This page aims to recount aspects of Francis Christie, aka the Australian bushranger known as Frank Gardiner, from the cradle to the grave. The information herein has been derived through many first and secondhand accounts, utilising the volumes of newspaper articles of the period, government documents, private sources, and eyewitness accounts. (All related articles incorporated into the narrative are coloured and transcribed as originally published.)
Colloquially known as Frank 'The Darkie' Gardiner. Francis Christie 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:
"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
Herald, Nov 1834.
However, the ships manifest recorded Jane Christie (1799-1842) as Charles Christie's (1791-1864) wife. Therefore, based on all the current evidence, the record is incorrect, and Jane undoubtedly was Charles' Common-Law-Wife or Defacto.
Upon the family's immigration to Australia, Francis' half-sisters remained in the United Kingdom. Eliza Christie married a fellow named Cruikshank, and she passed away in 1892 in Glasgow. Mary Christie, however, joined the family immigrating to Victoria in the 1840s and died in 1861 at Mount Eliza, Victoria. Mary witnessed her half-brother Charles' marriage at Gippsland Victoria. Mary married Henry Griffiths in 1847, and upon her death, Henry married Frank's sister Archina in 1864.
|Complete Mercantile Guide|
to the Continent of Europe,
C. W. Rördansz
Unfortunately, skulduggery by the villainous behaviour of a shipping agent. Reputedly diddled them out of their business and fortune. H.C. Kent memories 1932:
As a consequence, while investigating the fraud of the shipping agent James Christie died (possibly murdered?) under mysterious circumstances in Venezuela: ibid.
|Charles Junior Baptism 1824.|
Note Father occupation
Church of England
Births and Baptisms, 1813-1917.
After Jean Mcleod died in London. Archina's birth certificate suggests that Charles and his brother's widow Jane were in a relationship, both widowed, returned to Scotland for Francis' birth, followed by Archina.
The Christie family relations were numerous and spread across Scottish towns from Glasgow to Inveravon, Elgin, Ballimore and Abernethy, home of William Christie's (d, 1846) brother. As was common practice for families of the 19th century, accommodating their relations for long periods, especially in times of crisis, was not unusual. However, by 1833 the extended family returned to London, where Charlotte Deacon Christie was born, at the Deacon family's residence.
The family benefactor was Frederick Deacon. A high-level Civil Servant in London married Charlotte Deacon nee Maule on 5th November 1823 at St Mary, Leicestershire, England. However, the charitable Deacons saw fit to offer some assistance to Charles and Jane. The help entailed Charles working odd jobs in line with his agricultural and carpentry skills and Jane being employed in needlework and maid service:ibid
In 1932 Mr Harry Chambers Kent, a highly respected Sydney architect, was twenty-one when Frank Gardiner was released from Darlinghurst in 1874. Kent provides an account of his family's connection to Christie's pre-immigration to Australia. He divulges that Frank's youngest sister Charlotte Deacon Christie was named after his paternal grandmother as a mark of respect. H.C. Kent was noted in Who's Who of Australia in 1922 as a senior partner in Kent and Massie Architects, Sydney.
Note: Current research establishes the bona fides of the Deacon family. Their connection to the Christie's can not be undervalued. It corroborates the known origins of Christie's circumstances before immigration to NSW.
Kent reveals that during the family's time in the care of his grandparents. It was proposed that the family should seek new beginnings in the burgeoning colony of New South Wales where opportunity knocked for those of enterprise:ibid
|Rev. John Dunmore|
b. 1799 - d. 1878.
Courtesy University of
Lang advertised for men and women to take up the new world for the betterment of the colony. To effect his immigration goals, Lang accosted Lord Goderich, then Secretary of State for the Colonies, and obtained grants of £1500 towards the cost of passage for immigrants to Australia. The Christie clan became beneficiaries of Lang's efforts.
There can be no doubt that young Francis commenced his education under the tutelage of the embarked ministers and educators' during the three-month voyage. The influence of these men and the reverence they were held in certainly impressed the five-year-old. As in the years ahead and when disguised. Francis would imitate those of the cloth as a means of impersonation when laying low. (See above manifest right.)
Upon arrival in NSW, Charles Christie and his family integrated themselves into the life of fellow immigrants and future step-father to Francis, Mr Henry Munro (Monro, Munroe). During the voyage, Munro had been accommodated in a private cabin. The Christies in steerage. Henry Munro was a man of means with introductory letters and a prestigious family background. Settling, Munro purchased a property and employed Charles as his overseer. Munro's insistence on using Christie may well have sprung from his desire for Mrs Christie, whom he would eventually marry. For the new James immigrants, the challenges ahead were commented on in, 'The Sydney Herald' 20th November 1834;
Henry Munro was the son of the esteemed Professor Munro of Edinburgh College. During the after events of the 1828 Burke and Hare serial murders in England. Where the pair killed their victims fresh, then on-sold the cadavers to anatomy Doctor Dr Robert Knox had been executed. Munro's father, Professor Munro, was noted for famously dipping his quill into the blood of Burke during the autopsy, wrote:
|The Sydney Gazette and|
New South Wales Advertiser
Saturday 25 July 1835.
|Munro & Christie.|
|Henry Munro's £160|
purchase of 640 acres
at Boro Ck NSW,
|Charles Christie's letter|
referencing his sly-grog
Port Phillip Gazette
25th April 1840.
Unfortunately, Francis' father, Charles Christie, his tenure with Munro ended late, circa 1840. He left behind his deceased brother's wife, Jane and their three children in the care of his employer and old friend Henry Munro. Included were Charles Jr and Robina. The circumstances may have been that Jane formed a secret and intimate relationship with Munro in NSW or, as far back as possible, the voyage out to NSW from England. The liaison forced Charles' departure. Nevertheless, Munro and Jane's relationship flourished. The home to which Francis lived in at Campasne was described in a letter from Munro' brother who spent some months in 1842 with Henry.
