police that they were camped at Riely's Hill, about two miles from the village, Senior Constable Hales, Constables King, Bright, and Hall, started off in the direction indicated believing that, as Dunn's grandfather, a man named Kelly, resided in that locality, the bushrangers would, if in the district, be certain to visit his house. On reaching the vicinity, the police hid themselves, and watched the house all night, without perceiving any indication of the bushrangers, and returned to Binalong about daylight on Saturday. About an hour after their return, fresh information received induced the police to retrace their steps to Kelly's, where they arrived at nine o'clock. After waiting and watching for nearly an hour, Kelly came out of the hut, and walked up and down in front of the door, but soon after went in doors in company of his wife. Shortly afterwards Kelly's son appeared, and Constable Hales interrogated him as to the inmates of the house, and was informed that there were no strangers there then, nor during the previous night. Not satisfied with the reply, Constable Hales determined to search the premises, and was approaching them for this purpose when he heard Kelly exclaim, "The house is surrounded by troopers." Hales and King then rushed into the house, and perceived the door leading into the adjoining room shut very quickly. A shot was immediately fired at the police, who returned it, went outside, and surrounded the house. Hales called out to the bushrangers to come out, or he would burn the place over their heads. Whether this had the desired effect or not it is impossible to say, but directly after Gilbert and Dunn were seen to emerged from a small window in the end of the house. They were at once perceived by Trooper Bright, who fired at them. They returned it, retreated through the fence, followed by the police, and went towards the creek. Hales called out to Gilbert, "Stand, and I will spare your life ;" but the unfortunate, who appeared to take no notice, got behind a tree, and fired at King with a revolving rifle, and aimed again at Hales and Bright, but the rifle missed fire. The police were then within fifty yards of him. Gilbert went down the bank, and was running along the bank of the creek, when Hales and Bright fired simultaneously, and Gilbert fell. The police then pursued Dunn, who was running towards an adjoining scrub, which he managed to reach in safety, after shooting Constable King through the ankle.

After Gilbert was gunned down Dunn escaped and made his way to a Mrs Jullian's station in search of a horse, in later life Mrs Jullian described the brief meeting with Dunn; "... When Gilbert, the bushranger, was shot near Binalong, his partner, Dunn made for Bogolong station where he demanded a horse, saddle, and bridle. These were given to him. He showed Mrs. Julian a matchbox, which a bullet had struck, saying: "But for this, I would not be here." Mrs. Julian dressed his wounds, and advised him to surrender to the police, but he would not do so. He said be would join Thunderbolt."

With Dunn's escape his Grandfather was arrested for harbouring and under the new Felons Apprehension Act, Kelly should of faced the full force of the law, but is it was reported in June 1865 of Kelly's dubious arrest and release; "... Kelly, charged with harbouring Gilbert and Dunn on the occasion of the gallant attack on those desperadoes by Senior-constable Hales and Constable Bright, has been discharged from custody. At the time to which he was remanded, there was no magistrate in attendance, and consequently he was let go. Of course all this is significant to any one who has the least brains."


The reward for Gilbert's capture has been divided as follows: - £500 to the informer; £150. to Hales; £130. to Bright; £120. to King ; and £100. to Hall. 
John Dunn, Goal entry book January 1866, note Dunn was educated.
John Dunn, Criminal Courts record trial date 9th January 1866.
John Dunn, Darlinghurst Gaol Entrance book, 3rd February 1866.
Having successfully fled the Lachlan district Dunn made his way north, and after laying low for some months, his whereabouts remained a mystery to the NSW police, soon rumors began to circulate of his presence in the Walgett area some 350 miles from his last sighting near Illilong just south of Binalong where Gilbert had been shot dead and Dunn subsequently made his escape. Furthermore, it had been presumed that Dunn had possibly contacted another bushranger who worked both the New England district and limited areas west of Narrabri by the name of Fred Ward, alias Thunderbolt, however this is untrue and there is no evidence of Dunn ever encountering Ward. Accordingly, the rumors of Dunn’s presence on the Barwon appeared true and it was consequently reported that Dunn had been leading a quiet existence as a horse breaker on a station owned by a Mr Alexander McPhail in the company of another employee Joseph Burford, and an unnamed person, who upon Dunn's discovery and in the contest that followed fled quick smart. However, with Dunn’s location exposed the police swamped the district and time would quickly run out for the young bushranger. 'The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser' Tuesday 19th December 1865.  PURSUIT AND ESCAPE OF DUNN THE OUTLAW. CAPTURE OF AN ASSOCIATE. (From our Walgett Correspondent.)- Considerable excitement has prevailed in this district for some time past, caused by the rumour that the notorious scoundrel and double-dyed murderer, Dunn, was acting in conjunction with Thunderbolt in the numerous robberies which have lately been committed in this neighbourhood; and for some time past Inspector Zouch, with a detachment of the Bourke constabulary, has been patrolling the lower portions of the Gulgoa, Bemo, and Bokhara Creeks - while sergeant Wynn, with the Walgett police, has exercised a strict surveillance over the upper parts of them; but their efforts to discover the whereabouts of the gang proving unsuccessful, and horseflesh failing them, the search was relaxed, and each party returned to their respective barracks, very naturally fatigued by the harassing nature of the duty performed, and worn out by the jaded and clumsy horses they were mounted upon. Additional Information, however, having been received, sergeant Flynn and Constable Drake again renewed the search, upon the 4th instant, and after riding sixty miles that day, encamped within sight of M'Phail's station, upon the Wammerawa Creek. In justice to Mr. M'Phail and his family it must here be stated that these precautions were observed, not because their assistance was doubted or their conduct mistrusted, but merely to preclude the possibility of Dunn being made acquainted with their proximity through the medium of any "Telegraph," which it was surmised he might have upon the watch; and subsequent events proved the correctness of these suspicions.

