Ben Hall Pt 4

This website is designed, researched and written by Mark Matthews. It may alter with updated information and research as it comes to hand. This section is a work in progress...

"Ben Hall! Stockman, Squatter, Bushranger, from these personas, his character has remained an enigma. From a man held in high regard by all who knew him to a man through his own actions became one of the most hunted in colonial history, and who would ultimately die a violent and bloody death at the hands of his pursuers."- Mark Matthews.

This website aims to provide a comprehensive, chronological account of Australian bushranger Ben Hall's calamitous life. Gathered through the accounts of eyewitnesses, former gang members, government documents, as well as the reproduction of historical newspaper and N.S.W. Police Gazette records of Ben Hall and his associates' bushranging activities. (All related articles incorporated into the narrative are coloured and transcribed as originally published.)

"Hall is the only one of  the three who cultivates any mustache or whiskers, and he is getting fat."

As the Christmas period of 1863 rolled in, Ben Hall's five-year-old son, Henry, spent several weeks at William Hall's hut in the Pinnacle Range. There was a long-standing animosity between William, his wife Anne, and Henry's mother, Bridget. However, whether it was due to a demand or an agreement with Bridget, Henry stayed with William during the festive season. Ben Hall withdrew from the conflict to enjoy his son's company.

Hall kept a low profile at William's place until January 22nd. Meanwhile, numerous newspaper reports speculated about Hall's whereabouts, suggesting he was in various towns and districts, such as Braidwood, which is 320 km from Forbes. However, these reports were purely speculative and lacked any factual basis..
'Braidwood Dispatch' January 2nd 1864:

BEN HALL, IN BRAIDWOOD:- On Thursday evening last a rumour gained currency, that the notorious knight of the road, Ben Hall, had been in Braidwood during the day. A person in the town who knew him in other, and no doubt, to him, happier days, is said to have recognised him at a public-house. There are, however, so many recognition of these outlaws taking place every day in various parts of the country that they are beginning not to "go down," and the cry of the wolf passes unheeded.

Note: In the years ahead, Henry would spend time residing with William at Parkes, NSW.

On January 2nd, 1864, Mr. and Mrs. Campbell were commended for their brave defense of their Goimbla home, which resulted in the shooting death of John O'Meally in November 1863.:

TESTIMONIAL TO MR. AND MRS. CAMPBELL, OF GOIMBLA.-The Lachlan correspondent of the Bathurst Times reports as follows:- A public meeting was held at the Court house on Friday, at three p.m., for the purpose of presenting to Mr. Campbell an address from the inhabitants of Forbes and the neighbourhood, expressive of admiration of his courage, and that of Mrs. Campbell, in successfully resisting the attack of the notorious bushrangers, Gilbert, Ben Hall, and O'Meally on the 20th November, when O'Meally was killed. About one hundred of the elite of the district were present.

The year 1864 began with a flurry of newspaper reports on bushranging activities across the country. These reports spanned from the New England Tablelands in the north to as far south as Albury. A new outlaw, Fred Ward, known as 'Captain Thunderbolt', was causing havoc in the Glen Innes district. Meanwhile, the notorious Daniel 'Mad Dog' Morgan was reported to be lurking around Albury. The Wagga Wagga Express, in its January 2nd, 1864 edition, covered a suspected attack on a travelling woman.:

Reported Outrage by Morgan:- A painful rumour has reached us with reference to this miscreant to the following effect. Our informant states that a lady and gentleman (whose names we suppress for obvious reasons) travailing on horseback during the past week, left a station in the vicinity of Piney Range. They had not proceeded far when the gentleman discovered he had forgotten something, and returned to the station, requesting his companion to ride slowly on and he would overtake her. Having accomplished his errand, he proceeded on his way, but there was no trace of the lady, nor were any tidings obtained of her till the following morning when she reached her destination. She stated that a short time after her companion left her she was met by an armed man whom she described as Morgan, and he compelled her to go with him into the bush, and detained her at his camp all night, assaulting her in a brutal and revolting manner. He led her back to the road in the morning, and she then made her way home as quickly as possible. If this report be confirmed we shall surely hear no more of the chivalry of these scoundrels, and this arch ruffian Morgan wanted but this display of brutal lust to complete the execration in which he must be held. A further report has reached us that he has paid another visit to Dr Stitt's place, where it was stated they were prepared and armed to meet him, but he went there and met with no resistance, although we hear that a son of Dr Stitt's wished to take a gun and meet him, but was prevented from so doing. We have no further particulars.

