Frank Gardiner

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

In the annals of Australian history, few figures are as enigmatic and influential as Francis Christie, better known by his alias, Frank Gardiner. A man of many names and even more faces, Gardiner's life is a captivating tale of adventure, crime, and survival in the harsh Australian bush. This Webpage, "The Darkie: The Life and Times of Frank Gardiner," aims to unravel the complex tapestry of Gardiner's life, from his birth and humble beginnings in Scotland to his notorious career as a bushranger in Australia.

At the tender age of five, he set foot on the shores of New South Wales, a world away from his birthplace. Little did he know then that he would go on to become a significant figure in Australian history, leaving an indelible mark on the country's cultural landscape.

Gardiner's story is not just the tale of one man; it is a window into a pivotal time in Australian history. The mid-19th century was a period of rapid change and development, with the Gold Rush bringing an influx of immigrants seeking their fortunes. Amid this backdrop of hope and hardship, Gardiner rose to prominence, his criminal exploits capturing the public's imagination and fear.

However, Gardiner was not your typical bushranger.
Gardiner was irrepressible, often characterised in the mould of the famous 17th-century highwayman Claude Du Val. He was educated, articulate, handsome, roguish, daring, an excellent horseman, charming and quick-witted. He was known more than once to put a twinkle in a ladies eye.
His roguish charm and daring exploits earned him the nickname "The Darkie," a moniker that stuck with him throughout his life. Yet, beneath the charm and charisma was a man who was not afraid to cross the line into criminality, forever altering the course of his life and those around him.

This Website aims to delve deep into the life and times of Frank Gardiner, drawing on a wealth of first and secondhand accounts, newspaper articles from the period, government documents, private sources, and eyewitness accounts. It seeks to separate fact from fiction, shedding light on the man behind the myth, and exploring the societal and historical factors that shaped his life.

As we journey through Gardiner's life, we will encounter a world of adventure and danger, of love and loss, and of choices and consequences. 
We will meet the people who influenced Gardiner, for better or worse, and see how his actions impacted those around him. However, for one, Ben Hall, Frank Gardiner became the one person who would wield the most influence as Hall descended deeper into criminal activity commencing at the close of 1861. Ben Hall's Sandy Creek Station co-owner John Maguire noted:

Things got from bad to worse till Frank Gardiner, the bushranger came. He capped the lot. Now under 'The King of the Roads' influence, Ben started on his notorious career.

"The Darkie: The Life and Times of Frank Gardiner" is more than just a biography; it is a journey into a fascinating period of Australian history, seen through the eyes of one of its most notorious figures. So, let us embark on this journey together, into the life and times of Frank Gardiner, who in the span of eighteen months emerged as the father of modern Australian bushranging. Follow Frank Gardiner from the cradle to the grave.
(All related articles incorporated into the narrative are coloured and transcribed as originally published.)

Francis Christie
Alias Andrew Taylor, Francis Clarke, Francis Jones and Frank Gardiner
(aka "The Darkie")

Above is a copy of Gardiner’s, then aged 45, NSW prison release document displaying his birthplace as Boro, NSW, which is incorrect, and thus the widespread misinformation on Francis Christie's origins and life begins. Furthermore, the release papers highlight the tattoos not previously recorded in memory of Kitty Brown following her 1868 suicide death. Cupid on upper right arm. Heart with a wreath of roses on the left upper arm in memoriam.


"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 

Frank Gardineroriginally christened Francis James Christie, was reputedly born in 1829 in Dingwall, a town located in the far north of Scotland. Dingwall, situated at the mouth of the River Peffery, was established as a market town in 1226 by royal Charter granted by Alexander III.

Francis Christie landed in New South Wales in 1834 when he was just five years old. As he matured, he assumed the pseudonym Frank Gardiner, a name that would become legendary as the father of modern Australian bushranging. Operating under the alias Frank Gardiner, he gained infamy for his criminal exploits, which ultimately contributed to the downfall of many young men in the colonies:

The Christie family embarked on their journey to Australia aboard the migrant ship 'James' on the 29th of June 1834. The ship, with a tonnage of 568, was under the command of Captain George Paul. After a stop at Simons' Bay, the Cape of Good Hope in Africa on the 29th of September, the ship continued its voyage towards Port Jackson, New South Wales. Arriving on the 17th of November 1834. However, during the passage, the Christie family faced a tragic event.
Note: To date, there is no official documentation confirming the birth or christening of Francis Christie, later known as Frank Gardiner, in either Scotland or England, leaving his exact birthplace a mystery. However, the fact that his sister Robina was born in Edinburgh and another sister, Archina, along with another sibling who died in infancy, were born in Glasgow suggests he may have originated from one of these cities. Historical records indicate that the Christie family lived in Leith, Edinburgh in 1827, and later in Glasgow from 1830 to 1832, which only adds to the uncertainty about Francis's birthplace. Additionally, claims that he was born in Argyle, Scotland are mistaken, likely due to confusion with the county of Argyle in Goulburn, New South Wales. Moreover, reports of his death in Colorado in 1903 and some as early as 1882 in San Francisco are erroneous and contribute further to the mystique surrounding his later years.
'James' arrival
recorded in
 The Sydney
Herald, Nov 1834

The 'Sydney Monitor' on November 19, 1834, reported a tragic loss for the Christie family upon their arrival, noting that one of their children died during the sea voyage:

"Charles Christie, agriculturalist, Mrs. Christie, and six children, with an infant child having died on the passage."

The exact identity and age or sex of the deceased child remain unknown, but it is suggested that the child was approximately two years old, likely born between Archina and Charlotte. The journey to New South Wales was fraught with challenges for many families, including several others who also mourned the loss of children during the voyage.

The Christie family's path to New South Wales was characterised by tragedy, illness, poverty, and death. According to the James' ship's manifest, they were assigned to Steerage Class, sharing their cramped and difficult living conditions with seventy-nine other passengers.

The travelling family included Francis' parents, Charles and Jane, along with his older half-brother Charles (born 1824) and half-sister Robina (born 1827) from Charles’s first marriage to Jean (Mcleod), who had passed away. Accompanying them were Francis, then a five-year-old, his four-year-old sister Archina, and the youngest, twelve-month-old Charlotte. These younger children were born to Jane Whittle, who was the widow of Charles Christie's older half-brother James (1787-1822).

Although the ship’s manifest listed Jane Christie (1799-1842) as the wife of Charles Christie (1791-1864), the nature of their relationship, based on the evidence, suggests that she was likely Charles’ common-law wife or de facto partner.

James Christie
Nassau Bahamas

Jane Christie, born Jane Whittle, was originally from the Isle of St Michael. She married James Christie in 1814 at the church of St Mary and St Julian in Maker, Cornwall. Despite being underage at the time, (14) Jane received consent from her guardians, the Lloyd family, to marry. This union produced two daughters: Mary Jane Christie, born in 1817 in the Azores, Portugal, and Eliza Sarah, born in 1822 in Nassau, Bahamas. Notably, Jane was just 14 years old when she married 27-year-old James.

After the family migrated to Australia, Francis' half-sisters took different life paths. Eliza Christie stayed in the United Kingdom and married a man named Cruikshank; she later passed away in 1892 in Glasgow. Meanwhile, her sister Mary Christie, who became a widow, chose to emigrate to Victoria, Australia, with her family in the 1840s. Mary passed away in 1861 at Mount Eliza, Victoria, having had the chance to attend the wedding of her cousin Charles in Gippsland, Victoria.

In 1847, Mary married Henry Griffiths. Following Mary's death in 1861, Henry went on to marry Frank's sister, Archina, in 1864.

Note: Credit is due to Peter C Smith for his significant contribution to research alongside Edgar Penzig in uncovering the original 'James' manifest, which revealed the passage of the Christie family. Their diligent efforts played a pivotal role in dispelling the misconception surrounding Frank Gardiner's birthplace as Boro, NSW. Peter's remarkable research deserves high praise for shedding light on this matter.
Complete Mercantile Guide
to the Continent of Europe,


C. W. Rördansz

The Christie family, prior to their relocation to Australia in June 1834, endured a series of misfortunes including the death of Charles' brother, James, on July 21, 1822, near Maracaibo, Colombia. His remains were taken to Nassau and interred on August 18, 1822, in the Western Cemetery Potter's Field in New Providence, Bahamas.

Their business interests were tied to Robertson and Rigby & Co, an auction house in Nassau engaged in the sea merchant trade, operating out of Verdue House or the Bourse. Unfortunately, the company ceased operations following James' death.

During James' life the brothers Charles and William, a younger brother, operated as merchant shipping agents and auctioneers. Their shipping business spanned the historic Spanish Main trade routes, linking the Caribbean Islands and the American Carolinas with England, Portugal, South America, and Spain the recipients of goods. Trading in a variety of commodities including wine, rum, salt, sugar, molasses, tobacco, and cotton. Additionally, they were involved in the practice of transporting enslaved Africans to the plantations in the West Indies. A notable highlight in their business was securing agency rights from Lloyd's of London for the Portuguese coastal towns of Figueira and Aveiro, a distinction that significantly boosted their business operations.

Christie offices Nassau.
Unfortunately, the Christie family's business efforts were undermined by dishonest actions from a deceitful shipping agent. Evidence suggests that Mr. William Wade Rigby, James Christie's business partner, may have played a sinister role in the breakup of their partnership in Nassau. It is alleged that Rigby craftily stripped the Christie family of their business and wealth through his underhanded tactics. H.C. Kent memories 1932:

In connection with which they employed as an agent a man who proved to be a scoundrel, and who eventually ruined them.

Due to the aftermath of the fraudulent actions committed by the shipping agent, James Christie's life took a tragic turn. While delving into the investigation of the agent's misconduct, James met an untimely demise under suspicious circumstances in Colombia. The exact nature of his death remains shrouded in mystery, with the possibility of foul play, even raising the question of whether he was a victim of murder: ibid.

Christie's brother, who had gone with this man in one of their vessels to investigate some irregularity, died under suspicious circumstances on the voyage, his body being brought back on the vessel with the flag at half-mast, but nothing could be proved. 

James Christie's death.
The Royal Gazette
and Bahama Advertiser
21st August 1822.
The business connections of James Christie also extended to the Portuguese territory of the Azores archipelago, particularly the town of Ponta Delgada on São Miguel Island. It is worth mentioning that Jane Christie, who was born around 1799, hailed from Ponta Delgada, as evidenced by Mary's birth record. Following James' passing and the subsequent dissolution of their business, Charles Christie decided to return to England, accompanied by his family and his widowed sister-in-law, Jane Christie.

In the midst of these tumultuous circumstances, it is highly likely that the extended family journeyed back to England via the Azores, where they sought refuge with Jane's parents. Speculation suggests that after some months they departed the Azores, they made their way to London, and from there travelled to Scotland. During their return to England, it was observed that they travelled up to London from Devonshire, potentially passing through a seaport like Exmouth. 

Note: While I strive to provide accurate information. 
It's important to critically evaluate historical accounts, as discrepancies can arise from various sources, including early publications. For example, the account of Christie/Munro's arrival in NSW found in J.O. Randell's book, "Pastoral Settlements in Northern Victoria Vol 1: The Coliban District," may not be entirely accurate. This assertion is supported by the passenger manifest from the ship James, which contradicts Randell's portrayal of Munro's initial relationships and activities. Such contradictions highlight the necessity of cross-referencing historical documents to obtain a more accurate understanding of past events.

Although originally from Devonshire, they had been in South America for some years, where Mr Christie, together with a brother, had carried on a shipping trade between, South and North America.

During the twelve-year period following James' passing in 1822 and their eventual immigration to Australia in 1834, the Christie family led a nomadic existence. Records indicate that after departing the Azores around 1824, the blended family took up residence in Stepney, Middlesex. It was during their time in Stepney that Charles Junior, Janet  (Mcleod) and Charles first born, was born on June 11, 1824, as documented in The London, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1917. The baptism of Charles was registered at Tower Hamlets St Dunstan and All Saints in Stepney.
Charles Jr.'s parents were Janet/Jean/Jane (McLeod) and his father, Charles. The birth of Charles Jr. in 1824 strengthens the connection to the family's presence in London during that time. The baptismal document of Charles Jr., indicates that Charles senior worked as a carpenter by trade. Carpentry encompasses a range of skills, often making carpenters adept at various tasks and earning them the reputation of being "jacks of all trades."

Note: Janet/Jane/Janet are all interchangeable and are affectionate Scottish terms for the name Jean.
Circa 1827, the Christie family appeared in Glasgow, where their daughter Robina was born. However, the death of Charles' wife, Janet C., 1828, is a mystery as no documents have been discovered. Speculation is Janet succumbed to illness in Glasgow. Charles' relationship with Jane Whittle was founded, producing their first child Francis Christie, born in 1829, ( noted aged five at the time of arrival in New South Wales,) and Archina b. 1830. Furthermore, another child was born to Whittle and Charles Christie during their time in Scotland possibly 1832. However, specific details regarding the gender and name remain unknown to this day. But sadly, the child passed away while en route to New South Wales. (Noted above.) It is evident from the births of Francis, Archina, and the unknown child that Charles and Jane, his late brother's widow, was in a de facto relationship.
The Christie family had extensive connections across various Scottish towns, including Glasgow and Abernathy, which was the hometown of Charles' younger brother, William Christie, who passed away in 1846. It is probable that in the traditions of families facing tough times the Christie's utilised these family connections.

However, by 1832/3, the family returned to London, and it was during their stay there that Charlotte Deacon Christie was born in 1833. The birth took place at the residence of Frederick and Charlotte Deacon.

Returning to London, the Christie family found themselves in challenging and unfortunate circumstances, experiencing a period of hardship. However, a positive change was on the horizon. During their time in London, they were fortunate enough to encounter the friendship and benevolence of the Deacon family. The Deacon family extended their support and charity to the Christie family, providing them with much-needed assistance and care:ibid

These Christie's, as they could easily see, had evidently been formerly in a much better station in life, and they gradually learnt from them much of their sad and even tragic history.

The family's generous benefactor was Frederick Deacon, a distinguished Civil Servant residing in London. He had married Charlotte Deacon, formerly known as Charlotte Maule, on November 5, 1823, at St Mary's Church in Leicestershire, England. Recognising the challenging circumstances of Charles and Jane Christie, the charitable Deacon family extended their assistance.

Charles utilised his diverse range of skills as a "Jack of all Trades" and took on various odd jobs to support the family. Meanwhile, Jane found employment in needlework and maid services, using her talents and abilities to contribute to the household income. The Deacon family's kindness allowed Charles and Jane to find means of livelihood, ensuring that they could sustain their family despite the hardships they faced

Employing Mr Christie to work in the garden, and my grandmother, Charlotte Deacon, (note her name!), giving Mrs Christie what daily work she could. 

Note: When Frederick Deacon passed away in 1895, he left an estate valued at £8000.

The Deacon family played a pivotal role in facilitating the Christie family's immigration to New South Wales. They became the driving force behind the decision to embark on this new chapter. Recognising the hardships faced by Charles and Jane, the Deacons provided the necessary support, encouragement, and resources to make the journey to Australia possible. Their unwavering assistance and guidance propelled the Christie family towards a hopeful future in New South Wales.

In 1932, Mr. Harry Chambers Kent, a renowned architect from Sydney, shared a fascinating account of his family's association with the Christie family prior to their immigration to Australia. At the time of Frank Gardiner's release from Darlinghurst in 1874, Harry Chambers Kent was twenty-one years old. According to his recollection, Charlotte Deacon Christie, Frank's youngest sister, was named after his paternal grandmother as a gesture of respect.

Harry Chambers Kent's professional achievements were widely recognised, as evidenced by his inclusion in the Who's Who of Australia in 1922. He held a prominent position as a senior partner in the esteemed architectural firm Kent and Massie Architects, located in Sydney. Mr. Kent's account sheds light on the connection between his family and the Christie family, providing a unique perspective on their shared history.

Note: Recent research solidifies the authenticity and significance of the Deacon family's connection to the Christie family. This connection holds immense value in corroborating the established background of the Christie family prior to their immigration to New South Wales. The relationship with the Deacon family provides essential insights into the origins and circumstances of the Christie family, adding further credibility to their documented history before their arrival in NSW. The research strengthens our understanding of the Christie family's roots and enriches our knowledge of their pre-immigration journey.

According to Kent's account, when the Christie family was under the care of his grandparents, there was a proposition put forth that they should embark on a new chapter of their lives in the thriving colony of New South Wales. The colony presented abundant opportunities for those with a spirit of enterprise. It was an era when new horizons beckoned, and the allure of a fresh start and promising prospects in NSW resonated with the Christie family:ibid

Eventually it was arranged that these Christie's should go out as emigrants to Australia, and my grandmother, Charlotte Deacon, and her daughters fitted them out, making and providing them with necessary clothing for themselves and their young children, and with other things necessary for the voyage, stitching hard for many weeks, as there were no sewing machines in those days.

As the time approached for the Christie family to embark on their journey, the necessary clothing and various sundry items for the passage were provided to them. However, upon boarding the 'James' ship, it became apparent to the upper-middle-class Deacon family that the living conditions experienced by the Christie family were significantly inferior. The disparity between their accustomed lifestyle and the conditions onboard the ship became evident, highlighting the stark contrast between their backgrounds and the realities faced by those embarking on the voyage:ibid 

My aunt went to see the Christie family off to Australia on the emigrant ship, and of how terrible the accommodation, or lack of accommodation, seemed to her.
Rev. John Dunmore
b. 1799 - d. 1878.

Courtesy University of

During the voyage to New South Wales on the 'James,' the ship hosted several influential figures, including clergymen and educators, among whom The Reverend Dr Lang was particularly notable. Reverend Dr Lang, often called the 'Stormy Petrel' due to his outspoken nature, held a significant position in New South Wales politics and was a prominent figure within the Scottish community in London and Australia. His advocacy for immigration highlighted the opportunities for personal advancement in Australia, appealing to those seeking a new start in a colony desperate for immigrants.

To further his immigration initiatives, Reverend Dr Lang secured financial support from Lord Goodrich, the Secretary of State for the Colonies at the time, obtaining grants totalling £1500 to subsidise the passage of immigrants.

Aboard the 'James,' young Francis, only five years old, received his early education under the tutelage of the ship’s ministers and educators. The profound respect and authority these figures commanded left an indelible mark on him. This experience was so impanelled that in later years, when Francis needed to disguise his identity, he often assumed the role of a clergyman. He adopted their distinctive attire and mannerisms, using this persona to blend in and avoid detection. This strategy reflects the deep influence the clerical figures aboard the 'James' had on Francis’s life choices and wayward actions.

Baptism of Charlotte aged four
and Maria aged c.18 months
December 1837.

Upon their arrival in New South Wales, the Christie family's path intersected with that of Henry Munro, a fellow passenger on the 'James' who later became Francis’s stepfather. Unlike the Christie family, who stayed in steerage during the voyage, Munro had the comfort of a private cabin due to his affluent background.

Henry Munro, a man of considerable wealth and social standing, came to the colony well-prepared with introductory letters from influential connections. Shortly after settling in NSW, Munro purchased a property and appointed Charles Christie as his overseer. This employment decision was likely influenced by Munro’s 
(also spelt Monro or Munroe) burgeoning interest in Mrs Christie, whom he would eventually marry, further entwining the destinies of the Christie and Munro families. As the Christie family embarked on their new life, the challenges they faced were noted in an article published in 'The Sydney Herald' on the 20th of November, 1834;

We are happy to announce the arrival of the James, having on board, the Rev. Dr Lang and a number of Clergymen and Teachers. The number of emigrants by this arrival is less than by the Stirling Castle; but we hope they will do as much honour to the selection, like those brought to the Colony by Dr Lang, in 1831. The emigrants now arrived, however, must make up their minds to encounter many difficulties and privations, incidental to their locating in a new country. They must not entertain the foolish idea, that the streets are paved with gold, or that labour and frugality are disgraceful. Too many split upon this rock; they conclude that labour and privations have been left behind them and that they here have a right to demand indulgence. But to become independent, this is the land of labour, industry, sobriety, and propriety of conduct. With these, an independent and comfortable maintenance may be secured; but without them, neither here nor elsewhere can respectability be maintained or competency secured. There are few men to whom the Colony is more indebted, in reference to correct views of emigration than Dr Lang.

The Sydney Gazette and
New South Wales Advertiser
Saturday 25 July 1835
Henry Munro, descended from the illustrious professor Munro of Edinburgh College, hailed from a family steeped in notable history. In the shadow of the notorious Burke and Hare serial murders of 1828 in Edinburgh, where the culprits sold the bodies of their victims to anatomy schools. Henry’s father, Professor Munro, was infamously linked to these events through his controversial actions during the autopsy of William Burke, one of the murderers. It is said that Professor Munro used Burke's blood to pen a note, a macabre souvenir that cemented his place in history:

“This is written with the blood of Wm Burke, who was hanged at Edinburgh. This blood was taken from his head.”

In New South Wales, Henry Munro quickly formed a close alliance with Charles Christie as they adapted to their new environment. Their bond was further solidified through their shared dealings and the undeniable charm of Jane Christie, whose beauty did not go unnoticed. Soon after settling, Henry proactively engaged in the opportunities presented by the colonial government, securing a substantial land lease through the EMIGRANTS NEWLY ARRIVED program. His first significant acquisition was a 960-acre estate located at Kurradu Bidgee, nestled along the picturesque banks of the Shoalhaven River:

Murray, Nine hundred mid sixty acres, more or less, parish unnamed, near Kurraducbidgee, on the Shoalhaven River. Applied for by Henry Munro, price 5s per acre. 

Successful lease Boro Creek
Register of Leases NSW.
In 1836, Henry Munro faced a setback when a land application he made near Goulburn was contested and ultimately cancelled due to a claim by another settler named Sharpe. Unfazed, Munro continued his endeavours and managed to secure two parcels of land, each 640 acres, at Boro Creek in the same region. In addition to these acquisitions, he also gained ownership of properties in the scenic areas surrounding the enigmatic Lake George, located within the counties of Argyle and King during the years 1835 and 1836. Nevertheless, records indicate that by February 1838, Munro had sold the Boro Creek lands to Mr Edwin Forbes.

Boro Creek 1836

Register of Leases NSW.
During their time in New South Wales, Francis's mother, Jane Christie, gave birth to another child, Maria Agnes, fifteen months after their arrival in 1836. This marked a significant addition to their growing family as they continued to establish their presence in the colony.
NSWBDM Reg; 720/1836 V1836720 47 Charles Father-Mother Jane Christie.

Boro Creek Transfer
However, Maria, the youngest child born to Jane Christie, was the daughter of Henry Munro. It is believed that she was named after Henry Munro's mother, which highlights the intimate connection between Henry and Jane. Their relationship was the catalyst for Charles Christie under acrimonious circumstances to abandon his children and the Campasne. (Jane and Henry marry in 1842.)

Furthermore, there is evidence indicating the presence of the Christie family in Goulburn before their eventual relocation to Victoria. In December 1837, Charlotte, who was four years old at the time, was christened in Goulburn. Maria was also baptised during the same ceremony. This information is supported by the existing certificate documenting the event, shedding light on the family's presence and activities during their time in Goulburn.

Australia, Births and Baptisms, 1792-1981 FHL Film Number: 1238833.


Munro & Christie.
c. 1838.
As such, after residing in New South Wales for three years, Henry Munro decided to make a fresh start in Victoria and offered the family the opportunity to join him. The land owned at Boro was disposed of to Mr Edwin Forbes. In April 1838, Henry acquired new land holdings in Campasne, which was located approximately 110 miles north of Melbourne and 40 miles northeast of Bendigo. This marked a significant move for the family as they ventured into new territory and began to establish their presence in the expanding colony of Victoria. Then known as the Port Philip district.

In March 1838, William Bowman with five thousand sheep, claimed all the areas west of Barfolds boundary on the Coliban River, up to the foot of Mt Alexander, about seventy thousand acres. He named it Stratford Lodge. A few weeks later Henry Munro claimed fifty thousand acres along the northern boundary of Barfold, bringing with him several thousand sheep.²

Munro's' purchased station was known as 'Spring Plains Station' where Charles Christie was the overseer, 1838-40. Another nearby Station, 'Barfold' 57000 acres, was owned by the influential settler William Yeldwyn. Within twelve months, the best-squatting sites in the Campasne district were secured. The district covered an area of two thousand square kilometres stocked with an estimated 35,000 sheep, 4,000 head of cattle and 200 men of mixed employment. Many were assigned convicts who had assisted in herding thousands of sheep overland from the upper Murrumbidgee near Goulburn/Yass.
Sir Thomas Mitchell, in 1836, surveyed the landscape from Yass south to the Colliban River. However, before Mitchell published the track south, the new landowners had already commenced acquiring their stock, temporarily penned about Yass and Goulburn.

Henry Munro Letter
Aboriginal Attacks

Port Phillip Gazette 1839
At various stages, the new farmers for the Coliban District
individually commenced their arduous trek south along the surveyed track called the Majors Line of road. The standard equipment for those driving their sheep south consisted of two teams of bullocks, some horses, rations, tools, firearms, and every mandatory item necessary to form a station in a new country. As free men were not procurable for a trip of this sort, assigned servants were secured. (Memoir of John Coppock, Barfold)
By December 1837, it is evident that Munro had acquired livestock, which were being held at Boro Creek prior to its transfer in ownership.
During their journey to Campasne, the Christie family and their companions encountered various groups of Aboriginal people. For the most part, these encounters were friendly and cooperative, with the Aboriginals displaying a peaceful demeanour. However, as they approached the Port Phillip side of the Hume River (now known as the Murray River), they experienced more confrontations with the local aboriginal population. Some of the overlanders suffered minor spear wounds during these encounters, but the injuries were not severe. The Aboriginals proved to be particularly numerous and troublesome along the riverfront areas south of today's Albury.

Upon crossing the Hume River, the settlers continued their progress towards the Broken River, located near the present-day site of Benalla. As they reached their destination and began constructing their homesteads, Munro and his fellow squatters discovered that the local Aboriginal tribe in the Campasne area displayed a more aggressive nature compared to those encountered earlier in their journey. This shift in aggression heightened the settlers' sense of unease and caused many colonists to feel nervous and fearful in the presence of these more assertive Aboriginal groups.

At first the blacks were very shy, but when they found that sheep were good to eat they began to be very troublesome, and a constant watch had to be kept on them. They were continually spearing sheep for the sake of the inside fat, and had wounded three shepherds at different times. Therefore the workers when without supervision like savages as they were, were in the habit of shooting down the blacks on sight; they did not confine themselves to men, but destroyed the lubras and piccaninnies as well. So troublesome that at an out-station or sheep camp one day the station owner was very much surprised to find the shepherd and watchman both lying dead, having been speared and clubbed to death by the blacks, and the sheep (1,200 young wethers) gone. There were a lot of sheep lying about dead, cut open, and the fat taken and the carcass left intact. (Memoir of John Coppock, Barfold)

As the Christie family settled into their new home in Campasne, young Francis, at the age of nine, eagerly embraced the responsibilities that came with handling the stock and assisting his older brother Charles in the daily tasks. It was during this time that Francis began to develop the skills that would later be displayed in his future notorious activities.

However, amidst the excitement of their new life, Francis also witnessed the presence of the Aboriginal marauders and the alarming attacks on the shepherds, including his own father and Henry Munro. These encounters exposed Francis to the harsh realities of life on the frontier, where conflicts with the aboriginal population were a constant threat.

For the full scope of the trouble Munro faced with the Aboriginals see link below.

Charles Christie's letter
referencing his sly-grog
Port Phillip Gazette
25th April 1840.
However, in the Port Philip district of Victoria, Charles Christie found himself in trouble with the law in late 1838 or early 1839. He was arrested and faced a significant fine of over £81 (equivalent to $640 in modern currency). This amount was substantial, representing a considerable sum of money at the time. Charles was charged with operating a sly grog shop, a clandestine establishment selling illicit alcohol. The local authorities frowned upon such activities, and by his own admission acknowledged his involvement in this disreputable business.

The incident involving the sly grog shop marked a pivotal moment in young Francis Christie's upbringing. At the age of nine, he would have been impressionable and likely witnessed the consequences of his father's illicit activities. This encounter with the darker side of life and the lure of dubious money may have left an indelible impression on Francis, shaping his perspective and potentially influencing his future path. The desire for easy money without the effort.

The severity of the fine indicates that the operation of the sly grog shop was not an isolated or haphazard affair. It suggests a well-organised enterprise, as the imposed penalty amounted to a significant sum, equivalent to an average wage covering several years' worth of income. Sly grog establishments were prevalent in many rural towns and certain farms, earning them a notorious reputation. (Average wage per year for a farmhand ranged between 20 pounds for a hut-keeper to 30 pounds for a plowman. Shepherds 25 pounds per year.)

While Henry Munro may have been unaware or turned a blind eye to the concerns surrounding the operation, Charles Christie bore personally the full cost of the penalty. There were likely individuals in the community who reported Charles to the police, leading to his arrest and subsequent fine.
It may also be that Charles Christie's long running dispute with one of the Protectors of Aboriginals, an officious bureaucrat named E Parker may have seen to the arrest out of spite.(See letter right.)

A circumstance that occurred many months ago as "The reported keeper of a sly-grog-shop" It is a fact, Sir, that I paid in Melbourne above £81 penalty, a considerable time ago. 

Regrettably, Charles Christie's employment under Munro came to an end in late 1840. As he bid farewell, he left behind his brother's widow, Jane, and their three children under the care of Henry Munro, his employer and longtime friend. This arrangement raised suspicions about the nature of Jane and Munro's relationship, which may have begun secretly during their time in New South Wales or even as far back as their journey from England. The possibility that Maria Agnes was Henry's daughter could not be ignored, and it might have been a discovery or revelation to Charles. Jane Christie was known for her strong-willed nature, and her involvement with Munro forced Charles to part ways with the family. Nonetheless, Munro and Jane's relationship thrived, and they continued their life together. The home where Francis resided in Campasne was vividly described in a letter from Munro's brother David, who spent several months there in early 1842, providing insight into their living conditions during that time. (Source: Munro Letters the Bridge Connection, Redesdale.)
The cottage and things are very comfortable; his (Henry) cottage is built of upright slabs of wood and plastered inside which is quite sufficient protection against any weather here, and is divided into half a dozen rooms of convenient size. In front there is a verandah which we enjoyed very much in the fine evenings. Detached from the cottage and behind it is a cottage which contains a kitchen and a store room. It is a great luxury in a hot climate to have the kitchen separate from the house. By this arrangement both heat smell and noise are avoided and when the temperature is above 100, this is no slight comfort.


Courtesy NLA.
In Cuthbert Fetherstonhaugh's memoir 'After Many Days,' published in 1917, he reflects on an encounter with Charles Christie in 1854, when Christie was 61 years old. At the time, Fetherstonhaugh was conducting surveys near Victoria's Goulburn River. During their meeting, Christie spoke of Jane as his wife, suggesting he still regarded her as his spouse despite their separation and the complex nature of their split. This testament underscores Charles's deep emotional bond and enduring attachment to Jane, despite their strained relationship;

When we camped at Kerrisdale on King Parrot Creek. We had for a cook a nice old man named Christie, who had certainly seen better days. He let out to me one day that he had been fairly well off at one time at a place called Bona Creek, near Goulburn in NSW, but his wife, who was much younger than he, and a very handsome woman, had run away with a Victorian squatter from near Portland Bay and had taken their only son with her. He told me that he had taken to drink and gone right downhill. 

Note; Leaving Campasne Charles Christie after some itinerant work about Victoria and a alcohol addiction possibly returned to the Goulburn district, New South Wales, There is speculation that Charles may have been unaware of his son Francis' later criminal activities. At Francis' trial for horse stealing in 1850, it appears that Charles did not provide any assistance or support. The extent of their contact or relationship in later years remains unknown. However, it seems unlikely that Charles was completely unaware of Francis' criminal activities, considering that he spent his final days at Archina's home in Sydney and Frank almost every day and his notoriety was recorded in a newspaper. Upon his death, Charles Christie was described as a gentleman farmer.

Referring again to Cuthbert Fetherstonhaugh's memoir 'After Many Days,' published in 1917, he elaborates on the intricate dynamics within the Christie family, particularly focusing on Charles Christie's challenges. Henry Munro, is the gentleman alluded to as the prominent squatter, and and Francis is his son, as he is the only child born to Jane and Charles. The exposure of the truth about Maria's parentage, are revealed to have had a fatal impact on Charles, contributing to his descent into alcoholism and his ultimate decline. This revelation highlights the complex relationships and personal struggles Charles faced, dealing with betrayal and loss.

Furthermore, Charles's half-brother, also named Charles, worked under Henry Munro as an overseer before settling in Gippsland in the mid-1850s. He married Elizabeth Hendrick on April 11, 1849, at St James Church in Melbourne, and they had ten children. The bond between him and his brother Francis was evident, highlighted by his decision to name one of his sons Francis Christie in 1870. Charles maintained a connection with his brother throughout their lives, passing away in Bairnsdale in 1884, occupation fisherman.

All the Christie siblings remained close. Francis's sister Robina settling near Charles in Sale, Victoria, after marrying in South Australia. Archina moved to Sydney, while another sister, Charlotte, initially settled in Hobart with her husband William Ion until his death in 1864, after which she moved to Sydney and married Joe Cale in 1870. The ceremony was officiated by the notable Reverend Dr Lang, known as the Stormy Petrel, who had accompanied the family to Australia. After Robina’s husband passed, she too settled in Sydney, underscoring the strong ties among the Christie sisters who often pondered the enigmatic nature of their brother, Francis, who intriguingly signed his letters as "Kearnegie."

After Charles Sr's departure, Henry Munro quickly married Francis' mother, Jane, announcing her as a widow in a likely attempt to avoid scandal. This declaration utilised the death of Jane's first husband, James Christie, which had been reported in the Geelong Advertiser on February 13, 1841, to circumvent any societal backlash.

MELBOURNE, Saturday 13th February 1841 .—Fashionable Marriages.—Married a few days ago, Henry Munroe, Esq., of Campasne Plains, son of Professor Munro of Edinburgh College, to the widow of the late Mr Christie.

Jane Munro, not long after her marriage, passed away in 1842 due to illness.

Regarding Charles Christie, Frank Gardiner's father, there is limited information available about his life. In the Sydney Morning Herald Family Notices of February 1864, it was recorded that Charles Christie passed away on the 16th of February at his daughter Archina's residence in Pitt Street, Sydney, after a prolonged and agonising illness. Possibly cancer

On the 16th instant, at the residence of his son-in-law, Mr Henry Griffiths, fruiterer, Pitt-street, after a long and painful illness, Mr Charles Christie, aged seventy-three years, native of Elgin, Scotland. The procession to move from his residence, Pitt street near Market-street, at 8 o'clock a.m.

Charles Christie was laid to rest at Camperdown Cemetery in Newtown. The burial record describes Charles as a Gentleman Farmer, reflecting his occupation. It is possible that Frank Gardiner, being a keen reader of newspapers, came across the news of his father's passing in the weeks leading up to his capture in Queensland.

Campasne Victoria 

Settling at Campasne i
n 1839, with Henry Munro.was a period where, the remote stations in the area were facing continuous attacks by local aboriginals. These attacks often brutal included the killing of solitary shepherds and the theft of sheep, which served as a readily available food source for the marauding blacks.

One notable incident occurred when Charles Christie and Henry Munro were recovering their stock from an Aboriginal raiding party. They were ambushed and Henry Munro was speared during the attack. This incident led to a retaliatory response from the settlers, fed up with the lack of government oversight. Consequently the many settlers launched counterattacks against the aboriginal groups. Details of these events were reported in the 'Port Phillip Patriot and Melbourne Advertiser' on Monday, 22nd July 1839 including the assault on Henry Munro.

A short time back, some blacks robbed a hut of Mr. Munro's; himself and servant armed, rode after them, and the horse of one of them rushed furiously into the midst of these Aborigines, these sons of the soil, then, commenced throwing of spears, one of which struck the horse in the head, and stunned it, as a natural consequence the white men commenced firing, more spears were thrown, and Mr. Munro received a spear wound which disabled him. The spear-wound received by Mr. Munro was so little thought of at first, that it was allowed to heal up externally. The consequence was, that it was near proving fatal; but Dr Thomas being called to his assistance, has treated the case with such judgment and attention, that the imminent danger has been removed, and this gentleman's recovery ensured.
Letter was written
by Charles Christie
in April 1840, while
employed by
Henry Munro.

After Henry Munro's severe spearing attack, he fortunately recovered, narrowly avoiding a fatal outcome. In reaction to this event, Charles Christie penned a letter to the editor of the Port Phillip Gazette, voicing his distress and concerns about the ongoing attacks. Unbeknownst to him, this letter would spark a fierce dispute with Mr Parker, the government-appointed Protector of Aboriginals. Referred to by settlers as an officious buffoon. Their conflict unfolded publicly through a series of newspaper articles, with both Christie and Parker vehemently articulating their views on the interactions between settlers and the local blacks, highlighting the tensions of the district.

Meanwhile, the continuous and violent confrontations with the local Aboriginal people instilled deep fear and unease among the shepherds working in isolated areas. These workers, some assigned convicts, constantly feared for their lives. They demanded better safety and firearms to fend off the marauding aboriginals. Their fears and pleas for help were documented in the Port Phillip Gazette in December 1838, bringing attention to the dangerous conditions they endured. 

The greatest fear has taken possession of all the shepherds in that part following the murderers of Mr. Rutledges shepherd and the murder of Mr. Bowman's servant and the robbery of Mr. Yaldwyn's sheep, have announced their determination of giving themselves up to Government rather than attend sheep under the present circumstances.
As a young boy, Francis enjoyed a good quality of life and gained a solid education under his father's and Henry Munro's guidance. Although not recorded as fact for Francis Christie many squatters of the 1800s employed tutors to cater for the education of the children. This is evidenced by Patrick O'Meally the father of a future gang member of Francis Christie John O'Meally who was well educated. (See gang Page.) Upon Charles' departure, Henry Munro fully incorporated the Christie children into his life. 

However, whether anger, resentment, or strained relations developed between Francis and his new stepfather remains unknown. The departure of his father and the loss of his mother at a tender age undoubtedly dealt a heavy blow to the young Francis. These circumstances may have contributed to his rebellious nature or his association with less savoury companions, testing the relationship between him and Henry Munro. However, some years later, when the long arm of the law finally caught up with the future celebrated bushranger and under the name alias of Clarke in applying all his charm procured a 'Ticket of Leave' in 1859 from Cockatoo Island, Christie generated some empathy from the powers that be by commenting that;

As a youth was led into temptation, when uncontrolled by parental influence or good example.

However, evidence suggests that 'when uncontrolled by parental influence,' it was far from the truth and may have purely been a refusal to adhere to Munro's discipline, or had the days as a boy observing his father's sly grog shop and shady customers and easy money formed the man? 

After the death of his wife Jane, Henry Munro experienced significant changes. In 1843, he moved his family to the small community of Portland in southern Victoria, near the South Australian border, settling in the Crawford River area. There, Munro took over "Bassets" station, which he managed from 1843 until 1849, and then "Crawford" station from 1849 to 1862. Before Munro and his business partner, Andrew Cruikshank, took over, the station had been owned by Mr. Cameron.

At the station, Henry Munro ran a large-scale operation, managing a flock of 15,000 sheep and a herd of 60 cattle. Additionally, the station featured a notable vineyard that produced wine for export to Europe, establishing Munro as a distinguished and prosperous landowner in the area. These facts were documented in The Melbourne Daily News on Tuesday, February 13th, 1849:

Henry Munro, Name of run — Crawford, Estimated area — 70 000 acres, Estimated grazing capability — 60 head of cattle 15, 500 sheep. This run has been transferred, with the sanction of Government to Messrs Henry Munro and Andrew Rose Cruikshank, in whose names the lease will accordingly be prepared.

Note: In 1846, Henry Munro remarried a Catherine (Kate) Power at Portland, and the union produced ten children.

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

This is no doubt,
Jane/Jean McLeod.
Charles' Profession; Carpenter.
Authors Note: There has been a persistent belief that Francis Christie was born in the small settlement of Boro Creek, about 30 miles southeast of Goulburn, and spent his early childhood there. However, substantial evidence contradicts this notion. The three children born to Charles Christie and Jane Whittle are known to be Francis, Archina, and Charlotte Deacon Christie. The first two were born in Scotland and Charlotte in England. Records also mention another child who was born between Archina and Charlotte but died during the family's voyage to New South Wales in 1834. After arriving in NSW, the family soon moved to Victoria, where Francis spent his early years from 1837 to 1852, including time in Pentridge Gaol starting in 1850.

The misconception about Francis Christie's birthplace likely stems from his final prison release documents, which incorrectly list Boro Creek as his birthplace in 1831. This misinformation was probably a tactic by Christie to obscure his past, particularly his 1851 escape from Pentridge Gaol, which, if discovered, might have led to further legal consequences. When he was released in 1874, Melbourne newspapers discussed his history, but no actions were taken to extradite him.

Regarding Jean McLeod, she was married to Charles Christie and is listed on the birth certificates of Charles and Robina Christie. Born on April 12, 1798, in Berwick Upon Tweed, Northumberland, Jean was the daughter of George McLeod and Robina Stout. Robina Christie, named after Jean's mother, was born in 1827 near Edinburgh in Leith. Jean McLeod's fate is uncertain, but she is believed to have died around 1828, possibly in Edinburgh.

It's also notable that the ship 'James,' which carried the Christie family, had several ministers on board, including the Reverend Dr. Lang. This Reverend would later be sought out by Frank Gardiner concerning his son’s newspaper involvement at Lambing Flat, NSW. In his later years, as law enforcement tightened around him, Francis adopted the disguise of a vicar. Finally, any claims linking Francis to Aboriginal heritage through John Clarke, a former convict, and an Indigenous woman are based on J.O. Randell's unreliable account in "Pastoral Settlements in Northern Victoria Vol 1, The Coliban District." Any adoption of this as fact is fanciful and untrustworthy. Such assertions should be viewed with scepticism.

