In Company

This Section will cover the associates and known acquaintances of Ben Hall. The information contained here may alter with new evidence.

John Bow ("the very opposite of a bushranger")

John Bow, prison
portrait 1874.
John Bow was born in 1841 at Penrith, NSW at the foot of the Blue Mountains. As a schoolboy he was known to many in the district as having a good reputation as well as being well-behaved and an intelligent youth. John Bow could read and write and hailed from a respectable family having a half brother as well as a married sister Margaret Holburid who resided at Gulgong, NSW and operated the White Swan Inn. His father owned a small farm in Penrith. Bow left home around the age of 14 years and began working as a stockman at Burrowa (Boorowa) near the Lambing Flat goldfields.

During this time he became good friends with the bushrangers Frank Gardiner, Johnny Gilbert and John Peisley. He had been employed on various station over a period of some five or six years in the Burrowa district as a stockman for different persons. However, with the upheaval of the station life thru the discovery of Gold at nearby Lambing Flat in 1860 Bow was shortly after noted for his connection's with parties who are now well known to have been in constant communication with Gardiner. No doubt as an impressionable youth constituted to the breaking down of whatever principles of honesty his earlier family and education may have planted in his mind, consequently led to his initiation in the way of crime-a way that offered a broad and a quickly travelled road to a long incarceration for the unfortunate youth. Furthermore, the bushrangers under the command of Frank Gardiner utilised Bow as a "bush telegraph" for detailed information on people travelling with valuables and police movements as well as continuing to work as a stockman; "...he was a stockman employed by Mr. John Nowlan, of Bimbi." John Nowland had a reputation of harbouring Gardiner and Co at his shanty where in 1862 following the Eugowra Escort robbery police arrested some of those concered. It was reputed that for Bow's efforts as a telegraph the bushrangers paid him well for his services and before long the easy money bought a good time at the shanties and dance hall's on the goldfields. As with many youths of the period Bow was known to dress flash and was a spendthrift with his cash, consequently, these misadventures brought him the unwanted attention of the local police.


Frank Gardiner had been planning a haul that would free him from NSW and enable him with his lover Catherine Browne to start a new life together far from the clutches of the NSW police. Therefore, Gardiner who had been cognisant of the large amounts of gold traversing the Queens highways reveled to his two constant companions in crime John Gilbert and John O'Meally of his stratagem. Personnal where required and John Maguire of Sandy Creek station who was also brother-in-law to Ben Hall was drawn into the planning phase; Maguire op.cit. "...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."  For the raid on the gold escort organised to be effected at Eugowra on 15th June 1862, Gardiner required trusted allies and he recruited young John Bow to participate in the robbery. Tom Richards a mate of Maguire's was present when Gardiner arrived at Sandy Creek to met with the prospective robbers including John Bow. Following the robbery Richards based on his knowledge went to Pottinger and for the £1000 reward and lagged Bow as one of the men involved;[sic]  "...Charters came in, and was talking to Maguire; he did not speak to me; they were drinking; he afterwards went away, and came back with Gardiner; Gardiner had arms-a gun and a revolver; the latter he placed on the table; he asked Bow how he was, and shook hands with him; Gardiner did not then speak to me; Maguire and Gardiner were talking in low tones together; Gilbert was also there; Maguire told him to go on the hill and get some more gin; Gilbert went out and came back with the gin; they had another glass of gin together, and I had some with them; then Maguire, Gardiner, Gilbert, and Bow went outside and were talking together; I would not be positive that Bow was talking with them-he was outside; Hall came in afterwards; when he came in it was about nine o'clock; Maguire told me I had better go to bed."


Furthermore, prior to the coach's arrival on that fateful Sunday afternoon, it was reported that "...Gardiner hid his men behind some large rocks by the roadside, having first forced a number of carriers to block up the road with their wagons. The long-expected coach came in sight. "Make way for the Royal mail," cried the driver John Fagan, as he noticed the teams on the road. There was no answer, and again he repeated the order. There was no answer but the echo of his voice.” As the echo of Fagan's voice faded, the crack of gunfire was heard followed by a barrage of bullets crashing into the gold escort coach wounding a number of unsuspecting policemen, including Sergeant Condell. The rapid fire startled the horses which bolted, flipping over the coach. The escorting troopers out gunned and under intense fire managed to retreat into the nearby scrub where they covered the short distance to Mr. Hanerbry Clement’s farm, who had heard the commotion and gunfire and was in the process of investigating as the armed robbers Gardiner, Bow and company quickly descended on and ransacked the coach, then cleared out with over £14,000 worth of gold and cash. Roughly $4,162,500 in today’s value. (Gold today is at $1300 per ounce.)

Whilst secreted at the gang’s camp on Wheogo Mountain near Ben Hall’s property Sandy Creek, Gardiner divided the robbery haul and John Bow received his share of the proceeds along with Johnny Gilbert (300oz gold and £335 cash). Hall, O'Meally and Manns left the hideout with their haul leaving Gardiner, Gilbert, Fordyce, Charters and Bow.

Bow's original charge
 - a capital offence
Preparing to depart Wheogo, Gardiner sent Charters down to John McGuire’s home for more saddle bags before he could arrive he saw the police leaving McGuire’s a shocked Charters bolted back to the Mountain with the unhappy news. John Bow and the remaining bushrangers scattered when the police search closed in on them. The gang’s packhorse carrying the remaining gold (1500ozs) belonging to Gardiner, Fordyce and Charters was lost in the frenzied escape and retaken by the police lead by Sgt Sanderson. It was soon after that Bow was arrested by Sir Frederick Pottinger under the ruse for horse stealing but once incarcerated was soon informed his arrest was on suspicion of involvement in the Escort Robbery as stated here; "...it was on a Sunday night, and he was arrested at midnight; he had tea at our place that night— that was three weeks after the escort was robbed."
John Bow's entrance record Bathurst 1862
Extracts from the Empire February 1863 of
Dan Charter's Damning Evidence (above)
At Darlinghurst Gaol for trial 
McGuire, Bow, Fordyce and another implicated in the Escort Robbery, Healey through his supply of bullet molds to Ben Hall and others prior to the robbery. Note John Maguire was blind in his right eye.

Facing trial in Sydney as part of the Special Commission into Bushranging John Bow along with Alex Fordyce, John Maguire and Henry Manns were subject to the betrayal of Daniel Charters who had turned Queens evidence for a free pardon and stated that Bow was in company with Gardiner when Charters was also recruited and that Bow was armed; "...Gardiner asked me where I was going, I said I was going home. He then said "I want you to go with me for a few days" I asked him "where to" and he answered "I will tell you that by and bye. He had a double-barrelled gun slung to his side, the same as I have seen the troopers carry them. He had two revolvers, one on each side of his valise. They were exposed to view. I saw them. John Bow had a double-barrelled gun slung to his side Gilbert had two revolvers placed in the straps of his vilise, in the same way that Gardiner had his."

After a long trial on 26th February 1863 at the Sydney Criminal Court, the evidence of Daniel Charters, who knew Bow quite well prior to the robbery, was strong enough to bring down a guilty verdict. John Bow was described at the trial as; "...of the prisoners, Bow would be termed a "respectable" man as far as pereonal appearance goes-he has a good-natured face, with a broad and well shaped forehead, is neatly dressed, and certainly strikes the observer as the very opposite of a bushranger." (See article right.) Bow was sentenced to death for his part in the robbery. The Empire newspaper reported Bow's reaction to his hearing the terrible news; "... all the prisoners appeared to fully feel their awful situation. Bow, who presented a marked contrast to Fordyce, being both strong and athletic, and of very healthy appearance, gave a deep sigh, and changed colour immediately, wiping his face with a handkerchief. He seemed to have been quite unprepared for the result. He is twenty five years of age, and has a numerous circle of relatives in the Weddin Mountains to deplore his untimely fate. His prospects were good, so far as a nice farm, well stocked, could afford."

At the time of Bow's sentence it was revealed that his sister Margaret Holburid set about gathering petitions and the help of influential citizens to help save her brother. This was achieved with nearly 15,000 signatures which was presented to the Executive (the Government) on behalf of John Bow and Henry Manns; A petition signed by 14,304 persons was presented to his Excellency on Wednesday last, praying for the reprieve of the prisoners Bow and Manns. It contained the signatures of many of the most respectable men of the city. The petition was presented by a deputation headed by John Hubert Plunkett, Esq., but in itself and in the arguments which were adduced, it was ineffective on the mind of his Excellency, who informed the deputation that without the con trary advice of his Executive Council, he must let the law take its coarse. A meeting of the Executive   Council was subsequently held, and the result was that the decision was adhered to.  As a result, three days before his execution was to be carried out at Darlinghurst Gaol, Bow was reprieved; For the week ending Match 28th 1863. THE leading topic of the week has been the consideration for the two condemned, men in Darlinghurst gaol, for the robbery of the Western escort. On Monday, however, it was announced that his Excellency had reprieved Bow, and such announcement was subsequently confirmed. However, at the time of his reprieve the Colonial Secretary, Charles Cowper had been absent in Melbourne and on return to Sydney was furious that Bow and Fordyce had been reprieved. His sentence was commuted to life with hard labour-the first three years “in irons on the roads” Manns was not as fortunate - he was hanged. Prior to Bow comutation this view was published of his time in the condemed cell; "...of John Bow, his (Mr Hamilton's) first impressions were unfavourable-his appearance was defiant. But afterwards, in the condemned cell, his deportment was subdued and humble. He believed that death was his doom, and was deserved: He had little hope; but his imagination, caution, reason, and veneration were actlve, He was very deficent in conscientiousness; and of a roving turn, having no fixedness of thought. He was slow to receive education. His mind possessed great energy, and unless trained by alternate labour and instruction he would be maddened by confinement. An awful responsibility rested on those who had the control of such men. To spare his life was only usefal on the condition that his immense power was properly trained to industry and virtue." Hamilton studied the practice of Phrenology which was a study of the traits and character of a criminal. These men were often seen as quacks.

Whilst serving in gaol John Bow took up the work as Stonecutter and was recorded as Orderly and Industrious. When John Vane was convicted and commenced his sentence in 1864 he was counseled by the Warden to befriend the better behaved prisoners and was advised to seek out John Bow;Vane op.cit. "Mr. Read, the Governor of the gaol, was very kind to me from the start of my sentence. He advised me to choose my company among the prisoners, and named several of the quietest and best-behaved, particularly mentioning John Bow, one of the Eugowra escort robbers in Gardiner's bushranging gang, who had been sentenced to death, but whose sentence had been commuted to imprisonment for life, the first three years in irons." Therefore under advisement Vane sought out Bow;op.cit. "I discovered that Bow was one of the gaol stonecutters, and as each stone-cutter was allowed an assistant (or 'bullock,' as he was called in the yard), I applied to Mr. Telfor the overseer of the stone works, for permission to serve as Bow's 'bullock,' which request he readily granted." (Archibald Telfor was the overseer for Masons.) For Vane, Bow's instruction was through as within a short time Vane became a Stonecutter and had a 'Bullock' of his own. The work of Stonecutter was in demand for the construction of the new dry dock for ships at Cockatoo Island and as a result John Bow was sent to the Island as part of the construction crew as well as John Vane. Interestingly in Vane's biography he states that soon after the robbery at Eugowra and the discovery of the gang by the police that Daniel Charters and John Bow had an altercation over the proceeds following thier division. However, it was widely reported that Charters lost his share along with Gardiner when the pack-horse was seized by the police and as compensation Gardiner handed Charters £50. Vane states a differing version;op.cit. "Charteris was also, Gardiner said, robbed of his share. Bow and Charteris had each planted their gold in a bag with other things, and told each other their hidding places. Subsequently, Charteris had discovered that his bag had been cut open and the gold abstracted, the knife which made the cut being left inside the bag. The knife happened to be his own, and as he some time previous to the discovery of his loss lent it to Bow, he accused Bow of the theft; but Bow declared that he handed the knife to N------ (Nowland) who had left the place and that the gold dust must have been taken by him. This did not satisfy Charteris. He said that either Bow or Manns had taken the swag and that if they didn't give him £400, he would give the whole show away." For Charters he would be arrested at Ben Hall's home and after consulation with his sisters turned Queens evidence lagging Bow.

