Frank Gardiner

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

The aim of this page is to recount aspects of the life Francis Christie aka the Australian bushranger Frank Gardiner from the cradle to the grave. The baulk of this page has been derived from many first and second-hand accounts, utilising the volumes of newspaper articles of the period, government documents, private sources and eyewitness accounts.

Francis Christie, colloquially known as Frank 'The Darkie' Gardiner, is widely claimed to be the father of the modern Australian bushranger. However, for Ben Hall, Frank Gardiner became the one person who would wield the most influence as Hall descended deeper into criminal activity commencing at the close of 1861. Ben Hall's Sandy Creek Station co-owner John Maguire noted: "things got from bad to worse, till Frank Gardiner, the bushranger came. He capped the lot. Now under 'The King of the Road's' influence Ben started on his notorious career..." Gardiner was irrepressible and was often characterised in the mould of the famous 17th-century highwayman Claude Du Val. He was educated, articulate, handsome, roguish, daring, an excellent horseman, charming and quick-witted. Known more than once to put a twinkle in a ladies eye.

Francis Christie
Alias Andrew Taylor, Francis Clarke, Francis Jones and Frank Gardiner
(aka "The Darkie")
Above is a copy of Gardiner’s NSW prison document displaying his birthplace as Boro, NSW, which is false, and thus the widespread misinformation on Francis Christie's life begins. Furthermore, the release papers highlight tattoos not previously recorded which may have been in memory of Kitty Brown following her 1868 death. Cupid on upper right arm. Heart with a wreath of roses on left upper arm.
Francis Christie
c. 1861
Frank Gardiner was born Francis James Christie at Dingwall, Ross-shire, in the far north of Scotland a short distance from Inverness in 1829. Francis Christie set foot upon the shores of New South Wales in 1834 aged five. When grown into manhood Christie would emerge as Frank Gardiner. Well recognised as the father of modern bushranging in Australia. He would singularly become the one person to ruin many a young colonial boys life;

"Amongst the lawless marauders who, during the early eighteen sixties, established a reign of terror in the country districts of New South Wales, says the Melbourne 'Argus' of the 30th of September, Frank Gardiner achieved special distinction. He was the founder, and first leader, of the ruffian syndicate which included Ben Hall, Gilbert, Dunn, Vane, Burke, and John O'Meally as well as other miscreants. Within four years these truculent bandits perpetrated over six hundred crimes, which included daring robberies and cold-blooded murders. Frank Gardiner was Australia's premier bushranger, the most sophisticated of those criminals who plyed their trade in the late 1800s through the use of the revolver pointed at the heart of innocents. During his life, Gardiner would adopt the pseudonyms of both Frank Clarke and Frank Gardiner. The quintessential bushranger encompassed as well the use of theatrics in the form of disguises, chiefly as a man of the cloth.¹ (To date, there has been no documented evidence or record of a Birth or Christening certificate for Francis Christie for either Scotland or England.)

Documentation record the Christie families arrival in Australia on the 17th November 1834 on board the migrant ship 'James' 568 tonnes. The master was Captain Paul having sailed from London on 29th June arriving at Simons' Bay the Cape of Good Hope 29th September then on to Port Jackson. At some point during the passage, tragedy struck the Christie's.

'James' arrival
recorded in
 The Sydney
Herald, Nov 1834.
It was revealed upon arrival and published in the 'Sydney Monitor' 19th November 1834 that the family lost a child who died at sea; "Charles Christie, agriculturalist, Mrs Christie, and six children, infant child died on the passage." Who the child was or age is unknown. Infant indicates possibly two years old, born between Archina and Charlotte. It was also recorded of several other families en route having children die as well.

The road to the colony of New South Wales for the Christie's had many twists and turns. Involving tragedy, illness, destitution and death. The 'James' ships manifest disclosed their accommodation in Steerage Class quartered with seventy-nine other passengers. As well as Francis' parents the family included older half-brother Charles b. 1824 and half-sister Robina b. 1827 whose mother was the first wife of Charles, Jean (Mcleod)Francis 5 and Archina four years old, baby Charlotte just 12 months old. All were born to Jane Whittle the widow of Charles Christie's older half-brother James, 1787-1822. However, 'The James' manifest recorded Jane Christie as the wife of Charles Christie (1791-1864). That entry based on all the evidence is incorrect and Jane was no doubt Charles' Common-Law-Wife or Defacto.

Furthermore, genealogy investigation has unearthed that James and Jane Christie (Whittle) produced two daughters Mary Jane Christie b. 1817 Portugal (Azores) and Eliza Sarah b. 1822, Nassau Bahamas. At the time of marriage, Jane was 14 and James 27. These half-sisters to Francis remained behind in England when their mother immigrated. Eliza Christie married a fellow named Cruikshank, passed away in 1892 at Glasgow. Mary Christie, however, immigrated to Victoria later in the 1840s and died in 1861 at Mount Eliza, Victoria. Mary was as well witness to her half brother Charles' marriage at Gippsland Victoria. Mary married Henry Griffiths in 1847 who upon her death Henry would marry Frank's sister Archina in 1864. (My understanding is that Peter C Smith discovered the original 'James' manifest showing the Christie family and the future Frank Gardiner passage while researching with Edgar Penzig many years ago. This marvellous research ended the notion of Frank Gardiner's birthplace as Boro NSW.)

Complete Mercantile Guide
to the Continent of Europe,

C. W. Rördansz
At present, research indicates that prior to the families departure and passage to Australia in June 1834, misery had lurked close at hand. Calamity struck first when Charles' older brother James died on 21st July 1822 at or near Maracaibo province Venezuela. His body was returned to Nassau where his remains were buried on 18th August 1822 at the Western Cemetery Potter's Field, Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas. Charles and Janet/Jean/Jane (Mcleod) Christie, resided in Nassau and upon James' death, returned to England. In Nassau, the Christie brothers maintained a shipping business plying the seas surrounding the Caribbean trading between North and South America namely the American Carolina's. The brothers traded the highly valuable wine, salt, sugar, molasses, tobacco and cotton. The brothers as well acted on behalf of Lloyd's of London as agents for the Portuguese coastal towns of Figueira and Aveiro. As such, through the seafaring enterprise, the brothers prospered. Unfortunately, skulduggery brought about the lose of their interest in the shipping business through the villainous behaviour of a shipping agent who diddled them out of their business and fortuneH.C. Kent memories 1932; "in connection with which they employed as an agent a man who proved to be a scoundrel, and who eventually ruined them..." 

As a consequence, while investigating the fraud James Christie died (possibly murdered?) under mysterious circumstances at Venezuela;[ibid] Christie's brother, who had gone with this man in one of their vessels to investigate some irregularity, died under suspicious circumstances on the voyage, his body being brought back on the vessel with the flag at half-mast, but nothing could be proved..." James' death and loss of fortune, Charles and family returned to England along with their widowed sister-in-law Jane Christie. Their shipping ties as well ran through the Portuguese territory of the Azores namely Ponta Delgada. Ponta Delgada was the home of the Whittle family as Jane was born there c. 1799. (Ref; Mary's birth) In the course of the upheaval and en route to England, they most probably returned via the Azores residing with Jane Christie's family. There is speculation that on departing the Azores they went to London and then returned to Scotland possibly following Jean Christie's death in 1828. However, before residing in London in the 1830s, it was noted that they had come up to London from Devonshire. Possibly Exmouth a seaport;[ibid] "although originally from Devonshire, they had been in South America for some years, where Mr. Christie, together with a brother, had carried on a shipping trade between South and North America..."

Charles Junior Baptism 1824.
Note Father occupation

London, England,
Church of England
Births and Baptisms, 1813-1917. 
The twelve years between the loss of James 1822 and their immigration to Australia 1834. The families circumstances reflect an itinerant lifestyle. Evidence suggests that after leaving the Azores by 1824 the mixed family resided in Stepney, Middlesex. The London, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1917 noted that Francis' half brother Charles Christie junior was born 11th June 1824. His baptism registered at Tower Hamlets St Dunstan and All Saints, Stepney. Charles Jnr's birth gives credence to the London connection in 1824. Charles Jnr's parents were Jean/Jane (Mcleod) and father Charles. (It must be noted that Janet/Jean/Jane are all interchangeable and are affectionate Scottish terms for the name Jean.) The document of Charles Jnr's baptism illustrated right notes Charles' trade as a carpenter.

Sadly, Jean (Mcleod) Christie passed away following an illness circa 1828/9 notably Cholera. Possibly dying in the Pandemic that swept through London 1827 and was interned at Islington cemetery London on 2nd April 1830: (The UK, Burial and Cremation Index, 1576-2014 for Jean Christie.) However, Jean may have died earlier than the record indicates? With the death of Jean Mcleod in London the indication through Archina's birth certificate is that Charles and his brother's widow Jane returned to Scotland for Francis' birth followed by Archina. The Christie family relations were numerous and spread out across Scottish towns from Glasgow to Inveravon, Elgin, Ballimore and Abernethy. It was a common practice for families to accommodate their relations for periods of time, especially in times of crisis. By 1833 they returned to London where Charlotte Deacon Christie was born possibly at the residence of a family named Deacon.

During their presence in London, the large family appeared to have fallen into financial hardship living under trying or unfortunate circumstances. However, change was in the wind as while in London they fell under the friendship and charity of a family by the name of Deacon;[ibid] "these Christie's, as they could easily see, had evidently been formerly in a much better station in life, and they gradually learnt from them much of their sad and even tragic history."

The families new benefactor's was headed by Frederick Deacon. A high-level Civil Servant in London who was married to Charlotte Deacon nee Maule on 5th November 1823 St Mary, Leicestershire England. (When Frederick passed away in 1895 he left an estate valued at £8000.) After Jean's untimely death, Charles and Jane commenced cohabitating together producing three children with a fourth passing away on the voyage to NSW. However, Christie's having fallen on hard times the charitable Deacons saw fit to offer some assistance to both Charles and Jane. The assistance entailed for Charles odd jobs inline with his agricultural and carpentry skills and for Jane needlework and maid service.[ibid] "employing Mr. Christie to work in the garden, and my grandmother, Charlotte Deacon, (note her name!), giving Mrs. Christie what daily work she could." The Deacon's were the driving force behind the family's immigration to New South Wales.

Mr Harry Chambers Kent a highly regarded Sydney architect who was twenty-one when Frank Gardiner was released from Darlinghurst in 1874 provided an account in 1932 of his connection with the Christie family pre-Australia where he divulges that Franks youngest sister Charlotte Deacon Christie was named after his paternal grandmother as a mark of respect. H.C. Kent was noted in the Who's Who of Australia in 1922 and was a senior partner in Kent and Massie Architects, Sydney. (Current research establishes the bona fides of the Deacon family. Their connection to the Christie's can not be undervalued and corroborates much of the known origins of the Christie's circumstances before and up to immigration to NSW.)

Kent reveals that during the families time in the care of his grandparents, it was proposed that they should seek new beginnings in the burgeoning colony of NSW where opportunity knocked for those of enterprise.[ibid] "eventually it was arranged that these Christie's should go out as emigrants to Australia, and my grandmother, Charlotte Deacon, and her daughters fitted them out, making and providing them with necessary clothing for themselves and their young children, and with other things necessary for the voyage, stitching hard for many weeks, as there were no sewing machines in those days."  In due course, clothing and sundry items were supplied for their passage and the family boarded the immigrant ship 'James.' It was noted that the living conditions from the view of the upper-middle-class Deacon family were quite inferior.[ibid]  "my aunt went to see the Christie family off to Australia on the emigrant ship, and of how terrible the accommodation, or lack of accommodation, seemed to her."

Rev. John Dunmore
b. 1799 - d. 1878.

Courtesy University of
However, as the 'James' sailed to NSW onboard were several clergymen and teachers. The most prominent being The Rev. Dr Lang a force in New South Wales politics. The Rev. Dr Lang often returned to England encouraging those who wished for a new life to emigrate and was active amongst the Scottish community in London as well as assisting with the passage fees through the church. Lang advertised for men and women to take up the new world for the betterment of the colony. There can be no doubt that during the three-month voyage young Francis had commenced his education under the tutelage of the embarked ministers and educators. The influence of these men and the reverence they were held in certainly impressed the five-year-old. As in the years ahead and disguised, Francis would imitate those of the cloth as a means of disguise when laying low. (See manifest above right.) 

Arrival in NSW, Charles Christie and family would integrate themselves into the life of a fellow immigrant and a future step-father to Francis from the 'James' Mr Henry Munro (Monro, Munroe) who had been accommodated in a private cabin on board. Munro was a man of means with introductory letters and a prestigious family background. The new arrival shortly gained property through which Charles would accept a position as overseer for Munro. The new comer's arrival and the challenges in front of them were commented on in 'The Sydney Herald' 20th November 1834; "We are happy to announce the arrival of the James, having on board, the Rev. Dr Lang and a number of Clergymen and Teachers. The number of emigrants by this arrival is less than by the Stirling Castle; but we hope they will do as much honour to the selection, like those brought to the Colony by Dr Lang, in 1831. The emigrants now arrived, however, must make up their minds to encounter many difficulties and privations, incidental to their locating in a new country. They must not entertain the foolish idea, that the streets are paved with gold, or that labour and frugality are disgraceful. Too many split upon this rock; they conclude that labour and privations have been left behind them and that they here have a right to demand indulgence. But to become independent, this is the land of labour, industry, sobriety, and propriety of conduct. With these, an independent and comfortable maintenance may be secured; but without them, neither here nor elsewhere can respectability be maintained or competency secured. There are few men to whom the Colony is more indebted, in reference to correct views of emigration than Dr Lang."

Henry Munro was the son of the esteemed Professor Munro of Edinburgh College. Who had come to prominence during the after events of the 1828 serial murders in England by Burke and Hare who killed their victims and on-sold the cadavers to an anatomy Doctor, Dr Robert Knox. Following the executions of the pair, Munro's father Professor Munro was noted for famously dipping his quill into the blood of Burke during the autopsy and wrote;[sic] "This is written with the blood of Wm Burke, who was hanged at Edinburgh. This blood was taken from his head." 

The Sydney Gazette and
New South Wales Advertiser
Saturday 25 July 1835.
Slogging it out in a new world Munro and Christie's became close. The closeness enhanced by Jane Christie whom by all accounts was quite a beauty. Henry soon after applied for a number of land leases in NSW under the EMIGRANTS NEWLY ARRIVED initiative first at Kurradu Bidgee, on the Shoalhaven River, of 960 acres. [sic] 'Murray, Nine hundred mid sixty acres, more or less, parish unnamed, near Kurraducbidgee, on the Shoalhaven River. Applied for by Henry Munro, price 5s per acre.' Munro, as well applied for property near to Goulburn (Boro) and Lake George in the counties of Argyle and King in 1835. Having arrived in NSW some fifteen months later Francis' mother Jane Christie gave birth to another daughter Maria Agnes in 1836. (NSWBDM Reg; 720/1836 V1836720 47 Charles Father-Mother Jane Christie.) However, there is a train of thought that Maria is reputedly the daughter of Henry Munro? There is also evidence of the Christie's at Goulburn before the shift to Victoria, whereby, Charlotte aged four was Christened at Goulburn in December 1837. (Australia, Births and Baptisms, 1792-1981 FHL Film Number: 1238833.)

Munro & Christie.
c. 1838.
At the end of three years, Munro and Christie's relocated to Victoria. Munro took up new holdings in April 1838 at Campasne 110 miles north of Melbourne and 40 miles northeast of Bendigo. (Ref; Facing Empire; Indigenous Experiences in a Revolutionary Age, edited by Kate Fullagar, Michael A. McDonnell;) "In March 1838, William Bowman with five thousand sheep claimed all the areas west of Barfolds boundary on the Coliban River, up to the foot of Mt Alexander, about seventy thousand acres. He named it Stratford Lodge. A few weeks later Henry Munro claimed fifty thousand acres along the northern boundary of Barfold, bringing with him several thousand sheep..." 

Munros' station was known as 'Spring Plains Station'. Another nearby Station 'Barfold' 57000 acres was owned by the influential William Yeldwyn. Within twelve months, the best-squatting sites of the Campasne district were secured covering an area of two thousand square kilometres stocked with an estimated 35,000 sheep, 4,000 head of cattle and 200 men of mixed employment, many assigned convicts who had helped heard the thousands of sheep overland from the upper Murrumbidgee near Yass. Sir Thomas Mitchell in 1836 surveyed the landscape from Yass to the Colliban River, however, before Mitchell laid the track south which was to become advantageous for Munro and his fellow squatters the new landowners had already commenced acquiring their stock which was temporarily penned about Yass and Goulburn.

At various stages, the new farmers individually commenced their arduous trek south. There is no doubt that Munro by December 1837 had as well, rounded up his stock and with the Christie's headed south for the Campasne district. What became of the properties applied for on arrival in NSW by Munro is unknown. It may well have been that Munro only took possession of one, that at Boro Creek near Goulburn. The progress to Campasne was steady whereby on occasion the overlanders encountered aboriginals who in the main appeared friendly and co-operative. While many drovers were nervous about the presence of the natives, there was no confrontation between them. However, this would alter when Munro and his fellow squatters commenced setting up their homesteads on arrival at Campasne where lived a different tribe of more aggressive aborigine's. Young Francis generated by the excitement of a new home would have been old enough to pitch in handling the stock and in the process of the daily grind was soon attaining the skills used for future nefarious activities.

Charles Christie's letter
referencing his sly-grog
Port Phillip Gazette
25th April 1840.
However, in Victoria in late 1838, Charles Christie was arrested and fined in court over £80 ($6700) a lot of money for operating a much frowned upon sly grog shop. This brush with the law may have been the first insight into criminal or dubious activity for Francis Christie then an impressionable nine-year-old on seeing his father arrested. The ‘Port Philip Gazette’ of Saturday 25th April 1840 noted from Christie's own admission his involvement with sly-grog; "a circumstance that occurred many months ago as "The reported keeper of a sly-grog-shop" It is a fact, Sir, that I paid in Melbourne above £80 penalty, a considerable time ago..." The term Keeper does, however, indicate that Charles worked an establishment of sorts or may well have had a passing side trade at 'Spring Plains Station'This confession is undeniable. (See letter right.)

Unfortunately, Francis' father Charles Christie ended his tenure with Munro in circa 1841. In turn, leaving behind his deceased brother's former wife Jane and the three children Charles no doubt fathered in the care of his employer and old friend Henry Munro. It may well have been that Jane had formed an intimate relationship with Munro in NSW or even earlier as far back as possibly the voyage out to NSW from England. With Charles' departure, Munro and Jane's relationship flourished.

Early pioneer Cuthbert Fetherstonhaugh describes in his reminiscences titled 'After Many Days' published in 1917 of meeting Charles Christie in 1854 (Charles was then 61) while surveying at the Goulburn River Victoria. In this extract Charles Christie referrers to Jane as his wife; "when we camped at Kerrisdale on the King Parrot Creek. We had for a cook a nice old man named Christie, who had certainly seen better days. He let out to me one day that he had been fairly well off at one time at a place called Bona Creek, near Goulburn in NSW, but his wife, who was much younger than he, and a very handsome woman, had run away with a Victorian squatter from near Portland Bay and had taken their only son with her. He told me that he had taken to drink and gone right down hill..." (It is unknown if after leaving Jane that Charles returned to Boro NSW. There is also an indication that Charles was unaware of his son's criminal activities. Whether the two men ever came into contact in later life is unknown, however, it would be doubtful that as Charles ended his day's at Archina's home in Sydney, his daughters had kept him in the dark on Francis.)

The squatter alluded to is, of course, Henry Munro and the son being Francis as he was the only son of both Jane and Charles. Francis' half-brother Charles would also work under the direction of Henry Munro holding overseer positions, before settling in the Gippsland region. Charles married Elizabeth Hendrick on 11th April 1849 at St James Church, Melbourne. The couple had ten children. However, his thoughts of his younger brother Francis must have been often at the forefront of his mind as Charles named one of his sons Francis Christie, born 1870. Another child after his sister Archina. Charles passed away at Bairnsdale in 1884. It may also be not from the realms of possibility that Charles maintained contact with his roguish brother. On Thursday, August 13th 1857 Charles Christie was charged with drunkenness and fined ten shillings at Sale, Victoria. Not uncommon. Francis' sister Robina upon her marriage resided close to her brother Charles at Sale Victoria while Archina settled in Sydney. Charlotte married William Ion in 1854 settling in Hobart. William died in 1864 and Charlotte resettled in Sydney. 1870 Charlotte married Joe Cale. Interestingly Charlotte in her marriage to Cale her service was performed by The Rev Dr Lang. On the death of Robina's husband, she too settled in Sydney. It is undeniable that the Christie sisters were extremely close. A closeness that never had their thoughts far from their black sheep of the family Francis Christie. 

Subsequently, with Charles' departure, Munro immediately married young Francis' mother Jane who was noted in the marriage announcement as a widow casting doubt on Charles' statement of Jane as his wife. The announcement of Jane as a widow was possibly for the avoidance of scandal as the couple utilised the death of Jane's first husband Charles' brother James; 'Geelong Advertiser' February 13th, 1841; MELBOURNE, Saturday 13th February 1841 .—Fashionable Marriages.—Married a few days ago, Henry Munroe, Esq., of Campasne Plains, son of Professor Munro of Edinburgh College, to the widow of the late Mr Christie. Jane Munro, not long after her marriage past away through illness in 1842.

However, for Charles, the future Frank Gardiner's father there is little recorded of his life and in February 1864 in the Sydney Morning Herald Family Notices it was recorded that Charles Christie passed away on the 16th February at his daughter Archina's residence in Pitt Street following a long and painful illness. On the 16th instant, at the residence of his son-in-law, Mr. Henry Griffiths, fruiterer, Pitt-street, after a long and painful illness, Mr. Charles Christie, aged seventy-three years, native of Elgin, Scotland. The procession to move from his residence, Pitt street near Market-street, at 8 o'clock a.m. Charles was interned at Camperdown Cemetery, Newton. Charles was recorded on the burial record as a Gentleman Farmer. Frank Gardiner a scrutineer of newspapers may well have read of the death of his father in the weeks before his capture.

At the time of Francis' mother's death in 1842, Francis Christie resided at Campasne (Campaspe) along with his siblings at Henry Munro's property 'Spring Plains Station'Christie/Gardiner was well educated in Victoria. Henry Munro had gone on to become a wealthy squatter since his arrival from NSW. Controlling the runs another station 'Campaspe'. These farms were stocked with both sheep and cattle as well as first-rate horses. Through whose care, Francis became an accomplished horseman and understood the value of a thoroughbred. When Charles Christie and family originally took up residence at Campasne with Munro, local aboriginals had been continuously attacking many of the remote stations even to the point of killing solitary shepherds then running off the sheep as an easily accessible food source.

On one occasion Henry Munro was speared by the aborigines while recovering his stock. The attack on Munro was in the company of Charles Christie in 1839. The settlers soon retaliated attacking the aboriginals; "A short time back, some blacks robbed a hut of Mr. Munro's; himself and servant armed, rode after them, and the horse of one of them rushed furiously into the midst of these Aborigines, these sons of the soil, then, commenced throwing of spears, one of which struck the horse in the head, and stunned it, as a natural consequence the white men commenced firing, more spears were thrown and Mr. Munro received a spear wound which disabled him." A fight that would become known as the battle of 'Waterloo Plains'. Resulting in eight natives dying. Munro recovered from his spearing although it was a close call. Charles Christie fired off a letter to the editor of the Port Philip Gazette on the matter.(See right.)

Letter was written
by Charles Christie
in April 1840, while
employed by
Henry Munro.
For young Christie, however, in amongst the upheaval of the aboriginal difficulties he enjoyed a good quality of life and solid education under both his father and Henry Munro's guidance, whereupon with the subsequent departure of Charles, Henry Munro fully incorporated the Christie children into his life. However, whether some angst or ill-feeling or resentment arose between Francis and his new stepfather is unknown as in 1842 while at Collingwood, Melbourne, his mother Jean Munro passed away through illness. The departure of his father was also a difficult time. Therefore, Christie's mother's death was no doubt a distressing blow to the young man just thirteen years of age. Resulting in a form of rebellion or the company the lad mixed with may have tested the relationship between Munro and Francis. 

Furthermore, prospects for Munro were changing following the death of Francis' mother, whereby, Henry Munro resettled the family in 1843 to the small hamlet of Portland in southern Victoria up close to the South Australian border at the Crawford River controlling a station of that name. Before Munro and partner took control of the station, it was owned by a Mr Cameron; 'The Melbourne Daily News' Tuesday 13th February 1849; Henry Munro, Name of run — Crawford, Estimated area — 70 000 acres, Estimated grazing capability — 60 head of cattle 15, 500 sheep. This run has been transferred, with the sanction of Government to Messrs Henry Munro and Andrew Rose Cruikshank, in whose names the lease will accordingly be prepared. Munro would later sell Crawford's Station and assume control of Bassetts Station nearby which was then sold in 1862. However, some years later when the long arm of the law finally caught up with the future celebrated bushranger and while Christie was applying all his charm in the effort of procuring a ‘Ticket of Leave’ in 1859 from Cockatoo Island, it appeared that Christie under his pseudonym of Clarke generated some empathy to the powers that be by commenting;[sic] "as a youth was led into temptation "when uncontrolled by parental influence or good example..." Evidence suggests that this was far from the truth and may have purely been a refusal to adhere to Munro's discipline or had the days as a boy observing his father's sly grog business formed the man? (In 1846, Henry Munro remarried a Catherine (Kate) Power at Portland and the union produced ten children.)

Charles Christie Jnr, Baptism.
1824. Note, Father Charles.
Note, Mother Jane.

This is no doubt,
Jane/Jean McLeod.
Charles' Profession; Carpenter.
Authors Note; There has been a long-held belief that Francis Christie was born at the small settlement of Boro Creek situated 30 miles south-east of Goulburn. Therefore it is widely espoused that Francis spent his early childhood there. However, substantial evidence dismisses that assumption. Three children born to Charles and Jane Whittle were Francis, Archina and Charlotte Deacon Christie there is also an indication of another child born. However, this child was noted as passing away during the voyage to NSW. Shortly after their arrival in NSW 1834, the family migrated to Victoria whereby Francis' early years 1837-1852 were spent there including prison time at Pentridge Gaol 1850.

The confusion regarding Francis Christie's origins stems from Christie's final prison release papers (seen above) that have Boro Creek recorded as his birthplace in the year 1831. Christie's deception on release from Darlinghurst Gaol in 1874 was no doubt a ploy regarding his 1851 escape from Pentridge Gaol in Victoria which if exposed, may have resulted in a return to face those outstanding matters on his initial arrest in 1854 in NSW. At the time of Francis release in 1874, the Melbourne papers did canvas the subject. However, no action was taken in returning him. Subsequently, the mystery of Jean McLeod, Charles Christie's first wife as recorded on Charles &  Robina Christie's, Francis' older half-siblings' birth certificate denotes her married to Charles Christie. Jean McLeod was born on 12th April 1798 in England at Berwick Upon Tweed, Northumberland, her parents were George McLeod and Robina Stout. Northumberland is 230 miles North from London. Robina Christie was born in 1827 at Leith near Edinburgh possibly at her grandparent's residence in the countryside of Northumberland. Robina is named after Jean's mother. Sadly the outcome of Jean Mcleod's life is unknown at present but is presumed from scant evidence to have passed away. However, this evidence indicates that Jane Mcleod/Christie was buried in 1830 at Islington, London, England. Islington is in the purview of, Stepney. Christie's residence prior to immigration. This gives credence (although loosely) to Charles Jnr birth in 1824. Stepney housed the poorest in London.

It is also interesting to note the number of ministers of the cloth embarked on the 'James'. One, in particular, the Reverend Dr Lang who years later would be sought out by Frank Gardiner regarding the Reverends son's newspaper. In later life when the law closed in Francis would assume the disguise of a Vicar. Finally, there is absolutely no evidence to suggest any connection to an Aboriginal heritage through the union of a former convict John Clarke and an indigenous woman. Any adoption of this as fact is fanciful and untrustworthy.

The arrival of Christie Family,
In June 1850 at the coming-out age of twenty-one, when children were no longer under the discipline of parents Francis Christie stepped outside the constraints of an ordered society. With his extended family settling in at Portland, Francis remained in the vicinity of the Loddon River having joined in with a number of misfits. Whereby, they procured a prominent settlers valuable horses, illegally. With Christie's family at Portland. The new aspiring horse thief headed for that place to offload the stolen stock. Munro's new station at Crawford River would be a convenient place to hold-up if the theft was realised in cash; "Francis Christie alias Clarke, alias Gardiner commenced his long career of crime when quite a youth through horse-stealing. In 1850 in conjunction with another horse fancier, he visited the station run of W. L. Morton, later Sir Morton, near the Loddon River. Gardiner knew this area well from his youth and whilst there they gathered a mob of twenty-four good horses and took them in the direction of Portland for sale by auction..."² 

However, for Christie, upon discovery of the horse theft, 24 in number. The owner of the horse's Mr Morton, a prominent settler, incensed at the brazen thievery unexpectedly saddled up to track down and recover his horses. For Morton, the only reliable men available to accompany him were his employees, one named William Mercer the cook who was an experienced bushman as well as an expert tracker like Morton. Preparing to depart Morton was approached by a third man named Williams who had reached his seventieth year and asked to join the search as a horse belonging to him was part of the stolen mob. Williams received his wish, and he saddled up, and although his day's of hard riding was behind him, Morton said he was allowed to follow as long as he kept up with the two men.

Leaving 'Plains of Thalia Station' and intercepting the tracks, Morton and his men ran them for some time en-route to the Fitzroy River passing Mount Sturgeon station and resting at a Mount Sturgeon hotel. Morton revealed; 'Geelong Advertiser' 23rd October 1850"on 9th of June, the whole of his horses except two in the paddock were stolen. Twenty four were taken from the run, some of them were left on the road. Three of the horses were witness' property. Missed the horses on 9th, about 9 o'clock in the evening, made a circuit of the station and found the track on the 10th, and on the 12th started and tracked them to Kay and Cayes station, thence up the plains to the Avoca, they followed the tracks all the way to the Fitzroy River, where he found two of his horses, and one previously sold by Newton, and one was lost." 

Upon arrival at the Mount Sturgeon Inn operated by Andrew Templeton, he told Morton during a discussion that at the local races held two days previously the suspected robbers had raced some horses against those entered by the police and successfully won the purse without raising an eyebrow. In the course of Morton's stay the publican also pointed out a letter to be posted, which one of the gang, Christie had left in his charge; 'Geelong Advertiser' 23rd October 1850"three of them came to his place driving a mob of horses, in number about thirty. Christie asked for pen and paper, and brought a letter into the bar, and gave in charge of the barman, directed to Crouch, postmaster, Portland. Neglected to send it, and gave it to Mr Morton, who came by next day in pursuit." Suspicious, Morton with the unopened letter in hand headed at full gallop to the police stationed at Hamilton 18 miles distant. Arriving the Clerk of the Bench was fetched and at Morton's direction opened the letter addressed to a Mr Crouch, the postmaster at Portland who also acted as auctioneer. The letter stated follows below and demonstrates that Christie had an excellent hand and education as well as another alias, Taylor.

Lake Mingo, Murray River, May 1850.

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

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

I remain sir,
your obedient servant,


Christie's letter.
Crawford Station
For Sale.
'The Argus' 4th February

Courtesy N.L.A.
However, Christie without knowledge of the interception of the letter proceeded with the stolen stock onward to Portland. Subsequently, a fast riding Morton saw to it that they did not reach the town. Without fear of capture Christie and his accomplices halted at the residence of Mr Bilston who operated The Fitzroy Hotel at the Fitzroy River 36 miles from Hamilton and 18 miles from Portland. Bilston would state in court,'Geelong Advertiser' 23rd October 1850; "saw the two men at the bar at the Fitzroy River on the 18th June, in the evening coming down the road, after having passed the Fitzroy Bridge with a mob of horses. Christie asked him if he had a late date paper. The two prisoners were then outside. Christie was at the tap. Christie said that he had written to Mr Crouch at Portland to have them advertised. Christie said it was curious that they were not advertised. They all took saddles off the horses, Christie tethered a mare and put it into witness's paddock." 

At the Fitzroy, Christie and mates were intercepted by Morton and his tracking party after covering over 200 miles, predominantly along cross-country bush tracks a run that lasted seven days. Recognising the horses in the stockyard Morton and the troopers promptly set about arresting the thieves. The arrest was effected with the help of two Victorian troopers one of whom was named Thornhill. The police had been obtained at Hamilton and on reaching the Fitzroy River 18 miles from Portland arrangements were quickly made with Bilston for the apprehension of the known thieves, who were somewhere about the Inn. 

Thornhill and Morton went to the front of the Inn, and the other trooper, Mercer and Williams went to the rear. Having dismounted Morton tapped quietly at the entrance when Bilston called out "Who is there?" The answer as previously arranged was given"A gentleman from Portland." The landlord, on opening the door, was asked if some men with horses were there. He answered in the affirmative, and in reply to another question, said they were in bed in a room at the rear. Instantly a rush was made for the room, the trooper burst open the door and entered, followed by the owner, the landlord showing merely the candle past the doorpost. Two men were found in a double bed Francis Christie, since known as Gardiner, the bushranger, at that time a young fellow of 21 years, and John Newton. Another, William Stewart, alias Mr. William Troy, superintendent to Mr. Taylor, as pretended in the above letter, was in a bed by himself. In an instant, the two men who were in the same bed were handcuffed before they were thoroughly awake.

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

No arms were found on the prisoners, but the troopers alleged afterwards that they had ascertained that they had been armed till they reached a shanty three miles north of the inn where they were apprehended, as they probably did not think it prudent to enter the town of Portland with arms in their possession, as suspicion might be thereby excited. On mustering the horses the next morning, a young colt was missing, and it was conjectured that it might have been left at the shanty, too, as the arms were supposed to have been. A visit to the shanty was therefore made, and the keeper swore that he knew nothing about it, but on seeing a pair of handcuffs, with an intimation that he would have to visit Portland, suddenly recollected where the colt was to be found and produced it at once. The prisoners and the horses were then taken into Portland, and the case was brought before the police court, presided over by the police magistrate, Mr. James Blair. The publican, however, in whose house the prisoners had been found did not appear, and had intimated to the court that he would not appear without a summons. The prisoners were therefore remanded till the following day, and a trooper was dispatched with a summons to the publican. The horses supposed to belong to the prisoners were sent to the police paddock. One was a magnificent animal and doubtless had not been honestly obtained. It had disappeared from the police paddock by the next morning. On the following day, the prisoners were brought before the court and committed for trial. From Portland, they were sent to Geelong, thence to Melbourne, and back again to Geelong. The trial was to take place on a Monday in October.

However, the prospect of a hard time lay at Christie's feet. Whereby a plan was enacted to flee the Goal. An escape by Christie's accomplice Stewart succeeded and who was never heard of again. Christie's attempt was unsuccessful; "The prisoners were in the gaol at South Geelong, and on Sunday afternoon previous to the trial a warder went to a cell with a bucket of water. On opening the cell door to hand in the bucket, he was caught by the neck by one of the prisoners, and pulled in, when 11 prisoners, amongst whom was William Stewart, alias Mr William Troy, the assumed superintendent of the assumed Mr Taylor, having locked the warder in the cell, walked out. In one of the passages, they met another warder and put him in the cell with his mate when the whole 11 rushed out and armed themselves with sticks. Two of the town police immediately attacked them and succeeded in recapturing three of them after using their batons freely, fracturing the jaw of one of them, who was a murderer. The other eight, amongst whom was Mr. William Troy, made good their escape, and only one of them was afterwards secured."

