The Gang

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

In the turbulent era of the Australian bushranging, one gang stood out for their audacity, their daring, and their relentless challenge to the established order. This was the gang led by Ben Hall, a man whose life was marked by personal tragedy and a descent into crime that would make him one of the most notorious figures in Australian history.

This webpage, "The Ben Hall Gang: Outlaws of the Australian Bush," will take you on a journey into the lives of these men, their exploits, and the society they rebelled against. We will explore the circumstances that led Ben Hall, a once well-respected squatter, to become an outlaw. We will delve into his alliances with other infamous bushrangers like John Vane, the lone survivor, Fred Lowry and John Dunn a young man termed the Terror of the Colony, and how together they set New South Wales' western districts ablaze with their criminal activities and murder between 1861-1865.

We will also meet the other members of the gang, each with their own stories and motivations. Men like John O'Meally, a "murderous-looking scoundrel" who was born into wealth and idleness, and who would become one of the most feared members of the gang.

Drawing from eyewitness accounts, government documents, historical newspapers, and police records, we will reconstruct the gang's bushranging activities, their daring robberies, their clashes with the law, and their eventual downfall.

"The Ben Hall Gang: Outlaws of the Australian Bush" is not just a tale of crime and punishment. It is a window into a tumultuous period in Australian history, a time when the discovery of gold brought wealth, migration, and lawlessness to the colonies. It is a story of men who chose to live outside the law, their reasons for doing so, and the impact of their actions on Australian society.

So, join us as we journey into the bush, following the tracks of Ben Hall and his gang, exploring their lives, their crimes, and their legacy. (All related historical articles incorporated into the narrative are coloured. Reproduced as originally published.)

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

John O'Meally, a notable figure in Australian bushranging history, was born in June 1840 near Cunningham Creek close to Harden, New South Wales, in the region surrounding Yass. His father, Patrick O'Meally, originally from County Mayo, Ireland, worked as a laborer and boatman before his life took a drastic turn. In 1831, at the age of 34, Patrick, still unmarried, found himself on the wrong side of the law for sheep stealing. He was convicted on 22nd March 1831, along with his younger brother, Peter O'Meally, who was 18 years old at the time.

Following their conviction, the O'Meally brothers were sentenced to seven years of transportation, a common punishment of the era, which led them to New South Wales. Their journey to a new life commenced on 9th February 1832 aboard the ship 'Norfolk.' This voyage marked the third such journey for the 'Norfolk,' a fact denoted in historical records as 'Norfolk (3).' Under the guidance of Captain William Henniker and Surgeon Superintendent William Clifford, the 536-ton ship, manned by a crew of 37, ferried 199 Irish male convicts, including the O'Meally brothers, across the seas to their new fate.

An interesting note in the annals of the family is the variation in the spelling of the O'Meally surname. In the transport records. Patrick's surname was recorded as 'Malley,' while his brother Peter was listed as 'Mally,' a small but intriguing discrepancy that hints at the fluid nature of record-keeping in the 19th century. The journey to New South Wales marked the beginning of a new chapter not just for Patrick and Peter, but also for the generations that followed, including John O'Meally, who would later carve his own place in Australian lore.

Patrick O'Meally's Indent 1832. Note Malley.
Upon completing four years of his sentence, Patrick Malley, now known as O'Meally, was granted a 'Ticket of Leave' in November 1836, and a 'Certificate of Freedom' was given to him in February 1839. A year later, at the age of 41, Patrick married 20-year-old Julia Downey in Galgong, nestled between Mudgee and Dunedoo, New South Wales. The couple went on to have ten children, the eldest of whom was John O'Meally, born in 1840.

The change in the spelling of Patrick's surname from Malley to O'Meally remains unexplained, but it wasn't uncommon for ex-convicts to change their names as they entered new districts for business reasons. In 1848, when John O'Meally was just eight years old, Patrick entered into a partnership with his brother-in-law, John Daley, to lease a substantial property known as the 'Arramagong Station.' John Daley was convicted in
Limerick Ireland in 1825 arriving on the Sir Godfrey Webster in 1826 recieved a ticket of leave in 1834.

John Daley, married to the sister of Patrick's wife, was the father of nine children, one of whom was Patrick 'Patsy' Daley, John's first cousin and future partner in crime. Patrick O'Meally and John Daley set about establishing their station, a sprawling expanse of 26,000 acres situated at the base of the Weddin Mountains on the eastern side, intersected by the road from Lambing Flat to Forbes. The property could accommodate up to 800 head of cattle. The formal occupation of this station was recorded in the Government Gazette in September 1848.

(From the Government Gazette.)

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

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

Note: No mention of Daley.
An estimate of the layout of
Arramagong Station.
Google Earth.

In the midst of establishing Arramagong Station, a heartrending tragedy befell the families of Patrick O'Meally in 1849. James, John O'Meally's two-year-old brother, in a moment that would forever mark the family's history, wandered off into the dense bush surrounding the station. Despite what one can imagine were frantic searches and the cloud of worry that descended upon the famiiy and the local community, James was never found. This devastating event cast a shadow over the station's early days, a stark contrast to the hopeful beginnings and aspirations of Patrick.

The incident speaks to the harsh realities and dangers of life in rural Australia during the 19th century. It underscores the vulnerability of settlers in the Australian bush, where the beauty and promise of the land were often matched with unforeseen challenges and perils.

One of the boys was lost in the bush although every exertion was made to find him, he was never afterwards heard of nor any trace of him found—the probabilities being that after being starved to death his remains were devoured by the native dogs.

'Arramagong' boundaries ran along the confines of the lower eastern escarpment of the Weddin Range. The range was portrayed in an article penned late 1863: 

Seen from the road, for I had no nearer view of it than that, the range does not seem so very desperate a place, though one of the spurs of it that the road from Forbes to Young crosses is dark, dull, and dreer enough for any possible cut-throat purpose, being rather thickly timbered with ironbark—the black trunks making the wood appear on either side of the road as anything but inviting. Though the face presented to the road does not though steep, present any very particularly formidable barriers to the pursuit, there are other parts of the range that are exceedingly rocky and precipitous, being, moreover; covered by a dense undergrowth or scrub, rendering pursuit unless by tracking, an almost hopeless task.

The Arramagong Station, under the stewardship of Patrick O'Meally and John Daley, thrived as a substantial agricultural enterprise. Populated with both cattle and sheep, the station was a bustling hub of pastoral activity. Despite the shared business, the O'Meally and Daley families maintained their distinct domestic spheres, residing in separate homesteads approximately a mile and a half apart on the vast property. This arrangement allowed each family to cultivate their own home life while collaboratively managing the station's operations.

John O'Meally, the eldest son of Patrick, grew up amidst this pastoral setting, where he honed his skills as a stockman. Immersed in the daily workings of the station, he developed a deep understanding of livestock management and the nuances of rural life. His upbringing on Arramagong Station was not only about physical labor; it also included his education through a tutor.

Recognising the value of education, Patrick O'Meally took a progressive step in September 1853 by employing a schoolteacher, Mr. John Smith, to ensure his children received proper instruction. This decision reflected Patrick's foresight and commitment to his children's future, a notable move considering the era's typical emphasis on labour over formal education, especially in remote areas. Under Mr. Smith's guidance John could read and write: As Mr Smith narrated:

I was living with Maley in September last, as a schoolmaster to his children.²

John O'Meally, grew into one of the colonial boys known as mischievious and wild. Soon the landscape would become in turmoil as Gold would be discovered at a nearby station Burrangong owned by mr White. The advent of the discovery altered the entire district as thousands flocked into the region in search of Eldorado. Gold drove the prosperity of Arramagong. before long a teenage O'meally was loitering about the canvas city and began mixing with the shysters and grifters hustleing the many niave miners about Lambing Flat. John O'Meally standing tall at six feet, he was a figure of noticeable stature, further accentuated by his rich, auburn hair that fell in curls to the nape of his neck. This distinctive feature, coupled with his careful attention to grooming and style, produced the moniker of Flash in appearence.

O'Meally's sense of fashion was particularly noteworthy; he had a penchant for extravagant attire.His meticulousness in dressing was not just a personal quirk but a reflection of his personality and the confidence he carried within himself. This attention to appearance, combined with his physical presence and the education he received, contributed to the aura of distinction that surrounded John O'Meally. A local commented on John O'Meally and his siblings:

Tall, smart, and a splendid horseman, who was what in the vernacular of the bush is known as 'flash', there were six sons and three daughters. The sons were all 'six-footers' and as straight as pine-saplings.
Mrs J.B. Wood
Burraminda Station
c. 1870.

Courtesy NLA

However, John "Jack" O'Meally's youthful audacity and lack of discretion soon led him down a notorious path, earning him the reputation of a 'Wild Colonial Boy'. His behavior often veered into the realm of cruelty and vindictiveness, showing little regard for the feelings or well-being of others. O'Meally's antics and disregard for social norms became well-known in the community, as he frequently tormented those around him as was the case in a future robbery:

Later that day O'Meally stuck up and robbed several people, who were returning home with money. He met a Frenchman on the road who had a particularly fine ring on his finger, and O'Meally made up his mind to have it. The Frenchman, however, did not want to part with the ring and assured the bushranger that it was a fixture and would not come off. O'Meally saw no difficulty about such a small matter, and he took a large knife out of its sheath and commenced rubbing it up on a rough stone "We will soon manage that,' O'Meally replied, drawing the knife with great rapidity over the stone, "and you will get used to being one finger short." But the Frenchman had taken the ring off and was begging O'Meally to take it as a free-hearted gift.³

Another incident, emblematic of his mischievous nature, involved Mrs. Wood of the 'Burraminda' station. O'Meally found himself at the center of controversy for harassing a young girl in Mrs. Wood's employ. This act of indiscretion brought upon him a stern reprimand from Mrs. Wood, a figure of respect and authority in the community. While Jack's intentions in this instance might have been misinterpreted or exaggerated, the rebuke from Mrs. Wood was significant. It not only highlighted his growing infamy but also ominously foreshadowed the path his life was beginning to take.

When John O'Meally was a small boy he was rather fond of teasing a girl who was employed by Mrs Wood to do housework. He took a delight in hindering the girl from her work, and Mrs Wood remonstrated with him, saying, "There is a pick and shovel waiting for you at Cockatoo Island." Fifteen years afterwards he was a notorious bushranger, and he stuck up Mrs Croaker on Burrowmunditroy Station, 16 miles from Young, robbing her of £7 she protested severely, and told him that the money belonged to Mrs Wood, here was O'Meally's revenge. "I am glad of that," he said. "You can tell Mrs Wood that the pick and shovel is not waiting for me at Cockatoo, but that the rope and soap are waiting for me at Darlinghurst.
License, The Weddin
Mount Inn, 1860.

In the wake of the 1860 gold discovery at Burrangong Station, later known as Lambing Flat, Patrick O'Meally astutely recognised a golden opportunity to enhance his family's wealth. The Arramagong property's strategic location near the main road, a vital link between Lambing Flat and the emerging goldfield at Forbes, positioned it perfectly to benefit from the gold rush frenzy. Seizing this chance, Patrick constructed 'The Weddin Mount Inn,' a hotel designed to cater to the influx of travellers. This establishment, with its stables, gardens, and reliable water source, quickly became a popular stopover, offering refreshments and rest to the influx of weary gold seekers and merchants.

As the 1860s dawned, John O'Meally, the eldest son at twenty, was already exhibiting a propensity for theft and mischief. Renowned as a 'clever bushman' and an 'outstanding horseman,' John found the rapidly growing town of Lambing Flat irresistible. The town, with its pubs, gambling dens, and shops, sprung up almost overnight, presenting an alluring world of excitement and opportunity, a stark contrast to the quiet farm life.

Frank Gardiner. c. 1861

John O'Meally's family prosperity, buoyed by the sale of beef and sheep to the goldfields, provided a comfortable existence. However, it was during this period that John came under the influence of Frank Gardiner, a significant and eventually a pivotal figure in his life. Gardiner, who ran a butcher's shop at the Lambing Flat diggings, was xonstantly in need of cattle and was not particular about their origins. Frank Gardiner was an alias for Francis Christie a ticket of leave holder for Carcoar and released from Cockatoo Island in December 1859. Palling up with mate William Fogg commenced the butchers shop at Lambing Flat's Spring Creek in 1860. This relationship marked a crucial turning point for John O'Meally, as he found himself increasingly drawn into a life far removed from the stockwork of his family's station. The following observation, made during this transformative period, captures the essence of this shift in John O'Meally's trajectory:

They were great bushmen but grew up in an atmosphere which made 'cattle-duffing' and lawless proceedings of that kind familiar from their earliest years. The notorious bushranger was 'Jack' O'Meally, who was what in the vernacular of the bush is known as 'flash.'

In 1860 John O'Meally's path intersected with that of John Gilbert, a young rogue from Victoria. Gilbert had led a lawless life since leaving Kilmore, Victoria, at 17 and journeying to New South Wales. His search for fortune led him through the Snowy and Bathurst regions, eventually finding him in Marengo, near the bustling gold town of Lambing Flat. Gilbert was known for his charismatic, humourous, easy-going demeanor and exceptional skills as a horseman. He was drawn to the gold rush, not for mining but for hustling, taking advantage of the inebriated and gullible miners.

Living comfortably in a boarding house at Lambing Flat, Gilbert acted as a part-time 'bush-telegraph.' He with his fellow miscreants marked lucrative targets for robbery. Gilbert's actions always had his pockets filled with a modest sum of money. Gilbert was a handsome man blonde hair worn long and as with John O'Meally a Flash Cove as they stepped out into the seedy pubs and gambling dens. Gilbert was also a darling of the young ladies with many seeking his charms. Together with O'Meally they lived a raucus life about the Flat. It was through Gilbert that O'Meally became acquainted with Frank Gardiner, Gardiner enlisted Gilbert to procure cattle for his shop, a task in which the audacious O'Meally joined, contributing to their cattle rustling endeavours.

Gilbert developed a scheme where they would purchase a number of cattle from one station and then steal a similar amount from another. With O'Meally the stolen cattle were then supplied to Gardiner for his thriving butcher business, allowing them to accumulate a significant number of cattle at a relatively low cost.

Meanwhile, local graziers Ben Hall and his brother-in-law John Maguire were establishing themselves at Sandy Creek farm, forty miles north, supplying cattle to the Burrangong field. Both were aquainted with Gilbert and O'Meally. They profited significantly from the increasing demand from the various butcher shops at both Forbes and the Flat. Daniel Charters, a close friend of Ben Hall and a wealthy cattle owner, also formed a connection with Frank Gardiner, John Gilbert, and John O'Meally. Charters' extensive cattle holdings, spread across Ben Hall's farm, his sister's Pinnacle station, and a property at Humbug Creek, added another dimension to this network.

Reflecting on these connections and the landscape of the Lachlan area around 1859, a longtime resident highlighted the relationships between Ben Hall, John Gilbert, and John O'Meally. These interactions and partnerships, formed in the shadow of the gold rush, set the stage for a period marked by cattle theft, camaraderie, and the blurred lines between legitimate business and illicit activities. As noted:

About four years since, whilst taking some cattle overland from my station on the Lachlan, I fell in with young Hall, who was then stock-keeping for his brother near Bundaburra. He, O'Meally, Gilbert, and some others had all just returned from their usual trip after cattle, and on my asking them what luck they had met with, they replied: "they had camped out for three nights at a place called Humbug Creek, but had met with little or no cattle, only in one mob there were a few duffers." The term "duffer" is too well known to need description here; it simply means clean-skinned animals, which are appropriated by whoever can get them into a yard.

The relationships among Ben Hall, John Gilbert, John O'Meally, Frank Gardiner, Daniel Charters, and others like Bow and Fordyce, the later employed by Patrick O'Meally, was not a sudden development as commonly believed. Instead, these connections had deep roots, cultivated over time through shared interests and clandestine activities.

The advent of the family hotel the O'Meally family, in particular, gained a notorious reputation within the district. They were widely recognised for their dubious endeavours, marking them throuigh John and another son Patrick as significant troublemakers in the region. The suggestion that these men were mere acquaintances, unaware of each other's dealings, would be a gross misrepresentation of the historical context.formed in the backdrop of the Australian gold rush and the ensuing social and economic changes, played a pivotal role in shaping their burgeoning bushranging pathsabout the region.

Patrick O'Meally
 c. 1880's

Coloured by me.

The termination of Frank Gardiner's butcher business in March 1861 marked a significant turning point, as Gardiner came under police suspicion and was arrested for theft. Gardiner managed to confuse police as to his identity and posting 400 pounds bail absconded to Fogg's property at the Fish River 100 miles away. John Gilbert and John O'Meally, too, shot through and sought refuge in the rugged terrain of the Weddin Mountains, close to the O'Meally family's homestead and a makeshift shanty they had there. However, the police knowing of there presence did not pursue the men and they stood bar at the shanty.

Mid-1861 saw a dramatic escalation in Gardiner's life. Known as 'The Darkie,' he narrowly escaped death in a gunfight with police officers at Fogg's residence. This incident propelled him back into the Lachlan area, where he quickly rekindled ties with his young associates. Gardiner became a frequent visitor at the O'Meally's hotel, armed with his revolver and reasserting his notoriety not as a butcher but as a formidable bushranger.

Gardiner's presence and influence had a particularly profound impact on the O'Meally brothers, John and Patrick Jr. His charismatic devil may care nature captivated them, as was noted by a family associate and reported in the local newspaper, the Orange Leader. Gardiner's presence not only solidified his own soon to be legendary status but also played a critical role in steering the young O'Meally brothers towards a path of rebellion and lawlessness. His mentorship and influence were instrumental in shaping their attitudes and actions, eventually leading them to embrace the life of bushranging, a choice that would redefine their destinies and etch their names in the annals of Australian colonial history:

John O'Meally was little more than a boy when Gardiner commenced operations on the road. His father kept a shanty at the Weddin Mountains. Here he fell in with Gardiner. From being a sympathiser he soon became an active ally, and having joined in the bold exploit at Eugowra, he threw off all restraint, and plunged into the robber business with an energy and daring that would have been meritorious in a better cause.

As Frank Gardiner's influence over his sons intensified, Patrick O'Meally, the patriarch of the family, grew increasingly alarmed. He saw Gardiner as a malevolent presence, an instigator leading his sons, particularly John, towards peril. This concern was not just a quiet worry but a deep-seated fear for the future and safety of his first born.

In December 1863, the gravity of Patrick O'Meally's fears was tragically validated. A month following John O'Meally's death at Goimbla, a heartbroken Patrick spoke to a correspondent from the Sydney Morning Herald. In this poignant interaction, he expressed his profound distress and anguish. Patrick portrayed Gardiner as a villainous figure, holding him responsible for luring John into a life of crime and ultimately to his premature demise.

His words were laden with the grief of a father who had witnessed his son's life unravel and end in tragedy, a path he believed was significantly influenced by Gardiner's manipulative and corrupting presence. Patrick's lament was not just about the loss of his son but also a reflection of his deep disappointment and regret that his efforts to provide a better life for his family had been overshadowed by the dark allure of bushranging, personified in the figure of Frank Gardiner. This tragic turn of events left an indelible mark on Patrick O'Meally, encapsulating the sorrow and despair that often accompany a parent's realization of their inability to protect their child from the dangers of the world. Sydney Mail 2nd January 1864.

There is a shanty by the roadside, kept by an American, and I noticed a horse and cart standing in front of the door. "Depend upon it," said I, "that is the conveyance of O'Mealley pe're," and to make sure, we pulled up and dismounted, for I was desirous of having a few words with the old gentleman about several matters. We liquored together and soon got on the best of terms with each other. I have already said what he told me in reference to the burning out, I also questioned him in regards to his son. He complained bitterly of Gardiner "coming about the place," and that he wouldn't be put off." He was always after the poor boy, he said, and "wouldn't leave him be" — coming and going and meeting him in the bush, and taking him away here and making him go there, until at last the police got a down on the "poor boy," and then it was all up with him, and he had to take to the bush, whether or no. These, as near as I can remember are the old man's own words. The language is homely, but it is expressive and tells in plain term of the temptation and the fall of this unfortunate and misguided man, who very soon surpassed his teacher in every kind of villainy, and who was the first of the gang to imbrue his hands in blood. The old man, however, did not seem to look upon his son's career of guilt with that amount of horror that might have been anticipated in a parent, for he not only constantly spoke of him in pity as his "poor boy," but also in pride as his '"fine, noble boy;" and he expressed his belief that there was not the policeman born that would ever take him. Nor did he appear to be conscious that the infamous career of his eldest son had involved the whole family in disgrace, if not ruin. And yet such has been the case. The son next in age to the bushranger is somewhat wild, though not very much more so than young uneducated persons ordinarily are, and he has consequently been almost continually under police surveillance, and has once or twice been taken into custody.

Despite his deep-seated grief and the burden of loss, Patrick O'Meally Sr. was not inclined to solely blame external influences for his son John's downfall. He harbored no illusions about John's choices and the criminal path he had chosen, a journey fraught with danger and moral compromise. Patrick Sr. recognized the tragic trajectory of his son's life, one that led to nothing but sorrow and despair for the family.

The shadow of crime, however, was not just a distant specter in the lives of the O'Meallys; it touched them directly. On the 1st of February 1862, the O'Meally family themselves became victims of robbery. This incident, as reported in the newspapers, suggested that the culprits were likely inexperienced newcomers, perhaps down-on-their-luck miners from the goldfields. These robbers, seemingly unaware of the O'Meallys' reputation or the fact that their eldest son, John, was a close associate of the notorious bushranger Frank Gardiner, dared to target the O'Meally property.

This bold act of thievery against the O'Meallys was an ironic twist of fate, given the family's association with criminal activities. It underscored the pervasive reach of lawlessness during this tumultuous period in Australian history. For Patrick O'Meally Sr., this incident was yet another bitter reminder of the consequences and omnipresence of crime, further compounding the anguish and turmoil he endured in the wake of his son's ill-fated choices and eventual demise:

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

(The spelling of O'Meally's surname would vary considerably in the press from Malley, Meally, Maley, O'Meally and O'Malley. I have used O'Meally throughout the website.)

After the robbery it was commented on the amateurishness of the perpetrators. Burrangong Cosmopolitan 1st February 1862 writes:

It was a fortunate thing for the passengers they were mere greenhorns at their business; some of the old colonial bushrangers in our colonial annals would not have been quite so green but would have out the coach to pieces before they would have lost such a prize, we hope, however, that these miscreants will soon be apprehended and brought to justice.

Lieut. Pottinger and his mounted troopers will soon give a good account of them, as they will be easily able to obtain their, descriptions and perfect identity. We hope no delay will take place, or valuable time lost in pursuing them, and we should imagine from the nature of the country, and the descriptions they can obtain of them, it will be quite impossible for them to escape.

Fleeing Lambing Flat, Gilbert stood bar at a grog shop built by the O'Meally's, positioned further along the road of the Weddin Mount Inn. However, avoiding scrutiny, the pair conducted a butchers shop as a front for the shanty:

In conjunction with Gilbert, O'Mealley was carrying on a small butchering establishment in that hut. This was the ostensible business, the real article of trade being rum, and grog-selling on the sly their real occupation.
John O'Meally's nephew
John O'Meally, son
of Patrick O'Meally.

Private Source.

The swift ascent of Lambing Flat, combined with the stretched resources of the local police, led to a challenging situation for law enforcement. 'The Weddin Mount Inn,' the family hotel run by the O'Meallys, gained a dubious reputation among the police as a gathering place for the less reputable elements of the district. This notoriety made it a subject of scrutiny and suspicion in the eyes of law enforcement.

The limited police presence in the area, struggling to manage the riffraff between Lambing Flat and Forbes, often had to rely on informers. These informers, however, faced the threat of severe reprisals if their identities were uncovered. In this tumultuous environment, Frank Gardiner and his associates, including an ever-changing band of bushrangers, found an opportune setting to carry out their robberies with relative impunity, as the overwhelmed police struggled to maintain order.

In response to the escalating lawlessness and Gardiner's frequent exploits, the government issued an order in 1862, prompted by Gardiner's known association with the O'Meallys' establishment. This directive led to the permanent closure of 'The Weddin Mount Inn,' a move that aimed to disrupt the bushrangers' activities and their support network.

The O'Meally family's fortunes took a further hit in March 1863 when they were forcibly evicted from their residence under the command of Captain Zouch. Following this upheaval, the O'Meallys found themselves in a new abode, the conditions of which were later detailed by a correspondent of the Sydney Morning Herald. This new dwelling, a stark contrast to their previous home, marked yet another chapter in the family's tumultuous journey, reflecting the direct impact of their association with the notorious bushrangers and the consequential actions of the law enforcement authorities. 'Burrangong Star', 11th March 1863:

We understand that Captain Zouch intended on his journey to form a police station at O'Mealy's station (at the Weddin Mountains), ejecting by orders of the government, him and his family, thus breaking up that rendezvous for bushrangers and their accomplices. The Captain returned yesterday afternoon to the camp.
Floorplan Turland's
Weddin Mountain Inn.


In the midst of the law enforcement efforts to stabilize the region around Arramagong, a certain degree of confusion arose concerning the establishment of a police station by Captain Henry Zouch. Contrary to the reports in the 'Yass Courier' of June 1861, which mentioned a brick building, the actual structure acquired for the police station was, in fact, a different establishment. This building was the Weddin Mountain Inn, another hotel on Arramagong, constructed by Mr. Turland.

The Weddin Mountain Inn, known for its robust construction, was built from Lachlan pine and topped with a bark roof, indicating its substantial nature. Recognizing its strategic value, Captain Zouch decided to purchase the Turland Hotel and convert it into a police barracks. This move was part of a broader strategy to enhance law enforcement presence and capability in the area.

Following the conversion of the hotel into a barracks, Mr. Turland, the original owner of the Weddin Mountain Inn, moved on to own the 'Prince of Wales Hotel' in Young, marking a new chapter in his career. During the process of acquiring the Weddin Mountain Inn for police use, Captain Zouch composed a detailed memo to his superiors. In this communication, he meticulously assessed the suitability of the inn for its intended purpose as a police barracks. This memo highlighted the strategic considerations behind the choice of the inn and underscored the commitment of the law enforcement authorities to establish a strong and effective presence in the region, which had become increasingly important given the escalating activities of bushrangers and other lawless elements.


Description of 'Weddin Mountain Inn' proposed to be purchased for a Police Barracks.

The main building is 48ft 8" long 21ft wide divided into eight apartments a verandah front and back 7ft wide.

Foundation sleepers resting upon blocks. Walls and ceiling lined with calico. The bark covering the roof in tolerable condition. Back verandah only partially covered.

The inside walls are single slabbed. The whole of the timber is colonial pine.

Kitchen 22ft by 13ft slab covered with bark earth floor 7ft high chimney lined with marble shafts weatherboard.

Stables and forage room 49ft 6" 7ft high built with slab, sawn timber and bark roof, earth floor. This building is not well put together divided into 3 five stall stables and forage room.
Fence two rail split pine 98ft from house to stables.

These premises are offered to the government by Mr Turland for £330. I consider them well worth the money.

H Zouch.

c. 1863.
Des Sheil.
The government's decision to establish a police station at Arramagong, in an effort to dispel the infamous O'Meally clan from the area, was met with considerable acclaim by the press. This initiative, aimed at eradicating what was perceived as an undesirable element in the community, was seen as a decisive and necessary step by the authorities.

This move to reinforce law and order in the region was a response to the growing notoriety of the O'Meally family, whose involvement in various criminal activities had made them a target of law enforcement. The formation of the police station, particularly in a location that had become closely associated with the O'Meallys, was hailed by the media as a significant achievement in the ongoing struggle to maintain peace and stability in the area.

The positive reception of this action in the press reflected the community's support for the government's efforts to combat lawlessness. It also underscored the public's desire for a safer and more orderly environment, free from the influence of individuals and families who had become synonymous with crime and disorder in the region. The establishment of the police station at Arramagong was not just a practical measure but also a symbolic act, representing the reclaiming of the area from those who had long flouted the law. Yass Courier’, of the 21 March 1863:

The government appear to be vigorously carrying out their plans for the suppression of bushranging in the south-western district. We hear that O'Mealy's farm has been taken possession of for a police station. If a few more of these resorts of bushrangers were served in a similar manner the roads about Lambing Flat and Forbes would again assume a state of order, and once the criminal population were dispersed they would find it difficult to gather themselves together in any other part of the colony.

The action brought the following comment as the police moved in:

The Government of N.S.W. have ejected O'Mealy from his station on the Wedden Mountain, on the ground that he has afforded countenance to Gardiner the bushranger. The house is to be turned into a police station; and Capt. Zouch has gone there with a lot of mounted troopers.
'Yass Courier'
June 1861.

In 1861, a profound rift emerged between Patrick O'Meally and John Daley, his long-standing partner in the operation of 'Arramagong Station'. This dispute centered around the ownership of the station and its contentious sale, a matter steeped in deceit. Arramagong, a property of considerable value, was stocked with over five hundred head of cattle and 40-50 horses of high quality. Since 1848, O'Meally and Daley had jointly managed the station, with the livestock alone valued at over £6000, a substantial sum at the time.

The partnership, however, took a dramatic turn in June 1861. Patrick O'Meally, then 68 years old, made the unilateral decision to auction off the entire property, including all stock and buildings. This move was executed without the knowledge or consent of John Daley. Daley's realization of this betrayal came only upon receiving an eviction notice, a stark indication that he had been excluded from the transaction and effectively swindled out of his share of the property.

In response to this act of treachery, a furious Daley resorted to legal action, seeking to recover his rightful portion of the sale. However, his efforts in court proved to be in vain. It was during these proceedings that a shocking revelation came to light: when the lease for Arramagong was initially granted and registered, Patrick O'Meally had cunningly registered the property solely in his name, effectively duping Daley right from the beginning.

This revelation painted a picture of Patrick O'Meally as a shrewd and calculating individual, willing to undermine his partnership for personal gain. The legal outcome left John Daley without recourse, highlighting the ruthless nature of business dealings in that era. This episode in the history of Arramagong Station not only marked the end of a longstanding partnership but also exposed the underhanded tactics that were sometimes employed in the pursuit of wealth and control in colonial Australia.

Mr Godfrey disposed of the Arramagong station, Wedden Mountain, by public auction yesterday for £1370, the purchaser being P. H. Throsby Esq., of Throsby Park near Berrima.

The sale of Arramagong Station, orchestrated by Patrick O'Meally without the knowledge of his brother-in-law and business partner John Daley, was executed with remarkable swiftness. This underhanded transaction, shrouded in secrecy, led to a deep and bitter rift between the two men. The manner in which the sale was conducted, deliberately keeping Daley uninformed, sowed seeds of discord and resentment.

John Daley, feeling betrayed and wronged, was driven by a desire for retribution. He frequently sought to exact vengeance, often launching unexpected and harassing incursions against the O'Meallys. These confrontations served as a stark reminder of the souring relationship between the former partners.

In response to Daley's aggressive actions, John O'Meally, the eldest son of Patrick, was reported to have harbored a strong desire to take matters into his own hands. Fueled by the growing animosity and the ongoing harassment his family faced, John O'Meally's inclination towards direct action reflected the escalating tension and the deep-seated family feud. This situation, marked by betrayal and a thirst for revenge, highlighted the fracturing of a once cooperative and familial relationship, degenerating into a cycle of hostility and strife: The Yass Courier 2nd January 1864.

Although in possession of the hut and claiming part of the run, his tenure was a disputed one, the right to it being claimed by a man named Daley, between whom and the O'Mealley's a feud had existed for some years past in reference to it. Daley used to make occasional pounces down upon O'Mealley, when, of course, the quartet would become for some time more bitter and envenomed. On one of the occasions it had become so fierce that the bushranger O'Mealley, then regularly on the road, left his career for once a week, and during that time was riding about in the hope of coming across Daley whom he expressed his intention of "doing for."
For Sale.
August 1877.

Despite the deep-seated feud and the subsequent sale of Arramagong Station, the eviction notices served to the O'Meally and Daley families were largely disregarded. Both families continued to reside on the property until September 1863, a testament to their resilience and determination to hold onto their home. This period was marked by a tense coexistence, overshadowed by the ongoing legal and personal battles.

In a turn of events that could be described as poetic justice, John Daley eventually emerged victorious in this prolonged dispute. He regained control of Arramagong, though he significantly reduced its size from the original 26,000 acres to 11,000 acres. This reduction was accompanied by an agreement for a yearly government rent of £30, a manageable sum that reflected Daley's shrewdness in business dealings.

Following this successful acquisition, Daley made the decision to sell a portion of the property, now known as Arramagong West, to Carlo Marina. John Daley's tenure as the proprietor of Arramagong came to an end with his death in 1876, marking the close of a significant chapter in the station's history. The farm then passed into the hands of his brother, Thomas Daley.

In 1884, Thomas Daley was firmly established as the proprietor of Arramagong. Embracing the entrepreneurial spirit that had long characterized the Daley family, Thomas opened an inn on the property, expanding its operations beyond agriculture. This new venture was a reflection of Thomas Daley's vision and adaptability, ensuring the ongoing relevance and vitality of Arramagong in the regional landscape. The declaration made by Thomas Daley on the 3rd day of April, A.D., 1884, signified not just a change in ownership but also the evolution of Arramagong Station, from a site of familial conflict and legal battles to a thriving enterprise under the Daley stewardship:

I, THOMAS DALEY, of Arramagong, near Grenfell, in the colony of New South Wales, grazier, do hereby give notice that I desire to obtain and will at the next Licensing Court to be holden at Grenfell on the 23id day of April, 1884, apply for a certificate authorising the issue of a Colonial Wine License for a house situate at Arramagong, near Grenfell, of the annual value of ten pounds.

On the 10th of March 1862, John O'Meally, alongside the infamous bushranger Frank Gardiner, James Downey, and Tom McGuinness, embarked on a daring robbery that further cemented their notoriety in the annals of Australian bushranging history. The quartet, operating in a coordinated and bold manner, targeted the settlement of Wombat, located 40 miles south of the Weddin Mountains.

Their victims on this fateful day were two local shopkeepers, known as Messrs. Horsington and Hewitt. The bushrangers' sudden and unexpected assault caught the shopkeepers off guard, resulting in them being bailed up and robbed. But the shopkeepers were not the only ones to fall prey to this audacious act; Mrs. Horsington and a manservant named Robert Bird also found themselves covered under the revolvers of Gardiner.

This event was not just a mere robbery; it was a display of the bushrangers' boldness and their ability to strike fear into the hearts of local settlers. The news of this raid was reported by 'The Sydney Morning Herald' on the 15th of March 1862, capturing the attention of the public and authorities alike. This robbery added to the growing list of O'Meally's crimes, painting a vivid picture of the lawlessness and danger that characterised the Australian bush during this tumultuous perio:

Yesterday there was great excitement in the town in consequence of information being given to the Camp that two storekeepers, on their way from the Wombat to the Flat, had been stuck up and robbed of £2000 by Gardiner and his mob. I now send you the particulars: Yesterday morning Mr Horsington and Mr Hewitt, storekeepers at the Wombat, and large purchasers of gold started from there about nine o'clock, for the purpose of taking their gold and money into the Flat and depositing it at the bank. Just before they started, four men were observed to leave a public-house, and gallop along the road. Mr Horsington and his wife started for the Flat in a spring cart, accompanied by Mr Hewitt on horseback, between the Wombat and Stoney Creek they were stopped by four armed men on horseback-neither Mr Horsington nor Mr Hewitt was armed-but   Mr Horsington, when stopped, put his hand to the bottom of the cart as if to reach some weapon, when he was immediately fired at by one of the men, the bullet passing between himself and wife. Mr Hewitt turned his horse around in the direction of the Wombat when he was immediately stopped by one of the men, and what money and gold they had were taken from them, Mr Horsington having £1100, and Mr Hewitt £700, in gold and notes. Mr Hewitt is quite positive that one of the men was the notorious Gardiner that has so long infested the neighbourhood of Lambing Flat and the Lachlan. Sticking-up on the Lachlan Road still continues, several parties being robbed by armed men on that road on Friday and Saturday last. (Horsington should read Hossington.)

In the wake of the audacious robbery at Wombat, John O'Meally, along with his cousin Patsy Daley and another relative, James Downey, found themselves the targets of a relentless police pursuit. This pursuit was led by the astute and determined Captain Battye, whose sharp command skills made him a formidable adversary for any bushranger.

Despite O'Meally's agility and cunning, the trio's luck eventually ran out. O'Meally, Daley, and Downey were apprehended by Captain Battye's patrol, not far from the shelter of the Weddin Mountains, which had served as a haven for bushrangers. Their arrest was a significant victory for law enforcement, as the three were prime suspects in the recent Horsington robbery, a crime that had sent shockwaves through the local community.

Following their capture, the suspects were taken to Lambing Flat, where they were detained and held for court proceedings. This development marked a crucial moment in the ongoing battle against bushranging in the region. The arrest of O'Meally, Daley, and Downey not only showcased the effectiveness of the police force under skilled leadership but also signified a turning point in the fight to restore order and justice in an area plagued by criminal activity and lawlessness. Their detention and subsequent trial were awaited with keen interest by a public eager for justice and a return to peace. 'Sydney Morning Herald'  21st March 1862:

I annexe-three others who have been apprehended, namely, Downey, John Maley, and Deely-Downey being identified as one of the men that stuck up Messrs. Horsington and Hewitt, on Monday last, the other two on suspicion of highway robbery. Sticking-up still continues, and without the Government increase the police force in this district considerably I see no chance of its being put down.

Following his apprehension, John O'Meally was brought before the magistrate, Mr. G. O. M. Clarke, Esq., J.P., under the watchful eye of Captain Battye. The young bushranger, now in the hands of the law, faced a critical juncture in his life of crime. Clarke, in his judicial capacity, decided to place O'Meally on remand, a move that marked the beginning of a formal legal process against him.

Surprisingly, during this preliminary phase, O'Meally was not subjected to an identification parade by either of the victims of the Wombat robbery, Messrs. Horsington and Hewitt. This omission in the procedure was notable, given the severity of the accusations against him, which included rape and highway robbery - charges of serious magnitude in any era.

Amidst these developments, another relative of John O'Meally, Owen Fox, emerged in the narrative. Fox, also a cousin like Patsy Daley and James Downey, was part of the extended O'Meally network, a family increasingly known for its connections to various criminal activities in the region.

The unfolding legal drama, with John O'Meally at its center, captured the attention of the public and authorities alike. The charges of rape and highway robbery were grave, and the anticipation of how justice would be served loomed large. This period in O'Meally's life was a definitive one, showcasing the consequences of his chosen path and the relentless pursuit of law enforcement to bring such figures to account. Reported in the 'Empire':

Rape and Highway Robbery. — On Friday night, John O'Mealey, Owen Fox, and Patrick Deely were brought before the Police Bench at Burrangong on the above charge, and remanded. No evidence was taken.

Upon the return of Sgt Musgrove to Lambing Flat on the 28th of March 1862, the case against John O'Meally and Patsy Daley encountered a significant hurdle. Due to a lack of sufficient evidence, both men were released without charge, marking an unexpected twist in their brush with the law.

Throughout this period, the acrimonious feud between John Daley and Patrick O'Meally Sr. continued to fester. However, this familial strife did not seem to impact the bond between their sons, first cousins John O'Meally and Patsy Daley. Their relationship remained steadfast, undeterred by the animosity between their fathers.

The distinction between being charged and convicted became particularly relevant during O'Meally's subsequent court appearance for rape. During this crucial phase, the reporter for the Police Court at Burrangong was barred from covering the proceedings, a decision that sparked outrage among the local community. The lack of transparent reporting shrouded the case in mystery and speculation.

Ultimately, both O'Meally and Daley were believed to have been released, as further investigations revealed Owen Fox's guilt, leading to his conviction and a brief sentence for criminal offences. The rape allegation against O'Meally and Daley was ultimately dismissed due to mistaken identity, following the arrest and conviction of James Shepherd and Thomas Evans for the crime.

With their freedom restored, John O'Meally and Patsy Daley resumed their lawless pursuits, rejoining Frank Gardiner's band of bushrangers. The duo continued to roam the bush, participating in Gardiner's various escapades, further entrenching their reputations as notorious figures in the bushranging lore of colonial Australia. This period in their lives was marked by a return to the adventurous and often perilous existence of outlaws, operating beyond the reach of the law they had momentarily eluded.

NSW Police Gazette
6th August 1862

Opening of 1862, John O'Meally had fully allied himself with Frank Gardiner, forming a formidable partnership that exerted a fearsome grip on the district's roads. Together, they roamed with a boldness and freedom that defied the efforts of the police, capitalizing on the apparent inadequacy of law enforcement in the region.

This sense of impunity was further emboldened on the 15th of June 1862, when O'Meally and Gardiner, seizing an opportune moment, executed a daring robbery. The target was an escorted coach, laden with gold from the Forbes goldfields, bound for Bathurst and then Sydney. The heist, meticulously planned by Frank Gardiner, took place near the town of Eugowra and saw John O'Meally playing a crucial role at Gardiner's side.

John Maguire, a long-standing associate of both Gardiner and O'Meally, was deeply involved in the scheming and execution of this audacious robbery. His involvement was not merely peripheral; he was integral to the planning and successful execution of the heist. Maguire's narrative of the event, detailing the preparation, execution, and aftermath of the robbery, provides a unique insider's perspective on one of the most infamous crimes of the era.

The Eugowra robbery, as it came to be known, was a testament to the cunning and audacity of Gardiner, O'Meally, and their associates. It marked a high point in their criminal careers, demonstrating their ability to orchestrate and carry out a heist of significant scale and impact. This event not only added to their notoriety but also underscored the challenges faced by law enforcement in curbing the activities of such bold and resourceful outlaws. 'The Biography of a Reliable Old Native':

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. 

Note: 'The Biography of a Reliable Old Nativewritten by P.H. Pinkstone, owner of the 'Hawkesbury Herald' and first published after many in-depth interviews and fireside talks with John Maguire, c. 1906.

The Eugowra Gold Escort Robbery, masterminded by Frank Gardiner, stands out as one of the most audacious heists in the young colony's history. Gardiner assembled a formidable team for this endeavor, including Ben Hall, John Gilbert, Alex Fordyce, John Bow, Henry Manns, Daniel Charters, and John O'Meally. The robbery was executed flawlessly, with O'Meally playing a pivotal role in the heart of the action.

In the aftermath of the robbery, the gang hastily retreated to Wheogo Hill, near Ben Hall's residence. However, their triumph was short-lived as the police quickly mobilized, tracking down those suspected of involvement in the heist. A series of arrests ensued at Sandy Creek station, capturing Ben Hall, Daniel Charters, John Maguire, and John Brown. Simultaneously, John O'Meally was apprehended in the Weddin Mountains, along with his father, Patrick O'Meally, and Frederick Trotter, a minor criminal who had previously provided an alibi for O'Meally's cousin in the Horsington robbery. All the suspects were taken to Forbes for further legal proceedings.

During the arrest of the elder Patrick O'Meally, a noteworthy exchange occurred between him and the arresting officer, Sergeant Sanderson, known as the 'Hero of Wheogo'. As Patrick was being shackled alongside his son John, the tension and gravity of the moment were palpable. This exchange, fraught with emotion and the stark reality of their predicament, encapsulated a significant moment for the O'Meally family. The arrest of both father and son, bound together in chains, was symbolic of the intertwined fates that their choices had led them to, marking a dramatic and poignant chapter in their family's history.

Patrick O'Meally was arrested in his hotel near Forbes. The following dialogue is reported to have occurred when a police sergeant arrested him. Sergeant: I arrest you in the Queen's name. O'Meally: What Queen? Sergeant: Queen Victoria. O'Meally: She's not my Queen. She's not the Queen of Ireland.

As a consequence, along with Ben Hall and others, O'Meally was held at Forbes 'Yass Courier' September 1862:

At the Police office, Forbes. Benjamin Hall and William Hall, of Wheogo, brought up (on remand) on suspicion of having stopped and robbed' her Majesty's mail and gold escort, and, on the application of Sir F Pottinger, were again remanded till the 28th. John O'Malley, from the Weddin Mountain, and John McGuire, of Wheogo, were brought up before the Bench on remand. Sergeant Rush said he should have to ask their worships to further remand the prisoners for seven days, in the absence, of Sir Frederick Pottinger and Captain Battye. Mr Pendergast, for the defence, addressed the Bench, and expressed his surprise and disgust at the treatment of these men, against whom nothing had been attempted to be proved, but who had already been incarcerated in the gaol for seven weeks. He could not help expressing his indignation against such injustice. The Bench declined to listen to such remarks and again remanded the prisoners for seven days.
John O'Meally's Bathurst Gaol Entry in September 1862.
Patrick O'Meally's was released but John O'Meally along with Maguire, Bow and Fordyce were conveyed to Bathurst:

J. McGuire, Alex. Fordice, John Bow, and J. O'Malley, on remand, charged with being concerned in the escort robbery were further remanded until the 22nd October.

Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal' Wednesday 15th October 1862:

J. McGuire, Alex. Fordice, John Bow, and J. O'Malley, on remand, charged with being concerned in the escort robbery were further remanded until the 22nd October.

After a period in custody, John O'Meally, one of the central figures implicated in the notorious Eugowra Robbery, was granted bail on the 29th of October 1862. The bail was set at a substantial £200, with an additional requirement of two sureties of £100 each, ensuring his appearance at the upcoming Circuit Court in Bathurst. This development marked a temporary reprieve for O'Meally, offering him a brief respite from incarceration as he awaited his trial.

During this tumultuous period, Daniel Charters, a longtime acquaintance of O'Meally, emerged as a key player in the unfolding drama. Charters, facing the pressure of legal consequences for his involvement in the gold robbery, made a decisive choice to become an informant. In exchange for his cooperation and testimony against his former associates, Charters was promised a pardon, a deal that dramatically altered the dynamics of the case.

Despite his newfound role as an informant, Charters was adamant in his refusal to implicate John O'Meally or Ben Hall as participants in the robbery. This stance fueled widespread speculation and rumors. There were whispers that both O'Meally and Hall had struck a financial arrangement with Charters, ensuring their exclusion from his revelations. Such rumors suggested an under-the-table deal designed to shield them from legal repercussions.

Charters, however, steadfastly denied these allegations. His refusal to name O'Meally and Hall, coupled with the swirling rumors, added layers of intrigue and complexity to the case. The situation highlighted the murky and often convoluted nature of bushranging alliances and the lengths to which individuals would go to protect themselves and possibly their associates in the face of legal jeopardy. The dynamics of loyalty, betrayal, and survival were on full display, painting a vivid picture of the challenges and moral quandaries faced by those entangled in the web of bushranging during this tumultuous period in Australian history:

You were asked a question yesterday, whether you would not swear that some other people named were not the persons who were with you at the robbery. What were the names of these persons.


Benjamin Hall and O'Mealy.

Mr Isaacs:

The witness was asked whether, amongst the eight persons present, there were not persons named Benjamin Hall, O'Mealy, Charles Darcy, and William Forster; and his answer was that Hall and O'Mealy were not there, but that there were men named Charley and Billy, and that he did not know them by any other name. 

Charters when asked stated:

I stated that I had been arrested on suspicion before I made up my mind to state all I knew of this matter. I was not confined in the same cell as Ben Hall. I was under the same roof, but not in the same apartment. I was confined for about eight days at the same time as Hall, I had no communication with Hall at that time; nor had I any with him on this matter after my release. I cannot give the exact date of when I was apprehended, nor can I say the day on which Bow and Fordyce wore apprehended. It was after my apprehension. Neither directly nor indirectly have I had any communication with O'Mealy or Hall relative to this matter. I will swear that I have not been offered a sum of money to leave their names out of the information I have given in regard to this robbery.

Given bail, O'Meally was ordered to appear at the next court session. O'Meally would never see the inside of a court again: 

John O'Malley, charged with being concerned in the escort robbery, was admitted to bail to appear at the next Circuit Court Bathurst.

Bathurst Courthouse and Gaol. John O'Meally held here in 1862.

John O'Meally's bail and conditions, 1st November 1862,
O'Meally failed to appear and would never see the inside of a court again.

As 1863 dawned, John O'Meally, alongside the recently returned John Gilbert from New Zealand, embarked on a new chapter in their bushranging careers. Their duo soon expanded with the addition of Ben Hall and Patsy Daley. However, Daley's involvement was cut short when he was captured in March 1863 and sentenced to fifteen years in prison. The remaining trio of O'Meally, Gilbert, and Hall would go on to form the core of a notorious gang, instilling fear across New South Wales over the next two years.

Despite their shared outlaw pursuits, the relationship between Gilbert and O'Meally was not without its challenges, particularly regarding their views on bravery and risk-taking. John Vane, who would later join their gang, detailed an insightful account of the dynamics between Gilbert and O'Meally in his memoirs, 'John Vane, Bushranger', as transcribed by Charles White. Vane vividly recounted an incident where the two bushrangers had a heated disagreement following a close encounter with the police.

This altercation revealed the underlying tensions and differing philosophies that both men held. Gilbert, known for his flamboyant and daring nature, often clashed with O'Meally's approach to their escapades. The incident, as narrated by Vane, highlighted the precarious balance between camaraderie and conflict within the gang. It underscored the inherent volatility of bushranging life, where alliances were frequently tested by danger, ego, and the ever-present threat of capture or death. This moment in their history not only sheds light on the personalities of these infamous figures but also provides a glimpse into the complex interpersonal dynamics that shaped their notorious reign in the bushranging era:

Gilbert told us later that O'Meally had called him a coward for running away up the ridge, and he replied that if he had not done so he would not of got the 'Bobbies' revolver, at this O'Meally growled and said to Gilbert, "If I hadn't followed you the 'trap' would of shot you in the back, and that is the way you will be shot yet.

Vane goes on to say that:

More than once Burke and I had to act as peacemakers for the two often used to have little growls, and we had to step in when they were getting too hot on the job. Gilbert was certainly fond of 'turning tail,' and we all occasionally had a peg at him for dodging in that fashion.  

Note: John Vane, Bushranger', being a true narrative of his career — illustrative of varied phases of country life 50 years ago— in which his experience as a bush-boy, gold seeker, cattle-stealer, and a member of the notorious gang of bushrangers led by Ben Hall, which terrorised the countryside in the early sixties, are faithfully depicted.

Following the success of the Escort Robbery, Jack O'Meally, though implicated and arrested, managed to evade justice with a substantial haul: 22 pounds of gold and £350 in cash. After securing his release, O'Meally swiftly vanished back into the bush. His whereabouts and activities between November 1862 and January 1863 remain undocumented, but it is likely he returned to the familiar refuge of the shanty at Tyagong Creek. Meanwhile, his accomplice Gilbert had fled south with his brother, eventually making their way to New Zealand.

For those who had vouched for O'Meally's appearance in court, namely McKell and Cheshire, the decision proved costly. They had put up money as surety for O'Meally's bail at Bathurst, only to lose it when O'Meally failed to show up for his trial. Gilbert's sojourn in New Zealand was brief, and by January 1863, he was back in the Weddin Mountains.

Upon Gilbert's return, he reunited with John O'Meally and a group of six other bushrangers, including Patsy Daley, Patrick O'Meally, and Ben Hall. This newly formed gang quickly embarked on a spree of robberies. Their first target was the Bentick-Morrell station, owned by Mr. George Tout. Following this, they hit a roadside accommodation house managed by Mr. G Harcombe. These raids were bold and audacious, further cementing the gang's reputation as fearsome outlaws.

The robbery at Harcombe's establishment was notably reported in 'Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Chronicle', highlighting the growing notoriety of this band of bushrangers. The article detailed the brazenness of the attack, capturing the lawlessness and audacity that defined the gang's operations. This period marked a significant escalation in their criminal activities, as they roamed the countryside, challenging the authorities and striking fear into the hearts of settlers and travelers alike.

There are many rumours afloat as to the number of bushrangers in this affair, and the number of stations "stuck up," but I know for certain of two places being ransacked by them, viz, the Bentick-Morrell station (Mr George Tout's), and a roadside accommodation house (G Harcombe's). At the latter place, they only got £7. The house was entered by three robbers, but six others were counted waiting at a short distance within call as a reserve if necessary, apparently with the plunder from the Bentick-Morrell station strapped upon them. The rascals were under the leadership of one Johnny Gilbert, a henchman of Gardiner's. This is an undoubted fact because a sister-in-law of George Harcombe's was present, and distinctly recognised him, she is a native of Marengo, near which place John Gilbert was stock-keeper for some time. None of the desperadoes took the trouble to mask themselves.

On the 2nd of February 1863, with John Gilbert back in the Weddin Mountains, John O'Meally embarked on a daring venture, targeting two businesses in Lambing Flat. In the midst of this armed robbery, an unexpected encounter unfolded that further amplified O'Meally's reputation as a brutal bushranger.

During the course of the robbery, O'Meally crossed paths with a policeman who happened to be passing by. Seizing the opportunity, O'Meally didn't hesitate to engage the lawman. He subjected the officer to a brutal thrashing, a bold and reckless act that underscored his disregard for authority. Not content with just the physical assault, O'Meally also robbed the policeman of his belongings, adding insult to injury.

This incident was reported in 'The Sydney Morning Herald' on Friday the 13th of February 1863, capturing the audacity and violence that characterized O'Meally's approach to bushranging. The newspaper's account of this brazen attack on a member of the police force highlighted the lawless and perilous state of affairs in the region. O'Meally's actions during this robbery, particularly his confrontation with the policeman, reinforced his image as a fearless and formidable outlaw, willing to take extreme risks and challenge the symbols of law and order in his pursuit of criminal endeavours.

It is this week our province to record two most daring attacks of robbery committed in broad daylight, on Monday, the 2nd instant. The victims of these acts of bushranging were first:- Mr. Dickson, of the Commercial Store, Spring Creek, Burrangong, and Mr. Dalton, innkeeper, of the same place. We may add that the robbers are well-known, and can be identified. Two of them are from the Wedden Mountain, two from the Levels, and one from the Abercrombie. The thieves tied up their horses outside of the gentleman's store previously mentioned, two remained on guard, and three entered the establishment. While the premises were being ransacked, a policeman happened to pass. He was stuck up also, and his horse, saddle and bridle, were taken away. The horse was the constable's private property. He consequently offered resistance, when one of the villains struck him a severe blow on the hand and wrist, quite disabling the limb; they kept him in durance vile until their unlawful work was accomplished; they then allowed him to proceed. He made his way with all possible speed to the camp, and Captain Battye mustered all hands, and started immediately in pursuit. The men also stuck-up the adjoining inn, Mr. Dalton's, known by the name of the Golden Fleece. They are supposed to have obtained about £60 in cash, and several guns and pistols. The latter were taken from Dalton's. The robbers are supposed to be the same who stuck-up the Bendick Morrell station on the 29th ultimo.

The 15th of February 1863 marked a grim milestone in John O'Meally's career as a bushranger. On this day, the 'Wild Colonial Boy', committed his first murder by shooting and killing a Lambing Flat publican, Mr. Adolph Cirkel, at Stoney Creek. This heinous act not only added murder to O'Meally's list of crimes but also sent shockwaves through the community, as reported in the newspapers shortly after the event.

O'Meally was the man who shot the inn-keeper, Cirkel, at Stoney Creek. Burrangang. That was in February 1863;

In the immediate aftermath of the murder, there was considerable speculation and confusion regarding the identity of O'Meally's accomplice in the crime. Newspaper descriptions initially led many to believe that John Gilbert was involved, given the physical attributes attributed to one of the culprits. However, further analysis and comparison of the descriptions cast doubt on Gilbert's involvement. Gilbert, known to be about 10 stone and standing between 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 10 inches tall with blonde hair, did not entirely match the description of the second man.

Suspicion then shifted towards another notorious figure, most likely Ben Hall. Hall, known for his stout build, stood at about 5 feet 6 or 7 inches tall, had brown hair and grey eyes, fitting more closely with the description of the second assailant. This uncertainty and the process of elimination highlighted the difficulties faced by law enforcement and the public in identifying and apprehending bushrangers, who often became entangled in a web of rumors and mistaken identities.

The murder of Mr. Cirkel by O'Meally, and the involvement of an unidentified accomplice, added a dark chapter to the history of bushranging in Australia. This incident not only escalated O'Meally's notoriety but also underscored the brutal and lawless nature of bushranging during this tumultuous period in Australian history.

The events and witness testimony can be read in the accompanying link below.


26th February 1863

Murder of Mr Cirkel

Shortly after the tragic shooting of Mr. Adolph Cirkel, John O'Meally, along with Ben Hall, Patsy Daley, and John Gilbert, committed another robbery on the 25th of February 1863. This time, their target was the Wambat store owned by Myers Solomon. During this robbery, O'Meally's actions and words inadvertently revealed his role in the earlier murder.

While holding up Solomon's store, O'Meally issued a chilling threat to the occupants. He starkly warned that if they did not comply with the gang's demands, they would meet the same fate as Cirkel. This statement, uttered amidst the tension of the robbery, served as an inadvertent confession to his involvement in the publican's death. O'Meally's words, laden with the implicit admission of guilt, shed light on the identity of Cirkel's shooter.

In a related development, a fringe criminal named John Clarke found himself entangled in the aftermath of Cirkel's murder. Clarke was arrested on suspicion of involvement in the crime, as reported in 'The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser' on the 12th of March 1863. Clarke, known to be an acquaintance of John O'Meally, eventually confessed to participating in the murder, adding another layer to the complex web of criminal activities and associations that defined O'Meally's world.

These events, marked by violence, robbery, and a chilling disregard for human life, further solidified the notoriety of O'Meally and his accomplices. Their actions not only brought fear and unrest to the communities they targeted but also highlighted the ruthlessness and danger that bushrangers like O'Meally represented in the Australian bush during this turbulent era.

A man named Clarke under circumstances which warranted them in believing that he was one of the murderers. At the time of his apprehension he was riding a horse which had been stolen on the previous day from Spring Creek, and which his captors were able to identify. Clarke, seeing that the case was so strong against him, made a confession to Captain Battye, to the effect that the murder of Mr. Cirkel had been committed by Gardiner, Gilbert, Meally, and himself, and that it was Meally who actually fired the fatal shot.

The confession of John Clarke in the murder of Mr. Adolph Cirkel was met with scepticism, particularly given the known departure of Frank Gardiner from the Lachlan region, which raised questions about the accuracy of Clarke's account. Gardiner, a notorious figure in his own right, had been a key player in the bushranging scene, but his absence from the area at the time of the crime cast doubt on the involvement of his known associates.

Amidst this uncertainty, attention shifted to the description of the second man involved in the murder, which pointed to Ben Hall. Witnesses consistently described this individual as stout and short in stature, characteristics that matched Hall's physical appearance. This alignment of the descriptions with Hall's known attributes lent credibility to the theory that he was the accomplice at the scene.

The involvement of Ben Hall, coupled with John O'Meally's earlier implicit admission during the Wambat store robbery, painted a more complete picture of the events surrounding Cirkel's death. The implications of these revelations were significant, as they linked two of the most infamous bushrangers of the era to a heinous crime, further entrenching their reputations as dangerous and ruthless outlaws.

The investigation into Cirkel's murder, marked by confessions, eyewitness accounts, and the piecing together of various descriptions, highlighted the complexities and challenges faced in untangling the truth from hearsay and rumor in the bushranging world. This period in Australian history was characterised by a constant battle between law enforcement and bushrangers, with each new piece of evidence or confession adding layers to an already intricate and often elusive narrative.

The shortest of the two men (the one that first went in) walked behind the bar, and said to the man who acted as barman during Mr. Cirkel's absence, that he wanted the money, and helped himself to the contents of the till—about five pounds in silver. Both the robbers had nobblers. They were each well armed with revolvers. The taller of the two stood near the entrance to the bar, covering with his revolver the people bailed up in the corner, the back door, and the one leading into the next room close to the back door. Whilst this was going on, Mr. Cirkel, who had been in the bakehouse, entered the taproom by the front door, which is opposite the counter.

The tall man asked him to go and sit in the corner with those already there. He answered, "What for?" A struggle then ensued between the tall robber and him and there is little doubt that Mr. Cirkel who was a strong, powerfully built, and very determined man, would have overpowered the other, had not the stout robber behind the bar called out to him according to the report of one witness to the scene "Blow his bloo_y brains out," and to another's-"Shoot the bu--er." The tall ruffian immediately fired, and shot the unfortunate gentleman dead. The deceased never spoke afterwards—death was instantaneous. The diabolical ruffians, after committing the murder, rushed out of the house, mounted their horses, and fled, and up to the present time no tidings have been heard of them.

When arrested, Clarke was appraised by Captain Battye to be of 'bad character'. After the arrest, Clarke was presented to the witnesses for identification, but they could not say Clarke was one of the men.

NSW Police Gazette
February 1863.
At the inquest, the Physician who did the autopsy, Henry Wilkinson, gave a detailed account of Mr Cirkel's fatal injuries:

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

However, before Cirkel's murder and with his brother Clarke had been questioned by police over suspicious behaviour near Cirkel's hotel regarding a stolen horse. Fortunately for the brothers, both were released. 'Empire' 26th February 1863:

What makes the suspicion strong against John Clarke is, that the horse, or pony, on which he was riding when apprehended, was identified as having been stolen from a digger at Stoney Creek, on Sunday afternoon last, not more than half a mile from the house where the murder was committed. Another curious circumstance is, that Clarke was apprehended about ten days ago, with a man said to be his brother. The trooper who arrested the prisoners found them under very suspicious circumstances lurking about the bush at Stoney Creek, not far from the late Mr Cirkel's premises. No charge could be proved against them, and they wore discharged, but the police considered them both of them very bad characters.¹²

It may also be that those witnesses may have felt highly intimidated even fearful of reprisals by identifying those responsible. Ultimately due to lack of evidence John Clarke would be sent down only for two years with hard labour for horse stealing. From 'The Sydney Morning Herald' Tuesday, 16th June 1863:

At the Quarter Sessions, John Clark, charged with horse-stealing, was found guilty, and sentenced to two years in gaol.¹⁸

Clarke was discharged on the 22nd December 1864, after 18 months.

The Cirkel inquest, the jury returned a verdict that the deceased came to his death by a wound from a pistol, fired by the taller man, and delivered a 'Wilful Murder' verdict against both parties, names unknown. Furthermore, John O'Meally's brother Patrick bore a striking resemblance to his older brother and was arrested also on suspicion of Cirkel's murder.

However, Patrick would be released as the witnesses could not identify him as well. On his release, it was reported in the 'Burrangong Star' that he left court laughing:

Patrick Meally, who had been apprehended on suspicion of being concerned in the murder, of Mr Cirkel, at Stoney Creek, was discharged on the 24th ultimo. The Star says he left the court laughing.¹⁹

Authors Note: In 1871, Patrick O'Meally would marry one Mary Ann Hadcroft at Binda. Mary Ann is the half-sister of James Dunleavy, who would join Ben Hall some months after the death of John O'Meally.
Ben Hall c. 1862
Coloured by me.

In March 1863, a dramatic encounter unfolded in the Australian bush, involving prominent bushrangers John O'Meally, Ben Hall, and Patsy Daley. Their target on this fateful day was none other than a police Inspector, marking a bold and brazen challenge to the law enforcement of the time.

Inspector Norton, accompanied by the black tracker Billy Dargin, was en route to a rendezvous with other troopers near Wheogo when they spotted three riders approaching. The riders were quickly identified as O'Meally, Hall, and Daley. The bushrangers wasted no time in confronting the lawmen, demanding Norton to 'bail up.' What ensued was a tense and fierce gunfight, with O'Meally, Hall, and Daley discharging between fifteen to eighteen shots at the police duo. Norton, not one to yield easily, returned fire with his pistol.

In the midst of the chaos, Billy Dargin, the skilled and resourceful tracker, managed to evade capture. He skillfully navigated the bush, moving from tree to tree, and eventually made his way to the Pinnacle Police station on foot to summon reinforcements.

Meanwhile, Inspector Norton, outnumbered and outgunned, found himself a prisoner of the bushrangers. For several hours, he endured their company, facing their chastisements and taunts. Eventually, in a surprising turn of events, the bushrangers released Norton, allowing him to walk free.

This encounter was a significant event, demonstrating the daring and audacity of O'Meally, Hall, and Daley. It also highlighted the risks and dangers faced by law enforcement officers like Inspector Norton and Billy Dargin in their pursuit of such notorious outlaws. The incident, with its dramatic gunfight and the subsequent capture and release of Inspector Norton, added yet another thrilling chapter to the legends of O'Meally, Hall, and Daley, and their ongoing defiance of the colonial police force.

Below is Norton's own words on those events from the 'Sydney Morning Herald' 9th March, 1863;

I was proceeding through the neighbourhood of Wheogo, accompanied by a black tracker, each of us leading a horse; about 9 o'clock I saw two men riding, about 500 yards before us, one of whom had a led horse, and the other a gun on his thigh; I beckoned to the tracker, who was on the hill opposite, and he came down; on nearing the men, they made off; we followed them for some distance into the scrub and got off, and then fired on them; we then returned to our horses, to pick up our led horses, and, on preparing to start, saw them again watching us; we followed them again, and fired on them, when, finding our horses unable to overtake them, we returned to some huts, and remained there for twenty minutes or half an hour; seeing no more of them, I thought it advisable to go to the police station to get some men, who were to have met us in the neighbourhood, to follow them; about three or four miles from those huts, the black fellow called out that there were three men coming up behind us; they were so near that I could hear them; I could hear them shouting, "Bail-up," evidently with the intention of stopping us; the black fellow passed me and left his led horse; I dropped mine also. and turned round, and, on seeing me do so, the tracker stood at about fifty yards distance. 

The three men were scattered at about 100 yards apart, one on each side of the road, and one near the road; the man on the left side advanced within eighty yards of me, and then commenced firing; the man on the left charged and fired a double-barrelled gun; I cannot swear to the man on the right firing his rifle, but he fired a revolver; the man I supposed to be O'Maley took up his position about eighty yards from me; Hall and the prisoner a little farther off; O'Meally cried out, "Throw up your arms, repeatedly; they then commenced firing with revolvers; we fired several return shots; they might have fired fifteen or eighteen shots; my ammunition was then expended, and O'Meally with Hall rode up to me; the latter presented a revolver at me, while O'Meally and Daley ran after the black-fellow, and fired after him; after a few minutes, Hall rode up to me, and said that they had nothing against me, and that I might go; Hall spoke of a trooper named Hollister, who had threatened to shoot him, and that he would return the compliment when he got hold of him; Hall returned me a revolver which he said was no good to him; he spoke of Sir Frederick Pottinger; how Sir Frederick had brought him (Hall) several times into Forbes, and had him remanded from time to time, until really the magistrates were inclined to believe that there was some charge against him, and those with him; that it was his opinion that Sir Frederick detained them till he could make up a case; Hall referred also to the case of young Walsh who was then suffering in the lock-up, as he(Hall) had suffered before; I asked for my horse, and he said that I could take them; but he inquired if there was anything particular in the swag on one of them; I told him there was nothing of any consequence; the three detained a Government revolver, a Government carbine which the black-fellow had dropped, a Government saddle and bridle, and the horse on which the black-fellow rode, remarking that they would shoot the horse, and so teach people not to lend horses to policemen; the man who I supposed to be O'Meally, said to me, "you had better not give our description when you return to town; “they then rode round, and picked up their discharged arms, and cleared off; I cannot swear positively that the prisoner is one of the men; I never saw O'Meally but once before, and the prisoner never but on that occasion; I could not have been close to the prisoner more than three or four minutes; Hall was the one who was in conversation with me, and whom I would swear positively to; the names were given to me by the black-fellow as Hall, Daley, and O'Meally; O'Meally was dressed differently to the prisoner, the hat is exactly like what I have seen Daley wear." When Norton’s brush with the bushrangers is reported in the newspapers, it creates a sensation throughout the colony.

John Oxley Norton.

First time published.
Private Source.
The same article goes on to say:

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

On March 17, 1863, Daley's criminal escapades came to an abrupt end when he was apprehended by the renowned Sir Frederick Pottinger at Pinnacle Range. Following a protracted legal battle, Daley was sentenced to a formidable fifteen years in Darlinghurst Gaol, Sydney, marking the end of his notorious career.

Meanwhile, the infamous bushranging trio of John O'Meally, Ben Hall, and John Gilbert had asserted their dominance over the Lachlan roads and surrounding countryside. Their reputation was built on their ability to traverse vast distances, skillfully evading the persistent pursuit of the New South Wales police. Travellers navigating between towns often encountered these bushrangers and were typically subjected to armed robbery. The trio had a penchant for seizing personal items such as boots or coats from their victims.

In response to the escalating threat posed by these outlaws, some citizens adopted defensive strategies reminiscent of the circling of wagons in old Western films. A notable incident occurred near Strickland's 'Bundaburra' station outside Forbes. Here, travellers prepared to defend themselves against a potential attack. However, upon encountering the prepared citizens, O'Meally, Hall, and Gilbert, unlike their confrontation with Inspector Norton, chose to engage in mere pleasantries, evidently dissuaded by the travellers' readiness for conflict. This episode highlights the unpredictable nature of these bushrangers and the climate of fear and uncertainty they instilled in the hearts of those living in rural New South Wales during this tumultuous period: 'The Border Post' 1863:

When near Strickland's paddock, they heard the bushrangers were out a-head and accordingly looked to their arms. Sure enough they had not gone a dozen miles before they saw three men, mounted bearing down on them; the latter separated, one coming straight to the party and the others each taking a side of the road. Our travellers drew up, made a barricade of their vehicles, and quietly covered the bushrangers with their "double barrels." This had the effect of making them pass in peace, one of them remarking, "You seem to be prepared." "Times require it," was the reply. Some distance further on, our heroes saw four other men coming towards them. The barricade dodge was repeated, but the bushrangers in this instance turned out to be "poor innocent mounted troopers," who thought the party were bushrangers, and were funky accordingly. A bushranger travelling in a buggy is a new idea, and could only have emanated from the brain of a New South Wales trooper. 

In May 1863, a significant event unfolded in the turbulent life of bushranger John O'Meally, further cementing his reputation as a formidable outlaw in Australian history. Joined by his notorious accomplice Ben Hall and the youthful John Jameison, son of William Jameison, a friend of Hall's from Back Creek in the Bland region, O'Meally embarked on a daring escapade.

The trio, known for their audacious exploits, targeted a police inspector in a calculated ambush. Displaying a blend of boldness and precision, they successfully bailed up the unsuspecting officer. In a brazen act of defiance against the law, O'Meally and his companions relieved the inspector of all his valuables. This encounter not only highlighted their cunning and fearlessness but also underscored the challenges faced by law enforcement in curbing the activities of such relentless bushrangers.

This episode in O'Meally's life, alongside his alliances with figures like Ben Hall, contributed significantly to his legend and the broader narrative of bushranging in Australia during the 19th century. The involvement of young Jameison in this incident also illustrates the influence and reach of these outlaws, drawing individuals from diverse backgrounds into their fold: Reported in the Sydney Morning Herald 21st May 1863:

On Saturday, Sub-Inspector Shadforth, stationed at Bogolong, in the Lachlan district, with a stockman, offered to show two ladies who were making their way in a buggy to Forbes, a short distance on the road; after proceeding a mile Shadforth's horse bolted a short distance into the bush, when he came upon three men who levelled their guns and revolvers at him and ordered him to dismount. They were Ben Hall, John O’Meally, and another not known. Hall held a revolver at Shadforth's head while one searched him, taking his money, watch, rug, saddle, bridle, and horse, telling him to proceed with the ladies. He returned to camp today somewhat chagrined.

The bold robbery of a police inspector by John O'Meally and his accomplices quickly became the talk of the region, stirring up considerable public sensation. In the wake of this audacious act, O'Meally, alongside fellow bushranger John Gilbert, reassembled with a new addition to their gang - O'Meally's younger brother, Patsy O'Meally. Together, the trio set out on a new venture, one that would further etch their names in the annals of bushranging lore.

Their next escapade took them to Bribery Station, the homestead of the Howell family, where an event of joyful celebration was unfolding. Unbeknownst to the Howell family, their wedding party, rejoicing in the union of a sister and daughter to their respective spouses, was about to receive uninvited guests. In a brazen display of audacity, the bushrangers arrived at the station, dismounted their horses, and seamlessly integrated themselves into the festivities.

This intrusion by O'Meally, Gilbert, and Patsy O'Meally was not just a stark violation of social norms but also a daring challenge to the boundaries of lawful society. Their presence at the wedding party, uninvited and unexpected, serves as a testament to the fearless nature of these outlaws and their disregard for the conventions of the time. This incident, occurring amid the already heightened tensions following the inspector's robbery, only added to the infamy and intrigue surrounding these bushrangers: 'Mount Alexander Mail' Tuesday 19th May 1863:

Uninvited Guests at a Marriage Party — 'The Burrangong Star' of Saturday, the 9th inst., states;

On Monday evening, during the celebration of the wedding at Mr Howell's (the Bribery station)— his son having been married that day, likewise the sister of his wife, whose nuptials had taken place that morning — Gilbert and Johnny O'Meally appeared, well armed, at the house; not, as our readers may imagine, as invited guests - their absence being preferable to their company.-- Hanging up their horses, they went into the yard, and Gilbert proceeded to the kitchen. When Mr Howell was informed of the honor his unwelcome guests, had conferred upon him, he left his friends and the house and had an interview with, them; They gave him to understand that Gardiner, whom they called the "Darkey," was up on the hill near the house, but they mentioned that they had no intention of interfering with his guests. We may here remark that Patsey O'Meally, who was then in the house, was included in that number; he also was self-invited, and we believe, a, very unwelcome guest. Mr Howell, gave them some grog, wedding-cake, and a ham, and after a time they went away without interfering with or annoying any of the company.

We can imagine this was a great, relief to the invited guests, whose feelings during the time these desperate ruffians were on the premises must have been far from pleasant. Some of our townsfolk were present by invitation, and we have no doubt they were, very, glad, to get home in safety, without being stuck up and robbed, by these desperadoes.

In the months following the brazen intrusion at the Howell wedding, Patrick O'Meally, John O'Meally's brother, joined the notorious gang. Patrick quickly became entwined in their illicit endeavours, although direct evidence linking him to crimes with John Gilbert, and Ben Hall remained elusive. The Howell incident particularly stood out as an example of the gang's audacity, where the mere possibility of Frank Gardiner's involvement was enough to deter any thoughts of resistance among the guests.

A notable episode in this period of heightened bushranging activity occurred on June 28th, when John O'Meally and Gilbert, operating with their characteristic synergy, targeted Gordon's coach en route to Forbes, 17 miles from Lambing Flat. Among the passengers that day were Chemist Mr. Armstrong and his wife, Lawyer Pendergast, and an unnamed German traveler.

O'Meally and Gilbert, exuding confidence and buoyed by a sense of invincibility, boldly intercepted the coach. With a mix of humor and threat, they commanded the driver to stop and ordered the passengers to alight and relinquish their possessions. This encounter, showcasing their flair for dramatic and daring heists, further solidified the reputations of O'Meally and Gilbert as two of the most audacious bushrangers of their era. Their ability to instill fear and command authority over their victims was a hallmark of their criminal careers, leaving an indelible mark on the history of bushranging in Australia.

'Miner' Saturday 4th July 1863. We extract from the 'Miner' the particulars of this case, as we have no doubt our contemporary received them from one of the gentlemen stuck-up:

On Sunday morning a coach left Lambing Flat for Forbes, having as passengers, Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong, Mr. Prendergast, and a German; and for about seventeen miles, everything passed pleasantly. At that point, however, Messrs. Gilbert and O'Meally, the well-known 'road contractors,' were met with, who proceeded to take stock, and eased the occupants of the vehicle of what little cash there was among them.

The greatest harmony prevailed, and many jokes were bandied about between the learned lawyer and the gentry who bid so fair to become profitable clients. The plunder was not extensive, amounting to a couple of pounds or so — some valuable jewellery escaping detection, but the toll-takers appeared perfectly satisfied, and the whole arrangement ended in drinks. It is pleasing to find so much good feeling prevail on the road to Young. Mr. Prendergast avers that the gin was first-rate; and indeed we have heard of late that the 'shouters' of Sunday last, having a strong idea of treating the Burrangong police to a nobbler before long, make it a rule never to leave their fastnesses and appear in public without that splendid remedy for all disorders — the Captain's bottle.

During their relentless bushranging activities near Lambing Flat, John O'Meally, John Gilbert, and their associates continued to assert their dominance in the region. Their modus operandi often involved intercepting storekeepers who were returning from their weekly rounds of collecting outstanding accounts. These unsuspecting individuals frequently became targets of the bushrangers' schemes, as they were likely to carry sums of money collected from their customers.

Amidst this climate of uncertainty and lawlessness, George Ogilvy Preshaw, one of the first bank managers at Lambing Flat for the Bank of New South Wales, played a unique role in documenting this tumultuous period. Preshaw meticulously recorded the events and encounters with bushrangers in his diary, aptly titled "Banking under Difficulties; or Life on the Gold-fields of Victoria, New South Wales and New Zealand." His writings offer a vivid and faithful account of the challenges and dangers that were part and parcel of life on the goldfields, especially under the shadow of bushrangers like O'Meally and Gilbert.

Preshaw's diary stands as a significant historical document, providing invaluable insights into the era's socio-economic conditions and the pervasive impact of bushranging on daily life. His detailed observations and narratives bring to life the trials and tribulations faced by those working and living in the goldfields, painting a vivid picture of an era marked by both prosperity and peril. Through his eyes, readers gain a deeper understanding of the complexities and hardships of banking and commerce in a landscape dominated by the unpredictable and often violent activities of bushrangers. 29th June:

Sticking up in all directions; no less than four storekeepers bailed up in one day, viz, Messrs Howard, Murphy, Tom Copeland and Emanuel. Monday, in Burrangong, was the great collecting day with the storekeepers, who used to visit the neighboring diggings and collect amounts due to them by the small storekeeper, publicans; etc. One day about this date four or five of them went together. Johnie Murphy was - one of the number, and Emanuel representative ( a man named Cohen) another. The last named was the only one of the party who was armed, and was continually telling his companions what he would do if he met the bushrangers. They had visited the Ten Mile and other places and were returning home by the main road, when suddenly, at the top of a slight rise, there appeared four or five horsemen.- "The bushrangers?" they exclaimed simultaneously. However, on getting nearer to them, Cohen, in great glee, said, "It's the police," As they drew near them they saw the police uniform, heard swords clinking, etc., and were just about speaking to them when the foremost of the supposed policemen drew a revolver and ordered the party to bail up. Mr. Cohen now had an opportunity to distinguish himself, but his courage, like Bob Acres had "oozed away."

The bushrangers-for such they were, some of Gardiner's crew, John O'Meally and others ordered the party to dismount and relieved them of all the cash they had in their possession, took away Cohen's revolver, and not satisfied with that, his poncho and breast-pin. He begged them to return both these articles. The first, he said, had cost him 30/, and the last had been given to him by his grandmother. They would not listen to him; his tears and entreaties were unavailing, From Murphy, they took a watch-a family relic, one that had been in the family for years, This he tried to get back; but no, not a thing would they return.

Meanwhile, the saddles and bridles had been taken off the horses and the beasts let loose. Having possessed themselves of all they possibly could. They remounted their horses, wished their victims "Good day." and away they went. To account for their appearance in police uniform, the police camp at - had been stuck up a few days previously, at a time when the police were looking after the bushrangers. On the return of the storekeepers to town, information was given to the police who did not succeed in capturing the robbers. Poor Cohen got chaffed unmercifully, so much so that for some days he showed out as little as possible.

These storekeepers at various stages over the next 18 months would be confronted by Hall Gilbert and O'Meally and later Vane and Burke.

In July of 1863, John O'Meally in the company of John Gilbert arrived at Junee on the evening of the 7th July 1863 holding up the Inn of a Mr Harris and the store of a Mr Williams; (See article below.)
John Gilbert.
Coloured by me.
The saga of Fred Lowry and John Gilbert stands out for its violence and audacity. Fred Lowry escaped from Bathurst Gaol in February 1863 after shooting a race goer Foran at the Brisbane Valley race meeting. On the run Lowry teams up with Gilbert O'Meally and ben Hall. However, Lowry and Gilbert out together shot and wounded a miner named McBride, who tragically succumbed to his injuries while being hastily transported to Lambing Flat for medical treatment. This incident prompted an intense police response, flooding the Burrangong area with law enforcement and compelling Lowry to seek refuge in the Fish River region. Gilbert, after persuading John O'Meally, followed suit arriving near Carcoar.

By mid-July 1863, the pair ventured into the Carcoar district, a terrain unfamiliar to them, located some 70 miles away. Their arrival in this new territory was marked by a bold attempt to rob a bank in broad daylight, a feat believed to be one of the first of its kind in a New South Wales country location. Prior to this audacious endeavor, O'Meally made contact with John Vane, a known acquaintance and recent fugitive from the law, who was soon joined by his associate, Micky Burke.

Vane and Burke's initial foray into crime in this region involved the theft of valuable horses from the Icely's Coombing Park farm, an episode marred by Burke's shooting of the groom, inflicting serious injuries. Following several encounters with the police, Vane and Burke eventually allied themselves with Ben Hall. Meanwhile, O'Meally and Gilbert, unfamiliar with the Carcoar district, relied heavily on Vane's local knowledge and resources, including fresh horses. Vane, leading the way, assisted them in planning the daring bank robbery in Carcoar.

Vane's memoirs later recounted his interactions with O'Meally and Gilbert, noting his prior acquaintance with O'Meally. Despite the collaborative planning, it was only Gilbert and O'Meally who executed the attempted bank robbery, as well as a subsequent robbery at the store of Stanley Hosie in Caloola. These events highlight the intricate web of alliances and rivalries within the bushranger community, as well as the audacious nature of their criminal activities

At this time the country was ringing with reports of the exploits of the bushrangers, Gardiner, Hall, Gilbert, and O'Meally, who had been chiefly operating in the Forbes and Cowra districts. Johnny O'Meally was known to me personally, I having occasionally met him when droving cattle, and when residing near the Weddin Mountains. On the day of my return with the six horses, Gilbert and O'Meally paid a visit to Milpost Creek, about ten miles from Number One, and made inquiries concerning my whereabouts. Upon ascertaining that I had just returned from Cowra, O'Meally sent a message by a boy asking me to meet him at the Creek. I obeyed the summons, as I was anxious to see Gilbert, of whom I had heard a great deal.

O'Meally introduced me to his companion, and in the course of conversation, I learned that they intended doing a little bushranging on that side of the country on their own account. In answer to their inquiries I gave them full information about the Mountain Run and Trunkey Creek Diggings.
Milpost Creek
Area frequented by John Vane, O'Meally and Gilbert while in the Carcoar surrounds.
Filmed by Craig Bratby.

The Carcoar Chronicle 
Saturday, 30th July 1863
Carcoar Bank attempted robbery as well as Mr Hosie's store robbery Caloola.
( should read 30th July 1863, not 22nd)
Former Carcoar Commercial Bank,
first building on the left.
c. 1863.

Courtesy Carcoar Historical

Following the unsuccessful robbery attempt in Carcoar, John O'Meally and John Gilbert shifted their focus to the small hamlet of Caloola. Their target was the general store owned by Stanley Hosie, a pivotal establishment in the area, catering to travelers journeying to and from the goldfields of Trunkey and Tuena.

The store, a hub for miners and travelers, presented a lucrative opportunity for the bushrangers. O'Meally and Gilbert, known for their daring and relentless pursuit of wealth, saw an opening in targeting such a critical point in the supply chain of the goldfields. The store's significance in the local economy made it an attractive target, potentially holding not just supplies but also cash and valuable items from the many who passed through seeking their fortune in the goldfields.

Their decision to rob Hosie's store was indicative of the bushrangers' strategy to exploit the vulnerabilities of communities centered around the gold rush. This move, while part of a string of bold and high-profile crimes, also underscored the duo's adaptability and cunning in selecting targets that would yield the most reward for their risky endeavors. The raid on Hosie's store in Caloola thus represents another chapter in the storied and often tumultuous careers of O'Meally and Gilbert  The 'Bathurst Times' says:

Of the late store robbery at Caloola The robbers were armed with four revolvers each, and talked in a free and open manner with all present. To Mr Stephens, who was in the store, and who was the victim of a murderous attack some time back, they said, "We know you, there were two men hanged through you but we don't intend to shoot anybody unless there is any resistance." They then emptied the till of its contents (about £25), and proceeded to ransack the store, packing up a lot of silk dresses, boots, shoes, and miscellaneous articles, which they said they wanted for "their people. " 

Mr Hosie, not liking to part with his goods so easily, challenged either one of them to lay down his arms, and decide the right of possession by a fair fight. At this they smiled, and one of them said, "No, mate, we don't do business in that way." After selecting what they required, they took two horses from the stable and packed the goods on them. They then mounted their horses, and one of the bushrangers said to Mr. Hosie, as they were leaving- "Ah, if you had as much money as is offered for me, you'd be well in."

With all haste, Mr. Hosie rode into Bathurst and gave information of the robbery, when a detachment of police were despatched in pursuit, but as so many hours must have elapsed before the police could arrive even at the scene of the robbery it is very improbable that they have been able to come up with the robbers. From the description given of the two men, it is imagined they are Gilbert and O'Meally, and that they were concerned in both of the cases related above.

In the early days of August 1863, the bushranging gang, led by John Gilbert, John O'Meally, and John Vane, faced a significant challenge. Three of their bush telegraphs, crucial for relaying information within the gang, were apprehended by the authorities. Among them was Micky Burke's cousin and a close associate of John Vane. Demonstrating loyalty and support to these telegraphs was imperative for the gang to ensure the continued flow of vital information from their network.

As fate would have it, the coach carrying the arrested telegraphs neared the five-mile waterholes outside Blayney, NSW. Gilbert, O'Meally, and Vane saw an opportunity for a daring rescue. The attempt, however, revealed a disparity in commitment; Vane's efforts paled in comparison to the more seasoned bushrangers, Gilbert and John O'Meally. This rescue operation might have been a serendipitous chance rather than a premeditated plan, as suggested by the positioning of a dray that narrowed the road. Upon encountering the police on the coach, with one officer on horseback, a surprised O'Meally exclaimed, "There is a bloody lot of traps," leading to a fierce confrontation.

This period also witnessed another notable incident involving Gilbert. Hours before the attack on the Carcoar coach, Gilbert intercepted a horse team led by Mr. M'George. During this encounter, O'Meally shared an anecdote about a recent brush with death, revealing how a bullet, after striking the pocket watch he was wearing, had been stopped, sparing him from serious harm. This incident underscored not only the dangers that the bushrangers routinely faced but also their brazen attitude towards such perils. The episode with Mr. M'George, coupled with the attempted rescue of their associates, paints a vivid picture of the daring and often perilous lives led by these notorious figures. 'Sydney Morning Herald', 12th January, 1864; John M'George said:

I am a bullock driver and reside at Colo; about the beginning of August last I was driving a horse team from Blayney to Carcoar, and when about a mile on the other side of the Five-mile Waterholes a young man rode up to me on a grey horse, who I believed to be Gilbert; he asked me if the coach had passed, and I replied I had not seen it; he said "You stop there till it does come;" the coach then came along, and he galloped up to it and told the driver to stand; two other men then came out of the bush, and they all fired at the coach; two of the men then rode away and one of the police, on horseback followed them; Gilbert came back round by the coach again, and met the policeman coming back and chased him towards the coach, two of the men kept about the place, but I did not see the third until afterwards, one of them got off his horse and picked up a revolver and said it was a pretty thing to ride forty miles for; they asked me how many police there were, and I said four, they said they did not expect any would have been there, but that they could stick the coach up easily; one of them pulled a bullet out of his trousers and shewed me, saying it was a nigh go; they talked with me a little while and then went away; the prisoner Vane was one of the three men and was riding a grey horse; I had known Vane six or seven years and cannot he mistaken as to his identity; he had a double barreled gun, and said he had fired two shots; one of the men asked me whether any of the police had been shot, I said yes, the one on horseback; he said he knew-well he was shot; I made a statement before the Police Magistrate at Carcoar on the same day that the occurrence took place; the statement produced bears my signature.

As the three bushrangers attacked the coach, it was only through sheer providence that murder was not committed. Luckily, a police constable named Sutton escaped with his life after bravely confronting the bushrangers and was shot by O'Meally. (See article below.)
The Sydney Morning Herald
Tuesday 11th August 1863
Superintendent Morrissett
c. 1860.
From Bathurst, Superintendent Morrisset sent this urgent telegram to the Inspector General: Bathurst, August 6, 1863, 8.15, "From Superintendent Morrisset".