                                                           The Petition's instigated by Bow's sister Margaret.



John Bow's Darlinghurst Gaol 1866 record.
After serving 11 years of his sentence, Bow was offered a conditional pardon in August 1873, but he failed to take advantage this opportunity. Bow was released in June 1874 after the Governor of New South Wales approved his release along with Alexander Fordyce and of all people - Frank Gardiner. (See article below.)
 The Armidale Express and New England General Advertiser Friday 5th June 1874.


John Bow 1874.
Bow, Foryce and Gardiner release 1874.
After his release, Bow took up a selection near Lake Cargelligo NSW where he brought a property 'Woodside' and became a sheep farmer who was widely respected and he became a model citizen. (See article right.)
NSW Government Gazette, records John Bow's address and the transfer of sheep brands into his name.
John Bow died on 5th March 1895 aged 52 years and he is buried in the Catholic portion of the Lake Cargellico Cemetery, he never married. Furthermore, just prior to his death John Bow took up a 154 acre selection at nearby Hillston which was gazetted in 1896. It is recorded in the local history of the Catholic Church at Lake Cargellico and registered that John Bow provided the funds to purchase the ground for the establishment of the first Catholic Church. It is recorded that on passing John Bow left an estate valued at £1,640 ($136,000). A resident of those days Mr K.W MacRae had this to say of John Bow; "I knew John personally and classed him to be a gentleman."
John Bow, Land Purchase Hillston, NSW.
John Bow's prison file on his release from Darlinghurst Gaol.
John Bow
John Bow's Grave


  
Alex Fordyce ("a quiet looking little fellow")

Alexander Fordyce,
prison portait c. 1873.
Alex Fordyce was born at Camden NSW in 1829. His parents, John and Mary Fordyce nee Gill were both transported convicts. In 1854 Alex Fordyces' mother Mary passed away and by the late 1850's Fordyce had commenced working as a horse breaker as well as a carpenter in the Lachlan District where he became friendly with the O'Meally's who had the lease on the vast Aramagong Station situated at the foot of the Weddin Mountains NSW. The property also incorporated a public house which had developed a notorious reputation and would ultimately be aquired by the NSW police who converted the premises into a police station. Fordyce was known to work on occasions at the public house/shanty as a barman and yardman and was also known as; "...a bush carpenter, and was working at Arramagong Station, owned by Paddy O'Meally, where he was taken." Fordyces father John was a carpenter by trade. During this period he would have become familiar with Frank Gardiner (the Darkie) and he is reputed to have been a fringe dweller to Gardiner's bushranging activities. Gardiner was often to be seen at O'Meally's hotel.

The O'Meally's were well known in the Weddin Mountains area and the son's of Patrick O’Meally Sr. John and Patrick were disciples of Gardiner. However, in 1861 Gardiner robbed two Lambing Flat merchants, Horseington and Hewitt, of over £1000. Fordyce became an alibi for one of the perpetrators who was arrested in connection with this crime. Furthermore, thru Fordyce providing an alibi for one of the assailants Downey was later proven not to have been involved and as a consequence Downey was released. (See article below.)

Fordyce alibi for Downey a 1st cousin of John and Patrick O'Meally.
Soon Gardiner was looking for recruits for his sensational plan to hold-up the gold escort. Although Fordyce was a lot older than the other conspirators at the age of 33, he volunteered. Fordyce participated in the planning of the hold-up and he was present when they were joined by Daniel Charters (who would later turn Queen's evidence) who was to lead the group to Eugowra.
Alexander Fordyce's entrance record Bathurst 1862
By October 1862, Fordyce was arrested and eventually moved to Darlinghurst Gaol in Sydney to face trial in what was to become the most sensational court case in the history of the Colony. (See article below.)

Fordyce arrigned at Bathurst 1862, John O'Meally would get bail for £100.
Fordyce, Bow, Manns and Mcguire would be the only persons charged with this robbery. O'Meally and Ben Hall were cleared by Charters’ evidence and Gilbert was too slick for the police and so the Darkie fled from New South Wales to Queensland.

At his trial, Fordyce was described as elderly. (See article right.)

With the closing of the Prosecution’s case, Fordyce attempted to produce an alibi from Dr Slidell which proved to be of no value to Fordyce’s case. (See article below.)

The informer, Dan Charters, was the main source of evidence presented by the Crown on the escort robbery, a firsthand account so to speak. According to Charters’ evidence, Fordyce was under the influence of liquor and Gardiner was so enraged he threatened to “...cut his rations b____y short”.  On the way back to Wheogo the gang stopped near Eugowra to transfer the gold from the boxes to the saddlebags and to reload their weapons.  Gardiner found Fordyce’s gun was loaded and swore at him for being afraid to fire. (See article below.)


At the conclusion of the trial Fordyce, Bow and Manns (who had pleaded guilty) were found guilty and sentenced to death. The Empire newspaper reported Fordyce's reaction to his hearing the terrible news; "... all the prisoners appeared to fully feel their awful situation. Fordyce who is a man of puny and emaciated frame, had previously been leaning with his head on his right hand, rose up with a start, and then supported his head against the iron railing of the dock-in fact, he be came completely subdued. His nerves were at once prostrate." 

The righteous in the community on the sentence being pass leap immeadiately into action and commenced raising petions for the convicted men to be reprieved. After petitions were presented to the government Fordyce and Bow had their death sentences commuted to life in prison the first three years in irons. Fordyce was sent to Berrima Gaol where he was released in 1874. Coincidentally, Bow and Gardiner were also released in 1874 from Darlinghurst Gaol although Gardiner was serving time for his attack on Middleton and Hosie in 1861 and not for the escort gold robbery. Manns was the only gang member to be executed for the Eugowra Gold Escort Robbery and was hung under terrible circumstances.

Alex Fordyce Berrima Gaol record 1867
Berrima Gaol, 1868.
Alex Fordyce, Berrima Gaol Cells
 The Armidale Express and New England General Advertiser Friday 5th June 1874.
In 1877, a journalist investigating prison cruelty in the 1860's, conducted an interview with Alex Fordyce about the 1863 mutinies at Berrima Gaol.  Fordyce commented he had not taken part in the mutinies, he believed the punishment fit the crime with the "devil" prisoners. (See article below.)


Alex Fordyce passed away in 1899 at Liverpool, NSW.

NB:
Alex Fordyce parents Application to Marry 1827. 

Fordyce and Bow's admission to prison 1863
Alexander Fordyce prison papers 1873.
Fordyce, Bow and Gardiner's discharge from prison 1874
Henry Manns ("a thorough stockman")


Caricature of Henry Manns
around the time of his death.

Henry Manns was born at Campbelltown NSW on 20th June 1839 the son of William Manns. His father was a convict and his mother, Mary Turner, arrived as a free settler in 1836. In his early 20's Manns worked as a carrier and a station-hand in the Lachlan district.

In June 1862 Manns, along with Ben Hall, John O'Meally, Daniel Charters, Alex Fordyce and John Bow participated with Frank Gardiner and John Gilbert in the hold-up of the gold coach at Eugowra rocks. The amount obtained was 2719 ounces of gold valued at over £14,000 and £3,700 in banknotes.

A month after the success of the gold robbery, Manns, John Gilbert and his brother Charles were on their way to Victoria with their share of the booty. Just having lost sight of Merool Station, Sir Frederick Pottinger, Detective Patrick Lyons and a court clerk Mr. Richard Mitchell, who were returning from Hay after an unsuccessful search for the escort robbers, met three noticeably well-dressed young men with boots, spurs and new cabbage-tree hats. Pottinger asked John Gilbert for a receipt for his “good” horse.  Pretending to search his pocket for the receipt, Gilbert “as quick as lightning” put the spurs to his horse and escaped. Pottinger and Mitchell drew their revolvers and handcuffed Manns and Charles Gilbert and started for Merool Station. 
    
In contrast to the fine steeds ridden by the bushrangers, Pottinger and Lyons led the prisoners mounted on two of the worst horses. Disguised with blackened faces and red caps, John Gilbert and three others (possibly John and Patrick O’Meally and Ben Hall) brutally attacked the police. The odds were in favour of the bushrangers and they affected the release of Manns and Charlie Gilbert. After Manns’ subsequent escape and recapture in December of 1862, Manns’ faced trial at the ‘Special Commission trials’ as part of the prosecution by the NSW government where detective Lyons was called to describe the occasion of Henry Manns’ initial apprehension and stated; “I was present at the escape of the prisoner’s arrested for the escort robbery on the 9th July last. We fell in with them on the 7th of that month. Manns was one of the parties then arrested. I searched him and found £135 in bank notes in his pocket; these notes consisted of a few ‘tens’ and some ‘fives’ but they were mostly ‘ones’ and were principally of the Commercial Bank. On the other prisoners I found bags of gold, similar to those produced. I believe the gold I saw in those bags to be Lachlan gold and I believe so still. The gold found on the Lachlan is of a peculiar character and may, in my opinion and according to my experience, be distinguished from the gold found elsewhere. The prisoner Manns asked me, sometime after his apprehension, if I did not wonder how he came by all that money. I said “that was what I asked you when you were first taken.” He said “I will soon let you see where it came from.” And said when his mate or mates, come up. I think he said mates not mate. I saw a number of men who came to rescue him and the other man. Manns was rescued about three hours after he said what I just mentioned. There were seven men who came to rescue the prisoners on that occasion. They were dressed in black with red caps and they had their faces blackened. I do not know whether they had red shirts on or not; what they had on appeared to me to be something dark. They ran out of the mallee scrub, crying out “bail up, you bastards,” and then a volley was fired-fired, I believe, at me. My horse took fright and I was thrown. I heard another volley fired after I was thrown. I attempted to regain my horse but was unable to do so. The notes were in my coat which was tied onto the saddle. When the horse went off the notes, of course, were taken away with it. Three or four men went forward and liberated Manns, now in the dock, and Darcy who is not here. This was on the 9th July last."

To Pottinger’s credit, he realised the only course of action was to retreat and rescue Lyons and save the gold. (See article below)


The Sydney Morning Herald
Tuesday, 22nd July 1862



After his escape, Manns' luck had run out and he was arrested again on 1st December 1862 whilst hiding out at the Wombat Diggings near Lambing Flat. (See article below.)