NOTE: Mr Bilston was one who walked on occasion the shady side of life and in 1849 had applied for a wine and beer license for the Tasmanian Inn, Steep Bank Rivulet, however, he was refused. A year later Mr Bilston commenced operating the Fitzroy Tavern, at the Fitzroy River. Subsequently, following the affair with Christie and Morton Bilston's property was obliterated by a server bush fire which ravaged the settlement in February 1851. 'The Argus' Tuesday 18th February 1851; Mr Bilston of the Fitzroy Tavern, has been the victim, almost to ruination, of the fire which so generally pervaded this part of the district last week. His place is now a total wreck or rather a blank. Not one vestige of the houses remain except the chimnies, which remain the alone monuments of the destruction done; a favourite horse was burned to ashes in the stable; the very fowls were shrivelled to the bulk of an ordinary-sized potato. So intense was the fire that the very articles which were dragged from the house and thrown into the river in order to preserve them, did not escape the general conflagration, so much of them as was above the surface of the water was destroyed; the bridge has been burnt down to the water's edge. A dray of John Wheelers which was on the premises is totally ruined, as also the blacksmith's shop which stood about 150 yards from Mr Bilston's. Mr B's loss is estimated at fourteen hundred pounds. Brown the groom, has lost £17 in notes, which have gone to feed the flames. The relation of such incidents are truly melancholy and distressing.

The Stockade, Pentridge,
Melbourne. c. 1849.
 The First Established

Receptacle for Criminals.
Artist unknown.
Nabbed! However, upon Francis' arrest his stepfather, Henry Munro through his good standing as a grazier attempted to exert some influence on Morton, a fellow Scot, due to their former acquaintance as respected grazier's in the Campasne district. Unfortunately, this influence fell on deaf ears as Morton would have none of it and expected the full force of the law to be administered on Christie and his mates; "As illustrating the influence which even then was exerted on behalf of Francis Christie, the afterwards notorious bushranger, the owner of the stolen horses received a short time previous to the trial a letter from one of the oldest, most respectable, and best-known squatters of the Western district, (Mr Henry Munro) asking him not to press the charge against Christie. The owner had been bound over to prosecute, and, therefore, he had not the power to interfere. The request was, of course, a highly improper one to make..."⁶ Munro sought out others in an effort to free his troublesome stepson, but to no avail.

Dr W.C. Haines, Foreman
of the Jury for Christie.
Later 1st Premier of
The dye was cast and Francis was beyond Munro's influence, consequently, with John Newton, Christie was found guilty and sentenced to five years on the roads. Both were removed from the dock and sent to the Pentridge Stockade, Coburg, Melbourne. Abridged from 'Geelong Advertiser' Wednesday 23rd October 1850; SUPREME COURT. CRIMINAL SITTINGS. (Before His Honor the Resident Judge.) TUESDAY. HORSE STEALING Jury.-W. C. Haines, John Elkington, John Gillivray, Alfred N. Gilbert, Andrew James Gates, Hatsell, N. Garrard;.James Gannon, Henry Elmes, Napoleon Gilbert, Edward Gundry, George Elliot. Francis Christie and John Newton were placed at the bar charged with stealing 24 horses from Salisbury Plains. The Crown Prosecutor explained that on the 10th June, three persons were seen on Mr Lockhart Morton's run, on the North Loddon. The horses were missed on 11th June, and their tracks traced by Mr Morton and another, ten miles in a north direction, then westward towards the Avoca, and then in the Adelaide direction, then to Mount William, and thence to Mount Sturgeon, where they stopped for refreshments. The prisoner Christie there called for pen, ink, and paper, and addressed a letter to Mr Crouch, auctioneer, at Portland, intimating that his employer Mr Taylor, had sent him with a mob of horses to Portland to sell for ready money. From Mount Sturgeon, they went on to the Grange, and thence to within four miles of the Fitzroy River, where they stopped at the house of Mr Bilsten, where Mr Morton and others came up with them and took the two prisoners at the bar into custody. Before reaching the Fitzroy River, a foal was sold by Newton out of the mob to a Mrs Spears for 20s.., 

His Honor summed up -"The horses were found in possession of the prisoners if they could not account for possession, it amounted to almost a conclusive evidence of guilt. But there was a difference between possession and custody that must be judged of. There appeared there had been a difference between the positions occupied by the prisoners, but the evidence that they were acting as servants would be collusive. Newton pleaded that he was a servant to Stewart; if a servant, he would be guilty, if he were cognizant that the horses had been taken possession of illegally. The other prisoner seemed to have taken a similar share in the transaction. He should leave to the jury to reconcile the fact of possession, with the supposition of their innocence." Verdict against both prisoners-sentenced to five years hard labour on the roads. William Mercer who had assisted his employer in tracking Christie and helped to effect his capture was reported some three years later to have drowned in the Saltwater River near Footscray under mysterious circumstances. However, as no injuries were noted his death was marked 'Found Drowned'. There circulated a suspicion that Mercer was 'put out of the way' over his evidence that saw  Newton and Christie convicted.(See link below for 1850 court proceedings.)
Illustration of Christie's
escape from Pentridge,
Coburg, Victoria 1851.

by Percy Lindsay c.1935
However, freedom beckoned for Christie and before long an opportunity arose for that freedom; Francis Christie and John Newton were tried and convicted, the late hon. Mr. Haines being the foreman of the jury. They were sentenced to five years on the roads of the colony. The prisoners were sent to Pentridge. There they were allowed to work in the open fields. Francis Christie and John Newton had not been more than a few weeks at Pentridge when on the afternoon of the 26th of March 1851, whilst engaged in gathering rubble for road metal purposes in a paddock adjoining the Pentridge Stockade. Christie, getting near to one of the troopers, rushed at him, and took his carbine from him, knocked him violently on the head, and pointed his carbine at the trooper and fired, the trooper retired beyond the firing line. Then the prisoners fled over the rail fence towards the Merri Creek.⁷ (Merri (Mary) Creek is in Coburg, my father had many rollicking adventures along Merri Creek with his best friend Peter Somerville as young boy's in the 1940s, as my Nana lived at 63 Murray Rd just up from Pentridge. I myself as a boy in the 1960s also played along its banks.) 

Eleven prisoners had succeeded in escaping amongst whom was Christie. Of the escapee's all but five were recaptured within a few days. Following the successful escape. The fugitive Christie set off north towards his former home. Here he had been sighted 'digging close' to the Government camp at a new prospective goldfield on Bandicoot Creek (Bendigo) possibly by former settlers. However, upon being detected, Christie fled north crossing the Murray River into NSW. Blending in with the many miners en route to the new goldfields near Ophir recently discovered by Hargraves, Lister and Tom's. 

Country NSW in the mid-1850s consisted of sparsely settled hamlets often just a few huts or shanties and a trade store and for Christie limited police and anonymity. Allowing for easy pickings of quality horseflesh. Christie's mate in the Morton adventure John Newton split from Christie following their escape. However, he had not the same success as Christie and was recaptured and returned to Pentridge. Newton soon after again effected his escape from the stockade on the occasion of another outbreak of prisoners. His outcome is unknown.

Christie's arrived in NSW, to an area he last saw in 1837 Goulburn district. Christie having crossed the Murray put a great distance between himself and the Victorian authorities. As after firing with intent to kill a prison guard Francis' escape may well have been seen as a capital crime and therefore a hanging offence. Christie assumed a new alias of Clarke, where after an uneventful period of stock work in the Abercrombie/Goulburn surrounds he once again resorted to his old trade, horse duffing. 'The Darkie' commented years later on his fall into horse stealing and how he commenced his criminal life;[sic]" from want of suitable, employment. Young men can find no employment in the country districts except herding sheep or stock-riding. The latter occupation leads to horse-stealing simply because you become wholly engrossed in horseflesh, and the crime is so easily committed that you do not think of the consequences. Horse-stealing and horse "sojering" are of everyday occurrence in certain parts of the country..."⁸ Christie's first foray in NSW did not go well when in the company of a youth named Prior he attempted to pull the same stunt as at Portland.
Newspaper reports of the £10 reward for Christie's capture
after his escape from Pentridge Prison, Melbourne on 26th March 1851.

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

William Fogg,
Parole 1840.
Nevertheless, having shot through from Victoria and surfacing in NSW in the vicinity of the Abercrombie/Goulburn and Fish River area early 1852. It was not long till Christie dipped his hand once more to horse stealing. Furthermore, while at the Fish River, Christie commenced using the alias of Francis Clarke as well as Gardiner. The use of Clarke may well be derived from a former family friend from a time when Christie's resided in the district or as a possible employer at Boro NSW. However, a police officer would state that he knew of Clarke as Gardiner in Goulburn in early 1853. 1853 is important as it excludes Gardiner from participation in the Victorian gold robbery at McIvor. More on that subject later. There has been speculation that Clarke and Christie are not the same men, however, this has been decidedly proved wrong. They are one and the same.

Furthermore, during this period of roaming the Abercrombie/Goulburn and Fish River area. Christie made the acquaintance of one who would become a close and lifelong friend, one William Fogg. Fogg, an ex-convict dabbled in all manner of theft and villainy throughout southern NSW from the Abercrombie, Fish River area to Bungendore and was closely associated with bushranger John Peisley in the 1850s. Fogg had arrived under sentence of seven years for stealing hats in 1832 aged nineteen and hailed from Colchester where he was employed as a factory boy. Fogg fronted court at Lancaster on the 9th January 1832, transported receiving a ticket of freedom in 1840.

Early woodcut of
Frank Gardiner,
The Bushranger.
c. 1861.
Fogg was never far from police scrutiny and escaped conviction a number of times including allegedly stealing Brandy in 1845; William Fogg was indicted for stealing a quantity of brandy, and a bottle, the property John Hay. Mr. Holroyd defended the prisoner. The Jury, after some consideration, found him not guilty, and he was discharged." Then in 1846 stealing nails; 'William Fogg was indicted for stealing at Braidwood, on the 20th October last; 2000 nails. the property of one William Hawes. Mr. Holroyd defended the prisoner. The Jury found him not guilty, and he was discharged.' Peisley also emerged as an accomplice of Christie's whereby the pair reputedly met at Cockatoo Island. Peisley was interned for horse stealing sent to Cockatoo Island in February 1855. A review of Fogg's brushes with the law and those within his circle were all noted as clients of Solicitor Mr Holroyd. Holroyd was as well a member of parliament for the seat of Bathurst. In 1881 Holroyd became a Justice of the Supreme Court.

Certificate of
Licence, Henry
Prior, Goulburn 1853.

New South Wales,
Australia, Certificates
 for Publicans' Licences,
1830-1849, 1853-1899
However, in February 1854, after two years off the scene since fleeing Pentridge Gaol. Christie emerged in company with Edward Prior herding some horses to Yass for sale by auctioneer Mr John Moses, stating they had come down 60 miles from Tunea. His accomplice, Edward Prior hailed from Goulburn where he lived with his family;[sic] "Edward Prior is the son of Mr Henry Prior of this town, and has hitherto borne an irreproachable character..." Henry Prior ran a hotel in Grafton St Goulburn. It is interesting to note that Henry Prior on applying for his licence already had established the hotel. Initially Prior was rejected for a licence on the evidence of the Chief Constable. Upon review, it was again rejected then granted. It is no doubt here that Frank Gardiner while attending the hotel recruited young Edward Prior into his scheme. In 1857 as Edward Prior was released from Parramatta Gaol his family relocated to Newtown and owned the 'Crown and Anchor' Hotel.

Enacting the very same method as at Mt Sturgeon in 1850 Christie penned a receipt for the horses for sale to the Yass auctioneer. A publican with a reputation of mixing with the rough element in Yass Mr George Douglas would supply information as to Christie ordering a drink and then the paper on which he transcribed the receipt for the stolen horse's; "Mr. George Douglas, Innkeeper, at Yass, proved that on the 26th the prisoner Clarke came to his house and calling for a nobbler of brandy, asked for paper and ink and going into the parlor sat down to write; witness gave the Chief Constable the next day a portion of paper from the same as that he had given to prisoner. [The paper corresponded with that on which the receipt of the horses signed "Joseph Williams," and dated the 16th Feb., was written.]" Another alias, Williams.

Robert McJannett.
New South Wales,
Australia, Returns
of the Colony, 1854.
Consequently, Chief Constable Robert M'Jannett armed with the evidence arrested Francis Christie, who had dropped the Christie for Francis Clarke, and his accomplice Edward Prior; 'The Sydney Morning Herald'Tuesday 21st March 1854 reported; "Francis Clarke, and Edward Prior, late of the Fish River, in the colony of New South Wales, were indicted for stealing, at the Fish River aforesaid, on the 1st July last, five horses, five mares, and five geldings, of the goods and chattels of one John Reid." M'Jannett had sent for Reid, who identified the horses. John Reid, sworn in stated:op.cit. "is a settler residing at the Fish River; recollects seeing five horses at the Royal Hotel, at Yass, on the 28th of February last; these horses are my property; I never sold them to any person; I received information that these horses were in the possession of the police." 

Another arresting officer constable Pagett also revealed that he had known Christie at Goulburn.[sic] "knows the prisoners, who live near each other in Goulburn; he knew prisoner Clarke under the name of Gardener..." Alias' appear to be Christie's forte. However, the auctioneer John Moses having suspected his new clients were shady had alerted Chief Constable M'Jennett. Mr Moses recounted;[sic] "on the same evening prisoner Clarke came and brought back the posting bill and told me if I put some bills up the next morning I should have a good sale of the horses, and that they would be ready on the following morning; the prisoners brought in 16 horses that night and put them in Mr. Hart's yard; Clarke told me he had purchased them at Tuena diggings; either on that night or the following morning, Mr. Hart gave me a paper; I showed it to Clarke who said it was right, and that it contained the brands and colours of the horses; Prior was not present at the time; the list consisted of 13 horses; on examining the horses I found that five of them had R reversed on them, while the letter was not so in the receipt; I pointed the circumstance out to Clarke, who said it must be a mistake, describing the brands on the receipt..." Henry Hart; ‘The Sydney Morning Herald’ Tuesday 21st March 1854; Henry Hart, of the Royal Hotel, Yass, proved that the prisoners came to his house, on Sunday, 26th February last, that they had a number of horses with them, which they wanted to sell; Clarke gave me the receipt, now produced, to hand to Mr Moses, the auctioneer, as a description of the horses for sale, which I did the next morning; the horses were taken by the Police, and both the prisoners apprehended. Christie had relayed that the horses had come from Tunea. M'Jannett discovered otherwise, whereby, for Christie/Clarke and Edward Prior. The jig was up! Furthermore, Prior also claimed that he was only employed by Christie to herd horses to Melbourne;[sic] "Prior stated that he had been hired in Goulburn by the prisoner Clarke to go to Tuena, to take horses from there to Melbourne."

After being held in custody the prisoners were transported and tried at the Goulburn Assizes on the 17th of March, 1854. Christie appearing under the alias of Francis Clarke. They were convicted on two charges, Christie being sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment with hard labour on each charge, Prior not guilty on the first but guilty on the second and given three years at Parramatta. 'The Goulburn Herald and County of Argyle Advertiser' Saturday 4th March 1854; Horse Stealing. -"Last week the police at Yass apprehended two young men who gave their names as Francis Clarke and Edward Prior, on suspicion of stealing sixteen head of horses which they had driven into that town for the purpose of being sold by auction. Five of the horses have Mr David Reid's brand on them. Clarke made a statement to Mr M'Jennett, the Chief Constable, of the manner in which they had come in possession of the horses, which they said they had purchased from one Joseph Williams at Tuena. There is reason to believe that this account of their possession is false, as no such person as Joseph Williams is known at Tuena. Edward Prior is the son of Mr Henry Prior of this town and has hitherto borne an irreproachable character. Francis Clark is also of Goulburn, his real name being Gardiner." How wrong they were! for if Clarke was exposed as Christie he would have been sent back to Victoria to face escape charges that may have resulted in the death penalty for shooting with intent. (See link below for Christie's 1854 court proceedings)
The Goulburn Herald and County of Argyle Advertiser
Saturday 18th March 1854 
Goulburn Gaol New South Wales, Australia, Gaol Description and Entrance Books, 1818-1930.
 Francis Clarke and Edward Prior entered 30th March 1854. Clarke received 14 years on the roads and Prior to 3 years Parramatta Gaol. Note here Boro Creek as Native Place. 
Guilty! Gardiner was handed over to John Paget a senior constable in the Goulburn police force later stated; "I was in the Goulburn Circuit Court on the 17th March 1854; prisoner was being tried for horse stealing; there were two charges tried at the same sitting; he was tried under the name of Francis Clarke; His Honor the Chief Justice was on the Bench; a man named Reid owned the horses in one case, and a Mr. Barker in the other; they both lived at the Fish River; prisoner was convicted on both charges; I escorted the prisoner from Goulburn gaol to Wingello; the warrant was to convey him to Cockatoo Island; at Wingello I gave prisoner and the warrant into the charge of a constable named Paterson; there were three other constables with me in the escort."¹⁰ (John Paget retired in 1873 on a first-class constables pension of 4s. 4d. per diem.)

Following sentencing at Goulburn NSW Christie alias Clarke received seven years on the first charge, and then, which appeared unusual for the time, the second sentence of seven years. To be served at the expiration of the first seven and not concurrently for a total of 14yrs was rare. Cockatoo Island (1839-1872) was a prison with a hellish reputation for those who failed to conform. For Christie, it was a nervous time as his Victorian escape may well be exposed. However, Christie arrived at Cockatoo Island prison to begin his long stretch without fanfare. He was just another mug facing a long stretch that would dishearten the toughest of men.

Life on Cockatoo was as ordered like any other NSW facility. Whereby for a lawbreaker to serve there you need not have been the worst of the worst, and horse theft although severe was not violence against another human. However, Cockatoo Island as such was a stroke of luck for Christie as at the time many new convicts were being re-routed to Newcastle to work on the breakwater then under construction at the harbour. It was hazardous and backbreaking work and for some, it cost their lives. Christie's luck held as he settled into prison life, however, with the Islands close proximity to the shores of Sydney Harbour escape no doubt wondered in his mind. Therefore, patience was required. Prison life on Cockatoo consisted of many and varied types of work, such as stone masonry, cabbage-tree hat and mat-making. For some prisoners, they even received a wage to the value of;[sic] "from a penny to three pence per day, they managed to buy tea and sugar, and even pipes and tobacco..."  

However, Christie/Clarke was not one who received wages. In fact, before long he was seen as a malingerer and would be found concocting some ailment to avoid his duties and constantly presented himself at the infirmary known as the 'Invalid Bank';[sic] "the "Invalid Bank," a spare piece of ground used by the sick prisoners as a recreation ground and occupied by such of the patients whose infirmities did not necessitate their lying up in the hospital. The dispensary attached to the hospital was well stocked and supervised by a competent chemist. This spot was a favourite place of Gardiner the bushranger, and as he always had some ailment, or pretended to have, nearly the whole of his time was spent thereon. " 

Although facing a long period of incarceration Christie apparently keep much to himself and was noted as polite and respected;[sic] "he had a nice agreeable manner and could tell some interesting stories of his bush life. He was not of a boasting disposition but was very reserved with the other prisoners. In fact, I do not think there were six prisoners on the island to whom Gardiner would speak, and it was this that induced them to call him "Gentleman Frank." He was very fond of reading, but on no account would he work for any length of time; he would soon be back to his old quarters—the invalid bank—and amuse himself with carving and manufacturing figures in bone, and reading whatever book or newspaper he could obtain." 

Christie's artistic talents are recorded (see bottom of this page) one of which was demonstrated in a Bible he inscribed to his future lover Kitty Brown currently on display at Young, NSW. Provisions for Christie and his fellow inmates of Cockatoo, which at any one time held as many as 600-700 men consisted of plenty of grub;[sic] "the meal from which the "hominy" (a type of biscuit) was made was boiled all night in an iron boiler, holding about 400 gallons, and the instrument used to stir it was the blade of a paddle or oar. Tin dishes, pint pots, knives, and forks were provided for their use. Large sheds were erected in the prison yards in which they took their meals, and were sheltered from the inclemency of the weather when not employed on the works of the Island. An extensive garden, presided over by a prisoner and worked with prison labour, provided a superabundance of vegetables and ingredients for the soup drunk by the prisoners." 

Escape! Escape from Cockatoo Island was fraught with unseen dangers, such as strong currents, Sharks, and other hazardous obstacles. These, however, did not deter men hell-bent on taking the plunge for freedom. There were many attempts. There were many failures. Francis Christie showed he was one who when and if the opportunity arose, he would have a go. Twice in fact.

A former prisoner incarcerated with Christie provided an insight into Christie's early prison life and recounted his eyewitness account of the Darkie's swim for freedom soon after the notorious bushrangers 1874 release and deportation. Although his name is lost forever. At the time he used the pseudonym of 'Old Hand' and illustrates the Darkie's two attempts at freedom; 'Freeman's Journal' Saturday 26th May 1877; "One fine time Gardiner went to work, and in company with three other men were working at the quarry and removing stone from there to the water's edge for the purpose of enlarging the island. It happened to be a foggy morning. Usually, on such occasions, the prisoners were called in from the works, but this morning the fog came on suddenly, and the prisoners determined to take advantage of it. Having drawn the stone to the water's edge, they slipped into the water one after the other and made for the opposite shore. Gardiner being a good swimmer, soon placed a considerable distance between him and the inland. One or two of his companions had leg-irons on at the time. They were soon missed, and the alarm was given, and about twenty policemen and thirty soldiers were firing at them. The bullets could be seen splashing the water about the prisoners like hailstones, and a cap that Gardiner had on being puffed up with water, a bullet passed through it taking it off his head. They had reached within a few yards of the opposite shore when the police boat went in pursuit of them and captured them. They did not admit the prisoners into the boat but made them hold on to a rope, and in this manner, they were "towed" to shore, where they received dry clothes, and had six months extra added on to their sentence.

On another occasion, Gardiner tried to escape from the island by secreting himself during working hours. He supplied himself with a stock of provisions sufficient to last him for a week. Although a diligent search was made, he could not be found; every conceivable place where it was considered possible for him to hide was searched, but there was no trace of him for four days. It subsequently transpired that during the day-time he hid down a deep well in the Superintendent's garden, and at night he used to come out of his hiding place. This well had not been used for some time and had a few feet of water in it. It was in the wintertime, and he used to have to pinch his flesh to make the blood circulate. He ran a great risk of being shot, for everyone who was out after dusk during such events as attempted escapes had to know the countersign, or else they would be arrested or shot at. On the night of Gardiner's capture, he had found his way into the "lumber yards" and was arming himself with some implements out of the blacksmith's shop to attack anyone who should dispute his passage to the water. Being disturbed by the approach of someone he quickly got underneath a blacksmith's bellows, and for a while defied the efforts of his pursuers, but was eventually captured." (The writer, a former inmate with Clarke penned his story after Gardiner's release and his early life had been well publicised following his 1864 trial when his time at Cockatoo and Alias' were exposed. Therefore, to prevent confusion it appears the author highlights in his reminisce with Gardiner instead of  Clarke, a name the public instantly recognised.)

Cockatoo Island Prison.
c. 1860.
Courtesy N.L.A.
However, after five years and two unsuccessful escapes at Cockatoo Island. Christie determined there must be a better way than working the chisel and faking illness. Subsequently, set about applying for his freedom while still having some ten years to run on his original sentence of fourteen years. Fortunately for Christie, his confidence and self-assurance enabled him, with a gift of the gab, to sweet-talk his way to an early release. 

Whether or not his family connections influenced the powers that be anonymously is more than possible. As happened when he was eventually thrown out of Australia many years hence on his release following ten years imprisonment of a thirty-two-year sentence. (Frank's 1874 release was primarily achieved through his three devoted sisters.) 

Therefore, in 1859 freedom was achieved via the much sought after 'Ticket of Leave'. However, of interest, there appeared in 1864 (Annexed below) a review of Christie’s earlier crimes in NSW. Laying out the chronological path from Christie's first sentence at Cockatoo Island as Francis Clarke, as well as his procurement of a 'Ticket of Leave'. Attained through the duping of leading Wheeo and Lachlan district citizens including those who helped convict him in 1854. Under their influence and lobbying Christie succeeded; 'Illustrated Sydney News' Saturday 16th July 1864; "In February 1854, Gardiner (then called Clarke) stole five horses from Mr. John Reid, of the Fish River; he afterwards put them into the hands of an auctioneer at Yass for sale, sending a lad named Prior with them, who represented to the auctioneer that they had been purchased by his master (Clarke) at Tuena Creek-a place fifty miles distant from Reid's. Clarke produced a pretended receipt (a forgery) for the price of the animals, but the brand, which was a very peculiar one, had been mistaken in this document, and it was proved, that Clarke wrote it himself in the inn, at Yass, where he lodged. Clarke stole also, in the same month and in the same district, two other horses, the property of a Mr. Barker, of the Fish River. For these he produced a receipt dated in January, purporting to have been signed at Goulburn by a Mr. Elliott. These horses were also sent to the auctioneer at Yass for sale. Prior stated that they had been purchased for the Melbourne market.

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

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

Cancellation and warrant
for Ticket of Leave.

Note: There is no mention
of the two tattoos present on 
Gardiner's 1874 release.
NSW Police Gazette.
The ticket-of-leave was recommended, and granted, on sundry certificates signed-or purporting so to be by (among others) Edward Ledsam, Esq., of Reid's Flat, Wheeo; and Henry Newham, Esq., same place, Lachlan River; speaking of Gardiner in strong terms of sympathy, as a mere dupe of other persons in the crimes for which he had been sentenced, and offering him as "an erring member of society" employment in their service. Gardiner spoke of himself, at the same time, as a youth-led into temptation "when uncontrolled by parental influence or good example," &c... And Messrs. John Reid, and Edward Barker, the prosecutors in two of the cases before the Chief Justice, also recommended the indulgence.  

Francis Clarke and Edward Prior entry Cockatoo Island 1854, note Gardiner as stout.
Arrested and escaped whilst
at Burrangong diggings.
3rd May 1861.

NSW Police Gazette.
Amazingly, through this early period of both incarceration and scrutiny of tending for parole, the outstanding Victorian warrant remained unchallenged, as well as, Christie's true identity. Here Christie's luck held as his Victorian adventure was not exposed until just before his release in 1874;[sic] "from the convict records, respecting the conviction of an offender named Francis Christie for horse stealing at Geelong, in 1850, and his escape from Pentridge Stockade in the following year, are believed to refer to Christie, alias Gardiner, alias Clarke. This record, however, was not known to the classification board when Gardiner's ticket-of-leave was recommended in 1859, nor was it known to the Comptroller-General of prisons, or the Government, until a few days ago. May 22,1874." Young Prior had been sentenced to three years imprisonment on the second charge only, to be served at Parramatta Gaol. It was understood and claimed that Prior had been led into trouble by Christie. Furthermore, with fourteen years of hard labour ahead of him it might have been supposed that Christie's further enterprises would be checked. In 1858 whilst incarcerated at Cockatoo Island his stepfather Henry Munro sold part of his extensive holdings at Portland and took up a station at the Ararat diggings; PURCHASE OF STATION. -"We understand that Mr. Munro, lately of Crawford station, has made a recent purchase of half of the large station, known as Lexington, near the Ararat diggings."¹¹

Francis Clarke,
Ticket of Leave. 1859

Never before published.
After five years at Cockatoo Island, Christie appeared redeemed and was granted a 'Ticket-of-Leave' under the name of Francis Clarke. John Taylor the clerk at Cockatoo Island recollected; "I have been a clerk at the penal settlement at Cockatoo; the prisoner was there from April 1854 to 27th December 1859; the warrant produced came with him. I was at Cockatoo during the whole-time prisoner was there; his conduct was generally good, excepting on one occasion when he secreted himself for some days; he received a ticket-of-leave for the district of Carcoar..."¹² 

The ability to charm those who granted his ticket-of-leave even after his attempted escape misdemeanours at Cockatoo hoodwinked the powers that be, who had not realised that his spokespersons were mere dupes. Where no doubt the hand of Fogg helped manufacture their assurances. So brazen and confident was Christie that he was even able to convince those he had stolen from (Mr Reid and Barker in 1854) to place the right word in his favour; 'Illustrated Sydney News' 16th July 1864; "the ticket-of-leave was recommended, and granted, on sundry certificates signed-or purporting so to be-by (among others) Edward Ledsam, Esq., of Reid's Flat, Wheeo; and Henry Newham, Esq., same place, Lachlan River; speaking of Gardiner in strong terms of sympathy, as a mere dupe of other persons in the crimes for which he had been sentenced, and offering him as "an erring member of society" employment in their service. And Messrs. John Reid, and Edward Barker, the prosecutors in two of the cases before the Chief Justice, also recommended the indulgence." 

Authors Note: Henry Munro sold his extensive Victorian holding's c. 1864 and sailed for Argentina where he had land interests as well. However, after a short stay, Henry returned to England then to France where sadly he died in c. 1869 at Maison Chapitre, Saint Servan near St Malo, in France. His second wife Catherine (Kate) passed away in 1889 at London.

Sir John Young
12th Governor of
New South Wales
However, Christie's ticket was cancelled on 15th May 1861 on the orders of the Governor, Sir John Young after he had absconded from the Carcoar district and commenced a butchers shop with William Fogg at Lambing Flat under another pseudonym Francis Jones. Life commenced at Lambing Flat circa July 1860. In August 1860 Michael Sheedy was awarded a reward for discovering payable gold in June of 1860. The biggest NSW rush was on.

The nature of the withdrawal of his 'Ticket of Leave' was because he had absented himself from the Carcoar district as per his conditions and became suspected of cattle-stealing and robbery in the company of John Peisley. Regardless, for Christie/Clarke/Jones/Gardiner, his chicanery knew no bounds. As prior to his ticket cancellation the wily Francis petitioned for a pardon in 1860. Unfortunately, Christie's request came unstuck when his activities were highlighted by the Magistrate at Carcoar Mr Beardman while conducting the new butchering business at Lambing Flat. A business which brought the watchful eye of Captain Battye upon him. Francis' application for the petition was also fraudulent. One thing is for sure! Christie was smart. After all deception, horse and cattle theft for Christie are in one's DNA;op.cit. "in December 1860, holding then a ticket-of-leave for Carcoar, Gardiner petitioned for a pardon. His application was strongly recommended by "Isaac Shepherd, J.P., Wheeo," and eight others of that neighbourhood, and was accompanied by various certificates, as to his having been "led astray by others," when a very young man, &c. &c. These papers were sent to the Chief Justice, who thereupon suggested further inquiry. Accordingly, the Police Magistrate of Carcoar; was referred to for a report, and he stated, that ever since March 1860 Gardiner had been generally suspected of being concerned in various robberies in the neighbourhood, and that, a warrant was actually then out against him for cattle stealing. On the 14th May, Gardiner absconded from his bail, and became a bushranger..." 

Following Sheedy's discovery an article appeared in the newspaper outlaying the reward presented to Sheedy for his lucrative find which dwarfed Hargraves 1851 goldfield at Ophir NSW; 'Sydney Morning Herald'; "for deciding on claims for rewards for the discovery of goldfields in the south-western district, has recommended that the maximum amount, £300, be awarded to Michael Sheedy, for the discovery of the Burrangong goldfield..." (Michael Sheedy would go on to open a new type of gold mine and reap a new harvest through a general store and hardware. Sheedy became quite influential at Burrangong.) 

Consequently, the ramshackle town of Lambing Flat was created, described in an extract from the 'Goulburn Herald', 1860; "the "Lambing Flat" is situated about thirty-five miles north-west from Binalong, about the same distance westerly from Burrowa, and about twelve miles’ south-west from Maringo; it is a granite country, with open box-tree ranges, and forms a portion of Mr White's run, called "Burrangong." The diggers expressed a strong desire that the "Lambing Flat" should be proclaimed a gold-field, and that a commissioner should be sent there..."

However, having set up business at Lambing Flat goldfields, Fogg and Christie conducted a gold mine of their own through a butcher's shop. Once more the ever-present use of alias's reared its head again when Christie was also reputedly employing a pseudonym on the Flat of Francis Jones.[sic] "Towards the end of this year, we find him carrying on butchering operations near Lambing Flat, in conjunction with his friend Fogg, and under the assumed name of Jones." 

While the need for cattle for the butchering business was constant, the object of obtaining them was labour intensive. Manpower was plentiful as men flooded into the goldfield. Two men Gardiner would come into contact with was young Canadian who hailed from Kilmore Victoria, Johnny Gilbert employed as a horse-breaker at nearby Marengo and John O'Meally, a stockman from the nearby rugged Weddin Mountains. Several other hardcore local criminals who had no issues with taking animals on the cross were also employed. In particular, John Davis, who in due course, would team up with Gardiner as his Lieutenant and hailed from Singleton. Davis was a qualified carpenter by trade having worked for Patrick O'Meally father of John O'Meally in the construction of the families home and hotel at Arramagong Station at the Weddin Mountains 25 miles to the Nth West.

For the enterprise of cattle duffing, Gardiner went about seeking out those shady youths loitering the streets of the Flat. Idle youths to lazy to have a crack at the pick and shovel in search of the yellow metal. The search brought Gardiner into contact with one such fast and flash youth John Gilbert. Gardiner and Gilbert although years apart in age struck up a solid friendship as both hailed from the state of Victoria and Gardiner no doubt knew Gilbert's Kilmore district well from his own youth. There is a possibility that there were people in common to both. However, by now Gilbert was a seasoned shyster. Slick in the saddle and having a way with unruly stock Gilbert was the perfect choice for Gardiner's cattle operations. Not only was Gilbert streetwise, but he also had intimate knowledge of the surrounding stations whose cattle often roamed unattended. Gilbert's reputation included being a part-time bush-telegraph. Gilbert was never short of a quid living at his ease in a boarding house at Lambing Flat. With a sharp eye for easy pickings, he often acquainted his associates of persons who were worth robbing. However, upon Gardiner's endorsement, Gilbert was given the job to purchase and pinch cattle for the business;[sic] "even in those days’ butchers in a country town had price wars, and a butcher employed Gilbert to buy cattle for him. For this purpose, Gilbert visited the stations. At one he would buy so many head of cattle; at the next one he would probably take a similar number, so by the time he handed them over to the butcher, he had quite a number for a very small outlay. Of course, the butcher could then sell meat very cheaply, and he made a fortune..."

Mrs Betsy Toms
c. 1920.

Courtesy NLA
Fogg and Gardiner's butcher's shop was recounted by one of the first residents to the Burrangong/Lambing Flat gold rush, a Mrs Betsy Toms and her husband. Betsy reminisced in her twilight years how she knew Christie under the name of Gardiner and stated how she held a soft spot for him in her heart, declaring in the 'Wellington Times' Monday 26 June 1922; “he kept the butcher's shop near to our place, and his was the only place at that time where you could get a piece of meat in reason. The prices up to then, and elsewhere, were outrageous and the fool police said he must have got his meat on the cross (stolen) to be able to sell it at the price. He was the only one willing to make a fair thing out of it. Certainly, there was a lot of cattle duffing–the whole district was alive with it...” 