I have just returned to Bathurst per coach, with three prisoners whom I arrested for being accessories to all the robberies that have lately taken place about Carcoar. About three miles this side of Carcoar an attempt was made by Johnny Gilbert, Johnny O'Mealy, and John Vane, to rescue our prisoners. The bushrangers galloped up to the coach, armed with double-barrelled guns and revolvers, and ordered us to stop. I told the coachman to pull up and then jumped from the coach, followed by the constables. We immediately fired, and the bushrangers discharged their guns at us. Mounted constable Sutton, who was riding up, the horse behind the coach, was shot through the arm, the bullet coming out at his chest. We left him at King's Plains, the bushrangers would not come a second time but followed us for a mile. I shot one of their horses through the ribs, but he carried his rider away. O'Meally and Vane were riding the two horses lately stolen from Coombing stable I have a good deal to do tonight, and return with the same party to Carcoar at daylight tomorrow.
Five Mile Waterholes
The link above shows where O'Meally, Gilbert and Vane attacked the Police as described above, filmed and narrated by Craig Bratby. (See Source page for Craig's book on the life of John Vane.)
NSW Police Gazette,
August 1863.
Another of the police officers involved in the fracas in which Constable Sutton was wounded was Senior Sergeant Grainger seated with another constable, Trooper Merrin, as the coach was attacked. It is also interesting to see that the female passenger caught up in the gunfight was none other than Miss Flanagan, who would have her own encounter with the gang in October 1863, when the gang would hold Canowindra hostage. The episode is described in the 'Sydney Morning Herald', 12th January 1864; S. S. Grainger  said:

I was on duty on the 6th August last escorting prisoners to Bathurst; about four miles from Carcoar I heard S. Merrin say, the coach is bailed up; I looked out and saw two men on horseback riding towards the coach; Superintendent Morrissett said, "Jump out of the coach;" we got out of the coach as quickly as possible, and when getting out I heard two or three shots fired; I ran towards the horses heads and fired at one of the men who was riding a grey horse; that man I believe was O'Meally; he was about thirty to fifty yards from the coach; he at once turned and rode up the hill; In a minute or two afterwards, I heard some shots fired in the direction O'Meally had gone and then saw constable Sutton riding towards the coach, he was pursued by the man I had previously fired at; Sutton rode up to the coach, and the other man rode past the horses, about thirty yards away; I then fired at him with my revolver; I had seen O'Meally before, and believed he was the man I fired at. I did not see the man who was riding the bay horse; when Sutton came back he appeared faint, and he told me he was shot in the arm; Sutton afterwards got into the coach, and we left him at Blayney, while we came on to Bathurst with the prisoners; I do not recognise the prisoner Vane as one of the party; I believe one of the horses ridden by the bushrangers was Mr. lceley's property, I had seen it before; the prisoners wanted to get way, and I heard the superintendent say If they attempted to do so he would shoot them. There was a lady passenger, Miss Flanagan, from near Cowra, and she displayed great coolness. Two of the prisoners in the coach turned sick with fright, but the third, a man named Burke, enjoyed the episode.

Frederick Sutton.

Private Source.
In January 1864, constable Sutton recounted his near-fatal wounding and encounter with O'Meally, Gilbert and John Vane. 'Sydney Morning Herald', 12th January 1864; S. C. Sutton said:

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

For Jack O'Meally it was a lucky day, if not for one of his stolen watches, he may well have died after Morrissett had fired a round at Jack hitting him in the chest. Vane later said:

A bullet fired by Superintendent Morrissett had struck O'Meally in the chest, but did him no harm, as it comes in contact with a watch he had in his pocket, three-quarters of which it shivered to atoms, leaving nothing but a small section of the case attached to the ring at the end of the guard. "It knocked the wind out of him for a time, and he now wears the remainder as a sort of "charm.

How lucky time would tell!

Wounded constable Sutton he came under the care of Dr Machattie, who described the seriousness of the gunshot wound in August 1863; Dr Machattie said:

On the evening of the 6th of August, 1863, I was sent for to go to Blaney, to visit constable Sutton; I arrived there on the morning of the 7th August. Constable Sutton was suffering from a gun shot wound; the ball had entered the right side of the chest, took a direction on the side, passed through the axilla, (armpit) and came out a little under the arm about the middle but towards the back of the arm; he was suffering very severely from the wound. I brought him into Bathurst in a buggy; he was under my care for four months; he is still suffering from the effects of the wound and is likely to do so for some time to come; when I first saw the wound I considered it was a dangerous one, owing to the parts through which the ball passed.

Sutton, in due course, recovered and continued to serve until 1900. Sutton passed away at the Hospital for the Insane, Callan Park Sydney, in March 1916.

Nevertheless, on the morning of the 30th August 1863, as a new day dawned, John O'Meally and John Vane, on the evening before, held up and robbed 'Demondrille Station' in company with Ben Hall Gilbert, and Burke. Separated arriving at a hut of harbourers, the Tootle's. The two bushrangers, after some aperitifs, bunked down for the night. When day broke in what would become a fateful day for John O'Meally, four troopers and Mr Edmonds, Demondrille Station manager, arrived at Tootle's hut after information of O'Meally's presence reached them the newly established police station at Murrumburrah. As the police stealthily approached the cabin, the barking of dogs sounded the alarm catching Vane and O'Meally by surprise. Therefore, like the scene from the end of the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, John Vane and John O'Meally cornered, burst out the front door, firing rapidly at the troopers and effected their escape. In the gun battle, Constable Houghey was shot in the knee and three horses. John Vane describes the scene:

 The police called on us to come out, and as we made no sign they poured a regular storm of bullets into the slab walls, fortunately without doing any damage... O'Meally and I took a revolver in each hand and suddenly throwing open the door we sent out a blaze of fire, discharging our revolvers simultaneously, and rushed out while the smoke-filled the doorway. I heard one of the policemen call out "I'm shot, but look after their horses.

At the subsequent trial of the harbourers Tootle and his mate Slater weeks after the gunfight, Constable's Churchman and Houghey recounted the confrontation in court. Edward Churchman deposed:

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

Thomas Houghey, who appeared on crutches and accommodated with a chair, deposed:

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

Tootle's was acquitted, but his companion George Slater was convicted and sentenced to five years hard labour.

Alexander MacKay.

Nevertheless, O'Meally and Vane, having effected their escape arrived at the nearby hut of Mr James Brown, who recounted as follows:

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

The two unsuspecting men where Mr Barnes aged 51 and an employee Mr Hanlow.

My Photo.
Noticing the two riders John O'Meally, jumped on one of the horses the two bushrangers had and galloped over, bailing up Cootamundra businessman John Barnes and an employee Mr Hanlow near Wallendbeen station. Mr Barnes owned stores in the towns of Cootamundra and Murrumburrah. On leaving Brown's hut, O'Meally called on Mr Barnes to stop and surrender his saddle and bridle, which O'Meally required after losing his recent battle with police at Tootle's (Tutill). Suddenly and without warning, Mr Barnes put the spurs to his horse and galloped off. As Mr Barnes fled, John Vane covered Mr Barnes' employee Mr Hanlow with his revolver, leaving O'Meally to pursue the brave Mr Barnes. O'Meally, at full gallop, aimed and fired some revolver shots, three of which took effect, hitting Barnes in the back. Mr Barnes wounded entered the grounds of Alexander MacKay's Wallendbeen station, where he fell from his horse and, in great agony, moments later sighed his last breath and died.

Although there were reports of some confusion by various sources as to whether or not it was Gilbert with O'Meally and not John Vane when Mr Barnes was murdered, was not the case. Vane was undoubtedly the other assailant as evidence explains why Brown's boots wouldn't fit. due to Vane's feet being too big as he stood at 6ft.

Furthermore, Vane describes in his biography the escape from Houghey verbatim. The real mystery is why Barnes' murder was not canvassed at Vane's later trial. The result of which may have had a capital charge imposed.
Barnes family arrival in 1841.
Note: John Barnes was born at Bletsoe, Bedfordshire, England on 27th June 1812. John Barnes married Elizabeth Ellen King at St Antholin, Budge Row, City of London on the 16th June 1833. The family resided in London prior to leaving for Sydney in 1839. They had conducted business at cnr Wood/Bread-street, Cheapside, London, arriving at Port Jackson on the 5th April 1841 as free settlers onboard the ship Abbotsford, 407 tonnes, Master Hicks in command. On establishing his residence at Concord, John Barnes became a merchant and held a number of businesses first at Concord then George St, Sydney and later Crown St, Darlinghurst. Gold discoveries in Victoria saw the Barnes family make the move to Victoria in 1855 where they remained for 4 years, returning to Sydney in 1859, on their return the family then moved in 1860 to Murrumburrah, close to the newly discovered goldfield at Lambing Flat, where Barnes opened a store in 1860 to service the diggers en route to the goldfield, the merchant store was on the corner of Albury and Bathurst Streets. This business's success enabled Barnes in conjunction with his sons to open a store at Cootumundry to service those diggers coming from Victoria. John Barnes' stores would be robbed by Ben Hall and Gilbert a number of times, as the bushrangers committed their depredations in the area of the goldfield, culminating in John Barnes' cold-blooded murder by gang member John O'Meally.
The true account of the death of Mr Barnes, murdered
by John O'Meally with John Vane present.
This appeared in the 'Sydney Mail', 5th September 1863;

I have just seen a young man from M'Kay's station, who states that Mr Barnes, of Murrumburrah, was on his way to Cootamundra, on Sunday, accompanied by another man, and, when near M'Kay's house, was stopped by O'Meally and another, and ordered to dismount and give his saddle and bridle; instead of complying he galloped off towards Mackay's house, followed by O'Meally, who fired at him and shot him under the shoulder, and he then fell heavily from his horse, smashing his forehead.

A contemporary illustration
of the death of John Barnes.
c. 1939.

Courtesy NLA.
As O'Meally rode into the station searching for Barnes, he learnt that Barnes was dead, O'Meally said:

I am sorry for it; it was his own fault---he ought to have stood, and he would not have been shot.²³ 

Subsequently, at the Coroner's inquest into Mr Barnes' death it was reported in the 'Empire' 21st September 1863, that the jury found:

The Coroner of Young held an inquest on the body of Mr Barnes, the storekeeper who was shot by O'Meally for refusing to submit to be robbed. The unfortunate man had three bullets in his body. The jury returned a verdict of wilful murder against O'Meally.²⁴ 

Author's Note: In John Vanes' autobiography, Vane conveniently excludes himself from the Barnes killing, concocting a yarn that Gilbert was the other person involved, yet on the morning of Mr Barnes' death, Vane had described how he and O'Meally's had narrowly escaped from the police and where they had lost equipment in their escape, arrived at Browns hut. See page 103, John Vane's Biography "In a tight corner', on Links Page.

In September of 1863, as John O'Meally in the company of John Vane was conducting outrages between Yass and Young, it was claimed that O'Meally said on 12th September 1863, remarked on the killing of Barnes;  'The Newcastle Chronicle and Hunter River District News', Wednesday 7th October 1863;

O'Meally, the bushranger, has been seen in the vicinity of Yass. He says Mr Barnes would not have been shot had he given up the saddle which was wanted. He has vowed vengeance against parties who have done him injury.

However, following Mr Barnes's death, time caught up with O'Meally's family. As far as the police were concerned, the O'Meally's home was a general rendezvous for bushrangers. Thus, despite a two-month notice to vacate, Jack's father Patrick O'Meally would finally be kicked off Arramagong Station. Moreover, since mid-1862, the O'Meally's no longer owned Arramagong. Over the preceding year, the family had stubbornly squatted on the property against the current owner's wishes. Therefore, under the Lands Act of April 1861, the O'Meally's faced the same punishment previously dealt out to Ben Hall. The police burned them out. 'Sydney Morning Herald', 14th September 1863:

The day before yesterday (September 14) a party of police, headed by a sub-inspector, surrounded Patrick O'Meally's ex-public-house in the Weddin Mountains; they searched the house for bushrangers, but found none. The officer told O'Meally to clear himself, family and chattels out of the house, as he was going to burn it down; but the old man refused to budge an inch, saying, "the police have often threatened to burn us out, but they have never done it yet, and I don't believe ever will." Whereupon the sub-inspector took from the hearth a firestick, went outside, and instantly commenced the work of destruction; and in a very short-time naught remained of the once substantial inn but a heap of charcoal and smoking embers. This O'Meally is the father of the notorious (not celebrated, as he is sometimes called) Johnny O'Meally. The old man and a portion of his family are now living in a tent contiguous to their late homestead. Setting aside the legality (?) I must question the good policy of the above proceeding, as within the last two years several bad characters have been captured at O'Meally's; therefore, this burning down looks like destroying the trap that ensnared the vermin. Such Culverhouse acts will never stop bushranging; they are more likely to increase it, as in the case of Ben Hall, who was rendered the desperate outlaw he now is principally through the police burning down his once comfortable homestead, and thrusting his wife and family into the shelterless bush. At least one of the victims in Hall's case must have been innocent, for it was an infant at the breast. But acts of indiscriminate harshness have been, and always will be the distinguishing characteristic of a weak government. People around here say that as some police inspectors find themselves incompetent to take the leading bushranger, they vent their disappointment and rage upon the robber’s relatives, i.e., by rendering houseless their aged parents, wives, and children. Such retaliation indeed smacks of the medieval ages and is unworthy of the enlightened nineteenth century. An error crept into my communication of the 10th instant, about the re-taking of Jamieson; however, I was right in stating that Sir Frederick Pottinger escorted on the 9th instant the bushranger Jamieson through Marengo; but the officer who re-arrested the supposed robber was Sub-inspector Roberts-who who has since thrust the firebrand into O’Meally’s house.

John O'Meally's family's destruction may have tipped the scales for O'Meally to grasp his revolver firmly in what would now become a war against all as when next in company with Ben Hall, Gilbert and Vane with Mickey Burke. The gang would capture three constables and treat them with contemptible ridicule. 'Goulburn Herald', 24th September 1863:

Gilbert, O'Meally, Ben Hall, Burke, and Vane, stuck up three troopers on Tuesday afternoon, at George Marsh's on Mount Macquarie, near Carcoar, and took from them their arms and accoutrements. The bushrangers tied the troopers to a fence, stripped off their jackets, and put them on in derision. After keeping them for two hours they returned their clothing and permitted them to go. These troopers had been sent out especially to capture bushrangers. The government, on receiving information, immediately forwarded a message requiring an explanation, and we are informed that the answer received was, that at the time the police were captured they were engaged catching a horse on a station near Carcoar and that they were attacked when separated from each other, and thus taken at a disadvantage.

The capture of police at Marsh's farm was met with disbelief by the NSW Government. As such, they demanded a police explanation. Correspondence between Morrisset and the NSW Colonial Secretary over the debacle was published in The 'Sydney Mail' on the 7th November 1863. Morrisset's response dramatically highlighted the difficulties the police had with the local populace in obtaining information and citizens' willingness to harbour bushrangers. The telegrams may be read through the link below.
Sydney Mail Saturday
7th November 1863

At the time of the exchange between Morrisset and Cowper, the Colonial Secretary Mr Cowper's days were numbered, and the sharks in the Parliamentary Chambers were circling. Nevertheless, the very next day, O'Meally and his companions held up Stanley Hosie at Caloola, only this time they vandalised the business's interior. Moreover, in some reports, the gang reputedly shot dead some horses, in others, it stated they seriously wounded horses after being unable to catch them in a paddock; 'Sydney Morning Herald', 30th September 1863;

About five o'clock on Wednesday afternoon, Ben Hall, Gilbert, O'Meally, Burke, and Vane rode up to the stores of Mr Hosie, at Caloola, and jumping off their horses surrounded the house. Three of them took up such a position as to command the full range of the premises, while the other two entered the door. Mr Hosie, who was in the shop, caught up a double-barrelled gun when he saw the men enter, under the impression that there were no other accomplices, and was about to raise it to his shoulder when he found that, besides the revolvers in the hands of the two ruffians, he was covered by the carbines of their three mates outside. Finding resistance useless, he threw the weapon down, when without more ado they handcuffed him with the handcuffs taken from the police the day before. Some of the party then went to a blacksmith living opposite and handcuffed both him and his mate, and next paid a visit to the village shoemaker and treated him in a similar manner. They then returned to the store, driving their captives before them. A scene now commenced such as our informant states he never saw equalled. Mr Hosie's goods were thrown from the shelves, the whole store ransacked, and everything turned upside down—the bushrangers appropriating and putting on one side every article they took a fancy to, or which was of any value, and wilfully destroyed what was of no use to them—by this means completely gutting the store, and consummating the ruin of their hapless victim. They said they did this because he had dared to give information to the police when he was formerly robbed, and they threatened, if he breathed a word about the present transaction, to blow out his brains the next time they visited him. They packed their booty in three-bushel bags, and, proceeding to Mr Larnach's paddock, which adjoined the store, endeavoured to capture some horses that were grazing in it. They managed to secure two (one belonging to Mr Larnach and the other to Mr Hosie) and being unable to catch the others, deliberately shot them. Returning to the store, they packed the goods they had selected upon the two horses and another they had brought with them, and then adjourned to a public-house, a short distance off, where they remained carousing till ten o'clock at night. We have omitted to mention that the scoundrels robbed the blacksmith of £1 in cash, a saddle and bridle, a ham, and some bacon. Information was brought into town on Thursday night that the five villains were camped within fifteen miles of Bathurst. 
O'Meally's Description, June 1863.

Stanley Hosie
However, two months later, on the 8th December 1863, Stanley Hosie gave an account of the robbery. This was his second robbery by Gilbert and O'Meally; 'Empire'. Stanley Hosie said:

I am a storekeeper and reside at Caloola; I know the prisoner before the court; on the 23rd September last, he and four other bushrangers came to my store; I was sitting in the parlour writing; when I first saw them I thought they were police by their equipment; when I rose from my chair I recognised one of them whom I supposed to be O'Meally; I had been robbed on a previous occasion by the same man and Mickey Burke whom I know; when I saw they were bushrangers I seized the double barreled gun which I kept in the place; the doors were open and one of the men who I thought was Ben Hall, rushed into the store: I pushed the parlour door to, and he retreated; he was coming into the parlour when he retreated; Burke and Vane sat on their horses outside, pointing their guns at me through the window: the one I thought was O'Meally ran to the door, and ran in, with a revolver in his hand, which he presented at me; Hall was still in the store; O'Meally called on me to surrender, and I said that as there were five of them I would do so; I then gave up my gun to him; after that they took me into the stores and handcuffed me; some of the party went out, and returned with the blacksmith and his man, and the shoemaker and his man, who lived just opposite; they were handcuffed in couples and brought into the store; the bushrangers then fastened their horses to the post in front of the store, and fed them with corn from my stock; they then ransacked the place, pulling the store goods down and selecting what they thought proper; Gilbert and O'Meally came into the parlour searching for money; they took about 15s. from the cash-box; O'Meally took half-sovereign from my pocket but left me what silver I had; Gilbert afterwards searched me and took the silver O'Meally had left in my pocket; the men then selected six three bushel bags and filled them with store goods; there was a horse of mine just outside the door, the prisoner ran him in and caught him and put my bridle and saddle on him; they also caught another horse and took a saddle from the blacksmith and put on it; they had a led horse with them when they came to the store; they tied the sacks together and slung, two over each of the three horses; they then released us from the handcuffs and went away, saying they would watch me, and if I went for the police that night they would shoot me; they said they had come the second time to, rob me because I had informed the police the first time; Hall took possession of my gun and they took several articles from me besides store property; they went into the bedroom and took some of my wife’s brooches and trinkets; they also took some silk handkerchiefs from the drawers and some pillow-cases to put sugar in.

Illustration of Loudon
hold-up, Grubbenbong

Courtesy NLA.
The bushrangers following their departure from Caloola next appeared at Grubbenbong Station, the home of district magistrate Mr John Loudon on the assumption that some police were camped there:

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

William Rothery.
Courtesy NLA.
The bushrangers the next night arrived at Mr Rothery's station Cliefden:

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

c. 1900
Courtesy NLA.
In response to the audacious robberies by the bushrangers as they swept through the district, unchallenged, brought further condemnation of the polices' effort. A reporter astounded at the constant failures wrote, “I would now say something about the police":

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

Courtesy NLA.
The gang dominated all the country between Bathurst, Junee, Young and Forbes, robbing at will as a force of five heavily armed marauders. The fearlessness of the gang culminated in one of the most daring feats following Canowindra. The audacious raid on Bathurst 3rd of October 1863. 'Empire';

The excitement caused in Bathurst on the 3rd instant was very great when it became known in that town that the bushrangers had become so emboldened as to enter it. They first went to the shop of Mr McMinn’s watchmaker but got no booty. They then fired a revolver in the street, and went to the shop of Mr De Clouett, from whom, they look £10 in money and two watches, the rascals brought with them the horses they had stolen from Mr Surveyor Machattie and his son and left them outside the town. The police immediately started in pursuit but failed to overtake them, next day they paid a visit to Mr Bartior, and took two horses from Mr Mackie. On the 6th, Bathurst was thrown into a state of excitement on learning that a horseman had galloped into town from the Vale Creek, about a mile and a half distant, with intelligence that the bushrangers had made an attack upon Mrs Mutton's house, and had proceeded in the direction of Mr Heliman's. Five troopers jumped onto their saddles in pursuit of the bushrangers, but were unable to catch them.²⁷

As a member of the Hall gang, O'Meally would also participate in the second raid on Canowindra over three days 12th 13th, and 14th October 1863, where O'Meally was described by those at the fun-filled three-day jubilee as:

O'Meally is said by everyone to be a murderous-looking scoundrel.

In 1912, John Harper, a witness to the gang's appearance on the Vale road following the Bathurst raid, reminisced about the excitement of the day and recounted it in the 'The Bathurst Times' Tuesday 16th July 1912- BUSHRANGING DAYS., Full details see link below.

Video of the Vale Road along which the gang travelled robbing stores and Inns outside Bathurst. Recorded by Craig Bratby.
However, on the occasion of the second raid on Canowindra the five bushrangers held the town for three days and created a carnival atmosphere for the inhabitants, this was written in the 'Empire', 20th October 1863;- CANOWINDRA HELD BY THE BUSHRANGERS FOR THREE DAYS- Full details see link below.
The successful raid on Canowindra and the gang's further forays into the surrounding countryside of Murga situated not far from where O'Meally had participated in the successful attack on the gold escort at Eugowra sixteen months earlier. Finally, the gang turned their horse's heads back towards Bathurst, passing through the wild country of Mt Canobilas near Orange. In the process, the five bushrangers robbed Lawson's farm at Flyer's Creek. While robbing Lawson's, the bushrangers were informed of a prominent settler, who had made it known that given a chance, he would riddle them through.

Challenge accepted, the five bushrangers arrived at the home of the skite, the Gold Commissioner and Magistrate for Bathurst, Mr Henry McCrummin Keightley. On Friday, 23 October 1863, the gang took up positions overlooking Keightley's farm. Subsequently, the five bushrangers struck the next day at twilight, catching Mr Keightley and quest Dr Pechey unprepared. However, in the attack, one of their companions, Micky Burke, suffered a gunshot wound purported to have been fired by Keightley and accordingly, to prevent capture, Burke blew his head off. In the aftermath of the attack and the households surrender the details, although confusing, had John Vane, Burke's close friend since boyhood, attack Dr Pechey believing him responsible for Burke's shooting but was informed that it was Keightley who may have been responsible. Keightley denied shooting Burke. Unassailed, Vane demanded Keightley's life, wholly supported by John O'Meally:

O'Meally, who was always a bloodthirsty and truculent scoundrel, was for shooting Keightley straight out. The others objected. "He shot, poor Burke," urged O'Meally. Hall sent O'Meally to bring Burke to the house, where he could be attended to. But the wounded robber declined to be moved, and when O'Meally persisted, he drew his revolver and shot himself dead. 

Consequently, at the pleadings of Mrs Keightley and maid, Mrs Baldock Ben Hall and John Gilbert restrained O'Meally and Vane. However, throughout his captivity and unfortunately for Keightley, he would be toyed with and taunted by Vane and O'Meally. Simultaneously, Keightley's wife and Dr Pechey rushed to Bathurst to secure the agreed-upon ransom sum of £500 for Burke's life, equal to the Government bounty Keightley would receive for the lifeless body of Burke.

Subsequently, in 1911 an account of the famous events was published, titled 'The Lone Hand' by George Quickie, and recounts through Henry Keightley's son Leo's explicit detail of his father's night of infamy at the hands of John O'Meally. Be that as it may, the bulk of the 'The Lone Hand' narration is substantial as a historical record and relates in gripping detail how the gang passed the night away with their prisoner, including Vane's intense desire to seek retribution for the death of Micky Burke. For full details see the link below.
The layout of  O'Meally and the bushrangers attack at Dunns Plains 23, 24, 25th October 1863.
Mural at Binalong depicting
a new reward of £4000 for
the remaining four.
Initially following Burke's death, a rift within the gang appeared, and Vane re-assessed his continued association with the bushrangers, confiding in O'Meally that he had had enough and stated:

Now that blood had been spilt I felt I had had enough of the game, and on the way back I suddenly told O'Meally that I wish to go to my fathers place that night, promising to return to the camp on the following day. He offered no objection and we parted. This was the last I saw of my mates, for I did not return to the camp and they did not come to look for me. 

Goimbla Homestead
c. 1937.
The reward for the remaining four following Burke's death rose from £500 to £1000. The three remaining bushrangers, unbothered by Vane's departure, continued their depredations and decided to attack another settler who had endeavoured to apprehend the bushrangers on numerous occasions. His name was David Campbell. He leased property not far from the famous robbery site at the Eugowra Rocks called 'Goimbla'. On the night of the 19th November 1863, in the light of a barn fire set by the bushrangers. Fate cast its hand, and another fell dead.

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

William Farrand.
Courtesy NLA
During the initial confrontation with the Campbell's, the bushrangers appeared on the verandah of Goimbla. On hearing their footsteps, Mr Campbell's brother William, of which little regarding his activities in the affray has been reported, "rushed out the back door into the verandah"²⁹ where he was confronted then shot in the chest by one of the bushrangers, believed to be Ben Hall and survived escaping to Eugowra to raise the alarm. At O'Meally's inquest held at Goimbla by Mr Farrand. William Campbell's deposition is reported here. William Campbell states:

I am a squatter, residing with my brother, the last witness. While in my bedroom, about nine o'clock last evening, I heard three shots fired in quick succession and immediately rushed into the dining room, where several shots were then fired through one of the front windows. The room was lighted, and the blinds were up. I, therefore, immediately rushed out of the back door into the verandah. I there saw a man at my bedroom window (distant about five or six yards from where I stood), who fired two shots at me in quick succession. The first shot struck me in the chest, and I consequently stumbled and fell near to the step. So soon as I recovered I escaped through the back gate, and made my way through the standing oats at the back of the barn, intending to make my way back to the house as soon as an opportunity presented itself. Very shortly afterwards a volley of a dozen shots was fired, accompanied by shouts from the bushrangers, which to me were unintelligible. While still in the oats I saw the barn on fire and saw two men passing the back wall of the barn rapidly, in the direction of the house After the fire was lighted there was another volley fired towards the house from the direction of the barn. This is the last firing that I heard, and I saw nothing more of the bushrangers; and finding that all was quiet, I proceeded to the Eugowra police station on foot to give information to the police.³⁰
Sydney Mail
Saturday 28th November 1863
Death of John O'Meally, by Patrick William Marony 1858-1939
On the morning after the gunfight and John O'Meally shot dead, a reporter gave the following account of the body of John O'Meally:

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

O'Meally identified, it was commented that Campbell had fired from the house at a range of 44 yards to where the three bushrangers had secreted themselves behind a small wooden fence: 

He was shot at a distance of forty-four yards from the residence by a large conical ball. The house was literally stormed, and the windows and doors riddled with bullets, by Gilbert, Ben Hall, and O'Meally.

Mural at Binalong,
Hall & Gilbert
kneeling over a dead
The death of O'Meally spread like wildfire and after the body had been retrieved and laid out for viewing. Sir Frederick Pottinger and his most reliable constable William Hollister diverted to Goimbla whilst proceeding from Cowra to Forbes. At the hurried inquest, they gave evidence as to John O'Meally's identity. Frederick William Pottinger stated:

I am the officer in charge of police in the Lachlan district. On my way from Cowra to Forbes I met Mr Hanbry Cements, at about twelve o'clock, this day, at Waugan, who having informed me that Mr David Campbell had shot one of three or four bushrangers who had attempted to stick up his premises on the previous night, I proceeded with Mr Clements and my party of police to Mr Campbell's; On my arrival, the body of the deceased was pointed out to me, and I at once identified it as the body of John O'Meally. I have known John O'Meally off and on for about three years, and I have frequently come into contact with him. I have apprehended him, and on one occasion he was in the Forbes look-up for seven or eight weeks or more, and when in the course of prosecution of a case against him, I have had the opportunity of watching him closely for hours together. I cannot, therefore, be mistaken as to the identity. The John O'Meally to whom I allude is the one who is known as the notorious bushranger, and for whom a reward of one thousand pounds is offered. On seeing the body, I saw a bullet wound in the neck, after receiving which I feel sure that the deceased could not have lived many seconds.

William Hollister
William Hollister said:

I am a senior constable of mounted police, I have just seen the body of the deceased-the man said to have been shot by Mr Campbell; I identify it as the body of John O'Meally, the notorious bushranger. I have known John O'Meally, off and on, since last July twelve months. I have seen him often, and have spoken to him frequently, and I feel that I cannot be mistaken as to his identity. 

For Pottinger, however, it was a sweet victory for after having arrested and secured O'Meally for the Escort Robbery. However, the wild colonial boy slipped through his fingers when Charters refused to implicate either O'Meally or Ben Hall and in frustration after imploring the magistrate at Bathurst to refuse bail could only fume at the fruitless future chases the inspector was to face while dealing with the 'Cone of Silence' of O'Meally's harbourers.

Amelia Campbell

Private source.
A few days after John O’Meally was shot dead, Mrs Campbell sent a letter to her mother of the evening's drama on the 21st November 1863. To hear Mrs Campbell's letter to her mother click the link:
In the November heat, O'Mealy's body began to decay rapidly and he was buried at Goimbla on the bank of a creek. Later the family requested his body for reburial at Forbes. However, it was long believed that O'Meally's brother Patrick long time resident of Gooloogong buried his brother on the banks of the Lachlan River there and in doing so duped the officials into believing his brother was buried at Forbes in a coffin reputedly filled with stones. 'The Sydney Morning Herald' Tuesday 1st December 1863: 

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

Mrs Campbell Coffee Urn
19th March 1864.
After the siege 'The Sydney Morning Herald' of the 24th November 1863, reported on the raw callousness of Ben Hall, John Gilbert and John O'Meally. True bastards if ever there was;

When we hear of the "nobleness" of these bushrangers, and of the good they do the poor people among whom they divide their pillage, we only hear the utterance of a criminal spirit. What these men are may be seen by their attempt to shoot Mrs Campbell, and by their brutality to that noble animal whose claims upon mankind are rarely disallowed, save by the most cruel heart. Fancy men standing by while a horse was roasted to death, enjoying its cries and preventing its escape!
 "Presented to Mrs Campbell with the following inscription,

The ladies of Upper & Middle Adelong
  present this token of esteem
  To Mrs Campbell as an appreciation of her heroic conduct displayed during the attack at GOIMBLA by bushrangers on 19th Nov. 1863."

Presented to NMA by Mrs V. A. Hope and Mrs R. G. Hanmer, Granddaughters of Mr and Mrs Campbell. Courtesy NMA.
Small cream silk cloth presented to Mrs Amelia Campbell following the evening's struggle. Printed with the following sentiment; "We the undersigned, on behalf of ourselves and other ladies resident on the Middle and Upper Adelong, beg your acceptance of the accompanying TESTIMONIAL, as a small token of our esteem for the heroism displayed by you on the night of the 19th November 1863, in assisting your worthy husband in defending your lives and property from the attack of bushrangers, which resulted in the death of one of the band of villains whose lives were stained by the worst of crimes; and we feel that we cannot allow such an act to pass without thus publicly recording our admiration of your conduct, whereby you have made the whole colony your debtors. Wishing you and MR CAMPBELL many years of peace and comfort, We beg to remain, MRS THOS. CALLAWAY, MRS W. BEAVER, MRS J. A. CARTER. To Mrs Campbell, Goimbla." Courtesy NLA.

Pocket watch presented
to David Campbell, 1863.

Courtesy NSW State Library.
When news of O'Meally's death spread, Mr Edwin Rymer was one of the first to arrive at Goimbla and view O'Meally's dead body and stated; 

Excitement ran high and hundreds of people viewed the dead body during the day. O'Meally was dressed as a true Australian bushman, high Wellington boots, knee breeches, fancy vest, and cabbage tree hat. His body was buried at Goimbla, but later was removed by O'Meally's parents.³³

As with Mrs Campbell's gift from the admiring citizens, Mr Campbell received a grand pocket watch inscribed as well by his admiring peers. Inscription on the back cover read;

'Presented to David Henry Campbell Esq by the residents of the Lachlan and surrounding Districts In token of their admiration of his courageous conduct in successfully resisting the attack of the Bushrangers Gilbert, O'Mealley and Hall upon his household at Goimbla 19th Nov 1863 on which occasion O'Mealley fell by his hand thereby breaking up one of the most desperate gangs of freebooters who ever infested the Western Districts of New South Wales'.

David Henry
Campbell. (1829-1885)

Private Source.
John O'Meally's grave is unknown, although his body was temporarily removed from Goimbla Station to Gooloogong, taken to Forbes by his father and brother Patrick. Mr Campbell received for shooting dead O'Meally, £1000, along with a letter of appreciation from the NSW Government;

The Sydney Morning Herald, Saturday 5th December 1863. Titled THE LATE BUSHRANGER, JOHN O'MEALLY.

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

Colonial Secretary's Office, Sydney 23rd November 1863

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

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

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

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


After O'Meally's death, a curiosity emerged.
This Plaque is at the Forbes Cemetery.
Another curiosity was soon on display as had taken place with cuts of O'Meally's hair when at the offices of the Bathurst Times the watch that O'Meally wore during the confrontation with Superintendent Morrissett in which Constable Sutton was severely wounded near Carcoar in August 1863 was placed for public viewing in January 1864:

It will be remembered that at the time of the attack on the Carcoar mail a bullet fired by Superintendent Morrissett at O'Meally, struck him in the chest, coming in contact with a watch he had in his waistcoat-pocket which it shivered into atoms and then glancing off dropped into his boot. For some time afterwards O'Meally used to wear what was left of the rim of the watch as a sort of trophy, and latterly it has come into the possession of a gentleman, who has handed it to us for inspection. The watch was a silver one, and there are traces left by the bullet in its wrenching passage round the rim, as if the metal had been tinned, Those who desire to see the curiosity may do so on application at our office in George-street.

In January 1877, the death of John O'Meally's father Patrick was reported as follows;

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

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

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

"Vane was a typical "cornstalk" when he commenced his career of outlawry—a tall, athletic, wiry young bushman, who was more at home in the saddle than upon his feet." A brief introduction of John Vane was printed in an article in the 'The World's News', Wednesday 12 September 1928 by a Mr J.H.M. Abbott and is reproduced here as follows; "He was a good-looking, generous, and kindly-hearted youth, with nothing of the typical flashness about him that was most often the distinguishing characteristic of his fellow freebooters. He was born at Jerry's Plains, in the Hunter River district, on June 16, 1842, and when about six years old was taken by his parents to live near Kelso, close to Bathurst, and thence to Teasdale, between Newbridge and the Abercrombie River. In 1850 the family removed to the neighborhood of the Weddin Mountains, afterwards to become notorious as a haunt of the bushrangers

It was no long step to a sticking-up event by which a solitary Chinaman, travelling along a road leading to Bathurst, found himself the poorer by a £5 note and two ounces of gold-dust, and a very short one to the "bailing-up" of a public-house in the neighborhood of the Fish River. Although this affair was more or less intended as a "lark," the publican gave information to the police, and a warrant was issued for the arrest of Vane and his companions. Soon afterwards he barely escaped capture by the police, and after one or two further adventures of a similar sort, found himself in a position of being "wanted," which left him no alternative but that of adopting a bushranging career in earnest. In the course of a month or two he fell in with Gilbert and O'Meally, and from that time became a real bushranger."
The NSW Police Gazette report and warrant for John Vane.
This warrant was issued on 3rd May 1863, which sent John Vane to the bush and eventually joined Gilbert and O'Meally.
Comus II stable, Coombing Park.
Courtesy Craig Bratby
The above robbery at Long Swamp followed the theft of Mr. T. R. Icely's racehorse 'Comus II' from Coombing Park. The horse was a top thoroughbred and one the budding bushrangers desired. However, during the horse's lifting, a stable worker by the colloquial of 'Charlie the German' challenged Vane and Burke. Before they answered, the stablehand fired, Burke returned fire with his weapon and Charlie was shot in the mouth while Burke removed the horse and one belonging to Inspector Davidson from the stables. Not long after the theft, and with Gilbert onboard the thoroughbred, the bushrangers minus Burke attacked police transporting three gang telegraphs to Bathurst. The horse was eventually abandoned and returned back to Coombing Park. The dramatic theft of the horse led to the insertion in the local papers in the following advertisement. It also was placarded throughout the countryside in prominent places:

£100 REWARD.

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

"Coombing Park. "August 6th, 1863.¹
(Vane, during his conversations with his biographer Charles White denies involvement at Coombing Park and states it was another in company with Burke. Furthermore, in Vane's reminiscence, he writes himself out of many of the atrocities he was proven to be directly involved with.)

As a result of the horse taking and shooting of the stable hand at Icely's, Burke and Vane had begun the exploits that would lead to many a highway robbery and gunfight with the police as well as the sticking-up of stores, coaches, and for Vane,  an accessory to murder and would cost Burke his life. However, in July 1863, John Gilbert and John O’Meally, members of Hall's gang sought fresh horses and new districts to operate in, arrived in the Carcoar district and sent the word out amongst the locals that Vane's local expertise was required. O'Meally and Vane had known each other earlier while Vane was stock keeping at the Weddin Mountains and had a fine reputation for handling high spirited horses. Subsequently, the two met with Vane at one of his camps at Millpost Creek, resulting in plans for an attack on the Carcoar bank.  On 30th July 1863, the idea came into action. Vane's job was to provide logistics for the raid. However, he did not participate. Gilbert and O’Meally rode into Carcoar and performed one of the first daylight bank robberies in the colony of NSW.
A short video of the Millpost Creek area often used by Vane, Ben Hall, Gilbert & Co.
Filmed by Craig Bratby.

Frederick Sutton.
Private Source.
On 6th August and in-company with Gilbert and O'Meally, Vane entered the bushranging fraternity when he assisted his two seasoned companions in attacking the midday coach from Carcoar to Bathurst at a juncture colloquially known as the Five Mile Waterholes. While awaiting the arrival, O'Meally approached a bullock driver John M'George inquiring if the coach had passed but received a negative response. The coach had departed Carcoar at ten o'clock with one female passenger and three prisoners. One of the men was a cousin of Vane's mate and now an accomplice in bushranging Micky Burke's first cousin James. Police were stationed in the coach when abruptly they were fired upon by the bushrangers. However, stunned at the heavily armed guard, the men retreated to within 100 yards as gunfire erupted between them and the police. Frederick Sutton, one of the mounted police, gave chase and was shot and wounded by O'Meally. Frederick Sutton recounted his efforts soon after the incident at Vane's subsequent trial:

I was with the coach on the 6th August, riding on Mr Morrissett's horse. About four miles from Carcoar, two men came out of the bush, armed with double-barrelled guns, and shouted to the coachman to pull up; they fired into the coach at the same time; they then said, "They're a bloody lot of traps." From the description of the men, I believe it was O'Meally who discharged a revolver at Mr. Morrissett as he was getting off the coach. I followed the man on a bay horse Gilbert, I believe) some distance into the bush and he fired six shots at me; I fired once at him, but the distance was too great for the shot to take effect; I was then followed by a man on Mr. Icely's horse who, just as I was taking aim again at Gilbert, fired and wounded me; the bullet entered my breast, and traversed my right arm nearly to the elbow. I was endeavouring to escape towards where the dray was bailed up, and saw a third man about 200 yards off, on a grey horse, coming towards me; fearing that he would shoot me. I turned my horse again and was making for the coach when I saw O'Meally again, and he fired another shot at me; I afterwards saw the three bushrangers together on the hill; they said they would follow as to hell if they had any more ammunition.' Vane was on Mr. Sub-inspector Davidson's horse, and said, "Ha, you bugger, I've got you now," I said, "You'll have to catch me first."

Frederick Sutton police employment. Note a bricklayer as previous employment.

When the affray was over, M'George provided a statement at Carcoar and said:

I remember 6th August, when the coach was attacked I was on the road between Blaney and Carcoar driving a team. I saw some armed men on horseback about one o'clock in the afternoon one of them came up to me on a grey horse of Mr. Icely's and asked me if the coach had come up. I did not know him, but heard him called "John;" about a quarter of an hour afterwards, I saw the prisoner in his company; about five minutes later I was spoken to the coach passed; the man I have first mentioned and the prisoner rode after it; they were armed with two double-barrelled guns and several revolvers; the prisoner was also on a grey horse; the third man, whom I afterwards saw, was mounted on a short, tailed bay horse; I did not see a revolver in the prisoner's possession; they called upon the coachman to stop, but the coach did not stop at once; I then heard some firing, and saw the police get off the coach; two of the bushrangers stopped near the coach, the other man galloped into the bush, one of the men at the coach then galloped into the bush, and one of the constables followed him about 100 yards, and some shots were exchanged between them; the constable used a revolver; I cannot say whether the man fired with a pistol or a gun; the constable was also followed by another of the bushrangers and fired upon; the constable then retreated towards the coach; the last man was about ten yards from the constable when he fired at him; the prisoner returned after the coach was gone; there was a shot immediately after I heard the coach man told to "stand." I remember hearing the bushrangers order the coach to stop, and firing immediately after; I do not know whether the bushrangers or the police fired first. There was no time when the bushrangers were all 100 yards from the coach before it was driven away again. Directly after the coach drove off, two of the bushrangers came up to me; and one of them picked up a revolver which had been dropped by the police; the prisoner came back about ten minutes afterwards; one of the two asked him where he had been, and how many shots he had fired; he laid "Two." When the two men picked up the revolver, one of them said, "This is a pretty thing to come forty miles for." One of them also said they expected to stick up the coach easier. I have known Vane six or seven years. One of the bushrangers, I believe, was O'Meally; I only knew the other by the name of "Jacky" on the Lachlan.

Demondrille Station.
Consequently, following some adventures with Gilbert and O'Meally, John Vane and Burke become part of the gang. The police swamped the district, forcing the four to depart the Carcoar district and re-joined Ben Hall, hold-up on the outskirts of Young. Before long, Vane and his mate were holding up travellers regularly in the Young district. On or around the 29th August 1863, in company with Hall, Gilbert, O'Meally and Burke, they besieged Demondrille station whereby stealing many items. However, news of the robbery reached the newly established police outpost at Murrumburrah, wherein senior constable Houghey immediately prepared to take the field to pursue the bushrangers accompanied by three constables Pentland, Churchman and Keane, as well as a black tracker and the manager of Demondrille Mr Edmonds. At the time of the report, it was first thought that Gilbert, Burke, Vane and O'Meally were present along with their harbourers and long time acquaintances, the Slater's and Tootles at whose Hut, the gang were resting. However, John Vane, in his narrative 'John Vane, Bushranger' transcribed by Charles White, states that contrary to the police's belief only himself and O'Meally were present in the ensuing gunfight:

The police called on us to come out, and as we made no sign they poured a regular storm of bullets into the slab walls, fortunately without doing any damage, O'Meally and I took a revolver in each hand and suddenly throwing open the door we sent out a blaze of fire, discharging our revolvers simultaneously, and rushed out while the smoke filled the doorway. I heard one of the policemen call out "I'm shot, but look after their horses.  

The report of the gunfight and the police action is from the ‘Empire’; - PURSUIT OF BUSHRANGERS AND ATTACK ON THEM BY THE POLICE, -The correspondent of the Yass Courier states that, on Saturday night, the 5th inst.,

A messenger arrived from Cootamundry with information that Gilbert, O'Meally, and others were sticking-up places in that village. Senior-Constable Houghey and Constable Kane who form the only police stationed at Murrumburrah, at once proceeded to Wombat, for, assistance. They had not left more than two hours when intelligence was brought that Mr J.W. Edmonds and his family had just been stuck-up by the same parties. The last messenger having been informed that the police had started for Wombat, he at once proceeded to that place and arrived there just as they were about to leave for Cootamundry. Five troopers forthwith went in search of the bushrangers, and a little before daylight observed some horses fastened up at a small, settler's house on Sherlock Creek, within two miles of Demondrille, the station that had just been stuck up. As the police approached nearer they could discern that the horses belonged to the bushrangers, and while consulting as to what plan to adopt, the dogs about the house began barking and howling. There was not an instant to be lost, so the police surrounded the place. Senior-Constable Houghey called on Vane and O'Meally to surrender. The next moment they (the police) received a volley from the bushrangers within the house, which caused their horses to swerve, fall back, and unseat some of the riders. The police returned the shots, and an irregular firing was kept up in the dark between the parties. The bushrangers, however, succeeded in crawling out and took to their heels, through a newly ploughed paddock. Houghey thinking it best to give chase on foot through the paddock, threw himself out of the saddle, and pursued one of the bushrangers, who proved to be O'Meally, and was closing fast on him, but he became exhausted through loss of blood from a wound he had received in the affray; The bullet had passed through the cap of the knee. Houghey made back to the house, arrested two young men there who had been in Vane and O'Meally's company, and succeeded in recovering the whole of the property that had been taken, Mr Edmonds. One of the bushrangers' horses also was secured, together with O'Meally's whip and poncho. The horse had a number of bullet wounds. It is believed that Constable Houghey wounded one of the men, who managed to slip off his horse and crawled away in the dark.  