Despite Morgan's reputation for cruelty and vindictiveness, it was generally believed that he did not engage in misconduct towards women. Therefore, the aforementioned report is likely exaggerated, or the actual perpetrator remains unidentified or undisclosed to protect a woman's honor. Regardless, on January 10th, the New South Wales government offered a £500 reward for Morgan's capture.

Rumors circulated widely in the country newspapers, suggesting a possible alliance between Morgan, Hall, and Gilbert. However, these speculations were purely fictional, as there is no evidence to indicate that the two Lachlan bushrangers ever crossed paths with the notorious Riverina outlaw, Morgan. Nevertheless, Gilbert, being literate, kept himself informed about the newspaper coverage of their exploits and those of other equally infamous bushrangers.
'The Courier' Wednesday 20th January 1864:

Gilbert and Ben Hall are said to have taken into partnership the ruffian Morgan, together with two others, and thus to have once more formed a strong band. But the news is doubted in priggo-commercial circles, where it is said that Gilbert would scorn the notion to associate with Morgan. 

While taking refuge at his brother's place, Hall and John Gilbert parted ways. Gilbert vanished from the public eye, and it was rumored that he had returned to Victoria to spend Christmas with his family. However, Gilbert would not resurface until early 1864.

Gilbert's whereabouts during this period remained a mystery to many. Had he traveled south? Had there been a disagreement between him and Ben Hall? Regardless of the circumstances, the two were not seen together, and Gilbert was reportedly spotted alone in late February in the town of Burrowa, at a store.
'The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser' Tuesday 9th February 1864:

The Bushranger Gilbert.- A private letter from Burrowa states that on the evening of the 18th ultimo Gilbert went to a store, within a short distance of the Burrowa police station, and purchased (and paid for) some tobacco, and Crimean shirts, and other articles.

Gilbert lingered at Maringo, his former home, where he was well-regarded by everyone, particularly the young women of the district.

Another theory for the pair's separation was that they had once again quarreled over a woman, resulting in Hall fatally shooting Gilbert. An alternative version that sparked public interest was that Gilbert's revolver had accidentally discharged while he was showing off in front of female admirers. However, the truth was not as straightforward as these rumors suggested. Gilbert had not yet reunited with Hall, which only served to fuel the speculation.
'The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser' Thursday 11th February 1864: 

Ben Hall And Gilbert.- The Marengo correspondent of the Yass Courier, writing on the 1st, says:- For some weeks past various rumours have been current as to the whereabouts or fate of Gilbert; some say that he is gone north, to what is called the new country, others that he and Hall had quarrelled about a woman, the rupture culminating in Hall pistolling Gilbert dead on the spot. But yesterday a settler told me for a fact, that Gilbert was not only dead but buried, and that he and Hall never quarrelled, for no one was more "cut up" at Gilbert's fate than Hall himself, and that Gilbert's death was purely accidental; for a while, he was what is vulgarly termed skylarking with the daughters of a settler not a hundred miles off, one of his numerous revolvers exploded, the contents entering his abdomen, and he would not allow a doctor to be sent for, saying "it was no use, as he knew it was a case;" so after lingering for ten or twelve hours, he died, and was buried "on the quiet.

Though all this point to a canard or a ruse by those local friends possibly to throw the police off:

A wet blanket to the ardour of the police, yet it is the general belief around here that something of the kind has occurred. One thing is certain, that, as far as highway robbery is concerned, Hall and Gilbert are now-in thieves vernacular-"pals no longer." 

