Frank Gardiner

The aim of this page is to recount aspects of the life of bushranger Frank Gardiner from the cradle to the grave. Francis Christie, colloquially known as Frank 'The Darkie' Gardiner, is widely claimed to be the father of the modern Australian bushranger. However, for Ben Hall, Frank Gardiner became the one person who would wield the most influence as Hall descended deeper into criminal activity commencing at the dawn of 1862. "things got from bad to worse, till Frank Gardiner, the bushranger came. He capped the lot. Now under 'The King of the Road's' influence Ben started on his notorious career..." Gardiner was irrepressible and was often characterised in the mould of the famous 17th-century highwayman Claude Duval. He was educated, articulate, handsome, roguish, daring, an excellent horseman, charming and quick-witted. Known more than once to put a twinkle in a ladies eye.

Francis Christie
Alias Frank Gardiner
("The Darkie")
Above is a copy of Gardiner’s NSW prison document which displays his birth place as Boro, NSW, which is false, and thus the widespread misinformation on Francis Christie's life begins.
Francis Christie
c. 1861
"Amongst the lawless marauders who, during the early eighteen sixties, established a reign of terror in the country districts of New South Wales, says the Melbourne 'Argus' of the 30th of September, Frank Gardiner achieved special distinction. He was the founder, and first leader, of the ruffian syndicate which included Ben Hall, Gilbert, Dunn, Vane, Burke, and John O'Meally as well as other miscreants. Within four years these truculent bandits perpetrated over six hundred crimes, which included daring robberies and cold-blooded murders.¹ Frank Gardiner was Australia's premier bushranger, the most sophisticated of those criminals who plyed their trade in the late 1800's through the use of the revolver pointed at the heart of innocents. During his life Gardiner would adopt the pseudonyms of both Frank Clarke and Frank Gardiner. The quintessential bushranger encompassed as well the use of theatrics in the form of disguises, chiefly as a man of the cloth. Frank Gardiner was born Francis Christie at Dingwall, Rosshire a short distance from Inverness in the far north of Scotland in 1829.¹
'James' arrival
recorded in
 The Sydney
Herald, Nov 1834.

The Christie family arrived in New South Wales on the 17th November, 1834 on board the immigrant ship 'James' having sailed from London on the 29th June. Francis was five years old. As well as his parents the family included his older brother Charles and three sisters, Robina, Archina and Charlotte. Gardiner was educated in Victoria. Upon the Christie family's arrival in the colony of NSW his father Charles Christie was recorded as an Agriculturalist and would accept a position as overseer of a Victorian cattle and sheep station owned by a fellow immigrant from the 'James' Mr Henry Munro who was the son of Professor Munro of Edinburgh College. Professor Munro came to prominance during the 1828 serial murders by Burke and Hare who killed their victims for sale to an anatomy Doctor, Robert Knox. Professor Munro famously dipped his quil into the blood of Burke during Burkes' autopsy and scribed;[sic] "This is written with the blood of Wm Burke, who was hanged at Edinburgh. This blood was taken from his head." Munro had taken up holdings in Victoria in the late 1830's prior to Victoria achieving statehood which was Gazetted in 1851. Munro was acquainted with John Batman founder of Melbourne in 1835. However, prior to Charles' employment as overseer of Munro's property the Christie family had resided in Melbourne, where in late 1838 Charles Christie operated a much fround upon sly grog shop and where whilst operating that enterprise was consequently arrested and fined over £80. This venture may have been a first insight into criminal or dubious activity and a source of easy money for young Francis ChristiePort Philip Gazette’ Saturday 25th April, 1840; "a circumstance that occurred many months ago as "The reported keeper of a sly-grog-shop" It is a fact Sir, that I paid in Melbourne above £80 penalty, a considerable time ago..." Unfortunately, Francis' father Charles Christie died in 1840 leaving his widow Jean and five children in the care of his friend Henry Munro who ultimately married Gardiner's mother Jean; 'Geelong Advertiser' February 13th, 1841; MELBOURNE, Saturday 13th February 1841 .—Fashionable Marriages.—Married a few days ago, Henry Munroe, Esq., of Campasne Plains, son of Professor Munro of Edinburgh College, to the widow of the late Mr Christie. From the union of Jean and Henry, Francis welcomed a half sister into the family named Maria. At the time of his fathers death Francis Christie resided at Campasne (Campaspe) with his widowed mother and siblings on Munro's property. Campasne is situated some 36 miles North from Bendigo. Henry Munro was a wealthy Squatter and had control of several runs stocked with both sheep and cattle as well as first-rate horses through whose care Francis became an expert in quality horse-flesh. At the time of Charles Christie and family taking up residence at Campasne local aboriginals had been constantly attacking remote stations and running off sheep as an easy food source. However, on one occasion Henry Munro was speared whilst recovering his stock in company with Charles Christie; ‘The Sydney Herald’ Monday 10th February, 1840; "Mr. Christie came into town on Thursday last, and reported the robbery to the Government. The present is the third occasion on which Mr. Munro has suffered from the blacks within the space of five months. On a former occasion, he was severely wounded by a spear thrown at him by one of these same ruffians.” Young Christie enjoyed a good quality of life and education under both his father and Henry Munro's guidance who upon the death of Charles fully incorporated the Christie children into his life. However, whether some angst or ill feeling or resentment arose between the young Christie and his new stepfather is unknown as in 1842 whilst in Melbourne Jean Munro passed away from illness. The loss of his father followed shortly after by his mother was a distressing below to the 13 year old and a form of rebellion may have tested the relationship between Munro and the young lad. Following the death of Francis' mother Henry Munro resettled the family in 1848 to the the small hamlet of Portland in southern Victoria close to the South Australian border at the Crawford River and commenced working a station of that name; 'The Melbourne Daily News' Tuesday 13th February 1849; Henry Munro, Name of run — Crawford, Estimated area — 70 000 acres, Estimated grazing capability — 60 head of cattle 15, 500 sheep. This run has been transferred, with the sanction of Government to Messrs Henry Munro and Andrew Rose Cruikshank, in whose names the lease will accordingly be prepared. However, some years later when the long arm of the law finally caught up with the now celebrated bushranger and whilst Christie was applying all his charm in procuring a ‘Ticket of Leave’ in 1859 from Cockatoo Island, it appears that Christie under his pseudonym of Clarke generated some empathy to the powers that be by commenting; "as a youth was led into temptation "when uncontrolled by parental influence or good example..." Evidence suggests that this was far from the truth and may purely have been his refusal to adhere to Munro's discipline or had the days as a boy in his father's sly grog shop formed the man. (In 1846, Henry Munro remarried to a Kate Power at Portland and the union produced seven children.)

Authors Note; There has been a long-held belief that Francis Christie originated from the small settlement of Boro Creek situated 30 miles south of Goulburn and therefore in his youth had resided in that place. However, strong evidence dismisses that assumption and current documentation confirms his birth place as Scotland and his early years 1836-1852 were spent in Victoria. Confusion stems from Christie’s final prison release papers (seen above) that have Boro Creek recorded as his birth place in the year 1831. Christie’s deception even in 1874 was no doubt as a subterfuge regarding his 1851 escape from Pentridge Gaol in Victoria which if exposed may have resulted in a return to face those outstanding matters. Furthermore, evidence also indicates that Francis’ mother Jean (Janet) Mcleod (in Scotland Jane and Jean are fully interchangeable.) was originally married to Charles Christies' brother where upon his death, reputedly at sea, Jean married Charles and immigrated to NSW then to Victoria. There is also confusion over Christie's mothers name, however, according to the Scotland, Select Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950 Jean McLeod is recorded on Robina Christie's, Francis' older sisters' birth certificate and not to be mistaken with a Jane Whittle. Jean McLeod was born on 12th April 1798 in England at Berwick Upon Tweed, Northumberland, her parents were George Mcleod and Robina Stout. Robina was born in 1827 and named after Jean's mother. In turn in 1836, a Henry Monro held property at Boro Creek but unfortunately he is not Francis' stepfather. Finally there is no evidence to suggest any connection to an Aboriginal heritage through the union of a former convict John Clarke  and an indigenous woman. Any adoption of this as fact is fanciful and untrustworthy. (The name Jane had various affectionate local versions ie: Janet, Jean, Jeanie, Jeanine etc. For the purposes of this narrative I have adopted Jean.


The arrival of Christie Family,
1834.
In 1850 at the age of twenty one Francis Christie stepped outside the constraints of society. With his extended family settling in at Portland, Francis remained in the vicinity of the Loddon River having joined in with a number of misfits whereby they procured a settlers valuable horses illegally and headed for Portland to sell the stolen stock.   "Francis Christie alias Clarke, alias Gardiner commenced his long career of crime when quite a youth through horse-stealing. In 1850 in conjunction with another horse fancier, he visited the station run of W. L. Morton, later Sir Morton, near the Loddon River. Gardiner knew this area well from his youth and whilst there they gathered a mob of twenty-four good horses and took them in the direction of Portland for sale by auction..."² However, for Christie upon discovery of the theft, the owner of the horses Mr Morton, incensed at the brazen thievery saddled up to track and recover his horses. However, the only other reliable men available to take with him were employees, one named Will Merceras (Mercer) and a cook who was an experienced bushman as well as an expert tracker like Morton. Preparing to depart Morton was approached by a fourth man named Williams who had reached his seventieth year and asked to join the search as a horse belonging to him was part of the stolen mob. William's saddled up and although his day's of hard riding were behind him he was allowed to follow as long as he kept up with the three men. Upon intercepting the tracks, Morton and his men ran them for sometime passing Mount Sturgeon station then resting at a Mount Sturgeon hotel. Upon arrival Morton learned from the publican that at the local races held two days previously, the suspected robbers had raced horses against those entered by the police and successfully won the purse without raising an eyebrow. In the course of Mortons stay the publican informed him of a letter which one of the gang had left in his charge to be posted. Suspicious, Morton with the unopened letter in hand headed at full gallop to the police stationed at Hamilton. Arriving there the Clerk of the Bench at Morton's direction opened the letter which was addressed to a Mr Crouch, the postmaster at Portland who also was an auctioneer. The letter stated follows, and demonstrates that Christie had a fine hand and another alias Taylor:

Lake Mingo, Murray River, May 1850.

J.C., Esq., auctioneer, Portland.

"Sir,—I have no doubt you will feel surprised at being addressed by a stranger, but as it is on business, you will excuse the liberty taken. I have sent my superintendent, Mr William Troy, to Portland with 33 head of horses, which I consider a fair sample for any market. The same I wish you to dispose of by the hammer to the highest bidder. Should the price realised please me, I will send you over another draft in the course of a month. Mr William Troy is authorised to receive the proceeds, and his receipt will be a sufficient acknowledgement. Please to give him only such money as is current in Portland.

I remain sir,
your obedient servant,

ANDREW TAYLOR.³

Christie's letter.
Christie without knowledge of the letters interception proceeded onward to Portland. However, a fast riding Morton saw to it that they did not reach Portland. Christie and accomplices halted at the homestead of Mr Bilston who operated a hotel on the Fitzroy River. Here Christie was overtaken by Morton and his companions who recognised the horses in the stockyard and promptly set about arresting the thieves. Subsequently, the arrest was effected with the help of two Victorian troopers who had been obtained at Hamilton and on reaching the Fitzroy River 18 miles from Portland arrangements were then made for the securing of the thieves who were thought somewhere about the inn. One trooper and Morton went to the front of the inn and the other trooper and Merceras went to the rear. Dismounting quietly a gentle knock at the entrance was given when someone within called out[sic] "Who is there?" The answer as previously arranged was given—"A gentleman from Portland." The landlord, on opening the door, was asked if some men with horses were there. He answered in the affirmative, and in reply to another question, said they were in bed in a room at the rear. Instantly a rush was made for the room, the trooper burst open the door and entered, followed by the owner, the landlord showing merely the candle past the door post. Two men were found in a double bed Francis Christie, since known as Gardiner, the bushranger, at that time a young fellow of 21 years, and John Newton. Another, William Stewart, alias Mr. William Troy, superintendent to Mr. Taylor, as pretended in the above letter, was in a bed by himself. In an instant the two men who were in the same bed were handcuffed, before they were thoroughly awake.

Just at that moment the landlord, in his anxiety to take care of himself, allowed the candle to be blown out by the wind, and it became necessary to dare the prisoners to move, under a threat of being fired upon. The candle was soon relit, when the other man was then handcuffed. He then sat up in bed, and rubbing his eyes, began the following cool talk: "What's ado? What's up? Oh, I see! you have come here looking for some horses. You'll find them outside—they're all right." "You scoundrel," said the servant, "to steal a poor man's horse." "Had you a horse amongst the lot, old fellow? If I had known that I should have cut him out for you. But I wasn't coming up to your kitchen to tell you when we were going to steal your horses. Oh! you've done a heavy trick; you have come here with guns and pistols, and swords, and one fellow with a big whip round his shoulders, to take three men, unarmed, asleep in bed. Oh! you've done a heavy trick! Somebody laid you on, or you would never have caught us." "You're wrong there," said the servant "we tracked you all the way." "That you didn't. If you had not been laid on you could never have found us. Oh! you've done a heavy trick."

No arms were found on the prisoners, but the troopers alleged afterwards that they had ascertained that they had been armed till they reached a shanty three miles north of the inn where they were apprehended, as they probably did not think it prudent to enter the town of Portland with arms in their possession, as suspicion might be thereby excited. On mustering the horses next morning, a young colt was missing, and it was conjectured that it might have been left at the shanty, too, as the arms were supposed to have been. A visit to the shanty was therefore made, and the keeper swore that he knew nothing about it, but on seeing a pair of handcuffs, with an intimation that he would have to visit Portland, suddenly recollected where the colt was to be found, and produced it at once. The prisoners and the horses were then taken into Portland, and the case was brought before the police court, presided over by the police magistrate, Mr. James Blair. The publican, however, in whose house the prisoners had been found did not appear, and had intimated to the court that he would not appear without a summons. The prisoners were therefore remanded till the following day, and a trooper was despatched with a summons to the publican. The horses supposed to belong to the prisoners were sent to the police paddock. One was a magnificent animal, and doubtless had not been honestly obtained. It had disappeared from the police paddock by next morning. On the following day, the prisoners were brought before the court and committed for trial. From Portland, they were sent to Geelong, thence to Melbourne, and back again to Geelong. The trial was to take place on a Monday in October. The prisoners were in the gaol at South Geelong, and on the Sunday afternoon previous to the trial a warder went to a cell with a bucket of water. On opening the cell door to hand in the bucket, he was caught by the neck by one of the prisoners, and pulled in, when 11 prisoners, amongst whom was William Stewart, alias Mr. William Troy, the assumed superintendent of the assumed Mr. Taylor, having locked the warder in the cell, walked out. In one of the passages they met another warder, and put him in the cell with his mate, when the whole 11 rushed out and armed themselves with sticks. Two of the town police immediately attacked them, and succeeded in recapturing three of them after using their batons freely, fracturing the jaw of one of them, who was a murderer. The other eight, amongst whom was Mr. William Troy, made good their escape, and only one of them was afterwards secured.

At Francis' arrest his stepfather, Henry Munro attempted to exert some influence on Morton due to a former acquaintance between the two as large grazier's in the Campasne district. Unfortunately this influence fell on deaf ears as Morton would have none of it and expected the full force of the law to be administered; "As illustrating the influence which even then was exerted on behalf of Francis Christie, the afterwards notorious bushranger, the owner of the stolen horses received a short time previous to the trial a letter from one of the oldest, most respectable, and best-known squatters of the Western district, (Mr Henry Munro) asking him not to press the charge against Christie. The owner had been bound over to prosecute, and, therefore, he had not the power to interfere. The request was of course, a highly improper one to make..."
The Stockade, Pentridge, Melbourne. c. 1849.
 The First Established Receptacle for Criminals. Artist unknown.
Illustration of Christie's
escape from Pentridge,
Coburg, Victoria 1851.

by Percy Lindsay c.1935
The dye was cast and Francis was found guilty and sentenced to five years on the roads and was incarcerated at Pentridge Gaol, Melbourne; Francis Christie and John Newton were tried and convicted, the late hon. Mr. Haines being the foreman of the jury. They were sentenced to five years on the roads of the colony. The prisoners were sent to Pentridge. There they were allowed to work in the open fields. Francis Christie and John Newton had not been more than a few weeks at Pentridge when on the afternoon of the 26th of March 1851, whilst engaged in gathering rubble for road metal purposes in a paddock adjoining the Pentridge Stockade. Christie, getting near to one of the troopers, rushed at him, and took his carbine from him, knocked him violently on the head, and pointed his carbine at the trooper and fired, the trooper retired beyond the firing line. Then the prisoners fled over the rail fence towards the Merri Creek.⁷ (Merri (Mary) Creek is in Coburg, my father had many rollicking adventures along Merri Creek with his best friend Peter Somerville as boy's in the 1940's as my Nana lived on Murray Rd just up from Pentridge.) Eleven prisoners had succeeded in escaping amongst whom was Christie. They were pursued and all but five were re-captured within a couple of days. Following the successful escape it was reported that Christie had been sighted digging close to the Government camp at a gold field on Bandicoot Creek. However, upon being detected Christie fled north and crossed the Murray into NSW where there were sparsely settled towns with limited police and easy pickings of sound horseflesh. John Newton had not the same success as Christie and was recaptured however, Newton again effected his escape from Pentridge a short time afterwards on the occasion of another outbreak of prisoners. Christie's arrival in NSW put a great distance between himself and the Victorian authorities as after firing with intent to kill a prison guard for Francis it would be seen as a capital crime and therefore a possible hanging offence. Arriving in NSW Christie assumed a new name of Clarke and after possibly an honest period of stock work in the Abercrombie/Goulburn surrounds once again resorted to horse duffing. 'The Darkie' stated years later how he commenced his criminal life; "from want of suitable, employment. Young men can find no employment in the country districts except herding sheep or stock-riding. The latter occupation leads to horse-stealing simply because you become wholly engrossed in horseflesh, and the crime is so easily committed that you do not think of the consequences. Horse-stealing and horse "sojering" are of every day occurrence in certain parts of the country..."⁸ Christie's first foray in NSW did not go well when in the company of a youth named Prior.

Newspaper reports of the £10 reward for Christie's capture
after his escape from Pentridge Prison, Melbourne on 26th March 1851.

Note, Charles Herring who would appear as a NSW Trooper named Zahn in 1863
in an attempt by the Government to capture the now named Frank Gardiner, Ben Hall and Co.
Authors Note: Pentridge Stockade, Coburg– In 1850 Superintendent La Trobe ordered the construction of a stockade for the detainment of prisoners doing hard labour. After the Port Phillip District separated from the Colony of New South Wales in 1851, the new Colony of Victoria had to take responsibility for its own prisoners instead of sending them to New South Wales as they had been previously. The stockade opened in December 1850, in anticipation of this responsibility, and La Trobe appointed a detachment of the Native Police Corps to guard the prisoners. The Native Police had to undertake sentry duty around the stockade and supervise road gangs. The Native Police undertook this role for eight months until August 1851 (Fels, 1988:206‐207; Eidelson,1997:36). The original stockade of wooden buildings was transformed into the enclosed bluestone Pentridge Prison more familiar to us today over the period 1857‐1864. Eventually, the State Government closed the prison in 1997 and sold off part of the site for housing development. (Source; Indigenous Cultural Heritage and History within the Metropolitan Melbourne Investigation Area. A report to the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council By: Dr Shaun Canning and Dr Frances Thiele. Date: February 2010.)

Having shot through from Victoria and surfacing in NSW in the vicinity of the Abercrombie/Goulburn and Fish River area, where before long Christie dipped his hand once more to horse stealing. Furthermore, whilst at the Fish River, Christie commenced using the name of Francis Clarke. Clarke is possibly derived from a stock employer named Clarke near Boro NSW. Furthermore, during this period Christie made the acquaintance of one who would become a close and lifelong friend one William Fogg. Fogg an ex-convict dabbled in all manner of theft and villainy throughout southern NSW from the Abercrombie and Fish River to Bungendore and was closely associated with John Peisley from the mid-1850's. Peisley also emerged as an accomplice of Christie's. However, in February 1854, Christie and in company with a young lad named Prior brought a number of horses to Yass for sale by auctioneer Mr John Moses stating they had come from Tunea. Edward Prior lived in Goulburn with his family, where it was noted;[sic] "Edward Prior is the son of Mr Henry Prior of this town, and has hitherto borne an irreproachable character..." The auctioneer suspected his clients and consulted Chief Constable M'Jennett, who subsequently arrived at the Royal Hotel, Yass owned by Henry Hart; ‘The Sydney Morning Herald’ Tuesday 21st March 1854; Henry Hart, of the Royal Hotel, Yass, proved that the prisoners came to his house, on Sunday, 26th February last, that they had a number of horses with them, which they wanted to sell; Clarke gave me the receipt, now produced, to hand to Mr Moses, the auctioneer, as a description of the horses for sale, which I did the next morning; the horses were taken by the Police, and both the prisoners apprehended. However, during the subsequent investigationM'Jannett discovered that the five of the horses bore the brand of Mr Reid a well-known settler on the Fish River.


Consequently, M'Jannett arrested Francis Christie who had dropped the Christie was using the name of Francis Clarke and his accomplice Edward Prior at the hotel where they faced court; 'The Sydney Morning Herald'Tuesday 21st March 1854; "Francis Clarke, and Edward Prior, late of the Fish River, in the colony of New South Wales, were indicted for stealing, at the Fish River aforesaid, on the 1st July last, five horses, five mares, and five geldings, of the goods and chattels of one John Reid." M'Jannett then sent for Reid, who identified the horses. John Reid, sworn and examined:op.cit. "Is a settler residing at the Fish River; recollects seeing five horses at the Royal Hotel, at Yass, on the 28th of February last; these horses are my property; I never sold them to any person; I received information that these horses were in the possession of the police." The prisoners were tried at the Goulburn Assizes on the 17th of March, 1854, Gardiner appearing under the alias of Francis Clarke. They were convicted on two charges, Christie being sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment with hard labour on each charge, Prior not guilty on the first but guilty on the second. 'The Goulburn Herald and County of Argyle Advertiser' Saturday 4th March 1854; Horse Stealing. -"Last week the police at Yass apprehended two young men who gave their names as Francis Clarke and Edward Prior, on suspicion of stealing sixteen head of horses which they had driven into that town for the purpose of being sold by auction. Five of the horses have Mr David Reid's brand on them. Clark made a statement to Mr M'Jennett, the Chief Constable, of the manner in which they had come in possession of the horses, which they said they had purchased from one Joseph Williams at Tuena. There is reason to believe that this account of their possession is false, as no such person as Joseph Williams is known at Tuena. Edward Prior is the son of Mr Henry Prior of this town and has hitherto borne an irreproachable character. Francis Clark is also of Goulburn, his real name being Gardiner." How wrong they were! for if Clarke was exposed as Christie he would have been sent back to Victoria to face escape charges that may have resulted in a death penalty.
Goulburn Gaol New South Wales, Australia, Gaol Description and Entrance Books, 1818-1930.
 Francis Clarke and Edward Prior entered 30March 1854. Clarke received 14 years on the roads and Prior to 3 years Parramatta Gaol.
Gardiner was then handed over to John Paget a senior constable in the Goulburn police force who later stated; "...I was in the Goulburn Circuit Court on the 17th March 1854; prisoner was being tried for horse stealing; there were two charges tried at the same sitting; he was tried under the name of Francis Clarke; His Honor the Chief Justice was on the Bench; a man named Reid owned the horses in one case, and a Mr. Barker in the other; they both lived at the Fish River; prisoner was convicted on both charges; I escorted the prisoner from Goulburn gaol to Wingello; the warrant was to convey him to Cockatoo Island; at Wingello I gave prisoner and the warrant into the charge of a constable named Paterson; there were three other constables with me in the escort."¹⁰ (John Paget retired in 1873 on a first-class constables pension of 4s. 4d. per diem.)