Consequently, gaining cattle on the cross (theft) inevitably brought Fogg and Gardiner's activities under the purview of the police lead by Captain Battye. The scrutiny of what was considered dubious businesses whose stock gathering raised all sorts of suspicions stoked the ire of the dogged police Captain who was adamant that cattle stealing would be checked and constantly raided the butchers operating their suspicious trade hard. It was not long before the police with information, pounced and Christie/Jones/Gardiner was arrested in April 1861 by a trooper at Spring Creek and charged at the Gold Commissioners Court with of all things, horse stealing. "he was arrested at his shop at Spring Creek, brought into Lambing Flat, and charged at the Gold Commissioner's Court with horse-stealing." As such Gardiner's apprehension over stock theft and its consequence, was behind the cancellation of his parole; "The cancellation of the ticket-of-leave, dated 16th May 1861, and signed by Sir John Young," 

However, in May 1861 the police had Christie in custody at Burrangong where he convinced them he was not the man they were looking for and was granted bail. For a Scotsman, Christie had the luck of the Irish. He quickly fled Lambing Flat for Fogg's Fish River farm 100 miles away. The "Burrangong Miner's" news columns contain the following: — Absconded from Bail: "Francis Jones, alias Gardiner, for horse-stealing, was recently admitted to bail, himself in £200, and two sureties of £100 each. When the case came on for hearing, yesterday, Jones, alias Gardiner, was non-est, and there cannot be a doubt that he has made himself scarce." His escape cost £400 forfeited. (Roughly a loss of $33,000) Indignant at the charge Gardiner allegedly posted an advertisement in the "Burrangong Miner refuting the assumption that he was a thief and that it all was a lie; ADVERTISEMENT: Sir,—Having seen a paragraph in the "Miner" and "General Advertiser," of 4th May, headed, Absconded from Bail, wherein I am charged with horse-stealing, I merely wish to inform the party, whoever he may be, that he is a willful and corrupt liar. FRANCIS GARDINER, The Accused. P.S.: I long for an interview once more with Samuel Westoocot. (Have been unable to ascertain who Samuel Westoocot (Westacott/Westcott is as yet. It is believed he was the trooper who arrested Gardiner at his business at Stoney Creek. However, there is a record of a trooper named John Westacott in the new NSW police 1862 attached to M division covering the Braidwood district.)

john middelton
Sgt. John Middleton wearing
 his Silver Bravery Medal

awarded  for Gardiner's
capture in later life. Middleton
was dismissed from the
police, but was
subsequently reinstated.
Coloured by me. 
Returning to Fogg's farm information was soon relayed to Carcoar magistrate Mr Beardmore regarding Gardiner's presence in the Fish River area, as well as intelligence linking Gardiner to a spate of armed robberies in the company of bushranger John Piesley. Beardmore instructed the local police to rearrest Christie as per the outstanding warrant. 

On the 16th of July 1861, two officers were dispatched. Constables Hosie and Sgt Middleton set off. The troopers suspicions led them directly to William Fogg's farm at the Fish River. Fogg had recently returned home from Lambing Flat five weeks earlier with Gardiner. Although Middleton had not been to Fogg's prior Hosie had. Therefore, their knowledge in knowing most of the shady characters of the district loitered around Fogg's drew them there. The hunch proved right and between 10 am and 11 am on a cold and misty day with rain falling the two mounted troopers arrived at Fogg's hut on the banks of the Fish River. 

Caught unaware Mrs Fogg standing outside the dwelling instantly yelled out an alarm as the two police draped in heavy coats wearing cabbage tree hats came through the slip-rails heading for the house. Her ardent cry alerting Gardiner, whereby, the police dismounted approached the front door where a figure, Gardiner dressed in a dark coat and striped trousers moved to a back room screened off by a hanging piece of calico inside the dwelling. Middleton entered the house, he pushed Mrs Fogg to one side asking "who had gone in there," Mr Fogg said "a man." Middleton crossed the floor silent toward the screen as Hosie covered the back of the home outside. Gardiner threatened Middleton to not come near calling that he would shoot the first person that came in. Middleton approached the screen and on lifting it was met with a gunshot fired from the curtained-off room. Gunfire erupted in a quick succession of revolver shots where a number of Gardiner's bullets struck Middleton, one in the mouth/neck, the other in the left hand. Middleton withdrew and Hosie seeing his comrade shot strode up to the home. Gardiner fired again the shot struck Hosie in the head collapsing instantly believed dead.

As Middleton had entered the home a panicked Mary Fogg had followed gathering up two of her children fled the house as a man named James Barney living at Fogg's grabbed a third child retreating to the outside into the yard.

Out of ammunition, and uninjured Gardiner rushed full steam at the wounded and dazed Middleton. Middleton was, however, no slouch. Bleeding Middleton took Gardiner's full weight upon himself and armed only with his silver-topped riding-whip they struggled out into the yard. Brutal hand to hand combat and a fight to near death erupted whereby Middleton managed to bludgeoned Gardiner into submission with his solid whip handle. Hosie non-compos mentis arose and staggered to Middleton's aid where the cuffs were secured on a semi-conscious Gardiner. The two bleeding troopers had affected their man's capture. Middleton and Hosie's wounds were later reported as Middleton shot through the lower lip, knocking out three of his front teeth, passing through the root of his tongue. It was adjudged that he swallowed the ball, as it could not be found. Middleton was as well shot through the wrist, besides having three more bullet wounds. Hosie was hit on the temple, but the ball glanced off without causing much injury, but a severe delirium and concussion.

There have been various colourful accounts of the drama of the battle royal between the police and Gardiner. However, Middleton's sorts out the facts when he delivered his testimony at Gardiner's sensational trial in 1864. Recounting the life and death struggle in his own words; John Middleton deposed; "On the 16th July, 1861, I was in the police force of the colony, having been in it upwards of eight years; William Hosie was also a constable in the force; Mr. Beardmore was police magistrate at Carcoar: I received instructions from him to apprehend the prisoner; he told me that he could produce evidence to show that prisoner had been guilty of robbing the Cooma mail; he mentioned the prisoner's name as Gardiner; the name was pretty well known at that time as a bushranger; he also told me that Gardiner was a prisoner illegally at large; it was reported that he was along with Peisley; it had frequently been told me that he was; Hosie was not present when Mr. Beardmore gave me my instructions; I heard a month or two before that Gardiner was in the bush; I believed him to be a bushranger at that time; after this conversation with Mr. Beardmore I went to look for Gardiner; on the 16th I went with Hosie to Fogg's, I had never been there before; it was about ten or eleven o'clock in the morning. 

It was raining lightly; we were on horseback; we were in police uniform - a round blue jacket, blue trousers, and a cabbage-tree hat and I had leggings on; I had no cloak on; I was armed with a single-barrelled Government pistol and a riding-whip; Hosie was similarly armed to myself; he had a whip; the house was inside a paddock, which was entered by slip rails about two hundred yards from the house; the slip-pannel was visible from the yard of the cottage, and I believe from the door; I could see the house from the slip rail; there was a small low scrub growing between the slip rall and the house; Hosie dismounted and took down the rails, whilst I advanced towards the cottage, at a sort of ambling pace, neither trotting nor walking; when I got to the cottage, about twenty yards from it and outside the yard, a woman came to the door, and when she saw me she threw her hands up; she was facing me at the time; she threw her hands up and started as though surprised; I dismounted, and went up towards the house; I had to dismount to enter the yard, which was round the house; as I was about entering, I could see inside the cottage and saw a man go into what seemed an inner room, and a screen fell over him; I entered and followed into the room; I do not remember speaking at all; I saw Mr. Fogg, Mrs. Fogg, and some children; I did not see any other person present at that time; I went directly towards the screen, and as I was crossing the floor I was challenged; I was told if I went in there I should be shot; I do not remember the precise words, but only the effect of the words, which was if I entered I should be shot.

I went to the screen, raised it with my left hand, and was immediately fired at; I had a pistol in my right hand, I do not think I was wounded by the first shot; I drew back at the shot, and almost immediately passed part of my body behind the screen and fired; at the same time I was fired upon and was hit in the mouth; the room was a kind of skillion, apparently a lumber room, and was very dark; I fired at the man, and he fired at me, about the same instant, and hit me in the mouth; there was only a very short interval between the first and second shot; I attempted to load my pistol after this, and found that my left hand was wounded and that I could not, I then went out of the house to the front and met Hosie; the parties who were in the house seemed to me to pass out as I entered; Mrs. Fogg led her children out, and her husband followed; I was under the impression that more shots than two were fired by the prisoner, because he pointed his pistol at me when I was outside, taking aim through the slabs; he did not it seemed however to be able to bring his pistol to bear upon me; I told Hosie to try and dislodge the prisoner by going round to the back of the house; he went around, but returned, saying he could not get in; in the meantime I could see the prisoner through the slabs; I did not know that the man I was having the encounter with was Gardiner, but I believed it to be he and had been told I should find him there; the man inside was swearing and bouncing, but I do not remember the words he used; Hosie attempted to enter, but he fell before he entered; he was about entering, when he had his pistol pointed at the prisoner and fired, and immediately he fell. 

I could not see the prisoner at that time, and it seemed to me that he met the prisoner as he was entering; I did not hear more than one shot, for they appeared to fire simultaneously; Hosie said something about Gardiner being a game man as he entered; the words he used were, "By God, Gardiner, you are a game man!" he used the name of Gardiner; this was as he was entering, and just before he fired.

Fogg's Hut. This is not the
original home but built
over the old Hut
site c. 1867.
Photo c. 1920s
I saw Hosie fall, and was standing three or four yards off, but had not been able to load my pistol; prisoner rushed out at me, holding his pistol by the barrel, but just as we were coming into collision, Hosie had recovered himself and rushed in and caught him from behind; he had a struggle and scuffle in the yard with Hosie, and I kept striking him with my whip until he fell; I was then weak from loss of blood; we got him down and got a handcuff on one hand, and I could not assist him when Mrs. Fogg interfered and got us to let him inside when the other handcuff was snapped upon him; Mrs. Fogg said we had done enough, and if we would let him in the house he would submit quietly; she whispered something in his ear, and he was then quiet; I searched the house but found no other person in it.

I went to Bigga, but being faint and bothered I lost my road, and it was evening before I got there; I was afterwards attended for my wounds by Dr Rowland, and so was Hosie; I saw Hosie that evening about dark; there was another house just across the river from Fogg's; when Mr. Beardmore told me about Gardiner being concerned in the Cooma mail robbery, I believed it; after the scuffle was over, I saw a man named Barney in the yard; I knew Gardiner to be a prisoner illegally at large.¹³

Reward Notice 1861.
NSW Police Gazette.
Constable Hosie as well recounted his involvement in the affray, however, for sometime after the event Constable Hosie was vilified, not for his role in the capture, but the subsequent escape of Frank Gardiner through the rumour of his receiving a handsome bribe of £50. William Hosie deposed: "I was a constable in the police force on the 16th July 1861; I had then been four years continuously in the force; I am now a gold-miner; on the 16th July I went in company with sergeant Middleton to the Fish River; I had no conversation prior to this with Mr. Beardmore, but about two months before this I had received information at the police station from the police force that Gardiner was wanted for the Cooma mail robbery: it was said he was one of those who had stopped and robbed the Cooma mail; we went to the Fish River to Fogg's place.

I had been there about two months before, and had a conversation with them; they knew me, and who I was; they knew me because I was in police uniform, and another trooper named Wilson, also in uniform, was with me; I saw both Fogg and Mrs. Fogg; I had never seen them before; Wilson is now, I believe, in Darlinghurst gaol; the house is in a paddock enclosed in a three-railed fence, and is between two and three hundred yards from the slips rails; Middleton and myself had our police uniform and leggings and ponchos on; the ponchos reached to about the knees, and were not part of the uniform. Mine was of a dark colour; we went to look for Gardiner. I dismounted and took down the slip rails, and Middleton rode on whilst I led my horse through the rails; Middleton reached the house first, and I was fifty or sixty yards behind; I saw Mrs. Fogg fall back like as if she was alarmed when she saw Middleton dismount and go to the house; she held up her hands as if in fright as Middelton was entering the house; I was about twenty yards behind, and almost immediately on Middelton entering I heard two shots fired, almost in succession, one after the other; immediately afterwards Middleton rushed back to the door and told me to go round to the back of the house; he was wounded and covered with blood.

I went to the back and saw that there was no means of getting in or out of the house from the back, so I came round to the front again; Middleton was standing in front of the door with his whip, and he told me to look out for the prisoner; I looked in and saw prisoner standing at a window two or three yards to the right of me; I had on a poncho, and had a pistol in my hand; when I raised my hand to fire it would lift the poncho so as to show my dress; I only saw the prisoner for a minute look out of the window and he immediately dropped his head down; I cannot say whether he was stooping or standing. I only remained about a moment, for prisoner retired from the window and I went to the door; I said to the best of my recollection, "surrender;" covered him with my pistol and fired; he had a pistol, and was covering me with it when I fired; the revolver produced is the one prisoner had; he fired, and I was struck in the temple; the wound was examined the next night by Dr Macarthur, and about a fortnight or three weeks after the bullet was extracted.

Dramatisation of Gardiner
and Hosie encounter at

Fogg's.Dan Russell, 1952.
Courtesy NLA
I fell down senseless, and the next thing I remember was seeing Gardiner rushing out with his pistol clubbed as if going to strike some one; he was only about an arm's length from me; Middleton was standing up with the whip in his hand; I rushed on Gardiner and we had a struggle till I got him down after Middleton had struck him with his whip; I do not recollect mentioning his name, but Mrs. Fogg called his name several times; I put on one handcuff outside, and the other inside the house; when he was fast, he said he was sorry for what he had done, and wished I had shot him dead; he did not say what for, but when he was talking with me and Mrs. Fogg; I loaded my pistol again, but cannot say whether Middleton loaded his; there were a good many shots fired and exchanged; I only fired once, and Middleton fired I think twice; I never saw him load a second time, but I know that his pistol snapped once; I only heard two shots fired the first time he was in the house, and he had no time to load again in the house; but he had time to load again when I was at the back of the house; I think he fired again, because his pistol snapped; I could not distinguish the sound of Middleton's pistol from that of prisoner; when Gardiner was handcuffed, Middleton searched the house, and said he was so badly wounded that he would go on for assistance; we were not more than half-an-hour there altogether; after Middleton left, I got weak with loss of blood; I asked Mrs Fogg for a drink of water, and whilst I was taking it, prisoner made a rush at me, and threw me on to a bag of flour; he rushed out of the door, but I held by the chains of the handcuffs, and we struggled out into the yard, and I put his arms over a post; he got away, and ran off to the river; I called upon him to stop, or I would fire; he found that the river was flooded, and so he stopped, and got a sapling and rushed at me with it; when I saw he was determined, I fired at him, and we struggled, and I struck him over the head with the pistol until he fell down and said he was dying.

I thought myself that I had killed him, he was so bad, so I put a log under his head, and went for Mrs. Fogg, who fetched him up again to the house; I saw a man named Barney, but not until the matter was all over; I lost sight of him about two hours before I left; by the assistance of Fogg and his wife, we got prisoner on to a horse; Fogg led the horse, and I rode behind; he had got about three and a half miles from Fogg's when Peisley and another man came up and rescued the prisoner from me; Peisley covered me with a revolver, and the other man demanded Fogg to let the horse go; I told Fogg to do so, as giving him up was the only chance I saw of saving my life; Dr Rowland examined my wound; Fogg's house is on the banks of the Fish River, and the nearest house on that side of the river is three or four miles away.

I did not hear the prisoner say anything before the shots were fired; I saw Fogg and his wife rush out of the house; the children were in the house, and I saw them rush out after the firing when I came from the back of the house; I do not recollect hearing a shot fired whilst I was at the back; I think I saw Middleton fire when I came to the front of the house; I may be mistaken, and I only think he fired into the door; the first time I saw Fogg and his wife was two months before, and I did not see them again until the 16th; the first time I went there I stopped about half an hour-; I had no poncho on at that time; when Peisley came up shots were fired; Peisley shot at me, and I fired one shot at the prisoner as he was going off; I fired at prisoner, and then Peisley turned round and shot at me.

I cannot state positively in what way I was wounded; I will not undertake to say it was not by the ball from my own pistol; the house was a slab hut; I was the full length of the room from the slabs when I was shot; I was struck on the temple, and the ball was extracted; prisoner was within two yards of me when he fired; I have been a soldier, and considering how near he was to me, I should say that it was prisoners ball and not mine that wounded me; I should have thought that prisoner's ball would have penetrated the skull; it is possible that my own bullet may have split and rebounded; I did not examine the house to see if the ball had rebounded; the Fogg’s knew me because I had been there before in uniform; when I called for the water, and prisoner rushed on me Middleton had gone; I am positive that Middleton was not present, and this did not occur more than once; I recollect telling prisoner that he was a game man, but it was after I had got him down and was putting the handcuffs on to him; I am certain it was not before; and not at the time I was entering the house."¹⁴ Later regarding the fight between Gardiner and the two police. Gardiner was asked if it was true about the bribe to let him escape Gardiner answered thus"he said emphatically—"No," and that the man who said so was a liar; he was rescued after fighting with two of the best men he had ever met." 

After the struggle where Hosie had been shot in the head by Gardiner it was initially reported in the newspapers that William Hosie had been killed; "A party of the mounted patrol, who went out after the bushrangers who have lately been committing such depredations in the vicinity of Cowra, have fallen in with one of the gang. In the encounter, which took place sergeant Middleton was wounded, and trooper Hosie killed. One of the bushrangers named Gardiner was wounded."¹⁵

However, Hosie's death as reported was premature and in August 1861 the round that stuck Hosie was reported as extracted and his survival a miracle; "EVERY BULLET HAS ITS BILLET"- "This old saw (says the Bathurst Tímes) came to our mind yesterday upon being shown a piece of flattened lead about three-quarters of an inch in diameter and about the eighth of an inch thick, which had been extracted from between the scalp and the skull of trooper Hosie (one of the brave follows who was shot at and wounded by the bushranger Gardiner). A more miraculous escape from death it is not possible to contemplate; and how it could have happened that the bullet did not enter the troopers skull, is altogether Incomprehensible. The piece of lead presents the appearance of having been fired at a plate of iron, so effectually is it flattened. It is evident that the old saying, in this case, did not apply. Sergeant Middleton and trooper Hosie have arrived in Bathurst, and it is a matter of thankfulness that both are nearly recovered from the serious injuries they received in the affray with the bushranger on the Abercrombie. No doubt they will soon be actively employed again in the endeavour to exterminate the gang of murderous vagabonds who are now such a terror to the inhabitants of the Western districts."-Empire

Following the 'Battle of Foggs Farm', Fogg was arrested for harbouring and bailed on £100 to appear a month later. It was the reported of Gardiner; "the man Fogg, who was apprehended on the charge of harbouring bushrangers, was yesterday admitted to bail, in £100, to appear in a month. We hear to-day that Gardiner, the bushranger, died on Sunday night last..."

'The Darky' however lived, and the alleged bribe of Hosie cast suspicion to another of Frank's close associates. The notorious rogue John Peisley, who was thought to have provided the alleged funds. However, Peisley angry at the assumption wrote to the Editor of the Bathurst Free Press in September 1861 refuting that he had in any way assisted in the release of Gardiner. Therefore, to deflect any involvement in the affair Peisley stated that he was not involved with the rescue at Fogg's. Nor of providing the £50 reputed to have been paid to Hosie for that escape.

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

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

I am, Mr. Editor,
your much-harassed writer,

Fish River, Sept 4th. 1861.¹⁶
Peisley's role of bushranger supreme would come to an end after a drunken rage at the Fish River where on the 28th December 1861 a local named Benyan would be killed by Peisley. Peisley was found Guilty on the 11th March 1862 and as he was led from the court he was asked what he thought of the verdict where he replied "Oh! It's a swinger". 

It was noted in 'The Courier' that Peisley; "throughout the trial, he maintained the most unimpassioned demeanour. He did not display any bravado while in the dock, neither did he appear to take any great interest in the result of the trial, during the whole of which we did not observe that he either changed colour or countenance, and the same passiveness was manifest even during the passing of the sentence. After the sentence was pronounced he wished to say something to the court, and said, "As a jury of my country have found me guilty" when the judge ordered him to be removed. On his way from the court to the gaol one of his friends called out, "Well, Johnny, what is it." He called out, "Oh, it's a swinger." The court was crowded to excess during the whole of the trial, and there were great numbers anxious to get a sight of the prisoner but could not get inside."

Shortly after the killing the rogue was taken near Tarcutta and set to trial, Gardiner assumed the mantle of 'King of the Road'. In the above letter, Peisley declares his nobleness to his fellow man... So much for "detest cruelty to man or beast..." as William Benyan discovered! Read Peisley's execution through the link below.
Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal
Saturday 26th April 1862
Execution of the Condemned Criminals
The two constables instead of being hailed as brave and trusted officers of the law over the battle at Fogg's farm. Hosie and Middleton had their characters brought into question. There was, however, some who believed that Peisley had indeed had a hand in effecting Gardiner's escape. Regardless, as Peisley stood upon the Gallows awaiting the drop for the earlier murder of Benyan. The bushranger strenuously denied again any involvement in the release of Gardiner, possibly with a thought that salvation may be granted him at the last moment by slurring Hosie. Alas, it was not to be, and on the 25th April 1862, Peisley was launched into eternity. (See link above.) Also on that date, a new confederate of Gardiner's Ben Hall was again dragged before the Forbes court charged with Highway Robbery in company with none other than Frank Gardiner.

4th June 1862
The innuendo associated with the rumours, particularly of Hosie being bribed £50 for the release of Gardiner by Peisley cast eyes as well upon the Fogg's as responsible for the bribe. However, it was widely believed that Peisley's role was concocted to save any suspicion falling upon Hosie. Unfortunately, Hosie could not shake the suspicion off. Whereby widely discredited he was ultimately dismissed from the NSW Police force in June 1862 without investigation nor due process or recourse. As in that period, the NSW government did not wish for a scandal, a scandal which might impune the image of the newly created NSW police force which came into effect on 1st March 1862. (See clipping above.)

On Middleton's return and Hosie having from appearances been overpowered by rescuer's William Fogg was immediately arrested for obstructing the police in the execution of their duty. Fogg was brought before the court on 31st August 1861 and faced magistrate Beardmore who had instructed the troopers to arrest Gardiner. Following the accounts of the two troopers in the witness box. The wily Fogg's luck was in again and he avoided conviction. Fogg recovered his £100 surety. The presiding magistrates were in no doubt that Fogg had a bigger role than believed and therefore failed to award costs in Fogg's favour. (See link below.)
Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal
Wednesday 4th September 1861
Middleton reduction in rank
following reinstatement
1st September 1863.
NSW Police Gazette.
Furthermore, suspension and dismissal also befell Middleton who had also been tainted by the innuendo of a bribe. A close friend and fellow constable Tom Coward recalled at Middleton's death in 1894, the rough treatment metered out by the authorities and in particular by Captain McLeire. Coward said that;[sic] "he was almost heartbroken at the treatment he received from the authorities after his exertions and bravery in arresting Gardner. Though he was afterwards reinstated, he received no compensation for the loss of time and the disgrace of his dismissal." 

However, Hosie was dismissed, and in later years Middleton after his reinstatement received a medal for his bravery and the courage he displayed in the struggle with Gardiner. When Gardiner was finally captured and sentenced to 32 years gaol the episode of the alleged rescue at Fogg's was finally exposed and brought into the light correctly during Frank's 1864 trial; "Peisley was at Fogg's place with Gardiner, when the information was brought them that Hosie and Middleton were approaching. Peisley immediately left the place, but Gardiner, who was not sober, having just finished drinking half a bottle of gin, declared that he did not fear the police, and would not run from them. What followed on their entering the house was substantially the same as sworn to by Middleton and Hosie, After the conflict, and when Middleton had left the place to procure assistance, both Hosie and Gardiner being desperately wounded, it was proposed by one of the parties present to kill Hosie and thus ensure Gardiner's escape. This was to be accomplished by strychnine, which was in the house. Gardiner having been made aware of this amiable design strongly opposed it, and suggested that a bribe should be offered to Hosie to allow him to escape. Five pounds was at first offered, and when this was declined the amount was doubled and trebled. Hosie, at length, agreed to consent for fifty pounds. This was more money than was in the house, but Fogg and Barney started to endeavour to borrow the sum which was deficient from some of their neighbours-a notorious nest of cattle stealers-who were as much interested as Fogg himself in getting Gardiner out of the clutches of the police.

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

NSW State Parliament.
It was through the suspicion of a bribe to Hosie at Gardiner's 1864 trial that the jury following the evidence found Gardiner "Not Guilty" of "Wounding with Intent to Murder" the two valiant police officers. It was a sensational outcome, totally unexpected and shook the powers to be to their core. How could this be? To make matters worse, at the announcement of the verdict the jubilation felt by those in the gallery and the wild scenes outside the court were recorded in relation to one of the most dramatic trial proceedings in Australia's short colonial history regarding the once mythical bushranger. 

'The Darky' was a true celebrity whose very name touched every citizen of NSW. Whose exploits were romanticised and full of adventure, daring and bravery regardless of the suffering of the poor victims. Furthermore, the scenes generated in and outside the filled court and the general public conduct brought much displeasure and disgust to the presiding Judge, Mr Justice Wise; "the jury retired at a quarter to five o'clock. Immediately his Honour and the jurymen had left the court, the crowd, densely packed in every part of the room, made a great noise and much confusion. The loud jocularity, rude remarks about hats, and unchecked laughter which prevailed contrasted strangely enough with the quiet of a few minutes before. There was also an amazing amount of anxiety shown to get near the dock, and a number of persons within the railings, comprising professional gentlemen, senators, and young men holding respectable positions in society, crowded in front of the dock, some of whom entered into conversation with the prisoner in a familiar and even fraternising manner, and others appeared anxious to do the same, when his Honour came into Court and ordered the passage to be cleared, and further directed, with the evident view of putting a stop to this indecent proceeding, ordered the prisoner to be removed until the jury returned into Court, which was accordingly done.

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

The instant this announcement was made 'hurrahs' burst simultaneously from all parts of the throng. Notwithstanding the demands of his Honour for silence and the efforts of the police, this cheering, shouting, whistling, stomping of feet, and clapping of hands continued for some seconds. Order was not restored until his Honour summoned a boy before him whom he had seen clapping his hands. The boy was remanded to Darlinghurst Gaol, but afterwards, in consideration of his extreme youth and the intercession of counsel, he was discharged with a reprimand. Additional police having been placed at the entrances behind the crowd, his Honour requested the constables to bring before him any persons whom they had seen take part in the disturbance, but none were forthcoming, owing probably to the difficulty of singling out individuals from so large a number, all of whom appeared to join in the tumult.

His Honour with great warmth remarked that it was astonishing that there should be such an utter want of common decency among such a number of people in New South Wales; it was a disgrace, an utter disgrace to the colony. He also thought that the police were censurable. The prisoner, who it is understood will be arraigned on another indictment, was remanded to gaol."¹⁸ Following dismissal from the NSW Police, William Hosie pursued Gold Mining and Middleton also dismissed but after much petitioning was reinstated. However, at a reduced rank.

As the dust settled after the fracas at Foggs, Mrs Fogg would hold dear the symbol of victory over authority in the form of the shirt Gardiner was wearing and would present the remnants of the bloodied garment to all and sundry; 'Empire', Saturday, 14 March 1863; "Mrs Fogg is in the habit of showing the shirt that the desperado wore in that encounter, or rather the shreds of it that were picked up after his escape. I am given to understand that it is prized as a relic, and when shown to the rising generation, it in conjunction with the embellished narrative, will, I've no doubt, exercise a beneficial influence over that portion of the particular community in question, viz., The Abercrombie Ranges."

Kitty married John Brown
when aged 16 at the same

the church as Bridget and
Ben Hall at Bathurst in
September 1859. Catherine

signed her name.
Private source.
Nonetheless, Gardiner free following his July 1861 escape and having evaded the searching police, would in the future universally become known as Frank Gardiner. As far as the police ascertained he had disappeared. However, in escaping Fogg's Gardiner surfaced in the Wheogo district. Returning to those friends he had enamoured during his stint at Lambing Flat. Gardiner's new digs were to be the shanty of Gilbert and O'Meally bordering the Weddin Mountains;[sic] "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..." Gardiner as well utilised the homes of John Maguire and his in-laws the Walsh's as well as Maguire's cattle station partner Ben Hall who at first kept Gardiner at arm's length. The proximity of the Weddin Mountains to O'Meally's was a practical hideaway for Gardiner as noted in the 'Sydney Mail' January 1864 well after Gardiner and Kitty had departed for greener pasture;[sic] The Weddin Mountains. "This mountain range will be as famous in the history of Australian brigandage as the Abruzzi have become in that of the Italian banditti. Many a lawless tale have its old rocks heard recounted, many a desperate deed has there been planned, many a wild carouse have the bright-eyed opossums looked down upon with astonishment. It was the favourite lair of Gardiner, though it has not been much frequented by the ruffian band that has succeeded him, as the place got such a scouting immediately after the escort robbery and for some weeks subsequently, that its whole secrets were laid bare, and now the police are as well acquainted with all its intricacies, its caves, its hiding places, and its deep dells, as are the robbers themselves. 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, then 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. It was upon this account that Gardiner made it his head-quarters and until the police made up their minds to stick, persistently to his tracks, he found it a very comfortable position to take up. His friends, if such men have friends, were all round him, and he could go from the house of one to that of the other, as circumstances might suit, or it compelled to lie concealed, could always draw his supplies from them. By rooting out the confederates of the bushrangers, this position is no longer a tenable one for them, as their supplies are cut off. This fact, coupled with the knowledge that the police have obtained of the locality, may account for the wide berths that Gilbert and Co. have given to the favourite haunt of their predecessor..." On Gardiner arriving at Wheogo Maguire stated;[sic] "I came across a man standing behind a tree. I at once recognised him as Frank Gardiner, "Hello Frank!" says I. What's up?" for I noticed he was terribly cut and hacked about the face. "Oh, I have had a terrible fight", was his reply, and I am pretty well done for. I shot Middleton at Fogg's yesterday."

The friendship between Maguire, Hall and Gardiner had come about through the Lambing Flat butcher's shop. John Maguire and Ben Hall were then starting out on a new venture, a cattle station called Sandy Creek sixty miles distant. The men also drew cattle from the adjacent Wheogo Station. It is more than likely that through Hall and Maguire Gardiner met the beautiful Catherine Brown. Wheogo Station was owned by the stepmother of their wives Elen and Bridget following the women's father's death in 1858. The new beef producers herded cattle to the lucrative Lambing Flat goldfield for sale. The business relationship with Gardiner may have been facilitated through John O'Meally whom they had previously known and the happy go lucky John Gilbert, O'Meally's mate who would ultimately work for Gardiner. The relationship between Gilbert, O'Meally, William Hall and Ben Hall including no doubt Daniel Charters whom Hall had been best friends with since 1854 was founded in 1859/60 according to a Lachlan squatter who knew them all well and highlighted it in a letter in November 1863; "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..."  (See full letter through link below.)
The Newcastle Chronicle and Hunter River District News
Wednesday 4th November 1863

As Gardiner convalesced in the Wheogo district, he commenced an intimate relationship with the married sister-in-law of Ben Hall and John Maguire, Catherine (Kitty) Brown nee Walsh (Welsh) a blonde beauty 5ft 3inches tall. Catherine was Bridget Hall and Elen Maguire's youngest sister. Eighteen years of age who resided with her husband John Brown a quiet easy going hard working stockman in a hut a short distance from the Wheogo station homestead and adjacent Sandy Creek station. Kitty fell head over heels for Gardiner throwing all caution to the wind in abandoning her husband. Gardiner was 14 years Catherine's senior. Catherine had married John Brown when aged 16. (See certificate above.)

NSW Reports of Crime
20th May 1861.
However, before long Frank Gardiner cast a dark shadow over the Wheogo and adjacent districts that would change the dynamics of the serene farming communities when he took up bushranging and at the same time setting the district up as his headquarters. Accordingly, Gardiner's bushranging enterprises were to become the torment of the NSW police. As Gardiner burst onto the scene the NSW police were in metamorphosis as the government transferred the police from the old independent branches into one force under the command of an Inspector-General via the new Police Regulation Act. Gardiner became widely known as the man singularly responsible for the ruination of many a fine young colonial boy as noted in the 'Mount Alexander Mail' 23 April 1863; "His dreadful, career—his infamous crimes are known from one end of the colony to the other; his name, is universally execrated, a perfect demon in human form. Not contented with outraging all laws, human and divine, he appears to have ensnared a great number of the native youth of this colony in his meshes, and by instilling into their young minds a love for unlawful and criminal adventures, he has gradually led them from one crime to another, till he has plunged them to the deepest so that they cannot halt; and must, therefore, proceed till the outraged laws of their country claim them, and examples are made." 

The police of the Lachlan district came under the command of the indefatigable Sir Frederick Pottinger newly appointed police inspector for the area stationed at Forbes. Pottinger was, however, one whose top priority was to apprehend the newly arrived and elusive bushranger. The inspector would spend many weeks in the saddle. Searching the bush in the Wheogo, Lachlan and Bland districts and it's many rugged mountain ranges such as the Weddin and Pinnacle Ranges for the fugitive Gardiner who was being aided and abetted by many public houses and station owners, such as Mrs Feehiley owner of the notorious 'Pinnacle Station' and the sister of Ben Hall's closest friend Daniel Charters. Not only was the Weddin Mountain range a safe haven for Gardiner and his band so was the Pinnacle Range adjacent to Mrs Feehiley's vast station. Furthermore, the Pinnacle Range as well as positioned for easy access to Kitty Brown's home at Wheogo and Hall and Maguires Sandy Creek, all within 10 miles. In fact, its prominence as a safe harbour has often been overlooked as opposed to the Weddin Mountains. It was at the Pinnacle in March 1863 that Sir Frederick Pottinger captured Patsy Daley. I also believe, having been there, that the famous Ben Hall's Cave at the Weddin has no veracity nor significance to the bushrangers. (See Video) The 'Sydney Mail' January 1864 noted The Pinnacle Range's value to Gardiner; The Pinnacle. "This is the name given to a mountain range lying about a couple of miles to the right of the road from Forbes to Young. It has been made familiar to Sydney's ears from having been frequently mentioned during the course of the trial of the escort robbers, as the home of Charters, the approver, who lived there with his sister. It takes its name, as I was informed — for I had no opportunity of examining the locality closely —from a peculiarly-shaped hill that forms part of the range. The Pinnacle station lies about half a mile off the road, and was until lately a public-house; but recent events led to so many inquisitive visits, and the police were so particular in their occasional perquisitions, and the trade of the road fell off so much with the decreasing greatness of Forbes, that the license was given up. The locality has long been regarded as a suspicious one, because the Pinnacle Range, like that of the Weddin, affords complete shelter, in its many almost inaccessible fastnesses, and offers a ready asylum through being so near the road. Captain  McLerie on his recent visit, established a police station here. The barracks are erected by the roadside and about a mile on the Forbes side of the Pinnacle squatting-station. It was supposed that this would effectually cut off the bushrangers from the Pinnacle range, or at all events prevent them from making it a regular haunt..." However, in the year of either 1861 or early 1862, the NSW Police in an effort to catch the notorious bushranger also created a detailed map of Gardiner's known routes and haunts covering an area over eighty miles and listed those people long suspected of harbouring the bushranger.

Moreover, throughout the map. The police also furnish an insight and opinion regarding the character of those people considered criminal or just plain reprehensible who were known protectors of 'The Darky'. However, two names which figured prominently on the highly confidential map, are surprisingly the young wife of Ben Hall and her sister Mrs Catherine Brown. Both noted as 'bad', and at one station on the map states; "Harbourer, Yorkshire Jack, good man bad women, the retreat of Mrs Hall and Brown." (See map bottom of page) An 1861 newspaper article notes Yorkshire Jack as; "a person familiarly known in the neighbourhood by the appellation of 'Yorkshire Jack.' He is the proprietor of a small sheep and cattle station, and appears, from his many good qualities, to merit well the respect and esteem of those who know him..."¹⁹

Gardiner was known to attend, as Yorkshire Jack's doubled as a well-known sly-grog shop. The police map gives a clear insight into the close ties both married 'wild Weddin girls' Catherine and Bridget had with many of the shady characters earmarked by the police. One of Gardiner's mates would destroy the marriage of Ben Hall and drive the mild-mannered squatter into a dissolute life that would end in a barrage of bullets four years later.