First offence - Victoria

June 1850, upon reaching the age of twenty-one, Francis Christie ventured beyond the confines of a structured society. While his extended family relocated to Portland, Francis chose to stay in the vicinity of the Loddon River, where he found companionship among a group of local misfits. It was during this time that they embarked on a series of horse thefts, targeting valuable steeds owned by a prominent settler in the area.

With his family settling in Portland, Francis Christie made his way to the town to dispose of the stolen horses through auction. The proximity of Henry Munro's station at Crawford River provided a convenient hideout in case the stolen stock were converted into cash;

Francis Christie alias Clarke, alias Gardiner commenced his long career of crime when quite a youth through horse-stealing. In 1850 in conjunction with another horse fancier, he visited the station run of W. L. Morton, later Sir Morton, near the Loddon River. Gardiner knew this area well from his youth and whilst there they gathered a mob of twenty-four good horses and took them in the direction of Portland for sale by auction.² 

Upon discovering the brazen horse theft, Mr Morton, the owner of the stolen animals, was filled with rage and determined to track down the perpetrators. He gathered a small search party consisting of his employee, the skilled bushman and tracker William Mercer, and an elderly man named Williams, whose own horse was among the stolen ones. Despite Williams' age, Morton allowed him to join the search on the condition that he kept up with the rest of the group. They prepared to depart, their resolve unwavering, as they set out on the trail of the stolen horses.

At Salisbury Plains, Victoria: William Lockhart Morton. Name of run—Plains of Thalia, Estimated area—57,600 acres, Estimated grazing capabilities—4,000 sheep.

As they left 'Plains of Thalia Station' and followed the tracks, Morton and his men relentlessly pursued the fleeing thieves. They pressed on, passing by Mount Sturgeon station and eventually finding respite at the Mount Sturgeon hotel. It was at this point in their pursuit that they decided to take a moment to rest and regroup before continuing their chase. Morton later revealed; 'Geelong Advertiser' 23rd October 1850;

On 9th of June, the whole of his horses except two in the paddock were stolen. Twenty four were taken from the run, some of them were left on the road. Three of the horses were witness' property. Missed the horses on 9th, about 9 o'clock in the evening, made a circuit of the station and found the track on the 10th, and on the 12th started and tracked them to Kay and Caye's station, thence up the plains to the Avoca, they followed the tracks all the way to the Fitzroy River, where he found two of his horses, and one previously sold by Newton, and one was lost.

Upon their arrival at the Mount Sturgeon Inn, owned by Andrew Templeton, Morton engaged in a conversation with him about the recent local races. To Morton's surprise, Templeton revealed that the suspected robbers had participated in the races, competing against horses entered by the police. Astonishingly, the thieves had emerged victorious and claimed the prize money without arousing suspicion.

During Morton's stay at the inn, Templeton drew his attention to a letter that one of the gang members, Christie, had left in his care. Recognising its potential importance, Morton quickly seized the letter, realising that it could provide valuable information about the whereabouts and plans of the thieves, 
'Geelong Advertiser' 23rd October 1850;

Three of them came to his place driving a mob of horses, in number about thirty. Christie asked for pen and paper, and brought a letter into the bar, and gave in charge of the barman, directed to Crouch, postmaster, Portland. Neglected to send it, and gave it to Mr Morton, who came by next day in pursuit.

Driven by suspicion and urgency, Morton wasted no time and swiftly rode at full gallop to the police station in Hamilton, which was located 18 miles away. Once there, he requested the presence of the Bench Clerk and handed over the unopened letter. With a sense of gravity, Morton instructed the clerk to open the letter under his watchful gaze. The letter was addressed to Mr. Crouch, the postmaster at Portland, who also served as an auctioneer.
Note: William Lockhart Morton was born at Green Cambusnethan, Lanarkshire, Scotland on 19 December 1820. He obtained entrance to the University of Glasgow and studied Engineering until the Depression of the 1840s forced him to curtail his studies because of financial difficulties. At this time he decided to migrate to Australia where he considered that opportunities were much better. Morton was a passenger on the barque Benares that sailed from Greenock on 6 August 1841 and arrived at Port Phillip in February 1842. Morton eventually moved to South Australia to live in Belair with his son William Lockhart Morton junior who was a Presbyterian Minister. William Lockhart Morton senior died on 10 March 1898. Lockhart Morton wrote a biography Adventures of a Pioneer. In it he writes extensively on his pursuit of Francis Christie. I have utilised the newspapers of the day regarding the events. However I hold the extracts from Mr Morton's book. Source: AUSTRALIAN VETERINARY HISTORY RECORD. MARCH 2003 — NUMBER 36
The letter illustrated below highlights that Christie had an excellent hand and education and exposes another alias, Taylor.

Lake Mingo, Murray River, May 1850.

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

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

I remain sir,
your obedient servant,


Christie's letter to Mr Crouch, auctioneer Portland.
Crawford Station
For Sale.
'The Argus' 4th February

Courtesy N.L.A.
However, unaware of the interception of the letter, Christie continued on with the stolen stock towards Portland. Little did he know that Morton, riding at full speed, was determined to prevent them from reaching the town.

With a sense of impunity, Christie and his accomplices made a stop at Mr Bilston's residence, which housed The Bush Tavern located near the Fitzroy River. This establishment stood 36 miles away from Hamilton and 18 miles away from Portland. In court, Mr Bilston would provide a detailed account of the events surrounding Christie's arrival at his establishment. 'Geelong Advertiser' 23rd October 1850:

Saw the two men at the bar at the Fitzroy River on the 18th June, in the evening coming down the road, after having passed the Fitzroy Bridge with a mob of horses. Christie asked him if he had a late date paper. The two prisoners were then outside. Christie was at the tap. Christie said that he had written to Mr Crouch at Portland to have them advertised. Christie said it was curious that they were not advertised. They all took saddles off the horses, Christie tethered a mare and put it into witness's paddock.

After a gruelling chase spanning over 200 miles, traversing challenging bush tracks, Morton and his pursuit party finally arrived at Hamilton. Exhausted but determined, Morton approached constable Thornhill and instructed him to accompany him to the suspected robbers' lodgings near the Fitzroy River. Recognising the stolen horses in the Inn's stockyard, Morton wasted no time and swiftly coordinated with the troopers to apprehend the thieves. Together with Bilston, they devised a plan to capture the culprits who were believed to be in the vicinity of the Inn.

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

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

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

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 prisoners were in the gaol at South Geelong, and on Sunday afternoon previous to the trial, a warder went to a cell with a bucket of water. On opening the cell door to hand in the bucket, he was caught by the neck by one of the prisoners, and pulled in, when 11 prisoners, amongst whom was William Stewart, alias Mr William Troy, the assumed superintendent of the assumed Mr Taylor, having locked the warder in the cell, walked out. In one of the passages, they met another warder and put him in the cell with his mate when the whole 11 rushed out and armed themselves with sticks. Two of the town police immediately attacked them and succeeded in recapturing three of them after using their batons freely, fracturing the jaw of one of them, who was a murderer. The other eight, amongst whom was Mr William Troy, made good their escape, and only one of them was afterwards secured.

Note: Mr Bilston walked on the shady side of life. In 1849, applied for a wine and beer license for the Tasmanian Inn, Steep Bank Rivulet. However, he was refused. A year later Mr Bilston commenced operating the Bush Tavern at the Fitzroy River. Subsequently, following Christie and Morton's affair, Bilston's property was obliterated by a server bush fire that ravaged the settlement in February 1851. 'The Argus' Tuesday 18th February 1851: 

Mr Bilston of the Fitzroy Tavern, has been the victim, almost to ruination, of the fire which so generally pervaded this part of the district last week. His place is now a total wreck or rather a blank. Not one vestige of the houses remain except the chimnies, which remain the alone monuments of the destruction done; a favourite horse was burned to ashes in the stable; the very fowls were shrivelled to the bulk of an ordinary-sized potato. So intense was the fire that the very articles which were dragged from the house and thrown into the river in order to preserve them, did not escape the general conflagration, so much of them as was above the surface of the water was destroyed; the bridge has been burnt down to the water's edge. A dray of John Wheelers which was on the premises is totally ruined, as also the blacksmith's shop which stood about 150 yards from Mr Bilston's. Mr B's loss is estimated at fourteen hundred pounds. Brown, the groom, has lost £17 in notes, which have gone to feed the flames. The relation of such incidents are truly melancholy and distressing.


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

Receptacle for Criminals.
Artist unknown.
Arrested, Francis' stepfather, Henry Munro, tried to sway Morton's decision by invoking their shared Scottish heritage. However, Morton remained resolute and unyielding, refusing to be swayed by Munro's attempted influence. He was determined to ensure that the full force of the law would be brought upon Christie and his accomplice:

As illustrating the influence which even then was exerted on behalf of Francis Christie, the afterwards notorious bushranger, the owner of the stolen horses received a short time previous to the trial a letter from one of the oldest, most respectable, and best-known squatters of the Western district, (Mr Henry Munro) asking him not to press the charge against Christie. The owner had been bound over to prosecute, and, therefore, he had not the power to interfere. The request was, of course, a highly improper one to make.⁶ 

Munro sought out others to free his troublesome stepson, but to no avail.

Dr W.C. Haines, Foreman
of the Jury for Christie.
Later 1st Premier of
The die was cast, and Munro realised that Francis was beyond his influence. As a result, Francis and his accomplice John Newton were found guilty and handed down a sentence of five years of hard labour on the roads. They were immediately taken from the courtroom and transported to the Pentridge Stockade in Coburg, Melbourne. Abridged from 'Geelong Advertiser' Wednesday 23rd October 1850:

SUPREME COURT. CRIMINAL SITTINGS. (Before His Honor the Resident Judge.) TUESDAY. HORSE STEALING Jury.-W. C. Haines, John Elkington, John Gillivray, Alfred N. Gilbert, Andrew James Gates, Hatsell, N. Garrard; James Gannon, Henry Elmes, Napoleon Gilbert, Edward Gundry, George Elliot:

Francis Christie and John Newton were placed at the bar charged with stealing 24 horses from Salisbury Plains. The Crown Prosecutor explained that on the 10th June, three persons were seen on Mr Lockhart Morton's run, on the North Loddon. The horses were missed on 11th June, and their tracks traced by Mr Morton and another, ten miles in a north direction, then westward towards the Avoca, and then in the Adelaide direction, then to Mount William, and thence to Mount Sturgeon, where they stopped for refreshments. The prisoner Christie there called for pen, ink, and paper, and addressed a letter to Mr Crouch, auctioneer, at Portland, intimating that his employer Mr Taylor, had sent him with a mob of horses to Portland to sell for ready money. From Mount Sturgeon, they went on to the Grange, and thence to within four miles of the Fitzroy River, where they stopped at the house of Mr Bilsten, where Mr Morton and others came up with them and took the two prisoners at the bar into custody. Before reaching the Fitzroy River, a foal was sold by Newton out of the mob to a Mrs Spears for 20s.., 

His Honor summed up -"The horses were found in possession of the prisoners if they could not account for possession, it amounted to almost a conclusive evidence of guilt. But there was a difference between possession and custody that must be judged of. There appeared there had been a difference between the positions occupied by the prisoners, but the evidence that they were acting as servants would be collusive. Newton pleaded that he was a servant to Stewart; if a servant, he would be guilty, if he were cognizant that the horses had been taken possession of illegally. The other prisoner seemed to have taken a similar share in the transaction. He should leave to the jury to reconcile the fact of possession, with the supposition of their innocence." Verdict against both prisoners-sentenced to five years hard labour on the roads. 

Following his conviction, Francis was incarcerated at Pentridge Prison, where he faced the harsh realities of imprisonment. Meanwhile, Henry Munro, following the societal norms of the time, seemed to sever any further connection with Francis Christie. However, Francis' three sisters continued to hold a deep love for their wayward brother, remaining devoted to him despite his criminal actions. Their love and support for Francis endured throughout their lives, serving as a testament to the unbreakable bond between siblings.
Illustration of Christie's
escape from Pentridge,
Coburg, Victoria, 1851.

by Percy Lindsay c.1935
However, at Pentridge, freedom beckoned for Christie, and before long, an opportunity arose for that seeking that freedom;

Francis Christie and John Newton were tried and convicted, the late hon. Mr Haines being the foreman of the jury. They were sentenced to five years on the roads of the colony. The prisoners were sent to Pentridge. There they were allowed to work in the open fields. Francis Christie and John Newton had not been more than a few weeks at Pentridge when on the afternoon of the 26th of March 1851, whilst engaged in gathering rubble for road metal purposes in a paddock adjoining the Pentridge Stockade. Christie, getting near to one of the troopers, rushed at him, and took his carbine from him, knocked him violently on the head, and pointed his carbine at the trooper and fired, the trooper retired beyond the firing line. Then the prisoners fled over the rail fence towards the Merri Creek.⁷ 

Note: Merri (Mary) Creek is in Coburg, my father had many rollicking adventures with his best friend Peter Somerville along Merri Creek as a young boy during the 1940s, as my Nana lived at 63 Murray Rd just up from Pentridge. I myself, as a boy in the 1960s, also played along its banks, rocky crevices and swam in the weir. 

Escape from Pentridge Gaol Melbourne Victoria.

Following a daring escape from Pentridge Prison, eleven prisoners managed to break free. However, their taste of freedom was short-lived as all but five of them were recaptured within a few days. Among the escapees was Francis Christie, who embarked on a journey northward alongside another fugitive named Charles Herring. Herring, was from the Bendigo district, had arrived in Hobart, Tasmania as a convict aboard the ship Egyptian in 1839, having been sentenced to seven years. After his release in 1847, Herring made his way to Victoria, where he found himself convicted of assault in 1850.


Note: Charles Herring escapee from Pentridge with Christie in 1851 was gazetted as wanted in Victoria. In 1862 Herring was sort for stealing at Canowindra. The description in both the Victorian and NSW gazettes match. Through age, height, marks and moles. Herring obfuscated, as was widely practised, his origins. As with Frank Gardiner. Herring was involved in robbery with John Peisley and was a mate of William Fogg. Herring would in 1863 while in custody be seconded to the NSW mounted police due to his bragging the he was a close friend of Gardiner. It was short lived as Herring under the alias of  Zahn was dismissed after stealing from Capt Baytte.

Shortly after their escape from Pentridge Prison, Francis Christie and Charles Herring were sighted near the Government camp at a newly discovered goldfield on Bandicoot Creek, today known as Bendigo, by local settlers. Some settlers may have recognised Christie, remembering his family and his time living with Munro at nearby Campasne. Herring, on the other hand, would later use the aliases Charles Zahn and Burgess and was eventually sought by NSW police for his association with the infamous bushranger Ben Hall, twelve years post-escape.

By the end of 1851, fearing apprehension, Christie headed north, crossing the Murray River into New South Wales. He blended effortlessly among the throngs of gold miners flocking to the newly discovered goldfields near Bathurst, specifically Ophir, discovered by Edward Hargraves, Lister, and Toms.

In the early 1850s, the regional landscape of New South Wales was dotted with remote and thinly populated settlements, mostly consisting of a few huts, shanties, or trade stores. The sparse presence of law enforcement made it an ideal setting for acquiring high-quality horses. After their escape, John Newton, Christie’s accomplice in the Morton affair, chose to separate from Christie. Unlike Christie, Newton was recaptured and returned to Pentridge, later escaping again during another prison outbreak, though his ultimate fate remains a mystery. 

Upon reaching New South Wales, Christie returned to the Goulburn district, where he had spent his childhood in 1837. Crossing the Murray River put him well beyond the reach of Victorian authorities, but his criminal activities soon intensified. By shooting at a prison guard, who was Aboriginal, Christie committed a severe crime potentially punishable by hanging.

Christie assumed new identities to avoid capture, going by the names Clarke and Gardiner. Initially, he found work in stock handling around the Abercrombie and Goulburn areas, leading a seemingly quiet life. However, his old tendencies resurfaced, and he soon reverted to horse stealing. Reflecting on his return to criminality, Christie, also known as "The Darkie," later remarked on his engagement in horse theft and other illicit activities as he plunged deeper into his life of crime. Christie later, as Frank Gardiner, made a comment in his own words on how he fell into horse stealing:

"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."


However, Christie's first foray into theft in NSW did not end well, when in the company of a youth named Prior he attempted to pull the same stunt as with Lockhart Morton. Horse stealing.

Newspaper reports of the £10 reward for Christie's capture.
After he escaped from Pentridge Prison, Melbourne, on 26th March 1851.
Note, Charles Herring, who would appear as an NSW Trooper named Zahn in 1863
in an attempt by the Government to capture the now called Frank Gardiner, Ben Hall and Co.

Authors Note: Pentridge Stockade, Coburg– In 1850, Governor La Trobe ordered the construction of a stockade for the detainment of prisoners doing hard labour. After the Port Phillip District separated from the Colony of New South Wales in 1851, the new Colony of Victoria had to take responsibility for its own prisoners instead of sending them to New South Wales as they had been previously. In December 1850, the stockade opened in anticipation of this responsibility, and La Trobe appointed a detachment of the Native Police Corps to guard the prisoners. The Native Police had to undertake sentry duty around the stockade and supervise road gangs. The Native Police undertook this role for eight months until August 1851 (Fels, 1988:206‐207; Eidelson,1997:36). The original stockade of wooden buildings was transformed into the enclosed blue-stone Pentridge Prison more familiar to us today over the period 1857‐1864. Eventually, the State Government closed the prison in 1997 and sold off part of the housing development site.

Source: Indigenous Cultural Heritage and History within the Metropolitan Melbourne Investigation Area. A report to the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council By Dr Shaun Canning and Dr Frances Thiele. Date: February 2010.

William Fogg,
Parole 1840.
Nevertheless, having shot through from Victoria and surfacing in NSW in the Abercrombie/Goulburn and Fish River area in late 1851, Francis appears to have laid low for two years or at least off police scrutiny. Furthermore, at this time, Christie commenced using Francis Clarke and Frank Gardiner as aliases.

Note: Fish River is known today as the Lachlan River.

Charles Christie at this time 51/52 having left his family after Jane's infidelity possibly resettled in the Goulburn district living once more as stated to Fetherstonhaugh who wrote in his narrative 'After Many Days' quoted:

Christie, who had certainly seen better days. He let out to me one day that he had been fairly well off at one time at a place called Bona Creek, near Goulburn in NSW. 

The Sydney Morning Herald
Thursday 13th April
Note: Fetherstonhaugh, in his memoirs written in 1917, provides some insights into Francis Christie's life, but it's important to consider that his recollections may have been influenced by the passage of time. However, Fetherstonhaugh's account does shed light on the missing years of Christie's life between 1852 and 1854. During this time, it is possible that Francis spent time in the company of his father in Boro Creek, Victoria. This period may have allowed him to maintain a legitimate cover and obscure his true identity, creating a sophisticated disguise to protect himself.

As for Francis' father, it appears that he returned to Victoria in 1854, as indicated by Fetherstonhaugh. His other children, who demonstrated great care for their father, resided in Sydney before his eventual death in 1864. He lived with Archina Griffiths and Charlotte Ion at 283 Pitt Street, where he was described as a gentleman farmer. The Griffiths were involved in the fruit business, and it is possible that Francis may have spent some of the missing years in the company of his father, further adding to the complexity of his origins and his efforts to conceal his true identity.

It is interesting to note that the building at 283 Pitt St in 2021 still carries the named Ion?

Furthermore, to confirm Christie within the confines of Goulburn, local foot constable Pagett who escorted the now named Clarke to Wingello then passed him on to Cockatoo Island for conviction over horse theft stated that he knew him both as Clarke and Gardiner in Goulburn in late 1851. 1851 is crucial as it excludes Gardiner from participation in the Victorian gold robbery at McIvor 1853. (More on that subject later.) There has been speculation that Clarke and Christie are not the same men; however, this has been decidedly proved wrong. They are one and the same. This notion had a rose by the spurious reference in J.O. Randell's book mentioned above.

William Fogg - The Wiley old Fox

Early woodcut of
Frank Gardiner,
The Bushranger.
c. 1861.
During his time in the Abercrombie/Goulburn and Fish River area, Francis Christie formed a close and enduring friendship with a man named William Fogg. Fogg, an ex-convict, had arrived in NSW in 1832 after being sentenced to seven years for stealing hats. Originally from Colchester, Fogg had worked as a factory boy before finding himself on the wrong side of the law. He received a ticket-of-freedom in 1840 and eventually married Mary Taylor, settling in the remote parts of the Fish River.

Fogg's reputation was marred by his involvement in various forms of theft and criminal activities across southern NSW, particularly in areas such as Abercrombie, Wheeo, and Bungendore. He developed a close association with the notorious bushranger John Peisley during the 1850s, further cementing his involvement in unlawful pursuits. Fogg constantly found himself under police scrutiny, yet managed to evade conviction on multiple occasions.

One such instance was an alleged incident in 1845, where he was accused of stealing brandy. Despite the accusations and the watchful eyes of the authorities, Fogg managed to escape the consequences of his actions. His knack for eluding conviction added to his reputation as a cunning and elusive character within the criminal underworld.

Despite Fogg's propensity for illegal activities, he and Christie formed a deep bond based on their shared inclinations and experiences as ex-convicts. Their friendship endured throughout the years, with both men finding solace and companionship in their unconventional lifestyles

William Fogg was indicted for stealing a quantity of brandy, and a bottle, the property John Hay. Mr. Holroyd defended the prisoner. The Jury, after some consideration, found him not guilty, and he was discharged.

1846 stealing nails: 

William Fogg was indicted for stealing at Braidwood, on the 20th October last; 2000 nails. The property of one William Hawes. Mr Holroyd defended the prisoner. The Jury found him not guilty, and he was discharged.

Peisley also emerged as an accomplice of Christie's:

While on Cockatoo Island he was exceedingly reserved and distant in his manner, and the only prisoner on the island who appeared to be familiar with him was the notorious John Peisley. 

Christie's familiarity with John Peisley predated their time together in Cockatoo Island, primarily through their shared association with Fogg. Peisley's imprisonment for horse stealing and subsequent trial on July 13th, 1854, occurred four months after Francis Clarke (formerly known as Francis Christie) was convicted for horse stealing and sent to Cockatoo Island in March 1854.

It is worth noting that Fogg's legal encounters and those within his criminal circle were dealt with by Solicitor Mr. Holroyd, who also served as a Member of Parliament for the Bathurst constituency. In 1881, Holroyd ascended to the position of Justice of the Supreme Court.

This information sheds light on the interconnections between Christie, Peisley, and Fogg, suggesting a network of individuals involved in illicit activities, with legal professionals occasionally intertwined within their affairs.

The Yass Affair New South Wales

However, in February 1854, after almost three years off the scene since fleeing Pentridge Gaol. Christie emerged in company with Edward Prior, herding horses to Yass for sale by auctioneer Mr John Moses. When arrested over the suspect horses, Christie stated they had come down 60 miles from Tunea. Tunea is 10 miles from Fogg's home near Bigga. His accomplice, Edward Prior, hailed from Goulburn, where he lived with his family:

Edward Prior is the son of Mr Henry Prior of this town, and has hitherto borne an irreproachable character.

Certificate of
Licence, Henry
Prior, Goulburn 1853
New South Wales,
Australia, Certificates for
Publicans' Licenses,
1830-1849, 1853-1899
Edward Prior's father, Henry Prior, was the Travellers Rest hotel licensee in Grafton St Goulburn. Interestingly, on applying for his license, Henry Prior already established the hotel prematurely. Initially, Prior was rejected as a licensee on the evidence of the Chief Constable. However, upon review, it was again dismissed and then finally granted. There is no doubt that Frank Gardiner, through the patronage of the hotel, knew and recruited Edward Prior into his horse-stealing scheme. In 1857 Edward Prior was released from Parramatta Gaol. He and his family relocated to Newtown, Sydney and owned the 
'Crown and Anchor Hotel.

Note: Edward Prior in 1870 married Eliza O'Meally a first cousin of bushranger John O'Meally shot dead at Goimbla Station Eugowra in November 19 1863. Eliza was born in 1852. They married at Binalong NSW.

Nevertheless, enacting the same method as at Mt Sturgeon in 1850. Christie at Yass once more penned a receipt of ownership of the stolen horses and presented it to the Yass auctioneer. A publican with a reputation of mixing with the rough element in Yass Mr George Douglas of the White Swan Inn, Comur Street suspicious of Christie supplied Chief Constable M'Jannett with information that Christie/Clarke ordered a drink and writing paper where he transcribed a receipt for the stolen horse's. Chief Constable M'Jannett deposed;

Mr George Douglas, Innkeeper, at Yass, proved that on the 26th the prisoner Clarke came to his house and calling for a nobbler of brandy, asked for paper and ink and going into the parlour sat down to write; witness gave the Chief Constable the next day a portion of paper from the same as that he had given to prisoner. [The paper corresponded with that on which the receipt of the horses signed "Joseph Williams," and dated the 16th Feb., was written.]

Another Christie alias, Williams.

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:

Francis Clarke, and Edward Prior, late of the Fish River, in the colony of New South Wales, were indicted for stealing, at the Fish River aforesaid, on the 1st July last, five horses, five mares, and five geldings, of the goods and chattels of one John Reid.

Note; The date of horse theft 1st July 1853. As will be noted later these circumstances preclude Frank Gardiner/Francis Christie from any association with the Victorian McIvor digging gold robbery 1853.

Chief Constable Robert M'Jannett sent for Reid, who identified the horses. John Reid, sworn in stated:

Is a settler residing at the Fish River; recollects seeing five horses at the Royal Hotel, at Yass, on the 28th of February last; these horses are my property; I never sold them to any person; I received information that these horses were in the possession of the police. 

Robert McJannett.
New South Wales,
Australia, Returns
of the Colony, 1854.
Beforehand, t
he auctioneer John Moses was the first to suspect his new clients were shady also alerted Chief Constable M'Jennett to his suspicions;

John Moses deposed:--I am an auctioneer at Yass; "I know the prisoners at the bar; the prisoner Prior came to the Royal Hotel on the 26th February, in quest of some provisions, and stated that his employer had some horses to take to the Ovens, but as they were too much knocked up he had changed his mind, and thought of selling them in Yass; he said that he and his employer had been up with the horses all night in the bush; Mr. Hart, the landlord told him that I was an auctioneer and had a a sale the next day; I gave him one of my posting bills to show to his employer, and told him that if the horses were brought in early, I would sell them on the following morning; on the same evening prisoner Clarke came and brought back the posting bill and told me if I put some bills up the next morning I should have a good sale of the horses, and that they would be ready on the following morning; the prisoners brought in 16 horses that night and put them in Mr. Hart's yard; Clarke told me he had purchased them at Tuena diggings; either on that night or the following morning, Mr. Hart gave me a paper; I showed it to Clarke who said it was right, and that it contained the brands and colors of the horses; Prior was not present at the time; the list consisted of 13 horses; on examining the horses I found that five of them had R reversed on them, while the letter was not so in the receipt; I pointed the circumstance out to Clarke, who said it must he a mistake, describing the brands on the receipt.

Henry Hart, whose hotel was situated on the corner of Comur and Meehan Streets where the horses were yarded stated, ‘The Sydney Morning Herald’ on Tuesday 21st March 1854:

Henry Hart, of the Royal Hotel, Yass, proved that the prisoners came to his house, on Sunday, 26th February last, that they had a number of horses with them, which they wanted to sell; Clarke gave me the receipt, now produced, to hand to Mr Moses, the auctioneer, as a description of the horses for sale, which I did the next morning; the horses were taken by the Police, and both the prisoners apprehended.

Christie explained that the horses had come from Tunea. Robert M'Jannett discovered otherwise, whereby, for Christie/Clarke and Edward Prior. The jig was up! Furthermore, Prior also claimed that he was only employed by Christie to herd horses to Melbourne:

Chief Constable M'Jannett deposed:- That on Monday the 27th February he saw Clarke who said that he had bought the horses from Joseph Williams, at Tuena; Mr John Reid owned five of them on Thursday following; Mr Reid lives on the Fish River, and his station is about 40 miles from Yass and about half way between that town and Tuena; when Prior was in the lock-up he said he was only the hired servant of Clarke and did not know any of the horses. 

Another officer, constable Pagett, revealed that he had known Christie at Goulburn from round 1852 but under the name of Clarke:

Constable Pagett deposed:--Knows the prisoners, who live near each other in Goulburn; he knew prisoner Clarke under the name of Gardener; Prior lived with his father, and was occasionally absent from Goulburn.

Hart's Royal Hotel,
c. 1849.
Yass & District Historical Society.

After being held in custody, preliminary evidence gathered, the two prisoners were transported and tried at the Goulburn Assizes. (a court that formerly sat at intervals in each provincial town) on 17th March 1854. The Goulburn Herald and County of Argyle Advertiser' Saturday 18th March 1854 gave an overview of the case: 

Horse Stealing. - Last week, the police at Yass apprehended two young men who gave their names as Francis Clarke and Edward Prior on suspicion of stealing sixteen head of horses which they had driven into that town for the purpose of being sold by auction. Five of the horses have Mr David Reid's brand on them. Clarke made a statement to Mr M'Jennett, the Chief Constable, of the manner in which they had come in possession of the horses, which they said they had purchased from one Joseph Williams at Tuena. There is reason to believe that this account of their possession is false, as no such person as Joseph Williams is known at Tuena. Edward Prior is the son of Mr Henry Prior of this town and has hitherto borne an irreproachable character. Francis Clark is also of Goulburn, his real name being Gardiner. 

The two were convicted on two charges of horse stealing from Mr Reid and Barker. The Judge handed down his findings:

Sentence on Clarke—to be worked on the roads, or other public works of the colony, for seven years. Sentence, Clarke, to be worked on the roads, for seven years, to commence at the expiration of the first seven years, already passed; and the prisoner Prior, to be imprisoned in Parramatta Gaol, with hard labour, for three years.

How wrong they were on Francis' identity! Christie held his breath, for if he Clarke was exposed as Christie, he would have been sent back to Victoria to face escape charges that may have resulted in a death penalty for shooting with intent at a prison guard. Fourteen years was a daunting stretch for horse stealing. (See link below for Christie's 1854 court proceedings)
The Goulburn Herald and County of Argyle Advertiser
Saturday 18th March 1854 
 Francis Clarke and Edward Prior entered on 30th March 1854. Clarke received 14 years on the roads and young Prior to 3 years Parramatta Gaol. Note here Boro Creek as Clarke's native place. New South Wales, Australia, Gaol Description and Entrance Books, 1818-1930. 
Following sentencing at Goulburn NSW, Christie received seven years on the first charge. However, in what appeared unusual for the time, the second sentence of seven years to be served at the expiration of the first seven and not concurrently for a total of 14yrs servitude was rare. Initially, Christie was sent to Darlinghurst prison then Cockatoo Island.

Guilty! With fourteen years ahead of him, Gardiner was handed over to John Pagett, a senior constable in the Goulburn police force who later stated;

I was in the Goulburn Circuit Court on the 17th March 1854; prisoner was being tried for horse stealing; there were two charges tried at the same sitting; he was tried under the name of Francis Clarke; His Honor the Chief Justice was on the Bench; a man named Reid owned the horses in one case, and a Mr Barker in the other; they both lived at the Fish River; prisoner was convicted on both charges; I escorted the prisoner from Goulburn gaol to Wingello; the warrant was to convey him to Cockatoo Island; at Wingello I gave prisoner and the warrant into the charge of a constable named Paterson; there were three other constables with me in the escort.¹⁰

John Pagett
New South Wales, Australia,
Registers of Police Employment,
1847-1885 for John Pagett

Note: John Pagett retired in 1873 on a first-class constables pension of 4s. 4d. per Diem.

Cockatoo Island Sydney.

Cockatoo Island (1839-1872) was notorious as a harsh penal establishment for those who failed to conform. During its operation, Charles Ormsby oversaw the prison as superintendent from 1842 to 1859. For Christie, arriving at Cockatoo Island was a tense period, as his previous escape in Victoria could potentially be revealed. Yet, he began his sentence there quietly, blending in as just another mug convict facing a daunting term that could break even the most resilient men.

Francis Clarke Cockatoo Island Penal Establishment Cockatoo Island: Transportation Registers, 1853-1855

Life at Cockatoo was as regimented as any other NSW prison facility. To be incarcerated there, one did not need to be the most heinous offender; even horse theft, though serious, was not a crime of violence against a person.

However, Christie found himself somewhat fortunate at Cockatoo Island. Many new convicts were being redirected to Newcastle to labour on the breakwater then being built in the harbour, a perilous and gruelling task that proved fatal for some. Christie's fortune held, and he adapted to prison life. Nonetheless, with the island's closeness to the shores of Sydney Harbour, the prospect of escape undoubtedly lingered in his thoughts, requiring him to bide his time.

During his first year on Cockatoo Island, Christie was disciplined twice for misconduct. On the first occasion, he was confined to the cells for three days. The second incident involved a foiled escape attempt; he and another convict Joseph Roberts were caught loitering in the lumber yard, having hidden there for several days.

30th April, 1855 - Disobedience of orders; three days cells. 17th April 1856 - Absented himself on the afternoon of this day, in company with Joseph Roberts, a native, and remained secreted until the evening of Sunday, the 20th April, 1856, when he was apprehended in the lumber yard. His conduct since then has been generally good.

However, Clarke's 2nd escape attempt appeared well organised:

On Cockatoo Island he attempted to make his escape by secreting himself. He was concealed for some five or six days, notwithstanding that every possible search was made to discover his whereabouts; and when found in his hiding place it appeared that he was plentifully supplied with provisions.

Note: Joseph Roberts had been convicted of robbery in March 1854 and was released on a Ticket of Leave in 1857.

Prison life on Cockatoo consisted of many varied types of work, such as stone masonry, cabbage-tree hat and mat-making. For some prisoners, they even received a wage to the value of:

From a penny to three pence per day, they managed to buy tea and sugar, and even pipes and tobacco.

However, Clarke did not receive wages. In fact, before long he was seen as a malingerer and would be found concocting some ailment to avoid his duties and regularly presented himself at the infirmary known as the 'Invalid Bank'. Frank knew how to milk the system:

The "Invalid Bank," a spare piece of ground used by the sick prisoners as a recreation ground and occupied by such of the patients whose infirmities did not necessitate their lying up in the hospital. The dispensary attached to the hospital was well stocked and supervised by a competent chemist. This spot was a favourite place of Gardiner the bushranger, and as he always had some ailment, or pretended to have, nearly the whole of his time was spent thereon. 

Although facing a long period of incarceration Clarke apparently keep much to himself and was noted as polite and respected;

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

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;

Clarke, alias Gardiner, is said to be an excellent arithmetician, and very ingenious in the art of carving on bone.

Provisions for Clarke and his fellow inmates of Cockatoo, which at any one time held as many as 600-700 men consisted of plenty of grub, nobody went without;

The meal from which the "hominy" (a type of biscuit) was made was boiled all night in an iron boiler, holding about 400 gallons, and the instrument used to stir it was the blade of a paddle or oar. Tin dishes, pint pots, knives, and forks were provided for their use. Large sheds were erected in the prison yards in which they took their meals, and were sheltered from the inclemency of the weather when not employed on the works of the Island. An extensive garden, presided over by a prisoner and worked with prison labour, provided a superabundance of vegetables and ingredients for the soup drunk by the prisoners. 

Attempted Escape Cockatoo Island

Escape from Cockatoo Island posed significant risks, including treacherous currents, sharp oyster shells littering the rocky shorelines, sharks, and other perilous barriers. Yet, these dangers did not dissuade determined men from attempting the desperate swim to freedom. Many tried; many failed. Francis Clarke was among those who dared to escape, making two such attempts.

An account from a former prisoner who served time alongside Clarke offers a glimpse into his early days in prison and details his efforts to flee. This account emerged after the infamous bushranger's release and subsequent deportation in 1874. Although the author's real name has been lost to history, they wrote under the pseudonym 'Old Hand,' chronicling Clarke’s daring escape attempts.; 'Freeman's Journal' Saturday 26th May 1877;

One fine time Gardiner went to work, and in company with three other men were working at the quarry and removing stone from there to the water's edge for the purpose of enlarging the island. It happened to be a foggy morning. Usually, on such occasions, the prisoners were called in from the works, but this morning the fog came on suddenly, and the prisoners determined to take advantage of it. Having drawn the stone to the water's edge, they slipped into the water one after the other and made for the opposite shore. Gardiner being a good swimmer, soon placed a considerable distance between him and the inland. One or two of his companions had leg-irons on at the time. They were soon missed, and the alarm was given, and about twenty policemen and thirty soldiers were firing at them. The bullets could be seen splashing the water about the prisoners like hailstones, and a cap that Gardiner had on being puffed up with water, a bullet passed through it taking it off his head. They had reached within a few yards of the opposite shore when the police boat went in pursuit of them and captured them. They did not admit the prisoners into the boat but made them hold on to a rope, and in this manner, they were "towed" to shore, where they received dry clothes, and had six months extra added on to their sentence.

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

Note: The writer of the above was a former inmate with Christie/Clarke, penned his story after Gardiner's release, and as his early life had been well publicised following his 1864 trial when his time at Cockatoo and alias' were exposed. Therefore, to prevent confusion, the author highlights in his reminisce as Gardiner instead of Clarke, a name the public no doubt instantly recognised.

A Ticket-of-Leave

Cockatoo Island Prison.
c. 1860.
Courtesy N.L.A.

However, after five years and two unsuccessful escapes at Cockatoo Island, Christie determined there must be a better way than working the chisel and faking illness. Subsequently set about applying for his freedom while still having some ten years to run on his original sentence of fourteen years. Fortunately for 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. Government documents use both Clark and Clarke

Francis Clark (Christie)
Ticket-of Leave, December
NSW Reports of Crime.
Therefore, looking to the help of old William Fogg and others' hard lobbying in 1859. Frank's freedom was achieved via the much sought after 
''Ticket of Leave''. 

Note: However, of interest, there appeared in 1864 (Annexed below) a review of Christie's earlier crimes in NSW. Laying out the chronological path from Christie's first sentence at Cockatoo Island as Francis Clarke and his procurement of a ''Ticket of Leave''. Amazingly achieved through the duping of leading Wheeo and Lachlan district citizens. It included those who convicted him in 1854. As such, under their influence and lobbying, Christie succeeded; ''Illustrated Sydney News'' Saturday 16th July 1864;

In February 1854, Gardiner (then called Clarke) stole five horses from Mr John Reid, of the Fish River; he afterwards put them into the hands of an auctioneer at Yass for sale, sending a lad named Prior with them, who represented to the auctioneer that they had been purchased by his master (Clarke) at Tuena Creek-a place fifty miles distant from Reid's. Clarke produced a pretended receipt (a forgery) for the price of the animals, but the brand, which was a very peculiar one, had been mistaken in this document, and it was proved, that Clarke wrote it himself in the inn, at Yass, where he lodged. Clarke also stole, in the same month and in the same district, two other horses, the property of a Mr Barker, of the Fish River. For these he produced a receipt dated in January, purporting to have been signed at Goulburn by a Mr Elliott. These horses were also sent to the auctioneer at Yass for sale. Prior stated that they had been purchased for the Melbourne market.

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

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

Cancellation and warrant
for Ticket of Leave.

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

Francis Clarke and Edward Prior entry Cockatoo Island 1854, note Gardiner as stout.

Arrested and escaped whilst
at Burrangong diggings.
3rd May 1861.

NSW Police Gazette.
Through the early period of incarceration and scrutiny when tending for parole, Frank's outstanding Victorian warrant remained unchallenged. Christie's true identity was overlooked. Allowing Clarke's luck to hold as his Victorian adventure was not exposed until his release in May 1874:

From the convict records, respecting the conviction of an offender named Francis Christie for horse stealing at Geelong, in 1850, and his escape from Pentridge Stockade in the following year, are believed to refer to Christie, alias Gardiner, alias Clarke. This record, however, was not known to the classification board when Gardiner's ticket-of-leave was recommended in 1859, nor was it known to the Comptroller-General of prisons, or the Government, until a few days ago.
The outstanding Victorian matters appeared to die a natural death, and were never pursued.

Furthermore, with fourteen years of hard labour ahead of him, it might have been supposed that Clarke's future enterprises would have been checked. In 1858 whilst incarcerated at Cockatoo Island, his stepfather Henry Munro sold part of his extensive holdings at Portland and took up a station at the Ararat diggings;

PURCHASE OF STATION. -"We understand that Mr Munro, lately of Crawford station, has made a recent purchase of half of the large station, known as Lexington, near the Ararat diggings."¹¹

Francis Clarke,
Ticket of Leave. 1859

Never before published.
After five years at Cockatoo Island, Christie appeared redeemed and was granted a 'Ticket-of-Leave' under Francis Clarke. John Taylor, the clerk at Cockatoo Island, recollected;

I have been a clerk at the penal settlement at Cockatoo; the prisoner was there from April 1854 to 27th December 1859; the warrant produced came with him. I was at Cockatoo during the whole-time prisoner was there; his conduct was generally good, excepting on one occasion when he secreted himself for some days; he received a ticket-of-leave for the district of Carcoar.¹² 

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:

Clarke, has been recommended for a ticket-of-leave this month, and the Classification Board have offered no objection to his receiving the indulgence for Carcoar, the nearest police district to the Lachlan River - Convict Department, December 13, 1859. - JNO. M'LERIE, Inspector General of Police.

The same McLerie who had promulgated Christie's warrant for his escape from Pentridge in 1851. Who also went so far as to promote Gardiner's freedom:

Gentlemen,— I have previously placed myself in communication with the Government in respect of soliciting that the Crown prisoner intimated in the margin may be granted a ticket-of-leave for the Lachlan River district. I have interested myself in this young man's behalf from principle since his conviction, it is known to me that he was the dupe of artful and designing knaves, who, profiting by his inexperience and knowledge of the world, left him to wither his best years in abject servitude.

The two prosecutors in this case have given me their signatures, and they respectfully invoke the clemency of the Government. They recommend a ticket-of-leave to be granted for the district; they are not apprehensive of wrong being meditated by him.