Following sentencing in NSW for which Christie alias Clarke received seven years for the first charge, and then which appeared unusual for the time the second seven years to be served at the expiration of the first seven and not concurrently for a total of 14yrs. However, after four years at Cockatoo Island working the chisel Christie applied for his freedom with  some ten years still to run on his original sentence of fourteen years. Fortunately for Christie, his confidence and self-assurance enabled with a gift of the gab soon resulted in his talking his way to an early release. Whether or not his family connections influenced the powers that be is more than possible as happened when Gardiner was thrown out of Australia many years hence after his then release after ten years into a thirty-two-year sentence was achieved through his devoted sisters in 1874. Of interest in 1864 a rundown of Christie’s early crimes in NSW and sentences as well as his 'Ticket of Leave' success after his duping some leading citizens was described in the 'Illustrated Sydney News' Saturday 16th July, 1864; "In February, 1854, Gardiner (then called Clarke) stole five horses from Mr. John Reid, of the Fish River; he afterwards put them into the hands of an auctioneer at Yass for sale, sending a lad named Prior with them, who represented to the auctioneer that they had been purchased by his master (Clarke) at Tuena Creek-a place fifty miles distant from Reid's. Clarke produced a pretended receipt (a forgery) for the price of the animals, but the brand, which was a very peculiar one, had been mistaken in this document, and it was proved, that Clarke wrote it himself in the inn, at Yass, where he lodged. Clarke stole also, in the same month and in the same district, two other horses, the property of a Mr. Barker, of the Fish River. For these he produced a receipt dated in January, purporting to have been signed at Goulburn by a Mr. Elliott. These horses were also sent to the auctioneer at Yass for sale. Prior stated that they had been purchased for the Melbourne market.

Cockatoo Island Prison
Clarke stole also, about the same period, three other horses, the property respectively of three diggers named Strong, Frost, and Klein, who happened to be at Bigga on the 17th February. The horses were turned out into a paddock one night, and the next morning they were gone. Strong and his mates spent ten days in looking for them, and at last discovered them in custody of the Yass police, Clarke and Prior both being then fully committed in the former cases. Besides these ten horses there were six others stolen by Clarke, and sent to the same auctioneer. The prisoners were indicted, however, only in the three first-named cases, in two of which Clarke, alias Gardiner, was found guilty. They were not tried on the third charge. On their apprehension, £30 in notes were found on the prisoners; and each had a revolver loaded Clarke's being ready capped.

Ticket of Leave, 5th January
1860.
Under all these circumstances, Gardiner was sentenced by the Chief Justice to fourteen years hard labour on the roads, of which term three years and eight months still (in July, 1864) remain unexpired. He was recommended by the magistrate at Cockatoo, however, on the 1st December, 1859, for a ticket-of-leave; and he obtained one accordingly on the 26th December in that year.

Arrested and escaped whilst
at Burrangong diggings.
3rd May 1861.
The ticket-of-leave was recommended, and granted, on sundry certificates signed-or purporting so to be-by (among others) Edward Ledsam, Esq., of Reid's Flat, Wheeo; and Henry Newham, Esq., same place, Lachlan River; speaking of Gardiner in strong terms of sympathy, as a mere dupe of other persons in the crimes for which he had been sentenced, and offering him as "an erring member of society" employment in their service. Gardiner spoke of himself, at the same time, as a youth led into temptation "when uncontrolled by parental influence or good example," &c.. And Messrs. John Reid, and Edward Barker, the prosecutors in two of the cases before the Chief Justice, also recommended the indulgence. In December, I860, holding then a ticket-of-leave for Carcoar, Gardiner petitioned for a pardon. His application was strongly recommended by "Isaac Shepherd, J.P., Wheeo," and eight others of that neighbourhood, and was accompanied by various certificates, as to his having been "led astray by others," when a very young man, &c. &c. These papers were sent to the Chief Justice, who thereupon suggested further inquiry. Accordingly, the Police Magistrate of Carcoar; was referred to for a report, and he stated, that ever since March, 1860 Gardiner had been generally suspected of being concerned in various robberies in the neighbourhood, and that, a warrant was actually then out against him for cattle stealing. On the 14th May, Gardiner absconded from his bail, and became a bushranger."
Francis Clarke and Edward Prior entry Cockatoo Island 1854, note Gardiner as stout.
Cancellation and warrant
for Ticket of Leave.
Young Prior was sentenced to three years imprisonment on the second charge only. It was understood that Prior had been led into trouble by Gardiner. Furthermore, with fourteen years hard labour ahead it might be supposed that Christie's enterprises would be checked. In 1858 whilst incarcerated at Cockatoo Island his stepfather Henry Munro sold his extensive holdings at Portland and took up a station at the Ararat diggings; PURCHASE OF STATION. -"We understand that Mr. Munro, lately of Crawford station, has made a recent purchase of half of the large station, known as Lexington, near the Ararat diggings."¹¹ After six years at Cockatoo Island, Christie appeared redeemed and was granted a ticket-of-leave, as stated by John Taylor clerk at Cockatoo Island; "...I have been a clerk at the penal settlement at Cockatoo; the prisoner was there from April, 1854, to 27th December, 1859; the warrant produced came with him. I was at Cockatoo during the whole-time prisoner was there; his conduct was generally good, excepting on one occasion when he secreted himself for some days; he received a ticket-of-leave for the district of Carcoar."¹² Gardiner's ability to charm those who would grant his ticket even after his misdemeanour had not realised that the whole of his spokespersons were mere dupes which no doubt had the hand of Fogg formulating their assurances. So brazen and confident was Gardiner that he was even able to convince those he had stolen from (Mr Reid and Barker in 1854) to place a good word in his favour; 'Illustrated Sydney News' 16th July 1864; "the ticket-of-leave was recommended, and granted, on sundry certificates signed-or purporting so to be-by (among others) Edward Ledsam, Esq., of Reid's Flat, Wheeo; and Henry Newham, Esq., same place, Lachlan River; speaking of Gardiner in strong terms of sympathy, as a mere dupe of other persons in the crimes for which he had been sentenced, and offering him as "an erring member of society" employment in their service. And Messrs. John Reid, and Edward Barker, the prosecutors in two of the cases before the Chief Justice, also recommended the indulgence. 

Sir John Young
12th Governor of
New South Wales
1861–1867.
However, this ticket was cancelled in May 1861 on the orders of the Governor, Sir John Young after Christie had absconded from the Carcoar district and had commenced a butchers shop with Fogg at Lambing Flat. The nature of the withdrawal was because he had absented himself from the Carcoar district and was suspected of cattle-stealing. Regardless Gardiner's chicanery new no bounds and as prior to his ticket cancellation or because of his request for a pardon he soon became unstuck;op.cit. "in December, 1860, holding then a ticket-of-leave for Carcoar, Gardiner petitioned for a pardon. His application was strongly recommended by "Isaac Shepherd, J.P., Wheogo," and eight others of that neighbourhood, and was accompanied by various certificates, as to his having been "led astray by others," when a very young man, &c. &c These papers were sent to the Chief Justice, who thereupon suggested further inquiry. Accordingly, the Police Magistrate of Carcoar; was referred to for a report, and he stated, that ever since March, 1860 Gardiner had been generally suspected of being concerned in various robberies in the neighbourhood, and that, a warrant was actually then out against him for cattle stealing..." It was recounted by one of the first residents to the Burrangong/Lambing Flat rush a Mrs Betsy Toms with her husband, who reminisced in her twilight years how she knew Christie under the name of Gardiner and stated how she held a soft spot for him in her heart, declaring in the 'Wellington Times' Monday 26 June, 1922; “he kept the butcher's shop near to our place, and his was the only place at that time where you could get a piece of meat in reason. The prices up to then, and elsewhere, were outrageous and the fool police said he must have got his meat on the cross (stolen) to be able to sell it at the price. He was the only one willing to make a fair thing out of it. Certainly there was a lot of cattle duffing–the whole district was alive with it...” Therefore, a warrant was issued for his apprehension and cancellation of his ticket; "The cancellation of the ticket-of-leave, dated 16th May 1861, and signed by Sir John Young," However, in May 1861 the police had Christie in custody at Burrengong where he convinced them he was not the man they were looking for and was granted bail. Quickly fleeing Burrengong for Fogg's Fish River farm.


john middelton
Sgt. John Middleton wearing
 his Silver Bravery Medal

awarded  for Gardiner's
capture 
The police were instructed to rearrest him and on the 16th of July 1861, two police officers, Constables Hosie and Sgt Middleton discovered him at Fogg's hut whom they suspected of harbouring the fugitive. Fogg was Christie's longtime friend as well as his partner in the earlier butchering business at Lambing Flat. The two officers dismounted at the hut whereupon sighting Gardiner inside an exchange of gunfire erupted followed with a ferocious struggle the two troopers both severely wounded affected the captured Christie who had been wounded as well. There have been various flamboyant accounts of the drama of the engagment between the police and Gardiner, however, Middleton's own account draws out the facts when delivered at the sensational trial in 1864 of the now famous Frank Gardiner and recount's that life and death struggle in his own words; John Middleton deposed; "On the 16th July, 1861, I was in the police force of the colony, having been in it upwards of eight years; William Hosie was also a constable in the force; Mr. Beardmore was police magistrate at Carcoar: I received instructions from him to apprehend the prisioner; he told me that he could produce evidence to show that prisoner had been guilty of robbing the Cooma mail; he mentioned the prisoner's name as Gardiner; the name was pretty well known at that time as a bushranger; he also told me that Gardiner was a prisoner illegally at large; it was reported that he was along with Peisley; it had frequently been told me that he was; Hosie was not present when Mr. Beardmore gave me my instructions; I heard a month or two before that Gardiner was in the bush; I believed him to be a bushranger at that time; after this conversation with Mr. Beardmore I went to look for Gardiner; on the 16th I went with Hosie to Fogg's, I had never been there before; it was about ten or eleven o'clock in the morning; It was raining lightly; we were on horseback; we were in police uniform-a round blue jacket, blue trousers, and a cabbagetree hat-and I had leggings on; I had no cloak on; I was armed with a single-barrelled Government pistol and a riding-whip; Hosie was similarly armed to myself; he had a whip; the house was inside a paddock, which was entered by slip rails about two hundred yards from the house; the slip-pannel was visible from the yard of the cottage, and I believe from the door; I could see the house from the slip rail; there was a small low scrub growing between the slip rall and the house; Hosie dismounted and took down the rails, whilst I advanced towards the cottage, at a sort of ambling pace, neither trotting nor walking; when I got to the cottage, about twenty yards from it and outside the yard, a woman came to the door, and when she saw me she threw her hands up; she was facing me at the time; she threw her hands up and started as though surprised; I dismounted, and went up towards the house; I had to dismount to enter the yard, which was round the house; as I was about entering, I could see inside the cottage, and saw a man go into what seemed an inner room, and a screen fell over him; I entered and followed into the room; I do not remember speaking at all; I saw Mr. Fogg, Mrs. Fogg, and some children; I did not see any other person present at that time; I went directly towards the screen, and as I was crossing the floor I was challenged; I was told if I went in there I should be shot; I do not remember the precise words, but only the effect of the words, which was if I entered I should be shot; I went to the screen, raised it with my left hand, and was immediately fired at; I had a pistol in my right hand, I do not think I was wounded by the first shot; I drew back at the shot, and almost immediately passed part of my body behind the screen and fired; at the same time I was fired upon and was hit in the mouth; the room was a kind of skillion, apparently a lumber room, and was very dark; I fired at the man, and he fired at me, about the same instant, and hit me in the mouth; there was only a very short interval between the first and second shot; I attempted to load my pistol after this, and found that my left hand was wounded, and that I could not, I then went out of the house to the front and met Hosie; the parties who were in the house seemed to me to pass out as I entered; Mrs. Fogg led her children out, and her husband followed; I was under the impression that more shots than two were fired by the prisoner, because he pointed his pistol at me when I was outside, taking aim through the slabs; he did not I seem however to be able to bring his pistol to bear upon me; I told Hosie to try and dislodge the prisoner by going round to the back of the house; he went around, but returned, saying he could not get in; in the meantime I could see the prisoner through the slabs; I did not know that the man I was having the encounter with was Gardiner, but I believed it to be he, and had been told I should find him there; the man inside was swearing and bouncing, but I do not remember the words he used; Hosie attempted to enter, but he fell before he entered; he was about entering, when he had his pistol pointed at the prisoner and fired, and immediately he fell; I could not see the prisoner at that time, and it seemed to me that he met the prisoner as he was entering; I did not hear more than one shot, for they appeared to fire simultaneously; Hosie said something about Gardiner being a game man as he entered; the words he used were, "By God, Gardiner, you are a game man!" he used the name of Gardiner; this was as he was entering, and just before he fired; I saw Hosie fall, and was standing three or four yards off, but had not been able to load my pistol; prisoner rushed out at me, holding his pistol by the barrel, but just as we were coming into collision, Hosie had recovered himself and rushed in and caught him from behind; he had a struggle and scuffle in the yard with Hosie, and I kept striking him with my whip until he fell; I was then weak from loss of blood; we got him down and got a handcuff on one hand, and I could not assist him when Mrs. Fogg interfered and got us to let him inside, when the other handcuff was snapped upon him; Mrs. Fogg said we had done enough, and if we would let him in the house he would submit quietly; she whispered something in his ear, and he was then quiet; I searched the house but found no other person in it; I went to Bigga, but being faint and bothered I lost my road, and it was evening before I got there; I was afterwards attended for my wounds by Dr. Rowland, and so was Hosie; I saw Hosie that evening about dark; there was another house just across the river from Fogg's; when Mr, Beardmore told me about Gardiner being concerned in the Cooma mail robbery, I believed it; after the scuffle was over, I saw a man named Barney in the yard; I knew Gardiner to be a prisoner illegally at large I entered the house, and caught a glimpse of Gardiner passing through a screen into a back room. Middleton pulled aside the screen, presented a horse pistol and called upon Gardiner to surrender. The reply was a succession of revolver shots, two of the bullets striking Middleton one in the neck, the other in the left hand.


foggs hut
Remanants of Fogg's Hut.
Courtesy of Craig Lawler.
He retired to the outer air with his empty pistol. In the dim light, he had missed Gardiner. Meantime, Hosie had reconnoitred the back of the shanty and ascertained that there was no rear exit, he returned to the front, and found Middleton wounded. He entered the house, saw Gardiner and they fired simultaneously. Hosie missed his mark. Gardiner's bullet struck him in the temple and he fell. After a few minutes, he recovered, struggled to his feet, went out and found Gardiner struggling with the wounded Middleton, whom he was trying to brain with the butt end of his revolver. Middleton was defending himself with a hammer-banded riding whip. He joined in the fray, and after a fierce struggle, they succeeded in handcuffing Gardiner. Middleton weakened by the loss of blood hurried away leaving Hosie in charge of the prisoner. Gardiner, though handcuffed made a bolt for liberty. He was overtaken by Hosie. There was another brief but hard struggle, in which Hosie subdued Gardiner by hitting him on the head with a pair of Handcuffs."¹³

Reward Notice 1861
Constable Hosie was called as well and recounted his involvement in the affray with Frank Gardiner, moreover, for sometime after the event Constable Hosie was vilified, not for his role in the capture, but the subsequent escape of Frank Gardiner through the rumour of a handsome bribe. William Hosie deposed: "I was a constable in the police force on the 16th July, 1861; I had then been four years continuously in the force; I am now a gold-miner; on the 16th July I went in company with sergeant Middleton to the Fish River; I had no conversation prior to this Mr. Beardmore, but about two months before this I had received information at the police station from the police force that Gardiner was wanted for the Cooma mail robbery: it was said he was one of those who had stopped and robbed the Cooma mail; we went to the Fish River to Fogg's place; I had been there about two months before, and had a conversation with them; they knew me, and who I was; they knew me because I was in police uniform, and another trooper named Wilson, also in uniform, was with me; I saw both Fogg and Mrs. Fogg; I had never seen them before; Wilson is now, I believe, in Darlinghurst gaol; the house is in a paddock enclosed in a three-railed fence, and is between two and three hundred yards from the slips rails; Middleton and myself had our police uniform and leggings and ponchos on; the ponchos reached to about the knees, and were not part of the uniform. Mine was of a dark colour; we went to look for Gardiner. I dismounted and took down the slip rails, and Middleton rode on whilst I led my horse through the rails; Middleton reached the house first, and I was fifty or sixty yards bebind; I saw Mrs. Fogg fall back like as if she was alarmed when she saw Middleton dismount and go to the house; she held up her hands as if in fright as Middelton was entering the house; I was about twenty yards behind, and almost immediately on Middelton entering I heard two shots fired, almost in succession, one after the other; immediately afterward Middleton rushed back to the door and told me to go round to the back of the house; he was wounded and covered with blood; I went to the back and saw that there was no means of getting in or out of the house from the back, so I came round to the front again; Middleton was standing in front of the door with his whip, and he told me to look out for the prisoner; I looked in and saw prisoner standing at a window two or three yards to the right of me; I had on a poncho, and had a pistol in my hand; when I raised my hand to fire it would lift the poncho so as to show my dress; I only saw the prisoner for a minute look out of the window and he immediately dropped his head down; I cannot say whether he was stooping or standing. I only remained about a moment, for prisoner retired from the window and I went to the door; I said to the best of my recollection, "surrender;" covered him with my pistol and fired; he had a pistol, and was covering me with it when I fired; the revolver produced is the one prisoner had; he fired, and I was struck in the temple; the wound was examined the next night by Dr. Macarthur, and about a fortnight or three weeks after the bullet was extracted; I fell down senseless, and the next thing I remember was seeing Gardiner rushing out with his pistol clubbed as if going to strike some one; he was only about an arm's length from me; Middleton was standing up with the whip in his hand; I rushed on Gardiner and we had a struggle till I got him down after Middleton had struck him with his whip; I do not recollect mentioning his name, but Mrs. Fogg called his name several times; I put on one handcuff outside, and the other inside the house; when he was fast, he said he was sorry for what he had done, and wished I had shot him dead; he did not say what for, but when he was talking with me and Mrs. Fogg; I loaded my pistol again, but cannot say whether Middleton loaded his; there were a good many shots fired and exchanged; I only fired once, and Middleton fired I think twice; I never saw him load a second time, but I know that his pistol snapped once; I only heard two shots fired the first time he was in the house, and he had no time to load again in the house; but he had time to load again when I was at the back of the house; I think he fired again, because his pistol snapped; I could not distinguish the sound of Middleton's pistol from that of prisoner; when Gardiner was handcuffed, Middleton searched the house, and said he was so badly wounded that he would go on for assistance; we were not more than half-an-hour there altogether; after Middleton left, I got weak with loss of blood; I asked Mrs Fogg for a drink of water, and whilst I was taking it, prisoner made a rush at me, and threw me on to a bag of flour; he rushed out of the door, but I held by the chains of the handcuffs, and we straggled out into the yard, and I put his arms over a post; he got away, and ran off to the river; I called upon him to stop, or I would fire; he found that the river was flooded, and so he stopped, and got a sapling and rushed at me with it; when I saw he was determined, I fired at him, and we struggled, and I struck him over the head with the pistol until he fell down and said he was dying; I thought myself that I had killed him, he was so bad, so I put a log under his head, and went for Mrs. Fogg, who fetched him up again to the house; I saw a man named Barney, but not until the matter was all over; I lost sight of him about two hours before I left; by the assistance of Fogg and his wife, we got prisoner on to a horse; Fogg led the horse, and I rode behind; he had got about three and a half miles from Fogg'e when Peisley and another man came up and rescued the prisoner from me; Peisley covered me with a revolver, and the other man demanded Fogg to let the horse go; I told Fogg to do so, as giving him up was the only chance I saw of saving my life; Dr. Howland examined my wound; Fogg's house is on the banks of the Fish River, and the nearest house on that side of the river is three or four miles away; I did not hear the prisoner say anything before the shots were fired; I saw Fogg and his wife rush out of the house; the children were in the house, and I saw them rush out after the firing, when I came from the back of the house; I do not recollect hearing a shot fired whilst I was at the back; I think I saw Middleton fire when I came to the front of the house; I may be mistaken, and I only think he fired into the door; the first time I saw Fogg and his wife was two months before, and I did not see them again until the 16th; the first time I went there I stopped about half an hour-; I had no poncho on at that time; when Peisley came up shots were fired; Peisley shot at me, and I fired one shot at the prisoner as he was going off; I fired at prisoner, and then Peisley turned round and shot at me.

Dramatisation of Gardiner
and Hosie encounter at Fogg's
by Dan Russell, 1952.

Courtesy NLA
I cannot state positively in what way I was wounded; I will not undertake to say it was not by the ball from my own pistol; the house was a slab hut; I was the full length of the room from the slabs when I was shot; I was struck on the temple, and the ball was extracted; prisoner was within two yards of me when he fired; I have been a soldier, and considering how near he was to me, I should say that it was prisoners ball and not mine that wounded me; I should have thought that prisoner's ball would have penetrated the skull; it is possible that my own bullet may have split and rebounded; I did not examine the house to see if the ball had rebounded; the Fogg’s knew me because I had been there before in uniform; when I called for the water, and prisoner rushed on me Middleton had gone; I am positive that Middleton was not present, and this did not occur more than once; I recollect telling prisoner that he was a game man, but it was after I had got him down and was putting the handcuffs on to him; I am certain it was not before; and not at the time I was entering the house."¹⁴ After the struggle with and were Hosie had been shot in the head by Gardiner it was reported in the newspapers initially that that William Hosie had been killed; "A party of the mounted patrol, who went out after the bushrangers who have lately been committing such depredations in the vicinity of Cowra, have fallen in with one of the gang. In the encounter, which took place sergeant Middleton was wounded, and trooper Hosie killed. One of the bushrangers named Gardiner, was wounded."¹⁵ The escape of Gardiner and the believed bribe of Hosie cast suspicion on to another of Frank's close associates and a notorious rogue John Peisley who was thought to have provided the funds. However, Peisley indignant at the assumption wrote to the Bathurst Free Press in September 1861 refuting that he had in any way assisted in the release of Gardiner. Therefore, to deflect any involvement in the affair Peisley stated through a letter to the editor that he was not involved with the rescue at Fogg's nor of the £50 reputed to have been paid to Hosie for that escape.


To the Editor of the "Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal."

Sir, —You will no doubt be surprised to receive a note from the (now by all account) noted Piesley; but, sir, through your valuable paper I must make it known that, if it be my lot to be taken, whether dead or alive, I will never be tried for the rescue of Gardiner, in the light in which it is represented; nor did I ever fire at Trooper Hosie. And such I wish to be known, that it is in my power to prove what I here assert, and that beyond a doubt. I am no doubt a desperado in the eyes of the law, but never, in no instance, did I ever use violence, nor did I ever use rudeness to any of the fair sex, and I must certainly be the Invisible Prince to commit one-tenth of what is laid to my charge. And, sir, I beg to state that it is through persons in high positions that I now make this assertion, and I trust I may never have to allude to it again. I love my native hills, I love freedom and detest cruelty to man or beast. Trusting you will publish this, my bold letter no doubt, but you can be assured it comes from the real John Piesley, and not any of his many representatives.

I am, Mr. Editor,
your much harassed writer,
JOHN PEISLEY.

Fish River, Sept 4th. 1861.¹⁶
Peisley's role of bushranger supreme would come to an end after a drunken rage at the Fish River where on the 28th December 1861 a local named Benyan would be killed by Peisley. Peisley was found Guilty on the 11th March 1862 and it was noted in 'The Courier' that; "throughout the trial, he maintained the most unimpassioned demeanor. He did not display any bravado while in the dock, neither did he appear to take any great interest in the result of the trial, during the whole of which we did not observe that he either changed color or countenance, and the same passiveness was manifest even during the passing of the sentence. After the sentence was pronounced he wished to say something to the court, and said, "As a jury of my country have found me guilty" when the judge ordered him to be removed. On his way from the court to the gaol one of his friends called out, "Well, Johnny, what is it." He called out, "Oh, it's a swinger." The court was crowded to excess during the whole of the trial, and there were great numbers anxious to get a sight of the prisoner but could not get inside." Soon after the rogue was taken, Gardiner assumed the mantle of 'King of the Road'. In the above letter, Peisley declares his nobleness to his fellow man... So much for "detest cruelty to man or beast..." as William Benyan discovered!