It may be necessary to explain that the police, believing Dunn to be upon the creek, and making downwards, expected that he would dismount at this station as he passed, when their intentions were to secure the outlaw's horse, and then to act as the emergency required. Pursuing this course, they remained concealed until midday, keeping a vigilant watch upon the hut the whole time. During their concealment, they had their suspicions aroused by observing a man leave the hut with a coloured handkerchief around his hat, and carrying a small bundle in his hand. He returned about twenty minutes afterwards, wearing a white turban, and without the bundle. Deeming it inexpedient to remain longer in ambush, and fearing their movements might have been detected, they proceeded to the hut, where they introduced themselves as cattle buyers, both being disguised in bush attire. They found Mr. Hector and Mr. Alexander M'Phail present, together with the man who first attracted their attention. ln a few minutes the same man again slipped quietly out, when the sergeant, confident of the M'Phails' support, disclosed the nature of his business, intimating at the same time the result of their observations in the scrub; his suspicions were confirmed when the M'Phails expressed their ignorance of the circumstance, and explained that the man was a complete stranger to them further than he had been engaged as horse breaker to them for a short time, and gave his name as Blueford; and, to their credit and honour be it observed, they also assured the police of their hearty co-operation and assistance. Listen to this, ye advocates of neutrality, and henceforth permit no morbid feeling to usurp the place of reason and warp your better judgment; consider the manly course of these young Australians, which reflects honour upon themselves, and assist to check the accursed evil which is almost nurtured in this quarter by the equine provisions that are made for its suppression.

NSW Police Gazette,
6th December 1865.
After a short time Blueford again returned to the hut, when sergeant Flynn questioned him about the exchange of turbans, and accused him of carrying victuals from the hut; the confusion of the man was palpable, and he at once arrested him for withholding information from the police, informing him of the heavy penalty he incurred by misleading them, and urging him to disclose the locality he had conveyed the provisions to. Blueford wavered for a short time; but upon the "Felon's Act" being read to him, his resolution was staggered, and he replied sullenly, "Dunn is camped close here. He then agreed to lead the police to his camp, and the Messrs. M'Phail having mounted, it was pre-arranged that upon surprising the camp Mr. A. M'Phail should keep Blueford in custody, whilst the sergeant, constable Drake, and Mr. H. M'Phail endeavoured to secure Dunn. They approached to within one hundred yards of the camp unobserved, and then it was apparent that the "telegraph" had done its work. There stood this precocious specimen of colonial villainy, holding a fine bay horse, saddled, with the reins in one hand, and with a revolver in the other, waiting for his companion to adjust the pack upon the leading horse. The moment he detected the police he uttered a hasty imprecation upon the tardiness of his mate, and vaulting into the saddle assumed a menacing attitude, and challenged them to "come on." The challenge was speedily responded to, but the issue depended upon the superiority of the horses, and, unfortunately for society and the courageous fellows who followed him, Dunn possessed the best. For six long miles, the chase was tenaciously maintained, Dunn keeping just out of pistol shot, displaying a seat which proves him a perfect horseman, and nursing his horse in a manner that indicated he meant a long run for his life. Throughout the chase it did not appear that Dunn desired to outstrip his pursuers, but rather to exhaust them, and for this purpose he frequently waited upon them until they approached within three hundred yards of him, and then he would gradually increase the distance again, leading them through tall wire brush ten feet high, across broken swamps and plains, and lastly into a dense pine scrub known as the Monkey. It was in the latter place that the pursuers were reluctantly compelled to relinquish the pursuit, their horses being entirely exhausted and winded, while the matchless animal that the outlaw bestrode evinced no symptoms of fatigue. After losing sight of Dunn they retraced their course to the hut as speedily as circumstances would permit, fearing that he might double upon them, and rescue the prisoner from Mr. A. M'Phail, but no attempt of the kind was made. When the rush was made upon the camp, the companion of Dunn, throwing up his arms, exclaimed, "I surrender;" but in the emergency, he was not heeded, and has not been heard of since. Blueford was safely lodged in the Walgett lockup, upon the 7th instant, charged with aiding and abetting Dunn.