Vane explains their escape and wounding, and during the melee, the loss of his horse:

At last O'Meally managed to get hold of our two horses. Mounting his own he led mine towards the spot where I was standing undercover, still blazing away at the police whenever any of them showed out. Before O'Meally reached me he sang out "Run to the fence" (a small cultivation paddock was between us and the outlet) "and throw the top rail down, and I did so, whereupon O'Meally galloped up and jumped both horses over. I then raced across the paddock, which was only a few yards wide, and lowered the fence on the other side by wrenching out a top rail, but when he when he tried to take the horses over this my horse refused the jump and broke away leaving me without a mount. Meanwhile, the police had been closing in on us, keeping up a hot fire, and one shot struck O'Meally in the back, near the hip, but without inflicting a very serious wound. Another shot struck me in the wrist but did not go more than skin deep, as it hit me sideways. "Clear for the big rocks" called out O'Meally and I started in the direction indicated, jumping into a deep creek, and following its course upwards until the rocks were reached, the police in the darkness unable to see the course I took.

During the gunfight, the police believed that John Vane and O'Meally had been wounded. Consequently, that assumption proved correct with Vane shot in the wrist. However, the wound was minor. After their narrow escape, John O’Meally and John Vane arrived at the home of Mr James Brown, who later said:

Two men came to my hut, which lies a little off the road leading from Murrumburrah to Cootamundry, and told my wife to get them something to eat which she did when I came in they demanded my hat, which I gave them on seeing they were armed with revolvers; they then demanded my boots, but they would not fit them they tried on two pairs; they were both too small; one of them was going to cut them, the other said "don't, we'll get plenty up at Mr MacKay's at this moment two men rode along the road, a short distance off; they said we'll go and stop them and we'll get a saddle from them; I observed when they came they had two horses but only one saddle, and a rug and surcingle on the other horse; they then left my hut (having only taken my hat) in pursuit of the two men.²

Postscript23rd September 1863;

SENIOR CONSTABLE HAUGHEY "We are happy to notice that this courageous officer of the police force is so far recovered from the wound received in his late encounter with the bushranger, as to be able to undertake the journey by coach to Goulburn. He started yesterday morning from the Camp Inn, where he has been remaining for the past fortnight, under Dr Temple's treatment.³
The roster of NSW Police wounded 1862-1867.
However, after departing the hut of Brown, John Vane in company with O'Meally perpetrate another atrocity, when on the 30th August 1863, in an attempt to facilitate new equipment and horses after their very narrow escape from Tootles, the two bushrangers stuck-up local businessman 50-year-old John Barnes, a well-respected storekeeper. John Barnes owned general stores in Cootamundry and Murrumburrah and was in partnership with his sons; however, he travelled between the towns accompanied by an employee Mr Hanlon. Furthermore, Mr Barnes had over the last few months been robbed by Ben Hall, John Gilbert and John O'Meally. So agitated was he that he wrote to the newspapers asking what were the police doing:

Sir, Bushranging and sticking-up seems to be the order of the day in this district. On Tuesday morning last, at sunrise, my son's store at Cootamundry was stuck up by four armed and mounted men and the property valued at about £100 stolen and taken away on pack horses. I believe the same four men were on the road between Wallenbeen and Cootamundry on Saturday last, apparently courting the appearance of the police, who of course could be seen going the other way, the usual course being to put in an appearance about a week after the commission of a robbery. 

Their last confrontation was on 16th May 1863. Consequently, O'Meally pursued the gentleman down the road adjoining Wallendbeen station deliberately fired at the businessman in the encounter. With the bullets flying, some found their mark resulting in Mr Barnes falling from his horse dead. The heinous act of Barnes' murder went down in the following manner. The gentleman was riding leisurely along when he and his companion were unexpectedly confronted and ordered by O'Meally to hand over his high-quality horse and saddle. However, angry at O'Meally's demand, Barnes refused, and the plucky shopkeeper dug in his spurs and took flight.

Consequently, O'Meally levelled his drawn revolver at the fast retreating shopkeeper and fired some shots which found their mark in the back of the defenceless man. Despite being hit several times and lolling in the saddle, Barnes held on. The chase covered some distance with O'Meally still firing and yelling imprecations as the wounded man's horse entered Wallendbeen homestead. Tragically, Mr Barnes, with blood flowing freely from his body, collapsed from his horse and striking his head on an obstacle on the ground. Within moments he was heard by those nearby to sigh a long breath or death rattle as poor Mr Barnes entered the next world. Meanwhile, as the gunfire rang out, John Vane remained covering Hanlon without robbing him. Subsequently, at Barnes death, Vane became an accomplice, including Burke's wounding the stable groom, German Charley at Icely's station, Coombing Park. The difference this time was that the gunfire resulted in the death of the victim. At the inquest the eyewitness Mr Hanlon stated:

I am assistant storekeeper in the employ of Mr. Barnes' son, at Cootamundry; on Sunday last I was riding with Mr. Barnes, from Murrumburrah to Cootamundry; when opposite M'Kay's stockyard I saw horses standing at the door of a hut; near the dam I said to Mr. Barnes "that looks suspicious;" shortly after Johnny Meally, whom I knew and instantly recognised, galloped up to us, and said to me "I know you, you ba---rd," and to Mr. Barnes, at the same time pointing a revolver at him, "bail up you ba---rd too;" Meally, addressing Barnes, said, "is that a good horse?" to which Barnes did not reply; he then said "get off, I want that horse, saddle, and bridle; Barnes then said "is that what you mean?"; O'Meally said "you ba---rd if you stir I'll put daylight through you;" Barnes turned away and galloped off towards Mr. M'Kay's house; O'Meally fired after he had got away about fifteen yards, and then went full gallop after him; he fired again as soon as he had time to cock his revolver; they got out of my sight and I heard three shots more fired; the other man stood over me with his revolver cocked, and ordered me to dismount; I got off my horse and he said "if you stir an inch I'll do the same to you"; he ordered me up to M'Kay's, leading my horse with him, and said he would give me my horse, saddle, and bridle back again directly. During this time I saw Mr. Barnes come galloping down the hill, he sat loosely on his horse, as if wounded; he was followed by O'Meally, who shouted out, "Will you stop now, you old ba---rd;" they again got out of my sight, and I heard more shots fired; O'Meally afterwards came towards me, and I said, "Where is Mr. Barnes?" he replied, "He's down in the gully there;" I said "Oh, you have shot poor Mr. Barnes;" he said " Oh, no; he fell off against a tree;" on going down to look for Mr. Barnes, I found him lying on his back; his horse was gone; he was not dead then, but unable to speak; in a few minutes he drew a heavy sigh, and died. O'Meally was then up at the store; the other man was gone; I could identify both men perfectly well; O'Meally had previously stuck up the store I am employed at on the 16th of last May; he was very black and dirty on Sunday, and looked different to what he did when he stuck up the store; then he was very smart and clean; neither Mr. Barnes nor myself had arms or money on us; one ball passed through the brim of Mr. Barnes' hat, but missed his head.

However, if Gilbert was involved and Hanlon could identify the other without a doubt. As such, he never implicated Gilbert. Furthermore, Hanlon was never called at Vane's trail either? Vane dodged the hangman in this case. As a result of Mr Barnes's death, Vane subsequently denies any part in the killing in his memoirs. Vane states that Ben Hall was unhappy about the murder and its repercussions:

 Ben Hall did not say much in my hearing, but I could see he was greatly put out, and I saw him afterwards talking very seriously with O'Meally. 

Vane goes on to say that the group then split into two:

Shortly after this occurrence our party divided for a time. After we returned to Memmegong and rested there a couple of days. 

If Hall was upset at O'Meally, why did Vane remain with him and Gilbert remain in company with Hall and Burke? Consequently, Barnes's death forced the fracture in the gang, and the bushrangers, according to Vane, split with him and O'Meally holding out at Burrangong. This division resulted from Vane and O'Meally's action with Burke, Gilbert, and Ben Hall possibly attempting to distance themselves from any connection to Barnes's murder and therefore commenced relocating to the Bathurst region. Vane was careful in his own narrative to avoid any perceived participation in Mr Barnes's death as there was no Statute of Limitations on murder. Although Vane narrated his time with Ben Hall forty years after the events. Vane could still be held accountable and charged. Luckily for John Vane, when he surrendered, Mr Hanlon was not called to identify Vane.

Having left the other three, Vane and O'Meally operated together for a few weeks then re-joined Ben Hall. Vane continued to participate in the robbing of store owners, travellers and gold buyers. They held up the town of Canowindra where a nights dancing was called for soon after on the 22nd of September while three troopers who were out in the scrub searching for the elusive Ben Hall and Co, they arrived at the small farm of one Mrs Marsh pregnant at the time situated near Mt Macquarie and some 2 miles southwest of Carcoar. Here the police had hoped for some refreshment. However, whilst relaxing, one of the police horses came loose, and two troopers went to retrieve it when confronted by those they were seeking, from the 'Goulburn Herald', 26th September 1863:

Gilbert, O'Meally, Ben Hall, Burke, and Vane stuck up three troopers yesterday afternoon on Mount Macquarie, near Carcoar, and took from them their arms and accoutrements. The bushrangers tied the troopers to a fence, stripped off their jackets, and put them on in derision. After keeping them for two hours they returned their clothing and permitted them to go. These troopers had been sent out especially to capture bushrangers. - [A telegram to the following effort was received in town yesterday. It appears that three mounted troopers were out on duty when they stopped for a time at Mrs Marsh's hut, on her station, near Carcoar, leaving their horses tied to the fence outside. A short time afterwards, one of the troopers, happening to look out of the window, saw one of the horses was loose. He went out to catch it but the horse took to the bush, and he followed it. One of his comrades went out to assist him, when he was pounced upon by Gilbert, O'Meally, Ben Hall, Vane, and Burke, and made prisoner. Two of the bushrangers then followed after the trooper who was in the bush, and the rest went on to the hut and secured the other trooper. The bushrangers having made all three prisoners, tied them securely, and then took from them the whole of their accoutrements, and their horses, saddles, and bridles The troopers were taken at such a disadvantage that they could not, with any hope of success, resist the bushrangers.  (see Police Gazette above right.)

Another report of the 22nd September affair:

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

After the capture of the three troopers, Vane and the other bushrangers the next day arrived at the store of Stanley Hosie at Caloola, whom Vane and Burke knew well. However, this did not prevent Vane from robbing the storekeeper of a considerable amount of goods and participated in shooting horses held in a stockyard. In December 1863, Hosie would give evidence at Vane's trial regarding the events of that day. Below is a recorded version of Hosie's evidence;
Furthermore, on the 1st of October, 1863, Ben Hall, in company with John Vane, held up two sons of the most esteemed members of the Bathurst community, Mr. R. Machattie, son of the well-known and highly respected Dr Machattie J.P. and Police magistrate for Bathurst and the son of the indefatigable Captain Battye of the NSW police, Mr. B. Battye. Soon after, this encounter set the country alight when the two young men dared the bushrangers to visit Bathurst's district capital.  'Empire’, Tuesday 6th October 1863;- The Bathurst Free Press of Saturday last publishes the following:

It appears that, notwithstanding the number of policemen engaged in the Western districts, with Captain M'Lerie at their head, little or nothing has been done, or can be done, to break up the gang which has lately caused so much annoyance in this neighbourhood; the villains are constantly prowling about, within a circuit of thirty-five or forty miles, and are frequently met with by passers-by, but, strange to say, the police cannot find them. On Thursday morning last, Mr R. Machattie, surveyor (son of Dr Machattie), and Mr B. Battye (son of Captain Battye), were met by Vane and Hall in the neighbourhood of Mulgunnia, and were ordered to stand and deliver; a conversation ensued, which lasted for about two hours, during which time Hall was exceedingly amused at the propositions made by Machattie and Battye to run them a footrace, rather than lose their property. Vane wanted to handcuff the young gentlemen, but Hall would not consent to such a proceeding. The robbers took from their victims £2 in cash, but Hall gave back to Mr Machattie a watch he had taken from him and allowed him to retain a gold ring. Hall had a bottle of port wine with him, of which all hands were invited to partake, and when asked by Mr Machattie why they did not give up their present evil courses, they replied they had nothing better to do, and would not give up unless Government offered them a bonus to leave the country.

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

The attack on Mr Keightley.
Courtesy NLA.
At the challenge thrown down by the two young men, the gang raided Bathurst (See Ben Hall page), which had the colony aghast with their evermore daring exploits. The press even commenced calling the current situation 'A Bushrangers War'. However, following the excitement and adventure and another raid on Canowindra held over a three day period. The near loss of life as he crossed a flooded river, Vane's bushranging came to a tragic end when the gang arrived at the Gold Commissioner's home on the evening of 24th October 1863 at the Gold Commissioner's home, Mr Henry Keightley at Dunn's Plains near Rockley, NSW.  At home at the time were Mr and Mrs Keightley, the house staff and Dr Pechey, a cousin of Keightley's wife Caroline, who was on a visit having recently arrived from England. During the ensuing gun battle, Vane's close mate Mickey Burke was shot in the stomach and, through fear of being captured by police, shot himself twice in the head. There is still debate today surrounding who actually shot Burke. Vane was enraged and wanted to kill Mr Keightley in revenge. It was decided that the ransom Keightley would receive for Burke's death, ₤500, should be paid to the gang. Keightley's wife and Dr Peachey went to Bathurst that night to get the money from Mrs Keightley's father, Henry Rotton. Peachey returned the next morning, and the money was handed to Gilbert and Keightley was immediately released. See the link below for a detailed account by Keightley's son Leo.
Dunns Plains attack in which Micky Burke was fatally wounded and Vane assaulted Dr Pechey, 23, 24, 25th October 1863.
Micky Burke now dead, Vane re-assessed his continued association and confided in O'Meally that he had had enough saying:

Now that blood had been spilt I felt I had had enough of the game, and on the way back I suddenly told O'Meally that I wish to go to my fathers place that night, promising to return to the camp on the following day. He offered no objection and we parted. This was the last I saw of my mates, for I did not return to the camp and they did not come to look for me.

Letter separating the
two men. Note also Vane
was to be kept apart
from Frank Gardiner.

New South Wales,
Australia, Sheriff's
Papers, 1829-1879
Following Burke's loss, one of the gang's telegraphs and a cousin of John Vane's, Donald Cheshire, was arrested on the 31st October 1863 in possession of some of the marked £5 ransom notes. Cheshire had used the money while embarking on a shopping spree for the bushrangers. 'Bathurst Times' 31st October 1863, titled: THE RANSOM MONEY OF KEIGHTLEY.

Some of the notes paid by Mr Rotton to obtain the release of Mr Keightley have been recovered. From what we have learned, it appears that on yesterday morning, a young man named Donald Cheshire— who is a cousin of the Vanes—came into Mr Webb's store, and there purchased a double trigger revolver (price £9), for which he paid two £5 notes —receiving in change £1. Shortly after Mr Webb took the notes into the Bank of New South Wales when it was discovered that they corresponded with two of three paid to Gilbert. Cheshire thereupon was followed, arrested, and taken to the lock-up. On his person being searched, we believe, four more of the £5 notes were found, and also the following list of articles, which, it is supposed, he was commissioned to buy;- "Big fellow-revolver £8, crape, mother's medicine, caps; powder, and bullets.

It has also transpired that this worthy visited the shop of Mr Pedrotta, the gunsmith, and Mr Craig, the saddler, and, at each place, succeeded in passing some of the money extorted for the ransom of the gallant commissioner. As a result, Cheshire would be convicted and sentenced to five years on the roads and was released in 1868. However, later while Darlinghurst and John Vane were incarcerated, the two men would be formally kept apart. Whether this was due to animosity on Cheshire's behalf due to Vane lagging him for the money from Keightley's is more than likely.

Vane left the gang at the end of October 1863, before the shooting death of John O'Meally at Goimbla. However, Vane surrendered to a priest named Father 'Tim' McCarthy following a meeting the priest had with Vane's distraught mother and, while searching, came across Vane by chance in the bush. Subsequently, Vane surrendered on the 19th November, the same day that his mate O'Meally met his end, shot in the neck at Goimblia. During this bush encounter, with Vane, Father Tim talked the bushranger into surrendering:

Shortly after this episode Vane left the gang but does not appear to have been contemplating a life of perfect rectitude, for he was actually making bullets when chance brought him under the influence of Father McCarthy. When surprised in the bush by the priest, Vane grasped his gun and levelled it at Father McCarthy, whom he did not know, but, nothing daunted, Father "Tim" merely called out: "Don't shoot, Vane! I'm not a policeman." Vane then lowered his gun and entered into conversation. The priest explained that he had seen Vane's mother and that she had begged him to try to find her son, and persuade him to give himself up. He also gave him words of encouragement and advice, promising to use his influence on the bushranger's behalf. He even pledged his word that if Vane would quietly submit to the authorities he would not be hanged, notwithstanding that he had committed a capital offence. Vane agreed to accompany the priest to Bathurst and give himself up. Father McCarthy at that time lived at Malagrove, between Five Islands and Carcoar, and it was agreed that they should visit Carcoar before proceeding to Bathurst, in order to interview Mr Connolly, the leading magistrate there. Mr Connolly wrote out a statement giving the repentant outlaw protection against interference by the police, should any be met on the road. After an uneventful journey, via Blayney, Bathurst was reached, but in after years the bushranger confessed that the advice and good counsel given him on the road by Father McCarthy sank into his mind and heart, and had a marked influence on his future life, both in prison and after his release.⁴ 

He went with the priest to magistrate Nathaniel Connolly's home who supplied them with a letter to secure Vane's passage to Bathurst. The surrender was reported in the 'Empire' on 24th November 1863: For full details see link below.

Tuesday 24th November 1863

Fr. Tim McCarthy.
c. 1870's.

Courtesy NLA.
However, what is not well known regarding Vane's ride to justice, was that in the midnight journey to Bathurst, Fr. McCarthy came to grief knocking him senseless as his horse stumbled. As reported in 'The Gundagai Times and Tumut, Adelong and Murrumbidgee District Advertiser':

An interesting anecdote is related of this event. Father McCarthy nearly lost his life while accompanying Vane from Carcoar to Bathurst. The reverend gentleman and a servant lad of his were mounted on spirited horses, and the ex-bushranger rode a fleet animal. It was a fine moonlight night, and they pushed at a good pace through the bush, but the trees threw heavy shadows on several parts of the plain over which they rode. After a few hours' rides, they dashed into a heavier mass of gloom that had previously beset them and were suddenly precipitated into a rough, deep gully. Father McCarthy received the heaviest fall; he lay for several minutes insensible and was much shaken by the untoward occurrence. This accident interrupted the journey for a couple of hours, as two of the horses had to be searched for and caught; but the party finally reached Bathurst shortly after sunrise, and Vane delivered himself to justice.

Bathurst Court with Gaol in the background where John Vane
 was sentenced in 1863.
Vane, in his trial, would be represented by William Bede Dalley, well known Catholic lawyer who at the time was a member of Carcoar in the NSW Legislative Assembly and who within twelve months would defend Frank Gardiner at his trial. By God's grace, Vane was found guilty and did not swing whereby was sentenced to 15 years at Darlinghurst. However, in goodwill, the government released a swag of prisoners, including John Vane, after six years for good behaviour. Accordingly, Fr Tim was offered the reward for Vane's surrender amounting to £1000, but the priest refused. Fr  Tim's efforts made him an instant celebrity. However, even in his success of saving Vane's life, he was subsequently accused of using the confessional to withhold information from the police:

My priestly office does not contemplate the acceptance of a material reward for the performance of a spiritual duty. It is my humble mission to preach repentance unto sinners in the name of our Great Master, Jesus Christ. There is a Master who pays His servants in a coin altogether priceless, and who rewards them always far beyond their merits. Suffer me, then, already over-compensated on earth by the approbation and lovely kindness of my fellows, to decline to profit from the bounty of your Government.

When Vane was sentenced this advertisement appeared in the Sydney newspapers:

VANE, THE BUSHRANGER—Carte de Visite PORTRAITS of JOHN VANE, the celebrated Bushranger, will be published TO-DAY at GLAISTER'S Portrait Gallery, Pitt-street.

Vane's court appearance and trial were published in the 'The Sydney Morning Herald' Friday 15th April 1864: see link below.
Vane denies his involvement in this gunfight in Vane's narrative, but on surrendering in 1863, Vane gives an account of the incident. Vane later said that; "a bullet fired by Superintendent Morrisett had struck O'Meally in the chest" a validation of  Vanes presence.
Below are the Gaol records of John Vane.
John Vane, Entrance Book Bathurst Gaol November 1863.
John Vane, Return of Prisoners Cockatoo Island 1866.
John Vane, Return of Prisoners Darlinghurst 1867.
John Vane, released March 1870 Darlinghurst Gaol.
Upon Vanes release, many viewed it as an injustice against those who had suffered under his gun:  As reported in 1870:

What will those now complaining of the short sentences given to convicted criminals say, when they learn that Vane was last week released from gaol, after having served less than six years of the term of his imprisonment? This, however, is a fact, and we learn from a private and reliable source that the first act of his renewed freedom was to visit the bars of several hotels in Sydney, and there, to select audiences, boast of his previous career and enter into full and particular details of his former misdeeds! 

After seeing Sydney's sites, Vane returned to the Trunkey district. Even after his lengthy incarceration for his bushranging with O'Meally, Gilbert, and Ben Hall, he was wont to dabble in stock theft again. Vane would once more serve a prison sentence of five years for sheep stealing in with James Burke, a cousin of his dead mate Micky Burke. 

Janes Burke was one who earlier in 1863 had had a rescue attempted by John Vane, Gilbert and O'Meally from police with fellow criminals Thomas Morris and Charles Green. All bush telegraphs of the bushrangers. In the rescue attempt, Constable Sutton suffered being shot and was severely wounded in the arm.

Soon after his release for sheep-stealing, Vane was arrested again on suspicion of robbery. However, he was released when evidence revealed no involvement. Accordingly, his notoriety as a member of Ben Hall's gang, although only over a short period, kept Vane in the police spotlight. However, for all his protestations and his claims that his incarceration for bushranging, he had learnt the ills of his former ways amounted to nonsense when in May 1880, John Vane was arrested once more for sheep stealing. The age-old saying a 'Leopard Never Changes its Spots' rang true for a Bona Fide villain who through sheer luck had only been associated with blood on his hands:

John Vane, an ex-bushranger, has been received into the Bathurst gaol, under committal, on a charge of stealing 431 sheep, the property of T. A. Smith, P.M., of Trunkey. The principal witness against prisoner was Terence M'Cann, an accomplice who turned approver.⁶ 

A month later, John Vane faced court. As reported: BATHURST. TUESDAY, 7th July 1880.

At the Quarter Sessions today, John Vane, of bushranging notoriety, was indicted for stealing 421 sheep, the property of Mr. T. M. Smith, Police Magistrate of Trunkey. The principal witness was a prisoner named Hargans, who is serving a sentence of two years in Parramatta gaol, for stealing the sheep in question. Terence M'Cann, another witness; and who is under committal for horse-stealing, had been concerned in the matter with Vane and Hargans, and had given information to the police. The evidence was quite clear, and Vane was convicted and remanded for sentence. The sheep owners of Trunkey district have for a considerable period suffered through the depredations of a gang of thieves, who have up to the present, carried on their operations with impunity.⁷ 

In an attempt to have the case dropped, one of Vane's friends, Thomas Parker tried to tamper with a witness. As reported in the 'The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser', Tuesday 13 July 1880:

A man named Thomas Parker was convicted at the Bathurst Quarter Sessions for an attempt to dissuade a certain witness for the Crown from giving evidence in the case against John Vane, for sheep stealing, He was sentenced to 12 month's imprisonment with hard labour.
John Vane prison record 1880.
John Vane and James Burke at Bathurst Gaol 1880.
Sheep stealing 1880.
John Vane released in September 1884.
John Vane c. 1898.
New South Wales Census for 1901
On the 20th February 1873, Vane married Jane Parker  (Age 19), a friend since childhood and sister of Thomas Parker who attempted to tamper with witnesses at Vane's trial for sheep stealing in 1880 Carcoar, NSW. The couple would produce between 1872 and 1895 12 children. John Vane died of Ileocolitis (Crohn's disease; a chronic inflammatory disease of the intestines, especially the colon and ileum, associated with ulcers and fistulae.) in the hospital at Cowra on January the 30th, 1906. A plaque is erected in the Woodstock Cemetery. (See Link page for John Vane's memoirs.)
Jane Vane c. 1912.
John Vane c. 1902.

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

Michael Burke was the only son of Michael and Bridget Burke. Burke's parents immigrated from Templemore in County Tipperary, Ireland, arriving in the colony in 1838 on-board the 'William Metcalf' under the command of E. Phillipson. Michael's parents, Michael and Bridget, could read but not write and arrived free with the brother of Micky Burke's father, John Burke and his family. Coincidentally, John's wife Ellen happened to be the sister of young Michael Burke's mother. Both families settled at Felltimber Creek, NSW. 'Micky' was born in January 1843 followed by seven sisters. Michael Burke was described as 5ft 5in tall, dark freckled complexion with straight dark hair and whiskerless.
The Burke family farmed several small lots varying in size from 29 to 40 acres. As subsistence farmers, livestock was valued highly and in 1855, Michael Burke, Senior had a horse stolen by one William Slone for which Burke offered a £5 reward for Slone's capture and £3 for the horse. (see Notices below).

"Micky" was uneducated, however, being reared in the bush as with his contemporaries he was an excellent horseman and bushman:

The bushranger Micky Burke was known in the district in which he conducted operations as 'True Blue' by reason or the fact that he usually went about dressed in a suit of blue coloured tweed. He was a neighbour and mate of Johnny Vane and they had both lived in the Carcoar district, to the south of Mount Macquarie.¹ 

It should also be noted that whilst with Ben Hall, Burke was often referred to as 'The Toad', possibly due to his small squat stature. It was also reported that before his joining with Ben Hall. Burke was employed as a shepherd for a Mr Walt a former MLA representing Carcoar; As preported titled: THE LATE MICHAEL BURKE, THE BUSHRANGER. – The ‘Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Chronicle’ Saturday 7 Nov 1863. says:

The youth, Burke, was a native of the colony, and was reared at the Dam Station, belonging to Mr. Walt the ex-MP for Carcoar. From his childhood, he was shepherding for that gentleman.

The Burke's arrival in NSW 1838, as well as the brother
of Burke's father and his family.
Michael Burke's father's reward offer for the stolen horse, note, Daniel Charters senior
also had a horse stolen at Carcoar.
Comus II's stable,
Coombing Park.

Courtesy Craig Bratby.
Burke's path to bushranging was a result of his friendship with John Vane. Vane was a wayward youth of the Mt Macquarie region, whereby Micky and some of his cousins were in the habit of lifting sheep and cattle all coming under the police spotlight. In August 1863, Burke leapt when in company with John Vane, who had been sought out by the recently arrived well-known bushrangers Gilbert and O'Meally looking for quality racers, visited Mr Thomas Rothery Icely's Station, 'Coombing Park'. The station was a Crown grant to the Hon. Thomas Icely, M.L.C, his father and covered a vast area of the central tablelands. Icely was also a magistrate and one of the wealthiest men of the district. Burke's goal was to steal the precious stud-horse, 'Comus II'. The 'Coombing Park' stables were guarded by a man called "Charley the German," who tried to prevent the theft and in the process was shot by Burke in the neck. Charley was relocated to the care of Dr Rolland, where the bullet was removed and slowly recovered. Mr Thomas Rothery Icely, then manager for his father who the year before had resettled to Prospect near Parramatta, offered a £100 reward for the robbers' capture, who, with the horse, disappeared into the bush.

Superintendent Morrisset
 c. 1860

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

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

We did not think anything more of it just then, fancying perhaps that it was the old man (whom my cousin had put in charge of the stable) bring off his gun. In the meanwhile, he (the old man) came into the house with the wound of a revolver in his lip, and saying that they were robbing the stables. Mr. Morrisset and Mr. Icely and T. Lawson immediately procured some firearms and went up (though too late for the robbers) and discovered that it was the case and that old "Comus" and a horse of Mr. J. Davidson's, the sub-inspector of police, had gone my cousin then came down and told me that he intended going into Carcoar, and should send out the doctor as soon as he possibly could do, to see the wound. In about an hour he arrived with the doctor, who said that the ball had passed into the lip and through the tongue, but could not discover where it was. He says that it is not a dangerous wound.

Everyone in Carcoar who could be got was sworn in as a special constable, Today, Mr Icely, in company with Mr. Morrisset and several others, started in search of the robbers I had to come down with letters for the police from Mr Morrisset. This morning Mr Icely wished me to tell you that he could not write perhaps for some time, as he intended making a good hunt for the men, and regain old 'Comus ' if possible". This is the second-time Mr Icely's stables have been robbed within two months. The first time the thieves only took harms, saddles, and bridles.²

Thomas Rothery Icely.

Private Source.
Following the raid on Icely's Burke and shooting the stable hand, Burke laid low for a short period finally throwing his lot in with Gilbert and O'Meally participating in some minor skirmishes with Vane. With his home territory under police pressure, Burke reluctantly departed with the boys to join their older leader Ben Hall in the Lambing Flat's backwoods. Here Burke once again took part in robberies against shopkeepers such as Coupland and Murphy,  GREAT STICKING UP BY BUSHRANGERS.-'The Burrangong Star' of Saturday 2nd September 1863 gives the following account of a charge that had been before reported:

Between 10 and 11 o'clock on Monday morning, Messrs. T. Watson, John Murphy, T. Coupland and B. Emanuel of this township, were stuck-up and robbed by five bushrangers on the road leading to the Ten and Twelve Mile Rushes, about a mile and a half from the former, near Duffer Gully, and not far from where poor M Bride was barbarously murdered. The gentlemen alluded to were robbed of their horses, saddles, and bridles; each of them were most carefully searched, being compelled to take off their coats, vests, and boots, to enable the miscreants to plunder with greater impunity. Mr John Murphy had his valuable gold watch and chain stolen from him; Mr Emanuel a one pound note; Mr, Watson was more fortunate, as a cheque for £200 and 10s in silver, which they found on his person, was returned to him. The bushrangers refused to take either the money or the cheque. Mr Coupland had an opportunity of slipping down one of the legs of his trousers a five-pound note unobserved by the robbers. They threatened to knock Mr Watson's brains out because be would not quietly give up his horse, and said he was too cheeky. One of them observed to Mr Coupland, "This is the saddle you had when you were stunk up down the creek." A short distance from where this scene occurred on the hill, near the Tipperary Gully road, nine miners were bailed up, with another of the bushranging fraternity keeping guard over them whilst the remainder of the gang were quietly robbing the gentlemen alluded to. They did not, however, plunder the diggers; but prevented them going, or rendering any assistance to the storekeepers. We are informed that the ruffians asked the miners captured to join their gang, offering to supply them with horses, arms, and ammunition, but they, to their credit, most indignantly refused their disgraceful diabolical offers. They were then suffered to go at large without being further molested. Mr Thomas Watson, as soon as he regained his liberty, procured a horse from a man he met on the road, and proceeded to the Ten-mile rush and gave information to the police stationed there, who proceeded to this township and reported the robbery to the police authorities at the camp. Mr Watson returned to the town on horseback, and the other gentlemen came in one of the coaches. Three of the bushrangers are supposed to be Gilbert, O'Meally, and Ben Hall, the two others are unknown. We believe four of them can be identified; and understand that Mr Watson is very likely to recover his horse, it having been seen lately in White's paddock.

NSW Police Gazette
October 1863.
After robbing Demondrill Station the bushrangers split. Burke with Hall and Gilbert while Vane and O'Meally hold up at a harbourers hut. Soon after Vane was involved in the murder of John Barnes at Wallendbeen station shot dead by O'Meally  followed by Gilbert mortally wounding a miner named McBride with Fred Lowry. These killings split the gang and Burke with Hall and Gilbert headed back to Burke's home near Carcoar robbing Webb and Crego's store at Burrorwa as they passed through. Again in the Carcoar district, Burke due to his being well-known took to wearing a face-coverings during the hold-up of the Cowra mail near Blayney. Then on the 22nd September 1863, Micky Burke and the gang captured three troopers Turnbull, Evenden and Cromie near Mount Macquarie. Ridiculing the troopers for some hours the gang appropriated their jackets and weapons. Next they arrived at Stanley Hosie's store at Caloola, as reported, titled: STICKING-UP THE POLICE AGAIN!

On Tuesday afternoon three troopers left the Long Swamp on route for Carcoar, and called at George Marsh's farm, distant about 8 miles, where they had some refreshment, and were informed by Mr Marsh that he had seen a horse, with saddle and bridle on, and he believed that it had got away from the Bushrangers who were in the neighbourhood and he offered to go with one of them to get the horse. After being out about half an hour, the two troopers at the house heard two shots fired at a distance from the place and went in the direction of the reports when they met two mounted men who ordered them to stand. Only one of them had taken the precaution to carry his rifle with him, and he was told that if he attempted to fire he would get his bloody brains blown out, and that they would go to the place where Marsh and the other trooper were handcuffed to a tree and shoot them.  As a matter of course," the trooper gave up his rifle and revolver. The two bushrangers were then joined by three more of their gang, and after liberating Marsh and the captive trooper, they went into the house and had something to eat, and then secured the three revolvers, three rifles, and all other traps belonging to the police. The gang are O'Meally, Gilbert, Burke, Vane, and Ben Hall: When the troopers first saw them they thought they were some of the Carcoar police, having carbines at their side, with bucket's to hold the muzzles in. They informed the troopers that they would like to fall in with M'Lerie and his men, for they would strip and handcuff them to trees for the night, having handcuffs with them for the purpose. The police, magistrate took the depositions of the three men in his office this day, and there were a lot of Specials sworn in as they will be very useful to go into the bush to protect the troopers, and prevent the bushrangers from taking the fire-arms from them! Would it not be better to furnish the police with some "make believe" firearms?  It would not be a bad idea, I think, for then the bushrangers would not be so well supplied with such, effective weapons; the loss to the country since Saturday cannot be less than £70, and all fire arm's alone: there, were four breech-loading carbines, and four revolvers, and all the holsters, straps, breast plate's, and other lumber that make up the total of a trooper's accoutrements, and all this done within 7 or 8 miles of this once quiet place. Some of our townspeople are really so uncharitable as to call the police a lot of muffs and cowards, and that they ought to wear crinoline, but some people are never satisfied. When they told the trooper not to fire as it would be worse for him, "what could the poor man do." That the police will never capture them on horseback, is an admitted fact, acknowledged by the police themselves. "Some men that can and will use fire-arms with effect" should be sent in pursuit.³ 

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

c. 1900.
Courtesy NLA.
Although only a member of the bushrangers for two months, Micky Burke was apart of some of the most daring actions of Ben Hall's gang and covered many miles conducting robberies, and participated in the most audacious raid on a country town and its surrounding area in Australian history. The gang commenced at the wealthy Loudon's of 'Grubbenbong Station' then rode Rothery's station 'Clifden' on the 26th September 1863 en-route to the gangs first raid on Canowindra: 

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

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

Canowindra township.
c. 1860's
So far I have given you an account of the bushrangers, now I have to say something of the police:— Information reached Number One Swamp of the sticking-up of Rothery's and the bushrangers going on to Canowindra, about five o'clock on Saturday evening. Mr Superintendent Morrisett immediately despatched five troopers to Canowindra, ordering them to call at Clifden on their way up. Instead of proceeding direct, they first came to Carcoar, which they did not leave till nine o'clock p.m. Previous to their departure, they, however, received information that left very little doubt as to the bushrangers being at Canowindra. Now, giving them seven hours to get to Canowindra—thirty-two miles —they ought to have reached there at 4, o'clock a.m., where they would have had a good chance of taking the bushrangers, but from some cause they did not arrive at Canowindra till 11 o'clock-three hours after the bushrangers had left, thus taking fourteen hours to travel thirty-two miles! It is proved, beyond a doubt, that when the bushrangers left Mr Rothery's they kept the road the whole distance, meeting carriers and others. The police could have heard, and no doubt did hear, from the Teamsters camped on the road, that the bushrangers had passed in the direction of Canowindra, and their failing to reach that place, goes to prove what Gilbert said about them, that they have not "the pluck'' to meet them. This, however, is not the opinion of Gilbert only, but the public believe the same thing. Certainly, these five troopers should be called to account by Mr Morrisett, who to a certain extent is held responsible for the conduct or misconduct of his men. Then, again, we hear that a magistrate and his stockman were going into Canowindra about ten o'clock on Saturday evening when he heard that the bushrangers were at Robinson's inn. Much to his praise, he rode to the first police station (Cowra), about eighteen miles off, reaching there about twelve o'clock, and found two troopers in the barracks. He informed them of what was going on at Canowindra and directed them to proceed there, but they refused to go, saying "two were of no use." Consequently, they could be seen the next morning turning out with polished boots, calculating, it is presumed, when the "abstracts" would be up so that they might fill in their pay. Such is the state of the police system that these same two troopers are sent down with and to deliver Mr Icely's horse, while the mail coach comes down unprotected.

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

The Bathurst Free Press of Saturday last publishes the following:

It appears that, notwithstanding the number of policemen engaged in the Western districts, with Captain M'Lerie at their head, little or nothing has been done, or can be done, to break up the gang which has lately caused so much annoyance in this neighbourhood; the villains are constantly prowling about, within a circuit of thirty-five or forty miles, and are frequently met with by passers-by, but, strange to say, the police cannot find them. On Thursday morning last, Mr. R. Machattie, surveyor (son of Dr. Machattie), and Mr. B. Battye (son of Captain Battye), were met by Vane and Hall in the neighbourhood of Mulgunnia, and were ordered to stand and deliver; a conversation ensued, which lasted for about two hours, during which time Hall was exceedingly amused at the propositions made by Machattie and Battye to run them a footrace, rather than loose their property. Vane wanted to handcuff the young gentlemen, but Hall would not consent to such a proceeding. The robbers took from their victims £2 in cash, but Hall gave back to Mr. Machattie a watch he had taken from him, and allowed him to retain a gold ring. Hall had a bottle of port wine with him, of which all hands were invited to partake, and when asked by Mr. Machattie why they did not give up their present evil courses, they replied they had nothing better to do, and would not give up unless Government offered them a bonus to leave the country. Eventually they rode away, taking with them the horses, saddles, and bridles, belonging to Messrs. Machattie and Battye; saying they would leave the horses where they would be found as soon as they were better suited. Shortly after the foregoing occurrence, another man was stuck up and robbed by the same persons in the same neighbourhood, but they only took from him a few shillings. Mr. Machattie had to walk several miles before he could procure another horse, after which he rode into Bathurst and gave information to the police.⁶ 

It was during this conversation that young Machattie dared the gang to visit Bathurst.

After the dare by young Machattie, that the bushrangers didn't have the pluck to enter Bathurst, the gang took up the challenge appearing on the Saturday evening of the 3rd of October 1863, titled: THE BUSHRANGERS IN BATHURST.

Last night, about half-past seven, Gilbert, O'Meally, Ben Hall, Burk, and Vane came into the heart of the town, and attempted to stick up the shop of Mr. McMinn, jeweller, in William-street. Gilbert and O'Meally went into the shop, leaving the others out-side, but the screaming of the females in the house raised the alarm, and they beat a retreat. Jumping on their horses, they galloped down William street, and, firing a shot in the air, passed down Howick- street, then cantered up George street, as if going out of town. In a little time a troop of police were in pursuit, but by a manoeuvre of the bushrangers, they passed them, and so were out generalled. The bushrangers, on going up George street, made for the rear of Mr. De Clouet's, and entering the house, stuck up the inmates and remained there in cool conversation for fully twenty minutes. They wanted the racehorse Pasha, but at the request of De Clouet, in whose employ Gilbert had at one time been, they relinquished their design and left quietly. Several young men volunteered immediately to go in pursuit, but there were neither ammunition nor caps in the police barracks. It is said that later in the night the police afterwards   came up with them and exchanged shots, but without any result. The townspeople are in a fearful state of excitement. It is impossible to describe the state of feeling caused by the visit of this notorious gang of bushrangers.

After Bathurst, the following was reported:

A horse thoroughly knocked up, supposed to belong to the bushrangers, was brought in by the police last night. It had a saddle with a poncho on it, and a leather buckle to hold a rifle, but was without a bridle. A report is row circulating through the town that the mail from Bathurst to Carcoar was stuck up again this morning, twelve miles hence, at Fitzgerald's Mount. Tuesday, 8 30 p.m. A horseman has just galloped into town from the Vale Creek, about a mile and a half distant, with intelligence that the bushrangers have made an attack upon Mrs. Mutton's house, and had proceeded in the direction of Mr. Hellman's. Five troopers jumped into their saddles and have this moment left the barracks in pursuit of the bushrangers. The Inspector-General of police arrived in town this afternoon. Wednesday, 9 p.m. The committee appointed to consider the best means for capturing the bushrangers have, with the sanction of the Government, issued placards, offering £2500 reward for the apprehension of the five bushrangers— Gilbert, O'Meally, Bourke, Vane, and Ben Hall, or £500-each. Volunteers are called for, and the town has the appearance of being in a state of siege. The police have been out all day.

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

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

The Canowindra raid was the first time in Australian history that a town was captured and sacked by bushrangers, as follows headlined:

Tuesday 20th October 1863

On 24th October 1863, the bushrangers suddenly attacked the residence of Mr Keightley, a Gold Commissioner at his home at Dunn's Plains near Rockley, NSW, who had on several occasions boasted and let it be known that he would take the gang if the opportunity arose, as Keightley had a reputation as a good shot. The bushrangers on learning the boast duly arrived and Mr Keightley and his house guest Dr Peachey (Pechey) a cousin of Keightley's wife Caroline, were fired upon.

However the pair showed stubborn resistance and secreted themselves into the house and then the roof. During the ensuing gunfight, and where both the house and back door was peppered with shots that luckily did not injure the two men or women. Subsequently, as eager as always, Burke was first to the house and was while getting closer shot at and seriously wounded in the stomach. Fearful of capture gasped his last words on earth, saying; "I'm done for, but I'll not be taken alive." 

Due to his severe wound, Burke then turned his revolver upon himself and fired two shots into his head the first a graze and not fatal, the second shot fatal. The attack and subsequent ransoming of Mr. Keightley over Burkes death are reported in the 'Bathurst Times', of 28th October 1863 titled:DESPERATE ENCOUNTER WITH THE BUSHRANGERS ONE OF THE FIVE KILLED. (From Wednesday's Bathurst Times.)

Sketch of Keightley and
 Dr. Peachey observing
 the gangs arrival.

By Percy Lindsey. Truth
On Saturday evening, between six and seven o'clock, Gilbert, O'Meally, Ben Hall, Vane, and Burke made their appearance at the house of Mr Keightley (assistant gold commissioner) at Dunn's Plains, near Rockley. Mr Keightley was at the time outside the house, and, seeing the men advancing, though at first, they were policemen in disguise. On their coming up, they called out to him to "bail up," but, without paying any attention to the command, he ran into the house-about thirty yards off- with the intention of arming himself- four or five shots being fired at him as he went. It seems Mr Keightley had been expecting a visit from the gang and had provided himself with the necessary means of defence: but, owing to the most unfortunate circumstance, they were beyond his reach at the very moment he required to use them. Having occasion, shortly before, to send a letter in the letter post, he had despatched it by a manservant, who bears the character of being a trustworthy and courageous fellow, and he, it appears, had taken a brace of revolvers with him for his own protection. Snatching up a double-barrelled gun (only one barrel of which was loaded), as also a revolver, Mr Keightley, accompanied by a guest, Dr. Peachey, who stood by his side throughout, took his station at the door, Where a shower of bullets greeted his appearance, some of them passing within a hair's breadth of their bodies, and burying with a "ping" in the woodwork about the threshold. 
This is the back door of the Keightley home peppered with the bullets fired by the Gang.
This historical piece can be seen at the Bathurst Historical Museum. (My Photo's 2019.) 
Very rare photograph
of Dunns Plains
c. 1920's

Courtesy NLA.
The plan pursued by the bushrangers was to keep under cover as much as possible, Burke from time to time, creeping up at the side of the house, and suddenly swinging his arm round, managed in that way, to fire at the gentlemen as they stood within the doorway. Vane is mentioned as coming out in full view and deliberately taking aim. Unwilling to risk a shot at him, Mr, Keightley waited for the next approach of Burke, who came up shortly afterwards in the way described, and incautiously exposing his body, he was instantly shot in the abdomen, whereupon he was seen to reel like a drunken man, and stagger to the side of the house. Leaning with one hand against the wall, he cried out, "I'm done for, but I'll not be taken alive;" and then with the other hand, he pulled out a revolver, and placing it to his head endeavoured to blow out his brains. The first shot appears to have merely grazed the skin of his forehead, but the next blew away a portion of his skull. He then fell to the ground. The bushrangers, seeing what had happened, still continued to conceal themselves, while they kept up a constant fire upon the house, Dr. Pechey, at this juncture, made a rush across the yard towards a kitchen, in the endeavour to obtain possession of a gun placed there, belonging to his servant, William Baldock, whom we have mentioned as having been despatched to Rockley. He was, however, encountered by Vane, who, presented a revolver, ordered him back, at the same time firing at him. The doctor accordingly retraced his steps.