I have already pledged myself to find permanent employment for this man on one or other of my stations. And, gentlemen, in conclusion, I will say, in assisting individually to carry out the beneficent intentions of the Government, by granting a ticket-of-leave, to reclaim and restore to society an erring member of society, I shall do meritorious service, and respectfully trust that you, gentlemen, will second me in my endeavours.

I shall presume on the favor of your acknowledgement of receipt of this communication.
JNO McLerie. 
Dec 13 1859.

So bold and confident was Christie that he could even convince those he had stolen from (Mr Reid and Barker in 1854) to place the right word in his favour.'Illustrated Sydney News' 16th July 1864;

The ticket-of-leave was recommended, and granted, on sundry certificates signed-or purporting so to be-by (among others) Edward Ledsam, Esq., of Reid's Flat, Wheeo; and Henry Newham, Esq., same place, Lachlan River; speaking of Gardiner in strong terms of sympathy, as a mere dupe of other persons in the crimes for which he had been sentenced, and offering him as "an erring member of society" employment in their service. And Messrs. John Reid, and Edward Barker, the prosecutors in two of the cases before the Chief Justice, also recommended the indulgence.

A copy of those who facilitated Clarke/Gardiners release:
Attached to this document was the following: Weego, December, 1859.
We, the undersigned householders, residing in the districts of Bathurst and Carcoar, hereby certify to your Excellency that we have read the annexed petition, and declare that we knew the said Francis Clarke a considerable time before his conviction, and have known him since, and we beg conscientiously and strongly to recommend the prayer of the petition.

JOHN REED, grazier, / Prosocutor
EDWARD BARKER, grazier, / Prosocutor
WILLIAM FOGG, grazier.
HENRY NEWMAN, grazier.

Note: Richard Taylor is Fogg's brother in law and the man who took Kitty Brown to New Zealand, where Kitty ultimately took her own life. Taylor was recorded as abusive toward Kitty.
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 Ledsam who also championed release refers to Clarke as Gardiner:

Sir,- I beg leave respectfully to place myself in communication with you; having reference to the Crown prisoner herein named, who has, I am informed, become eligible from some years probation of penal servitude at "Cockatoo Prison Established" for "ticket-of-Leave."

It is within my knowledge that the parties who prosecuted this man have transmitted or appended their certificates in his behalf, the gist of their recommendation being that Gardiner might be granted his indulgence of a ' ticket ' for the Lachlan district.

Persons of undoubted character and respectability are willing to engage him; they have subscribed to the petition in these terms.

And in addition to their zeal in this young man's behalf, I beg leave to become an advocate in the same cause. Trusting that the Executive Government will enable the friends of this unfortunate young man to establish him in credit and to earn for himself a good name, &c.

E Ledsam
Dec 13 1859.

Note: Henry Munro sold his extensive Victorian holding's c. 1864 and sailed for Argentina, where he had land interests as well. However, after a short stay, Henry returned to England then to France, where sadly, he died in c. 1869 reputedly at Maison Chapitre, Saint Servan near St Malo, in France. His second wife, Catherine (Kate), passed away in 1889 in London. Other reports state Henry died n Malaga Spain and is buried at Cementerio Inglés de Málaga. Furthermore the signatory in the above letter is Mr Ledsam a close and longtime trusted friend of William Fogg. Both conspired to fabricate much of the correspondence that obtained Francis Clarke's Ticket of Leave.

Sir John Young
12th Governor of
New South Wales
On Gardiner's release from Cockatoo Island in 1859, he nominated Carcoar as his 'Ticket-of-Leave' district due to it being the domicile of William Fogg. Arriving in Carcoar, it is reputed that Gardiner inquired at the police office of the whereabouts of Fogg but was informed that he had left for the upper reaches of Lachlan River in the adjacent Georgiana County. Gardiner was also notified that he was forbidden to leave the Carcoar district as a 'Ticket-of-Leave' holder under any circumstances.

John Peisley

Gardiner headed for the Abercrombie.

However, after a short stint at compliance, Christie crossed the line and shot through from Carcoar after being linked to earlier robberies in the company John Peisley near Cowra:

Became associated with Gardiner, the bushranger, and they had the credit of sticking up many people, besides coaches.

Cooma Mail Robbery

On March 18, 1860, Frank Gardiner and an accomplice, fitting the descriptions of two notorious outlaws, intercepted the Cooma Mail Coach 13 miles from Queanbeyan. The coach was carrying mail from Cooma, Queanbeyan, Nimitybell, and Bombala, and had two passengers, Mr. Rannegar and Mr. Stewart. The bandits forced the passengers off, tied them to a tree, and robbed them of their watches before fleeing successfully.

Police Gazette Peisley
Following a string of suspected robberies, Gardiner parted ways with Peisley. Accompanied by Fogg, he moved to Lambing Flat, drawn by news of the lucrative gold discoveries there. However, Magistrate Beardmore of Carcoar was aware of Gardiner's criminal activities and, notably, his involvement in the Cooma robbery. Beardmore claimed that a ten-pound note stolen from the Cooma mail had been traced back to Gardiner. With substantial evidence against him and multiple charges looming, Gardiner had ample motivation to leave the area.

Despite the pressure, Gardiner and Fogg began a new venture in Lambing Flat, attempting to start afresh amidst the gold rush excitement.

Lambing Flat

Seizing an opportunity, Frank Gardiner, under another alias Francis Jones, teamed up with William Fogg and moved to Lambing Flat, drawn by the booming gold rush. The pair set up a butcher shop amidst the influx of thousands seeking fortune, arriving around mid-1860. By August of that year, the discovery of payable gold by Michael Sheedy in June had ignited the largest gold rush in New South Wales. Gardiner and Fogg capitalised on this by trading beef throughout these bustling times.

However, after twelve mnths in the gold rush town Gardiner's past caught up with him when his ticket of leave was revoked on May 15, 1861, by Governor Sir John Young after Gardiner failed to report to the police after leaving his parole district of Carcoar as was required. Meanwhile, at Lambing Flat, suspicions grew around Gardiner for potentially orchestrating a cattle theft operation to supply his butchering business. Despite these suspicions, the local law enforcement, led by Captain Battye, was primarily occupied with managing the anti-Chinese sentiment prevalent among the miners.

In 1860, before his ticket was cancelled, Gardiner had cunningly petitioned for a full pardon, using the names of prominent individuals as references without their knowledge or consent. Christie, also known by other aliases besides Jones such as Clarke his Cockatoo Island identity and Gardiner, clearly had a knack for deception and illicit activities like horse and cattle theft, which seemed to be in his DNA.'The Brisbane Courier' Monday 18th July 1864;

In December 1860, holding then a ticket-of-leave for Carcoar, Gardiner petitioned for a pardon. His application was strongly recommended by "Isaac Shepherd, J.P., Wheeo," and eight others of that neighbourhood, and was accompanied by various certificates, as to his having been "led astray by others," when a very young man, &c. &c. These papers were sent to the Chief Justice, who thereupon suggested further inquiry. Accordingly, the Police Magistrate of Carcoar; was referred to for a report, and he stated, that ever since March 1860 Gardiner had been generally suspected of being concerned in various robberies in the neighbourhood, and that, a warrant was actually then out against him for cattle stealing. On the 14th May, Gardiner absconded from his bail, and became a bushranger.

Isaac Shepard, Jun, J.P.

Private Source.
Unfortunately, Christie's request came unstuck when his activities were highlighted by the Magistrate at Carcoar, Mr Beardman. Francis' application for the petition was fraudulent through the use of a letter from a prominent Wheeo local Isaac Shepherd, J.P. who would later deny any knowledge of support for Christie in 1864;

Mr Isaac Shepherd, jun., J.P. of Wheeo, asserts that his signature which appears to a document by which Gardiner first obtained his ticket-of-leave, is a forgery.

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';

For deciding on claims for rewards for the discovery of goldfields in the south-western district, has recommended that the maximum amount, £300, be awarded to Michael Sheedy, for the discovery of the Burrangong goldfield.

Note: Michael Sheedy would go on to open a new type of gold mine and reap a new harvest through a general store and hardware. Sheedy became quite influential at Burrangong. 

Consequently, the ramshackle town of Lambing Flat was created, and Fogg and Gardiner were conducting a roaring business. Lambing Flat was described in an extract from the 'Goulburn Herald', 1860:

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

Butchers Shop

Lambing Flat.
c. 1862.
Young Historical Society.
However, Fogg and Christie turned it into a gold mine of their own. Alfred Horsington bailed up by Gardiner in March 1862, said in 1864:

Gardiner had been keeping a butcher's shop at Spring Creek, on Lambing Flat, in partnership with a man named Fogg. I knew Gardiner well, and recognised him fifty yards before he came up to us.

While at Lambing Flat, the ever-present use of alias's reared its head again when Christie was reputedly employing a pseudonym of Francis Jones:

Towards the end of this year, we find him carrying on butchering operations near Lambing Flat, in conjunction with his friend Fogg, and under the assumed name of Jones.
Goldfield butchers shop.
c. 1861.

The demand for cattle in the butchering business at Lambing Flat was relentless, and sourcing them proved to be labour-intensive. The goldfields were teeming with men, many of whom were unscrupulous about engaging in theft. Among those Frank Gardiner encountered was a young Canadian horse-breaker from Kilmore, Victoria named Johnny Gilbert, who was working at nearby Marengo. John O'Meally, a stockman from the rugged Weddin Mountains, also joined the mix. Gardiner employed several other hardened local criminals who were accustomed to rustling livestock.

John Davis, a man from Singleton who would soon become Gardiner's right-hand man, was among these. Originally a carpenter, Davis had previously worked for Patrick O'Meally—father of John O'Meally—at Arramagong Station in constructing the family's home and hotel, located about 25 miles northwest in the Weddin Mountains.

The business thrived, leading William Fogg to hire another dubious character, Thomas Matthews, who also went by the alias Thomas Richards. Matthews was an ex-convict, having been released from Tasmania around 1850 after serving ten years of a fourteen-year sentence. He had wandered the diggings of Ovens River near Beechworth, Ballarat, and Castlemaine, where he was expelled for cheating at thimbles and had murky connections, including a stint linked to a brothel. Additionally, he had faced rape charges in Adelaide. Arriving at Fish River NSW, Matthews soon made Fogg's acquaintance and joined the butchering operation at Lambing Flat, where he was often referred to as Tom, the butcher, or by some as Double Dummy. Known to have ties with John Maguire, a business associate of Ben Hall, Matthews later provided key information about the Eugowra Gold Escort Robbery and was suspected of involvement in several of Gardiner’s heists. When the Lambing Flat undertaking was scuttled, it was said that;

Richards had evidently been following the same occupation as Gardiner, and when he found the business was getting rather dangerous, he commenced making soda water at Forbes.

While Frank was at Lambing Flat, his customers and confederates commenced referring to him as Gardiner or Darky owing to his dark hair and swarthy complexion. (The swarthy complexion may well be from Roman decent.) At the beginning of the business, Gardiner went about seeking out those shady youths loitering the Flat's streets for the job of cattle duffing.

John Gilbert and John O'Meally - The Wild Colonial Boys
John Gilbert.

Lambing Flat teemed with young men too indolent to toil with pick and shovel. In his search for capable accomplices, Gardiner met the dashing and youthful John Gilbert. Despite their age difference, the two quickly formed a close bond, both originating from Victoria, with Gilbert hailing from Kilmore a town that Gardiner was likely familiar with from his younger days at Campasne. It's conceivable that they shared mutual acquaintances in Kilmore.

By the time they met, Gilbert was already a polished con artist, adept in horsemanship and handling difficult livestock, making him an ideal recruit for Gardiner’s cattle rustling operations. Gilbert wasn’t just street-savvy; he also possessed a deep understanding of the local geography, crucial at a time when fencing was rare and cattle frequently roamed unattended. Known for being a part-time bush telegraph, Gilbert always seemed to have money, living comfortably in a boarding house in Lambing Flat. He had a keen eye for identifying profitable targets and often tipped off his associates about potential victims.

With Gardiner’s backing, Gilbert took on the responsibility of both legitimately purchasing and clandestinely acquiring cattle. In this role, he introduced his fellow stockman, John O'Meally, into the fold, further expanding their operations.

Even in those days’ butchers in a country town had price wars, and a butcher employed Gilbert to buy cattle for him. For this purpose, Gilbert visited the stations. At one he would buy so many heads of cattle; at the next one he would probably take a similar number, so by the time he handed them over to the butcher, he had quite a number for a very small outlay. Of course, the butcher could then sell meat very cheaply, and he made a fortune.

Mrs Betsy Toms
c. 1920.

Courtesy NLA
Fogg and Gardiner's butcher's shop was recounted by one of the first residents to the Burrangong/Lambing Flat gold rush, Mrs Betsy Toms and her husband. Betsy reminisced in her twilight years how she knew Christie under the name of Gardiner and stated how as thousands massed at the new township Gardiner was one of the fairest beef sellers and that she held a soft spot for him in her heart, declaring in the 'Wellington Times' Monday 26 June 1922;

He kept the butcher's shop near to our place, and his was the only place at that time where you could get a piece of meat in reason. The prices up to then, and elsewhere, were outrageous and the fool police said he must have got his meat on the cross (stolen) to be able to sell it at a price. He was the only one willing to make a fair thing out of it. Certainly, there was a lot of cattle duffing–the whole district was alive with it. 

As a result, the illicit acquisition of cattle (known as "on the cross") inevitably drew the attention of local law enforcement, led by Captain Battye. The dubious origins of the stock at Fogg and Gardiner's butcher shop raised numerous suspicions. Captain Battye, determined to curb cattle theft, frequently raided butchers suspected of shady dealings, intensifying his focus on their operation. This scrutiny eventually paid off for the police, who gathered enough evidence to support their suspicions about Fogg and Gardiner's illegal activities. In April 1861, under the multiple aliases of Christie/Clarke/Jones/Gardiner, Frank Gardiner was apprehended by a trooper named Westacott at Spring Creek and faced charges not of cattle stealing but of horse stealing;

He was arrested at his shop at Spring Creek, brought into Lambing Flat, and charged at the Gold Commissioner's Court with horse-stealing.

However, confusion over Gardiner's identity persisted, and in May 1861, while held in custody at Burrangong, he managed to convince the police that he was not the individual they were seeking. As a result, he was granted bail. Christie, though a Scotsman, seemed to possess the luck of the Irish. Seizing the opportunity, he quickly left Lambing Flat and fled to Fogg's farm on the Fish River, located 100 miles away. The "Burrangong Miner's" news columns contain the following:

Absconded from Bail: Francis Jones, alias Gardiner, for horse-stealing, was recently admitted to bail, himself in £200, and two sureties of £100 each. When the case came on for hearing, yesterday, Jones, alias Gardiner, was non-est, and there cannot be a doubt that he has made himself scarce.

William Fogg fronted the money for Gardiner's bail, and after securing his release, both quickly fled to the remote Fish River. This escape led to a loss of £400 as the bail money was forfeited, an amount roughly equivalent to $33,000 today. Frustrated by the accusations, Gardiner reportedly placed an advertisement in the "Burrangong Miner" vehemently denying the claims against him, asserting that the allegations of his thievery were completely fabricated;

ADVERTISEMENT: Sir,—Having seen a paragraph in the "Miner" and "General Advertiser," of 4th May, headed, Absconded from Bail, wherein I am charged with horse-stealing, I merely wish to inform the party, whoever he may be, that he is a willful and corrupt liar. FRANCIS GARDINER, The Accused. P.S.: I long for an interview once more with Samuel Westoocot.

Note; I have been unable to ascertain who Samuel Westoocot, Westacott/Westcott is as yet. It is believed he was the trooper who arrested Gardiner at his business at Stoney Creek. However, there is a record of a trooper named John Westacott in the new NSW police 1862 attached to the M division covering the Braidwood district. This may well be the policeman stationed at Lambing Flat as part of the reinforcements for the Chinese troubles 1861 under the old police system.

Gunfight at the Fish River.

john middelton
Sgt John Middleton wearing
 his Silver Bravery Medal

awarded  for Gardiner's
capture. Middleton
was dismissed from the
police, but was
subsequently reinstated.
Coloured by me. 

After returning to Fogg's farm, news of Gardiner's whereabouts reached Mr. Beardmore (1827- 1910), the magistrate in Carcoar. He received intelligence that Gardiner was in the Lachlan River area at Fogg’s and was linked to a series of armed robberies alongside the bushranger John Peisley. Acting on this information, Beardmore ordered troopers Middleton and Hosie to re-arrest Christie/Clarke under the existing warrant issued for suspicion of working with Peisley and as a parole outside his assigned district.

On July 16, 1861, Constables Hosie and Sergeant Middleton carried out the arrest. Both officers were diligent and well-known in the Carcoar police district, which extended to Trunkey, a gold-mining town also notorious for its bushranging activities. John Peisley, in particular, was a prominent figure in the local criminal scene, leading a gang of bushrangers. While Gardiner had previously fled from Lambing Flat and became active in the area, the dogged efforts of Middleton and Hosie led to the successful capture of several bushrangers, earning them considerable respect within the district; '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.

William Fogg.
The trooper's suspicion on the possible whereabouts of Gardiner led them directly to a well-known local, the wily old fox William Fogg's farm situated on today's Fogg's Crossing Rd, locally referred to as Fogg's Humpy and where a shyster could pay for a fee the homemade tonics of rum and brandy. Furthermore, it offered a place where a rogue could seek a warm bed on a frigid night far from the reach of the police, who rarely ventured into the rugged backblocks. (William Fogg held several leases in the county's of King (Goulburn) 37 acres Georgiana (Bigga) 41 acres and Carcoar. The Carcoar holding was 1150 acres at 8 pounds 15 shillings per year.) 

However, Fogg had recently returned home from Lambing Flat five weeks earlier in June with Gardiner. Although Middleton had not been to Fogg's before, Hosie had. Therefore, knowing most of the district's shady characters often loitered around Fogg's drew them there. The hunch proved right, and between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. on a cold and misty day with rain falling, the two mounted troopers arrived at Fogg's hut on the banks of the Fish River.

Caught unaware, Mrs Fogg 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. Hearing his comrade's shots, Hosie strode up to the front door and went inside. Gardiner again fired a shot which struck Hosie in the temple, whereby he instantly collapsed, believed dead.

With Middleton entering the home, a panicked Mary Fogg followed, 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 seeing Hosie dead and Middleton bleeding profusely rushed full steam and, out of ammunition, uninjured, lunged at the wounded and dazed Middleton as unknown to Gardiner, 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 finally arose and staggered to Middleton's aid. Gardiner beaten to a pulp had the cuffs applied, and in a semi-conscious state, 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
However, in 1864, the full scope of the confrontation and its viciousness that had been shrouded in mystery and hearsay. At Gardiner's court case after his arrest at Apis Creek, the full facts were brought into the light. Evidence highlighted the battle royal between the police and Gardiner finally emerged. Middleton sorted out the facts from fiction in delivering his testimony on the events. Recounting the life and death struggle in his own words, John Middleton deposed;

On the 16th July, 1861, I was in the police force of the colony, having been in it upwards of eight years; William Hosie was also a constable in the force; Mr. Beardmore was police magistrate at Carcoar: I received instructions from him to apprehend the prisoner; he told me that he could produce evidence to show that prisoner had been guilty of robbing the Cooma mail; he mentioned the prisoner's name as Gardiner; the name was pretty well known at that time as a bushranger; he also told me that Gardiner was a prisoner illegally at large; it was reported that he was along with Peisley; it had frequently been told me that he was; Hosie was not present when Mr. Beardmore gave me my instructions; I heard a month or two before that Gardiner was in the bush; I believed him to be a bushranger at that time; after this conversation with Mr. Beardmore I went to look for Gardiner; on the 16th I went with Hosie to Fogg's, I had never been there before; it was about ten or eleven o'clock in the morning.¹³ 

For complete testimony of Middleton and Hosie. See the newspaper link below.
Sydney Mail
Saturday 9th Jul 1864
Reward Notice 1861.
NSW Police Gazette.
Constable Hosie also recounted his involvement in the affray. However, sometime after the event, Constable Hosie would be vilified, not for his role or bravery in the capture, but the subsequent escape of Frank Gardiner through the rumour of his receiving a handsome bribe of £50. William Hosie deposed:

I was a constable in the police force on the 16th July 1861; I had then been four years continuously in the force; I am now a gold-miner; on the 16th July I went in company with sergeant Middleton to the Fish River; I had no conversation prior to this with Mr. Beardmore, but about two months before this I had received information at the police station from the police force that Gardiner was wanted for the Cooma mail robbery: it was said he was one of those who had stopped and robbed the Cooma mail; we went to the Fish River to Fogg's place.

I had been there about two months before, and had a conversation with them; they knew me, and who I was; they knew me because I was in police uniform, and another trooper named Wilson, also in uniform, was with me; I saw both Fogg and Mrs. Fogg; I had never seen them before; Wilson is now, I believe, in Darlinghurst gaol; the house is in a paddock enclosed in a three-railed fence, and is between two and three hundred yards from the slips rails; Middleton and myself had our police uniform and leggings and ponchos on; the ponchos reached to about the knees, and were not part of the uniform. Mine was of a dark colour; we went to look for Gardiner. I dismounted and took down the slip rails, and Middleton rode on whilst I led my horse through the rails; Middleton reached the house first, and I was fifty or sixty yards behind; I saw Mrs. Fogg fall back like as if she was alarmed when she saw Middleton dismount and go to the house; she held up her hands as if in fright as Middelton was entering the house; I was about twenty yards behind, and almost immediately on Middelton entering I heard two shots fired, almost in succession, one after the other; immediately afterwards Middleton rushed back to the door and told me to go round to the back of the house; he was wounded and covered with blood.
¹⁴ (Also see Link above.)

Later in regards to the fight between Gardiner and the two police. Gardiner was asked if it was true about the bribe to let him escape. Gardiner answered thus;

He said emphatically—"No," and that the man who said so was a liar; he was rescued after fighting with two of the best men he had ever met.

Dramatisation of Gardiner
and Hosie encounter at

Dan Russell, 1952.
Courtesy NLA
After the struggle in which Hosie had been shot in the head by Gardiner, it was initially reported in the newspapers that William Hosie had been killed;

A party of the mounted patrol, who went out after the bushrangers who have lately been committing such depredations in the vicinity of Cowra, have fallen in with one of the gang. In the encounter, which took place sergeant Middleton was wounded, and trooper Hosie killed. One of the bushrangers named Gardiner, was wounded.¹⁵

However, Hosie's death as reported was premature, and in August 1861, the round that stuck Hosie was reported as extracted and his survival a miracle. 'The Courier' Wednesday 11th September 1861: 

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

Following the 'Battle of Foggs Farm', Fogg was arrested for harbouring and bailed on £100 to appear a month later:

The man Fogg, who was apprehended on the charge of harbouring bushrangers, was yesterday admitted to bail, in £100, to appear in a month. We hear to-day that Gardiner, the bushranger, died on Sunday night last.

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 became acquainted with one John Peisley. Both had a common friend, William Fogg. 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.

John Peisley,

New South Wales,
Tickets of Leave,
Never before published.
After three years, in 1857, Peisley was released on a 'Ticket-of-Leave' for the Goulburn district, which included Fogg's new residence in the Abercrombie. By 1860 Peisley built a reputation as a bold Highwayman canvassing the tracks surrounding Cowra, Burrangong, Fish River, Taralga, Trunkey and other settlements near Goulburn. Peisley had become well known as a heavy drinker and reputedly held up travellers while under the weather. He was described as;

About 28 years of age, about 5 ft. 10 ins. high, stout and well made, fresh complexion, very small light whiskers, quite bald on top of head and forehead, several recent marks on face, and a mark from a blow of a spade on top of head; puffed and dissipated-looking from hard drinking; invariably wears fashionable Napoleon boots, dark cloth breeches, dark vest buttoned up the front, large Albert gold guard, cabbage-tree hat and duck coat. Sometimes wears a dark wig and always carries a brace of revolvers.

Gardiner was also involved of robberies with Peisley, (Cooma Mail) but Gardiner's main link to Peisley derides from the confrontation with Middleton and Hosie at Fogg's farm. Peisley was also known to Charles Herring, Gardiner's escape accomplice from Pentridge in 1851 and came to NSW with Gardiner in that year and was now associated with John Peisley. Extract from 1861 Gardiner Reward Notice regarding Peisley and Herring;

He was in Sydney some weeks ago in company, it is supposed, with Zahn, alias Herring, of the Abercrombie.

The Darky having survived his beating, left the Lachlan River where his relationship with Peisley faded. However, the earlier alleged bribe to Hosie cast suspicion that the notorious rogue John Peisley provided the funds to Hosie. Upon hearing the accusation, Peisley wrote a letter to the Editor of the Bathurst Free Press in September 1861. He refuted in any way that he had assisted in the release of Gardiner from Fogg's. Peisley was adamant that he was not involved with Gardiner's rescue nor paid Hosie.

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

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

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

Fish River, Sept 4th. 1861.¹⁶
Peisley's role of bushranger supreme would come to an end after a drunken rage at the Fish River, where on the 28th December 1861, a local named Benyan would be killed by Peisley.

Note for Execution
of John Peisley.

New South Wales,
Australia, Sheriff's Papers
Shortly after the killing, the scoundrel was taken near Tarcutta and set to trial. Gardiner assumed the mantle of 'King of the Road'. In the above letter, Peisley declares his nobleness to his fellow man... So much for "detest cruelty to man or beast" as William Benyan discovered!
Peisley was found Guilty on the 11th March 1862 and sentenced to death. As he was led from the court, he was asked what he thought of the verdict, where he replied: "Oh! It's a swinger". The Hangman was Mr J C Beverley.

It was noted in 'The Courier' that Peisley;

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

Read Peisley's execution through the link below.
Hosie and Middleton, instead of being hailed as brave and trusted law officers over the battle at Fogg's farm. The two constables had their characters brought into question. There were, however, some who believed that Peisley had indeed had a hand in effecting Gardiner's escape. Regardless, as Peisley stood upon the Gallows awaiting the drop for the earlier murder of Benyan. The bushranger again strenuously denied any involvement in Gardiner's release, possibly with a thought that salvation may be granted him at the last moment by slurring Hosie. Alas, it was not to be, and on the 25th of April 1862, Peisley was launched into eternity. (See link above.) Also, on that date, a new confederate of Gardiner's, Ben Hall, was again dragged before the Forbes court charged with Highway Robbery in company with none other than Frank Gardiner.

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

On Middleton's return to Foggs and Hosie, having supposedly been overpowered by rescuers. William Fogg was immediately arrested for obstructing the police from executing their duty. Fogg was brought before the court on 31st August 1861 and faced magistrate Beardmore who had instructed the troopers to arrest Gardiner. Following the accounts of the two troopers in the witness box. The wily Fogg's luck was in again, and he avoided conviction. Fogg recovered his £100 surety. However, the presiding magistrates were undoubted that Fogg had a more significant role than believed and therefore failed to award costs in Fogg's favour. (See link below.)

Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal
Wednesday 4th September 1861
Middleton reduction in rank
following reinstatement
1st September 1863.
NSW Police Gazette.
Furthermore, suspension and dismissal also befell Middleton, who had also been tainted by the innuendo of a bribe. A close friend and fellow constable, Tom Coward, recalled at Middleton's death in 1894 the authorities' rough treatment and, in particular, by Captain McLeire. Coward said that;

He was almost heartbroken at the treatment he received from the authorities after his exertions and bravery in arresting Gardner. Though he was afterwards reinstated, he received no compensation for the loss of time and the disgrace of his dismissal

John Middleton, relaxing
in his yard.
c. 1890.
The reverse of this photo states.
John Middleton, who had a
hand to hand "fight"
the bushranger.

Private Source.
Never before published.
Middleton, was reinstated and received a medal for his bravery, reflecting the courage he displayed in the struggle with Gardiner. Hosie received no government recognition for his bravery. 
When Gardiner was finally captured and sentenced to 32 years gaol. The episode of the alleged rescue at Fogg's was finally exposed and brought into the light correctly during Frank's 1864 trial;

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

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

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

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

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

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

His Honour with great warmth remarked that it was astonishing that there should be such an utter want of common decency among such a number of people in New South Wales; it was a disgrace, an utter disgrace to the colony. He also thought that the police were censurable. The prisoner, who it is understood will be arraigned on another indictment, was remanded to gaol.

The Crown's case on the shooting fell over due to uncorroborated evidence in who fired the first shot in Fogg's home and if Middleton's action in reputedly firing first was legal. 'Illustrated Sydney News' Thursday 16th June 1864;

Gardiner's trial for shooting Sergeant Middleton terminated on the 21st ult. The case for the Crown was by no means so strong as was anticipated. Middleton's evidence as to the commencement of the affair was not corroborated by any other witness; there was no evidence given that he was a prisoner of the Crown illegally at large. This being the case, was Middleton legalized in shooting him? Two witnesses for the defence, whose evidence was uncontradicted, swore positively that Middleton fired the first shot, and the counsel for the defence argued that the prisoner, not knowing who attacked him, was justified in firing in return; in fact, that it was a mere act of self-defence.

Mary Fogg.
Following his 
dismissal from the NSW Police, William Hosie pursued Gold Mining, and Middleton also was dismissed but reinstated after much petitioning at a reduced rank. However, Hosie's steadfast support of Middleton on entering Fogg's Hut to confront Gardiner after Middleton was shot saw the public of Bathurst raise £56 in subscriptions and presented it to the gallant trooper on the 3rd August 1864, 'Illustrated Sydney News' of the 17th August 1864;

A purse, containing £56 12s. was presented to ex-Trooper Hosie, at Bathurst on the 3rd instant, being half the amount of a public subscription as a reward for having captured Gardiner at Fish River in 1861.

As the dust settled, and time ticked by, Mrs Fogg would hold dear the symbol of victory over authority in the form of the shirt Gardiner was wearing and would present the remnants of the bloodied garment to all and sundry in the true Australian dislike of authority; 'Empire', Saturday, 14 March 1863;

Mrs Fogg is in the habit of showing the shirt that the desperado wore in that encounter, or rather the shreds of it that were picked up after his escape. I am given to understand that it is prized as a relic, and when shown to the rising generation, it in conjunction with the embellished narrative, will, I've no doubt, exercise a beneficial influence over that portion of the particular community in question, viz., The Abercrombie Ranges.

Kitty married John Brown
when aged 16 at the same

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

signed her name.
Private source.
Nonetheless, Gardiner, free following his July 1861 escape and having evaded the searching police, would in the future universally become known by the sobriquet of Frank Gardiner. As far as the police could ascertain, he had disappeared.

However, in escaping Fogg's, Gardiner surfaced in the Wheogo district. Returning to those friends he had enamoured during his short stint at Lambing Flat. Gardiner's new digs were to be the shanty of Gilbert and O'Meally bordering the Weddin Mountains;

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

Gardiner also utilised John Maguire's home and his in-laws the Walsh's and Maguire's cattle station partner Ben Hall, who at first kept Gardiner at arm's length. The Weddin Mountains' proximity to O'Meally's was a practical hideaway for Gardiner as noted in the 'Sydney Mail' January 1864 well after Gardiner and Kitty had departed for a greener pasture and whose whereabouts were to become a mystery;

The Weddin Mountains. This mountain range will be as famous in the history of Australian brigandage as the Abruzzi have become in that of the Italian banditti. Many a lawless tale have its old rocks heard recounted, many a desperate deed has there been planned, many a wild carouse have the bright-eyed opossums looked down upon with astonishment. It was the favourite lair of Gardiner, though it has not been much frequented by the ruffian band that has succeeded him, as the place got such a scouting immediately after the escort robbery and for some weeks subsequently, that its whole secrets were laid bare, and now the police are as well acquainted with all its intricacies, its caves, its hiding places, and its deep dells, as are the robbers themselves. Seen from the road, for I had no nearer view of it than that, the range does not seem so very desperate a place, though one of the spurs of it that the road from Forbes to Young crosses is dark, dull, and dreer enough for any possible cut-throat purpose, being rather thickly timbered with ironbark — the black trunks making the wood appear on either side of the road as anything but inviting.

Though the face presented to the road does not though steep, present any very particularly formidable barriers to the pursuit, then are other parts of the range that are exceedingly rocky and precipitous, being, moreover; covered by a dense undergrowth or scrub, rendering pursuit unless by tracking, an almost hopeless task. It was upon this account that Gardiner made it his head-quarters, and until the police made up their minds to stick, persistently to his tracks, he found it a very comfortable position to take up. His friends, if such men have friends, were all round him, and he could go from the house of one to that of the other, as circumstances might suit, or it compelled to lie concealed, could always draw his supplies from them. By rooting out the confederates of the bushrangers, this position is no longer a tenable one for them, as their supplies are cut off. This fact, coupled with the knowledge that the police have obtained of the locality, may account for the wide berths that Gilbert and Co. have given to the favourite haunt of their predecessor.

Return to the Lachlan

When Gardiner arrived at Wheogo in 1861, Maguire stated;

I came across a man standing behind a tree. I at once recognised him as Frank Gardiner, "Hello Frank!" says I. What's up?" for I noticed he was terribly cut and hacked about the face. "Oh, I have had a terrible fight", was his reply, and I am pretty well done for. I shot Middleton at Fogg's yesterday.

The friendship between Maguire, Hall and Gardiner 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, 5 ft 3 in 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. 

Bridget Hall
c. 1860

Penzig Collection
The new beef producers herded cattle to the lucrative Lambing Flat goldfield. Gardiner's business relationship with the men may have been facilitated through John O'Meally, whom Hall and Maguire knew well, including the happy go lucky John Gilbert, who ultimately joined Gardiner along with O'Meally and Hall bushranging. 
The relationship between Gilbert, O'Meally, William Hall and Ben Hall, including Daniel Charters, whom Hall had been close friends with since 1854, was founded c. 1859/60 according to a Lachlan squatter who knew them all well. Highlighting their relationship in a letter published in November 1863;

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

  Note;  Letter published below.

The Newcastle Chronicle and Hunter River District News
Wednesday 4th November 1863

Frank Gardiner convalescing in the Wheogo district commenced an intimate relationship with Ben Hall and John Maguire's married sister-in-law, Catherine (Kitty) Brown nee Walsh (Welsh), a slim blonde beauty. Catherine was the younger sister of Bridget Hall and Elen Maguire. Eighteen years of age, then living with her husband John Brown, a quiet, easy-going, hardworking stockman residing in a hut a short distance from the Wheogo station homestead and adjacent to Sandy Creek station. Kitty fell head over heels for Gardiner throwing all caution to the wind, finally abandoning her husband. Gardiner was 14 years Catherine's senior. Catherine had married John Brown when aged 16. (See certificate above.)

NSW Police Gazette
Reports of Crime
20th May 1861.
Before long, Frank Gardiner's presence cast a dark shadow over the Wheogo and adjacent districts that would change the dynamics of the serene farming communities' as he commenced bushranging, and set up his headquarters between the two populated goldfields of Lambing Flat and the emerging field at Forbes. Accordingly, Gardiner's bushranging was to become the torment of the NSW police over the next 18 months.

As Gardiner burst onto the scene. The NSW police were in metamorphosis. The government was in the throes of reorganising the New South Wales police from its old various independent branches into one combined force under an Inspector-General's command via the new Police Regulation Act 1862. The Act would officially come into force on the 1st of March 1862. In the interim, the old service was alarmingly dysfunctional in commanding law and order on the burgeoning goldfields as tens of thousands were drawn into its midst. However, Gardiner hit the sweet spot at the time when the police lacked both adequate resources and reliable men.

An extract from Frank Clunes 'The Birth of White Australia; The Battle of Lambing Flat' published through Ironbark Resources provides an account of the mechanisms of the old police force, its origins, including the effect of gold and its allure to the men in uniform;

The police force at a time when constables were hard to recruit and harder to keep - for who would be a policeman at 5s. 6d. a day when fortunes were being made by diggers from the golden gravel? Dozens of constables had deserted their posts during the decade of golden glory. The substitutes, hastily recruited to cope with the ever-expanding population and increase of crime, were seldom satisfactory. Many a constable was dismissed for drunkenness and other vices. A policeman's lot was "not a happy one" in New South Wales in the Furious Fifties and Sensational Sixties.

A drastic reorganisation of the force was being planned, but had not yet been put into effect. The police in January 1861 were still organised, under Governor Bourke's Act of 1833, as a semi-military, semi-civil body. The foot police had evolved from the old-time watchmen of Sydney Town. Their uniform was a black coat, white trousers and bell-topper hat. The mounted patrol, established by Governor Brisbane in 1825, were volunteers recruited from the garrison regiments, and remained on the strength of their regiments, on loan, as it were, for work as road patrols and gold escorts. They wore the uniform of the 13th Light Dragoons, scarlet tunic, white breeches, basil leggings and black helmet, and were armed with musket, horse-pistol and sabre. For twenty-three years, from 1828 until 1851, the police force had been under the general control of Superintendent Morisset, responsible to the Colonial Secretary. Locally, however, the resident constables were under the orders and control of the magistrates, while the trooper police were under control of the Crown Lands Commissioners and Goldfields Commissioners, with ultimate responsibility to the military authorities. The multiple control was a source of much inefficiency, which was increased by the poor pay offered and the ever-present lure of the goldfields. These conditions put a premium on crime.

Lambing Flat and its surroundings were swamped with thousands of people, many of whom failed to achieve even the most modest success at prospecting. Others became millionaires. Therefore idle youths bored with riding the range or working as a horse breaker gravitated to Gardiner, whereby the bushranger became widely known as the man singularly responsible for the ruination of many a fine young colonial boy, as noted in the 'Mount Alexander Mail' 23 April 1863;

His dreadful, career—his infamous crimes are known from one end of the colony to the other; his name, is universally execrated, a perfect demon in human form. Not contented with outraging all laws, human and divine, he appears to have ensnared a great number of the native youth of this colony in his meshes, and by instilling into their young minds a love for unlawful and criminal adventures, he has gradually led them from one crime to another, till he has plunged them to the deepest so that they cannot halt; and must, therefore, proceed till the outraged laws of their country claim them, and examples are made.

Sir Frederick Pottinger

The Lachlan district's police came under the command of the indefatigable Sir Frederick Pottinger, newly appointed police inspector for the area stationed at Forbes. Pottinger was, however, one whose top priority was to apprehend the newly arrived and elusive bushranger. Francis Christie aka Frank Gardiner.

The inspector spent many weeks in the saddle. Searching the bush in the Wheogo, Lachlan and Bland districts and its many rugged mountain ranges such as the Weddin and Pinnacle Ranges for the fugitive Gardiner who was being aided and abetted by many public houses and station owners, such as Mrs Feehiley, owner of the notorious 'Pinnacle Station' and the sister of Ben Hall's closest friend Daniel Charters. Not only was the Pinnacle Mountain range a safe haven for Gardiner and his band. Wheogo Hill also secreted Gardiner due to its easy access to Kitty Brown's home at Wheogo and Hall and Maguire's Sandy Creek, all within 10 miles. Its prominence as a safe harbour has often been overlooked as opposed to the Weddin Mountains.

His associates were mostly young fellows under twenty years of age. The gang had their headquarters in the Pinnacle Mountain neighbourhood.

It was at the Pinnacle in March 1863 that Sir Frederick Pottinger captured Patsy Daley who was undoubtedly returning to where Ben Hall and O'Meally were camping. Furthermore, having been there, I believe that the famous Ben Hall's Cave at the Weddin has no veracity or significance to the Lachlan bushrangers. (See Video) The 'Sydney Mail' January 1864 noted The Pinnacle Range's value to Gardiner;

The Pinnacle. This is the name given to a mountain range lying about a couple of miles to the right of the road from Forbes to Young. It has been made familiar to Sydney's ears from having been frequently mentioned during the course of the trial of the escort robbers, as the home of Charters, the approver, who lived there with his sister. It takes its name, as I was informed — for I had no opportunity of examining the locality closely —from a peculiarly-shaped hill that forms part of the range. The Pinnacle station lies about half a mile off the road, and was until lately a public-house; but recent events led to so many inquisitive visits, and the police were so particular in their occasional perquisitions, and the trade of the road fell off so much with the decreasing greatness of Forbes, that the license was given up. The locality has long been regarded as a suspicious one, because the Pinnacle Range, like that of the Weddin, affords complete shelter, in its many almost inaccessible fastnesses, and offers a ready asylum through being so near the road. Captain  McLerie, on his recent visit, established a police station here. The barracks are erected by the roadside and about a mile on the Forbes side of the Pinnacle squatting-station. It was supposed that this would effectually cut off the bushrangers from the Pinnacle range, or at all events prevent them from making it a regular haunt.

Gardiner, Where are you?

To assist the New South Wales police in the apprehension of Gardiner. In 1861 or early 1862, the NSW Police created a detailed map of Gardiner's known routes and haunts covering an area of eighty miles. They listed those people long suspected of harbouring the bushranger. (Also see Ben Hall pt. 1.)

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 it states; 

"Harbourer, Yorkshire Jack, good man bad women, the retreat of Mrs Hall and Brown." (See map bottom of page) 

An 1861 newspaper article notes Yorkshire Jack as;

A person familiarly known in the neighbourhood by the appellation of 'Yorkshire Jack.' He is the proprietor of a small sheep and cattle station, and appears, from his many good qualities, to merit well the respect and esteem of those who know him.¹⁹

Gardiner was known to attend 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)
As such, the detailed map became the 'key' for tracking down Gardiner. The police map commences its narrative starting from the Fish River area in the lower central-eastern part of the western district of NSW and home territory of William Fogg to the western area's edge as far as the Bland District. (West Wyalong). (See map bottom of this page.)

The police in constant search and on alert were always one step behind the Darky as he covered the districts with ease. Gardiner was irrepressible. The newspapers often characterised him in the mould of the famous 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);

A gallant and courteous rogue, probably the most dashing highwayman ever to haunt the roads of England. He was known as a “true gentleman of the road.