Once more this desperado has eluded the grasp of the law, and his escape may be traced to the inefficient manner the police are mounted. When information was received of Dunn's whereabouts, there was not a brute fit to ride in the yardful of carrion called police horses; and a galling rebuke was administered to the authorities by the troopers being actually compelled to mount their own private horses. In conclusion, it may be observed that Dunn was fully identified by constable Drake, who is a native of the same place (Fish River), and was at one time his fellow servant.

Authors Note: Joseph Burford would be charged under the 'Felons Apprehension Act', and faced trial for his harbouring Dunn and giving false information to the police, and be sent down on the 26th March 1866, for six months to be served at Maitland Gaol, where he was released in August 1866.

Dunn survived for another few weeks and was finally captured in January 1866. (see article below)

Empire
Thursday, 18th January 1866



It was not the last of Dunn, as whilst held at the Dubbo Gaol and weak from the gunshot wounds inflicted by Dunn's capturers, he escaped from the goal, as recounted in the clipping below from the 'Mudgee Guardian and North-Western Representative', Thursday 14th December 1905;
Escape from Dubbo Barracks.


Dunn's recapture near Dubbo Gaol.
A newspaper portait of John Dunn 

Illustration of the condemned cell's
Darlinghurst Gaol.
When John Dunn was finally incarcerated at Darlinghurst Gaol he was formally charged over the death of Constable Nelson, as reported in the 'Illawarra Mercury', Tuesday 13th February 1866. It is noted that when his father came to see him at Bathurst, Dunn was scarcely recocnised by him. The Bushranger Dunn. (From the Empire]"Yesterday, at noon, in a room over the Debtors Ward. Darlinghurst gaol, constable M'Hale, of the Canonbar police, formally charged John Dunn with the wilful murder of constable Samuel Nelson, lock-up keeper at Collector, on the evening of the 26th January 1865. Captain Scott, chief Police Magistrate presided. Mr. Williams, Crown Prosecutor, conducted the examination; and Mr. Ormiston, chief police deposition clerk took down the depositions.

The evidence of constable M'Hale, of the late constable Nelson's two sons, of Mr. Kimberley, the landlord of the Commercial Hotel, at Collector near where Nelson's body was found; and of Michael Daveron was taken, when the prisoner was remanded until two o'clock on Monday next for the evidence of Dr. Hanford, who made the postmortem examination of Nelson's body, and the evidence of two witnesses who have not yet arrived in Sydney. We have, therefore, been requested not to publish the evidence until the examination has closed; but we can state the following without prejudicing the case: When Dunn was informed that his examination would commence yesterday, and that it would be first necessary for him to be identified, he requested to be placed among a number of other prisoners, some as youthful, and others older than himself. This request Mr. Read, the gaoler, not only complied with, but as Dunn was lame, they were all seated on a form. The witnesses then went into the room where these prisoners were seated in private clothing, and the result of their identification will be disclosed in the evidence when published on Tuesday next. When Dunn was assisted into the debtor's room or court, he appeared to be somewhat weak, though improving in health, and walked very lame, more so than constable M'Hale, who followed him. He was provided with a chair, at the end of the table, in the same place where Gardiner sat while being examined. In appearance Dunn has very little in his countenance indicative of the career ascribed to him, save his hanging lower lip and retreating chin and forehead. He is five feet eleven inches in Hight, not of well-formed frame, and about twenty-two years of age. His head is small, broard about the ears, which are large and narrow at the top; eyes grey and large nose prominent and thin hair light brown and straight, and a light coloured down on his upper lip, while the chin bears a slight 'scrub,' as if had begun to shave. When in proper condition he would weigh about 11st 6lb. He listened to the proceedings, but seemed to be quite indifferent to them. It may be observed that Mr. Cloete, Water Police Magistrate, who came and sat with Captain Scott for a few minutes, at once recognised Dunn as a young man whom he had frequently seen on the diggings, among the diggers drinking, but never dreamt that he was Dunn the bushranger. Dunn was borne about twenty mile from Lambing Flat, and has a father and mother in humble circumstances, besides sisters and we understand a brother. When Dunn's father went recently to visit his son in Bathurst gaol, he was so altered in appearance that he could scarcely recognise him."