4th June 1862
Hosie instead of being hailed as a brave and trusted officer of the law as a result of the battle of Fogg's farm had his character brought into question. There was, however, some who believed that Peisley had indeed effected Gardiner's escape. Regardless, even as Peisley stood upon the Gallows drop for the murder of Benyan, he denied any involvement as to the release of Gardiner with a possible thought that salvation may be granted him at the last moment by slurring Hosie. Alas, it was not to be and on the 25th April 1862, Peisley was launched into eternity. Also on that date, Ben Hall was again dragged before the Forbes court charged with Highway Robbery in company with none other than Frank Gardiner.


On the gallows Peisley denied
 any involvement in Gardiner's
 rescue from Const. Hosie,
he was then launched
 into eternity.
The innuendo associated with the rumours of Hosie being bribed £50 for the release of Gardiner by Peisley also cast eyes upon the Fogg's. However, it was widely believed that Peisley's role was concocted to save any suspicion falling upon Hosie. Unfortunately, Hosie could not shake the suspicion off and he was widely discredited and ultimately dismissed from the NSW Police force in June 1862 without investigation nor due process or recourse, as at that period the NSW government did not wish for a scandal, a scandal which might impune the image of the newly created NSW police force which came into effect in March 1862. However, later after Gardiner was finally captured and sentenced to 32 years gaol the episode of the rescue at Fogg's was finally brought to light; "Peisley was at Fogg's place with Gardiner, when information was brought them that Hosie and Middleton were approaching. Peisley immediately left the place, but Gardiner, who was not sober, having just finished drinking half a bottle of gin, declared that he did not fear the police, and would not run from them. What followed on their entering the house was substantially the same as sworn to by Middleton and Hosie, After the conflict, and when Middleton had left the place to procure assistance, both Hosie and Gardiner being desperately wounded, it was proposed by one of the parties present to kill Hosie and thus ensure Gardiner's escape. This was to be accomplished by strychnine, which was in the house. Gardiner having been made aware of this amiable design strongly opposed it, and suggested that a bribe should be offered to Hosie to allow him to escape. Five pound was at first offered, and when this was declined the amount was doubled and trebled. Hosie, at length, agreed to consent for fifty pounds. This was more money than was in the house; but Fogg and Barney started to endeavour to borrow the sum which was deficient from some of their neighbours-a notorious nest of cattle stealers-who were as much interested as Fogg himself in getting Gardiner out of the clutches of the police.

They succeeded, in about two hours, in getting notes and a cheque, which, together with the money before in their possession, made up a total sum of fifty pounds ten shillings. This was all given to Hosie; for, having no silver, they could not deduct the surplus. It was insisted by Hosie, before agreeing to this arrangement, that, in order to save his character, the form of a rescue should be gone through. With this view, the old man Barney was sent off with a gun to a part of the road where Hosie and Gardiner were to pass, and when they came up he was to personate Peisley and rescue Gardiner. To carry out this plan, and to make Hosie keep to his bargain, Fogg accompanied them until Barney rushed out of the scrub and rescued Gardiner as agreed upon. That a rescue did take place is true; but it is also true that it was only a sham. These facts were communicated to the Government very shortly after they occurred, and the circumstance that the cheque which passed into Hosie's possession would afford, if traced, a strong confirmation of the truth of the statement was pointed out, it was, however, thought that the affair, if made public, would be so disgraceful to the police, that the Government decided in dismissing Hosie from the force without endeavouring to bring him to justice..."
¹⁷

It was through the belief of a reputed bribe to Hosie at Gardiner's future 1864 trial that the jury upon the evidence found Gardiner "Not Guilty" of "Wounding with Intent to Murder" the two valiant police officers. At the announcement of the verdict the jubilation felt by those in the gallery was recorded including the wild scenes demonstrated outside by those attending one of the most dramatic and sensational court proceedings in colonial history of the once mythical bushranger whose very name touched every citizen of NSW. The scenes generated and the conduct of those present brought much displeasure to the Judge, Mr Justice Wise, as follows; "the jury retired at a quarter to five o'clock. Immediately his Honour and the jurymen had left the court, the crowd, densely packed in every part of the room, made a great noise and much confusion. The loud jocularity, rude remarks about hats, and unchecked laughter which prevailed contrasted strangely enough with the quiet of a few minutes before. There was also an amazing amount of anxiety shown to get near the dock, and a number of persons within the railings, comprising professional gentlemen, senators, and young men holding respectable positions in society, crowded in front of the dock, some of whom entered into conversation with the prisoner in a familiar and even fraternising manner, and others appeared anxious to do the same, when his Honour came into Court and ordered the passage to be cleared, and further directed, with the evident view of putting a stop to this indecent proceeding, ordered the prisoner to be removed until the jury returned into Court, which was accordingly done.

Mr. Justice Wise
(1818 - 1865)
At half-past six o'clock It was announced that the jury were agreed; and the prisoner having been brought back, and the jury having likewise returned into Court, the foreman declared their verdict, which was "Not Guilty."

The instant this announcement was made 'hurrahs' burst simultaneously from all parts of the throng. Notwithstanding the demands of his Honour for silence and the efforts of the police, this cheering, shouting, whistling, stapping of feet, and clapping of hands continued for some seconds. Order was not restored until his Honour summoned a boy before him whom he had seen clapping his hands. The boy was remanded to Darlinghurst gaol, but afterwards, in consideration of his extreme youth and the intercession of counsel, he was discharged with a reprimand. Additional police having been placed at the entrances behind the crowd, his Honour requested the constables to bring before him any persons whom they had seen take part in the disturbance, but none were forthcoming, owing probably to the difficulty of singling out individuals from so large a number, all of whom appeared to join in the tumult. His Honour with great warmth remarked that it was astonishing that there should be such an utter want of common decency among such a number of people in New South Wales; it was a disgrace, an utter disgrace to the colony. He also thought that the police were censurable.

The prisoner, who it is understood will be arraigned on another indictment, was remanded to gaol."
¹⁸After his dismissal from the NSW Police, William Hosie pursued Gold Mining.

Kitty married John Browne
at the same church
as Bridget and
Ben Hall at Bathurst in
September 1859.
Gardiner, free following his 1861 escape from Fogg's farm and safely evading the searching police. Christie commenced using the alias of Gardiner and disappeared. However, in February 1862 Gardiner surfaced in the Lachlan were earlier in 1860/61 he had operated a dubious butchers shop at the Lambing Flat gold field with his good mate Fogg and surfaced at the home of John Maguire at Wheogo. John Maguire was the brother-in-law of Ben Hall and co-owner of Hall's Sandy Creek station. Furthermore, as Gardiner was convalescing in the Lachlan district he formed an intimate relationship with the married sister-in-law's of Ben Hall and John Maguire,  Catherine Browne nee Walsh, Bridget Hall's younger sister 18yrs of age resided with her husband John Browne in a hut a short distance from the Wheogo station homestead and adjacent Sandy Creek became Gardiner's inamorata. Gardiner was 14 years Catherine's senior. Catherine had married John Browne when aged 16.


NSW Reports of Crime
20th May 1861.
Consequently, before long the dark shadow of Frank Gardiner would became well known throughout the Lachlan district and its surrounds and his presence would change the dynamics of the serene farming communities. Accordingly, Gardiner's bushranging enterprises would become the scourge of the NSW police and where he became the man singularly responsible for the ruination of many a fine young colonial boy. The police of the Lachlan district were led by the indefatigable Sir Frederick Pottinger newly appointed police inspector for the district stationed at Forbes. Pottinger was, however, one who's top-priority was to apprehend the newly arrived and elusive bushranger. Pottinger would spend many weeks in the saddle searching the bush in the Wheogo, Lachlan and Bland districts for the fugitive Gardiner who was being aided and abetted by many public house and station owners, such as Mrs Feehiley owner of the soon to be notorious 'Pinnacle Station' and the sister of Ben Hall's closest friend Daniel Charters. In the year of either 1861 or early 1862 the NSW Police in an effort to catch the notorious bushranger created a detailed map of Gardiner's known routes and haunts covering an area over eighty miles and listed those people long suspected of harbouring the bushranger. Moreover, throughout the map the police also furnish an insight and opinion regarding the character of those people considered criminal or just plain reprehensible who were known protectors of 'The Darkie'. However, two names which figured prominently on the highly confidential map, are surprisingly, the young wife of Ben Hall and her sister Mrs Catherine Browne, both noted as 'bad', and at one station on the map states; "Harbourer, Yorkshire Jack, good man bad women, the retreat of Mrs Hall and Brown." (See map bottom of page) An 1861 newspaper article notes Yorkshire Jack as; "a person familiarly known in the neighbourhood by the appellation of 'Yorkshire Jack.' He is the proprietor of a small sheep and cattle station, and appears, from his many good qualities, to merit well the respect and esteem of those who know him..."¹⁹ Gardiner was known to attend here as it also doubled as a well-known sly-grog shop. The map gives a clear insight into the close ties both married 'wild Weddin girls' had with many of the shady characters earmarked by the police. This detailed map became the 'key' for the tracking of Gardiner. The map commences its narrative from the Fish River area in the lower central eastern part of the western district of NSW to the edge of the western area as far as the Bland District. (West Wyalong). (See map bottom of this page.) (Catherine's marriage certificate has her surname spelt as Browne, therefore, I have used this for the narrative.)

Gardiner was irrepressible and the newspapers often characterised him in the mould of the famous 17th-century highwayman Claude Duval (b.1643-d.1670);[sic] "a gallant and courteous rogue, probably the most dashing highwayman ever to haunt the roads of England. He was known as a “true gentleman of the road...” Gardiner embraced this beau ideal and would continually scan the papers for positive reviews of his robberies whereby when misrepresented he would take umbrage by writing to the editor of papers, such as the Burrangong Star refuting any fake news and false assumptions. Furthermore, Gardiner was the first bushranger to embrace the power of public perception and celebrity status through the press. In utilising this power Gardiner would always take care during hold-ups to be egalitarian with those held under his revolver and displayed great panache in his manners, dress and appearance, knowing full well that his every action would be soaked up by the press;[sic] "Gardiner wore breeches and high boots, cabbage-tree hat with black band, and black poncho spotted on the inside of like the skin of a leopard..."²⁰ This standard was to be embraced by accomplice John Gilbert who styled himself also as a flash cove.

Accordingly, Gardiner was also of the opinion and very well aware that the settlers both rich and poor were his greatest asset for protection and when confronted with an infringement that would put a mark against him in their eyes he would quickly rectify it; “the bushranger, Gardiner, had gone to Mr Chisholm's station at Bland, and demanded and obtained possession of a fine grey mare, which he supposed belonged to Mr Watt. The other day the bushranger met a man on the road, who told him it was a shame for him to take a lady's horse, mentioning the name of the lady to whom the animal belonged. Gardiner immediately borrowed the horse ridden by the man, giving him the mare to take to its lady proprietor, and promising to send in the borrowed horse by a messenger on the following day. Punctual to engagement the horse was left next day at the stable of its owner...”²¹

Furthermore, even those stripped of their valuables and cash were never left without a silver shilling for the road, a coin Gardiner never accepted. All these actions enhanced Gardiner's image and prestige; "there have been few instances where violence has been used by these modern highwaymen, they will often leave a few shillings with their victims, so that they may not be on the road quite destitute...”²² However, in Gardiner's case the robbing of old friends was commonplace conducted without any malice or vindictiveness, after all, it was just business; "as Gordon's coach on its down trip from the Lachlan was being tooled along a good road by Fred Newman, about twenty-five miles from the diggings, two horsemen suddenly appeared on the road with an imperative "stop" to the driver. Twigging a 14-inch Dean and Adams' in the hands of the speaker, Fred, received orders to drive into the bush. They stopped at about half a mile and demanded the money of the passengers — £2 from one, and £30 with a watch and ring from the other, being luckily their only booty. It is almost unnecessary to state that Gardiner and his mate were these very polite highwaymen. The man robbed of the £30, &c., now a mate of Tom Watson's, of "jeweller's shop" notoriety, was formerly a mate of this very Gardiner's in some other walk of life. The following is -the colloquy that ensued between them: — J. M’Auley. "I did not expect this from you, Frank." — Gardiner: "I expected to get £1000, or at least £400 or £500, from you, Jim." — J. M'Auley: "Well, give me back my watch and ring." — "Not now— I will return them another time." The gentlemen of the road then shook hands with them and departed..."²³


Kitty reputedly in
action with Gardiner.
c. 1862
With Gardiner's recovery from the gunfight and struggle at Fogg's farm, and in the throes of a sizzling love affair with the reportedly very attractive Catherine in full bloom, the roads surrounding the Burrangong Goldfield at Lambing Flat, as well as the Weddin Mountains became Gardiner's domain, and within a short time he was hailed the 'King of the Road'. However, amongst this action, Gardiner was never far from the arms of Kitty Browne with rumours abounding of Kitty's participation beside her lover in hold-ups of travellers disguised in men's clothing. As sticking-up was the order of the day Gardiner's brazen escapades saw him becoming something of a new breed of bushranging celebrity. The newspapers were rife with the exploits of who some papers hailed as the new Australian Claude Duval; ‘Empire' Wednesday 12th February 1862; - "My telegram of Sunday last will have informed you of the state this part of the country is in with respect to robberies, &c. Every day brings its tale of coaches, drays, and horsemen being stuck up on the road to the Lachlan, and every night someone is knocked down in or near the town and robbed At first people were much alarmed, and considerable sums of money were lost, but now no one carries money, except in very small sums, for the place and surrounding roads are so infested with bushrangers that people quite look to be stopped The robberies on the road are conducted quite in the Claude Duval style. A man of the name of Gardiner is the hero, he is described to me as a tall, fine-looking man, and conducts his business in a quiet and rather gentlemanly manner. A few days ago, the Lachlan coach was 'stuck up,' coming into Lambing Flat, by Gardiner and his band, and on the next morning returning to the Lachlan it was stopped again. There have been few instances where violence has been used by these modern highwaymen, they will often leave a few shillings with their victims, so that they may not be on the road quite destitute. But your readers will say, how comes it that those frequent and open robberies are allowed to take place when there is so large a police force and military stationed here? And this is a question may well be asked.

The coolness and ease in which Christie whose widespread reputation had morphed him into Frank Gardiner, conducted his robberies with flair and aplomb and was to become his trademark including the above-mentioned return and rejection of taking silver coins and of the polite way he dealt with the women faced with a revolver pointed at their breast as well as leaving his victim with a shilling for the road. Gardiner was unflappable, his avoidance of capture was as a result of the strong friendships he had developed with the cockatoo squatters and shanty keepers including his two new rapscallions John O'Meally and John Gilbert; “O’Meally and Gilbert were suspected by the police to be for a long time before two of Gardiner’s best ‘dead crooks.” Both of these young men kept a shanty at the point of the Weddin Mountains, on the road from Lambing Flat to Forbes. Gardiner used to live and frequently hang about there...”²⁴ This nexus of locals included the ever-present and willing bush telegraphs, who on horseback and foot scoured the towns and villages for news of prospective victims for a reward or a morsel of booty from the celebrated bushranger. The police were of no concern for Gardiner as being mounted on the best of the best thoroughbreds he always outpaced them or at times with unnerving audacity casually confronted and returned fire whilst manoeuvring to affect his escape. Before long the very name Gardiner sent shivers through the storekeepers and police, who when confronted with the bushranger appeared to became hypnotised and ineffective. Many a local in the district spoke bravely of how they would take the celebrated bushranger. However, as they say words speak louder than action as described in the following article after some tough talk by two businessmen in Gardiner's company at a shanty; 'Sydney Morning Herald' and 'Empire' newspapers of 12th February, 1862; "With reference to Burrangong and the Lachlan, come two contradictory stories from February which are highly amusing. I will give you the history of an affair which happened a few days ago, which is a fair sample of the daring and open way these bushrangers carry on. It appears that Mr. Greig and Mr. Torpy, two tradesmen of Lambing Flat, were returning from the Lachlan, and had arrived at Gibson's station, about forty miles from the Flat, Gardiner, formerly the companion of the bushranger Peisley, was still at large, robbing right and left, and the terror of the road. The two reports I am about to quote from appear respectively in the Empire and the Herald. Both of them agree that Torpy, of Burrangong, in company with a Mr. Greig, were stopped by Gardiner, and robbed, when on their way from the Lachlan, and that they subsequently, with the police, had an encounter with the bushrangers, But the two accounts vary very considerably with regard to Torpy - one representing him as half a hero - the other as a regular Captain Parolle. Here is what the Empire correspondent says: - "Mr. Greig was unarmed, but Mr. Torpy had an old revolver. Two other robbers stood by, and it would therefore have been certain death to have resisted. Mr. Greig had but ls. 6d., Mr. Torpy 13s. 6d. It seems there was some "chaffing" by Greig and Torpy at Gardiner for getting so little out of them, which this gentleman, after sneering at them for travelling with so little cash, took very good-humouredly, and to make matters pleasant to all parties, Gardiner shouted drinks all round.

One can imagine health's being drunk in the usual style, and the question being put is to how is business with you, when, of course, Gardiner would reply, as all prosperous traders always do, that things were, dull. I should mention that Gardiner, seeing that Mr. Torpy's saddle and bridle were good ones, took a fancy to them, and upon Torpy objecting, the revolver came into requisition again and the dispute ended by Mr. Greig borrowing £10 of the landlord of the house to give Gardiner in lieu of the saddle and bridle. After this the gentleman of the road made off; a short time after up came three mounted troopers, and it was proposed that Torpy and Greig should accompany them and see if they could not overtake the robbers at a house kept by a Mr. Fielding, or Feeley, which it was thought they frequented. They rode up to Feeley's, and one of the party immediately recognised Gardiner's horse tied up to the fence. The constables rushed into the house and searched, but no robber was to be seen. Upon going outside the door, however, one of them saw a man crouching down, whom Torpy recognised as the man who had just before stuck him up-that is the man Gardiner. Now, here was a chance of getting this determined scoundrel. Four armed men, all having horses at their command, stood between the bushranger and his horse. Immediately behind the house was a small enclosed fence; and at one corner of this was a large gum-tree, behind which Gardiner planted himself, holding a revolver in each hand. The three constables, by name Harmer, King, and Dyer, and Mr. Torpy, advanced towards the fence; Mr. Greig, being unarmed, remained in or near the house. Harmer, however, discovered at the moment that he had no weapon; his revolver, it appeared, had slipped out of the case, and, therefore, he thought it prudent to look after the horses which stood near Gardiner's, at the corner of the house. King advanced a short distance along the fence and fired at the robber, and then retreated, and was seen no more by any of the party till eight o'clock the next morning. This extraordinary circumstance I got from Mr. Torpy and from the constables. Torpy and Dyer then advanced, and each fired at Gardiner, and he, resting his revolver against the tree, takes deliberate aim at them in turn. Dyer fired mostly at a long distance, viz., seventy yards, and Torpy at a little shorter distance. No shots take effect, and Dyer, finding his shots expended, retires to the house to reload. Torpy, after firing another shot or two, and receiving Gardiner's fire, retires also to adjust and reload his revolver. Thus, Gardiner is left in possession of the field, and of course makes for his horse. Torpy fires at him as he passes the house and misses him again, and when Gardiner rushes to get on his horse, the constable, Harmer, who was standing by, throws up his arms and begs Gardiner not to shoot him, as he is an unarmed man, and Gardiner rides off receiving another shot from Torpy, which, it is sup- posed, wounded him in the shoulder. The affair is much commented on here, and an investigation into the conduct of King and Harmer is loudly demanded."

Mark, however, what a different version is given by the correspondent of the other daily: - "Just before they arrived at Gibson's station they were cautioned that the bushrangers were there. Torpy alone, I believe, was armed, and proposed proceeding there at once and taking the scoundrels, little thinking, from what I can hear that the proposition would be agreed to. On arriving, they dismounted and went into the tent. They no sooner entered than they were requested by Gardiner who was seated within, to bail-up. Now was the time Torpy showed his courage. He trembled like an aspen leaf, the colour left his face, and he exclaimed in most piteous accents, "Oh, what is it, I'm Torpy, I'm president of the Diggers' League;" his (Torpy's) companion, who was also trembling violently, being ordered to bail-up at the same time. The fact of Torpy being president of the League did not seem to strike terror or prevent Gardiner searching him, and he was much disgusted at finding that so important an individual, together with his companion should be only in the possession of a few shillings. If they were not in possession of money they had horses, Torpy's a very good one, with a new bridle and saddle.

Gardiner admired the bridle, &c, and said it was just the thing he wanted; when Torpy exclaimed, "You are not going to take my bridle and saddle." "Oh, no," replied Gardiner," I'll take the lot, horse and all for I shall require the horse to carry them," So unconcerned was Gardiner in the presence of the formidable president of the great Diggers' League that he did not even take the loaded revolver the said president was in possession of from him, but actually stood a distance of about two yards with his back towards the said president, and must have heard the said president ask his companion if he should shoot him, and being advised not, Gardiner, finding that Torpy did not like parting with his horse, told him if he could raise £5 that he would return the horse, Gardiner promising, at the same time, that if he knew anyone whom he could raise the money from on the road that he would not molest or attempt to rob them. Finding Torpy could raise the money of some party, whose name I have not heard, Gardiner immediately raised the price to £10, which was at last obtained, and Torpy had the satisfaction of buying his own horse, saddle, and bridle back, Gardiner shouting nobblers twice, and, bidding them good day, left.

On the following day, three troopers arrived, who, together with Torpy and his companion, determined to follow Gardiner, hearing from everyone on the road that he was still sticking-up. Mr. Greig's coach passing at the time they kept company with it. When they arrived at Feeley's station, distant from this place about thirty miles, they observed Gardiner's horse hanging to the fence. Instead of taking possession of it they made a rush to the house, and, if reports are true, one of them stabbed a poor man with a knife without inquiring who or what he was. Gardiner, in the meanwhile, quietly leaves the house, and, finding that he could not regain his horse without passing through his pursuers, takes up his position at a distance of about fifty yards, behind a tree covered by a fence made of slabs placed into the ground close to each other, and forming a perfect wall. Without any attempt to close upon him, the troopers and Torpy expend their ammunition firing at the fence, Gardiner quietly stopping there. When they ceased firing Gardiner immediately leaves his cover, and, with a revolver in each hand, deliberately walks up the side of the fence to the place they had been firing from the troopers are non-est; Torpy is considerably scared, falls through a window and thinks he has but a few moments to live; the passengers by the coach are hurrying into the house, women are screaming, and Mrs. Feeley is engaged hiding some of the valiant men in her bedroom; Gardiner, to the great terror and fear of about eight men and as many women, passes them mounts his horse, clears a three-rail fence, and goes away in a quiet canter leaving the unfortunate troopers and the president of the Diggers' League to discuss what they ought to have done, what one did not do, what the other did do, and what they would do if they only had another chance, each frightened the other would expose the cowardice or want of judgment exhibited, and trusting it would all be hushed up."

Who are we to believe? What are we to believe? When, where, and how are we to behove anything? I suppose the truth, as usual, lies between, for there can be no doubt that there are lies at each extremity. The reference in the article to Mrs Fielding or Feehey is the sister of Daniel Charters, owner of the Pinnacle Station Margaret Feehily which had a public-house on the property and was frequented by Gardiner and others regularly. Its reputation saw the NSW police place a station a short distance from the facility in late 1862.