Flamboyant Claude Du Val.
William Powell Firth (1819-1909)
However, the detailed map became the 'key' for tracking down Gardiner. The police map commences its narrative starting from the Fish River area in the lower central-eastern part of the western district of NSW to the edge of the western area as far as the Bland District. (West Wyalong). (See map bottom of this page.)

The police in constant search and on alert were always one step behind the Darky as he covered the districts with ease. Gardiner was irrepressible, the newspapers often characterised him in the mould of the famous 17th-century French-born English highwayman Claude Du Val (b.1643-d.1670);[sic] "a gallant and courteous rogue, probably the most dashing highwayman ever to haunt the roads of England. He was known as a “true gentleman of the road...” Gardiner embraced this beau ideal. Continually scanning the newspapers for positive reviews of his robberies. Whereby when misrepresented he would take umbrage by writing to the editors, such as the Burrangong Star refuting any fake news and false assumptions. 

Furthermore, Gardiner was the first bushranger to embrace the power of public perception and to enhance a burgeoning celebrity status highlighted throughout the volumes of newspapers. Much like the Beatles success through enhancing the emerging power of Television. In utilising this power, Gardiner would always take care during hold-ups to be egalitarian with those held under his revolver. Displaying great panache in his manners, dress and appearance, knowing full well that his every action would be soaked up by the press as they interrogated the victims who were only too proud to relay their encounter with the dashing bushranger; "Gardiner wore breeches and high boots, cabbage-tree hat with black band, and black poncho spotted on the inside of like the skin of a leopard..."²⁰ This standard was to be embraced by accomplice John Gilbert who styled himself also as a flash cove. Accordingly, Gardiner was also very well aware that the settlers both rich and poor were his most significant asset for protection, at a cost of course.

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

Therefore, even those stripped of all their valuables and cash were never left without a silver shilling for the road, a coin Gardiner never accepted. All these actions enhanced Gardiner's image and prestige; "there have been few instances where violence has been used by these modern highwaymen, they will often leave a few shillings with their victims, so that they may not be on the road quite destitute...”²² 

However, Gardiner as well did not discriminate with former friends either, with cases recorded of his robbing both those close and former acquaintances a common practice. Robberies conducted without any malice or vindictiveness, after all, it was just business; "as Gordon's coach on its down trip from the Lachlan was being tooled along a good road by Fred Newman, about twenty-five miles from the diggings, two horsemen suddenly appeared on the road with an imperative "stop" to the driver. Twigging a 14-inch Dean and Adams' in the hands of the speaker, Fred, received orders to drive into the bush. They stopped at about half a mile and demanded the money of the passengers — £2 from one, and £30 with a watch and ring from the other, being luckily their only booty. It is almost unnecessary to state that Gardiner and his mate were these very polite highwaymen. The man robbed of the £30, &c., now a mate of Tom Watson's, of "jeweller's shop" notoriety, was formerly a mate of this very Gardiner's in some other walk of life. The following is -the colloquy that ensued between them: — J. M’Auley. "I did not expect this from you, Frank." — Gardiner: "I expected to get £1000, or at least £400 or £500, from you, Jim." — J. M'Auley: "Well, give me back my watch and ring." — "Not now— I will return them another time." The gentlemen of the road then shook hands with them and departed..."²³

Kitty reputedly in
action with Gardiner.
c. 1862
Gardiner, having fully recovered from the gunfight and struggle at Fogg's farm and in the throes of a sizzling love affair with the beautiful blonde haired Catherine in full bloom. All roads and tracks surrounding the Goldfield at Lambing Flat, as well as the Weddin/Pinnacle Mountains, were now under Gardiner's domain as he leapt into bushranging. Over the next two years to the residents of the Burrangong and surrounding districts, Gardiner was hailed 'King of the Road'. However, amongst all the action, Gardiner was never far from the arms of Kitty Brown. There were even tales of Kitty's participation in hold-ups of travellers disguised in men's clothing. For Gardiner however, his entourage ebbed and flowed amongst the undesirables of the districts as they hunted for travellers and eased them of their possessions both monetary and personal. As well as Kitty, John Walsh Jnr aka 'The Warrigal'  Kitty's younger brother also fell under the spell of Gardiner; Maguire "from his earliest childhood the Warrigal was a real boy of the bush. He was a clever rider almost as soon as other boys had learnt to walk. He was always passionately fond of horses and was always with them. He was smoking his father's tobacco at the age of 8 or 9, and already, even then, he had distinguished himself by all sorts of extraordinary pranks. He was just as good as a blackfellow at all sorts of bush work and would have a bee's nest found and cleaned out whilst another boy, or man would have been looking for a bee. It was at Wheogo that the Warrigal first met Gardiner, the bushranger. John Walsh was 14.

John 'Warrigal' Walsh in
company with Frank
Gardiner, December 1861.

NSW Police Gazette 1862.
This devotion to his sister's lover produced the sobriquet of 'Gardiner's Boy or Groom.' Whereby, he would often be noticed in Gardiner's company holding his horse and tending his needs while a robbery took place. 'The Warrigal' at a very young age could ride like the wind take jumps that would make an ordinary person quiver in fright. The boy knew no fear. Maguire "the Warrigal himself often had encounters with the troopers. But he was nearly always too quick for them, and his natural agility and cleverness, and his exact knowledge of the country enabling him to run rings round the uniformed men. Once a party of police ran him down and tried hard to make him tell them where Gardiner was. But Walsh would sooner have cut his handoff. The police could make nothing, of him at all; and he eventually got away— with a lot of new and fresh information for the bushranger. The association continued right up to the time of the gold escort robbery." "It was the Warrigal. who took Gardiner's messages to the other members of the gang that worked that piece of brigandage.."

An old-timer who reputedly knew 'The Warrigal' in their youth recounted in a look back in the 'Freeman's Journal', 10th November 1906; “little Jack Walsh was such a mischievous, dare-devil young lad that he was known to all as 'The Warrigal’, and I can picture him now as clearly as in our school days. (Not often attended.) Rather short, with sharp features on a freckled face, and when he smiled, which was nearly always, he showed a large mouthful of good teeth when not stained by tobacco, and he simply did not know what fear was. He was generally with Gardiner, in fact, he was known as 'Gardiner's Boy.' While flying from the police with Gardiner on one occasion the pair separated, and little Jacky got caught in the pocket of a creek. To turn back meant capture, so 'The Warrigal' being mounted on a splendid bay pony called 'Little John,' dug in his spurs, sent the brave little horse flying over the creek, and got clear away, for none of the police would risk the jump. And no wonder, for when afterwards measured, it was found to be 20 feet wide. The police had to go round a quarter of a mile, and by that time 'The Warrigal' was 'over the hills and far away.' But poor little Jack was caught at last, and died of fever soon after...” 

Sadly, the Warrigal's relationship with Gardiner would cost him his life at age 16 in March 1863 following his arrest at his sister Kitty's home in August 1862 an incarceration covering many months at the primitive Forbes lock-up. John Walsh died from Gaol Fever. (Typhus fever.) (For full details see Ben Hall Page.)

Gardiner's brazen escapades fully heightened his flourishing bushranging celebrity. Every newspaper scrambled for the latest Gardiner exploit. However, the newspapers continued to hail the gallant bushranger an Australian Claude Du Val; ‘Empire' Wednesday 12th February 1862; - "My telegram of Sunday last will have informed you of the state this part of the country is in with respect to robberies, &c. Every day brings its tale of coaches, drays, and horsemen being stuck up on the road to the Lachlan, and every night someone is knocked down in or near the town and robbed At first people were much alarmed, and considerable sums of money were lost, but now no one carries money, except in very small sums, for the place and surrounding roads are so infested with bushrangers that people quite look to be stopped The robberies on the road are conducted quite in the Claude Duval style. A man of the name of Gardiner is the hero, he is described to me as a tall, fine-looking man, and conducts his business in a quiet and rather gentlemanly manner. A few days ago, the Lachlan coach was 'stuck up,' coming into Lambing Flat, by Gardiner and his band, and on the next morning returning to the Lachlan, it was stopped again. There have been few instances where violence has been used by these modern highwaymen, they will often leave a few shillings with their victims, so that they may not be on the road quite destitute. But your readers will say, how comes it that those frequent and open robberies are allowed to take place when there is so large a police force and military stationed here? And this is a question may well be asked.

The coolness and ease demonstrated by Christie/Taylor/Clarke/Jones/Gardiner, whose widespread reputation had morphed him into the alias of Frank Gardiner, conducted his robberies with a certain flair and aplomb which became his trademark. Gardiner's politeness as well enhanced his reputation by the way he dealt with the women faced with a revolver pointed at their breast. Gardiner was calm and often humorous, his avoidance of capture was not only as an insult to the NSW government but a result of those strong friendships he had developed with the cockatoo squatters and shanty keepers. Including two new rapscallions in crime the wild John O'Meally and handsome John Gilbert; “O’Meally and Gilbert were suspected by the police to be for a long time before two of Gardiner’s best ‘dead crooks.” Both of these young men kept a shanty at the point of the Weddin Mountains, on the road from Lambing Flat to Forbes. Gardiner used to live and frequently hang about there...”²⁴

The nexus of locals included the ever-present and willing bush telegraphs, who on horseback and foot scoured the towns and villages for news of prospective victims for a reward or a morsel of booty from the celebrated bushranger. Another of those bush telegraphs was John Bow a local stockman on John Nowlan's station near Bimbi, Weddin Mountains. The police, however, were of no concern to Gardiner. Being mounted on the best of the best thoroughbreds, Gardiner always outpaced them or at times with unnerving audacity casually confronted and returned fire whenever cornered or manoeuvring to affect his escape. Before long the very name Gardiner sent shivers through the spine of storekeepers and police. Men, when confronted by the bushranger appeared to become hypnotised and ineffective. Many a local in the district spoke bravely of how they would take the celebrated bushranger. 

However, as they say, actions speak louder than words as described in the article below following some tough talk by two local businessmen who unknowingly were in Gardiner's presence at a local shanty. One a Mr James Torpy was a leader during the anti-Chinese sentiment at Lambing Flat 1861. The link below illustrates the events and meeting between Torpy his mate and Gardiner.
Wednesday, 12th February 1862
However, a letter to the 'Sydney Morning Herald' penned by a Henry Kirwen draws a diffing view of the gameness of the men who poured scorn on Gardiner then melted when confronted by the redoubtable bushranger.
Sydney Morning Herald
Wednesday, 12th February 1862
The reference in the article to Mrs Fielding or Feehey must be noted that she is the sister of Daniel Charters and owner of the Pinnacle Station. Margaret Feehily operated a public-house on the property frequented by Gardiner and others regularly. Its reputation drew the NSW police to place a station a short distance from the homestead in late 1862.

Nevertheless, recruits, such as John Gilbert, John Davis, Jack O’Meally and Pat M'Guinness and others, 'The Darky' reputedly nicknamed by his strong athletic build and dark-complexioned handsome looks as well as a love of the dark arts ... 'Fortune Telling', commenced waylaying travellers daily on the roads between the Burrangong and the recently discovered Lachlan gold diggings at Forbes. However, one of the most successful and most rewarding successes for the bushranger was the robbery of two storekeepers on the 10th March 1862.

The victims were Alfred Horsington (Hossington) and his wife as well as another, Henry Hewett. The businessmen were stopped near Big Wombat. Subsequently, from Alfred Horsington who had been incapacitated by a broken leg the bushrangers acquired 253 oz. of gold and £145 in notes; from the other, Henry Hewett, they acquired 189 oz. of gold and £172 in money. The events of the day are recalled in the 'Glen Innes Examiner and General Advertiser', Friday 10th October 1902; "One of the most daring robberies in which Gardiner was personally engaged was on the road near Big Wombat, in the district of Young, when he stuck up Mr. Alfred Horsington and robbed him of 253 ounces of gold and £145 in money. Horsington was a digger and a storekeeper, at Lambing Flat, and was proceeding from Little Wombat to the Flat in a spring-cart on 10th March 1862, his wife and a boy named De Burgh being in the vehicle with him and a Mr. Hewitt, another Flat storekeeper, riding on horseback behind. The boy was driving, as Horsington was suffering from a broken leg.

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

Gardiner then proceeded to search Mrs. Horsington, excusing his ungallant work on the ground that ladies wore sometimes fond of planting money. Mrs. Horsington, however, had only a £1 note. "You may want that;" said Gardiner. "and you can keep it." "Thank you for nothing,' said the lady, who knew what he had got from her husband. From Hewitt also Gardiner took some notes and gold, which were in a valise on his saddle. One of the other bushrangers subsequently took the saddle, valise, and riding-whip, and the horse was only left because it was badly bred. Horsington's horse was also left to him because of his broken leg; but they made the boy take it out of the shafts and unharness it, to prevent speedy pursuit. "I hope you'll have- another load for me next time you come along," said Gardiner, and the bushrangers rode off with their booty. When the police at Lambing Flat heard of this exploit they at once set out to scour the country, but, as usual, their search for the robbers was futile. (The value of the robbery in today's terms was $783,000 in gold and cash.) 

However, in 1864 while in the dock at the Sydney Criminal Court at Darlinghurst. Frank Gardiner pleaded Guilty to the charge of Highway Robbery against Horsington and Hewitt but took umbrage at the evidence put forward by his victims. Whereby in a letter to the judge, Chief Justice Alfred Stephen, Gardiner cast doubt over the victim's claims. Gardiner, in fact, stated that there were five in number, not four. The fifth man may well have been Samuel Dinnir (Dinner) a well-known hoodlum of the district who had been released from Bathurst Gaol in 1860. The Late Highway Robbery of £1800, near Wombat."We learn that Samuel Dinnir who is pretty well known to the police in this district is one of the parties who stuck up Messrs. Horsington and Hewitt, and robbed them of a large amount of gold-dust on the morning of the 10th instant." Yass Courier

In turn, during the proceedings, Gardiner stated that since the events only two of the bushrangers involved remained alive. At the time of the 1864 trial, Pat M'Guinness had been shot dead. John O'Meally also shot dead and John Davis, unmentioned previously, who at the time was close to Gardiner, was serving a fifteen-year sentence. Whether by design or mischievous intentions Gardiner hints that Gilbert may not have been a participant. This lack of linking Gilbert to the robbery was quantified by Henry Hewitt himself at the inquest into Gilbert's death in May 1865 where if Gilbert's participation was evident Hewitt would have stated so; 'The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser' Saturday 20th May 1865  Robert Henry Hewitt, being duly sworn, states "I reside in Burrowa, I was formerly a storekeeper at Wombat, and when there knew the deceased, John Gilbert, he was frequently in my store, and I saw him almost every day for about four months, I saw him last on the 10th of March, 1863, I have seen the body now shown to the jury, and identify it as the body of John Gilbert, I have no doubt whatever of the fact." Suspicion, therefore, falls towards Paddy Connolly, who had disappeared presumed dead. James Downey O'Meally's cousin was strongly implicated but the charge against him was dropped. However, current evidence suggests that in fact, Downey was the other person and not John Gilbert.

Furthermore, Gardiner stated as well that the robbery was conducted much later, being some six weeks later. However, contemporary accounts in newspapers of March 1862 were not fabricated and explicitly stated the events occurred on the 10th March 1862. A statement the court appeared disinterested in verifying, no doubt as the Highwayman had pleaded guilty to the charges. Gardiner's letter was a shrewd move on his part. In so much as his recollection may have influenced the judge in his sentencing deliberations by casting some doubt. Thereby, avoiding the hangman’s noose. This avoidance brought much indignation in the press. (See Gardiner's letter in full at bottom of the page.)

At the completion of the lucrative Horsington and Hewitt transaction, Gardiner allowed the travellers to proceed on their journey without bodily injury but not before O'Meally had allegedly acquired Hewitt's saddle and valise. However, during the hold up a gun had been discharged accidentally by M'Guinness in which it was said that the bullet had passed close to Mrs Horsington's head. Nevertheless, Gardiner brazened by the failings of the police at any real attempt in pursuit or capture the Darkie became from March to June 1862 the governor of the Queen's roads and uninterrupted perpetrated a large volume of robberies. Supported by a band of ruffians constantly changing; March 25th 1862.- Telegram, Forbes. "Gardiner stuck-up and robbed two drays (between this and Lambing Flat) of provisions, spirits, and winter clothing;" April 12th, Gardiner went to Mr. Chisholm station, at Bland, and stole a horse; 17th, telegram, from Forbes, sticking-up is still the order of the day between here and Lambing Flat, 20th, Gardiner stuck-up about twenty-five men on the Lachlan Road a few days ago, and several drays." 23rd, Gardiner and four armed men dashed in front of Greig's coach, on the road from the Lachlan to Burrangong and turned into the bush again; on the same day, they stuck-up and robbed a dray, belonging to Moses and Son and the other day, they stuck up and robbed Mr Greig's dray on the Lachlan road."²⁵ 

Robberies mentioned above would have no doubt have included Ben Hall, Gardiner's newest compatriot. Ben Hall's link to crime with Gardiner dates back to 1861, evidenced when a mail contract rider was held-up in 1863 by Hall and John Gilbert confirming the early link. 'Geelong Advertiser' December 1863; "Richard Henry, in the employ of Mr Jacob Marks, the contractor, was conveying the mails from Binalong to Yass, he was stuck up by Gilbert and Hall. As to the identity of the bushrangers there can be no doubt, as their faces were not disguised in any manner, and Richard (or Dick, as he is better known by, a half-caste aboriginal) had the opportunity of fully recognising them as those well-known bushrangers, who, in company with Gardiner, waited upon him professionally while he was conveying the mails in the neighbourhood of Murrumburrah, some two years past." 

The robbery of the storekeepers generated outrage, highlighted in the 'Sydney Morning Herald' article of the 15th March 1862, where the bushrangers had escaped with over £1500 in cash and gold; "last night, from information, received, a party of men also started, in the hope of being enabled to capture some of the villains; but I am afraid their endeavours will be fruitless, for no man in the colony appears to have such a perfect knowledge of the country as Gardiner, and it is believed by many that he will make his way back to the Weddin Mountains, and defy the police. Without the Government increase our police force considerably, and that without any delay, they must be prepared to hear of still further depredations, and the fault will rest on the Government, not the police, for at the present time, should any disturbance take place in the town, or any robbery is committed, the police are all away. This is holding out a premium for robbery and riot, for there is very little doubt there are parties both here and at the Lachlan who are implicated in these robberies and get information with respect to every movement that is made here-know the police force-where they are stationed-when they are absent and give the information to the parties who commit these robberies. If the Government do not show a determination to put down these robberies and apprehend these perpetrators of them, the police force of this place will be made the laughing-stock of the colonies. The police force of these fields must be considerably increased..."

Frank Gardiner had surrounded himself with fierce and daring accomplices. One accomplice, in particular, was Gardiner's closest ally John Davis, a native of Singleton and the same age who was by trade a carpenter. Davis and Gardiner had struck up a good friendship while Fogg and Gardiner had earlier in 1860/61 operated a butchers shop at Lambing Flat and continued at the O'Meally's shanty shared by John Gilbert at the Weddin where Gardiner was often about. Davis was as reckless as 'The Darkie'. When in company together or with others. However, on the 10th April 1862, Davis and Gardiner's partnership would come to an abrupt end. Three police officers escorting prisoners alighted from a coach outside Brewers Shanty, 25 miles from Lambing Flat. Here they chanced upon Davis and two others of Gardiner's brigade. The battle royal between Davis and the police officers can be read through the link below and is well worth it. Davis would be shot a number of times and taken.
Sydney Morning Herald
Thursday, 17th April 1862

With Davis' capture, and Gardiner's newest chum Ben Hall recently taken this appeared in the 'Empire'; "things are assuming a quiet aspect since Davis was captured, and Benjamin Hall committed for trial for robbing Mr. Greig's team, on Friday last, by Sir F. Pottinger..."²⁶ 

The capture of Davis was a blow to Gardiner, as he had lost his First Lieutenant. Davis would now be ably replaced by John Gilbert, it appears that Davis and Gilbert had similar personalities, brave, daring, smart, educated, happy go lucky, loyal and excellent horseman. Davis was also quite musical and was known to entertain the gang with musical ditties; "one of the bushrangers played the piano while the rest danced and drank brandy and water at Mr. Pring's expense. At Mr. Croaker's station, one of the bushrangers played the concertina and sang "Ever of thee" to the host. On the person of the prisoner was found a considerable sum in money, a bank cheque book, revolver, compass, &c., and the horse on which he was mounted was captured likewise. Besides these, the two led horses were also taken and brought to the camp. He also had in his possession the accordéon which was stolen from Mr Croker's station..."²⁷ There may even be some conjecture that the mystery person in the famous photo of Gardiner and another, long believed to be John Gilbert maybe John Davis?

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

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

Moreover, not only was 'The Darkie' bold, daring and charming in his exploits, the thought or hint of any injustice or slur to his reputation was viewed seriously as an insult to his character. The infringement often necessitated a correction, therefore, Gardiner would pen letters to the Editors of the Burrangong and Lachlan newspapers highlighting his annoyance, rectifying any misleading accounts in regard to his name and reputation and rogue status. 

One newspaper which constantly disparaged Gardiner's character was the 'Burrangong Courier'. The paper was editor-ed and owned by Mr G.D. Lang, son of the highly esteemed parliamentarian The Rev Dr Lang M.P. who had returned in 1834 from England on the very same ship that brought out a five-year-old Francis Christie 'The James'. Incensed at the unfavourable and derogatory reporting of the paper. Gardiner had been apprised that the influential father of the paper's owner was travelling through the Burrangong District gathering research for his highly anticipated article for the Sydney papers titled 'NOTES OF A TRIP TO THE WESTWARD AND SOUTHWARD'. Gardiner soon set his telegraphs to seek out the good Reverend for a parlay; "Dr Lang has just escaped being stuck up by Gardiner, the bushranger, on his way to Lambing Flat. Gardiner got information of the Doctor's change of route, but stumbled on a storekeeper by mistake, and passed him with the simple remark of —" You are not the person I expected." Gardiner does not approve of the way in which he is spoken of in the Doctor's son's paper, and says he wishes to have a talk with the Doctor on the subject. That is all." Whereby, on learning of Gardiner's desire to meet, Dr Lang altered his track; "I learned afterwards that Gardiner, who has recently been levying blackmail on the Lachlan and other roads of the Far West, had heard of my being at Burrangong, and intended to intercept me on the way, on hearing that I had had to leave the coach and travel by some other conveyance. But as we started within an hour after the coach that left with the troopers and prisoners, and by a different route, we were mutually deprived of the pleasure or benefit of an interview. I have been repeatedly congratulated since on my providential escape; but I confess I was rather sorry, when informed of the circumstance, that I had missed him, as I understood he had had some communication or complaint to make to me, to which I should have been quite willing to have listened attentively. From all I have heard of Gardiner, I could never have supposed that he had any intention either to rob or to maltreat me, regarding him, as I did, as a much more courteous person than Captain Macdonald." As a consequence and alerted the reverend avoided coming into contact with Gardiner.

Accordingly, one such letter penned by Gardiner appeared in the Lachlan Miner and was reprinted in the unfavourable Burrangong Courier. The letter highlighted the misrepresentation of Gardiner's most recent activities according to Frank's anamnesis, whereby 'The Darky' wished to put the editor straight; BURRANGONG. (From the Burrangong Courier, April 23, 1862)- The following extremely respectable note and a letter appeared in the Lachlan Miner of the 10th instant. The Miner published Gardner's letter as we give it below, with the annexed endorsement as to its authenticity: - "We have received the following letter, purporting to be from the hand of Frank Gardner, the notorious highwayman of Lachlan and Lambing Flat roads. The circumstances under which we became possessed of the documents can be known, and the original copies, with the envelopes and seals, seen by the curious, on application at this office, and they can then use what judgement they choose as to the genuineness of them. We give it to our readers as we received it."

To the Editor of the Burrangong Miner, Lambing Flat;

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

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

Day's after it's publication this bold letter raised the ire of other newspaper proprietors one of whom commented in the 'Goulburn Herald' that some papers were pandering to the bushranger. The 30th April 1862; MORE ABOUT GARDINER. -Frank Gardiner is certainly in league with a person who lately edited a public journal in this district. The one presents a gold watch to the other; and the editor prints such highly edifying communications as the following in return. The highwayman is, in some respects, worthy of being considered entitled to our regard. In most respects, he is worthy of our detestation only. The editor, however who prostitutes his paper in the manner the person we have referred to has done, should no longer be regarded as a fit public censor, or a reliable chronicler of passing events. Gardiner is a bold rogue and a very great fool because he not only braves the police and levies toll along the whole line of road from Burrangong to the Lachlan, but he risks his liberty or neck for the paltry equivalent of a few months' defiance of the law. A pity, it is that so bold a spirit should be occupied in so bad a cause and should have to look forward to so contemptible an end. It was then reputed that a magistrate from Gundagai took umbridge to Gardiner's letter writing;[sic] A magistrate at Gundagai wrote this to Frank Gardiner, the bushranger: Dear sir — "In the sacred name of law and order I request you to come in and give yourself up to the police authorities at once."

"Make way for the Royal Mail"
Within months of Gardiner's emergence into the Lachlan, came the greatest achievement of Gardiner and his gang's bushranging efforts. The Lachlan Gold Escort robbery at Eugowra Rocks. The Eugowra Rocks were situated about forty-five miles from the provincial town of Orange. In the lead-up to the robbery, Gardiner assembled seven men of various means two of whom were successful squatters and already well off financially and well known to Gardiner. These men were Ben Hall, part-time accomplice, and Daniel Charters.

Interestingly in the process of the planning and gathering of the required equipment and personal. It also was noted that Frank Gardiner was seeking advice regarding success or failure of the proposed audacious task through the black arts via a Fortune Telling book. A book for which he was widely known to consult regularly and where Gardiner had held great faith in the mechanisms of the Oracle; “Gardiner was reading a book-a fortune telling book. It would appear, in fact, that Gardiner was consulting the oracle as to the future; calculating the chances of the undertaking in hand...”³¹

Fortune Telling
Gardiner's Dark
Arts companion.
Frank commenced organising the daring heist of Gold from a Royal Mail Escort. Frank had been scrutinising the gold escort movements around the goldfields of Forbes and Lambing Flat for months. Recording their routes and departure times as well as the number of ounces of gold on-board each coach. What made it easier for the King of the Road was that the details he needed were frequently advertised/published in the columns of the local newspapers. Some papers even went so far as to give guidance on how to conduct the robbery as early as January 1862 as expressed in; The 'Western Examiner' 30th January 1862; "Lachlan escort has, for some time, past, formed a subject of comment here. It consists of four men only, and as if to facilitate their destruction by any gang of ruffians that may take it in their heads to "stick them up," they are cooped up, two in a row, in the vehicle containing the gold. It is pretty generally admitted that our whole escort system is faulty. The men should be mounted in order to be effective in an emergency. Under the present system what would be easier than for half a dozen determined fellows-of which there are numbers on the Lachlan-to fell a tree, and when the coach had pulled up, to fire into the escort, the robbers all the time undercover. Such things have occurred in these colonies since the discovery of gold and may occur again. It certainly shows a want of prudence on the part of the authorities to do things in this half-and-half way. What possible effective resistance could four armed men, cooped up in a coach, and placed in a row to be shot at, offer to the same number, undercover none whatever. On full consideration, it appears little short of recklessly jeopardising the lives of public servants, and indirectly holding out a premium to the gang of marauders who have so long infested these districts, to continue the present system." 

Frank Gardiner was cognizant of the very sentiment revealed in the paper and amazingly almost follow the analysis to the letter. Therefore, gratified in the knowledge that the small number of police guards could be overcome. Gardiner set about finalising the logistics for the robbery. John Maguire, a close acquaintance of Frank Gardiner wrote of Frank's desire in 'The Biography of a Reliable Old Native' (written by P.H. Pinkstone, owner of the 'Hawkesbury Herald' and first published in the said newspaper after many in-depth interviews and fireside talks, c. 1906) "it was with Gardiner that the idea of taking the escort originated and took a fortnight to prepare for the attack. For some months before Gilbert and O'Meally were Gardiner's constant companions, and they had been talking about it together. They were getting full of the petty bailing-up business, and wanted to make a grand haul and then quit the country..." 

Moreover, another inspiration for success may well have sprung from Gardiner's recall of a bold and widely publicised robbery two years after his escape from Pentridge in Victoria on 20th July 1853 nine years earlier. Here a private gold escort under strong guard by the Victorian police was escorting a dray from the McIvor diggings to Kyneton for the Melbourne escort. Subsequently, it came under attack and robbed by a gang of six men at Mia Mia who split into two groups, one section firing on the police while the others snatched the gold. Unlike the fear broadcast in the Western Examiner, the McIvor escort police were mounted. As the gun-smoke hung in the air the gang with the gold affected their escape after wounding four police officers in the process. 'The Argus' recalls the event; Gold Seekers of the Fifties 21st April 1899The private escort from McIvor was suddenly fired upon and robbed at the Mia Mia on the 20th of July, 1853. They had 2,300oz. of gold and some £820 in cash—treasure worth £9,500—and were travelling from McIvor to Kyneton to catch the main Bendigo escort on its way to Melbourne. The escort was in command of Superintendent Warner, with Sergeant Duins, four troopers, and the driver. Druins was riding in front, and as they came round a bend of the road by the Mia Mia he found a tree felled across the track, forming a sort of barricade. The trap had been well planned some of the branches had been cut away and thrown with apparent carelessness by the roadside, but behind this screen, two of the gang had taken shelter, so as to cut off any possibility of retreat. The others were hiding behind trees on the hill slope commanding the roadway. While four of the robbers arranged the ambuscade, two others went up the road to watch for the coming of the escort.

Sergeant Duins was riding at its head, and the fallen tree, as he suddenly came upon it, seemed to excite his suspicion. He held up his hand, and cried "Halt!" That was taken as the signal to fire. The bushrangers jumped from behind the trees and fired a volley having loaded their guns with a double charge—a bullet and heavy shot. Four of the escort Davis, Boeswater, Fookes, and Morton—instantly fell, seriously wounded. Davis was shot in the neck as he tried to unstrap his carbine, and another of the wounded men was pinned down by his dead horse. Sergeant Duins dashed his horse through the barricade, being repeatedly fired at, for the robbers carried horse pistols as well as guns, and one of them, George Melville, had a revolver. Two bullets lodged in the flanks of Duin's horse, and both he and Warner exchanged shots with the gang until their ammunition was exhausted, but at too long-range to be effective. Warner gave up when his horse was shot in the jaw, and the sergeant galloped to the nearest police station for assistance. It was all over in a few minutes. The wounded men were left on the ground just as they lay, and while two of the bushrangers galloped out to exchange shots with Duins and Warner, the others took the gold and cash, overlooking, however, one packet of £120, and rode away through the bush. They had disappeared while the smoke of their guns still floated over the box trees.

At the time, it was a sensation. The banditos cleared out with over 3,000 ounces of gold and £800 in cash. Their shot at freedom and riches was short-lived. However, Frank Gardiner played no part in the McIvor affair although two brothers named Francis, George and John were arrested with John turning Queen's evidence and ratted his partners out stating six men were involved. They included John Francis' brother George who committed suicide while in custody by slashing his throat in a water closet (Toilet). The other robbers were Joseph Grey, George Melville, George Wilson and William Atkins. George Melville, George Wilson and William Atkins were found guilty and hanged. Joseph Grey escaped and vanished from Melbourne. Furthermore, the men involved in the robbery were all noted as married men except Grey. At no stage was a person named Christie mentioned or alluded to in evidence. Furthermore, apart from the road being blocked the similarities between McIvor and Eugowra end there as Gardiner did not split his men and unlike McIvor attacked as a concentrated group firing two volleys at the troopers penned in the coach.

As such the subject of Christie/Gardiner's often linked involvement in the McIvor affair appears to have sprung from a Sydney newspaper who picked up a report from a Melbourne paper insinuating that Christie was a person of interest even leader in the affair. That, however, has proven to be inaccurate. Any use of that sentiment is untrustworthy in the extreme. Furthermore, the paper states that Christie is a native of Sydney this is as well false. Gardiner had been in Victoria since 1838. Leaving NSW with his family and Henry Munro setting off from the Goulburn district and arriving as an eight-year-old at Campasne Victoria, resurfacing in NSW after his escape from Pentridge in 1851; 'Bell's Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer' Saturday 6th August 1853 Page 2 extracted from the 'Melbourne Herald' 'The Murderous Attack upon the Melbourne Private Escort.' CAPTURE OF THE LEADER OF THE GANG.—It will be some gratification to learn that the leader of the gang who attempted the wholesale and cold-blooded slaughter of the private escort yesterday week has been captured and recognised and that he admits himself to have been one of the party. The wretch was taken in bed on the following Saturday at M'Ivor Diggings, where he was lying, booted and spurred, with a female as abandoned as himself. He is an ill-looking fellow named Christie, about twenty-six years of age, and whose life has been one scene of the crime from first to last. He had not long escaped from Pentridge stockade, and it was the look-out for him as a runaway convict which led to his detection as one of the would-be murderers. Christie is said to be a native of Sydney, but this is not certain. A great many other parties have been taken upon suspicion and discharged for want of identification, but it is to be hoped and expected that the large rewards offered by the Government and the company for the apprehension of the gang will cause a "split" among the villains, and ultimately lead to the detection of all the culprits. As yet none of the gold or the money has been recovered.—Melbourne Herald. This alone is pure speculation. Long after Gardiner's escape from Pentridge in 1851, his escape details were continually published in the Victorian Police Gazette up to and including 1853. This extract appeared after the McIvor robbery. [Extract B from Victoria Police Gazette, 30th December 1853, page 5] The undermentioned convicts escaped from Pentridge on the 26th March 1851: (4.)Francis Christie: brown hair, sallow complexion, hazel eyes; height, five feet eight and a quarter inches; age, twenty-one years. Reward, £10. Jon. M'Leire, I.G.P.

Commentary in the future on Gardiner stated he was far from an ill-looking fellow. Evidence concludes Gardiner had left for NSW from Victoria by 1852 at the age of 23. However, if perchance Francis Christie had been captured the authorities they would have no doubt incarcerated him at once as a convict illegally at large and returned him to Pentridge. 

Furthermore, Gardiner was in the habit of using an alias and as an absconder would no doubt if seized have used one of the many false names in his repertoire. Apart from the one mention in the Sydney paper picked up from Victoria there is no other link to Christie/Gardiner's alleged involvement. Finally 'The Argus' 17th August 1853 names those arrested on suspicion of participation in the affair and where half of whom were released. Note one, Christopher William Christy, as one detained then released in connection with McIvor robbery. Therefore, Christopher William Christy may be the source of confusion and the person alluded to as; "he was lying, booted and spurred, with a female as abandoned as himself. He is an ill-looking fellow named Christie, about twenty-six years of age, and whose life has been one scene of crime from first to last"The Escort Robbery.- "At the District Court yesterday the following prisoners, having been many times remanded, were, on the application of Captain McMahon, discharged from custody, there being no tangible evidence against them:-Patrick McQuin, William Bateman, John Murphy, John Wright, Christopher William Christy, and George Wilson. George Francis, John Francis, George Melville, William Atkins, and Agnes Atkins, were remanded for a week, Captain McMahon, saying that he expected by that time to be in possession of important evidence." There is as well evidence to suggest that Christy hailed from Tasmania and as with the McIvor robbers crossed to Victoria as a former convict having received a pardon in 1850.

Consequently, all the evidence at the subsequent trials of the actual perpetrators, in which John Francis turned Queen's evidence makes no mention nor involvement of a person named Christie or a man fitting his description. However, in his evidence the approver John Francis makes reference to Pentridge; "my brother and Grey and myself took the right-hand road, the other three went through Pentridge. We three got in Melbourne about eleven on the same night."