Illustrated Sydney News,
 Friday 16th February 1866.
John Dunn next stood his trial and was found within ten minutes of the completion of the evidence, Guilty, and the judge duly sentenced him to death with a lengthy admonishment of his crimes and associations. 'The Queenslander', Saturday 3rd March 1866: DUNN, THE BUSHRANGER. A principal item from Sydney is the trial of John Dunn, the bushranger, who was charged with the wilful murder of Constable Nelson, at Collector, on January 26, 1865. The court was crowded. The Attorney-General prosecuted for the Crown, and the prisoner was defended by Mr. Patterson and Mr. M'Devitt. After hearing the evidence, the jury retired for ten minutes, and then returned with a verdict of guilty. After the usual question was put to the prisoner as to whether he had anything to say, his Honor (according to the report of the Empire) thus addressed him: "You must have expected this result to have taken place, and that from a verdict pronounced so instantly, you can but expect that your ignominious death has been richly merited. It is lamentable to see such a young man, scarcely twenty-two years of age, steeped to the very lips in crime. And what for? Where now is your wealth, where now your means, of what use has been your career of plunder and your seizure of riches. You are now so poor as not to be able to pay for counsel to defend you. Could you not foresee a day of retribution like this? You are young, and have, no doubt, been led on by the perilous enterprise into which bad associates may have enticed you; but then there was little heroism in what you did. If you had robbed the rich only, and abstained from other crimes, something might have been said in your behalf; but you have gone further—you have robbed the widow of her mite; the settler of his horses and stores, and the digger of his hard-earned treasure. You were instrumental in the death of Sergeant Parry, and for that it was only necessary to prove you were the outlaw John Dunn, when sentence could have been passed. You nearly committed murder on M'Hale, who was attempting to arrest you, and put a stop to that state of savagery in which you had been living; and this poor man Nelson, of whose death you have now been found guilty. Was it nothing for you to shoot and brutally murder a man like that—to cause such suffering to his widow and his children. Talk of bravery, I know of no greater act of bravery than was displayed on this occasion by constable Nelson. The town was deserted by police who had been put on the wrong scent, and he was left alone. A little girl tells him the bushrangers are at Kimberley's, and what does he do. He said, "I will go down and see what I can do alone!" Such a sentiment can only be equaled by his great name sake, who expected every man to do his duty.

Nelson went heroically to discharge his duty, and met his death. It was a most brutal murder, and it is impossible for anyone to sympathise with you. The unhappy man is not only shot dead, but you at once return to your companions and the others who were at your peril, and made use of the most filthy expressions. You talked in this beastly and insulting manner to men whom you had coerced by revolvers and fire-arms pointed at their heads spoke to them insultingly when they were helpless. That was your courage. Here is your bravery. After all this display, and all your gallant exploits what is the end of your career?

Where now are your triumph, your success, your riches? Successful you have been for a time, but a fearful retribution has overtaken you, and must inevitably overtake everyone who embarks in a similar career. But where is the temptation that could lead you to such a life? What prospect had you of success; what were the gains? Could you expect immunity more than others? I hold in my hand a list of men whose career has been as lawless as yours, and what have they come to? There is Hill and Jones now suffering fourteen and fifteen years' imprisonment; Vane, Jamison, and Dunleavy, whose career was suddenly checked in the same manner; Gordon and Gardiner, who may be said to be immured for life; Bowe and Fordyce, whose lives were respited; O'Meally was shot; Peisley and Manns were hanged; Morgan was shot, and your companions in guilt, Hall and Gilbert, met an ignominious death at the hands of the police. Are these lessons nothing? Think you there was bravery in their death, or in any of their actions? Great God! think you there is no difference between the death of a soldier on the battle-field, or of an honest man dying in the bosom of his family, and that of a felon dying on the gallows! Is this the death you propose to yourself as the most heroic? If you can show me one man who has succeeded in his nefarious exploits like yours, who can say, "I have succeeded and have peace of mind, and am troubled with no pangs of conscience;" who has escaped the penalty due to his enormous crimes; then I might think you had been led into temptation. But you will find all your class of marauders have met their deaths ignominiously, either on the scaffold, or at the hands of the policeman. And now you, the last of your race, the last of your ruthless companions—you, a young man, not twenty-two years of age—l have to sit here and pass on you the sentence of death." The learned Judge here paused, after which, he said, " John Dunn, the sentence of the Court is, that you be taken hence, to the place of execution, and there, on a day to be named by the Governor and Executive Council, to be hung by the neck till you are dead.