However, for Charles, Frank Gardiner's father, there is little recorded of his life. In February 1864, in the Sydney Morning Herald Family Notices, Charles Christie was recorded as passing away on the 16th February at his daughter Archina's residence in Pitt Street Sydney following a long and painful illness:
|Letter was written|
by Charles Christie
in April 1840, while
|Charles Christie Jnr, Baptism.|
1824. Note, Father Charles.
Note, Mother Jane.
This is no doubt,
Charles' Profession; Carpenter.
|The arrival of the|
However, upon discovering the horse theft, Christie, 24 in number, the animals' owner, Mr Morton, was incensed at the brazen thievery and unexpectedly saddled up to track down and recover his horses. For Morton, the only reliable man available to accompany him was his employee William Mercer and the cook. Mercer was an experienced bushman and an expert tracker like Morton. Preparing to depart, Morton was approached by another. Williams, who had reached his seventieth year, 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 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. Passing Mount Sturgeon station and resting at a Mount Sturgeon hotel. Morton later revealed; 'Geelong Advertiser' 23rd October 1850;
Arriving at the Mount Sturgeon Inn owned by Andrew Templeton, he informed Morton during a discussion. At the local races held two days previously, the suspected robbers had raced some horses against those entered by the police. Successfully winning the purse without raising an eyebrow. During Morton's stay, the publican pointed out a letter to be posted, which one of the gangs, Christie, had left in his charge. Morton seized the letter, 'Geelong Advertiser' 23rd October 1850;
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,
'The Argus' 4th February
Francis was nicked. Captured the prospect of hard time in chains lay at Christie's feet. Whereby a plan amongst Christie, Stewart and Newton was enacted to flee the Geelong Goal. However, only accomplice Stewart succeeded, and he was never heard of again. Christie and Newton's attempt was unsuccessful:
|The Stockade, Pentridge,|
Melbourne. c. 1849.
The First Established
Receptacle for Criminals.
|Dr W.C. Haines, Foreman|
of the Jury for Christie.
Later 1st Premier of
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.
Wednesday 23rd October 1850
|Illustration of Christie's|
escape from Pentridge,
Coburg, Victoria, 1851.
by Percy Lindsay c.1935
Eleven prisoners succeeded in escaping from Pentridge. Of the escapee, all but five were recaptured within a few days. The fugitive Christie set off north towards his former home with another escapee, Charles Herring, a local from the Bendigo district. Herring arrived in Hobart, Tasmania as a convict on the Egyptian ship in 1839 from Surry, England, and was sentenced to seven years. Released in 1847 crossed to Victoria, wherein 1850 was convicted of assault.
Not long after fleeing Pentridge, Christie was sighted 'digging close' to the Government camp at a new perspective goldfield on Bandicoot Creek (Bendigo) by some settlers. Who may have remembered him from the connection to Munro forcing him to flee. Herring would later fit the description of Charles Zahn twelve years later, who pursued Ben Hall.
However, by the end of 1851, Christie fled north, fearing arrest, and crossed the Murray River into NSW. Francis blended in with the many gold miners en route to the new goldfields near Bathurst at Ophir, discovered by Hargraves, Lister and Toms.
Country NSW in the early-1850s consisted of remote, sparsely settled hamlets. Often just a few huts, shanties, or a trade store and, for Christie, a limited police presence. A climate for easy pickings of quality horseflesh. Christie's mate in the Morton adventure, John Newton, splits from Christie following their escape. However, he had not the same success as Christie and was recaptured and returned to Pentridge. Newton again affected his escape from the stockade on the occasion of another outbreak of prisoners. His outcome is unknown.
Christie arrived in NSW in an area he last saw in 1837, the Goulburn district. After crossing the Murray, the fugitive put a great distance between himself and the Victorian authorities. However, after firing with intent to shoot a prison guard, an aboriginal, Francis' escape may well have been seen in the extreme as a hanging offence.
Subsequently, Christie assumed new aliases of Clarke and Gardiner. After an uneventful period of stock work in the Abercrombie/Goulburn surrounds, he again resorted to his old trade, horse duffing. 'The Darkie' commented years later on his fall into horse stealing and theft generally as he restarted his criminal life:
From want of suitable, employment. Young men can find no employment in the country districts except herding sheep or stock-riding. The latter occupation leads to horse-stealing simply because you become wholly engrossed in horseflesh, and the crime is so easily committed that you do not think of the consequences. Horse-stealing and horse "sojering" are of everyday occurrence in certain parts of the country.⁸
However, Christie's first foray into theft 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.
|The Sydney Morning Herald|
Thursday 13th April
|Early woodcut of|
Ticket of Leave
Prior, Goulburn 1853.
New South Wales,
Australia, Certificates for
Consequently, Chief Constable Robert McJannett armed with the evidence arrested Francis Christie, who had dropped the Christie for Francis Clarke, and his accomplice Edward Prior. When arrested Christie was found to have had £5 5s upon him and Prior £25; 'The Sydney Morning Herald', Tuesday 21st March 1854 reported:
New South Wales,
of the Colony, 1854.
|Hart's Royal Hotel,|
Yass & District Historical Society.