Despite the absence of 'Happy Jack', a tale emerged in 1913 from the recollections of an elderly local from the Lachlan area. The story suggested that Jack was neither deceased nor at odds with Hall, but that Gilbert had fallen ill. According to the local, Gilbert hadn't traveled to Victoria but had retreated to a favored hideout of the gang, the wild and remote area of Bogan Gate, located northwest of Forbes.

This region, characterized by large expanses of rugged terrain and hills such as Monumea Gap, Nelungaloo Range, and Jemalong Range, also known as Garland Range, provided an ideal refuge for Hall and Gilbert. These ranges were part of a slender mountain range that stretched from Carawandool State Forest at Back Creek, winding north to Bogan Gate. The area was dotted with caves and ridges, offering excellent hideouts.

Moreover, the vicinity of nearby stations like Bundaburrah, Billabong, and Carrawobbity, as well as Forbes and the Dog and Duck Hotel, was advantageous. The hotel was owned by Tom Higgins, one of Hall's closest allies and the man who had treated Hall's severely injured leg a year earlier. Higgins supplied the bushrangers with food and information about police movements, allowing them to replenish their supplies as needed. There were even stories that when the authorities were closing in, the bushrangers would retreat to this area to help some graziers muster cattle.

However, while Hall was spending time with his five-year-old son at the Pinnacle, Gilbert, according to the old-timer's account, supposedly traveled further north, about 40 miles. There, he reportedly fell ill with Typhoid Fever and was cared for by a drover named Botfield. 'The Forbes Advocate' Friday 28th February 1913:

A BOTFIELD EPISODE. There is a little siding out on the Parkes to Bogan Gate railway line called Botfield, and when I was out that way a couple of weeks ago I little dreamt that the peaceful little railway siding was once the spot on which a great act of "man's humanity to man" was enacted. A drover named Botfield was taking a mob of sheep across that part of the country and coming to a creek that contained good water, he decided to camp to rest his mob. He camped on there for such a long time that people began to speak of it as Botfield's Creek. One day Gilbert, one of Ben Hall's gang, rode up to the camp, suffering from typhoid fever, and Mr and Mrs Botfield made a bunk under their wagon and nursed him right through his illness. The police often rode up making inquiries about the bushrangers and even went so far as to look under the wagon round which the tarpaulin was hung, but Botfield put them off by telling them that it was only a sick drover under there.

On Gilbert's whereabouts a correspondent while canvassing the trail had it indicated to him that Gilbert had indeed gone north:

Sydney, MARENGO. [FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT.] MARCH 22 1864. — for some days past. I have been making minute enquiries respecting Gilbert, and that among parties who are, I know, au fait as to the whereabouts of the youthful desperado; and the result is that the ex-highwayman—for he intends crying "stand " no longer convalescent from his pistol-wound, again in the saddle, and proceed to———— here my informant made a vague sort of motion with one of his arms, describing about half the points of the compass, and said, "In that, direction.'' However, the indication, notwithstanding its great, latitude, had decidedly a northward tendency.

On January 22, 1864, Hall's brief reunion with his son came to an abrupt end. Bridget Hall sought the intervention of the Forbes Court to reclaim young Henry Hall. Accompanied by Jim Taylor, Bridget issued a summons against William Hall for the unlawful detention of their son. However, the case never reached the courtroom as the dispute was resolved outside of court, and Henry was returned to his mother and Taylor.

FORBES. Friday, 5 pm.- Mrs Hall, wife of Ben Hall the bushranger, accompanied by the notorious Jim Taylor, recently took out a summons against Bill Hall, the brother, for the illegal detention of Ben Hall's child. The case was to have come off on Thursday, but the parties concerned made no appearance, the child having been surrendered to Taylor, who assumes its guardianship. 

In mid-January 1864, reports surfaced that Hall was seen in one of his old stomping grounds, Burrowa, apparently suffering from a fever. This account aligns with the period when Hall was dealing with the effects of a centipede bite. However, the sighting near Burrowa might have been due to Hall visiting Susan Prior at Tangamaroo. In 1864, Susan was once again pregnant with a son, who would later be named Alfred. It's plausible that Ben Hall was the father of this child, as his daughter Mary was already a year old at this time. These reports, however, added to the confusion and speculation surrounding Gilbert's alleged illness. 'The Sydney Morning Herald' Friday 5th February 1864:  

Ben Hall was seen about a fortnight ago on his old beat. He was suffering from colonial fever.