Sydney Morning Herald, 12th December 1862
Manns was remanded at Bathurst Gaol December 1862 then forwarded on to Darlinghurst Gaol in Sydney with John Bow, Alex Fordyce and John McGuire. (See article below.)


Henry Manns Bathurst gaol entry book, December 1862


His trial commenced on 23rd February 1963. Manns had already pleaded guilty to the charges hoping for mercy unfortunately Manns was unsuccessful as the evidence against him of having given a false name of Turner, escaping custody, possession of the stolen gold and £135 in banknotes found on his person when captured by Inspector Pottinger. The sworn evidence of "the approver" (a term of the day for a snitch) Dan Charters didn't help his case either. This was enough for Justice Stephens to sentence him to death by hanging to be carried out on 26th March 1863. During the trial an observer wrote of Manns stature; "...Manns is a regular "bush native" rough in exterior, and, as a gentlemen remarked in Court, "a thorough stockman-only to be seen in his prime when on horseback." His features are sharp, but he has that list- less or lazy sort of carriage often to be met with on the roads among the youths who are drivers of teams."

There had long been a thought that the death sentence to be administered was unjustified even at the time of the new wave of bushranging being conducted by Ben Hall, but with the taking of inspector Norton at Wheogo three weeks prior to the hanging may have swayed the resolve of the Government to press the Govenor to abandon any reprieve and to drive home Mann's own complicity in evading the law; “…as regards Manns. Though he was not the worst of them, and had much in his favor, as, for instance, extreme youth, excellent previous character, brought up away from: all moral and religious influences, and urged into crime, as Charters the informer swore, from fear of the notorious ruffian Gardiner, yet he stood in the dock in the near embrace of death, because, in his case, there was corroboration. In a former article it was stated that Mann's was captured with 200 ounces of gold and £135 in notes on him. This was corroboration. At his first trial in February he made oath in support of a postponement of his trial to the effect that if time were granted to him he could produce witnesses to prove that he was not the person arrested on whom the gold was found. He had been apprehended at Forbes and on the road was rescued by seven men disguised and armed, but was soon after retaken. He swore an affidavit that he was not the rescued man, and that he could prove it. When the second trial came on he admitted that he was the man. This sealed his doom, though extraordinary efforts were made to have his sentence commuted."

The Empire newspaper reported Manns' reaction to his hearing the terrible news; "... all the prisoners appeared to fully feel their awful situation. Manns looked quite dogged, and was the beau ideal of a young Australian stockman. He held his head down in a sullen manner, and one would suppose that he made his mind up not to stir a muscle even if put to the torture of the rack. But yet a close observer could not fail to perceive that with all this apparent determination he felt his position acutely. In fact, his legs at last trembled, and he was obliged to support himself by his breast and arms against the dock."


Manns' Admittance to Darlinghurst Gaol, note Manns was entered as a Protestant, he converted to the Catholic Faith just prior to Execution, which caused much argument after his death.

Goulburn Herald, 11th March 1863
Article on Henry Manns; his age is incorrect 
Despite petitions from his mother and continuous efforts from the public where “…a dozen of the most influential men in Sydney presented his Excellency with a petition for Manns' reprieve, signed by 14,072 signatures, obtained in Sydney, in 16 hours. The Hon. J. H. Plunkett, M.L.C., the Hon. J. Campbell, M.L.C., and Sir James Martin, M.L.A., were the speakers at its presentation, but it was in vain, similar petitions poured in from Parramatta and other suburbs, but the fates were inexorable,” and where after the presentations it was stated that; (See article below.) “…the Governor, with tears in his eyes, deplored the sad necessity of not, in this particular instance, opposing the advice, of his Ministers, and, so, in accordance with their advice, the flat went forth for the execution of the unfortunate Manns.” Manns was hanged on the morning of 26th March 1863. 
  

Manns was accompanied to the gallows by the Venerable Archdeacon McEnroe, the Venerable Archpriest Therry and the Reverend Father Dwyer and stated to the holy men; “Fathers, I am not afraid of death.” The hangman bungled the execution and Manns died a frightful and hideous death. He was strangled slowly as the noose had shifted around to the front of his face. His body had to be re-lifted so that the noose could be replaced around his neck and Manns was dropped again. It is also reported that the hangman, who is not seen as a respectable person, attempted to steal Manns' boots, as reported in the 'Freeman's Journal' 4th April 1863. (See article below) 

"... the officer to whom is deputed the duty of performing so solemn an act of retribution is surely entitled to all honour; but so far from this being the case we find that the public executioner is, and always has been, looked upon as a loathsome unclean thing, cut off from society, and certainly in most cases exiting greater feelings of aversion than the criminal whom he is paid for launching into eternity. Is there any man who would be proud to claim the hangman as a friend, to sit at his table, to live under his roof? or rather should we not shrink with horror from a wretch whose very touch would be pollution? The scene - that occurred at the execution of Manns is sufficient to show the extremity of degradation to which such an office can reduce a human being. No sooner was the fatal bolt withdrawn than the executioner coolly retired to smoke his pipe, not improbably chuckling with inward satisfaction at having been the means of depriving another fellow creature of the breath of life. We may judge that he was, not afflicted with any superfluous amount of remorse for having subjected his victim to unnecessary torture for no sooner was the mangled and lifeless corpse cut down than he attempted to remove the boots off the feet, and no doubt would have stripped the body of his other perquisites if the loudly expressed disgust of the spectators had not prevented him." 

The letter below to his family was written just an hour or so prior to Henry Manns' execution, written on his behalf by one of the attending clergy;

"My Dear Father, Mother, Sisters and Brothers,

                                                         In a few hours I shall have passed from a miserable and sinful world, to the presence of my dear redeemer and receive the reward of happiness which I feel confident awaits me. In my last moments, my dear father, I have had your eternal salvation much at heart and I have prayed continually to the father of mercies to grant you and my brothers and sisters grace to enter seriously into yourselves and with as little delay as possible, embrace the Holy Catholic Church, which will ensure our happy reunion in the mansions of ever lasting happiness.

The sacrament of that Holy Church. The instructions I have received from it's pions and holy Priests and Sisters of Charity have entirely deprived me of all fear of the death I am about to suffer and enabled me to meet my end, as a Catholic Christian alone can meet death. 

I trust that my brothers and sisters will take the advice of their parents, as disobedience of parents is the first step to crime. May God, in his infinite mercy and goodness, watch over and protect you, my dear father and mother and dear brothers and sisters, will be the last prayer of your loving son and brother.

Henry Joseph Manns. Pray for me."

Gallow's at Darlinghurst


Sydney Morning Herald
Tuesday, 21st April 1863
Execution
A few days after Henry Manns' execution this article appeared regarding the efforts of those involved in an attempt to save his life. From 'The Courier' Friday 3rd April 1863;  NEWS AND NOTES BY A SYDNEY MAN. CCLIII.- "We have this week passed through a scene of excitement and horror. I may mention that I was one of those who took interest and considerable share in the attempt to save the life of the prisoner Manns. He was a novice in crime, and the mere dupe of Gardiner. He had a mother and father, sisters and brothers, to lament his fate. He had borne a good character, and was but little more than twenty years old. Added to all this, the evidence was not such as would have convicted him before an English Judge. When, therefore, on Wednesday morning, a petition signed by fifteen thousand persons, many of high standing, was presented to the Governor by two such citizens as John Campbell, of the wharf, and Mr. Plunkett, accompanied by Mr. Martin, and several members of the Assembly, but little doubt was entertained that mercy would be granted. The Governor's reply, however, was unfavorable. He declined to exercise the prerogative of mercy in this case, as he had done in that of Bow; as, to his mind, there were marked distinctions in the two cases. He would, however, lay the petition before the Executive Council, which was to meet at 4 o'clock that afternoon. You would hardly believe the amount of excitement that existed during that afternoon. Almost all persons - men, those who would have hanged all the prisoners - agreed that the selection of this young man as the single victim was unjustifiable. By-and-bye it was said that one or two members of the ministry had stated their determination to vote for a reprieve. This was the general impression at about 4 o'clock. At that time, I went up to the gaol. Poor Manns was just going into his cell. I think he knew that great exertions were being made for him, and had some hope, but he was resigned to die. He told his mother his chief grief was for her, and if they hung him next morning they would hang the least guilty of the whole party. This, I believe to be the fact. I shall never forget that afternoon. The hideous gallows were standing in the yard, but the beam was not on, and I remarked to the Governor "I hope you will be able to take that disgusting machine down presently." After a time, addressing a workman, he said "I think we had better get ready for fear of the worst." Soon afterwards I saw that the beam was put up, I did not like the look of it; but still felt confident. I hastened to Government House, with other friends, and met one of the Ministers, hurried and excited, and leaving the precincts of Government House, by the back way. "How is't to be?" I asked. "No interference with our former decision," was the reply; and the Executive councillor was gone Still we would not be satisfied. One gentlemen was present in his carriage, having come down from Parramatta that day to present a numerously signed petition. We obtained an interview with the Private Secretary, who communicated our inquiries to the Governor, and came back with the reply: "His Excellency desires me to state that the Executive Council has been held, and the man is to be executed." The Secretary added that none could feel the necessity more acutely than the Governor. The effect of the announcement was a perfect consternation. I returned to the gaol about an hour afterwards. There was no doubt now. Two Sisters of Mercy were just leaving Manns' cell, weeping. The gallows was all ready - beam and ladder adjusted. The guards looked grave as they paced the yard with their rifles and bayonets. Soon afterwards, I heard, the hangman was enjoying himself in his lair. He had oiled and greased the rope, and was softening it at the fire with one hand while he fried mutton chops for his supper with the other. Even now the case was not given up. Another memorial was prepared, praying the Governor merely to grant a respite until Mr. Cowper could be communicated with. This was at eleven o'clock at night. Government House was closed and in darkness, and there was no getting access. Next morning at 7 some of the same gentlemen went again, but the Governor declined to see them. All hope was now gone. The Empire of that morning said: "With mingled feelings of shame and sorrow and indignation, we have to announce that Henry Manns has been doomed to the scaffold. The one has been taken and the other left. The wretched and irrational bungling that has marked this case from its commencement marks it to its close. It is well, indeed, to be consistent, even in our folly.... But the evil has been done; the one evil that can never be repaired. To-day a crime will be committed which will bring anguish to many hearts; a crime which will ever leave its 'damned spots' upon the hands of justice; a crime which will reflect indelible disgrace upon the administration of the law; a crime which we do not scruple to designate a judicial murder." Little did any one think to what horors further bungling would lead."

Following Henry Manns' execution, his Mother through a supporter Mr. Plunkett expressed her appreciation of the sympathy and comfort of those who tried through petitions to save her son, published in the 'Empire' on the 30th March 1863 as follows; 


                                                      TO THE EDITOR OF THE EMPIRE

Sir, -Mrs. Manns, the affected mother of the late Henry Manns, called on me this morning, impelled by a sense of gratitude for the interest I have taken, and the sympathy I have felt for her in her trouble, having seen her several times. She wished me to express, likewise, the gratitude she feels for the kind help and commiseration attended to her by the gentlemen connected with the Empire, by the deputation who waited on the Governor with the petition for mercy, and to all those who have kindly assisted in procuring or in giving their signatures to that petition. She feels this public sympathy a great consolation in this time of extreme distress, but her chief consolation is the certainty she feels that although mercy has been denied to her son in this world it has been granted him by the Almighty, in whose eyes the repentant and returning prodigal is ever welcome.