Saturday 18th March 1854
In the first year of his time at Cockatoo, he was recorded twice for bad conduct. On the first offence, Clarke was placed for three days in the cells. The second attempt was regarding an escape attempt with another. Both were discovered loitering in the lumber yard secreted for a few days;
Although facing a long period of incarceration Clarke apparently keep much to himself and was noted as polite and respected;
Furthermore, Clarke was gifted with artistic talent (see bottom of this page), demonstrated when in 1865 he inscribed through exquisite calligraphy a Bible to his future lover Kitty Brown currently displayed at Young, NSW. He was also noted as talented in other areas, namely Bone Carving. He was also excellent at Arithmetic;
Escape from Cockatoo Island was fraught with unseen dangers, such as strong currents, rocky shoreline littered with cutting oyster shells, 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 Clarke would also have a go. Twice, in fact.
A former prisoner incarcerated with Clarke provided an insight into his early prison life and recounted his eyewitness account of the Darkie's swim for freedom. Published after the notorious bushrangers 1874 release and deportation. Although the writer's name is lost forever. At the time, the pseudonym of 'Old Hand' was used and illustrates the Darkie's two attempts at freedom; 'Freeman's Journal' Saturday 26th May 1877;
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.
|Cockatoo Island Prison.|
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 Clarke, his confidence and self-assurance and gift of the gab enabled him to sweet-talk his way to an early release.
Furthermore, whether or not his family connections influenced the powers that be anonymously is more than possible. Although convicted under the name of Clarke there no doubt existed correspondence between him and his family. In the future when he was eventually thrown out of Australia his three sisters had been instrumental in pursuing his release following ten years of a thirty-two-year sentence of imprisonment.
Note: Frank's 1874 release was primarily achieved through his three devoted sisters.
|Francis Clark (Christie)|
Ticket-of Leave, December
NSW Reports of Crime.
|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.
|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.
Ticket of Leave. 1859
Never before published.
Frank no doubt charmed those officials who granted his ticket-of-leave even after his reported bad conduct at Cockatoo Island. The authorities, hadn't realised that his spokespersons were mere dupes, and were hoodwinked into release, where no doubt, the hand of Fogg lay across the subterfuge as he called in all his owed favours from his suspicious associates. The thoroughness of his champions petition had even the Inspector of Police J McLerie approved his release:
Although convicted as Clarke, Frank's Ticket-of-Leave correspondence within the relevant authorities named him Gardiner from which he was identified by const Pagett of Goulburn. Mr Ledsand who also championed release refers to Clarke as Gardiner:
|Sir John Young|
12th Governor of
New South Wales
Discovered absent from the Carcoar after failing to report to police as per his ticket privileges Gardiner became suspected at Lambing Flat of organising a cattle stealing ring for the his butchering enterprise. However, the butcher business caught the watchful eye of Captain Battye, the officer in charge of the Flat, who had his hands full with quelling the anti-Chinese sentiment widespread amongst the miners of the new goldfield. Regardless, for Christie/Clarke/Jones/Gardiner (but a few of his alias'), his chicanery knew no bounds.
|Isaac Shepard, Jun, J.P.|
Following Sheedy's discovery of gold, 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';
Consequently, the ramshackle town of Lambing Flat was created, and Fogg and Gardiner were conducting a roaring business. Lambing Flat was described in an extract from the 'Goulburn Herald', 1860:
Young Historical Society.
|Goldfield butchers shop.|
|Mrs Betsy Toms|
Consequently, obtaining cattle on the cross (theft) inevitably brought Fogg and Gardiner's activities under the purview of the police led by Captain Battye. Scrutiny of their dubious stock raised all sorts of suspicions. Stoking the ire of the dogged police Captain who was adamant that cattle stealing would be checked and continuously raided the butchers operating and their suspicious trade. As such, it was not long before police gained helpful information supporting their suspicions of the nefarious activities of Fogg and Gardiner. In April 1861 Christie/Clarke/Jones/Gardiner was arrested by a trooper at Spring Creek and charged with, of all things, horse stealing;
However, identity confusion reigned and in May 1861, the police held 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:
|Sgt John Middleton wearing|
his Silver Bravery Medal
awarded for Gardiner's
was dismissed from the
police, but was
Coloured by me.
Having returned to Fogg's farm, information was relayed to Carcoar magistrate Mr Beardmore of Gardiner's presence in the Lachlan River area and intelligence linking Gardiner to a spate of armed robberies in the company of bushranger John Peisley. Beardmore instructed the local police to re-arrest Christie/Clarke as per the outstanding warrant.
On the 16th of July 1861, two officers were dispatched. Constables Hosie and Sgt Middleton set off. The two troopers were very active in the Carcoar police district, which went as far as Trunkey. Trunkey was also a gold-based settlement, and as such, it had its fair share of bushranging in which John Peisley was the main culprit operating a gang of misfits. Gardiner, having fled Lambing Flat, may well have been involved in the area. However, diligent in their efforts Middleton and Hosie was successful in apprehending bushrangers, earning the respect of the locals; 'Goulburn Herald' Wednesday 6th March 1861;
Mining matters have passed the Rubicon of either good or bad, the exodus of the digger, and their families, to the Lambing Flat, having depopulated this locality, and left the golden treasures of Tuena to continue undisturbed.
The district around is, I am sorry to say, in a state of more insecurity, than at any previous period for some time past, bare-faced robberies and sticking up, seem to be the rule and not the exception. Our police force consists at present, of one serjeant, and one trooper, who have quite enough to do to keep matters right among the settlers, by protecting, or rather I should say, hunting after the villains, who have lately been levying black mail at Trunkey, or the Abercrombie, and the surrounding neighbourhood. The notorious Peisley has it appears, in concert with other villains been robbing right and left, and on Friday morning early, or rather, between Thursday night and Friday morning, our indefatigable sergeant Middleton, with trooper Hosie, brought in two men with whom they previously had some acquaintance; having some days since accidentally fallen in with them, and passed them by as honest men, but subsequently finding they were deceived, again tracked them, but only found their horses and swags, which they conveyed to Carcoar, and upon investigation the proceeds of a small robbery belonging to a travelling jeweller appeared among the contents.