Before Australia Day was nationally recognized to commemorate the landing of the First Fleet, a significant historical event that marked the beginning of the transformation of an untouched wilderness, there was Anniversary Day. This day celebrated the birth of a nation, built on the backs of convicts, including my own family who arrived in 1822. Even after earning their freedom, these convicts were prohibited from returning to their homeland, the 'Old Dart'. Despite this, they began to shape the nation into the great country it is today.

In 1864, the 26th of January was a day of celebration, marking these remarkable achievements. Horse racing was deemed a fitting way to celebrate, reflecting the festive mood of the country. In towns scattered across the nation, lavish events were held for the local citizens. The town of Burrowa was no exception to this tradition.

NSW Police Gazette
Feb 1864.
Ben Hall, along with unidentified accomplices, knew that the local residents would be heading to the Anniversary celebrations. Anticipating this, they positioned themselves along the road, intending to rob the revelers. Their first targets were young ladies, adorned in their festive attire, riding in a buggy, and some men on foot. Hall and one of his unknown partners intercepted a man named Dwyer, who was on his way to the Burrowa races. 'The Australian News for Home Readers' Wednesday 24 February 1864:

Ben Hall and his New Force.— Information reached Young, on Thursday, of some ten persons, including several of the fair sex, having been stuck up while on their way to the Anniversary races on Tuesday last, by (it is supposed), the notorious bushranger Ben Hall, who allowed, them to pass upon the ladies' assurance that their finances were not in flourishing state. On information reaching Burrowa, the police went next morning in pursuit, but without success.

The new addition to Ben Hall's gang was believed to be James Mount, also known by the aliases 'Old Man' and Gordon. Mount was a seasoned criminal who had received a 'Ticket-of-Leave' in September 1862 for the Mudgee district. At 47 years old, Mount was a tall man, standing at 5ft 11in, with brown hair, grey eyes, and a strong Irish accent.

The circumstances of how Hall and Mount came together are unclear, but it's speculated that they might have met while Mount was working as a farm laborer in the Cowra area. Mount was linked to a robbery near Forbes on January 24, 1864, where two men, Bell and McMahon, were relieved of 110 oz. of gold. In another account, Hall's accomplice was thought to be the notorious 'Mad Dog' Morgan, a figure who instilled fear in the Riverina region.

Hall's present confederate in-arms is a long-legged, slop-made, middle-aged, black whiskered truculent-looking vagabond, supposed by many to be Morgan. 

Morgan, it was not.

The next day, Hall, accompanied by an unidentified accomplice, intercepted Thomas Sheedy and several other men. Their primary objective was to acquire cash and the racehorse Black Diamond. One of the men, under the threat of Hall's gun, managed to convince the bushranger that he was penniless.

Hall, seemingly appeased, engaged in friendly conversation with the men. However, when the horse's handler appeared and realized their intentions, he quickly fled. This unexpected turn of events prompted Hall and his accomplice to give chase. 'Sydney Mail' Saturday 6th February 1864:

On the following day, Ben Hall this ubiquitous ruffian, aided by two others, took advantage of the visitors to the Burrowa races returning to their homes to cause them to loose their cash. About two o'clock Mr Sheedy, of Back Creek, Mr Hutchinson, of Murrumburrah, and Mr Bass, poundkeeper, on their return from the races, when near Kellergen, were met by Ben Hall at different places on the Murrumburrah road, who issued an authoritative mandate to ' Stand and deliver,' which they did.