Three of the men were convicted and hung for the crime. One committed suicide and one turned approver, another disappeared named Grey (Gray). Even on the Gallows none about to face their maker or for possible salvation named others and took their leaps into eternity silent. Six in number participated. In another sweep of the robbery area, three other men were sent to trial as conspirators they were Harding, Elson and McEvoy. They, too, were discharged soon after the examination as nothing could be proved against them as had been with Christopher Christy, therefore, if Gardiner was reputedly in custody how on earth did he wiggle out of the police grip. Bribery, doubtful. Simple he was never in police custody and never at McIvor diggings post-1851. 

Thus, January's 1862 'Western Examiner's' assessment may well be the only grounds for Gardiner's strategy at Eugowra and McIvor purely a historical coincidence. Another plausible explanation may well have been a correspondent pursuing the police Victorian Hue and Cry, drew a link confusing Francis Christie's escape from Pentridge and the Francis brothers and Christopher Christie's apprehension's at the McIvor diggings.

Finally, the nail in the coffin of Gardiner's presence at McIvor came from Constable John Padget of the NSW police who in March 1854 stated under oath at Christie's trial for horse stealing in February 1854 where Gardiner as Clarke had stolen horses from the Fish River and Tunea district quite an effort and time-consuming. Padget said that he had known Christie for some time prior to 1853 under the alias' of both Clarke and Gardiner in Goulburn and was often in the company of Edward Prior and that Christie lived nearby Prior and frequented the Priors Hotel in Grafton Street Goulburn regularly.

NSW Gold Escort.
c. 1870's
Eugowra! All 'The Darkie' needed for success in being able to sweep Catherine from the Lachlan was a perfect place to ambush a gold escort and that place was revealed by Ben Hall following their discussions of various locations. The area required that it not be well patronised such as the main road between Lambing Flat and Forbes, therefore, Ben proposed Eugowra Rocks an area of large granite rocks and boulders shouldering the road the escort would travel past between Forbes and Orange. Ben Hall's knowledge of that particular area came from his many journeys there with his close friend Daniel Charters. Bill Hall, Ben Hall's brother blows the whistle on Ben Hall's contribution and participation; Bradshaw op.cit. "Ben Hall knew the place well and had a good knowledge of the surrounding country. He was also appointed pilot. Ben Hall was likewise chosen to go into Forbes and inquire particulars as to the escort. Hall found out that the escort would be leaving Forbes on Sunday. Word was passed around for another meeting on the Friday before. True to their promise, the lot turned up on that day..."

Accordingly, Gardiner had found no trouble in recruiting his accomplices once the sweet riches the recruits would receive were revealed. Gardiner recruited seven men with himself in command they were; John Gilbert, John O’Meally, Daniel Charters, Alex Fordyce, John Bow, Ben Hall and the last one recruited Henry Manns. Final preparations for the bold attack now began in earnest, correspondence regarding the meeting and get together's between the gang members was facilitated by young Johnny 'The Warrigal' Walsh on Gardiner's orders; Maguire op,cit. "it was the Warrigal. who took Gardiner's messages to the other members of the gang that worked that piece of brigandage— Charters. O'Meally, Hall, Gilbert, and the others..." The planning arose over many weeks, with the gang rendezvousing at both John Maguire and Ben Hall's homes at Sandy Creek station with some members camping in the home paddocks of the station;[sic] "evidence which went to show that Maguire's house was the rendezvous of Gardiner and his gang, where the attack on the escort was planned..."

Accordingly, with the knowledge in hand and the site decided 'The Darkie' set off on Saturday 14th June 1862 for Eugowra Rocks with his band of brothers. Bradshaw op.cit. "after receiving instructions on how to act, they rode away, and camped that night near Mrs. Feeley’s pub..." Upon an untroubled route to Eugowra Rocks, the men were sighted at South Waugan near Mr Brotherton's Inn late Saturday but drew no interest;[sic] "had been seen the night before, at the back of Mr Brotherton's Inn, at South Waugan," a short stopover at Daniel Charters sister Agnes Newell's hotel at Bandon near Eugowra the assailants arrived at their destination. On Sunday 15th June 1862 Gardiner set about pacing the firing distance as well as seconding some passing bullock dray's for use as an obstacle for the expected coach and prepared his troops. Then sat patiently and waited.

George Burgess
c. 1930's.

Rare photo.
George Burgess was a thirteen-year-old lad who assisted one of the dray's whip Dick Bloomfield and acted as a 'billy boiler.' (Tea maker) Burgess witnessed the process of Frank Gardiner seconding the drays commenting in the 'Molong Express and Western District Advertiser' Saturday 14th September 1935; "at about 11 o'clock; I went into a pine scrub about two miles, from Eugowra to cut a whip handle when I came out I saw the driver in conversation with a man wearing white moles and Wellington boots, with a red comforter round his head and his face blackened, who I afterwards heard was the notorious Frank Gardiner. He was leaning on a double-barrelled gun, and he said, "I want you fellows, come along." We then turned a corner in the road and came in sight of two bullock teams right across the road, ours was put in the same position and made a barricade. Our hats were pulled over our faces and tied in that position with handkerchiefs. My hat, which was an old cabbage tree one, had a hole in the crown, and I could see what was going on. We were placed behind a small rock and threatened, under pain of death, not to look up or remove our hats. There were about seven of us in all, including a swagman.

Eugowra Rocks.
View towards the approaching
coach track.
Bushrangers secreted

My photo 
The rattle and tramp of the Gold Escort reverberated through the scrub echoing off the granite rocked slopes as it made its way along the well-rutted track. Horses snorting in the effort and the sharp crack of the whip as Fagan, the driver, urged them on in the very late afternoon toward the secreted bushrangers squatting amongst the boulders in the distance. As the coach traversed the slight incline towards the large rocks, it carried on board a police sergeant and three troopers. They were Sgt Condell, trooper's Moran Halivand and Rafferty. Condell seated atop next to Fagan while the other three rode inside the coach.

To the surprise of the whip John Fagan, the coach was impeded on its path by bullock teams their drivers not to be seen, drawn diagonally across the road hindering Fagan's passage. Fagan called loudly to the drays, "Make way for the Royal-mail", then commenced a circuit to pass around them. However, when the coach neared close to the clump of rocks dominated by a huge boulder, men suddenly rose from their shelter. They were attired in red shirts, their faces blackened, and red comforters (scarfs) wrapped around their heads armed with rifles and revolvers. On Gardiner's command 'Fire' the men discharged their guns in a volley and riddled the coach, its timber frame splintering.

From the barrage, a bullet pierced the driver Fagan’s hat, another perforated the skirt of his coat. Fagan was so alarmed it was stated that he fell off the driver's box of the coach. With bullet rounds cutting the air following the first volley, another set of bandits stood up and fired a second salvo, at which point, the frightened horses galloped off into the bush with the vehicle, the coach rolling over. In a complete surprise Police sergeant-in-charge, Condell and his men, dazed and disorientated scrambled from the vehicle retreating under continuing fire, safely clearing out as the gang yelling in a frenzy rushed down upon the coach firing again at the retreating police.

After the gun-smoke cleared, Sgt Condell had suffered wounds in three places the most serious being;[sic] "in the left side. In this case, the bullet penetrated a little above the hip, passed under the skin, and out by the back, making a wound two or three inches long," and Trooper Snr Cst Moran in two places, one in the groin. Trooper Cst Haviland was uninjured, fleeing into the bush with Fagan and Trooper Cst Rafferty also uninjured. The robbers shrieking in their adrenaline-charged victory carried away the escort boxes filled with gold, two rifles, and one of the coach horses to carry the 169lbs of gold. Haviland and Rafferty plus the driver made for Hanbury Clement’s Station nearby. The bushrangers having fled. Hanbury Clements’ brother John returned to the scene with a party of men, who found only the idle drays and scattered contents of the mail bags, these they gathered up.

Once more young George Burgess relates the events during the robbery;op.cit "in about 20 minutes’ time along came the gold escort of four horses and manned by four police. A strange thing, two mounted troopers were a few miles ahead of the escort, and never knew, that it was stuck up until they reached Orange. When the escort came up against the barricaded road, about seven bushrangers, who were concealed behind the rocks, rushed out and fired a volley at the coach, saying "bail up". The shots frightened the horses, and they became frantic. Jack Fagan, the driver, jumped off his seat and tried to steady them, but they did not go 20 yards before the coach was upset, and all was confusion in a few minutes, all the occupants scampering through the scrub in the direction of Eugowra station, then owned by a Mr. Clements."

Commissioner Grenfell.
Newspaper Image, 1867.

Courtesy NLA.
The mounted men Burgess refers too were Captain Brown a long-time friend of Captain M’Lerie, Inspector-General of NSW police, and the Gold Commissioner for Forbes. Before the departure of the gold coach, the two men had decided to leave Forbes by horseback instead of the coach. Departing some hours earlier; 'The Courier' Tuesday 8th July 1862; - “Captain Brown and Mr. Commissioner Grenfell were to have come down by the escort, but owing to special instructions from Inspector General M'Lerie, they came on horseback and were some miles in advance of the escort when the attack was made." Whether as the gang waited for the approaching coach, and prior to the blocking of the road the robbers watched the two men pass by is unknown.

Word was rushed to Forbes, and great pandemonium broke out as the sensational news blazed across the 1860's internet, the electric telegraph. Late on the Sunday evening of the robbery and the riders news in hand. Sir Frederick Pottinger and his black-trackers including Billy Dargin and twenty men departed Forbes;[sic] "assisted by Mr Wm Dargin, whose bushman like qualities are well known upon the Lachlan and Bogan." Sir Frederick Pottinger arrived and commenced the chase for the culprits. Subsequently, after obtaining fresh horses the bullet-riddled coach was righted and proceeded to Orange with the wounded police. However, along the way, it picked up some passengers. Clements had also discovered the missing bullock drivers. Consequently, the coach arrived in Orange at six o’clock on the following evening. Proceeded up Byng Street and turned right at the corner of the Commercial Bank into Sale Street heading for the Post Office. Here the remaining untouched mail was deposited.

Orange Post Office.
c. 1870.

Courtesy NLA.
The coach then headed the short distance to Dalton’s Inn on Summer St. However, as the coach departed the post office and was trundling along to Dalton’s Inn, there was the report of a gunshot. Whereby, Constable Haviland seated inside the coach was shot and killed instantly by a single round from Constable Moran’s revolver. The revolver had prior to departing Clement's the day after the robbery had been placed by Haviland on the floor under where he sat. Constable Moran at Haviland’s inquest gave a detailed account of the tragic death of Haviland.; “we left Mr. Clement’s yesterday morning; the sergeant was on the box with Haviland, and a passenger in the coach; deceased said during the day he would not come on the escort any more unless there was a mounted party along with us; deceased had no spirits or wine that I know of; he was perfectly sober; yesterday evening between six and seven o’clock we arrived at Orange; we had taken up a lady passenger, with her servant and child; I and a lady and the other male passenger were sitting with our backs towards the driver; the female passenger was sitting in the middle; we heard the report of a revolver after leaving the Orange Post-office; the female passenger exclaimed, “My God the man is shot!” Haviland was sitting at the back of the coach opposite me; I said “No! It can’t be!” I saw the flash from the revolver in a line with deceased’s chest; the female put her hand over first; I then put out my hand and felt the blood pouring down quite warm; I said, “he is shot in the stomach”; the coach was going on all the time; I said it might be from the sergeant’s rifle; he said “no it could not be”’ in reply to a question from the sergeant I said deceased was shot; in the coach there was my revolver, and a revolver case empty belonging to the man who went to the Lachlan; Haviland had his revolver by his side; the last time I saw my revolver it was in a case; Haviland brought it out of Clements' in the morning, and put it under the seat he was sitting on, it was then loaded; that is the revolver produced (stained with blood); it was my revolver; I had it in my charge; when I arrived here (at Dalton's inn) I asked the sergeant if I could go in and sit down; he said yes; I know deceased had no money with him, because he asked me for the loan of £1 to pay a bill he owes here; he had my watch in his pocket; I gave it to him to carry....”³² Consequently, the verdict at the inquest for Haviland found that; "died from a wound by a bullet, whether by intent or accident not known..."³³ The unfortunate Haviland left behind a widow and two children. Furthermore, in 1890 aged 63 Henry Moran who had survived the Eugowra onslaught in 1862 died tragically after falling from a cart at Mt Lambie, NSW. William Haviland's death was the first as a member of the newly formed NSW Police Force on duty. Mrs Havilland was awarded a gratuity of £100.

Hanbury Clements.
c. 1880's
However, prior to the unfortunate death of Constable Haviland and as Gardiner and his band retreated from Eugowra. Mr Clements and his efforts were highlighted in the newspaper whereby after assisting the police survivors Hanbury Clements reputedly had ridden valiantly into Forbes 25 miles distant to raise the alarm arriving at 9 pm and sought out Sir Frederick Pottinger. However, another report indicated that one of the troopers had ridden in from the scene of the attack; 'The Argus' Friday 27th June 1862; "on Sunday night last, about nine o'clock, the township of Forbes was roused from the repose into which it was gradually subsiding by the arrival of one of the gold guard on horseback, with the intelligence that the escort had been stuck-up near the Rocks, opposite the station of Mr J. F. Clements, on Eugowra Creek..."

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

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

View from Gardiner's camp
Wheogo Hill. Weddin
Mountains in the foreground.
Courtesy Peter C Smith.
Having escaped the police pursuit, Gardiner led his men back to Wheogo Hill 60 odd miles distant, instructing their guide Daniel Charters to;[sic] "Go as crooked as you can, so as to bother the trackers." Wheogo Hill boarders Ben Hall's station and the home of Gardiner's lover Kitty Brown's families Wheogo station. A top the hill the gang set up camp to divide the spoils. While on the summit of Wheogo Hill the men were joined by young Johnny 'Warrigal' Walsh who over the next few days would run errands to provide the food and drink required to sustain the Eugowra raiders. The marauders had plundered a fortune consisting of 2700 oz. of gold, representing over $3 million in today’s value, and £3,700 in Oriental Bank notes equal in today’s terms to $310,000. 

Following the division of the booty into eight equal shares, Ben Hall, Jack O'Meally, Manns and Bow departed. John Gilbert with his share of 22lbs of gold and £460 in notes safely in his saddlebag remained at the camp. Gardiner, Fordyce, and Charters placed their gold back onto one of the bags placed on the coach pack-horse. However, Gardiner required more carrying capacity, therefore, Charters was sent to down to Hall's home for extra saddlebags. Maguire and Hall lived within 500yds of each other with Hall's abode closer to Wheogo Hill. Charters on approaching his good friends home was surprised by Sgt Sanderson in Hall's yard, turned tail riding hardback to the hill crying out as he approached the summit "Look out the traps are upon us." Gardiner now joined by a panicked Charters and Johnny Walsh snatched up the reins of the pack-horse and bolted proceeding towards the vastness of the Weddin Mountains. Gilbert in the rush jumped his horse and left his mate and leader to fend for himself. An act that brought their friendship to an acrimonious end. Sanderson followed the trail of Charters to the summit assessing the tracks through his blacktracker Charley. Following a quick survey of the villains camp, Sanderson was quickly back on the bushrangers trail.

The role of young Johnny Walsh following the return of the men to Wheogo Hill, in the main, has been overlooked. 'The Warrigal' was the link in fetching the victuals needed to sustain the men as the proceeds of the robbery were divvied-up. Furthermore, the man Gardiner sent to Hall's for saddlebags may well have been Walsh and not as suspected Gilbert nor Charters, as evidence suggests that it was the 'The Warrigal' who was sent to collect the saddlebags from Hall's as he would have not raised suspicion and that Maguire named Charters to protect the young larikin who on seeing the troopers quickly turned and fled. On Sanderson reaching the camp, he noted Warrigal's supply chain; "at the top of the mountain I found the remnants of a camp; there were sixteen empty bottles; some contained remnants of port wine, some of gin, some of rum, some of ale; there were biscuits about and tea with milk in it; I did not see how the robbers could have got milk on the spot without going to the stations round about; there were remnants of beef, bits of bread! pieces of green hide tied to bushes, and bits of red tape; For Johnny's help in the camp at Wheogo. Maguire comments that the young lad received £100; Maguire op.cit. "When Gardiner's gang was dividing the money-taken from the Eugowra escort robbery, Gardiner in referring to young Walsh, "Here's the boy, He's got to have something." The others agreed that my brother-in-law was entitled to something. So they-gave him £100; in notes, all fivers. The boy had never seen so much money in his life before and he was the proudest in the whole company.

For the first time in his lawless career, Gardiner panicked and with Charters and Johnny Walsh as his companions made a catastrophic mistake. Fearing that the police were almost upon him and the pack-horse slowing their escape. Gardiner dropped its reins and galloped off leaving his, Charters and Fordyce's share on its back calling out "Go your own roads, and look after yourselves" This command was promptly acted upon, the other three promptly, disappearing in various directions..." A move that saw all The Darky's efforts lost forever. However, in the escape of Johnny Walsh, Maguire recalled; Maguire op.cit. "The Warrigal went for the Weddin Mountains, principally because he knew the country thoroughly The police were after him, and by some error or other, he found himself trapped on a sort of promontory formed by a bend in a pretty wide creek. It was a tight place for a man who badly, wanted to keep on travelling. In front and on both sides was the creek. Behind were the police. To return meant certain capture. "So the Warrigal made up his mind and made it up quickly. He was riding a splendid little pony, and was, as I have said, a magnificent horseman. He put his pony at the creek where it seemed, less wide than anywhere else, and rode straight for liberty. And it was as if the pony knew the danger and the necessity for something special. Because it took that almost impossible jump on the fly, cleanly like a bird. It was a wonderful leap and deserves to be remembered in history. Measured afterwards, it was found to be a clear, 22ft. Rejoicing in his escape the Warrigal went straight ahead for the mountains. The police, who had been hotly pursuing him, stopped at the creek. They could see the Warrigal— so narrow had his escape been— cantering up the slope on the further side, but none of them were game to face that desperate jump that had saved him from their clutches. So, after watching him a while, they rode back along the creek till they found a crossing place— and it was a good way- along, too, "By the time they got to the other side the Warrigal was far enough away..."

In February 1863, at the subsequent Escort trial. Sergeant Sanderson the 'Hero of Wheogo' described Gardiner's camp atop Wheogo Hill; “on the Thursday morning following the robbery I was near the Wheogo Mountains, on my search; I was near to the house of a man named Hall; McGuire’s house was about 300 or 400 yards from Hall's house; I went to Hall's house; I wanted to see one of the Hall's; he was not in; I went on towards McGuire’s house; as I went I saw a horseman coming towards me from the Wheoga Mountains, in the direction of Hall's or McGuire’s house; when he caught sight of me he turned round and bolted into the mountains; I followed him with my party; by the aid of our black tracker we got on the tracks; we followed him by roundabout course up to the top of the Wheogo Mountain; the top of the mountain was about a mile and a half from McGuire’s place; at the top of the mountain I found the remnants of a camp; there were sixteen empty bottles; some contained remnants of port wine, some of gin, some of rum, some of ale; there were biscuits about and tea with milk in it; I did not see how the robbers could have got milk on the spot without going to the stations round about; there were remnants of beef, bits of bread! pieces of green hide tied to bushes, and bits of red tape; I found the top of the hill very stoney, and consequently very difficult to keep the track; we lost it for a time; in about a quarter of an hour it was found by the black tracker, and we proceeded on it a distance of about twenty or twenty-six miles, through a dense scrub; the black tracker rode a white horse; as far as I could judge the man who evaded me at the foot of the Wheogo Mountain rode a bright bay horse; we found the track of several horses; I could not say how many; one of them was shod; we followed in these tracks about twenty-five miles; when we came upon a shod horse with a pack on his back; the pack contained a bag with 1239 ounces of gold, a bag similar to that which I saw put into the escort which started on Sunday, 15th June, from Forbes...”³⁶
This is a video of the Eugowra Robbery site I filmed in 2013.

The famous photo of Francis Christie and another believed to be John Gilbert
possibly taken at Forbes in 1861/2 at Mrs Ryan's Photographic Studio.
Map of Gardiner's retreat from
Eugowra sketched by
Police 1862. The map on the right
re-drawn by Mr. Edgar Penzig.

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

The reward offered is good, but should have been £200 each for the first four robbers taken. There is a feeling here that the Government is decidedly liable for the loss on account of want of proper precaution. If properly managed by Pottinger, who is still out, I firmly believe all the gold will be got. It is most amusing to us to see by the Sydney papers that an impression prevailed that Gardner was not concerned in the robbery."³⁷ 
Thursday 5th February 1863
This link covers Daniel Charters' testimony at the Gold Escort Trial's February 1863. The evidence of Tom Richards and others involved in the pursuit is also accessible. 

For Charters and Fordyce the participation amounted to zip. When the police regained the pack-horse Gardiner offered Charters £50 compensation and nothing to Fordyce. In Gardiner's opinion, Fordyce deserved nothing from the robbery due to his failure to discharge his weapon at the coach as well as being under the influence. Upon return to Wheogo Hill Gardiner was so enraged he threatened to “cut his rations bloody short”

The huge escort robbery would be Gardiner's final known bushranging exploit. Following the achievement of the Escort robbery and poorer for his effort with no prize in his pocket. Frank Gardiner reputedly cleared out of NSW with reports of his presence in either Victoria or South Australia. However, after some weeks incognito Gardiner appeared in Wheogo and the home of Catherine Brown. One report even insinuated his whereabouts during this period of inactivity as in Ballarat; 'The Argus, Melbourne' 25th August 1862; GARDINER.-There seems to be no doubt of the celebrated highwayman Gardiner having been close to this district a short while since. It appears that about six weeks since, when it was generally reported that Gardiner had been arrested at Kilmore, he was in Ballarat and that he was accompanied there by two of his mates. He then visited the "Fat Girl" and her father, whom it appears he had known at the Lachlan, from whence, it will be remembered, the family originally came. Gardiner and his mates spent three days in Ballarat, and the night previous to their departure they visited the theatre, where, however, they remained but a short time, as Gardiner detected among the audience two or three persons who knew him. On the following morning, the three left Ballarat, en route to the Lachlan district. This occurred about six weeks since, and at the time, it will be remembered, when Sir P. Pottinger had lost all traces of Gardiner's whereabouts. The source from whence we have obtained the above information establishes it as genuine.- Talbot Leader, Aug, 23.

The 'Fat Girl'! What is not widely known is that the father of the young lady is also the father of John Youngman who fled Orange after receiving bail at the time of his and Ben Hall's court proceedings at the Orange Courthouse in May of 1862, regarding the Bacon robbery. Youngman's fleeing cast a shadow over Ben Hall. Gardiner and the Youngman's were good friends. Another report recorded the Fat Girl was held over at Smythes five miles from Ballarat as no coach would transport her due to inclement weather at the alleged time of Gardiner's presence there: 'The Star' Friday 25th July 1862; "Our Smythesdale correspondent says:- That prize baby, Miss M. A. Youngman, otherwise known as "the Fat Girl," is weather-bound at Dent's Royal Hotel, Smythes, as no coachman will risk taking her on to Lintons as long as this weather lasts, where the lovers of the wonderful continue to visit her and wonder at her size." As a master of deception, Gardiner could have been anywhere, however, even with the rampant reporting of sightings here and there including Ballarat. It is doubtful that Frank ever left the Lachlan as there were more than enough supporters in his favour. There was also as his love affair with Kitty, from whom it would be unusual that he would abandon her warm embrace for six weeks or that she went with him south. Furthermore, an arrest was reported of a suspected Frank Gardiner near Kilmore, the boyhood home of John Gilbert. However, it was a case of mistaken identity. The above newspaper report was also tempered by another questioning Gardiner's activities and that he had fled Australia. 'South Australian Weekly Chronicle' Saturday 30th August 1862; "There seems no end to the rumours about Gardiner, the bushranger. Lately, it was said that he had been seen in the theatre at Ballarat, and now it is rumoured that he has sailed for California and that some other rascal is impersonating him. If he reaches California it is to be hoped the Vigilance Committee will get hold of him."  

Ironic how California is consistently addressed as Gardiner's preferred destination by correspondents well before his eventual ejection from Australia in 1874. Newspapers were full of Gardiner sightings, his exploits, his whereabouts. All sensationalised for those hungry for scuttlebutt. However, Gardiner's presence in the south has never been fully authenticated. One newspaper correspondent from Yass appeared to have the inside knowledge and that Gardiner fleeing the Lachlan was all subterfuge and that the 'Darkie' had been to his old quarters of Goulburn or remained close to Kitty's home where in due course Pottinger arrived hoping against hope of snaring his man; 'Bell's Life in Sydney and Sporting Chronicle' Saturday 6th September 1862; Where is Gardiner? - "A most difficult question to answer, we should say; but it is very, certain that he is gifted until ubiquity, judging from the statements which appear, from time to time, in the columns of some of our contemporaries. The other day it was positively averred that he paid Goulburn a visit; a few days prior to that, he witnessed the performances in the Ballarat Theatre; he was at Wangaratta since then, being a short cut to the Lachlan. How agreeable must it be to him to read these positive statements, while he himself has been all the time on his old beat-perhaps paying a visit of condolence to Mrs Brown at Wheogo Creek, after the "flustration" she was put in, by the gallant, but truly unfortunate Pottinger. Our neighbourhood has not escaped the contagion of false reports; on Wednesday it was shrewdly suspected he was close at hand, and the police wore actively engaged, in poking their noses into things that did not concern them, i.e., into inoffensive people's houses. We need not tell the reader that Gardiner was not found, His presence here if only for half an hour, would be a great relief to the speculative mind. For our own part, we say with Othello, "Como when he will, we can deny him nothing!"-Yass Courier.

Authors Note: 'The Kyneton Observer' Thursday 25th September 1862. The Fat Girl is Kyneton,—Miss Mary Jane Youngman, commonly known as the Fat Girl, of the extraordinary weight of 12st 11lbs, though only 14 years of age, measuring 35 inches in height, and 3 feet 6 inches round the shoulders; 4 feet 3 inches round the waist; and 1 foot round the arm, which is only 9 inches in length; and 2 feet round the leg, which in length is exactly in foot; will be exhibited in Kyneton, on Friday and succeeding days at the Kyneton Theatre, Piper-street, and there can be little doubt hundreds will be induced to pay a visit to this wonder of the world. This young lady who, from reports which have reached us, has never shed her milk teeth or infant's hair, and who combines the stature of a dwarf with the form and muscular development of a giant, was born on the Lachlan, and may with safety be pronounced the "greatest " female prodigy the world has ever seen.

Frederick Pottinger.
Sir Frederick Pottinger in light of his limited success against the bushrangers was more and more determined to bring the law to the lawless West. Especially in regard to those residing at the many stations by which Sir Frederick noted as being the centre of flagrant anarchical activities. These settlers were highlighted on the map drawn up by the police which named all those associated or known protectors of Gardiner. (See police map bottom of the page.) Therefore, extremely frustrated that people associated with the Escort Robbery (and there were many) had so far managed to escape justice. Pottinger would have his day. Furthermore, to rub salt into the wound over his constant lack of success. Sir Frederick was still smarting from the humiliation of failing to capture his nemesis upon receiving solid information of his presence at Wheogo in early August 1862. A local had informed Pottinger that the 'Darkie' was in the district, notably Mrs Brown's home, whereby, gifted of the sound intelligence Pottinger and his brigade set off to snare a bushranger.

"Gardiner's horse then began
to rear and plunge."

Sketch by Percy Lindsay. c. 1935.
Saturday the 9th August 1862 was a red-letter day for the inspector. Pottinger armed with his information started from Forbes at dusk on Saturday, proceeding through the bush some thirty miles avoiding the main road so as not to attract attention arriving about ten o'clock at night. The police formed a camp. The camp was situated about two miles from Mrs Brown's. Sir Frederick with inspector Saunderson then proceeded on foot to reconnoitre the premises. Reaching the house which was situated in the midst of a small open space surrounded by a thick scrub. With the solid information that 'The Darkie' would appear or be present for a romantic liaison with Mrs Brown that evening waited in nearby scrub.

Great tension and excitement prevailed as Pottinger's information proved correct whereby in the dead of the night Gardiner was seen returning to the warmth of Mrs Brown's embrace. At the midnight hour, the bushranger like a ghost in the night mounted on his white charger rode leisurely toward her home completely unaware of his nemesis' presence. The tension mounted for Pottinger when Kitty emerged had from the hut, gathered some wood and returned inside. Pottinger waited wound up like a ten day clock. With complete surprise on the inspector's side Gardiner on his white charger drew near when Pottinger suddenly rose and within touching distance abruptly called 'Stand in the Queen's name', instantly lifting his carbine point-blank at Gardiner and fired. Frank let out a shriek completely startled. However, due to a failure of Pottinger's carbine in firing, it allowed a panicked Gardiner to escape from the inspector and his eight carefully positioned troopers, two of which also discharged their weapons missing Gardiner as he vanished into the night.

Raging, Sir Frederick Pottinger strode to the home and after some heated interrogation of both Kitty and her younger brother 'Warrigal', Pottinger arrested the lad;[sic] "Walsh, a boy aged seventeen years, was brought up in custody and charged with being an accomplice of Gardiner." Sir Frederick provided his version of events before the Forbes Bench during Kitty's younger brother John Walsh's arraignment; "On Sunday morning at half-past 3," said he, "I apprehended a youth named Walsh at the residence of his sister, at Wheogo; being aware that Frank Gardiner, the bushranger, was enamoured of Mrs Brown, and believing that he would take advantage of her husband's absence to tender his addresses. I proceeded on Saturday with eight men to the premises; I arrived at 12 p.m., and leaving four of the men in charge I went with Senior-Sergeant Sanderson and Trooper Hollister to watch the place; I subsequently sent Sub-Inspector Norton and Trooper Hollister to guard the front while Senior Sergeant Sanderson and I hid ourselves in the bush; we discovered the house dark and silent as though everybody was asleep; after about half an hour we saw a light struck and in a few minutes a woman made her appearance and commenced to collect wood for the purpose of making a fire, but neither Sergeant Sanderson nor I could identify the woman, as we were concealed at a distance of 150 yards from where she was standing, in a thick pine-tree scrub; it might be 20 or 25 minutes after my seeing the woman that I observed a man mounted on a white horse approaching Brown's house at a quiet pace, upon which I called upon Sanderson to fall back, and we did so to our original position; suddenly the noise of horse's hoofs sounded nearer and nearer, when I saw Gardiner cantering leisurely along; I waited until he came within five yards of me, and levelling my carbine at him across his horse's shoulder (the weapon, I swear, being about three yards from his body) I called upon him to stand; I cannot be mistaken, and on my oath I declare that the man was Frank Gardiner; deeming it not advisable to lose a chance I prepared to shoot him, but the cap of my piece missed fire; Gardiner's horse then began to rear and plunge, and before I had time to adjust my gun, he had bolted into the bush; as Gardiner was riding away on the back of the frightened animal, Sergeant Sanderson fired at him, as also did Hollister; I called out to those who could hear me to "shoot the wretch;" Gardiner however, made his escape; we then proceeded to Mrs Brown's house, and having seen her she frankly admitted that Gardiner had been at her place; I saw a bed made upon the sofa, and a four-post bedstead with a bed upon it in which two persons had been reposing; the boy Walsh was in it asleep and he declared that he had heard no noise and did not know what had happened; he had lodgings at his mother's and was not obliged to sleep where he was found; I immediately arrested him; on the table in the kitchen I saw the debris of a supper, a bottle of gin, a flask of powder and a box of revolver caps; some few days ago I received information that Gardiner had been seen, accompanied by a lad answering the appearance of Walsh, near to Mrs Walsh's residence, and that while a man named Humphreys was stuck-up on the road a youth like Walsh held Gardiner's horse while he perpetrated the robbery; when I came across the bushranger's camp a short time since I picked up a small monkey jacket, only large enough for a boy to wear; Walsh says he is 17 years of age, but I don't think he is more than 15; I may add that the gun missing fire was purely an accident, as Sergeant Condell, when he loaded it, took every precaution to prevent the misadventure."

This briefly was Sir Frederick's story when the boy was before the bench at Forbes, charged with being an accomplice of Gardiner. After having given evidence he prayed for a remand, and the accused was remanded to gaol accordingly."³⁸ 

Startled by the voice in the darkness followed immediately by the snap of the carbine Gardiner plunged his horse into the scrub reining the animal some 500 yds off to regather his nerve; "it seems that the black trackers found in the morning that Gardiner had dismounted about five hundred yards away, and actually seated himself down at the foot of a tree..." Lachlan Miner 12th August 1862.

Kitty's home Wheogo.
c. 1920's.
Although Pottinger's knowledge of Gardiner using Kitty's home as a retreat, the ramifications for her arrested brother young John 'Warrigal' Walsh often referred to as Gardiner's boy would be catastrophic, whereby, after some seven months in the custody of the police at Forbes, the young lad would tragically die of Gaol Fever at the tender age of 16. (See Ben Hall page.)

However, following this narrow escape Gardiner quickly returned to the hut as first light was breaking and with Mrs Brown in toe the pair commenced preparations to depart for the long trek to Queensland. Furthermore, a long-time resident of the Lachlan District who went by the pseudonym of John A Hux, and who was responsible for a lot of favourable comment about Gardiner and Co in the newspapers, wrote the following from information reputedly said by the very lips of Frank Gardiner regarding the narrow escape from Sir Frederick Pottinger. Gardiner's provides his assessment and surprisingly admiration of Sir Frederick; "I asked him the particulars of Sir F. Pottinger's meeting him at Mrs. Brown's; he gave almost word for word the same statement made by Sir F. Pottinger of their meeting, adding that he never had the slightest suspicion of any police being near him, that he was quietly ambling along when he heard someone shout out "Stand," and almost immediately level a rifle. So sudden was it, that he felt as if he were electrified. Jumping up in his saddle, and spurring his horse, he galloped away into the bush, distinctly hearing the cap of the rifle snap, and adding "by God, I thought I was a dead man". He returned to the hut the same night and took Mrs. Brown away. I asked him what they thought of Sir F. Pottinger, to which he replied, the papers may say what they like about him; some call him a coward, I wish he was. There is nothing of the coward about him; he is the only man in the police I care for, and the only one that hunts and keeps me moving; in fact, the place is getting too hot for me. I shall try and clear out. Such is the statement made by Gardiner himself, and I leave the question of the cowardice or not of Sir F. Pottinger between the statements made by the hon. members Messrs. Harpur and Driver and the notorious bushranger Gardiner. I merely state facts..."³⁹ Gardiner susceptible to feminine charms had for some time had been the lover of Mrs Brown who was in turn devoted to Gardiner. Gardiner's personality was stated as somewhat attractive. He was about 5 ft. 8½in. in height, of athletic build, with brown hair, hazel eyes, a face of the Corsair type, and a smooth voice. For Catherine, she was described as 5ft 3in Sandy Blonde hair and striking beauty.

Although Frank Gardiner subsequently disappeared from the Lachlan with Mrs Brown many robberies in the early months of the year 1863 continued to be attributed to Gardiner, where still yet, Gardiner! Gardiner! was the cry in many of the robberies perpetrated, however, not by Gardiner but at the hands most certainly of John Gilbert, Ben Hall and John O'Meally. In turn, as nothing concrete had been seen of the celebrated bushranger for some months led one correspondent to ponder; "but after every enquiry could hear of no confirmation of the report, nor of any stranger having visited that quarter bearing any resemblance to the redoubted bushranger. Verily, there are as many Gardiner's in the colony as there were Richmond’s at Bosworth field..."⁴⁰ furthermore Gardiner's fame knew no bounds when it was also noted; "not a highway robbery takes place, not, a store or station is stuck-up, but the cry immediately is "Gardiner,"-"Gardiner!" Why, he; would want a railroad, with a carriage, to carry him sixty miles an hour, to be often in the different places people accuse him of being in...”⁴¹ No! Gardiner and Catherine were long gone by the end of 1862.