His Honor exhorted the prisoner to make the best use of the few days allotted to him to make his peace with God, for, he said, it would be a prostitution of the word, to talk of mercy in a case of this kind. He must seek pardon from above. The prisoner then turned round and after a full gaze at the dense crowd in court, he was removed to the condemned cell by two policemen."

Dunn was returned to Darlinghurst to await is rendezvous with death, and the reward for Dunn's capture was gazetted and divided thus; Snr Const McHale £300; Snr Const Elliot £200; Const Hawthorn£200; Sgt Flynn £30 and Const Drake £20 the only civilian to receive an amount of the reward was young Mr Smith who reported Dunn to police after his escape from Dubbo courthouse and found him by a log just outside the town, he received £50.
John's final letter to his father, penned for him by one of the priests. (see text below)

A letter written on Dunn's behalf as he awaits execution
Darlinghurst Gaol, Sydney, 2nd March 1866.

My dear Father

I received your very welcome second letter a few days ago - I say welcome although it conveyed to me the death of my sister. I can sincerely condole with you on this bereavement coming too at such a time, but you will remember that I never sway my little sister and therefore it is why I state that any letter form you under my circumstances is welcome.


I have not yet heard what day is fixed for my execution but it cannot be far off as I was told by Father Dwyer last evening that he had an interview with the Prime Minister and that the law is to take its course.


Under the circumstances it will be advisable for you to come down with my brother without delay - Mother knows how gratified I would be to see her before I die, but don't let her come. It is best not. I can bid her goodbye to you for her, and send her a keepsake by you also. So reason with her about it and persuade her to remain at home.


I have no more to say in this letter. As soon as I hear of "the day" I will let you know.


With love to all believe me dear father, your affectionate Son,


John Dunn



Empire
Tuesday, 20th March 1866

(The 'Old Man" referred to is James Mount)

The drop Darlinghurst Gaol.
Following Dunn's hanging and his body claimed by his Godmother, Mrs. Pickard, Dunn was interred in the Devonshire Street Cemetery, Redfern. However, as Sydney progressed the cemetery where Dunn laid was required for the development of the current Central Railway Station at the turn of the century. Consequently, all the graves were exhumed with the majority re-interred, including John Dunn to Bunnerong Cemetery and are now apart of Pioneer Memorial Park. It was noted that for many years you would frequently see fresh flowers at the base of Dunn’s headstone.