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

A woodcut of 
Mrs Keightley imploring
 Ben Hall "..
save his life!"

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

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

We have said O'Meally was absent, and Mrs. Keightley, fearing least he might not agree to accept the ransom, prevailed upon one of the party to fetch him. When he came, he at first refused to listen to the proposal, and declared his intention to revenge the death of his companion; but he was, however, eventually pacified by the others. They then went into the house and remained there for a considerable time awaiting Dr. Peachey's return, and drank some spirits and wine, Mrs. Keightley having first tasted it, in order to assure them the liquor was not drugged. Some conversation passed, in which the bushrangers told that the reason Burke was so daring, arose from the fact that they had just previously been twitting him with the want of courage, and seemingly he was determined to convince them to the contrary. In answer to a question from Mrs. Keightley, as to what could induce them to pursue the course they did, when, by the many robberies they committed they must possess considerable wealth, Gilbert replied that with all their depredations, they had not as much as would keep them a week.

Henry Rotton. M.L.A.
Father of Caroline
c. 1870's

Courtesy Penzig.©
Arrangements were next made for the payment of the ransom. Mr Keightley was taken to a place called the Dog Rocks, on a hill near, and Mrs Keightley was warned that if any information was given by which the police might be brought down upon them, they would shoot her husband immediately. She was to go into Bathurst with Dr. Pechey and fetch the money, and if any treachery was attempted, after shooting Mr Keightley they said they would come down and fight those who approached for the £500. The position they took upon the hill enabled them to overlook the road, so that they could see whoever might arrive, and it was stipulated that Dr Peachey should alone approach them with the money. Burke being dead, two of the men engaged at Mr Bowman's were hired to take the body in a spring cart to the house of his father, being paid £2 each for this service by the bushrangers, On the return of Dr Peachey Mrs Keightley, under his escort, rode into Bathurst where she sought out her father, Mr Rotton, M.L.A. That gentleman instantly repaired to the Commercial Bank it being about four o'clock in the morning and procured the sum required, with which, accompanied by Dr Peachey, he started to Dunn's Plains, where upon it's being handed over to the party by the brave doctor, Mr Keightley was set at liberty, and so after safely arrived at Bathurst. A body of police had, however, some time previously had started in pursuit.

A dramatization of 
Mrs Keightley
 and Dr. Peachey's
Buggy ride for the £500.
Mr. Keightley speaks most favourably of the manner in which he was treated during his captivity, and it seems he had a long conversation in the night with one or two of them, in  which he was told that the gang would never have come into Bathurst, or visited him had it not been for the taunts received from two individuals who ought to have known better then to spur them to the enterprise. They denied ever having threatened to use any violence towards him, but being told that he (Keightley) was a splendid shot, and would riddle them through as he was  in the habit of practising at a target, they imagined; he must be possessed of first class weapons, and the desire to possess these, as well as to test his courage, had induced them to make the attack they had. Personally, they did not know him. Once in the night the galloping of horses was heard, and as for some time the bushrangers had taken it in turns to rest-two sleeping while the others watched Gilbert, who standing sentry over the prisoner, went up to the sleepers, and touched them gently with his foot, calling them quietly by name. They jumped up without noise, and held their weapons in readiness, but as the sound drew nearer it was discovered to emanate from a passing mob of bush horses. The day before  the occurrence took place which we have just described, Sub-inspector Davidson with some troopers were encamped near to Mr. Keightley's house, and the bushrangers told Mr. Keightley that they had been watching them through the night, and mentioned several little incidents that had transpired, in proof of their assertion. Mr. Davidson, it appears, declined to accept the accommodation proffered by Mr. Keightley, preferring, to sleep out with his men, and Mr. Keightley was told of what happened daring a visit he had paid the party, and also that they (the bushrangers) had been watching; both him and the neighbourhood the whole day through. There are one or two circumstances which we have omitted to mention, but we believe the narrative we have given contains everything connected with the matter which can be relied upon. As displaying the courage evinced by Mrs. Keightley, it is perhaps worthy of remark that upon the two gentlemen having left the doorway and gained the loft, that lady, undaunted by the firing which was going on, came up into the passage, and closed the door, and barred it so as to prevent the entry of the bushrangers. As she did so, we learn she unconsciously shut out her own little sister, who appears to have been standing in the yard during the whole fray, and it is also said was actually standing by the side of Burke when he received his death wound. A report reached Bathurst yesterday that the police had fallen in with the men in driving the cart in which the body of Burke was being conveyed, and that it has been carried to Carcoar, where an inquest is to be had.
The layout of the attack at Dunns Plains 23, 24, 25th October 1863. 
Bridget Burke, Micky's
younger sister.
c. 1900's.
After less than fourteen weeks riding in company with one of the wildest bushranger gang's in the history of New South Wales and Australia, Michael Burke's body was taken to Carcoar for the inquest and later released to the family. He was buried on his parents' property at Mandurama. With permission, his grave can be viewed at Fell Creek:

The inquest on Burke, which was held in Carcoar, by Dr. Rowland conducted a post-mortem examination of the body, and that his evidence was to the effect that nine leaden slugs were taken from the body of the young fellow. The Commissioner, who gave evidence subsequently, stated that the gun with which he is said to have shot the bushranger, was loaded with shot. No attention, however, was paid to this discrepancy at the time, as the whole colony was ringing with Keightley's praises.¹⁰

Furthermore, when Burke's body arrived in Carcoar under Sgt Merrin and Edward Brady's possession, whereby the townsfolk became fully aware of the attack at Keightley's and its end result. However, it was thought that if the police had not intercepted the body of Burke, it might have been secretly buried by his family and that the Carcoar residents, when informed of the attack, would have gathered the £500 needed to free Keightley; 'Bathurst Times' 31 October 1863, Headlined, The Death of Burke:

On Sunday last great excitement prevailed in this place, In consequence of a report that a gentleman in town had received a private note, stating that Mr. Commissioner Keightley had shot Burke, and was then is the hands of the bushrangers, and that if £500 were not paid, by way of ransom, before two o'clock, that day, he would be shot. This news reached town about ten o'clock, a.m. It was not, however, till the party with Burke's remains arrived here that we were aware of the precise arrangements the bushrangers had entered into with respect to the ransom money. Had that information been withheld till later in the day, some of the townspeople would have subscribed the £500, and endeavoured to find the whereabouts of the marauders, feeling assured the amount would be refunded. All fear was allayed when it was known that Mrs. Keightley and the doctor had gone into Bathurst for it. There was certainly a great amount of sympathy expressed for Mrs. Keightley. In fact, on the face of every one you met was depicted considerable, anxiety, accompanied by an earnest enquiry for news of their safety. At last came information that Mr Keightley was liberated,, which was an intense relief to all, and a source of gratification, as they talked over the brave conduct of Mrs. Keightley. I may mention that sergeant Merrin and party, who left Carcoar for Number One Swamp, at four o'clock, on Sunday morning were the first to come across the remains of Burke, at Number One, and took charge of them, otherwise they would never have fallen into the hands of the authorities, but would have been secretly interred.

Subsequently, at the arraignment of John Vane at Bathurst in December 1863, Dr. Peachey was again asked to give evidence on Burke's death and said:

I gave evidence in the case against Vane yesterday; when Mr. Keightley was in the passage I was behind him: he said he had fired; after I came down from the roof I went to look at Burke's body, and saw that the bowels were protruding from the abdomen; I also saw blood coming from his mouth and nostrils; there was a wound in the head, and one of the bushrangers said Burke had shot his own brains out; after I saw the body I went to Rockley to get my instruments, and when I came back Burke was dead; I afterwards assisted to put the body in a cart, and it was taken away; I heard it was to go towards Carcoar; a German and one of Mr. McDonald's men went with it; about two feet of the bowels were out; that would have ultimately caused death; I think the wound was of that character that it must have caused death; a portion of the shirt was driven into the wound; the shot must have been fired close-I should think within a yard or so.¹¹

Another newspaper article highlights: THE LATE MICHAEL BOURKE, THE BUSHRANGER.

The youth Bourke, who forfeited his life at the hands of Commissioner Keightley while attempting with Gilbert, O'Meally, Hall, and Vane, to stick-up that gentleman's family at their residence, Dunn's Plains, was a native of the colony, and was reared at the Dam station, belonging to Mr. Watt, the ex M.P. for Carcoar. From his childhood he was shepherding for that gentleman, but unfortunately for himself the deeds of arms of Gardiner and his confederates seduced him to join the bushrangers; but, fortunately for society, his career was as brief as it was inglorious. It is hoped his shocking end will be a deterrent to other youths inclined to turn out upon the roads.¹² 

There was also comment in the report by the inquest into Burke's death, where it was stated;

Weeks after Hall’s gang’s raids on Bathurst twenty-year-old Micky Burke’s very short bushranging career ended at Rockley. Holding up Gold Commissioner Keightley he was wounded in the stomach and, believing he was about to die, shot himself in the head. Still alive and in pain one of his friends killed him. The Coroner named Hall.

Edward Brady.
Located Burke's body
near Carcoar, after
fallen from a cart.
Burke dead and £500 in the gangs pocket Vane after deep contemplation departed the gang. Burke's death had weighed heavily upon him with a realisation that this may well be his fate as well. However, in the day's after the attack, bad blood still affected the bushrangers over Burke, and it was reported that the usually subdued Hall almost shot Gilbert:

It is said that there has been a split in the gang. Vane has left them, and only two or three days ago Ben Hall and Gilbert were nearly coming to pistol shots, but the disagreement was patched up. 

Furthermore, as Burke's body lay in the Carcoar Hospital, a reporter from the S.M.H. viewed the youth's corpse. Simultaneously, Dr Rowland extracted the nine slugs from Burke's stomach, however, as has often been written regarding Burke's death at his own hand, this may not after-all be the case. The standard view is that Burke severely wounded shot himself twice in his own head. However, it appears that three shots had been fired into the head of Burke. Therefore, as all events were conducted in darkness, it may well be that Burke indeed fired twice and another of the gang had fired a "coup de grâce," Writing of Burke a correspondent of the "Herald" says:

I saw the body of Burke in the Carcoar Hospital. shortly after death. I could not help, feeling sorry for this misguided youth. The doctor took nine slugs from his stomach; but the shot that killed him, was one of three fired by himself after finding that he was wounded.

Is it possible then that a "coup de grâce" was fired by Gilbert and the others knew it apart from Vane or had the knowledge precipitated Vane's exit. O'Meally had also according to Vane, accused Gilbert of killing Burke. Vane said:

Hall interposed and told them to stop growling at each other, and then O'Meally heatedly said that Gilbert was the cause of Burke's death. 

Vane also had suspicions about Gilbert killing Burke? As in the lead-up to the Keightley's attack, Burke had accused Gilbert of cowardice. A call that Gilbert resented vehemently. Therefore, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that indeed Gilbert did shoot Burke as there is a comment at the time that Burke should be put out of his misery? "they said it would be of no use, and that it would be better to shoot him at once, and end his misery." Who fired the third shot? For it was Gilbert, who after Dr Pechey had left for Rockley, had stated that Burke was dead! "Gilbert went again to see Burke, who by this time was dead, and he came back saying "poor Mickey is dead."

However, for many years the mystery surrounding the pulling of the trigger that fatefully wounded young Michael Burke has persistently pointed to Ben Hall as shooting Burke by accident as recounted by Mr. Michael Long, J.P., of Lambridge, as revealed to writer William Freemen: 

That Mr Keightley never shot Micky Burke at all, but that he met his death at the hand of his own comrade, Ben Hall, as a result of a shot fired in mistake. Mr. Long's memory is quite clear that at the inquest on Burke. Dr. Rowland deposed that he took a number of leaden slugs from the body of the young fellow, while Mr. Keightley said that his own gun was loaded with shot. And old hands in the know always reckoned that Hall admitted killing Burke by accident. 

Therefore, based on all the evidence Ben Hall contrary to the long-held belief that Keightley wounded Burke that the shot that did the job, however, was fired by Hall as he moved from the back of the home to the front, and was suddenly startled by Burke, and with Hall's reflexes and his sensors heightened fired his shotgun, loaded with lead slugs. (see Page 3)

The irony in the death of Mickey Burke was that had the attack and the consequences of Burke dying been two days later, Mr Keightley would have been entitled to £1000, as the reward for the gang had doubled. Reported, REWARD FOR THE APPREHENSION OF BURKE:

The Government have directed that the sum of £500 be forwarded to Mr Keightley, as the reward offered for the apprehension of either of the five notorious bushrangers. The affray at Rockley, in which Burke lost his life, took place two days before, the reward was doubled, otherwise Mr. Keightley would have been entitled to £1000 for his services. 
Micky Burke headstone.
Footnote on Micky Burke: In the many years that followed Burke's death and in the subsequent deaths of Hall, Gilbert and O'Meally, various versions of the events at Keightley's in which Burke died have been provided by other eyewitnesses'. One notable witness was a Mrs Baldock, who at the time of the attack was employed as a maid at the residence of Mr and Mrs Keightley, including Mrs Baldock's husband. Mrs Baldock's version states that Ben Hall accidentally shot and wounded Micky Burke during the initial attack and not Henry Keightley. However, there has been another suggestion that John Gilbert may have deliberately pulled the trigger? John Vane firmly believed that Gilbert was responsible after an altercation between the pair whilst approaching the homestead on the question of courage. The debate ruffled John Gilbert's feathers, who gave Burke a deathly glare. Arriving, Burke was first to take up a position whilst the rest firing scattered. However, on Burke approaching the back door, two shots were fired reputedly by Keightley. Keeping in mind that Keightley at Burke's inquest mentions that he had only one barrel of his shotgun loaded with buckshot which he fired, the other chamber being empty. Burke then ran to the side of the homestead near a fence. Where Gilbert had taken cover is unknown. However, Hall made his way to the side of the house, seeking entry, armed with a shotgun. Wherein the dark Burke's sudden appearance may have startled Hall, as shortly after, gunshots resounded, and as confusion reigned, Burke fell without notice. Keightley surrendered and commenced to parley with Hall:

I then looked out at the window of the bedroom occupied by the nurse, and saw another bushranger with Mr. Keightley's man, Robert. The bushranger said, “Open the door. "I replied that the house was open and he could come in when he thought proper." He shouted out, “I tell you, open the door.” I answered, “I tell you the house is open, and you can come in where you think proper.” I then went into the verandah where I saw another robber; I begged him not to hurt anyone; he replied, “We do not come here to hurt anyone.” Whilst talking to this man, I heard someone calling on Mr. Keightley to come down or the house should be set on fire. 

This indicates that another bushranger was on the verandah. John Vane in his version of theses events recounted in his biography of his short stint with the gang was reluctant to point the finger at Keightley as the one who fired the debilitating shot at Burke and was even went so far as to avoid any mention of the physical assault on Peachy nor of the cries of mercy for Mr Keightley as had been thoroughly reported in the newspapers of the attack.

Vane put forward his own suspicions as to the person who fired the shot and he did not believe that Keightley from his position at the door was capable of hitting Burke. Keightley stood 6ft 3in and Burke 5ft 5in. Vane's conclusion regarding the wounding of Burke also points to his belief that Gilbert may have been the guilty party, but Vane also had many battles both verbally and physically with Gilbert. Vane writes that after the £500 was divided, an argument broke out between O'Meally and Gilbert over the distribution of Burke's effects:

Naturally we talked a good deal about Burke, and O'Meally said that everything belonging to him ought to be handed over to his people. But I said I do not think we ought to let them have his firearms. "No" said O'Meally; "perhaps you are right, and had better keep the firearms." I told him I could not carry two guns, then Gilbert spoke up and said he would take the gun and saddle also; whereupon some hot words passed between him and O'Meally, as the later declared the saddle must be given up to Burke's father. Hall then interposed and told them to stop growling at each other, and then O'Meally heatedly said that Gilbert was the cause of Burke's death. 

At this point in Vane's narrative he comments to Charles White: 

What he meant by this the reader may guess if he can. I don't feel inclined to make any assertion or venture any opinion concerning it. One thing I may say, however, and that is, that Keightley could not have shot Burke from the doorway in the position in which he was standing, as he was at an angle which he could not possibly be seen from the door. 

After the division of the ransom Vane and O'Meally start for Burke's parents home and discuss the idea of once more heading off and leaving Hall and Gilbert but as events unravelled Vane goes on to say that from that point he left the gang. They didn't come and look for him and after some time alone Vane surrendered to Father McCarthy. Mrs Baldock's version was brought to light on her behalf by her husband in a letter which was republished in the 'The Queenslander' Saturday 13th March 1869, when the question of compensation for Mr Campbell, who shot dead O'Meally, was being addressed, the Keightley attack was also raised, Mr Baldock stated in defence of his wife, her version of that fateful day, reported below in full.

Portrait of
Dr. Pechey
Mr. KEIGHTLEY AND THE BUSHRANGERS. - With reference to certain statements made by Mr. W. H. Suttor, in the Assembly, in the debate on the motion for giving compensation to Mr. Keightley for losses sustained by him through the bushrangers at the time O'Mealley was shot, Mr. Baldock writes to the Bathurst Times: — "The report in the Sydney Morning Herald of the proceedings in Parliament respecting the above affair has just come under my notice, and I think it my duty, as the husband of the person inaccurately mentioned as Mrs. Bolton, to contradict the statement of Mr. W. H. Suttor. A simple statement of some of the real facts of the case will, perhaps, be the best way of preventing the public from being deceived. My wife's statement:

On the evening of Saturday, the 24th of October, 1863, I saw Mr. Keightley run across the yard into the house at Dunn's Plains, and heard him say, "The bushrangers have come at last.” Mrs. Keightley immediately bolted the back door, after which I saw Burke firing his revolver. Thinking I might be shot, I stooped under the dresser until the firing ceased. I then looked out at the window of the bedroom occupied by the nurse, and saw another bushranger with Mr. Keightley's man, Robert. The bushranger said, “Open the door.” I replied that the house was open and he could come in when he thought proper. He shouted out, “I tell you, open the door.” I answered, “I tell you the house is open, and you can come in where you think proper.” I then went into the verandah where I saw another robber; I begged him not to hurt anyone; he replied, “We do not come here to hurt anyone.” Whilst talking to this man, I heard someone calling on Mr. Keightley to come down or the house should be set on fire, but if he came down he should not be hurt. Mr. Keightley said,” “Honor bright?” and one of the bushrangers replied, “Honor bright!” Dr. Peachy and Mr. Keightley then came down from the roof into the garden. One of the bushrangers immediately came up to Mr. K. and said, “One of my mates has been shot, it is through you, and I will blow your brains out.” I jumped between Mr. K. and the bushranger, threw up my arms, and said, “Don't shoot him, for God s sake don't hurt him; if you have no pity for him, think of Mrs. Keightley and her dear baby.” The bushranger immediately lowered his revolver. Another bushranger then came into the garden; he went up to Dr. Peachy and knocked him down; I turned round to him and said, “Don't hurt the poor little doctor; I'm sure he never hurt you.” The bushranger exclaimed, “The doctor! then which is Keightley,” Mr. Keightley answered, “I'm Keightley.” The bushranger replied, “You wretch, you shot my mate, and I'll blow your brains out.” Mr. Keightley said, “On my soul, men, I never shot him, and if I did I never meant to.” The bushranger replied,” You’re a liar; if you didn't mean to shoot us what did you fire for?' The other bushranger, the shorter of the two (Hall, I believe), said to Mr. Keightley, “You didn't do it; I did it in mistake, when firing at you.” I then went out of the garden, thinking to get someone to fetch the troopers from Rockley, as there was neither constable nor trooper at Dunn's Plains. When I got outside the garden gate I saw a man lying on the ground, and another man standing by, looking at him; the man who was standing said to me, “Look what the wretch has done!” I replied, “Why don't you bring the doctor to him?” He answered, “The doctor! where am I to get a doctor?” I told him that it was the doctor who had just been knocked down in the garden. The man went into the garden; I went towards the hut on the hill to see if any of the men would go for the troopers; the men said it would be useless for them to make the attempt as there was a man watching them from behind a tree. All the disturbance was now over, and I stopped on the hill near the hut until Mrs. Keightley and Ben Hall came up; I asked Mrs. Keightley where the baby was, and whether I should fetch it. Mrs. Keightley said she wished me to do so."

Caroline Keightley
On the 8th of December 1898, Mrs Caroline Keightley passed away. After her death a former mounted trooper who was part of the party which conveyed Burke's body to Carcoar was interviewed by a reporter. Unfortunately, his name was withheld, but his story goes some distance to corroborate that of Mrs Baldock, reproduced here from the 'The Manaro Mercury, and Cooma and Bombala Advertiser', Monday 12 December 1898:

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

At the inquest into young Mickey Burke's death this was stated as to the shots fired at the time;

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

There was some suspicion in the press as to whether or not Keightley fired the fatal shot, as reported in the 'Clarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser', 8th December 1863, when raised at Vanes court appearance after his capture:

Vane, is to stand his trial for the attack on Commissioner Keightley. One object to be attained by this procedure is the discovery of the truth in regard to the circumstances of that occurrence. We shall soon know whether Keightley has entitled himself to a monument for his "heroism" or not. It is rather a suspicious circumstance that he should have lost no time after receiving the £500, in packing up his traps, and making his way down to Sydney. He reported himself to the Lands Department, and represented that he left the scene of his duty because "his life was in danger." He was told that he might please himself with regard to his movements, so that he is still displaying plumes in the promenades of the metropolis. Now, is this "heroism?''

Henry McCrummin Keightley passed away on the Saturday 8th January 1887; DEATH OF MR. KEIGHTLEY.

The death is announced, at Sale, on Saturday last; of Mr. H. M. Keightley, for the past four years stipendiary magistrate at Albury. For some time past, the deceased gentleman had been a sufferer from Bright's disease, and it was during a tour to the Gippsland Lakes, undertaken for the benefit of his failing health, that the symptoms as summed a fatal character. On Thursday Mr. Keightley was obliged to take to his bed; on Saturday his illness had assumed such a character that Mrs. Keightley was hastily summoned by wire, and on the same night the end came. Mrs. Keightley, accompanied by one of her four sons; arrived in Sale on Monday, on which date the funeral took place privately, in the local cemetery. 

Upon the Commissioners death and his long service in public office the government allocated £1000 to Mrs Keightley in the recognition of his services.

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

The Ambrotype Photo below is said to have been "in a little red bag", tied around Burke's neck when he was shot dead at Dunn's Plains in October 1863. It found its way into the possession of Thomas Rothery Icely (1832-1918), son of the squatter and owner of Coombing Park at Carcoar. Burke worked at Coombing Park for a short period before joining Ben Hall. The little girl's identity is a mystery, but may have been a sister of Burke who died young? further research indicates that the photo may be Burke's daughter, as at the time of his death it was reported that Ben Hall told that Burke was to be married; "You don't think." Hall growled out, "of poor Bourke lyin' cold and stiff with an ounce of shot in him, nor his mother, and the girl he was to marry. We're nothing, I know; we're not swells, and so we don't count."  (source R.A.H.S.)

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

James Mount was born in County Monaghan, Ireland in 1817, arriving in NSW in 1836 under a life sentence for robbery. Convicted on the 29th February 1836 (a leap year) and transported on the 'Captain Cook 3' aged 19. (third voyage). The ship departed Deptford London on 7 June 1836 following arrival in Cork embarked convicts and left Cork, Ireland on 5th July 1836 arriving at Port Jackson on the 13th November 1836. Mount had served a previous sentence of 14 days and was known as an Irish Rebel or Fenian. He could read and write. Mount was described as 5ft 11 and half inches light brown, hair hazel eyes with several tattoos. The 'Captain Cook' was built at Whitby in 1826 and was under George W. Brown's Command with Surgeon Superintendent Arthur Savage medical officer.  Mount along with a total of 229 convicts commenced the voyage to NSW, a journey that was not without incident when some hardened convicts attempted a mutiny, as witnessed by a passenger who described the events in a letter shortly after the ship's arrival to the 'Sydney Herald' as follows;

Streetscape County
 c. 1800's
A few days after leaving Cork, it was reported to the Hospital attendant, John Pollen, formerly an Officer of the 48th Regiment, who served with distinction in the Peninsula, that the Convicts, incited by several who had previously been transported to this Colony, intended to take the vessel; the circumstance was mentioned by this person to the Doctor and the Officers of the Guard, who instructed him to be on the alert, but as nothing more occurred at that time, it was concluded that the report was false. Pollen, however, observing that there were small parties of the Convicts grouped together in earnest conversation, which ceased the moment that any other person approached them, felt assured that the report was not groundless. And one night, when near the Madeira's, overheard one of them say that they, (the mutineers) must all be sworn in, and that they would then overpower the Guard and ship's company, and take the vessel to America; they were  accordingly sworn in, and one Saturday, when near the Equator, it was agreed that the boatswain (a Convict) who had charge of the prison doors, was to throw them open; then they were to, make the rush. A man of the name of Dogherty was to have the command of the party attacking the cuddy, and they were to put all to death; (Lawrence) Higgins the command of the party attacking the poop, and Hamilton, an old soldier, with a man of the name of Murphy, were to head the party attacking the Guard and sailors below, to whom no mercy was to be shewn; in fact every body was to be butchered, but the women and three sailors; the sailors on coming in sight of America were to "walk the plank". Pollen immediately informed the Doctor and Officers of the Guard of the murderous intentions and thirty-eight of the ringleaders were placed in irons. On finding that their designs were frustrated, several of them confessed the particulars as above stated, and their depositions were taken. Notwithstanding the precaution of ironing them they still persisted in their murderous intentions; and on coming towards the Cape of Good Hope; they were determined to make an attack, as they said that if the remainder would stand firm, that their irons. were of no consequence; these preparations for the second attack, were again reported by Pollen. Their maneuvering was quite visible both to the Doctor and Officers on board, so to prevent bloodshed, they were handcuffed two by two, and remained so till they arrived in Sydney. There is no doubt they would have succeeded but for the vigilance of Pollen, and the activity and courage of the Officers and Guard, who displayed great coolness and determination on the occasion. (Mr. Pollen a convict was granted a Conditional Pardon on the 14th October 1841, for his service to the Ships Captain in preventing the mutiny.)  

The voyage lasted 131 days, with 6 deaths reported. It is unknown if Mount was involved in the action. Still, out of the thirty-two prisoners involved in the attempted mutiny, sixteen would be sent to Goat Island's harsh conditions, Sydney Harbour, which operated as a sandstone quarry. The stone was used in some of Sydney’s finest buildings. The island would also become the holding place for the colonies gunpowder and convict gangs were used to construct a powder magazine on the island. As reported in the 'Sydney Herald' on the 21st November 1836:

The Convicts per Captain Cook were landed last week; sixteen were removed,  in irons, direct to Goat Island, for being concerned in the mutiny which broke out on board that vessel on her passage to this port; and we observed twenty-two, in double irons, proceeding to Hyde Park Barracks, on suspicion of the same offence. No doubt these mutineers will make admirable Botany Bay Jurymen, at the expiration of their sentences. 

Mount in 1842 was sent to Tasmania for work arriving on the ship 'Seahorse' where he was employed for 12 months and returned to NSW.
Transported to Tasmania for Employment.  Registers of the employment of probation passholders, 1848-1857
James Mount Tasmania 1842. Registers of the employment of probation pass holders, 1848-1857
James  Gordon alias Mount Indent
James  Mount alias Gordon transfer
to Cockatoo Island 1842
James  Mount alias Gordon, Mount
had a variety of alias' both First and Surname.
Mount had been released in 1862. In 1856 then used

 the alias of James Gordon thereafter.
James Mount absconded as a Ticket of Leave holder in June 1864,
and was soon after bushranging with Ben Hall.
On the 20th July 1864, Mount's Ticket-of-Leave was cancelled.
The famous shootout at the Bang Bang Hotel (above)
Newspaper report of Ben Hall's Break-up
Gordon and Dunleavy (above)  
Mount's capture October 1864
James Mount Court Appearance (above)

At the Forbes police court, October 28th, 1864. James Mount, alias Gordon alias the "Old Man," was charged with robbery under arms. Sub-inspector Saunderson deposed: The prisoner already in custody I charged to-day with having, in company of two other men, stuck up and robbed the store of Messrs. Pearce and Hillier, Canowindra, on the 31st June, taking therefrom a quantity of wearing apparel and some cash; when I told prisoner the charges he said "All right." John Pearce stated: I am manager for Messrs. Pearce and Hillier, Canowindra; I know the prisoner, and last saw him on the 22nd June at the store of which I have charge; he was then armed with a carbine and revolvers; Ben Hall and another man whom I do not know came with prisoner Hall and prisoner came to the front door while the third man entered at the back, at about eight o'clock in the evening; Hall asked me where the money was, and remarked that no "till-work" would do for him, he wanted the cash that was planted, and said if I did not give it to him he would burn the account books: he then ordered me to walk outside; which I did Hall saying to prisoner "look after this fellow;" Hall then proceeded to pack up a quantity of coats, waist-coats, trousers, and other articles, and took from the till ten £1 notes and sliver, amounting in all to about £13 as no more cash could be found, Hall took the account books from the counter, and carried them into the parlour; I followed him; prisoner made no objection to my going; Hall put the books in the fire and burnt them; with the post-office books there were six or seven books; they were all burnt; there were some fragments left prisoner remained outside under the verandah whilst all this was transpiring; he was not in the house at all; the prisoner and the others then left, to bring with them the goods they had packed up; as they were going the third man accidentally dropped his carbine, which exploded; the five balls with which it was loaded lodged under the door; the next morning they took me with them into the bush about twelve miles from the store, in a direction lying between the Toogong and Molong roads; Ben Hall asked me if I could find a messenger who could go to my brother at Carcoar; I said no; it was now half past nine at night, and moonlight; when I had reached this distance I refused to go any farther; Hall tied me to a tree, but I was released again in about five minutes; after tying me up, Ben Hall, prisoner, and the other man rode away; and after an absence of about five minutes prisoner returned alone, and released me; I was ordered by prisoner to accompany him, which I did; and came up with Hall and the other man; Hall then told me I might go; I never saw any of the stolen goods since; I estimated the value of the property at about £25; when I left the store I walked to the place where I was tied- up; and after being released I rode on the same horse as the prisoner; prisoner's face was not disguised; I have no doubt as to the identity; two ladies were present in the parlour at the time the two books were burnt; I was threatened by Hall that if l did not send a messenger to my brother at Carcoar and obtain £300 as ransom I should be shot; the property stolen belonged to Messrs. Pearce and Hillier; I give information to the police about ten o'clock the same night, Prisoner, on being asked if he had anything to say, said he had not- "He was quite satisfied with half what the witness said.

The 'Bathurst Times' reported the arrest of James 'The Old Man' Mount at a hotel near the Murrumbidgee at Gellenbagh. As reported titled: CAPTURE OF BEN HALL'S' MATE. 

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

The 'Bathurst Times' reported Mount's next court appearance as:

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

James Mount was sentenced along with James Dunleavy who fell into a state of depression over the length. Mount to pep him up said, 'Don't worry lad, you can do this standing on your head.' 

Released in March 1881 Gordon under the alias of Slaven was arrested for the rape of Flora Millar at Goulburn in 1882, however, he was acquitted. At the time of the alledged offence he was described as a 'savage, powerful follow.' Free from his sentence as an accomplice in robberies with Ben Hall Gordon returned to the Murrumbarrah area where in June 1884 he was arrested for forgery under his earlier alias Slaven. He was released in 1887.

Mount was finally set free in 1890 aged 73. 

James  Mount alias Gordon, Entrance book
 Bathurst Gaol November 1864.

James  Mount alias Gordon and Dunleavy, Darlinghurst Gaol
 Entrance record April 1865.

Reward payment for Gordon's capture May 1865.

James  Mount alias Gordon, description Parramatta
Gaol December 1865.

Released 1881.

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

James  Mount alias Gordon, Return of prisoners
 record April 1869, note the death of James Dunleavy. 
DATE OF ADMISSION/PHOTO:16 Dec 1879, GAOL: Wagga Wagga, GAOL LOCATION: Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia, RECORD TYPE: Photograph Description Book. The information contained in this book is incorrect as has been previously noted. Gordon was Mount's alias. The ship 'Christina' made one trip in 1840, and carried one Irishman Mr. W. Rollands convicted in S.A. and transferred to NSW. Once more the authorities took for granted the identity and personnel details provided by the felon. Mount's identity is unquestionable due to his tattoo's recorded both in 1836 and 1879.
James  Mount alias Gordon released in 1881.
James  Mount alias Gordon, back at Parramatta
Gaol May 1885.

James  Mount alias Gordon released in 1887
Aged 70 yrs.

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

Patsy Daley 1874
Patsy Daley was born in Yass, NSW, on 6th July 1844.  Patsy was raised on the 26,000 acres Arramagong Station, Weddin Mountains near Grenfell, with his cousins the O'Meally's after Daley's father entered into a partnership with Patrick O'Meally for the Arramagong lease, both men were brothers in law after marrying sisters. Patsy Daley was described,"Six feet tall and was a mild, youthful, whiskerless looking person, with light blue eyes, and fair complexion." Daley was educated and could read and write. Daley's forays crime commenced early 1862. He progressed to a full-time bushranger around January 1863, Daley was involved in many criminal activities with his cousin John O'Meally (a natural born killer) and was arrested in 1862 on several occasions the most serious being implicated in charge of rape- 
RAPE AND HIGHWAY ROBBERY -John O'Mealey, Owen Fox, and Patrick Daley were brought up on this charge, and remanded until Tuesday next. There were another two charges against Fox, which also stand over. Empire, Tuesday 13 May 1862. The rape allegation outcome was a case of mistaken identity as two other youths were charged with the offence. Daley was not involved in the Eugowra robbery. However, he was linked to robberies with Ben Hall.

William Hollister.
c. 1870's.

Courtesy R.A.H.S.
Whereby, on the 7th February 1863, Patsy Daley in the company of Ben Hall robbed the Pinnacle Police station some eight miles from Sandy Creek and three-quarters of a mile from the Pinnacle public house. Stealing weapons, saddles, ammunition and uniforms, as reported in the 'Lachlan Observer' titled: Breaking into a Police Station.

The most impudent of robberies it has ever been our lot to record, was perpetrated on Saturday last, at the Police Station, at the Pinnacle, between Forbes and Lambing Flat. It appears that the station has been usually occupied by three troopers. Last week, however, two of these, including the officer in charge, had occasion to come to Forbes; the third was accordingly left behind, with instructions not to leave his post. On Saturday morning, when the men were returning, from Forbes, they were met by the trooper from the station, who reported that the place had been broken into during his temporary absence, and robbed of firearms, a pair of saddle-bags,, and other property. Suspicion rested upon two men who had been seen about the neighborhood, namely, Benjamin Hall and John Daley. Pursuit was immediately commenced, and Hall and Daley were soon within view. On the tracker approaching them, one of the fugitives turned and fired at him, but happily missed his aim., The tracker attempted to return the compliment, but his revolver missed fire. It is to be hoped the desperadoes are by this time in safe custody.

Hollister's diary contact
with Hall and Daley.
Courtesy R.A.H.S.
They were spotted by Constable Hollister (an American by birth) and two Trackers Billy Dargin and Prince Charley who immediately gave chase, Billy Dargin gave an account of those events:

Followed them at that time with Prince Charlie and Trooper Hollester. Chased them for three miles and a half, and should have taken them but for Hollester getting thrown from his horse through running against a tree; saw Daley snap his revolver three times at Charlie.

Daley joined with Ben Hall, John O'Meally and John Gilbert. Patsy Daley was involved in the robbery of Solomon's store where the gang fired multiple shots during the hold up, after which they escaped with over £200 worth of goods. As reported titled: STICKING-UP AND ROBBERY OF MR. MYER SOLOMONS STORE, NEAR WOMBAT.

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

Inspector Norton
c. 1880.

Private Source.
On Sunday 1st March 1863, with Hall and O'Meally attacked and captured Insp Norton from the Forbes police. When news broke of the  capture it caused an uproar throughout NSW. Insp Norton and the black tracker, Billy Dargin, were proceeding through Ben Hall's Wheogo property when confronted. Inspector Norton's first hand account of the affray:

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

Sir Frederick
Sir Frederick Pottinger, the scourge of many bushrangers, affected Patsy Daley's capture on 11 March 1863. Pottinger and his troop were pursuing the suspected path of the bushrangers in the Weddin Mountains when Billy Dargin spotted fresher tracks crossing the path. Pottinger provides an account of the events:

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

Hollister diary entry,
March 1863.

Courtesy R.A.H.S
When Daley was apprehended and placed in the lock-up, the witness' were called for identification of Daley. At the time of Daley's arrest there was thought that Daley was involved in the murder of Mr Cirkel, a publican at Stoney Creek, Burrangong in February 1863, as reported:

PATSY DALEY, this bushranger, one of Gardiner's gang, was brought in from the Lachlan (strongly guarded) by Greig's coach, on Thursday afternoon, and. lodged in the lock-up. Yesterday, Mr. Dickenson, stole keeper, of Spring Creek, preceded to the camp, and identified the prisoner as one of the bushrangers who stuck-up his store a few weeks since. Mr, D. selected him out from amongst eight other prisoners, and identified him immediately. Three persons came in from Stony Creek to see if they could identify him as one of Mr. Cirkel's murderers, but failed in doing so. We believe Mr, Myers Solomon has not yet seen him, so that at present it is not known if he was connected with the robbery at his store. Daley will be brought up for examination this morning at the usual hour.

Daley was commented on in the 'Sydney Morning Herald', 11 April 1863, as he was presented to the court for trial:
Sydney Morning Herald
11 April 1863

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Patsy Daley's release 23rd Sept 1873

In the early years following his incarceration, Patsy Daley struggled to adapt to the harsh realities of prison life at Darlinghurst Gaol. His adjustment to the stringent and unforgiving environment of the prison was particularly challenging. Daley's discontent with his circumstances soon manifested in a dramatic fashion.

In November 1864, within the first year of his sentence, Daley found himself entangled in a bold and desperate attempt to escape the confines of Darlinghurst Gaol. This attempted breakout, a testament to Daley's restlessness and desire for freedom, marked a significant moment in his life behind bars. It underscored his unwillingness to succumb passively to the punitive routines of prison life and highlighted his readiness to take drastic actions, despite the risks involved.

Daley's involvement in the escape attempt at Darlinghurst Gaol is reflective of the spirit of defiance and resilience that he carried with him, traits that were perhaps sharpened by the challenges he faced in his early life and during his criminal endeavors. This episode in Daley's life in prison paints a vivid picture of a man continually at odds with the constraints imposed upon him, both in the free world and within the walls of a penal institution. As reported in the 'Illustrated Sydney News'ATTEMPTED ESCAPE OF PRISONERS FROM DARLINGHURST GAOL.- OUTBREAK AT DARLINGHURST GAOL:

'Illustrated Sydney News'
The action saw Daley sent to Cockatoo Island for seven days and the returned to Darlinghurst and confined to cells for 28 days. It was also reported that Daley was unfit for hard labour, which he was originally sentenced to with the first year in irons.(See below.)
Daley's conduct reported in 1865 at Darlinghurst Gaol.
Patrick Daley 1873.
Daley was released on 15th October 1873. After his release, Patrick Daley settled in the Cobar District, some 230 miles from his old haunt of the Weddin Mountains. Daley married Mary Josephine Kelly at Hay in 1883 and had two daughters, Ellen (b.1887) and Mary (b.1889) both were unmarried at his death. In Cobar, Daley resided at Wrightville and acquired the lease for the local Public Watering Tank (see below) and stood for the local council. After several attempts to win election to the council was finally successful. The following notice's appeared in the 'Cobar Herald', of February 1902 at the introduction of proposed candidates of the election:

Aldermanic Elections. Tuesday last was election day for the election of aldermen to fill two ordinary vacancies and three additional seats. Mr Mayor Scanlan acted as Returning Officer and read the following names of candidates for the ordinary vacancies:- William S N Gill, John Owen Hunt, John Joseph Gudgeon, senr., John Gudgeon, jr. For the three additional seats those nominated are:- Michael Minogue, Henry Moxon, William Harmer, Herbert White, Charles Higgins, Patrick Bernard Daley, Thomas M. Buckland. Wednesday evening was the time fixed for the orations, and there was a good crowd present. 

In the crowd it was noticed that Daley had said little and a voice called: "Mr Daley hasn't spoken." Another voice: "Don't leave the publican out." The reporter noticed that "Mr Daley seemed nervous, but retained enough composure to use the thread bare phrase that he, too, would do his best if elected."

The nervousness may have been from his past becoming exposed. However, Daley was unsuccessful at this attempt, and Mr Buckland was elected. Daley was unperturbed. As each opportunity arose for election, Daley was nominated. On the 16th July 1904 Patrick Daley was a winner and was elected to council, as reported in the  'Cobar Herald', as follows:

Wrightville Municipal Election. Two nominations, namely, William S. N. Gill and Patrick B. Daley, have been received for the vacancy in the Wrightville Council. A poll of the ratepayers in that Municipality will be taken in the Council Chambers on Wednesday next, July 13th, from 8 a.m. till 5 p.m., to choose which one of these candidates shall represent them in the Council. Wrightville Municipal Election. There were only two candidates for the vacancy in the Wrightville Municipal Council, and a poll taken at the Council Chambers on Wednesday last resulted in the election of Mr P. Daley, who scored 36 votes as against Mr. W. Gill's 32.

Hunt St, Wrightville NSW
c. 1910
Patrick Daley joined the council and was soon involved in local affairs:

WRIGHTVILLE COUNCIL. The usual fortnightly meeting of the Wrightville Municipal Council was held in the Chambers on Wednesday evening last. Present: Aldermen Gudgeon, sen. (Mayor), Higgins, Buckland, Rutland, Daley, Davis, and Feely.

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

Daley also was a participant in various sports, mainly shooting wherein 1902 Patsy's past prowess as a bushranger won some money this time shooting at targets, not police inspectors or trackers:

On Wednesday the final of three prize shootings took place on the range, resulting as follows: The following are the best aggregates out of the three shootings: — Francisco  118, Clifton 108, Daley 108, Bailey 105, Robinson 104, Kinkead 108, Dalgarno  99 Corbett 96, Cotton 96, The prize-winners were; — £ s d - A. Francisco ... £1/ 5s 0d H. Clifton ... 17s 6d, P. B. Daley ... 10s J. Bailey ... 5s 0, Dr Robinson ... 2s 6d. 

In 1912 Patsy Daley became ill and was reported in the 'Cobar Herald' of travelling to Sydney for medical help:

On Thursday last Mr. P. B: Daley, the genial proprietor of the Terminus Hotel, accompanied by Miss Mary Daley, left Cobar for a short holiday in the metropolis. For some time past Mr. Daley has been suffering from a slight affection of the eyes, and it is his intention to consult an eye specialist."

One of Daley's hotels
On the 13th October 1913, Patsy Daley was robbed of a considerable sum and receiving a lesson in return for the robberies Daley performed with the legends of the Weddin Mountains as reported in 'Cobar Herald';

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

In March 1914 Daley's illness became more serious; 'Cobar Herald'- Mr. P. B. Daley, proprietor of the Terminus Hotel, has been confined to his bed during the past fortnight. His illness appears to be somewhat serious.

Obituary 5th
May 1914.

Courtesy NLA.
Sadly Patrick 'Patsy' Daley did not recover, and his passing appeared in the local paper.

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

Daley's Grave at
Rookwood, NSW.
Daley died on the 30th April 1914, a wealthy man, and left an estate valued at over £6,000. Daley left the "Family Hotel". His mining shares to his older brother William, who had run the Royal Hotel at nearby Ilewong, homes were left to his daughters Ellen Theresa and Mary Josephine, with the estate's balance going to his wife, Mary. Patrick's brother William would marry Patsy's widow three years later; unfortunately, Mary died from cancer in 1922 after William had acquired the 'Sunbeam Hotel' at Surrey Hills in Sydney. Daley's father, John, would, after being diddled out of his earlier share of Arramagong by the O'Meally's, eventually purchase the old police station at Arramagong Station in 1869, as well as a large portion of the run in partnership with Miles Murphy. John Daley would pass away in 1876, leaving the run to Patrick's brother, Thomas Daley.

John Jameison/Jamison

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

Subsequently, as one of the youngest tearaways closely associated with the bushranger, Ben Hall at the commencement of his lawless career was young John Jamison/Jamieson who was born in 1845, at Yass, NSW and was described as 5ft 2½in with red hair, a fair fresh complexion with hazel eyes. A protestant and could read and write.