The Australian Dick Turpin.
Gardiner's Flight.

Courtesy, State Library of
Gardiner embraced this beau ideal. Continually scanning the newspapers for positive reviews of his robberies. When misrepresented, he would take umbrage by writing to the editors, such as the Burrangong Star, refuting fake news and false assumptions. 

Furthermore, Gardiner was the first bushranger to embrace the press' power to enhance his burgeoning celebrity status all regularly highlighted through the volumes of newspapers and stories ferried by the new 1860s internet, the Electric Telegraph. Much like the Beatles success through enhancing the emerging power of Television. Gardiner would always take care during hold-ups to be egalitarian with those held under his revolver. Displaying great panache in his manners, dress and appearance;

He has been noted always as a very vain man, and proud of his personal appearance.

Gardiner knew full well that his every action would be soaked up by the press as they interrogated the victims who were only too proud to relay their encounter with the dashing bushranger; 

Gardiner wore breeches and high boots, cabbage-tree hat with black band, and black poncho spotted on the inside of like the skin of a leopard.²⁰ 

A standard embraced by accomplice John Gilbert who styled himself also as a flash cove. Accordingly, Gardiner was also very well aware that the settlers, both rich and poor, were his most significant asset for protection, however, at a cost. At the height of his bushranging the newspapers noted that to pass between the gold towns one only needed a Gardiner passport:
It asserted that the bushranger Gardiner is supplied with information by numberless accomplices both in the township and along the roads; a journalist has had it said of him that he can secure any friend from Gardiner by giving "passes."

Furthermore, when confronted with an infringement that would put a mark against him in the eyes of those settlers, Gardiner would quickly rectify the situation;

The bushranger, Gardiner, had gone to Mr Chisholm's station at Bland and demanded and obtained possession of a fine grey mare, which he supposed belonged to Mr Watt. The other day the bushranger met a man on the road, who told him it was a shame for him to take a lady's horse, mentioning the name of the lady to whom the animal belonged. Gardiner immediately borrowed the horse ridden by the man, giving him the mare to take to its lady proprietor, and promising to send in the borrowed horse by a messenger on the following day. Punctual to engagement the horse was left the next day at the stable of the owner.²¹ 

Therefore, even those stripped of all their valuables and cash were never left without a silver shilling for the road, a coin Gardiner never accepted. All these actions enhanced Gardiner's image and prestige;

There have been few instances where violence has been used by these modern highwaymen, they will often leave a few shillings with their victims, so that they may not be on the road quite destitute.²² 

However, Gardiner did not discriminate with former friends either, with cases recorded of his robbing both those close and former acquaintances from Lambing Flat was a common practice. Robberies conducted without any malice or vindictiveness, after all, it was just business;

As Gordon's coach on its down trip from the Lachlan was being tooled along a good road by Fred Newman, about twenty-five miles from the diggings, two horsemen suddenly appeared on the road with an imperative "stop" to the driver. Twigging a 14-inch Dean and Adams' in the hands of the speaker, Fred, received orders to drive into the bush. They stopped at about half a mile and demanded the money of the passengers — £2 from one, and £30 with a watch and ring from the other, being luckily their only booty. It is almost unnecessary to state that Gardiner and his mate were these very polite highwaymen. The man robbed of the £30, &c., now a mate of Tom Watson's, of "jeweller's shop" notoriety, was formerly a mate of this very Gardiner's in some other walk of life. The following is -the colloquy that ensued between them: — J. M’Auley. "I did not expect this from you, Frank." — Gardiner: "I expected to get £1000, or at least £400 or £500, from you, Jim." — J. M'Auley: "Well, give me back my watch and ring." — "Not now— I will return them another time." The gentlemen of the road then shook hands with them and departed.²³

Gardiner, having fully recovered from the gunfight and struggle at Fogg's farm and in the throes of a sizzling love affair with the beautiful blonde haired Catherine in full bloom. All roads and tracks surrounding the Goldfields at Forbes, Lambing Flat and the Weddin/Pinnacle Mountains were now under Gardiner's domain as he leapt into bushranging.

John 'Warrigal' Walsh

Kitty reputedly in
action with Gardiner.
c. 1862
Over the next 18 months, to the residents of the Burrangong and surrounding districts, Gardiner was hailed 
'King of the Road'. However, amongst all the action, Gardiner was never far from the arms of Kitty Brown. There were even tales of Kitty's participation in hold-ups of travellers disguised in men's clothing. For Gardiner, however, his entourage ebbed and flowed amongst the districts' undesirables as they hunted for travellers and eased them of their monetary and personal possessions. As well as Kitty, John Walsh Jr, aka 'The Warrigal'  Kitty's younger brother, was to  fall under Gardiner's spell;

From his earliest childhood the Warrigal was a real boy of the bush. He was a clever rider almost as soon as other boys had learnt to walk. He was always passionately fond of horses and was always with them. He was smoking his father's tobacco at the age of 8 or 9, and already, even then, he had distinguished himself by all sorts of extraordinary pranks. He was just as good as a blackfellow at all sorts of bush work and would have a bee's nest found and cleaned out whilst another boy, or man would have been looking for a bee. It was at Wheogo that the Warrigal first met Gardiner, the bushranger. 

John Walsh was 14.

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

NSW Police Gazette, 1862.
The devotion to his sister's lover produced the sobriquet of 'Gardiner's Boy or Groom.' Walsh would often be noticed in Gardiner's company holding his horse and tending his needs while a robbery took place. At a very young age, 'The Warrigal' could ride like the wind and take jumps that would make an ordinary person quiver in fright. The boy knew no fear. Maguire wrote;

The Warrigal himself often had encounters with the troopers. But he was nearly always too quick for them, and his natural agility and cleverness, and his exact knowledge of the country enabling him to run rings round the uniformed men. Once a party of police ran him down and tried hard to make him tell them where Gardiner was. But Walsh would sooner have cut his handoff. The police could make nothing, of him at all; and he eventually got away— with a lot of new and fresh information for the bushranger. The association continued right up to the time of the gold escort robbery." "It was the Warrigal. who took Gardiner's messages to the other members of the gang that worked that piece of brigandage.

An old-timer who reputedly knew 'The Warrigal' in their youth recounted in a look back in the 'Freeman's Journal', 10th November 1906;

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

Sadly, the Warrigal's relationship with Gardiner would cost him his life at age 16 in March 1863 following his arrest at his sister Kitty's home in August 1862, 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?

Gardiner's brazen escapades fully heightened his flourishing bushranging celebrity. Every newspaper scrambled for the latest exploit. From these deeds, the newspapers continued to hail the gallant bushranger an Australian Dick Turpin or Claude Du Val; ‘Empire' Wednesday 12th February 1862;

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

The coolness and ease demonstrated by Christie/Taylor/Clarke/Jones/Gardiner, whose widespread reputation had morphed him into Frank Gardiner, conducted his robberies with a certain flair and aplomb, which became his trademark. Gardiner's politeness enhanced his reputation when dealing with the women faced with a revolver at their breast. Gardiner was calm and often humorous. His avoidance of capture was not only an insult to the NSW government but a result of those strong friendships he had developed with the cockatoo squatters and shanty keepers. Including two new rapscallions in crime, the wild John O'Meally and handsome John Gilbert;

O’Meally and Gilbert were suspected by the police to be for a long time before two of Gardiner’s best ‘dead crooks.' Both of these young men kept a shanty at the point of the Weddin Mountains, on the road from Lambing Flat to Forbes. Gardiner used to live and frequently hang about there.²⁴

The nexus of locals included the ever-present and willing bush telegraphs, who on horseback and foot scoured the towns and villages for news of prospective victims for a reward or a morsel of booty from the celebrated bushranger. One bush telegraph was John Bow, a local stockman on John Nowlan's station near Bimbi, Weddin Mountains and participant in the Eugowra gold heist. 
The police, however, were of no concern to Frank Gardiner. In a complete insult to civilised standards Gardiner always outpaced them or, at times with unnerving audacity, casually confronted and returned fire whenever cornered or manoeuvring to affect his escape while 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. Two local Flat businessmen brandishing some tough talk unknowingly however in Gardiner's presence at a local shanty were introduced to the Darkie personally when Frank identified himself. The men melted into a nervous 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. (See link below)
Wednesday, 12th February 1862
However, a letter to the 'Sydney Morning Herald' penned by Henry Kirwen draws a diffing view of the gameness of the two men who poured scorn on Gardiner then wet their pants when confronted by the redoubtable bushranger. (See link below)

Sydney Morning Herald
Wednesday, 12th February 1862
The article's referenced above to Mrs Fielding or Feehey, must be noted that she is Daniel Charters' older sister and Pinnacle Station owner. Margaret Feehily. Mrs Feehiley was a widow and operated a public house on the property frequented by Gardiner and others, such as Ben Hall regularly. Its reputation drew the NSW police to place a police station a short distance from the homestead in late 1862. A few days after the confrontation with Torpy, Gardiner with Gilbert robbed Mr Alfred Stokes at the Bland. 21st February 1862;

Gardiner and mate stuck up and robbed Alfred Stokes, near Dacey's station, on the Levels.

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.

Alfred Horsington - Henry Hewett

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;

I had known prisoner for about two years. He was one of the four armed men. I also knew two of the others, but only one of them by name. Gardiner had been keeping a butcher's shop at Spring Creek, on Lambing Flat, in partnership with a man named Fogg. I knew Gardiner well, and recognised him fifty yards before he came up to us.

There can be no doubt that Gardiner had received valuable intelligence of the men's movements and the windfall they carried. Subsequently, from Alfred Horsington, who had been incapacitated by a broken leg and was riding in a spring cart with his wife, the bushrangers acquired 253 oz. of gold and £145 in notes; from the other, Henry Hewett, they acquired 189 oz. of gold and £172 in money. 
The events of the day's activities were recalled in the 'Glen Innes Examiner and General Advertiser', Friday 10th October 1902 and provides an accurate account;

One of the most daring robberies in which Gardiner was personally engaged was on the road near Big Wombat, in the district of Young, when he stuck up Mr. Alfred Horsington and robbed him of 253 ounces of gold and £145 in money. Horsington was a digger and a storekeeper, at Lambing Flat, and was proceeding from Little Wombat to the Flat in a spring-cart on 10th March 1862, his wife and a boy named De Burgh being in the vehicle with him and a Mr. Hewitt, another Flat storekeeper, riding on horseback behind. The boy was driving, as Horsington was suffering from a broken leg.

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

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

However, later when captured and 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:

The Late Highway Robbery of £1800, near Wombat.We learn that Samuel Dinnir who is pretty well known to the police in this district is one of the parties who stuck up Messrs. Horsington and Hewitt, and robbed them of a large amount of gold-dust on the morning of the 10th instant. 

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 and was descending into madness. Whether by design or mischievous intentions, Gardiner hints that Gilbert was not a participant. 
Not linking Gilbert to the robbery was corroborated by Henry Hewitt himself at the inquest into Gilbert's death in May 1865 where if Gilbert's participation was evident, Hewitt would have stated so; 'The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser' Saturday 20th May 1865  Robert Henry Hewitt, being duly sworn, states;

I reside in Burrowa, I was formerly a storekeeper at Wombat, and when there knew the deceased, John Gilbert, he was frequently in my store, and I saw him almost every day for about four months, I saw him last on the 10th of March, 1863, I have seen the body now shown to the jury, and identify it as the body of John Gilbert, I have no doubt whatever of the fact.

Suspicion, therefore, falls towards Paddy Connolly, who had disappeared presumed dead. James Downey O'Meally's cousin was strongly implicated, but the charges against him fell short, and he was acquitted, believed through witness tampering. However, there is no doubt that Downey was the other person and not John Gilbert.

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. The avoidance of the drop brought much indignation in the press. (See Gardiner's letter in full at the bottom of the page.)

After the lucrative Horsington and Hewitt transaction. Gardiner allowed the travellers to proceed on their journey without bodily injury after acquiring Hewitt's saddle and valise containing his gold and money. However, a gun was discharged when Horsington appeared to reach for something in the cart fired by M'Guinness. It was said that the bullet had passed between Mrs Horsington's and her husband. Sophia Horrsington said in evidence in 1864;

On Monday, March 10th, 1862, I was proceeding with my husband and a boy named Robert de Burgh, in a spring cart from Little Wombat to Lambing Flat. Mr Hewitt storekeeper at Big Wombat was behind us on horseback. We were stopped by four mounted armed men at about half-past ten in the morning. Three came to the cart, and one went to Mr Hewitt. They said to us "Stand, or I'll blow your brains out." We did not stop immediately, and one of the men fired. The ball whizzed between me and my husband, and then we stopped. The firing took place when they saw my husband put his hand down into the cart.

Gardiner stuck-up and robbed two drays (between this and Lambing Flat) of provisions, spirits, and winter clothing;" April 12th, Gardiner went to Mr. Chisholm station, at Bland, and stole a horse; 17th, telegram, from Forbes, sticking-up is still the order of the day between here and Lambing Flat, 20th, Gardiner stuck-up about twenty-five men on the Lachlan Road a few days ago, and several drays." 23rd, Gardiner and four armed men dashed in front of Greig's coach, on the road from the Lachlan to Burrangong and turned into the bush again; on the same day, they stuck-up and robbed a dray, belonging to Moses and Son and the other day, they stuck up and robbed Mr Greig's dray on the Lachlan road.²⁵ 

Robberies mentioned above would have no doubt have included Ben Hall, Gardiner's newest compatriot. Ben Hall's link to crime with Gardiner dates back to 1861, evidenced when a mail contract rider was held up in 1863 by Hall and John Gilbert confirming the early link. 'Geelong Advertiser' December 1863;

Richard Henry, in the employ of Mr Jacob Marks, the contractor, was conveying the mails from Binalong to Yass, he was stuck up by Gilbert and Hall. As to the identity of the bushrangers there can be no doubt, as their faces were not disguised in any manner, and Richard (or Dick, as he is better known by, a half-caste aboriginal) had the opportunity of fully recognising them as those well-known bushrangers, who, in company with Gardiner, waited upon him professionally while he was conveying the mails in the neighbourhood of Murrumburrah, some two years past. 

The robbery of the storekeepers generated outrage, highlighted in the 'Sydney Morning Herald' article of the 15th March 1862, after the bushrangers had escaped with over £1500 in cash and gold;

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

Gunfight at Brewers Shanty - Davis falls

Following the robbery at Horrsington, Gardiner swiftly resurfaced at the Pring's farm near Lambing Flat. Accompanied by his notorious companions - O'Meally, Gilbert, Ben Hall and Davis - Gardiner immediately made himself at home. In an audacious display of brazenness, he requested refreshments and demanded weapons. So assured was he that Gardiner even requested one of the terrified occupants to play the piano, turning the high-stakes robbery into a bizarre social gathering. They partook of some brandy and water before Gardiner and his gang, armed with the Pring's firearms, left as abruptly as they arrived.

Gardiner's primary interest in weapons may have been due to his ongoing plans for the imminent robbery at Eugowra, also known as the gold coach robbery. Keeping a keen eye on the proceedings, Gardiner made sure to arm his gang adequately, thus preparing for their next major heist. Yass Courier 12th April 1862.

A Claude Du Val-ism. — On the return home of Mr. Pring on Monday last, after his case was disposed of at Lambing Flat, he was visited by Gardiner and his party, who politely demanded all the firearms in the house, and on their being delivered up, the gentlemen of the road expressed a wish for some brandy, which was accordingly brought and placed on the table. Gardiner then insisted on Mr. Pring and his family seating themselves and joining in a little brandy and water.

Observing a pianoforte in the room, our Claude du Val requested one of Mr. P.'s family to oblige him with a little music, which was complied with, and an impromptu dance was got up. The visitors remained until morning, when they took away with them the firearms, but nothing else.Nevertheless, Gardiner brazened by the police's failings at any real attempt in pursuit or capture the Darkie became from March to June 1862 the governor of the Queen's roads and uninterrupted perpetrated a large volume of robberies. Supported by a band of ruffians constantly changing; March 25th 1862.- Telegram, Forbes;
John Davis
Emerging as the unchallenged leader Frank Gardiner had surrounded himself with fierce and daring accomplices. One accomplice was Gardiner's closest ally John Davis, a native of Singleton and of the same age who was a carpenter by trade. Davis and Gardiner struck up a good friendship. However, Davis was as reckless as 'The Darkie'. When in company with McGuinness and Black Pat Connolly, Davis' run was checked. John Davis stood 5 ft 5 in brown hair and blue eyes and was educated.

As Frank ruled the Queens roads and Davis fell to the police people who knew Gardiner said he was a man possessing a naturally kind and gentle disposition until there was necessity to fight, and then he would prove to be a man full of resources, and as game as the proverbial pebble.
On the 10th of April 1862, Davis and Gardiner's partnership came to an abrupt end. Police officers Lyons, Kennedy and Sanderson escorting prisoners alighted from a coach outside Brewers Shanty, 25 miles from Lambing Flat. Here they chanced upon Davis, McGuinness and Connolly. Observing the three bushrangers suspiciously, the police challenged them to stand. Davis undeterred withdrew his revolver and opened fire as his cohorts took flight. The battle royal between Davis and the police officers can be read through the link below and is well worth it. Davis would be shot several times and taken. Lyons had the top of a finger shot off, and Mrs Brewer would be grazed on the cheek.

Sydney Morning Herald
Thursday, 17th April 1862

With Davis' capture, and Gardiner's newest chum Ben Hall was also arrested, this appeared in the 'Empire';

Things are assuming a quiet aspect since Davis was captured, and Benjamin Hall committed for trial for robbing Mr. Greig's team, on Friday last, by Sir F. Pottinger.²⁶ 

Gardiner, seated left.
The capture of John Davis was indeed a major setback for Frank Gardiner. Davis was not just another member of the gang, but a valuable first lieutenant, and his loss left a significant void in Gardiner's band. Davis was renowned for his bravery, wit, and agility, as well as his fine horsemanship. His natural sense of humour and musical abilities often provided much-needed entertainment and morale boosts within the group.

But Gardiner, ever the strategist, promptly replaced Davis with John Gilbert. Gilbert, much like Davis, was a brave and daring individual, an expert horseman, and, most importantly, unwavering loyalty. His intelligence and joyful personality closely mirrored those of Davis, making him the perfect candidate to fill Davis's shoes. With Gilbert, Gardiner's gang was ready to resume their notorious exploits. The gang, despite the setback, adapted and persevered, embodying the chaotic and resilient spirit of the bushranging era.

At Mr. Croaker's station, one of the bushrangers played the concertina and sang "Ever of thee" to the host. On the person of the prisoner was found a considerable sum in money, a bank cheque book, revolver, compass, &c., and the horse on which he was mounted was captured likewise. Besides these, the two led horses were also taken and brought to the camp. He also had in his possession the accordéon which was stolen from Mr Croker's station.²⁷ 

Paddy Connolly, mate of
The two associates of Gardiner, Paddy Connolly (Connor) and John M'Guinness, who were with Davis at the commencement of the gunfight at Brewer's Shanty and had bolted from the field of combat in the act of cowardice as Davis was gunned down would feel the wrath of Gardiner;

On the first discharge two of the bushrangers, Paddy Connolly and M'Guinness, put spurs to their horses and bolted, leaving their unfortunate mate to do battle against three.²⁸ 

Davis' comment about the two hero's was; my mates were curs, said Davis, Tea-and-sugar runaways. 

For fleeing M'Guinness would pay a high price and be shot dead reportedly on Gardiner's orders (another report has M'Guinness shot dead for interfering with an Aboriginal woman). Paddy Connolly would be stripped of everything by 'The Darkie', beaten with a whip and escaping within an inch of his life and stripped of his money. Connolly afterwards vowed to get even with 'The Darkie' at the first chance; 'Sydney Morning Herald' 1st May 1862;

Connolly, it is stated that Gardner, has met him and accused him of cowardice in deserting Davis; took what money he had said to be £200-this amount no doubt included M'Guinness' share; took his pistols and boots way, and threatened to shoot him. It is also stated that Connolly swears vengeance against Gardner.²⁹ (Paddy never did.)

John Davis sentence
November 1862.

Sheriffs Papers.
For Davis, it was reported that the sentence of death was passed but was commuted to life. The newspaper reported that;

Davis was taken to Goulburn, tried and found guilty, and sentenced to death. However, the sentence was commuted to life’s imprisonment. He did three years in irons, but on account of his health failing and being a cripple from bullet wounds, the irons, which cut into the legs, were knocked off. He obtained his freedom after serving 15 years in January 1877, and died in agony, an emaciated lunatic.³⁰

John Davis
Prison Portrait
 New South Wales, Australia,
Gaol Description and
 Entrance Books, 1818-1930.
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 recruited Ben Hall;

GARDINERISMS.- On Monday, as Greig's coach was passing between the Pinnacle and Green's on the road from the Lachlan to Burrangong, Gardiner, the bushranger, with four mounted associates, riding magnificent horses, dashed into the road and came in front of the leaders. After looking over the passengers, and without speaking, the party turned into the bush. It appeared the bushrangers were in search of someone, probably of one or other of the police who shot and captured Davis a Brewer's, Gardiner rode a brown horse and wore breeches and high boots, cabbage-tree hat with a black band, and black poncho spotted on the inside of like the skin of a leopard. Knowing the determined character of Gardiner, and the confidence he reposed in the man who was shot down and brought to the camp a few days ago, we cannot but believe that his coming to the coach on Monday was to look for and fight the police who captured Davis and regret that Sergeant Sanderson was permitted to go alone yesterday morning, on the box of Greig's coach, to the Lachlan. No officer should be exposed to unnecessary danger, but we feel assured that such is the case with Saunderson.

In all probability, Gardiner will stop Greig's coach with a strong-armed party every time it passes along the road, till he can avenge the fall of his mate. It would be advisable, then, that no police officer connected with the late affray should the suffered to go along the Lachlan road unless he knows the country as can make his way through the bush. On the same day, Gardiner stuck up and robbed a dray belonging to Messrs. S. Moses and Sons. He said he was in want of provisions and accordingly helped himself to a case of claret, two and a half chests of tea, and some fruit. He took the liberty of appropriating also a few blankets, as the evenings are getting colder, and it is not pleasant to camp out without a sufficiency of clothing. Gardiner handed the driver a bag of gold and asked him to weigh it, expressing his regret at the same time that the driver had not a little of the yellow about him, as the bushranger would be delighted to ease him of it.

Ben Hall

Ben Hall
c. 1862
At the close of 1861, Ben Hall suffered a blow that 'no skilled surgeon could heal,'when his wife of five years shot through taking the 'sunshine of his home' with her. Ben's son Henry two years old. Accordingly, in low spirits and "no child to cheer him at the end of the day's toil." Ben fashioned a new reputation. Embracing the fast and loose behaviour of his new companions. In those final months of 1861 into early 1862, Ben Hall who had come into Gardiner's life while delivering cattle to Gardiner's butchering business at Lambing Flat c. 1860 and while down in his cups was often sighted wandering the the ramshackle drinking houses of Lambing Flat and Forbes commenced a closer relationship with Frank Gardiner, 'Prince of Tobymen'. Gardiner became the one person who would wield the most influence over Ben and is also widely claimed to be the father of the modern bushranger:Maguire wrote:

"Things got from bad to worse, till Frank Gardiner, the bushranger came. He capped the lot. Now under 'The King of the Road's influence, Ben started on his notorious career."  

Robberies become a dime a dozen since the rush of the Burrangong (Lambing Flat) and Forbes goldfields. Therefore, Ben Hall had unquestionably participated in earlier holdups, but as luck would have it, none were able to be pinned to him as attested to by Charles MacAlister: 'Old Pioneering Days in the Sunny South.'

Ben Hall and Gilbert were only suspected of a bushranging kinship with Gardiner. For though several of them had been before the Forbes Bench on suspicion (Ben Hall and O’Malley were repeatedly brought up), the law had failed to sheet the guilt home to them to the satisfaction of the local J.P.

It is 14th April 1862; Frank Gardiner and John Gilbert approach the transport dray of William Bacon drawing their revolvers. Edward Horsenail, an employee of Bacon's, later attested:

"I noticed two men ride out of the bush, and cried out to Bacon, "Look out, Bill, here are the boys!" they came up and presented their revolvers, and ordered us into the bush."

Gardiner ordered Bacon to turn his wagons into the scrub where Ben Hall and another man, John Youngman, reputedly an employee of Ben Hall were waiting. Hall is holding the reigns of a pack-horse to load their ill-gotten gains. Two passing travellers were spotted on the road from the scrub. Gardiner orders Ben Hall and Gilbert to fetch them. They bail them up, steal a saddle and hold the men as prisoners. On completion, the four bushrangers depart. Newspapers at the time reported Gardiner's command of the Queen's highway and that his current actions could only end in misery:

Gardiner is a bold rogue and a very great fool, because, he not only braves the police and levies toll along the whole line of road from Burrangong to the Lachlan, but he risks his liberty or neck for the paltry equivalent of a few months defiance of the law. A pity it is that so bold a spirit should be occupied in so bad a cause, and should have to look forward to so contemptible an end.

Ben Hall on his first recorded robbery would be sent down for trial at Orange in May 1862 and with chicanery bribed a key witness and was acquitted. Upon hearing the news of Ben's acquittal, Gardiner appeared at Sandy Creek offering Hall an apology for his lagging over the dray affair:

Next day Gardiner called Ben, and expressed regret that Ben had got into trouble through him.

Hall shrugged it off and in reply stated:

"Next time they take me they'll have something to take me for."

Following their meeting, Maguire noted that:

"From that out, Ben and Gardiner were often together."

Cop a Mouse - Mr Editor

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

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;

Dr Lang has just escaped being stuck up by Gardiner, the bushranger, on his way to Lambing Flat. Gardiner got information of the Doctor's change of route, but stumbled on a storekeeper by mistake, and passed him with the simple remark of —" You are not the person I expected." Gardiner does not approve of the way in which he is spoken of in the Doctor's son's paper, and says he wishes to have a talk with the Doctor on the subject. That is all." Whereby, on learning of Gardiner's desire to meet, Dr Lang altered his track; "I learned afterwards that Gardiner, who has recently been levying blackmail on the Lachlan and other roads of the Far West, had heard of my being at Burrangong, and intended to intercept me on the way, on hearing that I had had to leave the coach and travel by some other conveyance. But as we started within an hour after the coach that left with the troopers and prisoners, and by a different route, we were mutually deprived of the pleasure or benefit of an interview. I have been repeatedly congratulated since on my providential escape; but I confess I was rather sorry, when informed of the circumstance, that I had missed him, as I understood he had had some communication or complaint to make to me, to which I should have been quite willing to have listened attentively. From all I have heard of Gardiner, I could never have supposed that he had any intention either to rob or to maltreat me, regarding him, as I did, as a much more courteous person than Captain Macdonald.

As a consequence and alerted, the reverend avoided coming into contact with Gardiner.

Accordingly, Gardiner penned one such letter that  appeared in the Lachlan Miner and was reprinted in the bushrangers 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 in a case of the pen is mightier than the revolver; BURRANGONG. (From the Burrangong Courier, April 23, 1862)- The following extremely respectable note and a letter appeared in the Lachlan Miner of the 10th instant. The Miner published Gardner's letter as we give it below, with the annexed endorsement as to its authenticity: 

We have received the following letter, purporting to be from the hand of Frank Gardner, the notorious highwayman of Lachlan and Lambing Flat roads. The circumstances under which we became possessed of the documents can be known, and the original copies, with the envelopes and seals, seen by the curious, on application at this office, and they can then use what judgement they choose as to the genuineness of them. We give it to our readers as we received it."

To the Editor of the Burrangong Miner, Lambing Flat;

Sir. - Having seen a paragraph in one of the papers, wherein it is said that I took the boots off a man's foot and that I also took the last few shillings that another man had, I wish it to be made known that I did not do anything of the kind. The man who took the boots was in my company, and for so doing, I discharged him the following day. Silver I never took from a man yet, and the shot that was fired at the sticking-up of Messrs Horsington and Hewitt was by accident, and the man who did it I also discharged. As for a mean, low, or petty action, I never committed it in my life. The letter that I last sent to the press, there had not half of what I said put in it. In all that has been said there never was any mention made of my taking the sergeant's horse and trying him, and that when I found he was no good, I went back and got my own. As for Mr Torpy, he is a perfect coward. After I spared his life as he fell out of the window, he fired at me as I rode away; but I hope that Mr Torpy and I have not done just yet until we balance our accounts properly. Mr Greig has accused me of robbing his teams, but it is false, for I know nothing about the robbery whatever. In fact, I would not rob Mr Greig or anyone belonging him, on account of his taking things so easy at Bogolong. Mr. Torpy was to bounceable, or he would not have been robbed. A word to Sir F. P. Pottinger. He wanted to know how it was the man who led my horse up to me the Pinnacle did not cut my horse's reins as he gave the horse. I should like to know if Mr. Pottinger would do so? I shall answer for him by saying no. It has been said that it would 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."

Day's after its publication, this bold letter raised the ire of other newspaper proprietors, one of whom commented in the 'Goulburn Herald' that some papers were pandering to the bushranger. The 30th April 1862;

MORE ABOUT GARDINER.Frank Gardiner is certainly in league with a person who lately edited a public journal in this district. The one presents a gold watch to the other; and the editor prints such highly edifying communications as the following in return. The highwayman is, in some respects, worthy of being considered entitled to our regard. In most respects, he is worthy of our detestation only. The editor, however who prostitutes his paper in the manner the person we have referred to has done, should no longer be regarded as a fit public censor, or a reliable chronicler of passing events.

Gardiner is a bold rogue and a very great fool because he not only braves the police and levies toll along the whole line of road from Burrangong to the Lachlan, but he risks his liberty or neck for the paltry equivalent of a few months' defiance of the law. A pity, it is that so bold a spirit should be occupied in so bad a cause and should have to look forward to so contemptible an end.

It was then stated that a magistrate from Gundagai took umbridge to Gardiner's letter writing;
A magistrate at Gundagai wrote this to Frank Gardiner, the bushranger: Dear sir — In the sacred name of law and order I request you to come in and give yourself up to the police authorities at once.

A Grand Haul - Eugowra
"Make way for the Royal Mail."

Magistrates' howls and the local press's outrage did little to deter Gardiner as he grew tired of the meagre returns from his usual robberies, even after paying off those who sheltered him. Seeking a significant change, Gardiner devised a plan aimed at securing the fortunes needed to start anew.

Drawn by the promise of gold, he began plotting a bold strike against one of Her Majesty's mail coaches, known to transport substantial amounts of gold and cash. This heist would enable him to escape with his lover, Catherine Brown, to a place far from their familiar Lachlan surroundings.

Gardiner's most audacious act was to be the robbery of the Gold Escort at Eugowra Rocks, located twenty-seven miles from the bustling gold town of Forbes. For this daring endeavour, Gardiner assembled a group of seven diverse men, including Ben Hall and Daniel Charters. Both men, well-acquainted with Gardiner and financially comfortable, were key participants in the scheme. 

Fortune Telling
Gardiner's Dark
Arts companion.
In the preparation stages, where gathering necessary equipment and personnel was crucial, it was observed that Frank Gardiner sought guidance on the potential success or failure of his daring plan through unconventional means. He frequently consulted a Fortune Telling book, a practice for which he was widely known. Gardiner placed significant trust in the insights of this Oracle, reflecting his deep belief in the mystical guidance it offered for his ventures;

Gardiner was reading a book-a fortune telling book. It would appear, in fact, that Gardiner was consulting the oracle as to the future; calculating the chances of the undertaking in hand.³¹

Frank set about orchestrating a bold robbery of gold from a Royal Mail Escort. He had been meticulously monitoring the regular movements of the gold escorts around the goldfields of Forbes and Lambing Flat for months. Frank recorded their routes, departure times, and the quantities of gold each coach carried. His task was made simpler by the fact that much of this critical information was regularly published in the local newspapers. Some of these publications even went as far as detailing potential methods for carrying out such robberies. An example of this can be seen in 'The Western Examiner' on January 30, 1862, where strategies for conducting a heist were openly discussed:

Lachlan escort has, for some time, past, formed a subject of comment here. It consists of four men only, and as if to facilitate their destruction by any gang of ruffians that may take it in their heads to "stick them up," they are cooped up, two in a row, in the vehicle containing the gold. It is pretty generally admitted that our whole escort system is faulty.

The men should be mounted in order to be effective in an emergency. Under the present system what would be easier than for half a dozen determined fellows-of which there are numbers on the Lachlan-to fell a tree, and when the coach had pulled up, to fire into the escort, the robbers all the time undercover. Such things have occurred in these colonies since the discovery of gold and may occur again. It certainly shows a want of prudence on the part of the authorities to do things in this half-and-half way. What possible effective resistance could four armed men, cooped up in a coach, and placed in a row to be shot at, offer to the same number, undercover none whatever. On full consideration, it appears little short of recklessly jeopardising the lives of public servants, and indirectly holding out a premium to the gang of marauders who have so long infested these districts, to continue the present system.

Frank Gardiner was well aware of the strategies outlined in the newspaper and remarkably adhered almost exactly to the recommendations. Emboldened by the knowledge that the small number of police guards could be effectively overcome, he began to finalise the logistics for his planned robbery. John Maguire, a close acquaintance of Gardiner, detailed Frank's meticulous planning in 'The Biography of a Reliable Old Native.' This account was written by P.H. Pinkstone, the owner of the 'Hawkesbury Herald,' and first published in the newspaper. It was based on numerous in-depth interviews and fireside conversations with Maguire, around 1906.

It was with Gardiner that the idea of taking the escort originated and took a fortnight to prepare for the attack. For some months before Gilbert and O'Meally were Gardiner's constant companions, and they had been talking about it together. They were getting full of the petty bailing-up business, and wanted to make a grand haul and then quit the country. 

McIvor Gold Robbery, Victoria 1853

Moreover, possible inspiration for the Eugowra robbery may have sprung from Gardiner's recall of a bold and widely publicised gold robbery two years after escaping from Pentridge Stockade Victoria. 

The heist possibly in Gardiner's mind occurred on 20th July 1853. Nine years earlier than Eugowra. A privately organised gold wagon departed the McIvor gold diggings near Bendigo for Kyneton to connect with the Melbourne escorted under strong guard provided by the Victorian police. Subsequently, it was attacked and robbed by a gang of six men at Mia Mia south of Lake Eppalock. The men split into two groups, one section firing on the police while the other snatched the gold. 

Unlike the fear espoused in the Western Examiner of troopers riding in the coach. The McIvor escort police were mounted. While the gun smoke drifted in the air, the gang of six with the gold affected their escape after wounding four police officers. 'The Argus' recalls the event. 

Gold Seekers of the Fifties 21st April 1899. The private escort from McIvor was suddenly fired upon and robbed at the Mia Mia on the 20th of July, 1853. They had 2,300oz. of gold and some £820 in cash—treasure worth £9,500—and were travelling from McIvor to Kyneton to catch the main Bendigo escort on its way to Melbourne. The escort was in command of Superintendent Warner, with Sergeant Druins, four troopers, and the driver. Druins was riding in front, and as they came round a bend of the road by the Mia Mia, he found a tree felled across the track, forming a sort of barricade. The trap had been well planned some of the branches had been cut away and thrown with apparent carelessness by the roadside, but behind this screen, two of the gang had taken shelter, so as to cut off any possibility of retreat. The others were hiding behind trees on the hill slope commanding the roadway. While four of the robbers arranged the ambuscade, two others went up the road to watch for the coming of the escort.

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

At that time, the robbery caused a major sensation. The culprits made off with over 3,000 ounces of gold and £800 in cash, but their freedom was fleeting. Frank Gardiner, however, was not involved in this McIvor heist. By 1852, Gardiner, under the alias Clarke, was documented in Goulburn, NSW, and faced charges in 1854 for horse theft in Tunea on July 1, 1853;

Stealing, at the Fish River aforesaid, on the 1st July last, five horses, five mares, and five geldings, of the goods and chattels of one John Reid.

Two brothers, George and John Francis, were arrested. John turned informant, betraying his accomplices, a scenario strikingly similar to that of Daniel Charters during the Eugowra robbery.

Among those apprehended was George Francis, John's brother, who tragically ended his own life in custody by cutting his throat in a toilet. The remaining culprits, George Melville, George Wilson, and William Atkins, were convicted. George Melville, George Wilson, and William Atkins were executed, an event that drew a "an immense crowd of persons assembled to witness the spectacle."

Joseph Grey managed to escape the aftermath of the robbery and reportedly disappeared from Melbourne, believed to have headed for Adelaide. Notably, all the men implicated in the robbery were married, except for Grey. There was no mention or implication of Christie in the robbery during the investigation. The similarities between the McIvor and Eugowra incidents are limited; unlike the McIvor case, Gardiner did not divide his men during the Eugowra heist. Instead, he led his group in a concentrated attack, firing two volleys at the troopers confined within the coach.

The idea that Christie, also known as Frank Gardiner, was involved in the McIvor robbery seems to have originated from a Sydney newspaper that picked up an insinuation from a Melbourne paper, suggesting Christie was a key figure, perhaps even the leader, in the robbery. This claim has since been discredited as highly unreliable. Additionally, the report inaccurately described Christie as a native of Sydney. 

In reality, Gardiner had been in Victoria since 1837, having moved from NSW with his family and Henry Munro as a child, and only returned to NSW after escaping from Pentridge Prison in 1851, along with fellow escapee Charles Herring. Herring and Gardiner later associated 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.' 

CAPTURE OF THE LEADER OF THE GANG.— It will be some gratification to learn that the leader of the gang who attempted the wholesale and cold-blooded slaughter of the private escort yesterday week has been captured and recognised and that he admits himself to have been one of the party. The wretch was taken in bed on the following Saturday at M'Ivor Diggings, where he was lying, booted and spurred, with a female as abandoned as himself. He is an ill-looking fellow named Christie, about twenty-six years of age, and whose life has been one scene of the crime from first to last. He had not long escaped from Pentridge stockade, and it was the look-out for him as a runaway convict which led to his detection as one of the would-be murderers. Christie is said to be a native of Sydney, but this is not certain. A great many other parties have been taken upon suspicion and discharged for want of identification, but it is to be hoped and expected that the large rewards offered by the Government and the company for the apprehension of the gang will cause a "split" among the villains, and ultimately lead to the detection of all the culprits. As yet none of the gold or the money has been recovered.

The above article alone was pure speculation regarding Francis. Long after Christie escaped from Pentridge in 1851, his escape details were continually published in the Victorian Police Gazette up to and including 1853 and in local newspapers. This extract appeared after the McIvor robbery;

[Extract B from Victoria Police Gazette, 30th December 1853, page 5] The undermentioned convicts escaped from Pentridge on the 26th March 1851: (4.) Francis Christie: brown hair, sallow complexion, hazel eyes; height, five feet eight and a quarter inches; age, twenty-one years. Reward, £10. Jon. M'Leire, I.G.P.

The Gazette report does not suggest any connection between Christie/Gardiner and the robbery, reflecting a broader consensus that Gardiner was not involved.

Descriptions of Gardiner portray him as a presentable individual, and evidence suggests he had escaped back to NSW from Victoria by late 1851 at the age of 22. If Francis Christie had been captured, as some reports claimed, he would have been immediately identified and incarcerated as a convict on the run, and then returned to Pentridge.

Known for using multiple aliases, Gardiner would likely have offered a false name if apprehended as an absconder. Other than the mention in a Sydney paper, which originated from a report in Victoria, there are no substantial links to Christie/Gardiner's supposed involvement in the McIvor robbery.

Further clarifying the situation, 'The Argus' on August 17, 1853, lists those arrested on suspicion of involvement in the robbery, half of whom were subsequently released. Notably, one Christopher William Christy was detained and then released, which could have led to confusion and might explain the erroneous association with Christie/Gardiner;

He was lying, booted and spurred, with a female as abandoned as himself. He is an ill-looking fellow named Christie, about twenty-six years of age, and whose life has been one scene of crime from first to last.

The Escort Robbery.- At the District Court yesterday the following prisoners, having been many times remanded, were, on the application of Captain McMahon, discharged from custody, there being no tangible evidence against them:-Patrick McQuin, William Bateman, John Murphy, John Wright, Christopher William Christy, and George Wilson. George Francis, John Francis, George Melville, William Atkins, and Agnes Atkins, were remanded for a week, Captain McMahon, saying that he expected by that time to be in possession of important evidence.

Evidence indicates that Christy originated from Tasmania and, similar to other participants in the McIvor robbery, travelled to Victoria as a former convict who had received a pardon in 1850. His arrest was reported in 'The Tasmanian Colonist' on Thursday, August 18, 1853;

The Late Attack upon the Private Escort. — Two men, named Christopher Christie and John Wright, were brought into town on Saturday by the mounted police, on suspicion of having been concerned in the late diabolical attack upon the Private Escort. The only ground of suspicion at present is the fact of their having been seen under arms by a bullock-driver just before the time of the robbery, and at the place where it was perpetrated.

Subsequently, during the trials of the actual culprits, where John Francis testified as a cooperating witness, there was no mention of Christie or anyone matching his description being involved. However, in his testimony, John Francis did make references to Pentridge;

My brother and Grey and I took the right-hand road, the other three went through Pentridge. We three got in Melbourne about eleven on the same night.

Three of the men involved in the robbery were convicted and hanged, while one ended his life by suicide, and another, John Francis, testified as a cooperating witness. The sixth, Grey (or Gray), vanished without a trace. Even on the gallows, those facing execution remained silent, taking any undisclosed secrets with them into eternity. In a subsequent investigation, three additional suspects—Harding, Elson, and McEvoy—were tried as conspirators but were quickly discharged due to insufficient evidence, similar to the situation with Christopher Christy.

Given the lack of evidence placing Gardiner in police custody or at the McIvor diggings after his 1851 escape from Pentridge, it is unlikely he could have been involved in the McIvor robbery. The January 1862 article in the 'Western Examiner' suggesting how to rob a coach likely inspired Gardiner’s tactics at Eugowra, with any connection to McIvor being merely coincidental.