A Guinea coin = 21 Shillings
or $84 today.
Dunn's capturer Senior Constable McHale died in 1905 in Ireland, this piece appeared in the 'The Maitland Daily Mercury', Monday 23 October 1905; A London correspondent reports the death of J. A. G. McHale, the police constable who in December, 1865, succeeded in capturing that, ferocious scoundrel. John Dunn, then almost the only member who remained at liberty of the formidable gang of bushrangers, which once comprised Ben Hall, Gilbert, Gardiner, Fordyce, Peisley, Manns, Burke, Lowrie, O'Mealley, Vane and others. McHale, with two other constables, stationed near Cannonbar, went to arrest a notorious half-caste named 'Yellow George' at a hut on the Marthaguy. George ran one way, and another man another. McHale pursued the latter, and believing him to be Dunn shot him with his revolver through the loins at 40 yards. Believing Dunn to be dead, McHale incautiously ran up to him, whereupon the bushranger suddenly rolled over, and shot the constable in the groin. The other constables obeyed the shout of their wounded comrade, and arrested Dunn, who was tried and hanged at Darlinghurst on March 19th, 1866. McHale received a pension of a guinea a week from the New South Wales Government, and was also the recipient, of a considerable testimonial. He returned to Ireland, and in time inherited a small estate, which he sold and squandered! His pension kept, him from absolute want.
John Dunn's Death Certificate
John Dunn bushranging with Ben Hall and John Gilbert lasted some seven months in which time he became known as the 'Terror of the Colony', below is a summary of his activities; The record of the achievements of the gang during the time that Dunn was a member, namely, October 24th, 1864, to May 15th, 1865 (less than, seven months), is very instructive. He joined Hall and Gilbert a few days after the capture of Mount and the wounding of Dunleavy. Mount received a sentence of 10 years. On 24th October robbed Mr. Chisholm near Goulburn; on 28th October stuck up Mr. Macansh's station: same date robbed the Albury mail near Jugiong; on 8th November robbed Mr. Rossi's station near Goulburn; on 9th November robbed the southern mail six miles from Goulburn; on 11th November robbed tho Yass mail on Breadalbane Plains; on November 15th robbed the Gundagai mail near Jugiong and had a desperate fight with the police; Sergeant Parry being shot by Gilbert, On November 19th robbed Mr. Clarke's station at Bolero; on December 19th stuck up the Goulburn mail near Towrang; on December 27th stuck up Mr. Morris's store at Binda, forced Mr. and Mrs. Morris to go to a ball and finally burnt the store and dwelling to the ground; on December 30th stuck up Mr. Davidson and others on Murrumbarbar Plains; on January 19th, 1865, stuck up Mr. James Christie's store; on January 25th stuck up Mr. Ross and others on the Gap road; on January 27th stuck up a number of carriers and shot Constable Nelson; on February 5th stuck up the Goulburn mail twelve miles from Goulburn; on February 18th stole racehorses, from Messrs. Mc Alister and Browne's; on February 23rd had a desperate fight with the police on Breadalbane Plains, when several were wounded and the robbers lost their horses; on March 15th stuck up the Gundaroo mail, near Geary's Gap; on March 14th attempted to rob the Araluen escort at Major's Creek, when one policeman was mortally wounded and two others put to flight, while a fourth beat off the bushrangers and saved the gold; on March 22nd seen at Gardiner's old haunt near the Pinnacle; on March 24th went to, Mr. Atkins place near the Billabong Creek, had a good dinner and enjoyed themselves, besides feeding the horses they had stolen from Mr. Morton the day before, left on the 25th, taking clothes for winter wear, and about £90 in cash from Mr. Jones's store at Forbes; on April 1st stuck up Mr. Sutton's station at Birambil; on April 10th robbed Mr. Gallimore's store and White Horse Inn at Black Rock; on April 18th bailed up the Newbiggen Inn, organised a soiree dansante, and compelled all hands, and the cook to take part in it, and afterwards robbed Mr. Leo's station on the Lachlan; on May 8th robbed two travellers on the Cowra Road, 18 miles from Marengo; on May 11th robbed Mr. Furlong's station; on May 11th four policemen attacked the bushrangers near Binalong, when Gilbert was shot and Dunn wounded; on May 15th Dunn alone stuck up Julian's station and took a racehorse, a saddle and bridle, and some food. A few months after this Dunn was captured.


From the 'Murrumburrah Signal and County of Harden Advocate', Tuesday 3rd September 1907, titled- Memories of Ben Hall. - "...during his peregrinations while on a visit to Goulburn this week, the Premier. Mr J. H. Carruthers, struck a link with the past. He had happened upon the little village of Collector, situated at the northern and of Lake George and here he met Mrs Kimberley still in possession of the same old hotel that was stuck up years ago by the notorious Ben Hall and his gang. He saw, too, the spot where Trooper Nelson fell in a gallant attempt tackle the desperadoes and learned with surprised that no stone marked the place. He gave orders that a fitting monument should he erected to the trooper's memory."
Constable Samuel Nelson Memorial,
Collector, NSW
This Monument
Was Erected by the Government
of New South Wales,
To the Memory of
Constable Samuel Nelson.
Who was Shot Dead on This Spot,
While in the Execution of his Duty,
By the Outlaw, John Dunn, On the 26th January, 1865.

A second inscription on another side reads:
 "In Memory of a Brave. Officer."


