Frank Gardiner

The aim of this page is to recount aspects of the life of bushranger Frank Gardiner from the cradle to the grave. Francis Christie, colloquially known as Frank 'The Darkie' Gardiner, is widely claimed to be the father of the modern Australian bushranger. However, for Ben Hall, Frank Gardiner became the one person who would wield the most influence as Hall descended deeper into criminal activity commencing at the dawn of 1862. Ben Hall's Sandy Creek Station co-owner John Maguire noted: "things got from bad to worse, till Frank Gardiner, the bushranger came. He capped the lot. Now under 'The King of the Road's' influence Ben started on his notorious career..." Gardiner was irrepressible and was often characterised in the mould of the famous 17th-century highwayman Claude Duval. He was educated, articulate, handsome, roguish, daring, an excellent horseman, charming and quick-witted. Known more than once to put a twinkle in a ladies eye.

Francis Christie
Alias Frank Gardiner
("The Darkie")
Above is a copy of Gardiner’s NSW prison document which displays his birth place as Boro, NSW, which is false, and thus the widespread misinformation on Francis Christie's life begins.
Francis Christie
c. 1861
"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 1800's 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. Frank Gardiner was born Francis Christie at Dingwall, Rosshire a short distance from Inverness in the far north of Scotland in 1829.¹

'James' arrival
recorded in
 The Sydney
Herald, Nov 1834.
The Christie family arrived in New South Wales on the 17th November 1834 on board the immigrant ship 'James' 568 tonnes. The master was Captain Paul having sailed from London on the 29th of June arriving at the Cape of Good Hope 29th September then on to Port Jackson. The family were accommodated for the voyage in Steerage Class with seventy nine other passengers. Francis was five years old. As well as his parents the family included Francis older half-brother Charles and half-sister Robina, sisters Archina and Charlotte just 12 months old. Upon the family's arrival in the colony of NSW Charles Christie was recorded on the manifest as an Agriculturalist and would ultimately accept a position as overseer of a Victorian cattle and sheep station owned by a fellow immigrant and future step-father of Francis from the 'James' Mr Henry Munro (Monro, Munroe) who had been accommodated in a Cabin onboard. Munro was the son of Professor Munro of Edinburgh College. Professor Munro came to prominence during the 1828 serial murders in England by Burke and Hare who killed their victims and sold their bodies to an anatomy Doctor, Robert Knox. Professor Munro, however, was noted for famously dipping his quill into the blood of Burke during Burke's' autopsy and wrote;[sic] "This is written with the blood of Wm Burke, who was hanged at Edinburgh. This blood was taken from his head." Arriving in the Colony Munro applied for a land lease in NSW under the EMIGRANTS NEWLY ARRIVED initiative at Kurradu Bidgee, on the Shoalhaven River, of 960 acres. [sic] 'Murray, Nine hundred mid sixty acres, more or less, parish unnamed, near Kurraducbidgee, on the Shoalhaven River. Applied for by Henry Munro, price 5s per acre.' Furthermore Munro as well applied for property near to Goulburn and Lake George in the counties of Argyle and King. While newly arrived in NSW Francis' mother Jane Christie gave birth to another daughter Maria Agnes in 1836.(NSWBDM Reg; 720/1836 V1836720 47 Charles Father Mother Jane Christie.) However there is a train of thought that Maria is reputedly the daughter of Henry Munro.


The Sydney Gazette and
New South Wales Advertiser
Saturday 25 July 1835.
However, their feet firmly planted on the ground Munro and the Christie's re-located to Victoria. Munro took up holdings in the late 1830s at Campasne situated 110 miles north of Melbourne and 40 miles northeast of Bendigo. Munro established his enterprise before Victoria achieved statehood. Victoria was Gazetted in 1851 as a state. Munro was also acquainted with John Batman who was the founder of Melbourne in 1835. However, before Charles' re-employment as overseer of Munro's Victorian property, the Christie family resided in Melbourne most probably arriving by ship from NSW. Whereby in late 1838 Charles Christie was arrested and fined in court over £80 ($6700) a lot of money for operating a much frowned upon sly grog shop. This business venture may have been the first insight into criminal or dubious activity. A source for obtaining easy money for an impressionable nine-year-old Francis Christie. The ‘Port Philip Gazette’ of Saturday 25th April 1840 noted from Christie's own admission his involvement with sly-grog; "a circumstance that occurred many months ago as "The reported keeper of a sly-grog-shop" It is a fact, Sir, that I paid in Melbourne above £80 penalty, a considerable time ago..."


Letter written by
Charles Christie
in April 1840, while
employed by
Henry Munro.
Unfortunately, Francis' father Charles Christie ended his tenure with Munro in circa 1841 leaving behind his deceased brother's former wife Jane and the three children he had no doubt fathered with her in the care of his employer and former friend Henry Munro. It may well have been that Jane had formed an intimate relationship with Munro at Campasne or even earlier as far back as possibly the voyage out to NSW from England. Regardless this turn of events strained Charles' relationships with the pair that prompted the no doubt unmarried pair to separate, whereby Charles departed for greener pastures. Early pioneer Cuthbert Fetherstonhaugh described in his reminiscences titled 'After Many Days' published in 1917 of meeting Charles Christie in 1854 while surveying at the Goulburn River Victoria. In this extract Charles Christie referrers to Jane as his wife; "when we camped at Kerrisdale on the King Parrot Creek. We had for a cook a nice old man named Christie, who had certainly seen better days. He let out to me one day that he had been fairly well off at one time at a place called Bona Creek, near Goulburn in NSW, but his wife, who was much younger than he, and a very handsome woman, had run away with a Victorian squatter from near Portland Bay, and had taken their only son with her. He told me that he had taken to drink and gone right down hill..." Subsequently, with Charles gone Munro married young Francis' mother Jane who was noted in the marriage announcement as a widow. Possibly for the avoidance of scandal the pair utilised the death of Jane's first husband Charles' brother James, reputed to have drowned off the coast of South America in the 1820s; 'Geelong Advertiser' February 13th, 1841; MELBOURNE, Saturday 13th February 1841 .—Fashionable Marriages.—Married a few days ago, Henry Munroe, Esq., of Campasne Plains, son of Professor Munro of Edinburgh College, to the widow of the late Mr Christie. However, for Charles there is little recorded of his life and in February 1864 in the Sydney Morning Herald Family Notices it was recorded that Charles Christie passed away on the 16th February at his daughter Archina's residence in Pitt Street following a long and painful illness. This indicates that the union between Francis' parents was not formalised. 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.


'James' 
At the time of his mother's death in 1842, Francis Christie resided at Campasne (Campaspe) along with his siblings on Munro's property. Christie/Gardiner would be well educated in Victoria. Henry Munro had become a wealthy Squatter since his arrival from NSW. Controlling the runs Campaspe and Spring Plains. The farms stocked with both sheep and cattle as well as first-rate horses. Through whose care, Francis became an expert in horsemanship and soon understood the value of quality horse-flesh. At the time of Charles Christie and family taking up residence at Campasne for Munro. Local aboriginals had been continuously attacking many remote stations even killing solitary shepherds then running off sheep as an easily accessible food source. However, on one occasion Henry Munro was speared by the aborigines while recovering his stock. The attack on Munro was in the company of Charles Christie. This attack on the aboriginals would become known as the battle of 'Waterloo Plains' resulting as well in eight natives dying. Following the engagement, the Protector of Aboriginals stopped over at Munro's station. He asked an employee, possibly Christie, if he was present at the 'Waterloo Plains' massacre. The man replied "What if I was, do you think I should be such a fool to tell you, to be hung?"(Source; Scars in the Landscape-Ian D Clarke) Nevertheless, the following extract does exert some criticism of Munro and Christie's actions as somewhat heavy handed; 'Port Phillip Patriot and Melbourne Advertiser'; Monday 22nd July 1839: The following relation of the dreadful outrages of the Aborigines, we give from the account of a gentleman. 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, an armed horseman rode furiously gun in hand into the midst of a body of men; 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. Now readers, examine this dispassionately, what men under equal provocation would have done less than the blacks did, they speared one horse, and one man. But they did so (as they no doubt thought) in defence of their lives; if they had even committed a robbery, are they to be tried, sentenced, and shot by the loser? Is that course of conduct, justice? Should we like to be dealt with, in so very summary a manner? Mind reader it is carefully kept out of sight, the return of killed and wounded, of the poor benighted savages. They have no person or persons among them to report to the Press, the atrocities they suffer, no, but every little trivial aggression they may make, or even every attempt at their own defence, is trumpeted forth by the factious Press, as most dreadful and abominable. But we will study to keep peace, and steadily, as far as our power will allow, act as the true friend of both parties, and more particularly, of the much abused, but rightful owners of the soil. 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 judgement and attention, that the imminent danger has been removed, and this gentleman's recovery ensured.


In another instance however, the obsequious actions of the Protectors of Aboriginal's infuriated the settlers. Many of whom were known to kill the natives on sight; 'South Australian Record and Australasian and South African Chronicle' Saturday 13th June 1840: THE BLACKS.—We regret to learn that the Mount Macedon blacks, formerly so very troublesome, have lately renewed their aggression's on the property of the settlers. On the 17th instant a party of aborigines, about 36 in number, came to an out station, under Mount Alexander, belonging to Mr Henry Munro, and brandishing their spears, ordered the shepherds and watchmen into the hut. A part of their number remained at the hut door as a guard over the prisoners; the remainder drove the sheep away into the bush, and were, after some time, followed by the others. The shepherds, as soon as they found themselves at liberty, went to the head station and reported the robbery. Mr Christie, Mr Munro's overseer, set out in search of the marauders, with the view of rescuing his employer's property. On his way, about fourteen miles from the scene, he came to the residence of the chief protector of aborigines, and Mr Parker, one of the assistant protectors, to whom he reported what had occurred, and entreated them to accompany him, and by their influence check the commission of further outrages. To this request the gentlemen protectors were pleased to return a direct refusal, and Mr Christie had to continue his journey unaided. With some difficulty he succeeded in recovering the whole of the sheep except 35, part of which  were ascertained to have been destroyed by native dogs, and the remainder had no doubt been killed by the savages. After securing the sheep, Mr Christie returned to the station, and his surprise may be easier imagined than described on finding the huts full of blacks belonging to the tribe which had committed the outrage, who were busy regaling themselves on damper and mutton, Mr Robinson having collected them together during his absence, and ordered the hut-keeper to kill one of his master's wethers to feast the blacks, and charge the protectorate with the amount at the Melbourne market price. Mr Christie came into town on Thursday last and reported the robbery to the government. Mr Gisbourne and the border police, and Captain Russell and the mounted police, have left town in the direction of Mount Macedon; but we have not heard anything as to the nature of their instructions. The present is the third occasion on which Mr Munro has suffered from the blacks within the space of five months. On a former occasion he was severely wounded by a spear thrown at him by one of these ruffians.— Jan. 28. Mr Parker was an obtuse bureaucrat who rode roughshod over many settlers flaunting his position as Aboriginal Protector. Furthermore, after the occurrences such as 'Waterloo Plains' Charles Christie wrote to the newspapers regarding Parker's overbearing use of power and the distaste the settlers had for him. (see letter above right.) 