Hoping you will allow this to appear,

I remain, Sir, yours very respectfully,
John Palseb
March 26.

A short time after the execution of Manns, some controversy arose over Manns' religion as he was recorded on entry into Darlinghurst Gaol as a Protestant but prior to his death Manns converted to the Catholic faith as per this document below;




Henry Manns’ body was handed over to his family and brought back to Campbelltown. He was aged 24, below is the report of his funeral from 'The Empire' 27th March 1863.

THE FUNNERAL OF MANNS-The unfortunate mother of the deceased criminal being anxious to have the body of her son for internment at Campbelltown, made application   for that purpose through Dr. Wilson, M.P. The   request was at once complied with by Mr. Robertson, the Secretary for Landa. At half-past 10 o'clock accordingly Mr. Loseby, of the Pack Horse Inn, Haymarket, who knew the deceased from his infancy, procured a coffin and hearse at Mr Hanslow's, Brickfield-hill, and proceeding to Darlinghurst gaol got the corpse, and depositing it in the hearse, told the driver to proceed with all speed to the Haymarket, as he was afraid that the immense crowd congregated outside the gaol would follow after the vehicle and prevent its easy access in to the yard of the Pack Horse Inn, where Mrs. Manns was waiting with anxiety. Mr. Loseby going after in a cab. Arrived at the Inn, the body was removed from the prison shell to the coffin Mr. Loseby had procured, and remained at the Inn until five o'clock in the afternoon, when it was again placed in the hearse, followed by a mourning coach, containing the affected mother and three or four friends, who accompanied the poor woman to console her, the procession proceeding to the railway station for conveyance to Campbelltown, where Mrs Manns has already a couple of children buried, she having resided in that district for many years although her present residence is at the Adelong Crossing, Place. The crowd at the Haymarket yesterday was immense, the people following the hearse to the station and it was contemplated that at the funeral at Campbelltown the people would assemble from many miles around, Manns having been well known about there from his infancy. There was but little alteration in the features of the culprit after death, the skin having only a mark where the rope had slipped, and under one of the eyes was a scrape. We feel it due to Mr. Loseby to state that we understand he closed his establishment all day, while the corpse was in the house, refusing admission to every one, unless the immediate friends of the unfortunate deceased, the bar being closed to all customers. At the Adelong Crossing Place, where Manns' family is residing, are at present no less than five brothers and two sisters, left this day to deplore the fate of their misguided and unfortunate relative.

After his death, this was written of him in the 'Sydney Morning Herald' on the 21st April 1863;

"... Henry Manns was twenty-four years of age, and a native of Campbelltown. Many persons who knew him there as a boy and youth have spoken of him favourably as a very well conducted lad. For the last six or seven years he was employed in looking after stock in the district lying between the Murrumbidgee and the Lachlan Rivers, and for the last twelve or eighteen months was at a station called the Gap, belonging to a Mr. Sutherland, at no great distance from Burrangong. He was supposed to have made the acquaintance of Gardiner at Lambing Flat where he was frequently seen lounging about the hotels; and is imagined to have been one of the gang employed by that marauder in that particular part of the country".

Note: The death of Henry Manns and the manner of it, was still causing debate in the NSW parliament well after Henry Manns' demise and where the evidence of Daniel Charters was still being brought into question by many members of the house. One parliamentarian in particular a Mr. Harpur was constantly attacking the Cowper government over the speed in which the executive through the Governor had approved the execution of Manns when they had granted clemency for Bow and Fordyce. In Parliament on the 21st August 1863, during the debate on the failure of the new Police Act, Mr. Harpur made this sensational statement, as follows on an unpublished element of the execution of young Manns, taken from the 'Empire' of that date; "... t
he gravamen of his (Mr. Harpur's) charge was the execution of Manns. That criminal was, executed in the most barbarous manner. Fourteen or fifteen prisoners were brought out to expedite the man's strangulation by clinging to his legs. (Sensation.) Manns was put to death in that shocking manner. Yet had crime in the least diminished. There was one circumstance that caused him alarm. It was said that there were 120 applicants for the office of hangman." 


Father Tim McCarthy had a long career in the bush towns on the Western Districts of NSW and was well acquainted with Ben Hall, John Gilbert and was responsible for John Vane and young Dunleavey's surrender. In the 1930's an article appeared on the life of Fr. McCarthy and his noble work, along with this extract on the execution of Henry Manns taken from the 'Freeman Journal'"... the execution was stayed for fully 20 minutes after the time, in the hope of a reprieve or a respite — for up to the very last the greatest pressure was brought to bear upon the Government — but all to no purpose. During this suspense Manns betrayed no emotion of hope or of fear. He fervently repeated the short prayers and ejaculations after their enunciation by the noble men of God who accompanied him to the scaffold. He walked firm and erect, displayed no agitation or want of fortitude, still less anything approaching bravado, or recklessness. When the fatal bolt was drawn: an appalling spectacle presented itself. Let an eye-witness of this horrible scene describe it: "The noose of the rope, instead of passing tightly round the neck, slipped completely away, the knot coming around in front of the face, while the whole weight of the criminal's body was sustained by the thick muscles of the poll. The rope in short went round the middle of the head, and the work of the hangman proved a most terrible bungle. The struggles and sufferings of the wretched being were terrible to behold. His body swayed about and writhed evidently in most intense agony, he arms repeatedly rose and fell and, finally, with one of his hands, the unfortunate man gripped the rope as if to tear the pressure from his head — a loud guttural noisier meanwhile proceeding from his throat and lungs, while blood gushed from his nostrils and stained the cap with which his face was covered. This awful scene lasted for more than ten minutes; when stillness ensued, and it was hoped that death had terminated the culprit's sufferings. Shocking to relate, however, the vital spark was not yet extinguished, and to the horror of all present the convulsive writhing’s were renewed and the sickening scene was only terminated at the instance of Dr. West by the aid of four confinees, who were made to hold the dying malefactor up in their arms while the executioner readjusted the rope, when the body was let fall with a jerk, and another minute sufficed to end the agonies of death."


NB: A prison photograph of George Manns (Henry's brother) who is said to have been the spitting image of his brother.  There are no known photographs of Henry Manns.










Daniel Charters ("a young man of rather decent appearance")


Daniel Charters, this
 photo was most
 probably taken at
 Mrs.  Reed's
photographic
gallery Forbes
 in 1862.
Daniel Charters was born in County Antrim, Ireland in 1837; his parents were Daniel and Jane Chartres (French version) who migrated to Australia on board the “Isabella”, arriving in Sydney on the 18th October, 1840, as assisted settlers. Daniel Charters was aged three. The family resided in Sydney for about five years at which time Daniel had attended school, and at the age of eight the family moved to Carcoar, NSW.


Daniel Charters would state this about his early life in NSW whilst giving evidence as an informer during the Special Commission held into the Eugowra Escort Robbery and bushranging in February 1863; "...I was born in the north of Ireland. I first lived in Sydney; at seven or eight years of age I went to the country; I have lived since in the Bathurst and Burrowa districts; My father is dead about three years (actually five years), but my mother is living, I have four sisters but no brother. One of my sisters is living with my mother, one is living at the Pinnacle, another lives on the Lachlan, and another at Carcoar. They are all residing in the two districts I have named. My business is that of a stockowner, looking after my own and my sister's cattle. I have never been employed as stock-keeper by any one, and have never in my life received wages from any person. My sister's station at the Pinnacle is a large one. She has a good many people employed there, and has about 2000 head of cattle. I have about 500 or 600 head of my own. I can read and write, but not very well. I was at school for twelve months in Sydney, and have since been taught by a private master at my father's and my brother-in-law's. There is a place of worship at Carcoar, and my mother's place is near there. When I was there I attended worship regularly every Sunday, when it was fine. As a child I was taught my prayers. I believe in God firmly and sincerely. I believe that the Almighty knows all that crosses in my mind, and will reward me or otherwise as I speak truth.” (Evidence suggests that Daniel had one brother, although denied, named Thomas as per their arrival. Thomas died, reputedly at St Leonards, Sydney in 1918. His split from the family is unknown).


Charters' Family
arrival in 1840.
However, it was during the mid-1850’s, that Daniel Charters would strike up a friendship with a local and well respected stockman working in the area between Carcoar and Forbes by the name of Benjamin Hall, the two soon became close friends and could be found often in each others company as well as all the local musters in the districts, both were excellent bushmen and horsemen.

Daniel Charters was described as 6ft tall, of stout build, a fresh complexion, light brown hair, blue eyes and could read and write. Daniel's father, Daniel Charters senior, anglicised their surname from Chartres to Charters soon after their arrival from Ireland. Throughout the 1850's the Charters family acquired extensive landholdings around Carcoar, Kings Plains and Bogolong (near present day Grenfell) and Charters' sisters also held large landholdings, including publican licences whilst operating several inns and shanties in the Lachlan district, the most famous and equally notorious was the 'Pinnacle Station', while another sister owned a hotel at Bandon, New South Wales often frequented by both men. Unfortunately, Daniel's father would die as a result of a fall from his horse whilst returning from a night out in Carcoar intoxicated, as reported in the 'Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal' on the 3rd March 1858; "...a fatal accident occurred to Mr. Daniel Charters, an aged man of about seventy. It appears that he left the five-mile water hole public house for the purpose of going home, and by some means his horse run against a tree, severely injuring his head and breaking four of his ribs; and after lingering in great agony for three days he died. An inquest was held on his body, and a verdict of accidental death was returned."
Daniel Charters' father's Inquest record.
Daniel Charters Land
purchases 1856-1861.
Earlier, Daniel, through his father purchased his first property in 1856 and by 1858, Charters was a very well-off young man, owning over 500 head of cattle, which in the late 1850's could reach £7-10 a head. The cattle and horses were held at his sister's leases, namely, 'Doubalgie' near Forbes and the Pinnacle. The 'Doubalgie' property was still in the families control into the 1880's, running mainly sheep as noted here; "...900 sheep Newell's, (James Newell was married to Agnes Charters and passed away 1st October 1871) passed on Monday, from Bandon to Back Doubalgie -Forbes Times, Aug. 14, 1880," In 1860, his close friend Benjamin Hall obtained his own lease 'Sandy Creek', where Daniel could be often found working alongside Ben Hall, as Charters was agisting some of his own herd and horses on Hall’s station. (Sandy Creek is near today’s township of Grenfell see video below). Charters stated in February 1863, at the Special Commission on Bushranging, that; "...I have known Ben Hall for six or seven years; I used to be at his place when I was gathering cattle for myself and for my sister." Charters and Ben Hall had established a close friendship and both were excellent horsemen and bushmen and were often found at all the local musters and dances in the districts. Daniel Charters' sisters also owned extensive property as well as public-houses in and around the Lachlan District, the most notable was the 'Pinnacle Station', 26,880 acres’ with its own hotel which was owned by Charters' older sister Margaret and her husband Rodger Feehiely.
Sandy Creek Station

The Charter's residence
Carcoar, reputed

birth place of 
Henry Hall, now
Fern Hill.
c. 1970's.