To compound matters rumours of their departure abounded, whereby, soon after the confrontation at Kitty's, Gardiner was said to have taken passage on a ship the 'All Serene.' This was generally thought of to have occurred during Gardiner's reputed disappearance from the Lachlan, June 62-August 62. Note the date. The 'All Serene' was recorded as sailing from Sydney for California on July the 16th 1862; FORBES, 25th August. "It is now reported by some parties who profess to have known Gardiner well, that this noted bushranger sailed some time ago for California, and that the party now impersonating him has done so with a view to facilitating his escape. The vessel in which the real 'Simon Pure' took his departure, curiously enough, is called the "All Serene." The rumour was followed up with another tale of Gardiner actually arriving in California; 'Mount Alexander Mail' Monday 29th September 1862; "The report which some time ago appeared in a telegram published by Messrs Gordon and Gotch, to the effect that Gardiner had actually sailed sometime since for California, did not obtain much credence at the time, as the many reports of Gardiner having been seen rendered it rather improbable. The report, however, appears to have been correct in every particular, as the latest news from California states-Gardiner arrived there all right in the "All Serene" from Sydney. This is a strange sequel to the report of Sir F. Pottinger and his cowardly police, who were afraid of the man on a white horse because they thought it was Gardiner..." However, instead of California just where were they, for as far as the news went on the 'Darkie,' he and Kitty had seemingly dropped off the planet.

Note: The ship 'All Serene' reputed to have carried Gardiner off was lost at sea on March 2nd 1864 while carrying a cargo of lumber under the command of Captain M. Meyers, having departed Victoria, Vancouver's Island 29th of November, 1863, for Sydney. In a fierce storm lasting weeks, the ship sank setting the crew and passengers adrift into the violent sea where; "on counting our number there were thirty-one left; the captain's wife and two children, the chief mate, cook, a boy, and two passengers were drowned."

Although Frank Gardiner was gone, it was however treated in the press as if his disappearance had become a sort of CEO resignation of a major corporation. A newspaper the 'Illawarra Mercury' reported the following tongue-in-cheek comment regarding the transfer of bushranging responsibilities from Frank Gardiner to the bands new CEO John Gilbert now responsible for the South Western districts as promulgated in July 1863. Gilbert's wide notoriety as Gardiner's lieutenant naturally had the press promote the rogue as the group's heir apparent and leader; DISSOLUTION OF PARTNERSHIP. "It appears that the famous bushranger, Gardiner, has somehow backed out of his bushranging business, and retired from public life, leaving his associate Gilbert at the head of the concern. "Bell's Life" in Sydney, not unhappily hits off this change in the following notice:- "The public is respectfully informed that the partnership hitherto existing between Frank Gardiner, John Gilbert, and John O’Meally, 'Road Contractors,' trading in the South-Western districts under the style of 'Gardiner, Gilbert, and Co' was this day dissolved by mutual consent; and that the business will in future be carried on by the said John Gilbert and John O’Meally, as 'Gilbert and Company,' who will pay all debts of gratitude due by the late firm, and collect all outstanding accounts. In retiring from business, Mr Frank Gardiner begs respectfully to tender his acknowledgements to the Government for the 'liberal' measure of support (the new Police Act) accorded to him since he has been in business. Mr Gardiner has also to express his sincere thanks to his friends, the 'gentlemen' of the police, for patronage they have ('unwittingly') bestowed upon him, and solicits a continuance of that support for his successors, in whom he has every confidence that the business will be conducted by them with the same promptitude and energy that distinguished the late firm. "In reference to the above, Messrs. Gilbert and Company beg to assure their friends and the public generally that no exertion shall be wanting on their parts to merit a continuance of the confidence placed in the late firm of Gardiner, Gilbert, and Co. Messrs. Gilbert and Company respectfully announce that whilst diligently attending to the Mails, it will be their constant study to treat the females with every courtesy and gentlemanly consideration. "**Racehorses purchased or exchanged on liberal terms." N.B.-Gin, of the finest quality, supplied to travellers gratis. "Weddin Mountain, 6th July 1863."

Gardiner, Wheeo 1862.
Leaving the home of Kitty Brown hours after the Pottinger confrontation nothing had been heard of Gardiner and Kitty. However, the Wheeo district was their first destination a place that held many disreputable identities and was remote from prying eyes with it closest large town being Crookwell and the sparsely settled Grabben Gullen. Here in the closing months of 1862, Francis Christie married secretly and under the name of James Christie, Catherine Brown. Gardiner's presence in the Wheeo area was widely reported, whereby, Gardiner mixed in with some old mates Ruggy Jim, Long Tom and another who was simply known as Topham; GENERAL GARDINER.--"We are informed (says the Goulburn Chronicle), on the most reliable authority, that the notorious Mrs. Brown, near whose residence Sir Frederick Pottinger made the fruitless attempt to capture the renowned bushranger, and who had since quitted the place where she was then domiciled, is now located near Wheeo, where the amorous brigand has renewed his visits, he himself hanging about the neighbourhood in company with three of his mates, severally known as Topham, Ruggy Jim, and Long Tom, and that he has been seen there by parties who knew him within the last week."- Empire Oct 1862. The police had appeared not to react to the information.

In the same month of October 1862 great excitement was again generated when a report appeared of Gardiner's capture by none other than the 'Hero of Wheogo' Sgt Sanderson; GARDINER AGAIN.— "A report reached town yesterday evening by Mr. Robert's coach that the celebrated bushranger Gardiner had been apprehended by Sergeant Saunderson at Bathurst. From enquiries, we have made we are inclined to think that the rumour is false. Had such an occurrence taken place some notice of capture would have reached us by telegraph."— Yass Courier Oct 1862. Another report states that Sir Frederick Pottinger was patrolling Wheeo in search of his man; GARDINER.— "As confirmatory of the intelligence given in our last issue to the effect that Gardiner, together with some of his mates, had been seen in the vicinity of Wheeo within the last ten days, we may state that we have since learnt that Sir Frederick Pottinger and eight troopers were in that neighbourhood about the same period, on the lookout for the colonial Dick Turpin, but that the baronet, unfortunately, "missed in his usual way." — Goulburn Chronicle Oct 62.

Later Gardiner was again reported at Wheeo in October when subscribers complained of late or missing newspapers-'Empire' 2nd November 1862; "From Wheeo we learn that subscribers there got sometimes five or six copies at a time, and it is suggested that as General Gardiner has been lately seen in that locality, it is possible that, as he takes an interest in the news of the day, he may probably have intercepted them, and only forwarded the papers when he has perused them at his leisure." There can be no doubt that Frank Gardiner was scrutinising as many newspapers as he could get his hands on to help facilitate his pending departure and be abreast of police activities.

As such, rumours persisted that Gardiner had fled the colony with Mrs Brown. Just where had the mythological bushranger evaporated too. Queensland, not California the pair fled too. Evidence suggests their departure occurred in late October early November 1862. The trek north would take the couple a number of months whereby evidence indicates the pair travelled via Dubbo crossed the Barwon River near Walgett, then on to St George, Miles, Taroom, Theodore, Rannes passing through Rockhampton arriving at their final destination Apis Creek near Peak Downs sometime in March/April 1863, a trek of some 900 miles. Constable Wells who was one of those instrumental in 1864 in the capture of Gardiner recounted their movements; "About 7:30 p.m.-that evening Pye and I went to the store and there saw behind the counter Mrs. Brown who was Gardiner's paramour, and who had accompanied him from Weddin Mountains (N.S.W.), leaving her husband there, and going via the Barwon to Rockhampton, thence to Appis Creek, where she settled under the name of Mrs. Christie." (Kitty claimed they arrived in June, however, this may have been a ruse.)

However, before their arrival at Apis Creek, it was observed by a Mr J.E. Richter of the redoubtable pair's appearance at Rannes 80 miles short of Rockhampton. Here Frank had attempted to negotiate the purchase of a new hotel owned by a Mr Pendrigh built entirely of split timber providing eight-rooms adjacent to the main road a mile from Rannes. Mr Pendrigh installed its inside fittings. The new hotel contained a bar and accommodation long before its full completion. Pendrigh's hotel became 'The Netherby Arms.' Richter had observed the cut of the pair which with the limited female company in the distant back-blocks Catherine stood out with her attractive good looks and lush blonde hair and noted Gardiner's athletic appearance. They made for a stunning couple. While staying at Rannes for some two days, Ritcher noted Catherine's proficiency as a horsewoman; “whilst, these negotiations were in progress, the woman one morning was noticed in the act of catching one of the horses on the grass within a few chains of the hotel. The horse was restive, and would not allow itself to be caught as easily as usual. She, however, had got a hold of the mane above the wither and ran alongside the animal as it trotted, in the endeavour to stop it. Then the horse commenced to canter. As the pace was becoming too fast and still having hold of the mane, she gave a spring and landed on its back, after which the horse was as much under control as if it had a bridle on its head. It was the smartest bit of athletics I ever saw outside of a circus...”⁴² The gentleman later that day observed as well Gardiner's prowess with the horse; Loc. cit. "later in the day the man was also observed catching the same horse. It acted in the same way. As he had hold of the mane above the wither, and trotting as before, the man, with the other hand, suddenly caught hold of the horse's foreleg, and, as quickly giving the knee a bend, brought the astonished animal to the ground. On the third morning, as all negotiations for the purchase of the place had failed, this interesting pair packed up and resumed their journey to Rockhampton, distant 80 miles. It was Gardiner, the bushranger, and the woman was Mrs. Brown." (Rannes was originally the pastoral run of James Leith-Hay taken up 1852. The town of Rannes was surveyed by A.F. Wood surveyor, in July 1860.)

Archibald Craig.

Never before published.
Private Source.
Pendrigh declined the sale and with the prospect of a purchase unrealised the pair moved on from Rannes. Unperturbed the two passed through Rockhampton having in the process made the acquaintance of another couple going their way, the Craig's, whose buggy had become bogged on the road outside Rockhampton near Yaamba. The couple were returning to Apis Creek with their six-month-old baby Ellen Louisa. Here an affable Gardiner lent a helping hand and introduced himself as James Christie; "shortly afterwards the driver overtook a dogcart, which was stationary, owing to one of the horses having bogged. The owners, a very respectable-looking couple—a man and woman—were evidently unable to extricate themselves without assistance which was promptly rendered by the man in the tilted cart lending one of his horses to pull out the drag. This led to some conversation, and to the discovery that the latter was wholly ignorant of the road of which the owner of the bogged horse was well acquainted. The obliging party was Mr Christie, and the obliged Mr Craig..."⁴³ The Craig's had made their initial trek to Qld from Victoria. Archibald Craig hailed from The Mosquito Plains near Narracoote on the South Australian Victorian border and married Maria Young at Harrow Victoria on 26th September 1860. Maria was eighteen. Craig arrived from Middlesex England in 1855.

Following the extraction of the buggy, the four commenced travelling together. During their conversation Gardiner stated he was going to Connor's Range 40 miles south of Mackay, however, Craig disclosed that he had a hotel near completion and much closer in distance at Apis Creek; "in the course of the conversation which ensued, it transpired that Mr. Christie was on his way up the country to start a store upon Connor's Range, and Mr. Craig on a similar errand to Apis Creek at which place a building was already in the course of erection. It ultimately was arranged that a partnership should be formed upon Christie paying down the sum of £60. It appears that Mr. Craig had no interest in the store which was afterwards added by Christie to the public-house..."⁴⁴

Maria Louisa Craig.
Never before published.
Private source.
In due course, the Christie's arrived at their adjusted destination Apis Creek which is situated 100 miles north-west of Rockhampton. The tiny outpost was on the busy road to the new Peak Downs Gold and Copperfield with thousands of prospective miners passing through including many from Gardiner's former haunts of the NSW Lambing Flat and Forbes goldfields. The partnership with Craig encompassed establishing a hotel, general store and butcher's shop under one roof. The building constructed out of wood slabs, with a roof of bark made from white and gum topped box and ironbark trees all stripped by local aboriginals. Once the new enterprise was organised, Frank and Catherine attended the general store and butcher's shop. Archibald Craig and his wife oversaw the hotel, where all drinks cost a shilling. Before long, Gardiner established a reputation whereby he was respected as a very courteous and helpful fellow and a general favourite with everybody and most importantly, to Gardiner himself, trustworthy. At differing times Gardiner guarded hundreds of £'s worth of gold. During his time at Apis Creek, he was described as about five feet eight inches, 11 stone in weight, with a long full beard and whiskers which concealed most of his face. Catherine was described as attractive, small in stature with sandy blonde hair. However, the lovers kept quietly to themselves. The relationship between Christie's and Craig's appeared to be purely business as Craig; "admits that his partner was retiring, and uncommunicative-that Mrs Christie was even more taciturn, and that she was a great stranger to Mrs Craig and himself as the first day they met..." ⁴⁵

Apis Creek site of Craig and
Christie's business.
The marker was erected by
the Rockhampton Historical
Society in 1970.

Courtesy Gary Hunn.
In the process of constructing the new business, a landowner by the name of Oscar De Satge who held 'Wolfgang Station' Peak Downs appeared as the partners were organising themselves at Apis Creek. De Satge having admired the fine brown horse the 'Darky' was riding sought out Gardiner, introducing himself. Gardiner replied his name was James Christie. Furthermore, De Satge would on occasion leave large sums of money in Gardiner's safekeeping. De Satge in his memoirs "Pages from the Journal of a Queensland Squatter" printed in 1901 noted"One day, returning from one of the many trips I had to make to Rockhampton on station business, I first met, near Apis Creek, the man who then called himself James Christie; he was riding a very fine brown horse, and was crossing the road before me, making towards a camp that had a tent with a lot of timber stacked about it. As the man was a stranger I caught him up and entered into conversation with him, and he proved, though shy, affable and fairly communicative, asking me to get off my horse and have a cup of tea with his "old woman," who turned out to be a pretty little person, though silent and demure. Having asked him if he would sell the brown horse, he referred me to his wife as the owner, when she at once said nothing would induce her to sell him. I little knew then the "romance of the road " that was attached to that gallant brown horse. Christie then told me he had come overland from Victoria, and that in company with a good mate, who was then out splitting stuff, he intended to put up a public-house where we were, as he thought it a good stand, with which I quite agreed.

I gave him every encouragement and promised him he would get his license if the house was a good one. I made up my mind to stop there on my next trip down from Peak Downs (in Australia, especially Queensland, it is down to town, and not up), which I did, camping there sometime after with some fellow-travellers and many horses for two nights, when we were well taken care of by Christie and his partner, whom we found very decent fellows, the accommodation being superior to anything on that road, as the respective wives of Christie and his partner thoroughly understood how to make travellers comfortable. On another occasion when camping there, I remember giving into Christie's charge for the night a saddle-bag with a considerable sum in cheques and notes that I was about to pay into the Rockhampton Bank, which he kept quite safe for me."

The reserve demonstrated in a strangers presence exhibited by the Christie's was understandable for one slip of the tongue could well mean exposure and arrest. Furthermore, it appeared in the press, but never fully verified, that before the trek north Gardiner and Catherine sometime after his August 62 confrontation with Pottinger may have visited Gardiner's family at Portland, Victoria, however, this was untrue as his family connections had sold out and left the district. Catherine herself countered this assertion stating that they travelled directly to Queensland from the Lachlan and that they were then legally married. However, it is interesting that upon Gardiner's eventual capture he had in his possession a beautiful black racehorse named 'Darky'. Possibly the same horse that piqued De Satge's interest. Detective McGlone, one of the arresting officers stated the horse was named 'Racer' believed to have been lifted from a Mr Peter Beveridge near Swan Hill, Victoria. A mistake, maybe? As in April 1862, Gardiner was noted to have a striking black racer under him: 'Empire' Friday 11th April 1862; "when Gardiner was last seen he was riding a splendid thorough-bred black horse, of beautiful build and racing proportions..."

Subsequently, when Gardiner was held at Darlinghurst in April 1864, the subject of his pride and joy, his horse 'Darky' was raised. But was it his horse? Gardiner had earlier said the fine horse was the property of Catherine. However, the very thought or mention of the animal excited the former bushranger;[sic] "Gardiner seems to care about nobody, but this woman and his black horse, of which he is extraordinarily fond— the horse which carried him and Mrs Brown from the Lachlan to 100 miles beyond Rockhampton. The animal is now in Sydney, and £5 - has been offered for it. Gardiner himself says it is so docile that when he whistled it would come to him in the bush. He likes to talk about this animal, and the mention of it will rouse him out of one of his reveries into animation..." The acclaimed stolen horse would be delivered along with Gardiner to Sydney; however, the supposed former owner Peter Beveridge when informed never laid claimed to the horse, indicating that it was not his animal. Subsequently, it was sold for £122 to a Mr Peisley who then sold the horse again for £172;[sic] 'A Horse! A Horse! My Kingdom for a Horse!' — It will be within the recollection of our readers, that the renowned Frank Gardiner was on many occasions indebted to his no less renowned charger, 'Darkie,' for so long having eluded capture. The capabilities of this fine animal remind us of the exploits of the famous 'Black Bess,' the favourite of Dick Turpin, so graphically recorded by Ainsworth, in his novel of Rookwood. On Thursday last, by the direction of the Government, 'Darkie' was submitted to public sale by Mr. Charles Martyn, and after a brisk competition, was knocked down to Mr. W. Piesley for £122. The sale yard was crowded on the occasion, and certainly, Gardiner must be acknowledged to possess good judgement in horse-flesh. 'Darkie' is the beau ideal of a steeple-chaser, of rich brown colour, fully sixteen hands high, with splendid fore-arm, and bone and muscle in proportion. He has, of course, undergone an immense deal of work, but as a fancy purchase Mr. Piesley has not paid too dear for him. He is a horse of excellent temper and carries a lady with docility and gentleness scarcely to be expected from a highwayman's charger. To capitalise on the owner's investment 'Bells Life in Sydney' on the 24th September 1864 reported that the celebrated blood horse was exhibited for a short time at the Pantheon Tea Gardens, Bourke street, two doors from the Haymarket Theatre, Sydney.

Furthermore, in January of 1864 three months before Gardiner's arrest, a reporter for the 'Geelong Advertiser' trumped the police and made the sensational claim that Gardiner was indeed in Queensland. The reporter appeared to have a very credible source. Moreover, the article may also have been the catalyst for the police to act finally. Contrary to the various reports that Catherine's sister Bridget's lover James Taylor, the man Bridget Hall deserted Ben Hall for may have informed on their whereabouts via a note received from Kitty and sought the substantial reward is doubtful. The reputed letter sent that may have exposed their whereabouts is as follows; 
Aphis Creek,
6 December 1863.

Dear Jim,
No doubt you will he surprised to receive a letter from me, Kate Brown that was, now Mrs Christie. A friend is writing this for me. Frank told me not to write, but I want to know how things are on the Lachlan. How is my dear sister Bridget? Give her my love and say I am quite well. I hope my sister Helen and my brother Johnny and Step-Mar are all well, also old friends. Please don’t tell anybody you heard from me, only write me a few lines to Mrs Frank Christie, Aphis Creek. Frank and I are quite well. Hoping you are the same.

Kate Christie

However, it is most doubtful that the letter is in any way authentic, as Johnny died in March 1863 and his death was carried widely in the newspapers Australia wide, even debated in the NSW parliament. Catherine herself could read and write well and did not require others to pen a letter for her. (See marriage certificate this page.) Furthermore, Frank scrutinised every newspaper available. Keeping track of any news regarding his or his former member's current activities as they passed through Apis Creek. In 1863 Gardiner still filled the news columns regularly. Therefore, news of Catherine's brother's death would have been known. Consequently, with Kitty being so conscious of their predicament the idea of stating their whereabouts with a return address is suspicious. (Source of the letter is Mistress of the Rough Seas, Ellen, Bridget & Kate by Xenith) 

In turn, another claim is that John Brown himself turned on the couple. Others claim a former digger from Lambing Flat recognised Gardiner or Catherine and went to Sydney seeking the reward. However, it is all hearsay as the reward for Gardiner's capture was paid to Detective McGlone, a paltry sum of £20 of the original £500. Saturday 7th January 1865; THE REWARD FOR GARDINER'S CAPTURE - "We understand that the entire sum paid by the Government to detective McGlone for the capture of Gardiner was £20, and that his position in the service is no higher now than it was previous to that event. When the performance of special and dangerous duties, such as the arrest of the most notorious bushranger that even New South Wales ever produced, is thus inadequately recognised, there is little inducement for what in the navy is termed "zeal for the service" in the police force" - Young Tribune.

However, in 1901 a Mr Oscar De Satge published "Pages from the Journal of a Queensland Squatter" which provides an account of the person believed to have outed Gardiner at Apis Creek for the reward. His name was Jacobsohn; "Amongst the many travellers from Peak Downs who had about this time passed Christie's was one Jacobsohn by name, a storekeeper at Copperfield, where he held interests; this man at once recognised Christie as the bushranger Gardiner, who had stuck him up and robbed him on one of the goldfields in New South Wales. Jacobsohn held his tongue and went to Sydney, where he found that the £1,000 reward for Gardiner's capture still held good..."

Nevertheless, the article that may have piqued the interest of the NSW police regarding Gardiner's whereabouts had originated in Queensland and although the writer expresses Brisbane as Gardiner's new home, it is true in what they say, 'where there's smoke there's fire', consequently, the story was forwarded to Geelong where it also covered the well-known use by Gardiner of a variety of disguises often employed for anonymity. A first-class thespian; 'Empire' Saturday 23rd January 1864; A TALE FOR THE MARINES. - "We are indebted to the Melbourne Age for the following tough "yarn"- "The notorious Gardiner appears to have again put in an appearance. He has now selected Brisbane for his place of residence, but, it seems, is living for him-very quietly. We take the following from the letter of the Queensland correspondent of the 'Geelong Advertiser’.-"Now, in connection with the escort, I shall make mention of a circumstance that has come to my knowledge, and that should be borne in mind by the police. Frank Gardiner, the celebrated New South Wales bushranger, has gone north, and doubtless, he is on for a 'little game' after the free and easy fashion he adopted in the neighbouring colony. Of course, in the face of so many conflicting reports as are circulated in New South Wales and Victoria, in connection with this notorious character, I do not expect that universal credit will be given to the statement here made; nevertheless, I place it against all the reports of Frank Gardiner's death and secret departure to foreign parts. Frank Gardiner has been in Queensland for the past ten months at least. He has moved about Brisbane occasionally in the most open manner and with perfect nonchalance. He has been amongst the police and has not been recognised though they have one photograph at least of him in their possession. I have seen the photograph and I have seen the original, so I am in a position to speak with certainty. I have also read the description of him in the Hue and Cry and Police Gazette. There is this much to be said in excuse of the police, that Gardiner is such an adept at disguising himself (making-up in the theatrical phrase) that he, will introduce himself to a man at any time and meet him again in an hour afterwards so changed as to defy recognition. He has appeared like a local preacher with a suit of seedy black, white cravat and spectacles; as a rollicking squatter in loudest modern attire; and as a rough bushman and stock rider, Crimean shirt, tights, long boots and a dirty felt hat or cabbage tree. But it is not by his clothes alone that he disguises himself, he understands how to change his complexion and his hair moustache and beard. It appears that he is prepared to challenge detection by his late mates, except, perhaps Gilbert, with whom he had a difference before leaving New South Wales. Gilbert is talkative and indiscreet, while Gardiner is close, or as the phrase goes, 'dark' to his companions. As an instance of the capers Gardiner has been up to here, I may mention that a well-known courtesan called Madeline Smith (said to be the lady of Glasgow notoriety) was brought before the police court some time ago and while in the dock a man was leaning over the back of it, and suggesting to her what to say to the bench. The attendant constable turned him away from the dock telling him that nobody must interfere with the accused. He apologised laughingly, and remained in court; afterwards (I am assured) became bail for her. That man was Frank Gardiner! Again, he opened an account in one of the city banks. There is a woman here of whom I have before written, a Mrs. Winch, who has been in gaol two or three times and first for killing her husband with a pair of scissors at Rockhampton, she was for a short time a favoured friend of Gardiner. Whether or not they are together now, I do not know. As the lady belongs to the north; they may be. Some time ago there were paragraphs in the Brisbane papers; setting forth that one of the men concerned in the terrible escort robbery in New South Wales was up here in the service of a member of the Legislature, who is a large squatter. I have been told since that the man referred to was Chartres, the Queen's evidence at the trial of Bow and others who were convicted at Sydney, I have also heard that another man in whose house the bushrangers often lived in the vicinity of Burrangong has honoured Queensland with his presence."

The past nineteen months for the Christie's had been full of mystery, rumour and innuendo as to their whereabouts, as attested to above, and as such, the time had drifted by with no apparent hindrance as the happy couple adjusted to their new life of anonymity far from their previous home in NSW. However, the blissful hiatus would come to an abrupt end. Upon information accumulated by the NSW police, Detective Daniel McGlone, constables James Pye and Wells were dispatched to Queensland to substantiate the current intelligence as to Gardiner's presence at Rockhampton or its surrounds. Constable Wells states on their secondment for the task; "Early in February! 1864, the late Capt McLerie organised our party, consisting of Daniel McGlone, James Pye, and myself, McGlone being In Charge. We left Sydney by steamer for Rockhampton, which was then in a state of flood. Upon our arrival there, we found it impossible to proceed on foot as diggers."

Dramatised Illustration of
Gardiner's arrest at
Apis Creek QLD,

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

BALCLUTHA; Iron passenger
 steamship built by Caird & Co.,
 Greenock Scotland. Lost with

all hands in 1881.
Courtesy State Library of
Nine months rolled away and no outward interruption of the quiet course of their lives occurred to this couple, whom it would be the cruellest of satires to term a happy pair. No outward interruptions, indeed; but it cannot be supposed that that silent monitor within, which when tainted with guilt, makes cowards of us all, failed to remind Gardiner of the dark deeds of former days, or Mrs. Brown, of the wedded bliss she had sacrificed. Secluded though they fancied themselves, it is not impossible that there were moments when Gardiner would gladly have given ten times the value of his ill-gotten booty, if he therewith could have purchased the proud position of which mention is made by the poet, who declared an " honest man to be the noblest work of God." This nine months' quiet was, however, but the unnatural calm which frequently precedes the destructive gale A storm was brewing which was to dissipate Mr Frank Gardiner's projects, both legal and illegal and which will probably culminate in his ignominious death. By some means, at present unknown information reached the Sydney detective police office that Gardiner was to be found on the Apis Creek road, no particular spot being named. Acting on this slender thread, Detectives Mc Glone, Pye and mounted-policeman Wells arrived per Balclutha on the 11th February, disguised as diggers, but could not at once proceed on account of the flooded state of the river.  

James Pye.
The lead-up to the capture was not without discord between the police as to the path they should take in the apprehension. With the Fitzroy River in flood at Rockhampton, Daniel McGlone, James Pye and George Wells went about procuring equipment for the task of passing themselves off as diggers. After some weeks held-up by inclement weather the trio commenced their trek to the Peak Downs with a packhorse loaded with their supplies. 

However, all was not kosha between the men and an altercation bordering on mutiny arose between Pye, Wells and McGlone, the officer in charge who had refused to divulge the purpose of their expedition. Indignant at not being taken into McGlone's confidence Pye and Wells declined to proceed unless fully informed of their task. Unhappy, McGlone relented and presented a picture of their quarry Frank Gardiner who McGlone stated that through certain information Gardiner was believed to be about Peak Downs.

Additional Reward.
NSW Police Gazette 1865.
In 1915 aged seventy-three George Wells decided to set the record straight regarding the facts of Gardiner's arrest and highlight the little McGlone actually played in the affair. Wells only came out in response to Charles White's version of the capture in his book 'History of Australian Bushranging' published 1903. Wells on reading an abridged version in the Sydney 'Truth' in 1912 wrote of the expedition to grab Gardiner in contradiction of the Truth's version whereby Wells and Pye's presence and professionalism had been erased. 

George Wells had joined the NSW police in October 1863, promoted to constable on 1st February 1864. For Wells and Pye's efforts in securing Gardiner they both received from the Police Reward Fund, £15, noted as extra for the arrest of Gardiner. Not a share of the reputed £500 on offer. The full £500 was reputedly awarded without publicity to an unknown recipient. There is also speculation that part of the reward was granted to the Qld Native Police for their assistance in the apprehension. Later in 1865, an additional reward for the three officers was presented with McGlone £40 and Pye and Wells £30 each. Furthermore, what is most surprising is that for McGlone a 2nd Class Detective and leader of the expedition, was not, unlike Sanderson the 'Hero of Wheogo' or Lowry's killer Stephenson given a promotion after the taking of the dashing Frank Gardiner. In 1868 McGlone left the NSW police under mysterious circumstances as a 2nd Class Detective. McGlone married Sarah Gibbons a widow in 1869 and went to Queensland 1870s after selling his hotel in Sydney where he had live at 135 Elizabeth Street. McGlone's wife Sarah passed away in Brisbane in 1909 and the couple had one son b. 1870 named Daniel.

George Wells' Police number was 1349 and he retired in 1903 after a distinguished career on a pension of 8 shillings a day and at the time of writing resided at 'Ferndale,' Main Arm, Mullumbimby (N.S.W.), Wells held an Imperial medal.

"I shall now confine my report to the simple facts of the arrest at Appis Creek, where Gardiner, under the name of Frank Christie, was carrying on the business of storekeeping and was associated with a man named Craig; who attended to a public house, both store and pub, being under one roof of bark and slab, evidently erected hurriedly dining the 'rush' at the Peak diggings, to which place numbers of miners on that road travelled from Rockhampton. Early in February 1864, the late Capt. McLerie organised our party, consisting of Daniel McGlone, James Pye, and myself, McGlone being in charge. We left Sydney by steamer for Rockhampton, which was then in a state of flood. Upon our arrival there, we found it impossible to proceed on foot as diggers (the character we had assumed) for weeks: Meantime we obtained a pack-horse, tent, and necessary supplies, and when the Fitzroy River was crossable we started out; not, however without some unpleasantness for McGlone, who refused to divulge to us the object of our expedition, until Pye and I refused to cross the river unless he did so. Seeing our determination, he produced a photo of Gardiner, and said he had certain information that he was supposed to be in the direction, of the Peak Downs; and that we were to arrest him if possible, but not without his (McGlone's) instructions. We then proceeded with a pack-horse as diggers, via Yamba, and after a week's journey, we arrived at Appis Creek and pitched our tents about 6 p.m. at a spot from which we could see the store and public house before described, which was about 700 yards distant from our camp, on the opposite side.

We three then had a conversation as to what should be done, in the event of Gardiner being located there to secure his arrest. McGlone suggested that Pye and I should go to the store and purchase some goods, leaving some of them to be called for next morning, meantime to note particulars of the buildings and all persons there, if possible avoiding any suspicion. McGlone to remain at the tent and pretend to be suffering badly from dysentery. About 7:30 p.m.that evening Pye and I went to the store and there saw behind the counter Mrs. Brown who was Gardiner's paramour, and who had accompanied him from Weddin Mountains (N.S.W.), leaving her husband there, and going via the Barwon to Rockhampton, thence to Appis Creek, where she settled under the name of Mrs. Christie.

When we had purchased a few things Pye asked for 1-cwt. of flour; this she could not supply herself, and she then called "Frank," who had not made his appearance up to then, but who doubtless had been listening to us and watching from his bedroom, from which a door opened to the back of the counter in the store. After a minute or more he made his appearance at the door where he stood for a short time speaking to us, inquiring where we came from etc. We told him that we were delayed on the road from Rockhampton owing to our mate being very bad with dysentery, that he was unable to travel, and was then lying in our tent. Gardiner then quite coolly supplied the flour, which we arranged to call for in the morning. Pye paid for the goods and asked if we could get some sago and burnt, brandy for our mate in the tent. Gardiner at once asked Mrs. Brown to make the sago, and invited us to come into the bar to have a drink, after which, Mrs. Brown brought in the sago warm.

While talking at the bar about different diggings we had been on Gardiner very kindly burnt some brandy and put it into the sago for our mate. All this time Gardiner stood under a lamp with a shade that was hanging over the bar, which threw the light on his face, upon which could be seen the distinct marks on his forehead that had been caused by the whip used by Sergeant Middleton, at Fogg's, when he and Constable Hosie arrested Gardiner after a great struggle, and when Peisley his confederate, rescued him from Hosie's custody. After chatting with Gardiner for some considerable time, and satisfying ourselves that he was the man we wanted, we thanked him and said we would call for our goods next morning, and then went back to the tent and reported progress to McGlone.

After explaining the situation of the place, etc. as above stated, and also that we had seen two rifles, which we afterwards found to be loaded, standing underneath the lower shelves of the store behind the counter, close to where Gardiner would approach from his bedroom to the store, McGlone immediately said that if Gardiner was behind the counter of the store when we called in the morning for our flour, etc., we were not to attempt to arrest him until some more favourable opportunity offered and to pass on as diggers to the Peak Downs. These instructions, of course, caused Pye and myself to rebel, and made matters unpleasant. We two then retired to the side of the creek to decide what should be done in the morning. Pye said to me "What are you going to do?- I'm not going a foot further if we don't intend to arrest when we have the chance, as it may leak out that detectives from New South Wales are about here and our game will be a failure."

I quite agreed with Pye; adding that we would only return disgraced, if after seeing Gardiner we were afraid to arrest him. Pye then said: "Very well, you and I for it; if Gardiner is behind the counter when we go into the store to get our goods, one of us, the neatest to him, will seize him fast, and the other handcuff him and tie his legs; and, look out for sharpshooters." There were four other men on the premises.

We returned to the tent, but said nothing to McGlone as to our decision in the morning, only that we would strike camp early, and have the horse packed by sunrise to start. Meantime it was arranged that McGlone would secure the assistance of Lieut Brown, with his native police, they being in the locality, to be at the hotel and store in the morning, in the event of an arrest being made to assist in escorting the prisoner to Rockhampton. This being arranged we left the camp next morning at sunrise for the store, Pye leading the pack horse and I close behind him, both of us being armed with repeater revolvers.

When we crossed Appis Creek and were approaching the store we saw two men splitting shingles about fifty yards from the store, on the opposite side of the road and Gardiner standing talking to them. Pye, in a low tone of voice said to me: "Look out; let us cut him off the store," for Gardiner was walking toward the store to meet us. Pye led the pack horse close to the store door, and I seeing a kangaroo dog lying on the ground on Gardiner's path to the store, said: "Good morning," and pointing to the dog added, "that is a fine dog," at the same time calling Pye's attention to it. That was the office for arrest. Gardiner was then about five yards from the store door, and Pye stepped back towards him: I instantly put my revolver to Gardiner's face, calling upon him to stand, upon which he was taken so much by surprise that he stepped back towards Pye, who quickly threw his arm around Gardiner's neck, and put his knee to his back, and in a moment the ex-bushranger was on his back. I then snapped the handcuffs on to him and tied his legs with a piece of rope that I had prepared in my loose shirt. Meantime the two men that were splitting ran across to Gardiner's assistance. Craig, also rushed from his hotel door with Mrs, Brown, who was making towards the store screaming. But being covered with our revolvers, and being told that we were police, they all stood back.

McGlone, who had stayed back until then, rushed up in a most excited state and, falling down upon Gardiner, placed a second pair of handcuffs upon him. Lieut. Brown with his black police, then appeared on the scene, and the latter were off their horses instantly, and surrounded the place to prevent escape.

Lieut. Brown, seeing McGlone in such a state of excitement, walked over to where Gardiner was sitting on the ground, and asked Pye if McGlone had been drinking; and when told that he did not drink, Lieut. Brown remarked: "If he don't drink, he must be mad, for I never saw any man so excited without some cause."