John Jamison was the son of William and Mary Jamison, who married on the 9th March 1845, at Yass, New South Wales. The young John Jamison also had the distinction of being the nephew of James Taylor, who would elope with Ben Hall's wife, Bridget. John Jamison's lineage was aristocratic through his great-grandparents, Sir Thomas Jamison and his wife, Rebecca. Sir Thomas Jamison formed part of the foundation of New South Wales's colony, arriving with the First Fleet, 1788, as surgeon's mate of the Sirius, under Arthur Philip's command. During the foundation period of NSW. Jamison set about gathering personal wealth and position in the colony-forming close associations to Governor Philip and NSW Corp accumulating his wealth with a 1000 acre land grant on the Nepean River and farms at South Creek and George’s River and on the side as a maritime trader in rum. In 1804 in calibration with Dr's Harris and Savage, Jameson assisted in the first and successful smallpox inoculations of the colonies children. He pressured the administration to harness more medical supplies. Jameson was an ally of the NSW Corp and the person responsible for convict matters Major Francis's and his commander Francis Grose, the Lieutenant Governor of New South Wales.

However, on the departure of Arthur Phillip, Grose dismissed Phillips's colonisation plans, dropping such measures as equal rations for all and allowed the NSW Corp to quickly take control of the importation of Rum whose value was used in exchange for goods and labour at varying rates, earning the Corps the nickname "The Rum Corps." Grose assumed control of the courts, food distribution, convict labour allocation, and generous grants of vast land tracks to the military personal and favourable citizens, Jamison being a beneficiary. Grose left for England in 1794 having established power to the Corp. However, when Captain Bligh arrived, replacing an ambivalent Governor King, he determined to bring the Corps, especially the prominent landowner John Macarthur to heel and cease the trading in Rum—resulting in the 'Rum Rebellion'. Although Bligh highlighted the objectionable use of Rum as a currency, it was not until Governor Lachlan Macquarie's arrival that the rum trade was able to be controlled effectively. Macquarie introduced and enforced licensing laws, but Macquarie was still forced to pay for public works in Rum due to a lack of valid government currency.

In 1807/08 elements of the original colonists began agitating against William Bligh and his no-nonsense approach. Bligh was a strict Naval man sharp on discipline and uniformity. A strength that often rubbed his subordinates the wrong way, such as the infamous Mutiny on HMS Bounty for which Bligh was exonerated. The turmoil surrounding the rebellion's instability raised many questions over ill-gotten land holdings in Sydney Cove. These questions affected Jameson, who opposed granting small parcels of land under Bligh to emancipated convicts, thereby putting an end to some of the extensive holdings of self-serving officials. Therefore, directly affected Jameson stood with Major George Johnston's led in deposing Bligh through mutiny in January 1808. Jameson's support against Bligh brought about his removal from his lucrative and influential position of Magistrate. Bligh stated that Jamison was not an 'up right man'. Consequently, Jameson would return to England in 1809 for the enquiry into the Rebellion affairs and subsequently died there in 1811. Shortly after establishing the colony at Port Jackson Jameson as a surgeon went to Norfolk Island as a principal medical officer, he was seen as a great asset to the fledgling settlement obtaining 2300 acres of good farmland. At Norfolk Island, Thomas Jameson sired an illegitimate son with convict Sarah Place named Thomas. He left an annuity of £20 per year for his five other children born in the colony to Elizabeth Colley. (Note; Jamison's spelling was often recorded in the newspapers as either Jameson, Jamison or Jameison, I have used Jamison for this biography.)

Sir John Jamison
John Jamison's grandfather, Sir John Jamison, arrived in NSW on board the Broxbornebury on 27th July 1814, under the command of Captain Pitcher, the Broxbornebury also carried on board 130 female convicts. Jamison also served under Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 aboard the Agamemnon and the Battle of San Domingo, Gunboat War. Upon arrival, Sir John Jamison assumed control of his inherited interests on his father Thomas Jamison's death. Consequently, upon his father's death, John Jamison inherited the title of Baronet and the family’s fortune as the benefactor of Primogeniture's where the legitimate firstborn son inherits his family’s entire estate on the death of the father. Sir John Jamison had taken control of several grazing properties, including 1000 acres (405 ha) near Penrith called Regentville, and on which Henry Parkes, later Sir Henry Parkes had worked as a labourer, (by 1869 it was known as Shiel's Family Hotel and was destroyed by fire), together with some city property and until his arrival the estate had been administered by D'Arcy Wentworth whose son William Charles Wentworth became a close friend. John Jamison's father William was born in 1816 at Parramatta to Mary Griffiths, an ex-private daughter in the Marines. At the time Mary Griffiths was a mistress of Sir John Jamison, and in 1844, just before his death married Mary Griffiths thus legitimising her children, Sir John died a few months after their marriage enabling her to become Lady Jamison. Unfortunately, at the time of Sir John Jamison's death, he was considered comparatively poor through the failure of his investment in the Bank of Australia, in which he was the second-largest shareholder. 

William Jamison
c. 1862.
John Jamison's father William Jamison first travelled to the Liverpool Plains after his father's death at the age of 28 to control Baan Baa, 107,520 acres on the Namoi River 1840s owned by his mother, Lady Jamison. By 1845, William Jamison resettled and established a large holding in the Bland district known as Back Creek station, near John Walsh's, Uoka (Weeoga) 16,000 acres, the father of Bridget Walsh nee Hall. Back Creek was a 28,000-acre property with a grazing capability of 800 cattle.

At Yass, NSW, William Jamison married Mary Dower's sister, James Taylor's wife Emma in 1845. James Taylor had deserted his wife Emma and formed a relationship with Ben Hall's wife, Bridget, in 1861. John Jamison was the firstborn. The closeness of the two properties Back Creek and Uoka saw young John Jamison and Johnny 'Warrigal' Walsh become good friends roaming the bush creating minor mischief. Both lads were fine horsemen while idolising the celebrated bushranger Frank Gardiner of which John Walsh was known as Gardiner's groom. Furthermore, William Jamison also had a close relationship with Ben Hall, Daniel Charters, and others, including the O'Meally's. TBC

Representation only
James Dunleavy ("a man of delicate constitution")

James Dunleavy was far from the quintessential bushranger. His venture into the deadly game in company with Ben Hall and an old hand at crime James Mount, alias the 'Old Man', took all those who had been in contact with the young man by surprise:

Dunleavy was a smart young fellow, about 20 years of age, and up to the time of joining the gang had lived with his mother Mrs Dunleavy, of the Tinpot Station, a back run on the Lachlan River in the Forbes district. He is twenty years of age, of a fair complexion, and about five feet six inches in height. He presents a rather youthful and simple appearance—in fact, there is nothing in his countenance to betray the daring and pillaging bushranger. He was well-known about Bathurst, where in his youth he had attended one of the public schools, where application to his studies and general good conduct secured to him the good will of his superiors and the esteem of his schoolfellows, and those who knew him were greatly surprised when they heard that he had cast in his lot with the gang.¹

James Dunleavy was born in Kelso, Bathurst, in 1843. His parents were James and Johanna Dunleavy. James's mother Johanna Cleary arrived as a free single female immigrant on the ship 'Alfred' in January 1841, from Tipperary Ireland. Johanna came with her cousin Bridget Cleary. James parents married in 1843. However, Dunleavy's father died in late 1845. James also had an older brother Patrick born in 1842 and died in 1916 at Rookwood Home Asylum, Sydney.

James Dunleavy's mother's arrival on 19th January 1841, free on the 'Alfred' as Johanna Cleary from Tipperary, Ireland.
Consequently, following his father's death, Dunleavy's mother remarried William (John) Hadcroft at Carcoar in 1846 and a son Joseph Hadcroft was born in 1848, a half brother to young James as well as four sisters. Hadcroft was a former convict from Lancashire, England, sentenced to seven years for Burglary arriving in the colony on the 'Dunvegan Castle' 30th March 1830. Unfortunately, in August 1858, Hadcroft passed away aged 48. Of interest are the families' knowledge and ties to the Lachlan district's criminal elements, notably the O'Meally family as James' half-sister Mary Hadcroft married Patrick O'Meally in 1871. Patrick was the brother of John O'Meally shot dead at Goimblia Station while in company with Ben Hall and John Gilbert in November 1863. The pair produced five children. Mary died in 1879, possibly due to complications during childbirth.

Furthermore, some speculation and documentation indicate that Hadcroft may have dabbled in cattle and horse theft circa 1845. However, there is evidence that Dunleavy had been acquainted with Ben Hall over many years, first as a boy. This association, no doubt, included John Gilbert and others in the sphere of lawbreakers of the day. Dunleavy's widowed mother owned a station in the same country as Ben Hall's Sandy Creek station, named 'Tinpot' (Alley) situated between Gooloogong and Grenfell and the Lachlan River covering 50,000 acres with a grazing capacity of 15000 sheep. At the time of James' foray into bushranging, the station held some 2100 sheep and 130 good young cattle. James' home at 'Tinpot Station' was described as a comfortable, "Four roomed cottage with kitchen and garden; two stall stables, woolshed and two small cultivation paddocks." 

The friendship between Ben Hall and the Dunleavy/Hadcroft's was illustrated in John Maguire's reminiscence many years afterwards:

Hall's first retreat in his outlawry was Tinpot Station, between Grenfell and the Lachlan. This place was owned by a widow, who had three daughters. With all of these people Hall had been on the friendliest of terms for years. They sympathised keenly with him. In his troubles, as they had admired him in his prosperous and more promising days. "Ben took, up a position of vantage on the top of a high hill near Tinpot homestead. From this elevation could see a great, distance, and would be able, in daylight, to notice the approach of any enemy who might discover his retreat. He was sure of such news as might he going from the widow or her daughters, who in the kindest manner possible kept him supplied with all the food he wanted whilst he sojourned In his lofty camp. The girls used to carry provisions to him, every night all the time he stayed there. And often afterwards; when occasion compelled him to seek safety in the same sanctuary, these, excellent friends saw to it that he wanted for neither food, drink, nor such intelligence of his enemies as might come their way.²
Bailliere's New South Wales 1866 Gazetteer and Road Guide.
The close friendship between Ben Hall and the family no doubt created a trust between Hall and young James, who was known to run errands or bush telegraph information for Hall. Dunleavy confided in a friend that:

Hall and his mate, he said, had trusted him, and were still trusting him in the matter; and if he had wanted to refuse the Job the proper time to do it was at first, when it was proposed to him, and not now, when it should have been completed.³ 

Before long Dunleavy made his fateful decision and reputedly stated:

He would join Hall and Jim, as there was plenty of amusement and a good deal of money to be got out of that business.

Dunleavy joined in his new enterprise with James Mount, aka 'The Old Man' a long time criminal working as a roustabout in the Cowra area when Hall called upon him. Mount was a 'ticket-of-leave' absconder from the Mudgee district working in tandem with Hall circa February 1864. The perceived excitement of life as a bushranger drew Dunleavy in. The presence of Ben Hall holed-up at Tinpot Station in mid-1864 lured Dunleavy to finally became a member of Ben Hall's new gang since O'Meally had been shot dead, Gilbert possibly ill. Dunleavy's mother and siblings often gave aid and comfort to Ben Hall, no doubt for a small stipend. When her son broke out into the game with Hall, Johanna was heartbroken and urged her son to flee the district. However, her pleading fell on deaf ears. Furthermore, the relationship was highlighted years later when an old revolver believed to have been Hall's was discovered near one of Hall's early stations where worked Tomanbil. Patrick Dunleavy, in 1865 was offered the pistol. 'The Sun' 1916:

When Ben stole a flash, silver-plated weapon from Mrs Cropper, of Yamma, he offered his old and trusty pistol to Mr Pat Dunleavy, a Forbes district resident, but Dunleavy would have nothing to do with it. Why the bushranger was so anxious to discard the revolver he had carried so long is remarkable, but is probably accounted for by the fact that Hall, who had a love for showy goods, was pinning his faith in the weapon he stole from Mrs Cropper.

NSW Police Gazette
31st August 1864.
However, the reckless life Dunleavy chose and the excitement it exhibited waned quickly for the wanna be bushranger where during his short time he participated in many gun battles and robberies in company with both James Mount and Ben Hall. However, in one close scrape with the police, Dunleavy had been shot and was severely wounded in the wrist. Therefore, not long after and disillusioned with rigors of the bushranging life and the miseries it imposed Dunleavy would surrender.

James Dunleavy commenced his short but notorious career as a bushranger at the end of May 1864. He joined up with Ben Hall and James Mount. However, a few days earlier, on May the 20th, 1864, Ben Hall was involved in the Bang Bang hotel battle at Koorawatha. However, the gunfight between the police and the bushrangers took place before James took to the road. The gunfight at Bang Bang involved Hall in company with his on-again, off-again, long-time cohort John Gilbert and the 'old man' James Mount. Whereby the three descended on Koorawatha to steal several top-class racehorses under police escort. The racehorses were Dick Turpin, Duke of Athol, Hollyhock and Bergamot, local favourites. During the melee that ensured Hall had had his cabbage-tree hat blown off his head by trooper Scott, resulting in the trio retreating from the troopers' well-aimed fire. They discharged nine shots with significant effect while the bushrangers fired off twenty-five for little impact. Hall and Mount left the field, and Gilbert departed once again, leaving the two to seek refuge at Tinpot Station. There is speculation that Daniel Ryan was mistaken for John Gilbert. 'The Sydney Morning Herald' Tuesday 7th June 1864:

Ben Hall and two others, paid him another visit and demanded dinner for themselves and provender for their horses, with which he supplied them, there being no one but himself and wife on the premises. They stayed upwards of an hour and a-half, but did not offer any violence, or take any money. Gilbert was not one of the party,- the fellow who has been mistaken for him, and who is now in company with Hall, is said to be a youngster called Ryan, who is "wanted" by the police for horse-stealing in the Burrowa district.

Ryan was a close friend of John Dunn who would become known as the colony's terror in due course joining with Hall and Gilbert. Dunn was wanted on the same charge as an associate of Ryan's.

On June the 4th 1864, James Dunleavy assisted Hall and Mount in robbing the coach from Young to Yass. Stopping it at a place known as Emu Flat, about six miles on the Yass side of Binalong, 50 miles south of Tinpot Station. The robbery was Dunleavy's first identified foray with Ben Hall; 'Bell's Life in Sydney and Sporting Chronicle' Saturday 4th June 1864:

ANOTHER ROBBERY BY BEN HALL'S GANG. (From the Goulburn Herald of Wednesday) - On last Saturday afternoon Mr J. Roberts' coach from Young to Yass was stopped at a place known as Emu Flat, about six miles on the Yass side of Binalong, by Ben Hall and two of his confederates. There were only two passengers on the coach—Mr A. Cohen, of Yass, and Michael Curran, driver of the mail from Goulburn to Berrima, both of whom were on their return from the races at Young. The driver of Mr Roberts' coach (George Miller) and the passengers were ordered to alight, a command they appear to have obeyed with much alacrity. Curran, on seeing the bushrangers approach, slipped his albert-chain from the button hole of his waistcoat, and succeeded in secreting it, and the watch attached. He was not so successful, however, in concealing twenty-one £1 notes which he had in his vest pocket, for detection followed the attempt, and on getting from the coach he had to hand them over to Hall. A nugget pin he had on his person was also taken, as well as a superior rug, Hall giving him his poncho in exchange for the latter. Two pounds and the pin were subsequently returned to Curran. Mr. Cohen had a couple of £1-notes and a blank cheque in his waistcoat pocket, and in his trousers pocket some silver and a sovereign. On descending from the coach he told Hall he admitted he did a mean action in endeavouring to conceal the two notes, and handed them over to the bandit. He then of his own accord took the cheque from his pocket, telling Hall it was of no use to him, pulled the silver from another pocket, remarking that that also was no good, as he believed Hall never took silver, and then told him, "Now, you have seen all, search if you like." His person, however was not searched. From the driver they took a meerschaum pipe, and gave him a common black pipe-in exchange, Hall promising to return the meerschaum to him in a few days. On examining Miller's watch and finding it to be a silver Geneva, it was returned as not worth taking. The coach was detained for several hours. A man named Kelly happened to pass by on horseback and was stopped, but nothing of value was found upon him. He was permitted to depart with the coach. A team passing by on its way to Lambing Flat was also detained, and several of the cases broken open, Hall and his companions helping themselves freely to such articles as suited them. The rifling of the dray had not ended on the coach leaving. Shortly after the coach to Yass was permitted to start, it passed a Mr. Barnes, who was driving a carriage to Illalong. He was told the bushrangers were ahead, and advised to turn back to Bowning; but he proceeded on his way, and rumour states that he received very rough treatment from the scoundrels. The companions of Hall are described—one as quite a young man (not thought to be Gilbert), and the other as a very tall elderly person. It is supposed the latter at one time resided in Goulburn, and he is reported to be a 'ticket-of-leave' man.

During the robbery of the coach Hall stated that he was still aggrieved that the police had played unfairly at Koorawatha by trying to kill them and that he would seek his revenge and stated;

That in future he would lay in wait for policemen and shoot them without hesitation. He complained of not having received fair play at Bang Bang, one of the police having deliberately rested his rifle, aimed, and fired at him, and added that he had a very narrow escape. 

Hall denied however that his hat was dislodged by one of the shots; "it was not true, he said, that the bullet pierced his cabbage-tree hat."

Dunleavy was completely drawn into the bushranging game and was complicit with Hall who expressed his desire to shoot any police. Following the Young coaches departure the three set up camp just off the track ready for any passing police. "he also stated his intention to shoot the police who escorted the mail that evening from Binalong to Yass and rob the mail. This threat, so far as the attempt went, he carried out."

Dunleavy would also witness Ben Hall's wrath when a passer named Barnes, who was accused by Hall to have assisted police, felt firsthand the lash, meted out by an ever more brutal Ben Hall.

A gentleman who arrived in town yesterday states that Mr Barnes, who is overseer to the Messrs. Patterson, and who is not related to the Mr Barnes shot by O'Meally, was stripped naked, tied to a tree, and whipped with a cutting whip, the bushrangers having a grudge against him on account of his being supposed to have given some information to the police on a previous occasion. He was subsequently released and his clothes returned. 

As Hall, Dunleavy and Mount roamed the Binalong district. A far fetched item appeared where the writer stated Ben Hall was dead:

It was generally reported in Goulburn on Monday afternoon that the dead body of Hall had been discovered.

However, the rumour proved unfounded when it was revealed that while pursed Hall had had a collision with a tree upon which he sought refuge in the tree under the very noses of the police:

So far as we have been able to ascertain, the following is the case ;—Ben Hall's horse ran him against a tree, and unseated him, and before he could properly recover himself and regain his horse he observed the police approaching. He therefore abandoned the idea of recovering the animal, and climbed up a tree, when he saw the police pick up his hat and ride off with his horse, double-barrelled gun, &c. Hall, who was not injured by coming into collision with the tree, subsequently selected a horse, saddle, and bridle from one of the neighbouring stations, and is now again fully prepared to pursue the course of life he has adopted.

Fred Lowry dead.
Goulburn Hospital
September 1863.
A further report of the gunfight with police on the above occasion threw a different light on those events; 'Freeman's Journal' Wednesday 1st June 1864;

Roberts' coach, from Young to-Yass was stuck-up by Ben Hall and two of his gang on Saturday evening, and, after robbing the passengers, they declared it to be their intention to attack the Binalong mail. Before they could carry their design into execution, however, the two troopers who escorted the mail discovered their whereabouts by means of a fire the rascals had lit in the bush. Several shots were exchanged by the police and bushrangers, the latter of whom beat a retreat, not however before one of them, supposed to be Ben Hall, was wounded by King, one of the troopers. The Yass police were in pursuit as soon as they received information of the circumstance. They found Hall's horse, saddle, and bridle, double barrelled gun, and hat, with Lowry's likeness in it, which had been abandoned in escaping from the troopers.

Fred Lowry had joined Ben Hall after his escape from Bathurst Gaol in February 1863. He participated in several robberies before fleeing the Lachlan following the murder of a miner McBride in company with John Gilbert. Lowry turned up at Cooks Vale Creek, where at Vardy's Inn in September 1863 Lowry was confronted by Senior Sargent Stephenson whereby a shoot-out occurred causing Lowry to be shot in the throat. Lowry lingered for some time and as he lay dying said the immortal words "Tell'em I died game".  Those words may have been aimed at Ben Hall.

Subsequently, Dunleavy became involved in his first, but not last adrenaline-charged skirmish with the NSW troopers; 

On the mail passing, the police escorting it saw a camp fire off the road, and rode towards it. They were challenged as to who they were, and on replying police, several shots were fired at them. They returned the fire, and the robbers immediately mounted their horses, and galloped off. The mail driver was some distance off; and on seeing what had occurred he unloosed the horses from the cart, placed the mail-bags on one horse, mounted the other, and got into Yass safely. The horses in the possession of the bushrangers are stated to be those stolen by them from the stables at the Burrangong Station Hotel—Teddington, Harkaway, and Troubadour, the latter being used as a pack-horse.

With Dunleavy, throwing his lot in with Ben Hall. Hall's former mentor Frank Gardiner recently captured in Queensland at Apis Creek was once more arraigned in Sydney;

Gardiner has been remanded for a week. A second charge of highway robbery is pending against him.

NSW Police Gazette
June 1864.
Dunleavy had taken no time to thrust himself into Ben Hall's war and on the 13th June Dunleavy robbed the home of Mr D.C. Clements near the Billabong Plains taking some weapons, cash and tack items. On the 16th June, their next appearance saw the three arrive at Clements Station;

Ben Hall and his two mates stuck up Mr. Clements' station, about ten miles from Currajong. They took £2 in cash, a quantity of firearms, and two horses. After feasting and yarning for a couple of hours, they departed.

The three rode on to one of Hall's old stomping grounds near Canowindra. Here they raided the home of Thomas Grant at the Belubula River. They procured clothing and a fine horse. The three soon after arrived at Canowindra and entered the store of the luckless Pearce and Hilliers, a shop often frequented by Hall over the past 12 months. However, Hall demanded money and dissatisfied with John Pearce, (Pierce) the brother of the store's owners' answer, proceeded to burn the shop's credit account books. These held a considerable amount, thereby destroying the record of monies owed. It was reputed that those that owed were very pleased with Hall's effort.

Reputed photo of
Pearce's store, Canowindra.
c. 1860's
Further enraged Hall dragged the manager from the shop, and in the process, Dunleavy's rifle allegedly was dropped and discharged the bullet slamming into a step of the shop. Hall, Dunleavy and Mount then hauled John Pearce into the scrub and demanded £300 ransom to be paid by his brother in Carcoar. Ben Hall's brutality once more reared its head again. As the gang viciously interrogated Pearce, and even after he was threatened with death and prodded with knives, he claimed it was of no use to try to get the funds. Following the gang's futile attempt at extortion they released him; 'The Sydney Morning Herald' Tuesday 28th June 1864:

BATHURST. Monday, at 6 p.m. Ben Hall and two other bushrangers made their appearance at Canowindra last Thursday. They went to Pearce's store and demanded money. Mr. Pearce told them he had none to give them. The bushrangers to intimidate him burnt portions of his account books, and then finding no money forthcoming they said they would take him into the bush and hold him to ransom. They then made him prisoner, and as they were leaving the store one of the ruffians dropped his carbine and it exploded. They hurried Mr. Pearce away six miles into the bush, and tied his hands behind a tree, and told him he must procure £300 from his brother, who resided in Carcoar, and, fixing bayonets to their guns, threatened they would pin him to the tree if the money was not obtained. They told him to name a messenger, and as he persisted in saying it was impossible to get such a ransom they pricked him several times with the points of their bayonets. At one time the scoundrels announced their determination to carry him away further and put him to death, and afterwards said they would kill him where he stood. In spite of their menaces, finding they could wring nothing from Mr. Pearce, they at length set him at liberty. Superintendent Lydiard is in pursuit of the bushrangers, who it is reported have crossed the Lachlan, but the force at his command is very small.

Rothery's Cleifden
c. 1900.
They next appeared at Mr Rothery's station Cleifden that evening the 23rd June 1864. Rothery confronted Ben Hall, unlike Hall's September 1863 raid where Hall had enjoyed a sumptuous spread of food and champagne was this time fended off. In retribution, the three set fire to some twenty tons of harvested hay: 

About eight o'clock, on Thursday evening, Hall and his mates paid another visit to Mr. Rothery's residence, with the intention of forcing an entrance into his house, in which was Mr., Mrs. Rothery, their daughters, and several young children; Mr. Rothery's sons being away from home; but Mr. Rothery was so well prepared to resist their entrance that the gang were afraid to attempt it, they, therefore, went and took four of that gentleman's horses, set fire to a stack containing about fourteen tons of hay, burnt it; and a large shed to ashes, and then left the place. 

NSW Police Gazette
July 1864.
Life as a bushranger in those first few weeks was already taking its toll on young James. Who struggled with the constant movement and living in the harsh confines and remote hills and caves of his home surrounds. His discomfort was exacerbated by the continual rains pounding the Lachlan district flooding and soaking everything to the core with severe frosts and freezing nights. Stock losses to some of the esteemed settlers subjected to the flooding of the country such as Earnest Bowler, Hanbury Clements, Thomas Icely and his own family amounted to thousands; 'The Sydney Morning Herald' Wednesday 29th June 1864:

The first notice the people of Forbes had of the coming flood was on Monday week, which reached us in the shape of an up-river piece of intelligence that the waters were rolling down like a moving wall, about twenty feet high; and true enough, about five o'clock of the following morning, the dwellers on the river bank were aroused from their slumbers by the roar of their headlong march, and by the time that the drowsy sleepers of the neighbourhood had collected their scattered senses, and could make a survey, true enough the river had risen some twenty feet higher than its ordinary level. And not less fortunate was it that the lagoons and billybongs of the back country required replenishing, and were, in some instances, almost dried up. In this manner a very large body of water was drawn off, and the basin of the river relieved of a considerable portion of its overflow.

Whereby James began to have second thoughts over his rash endeavour with Hall, a man he no doubt looked up to. His idea of fast money and excitement was soon openly revealed to him as a path to an early death. Dunleavy's participation was a far cry from the steadfastness of Hall's temerarious actions. After all, Dunleavy thought it would be fun to be a bushranger.

However, in the months leading to his eventual surrender, young Dunleavy would continue to encounter several close scrapes with the police. Disillusioned by the hardships he was battling, Dunleavy complained to Hall of his dislike of the intense cold they were enduring in the scrub:

Dunleavy, the third bushranger, complained of sleeping cold in the bush, and was told by Hall to help himself to some blankets; he then went into a bedroom and selected the blankets that suited him.

King's Plains, Halfway House
c. 1870's

Consequently, while selecting blankets best suited during the coach robbery at 'Halfway House', Hall threatened to shoot dead an unarmed policeman, Constable Lewis:

Who was conveying a message from his superior officer, was during the whole of this time kept a prisoner, and before leaving, Hall threatened to shoot him, but yielding to the intercessions of the landlord and Davis, he let him go.⁶ 

Davis who interceded with the trooper had only just arrived at the 'Halfway House' built on the track between Cowra and Carcoar and had been seeking-out Ben Hall with a message from Hall's older sister Mary:

FURTHER OUTRAGES BY BEN HALL AND HIS MATES. - On Thursday afternoon last after robbing the Carcoar and Cowra coaches, Hall and his party proceeded to the Halfway house where they drank some port wine, and asked the landlord what money he had in the house; the landlord replied that he had a few shillings only. On going to the place pointed out as the spot where the money was kept, Hall, not satisfied with what he found, continued to search for more, until be discovered about £30 which had been hidden by the landlord; this he at once appropriated. While they were at the house a young man named Davis rode up to the door and fastened his horse to the fence; the old man, Hall's mate, went to him and, to his astonishment, asked him if he had any money about him. Davis replied that he had a little, and was at once ordered to "fork it out," and he handed him about £2. Davis, not knowing the party, said to the old man, "Where is Ben Hall now?" White, as the old man is called, said, "Why do you want to know?" Davis replied," Because, I was travelling a short time ago with his sister." Hall, who had hitherto taken no notice of Davis, here sprang forward and said, "What are you saying, about my sister?" Davis said, "Are you Ben Hall?" and having received a reply in the affirmative, said, "Your sister was some time looking for you at the Billibong when you had a sore leg." White seeing Hall disposed to be friendly, gave back the money he had taken from Davis.⁷ 

Whether Hall made contact with Mary is unknown.

Furthermore, on leaving the hotel on the following day, the three bushrangers remained in its vicinity robbing several travellers, one named Patterson, who had in tow a horse fitted with a side-saddle. The saddle was returned, and the horse was taken leaving the gentleman to slog it towards Bathurst on foot finally arriving worst for wear at Evans Plains. The gang then hit some local homes looking for food and new mounts where not even a man of the cloth was exempt:

They went to the house of a person in the neighbourhood and ordered her to get them some tea. They then went to a hut belonging to Mr William Smith, at Fitzgerald's Swamp, and compelled the man to put up a sack of corn for their horses. They appear to have gone afterwards to the paddock, and, cutting down the fence, to have taken three horses; one of them a fine spirited creature, the property of Mr T. G. Weavers; this animal made his escape from his captors, and has since returned, and, lest he should be again taken, has been brought into Bathurst; they also took a black mare, the property of the Rev T. Sharpe. They then went to their camping ground, and must have stayed there for the night, within a mile of the Half-way House, as on the next morning the police, in their search, came upon the camping ground and found a sack on the earth, from which the horses had evidently been fed: they also found a bottle containing Old Tom, which had been taken from the Inn.


Dunleavy with his two companions never held too one place covering as much as fifty or sixty miles in a day in avoidance of the police. However, Hall knew the entire district like the back of his hand. During tough times Hall ventured back to Forbes and surrounding stations. The owners of which continued to turn a blind eye to his presence. Bundaburra Station was one such place where Hall had good relationships with the owners, the Strickland's. A pioneering family of the district and wherein the mid-fifties Ben Hall had had his broken leg mended. While camping at Bundaburra, the three bushrangers were startled to hear the cry of 'Stand in The Queens Name', having been sprung by troopers who had snagged their horses. A gunfight ensured as the bushrangers dogging from tree to tree abandoned their equipment in a run for their lives. As the police ranged in on the fleeing men, their gunshots found their mark and both Hall and Dunleavy were hit and severely wounded; 'The Sydney Morning Herald' Wednesday, 24th August 1864; Tuesday, 3 p. m. 

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

After their wounding, the three made their way to another old friend of Hall's William Gibson who owned some large stations in the district with his brothers. The newspapers reported the close shave. 'Goulburn Herald' 27th August 1864;

LATEST ABOUT THE BUSHRANGERS- On Friday (yesterday) week, Ben Hall, young Dunleavy, and their companion whose name is not known but who is generally called the old man, called at a station belonging to Mrs. Gibson seventeen miles from Strickland's paddocks, the scene of their late encounter with the police. Mr. W. Gibson, who was in charge of the station was in bed at the time and on awaking found Dunleavy standing guard over him. The bushrangers said that they would not have come had they not been pressed by the police and in want of horses. Hall declared that he and his mates were asleep on a plain when they wore awoke by being called on to surrender. They found themselves opposed to six policemen, who had already secured their horses. They were therefore compelled to decamp on foot, the police firing and wounding Hall through the fleshy part of the arm and Dunleavy in the wrist and shoulder. After making this statement they selected three horses, saddles, and bridles, and went away without touching anything else.  

It was also noted at Gibson's that: 

The police are still in pursuit of the bushrangers, who are hard pressed, Hall and Dunleavy are reported to be suffering severely from their wounds. After the capture of their horses by the police. Hall and his mates proceeded on foot to Mr. Gibson's station, where they dressed their wounds, and took three fresh horses.

The widespread news of Hall's arrival and assistance at Gibson's home soon reached the police headquarters' halls infuriating the Inspector-General of police. Correspondence was fired off to the police in charge of the Forbes district Sir Frederick Pottinger to take immediate action against the suspected harbourer. However, Sir Frederick took a different attitude and sent a reply to the Inspector-General of Gibson's plight circumstances. The memo in Sir Frederick own hand is illustrated below.
This letter was handwritten by Sir Frederick Pottinger to the Inspector-General of police Captain McLerie on the 9th September 1864. The content describes the situation at William Gibson's home in detail. Pottinger as well states the plight of other well-known squatters subject at times to Hall's visits.

Upon leaving Gibson's the three bushrangers then went quiet whilst they recovered from their wounds as reported:

There is no definite news of the bushrangers at this place, except that they are still at large. It is believed that they are harboured in a certain quarter by a number of their friends, whose scouts are continually on the look-out for the police.

Having recovered from their wounds Dunleavy, Hall and the old man on the 15th October 1864 parted company. For James Mount, the thrill of the highway had lost its allure and he had become sullen and disinterested claiming that "bushranging was not the remunerative jolly game it used to be" and rumour had it that in the leaving Ben Hall was so provoked that he "punched Mount in the head" dissolving the partnership. Mount rode south from the Bland only to be captured in weeks. As with John Vane earlier and suffering dreadfully from the elements and his wound Dunleavy surrendered to a priest at the begging of his mother.

W.B. Dalley
SURRENDER OF DUNLEAVY, THE BUSHRANGER. (From the Bathurst Times, November 19.) The town was thrown into a state of excitement on last Wednesday afternoon, by a report that Dunleavy, one of Hall's late companions, had surrendered himself to the Rev. D. M'Guinn, the Catholic priest stationed at Carcoar, and was then in Bathurst gaol. Upon inquiry, we found the rumour to be fortunately true, and have been enabled to place the following particulars before our readers :— 

It appears that about two or three months age, Father M'Guinn, who, it may be said, has been tor a long time assiduously labouring to discover the whereabouts of the terrible gang of marauders which Hall commands, in order that he might have an opportunity of exhorting them to desist from their lawless career, — met Dunleavy in a wild portion of the bush. After a good deal of perseverance and good advice, Dunleavy was induced to promise that he would retire from the "road," and deliver himself up to justice. Accordingly, he left the gang, and Father M'Guinn meeting him again energetically impressed upon him the necessity of surrendering, which he ultimately did at the rev. gentleman's residence, on Wednesday morning last. The Rev, Mr. M'Guinn made immediate preparation for the young bushranger's conveyance into Bathurst. Previously, however, he obtained a document from Mr. N. Connolly, J.P., which would, if occasion required, protect him and his charge from police interference. Starting at ten o'clock in the morning, he arrived in Bathurst with Dunleavy at three in the afternoon. The only incident of interest which occurred on the journey was the meeting of two policemen, whom Dunleavy at once recognised, but they did not appear to know him. Arrived in town. Father M'Guinn, without loss of time, communicated with Mr. Superintendent Lydiard, who took the prisoner in custody, and conducted him to the gaol. Dunleavy was afterwards brought up at the Court-house by senior-sergeant Grainger on a charge of highway robbery, and remanded for seven days, to allow for the production of evidence.

When Dunleavy surrendered this appeared in the 'The Newcastle Chronicle and Hunter River District News', December 3rd, 1864;

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

Before the hefty sentence of 15 years with hard labour, character references were forthcoming for young Dunleavy as follows. TUESDAY, April 11, 1865:

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

Dunleavy was sentenced;

On two charges, was sentenced to ten years imprisonment with hard labour, the first year in irons, and a further cumulative sentence of five years. 

Total 15 years hard labour and he died in Darlinghurst Gaol on Wednesday, 21st October 1868:

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

James Dunleavy was interned at Rookwood Cemetery, Cumberland Council, New South Wales, Australia PLOT Sect. M1 Row 4 Plot 2968. Memorial no. 149089582.

A newspaper report of Hall and Dunleavy's wounding

Dunleavy surrendered to the police.

James Dunleavy Bathurst Gaol entrance book
November 1864

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

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

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

Thomas Frederick

© Penzig
Thomas Frederick Lowry alias Frederick McGregor, Samuel Barber. ("Tell ‘em I died game")

For over four years, bushranger Ben Hall roamed the western and south-western districts of NSW between 1861-1865. Ben Hall would actively conduct robberies in the company of a wide range of lawless criminals. One such criminal who joined the gang was a bushranger whose bushranging began as early as 1858. His name was Thomas Frederick (Fred) Lowry. In 1858 he was arrested for horse stealing and sentenced to five years gaol at a number of NSW prisons including Cockatoo Island.

Lowry would become synonymous with armed robbery, attempted murder and murder. However, on his release papers from Darlinghurst in 1862, Lowry states his native place was Windsor. Therefore it is more than likely this was his birthplace in 1835.

Bathurst Free Press,
24th July 1858.
However, there has always been a question over Fred Lowry's true identity. The speculation came to light as blood flowed from his wounded throat while lying on his death bed after being shot by Senior Sergeant Stephenson. Lowry stated to the attending doctor, Dr Waugh, that his name was Thomas Frederick Lowry. Moreover, it is a mystery why he made such an emphatic statement before meeting his maker. Archive Records indicate that Lowry had been in the habit of adopting several aliases, standard for many criminals during the 1800s. One such handle for Lowry appeared to be Frederick McGregor. Lowry was incarcerated in 1858 under that name. Another known alias of Lowry was Samuel Barber. However, at his impending death, Lowry may have wished to clear the decks on his identity as a form of confession or for his sister's sake.

Furthermore, records show that Lowry's parents were James and Ellen nee Jackson Lowry, former convicts, having served time on Norfolk Island. Their daughter Elizabeth was born there c.1830. The couple, on their release, settled in the vicinity of Seven Hills Sydney, where James became a small farmer and was known for a fierce temperament. Furthermore, there is no current record of any other Lowry siblings other than Elizabeth. In 1853 Fred Lowry's only sister Elizabeth Lowry married Frederick Elliot at Bathurst. Finally, Lowry's true identity was undeniably exposed on his deathbed when he asked detective Camphin to tell his brother in law Frederick Elliot, who then resided at Forbes. 'Tell 'em I died game.'

On Elizabeth and Frederick Elliots marriage they resided in Bathurst and were joined by Fred Lowry. Lowry soon became well known in and around the Bathurst/Abercrombie districts, notably as a stockman and fine horseman as well as a horse-breaker, the latter a job he held in 1855 at Macquarie Plains between Bathurst and Oberon. Lowry was also linked to the districts criminal elements. Namely John Foley. Lowry's was described as:

Height 6’2”, raw-boned and of awkward build, very long arms, long light coloured hair, small beard, small head, small and angular features, walks with an awkward gait.

NSW Reports of Crime for
Thomas Lowry.
In 1855, Fred first appeared as wanted under his name Thomas as such Thomas was reported as absconding from the employ of Joseph West of James Park Macquarie Plains. Engaged as a horse-breaker and was formally employed by a Mr Canter of Sydney. The reward for Lowry was £2. Lowry was as per the wanted notice was described as, 6ft Sandy complexion, freckled, light brown and long hair.

Sarah Cowell 1845.
However, sought after by the law, Lowry adopted Frederick McGregor as an alias c. 1855 and was also in a romantic relationship with a lass named Sarah McGregor ten years his senior. Sarah McGregor was born in 1825. McGregor was also a pseudonym. Her real name was Sarah Cowell, having arrived from Tasmania onboard the 'Waterlilly' on the 12th May 1845 as a free settler in company with her husband Joseph and daughters Mary-Ann and Elizabeth Cowell. Sarah deserted her husband in c. 1849 in Sydney. In the same year, she was arrested under the name of Sarah McGregor for assaulting Margaret Clarke in Sydney. However, the charge was dismissed. The reportedly attractive vixen arrived in the Bathurst area with Lowry, then aged eighteen and Sarah twenty-eight:

Frederick McGregor alias Thomas Lowry, alias Samuel Barber, and Sarah McGregor alias Cowell.

NSW Police Gazette
1858 for Thomas Lowry.
However, in June 1858, Thomas Lowry surfaced at Wagga Wagga, as a horse-breaker where he stole two horses and was also known as Samuel Barber. The owner of the horses was John Lupton, who offered a £50 reward.

In the same year, 1858 and a month apart, Lowry and Sarah were arrested at the Weddin Mountains for stealing horses from Oma station near Forbes. During this period, Ben Hall was also stock-keeping at Wheogo station and was often at musters at Oma and married. Interestingly, in 1864, Ben Hall, now a bushranger, was cornered and, in escaping, left behind some equipment and clothing, namely a hat. On the inside of the hat was a portrait of Fred Lowry. Had Lowry been an acquaintance of Hall's before 1863? Evidence suggests that this is true:

They found Hall's horse, saddle, and bridle, double barrelled gun, and hat, with Lowry's likeness in it, which had been abandoned in escaping from the troopers.

The long-held belief that Lowry made Gardiner's acquaintance at Cockatoo Island is not true. By December 1859, Gardiner was released as Lowry commenced his servitude there in March 1860, having been transferred from Darlinghurst. Therefore, Lowry did not become friends with Gardiner, who, from all reports, had limited mates.

The arrest at the Weddin Mountains over the theft of horses from Oma station, confirms that the pair had no doubt some contact with the local settlers of the districts. No doubt the O'Meally's, Walsh's, Taylor's, Jameison's, Hall's and Maguire's to name a few who were always on the lookout for quality horses. Their procurement and bona fides often over looked. However, the two were reported living rough at the Weddin holed up at a local area known as 'The Black Fellows Ladder.' A former stronghold of 1840's bushrangers Whitton and Scotchy. 'Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal' Saturday 31st July 1858:

We lately adverted in our columns to the capture of a young man named Lowry, a notorious horse-stealer on the Widdin Mountains, who was brought down to Bathurst last week under escort, together with a young woman, who has been cohabiting with him for some time past. 

Captured and placed in the lock-up at King's Plains enroute to Bathurst, Sarah was sleeping in her cell when the keeper James Leonard attempted to sexually assault her in the middle of the night. The ruckus awoke Lowry.

Lowry was awoke from his slumbers by sounds familiar to his ear, and immediately detected the voice of his chere amie expostulating with some person in very violent tones. He immediately discovered the cause of this disturbance in the person of the lock-up keeper, availing himself of the temporary absence of his wife, who was attending a sick friend, had entered the cell of the female prisoner, and had made improper overtures to her, which she indignantly repulsed. It subsequently appeared that he repeated this abominable conduct at a later hour of the night, but with no better success.

Interestingly, in the evidence presented over the incident, it was highlighted that Fred and Sarah were married:

The prosecutrix, with her husband, were being escorted down to Bathurst in custody to take their trial at the present Quarter Sessions, on a charge of horse-stealing.

The sexual assault charges against James Leonard presented at Bathurst, he was found Not Guilty and was discharged with an Admonishment. Although charged under the name of McGregor, the newspapers refer to Lowry, implying a well known reputation for stealing stock. 

Fred McGregor/Lowry.
NSW Sheriffs Papers 1857-1862
for Frederick McGregor.
However, the arrest demonstrates that Lowry and the Weddin district were no strangers to each other. Lowry set up a network for horse stealing between that place and the Murrumbidgee Wagga Wagga area and through intermediaries stole at one end and sold at the other and vice versa. Lowry's presence appeared to be well publicised as exposed in the 
'Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal' Wednesday 28th July 1858 highlighting his exploits and final capture with Sarah McGregor:

CAPTURE OF LOWRY, THE LACHLAN HORSE-STEALER. —  For some considerable time the inhabitants of the Lachlan had been kept in a state of continued alarm, through the presence of a gang of horse-stealers, who had their head quarters in some of the dells of the Weddin mountains. Lowry, it would appear, was their travelling agent or man of business, for he had established an overland trade with the Murrumbidgee, where he had a "pal" who was in the habit of "disposing" of all the Lachlan horses in that district, and furnished Lowry with a mob of Murrumbidgee horses, which he could easily dispose of in the Lachlan country. This mutual exchange, no doubt was rather a profitable speculation for these modern Turpins, but information of their whereabouts reached Mr. Watt. J.P., our Resident Magistrate, who lost no time in repeating the circumstance to the police at Cowra, but from some cause or other it would appear that the police had instructions from head quarters to remain in barracks till further orders were received.

Now we think that when the Lachlan police get reliable information, particularly from the resident magistrate, they ought to act upon it with the greatest promptitude, without awaiting any orders from their Commanding officer. However a second information was given to the troopers at Cowra, who at once came to Mr. Watt's place and from thence proceeded to the residence of Mr. J. G. Wood, Brundah, where a strong party were organised to go in pursuit of these merchants in horse flesh. It was arranged that two parties be formed. Mr. Watt and a trooper took charge of one detachment, and Mr. J. B. Wood and Corporal Higgs of the other.