Courtesy, Carcoar Historical Society.
In 1860, both Daniel Charters and Ben Hall were summoned to appear at the Burrowa court over a matter of ownership and payment of a horse and where Ben Hall was Charters' witness in the affair, as well as being implicated with Charters in the incident, the whole affair seemed to indicate a fine line between a stolen and a trialled horse, Charters stated;  "...I was brought up with Ben Hall at the court at Burrowa; I was not brought up there on any charge; I was summoned there about a horse; I had a horse from a man on trial, and he summoned me for payment for the use of it; I swear it was no charge of criminality at all; it is about two years and a half years ago; Ben Hall was present when I borrowed the horse; he was implicated in the matter in no other way, I was summoned by John Healy; the, charge was made against me; I was not in custody; I went in and spoke a few words; the verdict was against me, and I paid £2." (John Healy was well known to both Hall and Charters and was one of the many shady criminals that both knew well, and who would eventually be sent down to Cockatoo Island for larceny and for robbery of a dray with firearms and sentenced to 15 yrs., first year in Irons in early 1863.) The outcome was that Charters paid the outstanding amount.


The close friendship between Charters and Ben Hall and Hall's wife Bridget was demonstrated when Bridget went into labour and gave birth to Ben's son Henry at the Charter's residence at Carcoar, furthermore, Daniel's mother Jane acted as mid-wife, and the happy couple convalesced there for several weeks.

Frank Gardiner
Daniel Charters as with most of the stockmen and settlers of the Lachlan district, knew Frank Gardiner. Charters recalled his relationship to the 'King of the Road', who was often to be seen at O'Meally's public house the 'Weddin Inn' and at the Pinnacle Station public house, both of which for a while Gardiner used as a lair, Charters recalled in 1863;"...I have known Frank Gardiner for about thirteen years, from first to last. I have not known him to speak to him until the last eighteen months. He used to be horse-racing in the district. I did not know him as a bushranger until lately, I saw Gardiner at Maguire's about six weeks before meeting him in June last. I was there (at Maguire's) in June last, and had some drink. Maguire told me that a man who was there was Frank Gardiner. I know him by eyesight before that time, for some years. I knew he was a bushranger at that time. Gardiner had some grog with him, and we drank some of it. I saw him next at the "Pinnacle." He had been sticking up some people all along the road, and came in there for something to drink, with another man. He was at that time pursued closely by the police, and had to escape round by the fence of the house. He presented a pistol, and told me to fetch him a horse that was near. I did as I was told, and brought the horse to him. He got away on that occasion. I saw him afterwards at Wheogo. I have seen Gardiner oftener at Maguire's than at any other place. He came in there when I was there, on two occasions."


Ben Hall
The Pinnacle Station was owned by Rodger Feehiely, who was married to Charter’s older sister, Margaret. Unfortunately, Feehiely, who was much older than Margaret by 16yrs died in 1859, leaving his widow Margaret to operate the large cattle property in conjunction with her brother Daniel, which included the public house situated on the station which was regularly frequented by the Weddin Mountains mob including the O’Meally’s, John Gilbert, John Bow, Ben Hall as well as many others involved in illegal activities throughout the Lachlan district. The following extract is of the earlier robbery mentioned by Charters above, committed by Frank Gardiner and notes Gardiner's presence at Margaret Feehiely's, Pinnacle station in February 1862; "...they rode up to Feehiley's, and one of the party immediately recognised Gardiner's horse tied up to the fence, the constables rushed into the house - but no robber was to be seen. Upon going outside the door, however, one of them saw a man crouching down, whom Mr. Torpy recognised as the man who had just before stuck him up - that is the man Gardiner."

Frank Gardiner and
John Gilbert
In early June 1862, Frank Gardiner planned one of the boldest robberies in early Australian history, the Forbes Gold Escort hold-up, at Ben Hall’s suggestion the most felicitous site for the robbery was at Eugowra Rocks, a robbery Gardiner had been considering for sometime as recorded by John McGuire in memoirs, McGuire wrote; "... It was with Gardiner that the idea of taking the escort originated and took a fortnight to prepare for the attack. For some months before Gilbert and O'Meally were Gardiners constant companions, and they had been talking about it together. They were getting full of the petty bailing-up business, and wanted to make a grand haul and then quit the country." The Rocks at Eugowra was an area Gardiner was unfamiliar with but which Ben Hall knew fairly well through Daniel Charters. (Eugowra Rocks were situated closely to the main road from Forbes to Orange and was ideal at the time for providing perfect cover and surprise for Gardiner’s hold-up of the coach. I was there in 2013 and as I stood on the rock, and in the quiet, you could almost hear the gunfire and raucous yell's of Gardiner's men.) Ben Hall related to Gardiner of Daniel Charters knowledge of the area, as they had often visited Charters' sister Agnes and brother-in-law James Newell who operated a public house close to Eugowra township, the location for the robbery came from Ben Hall and as a result Charters was according to his future testimony, seconded into the gang for his local knowledge of the country which was invaluable for Gardiner’s plan, although Charters' stated secondment is not true, as through the influence of Ben Hall, Charters seemed keen for the bold once in a life time get rich quick heist, although at the time Daniel Charters was not short of a quid, as Charters had interests in valuable properties, a large amount of stock and his own future prospects were exceptional, where as Charters' close friend Ben Hall, was on the downward slide, after a failed marriage, a recent brush with the law and a seemingly lack of dedication to Hall's own valuable property. (see Ben Hall page.)

Eugowra Rock today; 
Gardiner's viewpoint as the 
coach would have approached 
the hold-up site.
The fledgling group held their last meeting at John McGuire’s home at 'Sandy Creek' on 13th June 1862. Firstly, the gang departed for Forbes to obtain weapons and equipment for the robbery, a Mr William Baldwin stated at the second Escort trial; "... I am a storekeeper, I was living at Forbes in June last. My store was oppisite the 'Harp of Erin' public house kept by Mr Patrick Gallen. I remember one Friday evening, 13 June, and on that evening I remember selling two double-barrelled guns to two young men. I noticed one of them; the other kept near the door and I did not notice him so fully. They did not pay me in cash, but they went away and sold the gold came back and paid me in cash. They also brought an American hatchet or tomahawk and some other things were sold them by the shopman. This was between 6 and 8 o'clock in the evening." After the purchases and enroute to the Rock they robbed Mr. Green's station, 'Uar', outside Forbes of fodder and food, Mr Green would later state at the second Escort trial; "... I am a grazier living at the Uar station. It is about seventeen or twenty miles from Mr Cropper's place. In June last I kept a store. About 12 June I was away from home - I was away from 11th to 16th. When I came home I found that the house had been robbed. I missed some oats, amongst other things, about a bag and a half. Bags and all were taken. I also missed one case of lobsters, about two dozen tins, less two or three I had taken out of the case myself." Charters proceeded lead the group to Eugowra Rocks arriving on the morning of 15th June 1862. Gardiner then paced out the distance of the firing range from the Rocks to the position the coach would be at the time of the hold-up. About midday, Gardiner bailed up two bullock drays approaching the hold-up site. Gardiner placed the drays across the track as an obstacle for the coach to negotiate. As the gang waited for the coach to arrive, one of the men suggested someone should go and mind the horses hidden just over a rise from the rocks - Charters volunteered. After some thought, Gardiner agreed stating; "...very well, you go; you're bl---y frightened of your life, and you're the best to go."
My Video of the Eugowra Robbery Site.


Extract of Daniel Charter's
 statement of events at the 
time of the robbery (above).

While he was minding the horses, Charters later said he “...heard several discharges of weapons firing and shortly after the men returned with gold-boxes, some rifles, and a cloak; the gold was placed on the horses.” Gardiner remarked to Charters, "...it was a very narrow escape." The gang then made their way passed Eugowra stopping at Newell’s Inn (Charters brother-in-law) for food, James Newell stated at the future court hearing that; "...I am a publican at Bandon; remember hearing of the escort robbery; I remember people being brought up at Forbes for the escort robbery; I sell preserved fish, in tins, such as sardines, oysters, &c; I did sell such articles about this time." 


Charters lead the gang back to Wheogo Mountain close to Ben Hall's property 'Sandy Creek' some 60 miles from the site of the robbery. Under Gardiner’s instructions, Charters took the gang on a zigzag course in an effort to confuse the blacktrackers. On arrival, the proceeds were divided and Hall, O’Meally and Manns departed.



The requirement for more capacity to carry the gold was needed and Charters was dispatched by Gardiner to Ben Hall's home for more saddle bags. (At the future Escort trial Charters would claim it was Gilbert who went). As Charters was collecting the items the dogs commenced barking and Charters saw the approaching police, Charters slipped out of the hut, mounted his horse and fled using the hut as cover between himself and the police and at full gallop headed for Wheogo Mountain, John McGuire in his narrative wrote of Daniel's flight from Sandy Creek; "...the police sighted him, and, looking as it did, rather suspicious, they started in pursuit, I witnessed part of the pursuit as they passed my house. Charters had a lead of a few hundred yards, and was mounted on a splendid animal. However the police kept him in sight till the foot of the mountain was reached."  MaGuire goes on to say,"... when Charters got within speaking distance, he shouted out "here come the police, boys!" Shortly after the long arm of the law was upon the remaining members and they fled Mt Wheogo. The fact that Charters was at Sandy Creek was also corroberated by another witness and freind of both Charters and McGuire was Thomas Richards who saw chartes leaving MaGuires and also an opportunity to claim the reward by becoming a Crown Witness against those involved, stated; "...on the Monday I went after cattle again; I saw Maguire as I was going up from the yard, and I saw a man running away from the yard; I saw a man running away; he and Maguire had apparently been talking together; I went up to Maguire and asked if the man who was running away was not Charters, Maguire said it was."

"here come the police, boys!"
In Jack Bradshaw's narrative of Ben Hall produced heavily from the interviews with William Hall, Ben Hall's older brother, William corroborates John McGuire's account of Charters' ride back to Wheogo and states; "He (Charters) was sent there from the top of the Wheogo Mountains two miles away for a pair of saddle-hags for Gardiner to carry his gold in. Charters heard the dogs bark, and saw the police coming. He slipped out, mounted his horse, and made for the Mountain at full gallop. The police caught sight of him, and they quickly followed in pursuit. (Bill Hall is my authority for all this.) Charters had a lead of a hundred yards, and was mounted on a good horse. However, the police struggled to keep him in sight till the foot of the mountain was reached. In the meantime, from the Look-out the gang got sight of Charters coming at a gallop, with the police at a distance behind him, and made preparations for departure as soon as Charters reached them". After a chase of over twenty miles through scrub land and close to the Weddin Mountains, Bradshaw writes; "...the pack horse fell, Gardiner looked behind, and found the police not far away. He uttered a curse, dug his spurs into his horse, lost the prize, and narrowly escaped being captured himself." The packhorse was soon recaptured along with Charters’ share and the remaining gold. Frank Gardiner then confessed to Charters of making a “...bad job of it.” and as compensation gave Charters £50 and a gold nugget - a far cry from the 300 oz of gold and £435 he was due. (See article above.)


Bathurst Free Press Report, 28th June 1862
 Recapture of the gold and police pursuit.
Sargeant Sanderson who was the pursuer of Daniel Charters back to Wheogo describes the scene on his arrival at the gangs hideout during the Escort trial in February 1863; "...on the Thursday morning following he 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.” The police had their suspicions and were soon making arrests and on 29th July 1862, Daniel Charters was arrested with Ben Hall, McGuire, John Brown and Hall's brother William at Sandy Creek Station.  Charters faced court in Forbes and he was remanded along with his co-arrested on the advice of Sir Frederick Pottinger.