Young Christie enjoyed a good quality of life and education under both his father and Henry Munro's guidance, where upon the departure of Charles, Henry Munro fully incorporated the Christie children into his life. However, whether some angst or ill feeling or resentment arose between the young Francis and his new stepfather is unknown as in 1842 while at Collingwood, Melbourne, Jean Munro passed away from illness. The departure of his father was also hard news. Therefore, Christie's mother's death was no doubt a distressing below to the young man just thirteen years of age. As a result, a form of rebellion may have tested the relationship between Munro and Francis. Furthermore, prospects for Munro were changing following the death of Francis' mother, whereby, Henry Munro resettled the family in 1843 to the small hamlet of Portland in southern Victoria close to the South Australian border at the Crawford River and commenced working a station of that name. Before Munro and partner took control of the station, it was owned by a Mr Cameron; 'The Melbourne Daily News' Tuesday 13th February 1849; Henry Munro, Name of run — Crawford, Estimated area — 70 000 acres, Estimated grazing capability — 60 head of cattle 15, 500 sheep. This run has been transferred, with the sanction of Government to Messrs Henry Munro and Andrew Rose Cruikshank, in whose names the lease will accordingly be prepared. Furthermore, Munro would later sell Crawford's Station and assume control of Bassetts Station nearby which was then sold in 1862. However, some years later when the long arm of the law finally caught up with the future celebrated bushranger and while Christie was applying all his charm in the effort of procuring a ‘Ticket of Leave’ in 1859 from Cockatoo Island, it appeared that Christie under his pseudonym of Clarke generated some empathy to the powers that be by commenting;[sic] "as a youth was led into temptation "when uncontrolled by parental influence or good example..." Evidence suggests that this was far from the truth and may purely have been his refusal to adhere to Munro's discipline or had the days as a boy at his father's sly grog shop formed the man? (In 1846, Henry Munro remarried a Catherine (Kate) Power at Portland and the union produced ten children.)

Authors Note; There has been a long-held belief that Francis Christie originated from the small settlement of Boro Creek situated 30 miles south of Goulburn and therefore in his youth had resided in that place. However, substantial evidence dismisses that assumption and current documentation confirm his birthplace as Scotland and his early years 1836-1852 were spent in Victoria. The confusion stems from Christie’s final prison release papers (seen above) that have Boro Creek recorded as his birthplace in the year 1831. Christie’s deception even in 1874 was no doubt as a subterfuge regarding his 1851 escape from Pentridge Gaol in Victoria which if exposed may have resulted in a return to face those outstanding matters. However, those matters were raised after Christie's sentence of 32yrs in 1864, but no action took place, curiously. Furthermore, evidence also indicates that Francis’ mother Jane Whittle was originally married to Francis' father Charles Christies' brother James at which point following his death, reputedly at sea off Eastern South America. Jane now a widow commenced a relationship with Charles which produced three children Archina Charlotte and Francis Christie. A year after Charlotte's birth the family immigrated to NSW then to Victoria. Jean McLeod is recorded on Robina Christie's, Francis' older sisters' birth certificate. Jean McLeod was born on 12th April 1798 in England at Berwick Upon Tweed, Northumberland, her parents were George Mcleod and Robina Stout. Robina Christie was born in 1827 and named after Jean's mother. Sadly the outcome of Jean Mcleod's life is unknown presumed to have passed away.  In turn, shortly after arrival in 1835, a fellow passenger Henry Munro who would be apart of the Christie story upon arrival was granted property at Kurradu Bidgee; 'In Kurraducbidgee--Nine hundred and sixty acres, by Henry Munro.' The land is situated on the Shoalhaven River, made available under the EMIGRANTS NEWLY ARRIVED initiative of 960 acres. Furthermore, under the same initiative, Munro as well applied for leasehold property in the Goulburn and Lake George districts totalling 2100 acres. These properties were in the vicinity of Boro, NSW. However, by 1837/8 Munro had moved to Campasne Victoria and reacquainted with Charles Christie, who commenced working on Munro's holding. The Christie's quite possibly were already in Victoria where Charles had faced court for operating a Sly Grog Inn in Melbourne. It is interesting to note as well the number of ministers of the cloth embarked on the 'James' as Francis Christie in later life as the law closed in would assume the disguise of a Vicar at differing times. Finally, there is no evidence to suggest any connection to an Aboriginal heritage through the union of a former convict John Clarke and an indigenous woman. Any adoption of this as fact is fanciful and untrustworthy. 


The arrival of Christie Family,
1834.
In 1850 at the age of twenty one Francis Christie stepped outside the constraints of an ordered society. With his extended family settling in at Portland, Francis returned to the vicinity of the Loddon River having joined in with a number of misfits, whereby, they procured a prominent settlers valuable horses, illegally. With Christie's family at Portland the aspiring horse thief headed for that place to sell the stolen stock. The new station at Crawford River would be a convenient place to hold-up if the theft was realised in cash; "Francis Christie alias Clarke, alias Gardiner commenced his long career of crime when quite a youth through horse-stealing. In 1850 in conjunction with another horse fancier, he visited the station run of W. L. Morton, later Sir Morton, near the Loddon River. Gardiner knew this area well from his youth and whilst there they gathered a mob of twenty-four good horses and took them in the direction of Portland for sale by auction..."² However, for Christie, upon discovery of the theft, the horse's owner Mr Morton, incensed at the brazen thievery unexpectedly saddled up to track and recover his horses. For Morton, the only reliable men available to accompany him were employees, one named Will Merceras (Mercer) and a cook who was an experienced bushman as well as an expert tracker like Morton. Preparing to depart Morton was approached by a fourth man named Williams who had reached his seventieth year and asked to join the search as a horse belonging to him was part of the stolen mob. Williams received his wish, and he saddled up, and although his day's of hard riding was behind him. Morton said he was allowed to follow as long as he kept up with the three men. Leaving 'Plains of Thalia Station' and intercepting the tracks, Morton and his men ran them for some time en-route to the Fitzroy River passing Mount Sturgeon station and resting at a Mount Sturgeon hotel. Morton revealed;[sic] "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 Cay'es 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. Made the Fitzroy 19th June." Upon arrival at the Mount Sturgeon Inn operated by Andrew Templeton, he told Morton during a discussion that at the local races held two days previously the suspected robbers had raced some horses against those entered by the police and successfully won the purse without raising an eyebrow. In the course of Morton's stay, the publican also pointed out a letter to be posted which one of the gang, Christie, had left in his charge;[sic] "three of them came to his place driving a mob of horses, in number about thirty. Christie asked for pen and paper, and brought a letter into the bar, and gave in charge of the barman, directed to Crouch, postmaster, Portland. Neglected to send it, and gave it to Mr Morton, who came by next day in pursuit."  Suspicious, Morton with the unopened letter in hand headed at full gallop to the police stationed at Hamilton. Arriving there the Clerk of the Bench was gotten and at Morton's direction opened the letter addressed to a Mr Crouch, the postmaster at Portland who also acted as auctioneer. The letter stated follows, and demonstrates that Christie had an excellent hand and education as well as another alias, Taylor.

Lake Mingo, Murray River, May 1850.

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

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

I remain sir,
your obedient servant,

ANDREW TAYLOR.³

Christie's letter.
Crawford Station
For Sale.
'The Argus' 4th February
1851.

Courtesy N.L.A.
Christie without knowledge of the letters interception proceeded onward to Portland. However, a fast riding Morton saw to it that they did not reach the town. Christie and his accomplices halted at the residence of Mr Bilston who operated The Fitzroy Hotel at the Fitzroy River. Later in court Bilston communicated; "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." Here Christie was overtaken by Morton and his tracking party who recognised the horses in the stockyard and promptly set about arresting the thieves. Subsequently, the arrest was effected with the help of two Victorian troopers one of whom was named Thornhill. The police had been obtained at Hamilton and on reaching the Fitzroy River 18 miles from Portland arrangements were then made for the apprehension of the known thieves, who were thought somewhere about the Inn. Thornhill and Morton went to the front of the Inn, and the other trooper, Merceras and Williams went to the rear. Having dismounted Morton tapped quietly at the entrance when Bilston called out "Who is there?" The answer as previously arranged was given"A gentleman from Portland." The landlord, on opening the door, was asked if some men with horses were there. He answered in the affirmative, and in reply to another question, said they were in bed in a room at the rear. Instantly a rush was made for the room, the trooper burst open the door and entered, followed by the owner, the landlord showing merely the candle past the door post. 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 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 despatched 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 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. The prisoners were in the gaol at South Geelong, and on the Sunday afternoon previous to the trial a warder went to a cell with a bucket of water. On opening the cell door to hand in the bucket, he was caught by the neck by one of the prisoners, and pulled in, when 11 prisoners, amongst whom was William Stewart, alias Mr. William Troy, the assumed superintendent of the assumed Mr. Taylor, having locked the warder in the cell, walked out. In one of the passages they met another warder, and put him in the cell with his mate, when the whole 11 rushed out and armed themselves with sticks. Two of the town police immediately attacked them, and succeeded in recapturing three of them after using their batons freely, fracturing the jaw of one of them, who was a murderer. The other eight, amongst whom was Mr. William Troy, made good their escape, and only one of them was afterwards secured.