Ever on the alert, Middleton has at last secured these two worthies, and has started with them for Carcoar. It would be premature to say more just now, but there can be no doubt but they are connected with recent robberies. Stapleton, a publican at Trunkey was robbed of a large sum of money; the like misfortune happened some Chinese on the Abercrombie; Gunning Flat has had the compliment paid and probably time will reveal a few more localities. When Middleton seized the men referred to, they were armed to the teeth, and too much credit cannot be given to him and Hosie for the zeal and promptness with which they do and are ever ready to discharge their duties. It is to be lamented that we have no unpaid J.P. anywhere near us, our P.M. lives 30 miles away, and visits us but once a month.
It is to be hoped that so extensive a district as that of the Abercrombie will not be left so unprotected as at present, but that the hands of sergeant Middleton will be strengthened to enable him to extend his protection to the settlers, and to spare some of his force to unkennel the villains who lurk about this district. - Tuena, March 1861.
Caught unaware, Mrs Fogg stood outside the dwelling as the two policemen draped in heavy coats and wearing cabbage tree hats came through the slip-rails heading for the house. Mary Fogg realising they were police, instantly yelled out an alarm. Her ardent cry alerted Gardiner inside the hut. The police, dismounting, approached the front door where a figure, Gardiner dressed in a dark coat and striped trousers, moved to a back room screened by a hanging piece of calico. Middleton first entered the house, pushing Mrs Fogg to one side, asking her "who had gone in there," Mrs Fogg said, "a man." Middleton crossed the floor toward the screen as Hosie covered the back of the home. Gardiner called out, threatening Middleton to not come near, adding that he would shoot the first person that came in. Middleton, fearless, approached the screen and, on lifting it, was met with a gunshot. Instantly Middleton returned fire. A quick succession of revolver shots was exchanged, and some of Gardiner's bullets struck Middleton, one in the mouth/neck, the other in the left hand. Middleton's shots missed their mark, and he bleeding profusely, withdrew. Hosie hearing his comrade's shots, strode up to the front door and went inside. Gardiner again fired the shot and struck Hosie in the head, whereby he instantly collapsed, believed dead.
As Middleton had entered the home, a panicked Mary Fogg following gathered up two of her children and fled the house. At the same time, a man named James Barney, living at Fogg's, grabbed the third child retreating outside into the yard as the melee took place.
However, Gardiner rushed full steam out of ammunition and was uninjured at the wounded and dazed Middleton as Hosie lay unconscious. Middleton was, however, no slouch. Severely bleeding, Middleton took the charging Gardiner's weight upon himself and armed only with his silver-topped riding whip, they struggled into the yard. Brutal hand-to-hand combat and a fight to the death erupted. Middleton bludgeoned Gardiner into submission with the solid whip handle. Hosie's non-compos mentis arose and staggered to Middleton's aid. Gardiner had the cuffs applied in a semi-conscious state after Fogg begged him to desist from the struggle. The two injured troopers affected their man's capture.
Their wounds were reported, with Middleton shot through the lower lip, knocking out three of his front teeth, the bullets passing through the root of his tongue. It adjudged that he swallowed the lead ball after seeing a doctor and could not be found. Middleton was also shot through the wrist, besides three other bullet wounds. Hosie was hit in the temple, but the bullet glanced off without serious injury other than severe delirium and concussion.
|Fogg's Hut. This is not the|
original home but built
over the old Hut
site c. 1867.
Photo c. 1920s
|Reward Notice 1861.|
NSW Police Gazette.
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.¹⁴ (Also see Link above.)
|Dramatisation of Gardiner|
and Hosie encounter at
Dan Russell, 1952.
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. 'The Courier' Wednesday 11th September 1861:
Following the 'Battle of Foggs Farm', Fogg was arrested for harbouring and bailed on £100 to appear a month later. It was reported;
Far from dying and the brawl at Fogg's over. Gardiner fled to the Weddin Mountains. However, while serving time at Cockatoo Island, Gardiner/Clarke was reacquainted with one John Peisley. John Peisley hailed from the O'Connell Plains near Bathurst, born in 1834. Peisley and his family were well known to the police and faced court at various stages but inevitably escaped conviction. However, his father was sent down over a bull theft from prominent landowner Mr Icely of Coombing Park. Sentenced to seven years at Cockatoo, Peisley's father reputedly died in prison before completing his sentence. The Peisley home was home to a 'den of thieves.' In February 1852, Peisley was arrested for stealing two horses from Mr Patrick Kurley. However, two years would pass before Peisley fronted the court. After all the evidence, the jury retired and returned a guilty verdict shortly after. Peisley was sentenced to five years at Cockatoo Island.
New South Wales,
Tickets of Leave,
Never before published.
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,
|Note for Execution|
of John Peisley.
New South Wales,
Australia, Sheriff's Papers
Execution of the Condemned Criminals
|4th June 1862|
|Middleton reduction in rank|
1st September 1863.
NSW Police Gazette.
|John Middleton, relaxing|
in his yard.
The reverse of this photo states.
John Middleton, who had a
hand to hand "fight"
Never before published.
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.¹⁷
|Justice, Edward Wise|
NSW State Parliament.
'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 poor victims' who suffered under his revolver. Furthermore, the scenes generated in and outside the filled court and through the general public brought much displeasure and disgust to the presiding Judge, Mr Justice Wise;
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
|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.
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.