Charters and Hall's
 Arrest Report.
During this period Charters
 made his decision to turn 
Queen's evidence.
Under pressure from his devoted sisters and influenced by Pottinger, Charters wrestled with his conscience and finally turned Queen’s evidence unbeknown to Ben Hall and the other conspirators held on remand, McGuire at the time noted that he overheard Ben Hall tell Charters “…they haven’t found anything on us, and they can do nothing to us." At Charters’ bail application Pottinger stated; “...he protested against bail being taken for the appearance of any of the prisoners excepting against the prisoner Daniel Charters, of whom he had nothing to say.” The release of Charters on bail shook Ben Hall, as McGuire wrote later in his memoirs; "...Sir Frederick then came and took Charters away. On his return Charters told us he was going to get bail whilst we could not, I watched Ben’s countenance, and noticed that he looked a bit upset when Charters got his freedom." Charters was bailed early August 1862, on his own recognisance of £500, paid by Charters and two sureties of £250 each, one paid by his sister and the other paid by his brother-in-law James Newell. (£1,000 in 1862 is worth today around $45,000)

Charters' Bail Granted
(The amount set demonstrates the
 wealth at his disposal.)
During the preliminary hearings, Charters out of loyalty to his close friend Ben Hall and his sheer terror of the menacing John O’Meally, denied that they had participated in the Escort Robbery. This steadfast position allowed Hall and O'Meally to be eventually set free on bail. Charters whilst on bail, visited the Forbes Police station for an interview and through Sgt Sanderson met with Sir Frederick Pottinger, where after considerable persuasion from his sister's and a fear of the drop (hanging), Charters offered to give evidence for the Crown in the matter of the Escort Robbery and for the subsequent pardon on offer from the government, Charters stated; "...I was out for ten days or a fortnight before I gave any information about Gardiner and these men. I went and spoke to Sir Frederick Pottinger. He made me no promises. I went to get free pardon, under the proclamation, as an accomplice. I remember all the particulars very distinctly, because I know the country very well. I ought to remember what has involved my ruination."



Sir Frederick Pottinger
With the assurance of Sir Frederick Pottinger, Charters went on to implicate those involved but left Ben Hall and John O'Meally's names out of it, instead claiming two men named Charlie and Billy were also involved but did not know who they were or where they were from to cover for Ben Hall and O'Meally. The others he named were, Frank Gardiner, John Bow, Alex Fordyce, John Gilbert, Henry Manns, Charters went on and gave the delirious Inspector the intimate details of the robbery but at the same time attempted to distance himself from any real part in the affair, claiming that he was not actually present at the shooting at the coach and went on to neither confirm or deny John McGuire's involvement. With this act of betrayal, Daniel Charters had stained his life forevermore and would now always be referred to as the 'Approver' (Informant), a much despised character in 1860's Australia and a title that could cost Charters his life as was reported in the 'Lachlan Times'; "... you could expect that Daniel Charters, the approver, upon whose evidence the convictions for the escort robbery will be obtained, will not settle down again on the Lachlan for many along day. The position of an informer is not generally an enviable one; but in this case we fancy it will be trebly so, if ever he shows himself among is old friends." The police with Charters' information soon arrested Alex Fordyce and John Bow, then in late August 1862 based on Charters' confession, Ben Hall, William Hall, John Brown, John 'Warrigal' Walsh (later to be arrested again and would die in the Forbes Gaol, age 16) and John O'Meally's father Patrick were released from Forbes lockup due to a lack of evidence.


Charters now became the principle witness for the crown and was conveyed to Bathurst for the next sitting of the court, as were John Bow, John McGuire and Alex Fordyce soon followed by John O'Meally, who would be released on bail soon after arrival, the hearing's conducted at Bathurst were closed to the public for the protection of Charters, who at this point implicated McGuire as a supplier of goods to the gang. The court found there was sufficient evidence for a trial and all but O'Meally were remanded at Bathurst Gaol. In December 1862, Henry Manns was recaptured by Sir Frederick Pottinger after an earlier escape and lodged at Bathurst, then in January 1863 the four prisoners were transferred for trial to be held in Sydney, the trial would be come known as the 'Special Commision' and would also incorporate the trials of a number of other felons; The list of cases was reported in 'Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Chronicle' January 1863; SPECIAL CRIMINAL SESSION.--The special session for the trial of certain cases of crime from the interior, will commence at Darlinghurst, on Monday, the 2nd Frebruary. At present there are seven cases for trial, but it is possible that one or two may yet be added to the calendar. 1. Charles Mackay, robbery with firearms. 2. George Williams, robbery with firearms (sticking-up Bathurst mail). 3. George Willison and Frederick Britten, robbery with firearms (robbing the Bathurst mail and taking large quantities of bank notes). 4. Charles Foley and John Brownlow, robbery with firearms. 5. John Healy, robbery with firearms (near Goulburn). 6. Alexander Fordyce, John Bow, John Maguire, Henry Mann (alias Henry Turner), robbery with firearms and wounding (robbery of Lachlan escort). 7. Alexander Ross, Charles Rose, and William O'Connor, robbery with arms and wounding (attempted murder of Mr. Stephens). As far as present arrangements are made, we believe that one court only will sit for the trial of the prisoners. Alexander Ross and Charles Ross (not related) were both convicted of the wounding of a Mr. Stephens of Caloola and both would be hanged. Another interesting person to be charged was John Healy, at whose place the escort gang prepared and loaded the guns for the hiest and who also had been involved with Frank Gardiner as reported in 'The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser', January 1863; "...Healy, one of Gardiner's companions, who was arrested on suipicion of being concerned in the escort robbery, was brought up on Saturday, for highway robbery under arms, on the Lambing Flat road, Jacobson, a jeweller and storekeeper in Forbes, was the prosecutor, he recognised the prisoner in the bar of a public house on Friday. A good deal of stolen property was produced. Healy's wife was insane from drink. Gardiner is reported to have boen seen, mounted and well armed, between Lambing Flat and Forbes." Healy was found guilty of bushranging and sentenced to 15 years on the roads, the first year in irons. 

The 'Special Commision' trial for the escort four was set for 2nd February 1863, and was the hottest ticket in town for the entertainment starved populace, the prisoners where arraigned in court on the morning of the 3rd February 1863 and presided over by Justice Wise, also attending were some of Sydney's elite in the form of politicians, and celebrities of the day to see and hear of the daring deeds of the wild colonial boys. "Not Guilty" was the cry of the accused, and the courtroom hushed over as Daniel Charters was called to give evidence. At the commencment of the procceedings an observer wrote of Daniel Charters; "...Charters, who is a very young man, of quiet demeanour, and has evidently received an education superior to that generally given to bush lads; he is, however, a thorough bushman, and well acquainted with the country and the mode of traveling adopted by men who desire to mystify persevering "trackers." He gives his evidence with extraordinary fluency, and is very particular as to minor details. His description of the country through which he says he led the gang of robbers is vivid in the extreme, and any one acquainted with the bush of Australia, will readily realise the scenes described by him. When Charters stepped into tho witness-box, he reminded one of Sheil's description of the "approvers" in the celebrated Clonmel trials, "an informor, but not a common informer."

Charters was the one, who upon his appearance sat the filled courtroom onto the edge of their seats as Charters commenced to drop the defendants in it. Charters commenced his testimony which was long and laborious and as history has proved was full of misleading falsehoods, extracts of his testimony follow, Charters stated; "...I lived at Humbug Creek, on the other side of the Lachlan; in the beginning of June last I was within twenty five miles of Forbes; It was on the 15th June; I know the prisoners; saw John Bow and Fordyce on the 12th June; they were within a quarter mile of Mrs. Feehiely's station, called the "Pinnacle"; I was driving some horses; I met Frank Gardiner, John Gilbert, and the two prisoners, Bow and Fordyce; Gardiner is a bushranger in that part of the country; they were coming towards me; Gardiner rode up to me about fifteen yards in advance of the others; he asked where I was going to? I said to my sisters; he then said he wanted me to go with him for a few days; I said I could not, for if seen with him I should be thought as bad as him; he said I must go, as he wanted me to show him the road to some place that he did not name; Gardiner was armed; he had a double-barrelled gun slung to his horse, and two revolvers on his person; Gilbert was armed, and Fordyce also was armed; when I declined going with him, Gardiner put his hand on his revolver, and said, "I've come for you, and you must go." I then went with him."  [The witness here identified the prisoner Manns as one of the men concerned]


Charters continues; "...We camped again, and Gilbert went into Forbes; I heard Gardiner tell him to fetch six double-barrel guns, some rations, an American tomahawk, some blacking, some comforters, and some caps, and also a flask of powder. The men were at this time camped at a fire, lying down. Gilbert returned about one or two in the morning; he had three other men with him; one of them, " Charley," I had some knowledge of (this was Ben Hall). One was called 'Harry,' and the other " Billy(this was John O'Meally);" I saw him (Harry) in the Sydney Police Office since; Gardiner said shortly after that no man's name was to be mentioned, but it did not matter about him." When the men come they had six guns, and the other articles which were sent for; they had some rations also, and we consumed part of them. Heard Gilbert say he had great trouble in getting the guns and the axe, as there was only one store where he could get one. One gun with a rifle barrel, and nice carved stock. Gardiner chose for himself. On the Saturday morning, Gardiner said, "Go on to the Eugowra Mountain." As we reached the river near Robert's station, I saw a gentleman on the other side of the river whom I knew to be Mr. Rutherton; I was not armed; I was mounted, and led a horse -, we cantered across a piece of clear ground towards the river, and in doing so Gilbert lost his revolver; he wanted to relurn to look for it but Gordiner would not let him, saying there was no time to lose; Gilbert cut down the fence at Roberts', and we went on towards Eugowra; Gardiner rode mostly behind the others; I asked him where we were going; he said he'd tell me by and bye; we camped on the Saturday night between Eugowra and Campbell's. On the Sunday. Gardiner rose early and ordered the armes to be loaded; I asked what he was going to do, and he said " We'd see; that if he was lucky he meant that day to stick up the Escort."


"...we tied our horses up by direction of Gardiner; we each had a gun then; we then went to the large rocks overlooking the road; we remained a short time: Gardiner went down to the road, stepped the distance, returned, and said, "That will do." At about three o'clock some one said, "It would be a bl---y lark to get the escort horses to take them back; "it was then suggested that some one should go back and look to the horses we had left tied. I proposed to go back, and after Gardiner studied for a while, he said "Very well, you go; you're bl---y frightened of you life, and you're the best to go." I said I had never done anything of the kind, and did not like firing on men who never did me any harm. I then went away, leaving Seven men at the rocks, of whom Fordyce and Bow were two; Fordyce was under the influence of drink, and two or three times Gardiner said ."If he didn't wake up and look sharp, he'd cut his rations bl---y short." I went and found the horses all right.