Nevertheless, with his new recruits, such as John Gilbert, John Davis, Jack O’Meally and Pat M'Guinness and others 'The Darkie' nicknamed by his athletic build and dark complexioned handsome looks commenced waylaying travellers daily on the roads between the Burrangong and the recently discovered Lachlan gold diggings at Forbes. However, one of the most successful and at this stage most rewarding for the bushranger was the robbery of two storekeepers on the 10th March 1862. The victims were Alfred Horsington (Hossington) and his wife as well as Henry Hewett. The businessmen were stopped near Big Wombat. Subsequently, from Alfred Horsington who had been incapacitated by a broken leg the bushrangers acquired 253 oz. of gold and £145 in notes; from the other, Henry Hewett, they acquired 189 oz. of gold and £172 in money. The days events are recounted in the 'Glen Innes Examiner and General Advertiser', Friday 10th October 1902; "One of the most daring robberies in which Gardiner was personally engaged was on the road near Big Wombat, in the district of Young, when he stuck up Mr. Alfred Horsington and robbed him of 253 ounces of gold and £145 in money. Horsington was a digger and a storekeeper, at Lambing Flat, and was proceeding from Little Wombat to the Flat in a spring-cart on 10th March, 1862, his wife and a boy named De Burgh being in the vehicle with him and a Mr. Hewitt, another Flat storekeeper, riding on horseback behind. The boy was driving, as Horsington was suffering from a broken leg.


They had not proceeded very far on the way—it was not yet half-past 10, in the morning— when Gardiner and three other bushrangers (John Gilbert, O'Meally, and Pat M'Guiness, rode up, presented revolvers, and told the party to "bail-up." At the same time a shot was fired by one of the men, and Mrs. Horsington, declared that she heard the bullet whistle past her head. Horsington had known Gardiner when he was keeping the butcher's shop with Fogg at Spring Creek, and as none of the bushrangers were disguised in any way he had no difficulty in recognising them; in fact, he said he knew, who they were before they, came within fifty yards of the cart, but there was no possibility of escape. Gardiner caught the reins of Hewitt's horse, while his companions surrounded the vehicle, and at a word of command from the leader a start was made into the bush, one of the men riding in front and one on each side of the cart, while Gardiner conducted Hewitt. About half a mile away, at a convenient spot in the bush, a halt was called and the captives were told to dismount. While the three men kept their victims covered with revolvers, Gardiner personally did the searching, and very little time elapsed before the gold and notes—representing in all nearly £1000 – were transferred from the owner's pocket into his.

Gardiner then proceeded to search Mrs. Horsington, excusing his ungallant work on the ground that ladies wore sometimes fond of planting money. Mrs. Horsington, however, had only a £1 note. "You may want that;" said Gardiner. "and you can keep it." "Thank you for nothing,' said the lady, who knew what he had got from her husband. From Hewitt also Gardiner took some notes and gold, which were in a valise on his saddle. One of the other bushrangers subsequently took the saddle, valise, and riding whip, and the horse was only left because it was badly bred. Horsington's horse was also left to him because of his broken leg; but they made the boy take it out of the shafts and unharness it, to prevent speedy pursuit. "I hope you'll have- another load for me next time you come along," said Gardiner, and the bushrangers rode off with their booty. When the police at Lambing Flat heard of this exploit they at once set out to scour the country, but, as usual, their search for the robbers was futile. The value of the robbery in today's terms was $783,000 in gold and cash. Spot gold trading at $1,713 per ounce aud. However, in 1864 whilst in the dock at the Sydney Criminal Court in Darlinghurst Frank Gardiner had pleaded Guilty to the charge of Highway Robbery of Horsington and Hewitt and took umbrage at the evidence put forward by his victims whereby in a letter to the judge, Chief Justice Alfred Stephen, Gardiner cast doubt over the participants claiming, in fact, there were five in number, not four. In turn, stating that since the events only two of the bushrangers involved remained alive. At the time of the 1864 trial Pat M'Guinness had been shot dead, John O'Meally also shot dead and John Davis, unmentioned previously who at the time was close to Gardiner, was serving a fifteen-year sentence. Whether by design or mischievous intentions Gardiner hints that Gilbert may not have been a participant. Suspicion, therefore, falls towards Paddy Connolly, who had disappeared presumed dead. With Gilbert still at large Gardiner, possibly did not wish to be tainted by Gilbert's current depredations. Furthermore, Gardiner stated as well that the robbery itself was conducted much later, being some six weeks later, however, contemporary accounts in newspapers of March 1862 were not fabricated and explicitly state the events occurred on the 10th March 1862, a statement the court appeared disinterested in verifying, no doubt as the Highwayman had pleaded guilty to the charges. Gardiner's letter was a shrewd move on his part in so much as his recollection may have influenced the judge in sentencing deliberations, thereby, avoiding the hangman’s noose. (See Gardiner's letter in full at bottom of page.)

With the completion of the lucrative transaction, Gardiner allowed the travellers to proceed on their journey without bodily injury but not before Gilbert had acquired Hewitt's saddle and valise. However, during the hold up a gun had been discharged accidentally by M'Guinness in which it was said that the bullet had passed close to Mrs Horsington's head. Brazened by the success and the failings of the police in any real attempt at pursuit or capture Gardiner where from March to June 1862 Gardiner became the holder of the Queen's roads and uninterrupted perpetrated a large volume of robberies backed-up by a band of ruffians which was constantly changing; March 25th 1862.- Telegram, Forbes. "Gardiner stuck-up and robbed two drays (between this and Lambing Flat) of provisions, spirits, and winter clothing;" April 12th, Gardiner went to Mr. Chisholm station, at Bland, and stole a horse; 17th, telegram, from Forbes, sticking-up is still the order of the day between here and Lambing Flat, 20th, Gardiner stuck-up about twenty five men on the Lachlan Road a few days ago, and several drays." 23rd, Gardiner and four armed men dashed in front of Greig's coach, on the road from the Lachlan to Burrangong and turned into the bush again; on the same day, they stuck-up and robbed a dray, belonging to Moses and Son and the other day, they stuck up and robbed Mr. Greig's dray on the Lachlan road."²⁵ The robberies mentioned above would have in these early days of 1862 no doubt have included Ben Hall, Gardiner's newest compatriot. Following the robbery of the storekeepers this was expressed in the 'Sydney Morning Herald' of the 15th March 1862, where the four bushrangers had escaped with over £1500 in cash and gold; "last night, from information received, a party of men also started, in the hope of being enabled to capture some of the villains; but I am afraid  their endeavours will be fruitless, for no man in the colony appears to have such a perfect knowledge of the country as Gardiner, and it is believed by many that he will make his way back to the Weddin Mountains, and defy the police. Without the Government increase our police force considerably, and that without any delay, they must be prepared to hear of still further depredations, and the fault will rest on the Government, not the police, for at the present time, should any disturbance take place in the town, or any robbery be committed, the police are all away. This is holding out a premium for robbery and riot, for there is very little doubt there are parties both here and at the Lachlan who are implicated in these robberies, and get information with respect to every movement that is made here-know the police force-where they are stationed-when they are absent, and give the information to the parties who commit these robberies. If the Government do not show a determination to put down these robberies, and apprehend these perpetrators of them, the police force of this place will be made the laughing-stock of the colonies. The police force of these fields must be considerably increased..."

At this stage Frank Gardiner had surrounded himself with tough and daring accomplices. One accomplice was none other than Gardiner's closest ally John Davis a native of Singleton and of the same age as Gardiner who was by trade a carpenter. Davis and Gardiner had struck up a good friendship whilst Fogg and Gardiner had earlier in 1860/61 operated a butchers shop at Lambing Flat. Davis was as reckless as 'The Darkie' either when in company together or with others they brandished their revolvers without fear at all comers. However, on the 10th April 1862, Davis and Gardiner's partnership came to an abrupt end when three police officers escorting prisoners alighted from a coach outside Brewers Shanty, 25 miles from Lambing Flat and chanced upon Davis and two others of Gardiner's brigade. The battle royal between Davis and the police is transcribed below; 'The Sydney Morning Herald', 17th April 1862; After noticing the start of Sergeants Sanderson and Kennedy, and detective Lyons, with prisoners from the Lachlan to Lambing Flat, the Courier says: On arriving at Brewer's shanty, about twenty-five miles from Burrangong, they saw three mounted men, with two pack-horses, which they were just in the act of tying up in front of the house. The three men, who turned out to be bushrangers, quickly recognised that two at least of the passengers by the coach belonged to the police, and one of them said to the other two, "There are troopers in the coach, what do you say, shall we stick them up?" A ready answer in the affirmative was immediately returned, and the three mounted men rode up to the coach, ordered the passengers to bail up, and drew their revolvers. By this time the police had dismounted, and were prepared to receive the enemy. Two revolvers covered detectives Lyons and Kennedy, but, nothing daunted, they covered in turn, and the firing commenced by a shot from the pistol of detective Lyons. On the first discharge two of the bushrangers, Paddy Connolly and M'Guinness, put spurs to their horses and bolted, leaving their unfortunate mate to do battle against three. Davis, however, refused to run, and exchanged shot for shot with detectives Lyons and Kennedy, who, on foot, stood up to him manfully. Three shots took effect on Davis, and he tumbled from his horse, after having knocked the top of the trigger finger off detective Lyons' hand, but succeeded in running about twenty yards, when Lyons rushed in and secured the prisoner, assisted by Kennedy. The firing was sharp, and lasted a considerable time. One random shot struck Mrs. Brewer, of the shanty, in the cheek, but did no serious injury, and two of the coach passengers, finding that the balls whistled in too close proximity to their ears, cowardly left the coach, in a state of extreme nervous excitement, and took to their heels. They were too much alarmed to show themselves again at Brewer's, and had to walk all the way thence to the flat. The captured man was struck in the head by a ball, one entered his leg at the upper and outside part of the thigh, and, passing clean through the thickest part of his leg, was taken out on the inner side. Another ball, glancing off the bushranger's revolver, pierced his right hand, and lodged below the muscle of his thumb. After Lyons closed with Davis a fearful struggle ensued, which lasted some time, but eventually the prisoner had to give in, but not until he had received no less than ten wounds on the back of his head, from the trigger and butt end of Lyons' revolver. When Davis was brought to the camp he was in a dreadful state from the loss of blood and from his undressed wounds. While Dr. Temple probed for the balls he never uttered a moan, but bearing the excruciating pain of extraction, he kept doggedly indifferent to the last. The ball was taken from his thigh on Thursday night, and the one from his wrist on Friday, and, although evidently in great pain and in a very weak state, he never flinched under the knife, or winced under the probe. Detective Lyons suffered severely from the wound in his finger, and will be unable to use a pistol for some time in consequence. From the appearance of the balls extracted from Davis, it is known that the one that struck him in the thigh was fired by Kennedy, while the other in the wrist was from the pistol of Lyons; the ball that struck him in the head was also fired by Kennedy. Davis appears to be a very determined man; he has nothing evil in his countenance; on the contrary, he has a remarkably fine forehead and profile; his conversation shows that he is both intelligent and shrewd, and he possesses no ordinary degree of courage. On the person of the Prisoner was found a considerable sum in money, a bank cheque book, revolver, compass, &c., and the horse on which he was mounted was captured likewise. Besides these, the two led horses were also taken and brought to the camp. He also had in his possession the accordéon which was stolen from Mr. Croker's station. As soon as the information was brought into the camp, sergeant Smith, accompanied by five troopers, were immediately sent out for the purpose of endeavouring to secure the rest of the bushrangers. It is to be hoped that their endeavours will be crowned with success, more particularly as it is well known that not only were these three bushrangers some of Gardiner's gang, but also that, at the time, the leader was within two miles ot the spot when the affair took place. 

With Davis' capture, this appeared in the 'Empire'; "things are assuming a quiet aspect since Davis was captured, and Benjamin Hall committed for trial for robbing Mr. Greig's team, on Friday last, by Sir F. Pottinger..."²⁶ The capture of Davis was a blow to Gardiner, as he had lost his First Lieutenant, Davis would now be ably replaced by John Gilbert, it appears that Davis and Gilbert had similar personalities, brave, daring, smart, educated, happy go lucky, loyal and excellent horseman. Davis was also quite musical and was known to entertain the gang with musical ditties; "one of the bushrangers played the piano while the rest danced and drank brandy and water at Mr. Pring's expense. At Mr. Croaker's station one of the bushrangers played a concertina, and sang "Ever of thee" to the host..."²⁷ Davis was in possession of a Concertina when he was captured. There may even be some conjecture that the mystery person in the famous photo of Gardiner and another, long believed to be John Gilbert maybe John Davis?


Paddy Connolly mate of
Gardiner's.
Two long time associates of Gardiner, Paddy Connolly (Connor) and John M'Guinness, who were with Davis at the commencment of the gunfight at Brewer's Shanty quickley fled in an act of cowardice; "on the first discharge two of the bushrangers, Paddy Connolly and M'Guinness, put spurs to their horses and bolted, leaving their unfortunate mate to do battle against three..."²⁸ Davis' comment about the two was; "my mates were curs,” said Davis, “Tea-and-sugar runaways...” the result of which M'Guinness would pay a high price for deserting Davis and be shot dead on reportedly Gardiner's orders (another report has M'Guinness shot dead for interferring with an Aboriginal woman) and Paddy Connolly would be stripped of everything by 'The Darkie', beaten and would escape within an inch of his life, Connolly then vowing to get even with 'The Darkie' at the first chance, as was reported in the 'Sydney Morning Herald' 1st May 1862; "Connolly, it is stated that Gardner, has met him and accused him of cowardice in deserting Davis; took what money he had said to be £200-this amount no doubt included M'Guinness' share; took his pistols and boots way, and threatened to shoot him. It is also stated that Connolly swears vengeance against Gardner..."²⁹(Paddy never did.) For Davis, it was reported that the sentence of death was passed but was commuted to life and then reported that; "Davis was taken to Goulburn, tried and found guilty, and sentenced to death. However, the sentence was commuted to life’s imprisonment. He did three years in irons, but on account of his health failing and being a cripple from bullet wounds, the irons, which cut into the legs, were knocked off. He obtained his freedom after serving 15 years in January 1877, and died in agony, an emaciated lunatic..."³⁰

Following Davis' capture 'The Darkie' in an effort to either rescue or avenge his mates' capture commenced searching coaches along the Lachlan Road seeking the troopers responsible for grabbing his mate. The following article is from the 'Sydney Morning Herald' 17th April 1862 refers to Gardiner in company with four bushrangers riding magnificent mounts one of whom was Ben Hall; GARDINERISMS.- On Monday, as Greig's coach was passing between the Pinnacle and Green's on the road from the Lachlan to Burrangong, Gardiner, the bushranger, with four mounted associates, riding magnificent horses, dashed into the road and came in front of the leaders. After looking over the passengers, and without speaking, the party turned into the bush. It appeared the bushrangers were in search of some one, probably of one or other of the police who shot and captured Davis a Brewer's, Gardiner rode a brown horse, and wore breeches and high boots, cabbage-tree hat with black band, and black poncho, spotted on the inside of like the skin of a leopard. Knowing the determind character of Gardiner, and the confidence he reposed in the man who was shot down and brought to the camp a few days ago, we cannot but believe that his coming to the coach on Monday was to look for and fight the police who captured Davis and reget that Sergeant Sanderson was permitted to go alone yesterday morning, on the box of Greig 's coach, to the Lachlan. No officer should be exposed to unnecessary danger, but we feel assured that such is the case with Saunderson. In all probability, Gardiner will stop Greig's coach with a strong armed party every time it passes along the road, till he can avenge the fall of his mate. It would be advisable, then, that no police officer connected with the late affray should the suffered to go along the Lachlan road, unless he knows the country as can make his way through the bush. On the same day Gardiner stuck up and robbed a dray belonging to Messrs. S. Moses and Sons. He said he was in want of provisions, and accordingly helped himself to a case of claret, two and a half chests of tea, and some fruit. He took the liberty of appropriating also a few blankets, as the evenings are getting colder, and it is not pleasant to camp out without a sufficiency of clothing. Gardiner handed the driver a bag of gold, and asked him to weigh it, expressing his regret at the same time that the driver had not a little of the yellow about him, as the bushranger would be delighted to ease him of it.

Moreover, not only was 'The Darkie' bold and daring his exploits, the thought of any injustice or slur to his reputation was viewed seriously by Gardiner as an insult to his character. This infringement necessitated a correction, therefore, Gardiner would pen letters to the Editor's of the Burrangong newspapers to rectifying any misleading accounts in regard to his name and reputation and rogue status; BURRANGONG. (From the Burrangong Courier, April 23, 1862)- The following extremely respectable note and letter appeared in the Lachlan Miner of the 10th instant. The Miner published Gardner's letter as we give it below, with the annexed endorsement as to its authenticity: - "We have received the following letter, purporting to be from the hand of Frank Gardner, the notorious highwayman of Lachlan and Lambing Flat roads. The circumstances under which we became possessed of the documents can be known, and the original copies, with the envelopes and seals, seen by the curious, on application at this office, and they can then use what judgment they choose as to the genuineness of them. We give it to our readers as we received it."

To the Editor of the Burrangong Miner, Lambing Flat;

Sir. - Having seen a paragraph in one of the papers, wherein it is said that I took the boots off a man's foot, and that I also took the last few shillings that another man had, I wish it to be made known that I did not do anything of the kind. The man who took the boots was in my company, and for so doing I discharged him the following day. Silver I never took from a man yet, and the shot that was fired at the sticking-up of Messrs Horsington and Hewitt was by accident, and the man who did it I also discharged. As for a mean, low, or petty action, I never committed it in my life. The letter that I last sent to the press, there had not half of what I said put in it. In all that has been said there never was any mention made of my taking the sergeant's horse and trying him, and that when I found he was no good, I went back and got my own. As for Mr Torpy, he is a perfect coward. After I spared his life as he fell out of the window, he fired at me as I rode away; but I hope that Mr Torpy and I have not done just yet, until we balance our accounts properly. Mr Greig has accused me of robbing his teams, but it is false, for I know nothing about the robbery whatever. In fact, I would not rob Mr Greig or anyone belonging him, on account of his taking things so easy at Bogolong. Mr. Torpy was to bounceable or he would not have been robbed. A word to Sir F. P. Pottinger. He wanted know how it was the man who led my horse up to me the Pinnacle did not cut my horse's reins as he gave the horse. I should like to know if Mr. Pottinger would do so? I shall answer for him by saying no. It has been said that it would advisable to place a trap at each shanty on the road, to put a stop to the depredations done on the road I certainly think that it would be a great acquisition me, for I should then have an increase of revolvers and carbines. When seven or eight men could do nothing with me at the Pinnacle, one would look well at a shanty. Three of your troopers were at a house the other night and got drinking and gambling till all hours. I came there towards morning, when all was silent. The first room that I went into I found revolvers and carbines to any amount, but seeing none was good as my own, I left them. I then went out, and in the verandah found the troopers sound asleep. Satisfying myself that neither Battye nor Pottinger were there, I left them as I found them, in the arms of Morpheus. Fear nothing, I remain, Prince of Tobymen.'

FRANCIS GARDNER, the Highwayman.
"Insert the foregoing, and rest satisfy you shall be paid.'

Day's after it's publication this bold letter raised the ire of the other newspaper proprietors one of whom commented in the 'Goulburn Herald' on the 30th April 1862; MORE ABOUT GARDINER. -Frank Gardiner is certainly in league with a person who lately edited a public journal in this district. The one presents a gold watch to the other; and the editor prints such highly edifying communications as the following in return. The highwayman is, in some respects, worthy of being considered entitled to our regard. In most respects, he is worthy of our detestation only. The editor, however who prostitutes his paper in the manner the person we have referred to has done, should no longer be regarded as a fit public censor, or a reliable chronicler of passing events. Gardiner is a bold rogue and a very great fool, because he not only braves the police and levies toll along the whole line of road from Burrangong to the Lachlan, but he risks his liberty or neck for the paltry equivalent of a few months' defiance of the law. A pity, it is that so bold a spirit should be occupied in so bad a cause and should have to look forward to so contemptible an end.


"Make way for the Royal Mail"
Within three months of Gardiner's emergence into the Lachlan, district came the greatest achievement of Gardiner and his gang's efforts, the Lachlan Gold Escort robbery at Eugowra Rocks situated about forty-five miles from the provincial town of Orange. In the lead-up, to the robbery, Gardiner assembled seven men of various means two of whom were successful squatters well known to Gardiner. These men were Ben Hall and Daniel Charters. Interestingly in the process of the planning and the gathering of the required equipment it was reported that Frank Gardiner was seeking advice regarding success or failure through the black arts via a fortune telling book for which he was widely known to consult regularly and who held great faith in the mechanisms of the oracle; “Gardiner was reading a book-a fortune telling book. It would appear, in fact, that Gardiner was consulting the oracle as to the future; calculating the chances of the undertaking in hand...”³¹


Fortune Telling
Gardiner's
companion
Frank commenced organising an audacious and bold robbery of gold from a Royal Mail escort. Frank had been following the gold escort movements both in and around the goldfields of Forbes and Lambing Flat over a period of months recording their routes and departure times as well as the number of ounces of gold on-board each coach. What made it easier for the King of the Road was that the details he needed were frequently published in the columns of local newspapers. Moreover, Gardiner's inspiration for success may well have sprung from his recall of a bold and widely publicised robbery in Victoria in 1853 where a private gold escort under strong guard by the Victorian police were travelling from the McIvor diggings to Bendigo to connect with the Melbourne escort and was attacked and robbed by a gang of six men who split into two groups with one section firing on the police whilst the others snatched the gold. The gang-affected their escape after wounding four police officers in the process. At the time, it was a sensation. The banditos cleared out with over 2,300 ounces of gold and £800 in cash. Nevertheless, whilst Gardiner was reconnoitring for the robbery serious concerns were being raised by the very newspapers Gardiner had been perusing regarding the escorts lack of sufficient police protection. The 'Western Examiner' expressed this concern on 30th January 1862; "Lachlan escort has, for some time, past, formed a subject of comment here. It consists of four men only, and as if to facilitate their destruction by any gang of ruffians that may take it in their heads to "stick them up," they are cooped up, two in a row, in the vehicle containing the gold. It is pretty generally admitted that our whole escort system is faulty. The men should be mounted in order to be effective in an emergency. Under the present system what would be easier than for half a dozen determined fellows-of which there are numbers on the Lachlan-to fell a tree, and when the coach had pulled up, to fire into the escort, the robbers all the time under cover. Such things have ocourred in these colonies since the discovery of gold, and may occur again. It certainly shows a want of prudence on the part of the authorities to do things in this half-and-half way. What possible effective resistance could four armed men, cooped up in a coach, and placed in a row to be shot at, offer to the same number, under cover none whatever. On full consideration, it appears little short of recklessly jeopardising the lives of public servants, and indirectly holding out a premium to the gang of marauders who have so long infested these districts, to continue the present system." Frank Gardiner was also cognizant of that very sentiment and would amazingly almost follow the paper's analysis to the letter. Therefore, gratified in the knowledge that the small number of police guards could be overcome Gardiner set about finalising the logistics for the robbery. John Maguire, a long-time acquaintance of Frank Gardiner wrote of Frank's desire in '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 Gardiner's 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..." All 'The Darkie' needed was a perfect place to ambush a gold escort and that place was revealed by Ben Hall following the discussions of various locations with Frank Gardiner. The area required that it not be well patronised such as the main road between Lambing Flat and Forbes, therefore, Ben proposed Eugowra Rocks an area of large granite rocks and boulders shouldering the road the escort would travel over between Forbes and Orange. Accordingly, with the knowledge in hand and the site decided 'The Darkie' set off with these men John Gilbert, John O'Meally, John Bow, Alex Fordyce, Daniel Charters, Henry Manns, himself and Ben Hall. Upon an untroubled arrival at Eugowra Rocks, Gardiner set about pacing the firing distance as well as seconding some passing bullock dray's for use as an obstacle for the coach and prepared his troops, then sat patiently and waited.