The friendship between Maguire, Hall and Gardiner evolved through Gardiner's Lambing Flat butcher's shop. John Maguire and Ben Hall were then commencing a new venture. A cattle station called Sandy Creek, sixty miles distant. The two men also drew cattle from the adjacent Wheogo Station. Through Hall and Maguire, Gardiner fell for the beautiful Catherine Brown. A vivacious blonde, 5ft 3in tall. Wheogo Station was owned by Sarah Walsh nee Hurpur nee Chidley the stepmother of the men's wives Elen Maguire and Bridget Hall, following the women's father's death in 1858.
|NSW Police Gazette|
Reports of Crime
20th May 1861.
Sir Frederick Pottinger.
Moreover, throughout the detailed map. The police furnished insight and opinion regarding the character of those considered criminal or just plain reprehensible who were known protectors of 'The Darky'. However, two names 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 farm on the map states; "Harbourer, Yorkshire Jack, good man bad women, the retreat of Mrs Hall and Brown." (See map bottom of page)
Gardiner was known to attend Yorkshire Jack's as it doubled as a well-known sly-grog shop. The police map provides 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. However, one of Gardiner's mates would destroy Ben Hall's marriage 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)
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 and cavalier 17th-century French-born English highwayman Claude Du Val (b.1643-d.1670) or another 18th century famous English highwayman Dick Turpin (1706-1739);
|The Australian Dick Turpin.|
Courtesy, State Library of
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;
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;
However, Gardiner did not discriminate with former friends either, with cases recorded of his robbing both those close and former acquaintances from Lambing Flat a common practice. Robberies conducted without any malice or vindictiveness, after all, it was just business;
|Kitty reputedly in|
action with Gardiner.
|John 'Warrigal' Walsh in|
company with Frank
Gardiner December 1861.
NSW Police Gazette, 1862.
An old-timer who reputedly knew 'The Warrigal' in their youth recounted in a look back in the 'Freeman's Journal', 10th November 1906;
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, incarceration covering many months at the primitive Forbes lock-up. John Walsh died from Gaol Fever. (Typhus fever.) (For full details, see Ben Hall Pt. 1.)
Dick Turpin or Claude Du Val?
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 bush telegraph was John Bow, a local stockman on John Nowlan's station near Bimbi, Weddin Mountains. The police, however, were of no concern to Gardiner. Gardiner always outpaced them or, at times with unnerving audacity, casually confronted and returned fire whenever cornered or manoeuvring to affect his escape being mounted on the best of the best thoroughbreds. 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 locals in the district spoke bravely of how they would take on the celebrated bushranger given half a chance.
However, as they say, actions speak louder than words, as described in the article below. Some tough talk by two local businessmen unknowingly in Gardiner's presence at a local shanty saw two men quiver. One a Mr James Torpy was a prominent leader during the anti-Chinese sentiment at Lambing Flat 1861. The link below illustrates the events and meeting between Torpy, his mate and Gardiner.
COUNTRY NEWS BURRANGONG
JOTTINGS ABOUT MEN AND THINGS AT LAMBING FLAT
Nevertheless, recruits, such as John Gilbert, John Davis, Jack O’Meally and Pat M'Guinness and others, all gravitated to 'The Darky', reputedly nicknamed by his muscular, athletic build dark-complexioned handsome looks as well as a love of the dark arts ... 'Fortune Telling'. The band of marauders commenced waylaying travellers daily on the roads between the Burrangong and the Lachlan gold diggings at Forbes. However, one of the most successful and most rewarding robberies for the bushranger was the bailing-up of two storekeepers on the 10th March 1862. After months of small takings, Gardiner hit pay dirt.
Gardiner's victims were Alfred Horsington (Hossington) and his wife Sophia, and Henry Hewett. The businessmen were stopped near Big Wombat. Alfred Horsington knew Gardiner by sight, saying in 1864;
However, while in the dock at the Sydney Criminal Court at Darlinghurst in 1864. 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. 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 have been Samuel Dinnir (Dinner), a well-known hoodlum of the district released from Bathurst Gaol in 1860; from the Yass Courier:
Gardiner stated that only two of the bushrangers involved remained alive during the court proceedings since the events. 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, 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;
Furthermore, Gardiner stated that the robbery was conducted much later, being some six weeks later. However, contemporary accounts in March 1862 were not fabricated and explicitly stated the events were 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 to the judge 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 the bottom of the page.)
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;
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;
Gunfight at Brewers - Davis falls.
THE LATE DESPERATE ENCOUNTER WITH BUSHRANGERS
With Davis' capture, and Gardiner's newest chum Ben Hall recently arrested, this appeared in the 'Empire';
|Gardiner, seated left.|
|Paddy Connolly, mate of|
|John Davis sentence|
Following Davis' capture, 'The Darkie', either to 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;
One newspaper that repeatedly 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 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;
Accordingly, one such letter penned by Gardiner appeared in the Lachlan Miner and was reprinted in the unfavourable Burrangong Courier. According to Frank's anamnesis, the letter highlighted the misrepresentation of Gardiner's most recent activities, 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:
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 be 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."
|"Make way for the Royal Mail."|
Frank commenced organising a daring heist of Gold from a Royal Mail Escort, as such had been scrutinising the regular 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 required were frequently advertised/published in the local newspapers' columns. Some papers even went so far as to highlight how to conduct the robbery as early as January 1862. Expressed in; The 'Western Examiner' 30th January 1862;
Frank Gardiner was cognisant of the very sentiment revealed in the paper and amazingly almost followed the analysis to the letter. Therefore, gratified by 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.)
McIvor Gold Robbery, Victoria 1853.