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


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

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


Dr. W.C. Haines, Foreman
of the Jury for Christie.
Later 1st Premier of
Victoria.
1855-1857.
The dye was cast and Francis was beyond Munro's influence, consequently, with John Newton, Christie was found guilty and sentenced to five years on the roads. Both were removed from the dock and sent to the Pentridge Stockade, Coburg, Melbourne. Abridged from 'Geelong Advertiser' Wednesday 23rd October 1850; SUPREME COURT. CRIMINAL SITTINGS. (Before His Honor the Resident Judge.) TUESDAY. HORSE STEALING Jury.-W. C. Haines, John Elkington, John Gillivray, Alfred N. Gilbert, Andrew James Gates, Hatsell, N. Garrard;.James Gannon, Henry Elmes, Napoleon Gilbert, Edward Gundry, George Elliot. Francis Christie and John Newton, were placed at the bar charged with stealing 24 horses from Salisbury Plains. The Crown Prosecutor explained that on the 10th June, three persons were seen on Mr Lockhart Morton's run, on the North Loddon. The horses were missed on 11th June, and their tracks traced by Mr Morton and another, ten miles in a north direction, then westward towards the Avoca, and then in the Adelaide direction, then to Mount William, and thence to Mount Sturgeon, where they stopped for refreshments. The prisoner Christie there called for pen, ink, and paper, and addressed a letter to Mr Crouch, auctioneer, at Portland, intimating that his employer MrTaylor, 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 sumed 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.(see link below for 1850 court proceedings)
Illustration of Christie's
escape from Pentridge,
Coburg, Victoria 1851.

by Percy Lindsay c.1935
However, freedom beckoned and before long an opportunity arose for that freedom; Francis Christie and John Newton were tried and convicted, the late hon. Mr. Haines being the foreman of the jury. They were sentenced to five years on the roads of the colony. The prisoners were sent to Pentridge. There they were allowed to work in the open fields. Francis Christie and John Newton had not been more than a few weeks at Pentridge when on the afternoon of the 26th of March 1851, whilst engaged in gathering rubble for road metal purposes in a paddock adjoining the Pentridge Stockade. Christie, getting near to one of the troopers, rushed at him, and took his carbine from him, knocked him violently on the head, and pointed his carbine at the trooper and fired, the trooper retired beyond the firing line. Then the prisoners fled over the rail fence towards the Merri Creek.⁷ (Merri (Mary) Creek is in Coburg, my father had many rollicking adventures along Merri Creek with his best friend Peter Somerville as boy's in the 1940s as my Nana lived on Murray Rd just up from Pentridge. I myself as a boy in the 1960s also played along its banks.) Eleven prisoners had succeeded in escaping amongst whom was Christie. Of the escapee's all but five were recaptured within a few days. Following the successful escape. The fugitive Christie set off north towards his former home. Here he had been sighted 'digging close' to the Government camp at a new prospective gold field on Bandicoot Creek (Bendigo). However, upon being detected, Christie fled north crossing the Murray River into NSW. Blending in with the many miners en route to the new goldfields near Ophir recently discovered by Hargraves, Lister and Tom's. Country NSW in the mid-1850s consisted of sparsely settled hamlets often just a few huts or shanties and a trade store and for Christie limited police. Allowing for easy pickings of quality horseflesh. Christie's mate in the Morton adventure John Newton split from Christie following their escape. However, he had not the same success as Christie and was recaptured and returned to Pentridge. Newton soon after again effected his escape from the stockade on the occasion of another outbreak of prisoners. Christie's arrival in NSW put a great distance between himself and the Victorian authorities. As after firing with intent to kill a prison guard Francis' escape may well have been seen as a capital crime and therefore a hanging offence. In NSW, Christie assumed a new alias of Clarke, where after an uneventful period of stock work in the Abercrombie/Goulburn surrounds once again resorted to his old trade, horse duffing. 'The Darkie' commented years later on his fall into horse stealing and how he commenced his criminal life;[sic]"from want of suitable, employment. Young men can find no employment in the country districts except herding sheep or stock-riding. The latter occupation leads to horse-stealing simply because you become wholly engrossed in horseflesh, and the crime is so easily committed that you do not think of the consequences. Horse-stealing and horse "sojering" are of every day occurrence in certain parts of the country..."⁸ Christie's first foray in NSW did not go well when in the company of a youth named Prior he attempted to pull the same stunt as at Portland.

Newspaper reports of the £10 reward for Christie's capture
after his escape from Pentridge Prison, Melbourne on 26th March 1851.

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

Nevertheless, having shot through from Victoria and surfacing in NSW in the vicinity of the Abercrombie/Goulburn and Fish River area 1853. It would not be long before Christie dipped his hand once more to horse stealing. Furthermore, while at the Fish River, Christie commenced using the alias of Francis Clarke as well as Gardiner. The use of Clarke may well be derived from a stock employer named Clarke near Boro NSW for who Christie may have been employed by? Of course, this is conjecture? However, a police officer would as well later state that he knew of Clarke as Gardiner at Goulburn in 1853.

Furthermore, during this period Christie also made the acquaintance of one who would become a close and lifelong friend, one William Fogg. Fogg an ex-convict dabbled in all manner of theft and villainy throughout southern NSW from the Abercrombie and Fish River area to Bungendore and was closely associated with bushranger John Peisley from the mid-1850s. In 1846 Fogg escaped conviction after allegedly 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 where the pair reputedly met at Cockatoo Island.


Early woodcut of
Frank Gardiner,
The Bushranger.
c. 1861.
However, in February 1854, after two years quiet since fleeing Pentridge Gaol, Christie emerged in company with young Prior herding some horses to Yass for sale by auctioneer Mr John Moses, stating they had come down the 60 miles from Tunea. Using the exact same method as at Mt Sturgeon the horse thief penned a receipt for the sale of the horses to the Yass auctioneer. His accomplice, Edward Prior hailed from Goulburn where he lived with his family;[sic] "Edward Prior is the son of Mr Henry Prior of this town, and has hitherto borne an irreproachable character..." Another arresting officer constable Pagett also revealed that he had known Christie at Goulburn.[sic] "knows the prisoners, who live near each other in Goulburn; he knew prisoner Clarke under the name of Gardener..." Alias' appear to be Christie's forte. However, the auctioneer John Moses suspected his new clients were shady and consulted Chief Constable M'Jennett, who subsequently arrived at Harts, Royal Hotel, Yass where Christie and Prior had taken logging's. Mr Moses later recounted;[sic] "on the same evening prisoner Clarke came and brought back the posting bill and told me if I put some bills up the next morning I should have a good sale of the horses, and that they would be ready on the following morning; the prisoners brought in 16 horses that night and put them in Mr. Hart's yard; Clarke told me he had purchased them at Tuena diggings; either on that night or the following morning, Mr. Hart gave me a paper; I showed it to Clarke who said it was right, and that it contained the brands and 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; ‘The Sydney Morning Herald’ Tuesday 21st March 1854; Henry Hart, of the Royal Hotel, Yass, proved that the prisoners came to his house, on Sunday, 26th February last, that they had a number of horses with them, which they wanted to sell; Clarke gave me the receipt, now produced, to hand to Mr Moses, the auctioneer, as a description of the horses for sale, which I did the next morning; the horses were taken by the Police, and both the prisoners apprehended. Christie had relayed that the horses had come from Tunea. M'Jannett discovered otherwise, whereby, for Christie/Clarke and Edward Prior the police investigation had discovered that five of the horses bore the brand of Mr Reid a well-known settler on the Fish River. The jig was up! Furthermore, Prior also claimed that he was only employed by Christie to herd horses to Melbourne;[sic] "Prior stated that he had been hired in Goulburn by the prisoner Clarke to go to Tuena, to take horses from there to Melbourne."


Consequently, M'Jannett arrested Francis Christie, who had dropped the Christie for Francis Clarke, and his accomplice Edward Prior at the hotel. Whereby they faced court; 'The Sydney Morning Herald'Tuesday 21st March 1854; "Francis Clarke, and Edward Prior, late of the Fish River, in the colony of New South Wales, were indicted for stealing, at the Fish River aforesaid, on the 1st July last, five horses, five mares, and five geldings, of the goods and chattels of one John Reid." M'Jannett had sent for Reid, who identified the horses. John Reid, sworn in and examined:op.cit. "Is a settler residing at the Fish River; recollects seeing five horses at the Royal Hotel, at Yass, on the 28th of February last; these horses are my property; I never sold them to any person; I received information that these horses were in the possession of the police." The prisoners were tried at the Goulburn Assizes on the 17th of March, 1854. Christie appearing under the alias of Francis Clarke. They were convicted on two charges, Christie being sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment with hard labour on each charge, Prior not guilty on the first but guilty on the second. 'The Goulburn Herald and County of Argyle Advertiser' Saturday 4th March 1854; Horse Stealing. -"Last week the police at Yass apprehended two young men who gave their names as Francis Clarke and Edward Prior, on suspicion of stealing sixteen head of horses which they had driven into that town for the purpose of being sold by auction. Five of the horses have Mr David Reid's brand on them. Clark made a statement to Mr M'Jennett, the Chief Constable, of the manner in which they had come in possession of the horses, which they said they had purchased from one Joseph Williams at Tuena. There is reason to believe that this account of their possession is false, as no such person as Joseph Williams is known at Tuena. Edward Prior is the son of Mr Henry Prior of this town and has hitherto borne an irreproachable character. Francis Clark is also of Goulburn, his real name being Gardiner." How wrong they were! for if Clarke was exposed as Christie he would have been sent back to Victoria to face escape charges that may have resulted in the death penalty. (See link below for Christie's 1854 court proceedings)
Goulburn Gaol New South Wales, Australia, Gaol Description and Entrance Books, 1818-1930.
 Francis Clarke and Edward Prior entered 30th March 1854. Clarke received 14 years on the roads and Prior to 3 years Parramatta Gaol.
Guilty! Gardiner was then handed over to John Paget 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 Paget retired in 1873 on a first-class constables pension of 4s. 4d. per diem.)