NSW Gold Escort.
c. 1870's
The rattle and tramp of the escort coach approached the secreted bushrangers carrying a sergeant and three troopers, as it traversed the slight incline the coach was impeded on its path by two bullock teams, without drivers drawn across, the road. The escort driver called to the drays "Make way for the Royal-mail" then made a circuit around them to pass, and when the coach neared a clump of rocks four men rose from their shelter. They were attired in red shirts, their faces were blackened, and comforters wrapped around their heads armed with rifles and revolvers. On Gardiner's command of 'Fire' the men discharged their rifles in a volley at the coach. The rounds crashing into the coach saw a bullet pierced the driver Fagan's hat, and another perforated his coat skirt. The constables in the coach were not hit except one, Moran wounded in the groin, and Condell the sergeant-in-charge sitting next to the driver slightly wounded. Following the first volley another four bandits stood up and fired a second salvo, whereupon the horses startled, bolted, and the coach rolled. Condell and his men retreated under continuing fire as the gang rushed upon the coach firing again. After the gun-smoke cleared the Sgt Condell had been wounded in three places and Trooper Moran in two. Trooper Haviland was uninjured, and he fled into the bush with the driver and Trooper Rafferty. The robbers shrieking in their adrenaline-charged victory carried away the escort boxes filled with gold, two rifles, and one of the coach horses. Haviland and the driver recovered to Clement's Station. Clements' brother John returned to the scene with a party of men, who found only the scattered contents of the mail bags these they gathered up. Word was rushed to Forbes and early on the Monday morning Sir Frederick Pottinger arrived and commenced the chase for the culprits. After obtaining fresh horses and the bullet-riddled coach righted it proceeded on the road to Orange with the wounded police. Clements also discovered the bullock drivers, who had been bailed up by the gang, then ordered to draw their teams across the road, and hide themselves in the bush, with, their faces on the ground. Consequently, the coach arrived at Orange at six o'clock on the following evening travelling up Byng Street and turned right at the corner of the Commercial Bank into Sale Street heading for the Post Office where the untouched mail was deposited. The coach then headed for Dalton's Inn. However, as the coach departed and was proceeding to Dalton's Inn their was the report of a gunshot whereby Constable Haviland seated inside the coach was killed instantly by a single shot from Constable Moran’s revolver which had in the melee with the bushrangers fallen to the floor and had gone unnoticed under Haviland's seat. At Havilands inquest Constable Moran gave a detailed account  of the sad death of Haviland; “we left Mr. Clement’s yesterday morning; the sergeant was on the box with Haviland, and a passenger in the coach; deceased said during the day he would not come on the escort any more unless there was a mounted party along with us; deceased had no spirits or wine that I know of; he was perfectly sober; yesterday evening between six and seven o’clock we arrived at Orange; we had taken up a lady passenger, with her servant and child; I and a lady and the other male passenger were sitting with our backs towards the driver; the female passenger was sitting in the middle; we heard the report of a revolver after leaving the Orange Post-office; the female passenger exclaimed “My God the man is shot!” Haviland was sitting at the back of the coach opposite me; I said “No! It can’t be!” I saw the flash from the revolver in a line with deceased’s chest; the female put her hand over first; I then put out my hand and felt the blood pouring down quite warm; I said, “he is shot in the stomach”; the coach was going on all the time; I said it might be from the sergeant’s rifle; he said “no it could not be”’ in reply to a question from the sergeant I said deceased was shot; in the coach there was my revolver, and a revolver case empty...”³² Consequently, the verdict at the inquest for Haviland found that; "died from a wound by a bullet, whether by intent or accident not known..."³³ The unfortunate Haviland left behind a widow and two children. Furthermore, in 1890 aged 63 Henry Moran who had survived the Eugowra onslaught in 1862 died tragically after falling from a cart at Mt Lambie, NSW. William Haviland's death was the first as a member of the newly formed NSW Police Force on duty.

However, prior to the unfortunate death of Constable Haviland and as Gardiner and his band after their victory retreated from Eugowra, Mr Clements and his exploits were reported in the newspaper where after assisting the police survivors Clements rode valiantly into Forbes to raise the alarm and seek out Sir Frederick Pottinger officer in charge of the Lachlan police district. News soon spread like wildfire as Inspector Pottinger and a party of settlers set off and utilising the skill of the black trackers were soon on the trail of the bandito's; The attack upon the escort took place at the Rocks, near the station of Mr. John F. Clements, Eugowra Creek, and it was the discharge of about a dozen shots which first attracted the attention of his brother, Mr Hanbury Clements, about four o'clock in the afternoon. Suspecting something wrong, he took horse and galloped in the direction whence the sound proceeded. The first man he met was the coachman, by whom he was informed that the escort had been stuck-up, and all the men shot. Mr. Clements succeeded, shortly afterwards, in bringing all the men together, save one and taking them to his residence; and, after attending as best he was able to the injuries of two who were wounded, started to Forbes with information of the occurrence, where he arrived at nine o'clock in the evening. About an hour afterwards the missing man arrived also. In the course of the night. Sir Frederick Pottinger reached Eugowra with his force, and at daylight, reinforced by Messrs. Cropper, Clements, Campbell, and a blackfellow, started on the tracks. At about a mile distance the gold-boxes were found, the mail bags having been picked up the previous evening by Mr. Clements' brother. Judging by the tracks, the robbers have evidently made off as fast as their horses and moonlight would permit, crossing the Canowindra road, and running down the southern side of the dividing fence between Mr. Clements' and Mr. Campbell's runs. In making along between this fence and the back of the creek, which at the point is very steep, one of the body who had, apparently, approached too close to the brink, had evidently been precipitated to the bottom, from the tracks, about the spot near which Mr. Cropper found a broken bottle of old tom.

After running down the creek about six miles, the tracks passed through the fence, which had been cut with a cold chisel - across the Eugowra road, and in a straight direction for Forbes. The robbers had then gradually wheeled back, recrossed the road and made for the river, over which they passed into Newell's paddock at Waugan, where they tied up their horses under a bank, and partook of a meal of half-cooked meat, the remains of which and some torn envelopes were found scattered about. Judging by appearances, the pursuing party arrived at the conclusion that the robbers had divided at this spot. For some time considerable difficulty was experienced in taking up the tracks from this paddock, the traffic throughout having been so great! Eventually they were found-sometimes on the ground but generally through the bush, the track pursued being across the Wowingragong plains to within five miles of Fenn's Hotel, where it became so dark that, after tracking a mile on foot, the spot was marked by rearing up a log of wood against a tree in a patch of dead myall.³⁴

George Burgess
c. 1930's.
One of those held prisoner with the drays by Gardiner was George Burgess a 13 year old and an eye witnessed to the robbery gave this account; "I went into a pine scrub about two miles, from Eugowra to cut a whip handle when I came out I saw the driver in conversation with a man wearing white moles and Wellington boots, with a red comforter round his head and his face blackened, who I afterwards heard was the notorious Frank Gardiner. He was leaning on a double-barrelled gun, and he said, "I want you fellows, come along". We then turned a corner in the road, and came in sight of two bullock teams right across the road, ours was put in the same position and made a barricade. Our hats were pulled over our faces and tied in that position with handkerchiefs. My hat, which was an old cabbage tree one, had a hole in the crown, and I could see what was going on. We were placed behind a small rock and threatened, under pain of death, not to look up or remove our hats. There were about seven of us in all, including a swagman. In about 20 minutes’ time along came the gold escort of four horses, and manned by four police. A strange thing, two mounted troopers were a few miles ahead of the escort, and never knew, that it was stuck up until they reached Orange. When the escort came up against the barricaded road, about seven bushrangers, who were concealed behind the rocks, rushed out and fired a volley at the coach, saying "bail up". The shots frightened the horses, and they became frantic. Jack Fagan, the driver, jumped off his seat and tried to steady them, but they did not go 20 yards before the coach was upset, and all was confusion in a few minutes, all the occupants scampering through the scrub in the direction of Eugowra station, then owned by a Mr. Clemens, who, after attending to the wounds of his visitors, galloped to Forbes to inform the police. In very quick time the coach was, rifled, the gold: — about 5000 ounces was packed on the coach horses, and when everything was in readiness one of the bushrangers came over to us, took our blindfolds off, broke open a case of grog from one of the teams, and gave us a drink and £1 each. With my £1 I ate lollies continuously for about two weeks..."³⁵

View from Gardiner's camp
Wheogo Hill. Weddin
Mountains in the foreground.
Courtesy Peter C Smith.
Having escaped the police pursuit Gardiner led his men back to Wheogo Hill instructing the guide Charters to; "Go as crooked as you can, so as to bother the trackers." Wheogo Hill boarders Ben Hall's station. Here the gang set up camp to divide the spoils. The robbers had plundered a fortune consisting of 2700 oz. of gold, representing over $3 million in today’s value, and £3,700 in Oriental Bank notes equal in today’s terms to $310,000. Following the division of the booty into eight shares, Ben Hall, O'Meally, Manns and Bow departed and John Gilbert with his share of 22lbs of gold and £460 in notes safely in his saddlebag remained at the camp. Gardiner, Fordyce, and Charters placed their gold on one of the coach horses. However, Gardiner required more carrying capacity, therefore, Charters was sent to Hall's for extra saddle bags. Charters was surprised by Sgt Sanderson at Hall's and turned tail riding hard back to the hill crying out at the top "Look out the traps are upon us." Gardiner and Charters with the pack-horse in tow bolted proceeding towards the Weddin Mountains. Sanderson followed the trail of Gardiner and his companions whose packhorse was slowing their escape, as a result Gardiner dropped its reins and galloped off. At the later Escort trial in February 1863, Sergeant Sanderson the Hero of Wheogo described Gardiner's camp atop Wheogo Hill; “on the Thursday morning following the robbery I was near the Wheogo Mountains, on my search; I was near to the house of a man named Hall; McGuire’s house was about 300 or 400 yards from Hall's house; I went to Hall's house; I wanted to see one of the Hall's; he was not in; I went on towards McGuire’s house; as I went I saw a horseman coming towards me from the Wheoga Mountains, in the direction of Hall's or McGuire’s house; when he caught sight of me he turned round and bolted into the mountains; I followed him with my party; by the aid of our black tracker we got on the tracks; we followed him by roundabout course up to the top of the Wheogo Mountain; the top of the mountain was about a mile and a half from McGuire’s place; at the top of the mountain I found the remnants of a camp; there were sixteen empty bottles; some contained remnants of port wine, some of gin, some of rum, some of ale; there were biscuits about and tea with milk in it; I did not see how the robbers could have got milk on the spot without going to the stations round about; there were remnants of beef, bits of bread! pieces of green hide tied to bushes, and bits of red tape; I found the top of the hill very stoney, and consequently very difficult to keep the track; we lost it for a time; in about a quarter of an hour it was found by the black tracker, and we proceeded on it a distance of about twenty or twenty-six miles, through a dense scrub; the black tracker rode a white horse; as far as I could judge the man who evaded me at the foot of the Wheogo Mountain rode a bright bay horse; we found the track of several horses; I could not say how many; one of them was shod; we followed in these tracks about twenty-five miles; when we came upon a shod horse with a pack on his back; the pack contained a bag with 1239 ounces of gold, a bag similar to that which I saw put into the escort which started on Sunday, 15th June, from Forbes...”³⁶
This is a video of the Eugowra Robbery site I filmed in 2013.

The famous photo of Francis Christie and another believed to be John Gilbert
possibly taken at Forbes in 1861/2 at Mrs Ryan's Photographic Studio.
Map of Gardiner's retreat
from Eugowra sketched
by police, 1862.

Courtesy Penzig collection.
At the time of the flight from Wheogo Hill, Gardiner in his panic to flee had not fully realised that the pursuing Sanderson was still some way off and that they actually had more time to escape the pursuit. As a result Gardiner may have avoided forfeiting the remaining gold loaded on to the pack-horse. The following letter was published in the 'Examiner', Tuesday 1st July, 1862 exposing how far Sanderson was from the fleeing bushrangers including the belief in the district that indeed Gardiner was the mastermind of the robbery; LACHLAN. -LATE ESCORT ROBBERY. -We have been furnished with the following letter, received by a gentleman in the city from his correspondent at Forbes. As it contains some particulars of the recovery of a portion of the gold stolen from the escort, it will perhaps be interesting to our readers: -"Forbes, June 22, 1863. Dear Sir, Inspector Sanderson arrived yesterday, at 4 p.m., with about 1400 ozs. of gold taken from the robbers. He sighted one of their scouts near to Wheogo, and gave chase, but too far behind to get within rifle shot, and he soon disappeared. Mr. Sanderson and four men followed his tracks, by the aid of a black tracker, and came to the robbers' camp on the top of a very high hill. They had but lately left, and the remains of their meals were lying about, consisting of tea, milk, port wine, and other delicacies of the season. The chase down the hill again, over rocky ground, and through dense scrub, was then resumed for, about twenty miles, during which, at a gallop, most of the distance, the blackfellow never once missed the track. They then came to a point where the robbers divided into three parties, and by the greatest good fortune, Mr. Sanderson selected the track that the pack-horse party had taken, and he soon overtook the horse laden with gold and firearms, completely done up. Though Mr. Sanderson never sighted the robbers once; it is certain that the scout warned them of Sanderson's approach with his men, and in the flight the robbers thought him much nearer than he actually was, as they abandoned the pack-horse without attempting to make away with the gold, though Mr. Sanderson tells me he does not think he was ever nearer than five miles of the robbers, and they would have had ample time to unload the pack-horse before he could overtake them. The conduct of Sanderson is beyond praise, and he was most ably seconded by his men, consisting of senior constables Armor and Burke, constables Powell and Westhead, and not least, if last, his blackfellow Charley, who by merely sighting the scout when beyond rifle range followed the track at a gallop for twenty-five miles without a check. I from the first, with many others, was sure Gardner was the leader of this, gang, and feel most sanguine that Sir F. Pottinger, who is yet out with a second party, will be equally fortunate in recovering the rest of the gold and notes, and bets are freely laid that within a month the hole of the gang will be captured.

The reward offered is good, but should have been £200 each for the first four robbers taken. There is a feeling here that the Government is decidedly liable for the loss on account of want of proper precaution. If properly managed by Pottinger, who is still out, I firmly believe all the gold will be got. It is most amusing to us to see by the Sydney papers that an impression prevailed that Gardner was not concerned in the robbery."³⁷
This link covers Daniel Charters' testimony at the Gold Escort Trial's February 1863. The evidence of Tom Richards and others involved in the pursuit is also accessible. 
"Gardiner's horse then began
to rear and plunge."

Scetch by Percy Lindsay. c. 1935.
The huge escort robbery would be Gardiner's final bushranging exploit. The completion of the Escort robbery saw Frank Gardiner reputedly clear out of NSW with reports of his presence in either Victoria or South Australia. However, after some weeks Gardiner returned to Wheogo and the home of Catherine Browne. However, Sir Frederick Pottinger in light of his limited success against the bushrangers was more and more determined to bring the law to the lawless West. Especially in regard to those residing at the many stations which Sir Frederick saw as the centre of flagrant anarchical activities. Therefore, Pottinger was extremely frustrated that people associated with the Escort Robbery (and there were many) had so far managed to escape justice. Furthermore, to rub salt into the wound Sir Frederick was still smarting from the humiliation of failing to capture his nemesis Frank Gardiner on Saturday the 9th August 1862. Pottinger had staked out Gardiner's paramour Catherine Browne's home at Wheogo with eight officers after the Inspector had received solid information that 'The Darkie' would appear or be present for a romantic liaison with Mrs Browne. Pottinger's information proved correct when in the dead of night Gardiner after an evening spent with Mrs Browne mounted on his horse and departed her home. Pottinger with complete surprise on his side rose abruptly calling 'Stand in the Queens name', then fired point blank at Gardiner who was completely startled, however, due to a failure of Pottinger's carbine in firing it allowed Gardiner to escape from Pottinger's eight carefully positioned troopers, two of which also discharged their weapons and missed Gardiner who vanished into the night. Sir Frederick Pottinger then proceeded to the home and after some interrogation of both Kitty and her younger brother arrested the lad. Sir Frederick gave his version of events before the Forbes Bench during Kitty's younger brothers arraignment; "On Sunday morning at half-past 3," said he, "I apprehended a youth named Walsh at the residence of his brother, at Wheogo; being aware that Frank Gardiner, the bushranger, was enamoured of Mrs. Brown, and believing that he would take advantage of her husband's absence to tender his addresses, I proceeded on Saturday with eight men to the premises; I arrived at 12 p.m., and leaving four of the men in charge I went with Senior-Sergeant Sanderson and Trooper Holster to watch the place; I subsequently sent Sub-Inspector Norton and Trooper Hollister to guard the front while Senior Sergeant Sanderson and I hid ourselves in the bush; we discovered the house dark and silent as though everybody was asleep; after about half an hour we saw a light struck and in a few minutes a woman made her appearance and commenced to collect wood for the purpose of making a fire, but neither Sergeant Sanderson nor I could identify the woman, as we were concealed at a distance of 150 yards from where she was standing, in a thick pine-tree scrub; it might be 20 or 25 minutes after my seeing the woman that I observed a man mounted on a white horse approaching Brown's house at a quiet pace, upon which I called upon Sanderson to fall back, and we did so to our original position; suddenly the noise of horse's hoofs sounded nearer and nearer, when I saw Gardiner cantering leisurely along; I waited until he came within five yards of me, and levelling my carbine at him across his horse's shoulder (the weapon, I swear, being about three yards from his body) I called upon him to stand; I cannot be mistaken, and on my oath I declare that the man was Frank Gardiner; deeming it not advisable to lose a chance I prepared to shoot him, but the cap of my piece missed fire; Gardiner's horse then began to rear and plunge, and before I had time to adjust my gun, he had bolted into the bush; as Gardiner was riding away on the back of the frightened animal, Sergeant Sanderson fired at him, as also did Hollister; I called out to those who could hear me to "shoot the wretch;" Gardiner however, made his escape; we then proceeded to Mrs. Brown's house, and having seen her she frankly admitted that Gardiner had been at her place; I saw a bed made upon the sofa, and a four-post bedstead with a bed upon it in which two persons had been reposing; the boy Walsh was in it asleep and he declared that he had heard no noise and did not know what had happened; he had lodgings at his mother's and was not obliged to sleep where he was found; I immediately arrested him; on the table in the kitchen I saw the debris of a supper, a bottle of gin, a flask of powder and a box of revolver caps; some few days ago I received information that Gardiner had been seen, accompanied by a lad answering the appearance of Walsh, near to Mrs. Walsh's residence, and that while a man named Humphreys was stuck-up on the road a youth like Walsh held Gardiner's horse while he perpetrated the robbery; when I came across the bushranger's camp a short time since I picked up a small monkey jacket, only large enough for a boy to wear ; Walsh says he is 17 years of age, but I don't think he is more than 15; I may add that the gun missing fire was purely an accident, as Sergeant Condell, when he loaded it, took every precaution to prevent the misadventure."

This briefly was Sir Frederick's story when the boy was before the bench at Forbes, charged with being an accomplice of Gardiner. After having given evidence he prayed for a remand, and the accused was remanded to gaol accordingly."³⁸ Sadly for her brother young John Walsh and after some seven months in the hands of the police the young lad nicknamed the 'Warrigal' died of Gaol Fever at Forbes at the age of 16. However, following this narrow escape Gardiner returned and with Mrs Brown in late September the pair commenced the trek to Queensland. A long-time resident of the Lachlan District who went by the pseudonym of John A Hux, and who was responsible for a lot of favourable comment about Gardiner and Co in the newspapers, wrote this reputedly from the lips of Frank Gardiner regarding the narrow escape after his close encounter with Sir Frederick Pottinger at Catherine Browns hut and Gardiners assessment of Sir Frederick; "I asked him the particulars of Sir F. Pottinger's meeting him at Mrs. Brown's; he gave almost word for word the same statement made by Sir F. Pottinger of their meeting, adding that he never had the slightest suspicion of any police being near him, that he was quietly ambling along when he heard someone shout out "Stand," and almost immediately level a rifle. So sudden was it, that he felt as if he were electrified. Jumping up in his saddle, and spurring his horse, he galloped away into the bush, distinctly hearing the cap of the rifle snap, and adding "by God, I thought I was a dead man". He returned to the hut the same night and took Mrs. Brown away. I asked him what they thought of Sir F. Pottinger, to which he replied, the papers may say what they like about him; some call him a coward, I wish he was. There is nothing of the coward about him; he is the only man in the police I care for, and the only one that hunts and keeps me moving; in fact, the place is getting too hot for me. I shall try and clear out. Such is the statement made by Gardiner himself, and I leave the question of the cowardice or not of Sir F. Pottinger between the statements made by the hon. members Messrs. Harpur and Driver and the notorious bushranger Gardiner. I merely state facts..."³⁹Gardiner was susceptible to feminine charms and had for some time been the lover of Mrs Browne who was devoted to Gardiner. Gardiner's personality was stated as somewhat attractive. He was about 5 ft. 8½in. in height, of athletic build, with brown hair, hazel eyes, a face of the Corsair type, and a smooth voice.


Although Frank Gardiner had departed the Lachlan with Mrs Browne in tow, many robberies of early 1863 continued to be attributed to Gardiner where yet still, Gardiner! Gardiner! was the cry in many reported robberies occurring at the hands of John Gilbert, Ben Hall and John O'Meally, but as nothing concrete had been seen of the celebrated bushranger for some time left one correspondent to ponder; "but after every enquiry could hear of no confirmation of the report, nor of any stranger having visited that quarter bearing any resemblance to the redoubted bushranger. Verily, there are as many Gardiners in the colony as there were Richmond’s at Bosworth field..."⁴⁰ Gardiner's fame knew no bounds, when it was also noted; "not a highway robbery takes place, not, a store or station is stuck-up, but the cry immediately is "Gardiner,"-"Gardiner!" Why, he; would want a railroad, with a carriage, to carry him sixty miles an hour, to be often in the different places people accuse him of being in...”⁴¹

Just where had the mythological bushranger evaporated too. Rumour had it that Gardiner had fled the colony with Mrs Browne in tow, however, it was to Queensland the pair had fled too. The trek north would take the pair a number of months and evidence suggests they travelled via Dubbo, Moree, Miles, Taroom, Theodore, Rannes with the couple arriving at their final destination Apis Creek sometime in January/February 1863, a trek of some 750 miles. However, prior to their arrival there, it was observed by a Mr J.E. Richter of the pair's appearance at Rannes, 80 miles short of Rockhampton here they had attempted to negotiate the purchase of a new hotel owned by a Mr Pendrigh built entirely of split timber and provided a bar and other accommodation. Richter had observed the cut of the pair which with limited female company Catherine stood out with her attractive good looks and Gardiner's athletic appearance. Whilst staying at Rannes for some two days, Ritcher noted Catherine's proficiency as a horsewoman; “whilst, these negotiations were in progress, the woman one morning was noticed in the act of catching one of the horses on the grass within a few chains of the hotel. The horse was restive, and would not allow itself to be caught as easily as usual. She, however, had got a hold of the mane above the wither and ran alongside the animal as it trotted, in the endeavour to stop it. Then the horse commenced to canter. As the pace was becoming too fast and still having hold of the mane, she gave a spring and landed on its back, after which the horse was as much under control as if it had a bridle on its head. It was the smartest bit of athletics I ever saw outside of a circus...”⁴²


Archibald Craig.
1835-1868.