John Dunn's father's Conditional Pardon
Authors Footnote; There have been many speculative reports that as the gang's reign was drawing to a close a romantic relationship between the bushranger John Dunn and one Margaret Monks had occurred. Reputedly this relationship was formulated during the period that Ben Hall, John Gilbert and John Dunn's were canvassing the bush north of Crookwell and culminated in a raid on the small town of Binda, NSW, on Boxing Day 26th December 1864. As a result of the gang's presence in this area there were two local lasses named Ellen Monks and Christine McKinnon who were known to have been cavorting with Hall and Gilbert. Furthermore, it has been suggested even advocated that during this time the girls spent in company with the bushrangers Ellen's older sister Margaret Monks was alleged to have paired off with Dunn. Of interest here, is it should be noted that Margaret was two years older than her supposed beau Dunn and as will be demonstrated Margaret was already in a relationship. Consequently, this presumed union between Dunn and Margaret was purported to have at some stage resulted in the birth of a son? However, based upon recently researched documents this hypothesis is not supported. Furthermore, during the raid conducted at Binda, which included the robbery of the general store owned by Edward Morriss, a former NSW police officer. The bushrangers joined Ellen Monks then 17, and Christina McKinnon, at the store. The bushrangers left the store £100 richer whereby the group including the Morriss' sauntered down the Flag Hotel for a evening of dancing. On arriving Dunn's reputed girlfriend Margaret Monks was already in attendance. The bushrangers enjoyed themselves well into the night. However, with the dancing progressing it was widely noted of a display of passionate carousing between Hall and Christina McKinnon along with Gilbert canoodling in the arms of young Ellen Monks. This fooling around by Hall and Gilbert was later commented on by Mary Morriss; “I saw the bushrangers skylarking with M'Kinnon and Ellen Monks; Ben Hall was kissing Christina M'Kinnon; and Gilbert Ellen Monks.” However, there was no noted pairing off of Dunn and Margaret nor of Dunn being at all well received by the ladies. Moreover, the only lady on that evening to interact with John Dunn was Mrs. Morriss, who again stated; "Dunn asked me to dance; I refused at first and he said I must; it was against my will that I danced with him; I refused to dance with others" In consequence of the festivities, Edward Morriss attempted to formulate a plan of capture. Unfortunately he was sprung and leaped out through a window escaping and attempted to raise the alarm. Morriss was then pursued by Hall and Gilbert with a number of shots fired, however, Morriss survived. This act of treachery by Morriss after the gang had told the patrons that no harm would befall anyone, their goodwill quickly dissipated. Consequently, the actions brought about a retribution and in their anger led by Ben Hall the bushrangers proceeded to Morriss’s store intent on burning it down as punishment. "the bushrangers now returned to the inn, where they declared that they would burn down Morriss's house. They then left to put their threat into execution. Mrs. Morriss in her desperation actually clung to them, and besought them in the most moving terms not to do so; but in vain. They said that Morriss was a dog; and that they would yet come across him and have his life. They went to the store; and after again searching about, set fire to the building, watching the progress of the flames for a time." Then took their departure. This course of action had the full support and encouragement of both Ellen Monks and Christina McKinnon who stated; "It serves him right," and also said, "Do it, Ben." Margaret Monks had been present when the fire was lit, but was not supportive of the actions of the gang. Accordingly, soon after the episode, the three girls were arrested. However, at the subsequent hearing, Ellen Monks and Christina McKinnon were sent to trial for 'Aiding and Assisting to commit Arson' in company with the gang and Margaret was discharged with no case to answer. Nevertheless, the gang would be hard pressed by the police. In January 1865 Dunn had become as with Gilbert a murderer.  Subsequently, the three bushrangers over the next few months returned to the Lachlan and by May 1865, both Hall and Gilbert had been shot dead. Furthermore, Dunn was now alone and hotly pursued by the constables that had killed Gilbert at Binalong. At the time it was reported of Dunn fleeing after Gilbert called to Dunn to run for his life; "Dunn had crossed the creek, and finding that the police continued the pursuit and were so close as to prevent his reaching the place where the horses were, struck off in another direction, and although pursued about two miles by constables Hales, Bright, and Hall (King being prevented by his wound) they were unable to come up with him. All three were quite exhausted, and Dunn is described as being not much better. When last seen Dunn was scarcely able to walk and was proceeding over the top of the hill opposite to where the police were. The constables stayed the pursuit from sheer exhaustion. Dunn is known to have passed Boyeo Creek, at the rear of Illalong, on Saturday afternoon on foot, and, it is stated, was suffering from the effects of a bullet wound. Dunn proceeded on towards Mr. Julian's station, near Bogolong, and some ten miles from Binalong. He stuck-up the station, and obliged Mrs. Julian to procure him a horse, saddle, and bridle; He did not stop above half an hour, and from this locality also we learn that he appeared to be suffering from a wound in his side, and his clothes were covered with blood, which had apparently flowed from the injury." Although fatigued wounded Dunn successfully effected his escape. It was reported that; "Dunn though wounded and managing to escape, where