Mr Sheedy handed over £8, Mr Hutchinson £9, but Mr Bass, suspecting the intentions of Hall before he closed upon them, managed to secret his money beneath the saddle, and, feigning to be very thirsty, got Hall's leave, after, being searched, to go to a quarry hard by for some water, where some men were at work. He grumbled to some extent, at losing his money in a general gambling transaction. Fortunately, Mr Sheedy had the most of his cash converted into a cheque —a document not negotiable on the highway. Hall, in his usual cool way, conversed with them on various; topics, remarking that but for this trifling circumstance the race programme would have been a miserable failure, as nobody seemed to carry ready cash now. Mr Sheedy's boy was some little distance behind, leading the racehorse, Black Diamond, and suspecting what was, going on and observing that he was about to be intercepted, let go the horse and started him towards Burrowa. The bushrangers failed in over taking Diamond, whom they pursued to the confines of Burrowa. The horse knew the district thoroughly, and arrived in the township a long way in advance of his pursuers.

Many years after the bailing up of the race goers a young man from Binalong noted at the time  Hall's appearance and was surprised, expecting a wild man adorned with knives daggers and pistols, but the minds eye didn't fit the reality:

Ben Hall's demeanor and general appearance upset all my boyish calculations. I had pictured a wild-looking man in extravagant dress, with a belt around his waist, in which knives, daggers, and pistols were fastened like beads on a string. Here was a quiet, gentlemanly-looking man, dressed in a neat-fitting grey tweed suit, hazel-colored eyes, complexion fair, and a neat half-Yankee drab-colored felt hat, such as were generally worn by the station overseers. He only carried one pistol that I could see. 

It was later stated that the person involved with Hall was James Mount who was well known to use and hold many differing alias':

On the 27th. day of January, 1864 two bushrangers held up, three punters who, were returning from the  Anniversary Races, and made them hand, over their winnings. The two robbers were the notorious Benjamin Hall and a well-known law-breaker named Long Tom Coffin, alias Tom White, alias James Mount.

Ben Hall's infamous reputation as a top-tier bushranger led some to believe that joining his gang was a simple matter. Consequently, over the next few months, several individuals entertained the idea of becoming part of his notorious crew.

One such individual was John M'Kail, an American who had self-styled himself as the 'Flying Barber'. M'Kail had previously worked as a driver for the well-known coach service, Greig's, ferrying passengers between Forbes and Lambing Flat. It was during this time that M'Kail likely crossed paths with Hall and Gilbert.

McKail will be well remembered as having for a length of time-driven Mr Greig's coach between Forbes and Lambing Flat, and since the earliest days of this gold-field he has been connected with it.
However, M'Kail was a married man with a violent streak. In March 1863, he was sentenced to six months in Bathurst prison for brutally beating his wife. Upon his release, Mrs. M'Kail, fearing for her safety due to his increasingly violent behavior, took up employment with Mrs. Folkard at the Franklyn Hotel in Billabong, just outside Forbes.

M'Kail, however, was not deterred. He sought out his wife, leading to a confrontation with her employer, Octavius Folkard. Folkard refused to let Mrs. M'Kail leave, prioritizing her safety. M'Kail, vowing revenge against his wife and those protecting her, returned to the Franklyn Hotel a few days later. He entered the bar in a heightened state of agitation, positioning himself at the end of the counter where Folkard was serving two customers. Suddenly, M'Kail shouted, "Folkard, Folkard, look!" and pulled out a pistol from his pocket. The weapon discharged in the process, plunging the bar into darkness.

When a candle was lit, M'Kail was found on the floor, bleeding from a gunshot wound to his right side. The man who had intended to be an assassin was dead within ten minutes. Prior to this fatal confrontation, M'Kail had expressed his intention to join Gilbert and Hall, had he succeeded in shooting Folkard.
Ben Hall appeared to have disappeared from the Burrowa region, with no recent sightings or reports of him for a number of days. Rumors circulated that he might have returned to the vicinity of the Lachlan, possibly to his old station, or even to Wheogo station, the residence of his ex-in-laws. There were also whispers that he might be taking refuge in the remote confines of Wheogo Hill.

However, during this period of solitude, Hall had an unfortunate encounter with a centipede. The creature bit him, causing his foot to swell to such an extent that he couldn't wear a boot. In considerable discomfort, Hall sought medical attention from a doctor in Cowra for the centipede bite. Despite the doctor's efforts, Hall found little relief from the swelling and pain. Still in discomfort, Hall made his way to Oma station, a place familiar to him from his younger days when he used to herd cattle. It was also the place where he had once stolen a horse that had been entrusted to the police.