After Gardiner had sat up he asked for a drink of water and begged to have the handcuffs taken off. This being refused he commenced pleading his innocence to the charges he was arrested upon. However, it, was arranged to remove him to Mr. McKeller's (McLennan's) station, about two miles distant, with four others— Craig, the two splitters and the man cook— who were arrested on suspicion. The whole of the prisoners were then marched to Mr. McKellar s station, where they were placed in room, under my charge, Gardiner being secured in a room separately.

I had four black police to assist in guarding them that night, until Lieut. Brown, McGlone and Pye returned from the store and hotel, after taking an inventory of all property, gold, money, etc., found on the premises.

Next day the prisoners were escorted to Yamba and thence to Rockhampton. Mrs. Brown accompanied the escort, and showed great courage in swimming her horse over the Yamba River, which was flooded at that time; and she followed us from Rockhampton to Brisbane, thence to Sydney, trying at every opportunity to bribe me and others with money to get Gardiner's liberty before reaching Sydney. She nearly succeeded in securing his escape at Brisbane owing to McGlone's blunder in not taking Gardiner direct to Sydney from Rockhampton from which town he was remanded."
George Wells Record of Police Employment joined 29th October 1863.
Australia, New South Wales, Registers of Police Employment, 1847-1885
Roderick McLennan
c. 1880's.
Courtesy NLA.
Leaving the store and hotel after a full inventory was recorded it was placed in the charge of two of Lieutenant Brown's troopers as locals in shock gathered around. For Frank inside the store, there was found quite an arsenal of weapons, some loaded they were; two double-barrelled guns, one barrel in one of them being a rifle, and the other barrel being loaded; also two single barrel guns, a police carbine, a Colt's revolver, and a double-barrel pistol, together with bullets, powder, and shot. However, this arsenal may not have been for the purpose of defence against any arresting police but revealed as had been brought from travellers hard up. Good naturedly purchased by Christie as payment for assistance. Arrested the men were all handcuffed and ushered off. They consisted of Christie, the hotel cook, two wood splitters and Archibald Craig. With Catherine following closely.

All were marched to Mr M'Lennan's station in pounding rain. Gardiner was placed on a lead horse, handcuffed, his ankles tied under the horse. He rode along quietly, and as easily as if free. The black boys rode alongside with their carbines ready. The NSW troopers in front, while McGlone and Mrs Brown brought up the rear. McGlone was mounted on a big powerful black horse, a grand horse up to 17 hands, well known locally by the name of 'Darky.' Departing at daylight the police and their prized prisoner passed through Marlborough, Princhester, Canoona, and Yaamba. The Yaamba river was in flood forcing the troupe to negotiate its confines, here Kitty once more displayed her prowess as a horsewoman driving her charge into the raging waters crossing without incident much to the admiration of the accompanying men. When within eleven miles of Rockhampton the police camped to have dinner and dry off. The arrest of Gardiner had been a painful shock to all who knew him, especially to the diggers of the Peak Downs. Whilst camped McGlone read over the charges to the prisoner to which Gardiner exclaimed;[sic] "in June '62 — is that what you say — '62?" The posse without fanfare arrived in Rockhampton at seven p.m. on Sunday, here Gardiner was placed in a room with a strong guard and the other men were set at liberty having been detained solely to prevent the alarm being raised. Craig, the publican, the partner of Christie, however, was charged with harbouring Gardiner and locked up.

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

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

c. 1900
EXAMINATION OF CHRISTIE ALIAS GARDINER; Rockhampton - At half-past two o'clock the prisoner Francis Christie alias Clarke alias Frank Gardiner, was brought down from the lock-up. He was manacled, and closely guarded by five constables. By this time the Court House was densely thronged, every available space being filled, and there was a large crowd outside on the verandah unable to obtain admission. Together with the prisoner Frank Gardiner, two other prisoners were placed in the dock, A. D. Craig, a publican at Apis Creek, charged with harboring him, and Catherine Walsh, alias Brown, a woman said to be Gardiner's mistress and confederate, also charged with concealing and assisting the bushranger. At ten minutes to three o'clock the following magistrates took their seats on the bench :— Messrs. J. A. Larnach, F. J. Byerley, W. Callaghan, R. M. Hunter, J. Forsyth, W. F. Bassett, A. H. Palmer, G. P. Murray, and H. Gaden. 

The full text of the examination of Frank Gardiner, Archibald Craig and Catherine can be accessed via the link attached;
The Courier
Monday 14th March 1864

As Gardiner was held in Gaol, Catherine would make every effort to hinder McGlone, even attempting to procure a horse and avenue for escape.

Craig's death certificate.
However, for the unfortunate Craig, he was lumbered in with Gardiner whereby a charge of harbouring was preferred against him. However, after careful consideration Craig was exonerated but not before he had endured an unknown future; "The Bench ultimately consented to allow bail, the prisoner in the sum of £80 and two sureties in £40 each, and accepted too highly respectable persons as sureties. On the following day Craig was brought up on a remanded charge, and after hearing a great deal of evidence. The Bench, after some consultation, said they were of opinion that not a shadow of evidence existed to connect the prisoner in any way with Christie alias Gardiner, and they, therefore, ordered the prisoner to be discharged from custody."⁴⁸ 

Sadly for Craig, he would die of a fever in 1868 whilst erecting a new hotel some eight miles from him and Gardiner's former establishment. Catherine Christie formally Mrs Brown was next charged with assisting and concealing the prisoner Francis Christie alias Gardiner. Constable Canning and detective M'Glone were the only two witnesses who gave evidence in this case. The latter produced a portrait of her which had been given to him for the purpose of identifying her. (Sadly lost forever.)

Artist's impression
of Catherine Brown
during Gardiner's

Courtesy NLA.
However, when Kitty was arrested at the Rockhampton lock-up she gave her maiden name as Catherine Walsh. McGlone was acquainted with her sisters and other relations of hers who went by that name. McGlone stated he was perfectly certain that the prisoner was the same Mrs Brown who left the Lachlan some time ago at the same time that Gardiner was reported to have left the district. Under examination by the prosecutor Mr Dick, Catherine Brown detailed her trip to Queensland stating; "I am the wife of Francis Christie; I was lawfully married to him. It was some time in June last that I came to Queensland; I came overland in company with my husband: we came from New South Wales direct to Apis Creek; no one but a servant man accompanied us; he did not start with us, but joined us on the road; He went with us to Apis Creek; he left Apis Creek some time afterwards; I don't know whether he is there now or not. I first saw the Craig's a few miles on the other side of Yaamba, it was very wet weather and he was stuck-up by the weather, and my husband lent him a horse. Apis Creek was the first place at which we stopped when we came from New South Wales; I was only in Rockhampton one evening; we passed through Rockhampton on our way to Apis Creek; the fist time I ever saw the Craig's was whilst proceeding from Rockhampton to Apis Creek; that was towards the latter end of June last; when we started from Rockhampton I did not know where we were going; I did not know we were going to Apis Creek; at that time my husband had not made up his mind where he was going; we were travelling in a cart when we met Mr. Craig: I don't know how many horses we had with us; we overtook Craig as he was driving a dray and two horses along the road; there was then a conversation between my husband and Craig and we travelled in company together all the way on to Apis Creek; the conversation was regarding opening a store and a public house; I do not know what passed between them; they never met before to my knowledge; the only reason why we travelled together was, we were all of us going the same road; there was no house then built at Apis Creek, but one was being put up by Craig. 

East St, Rockhampton
looking South.

c. 1866
I am aware that my husband had a half share in that house; I think it was paid for between them; I do know that the store alongside of the public house belonged to my husband. My husband and myself resided there when the house was finished, and lived as friends with the Craig's; I never on any occasion understood that the Mr Craig had ever met or known my husband before; my husband never on any occasion left Apis Creek to come down to Rockhampton: Mr. Craig conducted the business of the inn, and my husband that of the store, and they assisted each other; I never heard Craig at any time ask my husband to go down to Rockhampton to get stores; Craig always went down, and in his absence my husband managed the business. I know that my husband paid Craig before the house was completed, for half a share in it: we stopped in our own cart in a tent until the house was completed, and we have continued to reside in the store—it being our own house ever since. I know that this receipt (produced) is in Craig's handwriting; it is signed by him, and it is a receipt for £61, for my husband's share of the house; the signature on it is "A. D. Craig", being requested to read it out the witness took the document in her hand, and did so partly, when she said she could not make out the handwriting..."

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

List of Gardiner's
property at Apis
Creek 1864.

NSW Police Gazette.
Furthermore, at the Rockhampton court Kitty again proclaimed that she was the lawful wife of Francis where she had said they were secretly married before departing Wheeo where Frank used his no doubt middle name of James;[sic] "Documents produced at the time of his arrest, and preliminary trial in February, 1864, proved that he was legally (and secretly) married under the assumed name of James Christie." As Gardiner and Craig sat in Rockhampton Gaol some of the guards standing over the celebrated bushranger took the opportunity to profit from their luck and allowed eager spectators to view the bushranger;[sic] "some of the gaol authorities have been guilty of very reprehensible conduct in admitting a miscellaneous crowd of eager spectators to gaze on the unfortunate prisoners, as if they were wild beasts; thereby aggravating the misery of their situation in a tenfold degree."

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

The Brisbane Courier,
28th February 1865.

Courtesy NLA. 
With Gardiner in custody, his possessions removed from Apis Creek subsequently went under the hammer at an auction in Rockhampton. Amongst items sold were his horses obtained at Apis Creek. One, in particular, was purchased by a Mr William Healy residing at the Brisbane Hotel in Queens street who allowed Mr John Creagh to place the item on display at the hotel's stables. The attraction for viewing at 1/- a pop was a 'Grey' horse. No doubt the one most probably ridden on the evening of Gardiner's encounter with Sir Frederick Pottinger at Kitty's home where through a stroke of good fortune for the 'Darkie' Pottinger's carbine had failed to fire. Its name was reputed to be 'White Swan'[From the "Courier" files from February 27 to March 4, 1865.] FRANK GARDINER'S HORSE. The following advertisement appeared: The celebrated "Grey," which bore Frank Gardiner, the bushranger, in the majority of his most memorable exploits in the vicinity of the Weddin Mountains, and the chief inland towns of New South Wales, is now being exhibited in the stables of Mr. John Creagh, Brisbane Hotel, Queen-street. Those who desire to see the animal and have any doubt as to the bona, fides, can, satisfy themselves by calling on the proprietor, Mr. Wm. Healy, residing at the name hotel, who will produce the receipt for the purchase money at a Government auction sale of Gardiner's property recently held at Rockhampton. Admission 1/-.

Port Of Brisbane
c. 1860/70's
Furthermore, in regard to Gardiner and Mrs Brown, it was reported of Kitty's attempt to free Gardiner via the means of Habeas Corpus. This opportunity to have Gardiner brought before the court was set as a possible escape attempt; "when they arrived at the Queensland capital Gardiner was safely lodged in the gaol; and here every means was taken by Mrs. Browne to affect her paramour's release. She instructed a legal practitioner to move forth a writ of Habeas Corpus for the production of Gardiner's body; but McGlone getting wind of the move and mindful of his altercation twelve months previously when a prisoner in his charge escaped custody at Bathurst..."⁵¹

As a result McGlone would not be caught out again as had been reported inThe Sydney Morning Herald’, Monday 21st September 1863; - "on Sunday morning the 6th instant, at about one o'clock, Mr. D M’Glone, a detective officer stationed at Forbes, but then in Bathurst attending the Assizes was most brutally assaulted whilst in the execution of his duty, and a prisoner, who had but just been arrested was rescued..." On that account McGlone, therefore, frustrated by the writ prevented any interference by the court removed his prisoner from the gaol to the awaiting vessel that was to convey him to Sydney. It is stated that a magnificent horse was in readiness for Gardiner in the event of his release by the operation of the writ of Habeas Corpus and whilst present at court may have effected an escape. It was a cunning plan and doubtless if the effort had succeeded Gardiner may have this time been able to flee the country. As Gardiner was held in custody and examined a correspondent noted Gardiner's demeanour throughout the proceedings; "Christie, or Gardiner, has never spoken since his arrest, and has exhibited a coolness of demeanour indifferently attributable to conscious innocence, or the despair of a determined man. The man's face is by no means unpleasing; a masculine, well-formed enough set of features implanted in a bold front, with a keen eye a well-set and enduring form. Add to these a head of'dark hair-and a moustache, and you have a type that may be found in hundreds wherever the south counties man had been quickened by a spell at colonising! Perhaps, if you glanced at the face, you might, if you gave its expression a thought, deem it the property of one calculated to be a good backer in a row, and by no means untrustworthy as times go..."⁵² (Habeas corpus is a recourse in law through which a person can report an unlawful detention or imprisonment to a court and request that the court order the custodian of the person, usually a prison official, to bring the prisoner to court, to determine whether the detention is lawful.)

'Goulburn Herald' Wednesday 23rd March 1864 reported Gardiner's arrival in Sydney;- "The Telegraph, a 700 tons, Iron paddle steamer under command of Captain Coote, arrived from Brisbane 10th instant, with 10 passengers, and Francis Christie (alias Clarke, alias Gardiner), and P. Falkenberg, as prisoners. While on his journey from Queensland Gardiner was cheerful and some what communicative; but it would not be just to retail any of his conversations. It appears, however, that the unfortunate and misguided man has not much hope of his life being spared. On Saturday, the police-magistrate took the evidence at the watch-house of the D division, Darlinghurst, in the presence of Francis Christie alias Gardiner alias Clarke. The prisoner was then remanded for one week (until next Saturday), and removed to Darlinghurst gaol. During the proceedings, and indeed since his arrest; Gardiner has conducted himself with the greatest propriety. There is an absence of anything like bravado in his deportment, which is rather remarkable in a man of his character."
Sydney Mail
Saturday 9th July 1864  

In the Darlinghurst courthouse a correspondent of the Yass Courier observing the procedures wrote this of Gardiner's deportment and appearance; The Yass Courier's Sydney correspondent says:-- "Gardiner is a man about 5 feet 8½ inches in height, well built, neither stout nor thin. He looks at least forty, though he is only thirty-two, and care and painful thought have set their mark upon him so that all men could read it. He looks troubled in mind, as no doubt he is, for I am informed by the officer who received him from the Queensland steamer that he has aged very much since he first saw him and is quite an altered man. He has dark, coarse hair, and his whiskers, somewhat shaggy, run under his chin, and he wears a moustache. He has a large, coarse mouth, the worse feature in his face, his eyes are dark, bright and piercing. Altogether he is an ordinary looking man, and you would take him for a labourer, or a gold-digger, or a small huckster. Passing him in a crowd you would not look at him twice. As for the portraits published of him they are vile caricatures, and no more like him than I am like the Emperor of China or Austria. His forehead is crossed with several large wrinkles, evidences, it seems to me, that a course of crime does not tend to give a man a contented mind or a jocund heart. You will best understand me when I say he looks in trouble. He was very well dressed in black, and during the whole of the examination behaved like a man who was sensible of the danger which environs him."

However, having faced court for the first of two trials Frank Gardiner was acquitted escaping societies retribution over his violation of the law and victims and with the verdict of not guilty over the Middleton and Hosie encounter by twelve of his peers. The packed courtroom erupted in jubilation at his acquittal, much to the judge's horror. So much so that Justice Wise furiously singled out a boy of fifteen, the son of a local magistrate for expressing his gleefulness and threatened him with incarceration. The press were dumbfounded at the rejoicing of the court patrons;[sic] "his daring exploits appealed to the imagination of a people in whose blood the felon taint still runs. His crimes instead of awakening horror win admiration. So deep and all pervading was the enthusiasm excited by his acquittal that a respectable boy of fifteen, the son of a local Magistrate, was caught in the act of loudly applauding the verdict of the Jury, and narrowly escaped being committed to prison by the indignant Judge..."

W.B. Dalley
However, for Gardiner, the beau monde was to have their man. Gardiner faced a second trial over the robbery of two storekeepers Alfred Horsington (Hossington) and Henry Hewett. For this defence, he engaged the services of well-known parliamentarian and astute lawyer Mr William Bede Dalley widely referred to as W.B. With Dalley as counsel. Gardiner was presented before the Chief Justice (Sir Alfred Stephen) on the 5th of July, and in a shock, move pleaded guilty to two charges—the robberies of Horsington and Hewett on the Lachlan road in March, 1862. Although ably defended by W.B. Dalley and upon his advice, Gardiner pleaded guilty, therefore, the gallows dimmed into the background. Here the jury had again deliberated of the attack at Fogg's farm where Gardiner was sentenced on the lesser charge of "Wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm." Before the Judge passed sentence the prisoner was asked if he had anything to say why the sentence of the Court should not be passed upon him Gardiner asked if a letter of mitigation maybe be placed before the Judge. Other than the letter Gardiner said he had nothing to say. In receipt of the document his Honour read the contents to the packed Court;To his Honour the Judge.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am, your Honour, your humble servant,


Courtroom scene depicting
Gardiner's Trial
As the jury deliberated it was reported that Mr Martin, prosecutor left Sydney; The Argus 5th July 1864; "the Attorney General's conduct at the conclusion of Gardiner's trial has been severely commented upon in Sydney. As soon as the jury retired to consider their verdict, Mr Martin left the court and, proceeding to the railway-station, left town for Parramatta. He did not leave behind him in court a single Crown law officer to represent him." The Judge expressed a doubt as to the genuineness of the prisoner's repentance and delivered the following sentences:op.cit — fifteen years’ hard labour for wounding the two constables, ten years for the robbery from Horsington, and seven years for the robbery from Hewett—a total of thirty-two years! As Gardiner sat through the judgement it was noted that Mrs Brown had returned to the Yass district, commenting on her beauty; The Argus 5th July 1864; Mrs Brown, Gardiner's late companion, was in Yass during the past quarter sessions. She is of slight build, low stature, and has a prepossessing appearance." (Pleasing to the eye or mind especially through beauty or charm.)

With the trial concluded and Gardiner's sentenced announced, it was most interesting that his greatest feat the 1862 Eugowra Gold Escort robbery was sidelined and through the whole of the proceedings the one person who had been instrumental in providing evidence at the 1863 case against the escort robbers, Daniel Charters was at no time called to give evidence against Gardiner who as leader of the gold heist gave the orders to fire on the escort coach resulting in the wounding of two police troopers Condell and Moran and the near-death of the driver Fagan. Charters' testimony if provided may have been the clincher for Gardiner to have as well been charged regarding the famous escort robbery. Gardiner was never convicted or held accountable for the happenings of the 15th June 1862 which saw Henry Manns the last man drawn into the robbery swing upon the gallows rope at Darlinghurst in a most horrific manner; 'Sydney Morning Herald' April 1863: Henry Manns"on this occasion, whether it arose from nervousness or excitement on the part of the executioner, the preliminaries were not so speedily performed as they were in the case of the two men (Ross), a lapse of nearly two minutes occurring ere he had concluded his preparations. When at length these were completed, and the bolt was drawn, there ensued one of the most appalling spectacles ever witnessed at an execution.

The noose of the rope, instead of passing rightly round the neck, slipped completely away, the knot coming round in front of the face, while the whole weight of the criminal's body was sustained by the thick muscles of the poll. The rope, in short, went round the middle of the head, and the work of the hangman proved a most terrible bungle.

The sufferings and struggles of the wretched being were heartrending to behold. His body swayed about, and writhed, evidently in the most intense agony.

The arms repeatedly rose and fell, and finally, with one of his hands the unfortunate man gripped the rope as if to tear the pressure from his head —a loud guttural noise the meanwhile proceeding from his throat and lungs, while blood gushed from his nostrils, and stained the cap -with which his face was covered. This awful scene lasted for more than ten minutes, when stillness ensued, and it was hoped the death had terminated the culprit's sufferings.

Shocking to relate, however, the vital spark was not yet extinguished, and to the horror of all present, the convulsive writhing's were renewed the tenacity to life being remarkable, and a repetition of the sickening scene was only at last terminated at the instance of Dr West, by the aid of four confines, who were made to hold the dying malefactor up in their arms while the executioner re-adjusted the rope, when the body was let fall with a jerk, and another minute sufficed to end the agonies of death."  

However, the outrage was sweeping through Sydney as the newspaper correspondents assessed the failure of the twelve strong and true jurors in a finding at the first trial were with all of Gardiner's villainy he had escaped the gallows; 'South Australian Register' Tuesday 7th June 1864- "a Jury of twelve 'honest men,' sworn to do justice, have, in the face of the clearest evidence of the notorious bushranger’s guilt, bravely acquitted him. Gardiner is a lucky fellow. He succeeded for many months in evading the most active efforts of the New South Wales police to apprehend him. He has shown himself to be the most impudent and desperate of all the heroes of the Claude Duval style which have yet appeared in these colonies; and yet, though his exploits were chronicled in the newspapers week by week, he set at complete defiance all attempts to take him. Sometimes he was hard enough run, and for his safety had occasionally to fire upon his would-be captors, but he always managed to escape somehow, until at last he was run to earth and cleverly captured. Even when he was secured the police were obliged to hurry him away to Sydney, so strongly was the tide of public opinion and feeling setting in his favour.
For full text of the above article see link below;

Sir Hercules Robinson
Now secured for 32yrs the general public thought they had heard and seen the last of Frank Christie/Gardiner. However, the remnants of his former gang—Hall, Gilbert, Dunleavy, Mount and newcomer Dunn were still very much active and the scourge of the peaceful settlers of the Forbes, Bathurst and Goulburn districts. Districts where even more brazen raids, robberies, arson, murder and kidnapping were to come. But amongst all this activity from his former bandito's friends, Frank Gardiner had a curiously active and sympathetic circle of admirers even hero worshippers. Foremost amongst these were his three devoted sisters Robina, Archina and Charlotte, who over the next eight years would continuously strive for his release. They produced pamphlets and petitions to the well to do and harassed Judges, Doctors, Parliamentarians and the man in the street too whom Gardiner was still a romantic idol. Gardiner also had ample funds secreted from the proceeds of his robberies to help as well to stimulate agitation by the circulation of favourable handbills and other means. While Gardiner had been the 'King of the Highway' his father Charles Christie had fallen ill and died in February 1864. It was reputed that Charles had not been conscious of his son's fame and villainy;[sic] Gardiner. — As considerable interest is naturally felt as to who Gardiner is, we may mention that his real name is Christie, the one which he traded under at Aphis Creek; his father, from whom he has been separated almost from child hood, died about three months since, in perfect and happy ignorance that his son was the notorious Frank Gardiner. He has two sisters, who live in Pitt-street, near Tattersell's Hotel.

There is little recorded of Gardiner's time at Darlinghurst Gaol except for an occasional article of reference when some heinous or sensational crime occurred. In those instances, Gardiner is often attached to its story. There was as well as an attempted escape set in motion in 1864 by Kitty Brown that failed. Darlinghurst Gaol for Gardiner as at Cockatoo Island cast him back into a life of strict routine;[sic] "routine is strictly adhered to, bells rounding the break or division of labours. At the welcome clang, a squad are perhaps marched out into the courtyard for physical drill, whilst others set about their freshly appointed tasks. Change of work is equivalent to a rest. At 4 o'clock the prisoners leave the workshops, muster, and go into the yards for ten minutes, they pay attention to personal cleanliness, polish their boots, etc., for inspection. At 4.30 there is a general assembly, when everyone answers to their number, for names are forgotten here and everyone is only a human numerical unit. After the roll-call, to the right-about, march! and the steady tramp echoes on the flags as the men file off, each squad to their tea of bread and hominy. This meal over, away to their cells, where, by the touching of a lever, every door is closed simultaneously. From then till 6 next morning, time belongs to each individually, to do as he wills with. Some spend it in sleep, others in reflection, some in reading. A hush is over all, and quiet reigns within." 

Nevertheless, with Frank's 1864 sentencing, Catherine devastated by the incarceration and length of her Frank's punishment. Catherine held on to the belief that they would be re-joined somehow and indeed reunited they would be if she had her way. Therefore, she set about plans for their reunification in late 1864. The power of greed is a wonderful thing, and as such Catherine was able to corrupt a prison warden to help expedite their escape plans.

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

In 1869 and five years into a thirty-two-year stretch Gardiner was noted by some, who had Darlinghurst inmates employed in various enterprises that went towards the financial upkeep associated with the prison. In Frank Gardiner's case, the Darkie was involved in two such enterprises. Bookbinding and Coir Mat-Making. In bookbinding Gardiner as well exhibited a stylish and exemplary hand at Calligraphy, demonstrated by a small bible that he produced for his love Catherine Brown. However, Gardiner as well showed initiative in the Coir Mat-Making department. A field of work that brought Frank praise and admiration of authorities. Gardiner as well exhibited a skilled mechanical knowledge in the machinery apparatus used in the Coir Mat's manufacture; "Too much indeed can hardly be said in praise of that laudable foresight which provides men with work suitable for them, and profitable to that community whose laws they have violated. Thus, in connection with, the machine for making matting, is to be seen a very simple but most ingenious machine for improving the selvage of the matting, which, from the duty it performs, has been named the "Selvage Improver." By this simple contrivance a twofold object is gained, viz , a straight selvage is made, and a superior finish imparted to the work in hand; and in comparing matting made without this apparatus with some made with its help, its advantages are at once obvious, and by its general application a difficulty against which even the home manufacturers have to contend will be overcome; and they may thank the once notorious Frank Christie (better known as Frank Gardiner) for the boon thus bestowed, together with that admirable arrangement by which his ingenuity has been diverted into a profitable and legitimate channel. Now, had it not been for this system, this very man, evidently of a high mechanical genius (for, in addition to the 'Selvage Improver," he has also invented a loom which can be taken to pieces almost instantly, and be put up in a small space, and which has been tried at Berrima, and given every satisfaction, would, in all probability, have been put to stone-breaking or some similar employment. So much for that plan which discriminates and places men, even under the most adverse circumstances, in the position of making themselves useful, instead of a burden to the country. Would it be considered as sympathising with crime, were one to venture to express a hope that the efforts of Frank Christie, added to his uniform good conduct since his confinement, may thus be of ultimate benefit to him? Why does not the Government patent Christie's invention?" (Selvage is an edge produced on woven fabric during manufacture that prevents it from unravelling.)

Ben Hall left - John Vane right.
However, Gardiner faced with the prospect of a lengthy prison term and an even longer chance of release from the confines of Darlinghurst Prison. Turned to enterprise, as alluded to above and was known to keep much to himself. Over time Gardiner came to be known as the "white-headed boy" of Darlinghurst. Many were curious about his exploits, but he rarely reminisced on his bushranging time. John Vane quotes that Gardiner said that while in Queensland he kept abreast of the plight of Ben Hall. By May of 1865 Gardiner's former and two close friends who had at the very beginning pitched in as an integral part of Gardiner's bushranging exploits were both dead. Ben Hall gunned down in a bush camp riddled by a frenzied firing squad of NSW police. John Gilbert shot dead at Binalong in a creek bed while fleeing an ambush. 1866 saw the hanging of John Dunn who had joined with Hall and Gilbert, was the last attached to the origins of the Gardiner gang. Two others Michael Burke and John O'Meally who as well as Hall and Gilbert was an original were in 1863 shot dead by two settlers. If it was not for Gardiner, each of these wayward men might have led very different lives.

In 1868 Catherine took her own life. The death of Catherine and how Frank took the news is not known. However, while in Darlinghurst Gaol Frank added two tattoos to his arms one being a Cupid on the upper right arm, and a Heart with a wreath of roses on the left upper arm. These were no doubt inked in memory of his love Catherine Brown possibly the only indication of his heartache at her loss. There was as well stories that he appeared to age soon after. The years past and his sister's endeavours for release were always, forefront. Vane stated; "although he didn’t say much about it, I know that he was always looking forward to a shortening of his sentence, as he had influential friends at work for him outside." These influential friends struck in 1874 with a monster petition which once more pushed for a pardon and was presented to the Governor, Sir Hercules Robinson (afterwards Lord Rosemead). It was led by Colonial Secretary Sir Henry Parkes and signed by Ministers of the Crown, members of Parliament, magistrates, lawyers, doctors, merchants, and other notable citizens strived to do so again by Frank's sisters who never lost faith in their brother's pursuit of freedom;[sic] The sisters presented a pitiful petition to the newly arrived Governor, Sir Hercules Robinson, in which they pointed out all the good qualities of their brother. William Bede Dalley and William Forster the Colonial Secretary when an outbreak of prisoners occurred in Darlinghurst, and which Gardiner, assisted to suppress, were among the backers of the petition which had also 500 citizens signatures attached to it.
Francis Christie alias Frank Gardiner
 Darlinghurst Gaol entry record.

 Note: Born in Colony is incorrect.
The agitation and outcry expressed in the back-country within his former haunts regarding Gardiner's pending release were deafening, and public meetings placed pressure on the Parkes administration. The pressure was not only rendered to the government but the Governor as well. Parliamentarians whose districts remembering Gardiner's misdeeds protested vigorously, as well as the original sentencing Chief Justice. The possibility caused outrage, and the question was made the subject of a long and heated debate in Parliament. The opposers also blitzed the Governor arguing against release. So presto was it that in exercising his prerogative, the Governor decided that Gardiner's release should be on the expiration of ten years of his sentence in July 1874. "the Colonial Secretary stated the other day that Sir Hercules Robinson intended, if Gardiner continued his good behaviour until then, to release him on condition of his undertaking not to remain anywhere in the Australasian colonies. Gardiner has made himself useful in the gaol, both by the self-control he has exhibited in time of a disturbance among the prisoners, and by the invention of a great improvement in mat-making. But the records of his past career, and the doom which has been awarded to his subordinates, render it highly inexpedient, in the view of many, to release him before the termination of his sentence. Such clemency, after the hanging of Manns and the two Clarkes, and the shooting of Ben Hall, Gilbert, and "Ward, would have a bad effect on the consciences of that part of the population whose confidence in the impartiality of the administration of justice is liable to be shaken. But the matter rests in the discretion of his Excellency."

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

William Arnold.
Speaker of the House.
The defeat of Parkes was instigated as a result of the great public outcry generated through the release of Gardiner. Opposing petitions were raised in their hundreds from all quarters of the state from Albury to Tenterfield. The most vigorous opposition being the towns most affected by Gardiner's marauding the goldfields of Lambing Flat and Forbes.[sic] THE YASS "-GARDINER BANQUET."  (FROM A CORRESPONDENT.)-A BANQUET was given here on the evening of Friday last, with a view to celebrate the "Release of Frank Gardiner," and at the same time, by a well sustained and clever burlesque, to evidence the horror and indignation felt by: the residents of Yass at the liberation of the mainspring of bushranging, and the proposed release of such of his companions in crime as still remained confined in the various penal establishments of the colony. The banquet was held in a large store, adjoining the Globe Hotel, and was provided in a most liberal manner by Host Shipway, the proprietor of the above named, hotel. The banqueting-room was decorated in a very becoming manner with evergreens, &c. Over the vice-chair's seat were the arms of Australia, with the well-known motto, ''Advance Australia;" but, over the chairman's head was displayed a black flag with the skull and cross-bones..." 

However, in an attempt to deflect the attention of Gardiner's release the Government released as well another 23 violent prisoners. Two of whom were John Bow and Alexander Fordyce, both having been lead to Gaol by Gardiner through their participation in the Eugowra gold robbery 1862. For the Speaker Arnold who cast the deciding vote on Gardiner's freedom. He tragically drowned in floodwaters of the Paterson River, Woodville near Orange in 1875.

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

Courtesy Newcastle University.
However, in Gardiner's final release the wheels of government were enacted and the deportation and exile of Gardiner swung into action. For Gardiner, his exile from Australia was not the first. Many ex-convicts were expelled unable to return until the expiration of their full sentence; Example a convict sentenced to 15yrs maybe paroled after eight years on the proviso of leaving the country and may not return until the end of the original sentence i.e. 7yrs later. Accordingly, this was the circumstances faced by Gardiner whereby after ten years in Gaol he was released and kicked out of Australia and would be eligible to return only after his total sentence had expired 22 yrs later in 1896. Gardiner would have been 67yrs old. Furthermore, Gardiner if he had chosen, may have settled in New Caledonia or Fiji being much closer to his siblings via a week sailing but not to any of the colonies such as New Zealand of Hong Kong. There was even rumour that New Caledonia was to be Gardiner's actual destination however, this proved inaccurate. The bases for exile was utilised by the Government through an old Act Of Parliament 1847 no 34 - 11 - Vic 4th clause.

The ship which was to remove the 'Darkie' from Australian shores was the 'Charlotte Andrews' a coal barque trading between China and Newcastle. A letter from a passenger on the 'Lady Young' then owned by William Hill, which was to convey Gardiner to Newcastle to join the 'Charlotte Andrews' witnessed Gardiner's embarkation at Sydney, wrote of the occasion as the 'Lady Young' lay at anchor off Pinchcut Island (Fort Denison); William Andrews, an alderman of the city, and a flourishing ship-owner in after life. He was the owner of the vessel Charlotte Andrews, which under contract with the Government, conveyed the notorious bushranger Frank Gardiner into exile. Freedom would be given on-condition that Gardiner lived outside the British dominions. The difficulty, was how to obtain a ship the master of which would take the responsibility of taking Gardiner from his native land. Mr. Andrews had the Charlotte Andrews at Newcastle loading coal for Shanghai, and he expressed his willingness and the willingness of the master to give the ex-bushranger a passage.

On July 20, 1874, I was a passenger to Newcastle by the steamer Lady Young, of which my old friend Royal was then chief officer. Off Pinchcut the steamer lay to, and Mr. Royal informed me that, they were waiting for a distinguished passenger, no less a personage than Frank Gardiner, alias Christie, the notorious bushranger and escort robber. He came on board at 11.30, accompanied by Detective Elliott. They immediately disappeared in the fore cabin and were seen no more that night. Gardiner remained in the Newcastle lockup for two or three days, until the Charlotte Andrews was ready for sea. He loudly protested against being kept in custody, as he considered himself free once beyond the walls of Darlinghurst. Crowds waited outside the lockup to catch a sight of the noted prisoner, and when, the hour for his departure arrived, the crowd, in Hunter-street opposite the lockup was so great that it was found impossible, to remove the exile. A ruse had to be employed.- A man the size of Gardiner, and similarly dressed, was taken between two police men, carefully handcuffed, down Bolton-street to the wharf, the immense crowd excitedly following. When the street was clear Inspector Thorpe and Detective Elliott with Gardiner between them and a couple of water policemen bringing up the rear emerged from the lockup and went in the direction of Nobbys, near which a boat was awaiting to take Gardiner, on board the ship which was ready to sail. ⁵⁷

A short time later it was reported that; "The illustrious exile Frank Gardiner has quitted his native shores. A telegram to the 'S. M. Herald ' states that on Monday he was put on board the Charlotte Andrews, Capt. Place, for Hong Kong, by sub-inspector Thorpe. Directly after he went on board the barque was towed to sea. It does not, however, seem certain that the ex-bushranger will complete his voyage to the above place. The 'Empire' states that a gentleman who professes to be in the secret declares that the reformed bushranger will not go further from us than New Caledonia, where he is to take charge of an extensive sugar-mat and basket factory for a firm whose principal place of business is in Sydney."⁵⁸ 

New Caledonia did not eventuate. It was revealed that en route to Hong Kong, Gardiner's ship the Charlotte Andrews almost floundered as it was dis-masted in a heavy storm. 'The Age' 6th October 1874; "a private telegram from China reports that the Sydney ship Mendona foundered, having on board a cargo for the colonies. The crew were saved. The barque Charlotte Andrews was dis-masted in the same gale..." An accompanying article further commented; "Frank Gardiner on, his voyage to China was nearly drowned, the ship he was in having narrowly escaped shipwreck in a heavy cyclone. We hear (says the Yass Courier) that the mariners had to lighten the ship by throwing overboard the most part of the cargo. It is somewhat odd that they never attempted to deal with Gardiner as in old times as certain Tarshiah 'salts' dealt with Jonah. Perhaps they charitably thought that the poor wretch, having been vomited forth by New South Wales, would stand a poor show of being taken under the protection of any other whale.”⁵⁹

Great Republic.
sidewheel steamship.
San Francisco–China
Fortunately, having survived the perils of the sea. Gardiner's stay in Hong Kong as a survivor was brief, and the 'Charlotte Andrews' out of action Gardiner boarded another vessel the 'Great Republic' owned by the San Francisco shipping line 'The Pacific Steamship Company' and moved on to California via Yokohama arriving on the 18th December 1874 along with 542 other passengers at San Francisco. A crossing of eighteen days to San Francisco. 'Daily Alta California' 19th December 1874: CHINA AND JAPAN. Arrival of the "Great Republic." - The Pacific Mail Steamship Company's steamer Great Republic, H. Z. Howard Commander, arrived in port last evening. She left Hongkong on the 11th of November, with 7 cabin and 188 steerage passengers, full cargo and mails. Experienced heavy northeast monsoon for first five days; remainder of voyage to Yokohama, weather fair. Arrived at Yokohama on tho 20th, and left on the 23d of November, with 20 cabin and 501 steerage passengers. Had heavy gales from southwesterly for four days; since had variable winds, chiefly from South and East. All well on board.