Following sentencing in Goulburn NSW for which Christie alias Clarke received seven years on the first charge, and then, which appeared unusual for the time, the second sentence of seven years. To be served at the expiration of the first seven and not concurrently for a total of 14yrs was rare. Cockatoo Island (1839-1872) was a prison with a hellish reputation for those who failed to confirm. For Christie, it was a nervous time as his Victorian escape may well be exposed. However, Christie arrived at Cockatoo Island prison to begin his long stretch without fanfare. He was just another mug facing a long stretch that would dishearten the toughest of men. Life on Cockatoo was as ordered as any other NSW facility. Whereby for a lawbreaker to serve there you need not have been the worst of the worst, and horse theft although severe was not violence against another human. However, Cockatoo Island as such was a stoke of luck for Christie as at the time many new convicts were being re-routed to Newcastle to construct the breakwater then under construction at the harbour. It was hazzardess and backbreaking work and for some it cost their lives. Christie's luck held as he settled into prison life, however, with the Islands close proximity to the shores of Sydney Harbour escape wondered in his mind. Patience was required. Prison life on Cockatoo consisted of many and varied types of work, such as stone masonry, cabbage tree hat and mat-making. For some prisoners, they even received a wage to the value of;[sic] "from a penny to three pence per day, they managed to buy tea and sugar, and even pipes and tobacco..."  However, Christie was not one who received wages. In fact before long he was seen as a malingerer and would be found concocting some ailment to avoid his duties and constantly presented himself at the infirmary known as the 'Invalid Bank';[sic] "the "Invalid Bank," a spare piece of ground used by the sick prisoners as a recreation ground and occupied by such of the patients whose infirmities did not necessitate their lying up in hospital. The dispensary attached to the hospital was well stocked and supervised by a competent chemist. This spot was a favourite place of Gardiner the bushranger, and as he always had some ailment, or pretended to have, nearly the whole of his time was spent thereon. " Although facing a long period of incarceration Christie apparently keep much to himself and was noted as polite and respected;[sic] "he had a nice agreeable manner, and could tell some interesting stories of his bush life. He was not of a boasting disposition, but was very reserved with the other prisoners. In fact I do not think there were six prisoners on the island to whom Gardiner would speak, and it was this that induced them to call him "Gentleman Frank." He was very fond of reading, but on no account would he work for any length of time; he would soon be back to his old quarters—the invalid bank—and amuse himself with carving and manufacturing figures in bone, and reading whatever book or newspaper he could obtain." Christie's artistic talents are recorded (see bottom of this page) one of which was demonstrated in a Bible he inscribed to his future lover Kitty Browne currently held at Young, NSW. Provisions for Christie and his fellow inmates of Cockatoo, which at any one time held as many as 600-700 men consisted of plenty of grub;[sic] "the meal from which the "hominy" (a type of biscuit) was made was boiled all night in an iron boiler, holding about 400 gallons, and the instrument used to stir it was the blade of a paddle or oar. Tin dishes, pint pots, knives, and forks were provided for their use. Large sheds were erected in the prison yards in which they took their meals, and were sheltered from the inclemency of the weather when not employed on the works of the Island. An extensive garden, presided over by a prisoner and worked with prison labour, provided a superabundance of vegetables and ingredients for the soup drunk by the prisoners." 

Escape! Escape from Cockatoo Island was fraught with unseen dangers, such as strong currents, Sharks, and other hazardous obstacles. These, however, did not deter men hell-bent on taking the plunge for freedom. Francis Christie showed he was one who when and if the opportunity arose, he would make an attempt. Twice in fact. A former prisoner incarcerated with Christie provided an insight into Christie's early prison life and recounted his eyewitness account of the Darkie's swim for freedom soon after the notorious bushrangers 1874 release and deportation. Although his name is lost forever. At the time he used the pseudonym of 'Old Hand' and illustrates the Darkie's two attempts at freedom; 'Freeman's Journal' Saturday 26th May 1877; "One fine time Gardiner went to work, and in company with three other men was 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 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 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 winter time, and he used to have to pinch his flesh to make the blood circulate. He ran a great risk of being shot, for every one 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 any one who should dispute his passage to the water. Being disturbed by the approach of some one he quickly got underneath a blacksmith's bellows, and for a while defied the efforts of his pursuers, but was eventually captured."


Cockatoo Island Prison.
c. 1860.
Courtesy N.L.A.
However, after five years at Cockatoo Island, Christie determined there must be a better way than working the chisel and faking illness. Christie, subsequently, set about applying for his freedom having some ten years still to run on his original sentence of fourteen years. Fortunately for Christie, his confidence and self-assurance enabled him with a gift of the gab to sweet talk his way to an early release. Whether or not his family connections influenced the powers that be anonymously is more than possible. As happened when he was eventually thrown out of Australia many years hence on his release following ten years imprisonment of a thirty-two-year sentence. (Frank's 1874 release was primarily achieved through his three devoted sisters.) Therefore, in 1859/60 he achieved freedom via the much sought after 'Ticket of Leave'. However, of interest, there appeared in 1864 (Annexed below) a review of Christie’s earlier crimes in NSW. Laying out the chronological path from Christie's first sentence at Cockatoo Island as Francis Clark, as well as his procurement of a 'Ticket of Leave'. Achieved through the duping of leading Wheeo and Lachlan district citizens including those who helped convict him in 1854. Under their influence and lobbying Christie succeeded in obtaining his ticket; 'Illustrated Sydney News' Saturday 16th July, 1864; "In February, 1854, Gardiner (then called Clarke) stole five horses from Mr. John Reid, of the Fish River; he afterwards put them into the hands of an auctioneer at Yass for sale, sending a lad named Prior with them, who represented to the auctioneer that they had been purchased by his master (Clarke) at Tuena Creek-a place fifty miles distant from Reid's. Clarke produced a pretended receipt (a forgery) for the price of the animals, but the brand, which was a very peculiar one, had been mistaken in this document, and it was proved, that Clarke wrote it himself in the inn, at Yass, where he lodged. Clarke stole also, in the same month and in the same district, two other horses, the property of a Mr. Barker, of the Fish River. For these he produced a receipt dated in January, purporting to have been signed at Goulburn by a Mr. Elliott. These horses were also sent to the auctioneer at Yass for sale. Prior stated that they had been purchased for the Melbourne market.

Francis Clark (Christie)
Ticket-of Leave, December
1859.
NSW Reports of Crime.
Clarke stole also, about the same period, three other horses, the property respectively of three diggers named Strong, Frost, and Klein, who happened to be at Bigga on the 17th February. The horses were turned out into a paddock one night, and the next morning they were gone. Strong and his mates spent ten days in looking for them, and at last discovered them in custody of the Yass police. Clarke and Prior both being then fully committed in the former cases. Besides these ten horses there were six others stolen by Clarke, and sent to the same auctioneer. The prisoners were indicted, however, only in the three first-named cases, in two of which Clarke, alias Gardiner, was found guilty. They were not tried on the third charge. On their apprehension, £30 in notes were found on the prisoners; and each had a revolver loaded Clarke's being ready capped.

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

Cancellation and warrant
for Ticket of Leave.

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


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

NSW Police Gazette.
Amazingly, Christie through this early period of both incarceration and scrutiny of tending for parole the outstanding Victorian warrant remained unchallenged as well as Christie's true identity. Young Prior had been sentenced to three years imprisonment on the second charge only, to be served at Parramatta Gaol. It was understood and claimed that Prior had been led into trouble by Christie. Furthermore, with fourteen years hard labour ahead of him it might have be supposed that Christie's further enterprises would be checked. In 1858 whilst incarcerated at Cockatoo Island his stepfather Henry Munro sold part of his extensive holdings at Portland and took up a station at the Ararat diggings; PURCHASE OF STATION. -"We understand that Mr. Munro, lately of Crawford station, has made a recent purchase of half of the large station, known as Lexington, near the Ararat diggings."¹¹ After five years at Cockatoo Island, Christie appeared redeemed and was granted a 'Ticket-of-Leave'. John Taylor the clerk at Cockatoo Island recollected; "...I have been a clerk at the penal settlement at Cockatoo; the prisoner was there from April, 1854, to 27th December, 1859; the warrant produced came with him. I was at Cockatoo during the whole-time prisoner was there; his conduct was generally good, excepting on one occasion when he secreted himself for some days; he received a ticket-of-leave for the district of Carcoar."¹² The ability to charm those who granted his ticket-of-leave even after his attempted escape misdemeanours at Cockatoo hoodwinked the powers that be, who had not realised that his spokespersons were mere dupes Where no doubt the hand of Fogg helped manufacture their assurances. So brazen and confident was Christie that he was even able to convince those he had stolen from (Mr Reid and Barker in 1854) to place the right word in his favour; 'Illustrated Sydney News' 16th July 1864; "the ticket-of-leave was recommended, and granted, on sundry certificates signed-or purporting so to be-by (among others) Edward Ledsam, Esq., of Reid's Flat, Wheeo; and Henry Newham, Esq., same place, Lachlan River; speaking of Gardiner in strong terms of sympathy, as a mere dupe of other persons in the crimes for which he had been sentenced, and offering him as "an erring member of society" employment in their service. And Messrs. John Reid, and Edward Barker, the prosecutors in two of the cases before the Chief Justice, also recommended the indulgence. 

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

Sir John Young
12th Governor of
New South Wales
1861–1867.
However, Christie's ticket was cancelled in May 1861 on the orders of the Governor, Sir John Young after he had absconded from the Carcoar district and had commenced a butchers shop with William Fogg at Lambing Flat under another pseudonym Frank Gardiner. The nature of the withdrawal was because he had absented himself from the Carcoar district as per his conditions and became suspected of cattle-stealing. Regardless for Christie his chicanery knew no bounds as prior to his ticket cancellation as a result of his request for a pardon he soon came unstuck through his new activities. After all horse and cattle theft for Christie is in one's DNA;op.cit. "in 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..." Having set up business at Lambing Flat goldfields, Fogg and Christie now under the pseudonym Frank Gardiner operated a gold mine of their own in the form of the butcher's shop. While the need for cattle for the butchering business was constant, the object of obtaining them was labour intensive. Manpower was plentiful as men flooded into the goldfield. Two of those men Gardiner came into contact with was young Johnny Gilbert, a horse-breaker from Marengo and John O'Meally, a stockman from the nearby Weddin Mountains. Several other hardcore local criminals who had no issues with taking animals on the cross were also employed. In particular, John Davis, who in due course, would team up with Gardiner as his Lieutenant and hailed from Singleton. Davis was a qualified carpenter by trade having worked for Patrick O'Meally John O'Meally's father in the construction of the families home and hotel.


Mrs Betsy Toms
c. 1920.