'Fire'
While away, I heard firing, several discharges; the men returned with some gold-boxes, some rifles, and a cloak; the gold was placed on horses; Gardiner made the remark that "It was a very narrow escape"; I saw the cloak; it was a  police cloak; I noticed that the cloak had a bullet hole in the cape; this is the same cloak; I have not seen it till today since I saw it at the rocks; when the men came I back, I asked Gardiner if any one was shot? He said " No, and he was bl---y glad of it, but if there had been it was their own fault, for he told them to stand, and they fired upon him"; when the men came back, Gardiner said "Get ready and make for where we camped last night"; we came on to a piece of clear ground, about a mile and a half near a creek, when Gardiner said "We'll stop, open these gold boxes, and lighten the loads on the horses"; the boxes were opened with a tomahawk; we all had a hand in the opening. I saw the gold-bags and money taken out of the boxes; did not notice how many bags there were; I think there were three parcels. We left the boxes there, and we burnt some of the red comforters which had been used in the attack for disguise. We packed the gold afresh on one of the escort horses, and on Gardiner's own horse; this occurred on the piece of clear ground near the fence; we then went on; Gardiner told me "to go on as direct as possible to where we camped on the Saturday night;" we went on till we reached Clement's fence; I knew it, and we turned and went along it; I was leading Gardiner's pack-horse; we were all together, I was leading the way; we came to and crossed an awkward deep creek; after crossing it we again came to the fence; Gilbert got off and cut down the fence; the rails were cut down and we went through; the fence was cut about twenty panels from the creek. We then travelled towards the Lachlan Road; this was in the dark; we came on the road close by the creek; we went about 300 yards along the road, then turned off, and came on it again. We again went off, and did not got on the road afterwards till we come near to Waygar Clements' station. When we came to the fence, I made for the slip-panel, and we crossed the river; after that we camped on the bank; made a small fire at the foot of a gum tree. Here the mail letters were opened. I forgot to say that when the guns were reloaded when we reached where the gold boxes were opened, Fordyce's gun was found to be loaded, but the caps were off. Gardiner swore at him, and said, "You were afraid to fire, but I'll stop your bl---y rations." This was near Eugowra, where the gold-boxes were opened. I think each man reloaded his own gun. We camped only a short time there. It was about nine miles from the place where we opened the boxes to where we camped that night; the place where the boxes were opened was about two miles from the scene of the attack. We crossed the river about twelve at night; we did not stay more than two hours. The registered letters were opened by the light of the fire; I heard Gilbert say, " Here's £6," as he put some notes in his pocket; we had some refreshment here, part of what Harry had brought when they were going to the rocks. After leaving this, we went to Newells, where Harry got some cans of oysters or sardines, two loaves of bread, and some gin, We left the large bone at the foot of the gum tree; on leaving, Gardiner said, "Go as crooked as you can, so as to bother the trackers,"We went on till we saw some drays, when we turned off and came to the gate at Mr. Suttor's station, we went through and travelled about half a mile, till we saw another small fire; we again turned off; the pack-horses were going two and two; I was leading the foremost horse; we went on by direction of Gardiner, till we came within a few (eight or nine) miles of Forbes. When daylight arrived, Gardiner said -'we'll go on to John Reeve's;" we went on, and after taking a drink at a creek Gardiner said "make for the Wheogo Mountain;" we went on past Wheogo house, and reached the top of the mountain, where we camped about 2 p.m. on the Monday. This place was about sixty miles from where the robbery was done." 

Charters then finalised his testimony by describing the events of the police arrival at Wheogo, at this point Charters mislead the court and attempted to lessen the impact of his complicity so much so that he transferred the ride to obtain the saddle bags at McGuire's to John Gilbert, claiming Gilbert went for the saddle bags, this was following the first visit to John McGuire's to replenish their food stocks, here Charters stated under oath; "... Gardiner said to Gilbert "you had better go down to McGuire's and tell him to send me some rations enough for two or three days." He alluded to the prisoner at the bar. McGuire lived close to the place where we camped. I did not see McGuire on the occasion, nor had I seen him since I joined with Gardiner. Gilbert went away in the direction of McGuire's. Gilbert was absent for about two hours. He returned with some rations in a large dish, and he had a tin can with tea. We had something to eat there. I saw tea taken out of the can at the camp. After we had something to eat, the three strange men, Harry, Billy (O'Meally), and Charley (Ben Hall) packed up their gold in a police cloak or in the lining; they got on their horses, and went away; each man's gold was packed on his saddle. They bid us "good bye," and went away; they took their guns with them." Charters continued;"...Gardiner and I never left the mountain. Bow, and Fordyce, and Gilbert went after the horses on the Wednesday morning and brought them up; on Thursday we got ready to start; Gardiner said "he wished he had another pair of saddle bags, and asked Gilbert to go and see if McGuire had some;" he went away, but returned very shortly after in a fright, saying that, as he came near McGuire's, he saw a lot of police coming from the direction of Hall's towards McGuire's. After that we all got ready to start; after we got ready, we could hear the tramp of the police horses coming up the mountain." John McGuires narrative of the occasion, stated; "... it was to Hall's, not my place, that Charters, not Gilbert went. Hall had told them previously that they could get them. It was from here that the police galloped after Charters to the mountain." it made sense for Gardiner to send Charters, as he knew the terrain around Wheogo and Hall's property intimately, before long the police at full gallop tracked Charters to their hideout on Wheogo Mountain. This misinformation on the part of Charters was refuted by another witness to Charters' presence at Sandy Creek on the Monday following the robbery, when another of the crown witnesses Thomas Richards (alias Matthews) corroborated McGuires future narrative of 1907, stating at the second Escort trial; "... on Monday I was away looking for cattle in the bush when I got back to McGuire's I saw a person riding away whom I took to be Charters, I knew Charters by sight, I had some conversation with McGuire. He told me the Escort had been robbed and that they were camped in the scrub five or six miles off, when he told me about the robbery, he said that if it was found out, it would be all through flash Charters, for he rode off to the camp and they would track him."  


Darlinghurst Gaol
Day 3 of the 'Special Commision', concluded the cases for the crown and the prosecution and all eyes turned to Justice Wise for his address to the jury after which they retired to reach a verdict against the accused. Daniel Charters like the prisoners had been kept in custody by the police from the time of his first statements at the Bathurst Court House and also during the Sydney trial where Charters was held at Darlinghurst Gaol for his safety, separated from the general populace of the prison. As day 4 dawned and the crowds milled around the courthouse, Charters and the prisoners after breakfast were escorted through the tunnel from Darlighurst Gaol to the courtroom. At 0930, 6th February 1863, the jury returned to the court where over 1000 people waited to hear the conclusion and punishment of the Escort Four, but a sensation was about to unfold when Justice Wise asked the jury "Have you reached a verdict", to all present the shock of the foreman's next words reverberated through the court, "We have not agreed on a verdict" replied the Foreman, "and there is not the slightest possibility of members being likely to agree", Justice Wise after a brief statement thanked the jury and discharged them, and the prisoners were returned to Gaol, where their fate was again to be decided. After consultation with the Chief Justice a new trial date was set and commenced on the 23rd February 1863, this time presided over by Chief Justice Alfred Stephens, the government were to have their pound of flesh.

The main witness Daniel Charters, once more recounted his earlier evidence and although some aspects were slightly contradicted, the bulk was enough to send the jury out to consider a verdict, which they did and on the 27th February 1863, returned a verdict of Guilty against Bow, Manns and Fordyce and Not Guilty for John McGuire as reported in the 'Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Chronicle'; 

THE VERDICT. On His Honor resuming his seat at a quarter to ten, the most intense excitement prevailed throughout the densely crowed court and the Jury having re-entered their box, on being called upon by the Clerk of Arraigns pronounced a verdict, of GUILTY on the first count against FORDYCE, BOW, and MANNS, and a verdict of NOT GUILTY as against McGUIRE, who was removed from the dock in custody, to await his trial on another charge.(The outstanding bond for Youngman in May 1862.)

SENTENCE OF DEATH. The prisoners were then severally asked if they had anything to say why judgment should not be pronounced upon them to die, according to law." 

Alexander Fordyce said he was not guilty of wounding at the time of the robbery.

Henry Manns said he had nothing to say, only he was not guilty of the charge.

John Bow said the jury had found a verdict of guilty against an Innocent man.

The usual proclamation for silence, having been made, his Honor, addressing the prisoners, said it now became his painful duty to pass upon them the sentence of DEATH.


Daniel Charters' character was brought into question and a public opinion soon manifested in a belief that the trial of the robbers was fixed and if Charters had of recieved his share of the proceeds the outcome of the events may have been completely different as reported in the 'Empire';

"... the excitement of the crowds congregated at the trials arose out of a common dislike to the evidence of an approver. The popular mind detests this kind of testimony, not merely because it is seldom to be relied on, nor indeed from any other reason as such, but from a sort of instinctive feeling which rushes at once to the conclusion that it is an augmentation of villainy. He is regarded as infinitely worse than those against whom he testifies. He is not only a thief, but a traitor. His accomplices are punished through his means, but it is at the expense of a deeper dip into crime. He saves himself, but to do that probably sends his own companions in guilt to death. What is called justice is supposed to reap some advantage; but even this is only apparent, for whilst the law wreaks its vengeance on the condemned, it lets loose the greatest villain of the mob to prey upon mankind, and the imagination pictures him as drinking the blood of his accomplices. But this particular approver endeavoured to screen himself under a declaration that he was coerced into the scheme. It would have been more creditable for him not to have urged this, as he entirely failed to make it so appear. He was disappointed, not from any unfairness of his associates towards himself, but from the loss of the grand booty. If he had received 22 lbs. weight of solid gold, and £3000 in notes as his share of the spoil, would he have delivered it up to the authorities and turned approver then? Of course this is not exactly what Government cares about, but it is the popular reasoning; and most men believe that it would be better for the accused to escape than the accuser to have his revenge."


Darlinghurst Gallows c. 1863 
Henry Manns would be the only Escort Robber to hang and was accompanied to the gallows by the Venerable Archdeacon McEnroe, the Venerable Archpriest Therry and the Reverend Father Dwyer. The hangman bungled the execution and Manns died a frightful and hideous death. He was strangled slowly as the noose had shifted around to the front of his face. His body had to be re-lifted so that the noose could be replaced around his neck and Manns was dropped again. It is also reported that the hangman attempted to steal his boots. 


Daniel Charters was 6ft tall and a handsome man and had a reputation along with his closest friend Ben Hall, of being quite the ladies man, this reputation was highlighted during the Escort trial by the defence lawyer Mr. Issacs, in an attempt to bring the veracity of Charters' eratic evidence into question, under intense presure from Mr. Issacs who had constantly attacked Charters version of events, would now bring into question Charters relationships, and at the sametime question the fidelity of John McGuires wife Ellen, and Ellen's realationship with Charters during the time of Charters' initial bail period at Forbes whilst McGuire was still incarcerated. The tactic was an attempt as part of McGuire's defence to show a motive for Charters to attempt to 'lag' McGuire, as there had been raised by the defence an impression that Charters was having an affair with Ellen McGuire whilst staying in Forbes during the time of his confession to Inspector Pottinger. 