The confusion may have arisen from a 1853 Victorian police Hue and Cry that mistakenly linked Francis Christie’s escape from Pentridge with the Francis brothers and Christopher Christy’s arrest at McIvor. However, Constable John Padget's testimony in March 1854 at Christie's trial for horse stealing provides a clearer timeline. He confirmed knowing Christie under the aliases Clarke and Gardiner in Goulburn, noting Christie's frequent visits to Priors Hotel on Grafton Street, thereby solidifying Christie's whereabouts during the crucial period.

Intriguingly, Joseph 'Nutty' Grey, thought to be the ringleader, disappeared, and a 1899 report in 'The Bendigo Independent' mentions an unknown gentleman inquiring about the legality of recovering the unclaimed McIvor treasure, further deepening the mystery surrounding the event;

This old-time crime was revived lately in a somewhat curious way. While Mr. Panton was in his office a few weeks ago a man called to see him, “You remember the Mclvor gold escort robbery in 1853?” he asked. '‘Perfectly,” was the reply. “I was on Bendigo at the time it occurred.” I wish to know,” said the visitor, “whether, in the event of my being able now to recover a portion of the gold stolen on that occasion, it would belong to me or to the Crown. I have very good reason for believing that part of the gold was buried near a culvert not far from the place where the escort was robbed, and that it was never afterwards removed.” The police magistrate laid down for the inquirer’s benefit the laws relating to treasure trove, and gave the stranger a hint in the suggestion that a man equipped with a miner’s right might dig for gold where he pleased. Nothing has been heard since of the treasure-seeker, and the quest so strangely revived after a lapse of nearly half a century.

Had Grey survived all those years and resurfaced to recover his portion? Or one of his children? Of Gray, it was noted;

Gray, the leader of the gang, was a daring man, and he [sic] escaped. In due time he would certainly have returned to secure a prize so well worth the risk. All things considered. 

Was Frank Gardiner involved? No! Place and Time were Francis' alibi.

Eugowra Gold Robbery, New South Wales, 15th June 1862

All the 'Darkie,' needed to successfully whisk Catherine away from the Lachlan was the ideal location to ambush a gold escort. This location was identified by Ben Hall after discussions of various potential spots, as confirmed by William Hall. The chosen spot needed to be less frequented, unlike the main roads of Lambing Flat and Forbes.

NSW Gold Escort.
c. 1870's

Ben Hall suggested Eugowra Rocks, a secluded area strewn with large granite rocks and boulders that lined the road between Forbes and Orange—a road the gold escort would traverse. Ben Hall’s familiarity with this area stemmed from his frequent travels with his close friend Daniel Charters, and time spent at Charters' sister's hotel and farm at Bandon, near the Gates Road at Eugowra. Ben Hall's involvement and his crucial role in selecting the ambush site were later disclosed by his brother, Bill Hall, during interviews with Bradshaw for his upcoming book on the bushrangers.

Ben Hall knew the place well and had a good knowledge of the surrounding country. He was also appointed pilot. Ben Hall was likewise chosen to go into Forbes and inquire particulars as to the escort. Hall found out that the escort would be leaving Forbes on Sunday. Word was passed around for another meeting on the Friday before. True to their promise, the lot turned up on that day.
Jack Fagan
Escort Coach Whip
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 between the gang members was facilitated by young Johnny 'The Warrigal' Walsh on Gardiner's orders;

It was the Warrigal who took Gardiner's messages to the other members of the gang that worked that piece of brigandage— Charters. O'Meally, Hall, Gilbert, and the others.

The planning arose over weeks, with the gang rendezvousing at both John Maguire and Ben Hall's homes at Sandy Creek station with some members camping in the home paddocks of the station;

Evidence which went to show that Maguire's house was the rendezvous of Gardiner and his gang, where the attack on the escort was planned.

Accordingly, with the knowledge in hand and the site decided 'The Darkie' set off on Saturday 14th June 1862 for Eugowra Rocks with his band-of-brothers.

After receiving instructions on how to act, they rode away, and camped that night near Mrs Feeley’s pub. 

Upon an untroubled route to Eugowra Rocks, the men were sighted at South Waugan near Mr Brotherton's Inn late Saturday but drew no interest;

Had been seen the night before, at the back of Mr Brotherton's Inn, at South Waugan.

A short stopover at Daniel Charters sister Agnes Newell's hotel at Bandon near Eugowra the assailants arrived at their destination and set about their place in Australian folklore. 
On Sunday 15th June 1862, in preparation, Gardiner set about pacing the firing distance from the large rocks and seconded some passing bullock dray's for use as an obstacle for the expected coach and prepared his troops. Then sat patiently and waited.
George Burgess
c. 1930's.

Rare photo.

On Sunday, June 15, 1862, Frank Gardiner meticulously prepared for his heist. He paced the firing distance from the large rocks at Eugowra Rocks and commandeered passing bullock drays to serve as an obstacle for the expected coach. He then organised his men and waited. 

Among those indirectly involved was thirteen-year-old George Burgess, who assisted his fathers driver Dick Bloomfield in managing the family wagon. As the 'billy boiler'—the person responsible for making tea—Burgess had a unique vantage point during the event.

Burgess later described how Gardiner took control of the drays. He portrayed Gardiner as polite, articulate, and commanding, asserting control with a charisma that quickly subdued any resistance, effectively making it clear that he was the leader.

Despite the criminal nature of Darkies actions, Burgess’s account presents Gardiner as somewhat of a gentleman bandit. This image is consistent with other descriptions of Gardiner, depicting him as a man who relied as much on his charm and intelligence as on physical force to carry out his plans. These accounts provide a complex picture of Gardiner, portraying him not just as a notorious bushranger but as a cunning strategist who used his personal appeal to manipulate situations to his advantage.

These firsthand insights from individuals like George Burgess are crucial in understanding the multifaceted character of Frank Gardiner. They show him to be a figure who could inspire both fear and fascination, leaving a memorable impact on those he encountered. These narratives were later compiled and vividly recounted in the 'Molong Express and Western District Advertiser' on Saturday, September 14, 1935.

At about 11 o'clock; I went into a pine scrub about two miles, from Eugowra to cut a whip handle when I came out I saw the driver in conversation with a man wearing white moles and Wellington boots, with a red comforter round his head and his face blackened, who I afterwards heard was the notorious Frank Gardiner. He was leaning on a double-barrelled gun, and he said, "I want you, fellows, come along." We then turned a corner in the road and came in sight of two bullock teams right across the road, ours was put in the same position and made a barricade. Our hats were pulled over our faces and tied in that position with handkerchiefs. My hat, which was an old cabbage tree one, had a hole in the crown, and I could see what was going on. We were placed behind a small rock and threatened, under pain of death, not to look up or remove our hats. There were about seven of us in all, including a swagman. 
Eugowra Rocks.
View towards the 
track of the
approaching coach.
Bushrangers secreted

My photo 

As the Gold Escort, burdened with its precious cargo and defended by Sgt Condell and troopers Moran, Haviland, and Rafferty, made its way along the deeply rutted track, the clopping of horse hooves and the jangling of harnesses echoed eerily off the granite slopes. This was a typical journey for the team, marked by the familiar routine of encouraging the horses on and the comforting cracks of driver Fagan's whip.

Unbeknownst to them, however, their course was leading them towards danger. As they rounded a bend, the sudden appearance of three bullock teams blocking their path took them by surprise. The drivers of the drays were nowhere to be seen, leaving the Gold Escort to navigate around the unexpected obstacle. Fagan, with his characteristic authority, called out, "Make way for the Royal-mail", but to no avail. The path was blocked, and they had no choice but to try and circumvent the drays.

As they neared a massive boulder, an ominous sight met their eyes. From behind this shelter, men rose, their identities obscured by red comforters wrapped around their heads and the blackening on their faces. Clad in red shirts and armed with an array of rifles and revolvers, the sight was a chilling one.

Under the leadership of the infamous Frank Gardiner, these men were no mere highwaymen, but seasoned bushrangers. At Gardiner's call, the men let loose a volley of gunfire. The bullets rained down on the coach, splintering the timber frame and causing chaos amongst the lawmen inside. This audacious attack marked a shocking shift in the usually uneventful journey of the Gold Escort, forever cementing this day in history as a moment of intense conflict and danger.

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.

From the sudden barrage, a bullet pierced the driver Fagan's hat. Another perforated the skirt of his coat.
Fagan was so fearfully frightened that he jumped off the gold coach. As bullet rounds cut the air following the first volley, another set of bandits stood up and fired a second salvo, at which point, the frightened horses galloped off into the bush with the vehicle and two police still trapped, the coach rolled over colliding with some boulders. With complete surprise, Police sergeant-in-charge, Condell also hit three times, who was noted as "the only cool man of the lot", and his men, dazed and disorientated, scrambled from the scene and the upturned vehicle retreating under fire. Safely clearing out as the gang yelling in the frenzy of success rushed down upon the coach firing again at the retreating police.

Authors Note; The image right was believed photographed in the backyard of Dr Roberts property in Moulder St Orange 1917 and is of a Concord Coach, the property of Ford & Mylecharane. John Fagan, the driver at the time of the robbery, stated; "I had four horses in my coach; I lost some of the horses in the attack; they were the property of Ford and Co,; Phil. Mylecharane was one of the owners." The reverse of the photograph states, "This photograph was taken by me, W.H. Burgess of Calias, Bay Road, North Sydney. It is of a stage coach owned by Cobb & Co., and was stuck-up in the vicinity of Euganda by Gardiner's bushranger gang. At the time it had the gold escort with it. The bit of wood accompanying this photo was taken by me from the body of the coach as it stood in 1917 in the backyard of Dr. Robert's of Moulder St., Orange. W.H. Burgess." (Source: 'A Yankee Mounted Trooper' by Dick Adams.)

Another image of
the Escort Coach
photographed by
Frank Walker.

Courtesy RAHS.
After the gun-smoke cleared. Sgt Condell had suffered wounds in three places, the most serious being;

In the left side. In this case, the bullet penetrated a little above the hip, passed under the skin, and out by the back, making a wound two or three inches long.

Trooper Sr Const Moran was shot in two places, one of which struck his groin. Trooper Const Haviland was uninjured, fleeing into the bush with driver Fagan and Trooper Const Rafferty unhurt. 
The robbers shrieking in their adrenaline-charged victory carried away the escort boxes filled with gold, taking as well two rifles and one of the coach horses to carry the 169lbs of gold. Haviland and Fagan made for Hanbury Clement’s Station nearby. Quick about their work, the bushrangers fled. Hanbury Clements’ brother John rode to the scene with a party of men, who found only the idle drays and scattered contents of the mail bags, these they gathered up.
Hanbury Clements station Eugowra.
Bailliere's New South Wales Gazetteer and Road Guide, 1866.

Eugowra Escort Robbery
June 1862.

Illustration by Monty Wedd. ©
George Burgess again relates the events during the robbery as he lay there with bullets flying; 

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

Commissioner Grenfell.
Newspaper Image, 1867.
Courtesy NLA.
Burgess' mounted men were Captain Brown, a long-time friend of Captain M’Lerie, Inspector-General of NSW police, and the Gold Commissioner for Forbes. Before the gold coach's departure, the two men had decided to leave Forbes by horseback instead of the coach. Departing some hours earlier; 'The Courier' Tuesday 8th July 1862;

Captain Brown and Mr. Commissioner Grenfell were to have come down by the escort, but owing to special instructions from Inspector General M'Lerie, they came on horseback and were some miles in advance of the escort when the attack was made.

As the gang concealed themselves in anticipation of the oncoming coach, they quietly observed two unsuspecting men passing by, completely oblivious of the grim tableau that was about to unfold.

In the wake of the attack, the shell-shocked survivors found refuge at Clements. In the dim light, they received urgent medical attention for their injuries. The magnitude of what had transpired started to sink in. A palpable sense of urgency swept through the place as Clements took it upon himself to deliver the chilling news to the police camp at Forbes. In the dark stillness of the night, he spurred his horse and rode with all his might.

Rafferty too appeared at the Forbes police camp, carrying with him the harrowing assumption that all his colleagues had been killed in the ruthless ambush. As the news spread like wildfire, a sense of pandemonium enveloped the area. The details of the brutal attack were quickly disseminated across the contemporary information highway - the Electric Telegraph, painting a vivid picture of the horror that had unfolded at Eugowra.

Later that fateful Sunday evening, with the report from Clements in hand, the gravity of the situation began to fully dawn on the people of Forbes. The events of that day had thrown their peaceful existence into chaos, marking a grim chapter in the annals of their community's history.

Capt. William Browne.
c. 1869.
Courtesy Hay H.S.

Sir Frederick Pottinger mustered 
his black-trackers including Billy Dargin and en-route to Eugowra seconded settlers some twenty in number and made for the scene of action arriving early on Monday morning;

Assisted by Mr Wm Dargin, whose bushman like qualities are well known upon the Lachlan and Bogan.

In the aftermath of the brutal attack, Sir Frederick Pottinger arrived at the scene. Taking command of the situation, he immediately launched an intensive manhunt to bring the culprits to justice. Following a quick recovery operation to fix the bullet-riddled coach and procure fresh horses, the survivors of the attack were able to resume their journey to Orange. Along the way, they even picked up some additional passengers, and Clements was able to locate the missing bullock drivers.

The journey resumed under Sir Frederick Pottinger's orders, the coach, showing visible signs of the fierce encounter, finally arrived at its destination. As the sun set on Monday evening, the coach trundled up Summer Street towards the Post Office in Orange. On board were driver John Fagan, Sgt Condell, Constable Moran, Constable Haviland, Mr Boynton (the manager of the coach company Ford &Co.), Ellen Chandler, her servant and child. As they arrived in Orange, Haviland and the troopers deposited the mail that had remained surprisingly untouched throughout the ordeal. Their next stop was Dalton's Inn, located on Byng Street.

However, as the coach moved away from the Post Office towards the Inn, a chilling sound cut through the evening air - a gunshot from within the coach. In a heart-stopping moment, Constable Haviland, who had been seated inside the coach, was fatally wounded by a single shot from Constable Moran's revolver. In the tumultuous scramble with the bushrangers, the firearm had fallen to the floor, forgotten under Haviland's seat, leading to an unintentional discharge with tragic consequences.

Orange Post Office.
c. 1870.

Courtesy NLA.
We left Mr. Clement’s yesterday morning; the sergeant was on the box with Haviland, and a passenger in the coach; deceased said during the day he would not come on the escort any more unless there was a mounted party along with us; deceased had no spirits or wine that I know of; he was perfectly sober; yesterday evening between six and seven o’clock we arrived at Orange; we had taken up a lady passenger, with her servant and child; I and a lady and the other male passenger were sitting with our backs towards the driver; the female passenger was sitting in the middle; we heard the report of a revolver after leaving the Orange Post-office; the female passenger exclaimed, “My God the man is shot!” Haviland was sitting at the back of the coach opposite me; I said “No! It can’t be!” I saw the flash from the revolver in a line with deceased’s chest; the female put her hand over first; I then put out my hand and felt the blood pouring down quite warm; I said, “he is shot in the stomach”; the coach was going on all the time; I said it might be from the sergeant’s rifle; he said “no it could not be”’ in reply to a question from the sergeant I said deceased was shot; in the coach there was my revolver, and a revolver case empty belonging to the man who went to the Lachlan; Haviland had his revolver by his side; the last time I saw my revolver it was in a case; Haviland brought it out of Clements' in the morning, and put it under the seat he was sitting on, it was then loaded; that is the revolver produced (stained with blood); it was my revolver; I had it in my charge; when I arrived here (at Dalton's inn) I asked the sergeant if I could go in and sit down; he said yes; I know deceased had no money with him, because he asked me for the loan of £1 to pay a bill he owes here; he had my watch in his pocket; I gave it to him to carry.³² 

James Dalton licence
for The O'Connell Inn.

New South Wales, Australia,
Certificates for Publicans'
Licences, 1853-1899 for
James Dalton, 1860.
Haviland limp, was removed to a bed at the hotel where Dr Warren was called for. Arriving he announced the trooper dead. At the inquest he deposed the effect of the fatal gunshot;

Last night, about seven o'clock, I was sent for to see deceased. Arriving at Dalton's inn, I found him lying on the bed in the verandah-room, with blood- running out of his mouth and out of a wound in his neck; he was quite dead; this morning, I traced the course of the bullet — it entered the throat below the chin — just above pomun-Adami its course was backward and slightly upward— passing through the larynx and through the pharynx back to the spine at the junction of the skull; I believe the immediate cause of death was effusion of blood into the windpipe; the wound would cause almost instant death; it is my opinion he might have been stooping down to pick up the pistol, it being just the close of the journey. 

The doctor's opinion was that on seeing the pistol on the floor, Haviland stooped down to retrieve it after the mail bags were delivered and the revolver discharged.

Consequently, the verdict at the inquest for Haviland found that;

Died from a wound by a bullet, whether by intent or accident not known.³³ 

The unfortunate Haviland left behind a widow and two children. Furthermore, in 1890 aged 63, Henry Moran, who had survived the Eugowra onslaught and wounding in 1862, died tragically after falling from a cart at Mt Lambie, NSW. William Haviland's death was the first by a member of the newly formed NSW Police Force on duty. Mrs Haviland was awarded a gratuity of £100.
Hanbury Clements.
c. 1880's

As the law enforcement authorities tirelessly pursued the bushranger gang in attempting to seek their whereabouts. Hanbury Clements penned a detailed account of the harrowing ordeal and its aftermath. His letter, intended for an acquaintance in Bathurst, recounted the terrifying events with striking detail and conveyed the gravity of the situation. Amidst the chilling recount, Clements made sure to highlight Sgt Condell's extraordinary composure during the attack.

Clements noted in his letter how the road had been blocked by three strategically positioned bullock teams, making their escape impossible. He made a specific mention of the bushranger Frank Gardiner, who was the only member of the gang not disguised during the incident.

The following extract from a letter received by a gentleman in Bathurst sent by Hanbury was published in the Free Press 24th June 1862:

You will have heard before this reaches you that the Escort was stopped, and of course robbed. It occurred at the head of the blind gully, on the right of the double gate. The Escort goes by Eugowra at about four p.m. I do not know whether you recollect a big rock in the gully, about twenty yards to the right of the road; from behind this a number of men (the troopers say fifteen) jumped up, all dressed in red, apparently red shirts, with red comforter on, night-cap fashion; They let drive at the guard at once. I was in the paddock on horseback, and, on bearing the firing, galloped over at once. I met Fagan, the driver, at the big stockyard, and asked him what was the matter. He said the troopers were all shot, and the coach and horses gone, but where he did not know. I went on and met one of the troopers, who told me that he thought the others were killed. He was wounded in the side. Whilst talking to him, I saw two men at the top of the paddock; I went towards them, found they were two troopers, and brought them down, one of them was wounded in the region of the groin.

"The sergeant, or corporal, who was the only cool man of the lot, was wounded in the side, the ball having entered between the short ribs and passed through the flesh out again; another ball went through the arm of his jacket. Another out the rim of the driver's hat and a piece out of the crown. Another stuck in the wood of the seat. The coachman was fearfully frightened and jumped off the coach; the horses then ran away taking three of the guard with them until they dashed up the rocks when the men were thrown out and took to their heels. The road was blocked up by putting three bullock teams across. The fellows had blackened faces, excepting one who appeared to be the leader.

"I started at once to Forbes, and sometime after my arrival the missing trooper made his appearance there, but knew nothing of his comrades, whom he supposed were all killed.

In no time at all, the astonishing news of the robbery rippled through the colony, sparking a fervour of reactions. Inspector Pottinger, leading a team of vigilant settlers, was quick to mobilise a response. After assessing the condition of the escort troopers and managing to upright the toppled coach, the Inspector and his team wasted no time in beginning their pursuit.

With the aid of aboriginal black trackers, they carefully examined the scene of the robbery. Noticing the distinct trail left behind by the bandits, they put the highly skilled trackers on the scent. This marked the beginning of their relentless hunt, a quest to bring the audacious criminals to justice.

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

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

View from Gardiner's camp
Wheogo Hill. Weddin
Mountains in the foreground.
Courtesy Peter C Smith.
Having escaped the police pursuit. Gardiner led his men back to Wheogo Hill 60 odd miles distant, instructing their guide Daniel Charters to;

Go as crooked as you can, so as to bother the trackers.

Nestled on the boundaries of Ben Hall's station and the Walsh family's Wheogo station - the family of Gardiner's love, Kitty Brown - sat Wheogo Hill. It was here that the gang regrouped after their audacious robbery, dividing their spoils under the safety of the hill's summit. The young Johnny 'Warrigal' Walsh joined them, dutifully running errands over the next few days providing the victuals necessary for the survival of the Eugowra marauders. Their loot was indeed a hefty haul, consisting of 2700 oz. of gold, amounting to over 7 million dollars in today's value, and £3,700 in Oriental Bank notes, an equivalent of $310,000 in today's terms.

Once the proceeds had been distributed into eight equal shares, Ben Hall, Jack O'Meally, Manns, and Bow took their leave. John Gilbert remained at the camp with his 22 lbs of gold and £460 in notes safely tucked away in his saddlebag. Gardiner, Fordyce, and Charters moved their gold onto one of the bags hanging from the pack-horse taken from the coach.

However, additional storage was needed, and Charters was supposedly sent to Hall's home for extra saddlebags. Upon reaching Hall's yard, Charters found himself unexpectedly confronted by Sgt Sanderson. Reacting swiftly, Charters bolted back to the hill, alerting the others with cries of "Look out the traps are upon us."

In the ensuing panic, Gardiner, accompanied by Charters and Johnny Walsh, grabbed the pack-horses' reins and fled 20 miles southeasterly towards the dense Weddin Mountains. Gilbert hastily mounted his horse, abandoning his partner and leader, an act that would spell the end of their camaraderie.

Hot on their trail, Sanderson used the black tracker Hastings to follow reputedly Charters to the summit. After a swift survey of the villains' camp, Sanderson resumed his relentless pursuit of the bushrangers.

However, the role of young Johnny Walsh during the events after the robbery at Wheogo Hill has often been overlooked. Known as 'The Warrigal,' Walsh served as the critical link in providing sustenance to the men as they split the robbery proceeds. Therefore without doubt Walsh, not Gilbert or Charters, was sent by Gardiner to collect saddlebags from Hall's. As a less suspicious figure of a boy, Walsh would not have raised alarm. This is supported by the fact that Maguire, who had a bone to pick with Charters over an alleged affair with his wife during the 1863 escort trial, was quick to name Charters. Lagging him historically as the rider. Once Sanderson reached the abandoned camp, he noted the supply chain established by Warrigal. Stated:

At the top of the mountain I found the remnants of a camp; there were sixteen empty bottles; some contained remnants of port wine, some of gin, some of rum, some of ale; there were biscuits about and tea with milk in it; I did not see how the robbers could have got milk on the spot without going to the stations round about; there were remnants of beef, bits of bread! Pieces of green hide tied to bushes, and bits of red tape.

For Johnny's help in the camp at Wheogo. Maguire comments that the young lad received £100; (Maguire on his narrative written decades after the thrilling events of 1862 had no reason to lie on Walsh's situation. The lad died horribly in 1863 while incarcerated. It is logical that Frank would prefer to use Walsh as he would draw no real interest from the police. However, Walsh either panicked or attracted police suspicion when he suddenly turned tail for the hill.)

When Gardiner's gang was dividing the money-taken from the Eugowra escort robbery, Gardiner in referring to young Walsh, "Here's the boy, He's got to have something." The others agreed that my brother-in-law was entitled to something. So they-gave him £100; in notes, all fivers. The boy had never seen so much money in his life before, and he was the proudest in the whole company.

Every man for himself.

For the first time in his criminal escapades, Gardiner succumbed to panic, making a grave error in his haste. With the relentless police pursuit in mind, he felt the weight of the pack-horse was hampering their escape. In a moment of extreme pressure, Gardiner made the fateful decision to abandon the reins of the pack-horse, leaving his share, along with those of Charters and Fordyce, on the horse's back. He urged his companions, shouting:

"Go your own roads, and look after yourselves."

His command was heeded immediately, his partners scattering in various directions, each one attempting to secure their own safety.

A move that saw all The Darky's efforts lost forever. However, in the escape of Johnny Walsh, Maguire recalled; 

The Warrigal went for the Weddin Mountains, principally because he knew the country thoroughly The police were after him, and by some error or other, he found himself trapped on a sort of promontory formed by a bend in a pretty wide creek. It was a tight place for a man who badly wanted to keep on travelling. In front and on both sides was the creek. Behind were the police. To return meant certain capture. "So the Warrigal made up his mind and made it up quickly. He was riding a splendid little pony, and was, as I have said, a magnificent horseman. He put his pony at the creek where it seemed, less wide than anywhere else, and rode straight for liberty. And it was as if the pony knew the danger and the necessity for something special. Because it took that almost impossible to jump on the fly, cleanly like a bird. It was a wonderful leap and deserves to be remembered in history. Measured afterwards, it was found to be a clear, 22ft. Rejoicing, in his escape, the Warrigal went straight ahead for the mountains. The police, who had been hotly pursuing him, stopped at the creek. They could see the Warrigal— so narrow had his escape been— cantering up the slope on the further side, but none of them were game to face that desperate jump that had saved him from their clutches. So, after watching him a while, they rode back along the creek till they found a crossing place— and it was a good way- along, too, By the time they got to the other side the Warrigal was far enough away.

In February 1863, at the subsequent Escort trial. Sergeant Sanderson the 'Hero of Wheogo' described Gardiner's camp atop Wheogo Hill;

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

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

Courtesy Penzig.

Despite the pressure and chaos of the escape from Wheogo Hill, it later became clear that Gardiner may have misjudged the situation. In the heat of the moment, he failed to realise that his pursuer, Sanderson, was still a significant distance behind them. They had, in fact, more time to escape than Gardiner had initially assumed, even with the burden of the pack-horse slowing their flight.

As such, Gardiner may have been able to retain the remaining gold had he remained calm and composed. A letter published in the 'Examiner' on Tuesday, 1st July 1862, revealed how far Sanderson was from the fleeing bushrangers at the time. This account also made it clear that the district was well aware that Gardiner was the mastermind behind the entire operation. The situation served as a testament to the importance of keeping one's nerve under pressure and highlighted Gardiner's critical misstep.

LACHLAN.-LATE ESCORT ROBBERY. -We have been furnished with the following letter, received by a gentleman in the city from his correspondent at Forbes. As it contains some particulars of the recovery of a portion of the gold stolen from the escort, it will perhaps be interesting to our readers:

Forbes, June 22, 1863. Dear Sir, Inspector Sanderson arrived yesterday, at 4 p.m., with about 1400 ozs. of gold taken from the robbers. He sighted one of their scouts near to Wheogo, and gave chase, but too far behind to get within rifle shot, and he soon disappeared. Mr. Sanderson and four men followed his tracks, by the aid of a black tracker, and came to the robbers' camp on the top of a very high hill. They had but lately left, and the remains of their meals were lying about, consisting of tea, milk, port wine, and other delicacies of the season. The chase down the hill again, over rocky ground, and through dense scrub, was then resumed for, about twenty miles, during which at a gallop, most of the distance the blackfellow never once missed the track. They then came to a point where the robbers divided into three parties, and by the greatest good fortune, Mr. Sanderson selected the track that the pack-horse party had taken, and he soon overtook the horse laden with gold and firearms, completely done up. Though Mr. Sanderson never sighted the robbers once; it is certain that the scout warned them of Sanderson's approach with his men, and in the flight, the robbers thought him much nearer than he actually was, as they abandoned the pack-horse without attempting to make away with the gold, though Mr. Sanderson tells me he does not think he was ever nearer than five miles of the robbers, and they would have had ample time to unload the pack-horse before he could overtake them. The conduct of Sanderson is beyond praise, and he was most ably seconded by his men, consisting of senior constables Armor and Burke, constables Powell and Westhead, and not least, if last, his blackfellow Charley, who by merely sighting the scout when beyond rifle range followed the track at a gallop for twenty-five miles without a check. I from the first, with many others, was sure Gardner was the leader of this, gang, and feel most sanguine that Sir F. Pottinger, who is yet out with a second party, will be equally fortunate in recovering the rest of the gold and notes, and bets are freely laid that within a month the whole of the gang will be captured.

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

For Charters and Fordyce, their involvement in the audacious gold heist turned out to be a fruitless endeavour. When the authorities recovered the pack-horse and the gold it carried, Gardiner only offered Charters a paltry £50 as compensation. Fordyce, on the other hand, received nothing. In Gardiner's eyes, Fordyce's failure to discharge his weapon during the ambush of the gold coach and his drunken state rendered him undeserving of any share in the loot. In his fury, upon his return to Wheogo Hill, Gardiner threatened to “cut his rations bloody short.”

Interestingly, the dramatic escort robbery turned out to be Gardiner's final act of bushranging. Just days after the daring robbery, conjecture arose suggesting this might be the case, and these predictions indeed turned out to be accurate. The sentiment was captured in a Lachlan Observer article published in June 1862. The incident served as a pivotal point in Gardiner's notorious bushranging career, marking the end of his time as a highwayman and signifying a significant shift in his trajectory.

Speculation has been very rife as to the personnel of the delinquents, not a few having fixed upon Gardiner and his gang as the perpetrators of the robbery, alleging that the direction of the tracts point to his beat; that his quietude of late was simply a ruse to lull suspicion and that the present affair is his last grand feat prior to closing his accounts as a disciple of Turpin. On this score we leave the public to form their own conclusions, merely premising that as a mere speculation there appears to be some feasibility in it.

In the aftermath of the audacious Escort robbery, Frank Gardiner found himself with an empty pocket despite the daring undertaking. With no share of the stolen bounty and the authorities on his tail, Gardiner, reputed for his elusive ways, promptly disappeared from New South Wales.

For weeks, his whereabouts were the subject of rampant speculation and whispered rumours. Some reports suggested he might have found refuge in Victoria, possibly in the bustling port city of Portland. Others insisted that South Australia was the more likely destination for the infamous bushranger.

However, during this period of relative quiet, some stories insinuated that Gardiner was laying low in the gold-rich town of Ballarat, biding his time until the heat subsided. The facts were elusive, much like Gardiner himself, a man known for his adeptness at disappearing into the shadows when the situation demanded it.

Then, after weeks of being off the radar, Gardiner resurfaced. His return was not in any of the speculated locales, but back in Wheogo, at the home of Catherine Brown. His return was as unexpected as his departure, adding another layer of mystique to the notorious bushranger. Gardiner's life, much like the man himself, remained a mystery wrapped in layers of myth and hearsay. It was a saga that was unfolding in real-time, in the dust and heat of the Australian bush, as unpredictable as the man who was living it: 'The Argus, Melbourne' 25th August 1862;

GARDINER.-There seems to be no doubt of the celebrated highwayman Gardiner having been close to this district a short while since. It appears that about six weeks since, when it was generally reported that Gardiner had been arrested at Kilmore, he was in Ballarat and that he was accompanied there by two of his mates. He then visited the "Fat Girl" and her father, whom it appears he had known at the Lachlan, from whence, it will be remembered, the family originally came. Gardiner and his mates spent three days in Ballarat, and the night previous to their departure they visited the theatre, where, however, they remained but a short time, as Gardiner detected among the audience two or three persons who knew him. On the following morning, the three left Ballarat, en route to the Lachlan district. This occurred about six weeks since, and at the time, it will be remembered, when Sir P. Pottinger had lost all traces of Gardiner's whereabouts. The source from whence we have obtained the above information establishes it as genuine.

The 'Fat Girl'! 

In the complex narrative of Frank Gardiner's life, an interesting subplot involves a woman known colloquially as the "Fat Girl," who turns out to be the sister of John Youngman, a man closely associated with both Gardiner and Ben Hall. Youngman, who fled after being bailed out before his and Hall’s court appearance in Orange in May of 1862 regarding the Bacon robbery, inadvertently cast doubts on Ben Hall’s involvement.

The relationship between Gardiner and Youngman introduces another layer to this saga, intertwining with the story of the "Fat Girl." Known for her large size, she was somewhat of a spectacle, likened to a circus act. During a period marked by rumours of Gardiner hiding out in Victoria and Ballarat, the "Fat Girl" found herself stranded at Smythes, (See note below) merely five miles from Ballarat, due to inclement weather that halted coach services. It was during this time and in this place that Gardiner was rumoured to be nearby.

This sequence of events, filled with unique characters and enigmatic occurrences, further illustrates the unexpected twists that permeate Gardiner’s life. The tale, rich with intrigue and wrapped in the drama of the Australian bush, provides a captivating view into the intertwined lives of some of the period’s most infamous outlaws. 'The Star' Friday 25th July 1862;

Our Smythesdale correspondent says:- That prize baby, Miss M. A. Youngman, otherwise known as "the Fat Girl," is weather-bound at Dent's Royal Hotel, Smythes, as no coachman will risk taking her on to Lintons as long as this weather lasts, where the lovers of the wonderful continue to visit her and wonder at her size.

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

Frank Gardiner, a master of disguise and evasion, could have been anywhere during this time. Despite the numerous reports and rumours placing him in various locations, including Ballarat, it seems unlikely that he ever strayed far from Lachlan. Gardiner had a substantial number of supporters in this region, making it a relatively safe base for his operations. Additionally, he was deeply in love with Kitty, and it seems improbable that he would leave her side for six weeks or more, nor that she would accompany him on a dangerous journey south.

A report of Gardiner's arrest near Kilmore, which was the childhood home of his associate John Gilbert, further fuelled speculation about his whereabouts. Gilbert had recently escaped from Sir Frederick Pottinger in July 1862 near Temora, NSW, adding a layer of credibility to these rumours. However, this turned out to be a case of mistaken identity, merely adding to the mystery and confusion around Gardiner's movements.

Another possibility is that Gardiner travelled to Gippsland to stay with his brother Charles and his sister Robina. Yet, this remains speculation, as there is little definitive evidence to support this theory. The enigmatic nature of Gardiner's activities during this time even led some to suggest that he had fled Australia altogether, further adding to the myriad of theories and rumours surrounding this elusive figure. 'South Australian Weekly Chronicle' Saturday 30th August 1862;

There seems no end to the rumours about Gardiner, the bushranger. Lately, it was said that he had been seen in the theatre at Ballarat, and now it is rumoured that he has sailed for California and that some other rascal is impersonating him. If he reaches California, it is to be hoped the Vigilance Committee will get hold of him.

It is ironic how California was consistently addressed as Gardiner's preferred destination by correspondents before his eventual ejection from Australia in 1874.

Newspapers during this era were rife with speculations and sensationalised accounts of Gardiner's exploits and whereabouts, feeding into the public's fascination with this elusive outlaw. However, the authenticity of Gardiner's presence in the south has never been conclusively confirmed.

An inside source from Yass appeared to offer a different perspective, suggesting that Gardiner's apparent departure from Lachlan was nothing more than a cunning ruse. According to this theory, Gardiner may have been hiding in his old haunts in the Goulburn/Wheeo area, or even closer to Kitty's home. This tantalising possibility offered a thrilling twist in the tale for the public and kept them hooked on every development.

Even Sir Frederick Pottinger, a law enforcement officer tasked with capturing Gardiner, was drawn into this web of intrigue. Hoping against hope, he arrived at Kitty's home, aiming to at least capture, if not kill, his elusive target. This narrative, along with others like it, was widely disseminated in the 'Bell's Life in Sydney and Sporting Chronicle' on Saturday, 6th September 1862, further fanning the flames of public curiosity and interest in the enigmatic figure of Frank Gardiner.

Where is Gardiner? - A most difficult question to answer, we should say; but it is very, certain that he is gifted until ubiquity, judging from the statements which appear, from time to time, in the columns of some of our contemporaries. The other day it was positively averred that he paid Goulburn a visit; a few days prior to that, he witnessed the performances in the Ballarat Theatre; he was at Wangaratta since then, being a short cut to the Lachlan. How agreeable must it be to him to read these positive statements, while he himself has been all the time on his old beat-perhaps paying a visit of condolence to Mrs Brown at Wheogo Creek, after the "flustration" she was put in, by the gallant, but truly unfortunate Pottinger. Our neighbourhood has not escaped the contagion of false reports; on Wednesday it was shrewdly suspected he was close at hand, and the police wore actively engaged, in poking their noses into things that did not concern them, i.e., into inoffensive people's houses. We need not tell the reader that Gardiner was not found, His presence here if only for half an hour, would be a great relief to the speculative mind. For our own part, we say with Othello, "Come when he will, we can deny him nothing!

A night to remember.
Frederick Pottinger.

Despite his limited successes, Sir Frederick Pottinger was unyielding in his commitment to enforcing law and order in the unruly western districts. His resolve to capture notorious bushrangers intensified, especially targeting those residing at stations notorious for their lawless behaviour and dubious transactions. His determination particularly escalated in his pursuit of Ben Hall, further fuelling his exasperation.

Many settlers, previously pinpointed on an earlier police map for their known or suspected affiliations with bushrangers or their status as protectors or harbourers, staunchly denied any knowledge of the enigmatic outlaw, Frank Gardiner. This added to the formidable cone of silence that stymied Pottinger's investigations.

Many settlers, previously identified on a police map for their known or suspected connections with bushrangers or as protectors and harbourers, adamantly denied any knowledge of the elusive outlaw, Frank Gardiner. This widespread denial contributed to the pervasive silence that thwarted Pottinger’s investigations.

Saturday, August 9, 1862, marked a potentially pivotal moment for Inspector Pottinger. Equipped with his insider information, he embarked on a covert mission from Forbes at dusk, bypassing the main road to maintain discretion. He arrived around ten o'clock at night after a gruelling thirty-mile trek through the bush. Setting up camp about two miles from Mrs. Brown's home, Pottinger and Inspector Sanderson moved on foot to survey the area, bristling with anticipation.

Mrs. Brown's house stood isolated, a lone structure in a small open space surrounded by thick scrub, near the main Wheogo homestead. Pottinger was convinced that 'The Darkie' would be arriving soon, drawn to Kitty by their clandestine romance. His men were positioned strategically, their nerves alight with tension as they waited in the dark.

And then, like a spectre under the cloak of midnight, Gardiner appeared. Casually riding his white charger towards Kitty's home, he remained oblivious to the danger lurking in the shadows. The tension skyrocketed as Kitty stepped outside to gather some wood, then retreated back into her home. Pottinger waited with bated breath, the adrenaline coiling tight within him.

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

Sketch by Percy Lindsay. c. 1935.
As Gardiner drew near, Pottinger sprang up from his hiding spot, shouting "Stand in the Queen's name." He aimed his carbine at the unsuspecting bushranger and pulled the trigger. Startled, Gardiner let out a shriek, but a malfunction in Pottinger's carbine spared him from harm. Seizing the opportunity, Gardiner took off, escaping the clutches of Pottinger and his eight strategically placed troopers, two of whom also fired and missed as the bushranger disappeared into the night. 

However, it was also stated that Gardiner was actually in bed with his paramour when the police surrounded Brown's house. A consensus formed soon after that concluded that it did seem strange that ten men, all fully armed, should let one man slip through their fingers, especially when he (Gardiner) was boxed up within four walls. There must have been gross mismanagement somewhere.

With fury coursing through him, Pottinger stormed into Kitty's home. After a tense interrogation of Kitty and her younger brother 'Warrigal', Pottinger arrested the young man.

Walsh, a boy aged seventeen years, was brought up in custody and charged with being an accomplice of Gardiner.

Sir Frederick provided his version of events before the Forbes Bench during Kitty's younger brother John Walsh's arraignment;

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

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

Gardiner, caught off guard by the sudden cry piercing the night and the sharp click of the malfunctioning carbine, thrust his horse into the surrounding scrubland. Once they had reached a distance of about 500 yards from the scene of the encounter, Gardiner reined in his horse, pausing to steady his nerves and contemplate his next move. Lachlan Miner 12th August 1862;

It seems that the black trackers found in the morning that Gardiner had dismounted about five hundred yards away, and actually seated himself down at the foot of a tree. 
Frank Gardiner

However, in 1864, rumours circulated about a potential romantic rivalry between Pottinger and Gardiner, both vying for the affections of Catherine 'Kitty' Brown, who was renowned for her beauty and charm.

Whether there was a genuine love triangle involving Pottinger, Gardiner, and Kitty remains uncertain. Nonetheless, local speculation about such a relationship was rampant, fuelling gossip and adding an element of drama to the ongoing confrontation between the lawman and the outlaw. Here’s a sample of the kind of rumours that were whispered about their relationships.

The Yass Courier Saturday 2nd April 1864.

The grand event of Sir Frederick's remarkable career was his memorable engagement with, and partial defeat of, the renowned Gardiner known, or to be known, in colonial history as the battle of Wheogo. Certain circumstances, which time and the recent capture of Gardiner may perhaps now fully explain, seem to point to the conclusion that between Sir F. and Gardiner a rival ship existed in the fields of love, as well as in those of war. The smiles of the fair Catherine appear to have been bestowed on the bold brigand in preference to the titled police officer. Animated by the most powerful motives, the desire at once to extinguish a detested rival, and in the character of a conquering hero to claim the prize of beauty, Sir F. concerted measures to circumvent Gardiner and succeeded to admiration. With a chosen band of horsemen, he surrounded the bower of Cleopatra.
Antony issues forth, conspicuously mounted on a white charger, as if in contempt of his antagonist.
Sir F. fires and misses. Gardiner effects a leisurely and orderly retreat, which Sir F. and his troops magnanimously refrain from disturbing. It is Shakespeare's fiction of Dogberry realised, as thus —
Dogberry— "You are to bid any man stand in the Queen's name."
Watch. — "How if he will not stand."
Dogberry — "Why then take no note of him, but thank God you are rid of a knave."
Now this is exactly what Sir F. did. Having "got rid" of a knave and a rival, he returned with the flush of victory on his brow, find took possession of the evacuated citadel, capturing the remainder of the garrison, consisting of a single boy of fourteen years of age.

Death of the Warrigal.