Everything being arranged for the best, both parties set out on their perilous expedition, and after scouring the country for five or six days without any trace of the objects of their pursuit, they were about to give up the chase, when Mr Wood said he knew a place called "The Black Fellows Ladder," which used to be a favourite stronghold of the notorious "Scotchy and Whitton," of bushranging notoriety. Mr. Wood was right in his conjecture, for the moment the party came in sight of the "Ladder" Lowry broke cover, and started off at full speed, but was hotly pursued by the party, and was repeatedly called upon to surrender but seemed to disregard such orders, when Mr. D. Mylecharane sent a peremptory message in the shape of a discharge from a revolver which soon made him strike his colours, and Corporal Higgs lost no time in safely securing him. At the time of his arrest he was in company with a lady of questionable repute, well known for her equestrian feats in the Widden country; she had charge of the travelling baggage of the male prisoner. Both prisoners reached Cowra this evening about five o'clock en route for Carcoar. [These personages are now safely lodged in Bathurst gaol. Ed. B.F.P.] Cowra, July 17th, 1858.

Frederick McGregor, released
Darlinghurst, 5th Jan 1862.
Brought to trial at the Bathurst court
 Lowry was found guilty in September and sentenced to five years Gaol, first at Parramatta then Darlinghurst transferred to Cockatoo Island in March 1860. In 1861 Lowry was at Berrima then returned to Darlinghurst. Sarah McGregor was Not Guilty and released. Her whereabouts and life following Lowry's sentence is unknown. On the 5th January 1862 Lowry's sentence was remitted and he was released from Darlinghurst.


Being reviewed

Thomas and Catherine
Vardy. c. 1860's.

Courtesy of Crookwell Gazette.
Furthermore, another wily and the shadiest character if ever there was one, was a long-time friend of Lowry's, Thomas Vardy (Spelt Fardy as per Certificate-of-Freedom 1841). Vardy arrived in the colony in 1833, onboard the ‘Pamelia 2’ and was a native of Wexford, England, and held a publican’s license for Limerick Races Inn, Cook's Vale Creek, about twelve miles from Binda, and who over the next few years would harbour Lowry regularly. Vardy had a reputation for thievery, if not actually the perpetrator, but more often as the fence and recipient of stolen property as well as accusations of stealing in his own hotel in 1860:

EXTENSIVE ROBBERY OF JEWELLERY &c. NEAR BINDA— Intelligence was received on Friday evening of an extensive robbery, of jewellery and other property at Mr. Thomas Vardy's, Limerick Races Inn, Cook's Vale Creek, about twelve miles from Binda, on Sunday morning last. It appears that a travelling jeweller, named Morris Newman, was stopping at Vardy's, and went to bed about one o'clock on Sunday morning; he had his two boxes, containing jewellery, &c, underneath his bed; the lock on his bedroom door being broken, he was unable to fasten it. About four o'clock he was aroused by hearing a man in his room; he asked him what brought him there, to which he replied, " Where is Mearnes" and then left the room; shortly afterwards Newman looked under his bed, and found that his boxes were gone. The property stolen comprises watches, rings, brooches, lockets, guards, precious stones, purses, meerschaum pipes, knives, and a variety of other articles, amounting in the whole to the value of about £180.

Reputed site of Vardy's Limerick Races Inn, Cook's Vale Creek.
Courtesy Crookwell Gazette.

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

Sarah McGregor should read Cowell and arrived in NSW via ship 'Waterlilly' in 1845.
Incarcerated as under the alias of Frederick McGregor, however, note Fred Lowry.
 Gaol entry to Cockatoo Island 1858.

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

Lowry's Cockatoo Island to Darlinghurst March 1861
NSW Police Gazette, 1863.
Lowry continued to make his presence felt in the Abercrombie district, teaming up with another long-time local acquaintance engaged in many acts of armed robbery named John Foley. Foley was also a native of Abercrombie and served a goal term at Berrima and Parramatta prison for horse stealing. In February 1862, Foley was charged with horse stealing and granted bail. However, he failed to appear, and a warrant was circulated for his arrest. Foley out on bail was soon in company with Fred Lowry, and the two men on the 2nd October 1862, held up the store of William Todd at the Fish River and scooped a total of £60 in gold and cash then cleared off. However, on 8th October, it appeared that Lowry had also been joined in the robbery by two other assailants, one named John Cosgrove. On 8th October, police pursued the four men through the bush, resulting in Cosgrove's capture. After the police had opened fire, a struggle ensued between Cosgrove and Constable Wright, who subdued the man with the butt of his revolver. A few weeks later, on the 24th December 1862, Fred Lowry and John Foley rode up to the store of Stephen Alexander at Mountain Run near Trunkey Creek and attempted to rob the storekeeper. However, the attempt was foiled when the storekeeper fired a loaded revolver he had at hand; 'Bathurst Free Press', 31st December 1862:

ROBBERS DEFEATED. Mr. Stephen Alexander, a storekeeper in the Mountain Run locality, called at our office on Monday last, and gave us the following information. On Wednesday, the 24th ultimo, two armed men came to his store, and inquired at the kitchen door for tobacco. They were directed to go round to the shop. On coming to the store-door, one of them returned to the kitchen, and presented a revolver in each hand at Mrs. Alexander and her brother. The man who entered the store said he wanted a pound of tobacco, and Mr. Alexander stopped to supply him, when the robber immediately covered him with, a revolver, and said, "Don't move" Mr. Alexander fortunately had a loaded revolver at hand under the counter, which he immediately seized and fired at the robber, who discharged his own' revolver in return. Neither shot, however, did any damage. Both the men soon after made their escape.

However, it came to light in September of 1863, that two brothers named Hogan, close friends of Lowry, who were the stepsons of Lowry's good mate, Thomas Vardy, were charged with harbouring Lowry at the time of the affray at Alexander's:

HARBOURING A FELON;- Robert Hogan and Henry Hogan were then arraigned on an information setting firth that, on the 24th December last one Thomas Frederick Lowry, at Trunky Creek, did shoot at one Stephen Alexander, and that afterwards, on the 24th, July, the said Robert Hogan and Henry Hogan knowing the said felony to have been committed, did maintain and harbour the said Thomas Frederick Lowry. Applications made on behalf of both prisoners, that they might be discharged on their own recognizances, stated they were freeholders in their own right Mr Isaacs opposed the discharge of the prisoners on their own recognizances. His Honor said that he would read the depositions and would decide the same day if possible, but perhaps might not have an opportunity till the following day He might state that he should admit to bail the only question was whether on their own recognizances Prisoners were then removed. 

Following the court's deliberation in the case of the Hogan brothers for harbouring Lowry, they were released on bail of £200 each and a surety of £100, paid by their stepfather. Note; John Cosgrove was found guilty and sentenced to five years on the roads and died in gaol at Goulburn in 1866, he was described as 5ft 2in, short dark hair, whiskers and blue eyes.

On New Year’s Day 1863, Fred Lowry and John Foley bailed-up a crowd at a race meeting at the Brisbane Valley situated near the head of the Fish River, where some 100 persons were in attendance. However, as the two bushrangers rounded up the revellers at gunpoint, a young man named Foran refused to obey Lowry’s orders. Consequently, he rushed Lowry, who, shot him in the chest, although wounded in the lungs Foran wrestled Lowry to the ground and held him until other people apprehended him. With Lowry overpowered, Foley, who had been engaged in tying up some of the men, jumped on his horse and got away. Subsequently, Lowry was transported to Bathurst Gaol and held pending the charges against him being heard. However, the seriousness of the charges being a capital offence for Lowry, who had form, would undoubtedly be death at the hands of the Hangman. (See article left) 

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

The escape was reported in the 'Goulburn Herald' 17th February 1863:

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

John Foley c. 1873
After his escape, Lowry's newfound religious devoutness was commented on in the 'Freeman's Journal", 1863:

Lowrie, of gaol breaking notoriety, has not been heard of since; and it is confidently believed that his future career will be different from his past. He, too, like Ross, became a convert in the gaol under Father D'Arcy's care; and a day or two previous to his escape he was baptized and received into the Church. From the moment of his conversion he was most penitent, and expressed his unfeigned regret for his past career, which he very much attributed to the notorious Gardiner. The fact that he is so long at large without committing crime causes many to hope that ? he will carry out his strong resolutions against crime. 

Alas, a criminal is never penitent until they are caught, and it would not to be long before Lowry would emerge in the Weddin Mountains area. Here Lowry was reported robbing a traveller shortly after escaping from Bathurst:

STICKING-UP ON THE MARENGO ROAD-On Tuesday a man was stuck-up and robbed of 12s 6d on the Marengo Road, by a bushranger dressed in a poncho, supposed by his height, (about 6 ft 2 in), to be Frederick Lowry, who escaped out of the Bathurst gaol on the 15th of last month, for whose apprehension the Government has offered a reward of £ 100.

NSW Police Gazette,
March 1863.
En-route to his joining Ben Hall and Gilbert, Lowry conducted a robbery minus a revolver. On this occasion, Lowry's utilised a knife to rob the public-house of a Cornelius Hewitt at Grabben Gullen. Here Lowry would secure a handgun leaving behind his swag which surprisingly contained a Catholic prayer-book.

However, before long, Lowry made contact and became involved with Ben Hall and John O’Meally and John Gilbert. Lowry's return to the Lachlan drew him back into the fold of his earlier mateship with the O'Meally's and Ben Hall who were front and center of bushranging notoriety. Welcomed in to the gang Lowry participated in a string of armed robberies, and consequently, the brutal murder of a miner named M'Bride committed in the company of John Gilbert. In the gunfight with McBride it was believed that Lowry fired the shots that fatally wounded and ultimately cost the unfortunate M'Bride his life:

THE MURDER OF M'BRIDE, AT BURRANGONG. - The following is an extract from a private letter, dated Young, June 24. The writer was one of the jury who sat on the inquest, held on the body of the murdered man:-"An intense feeling prevails here respecting the murder of M'Bride, by Gilbert and Lowry. He was a miner, and the miners are organising a party to take the bush after the ruffians. I am afraid, if they catch them, they will stand a poor chance of being tried by a jury. A petition to Parliament is being prepared, bringing the present police system under their notice. The miners have been advised to ask Government for arms and rations, so as to give any effort to capture them an orderly and constitutional appearance, as any body going out without some such authority, partakes too much of the character of a vigilance committee. If Mr. Cowper is wise he will grant what is asked of him."

Subsequently, while involved with the Hall gang over a period of four months, Lowry bailed-up travellers and robbed stores and stations between the Lambing Flat goldfields and Cootamundra. However, with the death of M'Bride, Lowry shot through from the Burrangong area and fled back to the Abercrombie region, familiar territory. As Lowry was returning he held-up several persons near Carcoar, one, in particular, a police trooper stationed at Carcoar named Sergeant Charles Higgs:

Lowry stated that they wanted him, and expected that he would return that day, if so, they would give him fifty lashes, which they were prepared to do, as they showed that they had the appliances with them, namely rope, &c. It appears that Higgs presented Lowry for horse stealing, some six years since, upon which information he was convicted, and it was after serving that conviction that he obtained his ticket of leave, since which time his conduct has been fully before the public. I nearly omitted to mention that within five minutes of the scoundrels leaving the place, sergeant Higgs was on the very ground where the ten had been bailed up, and was congratulated by the "council of ten" that he had not made his appearance sooner. No doubt if he had he would have found it much easier to walk home than have ridden. When information reached town, our police magistrate acted with his customary energy; but sergeant Higgs got a fresh horse and went without delay in pursuit. He has been out all night. What success may meet is hard to conjecture.

Henry Kater, Australian
Joint Stock Bank. M.L.A. 1889
c. 1875
On 13th July 1863, Fred Lowry and John Foley held-up and robbed the Mudgee Mail Coach near Bowenfels, west of the Blue Mountains. They took £5,700 in old bank notes from Mr Henry Kater, Manager of the Mudgee branch of the Australian Joint Stock Bank as reported in the 'The Sydney Morning Herald', Wednesday 15 July 1863:

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

Sub-Inspector James

c 1863.
Charles White in 'The History of Australian Bushranging, Vol II pg 140' remarks that according to an associate of Lowry's Larry Cummins  Mrs Smith was relieved of her saving but was however surprised to find later when again meeting the now trio that her cash was returned. In consequence when called as a witness Mrs Smith failed to identify either Lowry of Foley.

On 29th August, Senior Sergeant Stephenson was informed that Lowry was at the 'Limerick Races Hotel' on Cooks Vale Creek about 50 miles north from Goulburn. Stephenson with trooper Herbert detectives Camphin and Sanderson set out for the hotel owned by one Thomas Vardy a man well known to the police for dealing in shady matters.

Vardy was a long time friend of Lowry. Arriving in the early morning, the police dismounted, and one constable went to the rear of the dwelling, and Camphin covered the front entrance as Stephenson proceeded inside with Saunderson. Vardy appeared and was asked if he had strangers present he replied he did and pointed out the room where Lowry and Cummins slept. Lowry and Cummins were awoken having had themselves locked their room. Stephenson called on them to surrender and then tried to force the door. At the same time, Lowry fired through the door then flung the door open standing there with a gun in each hand.  Stephenson and Lowry fired a couple of shots at each other with Lowry being hit in the throat. Lowry dropped his revolvers, and the Sergeant grabbed him and held the struggling Lowry until one of the troopers could help him. Lowry was then pulled out into the yard and handcuffed. Stephenson returned to the room where he found Cummins hiding under the bed. Cummins surrendered quietly with no resistance. The following is the deposition of Senior Sergeant Stephenson:

I am stationed at Goulburn; I have seen the body on which this inquest is now sitting; on the 29th instant, accompanied by Constable Herbst and Detectives Camphin and Saunderson, I went on horseback to Thomas Vardy's public-house, at Cook's Vale Creek, about seven o'clock in the morning from in formation received and by virtue of a search warrant to search the house of Vardy, for bank-notes supposed to be stolen from the Mudgee mail; previous to arriving there I directed Herbst to go round to the rear of the house to see that no person should leave, with instructions that if he saw any one about to leave to challenge them in the Queen's name to stand, and if they did not to shoot them; I directed Camphin to keep guard in front with the same instructions, while Saunderson and myself would search the house; at the same time I told all the men that I suspected Frederick Lowry, the bushranger, was in the house, and to be prepared; we then dashed up to the house; we saw a girl who seemed to be frightened and who was half-crying; Saunderson and I dismounted, hung our horses up to the front of the house, and went on to the verandah; I asked the girl if there was any one in her room; she said "no;" I looked in and saw only a little child; the girl was about half dressed; I then went into the bar and called for Vardy the landlord; Vardy came out of his bedroom into the hall adjoining the bar; I asked if he had any strangers in the house; he said "yes;" I asked where they were; he nodded his head to he room they were in; I asked if he knew who they were; he said no, and to look out; I went to the parlor-door adjoining the room he mentioned and leading to it; it was locked inside; I knocked and asked for admittance; I got no answer; I then said if the door were not opened at once I would break it open; I then knocked my shoulder against the door for the purpose of breaking it open; I failed in the first attempt, and I no sooner took my shoulder away than a shot was fired from inside, and a voice exclaimed "I'll fight you ba------s;" the shot came through the door and wounded the horse I had been riding in the back; I removed the horse from that place and gave him to Vardy, and told him I should hold him responsible for him; I then went back to the bar-door, and then the parlor-door was opened and a man came out with a revolver in each hand crying out "I'm Lowry; come on ye b—'s, and I'll fight ye fair;" at the same  time he presented one of the revolvers at me; I covered him directly; I think we both fired together; at that time we were four or five yards apart; he then advanced upon me within three feet; I covered him again, and we both fired in each other's faces; the second shot I fired he dropped his revolvers and staggered; I jumped forward and seized him by the neck, struck him with my revolver on the head, and told him he was my prisoner; I brought him into the bar; he continued to struggle; Saunderson came to my assistance; we then shoved the deceased into the yard, threw him on his back, and putting my knee on his chest I handcuffed him; he then said he was Lowry, and was done; I left Saunderson in charge of him in the yard and proceeded with Camphin to the bedroom in which Lowry had been sleeping, believing that there was another bushranger there; when I went into the parlor leading to the bedroom, I called upon the man that was there to come out, or if not I would blow the head off him; I got no answer and went in, and a man jumped out of bed; I caught him by the neck and asked his name; he said Larry Cummins; Camphin and I brought him into the yard and handcuffed him; I left Camphin in charge of Cummins in the yard; I then proceeded to the bedroom, accompanied by Constable Herbst, and found the revolver produced, capped and loaded, on the wash-stand, together with some clothing belonging to Cummins and Lowry; I produce Lowry's vest [a black cloth vest bound with blue, with buttons like silver]; it is similar to that described as having been worn by the robber of the Mudgee mail; I produce a thin black cloth sac coat claimed by Lowry, a brown Inverness cape, another heavier one, a cabbage-tree hat with broad black ribbon, and an elastic riding belt; one of the capes contained a flask of powder, a few percussion caps, two dice, a gold watch, chain, and key.

I believe, from the description, that the watch belongs to Captain Morphy, who was robbed on the Big Hill, Goulburn, on the 2nd July; I also found two knives, one £50 note, and altogether £164 19s. 6d., in notes stolen from the Mudgee mail, all except £10 in notes, £2 in gold, and 19s. 6d. in silver; the money, except the silver, was in a little bag in Lowry's trousers pocket; after I had made a search in the house I arrested Thomas Vardy for harboring the two bushrangers, Lowry and Cummins; and I also arrested Henry Hogan, Robert Hogan, James Williams, Thomas Brown, and John Watson, for being accessories after the fact; they were all on the premises; I found three horses in the stable; Vardy stated one was rode by Lowry there the night previous; he was a bay horse; the brand is very indistinct; I think it is FK on near shoulder; the others were a grey and a chestnut, both of which Vardy stated belonged to his stepson, Mick Hogan; Vardy also stated that Lowry and Cummins arrived there about nine o'clock the previous evening; Cummins rode the grey there, she having been lent him by Mick Hogan; Vardy also said that Lowry had one of the revolvers produced in his belt; I asked if he knew him; he said no, that he was a gentle manly fellow—he thought he was some swell; in the encounter with Lowry I wore the coat I now have on; the revolver I had in my hand now shows the mark of where a ball struck it on the barrel; the bullet then grazed my right knuckles and went up my sleeve; the hair was burned off my wrist; I think this was the first shot; I did not feel it till afterwards; I have another shot-hole through the right side of my coat about level with the waist; this shot did not injure me.

I find, by the Police Gazette of the 4th March, 1863, that the deceased answers the description of a man named Frederick Lowry, as follows:—"27 years of age; 6 feet 1 or 2 inches high; raw-boned and awkward build, very long arms, long light hair, little hair on chin, head small, features small and angular; lower part of face recedes; walks with an awkward gait;" I had no time to observe his walk; the hair is rather darker than I should imagine from the description; I got a horse and dray, and placing Lowry in it arrived at Woodhouseleigh at half-past six p.m.; the deceased suffered very much on the way, choking in the throat, and seemed to be like suffocated; the place I shot him was near the windpipe; when I arrived at Woodhouseleigh I found that the dray-horses could not reach Goulburn that night; I stopped at Mr. Pratton's public-house, and despatched a messenger to Goulburn for Dr. Waugh and more police, as I thought Lowry would not live to arrive in Goulburn; four policemen arrived about half-past two in the morning, and Dr. Waugh about three; he attended to the deceased; Dr. Waugh told deceased he would not live long, and that he had best prepare to meet his Maker; some time after deceased asked for Dr. Waugh, and stated in my presence to the doctor that he thought he was going to die; Dr. Waugh asked prisoner what was his name; his answer was "Lowry;" the doctor then asked him his christian name; he answered that his name was Thomas Frederick Lowry; he did not live long after, about half an hour; he died about six o'clock on the morning of the 30th; Dr. Waugh was present when he died; on the same morning we started from Woodhouseleigh, about seven o'clock, and arrived in Goulburn about one o'clock the same day; I left the corpse at the hospital; Vardy offered no impediment to finding where the prisoners were; I have not the least doubt that this is the body of Lowry; the watch has just now been identified by Captain Morphy.

Detective William
When Lowry was examined, it was found that he was bleeding internally. Lowry rallied long enough to ask one of the troopers Detective William Camphin to pray for him and to inform his brother-in-law named Elliot that ‘Tell ‘em I died game’.  Lowry died at 6.00 am on 30th August 1863 at the age of 27.  He had £164 of the stolen Mudgee Mail money in his pockets when he died. Detective Camphin deposed:

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

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

He appears to have been a very tall young man, measuring six feet two inches, and probably weighing thirteen stone, well made, with small hands and feet, white skin, small moustache, and a particularly well-developed chest. Taken altogether he was physically a very fine man. He is described as having been twenty-seven years of age; and although he must have led a life of mingled dissipation and hardship, he did not appear to be any older. Some doubt was expressed as to the body being that of Lowry, the bushranger; Mr. Horsford, the jailer, who had known Lowry at Cockatoo Island, where he was undergoing a sentence under the name of Frederick McGregor, considered that the hair was much darker than that of the man he had known, and that he was much stouter, and was of opinion that deceased was not Lowry, though he was not able to speak positively. Mr. Fogg, a settler at the Narrawa, and his wife came into town on Monday and saw the body, which they declared was not that of Lowry; but it seemed that they had not seen Lowry for three years; and although called at the inquest, they did not attend. On the other hand, the Rev. H. H. Gaud, who had seen Lowry some twelve months back, believed that deceased was he, as did also Mr. Moses Baird, who, however, had not seen Lowry for seven or eight years. The evidence taken at the inquest is all in favor of the view of deceased being identical with Lowry; and it is quite certain that he was the man who robbed the Goulburn mail on the 2nd July last, Mr. Futter, Captain Morphy, and the coachman, Michael Curran, having positively identified him, and Captain Morphy's watch having been found in his possession. There is every reason also to believe that he is the man who in conjunction with Foley robbed the Mudgee mail of several thousand pounds worth of bank notes some days after the robbery of the Goulburn mail. Foley and Lowry it may be remembered escaped together from Bathurst jail on the 13th February last.
Woodhouseleigh Station Homestead, Lowry died in
building on the far left.
S.M.H. 31st August,
It was further reported in the 'Goulburn Herald':

THE LATE CAPTURE OF LOWRY.—On Thursday one of the warders of Bathurst jail arrived in Goulburn and positively identified the body of the man shot on Saturday last by Senior-sergeant Stephenson as that of Lowry. Mr. Kater, the clerk in charge of the parcel of bank-notes stolen from the Mudgee mail on the 13th July last also arrived; but he was unable to identify the body as that of one of the man who robbed him, though he stated that there was a resemblance in the features. The whiskers having been shaved off since the inquest with the view of taking a plaster cast of the features, may have led to some hesitation on Mr. Kater's part; but there can be scarcely the shadow of a doubt that Lowry was one of the robbers on the occasion, especially when it is remembered that he and Foley, who was positively sworn to by Mr. Kater, were captured together in the first instance and effected their escape together from Bathurst jail. The Joint Stock Bank therefore will be doing no more than what is right in paying the reward over to Mr. Stephenson; and the directors may think themselves lucky in having recovered an almost sufficient number of the stolen notes to enable them to pay the reward without further loss. Yesterday Robert Hogan, Henry Hogan, John Watson, James Williams, and Thomas Brown were brought up in the jail on remand. The two first named prisoners were further remanded for a week. Watson, Williams, and Brown, who it may be remembered were in the employ of Vardy, were discharged. On Tuesday night Mr. Stephenson received a telegram from the government promoting him to the rank of sub- inspector. The announcement has been regarded with general satisfaction; and a public meeting has been convened for Monday evening for the purpose of considering the propriety of presenting Mr. Stephenson with a public testimonial.

Thomas Vardy
Publican License
Later in September of 1863, Thomas Vardy would be charged with harbouring Lowry after a robbery near Goulburn and held on remand at Goulburn Goal then bailed:

HARBOURING A FELON:- Thomas Vardy was arraigned on an information setting forth that on 2nd July one Thomas Frederick Lowry, at the Big Hill, near Goulburn, did assault one Richard John Morpby and steal from him one watch and chain, and that afterwards, namely on the 29th August last, the said Thomas Vardy, knowing the said felony to have been committed did maintain and harbour the said Lowry. After consultation with Mr Isaacs and Mr Holroyd (who appeared for the prisoner) his Honor decided to admit Vardy on bail on his own recognizance in £200. As he had some reason to believe that the police intended to take fresh evidence, he would throw out a suggestion which he had no doubt would be attended to, that the prisoner should have notice of this, and that any additional evidence should be taken in the prisoner's presence, just as though the case were commenced 'de novo'. The prisoner then entered into his recognizance, and was discharged. 

Vardy was brought up again and released; FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 25.- 

Thomas Vardy pleaded not guilty to a charge of being accessory to a felony by harbouring a bushranger named Thomas Frederick Lowry, who robbed the Goulburn mail on the 2nd July last. Mr. Isaacs said he should not proceed with the case this assizes. His Honor admitted the prisoner to bail on his own recognizances, he having to give security in the sum of £200 to appear and stand his trial when called upon to do so by the crown.

Recognition of those
involved in Lowry's
After Stephenson was promoted for his brave efforts in stopping Fred Lowry, the citizens of Goulburn established a testimonial for Stephenson and party as reported in the 'Sydney Mail', Saturday 12 September 1863;

Testimonial to Sub Inspector Stephenson and Party.— We are glad to see that the people of the Goulburn District are subscribing to reward these intrepid and meritorious public servants. In the absence of a general movement to afford encouragement to similar enterprises, it is gratifying to see that individual example of merit are noted and rewarded by the community. A subscription headed by Mr. Bradley, whose name is down for £10 10s; and by Mr. Phillips for £5, has been made by the Goulburn public to the amount of £50. We shall be happy to receive, at this office, any contributions towards the object, which will be forwarded to the treasurer, Mr. Henry. I. West, manager of the Joint Stock Bank. Goulburn.

Lowry's accomplice in the Mudgee Mail robbery, John Foley faced court and was sentenced as reported in the 'Goulburn Herald' 9th September 1863:

A telegram from Bathurst informs us that Foley, the bushranger, has been convicted and sentenced to fifteen years on the roads for the Mudgee mail robbery.

In 1864 three months after Lowry's death the question of reward to the police was raised in parliament. The Empire newspaper 5th January 1864 printed the following regarding the reward paid to police and its distribution. The gazetted payment was less than that actually paid as the total included the monies outstanding of Bathurst escape and did not include the Joint Stock Bank reward.

REWARDS FOR SHOOTING BUSHRANGERS.- Mr. EGAN asked the Colonial Secretary. The amount of the reward paid by the Government to Sub-Inspector Stephenson for shooting Lowry the bushranger; and for capturing, at the same time, another bushranger of the name of Cummings?

Mr. W. FORSTER said.- The rewards for the apprehension of Frederick Lowry, were equally divided among the police who had part in it, viz., sub-Inspector Stephenson, detectives Sanderson and Camplin, and constable Herbert. Stephenson was also rewarded by promotion in rank and pay. For the apprehension of Lowry, on his escape from Bathurst gaol, the Government gave £100; also a standing reword of £60 for the apprehension of Lowry, as an armed robber. Reward by the Joint Stock Bank fur his apprehension as one of the Mudgee mail robbers, £200; altogether £360, The share of Sub-inspector Stephenson was £87 10/.; the same as each, of the others.

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

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

John Dunn ("a terror to the colony")

John Dunn was born on 14th December 1846 near Yass, NSW and was the eldest of nine children to 'Ticket of Leave' holder, Michael Dunn, aged 26, sentenced to transportation for life for stealing cloth from a shop. Convicted at the Old Bailey on the 14 August 1837. Arrived at Port Jackson from England on the 9th February 1838, on the ship 'Emma Eugenia', a 340-ton Barque under the command of Captain Wade in company with 199 other male convicts. Michael Dunn was unable to read or write and served 11yrs before receiving a 'Ticket of Leave' in April 1846. In October 1850, was granted a 'Conditional Pardon'. (See bottom of the page.) 

Previous to his conviction, Michael Dunn was recorded as a Chandler Tallow Boy indentured to The Tallow Chandlers, a City of London Livery Company that administered oils, ointments, lubricants, and fat-based preservatives to manage candle making using tallow (animal fats). Moreover, with the arrival of the Gas Light in the mid 1800's followed by the advent of electricity in 1900s Tallow boys switched to producing soap. In applying for a Ticket-of-Leave, Michael Dunn married a native of the colony Margaret Kelly, aged 23, in February 1846 at Yass. Under the law, they were required to apply for a 'Convicts Application to Marry.' It was granted before their nuptials.

John Dunn developed a reputation as a horse-breaker in the local districts and often engaged as a partime jockey, where he had ridden home several well-known bush racers. Dunn's prowess in the saddle had undoubtedly attracted the attention of Hall and Gilbert, whose passion for horse racing brought them into contact with the talented rider as they attended many local meets. Dunn's knowledge of the finest thoroughbreds and where they were stabled no doubt interested the two bushrangers who enticed Dunn to join their ranks. However, even at 5ft 8, Dunn's jockeying ability would not be unusual at country meetings. In some cases, top-flight horse owners rode their own entries regardless of the weight on the horse's back.

In April of 1864 at the Yass races this was recorded of a horse Dunn was known to race for its owner Mr Davoren, 'Ringleader':

This was without exception the most exciting race during the meeting. Ringleader started from the post a good length ahead, Dart second. On rounding the hill, and on passing the post the first time the horses held precisely the same relative positions, all hard held. On being sighted the second time, the same order prevailed, Dosey gradually improving her position. On the third round, each of the competitors were put on their mettle, and a magnificent contest took place for victory. On nearing the distance post for the last time, Dart made a "dart" that well nigh landed him a winner, but his jockey was rather late in calling on his horse, and he lost by little more than a neck- Ringleader being declared a winner amidst loud huzzas.¹

Before long, Dunn was riding alongside Hall and Gilbert. However, on hearing the news of his son's descent into full-on crime, Dunn's father, Michael, rode in search of him in the hope of rescuing him from bushranging. Unfortunately, his horse died from overexertion. Consequently, he was compelled to return home and failed in his search. The colt had bolted. Dunn was a mild-looking young native, having a particularly soft pleasing voice.

The 'The Newcastle Chronicle and Hunter River District News', November 1864, highlighted the circumstance that led John Dunn to become a member of Ben Hall's gang:

Ben Hall's Latest Recruit.—The Yass correspondent of the Goulburn Argus writes :-Young Dunn, who has joined Ben Hall, is the son of a small settler living in the neighbourhood of Murrumburrah. He is accounted one of the best riders in New South Wales, which is saying a great deal. A person who is well acquainted with him told me the other day that if this young rascal was mounted and his horse placed on the roof of one of the houses in Cooma street, he would ride along the roofs of the others to the furthermost end of the town! So much for his daring equestrian abilities. As we all know, the native youth pride themselves on their prowess in the saddle. It is a sad pity they do not aspire to something more ennobling. At the last annual races held in Yass, Dunn rode, and success fully too, the Binalong horse, Ringleader. The next time he turned up in Yass was in company with young Kennedy, a youth of his own kidney, the son of an ex-publican in Murrumburrah. They came into town late one evening, and as they were dressed in true bushranger's costume—namely, a poncho made out of a blanket ornamented with bars and stars, and Napoleon boots — they were soon spotted by the police.

On being interrogated, young Kennedy said he wanted to find out where the Erlington pound was situated, as a racer had been stolen from him after the Murrumburrah races by — (mentioning another youth who has shown strong indications for hose-stealing), and that he had found out from the Government Gazette that it was in the pound. After making sundry inquiries, he obtained the requisite information, and the two hope full's departed on their journey. It appears that the horse was released by Kennedy, and he with Dunn returned towards home. On reaching Gunning, Dunn left his companion, and rode in the direction of Pudman Creek, where he fell in with another youth named Ryan, whose brother has been long the dread of this part of the country as one of the most expert and successful of horse stealers, but whose reign is drawing, or has drawn to a close. Shortly after this they stuck up and robbed some drays on the Pudman, and were subsequently apprehended and taken to Burrowa, where they were committed for trial at the Yass General Sessions. Strange to say, that although the charge was robbery under arms, the sapient justice accepted bail for their appearance to take their trial. 

When the sessions came on, Dunn and Ryan were called on their bail. The latter appeared, but as Dunn was absent the Crown Prosecutor applied for a postponement of the trial, consenting to take fresh bail for Ryan, and at the same time applied to the judge to entreat Dunn's recognizances and issue a bench warrant for his apprehension. All this was done. I have very good reason for believing that Dunn was in Yass at the time of the application was made, and that so soon as he heard that a warrant had been issued he mounted his horse and joined Ben Hall and Dunleavy (Gilbert was not with Hall at the time), who were only a short distance from town. See now the consequence of Mr. Burrowa Justice's folly-in granting bail. Ryan knew he would not be put on his trial without Dunn, and therefore surrendered, and I shall be most egregiously mistaken if ever he shows his nose voluntarily before Judge Meymott again.

The pending court appearance of John Dunn and Daniel Ryan, it was from this event
that Dunn fled justice and joined Ben Hall and John Gilbert.
Dunn had taken the plunge circa October 1864 and was named in a hold-up with Hall and Gilbert near Gunning. 'The Goulburn Herald and Chronicle' Wednesday 26th October 1864:

ROBBERIES ON THE YASS ROAD - On Monday Mr. Frederick Chisholm, of Grogan, and Mr. A.  Jones, of Wagga Wagga, were driving in a buggy to Goulburn, where the former gentleman is required as a witness at the assizes. When at Mutbilly, about twenty miles from Goulburn, they were stopped by three armed men, who were recognised by Mr. Chisholm as Ben Hall, Johnny Gilbert, and a youth named Dunn said to be under committal to the Yass quarter sessions, but who had failed to appear. They took £3 from Mr. Chisholm, which was all he had. Mr. Jones fortunately had no money. They made him produce his watch; but seeing that it was an open-faced silver one they said that it was no use to them, and allowed him to keep it. Ben Hall remarked to Mr. Chisholm that he had come a long way to lag a man. Mr. Chisholm expressed his surprise at again seeing Gilbert, of whom it may be remembered nothing has been heard for a long time, when he replied that he had been lying by, and had now again taken to the road. Mr. Chisholm states that this man is positively Gilbert. The bushrangers said that they intended to stop the Yass mail. The travellers were then allowed to proceed. About eleven or twelve o'clock the Yass mail, which had been delayed at Gunning owing to the flooded state of the Fish River, was stopped by the same parties a little on this side of Gunning. There were four passengers, (Germans) whom the robbers searched, securing some £8 or £9. One of the men having a double-barrelled gun, the bushrangers asked if it were a good one and being told that it was not allowed its owner to keep it. Ben Hall was noticed to have three revolvers in his belt in addition to one in his hand; and his comrades had two or three each. The mail fortunately was small, no bags beyond Yass having come down owing to the flooded state of the rivers. The bushrangers took and opened all the letters. It is believed that they secured nothing beyond the half of a £5-note which they retained, saying that they might get another to match it. They gave the letters back to the coachman; and then allowed all hands to depart. The coachman said that he would return to Gunning; but the bushrangers said that if he attempted to do so they would cut the reins. On arriving at Bean's, Frankfield Inn, the coachman found that that place had been visited by the party and a small sum of money and a waistcoat taken. The waistcoat was worn by the man said to be Gilbert at the time he stopped the mail. 

However, in June of 1864, Ben Hall, with Mount and Gilbert, in an attempt to procure some fine racehorses being guarded by two troopers at the Bang Bang Hotel Koorawatha, met their match and failed to obtain the horses after a gunfight that came close to ending Hall's life as a shot from a trooper took Hall's hat from his head. The next day Hall called upon an Innkeeper demanding a meal be prepared. In his company was Daniel Ryan. During the conversation, Hall declared that the newspaper's version stated that the range between shots was eighty yards, whereby Hall said closer to fifty and remarked that removing his hat by a bullet "was not so bad". On leaving, Hall and company made for the direction of Lambing Flat. Hall and his two partners Gilbert having returned to the fray, and Mount had entrenched themselves in the Burrowa district. There is no doubt that their use of local hoods such as Ryan and Dunn, amongst others, in telegraphing valuable information and supplies, along with horse racing, was the introduction to Hall and associates. 'The Sydney Morning Herald' Tuesday 7th June 1864:

The Bushrangers.- Saturday's Bathurst Times says -A gentleman called at our office yesterday morning and informed us that he was at Bang Bang on Friday last and stayed for awhile at the Korowatha Inn, the scene of the late encounter between the police and the bushrangers. The innkeeper, Mr. Lydiard, informed him that on the previous day the bushrangers, Ben Hall and two others, paid him another visit and demanded dinner for themselves and provender for their horses, with which he supplied them, there being no one but himself and wife on the premises. They stayed upwards of an hour and a-half, but did not offer any violence, or take any money. Gilbert was not one of the party, the fellow who has been mistaken for him, and who is now in company with Hall, is said to be a youngster called Ryan, who is "wanted" by the police for horse-stealing in the Burrowa district. The bushrangers appear to have made themselves quite at home, and Ben Hall, who expressed some doubts as to the correctness of the newspaper reports, with regard to the distance the police and his party were from one another at the time they exchanged shots (stated to be eighty yards), measured the ground, and declared it to be only fifty, and then remarked, with the air of a connoisseur, in allusion to his hat being knocked off by a bullet, that "it was not so bad." The robbers shortly after left, taking the direction of Lambing Flat.

Daniel Ryan, unlike Dunn, never took the complete step into bushranging and would become a fringe dweller in the escapades of Hall, Gilbert and Dunn. Most notably, the Araluen Gold Robbery attempt in 1865. Ryan's participation is widely believed. However, Thomas Clarke, another hoodlum to take up Ben Hall's reins upon his death, was considered the fourth man present. Ryan would be arrested for his suspected part but was released due to lack of evidence. Although those who held hostages before the raid had a good look at the bushrangers, Thomas Clarke was not implicated by them. Ryan's close association with Dunn casts light on his probable involvement.

Michael Dunn, England & Wales Criminal register 1791-1892.
Dunn's parents 'Application to Marry'.

Dunn and Ryan,
NSW Police

Dunn now became integrated into Ben Hall's gang of bushrangers. In the weeks before Dunn commenced Dunleavy had surrendered and the Old Man, James Mount fled south and would also be captured within days. Dunn against all parental efforts embarked on a short but infamous and bloody career, robbing stations, inns, stores and mail coaches leading ultimately as an accomplice to murder and from his own hand murder. Years later this was recorded by a former employer of Dunn's, Mr. W. Marshall who had passed away at Barmedman stating:

That he had employed Dunn shepherding cattle for him on The Flat, before Dunn started out with Ben Hall. Later, Dunn stuck up some people at the old Sydney Hotel, Young, and the late Mr Marshall was amongst them with £70 in his pockets. Dunn got the money, and asked Mr Marshall if he had any more. 'About 3s 6d,' he replied, and said, 'Surely you are not going to rob me, Jack?' 'All's fair in love and war. Bill,' said Dunn, and kept Mr. Marshall's money, though he told him he could get a drink with the 3s 6d.²

Before long, John Dunn's fast and furious leap into bushranging had him described as 'the terror to the colony'. Dunn appeared to revel in the brutality of bushranging. Whether or not it was to impress his bushranging companions who had been at the game since c. 1861. Or just from the fact that he was enamoured with the notoriety that bushranging brought. Or, from the fear, he instilled on the faces of his innocent victims. Dunn and many others at the end of their bushranging and as their fate awaited them and blamed terrible influences for his madness, which had broken his parent's heart.

Death of  Sergeant Parry.
Dunn's partnership with Hall and Gilbert commenced when the two old hands were at their most destructive. Hall's jump alone from mild-mannered bushranger to a vicious monster in his dealings with many of his victims. The sudden threats and violence toward them may be attributed to Hall's killing of Micky Burke in the darkness at Keightley's and his realisation that all possible salvation through the courts had dissipated. However, with Dunn onboard Hall and Gilbert demonstrated even more audacity in their robberies. Showing that time and again, their lack of humanity and a willingness to snap their revolvers to in effect kill at any opportunity.

However, in the Southern parts of New South Wales, another murderous bushranger was continuing to lead the troopers a merry chase as well. Daniel 'Mad Dog' Morgan. Furthermore, the press were quick to draw a parallel between the two camps, as reported in the case of the shooting death of Sgt Parry. Below is the link regarding the murder of Sergeant Parry as well as shooting with intent to kill Insp O'Neil outside Jugiong on 16th November 1864 as follows;
Illustrated Sydney News
Friday 16th December 1864
Contemporary drawing rarely
published of the death
of Sgt Parry, from the
 'The Australian News for Home Readers',
 Sat 24 Dec 1864  titled;

Sergeant Parry's inquest jury stated:

That on the l6th day of November, in the year of our Lord 1864, at a spot about four miles to the south of Jugiong, in the colony of New South Wales, the deceased Edmund Parry did die from the effects of a gunshot wound, at that time and in that place wickedly, maliciously, and feloniously inflicted upon him by one John Gilbert; and that two other certain persons, named Benjamin Hall and John Dunn, were then and there unlawfully aiding and abetting the said John Gilbert in so feloniously destroying the life of the said Edmund Parry.

In the fallout of Parry's death, the magistrate Mr Rose brought about the end of Const Roach's career who at the time of the encounter was in the mail coach and prevented by Rose from interfering whereby Roach took to his heels in the act of self-preservation. However, this action led to his dismissal from the police force:

YASS. Tuesday, 29th November 1864, 5.30 p.m; Constable Roach was fined £5, for deserting his post at the late encounter between the police and Ben Hall's gang.  
Edmund Parry, Police
Employment record.
Shortly after Sgt Parry's death at John Gilbert's hands, the three bushrangers took command of the Young road. They bailed up close to forty people of various employ whilst awaiting for the expected gold-buyers doing the rounds of the diggings in the few weeks before Christmas 1864. During the confinement of the captives, the following was observed and reported of the three bushrangers:

Last Saturday morning about ten o'clock, as two of Mr. Frederick Taylor's sons (George and James) were riding from the Fourteen to the Sixteen Mile Rush, a horseman rode down the side of a steep range and told them to "stand," but at the same time telling them not to be frightened but to come along with him. This was the notorious Dunn, who led his two young captives up the hill, where, just over the brow of which were already twenty prisoners congregated under the guard of Hall and Gilbert..., at about eleven o'clock Dunn expressed a desire for something to eat, when Hall told Mr. Henry to fetch six or seven dozen of eggs out of his cart, so that all hands might have a feed; meanwhile another man was sent to fill a large billy with water; a third was told to make a fire, boil the eggs, and roll them out. Gilbert produced some bread, which he divided as far as it would go among all who would accept of it, and a hearty meal was the result. Thus matters jogged on for hour after hour, Dunn and Gilbert alternately, and sometimes together, topping the hill, riding down its declivity, and shortly reappearing with more captives, until, at about three o'clock p.m., there were not less than forty prisoners... my informant, who is a very intelligent young man, and who was for síx hours a captive, during which time he paid the greatest attention to all that the gang said and did, says that Gilbert and Dunn seemed very cool and jolly, whereas Hall's manner was rather serious and anxious. Gilbert and Dunn's waistcoats were festooned with gold watch-guards, and their general appearance was that of flash, well-to-do young stockmen; but, on the contrary, Hall had a quiet and respectable air-he wearing nicely-shaped high boots and a well-fitting pair of brown cord pants, with fashionably-cut cloth coat and vest of the same colour, and only one gold chain, and not much of that to be seen... Gilbert has not the fresh, clear expression of countenance he used to have. His features are now much embrowned by the sun, and the skin in many places is peeling off. Hall is the only one of the three who cultivates any moustache or whisker, and he is getting fat. Of his companions in crime, one wears his hair so long as to touch his shoulders, and the other has it in short crisp curls. They all once or twice stated that they were determined never to surrender, but to fight to the last. Each had six large sized revolvers in his belt.⁵ 

It is often claimed by modern-day enthusiasts that Hall was tall and lean. However, this is far from the truth. Hall was an average height 5ft 6-8in and heavyset almost 14 stone bordering on obese. Note above Hall was observed as getting fat. He was nowhere near 6ft.