Ben Hall visited a doctor at Cowra a short time since to consult about his leg, which had been bitten by a centipede. He has since made a call at Oma station, of Messrs. West, Brothers', and took a police horse from the paddock. He is frequently seen about.

In discomfort, Hall returned to his former station Sandy Creek on the 13th of February 1864. Once a happy home. Ben Hall rode into Maguire's old homestead seeking the man who purchased Sandy Creek from himself and Maguire, John Wilson, in September 1862. 

The visit was cordial and friendly as Hall sought food and some replacement horseshoes for his ride. As Hall breakfasted, dogs barked. Seeing some police led by Inspector Shadforth, Hall calmly made for his horse, passed the police within a few yards, and with shots fired, made his escape. Wilson was arrested for harbouring. After the kerfuffle and the police departed, Hall, uncaring, returned to Wilson's to finish his breakfast, as witnessed by William Roebuck, a station hand.

He came to the kitchen, and said to me, "Good morning, old man. I have been watching them take my cook; I suppose I must cook myself." He took and fried five eggs, drank two pints of coffee, and ate some bread and butter. He hung his mare on the garden fence, where it was before the troopers chased him. He told me to tell the troopers that he had been back, wished me good morning, and went.

For the full article see the text/link below.

THE LATE BUSHRANGING ESCAPADE (From the Lachlan Miner, February 27th.) IN our last we promised to give full particulars today of the escape of Ben Hall from Wheogo; and we now proceed, as far as lies in our power, to redeem that promise. The statements of John Wilson and William Roebuck will throw considerable light upon the affair; and (until the other side of the case, if there be one, is officially made public), they must, we take it, be relied upon, the more especially as they can be verified on oath, although not as yet strengthened by affidavits: 

The Sydney Morning Herald
Tuesday 1st March 1864

However, for Sub-inspector Frederick Shadforth through allowing Ben Hall to slip through his fingers, was suspended by government minister Mr Forster pending an enquiry:

He (Mr Forster) had felt it to be his duty to suspend Mr Shadforth, and order an enquiry to be made into the circumstances.

Inspector Shadforth has been suspended for not capturing Ben Hall, the bushranger.

Suspended and against the advice of his peers Frederick Shadforth tendered his resignation which was accepted by the government.

Inspector Shadforth. — This police officer has sent in his resignation. He has taken this step contrary to the wishes of his friends, who were desirous that he should submit to the enquiry into his conduct with respect to the escape of Ben Hall from Wilson's station.

However, the circumstances surrounding Hall's evasion marked the end of his tenure with the New South Wales police force.

Shadforth managed to secure employment in various government roles following his departure from the police force. However, he found it challenging to maintain these positions in the long run. By 1873, Shadforth's struggles led him to serve a three-year sentence at Beechworth Gaol for forgery. This wasn't his first brush with the law; in 1865, he had spent a month in prison for obtaining money under false pretenses in Gundagai.

APPREHENSION OF AN EX-SUB-INSPECTOR OF POLICE— On Thursday night Frederick C. Shadforth, late a sub-inspector of police, was apprehended at Hardwicke,- by mounted constables Mara and Buckley, on a warrant in which he is charged with having obtained money by a false pretence from Mr. Norton, innkeeper, of Gundagai.

Shadforth eventually settled in Queensland where in 1891 he took his own life. Whereby he cut his wrists and bled to death.

A SUICIDE. His Identity Discovered. [BY TELEGRAPH FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT.) BRISBANE, Sunday: - INQUIRY into the death of Frederick Shadforth, who cut his arms and bled to death a fortnight ago, has disclosed the information that the deceased was the son of Captain Henry Tudor Shadforth, for many years Usher of the Black Rod in the Legislative Council of New South Wales. Shadforth had been working in Queensland for four years as clerk. At one time he attempted to start a matrimonial agency under the name of Summerleas.