The defence questioned Charters as follows; "Didn't you stay at the Harp of Erin Hotel", Daniel Charters responded, "When I was liberated, I went to my brother-in-law's James Newell's; I was staying at Forbes, afterwards at the European Hotel; I did not stop at the Harp of Erin; I had no particular friend with me at that time", the defence shot back, "But you stayed at the Harp Of Erin Hotel with the wife of the accused, McGuire", as Charters commenced to elaborated, the Sheriffs Officer of the court shouted towards the public gallery "Silence! Silence! Silence in the court" as the observers reacted to this sensational proposition, "I will swear I did not stop at the Harp of Erin with McGuire's wife; I have seen her at the Harp of Erin but did not stay with her", Charters continued, "I never on any occasion said, if I could "lag" McGuire, that I would then be able to sleep with his wife." On this unsavory news it was recorded that John McGuire grabbed the railing of the dock firmly. Sadly after the trial and McGuire's acquittal his marriage to Ellen McGuire ended and Ellen went to live at the ex-home of Ben Hall, as an illeagal squatter, as McGuire and Ben Hall had lost the Sandy Creek station.


Daniel Charters
c. 1861
On the 4th March 1863 while Charters was still being held at the Darlinghurst Gaol, another woman would pursue Charters in the court, as reported in the 'Goulburn Herald'; "...On Wednesday Mr. Carroll, on the part of Miss Ellen Charlotte Brandon, of the Lachlan, appeared before Messrs. G. Hill, Caldwell, and Peden, and stated that he had served a summnon upon Daniel Charters, at present confined in the B division watch-house, to appear and answer a charge of affiliation preferred against him by the above named young lady. Mr. Carroll intimated his intention of applying for a writ of habeas corpus to bring the defendant before the court on Wednesday next, for which day the hearing of the case is appointed. If it be substantiated that Charters approved Ellen Charlotte to the extent alleged, he deserves to have a Brand-on." On the 12th March this appeared in the paper as Ellen's lawyers continued to bring the matter of child support before the court; Daniel Chartres, the approver, summoned by Ellen Charlotte Brandon, to provide support for his illegitimate child, did not appear, and the case was postponed till Wednesday next.

Charters still being held incognito by the government and the press rampant about the deeds of  Frank Gardiner wrote this in regards to Gardiner's possible capture; "... if the Government is particularly anxious to have this freebooter alive, let them send their late approver under a strong escort to find him, for if any one in the colony knows Gardiner's haunts, "flash Dan Chartres" is the man; but he would want a strong escort, and even then I don't think he would be game to visit this district, as the fate of John M'Guiness must be yet vividly impressed upon his mind, therefore the best thing he can do is to get his "blood"money and go to America, for, so long as Gardiner lives, his life is not worth a month's purchase."(M'Guinness was believed to have been shot dead on Gardiner's orders after another bushranger John Davis was captured by police and M'Guinness and another instead of fighting, fled in April 1862.)

As Daniel Charters was being protected from Ellen Brandon, three prominent politicians on the 17th March 1863, were petitioning the Executive to spare the lives of Bow and Manns, one of these was Mr Harpur who it should be noted was the son of Sarah Walsh, stepmother to Bridget Hall, Ellen McGuire, Catherine Brown and the 'Warrigal', John Walsh, Mr Harpur would over the next few years, become the most critial of the new police act and a strident critic of Sir Frederick Pottinger, and would go so far as to brand Pottinger under parliamentary privilege 'a coward' a tag when called upon by Pottinger to state outside the parliament Harpur refused. The petition rebukes the evidence provided by Charters and brands him a perjurer, as follows;

THE CONDEMNED ESCORT ROBBERS.

THE following memorial has been transmitted to his Excellency the Governor in reference to the case of Manns and Bow, now under sentence of death, for the escort robbery. — "Statements connected with the escort robbery and the prisoners Manns and Bow, brought under the notice of the undersigned, which they think deserve the earnest attention of the Executive.
"1. Chartres, the approver, was not the compulsory guide he represented himself to be ; but took a most active part in planning and carrying into execution the escort robbery.
"2. On the Friday night preceding the robbery, Chartres, in company with Gilbert and another, bought at least five of the guns used on that occasion: two guns and American axe, at Baldwin's ; one gun at a bowling alley, Main-street, Forbes; two guns and tins of oysters   at a grocer's shop, also in Main street, Forbes —two men were serving in this shop.
"3. Same night Chartres and Gilbert moulded the balls in the house of a woman named Healy. Her husband is in Cookatoo.
"4. There were five men and a boy with the teams. Immediately after the firing and while the escort and mail bags were being robbed, Chartres and Manns stood guard over the men. Why were none of these men produced at the trial?
"5. Chartres not only received his share of the gold and notes, but procured the scales (from either his sister's or Ben Hall's) with which the gold was weighed.
"6. Chartres was previously a mate of Davis, now in Cockatoo.
"7. Chartres' criminality with Maguire's wife, we understand, can be proved by Healy, now in Cookatoo; and also by a publican of the name of Cannon, on the Lachlan.
"8. Chartres was confined for a considerable time in the lock-up at Forbes, in company with Ben Hall and J. O'Mealy, when his statement was concocted; he agreeing, in consideration of the sum of £200 cash, to be paid by Hall and O'Mealy, to swear that they were not connected with the robbery, he well knowing that both of these men were actively engaged in it.
"9. This is the first offence with which John Bow has been charged, having served one master, as stockman, for six years previous to his apprehension. John Bow can neither read nor write.
"10. Henry Manns was a carrier, engaged, shortly before the escort robbery, in carrying goods to the Lachlan, when he was stopped and robbed by Gardiner, who, perceiving a degree of courage and determination in Manns, resolved, if possible, to secure him as a mate. Gilbert (who had known Manns when a boy) and Chartres were sent by Gardiner to Forbes to invite him to the camp. He at first refused to go because be had no horse; but Chartres, having brought one, took him to the camp and introduced him to the escort robbers for the first tims on Saturday, the day preceding the robbery. Henry Manns can neither read nor write. This also is his first offence.
"11. We are informed that none of the first jury wished to bring in a verdict of guilty of wounding, but simply guilty of robbery.

(Signed)         " RICHARD SADLEIR,  
                            "J. BOWIE WILSON,  
                            "JOSEPH J. HARPUR,(Son of Ben Hall's former stepmother-in-Law)

"Sydney, 16th March, 1863."

The government were reluctent to produce their star witness to public scrutiny as lawyers for Miss. Brandon continued in their attempt to have Charters front court, as again reported in 'Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Chronicle' 18th March 1863; THE WOOING OF DANIEL CHARTERS.-The Central Police Court on Wednesday was crowded in the expectation of this interesting individual being introduced to his 'chere amie', Miss. Ellen Brandon. The visitors were doomed, however, to disappointment, as the authorities in turn are so much enamoured of the gentleman, that they decline to submit him to the public gaze; and another postponement for a week was granted to enable Mr Carroll to renew his application, for a writ of habeas corpus.

On the 28th March 1863, 'Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Chronicle' again reported Ellen Brandons efforts to have Charters before the court; THE APPROVER'S DESERTED FAIR ONE.-The case of Miss Ellen Charlotte Brandon v Daniel Charters also appeared on Thursday's sheet; but the lady's solicitor is still unsuccessful in his endeavours to bring the defendant into the magisterial presence, and the matter lapsed in consequence of his non-appearance.

Charters requirement to front the court was that Miss. Brandon was pregnant and Daniel Charters was the father from a relationship that the pair had consumated back in the Lachlan district about the time of Charters becoming involved with the Escort Robbery and Miss. Brandon was attempting to have Daniel Charters met his responsibilities by providing funding for the upkeep of the forth coming child and acknowledgement as the father, unfortunately Charters was able to avoid his responsibility to Miss Brandon as the government hid Charters away in a witness protection scheme and he was not heard of for sometime to come, there was a report in the papers at the time of this prospective court appearance that "...referring to Daniel Charters, the approver in the escort robbery case, and who, by the way, as I hear, has gone back to the Lachlan under charge of a mounted police escort." The outcome of Ellen Brandon's law suite against Daniel Charters is unknown. Miss Brandon gave birth to a baby boy named Henry William Brandon, who survived five months and died on the 10th March 1864. Miss Brandon would go on and marry a Sea Captain, Sheppard Giles; GILES—BRANDON—At the Scots Church, on Wedneaday, the 1st February 1865, by the Rev. Dr. Lang, M.P., Mr. Sheppard Giles, shipmaster in the intercolonial trade, to Ellen Charlotte, daughter of Mr. Richard William Brandon, tobacconist, both natives of London.

The wherebouts of Daniel Charters following the completion of the 'Special Commission' in February 1862 was a closely guarded secret kept by the government, where even the solicitor representing Miss Brandon with a writ of 'Habeus Corpus', which compelled a prisoner to be presented to court, had failed due to the government's procrastination with Charters and where they were able to keep Charters incommunicado. Daniel Charters was actually employed by the NSW police and was being held at the Longbottom stockade, situated at Canada Bay along the Parramatta River, boarded today by the suburb's of Burwood and Croyden and the stockade was situated on what is now Concord Oval, where Daniel Charters worked as a horse breaker.


Note: The name Canada Bay honours an association between Australia and Canada, following the 'Lower Canada Rebellion' of 1837 to 1838, (John Gilbert's father fought in this war, on the side of the British) two Irish and 58 French Canadian rebels were deported to Australia. Imprisoned at Longbottom Stockade, which was located at what is now Concord Oval, the convicts broke stone for the construction of Parramatta Road and collected oyster shells for making lime.

This article appeared in the 'Goulburn Herald' on the 25 July 1863; THE INFORMER DAN CHARTERS - Everyone will recollect the notorious informer who appeared against the escort robbers. Mr. Lucas, in his speech in the Assembly, on Thursday, upon the police regulations, gave the following information as to the whereabouts of this worthy:--" The notorious Dan Charters, the approver, under the name of Thomspson, had recently been staying out at Long bottom, and has been permitted to pass for a policeman, if he was not actually one of the force. He was engaged as a breaker of fancy horses for Captain McLerie, and had been recognised by a gentleman at Mr. Neitceh's public-house, who had come down the country. He had endeavoured to brazen out the idenitification, but being unable to do so, had, since he was recognised, disappeared."-Braidwood Dispatch. This news prompted questions in Parliament in August of 1863 with regards to the Approver, Charters' whereabouts being confirmed in parliament by Mr.Martin (Three time Premier of NSW) who was seeking to avail himself of "...the acknowledged difficulties of the country in the matter of the police arrangements," devulged Charters' new found employment at Longbottom Stockade, as reported in the 'Sydney Morning Herald' 19th August 1863, as follows, Mr. Martin stated, "...one of the robbers had turned approver (Charters), and had since the trial been employed, as it was believed by many, in the police. This was answered by Mr. COWPER who said, "...that the man Charters had not been one of the police. The hon. member was mistaken." Mr. MARTIN countered with,"... he had been associated with the police, and was seen connected with the force in some way at Longbottom. He had there given out that he was a policeman". Mr. LUCAS replied, "...he was employed in breaking-in horses for them".  Mr. MARTIN then remarked that, "it was evident that the man had been, since the trial of the escort robbers, associated with the police, that was not to be denied."






2 comments:

  1. Henry Manns is my Great gr gr Uncle
    William Manns,Peter Alexender Manns,Eric Manns, My mum Carol Manns, Me ��
    Happy Reading Everone

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  2. I'm interested in any information about the bushranger Johnny Piesley (Peisley) including his parents, siblings, date of birth.

    ReplyDelete