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. As in 1854 Gardiner as Clarke was recorded as stealing horses from Tunea in July 1853;
As such, the subject of Christie/Gardiner's often linked historical involvement in the McIvor affair appears to have sprung from a Sydney newspaper that 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. Having left NSW with his family and Henry Munro coming from the Goulburn district and arriving as an eight-year-old at Campasne Victoria, only resurfacing in NSW after he escaped from Pentridge in 1851 along with fellow escapee Charles Herring who accompanied Gardiner and who as well linked up with William Fogg; '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.'
Furthermore, Gardiner was in the habit of using many aliases'. An absconder would no doubt, if seized, have instantly provided 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 half of whom were released. Note one, Christopher William Christy, as one detained then released in connection with the McIvor robbery. Therefore, Christopher William Christy/Christie may be the source of confusion and the person alluded to as;
Consequently, all the evidence at the subsequent trials of the actual perpetrators, in which John Francis turned Queen's evidence, makes no mention of the involvement of Christie or a man fitting his description. However, in his evidence, the approver John Francis references Pentridge;
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 names 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 Pentridge escape.
Thus, January's 1862 'Western Examiners' assessment of how to rob a coach 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 in 1852, 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 a time-consuming effort. Padget said under oath that he had known Christie for some time before 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.
Accordingly, Gardiner found no trouble recruiting his accomplices once the sweet riches were revealed. Gardiner recruited seven men with himself in command: 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;
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.
View towards the track of the
To the whip John Fagan's surprise, the coach was impeded on its path by three bullock teams, their drivers not 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 large 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.
|Image of the Escort Coach|
attacked at Eugowra
15th June 1862.
Photograph was taken in 1917
by W H Burgess.
Held at the Mitchel Library.
Many thanks to Dick Adams.
|Another image of|
the Escort Coach
|Hanbury Clements station Eugowra.|
Bailliere's New South Wales Gazetteer and Road Guide, 1866.
|Eugowra Escort Robbery|
Illustration by Monty Wedd. ©
Newspaper Image, 1867.
The police survivors gathered at Clements. After some medical attention, Clements rushed to Forbes in the darkness reined his horse at the police camp relaying the sensational news of the happenings at Eugowra. Soon after, Rafferty appeared at the Forbes police camp, believing all the other police were killed. As word spread, great pandemonium broke out as the circumstances were blazed across the 1860's internet, the Electric Telegraph. Later on, the Sunday evening of the robbery and the Clements' news in hand.
|Capt. William Browne.|
Courtesy Hay H.S.
Following the affray and instructions from Sir Frederick Pottinger, the battered and bullet-riddled escort coach the next day resumed its journey, finally entering Orange at 7pm on Monday evening, travelling up Summer Street headed for the Post Office. Those onboard were Driver John Fagan, Sgt Condell, Const Moran, Const Havilland, Mr Boynton (Manager of the coach company involved Ford &Co.,) Ellen Chandler, her servant and child. Here Haviland and the troopers deposited the untouched mail. The coach then set off for Dalton's Inn (The O'Connell Inn). However, as the coach departed and proceeded to the Inn in Byng St, a gunshot report was reported. Constable Haviland, seated inside the coach, was killed instantly by a single shot from Constable Moran’s revolver. In the melee with the bushrangers, the gun fell onto the floor and had gone unnoticed under Haviland's seat;
|James Dalton licence|
for The O'Connell Inn.
New South Wales, Australia,
Certificates for Publicans'
Licences, 1853-1899 for
James Dalton, 1860.
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.
Following carving up the proceeds into eight equal shares, Ben Hall, Jack O'Meally, Manns, and Bow departed. With his share of 22lbs of gold and £460 in notes safely in his saddlebag, John Gilbert remained at the camp. Gardiner, Fordyce, and Charters placed their gold back onto one of the bags hung on the coach pack-horse. However, Gardiner required more carrying capacity; therefore, Charters was sent to Hall's home for extra saddlebags. Maguire and Hall lived within 500yds of each other. On approaching his good friend's home, Charters was reputedly surprised by Sgt Sanderson in Hall's yard, turned tail, riding hardback to the hill, crying out as he came, "Look out the traps are upon us." Gardiner, now joined by the panicked Charters, and Johnny Walsh snatched up the reins of the pack-horse and bolted, proceeding towards the dense Weddin Mountains. In a rush, Gilbert 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, following the tracks through his blacktracker Hastings. A quick survey of the villains camp, Sanderson quickly resumed the bushrangers trail.
However, the role of young Johnny Walsh following the men's return to Wheogo Hill has been overlooked in the main. 'The Warrigal' was the link in fetching the victuals needed to sustain the men as the robbery proceeds 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;
Every man for himself.
|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.
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
CENTRAL CRIMINAL COURT WEDNESDAY
The huge escort robbery would be Gardiner's final known bushranging exploit. Within days of the momentous feat, that sentiment was commented on and proved accurate. Lachlan Observer, June 1862;
|"Gardiner's horse then began|
to rear and plunge."
Sketch by Percy Lindsay. c. 1935.
Great tension and excitement prevailed as Pottinger's information proved correct, whereby in the dead of 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. When Kitty emerged from the hut, the tension mounted for Pottinger 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 Pottinger's carbine's failure 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;
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. Lachlan Miner 12th August 1862;
|Kitty's home Wheogo.|
However, following this narrow escape, Gardiner quickly returned to the hut as the 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 his admiration of Sir Frederick;
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 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;
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 were; "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 treated in the press as if his disappearance had become a major corporation's CEO resignation. 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 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;
|Gardiner, Wheeo, 1862.|
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. 'Yass Courier' Oct 1862;
Queensland. Apis Creek.
However, before they arrived 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. 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 pair's cut, 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;
Never before published.