Never before published.
Leaving Rannes the two passed Rockhampton having in the process made the acquaintance of another couple the Craig's whose buggy had become bogged on the road near Yaamba. Here the affable Gardiner lent a helping hand; "shortly afterwards the driver overtook a dogcart, which was stationary, owing to one of the horses having bogged. The owners, a very respectable looking couple—a man and woman—were evidently unable to extricate themselves without assistance which was promptly rendered by the man in the tilted cart lending one of his horses to pull out the drag. This led to some conversation, and to the discovery that the latter was wholly ignorant of the road of which the owner of the bogged horse was well acquainted. The obliging party was Mr Christie, and the obliged Mr Craig..."⁴³ Following the extraction of the buggy the four commenced travelling together. During conversation Gardiner stated he was going to Connor's Range 40 miles south of Mackay, however, Craig disclosed that he had a hotel near completion and much closer in distance at Apis Creek; "in the course of the conversation which ensued, it transpired that Mr. Christie was on his way up the country to start a store upon Connor's Range, and Mr. Craig on a similar errand to Apis Creek at which place a building was already in the course of erection. It ultimately was arranged that a partnership should be formed upon Christie paying down the sum of £60. It appears that Mr. Craig had no interest in the store which was afterwards added by Christie to the public-house..."⁴⁴ In due course the Christie's arrived at their adjusted destination Apis Creek which is situated 100 miles north-west of Rockhampton. The tiny outpost was positioned on the busy road to the new Peak Downs Gold and Copperfield with thousands of prospective miners passing through including many from Gardiner's former haunts the NSW Burrangong and Forbes goldfields. The partnership with the Craig's encompassed establishing a hotel, general store and butcher's shop. All the buildings were built of slabs, with roofs of bark made from white and gum topped box and ironbark trees all stripped by local aboriginals. Once organised Frank and Catherine attended to the store and butcher's shop and Craig and his wife oversaw the hotel, where all drinks cost a shilling. On building a reputation Gardiner was noted as very courteous and obliging, and a general favourite with everybody and was described as about five feet eight inches, 11 stone in weight, with a long beard and whiskers which concealed most of his face. Catherine was described as attractive and small in stature with sandy blonde hair. The relationship between the Christie's and the Craig's appeared to be purely business as Craig; "admits that his partner was retiring, and uncommunicative-that Mrs Christie was even more taciturn, and that she was a great stranger to Mrs Craig and himself as the first day they met..." ⁴⁵ The aloofness exhibited was understandable for one slip of the tongue would be certain exposure and arrest. Furthermore, it would be reported in the press, but never fully verified, that prior to the trek north Gardiner and Catherine Browne had visited Gardiner's family at Portland, Victoria sometime after his earlier confrontation with Pottinger at Kitty's home in August 1862, although to counter this assertion Catherine herself stated that they both travelled directly to Queensland from the Lachlan and that they were legally married. However, it is interesting that upon Gardiner's eventual capture he had in his possession a fine racehorse named 'Darky', however, McGlone states the horse was named 'Racer' believed to have been lifted from a Mr Peter Beveridge near Swan Hill, Victoria. The horse would be delivered along with Gardiner to Sydney, however, the supposed former owner never laid claimed to the horse and it was sold for £122, then sold again for £172. Furthermore, in January of 1864 three months prior to Gardiner's eventual exposure a reporter for the 'Geelong Advertiser' made the sensational claim that Gardiner was indeed in Queensland. The reporter appeared to have a very credible source. However, this article may also have been the catalyst for the police to finally act, contrary to the various reports that one of Catherine's sister’s lovers possibly James Taylor the man Bridget Hall deserted Ben Hall for may have informed on their whereabouts from a letter received from Kitty and seeking the substantial reward. Others claim a former digger from Lambing Flat recognised Gardiner or Catherine and went to Sydney seeking the reward. Nevertheless, the article originated in Queensland and although the writer expresses Brisbane as Gardiner's new home, it is true in what they say, 'where there's smoke there's fire', consequently, the story was forwarded to Geelong where it also covers the well-known use by Gardiner of a variety of disguises often employed for anonymity; 'Empire' Saturday 23rd January 1864; A TALE FOR THE MARINES. - "We are indebted to the Melbourne Age for the following tough "yarn"- "The notorious Gardiner appears to have again put in an appearance. He has now selected Brisbane for his place of residence, but, it seems, is living for him-very quietly. We take the following from the letter of the Queensland correspondent of the 'Geelong Advertiser’.-"Now, in connection with the escort, I shall make mention of a circumstance that has come to my knowledge, and that should be borne in mind by the police. Frank Gardiner, the celebrated New South Wales bushranger, has gone north, and doubtless he is on for a 'little game' after the free and easy fashion he adopted in the neighbouring colony. Of course, in the face of so many conflicting reports as are circulated in New South Wales and Victoria, in connection with this notorious character, I do not expect that universal credit will be given to the statement here made; nevertheless, I place it against all the reports of Frank Gardiner's death and secret departure to foreign parts. Frank Gardiner has been in Queensland for the past ten mouths at least. He has moved about Brisbane occasionally in the most open manner and with perfect nonchalance. He has been amongst the police, and has not been recognised though they have one photograph at least of him in their possession. I have seen the photograph and I have seen the original, so I am in a position to speak with certainty. I have also read the description of him in the Hue and Cry and Police Gazette. There is this much to be said in excuse of the police, that Gardiner is such an adept at disguising himself (making-up in the theatrical phrase) that he, will introduce himself to a man at any time and meet him again in an hour afterwards so changed as to defy recognition. He has appeared like a local preacher with suit of seedy black, white cravat and spectacles; as a rollicking squatter in loudest modern attire; and as a rough bushman and stockrider, Crimean shirt, tights, long boots and dirty felt hat or cabbage tree. But it is not by his clothes alone that he disguises himself, he understands how to change his complexion and his hair moustache and beard. It appears that he is prepared to challenge detection by his late mates, except, perhaps Gilbert, with whom he had a difference before leaving New South Wales. Gilbert is talkative and indiscreet, while Gardiner is close, or as the phrase goes, 'dark' to his companions. As an instance of the capers Gardiner has been up to here, I may mention that a well-known courtesan called Madeline Smith (said to be the lady of Glasgow notoriety) was brought before the police court some time ago, and while in the dock a man was leaning over the back of it, and suggesting to her what to say to the bench. The attendant constable turned him away from the dock telling him that nobody must interfere with the accused. He apologised laughingly, and remained in court; and afterwards (I am assured) became bail for her. That man was Frank Gardiner! Again, he opened an account in one of the city banks. There is a woman here of whom I have before written, a Mrs. Winch, who has been in gaol two or three times and first for killing her husband with a pair of cissors at Rockhampton, she was for a short time a favored friend of Gardiner. Whether or not they are together now, I do not know. As the lady belongs to the north; they may be. Some time ago there were paragraphs in the Brisbane papers; setting forth that one of the men concerned in the terrible escort robbery in New South Wales was up here in the service of a member of the Legislature, who is a large squatter. I have been told since that the man referred to was Chartres, the Queen's evidence at the trial of Bow and others who were convicted at Sydney, I have also heard that another man in whose house the bushrangers often lived in the vicinity of Burrangong has honored Queensland with his presence."


James Pye.
c. 1865.
However, for the Christie's the past nineteen months had been full of mystery rumour and innuendo as to their whereabouts, as attested to above, and as such, the time had drifted by with no apparent hindrance as the happy couple adjusted to their new life of anonymity far from their previous haunts in NSW. However, their hiatus would come to an abrupt end. Upon information accumulated by the NSW police, Detective Daniel McGlone, constables James Pye and Wells were dispatched to Queensland to substantiate the current intelligence as to Gardiner's presence at Rockhampton. A correspondent of the 'Brisbane Courier' on hand in Rockhampton broke the sensational news on March 10th 1864 and in an instant, the telegraph wires rocketed the story of Gardiner's capture countrywide; FRANK GARDINER IS CAPTURED, and at the present moment lies heavily ironed in the Rockhampton lock-up. Rumours upon rumours have lately been in circulation to the effect that the notorious bushranger had been in this town, but all without foundation; now, however, it is beyond doubt that he paid a visit to this lively locality, though at a period long previous to that hinted at by any of the rumours. About nine months ago Mr. Frank and his paramour, the almost equally notorious Mrs. Browne, who absconded from her husband at the Lachlan, arrived overland in Rockhampton, under the assumed names of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Christie. Their stay was very brief, and they left town, taking the route for the Peak Downs, after passing Yaamba the interesting pair fell in with a Mr. Craig, who was going in the same direction, and, as the woman said in the police-court, "they travelled together for company." While thus journeying together Craig (who, to do him justice, appears to have been totally ignorant of the true character of his fellow-traveller) entered into an exposition of his intentions and prospects, which confidence was returned in kind by his new acquaintance, who appears not to have concealed the fact of his having at least sufficient capital to make a good beginning in the public or store-keeping line. What more natural, then, that these very communicative fellow-travellers should begin to entertain and discuss the notion of the probable success of a little "spec" in the public-house and store way. Craig knew of a good stand at Apis Creek, and had a little spare cash; while Christie, alias Gardiner, was similarly provided;—and then, too, how well Mrs. Christie would suit behind the bar of a country inn, or counter of a snug little store. As Craig was not a detective policeman it is not likely that he would look for any of the peculiar marks on Mr. Frank Christie's person, which are so elaborately set forth in the Crime Report—if, indeed, he had ever seen the description referred to. Christie, and his "wife," were a "likely" couple, no doubt; and, having a little ready, Craig did not hesitate; —the partnership was entered into, a public-house and store were opened at Apis Creek, and our quondam bushranger, settled down apparently for a quiet life. Apparently, because some very knowing people affirm that Gardiner only intended to lay by till there was something worth taking from successful Peak Downs miners, when he would be "at his old tricks again," and return "like the dog to his vomit," or "the sow to her wallowing in the mire." At any rate, in whatever light he may have regarded the prospect of any further achievements on the "road," it is obvious that his intentions in a moral point could have been none of the purest, as he still consorted with Mrs Brown.

BALCLUTHA; Iron passenger
 steamship built by Caird & Co.,
 Greenock Scotland. Lost with
 all hands in 1881.
Nine months rolled away and no outward interruption of the quiet course of their lives occurred to this couple, whom it would be the cruellest of satires to term a happy pair. No outward interruptions, indeed; but it cannot be supposed that that silent monitor within, which when tainted with guilt, makes cowards of us all, failed to remind Gardiner of the dark deeds of former days, or Mrs. Brown, of the wedded bliss she had sacrificed. Secluded though they fancied themselves, it is not impossible that there were moments when Gardiner would gladly have given ten times the value of his ill-gotten booty, if he therewith could have purchased the proud position of which mention is made by the poet, who declared an " honest man to be the noblest work of God." This nine months' quiet was, however, but the unnatural calm which frequently precedes the destructive gale A storm was brewing which was to dissipate Mr Frank Gardiner's projects, both legal and illegal and which will probably culminate in his ignominious death. By some means, at present unknown information reached the Sydney detective police office that Gardiner was to be found on the Apis Creek road, no particular spot being named. Acting on this slender thread, Detectives Mc Glone, Pye and mounted-policeman Wells arrived per Balclutha on the 11th February, disguised as diggers, but could not at once proceed on account of the flooded state of the river. While waiting for the flood to subside, Mc Glone told no man of their errand, and it was well he did so, as he saw in town several of Gardiner's Lachlan pals, who failed to recognise the detectives, so complete was their disguise. Had the pals referred to gain the slightest inkling of the plot, there is little doubt Mc Glone's errand would have been fruitless. At length the river subsided, and the detective trio crossed over to hunt out the Australian Dick Turpin. All along the road every face and every hut was rigidly scrutinised, but it was not till they had gone a day or two's journey that Mc Glone again recognised several old Lachlan faces. Hope revived, and the cautious Scot now knew that his game could not be far away. Weary, dusty, and thirsty, the seeming diggers arrived at Apis Creek, camping within one hundred yards of the store and public-house jointly carried on by Messrs. Craig and Christie, but little dreaming that the said Christie was the one wanted. As usual after camping, Mc Glone went up to the house to ferret out all he could without exciting suspicion.

As he approached he noticed an individual seated on the doorstep of his store, head in hands, elbows on knees, gazing vacantly up the road. The first glance told Mc Glone his journey was at an end there sat his man, but he must make sure, so putting on a woo-begone sick-man expression he entered the store and was confronted by the Mrs. Brown who disappeared from the Lachlan about the time Gardiner ceased his raids in that quarter. Something in Mc Glone seemed to alarm the woman (to recognise him was impossible), for on his asking for sago on the plea of being sick, she sharply said they had none. Gardiner overheard her, and said he thought there was some, came inside, and Mc Glone received a little sago, payment for which Gardiner refused. Mc Glone, all this time, never looked at Gardiner, which seemed to reassure the woman; still more so, when he asked Gardiner to come and have a drink. Gardiner consented, suggesting Mc Glone's brandy should be burnt, as being good for his complaint. While Gardiner stooped to pour out the brandy Mc Glone's sharp eye noticed the peculiar scars and marks on his head and hands, and he now felt confident of his man. Lieutenant Brown, of the native police happened to pass, but Mc Glone dared not speak to him for fear of exciting suspicion; fortunately, he heard Brown say he should stop the night at Mc Lennan's, a mile away. Our hero now returned to his mates, and told them, for the first time, who they had come to take, and where he was to be found. A plan was agreed on, and after Mc Glone crept off to Lieutenant Brown and secured the co-operation of that gentleman and his black troopers, who, as the sequel proved, behaved admirably. These precautions were taken because Mc Glone saw so many of Gardiner's old chums, and so many suspicious ruffians about, that he feared a rescue.

Gardiner's capture Apis
Creek, Queensland.
Next morning the digging trio struck their tents and packed up their swags and prepared for their apparent journey further merely strolling up to the hotel to get a parting glass. At the same time Lieutenant Brown and troopers hove in sight, apparently off for a tour of his district as they had often appeared before, the troopers singing gaily their corroboree song. Gardiner was standing talking to two fellows grinding an axe but began to edge off to the store on seeing the diggers, approach. Pye, however, perceived the move, and pushed up to cut him off; Mc Glone threw him off his guard by addressing a remark to him about his dog; Gardiner, turned to reply when Pye seized him from behind, Mc Glone seized him by the legs, and laid him on his back; the troopers sprang from their saddles, and pointed their carbine at the spectators, while Brown literally poked his pistol into the jaws of one of the axe grinders before he could be deterred from assaulting the constables. Thus, then, the great Frank was secured. The store was then taken possession of, an inventory made, and the house searched. Among the articles found by the police was a journal, on the cover of which was inscribed in a good handwriting "J. Evans Brown," an incident of great importance, when it is remembered that the paramour of Gardiner was a Mrs. Brown, and that Mr. Brown is a quiet, respectable man, residing at the Pinnacle or Wheogo, between Forbes and Lambing Flat, and distant, about thirty miles from the former, M'Glone also took possession of some jewellery, consisting of watches, chains, lockets, and keepers, in the prisoner's store, which he had taken possession of. One of the seals had a most beautiful crest upon it by which he thought it might he identified. He also found the sum of £193 3s 7d in sovereigns, notes, and cheques in the store, in addition to a small bag containing gold. Of all this property he had taken a careful inventory, which also included several carpenter's tools. Mrs. Christie was not at this time placed under arrest.

Leaving the store in the charge of two of the party of Lieutenant Brown's troopers the men in handcuffs consisting of Christie, the cook and two splitters, Craig and with Catherine following were all marched to Mr M'Lennan's station in pounding rain. Gardiner was put on a led horse, handcuffed, his ankles tied under the horse. He rode along quite quietly, and as easily as if free. The black boys rode alongside with their carbines ready. The troopers in front, while McGlone and Mrs Brown brought up the rear. McGlone was mounted on a big powerful black horse, a grand horse up to 16 stone, well known by the name of 'Darkie.' Departing at daylight the police and their prized prisoner passed through Marlborough, Princhester, Canoona, and Yaamba and when within eleven miles out of Rockhampton the police camped to have dinner, having Gardiner's favourite steed "Darkie" in tow. The arrest of Gardiner had been a painful shock to all who knew him, especially to the diggers of the Peak Downs. Whilst camped Mc Glone read over the charges to the prisoner to which Gardiner exclaimed, "in June '62 — is that what you say — '62?" The posse without fanfare arrived in Rockhampton at seven p.m. on Sunday where Gardiner was then placed in a room with a strong guard and the other men were set at liberty having been detained solely to prevent the alarm being raised. Craig, the publican, and partner of Christie was subsequently charged with harbouring Gardiner. 


An axe grindstone
of the type at
Gardiner's store,
c. 1864
However, Craig now manacled and on the trek back to Rockhampton was still in a state of disbelief as to who he had entered into partnership with, consequently, gave his own account wherein the first instance he had suspected that McGlone and others where bushrangers. The 'Sydney Mail' Saturday 26th March 1864; "upon the attack being made by the detectives, Mr. Craig's first impression was that they were stuck up. The real facts of the case never for one instant struck him, and his astonishment was only rendered complete by finding a pistol at his head and his friend Christie manacled on the ground and himself closely handcuffed. So, surprised indeed was he that he never took the pipe he was smoking from his mouth until that atmosphere of his astonishment cleared and he found himself in limbo. His first exclamation upon seeing Pye fling his arms round Christie and M'Glone run up and grasp his legs while Wells covered him with his revolver was, "Good God, we're stuck up; never mind" (to his wife)" Louisa, it'll soon be alright; they'll go soon;"- but was only undeceived, though still more bothered and confused when Lieutenant Brown and his native troopers approached as if accidentally, and springing from their saddles ordered every man and woman to stand on peril of being shot. From the manner in which the arrest of Christie was made the detectives ran considerable risk, and we question how far Mr. Craig or any other person present would have been held responsible if he had fired upon them, as the attack was made under no show of authority or warrant and was made under frantic shouts from M'Glone and his two assistants, Pye and Wells, who all kept roaring out in a state of tremendous excitement. "Shoot him-shoot them all if they move a step;"While ghastly faces betrayed their impression of the danger of the position in which they were placed. The store, but not the public-house, was searched and a considerable stand of unloaded firearms found, most of which had been brought from travellers hard up-good-naturedly purchased by Christie, who, to give him due was remarked for his liberality and good-nature. In fact, his quiet, unassuming manner and obliging disposition made him a general favourite with all who came in contact with him. At Marlborough, Christie was closely watched. and his arms, though manacled, were fastened to a belt round his waist, and chained by one of his limbs to a cross beam in the house. So perfectly satisfied were those present of the ignorance of Mr. Craig as to the real character of his partner, that they only asked his parole and removed his fetters..." As Craig appeared dumbfounded Catherine went in to utter shock as Gardiner pinioned calmly ask; "Gardiner, who turned the colour of death, merely said, "Hold hard mate; where's your warrant?" Mrs. Brown, who rushed out when she heard the noise, nearly fainted. She offered no opposition but appeared altogether helpless. She wrung her hands and continued to exclaim, " Oh, what is it? Oh, What are you going to do ?" The woman was also taken into custody, and the whole of the prisoners were marched to MClellan's station..."


Reputed to be the remains
of Fogg's hut.
c. 1930's.
'The Darkie' was got. The whole of the country was now enthralled and desperate for every morsel of news as correspondents scrambled to gather the latest. Many who claimed association with the celebrated bushranger began to emerge to recount their brushes with the celebrated Gardiner. Our informant states that Gardiner was, some years ago, at Cockatoo, and discharged on a ticket-of-leave, so that the advertised description must have been obtained from the official records, and hence the intimate knowledge of the scars on various parts of his person. He is said to have been pursued by troopers Hosie and Middleton on a charge of cattle-stealing, and discovered at a notorious place—Fog's, at the Fish River, near the Abercrombie Mountains. Seeing the troopers enter the house, Gardiner retreated to a room, into which Middleton rushed through the window, firing as he entered, Gardiner returning the fire, and a bullet passing through the trooper's mouth and cheek. A fight ensued, and Gardiner was captured, but at a short distance from the house was rescued by a man named Davis, who was afterwards hung at Bathurst. It was in this scuffle Gardiner received the wounds in his temple and forehead, traces of which are now distinctly seen. It is also related that Peisley, on the scaffold, confessed that Fog gave Hosie £50 to allow Gardiner to escape. This led to Hosie's dismissal from the police. Both Hosie and Middleton are still alive, and, it is stated, will be able to convict Gardiner of the commission of a capital offence. According to the testimony of detective M'Glone and chief constable Foran, the man Christie answers in every particular to the description of Frank Gardiner given in the Sydney Gazette. Whether the published description be that of the veritable Gardiner, or not, remains to be seen.⁴⁶ 


'The Darkie'
c. 1864.
EXAMINATION OF CHRISTIE ALIAS GARDINER: Rockhampton-At half-past two o'clock the prisoner Francis Christie alias Clarke alias Frank Gardiner, was brought down from the lock-up. He was manacled, and closely guarded by five constables. By this time the Court House was densely thronged, every available space being filled, and there was a large crowd outside on the verandah unable to obtain admission. Together with the prisoner Frank Gardiner, two other prisoners were placed in the dock, A. D. Craig, a publican at Apis Creek, charged with harboring him, and Catherine Walsh, alias Brown, a woman said to be Gardiner's mistress and confederate, also charged with concealing and assisting the bushranger. At ten minutes to three o'clock the following magistrates took their seats on the bench :— Messrs. J. A. Larnach, F. J. Byerley, W. Callaghan, R. M. Hunter, J. Forsyth, W. F. Bassett, A. H. Palmer, G. P. Murray, and H. Gaden.

The charge (of having committed various highway robberies in the colony of New South Wales) having been read — Mr. C. S. Dick rose and said he had been instructed to prosecute on behalf of the Crown.

Mr. T. Bellas said he appeared to watch the case for the prisoner.


Mr. Dick said he only intended calling sufficient evidence to justify an application to remand the prisoner to Sydney, and called John Harvey Canning, who deposed that he was a constable in the Rockhampton police, and the lock-up-keeper; he received the prisoner now in the dock into the lock-up be tween the hours of seven and eight o'clock the previous (Sunday) evening, from detective M'Glone; the charge preferred against him was that of "having committed sundry highway robberies under arms in New South Wales."

By Mr. Bellas : There was no warrant for the prisoner's apprehension produced when he was given into his custody.

Daniel M'Glone, being sworn, said: I am a detective officer in the Sydney police; I arrested the prisoner now before the court; when I apprehended him he gave the name of Francis Christie; that is not his real name; I believe his proper name to be Francis Clarke, alias Gardiner. — (Mr. Dick here handed to the witness a copy of the New South Wales Police Gazette bearing date Wednesday, the 25th February, 1863). This Gazette is issued by order of the Inspector-General of Police of New South Wales, and it is printed by Thomas Richards, the Government printer. In the first page I see an advertisement offering a reward of £1000 for the apprehension of Francis Gardiner alias Clarke, and one John alias Johnny Gilbert. I also see on the same page a description given of the man Francis Gardiner which reads as follows :— Native of Goulburn, New South Wales, 32 years of age, 5 feet 8¼ inches high, a laborer, dark sallow complexion, black hair, brown eyes, small raised scar on left eyebrow, small scar on right chin, scar on knuckle of right fore finger, round scar on left elbow joint, two slight scars on back of left thumb, short finger nails, round scar on cap of right knee, hairy legs, mark on temple from a wound by pistol ball or whip." I have examined the prisoner, and the marks as thus described correspond exactly with those I found upon him. The chief constable (Mr. Foran), was present when I made the examination. After reading that description, and from the result of my examination of the prisoner, I have no doubt whatever that he is the person referred to.