Kitty's home Wheogo.
c. 1920's.
Despite Pottinger knowing that Gardiner was using Kitty's home as a hideout, the consequences for her younger brother, John 'Warrigal' Walsh, known as 'Gardiner's boy,' were devastating. Following his release on bail, Walsh was re-arrested in January 1863 after his bondsmen withdrew their support. He spent approximately eight weeks in police custody at Forbes, where he ultimately succumbed to Gaol Fever. At just 16 years old, his life was tragically cut short. The 'Yass Courier' reported on April 8th, 1863, with additional details provided by The Lachlan Observer.
The Deceased Boy Walsh;-"When our informant first saw Walsh, he was able to walk about, but complained of pains in his head and chest, and said that he had been in confinement for eight weeks, during which time he had only left the lock-up for the purpose of being taken to the Police Court, to procure a remand, every seven days, and once when he was taken to Orange, where he remained five days.

With these exceptions, he had been a close prisoner. The cell in which he was placed is the one used as a general lock up, measuring about five feet by twelve, and was occupied by four or five others. It is very dark, there being no light whatever, except that admitted through the chinks in the logs with which the building is constructed, and a small trap in the door, leaving an aperture about ten inches broad by eight deep. This, it seems, was closed at dusk every night, and accordingly, there was no other means of ventilation except that afforded by the chinks. There was no exercise save that of walking up and down the cell. Walsh asked for a doctor for two days before any apparent notice was taken. Our informant also spoke to the keeper of the lad's illness, and was told, "He's right enough, he only wants fresh air." One night the boy said he felt very ill, and asked Mr Rush to let him see a doctor; it was late, about ten o'clock. Mr. Rush said, "Johnny, a doctor can do you no good tonight, you'll all right in the morning. "Walsh said, "I should like to have him tonight, I fell very ill." Mr. Rush called a constable and sent him to fetch Dr Connell.

The doctor came and gave him some medicine. The next day Sir Frederick Pottinger gave orders that Walsh should be taken into the fresh air for two hours every day. Though ill, it appears no extra provision was made for the youth, as he had no bed to lie on, being, like the others, only allowed blankets to wrap himself in of a night.

He was kept in the lock-up three days after the doctor first saw him, and grew so rapidly worse that he could not raise himself without help. One night the trap door was opened, and the keeper called Walsh to come and take some medicine from a spoon which he held in his hand, but he had almost to be carried there by the other prisoners before he could take the physic. He was then taken to the women's cell, where he was heard raving deliriously, starting up from his bed and knocking himself against the logs. The hospital to which the boy was conveyed is a bark construction, about ten feet by eight, with walls about six feet high.

From this, he was allowed eventually to be taken to the White Hart Inn, under the care of his step-mother, who called in Drs. Flatau and Nutt, who, it appears, were not more successful than Dr Connell in the treatment of their patient, for he rapidly sank, and died on Sunday.

After his close call, Gardiner swiftly returned to his hut. With dawn breaking, he and Mrs. Brown started their preparations for the lengthy trek to Queensland.

Adding to the narrative, a long-standing resident of the Lachlan District, writing under the pseudonym John A Hux, who had often written favourably about Gardiner, Hall, and their associates in the press, provided some insights. This information, reportedly coming directly from Frank Gardiner himself, recounted his narrow escape and, intriguingly, included his expression of admiration for Sir Frederick Pottinger.

I asked him the particulars of Sir F. Pottinger's meeting him at Mrs. Brown's; he gave almost word for word the same statement made by Sir F. Pottinger of their meeting, adding that he never had the slightest suspicion of any police being near him, that he was quietly ambling along when he heard someone shout out "Stand," and almost immediately level a rifle. So sudden was it that he felt as if he were electrified. Jumping up in his saddle, and spurring his horse, he galloped away into the bush, distinctly hearing the cap of the rifle snap, and adding "by God, I thought I was a dead man". He returned to the hut the same night and took Mrs. Brown away. I asked him what they thought of Sir F. Pottinger, to which he replied, the papers may say what they like about him; some call him a coward, I wish he was. There is nothing of the coward about him; he is the only man in the police I care for, and the only one that hunts and keeps me moving; in fact, the place is getting too hot for me. I shall try and clear out. Such is the statement made by Gardiner himself, and I leave the question of the cowardice or not of Sir F. Pottinger between the statements made by the hon. Members Messrs. Harpur and Driver and the notorious bushranger Gardiner. I merely state facts.³⁹

Amidst the turmoil, it's essential to highlight the deep romantic bond between Gardiner and Mrs. Brown. Gardiner, known for his charismatic aura, stood 5 ft. 8½ in tall with an athletic build, brown hair, and hazel eyes, which gave him a dashing, Corsair-like appearance complemented by a smooth voice. His partner, Catherine, was noted for her striking beauty, standing at 5 ft 3 in with sandy blonde hair—traits shared by her sisters, who were also regarded as attractive.

Following their departure from the Lachlan district, Frank Gardiner and Mrs. Brown seemingly vanished. Although robberies persisted into early 1863, often pinned on Gardiner, they were more likely perpetrated by John Gilbert, Ben Hall, and John O'Meally. Gardiner’s notable absence for several months sparked speculation among observers about his possible whereabouts.

After every enquiry could hear of no confirmation of the report, nor of any stranger having visited that quarter bearing any resemblance to the redoubted bushranger. Verily, there are as many Gardiner's in the colony as there were Richmond’s at Bosworth field.⁴⁰

Furthermore Gardiner's fame knew no bounds when it was also noted;

Not a highway robbery takes place, not, a store or station is stuck-up, but the cry immediately is "Gardiner,"-"Gardiner!" Why, he; would want a railroad, with a carriage, to carry him sixty miles an hour, to be often in the different places people accuse him of being in.⁴¹ 

No! Gardiner and Catherine were long gone by the closing of 1862.

To compound matters, rumours of their departure abounded, whereby, soon after the confrontation at Kitty's, Gardiner was said to have taken passage on a ship the 'All Serene.' This was generally thought to have occurred during Gardiner's reputed disappearance from the Lachlan, June 62-August 62. Note the date. The 'All Serene' was recorded as sailing from Sydney for California on July the 16th 1862;

FORBES, 25th August. It is now reported by some parties who profess to have known Gardiner well, that this noted bushranger sailed some time ago for California, and that the party now impersonating him has done so with a view to facilitating his escape. The vessel in which the real 'Simon Pure' took his departure, curiously enough, is called the 'All Serene.' 

The gossip was followed up with another tale of Gardiner actually arriving in California; 'Mount Alexander Mail' Monday 29th September 1862;

The report which some time ago appeared in a telegram published by Messrs Gordon and Gotch, to the effect that Gardiner had actually sailed sometime since for California, did not obtain much credence at the time, as the many reports of Gardiner having been seen rendered it rather improbable. The report, however, appears to have been correct in every particular, as the latest news from California states-Gardiner arrived there all right in the "All Serene" from Sydney. This is a strange sequel to the report of Sir F. Pottinger and his cowardly police, who were afraid of the man on a white horse because they thought it was Gardiner.

However, instead of California, just where were they? For as far as the news went on the 'Darkie,' he and Kitty had seemingly dropped off the planet.

Note: The ship 'All Serene' reputed to have carried Gardiner off was lost at sea on March 2nd 1864, while carrying a cargo of lumber under the command of Captain M. Meyers, having departed Victoria, Vancouver's Island 29th of November, 1863, for Sydney. In a fierce storm lasting weeks, the ship sank, setting the crew and passengers adrift into the violent sea 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. The lack of sightings 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 as promulgated in July 1863. Gilbert's wide notoriety as Gardiner's lieutenant naturally had the press promote the rogue as the gang's heir apparent;

DISSOLUTION OF PARTNERSHIP. It appears that the famous bushranger, Gardiner, has somehow backed out of his bushranging business, and retired from public life, leaving his associate Gilbert at the head of the concern. "Bell's Life" in Sydney, not unhappily hits off this change in the following notice:- "The public is respectfully informed that the partnership hitherto existing between Frank Gardiner, John Gilbert, and John O’Meally, 'Road Contractors,' trading in the South-Western districts under the style of 'Gardiner, Gilbert, and Co' was this day dissolved by mutual consent; and that the business will in future be carried on by the said John Gilbert and John O’Meally, as 'Gilbert and Company,' who will pay all debts of gratitude due by the late firm, and collect all outstanding accounts. In retiring from business, Mr Frank Gardiner begs respectfully to tender his acknowledgements to the Government for the 'liberal' measure of support (the new Police Act) accorded to him since he has been in business. Mr Gardiner has also to express his sincere thanks to his friends, the 'gentlemen' of the police, for patronage they have ('unwittingly') bestowed upon him, and solicits a continuance of that support for his successors, in whom he has every confidence that the business will be conducted by them with the same promptitude and energy that distinguished the late firm. "In reference to the above, Messrs. Gilbert and Company beg to assure their friends and the public generally that no exertion shall be wanting on their parts to merit a continuance of the confidence placed in the late firm of Gardiner, Gilbert, and Co. Messrs. Gilbert and Company respectfully announce that whilst diligently attending to the Mails, it will be their constant study to treat the females with every courtesy and gentlemanly consideration.

"**Racehorses purchased or exchanged on liberal terms." N.B.-Gin, of the finest quality, supplied to travellers gratis.

Weddin Mountain, 6th July 1863.
Gardiner, Wheeo, 1862.

Hours after the confrontation with Pottinger, Gardiner and Kitty Brown disappeared without a trace. Their first destination was Wheeo, Gardiner's old haunt during his days with Fogg and Piesley. Wheeo was home to many disreputable characters and was tucked away from prying eyes, with the nearest major town being Crookwell and the thinly populated Grabben Gullen nearby.

In the closing months of 1862, it was widely thought that Francis Christie, using the alias James Christie, secretly married Catherine Brown in Wheeo. This was confirmed by Kitty herself. During his time in Wheeo, Gardiner reconnected with old mates such as Ruggy Jim, Long Tom, and Topham. His presence in the area was frequently reported in the 'Empire' in October 1862.

GENERAL GARDINER.-- We are informed (says the Goulburn Chronicle), on the most reliable authority, that the notorious Mrs. Brown, near whose residence Sir Frederick Pottinger made the fruitless attempt to capture the renowned bushranger, and who had since quitted the place where she was then domiciled, is now located near Wheeo, where the amorous brigand has renewed his visits, he himself hanging about the neighbourhood in company with three of his mates, severally known as Topham, Ruggy Jim, and Long Tom, and that he has been seen there by parties who knew him within the last week.

The district police appeared not to react to the information.

In the same month of October 1862, great excitement was again generated when a report appeared of Gardiner's capture by none other than the 'Hero of Wheogo' Sgt Sanderson. 'Yass Courier' Oct 1862

GARDINER AGAIN.— A report reached town yesterday evening by Mr. Robert's coach that the celebrated bushranger Gardiner had been apprehended by Sergeant Saunderson at Bathurst. From enquiries, we have made we are inclined to think that the rumour is false. Had such an occurrence taken place, some notice of capture would have reached us by telegraph.

Another report states that Sir Frederick Pottinger was patrolling Wheeo in search of his man. 'Goulburn Chronicle' Oct 62;

GARDINER.— "As confirmatory of the intelligence given in our last issue to the effect that Gardiner, together with some of his mates, had been seen in the vicinity of Wheeo within the last ten days, we may state that we have since learnt that Sir Frederick Pottinger and eight troopers were in that neighbourhood about the same period, on the lookout for the colonial Dick Turpin, but that the baronet, unfortunately, "missed in his usual way.
Later Gardiner was again reported at Wheeo in October when subscribers complained of late or missing newspapers,'Empire' 2nd November 1862;

From Wheeo we learn that subscribers there got sometimes five or six copies at a time, and it is suggested that as General Gardiner has been lately seen in that locality, it is possible that, as he takes an interest in the news of the day, he may probably have intercepted them, and only forwarded the papers when he has perused them at his leisure.

There's no question that Frank Gardiner was making every effort to stay updated with the latest news, likely gathering as many newspapers as he could get his hands on. This information was crucial for Gardiner as it helped him plan his imminent departure and kept him aware of police activities in the area. Despite rumours suggesting that Gardiner moved about freely, another account emerged in October 1862 near Fogg's place. A witness claimed to have encountered the notorious bushranger during this time.

THE LATEST ABOUT FRANK GARDINER.—For sometime past this worthy has withdrawn himself from the admiring eyes of those who delight in narratives of murder and robbery, and it was suspected that he had quitted the colony for New Zealand. However, we are credibly informed that Frank still honors. New South Wales with his presence, and about three weeks ago was seen at Bigga by a person who knows him well. Gardiner was on horseback at the time, and the only arms he apparently had with him was a double-barrelled gun. The friends exchanged salutes, and reined up their horses. After some general conversation, Gardiner's friend asked permission to examine the gun; it was courteously handed to him, and after testing the barrels, and finding them loaded, the traveller remarked that it was in his power to shoot him (Gardiner). With the utmost nonchalance, Gardiner said, "You can do as you like about that; fire away if you think proper." The traveller, however, took no such cowardly advantage, and, handing the piece back, left Gardiner to pursue his journey unmolested.

Queensland. Apis Creek.

Consequently, rumours swirled that Gardiner had escaped the colony with Mrs. Brown, sparking widespread speculation about the whereabouts of the legendary bushranger. Contrary to some accounts that suggested California as their destination, evidence points to Queensland as their actual target. It is believed their departure took place in late October or November of 1862.

The northward journey likely spanned several months. Historical accounts suggest that the couple travelled through Dubbo, crossed the Barwon River near Walgett, and continued through St George, Miles, Taroom, and Theodore, before passing through Rannes and Rockhampton, and ultimately arriving at their final stop, Apis Creek near Peak Downs, around March or April of 1863. This extensive trek covered approximately 900 miles. During this journey, Catherine noted that a man joined them as a servant, although his identity remains unknown. Suggestions have included Daniel Charters or a man named Mark Brown, who was rumoured to be the informant that later disclosed Gardiner’s location at Apis Creek to the authorities.

No one but a servant man accompanied us; he did not start with us, but joined us on the road; He went with us to Apis Creek; he left Apis Creek sometime afterwards. 

Constable Wells, one of those instrumental in the 1864 capture of Gardiner, recounted their movements as told by Kitty;

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.

Note; Kitty claimed they arrived in June 63. However, this may have been a ruse.

Before reaching Apis Creek, the couple made a notable appearance in Rannes, located 80 miles short of Rockhampton. Here, J.E. Richter observed Frank attempting to negotiate the purchase of a new hotel from Mr. Pendrigh. The property, constructed entirely from split timber, featured eight rooms and was situated a mile from Rannes, adjacent to the main road. Despite being incomplete, the establishment already included a bar and accommodations, and it was later to be known as 'The Netherby Arms.'

Richter was particularly taken by the couple's distinct appearance in the relatively isolated area. Catherine's striking good looks and lush blonde hair made her stand out, while Gardiner's athletic build was equally impressive. Together, they were quite the striking pair. During their two-day stay in Rannes, Richter also noted Catherine's adeptness as a horsewoman, adding another layer to their intriguing presence.

Whilst, these negotiations were in progress, the woman one morning was noticed in the act of catching one of the horses on the grass within a few chains of the hotel. The horse was restive, and would not allow itself to be caught as easily as usual. She, however, had got a hold of the mane above the wither and ran alongside the animal as it trotted, in the endeavour to stop it. Then the horse commenced to canter. As the pace was becoming too fast and still having hold of the mane, she gave a spring and landed on its back, after which the horse was as much under control as if it had a bridle on its head. It was the smartest bit of athletics I ever saw outside of a circus.⁴² 

The gentleman later that day observed as well Gardiner's prowess with the horse;

Later in the day, the man was also observed catching the same horse. It acted in the same way. As he had hold of the mane above the wither, and trotting as before, the man, with the other hand, suddenly caught hold of the horse's foreleg, and, as quickly giving the knee a bend, brought the astonished animal to the ground. On the third morning, as all negotiations for the purchase of the place had failed, this interesting pair packed up and resumed their journey to Rockhampton, distant 80 miles. It was Gardiner, the bushranger, and the woman was Mrs. Brown. 

Note; Rannes was originally the pastoral run of James Leith-Hay taken up in 1852. The town of Rannes was surveyed by A.F. Wood surveyor, in July 1860.
Archibald Craig.

Never before published.
Private Source.

When Pendrigh declined the sale, the opportunity for a purchase disappeared, and the pair left Rannes unfazed. As they travelled, they passed through Rockhampton and met another couple heading the same way. The Craig's had become stranded, their dray mired in mud on the road near Yaamba, just outside Rockhampton. They were on their way back to Apis Creek with their six-month-old baby, Ellen Louisa. In this encounter, Gardiner, ever the amiable and helpful traveller, assisted them and introduced himself as James Christie.

Shortly afterwards the driver overtook a dogcart, which was stationary, owing to one of the horses having bogged. The owners, a very respectable-looking couple—a man and woman—were evidently unable to extricate themselves without assistance which was promptly rendered by the man in the tilted cart lending one of his horses to pull out the dray. This led to some conversation, and to the discovery that the latter was wholly ignorant of the road of which the owner of the bogged horse was well acquainted. The obliging party was Mr Christie, and the obliged Mr Craig.⁴³

The Craig's originated from Victoria. Archibald Craig was from The Mosquito Plains, located near Narracoorte on the border of South Australia and Victoria. He married Maria Young in Harrow, Victoria, on September 26, 1860, when she was only eighteen. Archibald had moved to Australia from Middlesex, England, in 1855.

Following the extraction of the dray, the four commenced travelling together. Catherine revealed;

We overtook Craig as he was driving a dray and two horses along the road; It was very wet weather when we first met Craig at Yaamba, and he was stuck-up by the weather, and my husband lent him a horse. There was then a conversation between my husband and Craig, and we travelled in company together all the way on to Apis Creek. The conversation was regarding opening a store and a public house. The only reason why we travelled together was, we were all of us going the same road.

During their unexpected meeting, Gardiner mentioned to Craig that he was headed for Connor's Range, about 40 miles south of Mackay. However, Craig shared that he was nearing completion of a hotel that was positioned well away from Apis Creek. This revelation piqued Gardiner’s interest, as it presented a closer opportunity than he had originally anticipated.

In the course of the conversation which ensued, it transpired that Mr. Christie was on his way up the country to start a store upon Connor's Range, and Mr. Craig on a similar errand to Apis Creek at which place a building was already in the course of erection. It ultimately was arranged that a partnership should be formed upon Christie paying down the sum of £61. It appears that Mr. Craig had no interest in the store which was afterwards added by Christie to the public-house.⁴⁴

Kitty confirmed the sale during Gardiner's court appearance at Rockhampton. Catherine stated;

I know that this receipt (produced) is in Craig's handwriting; it is signed by him, and it is a receipt for £61, for my husband's share of the house; the signature on it is "A. D. Craig", being requested to read it out the witness took the document in her hand, and did so partly when she said she could not make out the handwriting.

Maria Louisa Craig.
Never before published.
Private source.

Upon arriving at their chosen destination, Apis Creek, the couple known as the Christie's settled into a small outpost located approximately 100 miles northwest of Rockhampton. This locale was strategically positioned along a busy route leading to the burgeoning gold and copper fields of Peak Downs and Copperfield. The route was frequented by thousands of miners, many from areas like the Lambing Flat and Forbes goldfields in New South Wales, which were familiar territories for Gardiner.

In collaboration with Craig, the Christie's set up a diverse business operation that included a hotel, general store, and butcher's shop, all adjacent to one another. The Apis Creek Hotel, built from wooden slabs with a roof constructed from the bark of local white, gum-topped box, and ironbark trees, presented a rustic yet appealing structure, its materials sourced by local aboriginals.

With the business established, Frank and Catherine took charge of the general store and butcher's shop, while Archibald Craig and his wife Maria ran the hotel, setting beverage prices at a shilling each. This new venture marked a significant transformation for the former bushranger and his companion, who appeared to have seamlessly adapted to their new roles in the district.

The division of responsibility was noted in the Rockhampton Bulletin;

Craig held the license, and managed the books, purchased supplies, and generally found Christie, a more muscular, specimen of humanity, split shingles, drew wood, and generally assisted; Both- from the report of our special correspondent, at peak Downs while at Apis Creek- were hardworking, inoffensive, and apparently respectable men. The females in the establishment comprised Mrs Craig and Mrs Christie.
Apis Creek site of Craig and
Christie's business.
The marker was erected by
the Rockhampton Historical
Society in 1970.

Courtesy Gary Hunn.

Under the assumed name James Christie, Frank Gardiner swiftly cultivated a reputation for being respectable, polite, and helpful. His demeanour quickly endeared him to the local community, who regarded him as trustworthy. His companion, known as Mrs. Christie and often referred to as Kitty, was a petite and attractive woman in her mid-twenties. Her gracious hospitality towards miners and travellers marked her as an exception among the storekeepers and hoteliers of the time, who typically adhered to a 'money first, goods later' policy.

When it came time to license the Apis Creek Hotel, Mr Fitzsimmons objected, but Chief Constable Foran ultimately approved it. Consequently, Gardiner, now living as James Christie, officially became a respected business owner and a valued member of the Apis Creek community. Despite these significant transformations, his infamous past as a bushranger remained unknown to those around him. His seamless integration into this new lifestyle underscored his remarkable skill in deception and disguise. Commenting;

That the house was at the time duly inspected by the police and favourably reported on.

The location of the Christie's new home was highlighted in the Rockhampton Bulletin; Rockhampton Bulletin, of March 10;

Apis Creek is a tributary of the Mackenzie, lying at its nearest approach to the Peak Downs road, about 105 miles from town, and twenty-two miles from that river: Journeying from town Peak Downs ward, you pass on the left the sheep station of Mr. McLennan, lately purchased from Charles Fitzsimmons, Esq., and keeping the road over a moderate swell, cross a small scrubby watercourse, and, gaining its opposite bank, see to the immediate right the Apis Creek Hotel and a small detached store, jointly managed by A. D. Craig and Francis Christie alias Gardiner.

Operating under the alias James Christie, Gardiner kept a discreet profile during his time in Apis Creek, remaining inconspicuous despite dealing with considerable amounts of gold. He also altered his physical appearance significantly; he had put on weight and grown a full beard and whiskers, effectively disguising his well-known facial features.

His companion Catherine, known as Mrs Christie, was described as petite and attractive, with sandy blonde hair. Both of them were reserved in nature, keeping to themselves and maintaining a strictly professional relationship with the Craig's, their business partners.

It was a stark contrast to Gardiner's previous life as an infamous bushranger. Here in Apis Creek, he had become a trusted well respected businessman. His transformation was testament to his ability to adapt and reinvent himself. Nevertheless, the truth of his past loomed as a constant shadow, a secret waiting to be discovered, as Craig admitted under oath;

Admits that his partner was retiring, and uncommunicative-that Mrs Christie was even more taciturn and that she was a great stranger to Mrs Craig and himself as the first day they met. ⁴⁵ 
Oscar De Satge

In Apis Creek, even as he led a subdued life, Gardiner's emerging reputation for reliability and trustworthiness did not escape the notice of the local community. One individual particularly taken with Gardiner was Oscar De Satge, a notable grazier and the owner of 'Wolfgang Station' in Peak Downs. Their acquaintance began over a mutual appreciation for a fine brown horse that Gardiner, introducing himself as James Christie, was riding. This shared interest laid the foundation for a growing rapport between the two.

As their relationship developed, De Satge came to trust Gardiner's discretion and dependability to such an extent that he would often leave significant sums of money in Gardiner's care. This trust bestowed upon him reflected the new persona Gardiner had successfully forged in Apis Creek. He had managed not only to escape the clutches of the law but also to earn a level of respect and trust that starkly contrasted with his notorious background as a bushranger.

Extract from De Satge, memoirs "Pages from the Journal of a Queensland Squatter" printed in 1901, noted;

One day, returning from one of the many trips I had to make to Rockhampton on station business, I first met, near Apis Creek, the man who then called himself James Christie; he was riding a very fine brown horse, and was crossing the road before me, making towards a camp that had a tent with a lot of timber stacked about it. As the man was a stranger, I caught him up and entered into conversation with him, and he proved, though shy, affable and fairly communicative, asking me to get off my horse and have a cup of tea with his "old woman," who turned out to be a pretty little person, though silent and demure.

Having asked him if he would sell the brown horse, he referred me to his wife as the owner, when she at once said nothing would induce her to sell him. I little knew then the romance of the road  that was attached to that gallant brown horse. Christie then told me he had come overland from Victoria, and that in company with a good mate, (Craig) who was then out splitting stuff, he intended to put up a public-house where we were, as he thought it a good stand, with which I quite agreed.

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

Despite their complex history, the Christie's managed to carve out a new existence for themselves in Apis Creek. Their reserved demeanour and cautious interactions, particularly with individuals like Oscar De Satge, helped keep their previous lives concealed. Even when faced with potentially revealing rumours, such as the claim they had visited family in Portland, Victoria, after Gardiner's encounter with Pottinger in August 1862, they were quick to quash such speculations.

During a court session in Rockhampton, Catherine effectively silenced the rumours by stating they had arrived from the Edward River, cleverly situating this near the Lachlan District to support their narrative of coming from Victoria.

Gardiner's adeptness at managing these delicate situations showcased his cunning and resourcefulness. His charismatic nature likely played a role in his ability to evade capture for so long, allowing him not only to escape the law but also to forge a new identity far removed from his notorious past as a bushranger. Despite the constant threat of their past resurfacing, the Christie's maintained a relatively serene existence in Apis Creek.

It is not quite twelve months now since I left New South Wales. I came from the Edward River. That she did not know where it was situate.

There was widespread speculation about the couple's whereabouts after leaving the Lachlan, with rumours placing them in Portland, Victoria, South Australia, or Ballarat before settling in Apis Creek. However, during Gardiner's court appearance in Rockhampton, Kitty, under oath, claimed they had originated from a small, obscure location known as Edward River. Positioned roughly 200 miles south of Wheogo and 50 miles northeast of Swan Hill across the Murray River, her mention of Edward River seemed intended to obscure their true movements.
Sale of Apis Creek horse.

Interestingly, at the time of his capture, Gardiner was in possession of a fine black racehorse named 'Darky,' which had caught the attention of Oscar De Satge. Detective McGlone, one of the arresting officers, referred to the horse as 'Racer' and believed it to have been taken from a Mr. Peter Beveridge near Swan Hill, Victoria, although this was possibly a mistake. When canvassed Beveridge knew nothing of the horse. Records from April 1862 indicate that Gardiner was already known to ride a striking black racer. Regardless of its origins, this horse was eventually sold for £81 15s in 1864: 'Empire' Friday 11th April 1862;

When Gardiner was last seen he was riding a splendid thorough-bred black horse, of beautiful build and racing proportions.

The police did an inventory of the home effects of the pair and obtained various jewellery and cash from the store. McGlone divulged;

Found some jewellery, consisting of watches, chains, lockets, and keepers, in the prisoner's store, which he had taken possession of. One of the seals had a most beautiful crest upon it by which he thought it might he identified. He also found the sum of £193 3s 7d in sovereigns, notes, and cheques in the store, in addition to a small bag containing gold. Of all this property, he had taken a careful inventory, which also included several carpenter's tools.

The success of any business is measured by its cash flow. Therefore, Gardiner's enterprise at Apis Creek and the cash on hand demonstrate how busy the store was with passing trade for it to hold in today's terms over $16,000 at his ready disposal is remarkable.

Subsequently, when Gardiner was held at Darlinghurst in April 1864, the subject of his pride and joy, his horse 'Darky', was raised. But was it his horse? Gardiner had earlier said the fine horse was the property of Catherine. However, the very thought or mention of the animal excited the former bushranger;

Gardiner seems to care about nobody, but this woman and his black horse, of which he is extraordinarily fond— the horse which carried him and Mrs Brown from the Lachlan to 100 miles beyond Rockhampton. The animal is now in Sydney, and £5 - has been offered for it. Gardiner himself says it is so docile that when he whistled it would come to him in the bush. He likes to talk about this animal, and the mention of it will rouse him out of one of his reveries into animation.

The acclaimed stolen horse would be delivered along with Gardiner to Sydney; however, the supposed former owner Peter Beveridge when informed, never laid claim to the horse, indicating that it was not his animal. It was sold again for £122 to a Mr Peisley, who then sold the horse again for £172;

A Horse! A Horse! My Kingdom for a Horse!' — It will be within the recollection of our readers, that the renowned Frank Gardiner was on many occasions indebted to his no less renowned charger, 'Darkie,' for so long having eluded capture. The capabilities of this fine animal remind us of the exploits of the famous 'Black Bess,' the favourite of Dick Turpin, so graphically recorded by Ainsworth, in his novel of Rookwood. On Thursday last, by the direction of the Government, 'Darkie' was submitted to public sale by Mr. Charles Martyn, and after a brisk competition, was knocked down to Mr. W. Piesley for £122. The sale yard was crowded on the occasion, and certainly, Gardiner must be acknowledged to possess good judgement in horse-flesh. 'Darkie' is the beau ideal of a steeple-chaser, of rich brown colour, fully sixteen hands high, with splendid fore-arm, and bone and muscle in proportion. He has, of course, undergone an immense deal of work, but as a fancy purchase, Mr. Piesley has not paid too dear for him. He is a horse of excellent temper and carries a lady with docility and gentleness scarcely to be expected from a highwayman's charger. 

To capitalise on the owner's investment, 'Bells Life in Sydney' on the 24th September 1864 reported that the celebrated horse was exhibited for a short time at the Pantheon Tea Gardens, Bourke street, two doors down, from the Haymarket Theatre, Sydney.

Furthermore, in January of 1864, three months before Gardiner's arrest, a reporter for the 'Geelong Advertiser' trumped the police and made the sensational claim that Gardiner was indeed in Queensland. The reporter appeared to have a very credible source. Moreover, the article may also have been the catalyst for the police to finally act. 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 reputedly as follows;
Aphis Creek,
6 December 1863.

Dear Jim,
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.

Kate Christie

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 to 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. 
However, all hearsay as the reward for Gardiner's capture was paid to Detective McGlone, a paltry sum of £20 of the original £500. Young Tribune Saturday 7th January 1865;

THE REWARD FOR GARDINER'S CAPTURE - We understand that the entire sum paid by the Government to detective McGlone for the capture of Gardiner was £20 and that his position in the service is no higher now than it was previous to that event. When the performance of special and dangerous duties, such as the arrest of the most notorious bushranger that even New South Wales ever produced, is thus inadequately recognised, there is little inducement for what in the navy is termed "zeal for the service" in the police force.

However, in 1901, Mr Oscar De Satge published "Pages from the Journal of a Queensland Squatter", which provides an account of the person believed to have outed Gardiner at Apis Creek for the reward. His name was Jacobsohn;

Amongst the many travellers from Peak Downs who had about this time passed Christie's was one Jacobsohn by name, a storekeeper at Copperfield, where he held interests; this man at once recognised Christie as the bushranger Gardiner, who had stuck him up and robbed him on one of the goldfields in New South Wales. Jacobsohn held his tongue and went to Sydney, where he found that the £1,000 reward for Gardiner's capture still held good.

Another recipient was thought to have been Mark Brown (Penzig), a commercial traveller or who may have worked with Frank at Apis for a short time gave police the information. None of the reputed recipients of the reward was ever publicly published other than the arresting police.

McGlone, Pye and Wells.

Nevertheless, an article that may have piqued the NSW police's interest regarding Gardiner's whereabouts had originated in Queensland. Although the writer expresses Brisbane as Gardiner's new home, it is true in what they say, 'where there's smoke there's fire', consequently, the story was forwarded to Geelong where it also covered the well-known uses by Gardiner of a variety of disguises often employed for anonymity. A first-class thespian; 'Empire' Saturday 23rd January 1864;

A TALE FOR THE MARINES. - We are indebted to the Melbourne Age for the following tough "yarn"- "The notorious Gardiner appears to have again put in an appearance. He has now selected Brisbane for his place of residence, but, it seems, is living for him-very quietly. We take the following from the letter of the Queensland correspondent of the 'Geelong Advertiser’.-"Now, in connection with the escort, I shall make mention of a circumstance that has come to my knowledge, and that should be borne in mind by the police. Frank Gardiner, the celebrated New South Wales bushranger, has gone north, and doubtless, he is on for a 'little game' after the free and easy fashion he adopted in the neighbouring colony. Of course, in the face of so many conflicting reports as are circulated in New South Wales and Victoria, in connection with this notorious character, I do not expect that universal credit will be given to the statement here made; nevertheless, I place it against all the reports of Frank Gardiner's death and secret departure to foreign parts. Frank Gardiner has been in Queensland for the past ten months at least. He has moved about Brisbane occasionally in the most open manner and with perfect nonchalance. He has been amongst the police and has not been recognised though they have one photograph at least of him in their possession. I have seen the photograph, and I have seen the original, so I am in a position to speak with certainty. I have also read the description of him in the Hue and Cry and Police Gazette. There is this much to be said in excuse of the police, that Gardiner is such an adept at disguising himself (making-up in the theatrical phrase) that he, will introduce himself to a man at any time and meet him again in an hour afterwards so changed as to defy recognition. He has appeared like a local preacher with a suit of seedy black, white cravat and spectacles; as a rollicking squatter in loudest modern attire; and as a rough bushman and stock rider, Crimean shirt, tights, long boots and a dirty felt hat or cabbage tree. But it is not by his clothes alone that he disguises himself, he understands how to change his complexion and his hair moustache and beard. It appears that he is prepared to challenge detection by his late mates, except, perhaps Gilbert, with whom he had a difference before leaving New South Wales. Gilbert is talkative and indiscreet, while Gardiner is close, or as the phrase goes, 'dark' to his companions. As an instance of the capers Gardiner has been up to here, I may mention that a well-known courtesan called Madeline Smith (said to be the lady of Glasgow notoriety) was brought before the police court some time ago and while in the dock a man was leaning over the back of it, and suggesting to her what to say to the bench. The attendant constable turned him away from the dock, telling him that nobody must interfere with the accused. He apologised laughingly, and remained in court; afterwards (I am assured) became bail for her. 

That man was Frank Gardiner! Again, he opened an account in one of the city banks. There is a woman here of whom I have before written, a Mrs. Winch, who has been in gaol two or three times and first for killing her husband with a pair of scissors at Rockhampton, she was for a short time a favoured friend of Gardiner. Whether or not they are together now, I do not know. As the lady belongs to the north; they may be. Some time ago there were paragraphs in the Brisbane papers; setting forth that one of the men concerned in the terrible escort robbery in New South Wales was up here in the service of a member of the Legislature, who is a large squatter. I have been told since that the man referred to was Chartres, the Queen's evidence at the trial of Bow and others who were convicted at Sydney, I have also heard that another man in whose house the bushrangers often lived in the vicinity of Burrangong has honoured Queensland with his presence.

The 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;

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.

Frank Gardiner is got.

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

F. Cubitt.
Their odyssey commenced via intelligence that ultimately was deemed accurate. By Jimmie, they got him. A correspondent of the 'Brisbane Courier' on hand in Rockhampton broke the sensational news on March 10th 1864, and in an instant, the telegraph wires lit up and rocketed countrywide the story of the notorious bushranger Frank Gardiner's capture;

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

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

The lead-up to the capture was fraught with tension among the police involved in the operation. Initially, Daniel McGlone, James Pye, and George Wells disguised themselves as diggers, using the cover of the flooded Fitzroy River in Rockhampton to gather necessary equipment. After being delayed by adverse weather, they eventually started their journey toward Peak Downs, equipped with a packhorse carrying their supplies.

However, harmony was short-lived among the trio. A serious disagreement erupted when Pye and Wells challenged McGlone, the officer in charge, who had initially refused to reveal the purpose of their expedition. Feeling slighted by their exclusion from the planning, Pye and Wells demanded full disclosure of their mission's objectives and refused to continue without this information.

Reluctantly, McGlone conceded to their demands. He shared a photograph of their target, Frank Gardiner, and disclosed that reliable intelligence indicated Gardiner was in the Peak Downs area. This revelation aimed to restore unity and focus to their precarious mission.

Additional Reward.
NSW Police Gazette 1865.

In 1915, George Wells sought to clarify the true circumstances surrounding Gardiner's capture at the age of seventy-three, disputing the minimal role that Daniel McGlone was reported to have played. Wells' account emerged as a response to Charles White's portrayal in the 'History of Australian Bushranging' published in 1903, which he encountered in an abridged form in the Sydney 'Truth' in 1912. Wells contested the narrative presented by White and the 'Truth', which had minimised the contributions of Wells and Pye, casting them as peripheral figures rather than professional key participants.

George Wells had been a member of the NSW police since October 1863 and was promoted to constable by February 1, 1864. For their roles in apprehending Gardiner, Wells and Pye each received £15 from the Police Reward Fund, a recognition described as an additional amount specifically for Gardiner's arrest, rather than a share of the reputed £500 reward. The full £500 was allegedly given discreetly to an undisclosed party, whose identity remains unknown. There is also speculation that part of this reward was allocated to the Queensland Native Police for their assistance, alongside the efforts of the officer in charge at Apis Creek.

In 1865, following some appeals by McGlone, an additional monetary reward was granted to the three officers: McGlone received £40, while Pye and Wells each received £30. Surprisingly, despite leading the expedition, McGlone, a 2nd Class Detective, did not receive a promotion similar to other notable figures such as Sanderson, the 'Hero of Wheogo,' or Lowry’s captor, Stephenson, after the capture of the infamous Frank Gardiner.

In 1868, McGlone resigned from the NSW police following allegations of Fenian sympathies, which were later found to be unsubstantiated upon investigation. His resignation was noted in the 'Burrangong Argus' on May 2, 1868, marking the end of his tenure as a second-class detective.

ALLEGED FENIANISM IN THE POLICE- THE CASE OF DETECTIVE M'GLONE.- Ordered 1 by the Legislative Assembly to be printed, April, 1868. Return to an order made by the honorable the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales, dated 21st April, 1868, that there be laid upon the table of this House—"A statement of the charge of Fenianism or disloyalty made by a Minister of the Crown, on the information of Mr. Powell, of Berrima against detective M'Glone, on the 14th March, with copies of all letters and telegrams sent to, or received from Mr. Powell on the .-subject; also, a copy of Mr.Fosbery's letter to deceptive M'Glone, of March 16th charging him with attending a seditious meeting with M'Glone's reply thereto; also, copies of M'Glone's resignation of his office, and of his application on the, following day for permission to withdraw the same; with the reasons (if any) assigned by the head of the police for refusing the application."

The Inspector-General of Police to the

Principal Under Secretary. Police Department, Inspector-General's office, Sydney, 16th April, 1868. I attach Mr. Fosberry's report on the matters referred to above, and have only to add that I was cognizant, of the circumstances mentioned in Mr. Fosberry's letter at the time they occurred, and accepted M'Glone's resignation without hesitation, as I considered an officer who would desire to leave when there was so much pressing duty for the detectives to perform, was better out of the force than in it. M'Glone's application for re-appointment I also attach, but I have not felt justified in acceding to it for the present.


The Secretary, Police Department, to the Inspector-General of Police. Police Department, Inspector-General's Office, Sydney, 16th April, 1868.

Sir,—In compliance with your instructions, I do myself the honor to report upon the circumstances attending detective M'Glone's resignation, and the charges previously preferred against him; the matter having been attended to by me during your temporary absence from the office. No charge was ever made against detective M'GIone of Fenianism or disloyalty, by a Minister of the Crown, but I was informed personally by the hon. the Minister for Lands, on the I4th of March, that it had been mentioned to him that Mr. Powell, storekeeper, of Berrima, had heard Fenian expressions made use of at Shalvey's Hotel, detective M'GIone being present and taking no notice whatever of the same. Thereupon I sent the telegram annexed (marked A) to Mr. Powell, and received for a reply telegram marked B, to which I sent the answer C, the reply being D. This concluded the inquiry as regards Mr. Powell, and M'GIone was informed that the charge against him was unsustained; but at the same time I told him that Shalvey's or any public-house was no place for, a detective officer to lodge in, and he must remove forthwith. No letter was written by me "to detective M'GIone charging him with attending a seditious meeting." On the 16th of March, I wrote a memo. (E) calling upon M'GIone for a report in reference to some improper expressions attributed to him by another member of the force. M'Glone's report, denying the words imputed to him, I attach ' (F), upon receiving which, I sent for him and informed him personally that there was no witness who could be examined to prove or disprove the words imputed to him, and that I accepted his denial. He naturally expressed his indignation at having such charges brought against him, when I reminded him that his simple denial had been considered a sufficient refutation of the second charge, and that the other had been satisfactorily disproved; stating further, that he might be assured, should ever the Inspector-General or myself lose confidence in him, he would be openly informed, and not be condemned unheard. He expressed his gratitude And complete satisfaction at the opinion I gave, And added that, his character having been thus cleared, he intended to leave the force. I advised him to consider well before taking the step, reminding him that nothing which had transpired should urge him to such a course ; he, however, wrote out his resignation which you, Sir, accepted on the 16th.

Edmund Fosberry, Secretary and Superindendant of Police.

NoteFenianism (Irish: Fíníneachas), embodied two principles: firstly, that Ireland had a natural right 
to independence, and secondly, that this right could be won only by an armed revolution. 
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, retired in 1903 after a distinguished career on a pension of 8 shillings a day. At the time of writing Well's 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
Roderick McLennan
c. 1880's.

Courtesy NLA.
After a full inventory was recorded, and leaving the store. The hotel was placed in charge of two of Lieutenant Brown's troopers overseen by Roderick McLennan as locals gathered around in shock. For Frank within the store was found quite an arsenal of weapons, some loaded. They were; two double-barrelled guns, one barrel in one of them being a rifle, and the other barrel being loaded; also two single barrel guns, a police carbine, Colt's revolver, and a double-barrel pistol, together with bullets, powder, and shot. 
However, this arsenal may not have been for the purpose of defence against any arresting police but was revealed as had been brought from hard up travellers. Good naturally purchased by Christie as payment for assistance or goods. Arrested, the men were all handcuffed and ushered off. They consisted of Christie, the hotel cook, two wood splitters and Archibald Craig. With Catherine following closely on horseback.