Courtesy NLA
Fogg and Gardiner's butcher's shop was recounted by one of the first residents to the Burrangong/Lambing Flat gold rush, a Mrs Betsy Toms and her husband. Betsy reminisced in her twilight years how she knew Christie under the name of Gardiner and stated how she held a soft spot for him in her heart, declaring in the 'Wellington Times' Monday 26 June, 1922; “he kept the butcher's shop near to our place, and his was the only place at that time where you could get a piece of meat in reason. The prices up to then, and elsewhere, were outrageous and the fool police said he must have got his meat on the cross (stolen) to be able to sell it at the price. He was the only one willing to make a fair thing out of it. Certainly there was a lot of cattle duffing–the whole district was alive with it...” Consequently, with gaining cattle on the cross brought his activities under the purview of the police. As such a warrant was issued for Gardiner's apprehension over cattle duffing and in consequence the cancellation of his parole; "The cancellation of the ticket-of-leave, dated 16th May 1861, and signed by Sir John Young," However, in May 1861 the police had Christie in custody at Burrangong where he convinced them he was not the man they were looking for and was granted bail. For a Scotsman, Christie had the luck of the Irish.  He quickly fled Burrangong for Fogg's Fish River farm 100 miles away.


john middelton
Sgt. John Middleton wearing
 his Silver Bravery Medal

awarded  for Gardiner's
capture in later life. Middleton
was dismissed from the
police, but was
subsequently reinstated.
Coloured by me. 
Through information relayed to Carcoar magistrate Mr Beardmore of Gardiner's presence in the Fish River area, as well as some info linking Gardiner to a spate of robberies in the company of bushranger John Piesley. Beardmore instructed the Local police to rearrest Christie as per the outstanding warrant. On the 16th of July 1861, two officers were dispatched for the arrest, and Constables Hosie and Sgt Middleton set off. The troopers suspicions led them directly to William Fogg's farm. Although not having been to Fogg's. Their knowledge in knowing most of the shady characters of the district drew them there. Their hunch proved right as they arrived at Fogg's hut on the banks of the Fish River. Fogg was Christie's longtime friend as well as his partner in the earlier butchering business at Lambing Flat. The two officers approached the hut and dismounted. Caught unaware Mrs Fogg instantly yelled out alarm alerting Gardiner, whereby, the police sighted Gardiner inside the dwelling. An exchange of gunfire erupted resulting in both constables suffering wounds. In the first encounter, the succession of revolver shots from Gardiner saw two of the bullets strike Middleton one in the neck, the other in the left hand. In the second volley, Hosie was shot in the head. Out of ammunition, an uninjured Christie rushed at Middleton. The ensuing struggle flowed out into the yard which after brutal hand to hand combat with both troopers, Middleton managed to bludgeoned Gardiner into submission with his whip handle. The two troopers affected Christie capture. There have been various colourful accounts of the drama of the battle royal between the police and Gardiner. However, Middleton's sorts out the facts when he delivered his testimony at the sensational trial in 1864 of the now famous Frank Gardiner. Recounting the life and death struggle in his own words; John Middleton deposed; "On the 16th July, 1861, I was in the police force of the colony, having been in it upwards of eight years; William Hosie was also a constable in the force; Mr. Beardmore was police magistrate at Carcoar: I received instructions from him to apprehend the prisoner; he told me that he could produce evidence to show that prisoner had been guilty of robbing the Cooma mail; he mentioned the prisoner's name as Gardiner; the name was pretty well known at that time as a bushranger; he also told me that Gardiner was a prisoner illegally at large; it was reported that he was along with Peisley; it had frequently been told me that he was; Hosie was not present when Mr. Beardmore gave me my instructions; I heard a month or two before that Gardiner was in the bush; I believed him to be a bushranger at that time; after this conversation with Mr. Beardmore I went to look for Gardiner; on the 16th I went with Hosie to Fogg's, I had never been there before; it was about ten or eleven o'clock in the morning; It was raining lightly; we were on horseback; we were in police uniform - a round blue jacket, blue trousers, and a cabbage-tree hat and I had leggings on; I had no cloak on; I was armed with a single-barrelled Government pistol and a riding-whip; Hosie was similarly armed to myself; he had a whip; the house was inside a paddock, which was entered by slip rails about two hundred yards from the house; the slip-pannel was visible from the yard of the cottage, and I believe from the door; I could see the house from the slip rail; there was a small low scrub growing between the slip rall and the house; Hosie dismounted and took down the rails, whilst I advanced towards the cottage, at a sort of ambling pace, neither trotting nor walking; when I got to the cottage, about twenty yards from it and outside the yard, a woman came to the door, and when she saw me she threw her hands up; she was facing me at the time; she threw her hands up and started as though surprised; I dismounted, and went up towards the house; I had to dismount to enter the yard, which was round the house; as I was about entering, I could see inside the cottage, and saw a man go into what seemed an inner room, and a screen fell over him; I entered and followed into the room; I do not remember speaking at all; I saw Mr. Fogg, Mrs. Fogg, and some children; I did not see any other person present at that time; I went directly towards the screen, and as I was crossing the floor I was challenged; I was told if I went in there I should be shot; I do not remember the precise words, but only the effect of the words, which was if I entered I should be shot; I went to the screen, raised it with my left hand, and was immediately fired at; I had a pistol in my right hand, I do not think I was wounded by the first shot; I drew back at the shot, and almost immediately passed part of my body behind the screen and fired; at the same time I was fired upon and was hit in the mouth; the room was a kind of skillion, apparently a lumber room, and was very dark; I fired at the man, and he fired at me, about the same instant, and hit me in the mouth; there was only a very short interval between the first and second shot; I attempted to load my pistol after this, and found that my left hand was wounded, and that I could not, I then went out of the house to the front and met Hosie; the parties who were in the house seemed to me to pass out as I entered; Mrs. Fogg led her children out, and her husband followed; I was under the impression that more shots than two were fired by the prisoner, because he pointed his pistol at me when I was outside, taking aim through the slabs; he did not it seemed however to be able to bring his pistol to bear upon me; I told Hosie to try and dislodge the prisoner by going round to the back of the house; he went around, but returned, saying he could not get in; in the meantime I could see the prisoner through the slabs; I did not know that the man I was having the encounter with was Gardiner, but I believed it to be he, and had been told I should find him there; the man inside was swearing and bouncing, but I do not remember the words he used; Hosie attempted to enter, but he fell before he entered; he was about entering, when he had his pistol pointed at the prisoner and fired, and immediately he fell; I could not see the prisoner at that time, and it seemed to me that he met the prisoner as he was entering; I did not hear more than one shot, for they appeared to fire simultaneously; Hosie said something about Gardiner being a game man as he entered; the words he used were, "By God, Gardiner, you are a game man!" he used the name of Gardiner; this was as he was entering, and just before he fired; I saw Hosie fall, and was standing three or four yards off, but had not been able to load my pistol; prisoner rushed out at me, holding his pistol by the barrel, but just as we were coming into collision, Hosie had recovered himself and rushed in and caught him from behind; he had a struggle and scuffle in the yard with Hosie, and I kept striking him with my whip until he fell; I was then weak from loss of blood; we got him down and got a handcuff on one hand, and I could not assist him when Mrs. Fogg interfered and got us to let him inside, when the other handcuff was snapped upon him; Mrs. Fogg said we had done enough, and if we would let him in the house he would submit quietly; she whispered something in his ear, and he was then quiet; I searched the house but found no other person in it.


Remnants of Fogg's Hut.
c. 1920's
I went to Bigga, but being faint and bothered I lost my road, and it was evening before I got there; I was afterwards attended for my wounds by Dr. Rowland, and so was Hosie; I saw Hosie that evening about dark; there was another house just across the river from Fogg's; when Mr. Beardmore told me about Gardiner being concerned in the Cooma mail robbery, I believed it; after the scuffle was over, I saw a man named Barney in the yard; I knew Gardiner to be a prisoner illegally at large.¹³

Reward Notice 1861
Constable Hosie as well recounted his involvement in the affray, however, for sometime after the event Constable Hosie was vilified, not for his role in the capture, but the subsequent escape of Frank Gardiner through the rumour of his receiving a handsome bribe. 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 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 afterward Middleton rushed back to the door and told me to go round to the back of the house; he was wounded and covered with blood; I went to the back and saw that there was no means of getting in or out of the house from the back, so I came round to the front again; Middleton was standing in front of the door with his whip, and he told me to look out for the prisoner; I looked in and saw prisoner standing at a window two or three yards to the right of me; I had on a poncho, and had a pistol in my hand; when I raised my hand to fire it would lift the poncho so as to show my dress; I only saw the prisoner for a minute look out of the window and he immediately dropped his head down; I cannot say whether he was stooping or standing. I only remained about a moment, for prisoner retired from the window and I went to the door; I said to the best of my recollection, "surrender;" covered him with my pistol and fired; he had a pistol, and was covering me with it when I fired; the revolver produced is the one prisoner had; he fired, and I was struck in the temple; the wound was examined the next night by Dr. Macarthur, and about a fortnight or three weeks after the bullet was extracted; I fell down senseless, and the next thing I remember was seeing Gardiner rushing out with his pistol clubbed as if going to strike some one; he was only about an arm's length from me; Middleton was standing up with the whip in his hand; I rushed on Gardiner and we had a struggle till I got him down after Middleton had struck him with his whip; I do not recollect mentioning his name, but Mrs. Fogg called his name several times; I put on one handcuff outside, and the other inside the house; when he was fast, he said he was sorry for what he had done, and wished I had shot him dead; he did not say what for, but when he was talking with me and Mrs. Fogg; I loaded my pistol again, but cannot say whether Middleton loaded his; there were a good many shots fired and exchanged; I only fired once, and Middleton fired I think twice; I never saw him load a second time, but I know that his pistol snapped once; I only heard two shots fired the first time he was in the house, and he had no time to load again in the house; but he had time to load again when I was at the back of the house; I think he fired again, because his pistol snapped; I could not distinguish the sound of Middleton's pistol from that of prisoner; when Gardiner was handcuffed, Middleton searched the house, and said he was so badly wounded that he would go on for assistance; we were not more than half-an-hour there altogether; after Middleton left, I got weak with loss of blood; I asked Mrs Fogg for a drink of water, and whilst I was taking it, prisoner made a rush at me, and threw me on to a bag of flour; he rushed out of the door, but I held by the chains of the handcuffs, and we straggled out into the yard, and I put his arms over a post; he got away, and ran off to the river; I called upon him to stop, or I would fire; he found that the river was flooded, and so he stopped, and got a sapling and rushed at me with it; when I saw he was determined, I fired at him, and we struggled, and I struck him over the head with the pistol until he fell down and said he was dying; I thought myself that I had killed him, he was so bad, so I put a log under his head, and went for Mrs. Fogg, who fetched him up again to the house; I saw a man named Barney, but not until the matter was all over; I lost sight of him about two hours before I left; by the assistance of Fogg and his wife, we got prisoner on to a horse; Fogg led the horse, and I rode behind; he had got about three and a half miles from Fogg's when Peisley and another man came up and rescued the prisoner from me; Peisley covered me with a revolver, and the other man demanded Fogg to let the horse go; I told Fogg to do so, as giving him up was the only chance I saw of saving my life; Dr. Rowland examined my wound; Fogg's house is on the banks of the Fish River, and the nearest house on that side of the river is three or four miles away; I did not hear the prisoner say anything before the shots were fired; I saw Fogg and his wife rush out of the house; the children were in the house, and I saw them rush out after the firing, when I came from the back of the house; I do not recollect hearing a shot fired whilst I was at the back; I think I saw Middleton fire when I came to the front of the house; I may be mistaken, and I only think he fired into the door; the first time I saw Fogg and his wife was two months before, and I did not see them again until the 16th; the first time I went there I stopped about half an hour-; I had no poncho on at that time; when Peisley came up shots were fired; Peisley shot at me, and I fired one shot at the prisoner as he was going off; I fired at prisoner, and then Peisley turned round and shot at me.