Once a prosperous squatter, Ben Hall now found himself revisiting the familiar landscapes of his past life, albeit under very different circumstances. Often seen alone, without the usual company of Gilbert, he sought out locals to join him in his illicit activities. The increasing pressure from law enforcement compelled Hall to expand his operations. By the end of March, he had ventured south of Cootamundra, near Berthunga, with the intention of targeting wealthy officials. However, his presence did not go unnoticed. As soon as word of his whereabouts reached the authorities, they initiated a pursuit. Yet, as was often the case, their efforts to apprehend Hall proved fruitless: Yass Courier, March 20th 1864: 

Ben Hall Again.- The notable Ben Hall has taken the field again with a select few. On Sunday morning, soon after eight o'clock, they stopped the mail from Binalong to Wagga Wagga near Bethungra, but did not meddle with the bags. Ben stated they were waiting for Mr Clarke, the gold commissioner, and M'Carthy, of the Oriental Bank, on their return from the races. Of course the police went at once in pursuit, and it is easy to imagine with what success.

Gilbert's absence was a mystery, but Hall and his new accomplice, James Mount, didn't let that slow them down. They continued their spree of robberies, striking out in the vicinity of Bethungra, a place already familiar with their exploits. They rode from town to town, from Marengo to Burrowra, their boldness growing with each successful heist. They took what they wanted - watches, horses, saddles, bridles, clothing, and of course, money. Their audacity was matched only by their cunning, as they managed to stay one step ahead of the law.

The local Traps, seemed to be perpetually behind. Despite their best efforts, they were unable to catch up with Hall and Mount. On several occasions, they arrived at the scene of a robbery only to find that the culprits had already fled, leaving behind a trail of frustrated victims and baffled lawmen.

Whispers were maintained among the townsfolk that the Traps were disinterested in pursuing Hall and Mount. Some speculated that they were afraid, that the reputation of the bushrangers had instilled fear in the hearts of the mounted troopers.
Regardless of the truth, the result was the same. Hall and Mount continued their spree:
Reported 1 April 64 - 

ROBBERY BY BEN HALL.—Intelligence is to hand that on Friday last Ben Hall went to Mr. F. Chisholm's station, Grogan in the Binalong district, and finding the owner alone proceeded to tie him up. He threatened him with further punishment for riding about the country with bad characters—meaning the police. He then went outside, and, securing two of the servants, took the race-horse Troubadour, two other horses, and some trifling articles, and went away.

The Yass Courier Saturday 16th Apr 1864:

BEN HALL'S LATEST EXPLOITS. [from our Marengo correspondent.] Monday, 6 p.m. — Two hours ago Mr. Percy Scarr, of Marengo Station, and his brother Richard, were stuck-up by Ben Hall and one of his neophytes within four miles of Marengo, on the Burrowa side. All the plunder the scoundrel's obtained consisted of the gentlemen's watches, horses, saddles, and bridles, which were galloped away with. The squatters around, who are possessed of horses of any local reputation, must now keep a sharp eye on the same, for I am informed that Hall swears that his new gang shall be the best mounted rangers that over "took the bush for it."

The horses stolen this afternoon will assist to make good the robber's boast, for they are both well bred animals, particularly Mr. Percy Scarr's, which is a fine, showy beast, having formerly been a racer. This highway robbery took place not far from where Mr. Scarr was stuck-up before, and very near to the spot where the unfortunate mailman, Crotty, was shot dead. The Marengo police are now in pursuit.

Tuesday, 9 p.m. — The police have returned. They were unsuccessful. Most of us are now on the qui vive, consequently arms are at a premium ; for it has been tritely yet truly remarked, that "those are best' protected who protect themselves."

Wednesday. — After robbing the Messrs. Scarr, Hall and his mate went to Young, to take forcible possession of the racer Black Diamond, belonging to Mr. Sheedy, publican, Back Creek. Fortunately Mr. S. and the horse were away. However, Hall ransacked the place, took possession of the bar, and became landlord pro. tem,, serving out nobblers ad libitum, and gratis. He then ordered supper, of which he and his coadjutor heartily partook. They then left, and went and stick-up another store. He is supposed to be now in the bush near Marengo. The bush telegraphs render him almost safe, among whom he distributes money most profusely.

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