Following the extraction of the dray, the four commenced travelling together. Catherine revealed;
|Maria Louisa Craig.|
Never before published.
|Apis Creek site of Craig and|
The marker was erected by
the Rockhampton Historical
Society in 1970.
Courtesy Gary Hunn.
|Oscar De Satge|
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 towards Oscar De Satge exhibited by the Christie's was understandable, for one slip of the tongue could mean exposure and arrest. Furthermore, it appeared in the press but was never fully verified. That however, before the trek north, Gardiner and Catherine shortly after his August 62 confrontation with Pottinger. Gardiner in September may have visited family in Portland, Victoria. It was recorded in Rockhampton during evidence at Craig's hearing whereby Catherine stated that it was not the case commenting that she and Frank had come from the Edward River but claimed it was in the vacinity of the Lachlan District;
|Sale of Apis Creek horse.|
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;
6 December 1863.
No doubt you will be 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.
However, it is most doubtful that the letter is authentic, as Johnny died in March 1863. 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 their 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 revealing 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.
The Christie's whereabouts had been full of mystery, rumour and innuendo for the past nineteen months, as attested to above. 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 regarding Gardiner's presence at Rockhampton or its surroundings. Constable Wells states on their secondment for the task;
Frank Gardiner is got.
|Dramatised Illustration of|
Gardiner's arrest at
Apis Creek QLD,
|BALCLUTHA; Iron passenger|
steamship built by Caird & Co.,
Greenock Scotland. Lost
with all hands in 1881.
Courtesy State Library of
However, all was not kosha between the men. An altercation bordering on mutiny arose between Pye, Wells and McGlone, the officer in charge who had refused to divulge their expedition's purpose. 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 was about Peak Downs through certain information.
NSW Police Gazette 1865.
George Wells had joined the NSW police in October 1863, promoted to a 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 Gardiner's arrest. 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 apprehension assistance. Later in 1865, an additional bonus for the three officers was presented with McGlone £40 and Pye and Wells £30. Furthermore, most surprising is that McGlone, a 2nd Class Detective and leader of the expedition, was not, unlike Sanderson, the 'Hero of Wheogo' or Lowry's killer Stephenson promoted after taking 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, c. 1870s after selling his hotel in Sydney, where he lived 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. 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 store keeping 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 Yaamba, 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 Yaamba and thence to Rockhampton. Mrs. Brown accompanied the escort, and showed great courage in swimming her horse over the Yaamba 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
All were marched to Mr M'Lennan's station in pounding rain. Gardiner was placed on the lead horse, handcuffed, his ankles tied under the horse. He rode along quietly and 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. Kitty once more displayed her prowess as a horsewoman driving her charge into the raging waters crossing without incident, much to the accompanying men's admiration. When within eleven miles of Rockhampton, the police camped to have dinner and dry off. Gardiner's arrest had been a painful shock to all who knew him, especially the Peak Downs' diggers. Whilst camped, McGlone read over the charges to the prisoner to which Gardiner exclaimed;
|An axe grindstone|
of the type at
|Reputed to be the remains|
of Fogg's hut.
The full text of the examination of Frank Gardiner, Archibald Craig and Catherine can be accessed via the link attached;
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.|
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 to identify her. (Sadly lost forever.)
of Catherine Brown
|East St, Rockhampton|
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
NSW Police Gazette.
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."—
|The Brisbane Courier,|
28th February 1865.
|Port Of Brisbane|
As a result, McGlone would not be caught out again as had been reported in ‘The Sydney Morning Herald’, Monday 21st September 1863;
Trial of the century!
|Sir Alfred Stephen|
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 alibi, 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 1864 trial.
Part of Frank Gardiner's
defence team, 1864.
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, outrage swept through Sydney as newspaper correspondents assessed the failure of the twelve strong and true jurors in finding him 'Not Guilty' at the first trial as with all of Gardiner's villainy he had escaped the gallows. 'South Australian Register' Tuesday 7th June 1864:
|Sir Hercules Robinson|
Following Frank's 1864 sentencing, Catherine was devastated by the incarceration and length of her Frank's punishment. Nevertheless, Catherine held on to the belief that they would be re-joined somehow and reunited if she had her way. Therefore, she set about plans for their reunification in late 1864. Unfortunately, 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, Frank had resorted 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, it was thwarted by a fellow inmate who had got wind of the attempt involving a corrupt warder's help. The canary sang and named the guard. A Quid Pro Quo; 'The Newcastle Chronicle and Hunter River District News', Saturday, 7th January 1865;
by Frank Gardiner
to Catherine, 1865.
|Ben Hall left -|
John Vane right.
Visitations from the many Sydney swells who jockeyed to see the now caged bushranger included the Father of Australian Federation Sir Henry Parkes who was greatly interested in the Gardiner case-he visited the bushranger several times in Darlinghurst gaol and was greatly impressed by Gardiner's character and conduct.
|Francis Christie alias Frank Gardiner|
Darlinghurst Gaol entry record.
Note: Born in Colony is incorrect.
|Darlinghurst Gaol from Burton Street 1870.|
|Sir Henry Parkes.|
Speaker of the House.
Released - Deportation.
|View from Brown St, Newcastle|
of Newcastle Harbour.
Courtesy Newcastle University.
The ship 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 vessel 'Lady Young' then owned by William Hill to convey Gardiner to Newcastle to join the 'Charlotte Andrews' witnessed Gardiner's embarkation at Sydney. Wrote of the occasion as the 'Lady Young' an Iron Paddle steamer lay at anchor off Pinchcut Island (Fort Denison);
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, onboard the ship which was ready to sail. ⁵⁷
A short time later, it was reported that;
|Vessels damaged at|
Yau Ma Tei opposite
Photo Lai Fong (1874)
The New South Wales police continued to keep an eye on Frank Gardiner. 'The Burrowa News' Saturday 20th February 1875;
|Dramatised Illustration of|
Catherine, on hearing
of no visits to her Frank.