Dramatisation of Gardiner
and Hosie encounter at Fogg's
by Dan Russell, 1952.

Courtesy NLA
I cannot state positively in what way I was wounded; I will not undertake to say it was not by the ball from my own pistol; the house was a slab hut; I was the full length of the room from the slabs when I was shot; I was struck on the temple, and the ball was extracted; prisoner was within two yards of me when he fired; I have been a soldier, and considering how near he was to me, I should say that it was prisoners ball and not mine that wounded me; I should have thought that prisoner's ball would have penetrated the skull; it is possible that my own bullet may have split and rebounded; I did not examine the house to see if the ball had rebounded; the Fogg’s knew me because I had been there before in uniform; when I called for the water, and prisoner rushed on me Middleton had gone; I am positive that Middleton was not present, and this did not occur more than once; I recollect telling prisoner that he was a game man, but it was after I had got him down and was putting the handcuffs on to him; I am certain it was not before; and not at the time I was entering the house."¹⁴ After the struggle with and were Hosie had been shot in the head by Gardiner it was initially reported in the newspapers that 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 The escape of Gardiner and the alleged bribe of Hosie cast suspicion to another of Frank's close associates. The notorious rogue John Peisley, who was thought to have provided the alleged funds. However, Peisley was angry at the assumption and wrote to the Editor of the Bathurst Free Press in September 1861 refuting that he had in any way assisted in the release of Gardiner. Therefore, to deflect any involvement in the affair. Peisley stated that he was not involved with the rescue at Fogg's. Nor of providing the £50 reputed to have been paid to Hosie for that escape.


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

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

I am, Mr. Editor,
your much harassed writer,
JOHN PEISLEY.

Fish River, Sept 4th. 1861.¹⁶
Peisley's role of bushranger supreme would come to an end after a drunken rage at the Fish River where on the 28th December 1861 a local named Benyan would be killed by Peisley. Peisley was found Guilty on the 11th March 1862 and as he was led from court he was asked the of the verdict where he replied "Oh! Its a swinger". It was noted in 'The Courier' that Peisley; "throughout the trial, he maintained the most unimpassioned demeanor. 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 color 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." Soon after the rogue was taken, 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!

4th June 1862
The two constables instead of being hailed as brave and trusted officers of the law at the battle of Fogg's farm Hosie and Middleton had their characters brought into question. There was, however, some who believed that Peisley had indeed effected Gardiner's escape. Regardless, even as Peisley stood upon the Gallows awaiting the drop for the murder of Benyan. The bushranger denied any involvement in the release of Gardiner, possibly with the thought that salvation may be granted him at the last moment by slurring Hosie. Alas, it was not to be, and on the 25th April 1862, Peisley was launched into eternity. Also on that date, a new Confederate of Christie's Ben Hall was again dragged before the Forbes court charged with Highway Robbery in company with none other than Frank Gardiner.


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

Furthermore, suspension and dismissal also befell Middleton who had also been tainted by the innuendo of a bribe. A close friend and fellow constable Tom Coward recalled at Middleton's death in 1894, the rough treatment metered out by the authorities and in particular by Captain McLeire. Coward said that;[sic] "he was almost heartbroken at the treatment he received from the authorities after his exertions and bravery in arresting Gardner. Though he was afterwards reinstated, he received no compensation for the loss of time and the disgrace of his dismissal." However, Hosie was dismissed, and in later years Middleton after his reinstatement received a medal for his bravery and the courage he displayed in the struggle with Gardiner. When Gardiner was finally captured and sentenced to 32 years gaol. The episode of the alleged rescue at Fogg's was finally brought into the light during his 1864 trial; "Peisley was at Fogg's place with Gardiner, when 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 pound 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 a rescue should be gone through. With this view, the old man Barney was sent off with a gun to a part of the road where Hosie and Gardiner were to pass, and when they came up he was to personate Peisley and rescue Gardiner. To carry out this plan, and to make Hosie keep to his bargain, Fogg accompanied them until Barney rushed out of the scrub and rescued Gardiner as agreed upon. That a rescue did take place is true; but it is also true that it was only a sham. These facts were communicated to the Government very shortly after they occurred, and the circumstance that the cheque which passed into Hosie's possession would afford, if traced, a strong confirmation of the truth of the statement was pointed out, it was, however, thought that the affair, if made public, would be so disgraceful to the police, that the Government decided in dismissing Hosie from the force without endeavouring to bring him to justice..."
¹⁷
 
Mr. Justice Wise
(1818 - 1865)
It was through the suspicion of a bribe to Hosie at Gardiner's 1864 trial that the jury following the evidence found Gardiner "Not Guilty" of "Wounding with Intent to Murder" the two valiant police officers. It was a sensational outcome, totally unexpected and shook the powers to be to their core. How could this be? To make matters worse, at the announcement of the verdict the jubilation felt by those in the gallery and the wild scenes outside the court were recorded in relation to one of the most dramatic trial proceedings in colonial history regarding the once mythical bushranger. A true celebrity whose very name touched every citizen of NSW, whose exploits were romanticised and full of adventure, daring and bravery regardless of the suffering of the poor victims. Furthermore, the scenes generated in and outside the filled court and their conduct brought much displeasure to the 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 were 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, stopping of feet, and clapping of hands continued for some seconds. Order was not restored until his Honour summoned a boy before him whom he had seen clapping his hands. The boy was remanded to Darlinghurst gaol, but afterwards, in consideration of his extreme youth and the intercession of counsel, he was discharged with a reprimand. Additional police having been placed at the entrances behind the crowd, his Honour requested the constables to bring before him any persons whom they had seen take part in the disturbance, but none were forthcoming, owing probably to the difficulty of singling out individuals from so large a number, all of whom appeared to join in the tumult. His Honour with great warmth remarked that it was astonishing that there should be such an utter want of common decency among such a number of people in New South Wales; it was a disgrace, an utter disgrace to the colony. He also thought that the police were censurable.
The prisoner, who it is understood will be arraigned on another indictment, was remanded to gaol."¹⁸ After his dismissal from the NSW Police, William Hosie pursued Gold Mining and Middleton was reinstated.

Kitty married John Browne
at the same church
as Bridget and
Ben Hall at Bathurst in
September 1859. Catherine

signed her name.
Nonetheless, Gardiner again free following his 1861 escape from Fogg's farm and having evaded the searching police. Christie commenced using the alias of Gardiner and disappeared. However, in February 1862 Gardiner surfaced in the Lachlan. Where earlier in 1860/61 he had operated a dubious butchers shop at the Spring Creek, Lambing Flat gold field with his excellent mate Fogg. Gardiner surfaced at Wheogo and the home of John Maguire. John Maguire was the brother-in-law of Ben Hall and co-owner of Sandy Creek cattle station with Hall.

Furthermore, as Gardiner convalesced in the Lachlan district, he formed an intimate relationship with the married sister-in-law's of Ben Hall and John Maguire, Catherine Browne nee Walsh (Welsh). Catherine was Bridget Hall and Ellen Maguire's younger sister. 18yrs of age who resided with her husband John Browne in a hut a short distance from the Wheogo station homestead and adjacent Sandy Creek station and became Gardiner's inamorata. Gardiner was 14 years Catherine's senior. Catherine had married John Browne when aged 16.


NSW Reports of Crime
20th May 1861.
Consequently, before long the dark shadow of Frank Gardiner would became well known throughout the Lachlan district and its surrounds and his presence would change the dynamics of the serene farming communities. Accordingly, Gardiner's bushranging enterprises would become the scourge of the NSW police and where he became the man singularly responsible for the ruination of many a fine young colonial boy as noted in the 'Mount Alexander Mail' 23 April 1863; "His dreadful, career—his infamous crimes are known from one end of the colony to the other; his name, is universally execrated, a perfect demon in human form. Not contented with outraging all laws, human and divine, he appears to have ensnared a great number of the native youth of this colony in his meshes, and by instilling into their young minds a love for unlawful and criminal adventures, he has gradually led them from one crime to another, till he has plunged them to the deepest, so that they cannot halt; and must therefore proceed till the outraged laws of their country claim them, and examples are made." The police of the Lachlan district was led by the indefatigable Sir Frederick Pottinger newly appointed police inspector for the area stationed at Forbes. Pottinger was, however, one who's top-priority was to apprehend the freshly arrived and elusive bushranger. Pottinger would spend many weeks in the saddle. Searching the bush in the Wheogo, Lachlan and Bland districts 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. In the year of either 1861 or early 1862, the NSW Police in an effort to catch the notorious bushranger created a detailed map of Gardiner's known routes and haunts covering an area over eighty miles and listed those people long suspected of harbouring the bushranger.

Moreover, throughout the map. The police also furnish an insight and opinion regarding the character of those people considered criminal or just plain reprehensible who were known protectors of 'The Darkie'. However, two names which figured prominently on the highly confidential map, are surprisingly the young wife of Ben Hall and her sister Mrs Catherine Browne. Both noted as 'bad', and at one station on the map states; "Harbourer, Yorkshire Jack, good man bad women, the retreat of Mrs Hall and Brown." (See map bottom of page) An 1861 newspaper article notes Yorkshire Jack as; "a person familiarly known in the neighbourhood by the appellation of 'Yorkshire Jack.' He is the proprietor of a small sheep and cattle station, and appears, from his many good qualities, to merit well the respect and esteem of those who know him..."¹⁹ Gardiner was known to attend here as it also doubled as a well-known sly-grog shop. The map gives a clear insight into the close ties both married 'wild Weddin girls' Catherine and Bridget had with many of the shady characters earmarked by the police. The detailed map became the 'key' for tracking Gardiner. The map commences its narrative from the Fish River area in the lower central eastern part of the western district of NSW to the edge of the western area as far as the Bland District. (West Wyalong). (See map bottom of this page.) (Catherine's marriage certificate has her surname spelt as Browne, therefore, I have used this for the narrative.)

Gardiner was irrepressible and the newspapers often characterised him in the mould of the famous 17th-century French born English highwayman Claude Duval (b.1643-d.1670);[sic] "a gallant and courteous rogue, probably the most dashing highwayman ever to haunt the roads of England. He was known as a “true gentleman of the road...” Gardiner embraced this beau ideal. Continually scanning the papers for positive reviews of his robberies. Whereby when misrepresented he would take umbrage by writing to the editor of newspapers, such as the Burrangong Star refuting any fake news and false assumptions. Furthermore, Gardiner was the first bushranger to embrace the power of public perception and celebrity status through the volumes of newspapers. Much like the Beatles success through enhancing the emerging power of Television. In utilising this power, Gardiner would always take care during hold-ups to be egalitarian with those held under his revolver. Displaying great panache in his manners, dress and appearance, knowing full well that his every action would be soaked up by the press; "Gardiner wore breeches and high boots, cabbage-tree hat with black band, and black poncho spotted on the inside of like the skin of a leopard..."²⁰ This standard was to be embraced by accomplice John Gilbert who styled himself also as a flash cove.