Evening News Monday 15th February 1875; Frank Gardiner in California- We have been informed by an old Sydney resident, who was a passenger from San Francisco per SS Mikado, that the notorious bushranger, Frank Gardiner, or Christie, is keeping a public-house in that city. It appears that he arrived in San Francisco from Hongkong by the steamship Great Republic. On his arrival, it is reported that a number of persons called 'a ring' fitted up in first-class style a, public-house for him. Since the opening, the house has proved a great "draw," and it is filled nightly by a certain class. Gardiner is known as the New South Wales bushranger.

Dramatised Illustration of
Catherine, on hearing
of no visits to her Frank.
Courtesy NLA.
Sadly, surrounded with all the hoopla of Gardiner's 1874 release Frank would not be re-joined by his love Catherine Brown, who in the first few years of Gardiner's lengthy 32yr sentence had long hoped of a future together, even plotting an escape. For Gardiner, that future with Kitty upon his freedom was unreachable when Catherine took her own life in 1868.

However, the 1864 escapes failure, Catherine was completely shattered by the prospect of never having Gardiner in her life and with Sir Henry Parkes' refusal to allow visits Catherine returned to the Lachlan and her sister Bridget's home. The parliamentary Hansard of March 1866 recorded Henry Parkes address to parliament on the subject; "In the Assembly of New South Wales, on Thursday last, the following questions and answers are reported in the Empire: Mr. Cowper asked the Colonial Secretary- If it is true that the Colonial Secretary has given a special authority for Mrs. Brown, the paramour of the notorious Gardiner, to have access to him in Darlinghurst gaol; asked if so, whether he had any objection to lay a copy of such authority upon the table of the House? Mr. Parkes, in reply, said "he felt it incumbent on him to state the whole of the facts in connection with this matter. Soon after he was called to office, he paid a visit to Darlinghurst gaol, and during his visit there, a number of prisoners made application, through the gaoler, to see him (Mr. Parkes) for the purpose of making sundry requests. Among those persons was Francis Gardiner, who requested to be allowed to be visited once a month by Mrs. Brown. He added that he would not have made this request only this woman had been living with him as his wife. "I told him," continued Mr. Parkes, "that I would consider his application and give my decision to the Sheriff" I accordingly caused a minute to be sent to the Sheriff requesting him to inform Gardiner that the permission asked for could not be granted, as Mrs. Browne was the wife of another man, and that the refusal was not done harshly, but as being entirely against the spirit of the regulations. 

Two or three days after this decision had been given, I was informed at my office that a Mrs. Hyam wished to see me, and I told the messenger to show her in. Mrs. Hyam, who said she was Gardiner's sister, had a very respectable appearance, and so had her companion, a young woman whom accompanied her. Mrs. Hyam's said she had come to make a request to me that Mrs. Brown, who, she said, was a resident in her house, and had been living in her house since Gardiner's conviction, might be permitted to see that prisoner. As this person had all the appearance of being a respectable woman, and so I felt that commiseration for her which anyone, must feel who has a relative in the positions of Gardiner. I spoke calmly to her, and represented the impossibility of the Governor granting the petition. She at last appealed strongly that the person should be allowed to see Gardiner at least once. I came to no decision, and these persons, one of whom was said to be Mrs. Brown, but to whom I never spoke, my conversation being entirely with Gardiner's sister, went away.

I consulted with another member of the Government, made inquiries of the police as to the character of Mrs. Hyam, and was assured by Captain M'Lerie, the Inspector-General, that she was a respectable married woman. I made further inquiries, which satisfied me that this person, Mrs. Brown, appeared to be permanently separated from her husbands, and that she had lived since the conviction of Gardiner, in the house of this person who was represented to me as a respectable married woman. After making these queries, I gave this special order to the principal gaoler at Darlinghurst: --"You will allow the bearer, Catherine Brown, to see Francis Gardiner, alias Clarke, now under sentence in Darlinghurst prison. This order, however, is available for this day only, and must not be allowed to alter or modify, in any respect further the instructions from this office on the 2nd instant. (Signed) H. Parkes."⁶⁰ (Charlotte's surname Hyam is mistaken and should read Ion? Charlotte married William Ion in 1854. In 1870 Charlotte remarried one Joseph Cale.)

Letter sent from
 Sheriffs Office 1864 to
Col Sec on Kitty's

New South Wales,
Australia, Sheriff's
Papers, 1829-1879
Catherine, devastated by the failure to obtain frequent gaol visits. The distressed lover fell into depression and in a hopeless state and returning to the Lachlan formed a relationship with Bridget's lover James' brother Richard Taylor in c. 1866.

In company with Taylor, Catherine departed the Lachlan for New Zealand, arriving at the Tappue Gold Diggings near Auckland on the Thames River. After some months of listless living and difficulties with Taylor. Catherine on the 14th January 1868, in a frenzy of mental anguish, shot herself in the head.

Whereby, after lingering for a short period in extreme agony, died. The death of Catherine and its effect on Frank is not known to date. Kitty's death could be the catalyst for Gardiner's new tattoos as per his release papers

However, a witness to the dreadful scene was a miner and his brother named Turner who in 1902 gave an account of the circumstances surrounding Kitty's tragic death; 'Sydney Sportsman' Wednesday 9th April 1902; "Mr. Turner describes Mrs. Brown as being a dainty, natty little thing, tidy in her dress, and very nice looking. She was the Mrs Brown who attached herself to Gardiner's fortunes and romantically followed him through good and evil repute.

Brown of Wheogo—lived in a square tent, about 14ft by 12ft, very nicely arranged, and differing much from the ordinary run of tents to be found on a goldfield. The pair did not agree well, Taylor apparently always quarrelling with his wife; About 5 o'clock one morning the little camp on Tapu Creek was startled from its sweet repose by the report of a pistol shot from Brown's tent. Mr Turner and his brother rushed to see the cause.

Outside the little reed fence surrounding the tent-Taylor was grovelling on the ground, tearing up the grass with his hands, at the same time crying out, "I have shot my wife! I've murdered her! hang me; lynch me!" and many other such expressions. In the door of the tent Mrs Brown was lying (on the ground) face downwards, apparently dead, a large quantity of blood was running from her mouth, and a small revolver was on the ground alongside of her.

Catherine's death.
New Zealand Herald
1st February 1868.
A number of diggers and others soon appeared upon the scene, among them Mr Bailey, the warden of the goldfields, who happened to be at Tapu Creek at the time. On raising Mrs Brown, the unfortunate woman was still living, a stimulant was poured down her throat, which revived her sufficiently to enable her to state what had occurred. Her tongue was so injured that she was unable to speak so as to be heard. Mr Bailey obtained a slate and then asked questions. Having written the question, the warden would put his ear to the woman's mouth and could just distinguish her answer, the reply being at once written on the slate. She said that Taylor had made her life miserable and a burden to her, and had so constantly ill-used her that she determined to end her misery by suicide.

On that particular morning Taylor had been more than usually brutal, so she got hold of the revolver—a gift from Frank Gardiner—and fired it into her mouth. All the time the wretched woman was explaining the circumstances Taylor was outside, raving and behaving like a maniac, and as soon as Mrs Brown's confession was made known, Taylor received a gentle hint to clear out, and he lost no time in doing so. What became of him Mr Turner knows not, as he never saw him afterwards. Mrs Brown was taken to the Coromandel Hospital, where she lingered 16 days, mortification having set in. At the inquest the verdict was suicide but many believed that Taylor had fired the shot and that she made the statement to save him from the gallows. The bullet had cut through the tongue and lodged in one of the bones of the neck. The revolver was a very small one, silver mounted, and had the name 'Frank Gardiner' scratched on the stock. Mr Turner afterwards saw the weapon with Mr Bailey, in Fiji. It seems strange that Gardiner should have started business at Apis Creek in his real name (Francis Christie) as he did, and that he should keep about his house a revolver with his 'bush-cognomen,' Frank Gardiner, on it.  (See note below of her exonerating Richard Taylor in her suicide attempt and ultimate death. Turner mistakenly referred to Taylor as Brown. However, his account is quite good for detail. Catherine is also noted as spelling her name with a K.)

However, for Frank Gardiner, his arrival in San Francisco was not the first by former criminals from the shores of Australia. Before the acclaimed bushranger set up shop on the Barbary Coast. Those previous Australian convicts known notoriously as the 'Sydney Ducks' started appearing in the 1850s with the Barbary Coast then known as Sydney Town. The Duck's set up shady hotels and establishments by the dozen, enticing the wealthy citizens to a night of debauchery and refreshment many of whom were subsequently beaten up and robbed. As the Darkie prepared his new digs in America, the famous bushranger gave an interviewed to a newspaper the "Daily Alta California" on 17th February 1875; "A reporter of the Chronicle gives an interview with one Frank Gardiner, a noted bushranger, who recently arrived here from Australia. After describing his talk with the notorious robber, the reporter, with much ingenuousness, adds: The meeting suggested a great many old Australian reminiscences of bushranging days" Ah! The conversation was re-published in the 'The Sydney Morning Herald' Tuesday 6th April 1875, Titled- THE SUCCESSFUL BUSHRANGER.- (From the Alta California.}- VASQUEZ, the King of California bandits, pales into insignificance when compared to Frank Gardiner the great Australian bushranger. He arrived here a few weeks ago, having been pardoned by Sir Hercules Robinson, the Governor of New South Wales, after serving ten years of the thirty-two years allotted to him. The colonial papers have been full of discussion on the matter of the Governor's clemency, but the majority have decided that justice was fully vindicated by the ten years confinement, and lost none of its potency because it was tempered with mercy. A Chronicle reporter interviewed Gardiner yesterday and found him to be a man of apparently forty, five years of age, with a full, round, English face jet-black beard and moustache, and a quiet demeanour which sensationalists would hardly associate with the exploits of the great Australian Dick Turpin. The meeting suggested a great many old Australian reminiscences of bushranging days when the name of Gardiner figured in every day's paper in connection with some deed of a daring robbery.

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

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

Reporter: Why was that?

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

Reporter: Why did you commence such career?

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

Rep.: But what made you rob the mails?

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

Rep.: Have you a cheerful prospect before you?

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

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

c. 1876
Gardiners new San Francisco digs were highlighted in 1876 revealing an environment where the of lowest of the low held court; "The Barbary Coast is the haunt of the low and the vile of every kind. The petty thief, the house burglar, the tramp, the whoremonger, lewd women, cutthroats, murderers, all are found here. Dance-halls and concert-saloons, where blear-eyed men and faded women drink vile liquor, smoke offensive tobacco, engage in vulgar conduct, sing obscene songs and say and do everything to heap upon themselves more degradation, are numerous. Low gambling houses, thronged with riot-loving rowdies, in all stages of intoxication, are there. Opium dens, where heathen Chinese and God-forsaken men and women are sprawled in miscellaneous confusion, disgustingly drowsy or completely overcome, are there. Licentiousness, debauchery, pollution, loathsome disease, insanity from dissipation, misery, poverty, wealth, profanity, blasphemy, and death, are there. And Hell, yawning to receive the putrid mass, is there also."Asbury, in Benjamin Estelle Lloyd's Lights and Shades of San Francisco (1876)

Of course, the self-assessment by the Darkie in his newspaper interview needs to be put into context when one considers that; "The boast that he is said to have made—that he had not taken life or robbed or insulted a woman —amounts to very little, in view of the fact that he did his utmost to take life on at least two occasions—once when resisting arrest at Fogg's house by Middleton and Hosie, and again when leading the attack upon the gold escort at Eugowra. Nothing at all need be said concerning his chivalry, the sublimity of which was displayed where he stole Mrs Brown from her husband and ran away with her to Queensland."⁶¹

Settling into life at San Francisco Gardiner gravitated too work he knew best, that being, entwining himself with the crud and shysters of the San Francisco docks and disreputable saloons of the famed Barbary Coast. With suspect cash flow and a dimming reputation as the 'King of the Highwaymen' the 'Darkie' struggle during his early days while finding his feet and place on the wild Barbary Coast of San Francisco. As his earlier sentence at Cockatoo Island demonstrated Gardiner was still just another mug in a world of other mugs.

Dribs and drabs of news filtered into Australia regarding Gardiner's circumstances as mail steamers plyed their way from the west coast of America to the shores of Port Jackson carrying the latest communications, speculations and innuendo. Australian passengers visiting San Francisco went about walking the streets seeking out the once-famous Australian celebrity. Often calling on local police to point them in the right direction and even at times being escorted to his reputed seedy hotel. One Australian visitor commented to a journalist friend on return after meeting the 'Darkie' escorted by a policeman 'The Western Independent' 18th August 1877; "When in San Francisco I asked about Gardiner. Accompanied by a policeman, I went one day, about eleven o'clock, to his whisky mill in Kearney street. It was a low vile street in the worst part, of 'Frisco, called 'The Barbary Coast.'" 

More communications surfaced on various subjects regarding Gardiner. One stated that the former bushranger sent letters of appreciation to both Sir Henry Parkes and Governor Sir Hercules Robinson for his freedom; What Gardiner has Promised Parkes.—'Glen Innes Examiner and General Advertiser' Wednesday 5th May 1875  "If the Sydney correspondent of the Forbes Times is to be credited, Frank Gardiner, the expatriated Bushranger, is not unmindful of his former friend and benefactor, as the following extract demonstrates:—A gentleman, just arrived in Sydney from San Francisco informs us that the slayer of Governments and robber of escorts, Frank Gardiner, is safely and comfortably established in that city in a flourishing bar or restaurant, having been started in that line of business by a friendly circle of beings entitled a " ring," whatever that may be. Frank, it is said, sent a number of grateful messages to the late Premier and to Sir Hercules Robinson, and expressed much regret at having brought so much sorrow and trouble upon their heads. He especially condoles with Mr. Parkes, and declares that if that gentleman will only cut this ungrateful colony and start to 'Frisco, that he will run him for the Presidency of the States and carry him in at the tip-top of the poll." 

Another piece of Gardiner news came to light through a letter from a former resident of the Lachlan now living in Sacramento California; 'Burrangong Argus' of 30th June 1875; "that the released bushranger Frank Gardiner is at present getting an honest livelihood, and does not appear to contemplate visiting the scene of his former exploits. A gentleman, Mr. R. Jewell, known to many of our readers as a sometime resident in Young, but now domiciled in Sacramento, California, writes to a friend here to say that he lately paid a visit and had a glass of beer at the saloon in San Francisco kept by Gardiner. The quondam bushranger is described as "doing well, and keeping on the square," and is said to have inquired after the welfare of several persons in this district, amongst them one who was a fellow-confinee of his in Darlinghurst gaol. He is also said to have stated that a young man named Paine, at one time residing at Forbes, and who many years since was convicted and sentenced for being in possession of some stolen notes, was an innocent sufferer, as he did not know that the notes were stolen."

In turn, many yarns of engagement with Gardiner were recounted by passengers on return to Australian shores more notably for the individual's notoriety than fact. Creating an air of mystery and gossip often unverified or far from credible. However, in the main from all these tales Gardiner was never far away from a newspaper article in his longed-for home country regarding his situation or lifestyle. A reputation all built around the two years (1860-1862) Gardiner had captivated NSW as well as the whole country of Australia including international interest highlighted by the great Gold Heist at Eugowra in June 1862 as well as his release and deportation in 1874. After all the 'Darkie' had held and befallen governments, seen parliamentary ministers dismissed, police officers humiliated and often became the idol of children in their playing of the bushranger.

Kearney St looking North
near Broadway St.
Barbary Coast.
Gardiner's saloon was

in this vicinity.
c. 1800's.
Courtesy, SMU

Libaries Digital Collection

By 1876 a further variety of reports surfaced that Gardiner had established and held sway in a small saloon on the Barbary Coast under the title of the 'Twilight Saloon' or 'Twilight Star'. The saloon was reputed to be a place of squaller and patronised by the lowest of the dock rats who with one eye open awaited for a sucker to waylay 'The Braidwood Dispatch and Mining Journal' 17th November 1888; "Frank Gardiner, from the first day he landed in San Francisco, until the day he left it did no good for himself. His first job was as a barman in a saloon. This position he left to open a small saloon for himself, which he named 'The Twilight,' situated in Kearney-street, near Broadway. It was a small dingy place of two rooms, and Gardiner never did any good in it; A few months was enough for him in this place, when he descended to a mere saloon hanger-on, living goodness knows how."

Furthermore, contradictions of Gardiner's existence were always close to the surface in relation to his life at Kearney Street. Another visitor commented on return to Adelaide in 1876 that; "the correspondent of an Adelaide journal writing on the 21st June, from San Francisco, states that he had seen Gardiner who keeps the Twilight Star, a very small drinking shop in Kearney street. The house seemed to be an orderly one. Gardiner looks about 40 years old, which shows that he must have improved very greatly in looks since he left the seclusion of Darlinghurst, and the confinement of the gaol bookbinding room. He does not seem to enjoy good health in America, however, though he has improved very much in general appearance." Subsequently, another observer dictated a view regarding those who idolised the 'Darkie.' Expressing a view of a man not down in his cups, but in fine fettle recounting his grand escapades while his lowlife audience threw a few nickels his way. 'The McIvor Times and Rodney Advertiser' Thursday 14th August 1879"His saloon was little else than a gambling den and a resort for the scum and dregs of the city. The frequent recital of his daring deeds fired his auditors with a spirit of emulation-a hankering after a free life of a brigand; instead of being looked upon with loathing, the man became elevated in the opinion of his hearers into a very hero." However, the general consensus was that the saloon itself was held in low esteem if not the lowest of esteem. 'The Western Independent' 18th August 1877; "The house was a filthy-looking blackguard place, and all-round on wooden forms were some ruffians, with a heft of knife peeping out of their rags, but now powerless to use them, sleeping off the previous night's debauch."

From the Kearney St saloon, Gardiner sometime later in circa 1877 took on a new establishment possibly the 'Starlight' situated on Brannan-street, between Second and Third streets, near the Pacific Mail Dock. 'Northern Star' 14th February 1880; "Frank Gardiner. As in connection with recent affairs the name of this notorious ex-brigand has cropped up, some particulars of how he progresses in San Francisco may not prove uninteresting. Frank has returned from his old quarters in Kearney street, and is now comfortably established in a saloon in Brannan-street, between Second and Third streets, and near the Pacific Mail Dock. Gardiner says he made a great mistake in taking the "Starlight" in Kearney street, as it is one of the lowest localities in San Francisco. He says that his sole aim in life is to progress upwards in the social scale, and he points to his removal from Kearney to Brannan streets as evidence of that laudable ambition."  This does not appear to be a man wracked with afflictions and death at his door as noted by others; "Gardiner looked simply wretched; he was crippled with rheumatism, and not improved by drinking some of his own grog, the vile compound called whiskey, old Bourbon..."  (There is evidence that the Twilight saloon and Starlight are possibly interchangeable or possibly the name was the Twilight Star saloon.)

Gardiner was forty-six when he had stepped ashore from the steamer 'Great Republic' in December 1874. He was still a young man, however, once again his old friends from Cockatoo, aches and pains, found their way into the forefront of his conversation whereby Gardiner was again enlightening those around him by concocting some ailment or misery that had befallen him. The new pitch on his health was that he was crippled with rheumatism and that heavy drinking had also percolated into his life. However, there is no evidence that Frank was a heavy drinker even when at Apis Creek or riding the ranges of the Lachlan. No doubt contrived assumptions. Gardiner was shrewd and educated, therefore, through his great penchant for deception no doubt set about planting false narratives on his wayward life in America which may well have been part of a grander plan as once commented on by Gardiner himself; 'The Western Independent' 18th August 1877; "he said to my friend that he thought of sending a petition to the Government of New South Wales to be allowed to return if it was only to serve out his time..."

However, by the 1880s Gardiner had once again dropped off the map, evaporated. Had he died? There is sufficient evidence to support that Francis Christie never died in America. No record of his demise exists, except speculation based on nothing proven nor concrete. A death which is continually countenanced. There are claims he died a pauper in an infirmary and placed in an unmarked grave. Nonsense! 'Singleton Argus' Saturday 9th September 1882; Frank Gardner. Says Dr Grundy in the Melbourne Herald:--"The death of Gardiner the bushranger is again reported from San Francisco. This time he died as a pauper in a hospital. Last time it was as a bar-keeper in a free fight. The time before that it was as a road agent sticking up a mail train. Next time it will be from the effects of a balloon accident, or in an excess of delight at a charity sermon. What a comfort it must be to the good man to be able to die so often, and yet keep healthy all the time. The late Lord Brougham possessed this happy accomplishment, and so did Tom Spring the pugilist, and Madame Calatani, the prima donna. Each of these eminent persons had the pleasure of reading their own obituaries on various occasions and flourished to a green old age notwithstanding. The lord and the lady were both past 90 when they died. The pugilist's age I am uncertain about, but his remarkable bravery and fidelity, coupled with the constancy of the reports of his death, made him a striking exception to the proverb that only the coward dies a thousand deaths." The reference to a paupers grave is one of fancy as while in San Francisco thousands of miles from his home country communication between Frank and his three sisters, all well off, must have existed. Archina, Robina and Charlotte had worked feverishly in facilitating Frank's early release from Darlinghurst, therefore it would be unheard of for those devoted sisters for whatever reason to abandon their brother even in a faraway country such as America at a time of crisis or possible destitution.

Meanwhile, as the Darkie was settling into his long 32yr  sentence at Darlinghurst in 1864, on the far side of the world in Ireland in March 1867, another Irish uprising occurred against British Rule. One more of the many failed attempts to dislodge the English from Dublin. The insurrectionists were known as Fenian's a forerunner to the IRA. In that month many thousands armed in a variety of ways marched on various towns including Tallagat, Dundrum, Stepaside and Glencullen and south at Cork, where 4000 gathered at Fair Hill, there commencing a rampage of destruction. The constabulary, having been appraised of the armed bodies taking the many roads rushed to intercept. However, by the following day, the rebellion was quashed, and the instigators hunted down by both the Irish Police and British Army. One of those men hunted was Thomas Baines, a native of County Mayo, Ireland. Baines was a hardcore Irish patriot, noted as capable of the most daring, difficult and dangerous tasks by the leaders of the revolt.

Western Australia, Convict
Records, 1846-1930.
for Thomas Baines.
Convicted for his part in the uprising, as a consequence, Baines became apart of the last transportation of convicts from the United Kingdom to Australia arriving in Fremantle Western Australia January 1868 embarked on the sailing ship 'Hougoumont'. Like thousands of previous convict ships plying the route to the antipodes. The voyage on the 'Hougoumont' had varied little during the last eighty years of convict transportation. Whereby, for those tens of thousands embarked who had suffered, as well as the many who died on those perilous voyages, conditions for Baines were still brutal. As the coast of Western Australia loomed on the horizon, the flat plain of the landscape uninteresting, stretching out north and south without a break in its bleakness. The afternoon breeze strengthened, the ships rigging pinging with the force of the coming roaring forties winds pushed the 'Hougoumont' into Cockburn Sound towards the mouth of the Swan River and her final destination Fremantle. Arriving in the late afternoon at the dock Baines and his fellow convicts disembarked. A fellow transportee John Boyle later described conditions on the 'Hougoumont': "The smells were, of course, among the notable feature of life on board. The combination of animal and human excrement, foul water from the bottom of the ship below pump wells which never came out, the remains of old cargo's and the perpetually rotten wooden structure of the vessel herself must between them have produced a dreadful stench, unrelieved by any kind of ventilation system in the ship. People were accustomed to this ashore in towns and villages which stank like an Oriental slum today."

San Francisco Call,
12th April 1899.
Baines as with the thousands before him settled in to convict life. On the completion of Baines' sentence and early release in 1871 he took leave from Australia and sailed for San Francisco arriving in 1872. In America his Irish patriotism once more rose to the surface whereby he joined the Hibernia Rifles holding various position, rising to the rank of Captain. The organisation was dissolved in the 1880s. In the years prior and following Baines kept his green uniform and sword, and on St. Patrick's day he would wear them proudly and go calling on his Irish friends. For many years he supported himself by selling his book titled 'My Life in Two Hemispheres' detailing his part as a Fenian fighter in the 1867 insurrection. He claimed that as long as Ireland was under the British yoke he would never cut his hair and was often seen with long flowing locks agitating in and around the sprawling town and district of the Barbary Coast.

On the 20th July 1875, Baines was the proprietor of the Celtic Club Saloon on the corner of McAllister, Jones and Market streets San Francisco a stone's throw from both Kearney St and Brannan St and the future saloons of Frank Gardiner. At the Celtic Saloon, Baines was shot in the back under uncertain circumstances by an employee. In due course, he recovered. Captain Thomas Baines and Frank Gardiner apart from being saloon keepers were friends. Good friends.

Los Angeles Daily Herald
21st July 1875.
Throughout the world, up to and beyond the Gold rushes of the 1850s. The free movement of people around the world was unencumbered by bureaucratic red-tape. Individual passports per sae did not exist. Therefore, if an enterprising man, woman or whole families wished to up stakes and head to the antipodes they only required the passage fee to embark on a sailing ship destined for the desired location, say Sydney or Melbourne. The record of travel appeared only on the vessel's manifest. On arrival at the port of choice, travellers just disembarked without fanfare. Therefore, if a scallywag who had committed some wrong wanted to flee for a far offshore through anonymity from any country, he needed only to purchase a passage under an assumed name.

A well-known example was Frank Gardiner's nemesis Sir Frederick Pottinger who had fled England, and debt collectors taking passage to Victoria under the assumed name of F. W. Parker.

Following five years in San Francisco Frank Gardiner had had enough. Frank longed for the country of his youth. The former bushranger was to be seen regularly at the Barbary Coast wharves whenever a packet steamer from Australia secured alongside. Frank would canvass passengers for newspapers of the time and no doubt seeking mail from his sisters. Devouring the latest happenings on the old home front. Examining the news on the political state of affairs and no doubt skimming the pages of the many changed social attitudes and country district transformations.[sic] "Frank casts longing eyes to the westward, and invariably comes down to the wharf whenever an Australian mailboat arrives, and anxiously inquiries for New South Wales newspapers." 

New research coming, in which it is conceivable that Frank Gardiner indeed returned to Australia.

However, in 1910 Frank Gardiner was recalled in the 'San Francisco Call' newspaper as; "Frank Gardiner, a famous Australian bushranger, who served several years in gaol and who, having been pardoned, came to San Francisco and conducted a thriving liquor business..."

The Pioche Weekly
Record, 21st 
February 1880.
For the next thirty years’ stories continued to abound regarding the life of Frank Gardiner and his whereabouts in the Californian sunshine. There would be reports and rumours of mysterious men digging at Wheogo for Gardiner's hidden treasure, of bar-room fights and running seedy hotels on the Barbary Coast, a marriage to a wealthy woman (see clippings below) and even an accusation of stagecoach robberies. In the main complete falsehoods.

Furthermore, there is no foundation to connect Gardiner with any children born at any time in any country or of step-children. Their linking of which is fanciful and untrustworthy. Furthermore, any link to highway robberies was exposed as a hoax; 'Northern Star' Saturday 22nd November 1879; NOT TRUE.- "It now turns out that the sensational accounts in the American papers, about Frank Gardiner having resumed highway robbery in that country, is all a hoax." 

However, it may also be that with Francis Christie's penchant for disguises, namely as a minister of the cloth, and incorporated with the wealth and social standing of his devoted sisters Archina, Charlotte and Robina who had moved to Sydney following the death of her husband in 1871 in Victoria. Whereby the three sisters conspired to bring their brother home possibly on the steamer 'City of New York' in the late 1880s and that he died in family secrecy and obscurity in Australia? After all, he was also eligible to return free in 1896, still at a young age of 67!
New South Wales, Australia, Criminal Court Records, 1830-1945  for Francis Clarke, Supreme Court Registers of Criminal Indictments, 1863-1898
At Darlinghurst Gaol 1866.
Francis Christie alias Gardiner recorded here with Patsy Daley
 1867 at Darlinghurst Gaol.
Gardiner's release along with John Bow and Alex Fordyce
1874. Note as well the Remarks column and Gardiner's tattoos of a female figure and heart in a wreath. These were no doubt inked in Darlinghurst with the female image his love Catherine. (Under Native Place it should read Scotland)
Frank Gardiner was 45 years old at the time of his release in 1874. This photo above is a prison portrait and was coloured by me through Photoshop.
Letter by Frank Gardiner's father Charles referring to the operation of a Sly-Grog shop.
'Port Phillip Gazette' 25th April 1840.
Geelong Advertiser
Wednesday, 23rd October 1850
Francis Christie alias Clarke at Darlinghurst Gaol
 awaiting trial 1854
The Sydney Morning Herald
Tuesday, 21st March 1854
Goulburn Circuit Court 
Edward Prior and Francis Clarke at
 Goulburn Gaol and sentenced 1854.
The court proceedings (above) were held in NSW where Gardiner used the alias of Clarke. After serving 6 years of his sentence Christie/Clarke/Gardiner arrived in the Carcoar district on a ticket of leave in 1860. 

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

This Police drawing of the haunts of Gardiner was created c. 1862, sent from Capt Zouch to the Inspector-General of Police, it shows the many friends of 'The Darkie' from Bigga to the Wheogo district. It is interesting to see Mrs Ben Hall and her sister, Gardiner's lover Mrs Brown, noted prominently twice in the residence of two suspicious stations.(I have re-inscribed the map to make it more legible)

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

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

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

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

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

This is a copy of the petition for Gardiner's release by his sisters Archina and Charlotte, who never ceased in their efforts for his eventual release in 1874. This link will access the letters of the petition for the release of Francis Christie. Wholeheartedly driven by the influence of Francis' devoted sisters. An earlier letter to the Government from his sister Archina. 
The above comment is from the satirical publication 'Melbourne Punch', Thursday 11th June 1874. The question is, why was he not returned to Melbourne? 
Clarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser
Tuesday, 23rd February 1875

The article above is an account of Gardiner's arrival and work in San Francisco. Contrary to reports of failing health and destitution Frank was no idiot. No doubt his later health conditions were a ruse.  

Geelong Advertiser
Saturday 18th August 1877

There is some merit in the last lines as to Frank's return to Australia. He was a master of anonymity when required.
From the Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners Advocate
Tuesday 6th August 1878.
Report of Gardiner marrying from
the Evening News, Monday 1st December 1879.
Sunday Times Sun 15 Jan 1905.
This is the marriage that many have believed to be linked to the 'Darkie'. This has been misused in almost every publication to date.
The Northern Star
Saturday, 14th February 1880 

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

The McIvor Times and Rodney Advertiser Thursday 14th August 1879  Page 3.
 FRANK GARDINER IN AMERICA. This article refers to Frank robbing some
Mormons where one of the Elders and leader positively identifies Gardiner
as the head of the gang. Of course, it is complete fiction.
The Braidwood Dispatch and Mining Journal
 Saturday 17th November 1888
I have always been of the belief that Gardiner returned to Australia protected by his devoted sisters, and never died in the USA.

An interesting account above of Gardiner's love for Catherine Brown and how all of the persons connected regarding the bushranging era were still in contact long after the events of history. "In Domino Confido" means "In the Lord we trust". The Bible is held at the Young Historical Society, Lambing Flat Folk Museum, who graciously allowed me to photograph the book. The inscription is in Francis' own hand.  Francis Christie had many talents. (My Photo's.)
The Northern Eastern Ensign
Friday, 3rd May 1918

One of the many newspaper stories (above) which began to circulate as to the perceived plunder which might have been stashed by Gardiner after the Escort Gold Robbery. However, it is well known that Gardiner, Fordyce and Daniel Charters lost their share to Sgt Sanderson escaping Wheogo Hill 1862.

Morning Bulletin
Wednesday, 27th November 1929

One of the more bizarre articles (above) and the intrigue still surrounding Gardiner long after his death.
The statement above is made by Catherine Brown in New Zealand soon after shooting herself by her own hand in 1868, thus exonerating who the papers referred to as Charles Taylor but should have read Richard of any blameNew research on Catherine has
discovered that she was described as an attractive woman, small and petite in
stature 5 ft 3 in tall with sandy blonde hair.
(For better view open letter in new tab to enlarge.)
Friday, 22nd April 1870

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

The Sydney Morning Herald
Monday, 8th June 1874

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

Report of Frank's death in the Evening News 28th August Sydney 1882.
However, this appears to be incorrect and subterfuge for Frank's return to Australia in company with an American Mr Baines.
Singleton Argus
Friday, 16th August 1946
Gardiner's reported departure to exile from Australia still driving interest after almost 80 yrs. The actual ship to Newcastle was the Lady Young, not Dandenong.

Letter preventing Catherine from visiting Frank Gardiner at Darlinghurst Gaol.
John Vane separated from Frank Gardiner.
Letter pertaining to whereabouts of Gardiner's original Ticket of Leave under Clarke.
Police Convict Branch: Letters to Officials, 1862-1892
Sir,                                                              11th June 1864

Referring to your letters of 27 ult and 10th that respecting the convict named in the margin. I have the honor to enclose herewidth a communication from the Police Magistrate at Carcoar, stating that the Ticket of Leave of Clarke can not be found. I therefore forward an authenticated copy of the instrument with a copy of the letter transmitting the same, together with various letters and documents connected with the prisoner received from Carcoar.

Crown Solicitor                                                                                                     Signed Jno McLerie   Sydney

Frank Gardiner's streets of San Francisco
The above link is a 1906 hand-coloured film of Market street San Francisco travelling east on a cable car. Although filmed years after Frank Gardiner left Frisco for Australia, this film is taken in the heart of the Barbary Coast. Gardiner's saloons were in this vicinity and Kearney St to the left of the screen at about 3.50 sec. The finish is where Gardiner would have ventured to meet the mail packets from Australia. For best experience - MUTE SOUND.

#-Reference notes and source material can be accessed on the EndNote page except where book, author or newspaper title are named. Publications referred to can be found on the Links Page. For any research assistance no charge, contact is on the Home Page under Contact details or Email to 
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  1. Great site thank you. Can you please tell me where you saw Kate Brown's suicide letter? And also the photos of her hut and of Middleton, and the passenger arrival document for the 'James'? I am looking for images for a book and need references for the originals.

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

  3. Hi, I am a relative of Francis Christie and would like to speak to the author of this document. Looking forward to hearing from you. Jan,

  4. Hi Jan, I am Mark Matthews author of the Ben Hall website.If I may be of any assistance please feel free to contact me through My contact is also on the Home Page. Look forward to your reply. Cheers, Mark