McGlone continues; "I am still in the Sydney Police Force; I came up here from Sydney, from information which I received some time ago, in company with Detective Pye and Mounted Police Constable Wells; from Rockhampton we proceeded to Apis Creek, a place a hundred miles or thereabouts from here, on the Peak Downs Road; here, at Apis Creek, I saw the prisoner in a store; I saw him when I arrived; I believe the store belongs to him; it was on the 2nd instant that I first saw him; I did not then arrest him, but on the following morning I saw him again, and with the assistance of Detective Pye, Constable Wells, and Lieutenant Brown, of the Queensland Native Police, I took him into custody; I apprehended the prisoner on the road outside his own store; I did not then charge him with any offence; I took him to Mr. M'Lennan's station, which is about a mile from the place where I apprehended him, and here, at the station, I informed him of the charge against him; I confined the prisoner at the station, and here secured him safely until I could bring him down to Rockhampton, where I delivered him over into the custody of the last witness; I charged him with the commission of various robberies, and also with the escort robbery at Eugowra Creek in June, 1862; I believe it was in June last that the escort was robbed at Eugowra Creek, but do not recollect the exact date, not having the Gazette by me; it was about that time; I know of there being a warrant in existence issued by a justice of the Peace for New South Wales for the apprehension of Francis Gardiner alias Clarke; I am not positive what the charges are as contained in that warrant, but I know there are numerous offences charged against him in it; it is from information I received in Sydney respecting him, and from the Crime Report, and also from my own knowledge of him that I arrested the prisoner. (The question being again put to the witness by the Bench, he made the same reply, adding "and from other documents.") have also in my possession a photograph likeness of the prisoner; it corresponds with his appearance, and I consider it to be a fair likeness of him; this photograph (produced) is also a likeness of Francis Gardiner alias Clarke, for whom a warrant has been issued by a magistrate of New South Wales. (The photograph was here handed to the Bench for inspection. It certainly could not be said to bear a striking resemblance to the prisoner, and nearly every one who saw it remarked that it could scarcely be called a likeness at all.) I am perfectly certain from that likeness, and from the description given of Francis Gardiner alias Clarke, that the prisoner in the dock is that man; that likeness was issued to the police of New South Wales, together with the description alluded to, for their information and guidance; the Crime Report is issued to the police once a week; all the highway robberies with which the prisoner is charged were committed in New South Wales, and all the witnesses, as far as I know, who are to prove the offences, reside in that colony; it is necessary for the ends of justice that the prisoner should be sent to Sydney, and I therefore pray that he be remanded there, where, I believe, he will be put on his trial."

Mr. Bellas said he had no questions to put to this witness.
Mr. Larnach, J.P.: Why did you not tell him the charge when you arrested him?
Witness: Well, I was afraid to do so then, but took him to Mr. M'Lennan's.
Mr. Larnach: Did he offer any resistance ? Witness: Not the slightest.
Mr. Bellas : How did you arrest him ?
Witness: In the usual way, the same as any other man; I arrested him fairly.
Mr. Bellas: Was he knocked down senseless?
Witness: Not senseless.
Witness: Yes; he was laid down on his back quietly, and secured.


Rockhampton c. 1900
Jeremiah Foran, sworn, said; I am sub-inspector of the Rockhampton police; in company with the last witness, about ten o'clock this morning, I went to the lock-up for the purpose of examining the prisoner; I then had in my possession a description of Francis Gardiner alias Clarke which I now produce; I asked the prisoner his age; he said he was thirty-two years old, which answers to the description of his age given in this document; I then examined him carefully and observed that there were marks on his person corresponding precisely in every minute particular with those mentioned in the description of him; there were some Indian ink marks seemingly on his arm which were not alluded to in the report; I believe he is the person referred to in that report; I have no further witnesses to produce, and pray that the prisoner be remanded to Sydney. Mr. Dick said that he had no further evidence to offer, and having made out a sufficient case, he applied on behalf of the Crown for a Bench warrant remanding the prisoner to Sydney. After some consultation among the magistrates. Mr. Dick again rose and said he wished to point out, as a matter of law, that this being an indictable offence any one magistrate sitting on the Bench could order the prisoner to be taken to Sydney. The Bench decided to remand the prisoner to Sydney, there to be dealt with according to law. Mr. Dick asked the Bench to make a note of his objection to the prisonor being allowed bail. The Bench said they certainly should not admit the prisoner to bail.⁴⁷ 

Artist's impression
of Catherine Browne
at the time of
Gardiner's trial.
For the unfortunate Craig, he was lumbered in with Gardiner where a charge of harbouring was preferred against him. However, after careful consideration Craig was exonerated but not before he had endured an unknown future;[sic] "The Bench ultimately consented to allow bail, the prisoner in the sum of £80 and two sureties in £40 each, and accepted too highly respectable persons as sureties. On the following day Craig was brought up on a remanded charge, and after hearing a great deal of evidence. The Bench, after some consultation, said they were of opinion that not a shadow of evidence existed to connect the prisoner in any way with Christie alias Gardiner, and they, therefore, ordered the prisoner to be discharged from custody."⁴⁸ Sadly for Craig, he would die from a fever in 1868 whilst erecting a new hotel some eight miles from he and Gardiner's former establishments. Catherine Christie formally Mrs Brown was next charged with assisting and concealing the prisoner Francis Christie alias Gardiner. Constable Canning and detective M'Glone were the only two witnesses who gave evidence in this case. The latter produced a portrait of her which he had had given him for the purpose of identifying her. Whilst she was at Forbes she went by the name of Mrs. Browne. When arrested at the lock-up she gave her maiden name as Catherine Walsh. Witness was acquainted with her sisters and other relations of hers who went by that name. McGlone stated he was perfectly certain that the prisoner was the same Mrs Browne who left the Lachlan some time ago at the same time that Gardiner was reported to have left the district. Under examination by the prosecutor Mr Dick, Catherine Brown detailed her trip to Queensland, and stated; "I am the wife of Francis Christie; I was lawfully married to him. It was some time in June last that I came to Queensland; I came overland in company with my husband: we came from New South Wales direct to Apis Creek; no one but a servant man accompanied us; he did not start with us, but joined us on the road; He went with us to Apis Creek; he left Apis Creek some time afterwards; I don't know whether he is there now or not. I first saw the Craig's a few miles on the other side of Yaamba, it was very wet weather and he was stuck-up by the weather, and my husband lent him a horse. Apis Creek was the first place at which we stopped when we came from New South Wales; I was only in Rockhampton one evening; we passed through Rockhampton on our way to Apis Creek; the fist time I ever saw the Craig's was whilst proceeding from Rockhampton to Apis Creek; that was towards the latter end of June last; when we started from Rockhampton I did not know where we were going; I did not know we were going to Apis Creek; at that time my husband had not made up his mind where he was going; we were travelling in a cart when we met Mr. Craig: I don't know how many horses we had with us; we overtook Craig as he was driving a dray and two horses along the road; there was then a conversation between my husband and Craig and we travelled in company together all the way on to Apis Creek; the conversation was regarding opening a store and a public house; I do not know what passed between them; they never met before to my knowledge; the only reason why we travelled together was, we were all of us going the same road; there was no house then built at Apis Creek, but one was being put up by Craig. 

I am aware that my husband had a half share in that house; I think it was paid for between them; I do know that the store alongside of the public house belonged to my husband. My husband and myself resided there when the house was finished, and lived as friends with the Craig's; I never on any occasion understood that the Mr Craig had ever met or known my husband before; my husband never on any occasion left Apis Creek to come down to Rockhampton: Mr. Craig conducted the business of the inn, and my husband that of the store, and they assisted each other; I never heard Craig at any time ask my husband to go down to Rockhampton to get stores; Craig always went down, and in his absence my husband managed the business. I know that my husband paid Craig before the house was completed, for half a share in it: we stopped in our own cart in a tent until the house was completed, and we have continued to reside in the store—it being our own house ever since. I know that this receipt (produced) is in Craig's handwriting; it is signed by him, and it is a receipt for £61, for my husband's share of the house; the signature on it is "A. D. Craig", being requested to read it out the witness took the document in her hand, and did so partly, when she said she could not make out the handwriting..."


East St, Rockhampton
looking South c. 1866
By the Bench: He knew of no charge against her in Sydney, nor of any warrant having been issued for her apprehension; he did not arrest her at Apis Creek, but she accompanied Gardiner and the other prisoner down to Rockhampton; he arrested her that morning. This case lasted a considerable time, and it was nearly six o'clock when the Bench, after a long deliberation in the magistrates' private room, decided to discharge the prisoner from custody. Mr. Bellas applied to the Bench for an order permitting him to visit his client (Gardiner) in the lock-up. Mr. Dick opposed the application, which the Bench refused. The Court rose at ten minutes past six, when the prisoner, Christie alias Gardiner, was removed under a strong guard to the lock- up, followed by a large crowd of persons.⁴⁹

From Rockhampton, Gardiner was transported to Brisbane and Detective McGlone cabled a jubulant Captain M'Lerie; The following telegram was received by the Inspector-General of Police from detective McGlone: — "Brisbane, March 13th."— "I have arrived here with Francis Christie, alias Clarke, alias Gardiner. I have no doubt but he is the man. I arrested him on the 3rd instant at Apis Creek. He corresponds erectly with his description in the Police Gazette and his portrait. Mrs. Brown is with him, and there is no doubt about her identity. She is coming with us, but not in custody. She will follow her paramour. She and Frank Gardiner's partner were arrested by me, but were discharged by the Rockhampton bench. I shall arrive with Gardiner safe in Sydney about Saturday. I left Rockhamplon on the 10th, and arrived here to-day at noon. Gardiner is lodged safe in the gaol here. No steamer here for Sydney yet, but one is expected. Will let you know when I leave for Sydney, If Richards is required to identify Gardiner, he is making lemonade on the Wentworth diggings. The black horse 'Racer'—branded B in circle with DS&R over, near shoulder, star—is now in Rockhampton in charge of the Police, and will be forwarded per Belcutha (s.), which will leave on Monday, 14th. Please look out for him. This horse is supposed to be the properly of Mr. Peter Beveridge, J.P, Swan Hill, Victoria."⁵⁰ The man Richards was at Maguire's during the pre-planning of the Eugowra hold-up 1862 and a key witness along with Charters during the subsequent Escort trials of February 1863.


Port Of Brisbane c. 1860/70's
Furthermore, in regards to Gardiner and Mrs Browne it was reported; "when they arrived at the Queensland capital Gardiner was safely lodged in the gaol; and here every means was taken by Mrs. Browne to affect her paramour's release. She instructed a legal practitioner to move forth a writ of Habeas Corpus for the production of Gardiner's body; but McGlone getting wind of the move and mindful of his altercation twelve months previously when a prisoner in his charge escaped custody at Bathurst..."⁵¹ McGlone would not be caught out again as had been reported inThe Sydney Morning Herald’, Monday 21st September 1863; - "on Sunday morning the 6th instant, at about one o'clock, Mr. D M’Glone, a detective officer stationed at Forbes, but then in Bathurst attending the Assizes was most brutally assaulted whilst in the execution of his duty, and a prisoner, who had but just been arrested was rescued..." McGlone, therefore, frustrated the writ prevented any interference by taking his prisoner from the gaol to the vessel that was to convey him to Sydney. It is stated that a magnificent horse was in readiness for Gardiner in the event of his release by the operation of the writ of Habeas Corpus and whilst present may have affected an escape. It was a cunning plan and doubtless if the case had succeeded Gardiner may have had a continued career of crime. As Gardiner was held in custody and examined a correspondent note Gardiner's demeanour throughout the proceedings; "Christie, or Gardiner, has never spoken since his arrest, and has exbihited a coolness of demeanour indifferently attributable to conscious innocence, or the despair of a determined man. The man's face is by no means unpleasing; a masculine, well-formed enough set of features implanted in a bold front, with a keen eye a well-set and enduring form. Add to these a head of'dark hair-and a moustache, and you have a type thatt may be found in hundreds wherever the south counties man had been quickened by aspell at colonising! Perhaps, if you glanced at the face, you might, if you gave its expression a thought, deem it the property of one calculated to be a good backer in a row, and by no means untrustworthy as times go..."⁵² 


'Goulburn Herald' Wednesday 23rd March 1864 reported Gardiner's arrival in Sydney;- "The Telegraph, a 700 tons, Iron paddle steamer under command of Captain Coote, arrived from Brisbane 10th instant, with 10 passengers, and Francis Christie (alias Clarke, alias Gardiner), and P. Falkenberg, as prisoners. While on his journey from Queensland Gardiner was cheerful and some what communicative; but it would not be just to retail any of his conversations. It appears, however, that the unfortunate and misguided man has not much hope of his life being spared. On Saturday, the police-magistrate took the evidence at the watch-house of the D division, Darlinghurst, in the presence of Francis Christie alis Gardiner alias Clarke. The prisoner was then remanded for one week (until next Saturday), and removed to Darlinghurst gaol. During the proceedings, and indeed since his arrest; Gardiner has conducted himself with the greatest propriety. There is an absence of anything like bravado in his deportment, which is rather remarkable in a man of his character..."

W.B. Dalley
1831-1888.
With Frank's arrival in Sydney and having escaped the full force of the law at his first trial where the packed courtroom had erupted in jubilation at his aquital, much to the judge's horror and that on the occasion Justice Wise had singled out a boy of fifteen the son of a magistrate as the press dumbfounded reported; "his daring exploits appealed to the imagination of a people in whose blood the felon taint still runs. His crimes instead of awakening horror win admiration. So deep and all pervading was the enthusiasm excited by his acquittal that a respectable boy of fifteen, the son of a local Magistrate, was caught in the act of loudly applauding the verdict of the Jury, and narrowly escaped being committed to prison by the indignant Judge..." For Gardiner's second trial he engaged the services of well known parliamentarian and lawyer Mr William Bede Dalley widely referred to as W.B. With Dalley as counsel he was presented before the Chief Justice (Sir Alfred Stephen) on the 5th of July, and pleaded guilty to two charges—the robberies from Horsington and Hewett on the Lachlan road in March, 1862. On the 9th of July, he was once more arraigned on the more serious crime of wounding Constables Hosie when he and Middleton had sought to arrest him at Fish River in July, 1861. Although ably defended by W.B. Dalley and upon his advice Gardiner pleaded guilty therefore the gallows dimmed into the background before the Judge passed sentence the prisoner was asked if he had anything to say why the sentence of the Court should not be passed upon him Gardiner asked if a letter of mitigation maybe be placed before the Judge. Other than the letter Gardiner said he had nothing to say. In receipt of the document his Honour read the contents to the packed Court;To his Honour the Judge.

Sir Alfred Stephen
(1802-1894)
Your Honour,-I do not address you with the desire to impress upon your mind my innocence of the charge to which I have pleaded guilty, but my wish is to point out the untruths in the evidence on the part of the witnesses In the first place they all distinctly assert that there were four in number, where there were, five; they also state that three stuck up the cart containing; Mr Horsington, his wife, and boy, and that I alone went to Mr. Hewett, now it is just the opposite-I went to the cart, the four to Mr Hewett.

Again, they state that Mr Hewett was thirty yards in the rear of the cart, whereas, on the contrary, he was thirty yards in advance of the cart. Again, it was I who told them to bail up, using no other words nor threats, and at the same time Mr Hewett received a similar order from the four men. While I was directing Mr. Horsington where to turn off into the bush, a shot went off from one of the four men, caused through the restlessness of his horse. I at the time was within two or three yards of Mr. Horsington and his wife I immediately turned round and asked, who fired that shot?  McGuiness made an answer and said "I did, but it was purely accidental," upon which I replied, that as soon as he had his share of the spoil that he should leave the party, which he did that night. The man McGuiness, who was thirty yards away from me, amongst the rest of the party, distinctly heard my question, as to who fired. I also heard his reply, and yet Mr Horsington, his wife, and boy, who are only a yard or so from me, positively swear that they heard nothing of this conversation.

Again, on a former occasion, Mr, Horsington, his wife, the boy, and Mr Hewett positively swear as to the identity of the man Downey, as to his being of the party, now, I sincerely and solemnly assert that this man was not of my party on this or any other occasion. 
While Downey was in custody for the alleged offence I wrote to the Burrangong Miner, acknowledging that I was the man, and that he was perfectly innocent.

Again, Mr Horsington and his party assert that the robbery took place on the 10th of March, while it really did not take place until some five or six weeks afterwards, so that if I had been inclined to stand my trial I might have been enabled to prove an aliby, this, as your Honour will see, is not written with a view to escape punishment, for, on the contrary, it criminates myself, but as there are only two left of the party-myself and another man, who is at present undergoing a sentence of fifteen years
 (John Davis)-I feel that in writing this I am in injuring no one except myself, and my only desire has been to point out the inconsistency of the evidence on the part of the various witnesses, so that, had I not pleaded guilty to this charge, I might probably have escaped; so contradictory is their evidence, that a verdict in my favour might have been the result.

If I may be permitted in praying for a merciful consideration of my case, I beg to say that it is not alone on the above grounds that I do so, for during the last two years I have seen the errors of my way, and have endeavoured, with God's assistance, to lead an honest and upright life, for I have even during this time had temptations, and those great ones, for I was on one occasion entrusted for some time with the first Escort of gold that arrived from the Peak Downs, consisting of 700 ounces, again, Mr Manton, whom I beg to refer to, a gentleman connected with the copper mills, entrusted to my care 264 ounces of gold, and, lastly, Mr Veal did the same with 200 ounces;- yet the honest resolutions I had formed were sufficiently strong to prevent me doing a dishonest action on either of these opportunities. And I do trust your Honour will do me the justice to believe that these were not isolated cases, or that I would have ever again have fallen into those practices which I have felt for a long time past in my breast to be a stain against God and man.

And now, your Honour, as we must sit on the last and great day of judgment throw ourselves upon the mercy of the great Judge of all our actions, so do I now throw myself upon your mercy as my earthly judge, and pray for a lenient and merciful consideration of my case.

I am, your Honour, your humble servant,


FRANCIS CHRISTIE⁵⁴

Gardiner's Trial
The Judge expressed a doubt as to the genuineness of the prisoner's repentance and delivered the following sentences:op.cit — fifteen years’ hard labour for wounding the two constables, ten years for the robbery from Horsington, and seven years for the robbery from Hewett—a total of thirty-two years! Outrage was sweeping through Sydney as the newspaper correspondents assessed the failure of the twelve strong and true jurors in a finding at the first trial where with all of Gardiner's villainy he had escaped the gallows; 'South Australian Register' Tuesday 7th June 1864- "a Jury of twelve 'honest men,' sworn to do justice, have, in the face of the clearest evidence of the notorious bushranger’s guilt, bravely acquitted him. Gardiner is a lucky fellow. He succeeded for many months in evading the most active efforts of the New South Wales police to apprehend him. He has shown himself to be the most impudent and desperate of all the heroes of the Claude Duval style which have yet appeared in these colonies; and yet, though his exploits were chronicled in the newspapers week by week, he set at complete defiance all attempts to take him. Sometimes he was hard enough run, and for his safety had occasionally to fire upon his would-be captors, but he always managed to escape somehow, until at last he was run to earth and cleverly captured. Even when he was secured the police were obliged to hurry him away to Sydney, so strongly was the tide of public opinion and feeling setting in his favour.

When he was safely lodged in gaol people began to breathe more freely. While he was at large no man was safe. He had defiantly set himself against society and the laws, and only his conviction and punishment could restore some measure of security to the public mind. We suppose it was never imagined by the decent and orderly people in New South Wales that by any defect in law or evidence—by any chicanery of counsel or weak technicalities —such a consummate scoundrel could by possibility, escape. His crimes were notorious. He had been guilty of every kind of villainy; and when he was placed in the dock charged with the crime of murder, it was hoped, that just retribution had at last overtaken him. The case against him was very clear, and as the evidence was brought forward everyone would have thought that it would be sufficient to convict him with any ordinary Jury; and yet he was apparently after, but little thought or consultation, at once acquitted. And then such a scene occurred as has happily but seldom been witnessed in a Court of Justice. One Wild burst of applause—'a perfect yell of delight,' as it is described—rose from the crowded Court. The bushranger was the hero of the hour, and this red-handed murderer received an ovation such as is but seldom accorded even to the most virtuous and brave. Had the person who stood in the dock been the purest patriot persecuted by a tyrannical and despotic Government, he could have received no more enthusiastic plaudits than those which greeted the verdict of the 'twelve honest men' of Sydney. We are not surprised to read that the presiding Judge was 'pale as death' with shame or infer, or both. The unseemly outburst was a disgrace to a Court of Justice, and a bitter reflection on the social morals of the community.

The verdict of the Jury and the reception it met with from the spectators in the Court show that the people of New South Wales are utterly demoralized. They are blind to justice and insensible to shame. That any considerable number of persons outside a gaol should have been gratified at the escape of a villain like Gardiner from the just punishment of his crimes shows that all respect for law and morality was lost; but that they should have publicly and ostentatiously, with noisy yells and deafening plaudits, expressed their gratification, shows that they are beyond the reach of shame. It has often been asserted that the element of felony in the community of the oldest of the Australian Colonies has corrupted the social health of the people; and here we have at least the practical proof of this assertion. The stream of national life has been poisoned far back at its source. The convict virus has tainted the life-blood of the colony. Gardiner, the murderous bushranger, is the type of hero whom the people delight to honour. A nation's gods are the embodiment of a nation's ideas, and a nation's heroes will be the reflection of their highest conceptions of greatness. England has its Sydney and Russell, America its Washington, Switzerland its Tell, Hungary its Kossuth, Italy its Garibaldi, and New South Wales its—Gardiner! The honours which great nations pay to their patriots and benefactors, Sydney gives to Frank Gardiner.

The result of this cause shows the weakness of trial by Jury. The system has broken down and failed egregiously. Edmund Burke maintained that the great end of all free institutions, and of all legislative and administrative machinery, was to get twelve 'good men and true' together in a box. Having gained that the functions of Government ceased. If that be true, then we can only say that our neighbours are still a long way from the end contemplated. The Jury system in New South Wales has failed. It has, in spite of evidence which almost anywhere but in Sydney would have secured a conviction, allowed a murderer to escape. There was a time in the history of Ireland when the Government failed to obtain a verdict against well-known miscreants from the partiality of Juries, and when the course of justice was impeded by the stubbornness of the Jury-box; but then it was not so much sympathy with the prisoners as hatred of the Government that allowed the guilty to escape.

But in the case of Gardiner, the reason is plain. His daring exploits appealed to the imagination of a people in whose blood the felon taint still runs. His crimes instead of awakening horror win admiration. So deep and all-pervading was, the enthusiasm excited by his acquittal that a respectable boy of fifteen, the son of a local Magistrate, was caught in the act of loudly applauding the verdict of the Jury, and narrowly escaped being committed to prison by the indignant Judge. The trial comes opportunely enough at the present time, and when the report reaches the mother-country will, we trust, forcibly illustrate the reasons and give emphasis to the remonstrances of these colonies against the continuance of transportation to any part of Australia. There can be no doubt whatever that as the result of a convict element in their midst a large body of the New South Wales population have had their eyes blinded to the enormity of crimes such as that for which Gardiner had to answer. Robbery on the highway, 'sticking up' mail, and occasionally shooting at a policeman are considered by a portion of the people as fine gentlemanly pursuits, which call for admiration rather than censure, and instead of being visited with punishment will secure imitation. This is one of the bitter results of convictism in a community. It pollutes society at the core.

The public thought they had heard and seen the last of Frank Gardiner, especially as the remnants of his gang—Hall, Gilbert and Dunn—were still the scourge of the peaceful settlers of the Bathurst and Goulburn districts with even more brazen raids, robberies, arson, murder and kidnapping. But amongst all this from his former bandito friends Frank Gardiner had a curiously active and sympathetic circle of admirers even hero worshippers, and foremost amongst these were his three devoted sisters Robina, Archina and Charlotte, who continuously strove for his release through petitions and political influence. Gardiner also had ample funds secreted from the proceeds of his robberies to help stimulate agitation by the circulation of favourable pamphlets and other means. Furthermore, in 1874 a monster petition for a pardon was presented to the Governor, Sir Hercules Robinson (afterwards Lord Rosemead). It was led by Colonial Secretary Sir Henry Parkes and signed by Ministers of the Crown, members of Parliament, magistrates, lawyers, doctors, merchants, and other notable citizens. The pressure was so presto that the Governor exercising his prerogative decided that Gardiner should be released on the expiration of ten years of his sentence in July 1874. The country people, remembering his misdeeds protested vigorously, as well as the Chief Justice. The question was made the subject of a long and heated debate in Parliament.