Accordingly, Gardiner was also of the opinion and very well aware that the settlers both rich and poor were his most significant asset for protection. Therefore the Weddin Mountains a dense range in the midst of the Lachlan District, full of gullies and caves all littered amongst its high ridges covered by a dense undergrowth or scrub rendered pursuit by tracking unless and perfect environment for Gardiner's headquarters.[sic] "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." 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 next day at the stable of it is owner...”²¹ 

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


Kitty reputedly in
action with Gardiner.
c. 1862
Fully recovered from the gunfight and struggle at Fogg's farm and in the throes of a sizzling love affair with the reportedly beautiful blonde haired Catherine in full bloom. All roads and tracks surrounding the Burrangong Goldfield at Lambing Flat, as well as the hideout at the Weddin Mountains all came under Gardiner's domain. Within a short time, he was hailed the 'King of the Road'. However, amongst all this bushranging action, Gardiner was never far from the arms of Kitty Browne. There were even tales of Kitty's participation beside her lover in hold-ups of travellers disguised in men's clothing. However, as sticking-up was the order of the day Gardiner's brazen escapades saw him becoming something of a new breed. A bushranging celebrity. The newspapers were rife, all scrambling for the latest in Gardiner's exploits. Here the many newspapers were hailing the gallant bushranger as the new Australian version of Claude Duval; ‘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, whose widespread reputation had morphed him into Frank Gardiner. Conducted his robberies with a certain flair and aplomb which become his trademark. Including the return as mentioned above and rejection of accepting silver coins. This politeness as well enhanced his reputation by way he dealt with the women faced with a revolver pointed at their breast. Gardiner was calm and often humorous, his avoidance of capture was as a result of those strong friendships he had developed with the cockatoo squatters and shanty keepers. Including his two new rapscallions in crime John O'Meally and 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 This 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. The police, however, were of no concern to Gardiner. Being mounted on the best of the best thoroughbreds, Gardiner always outpaced them or at times with unnerving audacity casually confronted and returned fire while manoeuvring to affect his escape. Before long the very name Gardiner sent shivers through the storekeepers and police. Who when faced with the bushranger appeared to became hypnotised and ineffective. Many a local in the district spoke bravely of how they would take the celebrated bushranger. However, as they say, words speak louder than action as described in the following article after some tough talk by two businessmen in Gardiner's presence at a local shanty; 'Sydney Morning Herald' and 'Empire' newspapers of 12th February, 1862; "With reference to Burrangong and the Lachlan, come two contradictory stories from February which are highly amusing. I will give you the history of an affair which happened a few days ago, which is a fair sample of the daring and open way these bushrangers carry on. It appears that Mr. Greig and Mr. Torpy, two tradesmen of Lambing Flat, were returning from the Lachlan, and had arrived at Gibson's station, about forty miles from the Flat, Gardiner, formerly the companion of the bushranger Peisley, was still at large, robbing right and left, and the terror of the road. The two reports I am about to quote from appear respectively in the Empire and the Herald. Both of them agree that Torpy, of Burrangong, in company with a Mr. Greig, were stopped by Gardiner, and robbed, when on their way from the Lachlan, and that they subsequently, with the police, had an encounter with the bushrangers, But the two accounts vary very considerably with regard to Torpy - one representing him as half a hero - the other as a regular Captain Parolle. Here is what the Empire correspondent says: - "Mr. Greig was unarmed, but Mr. Torpy had an old revolver. Two other robbers stood by, and it would therefore have been certain death to have resisted. Mr. Greig had but ls. 6d., Mr. Torpy 13s. 6d. It seems there was some "chaffing" by Greig and Torpy at Gardiner for getting so little out of them, which this gentleman, after sneering at them for travelling with so little cash, took very good-humouredly, and to make matters pleasant to all parties, Gardiner shouted drinks all round.

One can imagine health's being drunk in the usual style, and the question being put is to how is business with you, when, of course, Gardiner would reply, as all prosperous traders always do, that things were, dull. I should mention that Gardiner, seeing that Mr. Torpy's saddle and bridle were good ones, took a fancy to them, and upon Torpy objecting, the revolver came into requisition again and the dispute ended by Mr. Greig borrowing £10 of the landlord of the house to give Gardiner in lieu of the saddle and bridle. After this the gentleman of the road made off; a short time after up came three mounted troopers, and it was proposed that Torpy and Greig should accompany them and see if they could not overtake the robbers at a house kept by a Mr. Fielding, or Feeley, which it was thought they frequented. They rode up to Feeley's, and one of the party immediately recognised Gardiner's horse tied up to the fence. The constables rushed into the house and searched, but no robber was to be seen. Upon going outside the door, however, one of them saw a man crouching down, whom Torpy recognised as the man who had just before stuck him up-that is the man Gardiner. Now, here was a chance of getting this determined scoundrel. Four armed men, all having horses at their command, stood between the bushranger and his horse. Immediately behind the house was a small enclosed fence; and at one corner of this was a large gum-tree, behind which Gardiner planted himself, holding a revolver in each hand. The three constables, by name Harmer, King, and Dyer, and Mr. Torpy, advanced towards the fence; Mr. Greig, being unarmed, remained in or near the house. Harmer, however, discovered at the moment that he had no weapon; his revolver, it appeared, had slipped out of the case, and, therefore, he thought it prudent to look after the horses which stood near Gardiner's, at the corner of the house. King advanced a short distance along the fence and fired at the robber, and then retreated, and was seen no more by any of the party till eight o'clock the next morning. This extraordinary circumstance I got from Mr. Torpy and from the constables. Torpy and Dyer then advanced, and each fired at Gardiner, and he, resting his revolver against the tree, takes deliberate aim at them in turn. Dyer fired mostly at a long distance, viz., seventy yards, and Torpy at a little shorter distance. No shots take effect, and Dyer, finding his shots expended, retires to the house to reload. Torpy, after firing another shot or two, and receiving Gardiner's fire, retires also to adjust and reload his revolver. Thus, Gardiner is left in possession of the field, and of course makes for his horse. Torpy fires at him as he passes the house and misses him again, and when Gardiner rushes to get on his horse, the constable, Harmer, who was standing by, throws up his arms and begs Gardiner not to shoot him, as he is an unarmed man, and Gardiner rides off receiving another shot from Torpy, which, it is sup- posed, wounded him in the shoulder. The affair is much commented on here, and an investigation into the conduct of King and Harmer is loudly demanded."

Mark, however, what a different version is given by the correspondent of the other daily: - "Just before they arrived at Gibson's station they were cautioned that the bushrangers were there. Torpy alone, I believe, was armed, and proposed proceeding there at once and taking the scoundrels, little thinking, from what I can hear that the proposition would be agreed to. On arriving, they dismounted and went into the tent. They no sooner entered than they were requested by Gardiner who was seated within, to bail-up. Now was the time Torpy showed his courage. He trembled like an aspen leaf, the colour left his face, and he exclaimed in most piteous accents, "Oh, what is it, I'm Torpy, I'm president of the Diggers' League;" his (Torpy's) companion, who was also trembling violently, being ordered to bail-up at the same time. The fact of Torpy being president of the League did not seem to strike terror or prevent Gardiner searching him, and he was much disgusted at finding that so important an individual, together with his companion should be only in the possession of a few shillings. If they were not in possession of money they had horses, Torpy's a very good one, with a new bridle and saddle.

Gardiner admired the bridle, &c, and said it was just the thing he wanted; when Torpy exclaimed, "You are not going to take my bridle and saddle." "Oh, no," replied Gardiner," I'll take the lot, horse and all for I shall require the horse to carry them," So unconcerned was Gardiner in the presence of the formidable president of the great Diggers' League that he did not even take the loaded revolver the said president was in possession of from him, but actually stood a distance of about two yards with his back towards the said president, and must have heard the said president ask his companion if he should shoot him, and being advised not, Gardiner, finding that Torpy did not like parting with his horse, told him if he could raise £5 that he would return the horse, Gardiner promising, at the same time, that if he knew anyone whom he could raise the money from on the road that he would not molest or attempt to rob them. Finding Torpy could raise the money of some party, whose name I have not heard, Gardiner immediately raised the price to £10, which was at last obtained, and Torpy had the satisfaction of buying his own horse, saddle, and bridle back, Gardiner shouting nobblers twice, and, bidding them good day, left.

On the following day, three troopers arrived, who, together with Torpy and his companion, determined to follow Gardiner, hearing from everyone on the road that he was still sticking-up. Mr. Greig's coach passing at the time they kept company with it. When they arrived at Feeley's station, distant from this place about thirty miles, they observed Gardiner's horse hanging to the fence. Instead of taking possession of it they made a rush to the house, and, if reports are true, one of them stabbed a poor man with a knife without inquiring who or what he was. Gardiner, in the meanwhile, quietly leaves the house, and, finding that he could not regain his horse without passing through his pursuers, takes up his position at a distance of about fifty yards, behind a tree covered by a fence made of slabs placed into the ground close to each other, and forming a perfect wall. Without any attempt to close upon him, the troopers and Torpy expend their ammunition firing at the fence, Gardiner quietly stopping there. When they ceased firing Gardiner immediately leaves his cover, and, with a revolver in each hand, deliberately walks up the side of the fence to the place they had been firing from the troopers are non-est; Torpy is considerably scared, falls through a window and thinks he has but a few moments to live; the passengers by the coach are hurrying into the house, women are screaming, and Mrs. Feeley is engaged hiding some of the valiant men in her bedroom; Gardiner, to the great terror and fear of about eight men and as many women, passes them mounts his horse, clears a three-rail fence, and goes away in a quiet canter leaving the unfortunate troopers and the president of the Diggers' League to discuss what they ought to have done, what one did not do, what the other did do, and what they would do if they only had another chance, each frightened the other would expose the cowardice or want of judgement exhibited, and trusting it would all be hushed up."

Who are we to believe? What are we to believe? When, where, and how are we to behove anything? I suppose the truth, as usual, lies between, for there can be no doubt that there are lies at each extremity. The reference in the article to Mrs Fielding or Feehey, she is the sister of Daniel Charters and owner of the Pinnacle Station, Margaret Feehily which had a public-house on the property and was frequented by Gardiner and others regularly. Its reputation saw the NSW police place a station a short distance from the facility in late 1862.