Never before published.
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 husband 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
|Letter sent from|
Sheriffs Office 1864 to
Col Sec on prohibiting
New South Wales,
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. On the 14th January 1868, Catherine shot herself in the head in a frenzy of mental anguish.
Whereby, after lingering for a short period in extreme agony, she died. The death of Catherine and its effect on Frank is not known to date. However, as alluded to earlier, Kitty's death was undoubtedly the catalyst for Gardiner's new tattoos as per his release papers.
New Zealand Herald
1st February 1868.
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.
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.
27th January 1868.
Courtesy Papers Past,
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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.
Of course, the self-assessment by the Darkie in his newspaper interview needs to be put into context when one considers that;
Settling into life at San Francisco, Gardiner gravitated to 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. But, as his earlier sentence at Cockatoo Island demonstrated, Gardiner was still just another mug in a world of other mugs.
|The Annual directory|
of the City and County
of San Francisco 1878.
Communications continued to surface on various subjects regarding Gardiner. One visitor 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:
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;
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. Gardiner was still news and never far away from a newspaper article in his longed-for home country regarding his situation or lifestyle. However, all these tales maintained a line that Frank was persevering. Gardiner had captivated NSW and Australia's as a whole by a reputation built around the two years of holding the country to ransom (1860-1862), including international interest highlighted by his command of the great Gold Heist at Eugowra June 1862. His eventual release and deportation in 1874. After all the 'Darkie' had held and befallen governments, seen parliamentary ministers dismissed, police officers humiliated and often became idolised by children playing bushrangers.
|Kearney St looking North|
near Broadway St.
Gardiner's saloon was
in this vicinity.
Libaries Digital Collection
Another contrary review stated this about the 'Twilight' saloon;
|Fred Sofforth standing|
Regardless Frank was making fair trade;
|The Annual directory|
of the City and County
of San Francisco 1879.
Return to Oz.
|Western Australia, Convict|
for Thomas Baines.
|San Francisco Call,|
12th April 1899.
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 Kearney St Brannan St 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.
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, according to many differing accounts, had had enough. Frank longed for the country of his youth. The former bushranger was regularly seen 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 sought mail from his sisters. Devouring the latest happenings on the old home front. Gardiner spent hours examining the news on the political state of affairs and skimming the pages of the many changed social attitudes and country district transformations. Inquiring regularly from passengers for the latest doings in his old haunts:
|The Pioche Weekly|
Therefore, Francis Christie's penchant for disguises, namely as a minister of the cloth and the wealth and social standing of his devoted sisters Archina, Charlotte and Robina. The three sisters conspired to bring their brother home on the steamer 'City of New York' in 1880 and that he died in family secrecy and obscurity in Australia? After all, he was eligible to return free in 1896, at the young age of 67! Subsequently, unlike Apis Creek, Gardiner's mistake, he returned to Australia and lived and died in his sisters' care, undoubtedly under one of his many aliases.
However, although home is where the heart is, for the next thirty years' stories continued to abound regarding Frank Gardiner's life and whereabouts in the Californian sunshine or Australia's sunburnt country.
There would be reports and rumours of mysterious men digging at Wheogo for Gardiner's hidden treasure at the turn of the century. Finally, it is doubtful that a man of Frank's intellect could be attached to any of the above innuendo. However, just how much is truth or deception regarding his last days is purely conjecture.
In 1910 Frank Gardiner was remembered briefly in the 'San Francisco Call' newspaper as;
|Francis Christie alias Gardiner recorded here with Patsy Daley|
1867 at Darlinghurst Gaol.
|Letter by Frank Gardiner's father Charles referring to the operation of a Sly-Grog shop.|
'Port Phillip Gazette' 25th April 1840.
|Francis Christie alias Clarke at Darlinghurst Gaol|
awaiting trial 1854
|Edward Prior and Francis Clarke at|
Goulburn Gaol and sentenced 1854.
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 appeared in the newspaper in October 1862, the Wheeo area|
is near today's Canberra.
|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.
|The above comment is from the satirical publication 'Melbourne Punch', Thursday 11th June 1874. The question is, why was he not returned to Melbourne?|
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.|
|Reputed Business card.|
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.
|1911 film on Gardiner. Frank Gardiner Outlaw.|
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.
Saturday 17th November 1888
|I have always believed that Gardiner returned to Australia protected by his devoted sisters, and never died in the USA.|
|The statement above is made by Catherine Brown in New Zealand soon after shooting herself by her own hand in 1868, thus exonerating who the papers referred to as Charles Taylor but should have read Richard of any blame. New research on Catherine has|
discovered that she was described as an attractive woman, small and petite in
stature 5 ft 3 in tall with sandy blonde hair.
(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
The Sydney Morning Herald
Monday, 8th June 1874
|Passenger List for the City of New York. Note Baines, cabin. Gardiner for NZ, however, anyone could well be Frank Gardiner. Thanks to David Geerlings for the list.|
|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 with an American Mr Baines.
|Letter preventing Catherine from visiting Frank Gardiner at Darlinghurst Gaol.|
|Letter pertaining to whereabouts of Gardiner's original Ticket of Leave under Clarke.|
Police Convict Branch: Letters to Officials, 1862-1892
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 Barbary Coast heart. Gardiner's saloons were in this vicinity and Kearney St to the left of the screen at about 3.08 sec. The finish is where Gardiner would have ventured to meet the mail packets from Australia.
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