four days afterwards he appeared and stuck up Mr. Julian's station, Bogolong, obtained a fresh horse, and was heard of no more for upwards of seven months, alone taking flight north 322 miles appearing in the vicinity of Walgett, NSW where Dunn was again pursued by police at M'Phail's station where he had been briefly employed breaking in horses and avoided capture." Accordingly, accounts appear on Dunn’s progress, which demonstrate his state of health and his desire to flee as fast as possible from the Lachlan district for the New England area where Thunderbolt was active, as Dunn told Mrs Julian; "He showed Mrs. Julian a matchbox, which a bullet had struck, saying: "But for this, I would not be here." Mrs. Julian dressed his wounds, and advised him to surrender to the police, but he would not do so. He said he would join Thunderbolt." Therefore, it would be wide of the mark to suggest that Dunn had somehow communicated to Margaret Monks to rush to his side. I doubt that Margaret would wish to involve herself with a murderer and known outlaw and all its ramifications. However, as research and logic now indicate, all the dates including the time frame of Dunn's fleeing demonstrate a different story or timeline. The town of Binda was situated some 50 miles from the encounter with the police at Binalong and remembering that Dunn was on foot and wounded he arrived at the Julian's, Bogolong station. This encounter makes any contact or ability to contact Monks highly unlikely. Furthermore, it was also stated that soon after leaving Julian's station that Dunn's possible harbourers where now few and far between; "Dunn, although well acquainted in the neighborhood of Murrumburrah, does not appear to have gained much friendship amongst any class, and we believe there are few who will now grant him even shelter in the face of the penalties of the 'Felons Apprehension Act', Dunn will naturally be shunned, even by desperate men, on account of his needless cruelty in shooting Constable Nelson, and for which act he was nearly forfeiting his life to the revolver of Ben Hall. The same paper states that Dunn was in concealment in or near Bogolong." This reference may well be that Dunn had sought refuge at the only place of any welcome, the residence of his close friend Daniel Ryan at Murrumburrah which was 15-20 miles from Julian's station at Bogolong. This was country Dunn knew like the back of his hand and would feel relatively safe. However, after a short convalescence Dunn next surfaced at the end of June 1865 350 miles away near Walgett, NSW where it was noted that; "in the interim, he had obtained employment on a station near Carinda, on the Merri Merri Creek, Walgett (Central Western, New South Wales). He gave satisfaction, and his identity was quite unsuspected by his employer." Following his time at Walgett, Dunn appeared at a station on the Marthaguy Creek in the company of a half-caste Aboriginal named 'Yellow George';" in December 1865, he gave up his job, and later reached Tonangbar Station, on the Marthaguy Creek. By permission of the owner, the late William Perry, he was allowed to occupy a hut set apart at some distance from his homestead for swagmen and others." Here Dunn’s luck finally expired and he was reported, as captured; "Dunn was arrested on the Marthaguy Creek, about a hundred and fifty miles beyond Dubbo, by three of the Cannonbar and Coonamble police. There appears to have been some fighting, as both Dunn and the officer in charge of the party were wounded." Newly researched evidence relating to Margaret Monks demonstrates that at the time of the Binda Ball, Margaret had been in a long-term relationship with a local man named Charles Coleman, who may well have been at the hotel during the evening’s festivities. Notwithstanding, on the 5th March 1866, Margaret Monks gave birth to a son at Trunkey Creek, NSW named John. However, Margaret named the father as Charles Coleman. Furthermore, for John Dunn in his precarious state of health following Gilbert's death to have fathered a child with Margaret, consummation had to have occurred in late June or early July of 1865. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that based on the evidence, including time and distance between 13th May 1865 and Dunn’s presence at Julian station on the 15th May 1865 on foot determine that it was physiologically and physically improbable that Dunn fathered a child with Margaret Monks, as by June 1865 Dunn had fled the district and headed north. Furthermore, Margaret would go on to have another seven children with Charles Coleman, with a daughter also born out of wedlock named Mary Ann, born in 1870 at Trunkey Creek, and the last of Margaret's children was born in 1884. All children were registered with Charles Coleman as the father and the pair finally married in April 1872 also at Trunkey Creek. In summary therefore, it would be drawing a long bow to connect Dunn with fatherhood due to his reported and known whereabouts in the months leading up to Hall and Gilbert’s deaths and Dunn's subsequent fleeing northward by June 1865 to his final capture some fifty miles from Coonamble and 150 miles from Dubbo seven months later. The naming of the boy John could possibly be construed as some sort of memory of John Dunn, but it is highly unlikely, as John was an extremely popular name of the 19th century, and may be purely coincidental. However, it could fan the flames of some emotional mystery of a young man with nothing in the way of a legacy, except the ignoble death upon the gallows. It is preposterous to think that prior to that ignoble death that he was informed of the birth of a child by him. That alone would appear to be the cruelest of blows and propriety would have forbidden such a comment to a man about to face his maker. Margaret Monks died on 12 December 1920 in Portland, New South Wales, when she was 75 years old.

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