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 noted:
As 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;

In June '62 — is that what you say — '62? 

The posse without fanfare arrived in Rockhampton at seven p.m. on Sunday, here Gardiner was placed in a room with a strong guard and the other men were set at liberty, having been detained solely to prevent the alarm from being raised. Craig, the publican, the partner of Christie, however, was charged with harbouring Gardiner and locked up.

An axe grindstone
of the type at
Gardiner's store,
c. 1864
However, Craig manacled was still in a state of disbelief about who he had entered into a partnership with during the trek to Rockhampton. Consequently, the dumbstruck man would provide his own account, wherein, on the first instance, he had actually suspected that McGlone and others were bushrangers. The 'Sydney Mail' Saturday 26th March 1864;

Upon the attack being made by the detectives, Mr. Craig's first impression was that they were stuck up. The real facts of the case never for one instant struck him, and his astonishment was only rendered complete by finding a pistol at his head, and his friend Christie manacled on the ground and himself closely handcuffed. So, surprised indeed was he that he never took the pipe he was smoking from his mouth until that atmosphere of his astonishment cleared and he found himself in limbo. His first exclamation upon seeing Pye fling his arms round Christie and M'Glone run up and grasp his legs while Wells covered him with his revolver was, "Good God, we're stuck up; never mind" (to his wife)" Louisa, it'll soon be alright; they'll go soon;"- but was only undeceived, though still more bothered and confused when Lieutenant Brown and his native troopers approached as if accidentally, and springing from their saddles ordered every man and woman to stand on peril of being shot. From the manner in which the arrest of Christie was made the detectives ran considerable risk, and we question how far Mr. Craig or any other person present would have been held responsible if he had fired upon them, as the attack was made under no show of authority or warrant and was made under frantic shouts from M'Glone and his two assistants, Pye and Wells, who all kept roaring out in a state of tremendous excitement. "Shoot him-shoot them all if they move a step;" While ghastly faces betrayed their impression of the danger of the position in which they were placed. The store, but not the public-house, was searched and a considerable stand of unloaded firearms found, , who, to give him due was remarked for his liberality and good-nature. In fact, his quiet, unassuming manner and obliging disposition made him a general favourite with all who came in contact with him. At Marlborough, Christie was closely watched and his arms, though manacled, were fastened to a belt round his waist, and chained by one of his limbs to a cross beam in the house. So perfectly satisfied were those present of the ignorance of Mr. Craig as to the real character of his partner, that they only asked his parole and removed his fetters.

When the police sprung upon Gardiner, Craig appeared stunned and confused, in stark contrast to Catherine, who screaming went into utter shock as Gardiner was pinioned;

Gardiner, who turned the colour of death, merely said, "Hold hard mate; where's your warrant?" Mrs Brown, who rushed out when she heard the noise, nearly fainted. She offered no opposition but appeared altogether helpless. She wrung her hands and continued to exclaim, "Oh, what is it? Oh, What are you going to do ?" The woman was also taken into custody, and the whole of the prisoners were marched to McLellan's station.

Reputed to be the remains
of 2nd Fogg's hut.
c. 1930's.
'The Darkie' was got. The country was now enthralled and desperate for every morsel of news as correspondents scrambled to gather the latest. Many who claimed association with the celebrated bushranger began to emerge recount their own brushes with the famous Gardiner. 'The Newcastle Chronicle and Hunter River District News' Wednesday 23rd March 1864:

Our informant states that Gardiner was some years ago at Cockatoo, and discharged on a ticket-of-leave so that the advertised description must have been obtained from the official records, and hence the intimate knowledge of the scars on various parts of his person. He is said to have been pursued by troopers Hosie and Middleton on a charge of cattle-stealing, and discovered at a notorious place—Fogg's, at the Fish River, near the Abercrombie Mountains. Seeing the troopers enter the house, Gardiner retreated to a room, into which Middleton rushed through the window, firing as he entered, Gardiner returning the fire, and a bullet passing through the trooper's mouth and cheek. A fight ensued, and Gardiner was captured, but at a short distance from the house was rescued by a man named Davis, who was afterwards hung at Bathurst. It was in this scuffle Gardiner received the wounds in his temple and forehead, traces of which are now distinctly seen. It is also related that Peisley, on the scaffold, confessed that Fogg gave Hosie £50 to allow Gardiner to escape. This led to Hosie's dismissal from the police. Both Hosie and Middleton are still alive, and, it is stated, will be able to convict Gardiner of the commission of a capital offence. According to the testimony of detective M'Glone and chief constable Foran, the man Christie answers in every particular to the description of Frank Gardiner given in the Sydney Gazette. Whether the published description be that of the veritable Gardiner, or not, remains to be seen.⁴⁶ 

At two o'clock amid driving rain Gardiner, Craig and Kitty were placed in the court as a large crowd soon gratified by their appearance jostled for advantage. Below is the transcript of Gardiner's &c, Rockhampton appearance and McGlone's statement of events.

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

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

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

Craig's death certificate.
However, for the unfortunate Craig, he was lumbered in with Gardiner, whereby a charge of harbouring was preferred against him. However, after careful consideration Craig was exonerated but not before he had endured an unknown future;

The Bench ultimately consented to allow bail, the prisoner in the sum of £80 and two sureties in £40 each, and accepted too highly respectable persons as sureties. On the following day Craig was brought up on a remanded charge, and after hearing a great deal of evidence. The Bench, after some consultation, said they were of opinion that not a shadow of evidence existed to connect the prisoner in any way with Christie alias Gardiner, and they, therefore, ordered the prisoner to be discharged from custody.⁴⁸ 

Tragically, Craig succumbed to a fever in 1868 while constructing a new hotel located eight miles from the one he formerly operated with Gardiner. During this period, Catherine Christie, formerly known as Mrs. Brown, faced charges of assisting and concealing the fugitive Francis Christie, also known as Gardiner. The case primarily rested on the testimony of Constable Canning and Detective M'Glone, the latter of whom produced a portrait of Catherine that had been used to confirm her identity, though it was subsequently lost.
Artist's impression
of Catherine Brown
during Gardiner's

1864 trial.
Courtesy NLA.

At the time of her arrest at the Rockhampton lock-up, Catherine chose to give her maiden name, Catherine Walsh. Detective McGlone, familiar with her family and other relatives who bore the Walsh surname, affirmed with certainty that the arrested woman was indeed Mrs. Brown, who had departed from the Lachlan region some time before, coinciding with reports of Gardiner's departure from the area.

During her court examination by the prosecutor, Mr. Dick, Catherine Brown recounted her journey to Queensland, providing details of her movements since leaving Lachlan. This testimony was part of the broader efforts to establish her identity and connection to the notorious Gardiner.  Kitty stated;

I am Francis Christie's wife; I was lawfully married to him. It was some time in June last that I came to Queensland; I came overland in company with my husband: we came from New South Wales direct to Apis Creek; no one but a servant man accompanied us; he did not start with us, but joined us on the road; He went with us to Apis Creek; he left Apis Creek some time afterwards; I don't know whether he is there now or not. I first saw the Craig's a few miles on the other side of Yaamba, it was very wet weather, and he was stuck-up by the weather, and my husband lent him a horse. Apis Creek was the first place at which we stopped when we came from New South Wales; I was only in Rockhampton one evening; we passed through Rockhampton on our way to Apis Creek; the fist time I ever saw the Craig's was whilst proceeding from Rockhampton to Apis Creek; that was towards the latter end of June last; when we started from Rockhampton I did not know where we were going; I did not know we were going to Apis Creek; at that time my husband had not made up his mind where he was going; we were travelling in a cart when we met Mr. Craig: I don't know how many horses we had with us; we overtook Craig as he was driving a dray and two horses along the road; there was then a conversation between my husband and Craig and we travelled in company together all the way on to Apis Creek; the conversation was regarding opening a store and a public house; I do not know what passed between them; they never met before to my knowledge; the only reason why we travelled together was, we were all of us going the same road; there was no house then built at Apis Creek, but one was being put up by Craig. 

East St, Rockhampton
looking South.

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

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

List of Gardiner's
property at Apis
Creek 1864.

NSW Police Gazette.
Furthermore, in court, Kitty again proclaimed that she was the lawful wife of Francis where she had said they were secretly married before departing Wheeo where Frank no doubt used his middle name of James;

Documents produced at the time of his arrest, and preliminary trial in February 1864, proved that he was legally (and secretly) married under the assumed name of James Christie.

As Gardiner and Craig sat in Rockhampton Gaol, some of the guards standing over the celebrated bushranger took the opportunity to profit from their luck and allowed eager spectators to view the bushranger;

Some of the gaol authorities have been guilty of very reprehensible conduct in admitting a miscellaneous crowd of eager spectators to gaze on the unfortunate prisoners as if they were wild beasts; thereby aggravating the misery of their situation in a tenfold degree.

From Rockhampton, Gardiner was transported to Brisbane by steamer, and Detective McGlone cabled a jubilant Captain M'Lerie; The following telegram was received by the Inspector-General of Police from detective McGlone: — "Brisbane, March 13th."— 

I have arrived here with Francis Christie, alias Clarke, alias Gardiner. I have no doubt, but he is the man. I arrested him on the 3rd instant at Apis Creek. He corresponds erectly with his description in the Police Gazette and his portrait. Mrs. Brown is with him, and there is no doubt about her identity. She is coming with us, but not in custody. She will follow her paramour. She and Frank Gardiner's partner were arrested by me but were discharged by the Rockhampton bench. I shall arrive with Gardiner safe in Sydney about Saturday. I left Rockhampton on the 10th and arrived here today at noon. Gardiner is lodged safely in the gaol here. No steamer here for Sydney yet, but one is expected. Will let you know when I leave for Sydney, If Richards is required to identify Gardiner, he is making lemonade on the Wentworth diggings. The black horse 'Racer'—branded B in a circle with DS&R over, near the shoulder, star—is now in Rockhampton in charge of the Police, and will be forwarded per Belcutha (s.), which will leave on Monday, 14th. Please look out for him. This horse is supposed to be properly of Mr. Peter Beveridge, J.P, Swan Hill, Victoria.⁵⁰ 

Richards mentioned above was also known by the moniker 'Double Dummy,' had some knowledge of the 1862 Eugowra hold-up as a mate of John Maguire's and served as a crucial witness alongside Charters in the February 1863 Escort trials in Sydney's central court. Unlike Charters, who received £150 for his testimony, Richards did not receive any portion of the Escort reward money. He had previously worked in the butcher business with Fogg and Gardiner at Lambing Flat. He then became self-employed as a soda maker.

The Brisbane Courier,
28th February 1865.

Courtesy NLA. 

Following Gardiner's arrest, his belongings from Apis Creek were auctioned off in Rockhampton. Among the items sold were his horses, including a notable grey. This horse was purchased by Mr. William Healy, a resident of the Brisbane Hotel on Queens Street. Mr. John Creagh granted Healy permission to exhibit the horse at the hotel’s Brisbane stables, charging visitors one shilling each to see the animal.

This grey horse, notably significant for its probable involvement on the night Gardiner had a close encounter with Sir Frederick Pottinger at Kitty's home, became a popular attraction. During that incident, Gardiner narrowly escaped when Pottinger’s carbine malfunctioned and failed to fire, adding to the horse's storied past and allure as an exhibit. Its name was reputed to be 'White Swan'[From the "Courier" files from February 27 to March 4, 1865.] FRANK GARDINER'S HORSE. The following advertisement appeared:

The celebrated "Grey," which bore Frank Gardiner, the bushranger, in the majority of his most memorable exploits in the vicinity of the Weddin Mountains, and the chief inland towns of New South Wales, is now being exhibited in the stables of Mr. John Creagh, Brisbane Hotel, Queen-street. Those who desire to see the animal and have any doubt as to the bona, fides, can satisfy themselves by calling on the proprietor, Mr. Wm. Healy, residing at the name hotel, who will produce the receipt for the purchase money at a Government auction sale of Gardiner's property recently held at Rockhampton. Admission 1/-.

Port Of Brisbane
c. 1860/70's
Furthermore, regarding Gardiner and Mrs Brown, Kitty's attempt to free Gardiner via the means of Habeas Corpus was reported. This opportunity to have Gardiner brought before the court was set as a possible escape attempt;

When they arrived at the Queensland capital Gardiner was safely lodged in the gaol; and here every means was taken by Mrs. Browne to affect her paramour's release. She instructed a legal practitioner to move forth a writ of Habeas Corpus for the production of Gardiner's body, but McGlone getting wind of the move and mindful of his altercation twelve months previously when a prisoner in his charge escaped custody at Bathurst.⁵¹

As a result, McGlone would not be caught out again as had been reported inThe Sydney Morning Herald’, Monday 21st September 1863;

On Sunday morning the 6th instant, at about one o'clock, Mr. D M’Glone, a detective officer stationed at Forbes, but then in Bathurst attending the Assizes was most brutally assaulted whilst in the execution of his duty, and a prisoner, who had but just been arrested was rescued. 

It was stated that a magnificent horse was in readiness for Gardiner in the event of his release by the operation of the writ of Habeas Corpus and may have affected an escape whilst present at court. It was a cunning plan, and doubtless, if the effort had succeeded, Gardiner may have this time been able to flee the country. Therefore, on that account, McGlone, frustrated by the writ, prevented any interference by the court removed his prisoner from the gaol to the awaiting vessel to convey him to Sydney. As Gardiner was held in custody and examined, a correspondent noted Gardiner's demeanour throughout the proceedings;

Christie, or Gardiner, has never spoken since his arrest, and has exhibited a coolness of demeanour indifferently attributable to conscious innocence, or the despair of a determined man. The man's face is by no means unpleasing; a masculine, well-formed enough set of features implanted in a bold front, with a keen eye a well-set and enduring form. Add to these a head of dark hair and a moustache, and you have a type that may be found in hundreds wherever the south counties man had been quickened by a spell at colonising! Perhaps, if you glanced at the face, you might, if you gave its expression a thought, deem it the property of one calculated to be a good backer in a row, and by no means untrustworthy as times go.⁵²

Note; Habeas corpus is a recourse in law through which a person can report an unlawful detention or imprisonment to a court and request that the court order the custodian of the person, usually a prison official, to bring the prisoner to court, to determine whether the detention is lawful.

'Goulburn Herald' Wednesday 23rd March 1864 reported Gardiner's arrival in Sydney; Catherine was in one of the ships saloon cabins while Gardiner under guard was also in a separate saloon with McGlone, Pye and Wells.

The Telegraph, a 700 tons, Iron paddle steamer under command of Captain Coote, arrived from Brisbane 10th instant, with 10 passengers, and Francis Christie (alias Clarke, alias Gardiner), and P. Falkenberg, as prisoners. Gardiner arrived in Sydney Harbour on Friday at midnight-, and was taken from the steamer Telegraph, off the Cove, by the water police boat, which landed him on the Circular Quay, where a cab was engaged to carry him to gaol. He was secured with the usual leg-irons so that he had no chance of escaping. While on his journey from Queensland Gardiner was cheerful and some what communicative, but it would not be just to retail any of his conversations. It appears, however, that the unfortunate and misguided man has not much hope of his life being spared. Gardiner is not a bad-looking man. he has dark hair, brown eyes, and a sallow complexion. His figure is compact and wiry, and he gives you the idea of being a very active man, and capable of undergoing a good deal of fatigue. He has remarkably small feet, and when walking, you notice that he sets them down again very quickly.


On Saturday, the police-magistrate took the evidence at the watch-house of the D division, Darlinghurst, in the presence of Francis Christie alias Gardiner alias Clarke. The prisoner was then remanded for one week (until next Saturday) and removed to Darlinghurst gaol. During the proceedings, and indeed since his arrest; Gardiner has conducted himself with the greatest propriety. There is an absence of anything like bravado in his deportment, which is rather remarkable in a man of his character.
Sydney Mail
Saturday 9th July 1864  

Trial of the century!

In the Darlinghurst courthouse, a correspondent of the Yass Courier, also observing the procedures, wrote this of Gardiner's deportment and appearance in contrast to another observation noted above. 'The Yass Courier' Sydney correspondent says:

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

W.B. Dalley
After undergoing the first of two trials, Frank Gardiner was acquitted, much to the shock of many. He escaped legal retribution for his alleged crimes against Middleton and Hosie, with a jury of twelve delivering a verdict of not guilty. This decision stunned the judge and caused an uproar of celebration in the packed courtroom, much to the judge’s dismay. Justice Wise, visibly appalled by the jubilant reaction, singled out a fifteen-year-old boy, the son of a local magistrate, who was particularly expressive in his joy. The judge sternly threatened the boy with jail for his outburst. The press was equally astonished at the courtroom’s exuberant response to the acquittal.

His daring exploits appealed to the imagination of a people in whose blood the felon taint still runs. His crimes instead of awakening horror win admiration. So deep and all pervading was the enthusiasm excited by his acquittal that a respectable boy of fifteen, the son of a local Magistrate, was caught in the act of loudly applauding the verdict of the Jury, and narrowly escaped being committed to prison by the indignant Judge.
Sir Alfred Stephen

Despite his notorious past, Gardiner's fate was not yet sealed. He was brought to trial a second time for the robbery of two storekeepers, Alfred Horsington (sometimes spelled Hossington) and Henry Hewett. For his defence, Gardiner enlisted the services of the well-known parliamentarian and skilled lawyer, Mr. William Bede Dalley, often referred to simply as W.B. With Dalley's counsel, Gardiner appeared before Chief Justice Sir Alfred Stephen on July 5th. In a surprising turn, he pleaded guilty to the two charges—robberies of Horsington and Hewett on the Lachlan road in March 1862. Based on the advice of his adept defence lawyer, Gardiner accepted guilt, thus steering clear of the potential for a harsher sentence.

During this trial, the jury also considered Gardiner's involvement in an attack at Fogg's farm, ultimately convicting him on the lesser charge of "Wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm."

Before the sentence was handed down, Gardiner was given the opportunity to speak on his behalf, inquiring whether a letter of mitigation could be submitted for the judge's consideration. Aside from the letter, Gardiner declared he had nothing further to add. The judge then reviewed the letter in the presence of the crowded courtroom, preparing to render his verdict based on the totality of the evidence and Gardiner's plea.

To his Honour the Judge.

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

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

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

Again, Mr Horsington and his party assert that the robbery took place on the 10th of March, while it really did not take place until some five or six weeks afterwards so that if I had been inclined to stand my trial, I might have been enabled to prove an 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.
As the jury deliberated, it was reported that Mr Martin, prosecutor, left Sydney confident in a just guilty outcome and severe sentence; The Argus 5th July 1864;

The Attorney General's conduct at the conclusion of Gardiner's trial has been severely commented upon in Sydney. As soon as the jury retired to consider their verdict, Mr Martin left the court and, proceeding to the railway-station, left town for Parramatta. He did not leave behind him in court a single Crown law officer to represent him.

The Judge expressed doubt about the prisoner's repentance's genuineness and delivered the following sentences:

Fifteen years’ hard labour for wounding the two constables, ten years for the robbery from Horsington, and seven years for the robbery from Hewett—a total of thirty-two years! 

As Gardiner sat through the judgement, it was noted that Mrs Brown had returned to the Yass district and commented on her beauty; The Argus 5th July 1864;

Mrs Brown, Gardiner's late companion, was in Yass during the past quarter sessions. She is of slight build, low stature, and has a prepossessing appearance. Pleasing to the eye or mind, especially through beauty or charm.

32 years.
Frederick Gannon
Part of Frank Gardiner's
defence team, 1864.

Private Source.

The verdict and sentencing in Gardiner's trial brought about an intriguing turn of events. His most notorious crime, the audacious Eugowra Gold Escort robbery of 1862, was conspicuously absent from the court discussions. Daniel Charters, a pivotal witness in the 1863 trial of those involved in the heist, did not testify against Gardiner in 1864. As the mastermind and leader of the operation, Gardiner had directly ordered the attack on the escort, resulting in the wounding of police troopers Condell and Moran, and nearly killing the coach driver, Fagan.

Had Charters testified, his account could have been crucial, potentially leading to charges against Gardiner for orchestrating the heist. Where the sentence of death may have been brought. However, this opportunity was not seized, and Gardiner was never prosecuted or held accountable for the events of June 15, 1862. This oversight left Henry Manns, the last man implicated in the robbery, to have face the gallows alone at Darlinghurst in a sombre execution. Manns death reported by the Sydney Morning Herald in April 1863.

Henry Manns- On this occasion, whether it arose from nervousness or excitement on the part of the executioner, the preliminaries were not so speedily performed as they were in the case of the two men (Ross), a lapse of nearly two minutes occurring ere he had concluded his preparations. When at length these were completed, and the bolt was drawn, there ensued one of the most appalling spectacles ever witnessed at an execution.

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

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

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

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

Sydney was swept up in a wave of public outrage as journalists scrutinised the unexpected verdict of Gardiner's first trial. The decision by the twelve jurors to acquit Gardiner, finding him 'Not Guilty', sparked widespread disbelief and dissatisfaction. Known for his criminal activities, Gardiner's escape from the gallows was seen by many as a serious miscarriage of justice. This sentiment grew stronger, fuelling a surge of indignation across the city and reported nationwide. 'South Australian Register' Tuesday 7th June 1864:

A Jury of twelve 'honest men,' sworn to do justice, have, in the face of the clearest evidence of the notorious bushranger’s guilt, bravely acquitted him. Gardiner is a lucky fellow. He succeeded for many months in evading the most active efforts of the New South Wales police to apprehend him. He has shown himself to be the most impudent and desperate of all the heroes of the Claude Duval style which have yet appeared in these colonies; and yet, though his exploits were chronicled in the newspapers week by week, he set at complete defiance all attempts to take him. Sometimes he was hard enough run, and for his safety had occasionally to fire upon his would-be captors, but he always managed to escape somehow, until at last he was run to earth and cleverly captured. Even when he was secured, the police were obliged to hurry him away to Sydney, so strongly was the tide of public opinion and feeling setting in his favour.

Mr. Gannon had the conduct of his defence. Gardiner was charged with, several offences; but Mr Gannon's efforts were directed only to save his client's neck. This he managed to do; and after that the term of imprisonment totalling 32 years, on three charges, was regarded by Mr. Gannon in the light of a victory.

As Gardiner served his thirty-two-year sentence, his criminal legacy continued to cast a shadow over the communities of Forbes, Bathurst, and Goulburn and the greater Central West. His former associates—Hall, Gilbert, soon recruited new soldiers in Dunleavy, Mount, and the last John Dunn—Hall and Gilbert persisted in their criminal endeavours, escalating their activities to include more audacious raids, robberies, arson, murders, and even kidnappings.

Despite the havoc wrought by two of his former gang, Gardiner himself attracted a notably active and sympathetic following, including a group of hero worshippers. Central to this group were his three devoted sisters, Robina, Archina, and Charlotte, who over the next eight years, tirelessly campaigned for his release. They engaged with influential figures, including judges, doctors, parliamentarians, and everyday citizens, crafting a romanticised image of Gardiner. Additionally, they utilised Gardiner's ill-gotten gains to supplement their own funds, distributing handbills and employing other persuasive tactics to advocate for his freedom.

Conversely, in 1864, shortly after Gardiner's incarceration at Darlinghurst Gaol, a riot erupted among the prisoners. The young Patsy Daley (Known to Gardiner) participated, while Gardiner opted out, instead behaving exemplary amid the turmoil. The riot was swiftly and harshly quelled, but Gardiner's demeanour during the incident garnered him respect from the prison staff and some parliamentary members. His commendable conduct prompted the inspector-general of police to promise to speak with the Colonial Secretary, Mr. Foster, about recording Gardiner's behaviour for future reference. This note of his conduct by Mr Foster would come to be significant when the push for his release intensified in 1871.

Having been refereed to in the petition for mitigation of the sentence of Francis Christie, as holding the office of Colonial Secretary when the outbreak occurred at Darlinghurst Gaol, I have much pleasure in testifying the fact of Christie's good conduct that occasion, as well as to his general conduct during the entire period of his incarceration so far as it came under my notice in either case. I am glad to record this opinion, so as it might operate as it ort in the prisoners favour. And so far as these and other circumstances mentioned in the petition entitle his case to the favourable consideration of the government, I am willing to add my testimony and recommendation.
Mr Foster,
December 29th 1871.

As time passed, the initially indifferent prison guards at Darlinghurst grew more accommodating and even amiable toward Gardiner, enjoying the vicarious thrill of being associated with the infamous "Knight of the Road."

Documentation of Gardiner's time within the austere confines of Darlinghurst is limited, a situation he likely preferred compared to his earlier incarceration at Cockatoo Island. Yet, occasionally, Gardiner would inadvertently return to the spotlight when a particularly sensational crime was committed. Such incidents often involved his former comrades like Ben Hall and John Gilbert, now down to three accompanied by the notorious John Dunn. Each episode would inevitably rekindle public interest in Gardiner's name.

New South Wales, Australia,
Sheriff's Papers, 1829-1879
for Frank Gardiner
However, the 1864, an escape attempt purportedly orchestrated with Kitty Brown was thwarted. Despite these dramatic interruptions, Gardiner's existence at Darlinghurst Gaol settled into a predictable routine, similar to his time at Cockatoo Island. The once-feared and revered bushranger had become just another convict, his life now defined by the unyielding, monotonous flow of prison life. Here described.

Routine is strictly adhered to, bells rounding the break or division of labours. At the welcome clang, a squad are perhaps marched out into the courtyard for physical drill, whilst others set about their freshly appointed tasks. Change of work is equivalent to a rest. At 4 o'clock the prisoners leave the workshops, muster, and go into the yards for ten minutes, they pay attention to personal cleanliness, polish their boots, etc., for inspection. At 4.30 there is a general assembly, when everyone answers to their number, for names, are forgotten here, and everyone is only a human numerical unit. After the roll-call, to the right-about, march, and the steady tramp echoes on the flags as the men file off, each squad to their tea of bread and hominy. This meal over, away to their cells, where, by the touching of a lever, every door is closed simultaneously. From then till 6 next morning, time belongs to each individually, to do as he wills with. Some spend it in sleep, others in reflection, some in reading. A hush is over all, and quiet reigns within.
After Frank was sentenced in 1864, Catherine was devastated by the severity of his punishment but remained determined to reunite with him. In late 1864, she crafted a plan to facilitate their escape, a scheme that unfortunately required the involvement of greed, leading her to bribe a prison warden.
Maintaining the secrecy of her plan proved exceedingly difficult, and soon, rumours of an escape attempt began to permeate the prison. The authorities kept a vigilant eye on Frank, who feigned illness in an attempt to distract and mislead. By exploiting his purported heart condition, all contrived, he successfully gained access to the prison hospital.
However, their plan was jeopardised when another prisoner, who had deduced the details of their scheme, decided to act in his own interest and in the language of the fraternity "'blew the gaff." Choosing self-preservation, this prisoner exposed the escape plot and the involvement of the corrupt guard. Thus, Catherine and Frank's plans were swiftly and decisively thwarted, a vivid illustration of betrayal in pursuing self-interest. 
Gardiner, the Bushranger. — It was recently stated that a discovery had been made of Gardiner's intended to escape from Darlinghurst Gaol, by bribing a warder to help him. The Sydney correspondent of the Goulburn Herald thus narrates the affair:

Darlinghurst Gaol
Mr Francis Gardiner, ex-bushranger-general, is neither dead nor dying. Since his conviction, many persons have said he would never die in prison if he could make his escape, but the clever scoundrel's apparent good conduct in Darlinghurst gaol appeared to be a complete refutation of all such insinuations. Had he not made important revelations to the Government respecting bushranging and bushrangers? Was he not suffering from a deep-seated disease of the heart? Even the gaol surgeon was so completely deceived and sympathisingly sent Gardiner to the hospital, ordering him to be supplied with the usual medical comforts. During the recent disturbances, Gardiner's conduct showed so marked a contrast to that of the mutinous scoundrels who kept the unfortunate warders constantly on the qui 
vive, that he humbugged the gaol officials as successfully as an English ticket-of-leave-man I read of some time ago, who, when giving advice to a notorious housebreaker as to the easiest means of getting a ticket-of-leave, said, be sure to have the chaplain visit you as often as possible; on every occasion turn up the white of your eyes.” Gardiner adopted tactics something similar. 

A few days ago, when a fellow-prisoner informed the gaoler that Frank Gardiner was about to escape, the story found little credence; but the informer backed up his story by naming a warder with whom Gardiner was said to have made arrangements for escaping. The warder was watched, and on his attempting to leave the prison he was arrested and searched when fortunately for the public, but unfortunately for Gardiner and his friends, documents were discovered, one of which showed that the next night the former expected to be without the prison walls, and wished his friends to meet him at ten p.m., naming the rendezvous; and the other was a promissory note or order for £300 for serves rendered by the bearer. It is needless to say that the Warder's future services have been dispensed with and that Gardiner's future security will be more closely attended to. Meantime he has been initiated into the art and mystery of mat-making.
Bible, handwritten
by Frank Gardiner
to Catherine, 1865.

Three years into his thirty-two-year sentence in 1867, Gardiner's exceptional skills began to attract attention within the prison system. His proficiency in calligraphy, bookbinding, and coir mat-making was noted by various prison employers engaged in the prison's income-generating projects, significantly boosting its financial operations.

Gardiner had already shown a knack for bookbinding and coir mat-making during his earlier imprisonment on Cockatoo Island in the 1850s, as well as a talent for bone carving. However, it was his calligraphy that stood out. He demonstrated his skill through a small Bible that he meticulously inscribed for Catherine Brown soon after his incarceration began, displaying his exquisite penmanship.

Beyond these artistic talents, Gardiner's mechanical acumen became apparent in the prison's Coir Mat-Making department, where he was appointed as the leader among his fellow inmates. This leadership role and his subsequent responsibilities garnered respect from the prison authorities. His deep understanding of the machinery used in coir mat production was particularly appreciated, underscoring his ability to learn and adapt to diverse work settings. Moreover, his skills extended to Arithmetic and some areas of science. Once used for less lawful activities, Gardiner's hands now showcased a productive and impressive dexterity, contributing positively to his environment.

Too much indeed can hardly be said in praise of that laudable foresight which provides men with work suitable for them, and profitable to that community whose laws they have violated. Thus, in connection with, the machine for making matting is to be seen a very simple but most ingenious machine for improving the selvage of the matting, which, from the duty it performs, has been named the "Selvage Improver." By this simple contrivance, a twofold object is gained, viz, a straight selvage is made, and a superior finish imparted to the work in hand; and in comparing matting made without this apparatus with some made with its help, its advantages are at once obvious, and by its general application a difficulty against which even the home manufacturers have to contend will be overcome; and they may thank the once-notorious Frank Christie (better known as Frank Gardiner) for the boon thus bestowed, together with that admirable arrangement by which his ingenuity has been diverted into a profitable and legitimate channel. Now, had it not been for this system, this very man, evidently of a high mechanical genius (for, in addition to the 'Selvage Improver," he has also invented a loom which can be taken to pieces almost instantly, and be put up in a small space, and which has been tried at Berrima, and given every satisfaction, would, in all probability, have been put to stone-breaking or some similar employment. So much for that plan which discriminates and places men, even under the most adverse circumstances, in the position of making themselves useful, instead of a burden to the country. Would it be considered as sympathising with crime, were one to venture to express a hope that the efforts of Frank Christie, added to his uniform good conduct since his confinement, may thus be of ultimate benefit to him? Why does not the Government patent Christie's invention?
Note; Selvage is an edge produced on woven fabric during manufacture that prevents it from unravelling.

Christmas' came and went it was a difficult time for prisoners and Gardiner was no different, no Catherine and monthly visits from his sisters made for a lonely time. However, prisoners such as Gardiner received Christmas packages of various goods, as noted: 'The Sydney Daily Telegraph' Thursday 27th December 1883. CHRISTMAS IN GAO: A REMINISCENCE:

Christmas in gaol is, of all places, the least likely to be welcome or well-spent, and the manner in which it could be spent there some fifteen years ago may not be interesting to many to whom the interior of a prison is, and let us hope ever will be. An ungained and never to he coveted experience.There were Frank Gardiner, John Bow, Jack Vane (from whom Mrs Keightley so bravely saved her husband after he had shot Burke), Patsy Daley but a few. Throughout this busy time it is only fair to say that the duty of trudging to and from the inner to the outer gates is not performed grudgingly by those warders upon whom this indulgence entails extra labour, but each has a few kind syllables, for what they do say scarcely amounts to words to the recipients of the indulgences, as talking to prisoners is "again' the regulations." A warder, accompanied by the prisoner, who is for the day on gate duty, is seen approaching the yards with probably a clothes-basket filled with food, such as for a year no prisoner has tasted, and fruit where with to make believe he is a free man. The then notorious Frank Gardiner comes what might be called the lion's basket, containing perhaps a pudding, through which the gatekeeper's knife was paired through and through, some bread and butter, which has been similarly treated, some vegetables, and perhaps a leg of mutton, if even nothing more delicate, and last, but not least, what may not inappropriately be called the solace of prison life, tobacco, for the use of which ere now prisoners have risked their lives and endured such floggings.
Ben Hall left -
 John Vane right.

Gardiner faced head-on the reality of his extended imprisonment at Darlinghurst where he focused on productive endeavours as and the unlikely prospect of escape. Choosing to keep a low profile, he dedicated himself to honing his skills and largely kept to himself. Over time, this behaviour earned him recognition within the prison system; he came to be known as the "white-headed boy" of Darlinghurst.

Throughout his time behind bars, Gardiner managed to maintain connections with his family, particularly evident during special occasions like birthdays and Christmas. On these occasions, Frank received thoughtful packages from his sisters, filled with essential items, mainly food. This ongoing support from his siblings was a poignant reminder of the enduring bonds of family love, bringing comfort and a touch of humanity to his otherwise bleak surroundings. These connections served as Gardiner’s crucial lifeline to the outside world, constantly reminding him of the warmth and affection that awaited him beyond the prison walls.

As a prisoner, Frank had the opportunity to correspond with family members far removed from his cold, damp home. He found solace in these letters and wrote back eagerly, often sharing in the joy of hearing about marriages, babies, and the health of loved ones. However, his return letters were written by a man not embarrassed by his predicament, but one who chose not to dwell on his day-to-day existence in jail. One such piece of correspondence was from his half sister Robina to which he replied:

Sunday 22nd 72

My dear Robina,

Your kind and affectionate letter came safe to hand and I was surprised that you let me off so cheap for my long delay in not writing to you oftener than I have but I assure you my dear sister that it is more difficult to write in here than you are aware of, and now that I am writing what have I to say? Nothing that in anyway interest or comfort you. I am glad to hear that Frank and his Sunbeam live so happy together. You make no mention of any young sunbeams appearing in that quarter from which I conclude that there are none . I am sorry I did not get Sunbeam’s letter but I must hope that ere long I may have the opportunity of seeing her in person. If I am here much longer I shall have so many relations that it will take me some time before I know them all. I am pleased to hear you speak as favourably of my friend but I don’t think he is so short of firmness as you think him.

 I am sure things must go on very comfortable with you all while Henry keeps steady as he is now doing, and I hope that he may continue so for his family‘s sake as well as his own. As I intend to devote half of this sheet to a few lines for Buddy I must bring this scribble to an end. Trusting all my yet end well, and with kind love to Frank and niece Josephine and all the little ones at home, and big love to yourself,  I remain, my dear Robina.

Your Afft. Br.  Kerneagie

As Gardiner languished within the grim walls of Darlinghurst prison, his infamous outlaw legacy continued to captivate the public's imagination. Nonetheless, Gardiner himself seldom shared tales of his bushranging days. John Vane, a fellow bushranger and confederate of Hall, Gilbert and O'Meally mentioned that Gardiner kept track of the fate of Ben Hall, while he was in Queensland. By May 1865, all of Gardiner's early associates had met violent deaths: John O'Meally was killed in 1863, a NSW police firing squad fatally shot Ben Hall and John Gilbert died during an ambush at Binalong. These tragic ends prompt reflections on how their lives might have differed in other circumstances or without Gardiner's influence.

In the meantime, Gardiner's notorious past drew a steady flow of visitors, ranging from politicians and influential personalities to celebrities. Yet, many left their meetings with Gardiner disenchanted, confronted by the stark reality of the man before them. The romanticised image of the 'Knight of the Road' — the bold, elusive outlaw riding across the landscape — sharply contrasted with the sobering sight of Gardiner in the early stages of his imprisonment, they saw a thin sallow complexioned thinning dark haired man A stark reminder of the harsh truths behind the legend.

One such visitor, Clarence Paget Bayly, was particularly taken aback by the drastic transformation, who wrote a reminiscence of a visit in the 'Truth' June 1911;

On one occasion when in Sydney I was very anxious to see Gardiner, the outlaw, and at the time I was staying at Richmond, with the late lamented Mr. Andrew Town. I broached the subject to him, and he promised at once to go to Sydney the next day, and look up the late Mr. Richard Hill, of Bent street, and who was then a member of Parliament. This he did, and with them I went all over that great structure, Darlinghurst, and there I saw the man of my curiosity. He was mat-making. However, we don't want to bother about mats. There was Gardiner right bang before me, and if ever I was disappointed in a man it was him — not on account of his daring and bravery, because he must have been one of the bravest 'rangers that ever fired a shot. No, sir, it was not that, it was his appearance as a first-class horseman. He did not strike me as being the cut of an accomplished horseman; but of course I must make this allowance, for he was in his prison garb, besides, the great trouble and anxiety which he must have gone through would, of course, alter the man to a very great extent. However, he spoke very nicely to Mr. Hill, who put a few questions to him. We then strolled away.

While serving his sentence, Gardiner's continued notoriety attracted several high-profile visitors to his cell, including Sir Henry Parkes, then Colonial Secretary and a pivotal figure in Australia's path to Federation and a keen observer of the Gardiner case. Parkes visited the imprisoned bushranger at Darlinghurst Gaol, where he found himself impressed by Gardiner's composed character and demeanour. During the visit Gardiner requested for Catherine to be granted visitation rights. However as noted Parkes refused.

Tragically, and Parkes' refusal for visits a depressed Catherine in 1868, the woman Gardiner deeply loved, committed suicide. The impact of Catherine’s death on Gardiner is not recorded, but it was around this time that he acquired two new tattoos: a depiction of Cupid on his right upper arm and a heart encircled by a wreath of roses on his left upper arm. These tattoos were likely a heartfelt homage to Catherine as a sign of his profound sorrow over her loss.

Reports following Catherine's death suggested that Gardiner appeared noticeably aged overnight, a sign of the deep emotional impact the event had on him. Despite the passage of time and the weight of personal loss, Gardiner’s sisters continued their determined campaign to secure his freedom, demonstrating steadfast support for their brother.

Their tireless advocacy kept hope alive within the walls of Darlinghurst Gaol. John Vane stated;
Archina Christie
1832 -1892.

Private Source.
Although he didn’t say much about it, I know that he was always looking forward to a shortening of his sentence, as he had influential friends at work for him outside. 

Frank's first attempt at freedom was kiboshed in 1873 by the NSW Governor, Sir Hercules Robinson. Frank was informed by then Colonial Secretary Sir Henry Parkes, who stated:
That the prisoner Gardiner had been informed, according to the practice in all such cases, of the decision of his Excellency the Governor, to the effect that he (Gardiner) should be liberated at the expiration of ten years.

In 1874, Gardiner's influential supporters made a concerted effort to secure his release, organising a substantial petition that was presented to Governor Sir Hercules Robinson, later known as Lord Rosemead. Spearheaded by Colonial Secretary Sir Henry Parkes, the petition garnered signatures from a distinguished group, including Ministers of the Crown, parliamentarians, magistrates, lawyers, doctors, merchants, and other prominent figures.

Leading the charge were Gardiner's sisters, particularly the resolute Archina. Despite the passage of years and formidable challenges, they never lost faith in their brother's entitlement to freedom. Their relentless advocacy, coupled with the notable names on the petition, thrust Gardiner's case back into the spotlight of the colonial administration's priorities. (The petitions can be read at the bottom of the page.)

The sisters presented a pitiful petition to the newly arrived Governor, Sir Hercules Robinson, in which they pointed out all the good qualities of their brother. William Bede Dalley and William Forster the Colonial Secretary when an outbreak of prisoners occurred in Darlinghurst. Gardiner, assisted to suppress, were among the backers of the petition which had also 500 citizens signatures attached to it.
Francis Christie alias Frank Gardiner
 Darlinghurst Gaol entry record.

 Note: Born in Colony is incorrect.
The rumours of Gardiner's potential release triggered a significant uproar, especially in the areas that had once been the backdrop for his criminal activities. The public's outcry was overwhelming, with community members organising meetings to express their dissent and put pressure on Sir Henry Parkes' administration to end the prospect of release. Local parliamentarians, representing constituents who still vividly recalled Gardiner's previous offences, strongly protested any leniency towards the former bushranger. This intense reaction underscored the lasting impact of Gardiner's lawless actions on these communities, even after many years. 'The Sydney Morning Herald' Tuesday 2nd June 1874:

The dwellers in the country districts evidently look upon his forthcoming release from very different points of view. To the former perhaps the circumstance is regarded as at the worst likely only to impart a lively readable element to the newspapers, in the shape of items of bushranging intelligence. But to people in the country, who have known what it is to live in terror of their lives owing to the outrages of this scoundrel, the prospect is not altogether so cheerful.

Chief Justice Sir Alfred Stephen was of the opinion when asked in 1874 that, "He ought to have been hanged."

The possibility of Gardiner's release not only placed considerable pressure on the government but also subjected the Governor to intense public scrutiny. This divisive issue ignited a protracted and heated debate within Parliament, with legislators vigorously arguing over the appropriateness of granting the infamous bushranger his freedom. The public's strong reactions and the divided views among political leaders highlighted how deeply Gardiner's legacy had penetrated the nation's collective consciousness.

Note: The debates on Gardiner's release can be read on the Source Page.