Departing the Lambing Flat district leading up to Christmas 1864, Ben Hall, Dunn and Gilbert appeared near Laggan 26 miles north of Goulburn and 5 miles from Crookwell. Here the gang set up operations in the surrounding Goulburn district and commenced sticking-up travellers and stations. However, John Gilbert's notoriety and relationship with some local lasses. The bushrangers decided to attend the small settlement of Binda's annual Ball as part of the Christmas Boxing Day celebrations. The bushrangers arrived in company with two local girls Ellen Monks, 17 and Christina McKinnon. The group arrived at Binda around eight o'clock in the evening, with the two girls going on ahead to the store of an ex-policeman Edward Morriss who was well known to the two girls. Whereupon, shortly after the three bushrangers appeared at the door of the store revolvers drawn and held-up Morriss and greeted the two girls upon entry:

Hall at once said, after putting his revolver on one side, "how do you do, Miss McKinnon; how do you do, Miss Monks; "I said to Hall "I suppose you are Ben Hall" and he replied, "I am that gentleman.⁶ 

After stealing £100 secreted in a jar the gang forced Mrs Morriss to change dresses and all then attended the Ball with Dunn securing a neighbour named Joseph Hadfield. The full particulars of the affair at Binda can be read through the link below.
Wednesday 28th December 1864

Below is the account of Morriss' court testimony and the case against Christina McKinnon and Ellen Monks as accessories in the burning down of his General Store. See link below.
Saturday 4th March 1865
Kimberley's Inn with Nelson
monument at right.
 c. 1900's.
Following the events and brutality at Binda on Boxing Day 1864, the three bushrangers next appeared on the Sydney road on the outskirts of Goulburn in the first weeks of the New Year 1865 and took command stopping all and sundry. As night fell the three rode into the small hamlet of Collector NSW arriving at Thomas Kimberley's Inn the Commercial Hotel on 26th January 1865. It was here that Jack Dunn as with Gilbert at Jugiong shot dead a policeman when Dunn cold-hardheartedly and mercilessly shot dead Constable Samuel Nelson the 38yr old lockup-keeper. A young girl had notified Nelson that the bushrangers were at Kimberley's. When preparing to head off to confront the bushrangers, his frantic wife Elizabeth implored him to await the constables' return from out searching for the gang. Samuel slowly turned to his wife while picking up his ancient rifle and said, "Now dear, I am only going to do my best" and set off as two of the bushrangers were robbing Kimberley's Inn. Dunn was instructed to keep a lookout.

Before their appearance in the town, the three bushrangers during the 26th January held sway over the road leading to Collector from Goulburn. For the last few days, Hall, Gilbert and Dunn were loitering around Rose's Lagoon, some five miles from Collector. Between the morning and mid-afternoon, everyone travelling along the road (Today's Federal Hwy) was waylaid. As each person was penned they were relieved of any valuables, including various amounts from half-a-crown to £11 12s, two watches were stolen, one horse, saddle and bridle. By two o'clock the gathered group resembled a country sports meeting made up of a collection of men, women, children, carts, drays, horses, and a couple of bullock teams. The robbers broke open cases, took a little clothing, and a double-barrel gun. They drank bottled porter and gave some to the people. As the afternoon wore on, Ben Hall instructed a couple of his prisoners to make tea for the captives. Preparations were well underway with the aroma of burning gum-leaves drifting blue into the afternoon heat, when Dunn, who was on watch saw a trooper, coming from the Goulburn direction and announced: "Here's a blasted trap." "If it's only one," suggested Gilbert, "we'll face him." The three bushrangers stood a moment gazing through the white haze of heat toward the approaching trooper. However, behind the closing trooper came a carriage, and after that, another trooper. The carriage carried Judge Meymott on his way to Yass, via Collector. "There's more of them," commented Hall. However, to avoid trouble, he added, "Let's be off!" promptly mounting, the three bushrangers rode off, galloping across the road and up the hill toward the dense bush as the Judge arrived at where the throng of prisoners milled about. 'Empire' 31st January 1865:

On Thursday last Judge Meymott left Goulburn en-route for Yass. His Honor preferred going by way of Collector, a village twenty-five miles from Goulburn instead of going the usual main road. He was escorted by constables Grey and Parker. About one or two o'clock the party reached Currawang, three miles from Collector. Grey, who was in-advance, here saw a man on horseback who came out of the bush, and whom he at once assumed to be one of the bushrangers now infesting the district, and who it since appears was Gilbert. Grey at once started off towards Gilbert, but was called back by the judge, and returned. It appeared afterwards from the remarks made by the bushrangers that Gilbert, seeing Grey approach, had rode out with the intention of capturing him, but that on seeing Parker behind, and that Grey had the courage to face him altered his mind and rode back to the cover of the bush.

The judge had got only about a hundred yards further when Mr. F. Hoare, of Gundaroo, who was coming to town, was stopped by Gilbert, Hall and Dunn. They searched him and took three half sovereigns which were being sent to this office in payment of an account. Mr. Hoare had a cheque and some silver in his portemonnaie which they look at but returned. They also looked at his watch, but gave it back to him. They told him they intended to visit Collector in tho evening, and therefore should be compelled to detain him.

The bushrangers now took possession of the road, stopping and detaining all who passed. Among them wore three horse-teams and nine bullock-teams. Altogether about thirty persons were stopped. The bushrangers broke open many of the cafes and helped themselves to some articles of clothing, of which they appeared to be in want. Gilbert expressed a great wish to secure a pair of boots; but here he failed. On one of the drays they found a new double-barrelled fowling-piece, belonging to Mr. Ranyard, of Gundaroo; and Gilbert loaded this and took it with him. The bushrangers broke open a case or two of bottled porter and drank some, giving freely to everybody who liked to partake or it.

Among the persons detained was a young man on horseback, named William Macauley. Whether his horse was restive, as he stated to the bushrangers, or whether he meant to escape, as was suspected, we have not heard: but the animal made some movement. Dunn, who was keeping guard at the time, immediately fired from his revolver, and the ball slightly wounded Macauley's horse in the neck. As Macauley made no further movement no additional violence was offered. Among the last persons robbed were Messrs. Kershaw, Pearce and Cook, young men employed as assistants at the stores of Messrs. Davies, Alexander, and Co. They took from Mr. Kershaw a gold watch and £1 in money ; from Mr. Pearce, a silver watch and chain, the horse he was riding (belonging to Mr. John Lawler), and his saddle and bridle; from Mr. Cook they took a half-crown. From a man of Mr. Kimberley's, who was on his way to Goulburn, the bushrangers took £11, which had been entrusted to him to pay an account in Goulburn.

About seven o'clock the bushrangers allowed the persons they had robbed to go their ways, while they themselves proceeded to Collector, where they called at Mr. Kimberley's public-house, which they ransacked, taking three guns, some boots, and other articles. The guns were subsequently recovered, having apparently been dropped by the bushrangers in their haste to get away.

In order to render intelligible what follows, we must now return to the time when the judge passed along the road. Mr. Voss, J.P., was travelling to Wollogorang, and saw the judge's carriage pass by, and also saw the bushrangers stopping some of the travellers. He hastened after the judge, and on overtaking him and communicating with the police, it was arranged that directly they had arrived at Collector, the police should go with Mr. Voss in search of the bushrangers. At Collector there were found to be three constables. One-the lockup keeper, Samuel Nelson-remained behind; the other two, with the judge's escort and Mr. Voss, started in search of the bushrangers, Mr. Voss and two of the policemen going to Wollogorang, while the others went to Rose's Lagoon.

Dunn shoots Nelson.
Smith's Weekly
November 1922.

C.H. Hunt.
The night was coming on fast as the bushrangers arrived at and ransacked Kimberley's. Word had reached Constable Nelson who emerged from his home armed with a long rifle at the ready, bayonet fixed, set off approaching the Inn. Two of his sons, one of whom was forced to mind the horses and another on seeing his father, followed him close-by. Approaching in the fast-fading light Dunn called out to Nelson to 'halt', but the brave trooper marched on. Dunn then coolly took aim at the shadowy figure and Nelson at the last minute spotted Dunn aiming. Nelson called out 'stop' as Dunn's revolver kicked in his hand as its bullet struck Nelson in the cheek, he staggered, Dunn then quickly transferred to his shotgun and fired into Nelson's chest. His two sons watched as the fatal shots ripped into their father. Collapsing, Nelson's lifeblood pumped out as the eldest boy rushed to his side. Life drained from his body, Constable Nelson was dead:

Hall, Gilbert, and Dunn, went into Collector and stuck-up Kimberley's Inn. On this reaching the ears of the lock-up keeper, Samuel Nelson, who was the only policeman there, he took his carbine and went up towards Kimberley's. Dunn met him on the road, called upon him to stand, firing at the same instant. Nelson cried out "stop," and fell. Dunn fired again. Both shots took effect, one on the head or neck, the other in the heart Nelson never spoke after receiving the second wound. After he committed this murder, Dunn went to Kimberley's Inn and the bushrangers left the township. Subsequently the police sighted them on the brow of a hill and charged them, the bushrangers leaped their horses over logs and made off, and were lost sight of the evening being intensely dark. They abandoned a stolen horse. Mr. Voss held a magisterial inquiry on the body of Nelson last evening, and the coroner held an inquest today. Nelson had been in the police force for some years, and was much respected. He leaves a wife and eight children. Two of his sons saw him shot; one was holding the bushrangers horses at the time. The outrages by Hall's gang cause great excitement here.

While Dunn had ambushed Nelson. Hall and Gilbert searched the hotel where Hall placed his revolver against the head of Mrs Kimberley demanding cash: 

The gang had 26 men bailed up in the bar of the hotel. Gilbert told Mrs. Kimberley she had nothing to be afraid of, that she would not be hurt. Hall, however, put a pistol to her head and demanded the money in her house. Mrs. Kimberley had the money in the pocket of her apron, and drawing it out threw it on the counter. Hall rejected notes and cheques, stating that were of no use to him. Mrs. Kimberley displayed great presence of mind in a situation which would have terrified most women, seized the paper money, declaring if it was no good to a bushranger, it was to her. Hall was so struck with her promptitude that he exclaimed, "You're a plucky old woman."

Reputed couch at Kimberley's
Hotel on which Const
Nelson's body was laid
after his murder
by John Dunn.

Held at NSW Police Academy

Gunshots rang out, and brave Nelson crashed to the ground. Hall and Gilbert were still stripping the hotel of goods, rushed out on hearing the shots. Gilbert was indifferent to the shooting. However, Ben Hall was angry and saw the work of the Kid as he was known to refer to Dunn as cowardly:

On Dunn's returning to the inn and narrating what had occurred, the bushrangers mounted their horses and went off. The police who went in either direction for some time saw nothing of the bushrangers, who, however, appeared to have watched the party who took the direction of Wollogorang, as when at Kimberley's they stated that they had done so, and described the order in which the individuals rode. The two parties of police met again by agreement at Rose's Lagoon, and returned towards Collector. By this time it was intensely dark, there being no moon and the sky being overspread with black clouds. After going for some distance, Mr. Voss, who was slightly in advance of the police, saw three horsemen just rise on the brow off a hill. He immediately called to the police and charged. The bushrangers appear to have caught sight of the police at the same moment, for they leaped their horses over some large logs that were on the road-side and made off through the bush. On reaching the spot Mr. Voss found a horse, saddle, and bridle, and, thinking that one of the bushrangers had been thrown, halted while he looked round. As he could see no one he secured the animal. Owing to the intense darkness nothing more could be seen of the bushrangers; and the party returned to Collector, where they ascertained that the horse they had recovered was the one stolen from Mr. Pearce as mentioned above. 

Constable Samuel Nelson.
Having evaded the posse Ben Hall was immensely displease with the Kid as when they emerged to see the corpse of Nelson, Gilbert congratulated Dunn. Whereas Hall bitterly reproached Dunn for what he termed 'an act of cowardice.' Laying in the blood-soaked dust Nelson's, two sons weeping for their lost father his body was lifted and removed to Kimberley's hotel where he was laid on a sofa and an inquiry within hours took place. 

After the three galloped out of the town it was reported that Ben Hall's fury had not receded with The Kid:

Jack Dunn shot poor Nelson at Collector, and Ben Hall was mixed up in it, although I have it from a woman that Hall confided in that they all agreed beforehand that no one was to be fired at unless in actual self-defence. There was a great row afterwards between Hall and Dunn. Dunn threatened to shoot Hall, but Hall knocked him down, took his revolvers from him, and handed them to Gilbert. He then got on his horse and galloped away.

When news reached Goulburn, the Superintendent of police fired off a telegram to the Inspector General McLerie highlighting Nelson's death. There has been much written regarding the shooting, however, in this telegram the superintendent reports that after Nelson fell from the first shot, Dunn walked up and fired point-blank at the dying Nelson;

The following is the telegram received yesterday by the Government:- Goulburn, 27th January, 1865. From Superintendent of Police to Inspector-General. Hall and gang went into Collector about dusk yesterday, knowing the mounted men were scouring the bush at the time in the neighbourhood, the Judge, with an escort of two constables, having heard of the bushrangers in the immediate neighbourhood. Nelson, the lockup-keeper, was the only constable in Collector at the time. As soon as Nelson heard that the bushrangers were in Kimberley's, which is the outside house in the town and some distance from any other, he armed himself and went towards the store. Hall and Gilbert were inside, and Dunn keeping watch outside. When he saw Nelson he concealed himself behind a paling fence, and deliberately fired. Nelson fell, and Dunn went up put the revolver to him, and fired a second time when he was lying down on the ground. The bushrangers got horses immediately after this and galloped off towards Wallagorang. About two miles from Collector they were met by Mr Voss and Mr Hathwaite, magistrates, with three policemen. The night was very dark, and the bushrangers turned as soon as sighted into a dense scrub, leaving in the hands of the party a horse, saddle and bridle, which they had previously stolen. Direction taken not known.

In 1909 in the 'Wagga Wagga Advertiser', Saturday 24 July, a W. A. Cuneo recounted  a version of the after-effects and disagreement between Hall and Jack Dunn and Dunn's comment about the shooting:

Dunn challenged Nelson to stop two or three times before he fired, and shot him dead, and excused himself for the deed by saying: "I called out to him not to come any closer, but he wouldn't be stopped, and I put a rat hole in him, before he could put it in me." They divided the spoil at an old hut that night, and a very severe quarrel ensued between Hall and Dunn. Hall was still very sore over the shooting of Nelson, and told Dunn that he would never have a day's luck for it; that it was unnecessary, cold-blooded, and that Nelson could have done no harm. Dunn said: "You are too chicken hearted for the game, and better go and look after that wife of yours. He was promptly knocked down, and in the after scuttle Dunn drew his revolver on Ben, but was prevented from further action by Gilbert. 

Although the three bushrangers continued together friction was now ever-present amongst them and where separations of short periods ensued as Cuneo again states Ben Hall's comment; 

The police are making it very warm for us, and I am going to try and get away from the country altogether. Johnnie Dunn is a bit too strong for me; I can't agree with him, and I'm afraid I'll put a bullet through him one of these days. He made me very wild the night we took the tenner from the man I'm sending it to. They had a few chickens and a hen in an old coop, and Jack took the hen and wrung her neck. He reckoned he wanted some soup, but I reckon it was pure flashness, and I told him if ever he did the like again I'd shoot him.

Widow, Elizabeth Nelson
and Grandson.
c. 1900.

Private Source.
At the Inquest, Elizabeth Nelson, widow of the deceased, deposed:

Yesterday evening I got word that the bushrangers were at Kimberley's. Deceased was out but was speedily found, ran home, put on his belt, took his loaded carbine with the bayonet on it, and left the house saying, 'now, I am going to do my best,' I did not again see him alive. 

Next the doctor, Dr Handford deposed:

I have made a post-mortem examination of the body of the deceased. On examining the body externally, I found a bullet wound mid way between the nose and the ear, on the left side of the face; also a wound two inches long and two and a half inches broad, on the left side of the chest, and twenty shot marks round the wound. The wound took an oblique direction downwards. The stomach was protruding through the opening. On examining the cavity of the chest, I found the heart lacerated to the extent of one and a half inches at the anterior and lower half towards the left side. The remaining viscera were healthy. On examining the abdomen, I found several shots in the liver, and a portion of a wire cartridge with several shots in it, which I produce. The shots correspond with those I have just taken from a wire cartridge given to me now. The stomach was perforated, but the other viscera were healthy. The fifth, sixth, seventh, and eight ribs on the left side were fractured. The brain and membranes were uninjured. The ball most probably passed into the deep muscles of the neck, as I could, not trace it. Death resulted from the wound I have described and no other cause.

Reward Notice
Shortly after the shooting of Constable Nelson, the government addressed the issue of reward. For the first time Morgan was linked to the gang, but only by the monetary reward, as the newspapers reported the new warrant on 10th February 1865, at the same time the parliament was debating the 'Felons Apprehension Act':

In a special Gazette issued yesterday, it was announced that in lieu of a thousand pounds for such information as would lead to the arrest of Morgan, Hall, or Gilbert, together with a hundred pounds for information that would convict harbourers, a reward of £500 would be given for the arrest of either of these men, and a separate £500 for information that would lead to their arrest. The £100 for informing against harbourers remains as it was. A fresh sum of £375 is also offered for the arrest of John Dunn, the murderer of constable Nelson, and another £375 for information that will lead to his arrest; and all persons are cautioned that by harbouring him they make themselves accessories to the crime of murder.

The Goulburn Chronicle
4th February 1865.
During a robbery soon after the killing of Nelson Dunn was reported as 'Bounceable.' Expressed in the 'The Sydney Morning Herald', Friday 10 February 1865:

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

The four Faithful
Constable Nelson's murder by John Dunn engendered conflict between Ben Hall and the young tearaway and bad blood brewed between them, however, not enough to eject the killer from Hall and fellow murder Gilbert's midst. The following newspaper link summarises the events leading up to and including the attack on four brothers, the Faithfull's, who were travelling by wagon from their property Springfield heading into Goulburn to return by train the King's College after the summer recess. The brothers demonstrated immense courage holding off the bushrangers dodging shots as they retreated back to the homestead. Their actions grabbed the state's attention, and in due course, they received a medal for valour.

Wednesday, 8th February 1865.
On the 14th March, the three bushrangers appeared in the Braidwood district and set about robbing the Araluen Gold Escort. The Escort under the stewardship of Mr Blatchford departed Braidwood with a reputed 1500oz of gold onboard and guarded by four troopers. Constable Byrnes, Constable John Kelly, Senior Constable Stapylton, and Constable MacEllicot. As the Gold Escort proceeded with one Constable riding ahead whom the bushrangers allowed to pass. After the trooper had passed, the gang now consisting of four opened fire on Gilbert's orders. Kelly was shot in the chest just above the heart. There has been some conjecture as to the fourth gang member with some reports stating it was Daniel Ryan long-time friend of Dunn's. Others believed it was Thomas Clarke who had befriended the gang and no doubt had been instrumental in their finding their way through the district. For full details see attached link below.
Thursday, 16th March 1865.

Remaining in the Goulburn district, the bushrangers sought refuge at a harbourers home named Byrnes. The police gained information about the gang's presence and in an attempt to capture the three men set about a raid to effect their seizure. As the police positioned themselves two were sleeping in a barn at Mutbilly and Hall reputedly just outside the hut. Discovered Gilbert fired and Trooper Pye dived for cover as Wiles was wounded in the knee. However, it was thought Ben Hall was shot in the arm as the gang fled on foot. Newspaper report below.
(From) YASS Courier
Friday, 4th March 1865.
William Davis. c. 1863
Gilbert, acquired Davis'
Tranter revolving rifle
at Geary's Gap.

During another robbery Gilbert while awaiting the Sydney coach at Geary's Gap recounted the bushrangers version of the raid in the early hours at Byrne's farm:

During the stay for the mail the time was passed in general conversation, in the course of which Gilbert volunteered an account of the Mutbilly affair. We give the bushranger's version for what it is worth: Gilbert said that on the morning of their surprise at Mutbilly he and Dunn were undressed and asleep in the barn, while Hall slept under the wall of Byrne's hut. Gilbert was the first to hear the approach of the police. Dunn was sleeping heavily at the time. Gilbert endeavoured to arouse his bedfellow by saying, " We are surrounded," and at that moment the head and shoulders of a policeman were seen in the doorway, whereupon Gilbert seized his revolver and fired at the intruder. He then with a kick aroused Dunn and tired a second shot. These were the only shots tired. The police never fired once, but immediately retreated from the door, when Gilbert and Dunn deliberately walked out, and, joined by Hall, the three quietly walked away before the face of their opponents. They did not attempt to run, nor did the police and volunteers attempt to pursue them. Gilbert said, that fully expecting to be followed by the police, they resolved not to waste their strength by running, but to turn and fight in the event of a chase. Dunn was, in fact, was hardly wide awake when first surprised, and just out-side the barn dropped his revolver in stumbling over a log, but discovering his loss he coolly went back, searched for it, and, finding it, returned to his companions. A little way further on Dunn fell into a creek, where the police might easily have captured him if they had been so disposed. As for the arms found by the police, these were not what the bushrangers had thrown away in their flight, but what were on their saddles near their horses.

The robbery at Geary's Gap, Gilbert stole his longed for revolving rifle from a Mr. Davis on the 9th March 1865. The newspaper article below;
The Sydney Morning Herald
Monday, 13th March 1865. 

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

The Sydney Morning Herald
Monday, 8th May 1865.

Morgan Dead.
April 1865.
By late April 1865 the three bushrangers, Hall, Gilbert and Dunn would have been fully aware that a new government Act for their apprehension was passed in the NSW Parliament. Enacted specifically to end their reign of terror and proclaimed as the 'The Felons Apprehension Act', which would enable any persons to capture or kill them as outlaws. The three bushrangers were ordered to surrender themselves to the gaoler at Goulburn by the 29th April 1865, after which the act was to come into effect on the 10th May 1865.

The gang in late April of 1865, following the 'Yamma Station' robbery failed to arrive at Goulburn Gaol on the 29th April 1865. By May with the police hot on their trail the three separated with Hall now alone:

It is also said that Hall had been in and about the town of Forbes two or three days previous to being shot. Gilbert and Dunn were not with him, and it is rumoured that they were off after some horses, while Hall visited Forbes and neighbourhood, and that it was while Hall was on his way to join Gilbert and Dunn that he was shot.  

With Dunn and Gilbert together they planned to rejoin at Hall's mate Michael Connolly's hut at Billabong near Forbes and then shift operations or flee the colony.

Yamma Station.
Another possibility is that the three had separated for good after a quarrel and that Hall was preparing his own departure. The news of Ben Hall's arch-enemy's death and the man Ben Hall held most responsible for his madness, Sir Frederick Pottinger, had died on the 9th April 1865, Pottinger's death became highly publicised in the Lachlan District. A death that may have taken the wind out of the sails of Ben Hall's bushranging career and altered his future and frame of mind. The fracture between the bushrangers was told by the grandfather of John Dunn to Constable King when King questioned Kelly about Dunn and Gilbert's movements and if Ben Hall was also with them;

"No, only two ov 'em; Ben Hall's left them. Him an' Janney couldn't agree no how. So they told me."

On the 13th May 1865, eight days after the bullet-riddled body of Ben Hall lay dead and buried, John Dunn and John Gilbert were in the process of clearing out of the Lachlan, pushed hard on knocked up horses which they soon replaced. They were next reported near Murrumburrah:

On Thursday night a horse was stolen out of a paddock at Murrumburrah, of which no particulars could be ascertained till about 11 o'clock on Friday morning, when a man named Furlonge, who was travelling with sheep, stated that he had been visited by Gilbert and Dunn, who rounded up his horses and took a favorite animal, leaving in its stead the one taken from Murrumburrah. On Friday night the bushrangers camped at Reiley's Hill, two miles from Binalong, some one having seen them there apparently fast asleep.

They rode on and sought refuge at the home of Dunn's grandfather John Kelly, Kelly, who was described as:

A tall, gaunt looking man, about 60 years of age. He had deep set piercing grey eyes, a hooked nose, and wore long side whiskers. He always shaved his upper lip and chin, that is when he did shave, so his face often had an unwashed appearance, augmented by a love for chewing tobacco. His grandson, Dunn, had similar features. The hooked nose in particular, and deep set, glittering, grey eyes, at once indicated kinship..."

Felons Apprehension
 Act, 1865
Kelly, for whom the reward of two thousand pounds was too great a prize, even for the life of his own grandson went to see the police, on arrival at the Binalong police station Kelly encountered Constable King. Here they made arrangements for the capture of the now-outlawed two bushrangers. Constable King recounted the conversation and events long after John Kelly's death and stated that whilst alone at the Binalong police station Dunn's grandfather, Kelly, appeared at the door and asked for the Sergeant who at the time was absent. Kelly conveyed to King coyly that on receiving word of Gilbert and Dunn's impending visit "he moight be of help", King recounts the conversation;

"I'd loike a few words wud the sargint, If ye please, Mishter King."
"Ah! Well, he'll be in presently. Mean while, make yourself at home, If I can't be of any use to you."
"Well, yo moight be able tor giv me some information."
"I will if I can. What is the trouble, John" "Well, I kem to ask if there's any truth in what Paddy Ryan's been afther tellln' me about me gran'son Johnnie bein' outlaw'd, Misther King."
"Well, I am sorry, for your sake, that it is, old man. We received, the noticess yesterday, and one is posted up outside there."
"How much is put on 'em?"
"One thousand pounds, alive or dead. Five hundred goes to the person who will give information that will lead to the capture of any one of them, and the remainder to the person who shoots or captures either of them."
"By Gor! the Guvermint manes business."
"Yes, the murder of poor Constable Nelson, the father of nine children, was unnecessary and cold-blooded.
"Whist a moment," said John, interrupting me. "Spose any wun gev the information, an' they wasn't captured or kilt, wud they git anything?"
"Not a penny."
"I see! " answered John, somewhat disappointed. "I thought-"
"Why! what did you suppose they would for?" 
"Well now, I'll tell you, and"-lowering his voice-''mind it's a saycret 'twixt you and me; but Jannie moight be comin' ter see me some day. He's very fond of the ould woman. Sure the Divvel himself- can't save his neck, and if five hindred pounds is to be med out ov 'im, the sooner the betther, 'fore he shoots some wan else."

It now dawned on me that John had something up his sleeve, so I took up another role.
"Quite right, John! Quite right! I always knew you as a decent, honest man, and I am glad to find you are no sympathiser with your grandson's doings, and see here, old man, If ever you give me any information, it will be safe and sacred, and so will your share of the reward; here's my hand on it."He took my hand and wrung it until I winced, saying, "I belave yer a man ov yer word, Mishter King," then sitting down beside him I again ventured "I suppose you have no idea when they are likely to pay you this visit?"
He grinned, and, shutting his eye, said, "By Gor, they moight come to-night."
"Oh, that he damned," I exclaimed, jumping off my chair.
"But I say they moight," he answered, with significant emphasis.
"Go easy, man sit down till we make a plan."
I again sat down, and he continued.
"Ye see, If it wus to git wind that I towld ye anything, an' they wus to get away, by Gor they'd cum an' shoot me loike a dog. So yez must be careful not to, miss yer game, shoot straight if ye does shoot, or don't shoot at all at all."
"John! You would make a better general than Fosbery," said I, approvingly.
"Well, now, hold yer whisht a minnt thin ye ken have yer say. They'll be at my place fur sartin to-night."
"They wur there lasht noight, and the auld woman is gettln' a good feed fur 'um ready for to-noight, and I've got a keg ov rum in the bag outside.

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

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

Ellen Jullian
Private Source.
When Gilbert, the bushranger, was shot near Binalong, his partner, Dunn made for Bogolong station where he demanded a horse, saddle, and bridle. These were given to him. He showed Mrs. Julian a matchbox, which a bullet had struck, saying: "But for this, I would not be here." Mrs. Julian dressed his wounds, and advised him to surrender to the police, but he would not do so. He said be would join Thunderbolt.

In a little known fact regarding trooper Bright, he was lucky to have been alive to participate in the gunfight as 12 months earlier Bright was gut shot near Young in company with detective Jaggers when picking up a loaded carbine loaded with twelve revolver bullets which, had been left wrapped in a blanket by the black tracker Murray who accompanied the troopers. Burrangong Tribune, April 16, 1864:

SERIOUS ACCIDENT TO TROOPER BRIGHT.- We regret to report a very severe accident, which might have been attended with loss of life, that occurred to this young man, one of the troopers belonging to the police force stationed in this district. It appears that on Wednesday afternoon, about five o'clock, a small detachment of mounted police, which had been despatched from the Camp in pursuit of Ben Hall and his accomplices, arrived at a small bark gunyah about twenty-four miles from this township. The party entered the hut, taking the blankets off their horses. lt was raining at the time; and the roof of the gunyah being very dilapidated, the rain, as a matter of course penetrated. A carbine, loaded with twelve revolver bullets, had been left by the black tracker who accompanied the troopers.

On the blanket being removed by poor Bright, by the barrel, in order to place it in a drier spot, the hammer of it caught a portion of the blanket, which, not drawing it back to full or half cock, unfortunately went off, and lodged the contents of the carbine in the left side of the upper portion of the thigh, just at the lower extremity of the abdomen. Trooper Bright had a silk handkerchief in his vest pocket: and, strange to say, this was carried by the bullets, in an oblique direction, through the thigh, coming out at the back. The handkerchief, when extracted by senior constable Jagger's, in charge of the party, was much burnt.

The wound caused by the entrance of the bullets is about the size of the bottom of a medium tumbler, and presents a very black appearance. After the accident happened, Jagger's returned with his party to the camp; and Bright accompanied them on horseback until he arrived at Mr. Saunderson's, The Camp Inn, where he now lies in a very dangerous state. Dr. Temple, the Surgeon to the police was, of course, immediately sent for, and promptly attended. A large number of leaches were applied; and when no visited his patient yesterday afternoon, the inflammation had been much reduced, and Bright appeared easier, and not in such great pain as he had been previously. The poor follow suffered great agony riding back after the accident occurred, which may be easily imagined when we consider he rode a distance of twenty-four miles. When the carbine went off. Bright called out (to the black track, Murray} "What had you in the gun?" The other replied Bullets;" on hearing which, Bright immediately fell down insensible on his side.
Gilbert shot dead trooper Bright rode to Yass to report the news lighting up the telegraph wires:

TELEGRAPHIC MESSAGES. [FROM OUR CORRESPONDENTS.] DEATH OF GILBERT, THE BUSHRANGER. YASS. Saturday, 8 p.m. TROOPER Bright of the Binalong police arrived in Yass this evening, and states that senior constable Hales and three troopers, from information they received, proceeded from Binalong in the direction of one Kelly's, a settler, about one mile from Binalong, near Mr. Edgar Beckham's station, near which place they encountered Gilbert and Dunn. After a severe encounter and exchanges of shots, Gilbert was shot dead and Dunn escaped on foot. Constable King was wounded in the ankle. Gilbert's body is now lying in the Binalong lockup. Dr. Campbell has gone to attend the wounded trooper. No further particulars are yet to hand. Binalong is about twenty-five miles from Yass.

Having stolen a horse Dunn was reputedly seen near Jugiong where the gang had previously had staunch harbourers. However, this is highly unlikely. Yass Courier 20th May 1865:

THE BUSHRANGER DUNN.- The horse which Dunn took from Mr. Julian's station on Saturday last, was seen on the run on Wednesday. It had evidently been severely ridden. On Sunday morning, about eleven o'clock, Dunn was seen riding a black horse between Redbank and Jugiong; the animal was much jaded.
On the 14th May 1865, an inquest was conveyed on John Gilbert's body and the actions surrounding his shooting.

Sydney Mail
Saturday 20th May 1865

Letter to Goulburn Gaol
regarding the expected
surrender of Hall, Gilbert & Dunn.

New South Wales,
Australia, Sheriff's Papers,
1829-1879 for John Dunn.
After Gilbert was gunned down, Dunn succeeded in escaping and made his way to a Mr & Mrs Jullian's station searching for a horse. In later life Mrs Ellen Jullian described her brief meeting with Dunn and her assistance with his wound;

With Dunn's escape, his Grandfather was arrested for harbouring. Under the new Felons Apprehension Act, Kelly should have faced the full force of the law, but is it was reported in June 1865 of Kelly's dubious arrest and release:

Kelly, charged with harbouring Gilbert and Dunn on the occasion of the gallant attack on those desperadoes by Senior-constable Hales and Constable Bright, has been discharged from custody. At the time to which he was remanded, there was no magistrate in attendance, and consequently he was let go. Of course all this is significant to any one who has the least brains.

The reward for Gilbert's capture has been divided as follows:

£500 to the informer; £150 to Hales; £130 to Bright; £120 to King ; and £100 to Hall. 
John Dunn, Goal entry book January 1866, note Dunn was educated.
John Dunn, Criminal Courts record trial date 9th January 1866.
John Dunn, Darlinghurst Gaol Entrance book, 3rd February 1866.
NSW Police Gazette,
6th December 1865.
Having commenced fleeing the Lachlan district Dunn made his way northwest. However, en route northwest in late May 1865, Dunn was sighted in the backcountry near Forbes, where Billy Dargin in company with Inspector Davidson, Ben Hall's executioner Insp Davidson, discovered hidden £800 in bank notes in a mailbag stuffed near a fallen tree:

On Thursday, while out in the bush with Mr Inspector Davidson, Billy Dargin, the black tracker, came across a bundle which, upon being opened, was found to contain the sum of £800 in bank notes Mr Davidson had come out for the purpose of searching for a revolver which had been lost during the chase by his party after bushrangers some time ago in the direction of the Talibang Mountain. When nearing the end of Boyd Creek, about four miles from Uah station, Billy saw what he at first thought was a bone wedged under a log. He dismounted, and found the object to consist of an oilskin wrapper, inside of which was a mail bag containing £800 half notes. From appearances, it was evident that the parcel had been put where it was found when the grass was high, and that cattle by feeding had disturbed it, and so exposed it to view. 

Dunn may have also been wanting the funds but was had failed to locate them:

 Apropos of bushranging, the last and most blood thirsty of the gang a short time ago made his appearance in he neighbourhood of Forbes, but for a very brief period only, and has not since been heard of. I need hardy say that I am speaking of Dunn. He was seen in a lonely spot, not far from where the bundle of half-notes was found some few weeks ago by Mr Davidson, and about as likely a place for a murderer's retreat as could be chosen, but the very wants of such men are their greatest enemies, as in the supply thereof they must keep up some kind of intercourse with their fellow men. Hence the danger of discovery and capture."

Not heard or seen for some months, Dunn's whereabouts remained a mystery to the NSW police, soon rumours began to circulate of his presence in the Walgett area some 350 miles from his last sighting near Illilong just south of Binalong where Gilbert had been shot dead, and Dunn subsequently made his escape. Furthermore, it had been presumed that Dunn had possibly contacted another bushranger who worked both the New England district and limited areas west of Narrabri by Fred Ward's alias Thunderbolt; however, this is untrue, and there is no evidence of Dunn ever encountering Ward. Accordingly, the rumours of Dunn’s presence on the Barwon appeared accurate. It was consequently reported that Dunn had been leading a quiet existence as a horse-breaker on a station owned by a Mr Alexander McPhail in the company of another employee Joseph Burford, and an unnamed person, who upon Dunn's discovery and in the contest that followed fled quick smart. However, Dunn’s location exposed the police swamped the district, and time would quickly run out for the young bushranger. (See hunt link below.)
The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser
Tuesday, 19th December 1865.

Authors Note: Joseph Burford would be charged under the 'Felons Apprehension Act', and faced trial for his harbouring Dunn and giving false information to the police, and be sent down on the 26th March 1866, for six months to be served at Maitland Gaol, where he was released in August 1866. Another harbourer John Walton at whose home Dunn was at was also charged with the offence, For this crime, a reward was paid to the arresting police. Walton received two years at Bathurst Gaol at hard labour.

Dunn survived for another few weeks and was finally captured in January 1866. (see article below) Following his capture Mr. Arthur Willmott, J.P. described to his relatives in England his conversation with John Dunn during his removal to Coonamble goal. Extract Dated; 13th March 1866;

Dunn was most communicative to me on the road in and all but told me it was a good thing for me he was taken. Dunn told me he had (at the time he was shot down by McHale and lay waiting for the troopers to come up), determined to have shot them both down if he could and then to have made for more revolvers which were planted within a hundred yards from where Elliott took him. He begged of them to blow his brains out on the spot and told them before me that nothing would give him greater pleasure if he had his other revolver than stand 100 yards off and fight the whole lot. Wounded as he was he sat up and took the most deliberate aim just as much as though he had known they had been firing at him or only with a pop gun. He told me he had been in hotter work than that and that he never knew what fear was. He also observed to me that he was satisfied to believe that when dead he was done for and disregarded any thought of a future state. Poor fellow, he is tried, condemned and sentenced to be hanged five days hence.

It was not the last of Dunn, as whilst held at the Dubbo Gaol and weak from the gunshot wounds inflicted by Dunn's captures, he escaped from the goal, as recounted in the link below from the Illustrated Sydney News 16th February 1866.

16th February 1866

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

Illustration of the condemned cell's
Darlinghurst Gaol.

The Goulburn Herald and Chronicle
24th February 1866

McHale Recognition for
Dunn Capture.
During Dunn's capture, both he and M'Hale were wounded. Doctor William Ramsey of Dubbo was sent to attend the men and took the 110-mile journey to Coonamble on horseback at the written request of Sub-Inspector Hogg. Leaving Dubbo on the 1st January 1866, Ramsey arrived at Coonamble on the 3rd January 1866. Dr Ramsey wrote to the 'Sydney Mail' regarding his medical attention to both men. His letter was published on 3rd February 1866. In it, he laid out the assistance administered to John Dunn who was then in a perilous state;

Saturday 3rd February 1866
Reward distribution for
 Dunn capture.
The 'Illawarra Mercury', Tuesday 13th February 1866 noted that when his father came to see him at Bathurst, Dunn was scarcely recognised. 

The Bushranger Dunn. (From the Empire] - Yesterday, at noon, in a room over the Debtors Ward. Darlinghurst gaol, constable M'Hale, of the Canonbar police, formally charged John Dunn with the wilful murder of constable Samuel Nelson, lock-up keeper at Collector, on the evening of the 26th January 1865. Captain Scott, chief Police Magistrate presided. Mr. Williams, Crown Prosecutor, conducted the examination; and Mr Ormiston, chief police deposition clerk took down the depositions.

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

John Dunn still suffering from gunshot wounds was under police escort from Bathurst to Penrith and then bordered a train for the trip to Sydney. However, before the trip, Dr Busby at Bathurst gaol assisted Dr Palmer extracted a bullet from Dunn's back. Without any aesthetic, the doctor probed; 'The Sydney Morning Herald' Friday 26th January 1866:

A BUSHRANGER'S PLUCK UNDER THE KNIFE.— Wednesday's Bathurst Times states that on Saturday last Dr. Busby extracted the bullet from Dunn's back in a few seconds, with little or no difficulty. The upper portion of the bullet was not more than half an inch from the surface of the skin. It had been conical in shape, but when extracted it presented a cylindrical appearance. Its weight was exactly seven pennyweights troy. Dr. Palmer was present during the operation. The prisoner did not manifest that courage which his career would lead one to expect from him, for he roared and shrieked with all his might, and behaved in such an unmanly manner, that it became necessary to have him held down by four of the warders. He is now progressing favourably, and Dr Busby is of opinion that Dunn will entirely recover the use of his leg. He eats and sleeps well, his pulse is in a healthy condition and no doubt is entertained of his speedy convalescence.

Newtown Railway Station.
c. 1890's

Courtesy NLA
News of the celebrated bushrangers pending arrival at Sydney's Central Station saw a large crowd begin to gather in expectation of a look at the 'Terror of the Colony'; 'The Goulburn Herald and Chronicle' Wednesday 7th February 1866:

The bushranger Dunn arrived at the Newtown railway station at half-past two o'clock on Saturday afternoon, having been brought down from Penrith in charge of Superintendent Lydiard and a constable. As it was pretty generally known in Sydney that Dunn had left Bathurst on Thursday morning with the escort, it was supposed he would arrive in Sydney, on Friday, and great numbers of people assembled at the Redfern station to meet both the morning and evening trains from Penrith, with the expectation of seeing him; but they were disappointed, as Captain McLerie had deemed it prudent not to make an exhibition of the man. He was met at Newtown by Captain McLerie and Mr Fosberry with a cab. Very few people were assembled to witness his arrival at Newtown, although there were great numbers waiting at the Redfern station anxiously expecting him. It was with some difficulty he walked along the platform to the cab waiting for him; he appeared to be very weak, and, having both his hands and legs ironed, it was necessary for him to place his arms round the constable's neck. He did not appear to be at all discomposed at his situation, and smiled when Captain McLerie spoke to him. He was dressed in a pair of tweed trousers, brown Crimean shirt, and California hat. He has quite a boyish appearance, very slenderly built frame, rather a prominent nose, and grey eyes. It was indeed very difficult to believe that that was the man who had been guilty of such crimes as have been laid against him; there was nothing in his countenance to betoken such depravity; and it was almost impossible to reconcile one's self to the fact that the young man before you was he who had been a terror to the district whence he comes, and who has heaped upon his own head the scorn and contempt of all honest men. He has been brought down to Sydney that he may be tried by a more impartial jury than would most likely be obtained in that part of the colony where he has made him self so notorious. He was taken to Darlinghurst gaol, and will be tried at the next criminal sessions, which commence on the 12th instant. 

John Dunn was finally incarcerated at Darlinghurst Gaol; he was formally brought before a judge and charged over the death of Constable Nelson. His initial arraignment was noted in the paper were Dunn when asked of his heath and stated he was weak; "Then there is the case of Dunn; he was brought up before the Chief Justice late yesterday afternoon, and the following is a report of what took place on the occasion:—

John Dunn was then placed in the dock, indicted for the wilful murder of constable Samuel Nelson, at Collector, on the 26th January, 1865. "The prisoner pleaded not guilty. "His Honor: I understand there is some application to be made to me for a postponement of your trial. If you have any application to make respecting the postponement of your trial, make it now. Have you any counsel? "Mr. Read, gaoler: He has counsel your Honor. "His Honor: Are you suffering any pain? "Prisoner: Not much. I'm only weak. "His Honor: If you had been suffering pain I would have allowed your counsel to make the application for a postponement in your absence to-morrow, for I don't wish to make you a public spectacle to a thousand people. As your counsel is not here now I will entertain the application to-morrow, but I can hold out no hopes whatever that the application will be granted. "Remove the prisoner." It is now understood that Dunn will be brought up, or the argument be heard for the postponement of the trial, after the close of the other business this afternoon, but it can be hardly expected that the trial will be postponed. The Crown law officers are desirous, and very properly so, of having the business brought to a close. However, if affidavits state that material witnesses who could prove an alibi are absent, I suppose that there is no course but to yield.⁸ 

Illustrated Sydney News,
 Friday 16th February 1866.
John Dunn next stood his trial and was found within ten minutes of the completion of the evidence, Guilty, and the judge duly sentenced him to death with a lengthy admonishment of his crimes and associations. 'The Queenslander', Saturday 3rd March 1866: DUNN, THE BUSHRANGER. A principal item from Sydney is the trial of John Dunn, the bushranger, who was charged with the wilful murder of Constable Nelson, at Collector, on January 26, 1865. The court was crowded. The Attorney-General prosecuted for the Crown, and the prisoner was defended by Mr Patterson and Mr M'Devitt. After hearing the evidence, the jury retired for ten minutes, and then returned with a verdict of guilty. After the usual question was put to the prisoner as to whether he had anything to say, his Honor (according to the report of the Empire) thus addressed him:

You must have expected this result to have taken place, and that from a verdict pronounced so instantly, you can but expect that your ignominious death has been richly merited. It is lamentable to see such a young man, scarcely twenty-two years of age, steeped to the very lips in crime. And what for? Where now is your wealth, where now your means, of what use has been your career of plunder and your seizure of riches. You are now so poor as not to be able to pay for counsel to defend you. Could you not foresee a day of retribution like this? You are young, and have, no doubt, been led on by the perilous enterprise into which bad associates may have enticed you; but then there was little heroism in what you did. If you had robbed the rich only, and abstained from other crimes, something might have been said in your behalf; but you have gone further—you have robbed the widow of her mite; the settler of his horses and stores, and the digger of his hard-earned treasure. You were instrumental in the death of Sergeant Parry, and for that it was only necessary to prove you were the outlaw John Dunn, when sentence could have been passed. You nearly committed murder on M'Hale, who was attempting to arrest you, and put a stop to that state of savagery in which you had been living; and this poor man Nelson, of whose death you have now been found guilty. Was it nothing for you to shoot and brutally murder a man like that—to cause such suffering to his widow and his children. Talk of bravery, I know of no greater act of bravery than was displayed on this occasion by constable Nelson. The town was deserted by police who had been put on the wrong scent, and he was left alone. A little girl tells him the bushrangers are at Kimberley's, and what does he do. He said, "I will go down and see what I can do alone!" Such a sentiment can only be equalled by his great name sake, who expected every man to do his duty.

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

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

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

Dunn was returned to Darlinghurst to await his rendezvous with death, and the reward for Dunn's capture was gazetted and divided thus;

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

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

My dear Father

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

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

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

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

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

John Dunn

The drop Darlinghurst Gaol.
The Morgue: Following Dunn's execution at Darlinghurst Gaol, his body was held here prior to being claimed by his Godmother, Mrs Pickard.
Following Dunn's hanging and his body claimed by his Godmother, Mrs. Pickard, Dunn was interred in the Devonshire Street Cemetery, Redfern. However, as Sydney progressed the cemetery where Dunn laid was required to develop the current Central Railway Station at the turn of the century. Consequently, all the graves were exhumed with the majority re-interred, including John Dunn to Bunnerong Cemetery and are now a part of Pioneer Memorial Park. It was noted that you would frequently see fresh flowers at the base of Dunn’s headstone for many years. The inscription is quoted from the first verse of a hymn by Bishop Heber, which was more widely known than it is now.