Francis Christie alias Frank Gardiner
 Darlinghurst Gaol entry record.

 Note: Born in Colony is incorrect.
Darlinghurst Gaol from Burton Street 1870.
Sir Henry Parkes.
 (1815-1896)
When the division came for a vote on the bushrangers freedom the ayes and noes, were equal — twenty-six on either side and the Speaker, The Hon. William Munning Arnold gave his vote in approval of the Governor's decision for release. Gardiner, therefore, was released with the proviso of exile from Australia never to return. He went first to China, then on to California and lived there for several years. Gardiner's case was to become the means of raising and settling on an important constitutional issue as until then, there had been some doubt as to whether the Governor should exercise the prerogative of mercy on his own judgment or be ruled by his Ministers. As Sir Hercules Robinson read the Royal instructions, he believed that they required him to decide for himself as representative of the Crown, and in his despatch to the Secretary of State he pointed out what an invidious position the Governor was placed in a colony under responsible government when he had to act without reference to his advisers. The Imperial Government, in reply, directed that in all future cases the Governor, when petitioned to remit sentences should act as his Ministers advised. The release of Gardiner brought the Henry Parkes government to its knees and led to the defeat of the ministry.

Nevertheless, with Frank's 1864 sentencing Catherine was devastated by the incarceration and length of her Frank's punishment, she held on to the belief that they would be re-joined somehow, and indeed set about plans for their reunification in late 1864, where through the power of greed was able to corrupt a prison warden to help expedite their escape plans. However, the ability to keep those plans confidential was an uphill battle where Frank Gardiner was concerned and with rumours circulating of an attempt at escape Frank was watched closely by the authorities. The first attempt was made through a fake illness which required hospitalization for a reported heart condition but before long it was thwarted by a fellow inmate who had got wind of the attempt involving a corrupt warder and squealed and to give his claim substance named the guard; 'The Newcastle Chronicle and Hunter River District News'Saturday, 7th January, 1865; Gardiner, the Bushranger.It was recently stated that a discovery had been made of Gardiner's intended escape from Darlinghurst Gaol, by bribing a warder to help him. The Sydney correspondent of the Goulburn Herald thus narrates the affair:—"Mr. Francis Gardiner, ex-bushranger-general, is neither dead nor dying. Since his conviction many persons have said he would never die in prison if he could make his escape; but the clever scoundrel's apparent good conduct in Darlinghurst gaol appeared to be a complete refutation of all such insinuations. Had he not made important revelations to the Government respecting bushranging and bushrangers? Was he not suffering from a deep-seated disease of the heart? Even the gaol surgeon was so completely deceived, and sympathisingly sent Gardiner to the hospital, ordering him to be supplied with the usual medical comforts. During the recent disturbances Gardiner's conduct showed so marked a contrast to that of the mutinous scoundrels who kept the unfortunate warders constantly on the qui vive, that he humbugged the gaol officials as successfully as an English ticket-of-leave-man I read of some time ago, who, when giving advice to a notorious housebreaker as to the easiest means of getting a ticket-of-leave, said, be sure to have the chaplain visit you as often as possible; and on every occasion turn up the white of your eyes.” Gardiner adopted tactics something similar. A few days ago, when a fellow-prisoner informed the gaoler that Frank Gardiner was about to escape, the story found little credence; but the informer backed up his story by naming a warder with whom Gardiner was said to have made arrangements for escaping. The warder was watched, and on his attempting to leave the prison he was arrested and searched when fortunately for the public, but unfortunately for Gardiner and his friends, documents were discovered, one of which showed that the next night the former expected to be without the prison walls, and wished his friends to meet him at ten p.m., naming the rendezvous; and the other was a promissory note or order for £300 for serves rendered by the bearer. It is needless to say that the Warder's future services have been dispensed with, and that Gardiner's future security will be more closely attended to. Meantime he has been initiated into the art and mystery of matmaking."⁵⁶

View from Brown St, Newcastle
of Newcastle Harbour.
c. 1870's.

Courtesy Newcastle University.
However, with Gardiner's final release the wheels of government were enacted and the deportation and exile of Gardiner swung into action. Gardiner's arrival at Newcastle was reported on the 21st July 1874; FRANK GARDINER IN NEWCASTLE. "Yesterday (Tuesday) morning many of the inhabitants of Newcastle were somewhat excited by the rumour that no less a personage than the redoubtable Frank Gardiner was amongst the passengers that arrived from Sydney by the Lady Young (s.) On the arrival of the steamer Mr. Sub-inspector Thorpe was in waiting and, accompanied by a detective officer, he was escorted to the station, but in such an unconcerned manner that many persons who were expecting him, and anxious to gaze upon the celebrity were completely thrown of the scent. We understand Gardiner is to be sent to San Francisco by the Barque Charlotte Andrews, which leaves Newcastle in a day or so."⁵⁷ A short time later it was reported that; "The illustrious exile Frank Gardiner has quitted his native shores. A telegram to the 'S. M. Herald ' states that on Monday he was put on board the Charlotte Andrews, Capt. Place, for Hong Kong, by sub-inspector Thorpe. Directly after he went on board the barque was towed to sea. It does not, however, seem certain that the ex-bushranger will complete his voyage to the above place. The 'Empire' states that a gentleman who professes to be in the secret declares that the reformed bushranger will not go further from us than New Caledonia, where he is to take charge of an extensive sugar-mat and basket factory for a firm whose principal place of business is in Sydney."⁵⁸ It was then revealed that en route to Hong Kong, Gardiner's ship almost floundered as the ship was dismasted in a heavy storm. 'The Age' 6th October 1874; "a private telegram from China reports that the Sydney ship Mendona foundered, having on board a cargo for the colonies. The crew were saved. The barque Charlotte Andrews was dismasted in the same gale..." An accompanying article further commented; "Frank Gardiner on, his voyage to China was nearly drowned, the ship he was in having narrowly escaped shipwreck in a heavy cyclone. We hear (says the Yass Courier) that the mariners had to lighten the ship by throwing overboard the most part of the cargo. It is somewhat odd that they never attempted to deal with Gardiner as in old times certain Tarshiah 'salts' dealt with Jonah. Perhaps they charitably thought that the poor wretch, having been vomited forth by New South Wales, would stand a poor show of being taken under the protection of any other whale.”⁵⁹


Dramatised Illustration of
Catherine, on hearing
of no visits to her Frank.
Courtesy NLA.
From Hong Kong, with the Charlotte Andrews out of action Gardiner onboard another unknown vessel possibly the Great Republic owned by the San Francisco shipping line The Pacific Steamship Company moved on to California arriving on the 18th December 1874 along with 542 other passengers. Sadly upon Gardiner's release he would not be re-joined by his love Catherine Browne who had in the first few years of Gardiner's long 32yr sentence had long hoped of a future together and even schemed an escape. However, at its failure Catherine was completely shattered by the prospect of never having Gardiner in her life and with the Sir Henry Parke's refusal to allow visits she returned to the Lachlan and her sister Bridget's home. This was reported in March 1866 Hansard; "In the Assembly of New South Wales, on Thursday last, the following questions and answers are reported in the Empire: Mr. Cowper asked the Colonial Secretary- If it is true that the Colonial Secretary has given a special authority for Mrs. Brown, the paramour of the notorious Gardiner, to have access to him in Darlinghurst gaol; asked if so, whether he had any objection to lay a copy of such authority upon the table of the House? Mr. Parkes, in reply, said "he felt it incumbent on him to state the whole of the facts in connection with this matter. Soon after he was called to office, he paid a visit to Darlinghurst gaol, and during his visit there, a number of prisoners made application, through the gaoler, to see him (Mr. Parkes) for the purpose of making sundry requests. Among those persons was Francis Gardiner, who requested to be allowed to be visited once a month by Mrs. Brown. He added that he would not have made this request only this woman had been living with him as his wife. "I told him," continued Mr. Parkes, "that I would consider his application and give my decision to the Sheriff" I accordingly caused a minute to be sent to the Sheriff requesting him to inform Gardiner that the permission asked for could not be granted, as Mrs. Browne was the wife of another man, and that the refusal was not done harshly, but as being entirely against the spirit of the regulations. Two or three days after this decision had been given, I was informed at my office that a Mrs. Hyam wished to see me, and I told the messenger to show her in. Mrs. Hyam, who said she was Gardiner's sister, had a very respectable appearance, and so had her companion, a young woman whom accompanied her. Mrs. Hyam's said she had come to make a request to me that Mrs. Brown, who, she said, was a resident in her house, and had been living in her house since Gardiner's conviction, might be permitted to see that prisoner. As this person had all the appearance of being a respectable woman, and so I felt that commiseration for her which anyone, must feel who has a relative in the positions of Gardiner, I spoke calmly to her, and represented the impossibility of the Governor granting the petition. She at last appealed strongly that the person should be allowed to see Gardiner at least once. I came to no decision, and these persons, one of whom was said to be Mrs. Brown, but to whom I never spoke, my conversation being entirely with Gardiner's sister, went away. I consulted with another member of the Government, made inquiries of the police as to the character of Mrs. Hyam, and was assured by Captain M'Lerie, the Inspector-General, that she was a respectable married woman. I made further inquiries, which satisfied me that this person, Mrs. Brown, appeared to be permanently separated from her husbands, and that she had lived since the conviction of Gardiner, in the house of this person who was represented to me as a respectable married woman. After making these queries, I gave this special order to the principal gaoler at Darlinghurst: --"You will allow the bearer, Catherine Brown, to see Francis Gardiner, alias Clarke, now under sentence in Darlinghurst prison. This order, however, is available for this day only, and must not be allowed to alter or modify, in any respect further the instructions from this office on the 2nd instant. (Signed) H. Parkes."⁶⁰

Catherine's death.
New Zealand Herald
1st February 1868.
Catherine, devastated by the failure of Gardiner's escape plans and the failed efforts of his devoted sisters to obtain frequent gaol visits. As a consequence, Catherine returned to her sisters at the Lachlan where in company with Bridget's lovers brother Charles Taylor in 1867 departed the Lachlan for New Zealand, arriving at the Tappue Diggings near Auckland on the Thames River and whilst there on the 14th January 1868, in a frenzy of mental anguish shot herself in the head, whereby, after lingering for a short period in extreme agony, died. (See note below of her exonerating Charles Taylor in her suicide attempt and ultimate death.)

Shortly after his arrival in America, Gardiner was interviewed whereby it was reported in the "Daily Alta California" 17th February 1875; "A reporter of the Chronicle gives an interview with one Frank Gardiner, a noted bushranger, who recently arrived here from Australia. After describing his talk with the notorious robber, the reporter, with much ingenuousness, adds: The meeting suggested a great many old Australian reminiscences of bushranging days" Ah! The conversation was re-published in the 'The Sydney Morning Herald' Tuesday 6th April 1875, Titled- THE SUCCESSFUL BUSHRANGER.- (From the Alta California.}- VASQUEZ, the King of California bandits, pales into insignificance when compared to Frank Gardiner the great Australian bushranger. He arrived here a few weeks ago, having been pardoned by Sir Hercules Robinson, the Governor of New South Wales, after serving ten years of the thirty-two years allotted to him. The colonial papers have been full of discussion on the matter of the Governor's clemency, but the majority have decided that justice was fully vindicated by the ten years confinement, and lost none of its potency because it was tempered with mercy. A Chronicle reporter interviewed Gardiner yesterday and found him to be a man of apparently forty, five years of age, with a full, round, English face jet-black beard and moustache, and a quiet demeanour which sensationalists would hardly associate with the exploits of the great Australian Dick Turpin. The meeting suggested a great many old Australian reminiscences of bushranging days when the name of Gardiner figured in every day's paper in connection with some deed of a daring robbery.

Perhaps of all bushrangers, Gardiner was the most successful and the most popular. A magnificent horseman, a brave man, it seems wonderful how he could have selected such a mode of existence, and voluntarily relinquished it when his chances were the best. No crime of murder could be imputed to him, and it was proved at his trial that his personal influence over his associates-prevented bloodshed. Very influential men, who were witnesses to his exemplary conduct during his long ten years' confinement in Darlinghurst Gaol, Sydney, used their influence to effect his release, which was accomplished by the intervention of the Governor, Sir H. Robinson. The latter has been severely censured for his clemency by the Legislature, and, according to the news by last mail, the discussion still rages. The Chronicle reporter put a few questions to Gardiner in reference to HIS FUTURE INTENSIONS.

He said, "I mean to do all I can toward earning an honest livelihood. Although I am debarred from returning to Australia, I had the good wishes of three-fourths of the people there."

Reporter: Why was that?

Gardiner: Because I never committed any murder: because I have given away more than half my day's earnings on the road to poor travellers, and because I never robbed a poor man in my life.

Reporter: Why did you commence such career?

Gardiner: From want of suitable, employment. Young men can find no employment in the country districts except herding sheep or stock-riding. The latter occupation leads to horse-stealing simply because you become wholly engrossed in horseflesh, and the crime is so easily committed that you do not think of the consequences. Horse-stealing and horse "sojering" are of everyday occurrence in certain parts of the country.

Rep.: But what made you rob the mails?

Gardiner: I do not know; I was young at the time and spent my money as quickly as I got it. I thought it an easy life for a while, but I afterwards changed my mind, and resolved at all hazards to lead a good life, and when I relinquished bushranging and went to Apis Creek, where I was apprehended, I never dreamt but what I might die there of a good, honourable old age. I was known there as Frank Christie and many thousands of pounds have been entrusted to my custody. I had a good reputation far and wide, and no one knew I was the celebrated Gardiner until my apprehension.

Rep.: Have you a cheerful prospect before you?

Gardiner: Yes; after ten years' confinement I am glad to be free again. I think my Australian reputation was so good; in spite of my crimes, that my record may have reached this country. I am determined to lead an honest life, and I am quite able to fill my part in it creditably. Our reporter wished Mr Gardiner good night and trusted that he would adhere to his good resolution. 


San Francisco wharves of
the Barbary Coast,
a short distance
from Kearny St where
Gardiner would saunter
down to await the latest
news from Australia.

c. 1876
Of course this self-assessment by the Darkie needs to be put into context when one considers that; "The boast that he is said to have made—that he had not taken life or robbed or insulted a woman —amounts to very little, in view of the fact that he did his utmost to take life on at least two occasions—once when resisting arrest at Fogg's house by Middleton and Hosie, and again when leading the attack upon the gold escort at Eugowra. Nothing at all need be said concerning his chivalry, the sublimity of which was displayed where he stole Mrs Brown from her husband and ran away with her to Queensland."⁶¹ However, in 1910, Frank Gardiner was recalled in the San Francisco Call newspaper as; "Frank Gardiner, a famous Australian bushranger, who served several years in gaol and who, having been pardoned, came to San Francisco and conducted a thriving liquor business..." 

For the next thirty years’ stories continued to abound regarding the life of Frank Gardiner and his whereabouts in the Californian sunshine, there would be reports and rumours of mysterious men digging at Wheogo for Gardiner's hidden treasure and of bar-room fights and running seedy hotels on the Barbary Coast, a marriage to a wealthy woman (see clippings below) and even an accusation of stagecoach robberies. It may also be that with Francis Christie's penchant for disguises incorporated with the wealth and social standing of his devoted sisters Archina, Charlotte and Robina, that the sisters conspired to bring their brother home in the late 1880's and that he died in family secrecy and obscurity in Australia?
New South Wales, Australia, Criminal Court Records, 1830-1945  for Francis Clarke, Supreme Court Registers of Criminal Indictments, 1863-1898
At Darlinghurst Gaol 1866.
Francis Christie alias Gardiner recorded here with Patsy Daley
 1867 at Darlinghurst Gaol.
Gardiner's release along with John Bow and Alex Fordyce
1874. ( Under Native Place it should read Scotland)


Authors note:  Frank Gardiner was 45 years old at the time of his release in 1874 (above). The article above covers most of his exploits and is abridged from the 1905 copy of The Capricornian newspaper from Rockhampton where Gardiner was held after his capture at Apis Creek in Queensland. Some elements of this newspaper article are incorrect from historical research. Therefore, I have adjusted Gardiner’s birthplace in the actual article above - Gardiner was born in Scotland in 1829 and arrived with his parents in 1834 aged five on board the ship "James". Const. Haviland's death was deemed accidental after the Eugowra Gold Escort Robbery and there is no evidence Ben Hall was part of the Horsington robbery. I have also inserted further information in regards to Gardiner's early life in Victoria and his criminal record for a fuller detail. All from original newspaper extracts of the period with the appropriate amendments as to historical fact. For any research assistance, no charge, contact is on the Home Page under Q&A.
Letter by Frank Gardiner's father Charles referring to the operation of a Sly-Grog shop.
'Port Phillip Gazette' 25th April 1840.
Geelong Advertiser
Wednesday, 23rd October 1850



Francis Christie alias Clarke at Darlinghurst Gaol
 awaiting trial 1854
The Sydney Morning Herald
Tuesday, 21st March 1854
Goulburn Circuit Court 
17th March 1854


Edward Prior and Francis Clarke at
 Goulburn Gaol and sentenced 1854.
The court proceedings (above) were held in NSW where Gardiner used the alias of Clarke. After serving 6 years of his sentence Christie/Clarke/Gardiner arrived in the Carcoar district on a ticket of leave in 1860. 




N.S.W. Police Gazette report (above) on Francis Christie about the time he operated the butcher's shop with William Fogg at the Burrangong Goldfield.

This Police drawing of the haunts of Gardiner was created c1862, sent from Capt Zouch to the Inspector-General of Police, it shows the many friends of 'The Darkie' from Bigga to the Wheogo district. It is interesting to see Mrs Ben Hall and her sister, Gardiner's lover Mrs Brown, noted prominently twice in the residence of two suspicious stations.(I have re-inscribed the map to make it more legible)



An interesting account in the N.S.W. Police Gazette (above) of the belief that Mrs Brown was participating in Highway Robbery with Gardiner.


A newspaper's account (above) of Pottinger's encounter with Gardiner.  The newspaper wags of the day in ridicule wrote in August 1862; "Sir Frederick Pottinger met Gardiner, at midnight, on Saturday, at Wheoga, and they were within five or six yards of each other; Sir Frederick Pottinger pulled the trigger of his pistol but it missed fire. Gardiner’s horse swerved and Sir Frederick escaped."
This appeared in the newspaper in October 1862, the Wheeo area
 is near today's Canberra.
Darlinghurst Gaol Mat Making Facility. "on the occasion of our visit we found Gardiner (the bushranger) and other notorious criminals busy making mats, and in an adjoining room, weaving matting was an unfortunate young man who owes his loss of liberty to the temptations of Gardiner and Gilbert. No time seems to be wasted, no conversation permitted, or anything that would divert attention. The store contained piles of matting, mats, and other manufacturers, some of which have since found their way to the Intercolonial Exhibition..." The prisoner alluded to is Patrick Daley. 'Illustrated Sydney News' Friday 16th November 1866.
The death of Johnny Walsh, brother of Bridget married to Ben Hall, Ellen married to John Maguire and Katherine married to John Browne & Gardiner's lover was arrested after Pottinger's encounter with Gardiner at Katherine's home died in police custody from Gaol Fever on the 24th March 1863, aged 16.


Empire
23rd January 1864
There had long been thought that the police had received a report of Gardiner in QLD
from an informant but it appears his presence was well known prior to his March 1864 arrest.
Gardiner's new home Darlinghurst Gaol. A sketch from the Illustrated Sydney News Friday 16th November 1866. 1.-The entrance. 2.-The muster on arrival. 3.-The inquiry office. 4:-Selecting boots 5.-The bookbinding shop. 6.-Interior of a cell. 7. - in church 8.-On night watch-"All's well!" 9.-Prisoners' yard. The bookbinding Shop was where Gardiner lovingly produced the small bible for Catherine as seen below.

1864 NSW Police Gazette's reference to Gardiner
 and his escape from Pentridge 1851.


The Kiama Independent, and Shoalhaven Advertiser
 Thursday 8th March 1866
Mrs Brown's request through Gardiner's sister
 Robina Hyam's to visit him at Darlinghurst.
Petitions from Gardiners devoted sisters.


This is a copy of the petition for Gardiner's release by his sisters Archina and Charlotte, who never ceased in their efforts for his eventual release in 1874. 

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/13347543?searchTerm=%22Gardiner%221864%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20&searchLimits= This link will access the letters of petition for the release of Francis Christie. Wholeheartedly driven by the influence of Francis' devoted sisters.
An earlier letter to the Government from his sister Archina. 
The above comment is from the
 satirical publication 'Melbourne Punch', Thursday 11th June 1874.
Exiled
Clarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser
Tuesday, 23rd February 1875


The article above is an account of Gardiner's arrival and work in San Francisco.

Geelong Advertiser
Saturday 18th August 1877

There is some merit in the last lines as to Frank's return to Australia. He was a master of anonymity when required.
From the Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners Advocate
Tuesday 6th August 1878.
Report of Gardiner marrying from
the Evening News, Monday 1st December 1879. 
The Northern Star
Saturday, 14th February 1880 


The article above refers to Gardiner's livelihood as a saloon proprietor in San Francisco and his longing to return home.  Maybe he did as referred to below? In most instances, a Sunday school superintendent takes the form of a lady!

The Braidwood Dispatch and Mining Journal
 Saturday 17th November 1888
I have always been of the belief that Gardiner returned to Australia protected by his devoted sisters, and never died in the USA.


An interesting account above of Gardiner's love for Catherine Browne and how all the participants of the bushranging era were still in contact long after the events of history. "In Domino Confido" means "In the Lord we trust". The Bible is held at the Young Historical Society, Lambing Flat Folk Museum, who graciously allowed me to photograph the book.








The Northern Eastern Ensign
Friday, 3rd May 1918



One of the many newspaper stories (above) which began to circulate as to the perceived plunder which might have been stashed by Gardiner after the Escort Gold Robbery.

Morning Bulletin
Wednesday, 27th November 1929



One of the more bizarre articles (above) and the intrigue still surrounding Gardiner long after his death.



The statement above is made by Catherine Brown in New Zealand soon after shooting herself by her own hand in 1868, thus exonerating who the papers referred to as Charles Taylor but should have read Richard of any blame. New research on Catherine has discovered that she was described as an attractive woman, small and petite in stature 5 ft 3 in tall with sandy blonde hair.

Empire
Friday, 22nd April 1870



The report above was the first speculation as to the death of Mrs Brown in
New Zealand, the Thames River goldfield was 55 miles from Auckland.

The Sydney Morning Herald
Monday, 8th June 1874



The article (above) is confirmation as to the tragic death of Katie Brown whose love for Gardiner was beyond intense to the point of sheer madness.  Her presence in New Zealand may have been for future rendezvous with Gardiner.  Finally, the thought of him never to be released may have been too much to contemplate.

Singleton Argus
Friday, 16th August 1946

Gardiner's reported departure to exile from Australia still driving interest after almost 80 yrs.(above).

2 comments:

  1. Great site thank you. Can you please tell me where you saw Kate Brown's suicide letter? And also the photos of her hut and of Middleton, and the passenger arrival document for the 'James'? I am looking for images for a book and need references for the originals.

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  2. An excellent presentation on Francis Christie (alias Gardiner)
    More research is required on his early life in Australia. Shipping records show that his mother Jane came to Australia in 1834 (already a widow?) via the barque "James" with her five children, accompanied by her (soon to pass away?) husband (or her brother-in law?) Charles. Whoever Charles was, in February 1841, in Melbourne, Jane married one Henry Munro Esq. (sometimes spelled Monro or Monroe) who had also taken passage on the "James". At the time Munro had a large holding on the Campaspe River in the Port Philip District, moving during the 1840's to a larger holding in the Portland Bay area of the Port Philip District. Presumably all of Jane's children became part of the Munro household and were educated locally, including Francis the "Black Sheep" of the Christie family. Interestingly, Frank Christie's first recorded sortie into crime was in 1850 with the theft of horses near the Campaspe, only to be caught whilst driving the horses to market in Portland.

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