In March of 1874, 'The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser' played a significant role in the debate over Gardiner's imminent release. The publication advocated for his freedom, suggesting that the sentences originally imposed on Gardiner were excessively severe. It proposed that the punitive actions taken against him were out of proportion to his actual offences, thus making the discussion about his potential release highly relevant and justified. This perspective from the publication added depth and complexity to the ongoing conversations around this contentious issue.

The Executive Council recently determined upon the commutation of the sentences passed upon several criminals who were convicted during what may be called the bushranging era, some ten years ago. In consequence of the representations made with respect to Christie, better known as Gardiner, and of the prisoner's own good conduct and services rendered while in gaol, that offender's imprisonment has been commuted to ten years, when he is to be released on condition that he becomes an exile from the Australian colonies and New Zealand. The cases of a number of other prisoners of a similar character were also considered at the same time. In view of the severe sentences which the Judges at that time thought necessary in order to put down bushranging, and in consideration of the decadence of that crime, weight being also given in each case to the age, conduct, and circumstances of the prisoner, somewhat similar commutations have been allowed. In certain cases where the prisoners are unable to avail them selves of the conditional pardon, they will probably be liberated at an earlier period than under other circumstance would be consistent with the ordinary remission regulations.

However, opposition to Gardiner's release was formidable, with critics vehemently arguing against any leniency towards him. In the midst of this heated debate, 'The Advertiser', a newspaper based in Wagga, voiced its strong opposition to Gardiner's forthcoming release. The paper highlighted the case of a New Zealander named Sullivan, a member of the notorious Burgess Gang responsible for multiple murders on New Zealand's South Island in 1866. Sullivan had turned Queen's Evidence in exchange for a pardon. Similar to Daniel Charters eleven years earlier.

Yet, when Sullivan was discovered in Sydney having violated the terms of his pardon, he was sentenced to three years in prison. 'The Advertiser' argued that Sullivan's outcome should serve as a warning against releasing Gardiner, drawing a parallel between the two cases. The newspaper contended that Gardiner, like Sullivan, deserved severe punishment for his crimes, thereby amplifying the public debate over his potential freedom. If Gardiner was released would he even after exile may once more draw young men on to the roads. This perspective was echoed in a report by the Lake Wakatip Mail on June 30, 1874, which underscored the growing public unrest regarding Gardiner's case.

There is something really cruel in the mode a Wagga paper (the Advertiser) suggests for raring people of undue and ill-timed lenity to great offenders against society. That journal states— It is reported that Sullivan, the wretch who escaped being hanged in New Zealand by turning Queen's evidence against his mates (who enjoyed the utmost penalty of the law), is in Sydney. This must be refreshing news to the friends of Mr Frank Gardiner. We have often heard of extraordinary coincidences, and this is one of them. In fact, looking at the matter philosophically, one cannot help thinking that there must be something of the nature of an epidemic in the fashion, which is in full swing just now, of liberating scoundrels on the plea of good behaviour. It seems to be forgotten that the goody business is resorted to as the most expeditious means of getting released. We trust Mr Sullivan may find time to convince the advocates of Gardiner's cause the folly of their ways, by administering on them a knock-down in the shape of garroting, or, perchance, a gentle gash in the vicinity of the windpipe. It is wicked to say so, but experience is the only master for such people.

The nation was deeply split on the issue of Gardiner's release. Despite the intense debate and strong opinions from both sides, the Governor chose to exercise his prerogative and discretionary powers. He determined that justice would be most appropriately served by granting Gardiner freedom. This decision highlighted the power and independence of the Governor's role, even against the backdrop of strong public opposition.

The Colonial Secretary stated the other day that Sir Hercules Robinson intended, if Gardiner continued his good behaviour until then, to release him on condition of his undertaking not to remain anywhere in the Australasian colonies. Gardiner has made himself useful in the gaol, both by the self-control he has exhibited in time of a disturbance among the prisoners and by the invention of a great improvement in mat-making. But the records of his past career, and the doom which has been awarded to his subordinates, render it highly inexpedient, in the view of many, to release him before the termination of his sentence. Such clemency, after the hanging of Manns and the two Clarkes, and the shooting of Ben Hall, Gilbert, and Ward, would have a bad effect on the consciences of that part of the population whose confidence in the impartiality of the administration of justice is liable to be shaken. But the matter rests in the discretion of his Excellency.

Darlinghurst Gaol from Burton Street 1870.
Sir Henry Parkes.

The vote on Gardiner's release was intensely close, culminating in a tie with twenty-six votes in favour and twenty-six against. The deciding vote was cast by the Speaker, The Hon. William Munning Arnold, who supported the Governor's decision to release Gardiner. Consequently, Gardiner was freed under the condition of mandatory exile from Australia, barred from returning until his full sentence was served. His initial deportation was planned for China, once there Gardiner was free to go anywhere but Australia he choose California.

As a result the case became a landmark in resolving a significant constitutional question concerning the extent of the Governor's authority. Prior, ambiguity existed about whether the Governor should use his prerogative of mercy based on personal judgement or follow the advice of his Ministers. Sir Hercules Robinson, interpreting the Royal instructions, concluded that he was to act independently as the Crown's representative.

In his communication to the Colonial Secretary, Governor Robinson outlined the predicament of operating within a colony with a responsible government, where he was expected to act independently of his advisers. This issue was clarified by the Imperial Government in England, which directed that in future instances, the Governor should adhere to the advice of his Ministers in sentence remission petitions. (For an overview of the government position on Gardiner see Source Page: Fifty Years in the making, by Sir Henry Parkes.)

William Arnold.
Speaker of the House.
The decision to release Gardiner triggered significant political repercussions, undermining the Henry Parkes government and leading to its eventual electoral downfall. The release continued to provoked widespread public outrage, with numerous petitions from across the state, from Albury to Tenterfield, expressing vehement opposition. 

The goldfields communities of Lambing Flat and Forbes, heavily impacted by Gardiner's earlier crimes, were particularly vocal in maintaining their opposition. The cumulative public dissent played a pivotal role in toppling the Parkes administration. The critical vote occurred to oust Parkes came just before midnight on the 28th in a House of 62 members, resulting in the government's defeat by a majority of four.

THE YASS GARDINER BANQUET.  (FROM A CORRESPONDENT.)-A BANQUET was given here on the evening of Friday last, with a view to celebrate the "Release of Frank Gardiner," and at the same time, by a well sustained and clever burlesque, to evidence the horror and indignation felt by: the residents of Yass at the liberation of the mainspring of bushranging, and the proposed release of such of his companions in crime as still remained confined in the various penal establishments of the colony. The banquet was held in a large store, adjoining the Globe Hotel, and was provided in a most liberal manner by Host Shipway, the proprietor of the above named, hotel. The banqueting-room was decorated in a very becoming manner with evergreens, &c. Over the vice-chair's seat were the arms of Australia, with the well-known motto, ''Advance Australia;" but, over the chairman's head was displayed a black flag with the skull and cross-bones.

Released - Deportation.

The government's final decision to release Gardiner was accompanied by further manoeuvres to mitigate public discontent. In a broader move, the authorities also released 23 other violent offenders and former bushrangers, including John Bow and Alexander Fordyce, both implicated in the notorious Eugowra gold robbery of 1862, masterminded by Gardiner. Adding to the drama, Speaker Arnold, who cast the decisive vote for Gardiner's release, tragically perished in the floodwaters of the Paterson River near Orange in late 1875. Following these events, the official procedures to expel and banish Gardiner from Australia were set in motion.
View from Brown St, Newcastle
of Newcastle Harbour.
c. 1870's.

Courtesy Newcastle University.

Expulsion was not a novel practice; many ex-convicts were deported from the country, allowed to return only after completing their sentences. After serving ten years, Gardiner was released on the condition that he leave Australia and remain abroad until his full sentence expired in 1896, when he would be 67 years old.

There was speculation that Gardiner might choose to resettle in nearby locations such as New Caledonia or Fiji, which were just a week’s sail away from his siblings. However, he was barred from settling in any of the colonies, including New Zealand and Hong Kong. Despite rumours that New Caledonia was designated as Gardiner’s final refuge, these proved to be unfounded. His exile was mandated under the seldom-used Act of Parliament 1847 no 34 - 11 - Vic 4th clause.

Gardiner's departure from Australia was facilitated by the 'Charlotte Andrews', a coal barque that regularly travelled between China and Newcastle. His transfer from Sydney to Newcastle was carried out on the 'Lady Young', a paddle steamer owned by William Hill. An eyewitness aboard the 'Lady Young' documented Gardiner’s boarding as the vessel anchored off Pinchcut Island (now known as Fort Denison).

William Andrews, an alderman of the city, and a flourishing ship-owner in after life. He was the owner of the vessel Charlotte Andrews, which under contract with the Government, conveyed the notorious bushranger Frank Gardiner into exile. Freedom would be given on-condition that Gardiner lived outside the British dominions. The difficulty was how to obtain a ship, the master of which would take the responsibility of taking Gardiner from his native land. Mr. Andrews had the Charlotte Andrews at Newcastle loading coal for Shanghai, and he expressed his willingness and the willingness of the master to give the ex-bushranger a passage.

On July 20, 1874, I was a passenger to Newcastle by the steamer Lady Young, of which my old friend Royal was then chief officer. Off Pinchcut the steamer lay to, and Mr. Royal informed me that, they were waiting for a distinguished passenger, no less a personage than Frank Gardiner, alias Christie, the notorious bushranger and escort robber. He came on board at 11.30, accompanied by Detective Elliott. They immediately disappeared in the fore cabin and were seen no more that night. Gardiner remained in the Newcastle lockup for two or three days, until the Charlotte Andrews was ready for sea. 

He loudly protested against being kept in custody, as he considered himself free once beyond the walls of Darlinghurst. Crowds waited outside the lockup to catch a sight of the noted prisoner, and when, the hour for his departure arrived, the crowd, in Hunter-street opposite the lockup was so great that it was found impossible, to remove the exile. A ruse had to be employed.- A man the size of Gardiner, and similarly dressed, was taken between two police men, carefully handcuffed, down Bolton-street to the wharf, the immense crowd excitedly following. When the street was clear Inspector Thorpe, and Detective Elliott with Gardiner between them and a couple of water policemen bringing up the rear emerged from the lockup and went in the direction of Nobbys, near which a boat was awaiting to take Gardiner, onboard the ship which was ready to sail. ⁵⁷

Note; Inspector Thorpe retired in 1886 on a pension of £325 per annum. Detective Elliott left the force in 1885 with a gratuity of £100.

A short time later, it was reported that;

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

Vessels damaged at
Yau Ma Tei opposite
Stonecutters Island
Hong Kong
Sept 1874.

Photo Lai Fong (1874)
New Caledonia did not become Gardiner's destination after all. Instead, a harrowing journey lay ahead. While en route to Shanghai, the 'Charlotte Andrews', carrying Gardiner, encountered a fierce typhoon on September 23, 1874. When the ship made anchor off Stonecutters Island, Hong Kong, the extreme weather dismasted the vessel and staved in its stern. This terrifying event was reported in 'The Age' on October 6, 1874.

A private telegram from China reports that the Sydney ship Mendona foundered, having on board a cargo for the colonies. The crew were saved. The barque Charlotte Andrews was dis-masted in the same gale. 

An accompanying article further commented: 

Frank Gardiner on his voyage to China was nearly drowned. The ship he was in having narrowly escaped shipwreck in a heavy cyclone. We hear (says the Yass Courier) that the mariners had to lighten the ship by throwing overboard the most part of the cargo. It is somewhat odd that they never attempted to deal with Gardiner as in old times as certain Tarshiah 'salts' dealt with Jonah. Perhaps they charitably thought that the poor wretch, having been vomited forth by New South Wales, would stand a poor show of being taken under the protection of any other whale.⁵⁹

Note: The estimated death toll from the typhoon was over two thousand lives. Almost 90 per cent of the ocean-going ships were sailing ships, albeit with auxiliary engines. They mostly had wooden hulls. Many broke adrift, sunk or went aground because their windlasses, anchors, and cables were just not strong enough. Another problem was that many of the captains had no experience of typhoons and did not lower their yardarms and spars, with the result that the masts broke in half." (Source; 23rd of September 1874 Typhoon.) For more on Gardiner's brush with death, see the link attached below.

23rd of September 1874 Typhoon

Great Republic.
sidewheel steamship.
San Francisco–China
Remarkably, Gardiner survived the sea's perils. His stay in China was brief, and with the 'Charlotte Andrews' incapacitated, he needed to find another means to continue his journey. He then boarded the 'Great Republic,' a vessel owned by the San Francisco-based 'The Pacific Steamship Company'. The journey took him via Yokohama, Japan, ultimately  arriving in California. On December 18th, 1874, Gardiner, along with 542 other passengers, stepped foot on San Francisco soil. The crossing had taken a full eighteen days, as reported by the 'Daily Alta California' the following day.

CHINA AND JAPAN. Arrival of the "Great Republic." - The Pacific Mail Steamship Company's steamer Great Republic, H. Z. Howard Commander, arrived in port last evening. She left Hongkong on the 11th of November, with 7 cabin and 188 steerage passengers, full cargo and mails. Experienced heavy northeast monsoon for first five days; remainder of voyage to Yokohama, weather fair. Arrived at Yokohama on the 20th, and left on the 23d of November, with 20 cabin and 501 steerage passengers. Had heavy gales from southwesterly for four days; since had variable winds, chiefly from South and East. All well on board.

Even though Gardiner was far removed from Australian shores, the New South Wales police never ceased their vigilance. Their watchful eyes continued to monitor his movements, keeping a close tab on him in California. 'The Burrowa News' Saturday 20th February 1875;

RE FRANK GARDINER, ALIAS CHRISTIE. — Detective Hogan has reported, for the information of the Inspector-General of Police, that an old Sydney resident, a passenger from San Francisco per steamship Mikado, informed him (detective) that Gardiner arrived at San Francisco from Hongkong by the steamship Great Republic; that he is keeping a first-class public-house, which a number of persons, called a ' ring,' have fitted up in first-rate style for him. Our information is that it is a great draw. He visited the house daily, when it always appeared full. Gardiner is known there as the New South Wales bushranger.


Dramatised Illustration of
Catherine, on hearing
of no visits to her Frank.
Courtesy NLA.
When Gardiner first set foot in California, local authorities were initially uncertain about their newest inhabitant disembarking from the steamer. A reporter for a Californian newspaper at the time noted on Gardiner's appearance that he had:

A full, round, English face jet-black beard and moustache, and a quiet demeanour which sensationalists would hardly associate with the exploits of the great Australian Dick Turpin.

However, after extensive appeals from interested parties, Frank Gardiner was eventually granted permission to settle in San Francisco, as reported by the 'Miners' Advocate and Northumberland Recorder' on Saturday, 15th January 1876.

I learned from another source that Gardiner was very near being prohibited from landing in California; and had it not been compassion for the victim of such paltriness as cast him upon their shores, he would not have been permitted to land.

However, local authorities in California were openly frustrated with the New South Wales government for transferring Gardiner to their jurisdiction without prior consultation. They publicly voiced their discontent, highlighting their displeasure with the unanticipated decision and the lack of communication involved.

The San Francisco people speak of the Government of New South Wales with most thorough contempt for the part they played in setting Gardiner at liberty and then exiling him away from the scene of his crimes, penniless and friendless, to seek his living in a strange land. They argued that the Australians (for the Gardiner business is, in the eyes of the Americans, a stain upon all the colonies) must have thought Gardiner too good a man to remain in gaol, but not good enough to be trusted at large amongst themselves, yet quite good enough for the Americans. If Gardiner, they say, should betake himself to his old life, and place this country in such terror as he did New South Wales, why it will be another Alabama case, and we will expect Australia to pay the piper.

Note; The Alabama case was a claim of compensation by the US against Great Brittan after the Civil War over the confederate Ship CSS Alabama who sunk or raided over sixty Union vessels. Brittan paid the US est. $16 million dollars as the raiding vessels were constructed in English shipyards.

Catherine 'Kitty' Brown.
Bridget Hall,
c. 1919.

Private Source.
Never before published.

Earlier in a tragic turn of events, Catherine Brown, Gardiner's former lover, took her own life in 1868. During Gardiner’s extensive 32-year incarceration, Catherine initially clung to the hope of a future together, even hatching a daring escape plan. 

However, when their attempt failed in 1864, she was devastated, faced with the grim reality of a life apart from Gardiner. Her despair deepened as Sir Henry Parkes repeatedly denied her requests to visit Gardiner. Dejected, she eventually returned to her sister Bridget’s home in the Lachlan district.

The refusal of her visitation requests was specifically addressed by Sir Henry Parkes during a parliamentary session in March 1866, as recorded in the Hansard.

In the Assembly of New South Wales, on Thursday last, the following questions and answers are reported in the Empire: Mr Cowper asked the Colonial Secretary- If it is true that the Colonial Secretary has given a special authority for Mrs Brown, the paramour of the notorious Gardiner, to have access to him in Darlinghurst gaol; asked if so, whether he had any objection to lay a copy of such authority upon the table of the House? Mr Parkes, in reply, said "he felt it incumbent on him to state the whole of the facts in connection with this matter. Soon after he was called to office, he paid a visit to Darlinghurst Gaol, and during his visit there, a number of prisoners made application, through the gaoler, to see him (Mr Parkes) for the purpose of making sundry requests. Among those persons was Francis Gardiner, who requested to be allowed to be visited once a month by Mrs Brown. He added that he would not have made this request only this woman had been living with him as his wife. "I told him," continued Mr Parkes, "that I would consider his application and give my decision to the Sheriff" I accordingly caused a minute to be sent to the Sheriff requesting him to inform Gardiner that the permission asked for could not be granted, as Mrs Browne was the wife of another man, and that the refusal was not done harshly, but as being entirely against the spirit of the regulations. 

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

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

New South Wales,
Australia, Sheriff's
Papers, 1829-1879
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.

Note; Charlotte's surname Hyam is mistaken and should read Ion. Charlotte married William Ion in 1854. In 1870 Charlotte remarried one, Joseph Cale.

In her deepening despair, Catherine Brown succumbed to severe depression and began a relationship with Richard Taylor, whose brother James was involved with her sister Bridget. Richard, who had married Mary Nowlan and fathered several children, left his family around 1867 to be with Catherine. Already acquainted with Gardiner, Richard was one of the signatories for Gardiner's release from Cockatoo Island in 1859, alongside his brother-in-law William Fogg.

Catherine's death.
New Zealand Herald
1st February 1868.
Seeking a fresh start, Catherine and Richard relocated to New Zealand, settling at the Tappue Gold Diggings near Auckland on the Thames River. However, their life together was marred by restlessness and domestic abuse. On January 14, 1868, overwhelmed by emotional distress and Richard’s mistreatment, Catherine ended her life by shooting herself in the mouth.

She lingered briefly in severe pain before succumbing to her injuries. The impact of her death on Frank Gardiner remains unclear to this day, yet it's speculated that the trauma of Catherine’s demise influenced Gardiner to acquire new tattoos, as noted in his release documents.

A miner and his brother named Turner, witnessed the dreadful scene at Tappue, and later recounted the circumstances surrounding Kitty's tragic death in 1902; 'Sydney Sportsman' Wednesday 9th April 1902;

Mr Turner describes Mrs. Brown as being a dainty, natty little thing, tidy in her dress, and very nice looking. She was the Mrs Brown who attached herself to Gardiner's fortunes and romantically followed him through good and evil repute.

Brown of Wheogo—lived in a square tent, about 14 ft by 12 ft, 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. 

Kitty's Inquest,
27th January 1868.

Courtesy Papers Past,
New Zealand.
For best,
Open a New Tab
to enlarge.
See note below of her exonerating Richard Taylor in her suicide attempt and ultimate death. Turner mistakenly referred to Taylor as Brown. However, his account is quite detailed. Catherine is also noted as spelling her name with a K.

Stepping ashore in San Francisco, Frank Gardiner found himself following in the footsteps of a notorious group of former exiled Australian convicts known as the "Sydney Ducks." Predating Gardiner's arrival, the "Sydney Ducks" had begun infiltrating the city in the 1850s, establishing a seedy district on the Barbary Coast, derogatorily dubbed "Sydney Town." This infamous group was notorious for running dubious establishments that lured wealthy patrons with promises of wild nights filled with decadence and indulgence. Sadly, many of these patrons were then assaulted and robbed.

As Gardiner became accustomed to his new surroundings in America, he attracted significant media attention due to his notorious past as a bushranger. He granted an interview to the Daily Alta California newspaper, which was published on February 17, 1875.

A reporter of the Chronicle gives an interview with one Frank Gardiner, a noted bushranger, who recently arrived here from Australia. After describing his talk with the notorious robber, the reporter, with much ingenuousness, adds: The meeting suggested a great many old Australian reminiscences of bushranging days" Ah! 

Barbary Coast - San Francisco.

The conversation was re-published in the 'The Sydney Morning Herald' Tuesday 6th April 1875, Titled- 

THE SUCCESSFUL BUSHRANGER.- (From the Alta California.) - VASQUEZ, the King of California bandits, pales into insignificance when compared to Frank Gardiner the great Australian bushranger. He arrived here a few weeks ago, having been pardoned by Sir Hercules Robinson, the Governor of New South Wales, after serving ten years of the thirty-two years allotted to him. The colonial papers have been full of discussion on the matter of the Governor's clemency, but the majority have decided that justice was fully vindicated by the ten years confinement, and lost none of its potency because it was tempered with mercy. A Chronicle reporter interviewed Gardiner yesterday and found him to be a man of apparently forty, five years of age, with a full, round, English face jet-black beard and moustache, and a quiet demeanour which sensationalists would hardly associate with the exploits of the great Australian Dick Turpin. The meeting suggested a great many old Australian reminiscences of bushranging days when the name of Gardiner figured in every day's paper in connection with some deed of a daring robbery.

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

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

Reporter: Why was that?

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

Reporter: Why did you commence such career?

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

Rep.: But what made you rob the mails?

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

Rep.: Have you a cheerful prospect before you?

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

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

c. 1876
In 1876, an in-depth insight into Gardiner's new San Francisco habitat painted a picture of a setting where the most notorious and disreputable characters held sway. Asbury, in Benjamin Estelle Lloyd's Lights and Shades of San Francisco. (1876)

The Barbary Coast is the haunt of the low and the vile of every kind. The petty thief, the house burglar, the tramp, the whoremonger, lewd women, cutthroats, murderers, all are found here. Dance-halls and concert-saloons, where blear-eyed men and faded women drink vile liquor, smoke offensive tobacco, engage in vulgar conduct, sing obscene songs and say and do everything to heap upon themselves more degradation, are numerous. Low gambling houses, thronged with riot-loving rowdies, in all stages of intoxication, are there. Opium dens, where heathen Chinese and God-forsaken men and women are sprawled in miscellaneous confusion, disgustingly drowsy or completely overcome, are there. Licentiousness, debauchery, pollution, loathsome disease, insanity from dissipation, misery, poverty, wealth, profanity, blasphemy, and death, are there. And Hell, yawning to receive the putrid mass, is there also.

Of course, the self-assessment by the Darkie in his newspaper interview needs to be put into context when one considers that;

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

The Annual directory
of the City and County
of San Francisco 1878

As Gardiner settled into his new surroundings in San Francisco, he naturally gravitated towards familiar work, mingling with the less reputable figures around the city's bustling docks and notorious saloons along the Barbary Coast. Once celebrated as the "King of the Highwaymen," he became just another anonymous figure in this new world, struggling with precarious finances and a waning reputation. Amidst a community of questionable characters, Gardiner was merely one among many trying to make his mark, reminiscent of his earlier days on the goldfields of the Lachlan.

News of Gardiner's activities trickled back to Australia, carried across the Pacific by mail steamers shuttling between the American west coast and Sydney's Port Jackson. These ships brought back to Australia not only letters but also fuelled rumours and speculation about Gardiner's circumstances.

Australian visitors to San Francisco, intrigued by the legendary bushranger, often sought him out. Some inquired through local law enforcement for directions to Gardiner's saloon, typically described as a dilapidated hotel. Occasionally, visitors were personally escorted by police to ensure they reached the right destination.

One Australian who made such a pilgrimage later recounted his experience to a journalist friend back home. He described being guided to Gardiner by a police officer, though the details of their meeting remained undisclosed, further adding to the mystique and ongoing intrigue surrounding Gardiner's life after his deportation. 'The Western Independent' 18th August 1877;

When in San Francisco I asked about Gardiner. Accompanied by a policeman, I went one day, about eleven o'clock, to his whisky mill in Kearny Street. It was a low vile street in the worst part, of 'Frisco, called 'The Barbary Coast.'

Reports continued to filter into Australia post 1875, periodically detailing various aspects of Gardiner's life. One particular article from the Glen Innes Examiner and General Advertiser, dated Wednesday, May 5th, 1875, and headlined "What Gardiner has Promised Parkes," suggested that Gardiner was profoundly grateful for the efforts that led to his release. He reportedly expressed his gratitude in letters to Sir Henry Parkes and Governor Sir Hercules Robinson, acknowledging their significant roles in his freedom and rehabilitation.

The specifics of these alleged letters, including their exact content, were not disclosed in the report, deepening the mystery surrounding Gardiner's life after his criminal activities ceased and upon release from Darlinghurst. The existence of these letters remains uncertain, leaving it unclear whether they are factual correspondences or mere hearsay. Nevertheless, they add another layer of complexity and intrigue to the ongoing narrative surrounding Gardiner's post-criminal endeavours.

If the Sydney correspondent of the Forbes Times is to be credited, Frank Gardiner, the expatriated Bushranger, is not unmindful of his former friend and benefactor, as the following extract demonstrates:—A gentleman, just arrived in Sydney from San Francisco informs us that the slayer of Governments and robber of escorts, Frank Gardiner, is safely and comfortably established in that city in a flourishing bar or restaurant, having been started in that line of business by a friendly circle of beings entitled a " ring," whatever that may be. Frank, it is said, sent a number of grateful messages to the late Premier and to Sir Hercules Robinson, and expressed much regret at having brought so much sorrow and trouble upon their heads. He especially condoles with Mr. Parkes, and declares that if that gentleman will only cut this ungrateful colony and start to 'Frisco, that he will run him for the Presidency of the States and carry him in at the tip-top of the poll.

A fascinating update on Gardiner's life post-deportation appeared in the Burrangong Argus on June 30th, 1875, adding to the enigmatic narrative of the former bushranger. The report originated from a letter written by a former resident of Lachlan who had moved to Sacramento, California. The correspondent speculated that Gardiner was considering a move from San Francisco to Sacramento, a booming centre in the heart of California's gold country. Although no concrete evidence supported these claims, the potential relocation was thought to appeal to Gardiner.

This comment injected further curiosity and speculation into ongoing discussions about Gardiner's activities and plans since his arrival in the United States. It contributed to the layered and often speculative stories surrounding his life after deportation, keeping the Australian public fascinated with his saga long after he had vanished from their shores. Frank Gardiner was always news in Australia.

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

Even as years passed and the distance between Gardiner and his former exploits in Australia grew, his legend and reputation did not fade. His past as an infamous bushranger, particularly his orchestration of the dramatic Eugowra Gold Heist in 1862, his subsequent incarceration, and later deportation, had firmly entrenched him in Australian folklore.

Whether the stories were true or embellished, every titbit and anecdote about Gardiner's post-deportation life in the United States was seized upon by the Australian press and public. They painted a picture of a man who continued to persevere and carve out a life in a new country, despite the shadows of his criminal past.

A past that left a significant impact on Australia - from his ability to hold the country to ransom, which had drawn international attention, to his effect on the political landscape, leading to the dismissal of government ministers and the humiliation of law enforcement. Even children idolised him, often playing bushrangers in imitation of his exploits.

Frank Gardiner, the 'Darkie', had transformed from a bushranger into a symbol of rebellion and resilience. His legend, much like the man himself, seemed to endure and adapt, maintaining its allure and fascination long after he had left Australian shores.

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

in this vicinity.
c. 1800's.
Courtesy, SMU
Libaries Digital Collection

To further enhance his mystic, news soon surfaced in Australia revealing that Gardiner had established a saloon on San Francisco's infamous Barbary Coast. The annual directory of the City and County of San Francisco from the years 1876 and 1878 confirms Frank Gardiner as the proprietor of a saloon located at 1031 Kearny Street. The saloon, named the 'Starlight' Saloon, had a reputed unsavoury reputation.

'The Braidwood Dispatch and Mining Journal', commented that the 'Twilight' Saloon was not a place for the faint-hearted. The establishment was described as a den of squalor, frequented by dock rats and notorious individuals who were always on the lookout for their next victim to rob or deceive. In stark contrast to his previous lifestyle, the Australian bushranger had become the lord of a seedy underworld across the ocean.

However, despite these hearsay reports, Gardiner continued his life in San Francisco, navigating his way around the pitfalls and perils of his new surroundings. Yet, it was his reputation and past life that still attracted the attention and curiosity of people from his homeland. As the former 'King of the Highwaymen', Gardiner's life in America continued to be a source of fascination and intrigue.

Frank Gardiner, from the first day he landed in San Francisco, until the day he left it did no good for himself. His first job was as a barman in a saloon. This position he left to open a small saloon for himself, which he named 'The Twilight,' situated in Kearny-street, near Broadway. It was a small dingy place of two rooms, and Gardiner never did any good in it; A few months was enough for him in this place, when he descended to a mere saloon hanger-on, living goodness knows how.

Note: The names of the two saloons in reality and order are unknown but much correspondence intictaes Kearny St and Brennan St were similar in the naming. Starlight and Twilight.
However, when he arrived contrary to the negative statements Gardiner had a close coterie of locals who championed him and were called a Ring. It is doubtful he ever was employed as a barman per sae and with assistance and money from his sisters began a business there. There were many contrary views of his life and saloons as stated about the 'Twilight' saloon;

In company with a friend, a brother scribbler, I had the honour to inspect Mr. Frank's place of business. It is what is termed, in Californian parlance, a "saloon;" that is, a bar room, only stripped of every other appendage that goes to make up an hotel. Gardiner's saloon is located in Kearny-street, near Broadway, and is named the "Twilight," a name suggestive enough.

These contradictions of Gardiner's existence were always close to the surface concerning his life at Kearny Street.

Another San Francisco visitor commented on return to Adelaide South Australia in 1876;

The correspondent of an Adelaide journal writing on the 21st June, from San Francisco, states that he had seen Gardiner who keeps the Twilight Star, a very small drinking shop in Kearny street. The house seemed to be an orderly one. Gardiner looks about 40 years old, which shows that he must have improved very greatly in looks since he left the seclusion of Darlinghurst, and the confinement of the gaol bookbinding room. He does not seem to enjoy good health in America, however, though he has improved very much in general appearance.

Subsequently, another dictated a view regarding those who idolised the 'Darkie.' Expressing an opinion of a man not down in his cups nor near death but in fine fettle recounting his grand escapades. At the same time, his lowlife audience threw a few nickels his way. 'The McIvor Times and Rodney Advertiser' Thursday 14th August 1879;

His saloon was little else than a gambling den and a resort for the scum and dregs of the city. The frequent recital of his daring deeds fired his auditors with a spirit of emulation-a hankering after a free life of a brigand; instead of being looked upon with loathing, the man became elevated in the opinion of his hearers into a very hero.
Fred Sofforth standing
left back row. 

In 1878, while Frank Gardiner was running his saloon on the Barbary Coast in San Francisco, an interesting event occurred. The Australian Cricket Team, returning from their tour in England, made a stopover in the city. They played against a local team made up of players from two California cricket clubs. Among the Australian visitors was Fred Spofforth, regarded as one of cricket's finest bowlers. After their match, the team departed San Francisco aboard the SS City of New York on October 28, arriving back in Sydney on November 25, 1878.

Despite the exciting visit from the cricket team, Gardiner's saloon was generally viewed with disdain, considered one of the least reputable establishments in the area. This negative perception contrasts starkly with the seemingly prestigious moments such as hosting the cricket team and Fred Sofforth, illustrating the complex and often contradictory nature of Gardiner's life and business in San Francisco. 'The Western Independent' 18th August 1877 gave a view from a traveller of the state of Gardiners small saloon. However, others noted a well kept establishment;

The house was a filthy-looking blackguard place, and all-round on wooden forms were some ruffians, with a heft of knife peeping out of their rags, but now powerless to use them, sleeping off the previous night's debauch.

Regardless Frank was making fair trade;

Frank Gardiner, the notorious [sic] New South Wales bushranger, is keeping the Twilight Hotel, San Francisco, and doing a roaring trade. He has grown stout.

Contrary to the widespread belief that Gardiner led a meagre life, there are multiple reports indicating that the former bushranger, turned barkeeper, enjoyed a relatively comfortable existence in San Francisco. He didn't merely scrape by as the sole proprietor and bartender of his saloon; he was apparently successful enough to afford hiring staff to help run the establishment. Notably a woman named Nancy. A romantic interest, unknown.

Therefore Gardiner's life in San Francisco, was as he settled provided improvement in his financial situation. While some accounts depicted him as struggling to make ends meet in a rough saloon, Frank was achieving moderate success amidst the vibrant and notorious nightlife of the Barbary Coast.

The dynamic nature of running a saloon in a city known for its fast-paced and unpredictable lifestyle suited Frank Gardiner who while at Apis Creek was known as a genial host and honest hold hundreds of pounds in gold and cash for many passerby. Through his past fame many were drawn to his saloon eager for tails of the banditry of the Australian bush that no doubt included the recounting of the spectacular Eugowra gold heist. As with many aspects of Gardiner's life, the boundary between fact and fiction is often murky, complicating efforts to fully understand his years in America.

On entering, we were waited upon by an athletic son of Adam with brickish coloured hair. We asked if he was the celebrated individual that Harry Parkes had fought and fallen in defence of. He asked- "Who the hell was Harry Parkes? He never recollected him round these diggings." "Well," we said, "we wanted to see Frank Gardiner." "Oh," he said, "he is inside there," pointing to a small room off the bar. "He is very unwell He has not been up-to-day. If you call to-morrow perhaps you-may see him. He is really too ill at present to be disturbed, but if you leave your names, I will tell him you called.

McGlone a son.
Note: There has been some recent comment that in the late 1870s, the former detective and participant in Gardiner's capture at Apis Creek Daniel McGlone, (b.1825-d.1870) resigned under pressure in 1868 by the NSW police force, then went to San Francisco commenced working for Gardiner in his saloon. That is complete and utter nonsense. McGlone married Sarah Gibbon, a widow, in 1869 and had one child, Daniel McGlone jr. In 1870 McGlone had the McGlone Hotel on the corner of Market and Pitt streets Sydney. McGlone resided at 135 Elizabeth St Sydney in 1870. By 1870 McGlone reportedly died and is interned at Concord. In September 1870 McGlone's hotel was disposed of. See below.. Sarah McGlone following McGlone's death his wife brought the Exchange Hotel in Bridge Street from Samuel Andrews. She died in Brisbane, c. 1902.

However, others who trod their way to the saloon expressed views again contrary to the belief that it was seedy and noted that his enterprise was a legitimate saloon ticking all the boxes of the authorities licensing board;

The Annual directory
of the City and County
of San Francisco 1879.
Frank's saloon is as clean and well stocked as most of the other places of the same kind are in San Francisco. There is no concealment about Frank as to his name or his fast career. One large mirror at the back of his bar I noticed his name written in very large text; and his license from the city authorities to keep a saloon is also tacked up in a conspicuous part of the bar.

Gardiner, circa 1879, sold off his Kearny St saloon, for a new establishment, possibly the 'Twilight Star.' situated on Brannan-street, between Second and Third streets, near the Pacific Mail Dock frequented by Frank a short trolley bus ride from his saloon. The San Francisco directory notes:

Gardiner Frank, liquor saloon, 318 Brannan Street.

'Northern Star' 14th February 1880 highlighted the move;

Frank Gardiner. As in connection with recent affairs, the name of this notorious ex-brigand has cropped up, some particulars of how he progresses in San Francisco may not prove uninteresting. Frank has returned from his old quarters in Kearny street, and is now comfortably established in a saloon in Brannan-street, between Second and Third streets, and near the Pacific Mail Dock. Gardiner says he made a great mistake in taking the "Starlight" in Kearny street, as it is one of the lowest localities in San Francisco. He says that his sole aim in life is to progress upwards in the social scale, and he points to his removal from Kearny to Brannan streets as evidence of that laudable ambition.

The 'Twilight' was noted as;

The saloon is not a very extensive one; it has more an Australian than a Yankee aspect. It is what may be termed a triangular room, fitted up with a lead-covered counter. In front there is a bagatelle-table where people play for "drinks."  

However, Gardiner does not appear to be a man wracked with afflictions and death at his door as noted by some who claimed that;

Gardiner looked simply wretched; he was crippled with rheumatism, and not improved by drinking some of his own grog, the vile compound called whiskey, old Bourbon.

For Frank Gardiner illness, however, was a way to obfuscate his true circumstances and as far back as Cockatoo Island, Frank built a reputation of faking illness:

Gardiner the bushranger, and as he always had some ailment, or pretended to have, nearly the whole of his time was spent thereon. He was very fond of reading, but on no account would he work for any length of time; he would soon be back to his old quarters— the invalid bank— and amuse himself with carving and manufacturing figures in bone, and reading whatever book or newspaper he could obtain.

Note: There is evidence that the Twilight saloon and Starlight are possibly interchangeable or possibly the saloons were Starlight at Kearny Street and The Twilight in Brannan Street. The Starlight name may well have been the catalyst for Rolf Boldrewood's naming of his character in Robbery Under Arms,  1882 as Captain Starlight? 

Return to Oz. "if ever he is exiled from California New South Wales will be his destination."

When Gardiner disembarked from the Great Republic steamer in December 1874 at forty-six, he still exuded the energy of a much younger man. Yet, his conversations often gravitated back to familiar complaints of ailments and pains, a trait his old acquaintances from Cockatoo Island knew all too well. Historical records suggest that Gardiner was often recalled as something of a hypochondriac, frequently lamenting various illnesses and afflictions. His latest claim was that he was severely afflicted with rheumatism and had taken to heavy drinking.

Despite these assertions, no substantial evidence supports that Frank was a heavy drinker, whether during his time at Apis Creek or while navigating the misty moonlighted landscapes of the Lachlan Ranges. These claims likely formed part of Gardiner's skilful manipulation of his image; he was a cunning man, well-versed in deception. Frank crafted these misleading stories of his life in America, possibly as part of a broader strategy, hinting more than once at his ambition to return to New South Wales by any means necessary'The Western Independent' 18th August 1877:

He said to my friend that he thought of sending a petition to the Government of New South Wales to be allowed to return if it was only to serve out his time.

However, by the 1880s, Gardiner appeared to be no longer registered as saloon keeper at Brannan St nor resident of the Barbary Coast. Gardiner had once again dropped off the map, evaporated. But had he died? 
There is sufficient evidence to support that Francis Christie never died in America. In fact no record of his demise exists, a lot of speculation is 1870s barroom rumours based on nothing proven nor concrete. There are claims he died a pauper in an infirmary and was placed in an unmarked grave. Nonsense! 'Singleton Argus' Saturday 9th September 1882;

Frank Gardner. Says Dr Grundy in the Melbourne Herald:-- The death of Gardiner the bushranger is again reported from San Francisco. This time he died as a pauper in a hospital. Last time it was as a bar-keeper in a free fight. The time before that it was as a road agent sticking up a mail train. Next time it will be from the effects of a balloon accident, or in an excess of delight at a charity sermon. 

What a comfort it must be to the good man to be able to die so often, and yet keep healthy all the time. The late Lord Brougham possessed this happy accomplishment, and so did Tom Spring the pugilist, and Madame Calatani, the prima donna. Each of these eminent persons had the pleasure of reading their own obituaries on various occasions and flourished to a green old age notwithstanding. The lord and the lady were both past 90 when they died. The pugilist's age I am uncertain about, but his remarkable bravery and fidelity, coupled with the constancy of the reports of his death, made him a striking exception to the proverb that only the coward dies a thousand deaths.

The reference to a paupers grave or his destitution is fanciful as while in San Francisco thousands of miles from his home country, communication between Frank and his three sisters must have existed. There was also the sale funds from his saloon. However, Archina, Robina and Charlotte had worked feverishly in facilitating Frank's early release from Darlinghurst; therefore, it would be unheard of for those devoted sisters, for whatever reason, to abandon their brother even in a faraway country such as America at a time of crisis or possible poverty.

Thomas Baines - Frank Gardiner relationship.

As 'Darkie' began his 32-year term at Darlinghurst in 1864, another chapter of rebellion unfolded in Ireland. In March 1867, a new Irish insurrection erupted against British rule. Like many before, this attempt aimed to eject the English from Dublin but ultimately failed. The insurgents, known as Fenian's and precursors to the IRA, mobilised in significant numbers. Armed groups converged on various towns, including Tallaght, Dundrum, Stepaside, Glencullen, and further south in Cork, where 4,000 rallied at Fair Hill.


Their actions triggered a spree of destruction, prompting a swift response from the constabulary, who moved to cut off the insurgent routes. Despite the initial surge, the uprising had been suppressed by the next day. The revolt's leaders, including the determined Thomas Baines from County Mayo, were pursued relentlessly by both the Irish Police and the British Army. Baines, recognised among the leaders for his willingness to undertake the most perilous tasks, was captured and tried. Found guilty of treason, he and his fellow rebels were sentenced to be transported in the last contingent of convicts sent to Australia, arriving in Fremantle, Western Australia. The judge brought down his sentence;

You, John Devoy, were appointed centre for the military and were engaged in the seduction of soldiers from their allegiance, You, Sinclair, and you, Baines, appear to have been active to an extraordinary extent. The sentence of the court is that you Sinclair, Baines, Slack, Stanley, and Brown be kept in penal servitude for 10 years; The prisoners exhibited great surprise and emotion on hearing their sentences. Baines burst into tears, and Power appeared to be almost paralysed. 

Western Australia, Convict
Records, 1846-1930.</