Nevertheless, with his new recruits, such as John Gilbert, John Davis, Jack O’Meally and Pat M'Guinness and others 'The Darkie' nicknamed by his athletic build and dark complexioned handsome looks and love of the dark arts ... Fortune Telling, commenced waylaying travellers daily on the roads between the Burrangong and the recently discovered Lachlan gold diggings at Forbes. However, one of the most successful and at this stage most rewarding for the bushranger was the robbery of two storekeepers on the 10th March 1862. The victims were Alfred Horsington (Hossington) and his wife as well as Henry Hewett. The businessmen were stopped near Big Wombat. Subsequently, from Alfred Horsington who had been incapacitated by a broken leg the bushrangers acquired 253 oz. of gold and £145 in notes; from the other, Henry Hewett, they acquired 189 oz. of gold and £172 in money. The days events are recounted in the 'Glen Innes Examiner and General Advertiser', Friday 10th October 1902; "One of the most daring robberies in which Gardiner was personally engaged was on the road near Big Wombat, in the district of Young, when he stuck up Mr. Alfred Horsington and robbed him of 253 ounces of gold and £145 in money. Horsington was a digger and a storekeeper, at Lambing Flat, and was proceeding from Little Wombat to the Flat in a spring-cart on 10th March, 1862, his wife and a boy named De Burgh being in the vehicle with him and a Mr. Hewitt, another Flat storekeeper, riding on horseback behind. The boy was driving, as Horsington was suffering from a broken leg.


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

Gardiner then proceeded to search Mrs. Horsington, excusing his ungallant work on the ground that ladies wore sometimes fond of planting money. Mrs. Horsington, however, had only a £1 note. "You may want that;" said Gardiner. "and you can keep it." "Thank you for nothing,' said the lady, who knew what he had got from her husband. From Hewitt also Gardiner took some notes and gold, which were in a valise on his saddle. One of the other bushrangers subsequently took the saddle, valise, and riding whip, and the horse was only left because it was badly bred. Horsington's horse was also left to him because of his broken leg; but they made the boy take it out of the shafts and unharness it, to prevent speedy pursuit. "I hope you'll have- another load for me next time you come along," said Gardiner, and the bushrangers rode off with their booty. When the police at Lambing Flat heard of this exploit they at once set out to scour the country, but, as usual, their search for the robbers was futile. The value of the robbery in today's terms was $783,000 in gold and cash. Spot gold trading at $1,713 per ounce Aud. However, in 1864 while in the dock at the Sydney Criminal Court at Darlinghurst. Frank Gardiner pleaded Guilty to the charge of Highway Robbery against Horsington and Hewitt, but took umbrage at the evidence put forward by his victims. Whereby in a letter to the judge, Chief Justice Alfred Stephen, Gardiner cast doubt over the participant's claims. Gardiner, in fact, stated that there were five in number, not four. In turn, saying that since the events only two of the bushrangers involved remained alive. At the time of the 1864 trial, Pat M'Guinness had been shot dead. John O'Meally also shot dead and John Davis, unmentioned previously, who at the time was close to Gardiner, was serving a fifteen-year sentence. Whether by design or mischievous intentions Gardiner hints that Gilbert may not have been a participant. Suspicion, therefore, falls towards Paddy Connolly, who had disappeared presumed dead. With Gilbert still at large Gardiner, possibly did not wish to be tainted by Gilbert's current depredations.

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

With the completion of the lucrative 1862 transaction, Gardiner allowed the travellers to proceed on their journey without bodily injury but not before Gilbert had allegedly acquired Hewitt's saddle and valise. However, during the hold up a gun had been discharged accidentally by M'Guinness in which it was said that the bullet had passed close to Mrs Horsington's head. Nevertheless, brazened by the limited success and the many failings of the police in any real attempt at pursuit or capture of the Darkie. Gardiner became from March to June 1862 the governor of the Queen's roads and uninterrupted perpetrated a large volume of robberies. Backed-up by a band of ruffians which was constantly changing; March 25th 1862.- Telegram, Forbes. "Gardiner stuck-up and robbed two drays (between this and Lambing Flat) of provisions, spirits, and winter clothing;" April 12th, Gardiner went to Mr. Chisholm station, at Bland, and stole a horse; 17th, telegram, from Forbes, sticking-up is still the order of the day between here and Lambing Flat, 20th, Gardiner stuck-up about twenty five men on the Lachlan Road a few days ago, and several drays." 23rd, Gardiner and four armed men dashed in front of Greig's coach, on the road from the Lachlan to Burrangong and turned into the bush again; on the same day, they stuck-up and robbed a dray, belonging to Moses and Son and the other day, they stuck up and robbed Mr. Greig's dray on the Lachlan road."²⁵ The robberies mentioned above would have in these early days of 1862 no doubt have included Ben Hall, Gardiner's newest compatriot. Following the robbery of the storekeepers this was expressed in the 'Sydney Morning Herald' of the 15th March 1862, where the four bushrangers had escaped with over £1500 in cash and gold; "last night, from information received, a party of men also started, in the hope of being enabled to capture some of the villains; but I am afraid  their endeavours will be fruitless, for no man in the colony appears to have such a perfect knowledge of the country as Gardiner, and it is believed by many that he will make his way back to the Weddin Mountains, and defy the police. Without the Government increase our police force considerably, and that without any delay, they must be prepared to hear of still further depredations, and the fault will rest on the Government, not the police, for at the present time, should any disturbance take place in the town, or any robbery be 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..."

At this stage, Frank Gardiner had surrounded himself with fierce and daring accomplices. One accomplice was none other than Gardiner's closest ally John Davis, a native of Singleton and of the same age as Gardiner who was by trade a carpenter. Davis and Gardiner had struck up a good friendship while Fogg and Gardiner had earlier in 1860/61 operated a butchers shop at Lambing Flat. Davis was as reckless as 'The Darkie'. Either when in company together or with others. Whereby they brandished their revolvers without fear at all comers. However, on the 10th April 1862, Davis and Gardiner's partnership came to an abrupt end. Three police officers escorting prisoners alighted from a coach outside Brewers Shanty, 25 miles from Lambing Flat. Here they chanced upon Davis and two others of Gardiner's brigade. The battle royal between Davis and the police officers can be read through the link below and is well worth it.

With Davis' capture, this appeared in the 'Empire'; "things are assuming a quiet aspect since Davis was captured, and Benjamin Hall committed for trial for robbing Mr. Greig's team, on Friday last, by Sir F. Pottinger..."²⁶ The capture of Davis was a blow to Gardiner, as he had lost his First Lieutenant. Davis would now be ably replaced by John Gilbert, it appears that Davis and Gilbert had similar personalities, brave, daring, smart, educated, happy go lucky, loyal and excellent horseman. Davis was also quite musical and was known to entertain the gang with musical ditties; "one of the bushrangers played the piano while the rest danced and drank brandy and water at Mr. Pring's expense. At Mr. Croaker's station one of the bushrangers played a concertina, and sang "Ever of thee" to the host..."²⁷ Davis was in possession of a Concertina when he was captured. There may even be some conjecture that the mystery person in the famous photo of Gardiner and another, long believed to be John Gilbert maybe John Davis?


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

Following Davis' capture 'The Darkie' in an effort to either rescue or avenge his mates' capture commenced searching 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 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 some one, 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 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.

Moreover, not only was 'The Darkie' bold and daring in his exploits, the thought or hint of any injustice or slur to his reputation was viewed seriously by Gardiner as an insult to his character. This infringement necessitated a correction, therefore, Gardiner would pen letters to the Editor's of the Burrangong and Lachlan newspapers highlighting his annoyance and rectifying any misleading accounts in regard to his name and reputation and rogue status. On an early occasion the redoubtable politician Rev Dr Lang (Rev Dr Lang was a passenger on the James when the Christie's arrived in NSW in 1834.) was sweeping through Gardiner's haunts bringing fire and brimstone to the evils of the goldfields and the shanty's and the loose morals prevailing in a wild country. Gardiner's telegraphs kept the King of the Road appraised of important people transiting whereby with the news of the good Reverends presence the bushranger wished to take up his concerns. However, the Rev Lang escaped a meeting; 'The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser' Thursday 10th April 1862: LUCKY ESCAPE FROM STICKING UP.- "On Friday morning, the Rev. Dr. Lang left Mr. M'Guiness', Great Eastern Hotel, by the coach bound for Yass, but when he arrived at the camp it was found that eight prisoners and four of the police force had also to proceed in the same direction by the same conveyance. It was therefore deemed prudent that the rev. gentleman should vacate his, seat, and either postpone his departure in such respectable company, or procure some other conveyance. By the promptitude of Mr. Smith of the Great Eastern, a dog-cart was obtained, and the Dr. started for Yass, by the Burrowa road, instead of by Binalong, within an hour after the departure of the Yass coach, at seven o'clock a.m. On arriving at Wombinumba, five miles from Lambing Flat, an individual stepped into the road and requested the gentleman driving the dog-cart to speak with him aside. On stepping out on the road the stranger told the gentleman that a messenger had been dispatched to Gardner, the bushranger, acquainting him with the doctor's change of route, and advising him for notoriety's sake to stick up the rev. gentleman on the way. The dogcart, however, was hurried on, and no bushrangers were seen. A storekeeper, travelling in the same direction a few hours afterwards from Burrangong, he was stopped by the redoubtable roadster, who having looked at him, retired without molesting either him or his purse, remarking, "You are not the person I expected." The stranger above referred to told our friend that Gardner did not approve of the Burrangong Courier's reports respecting him, and wished to talk with the doctor on the subject." Accordingly, one such letter penned by Gardiner appeared in the Lachlan Miner and was reprinted in the Burrangong Courier; BURRANGONG. (From the Burrangong Courier, April 23, 1862)- The following extremely respectable note and 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 know how it was the man who led my horse up to me the Pinnacle did not cut my horse's reins as he gave the horse. I should like to know if Mr. Pottinger would do so? I shall answer for him by saying no. It has been said that it would advisable to place a trap at each shanty on the road, to put a stop to the depredations done on the road I certainly think that it would be a great acquisition me, for I should then have an increase of revolvers and carbines. When seven or eight men could do nothing with me at the Pinnacle, one would look well at a shanty. Three of your troopers were at a house the other night and got drinking and gambling till all hours. I came there towards morning, when all was silent. The first room that I went into I found revolvers and carbines to any amount, but seeing none was good as my own, I left them. I then went out, and in the verandah found the troopers sound asleep. Satisfying myself that neither Battye nor Pottinger were there, I left them as I found them, in the arms of Morpheus. Fear nothing, I remain, Prince of Tobymen.'

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

Day's after it's publication this bold letter raised the ire of the other newspaper proprietors one of whom commented in the 'Goulburn Herald' that some 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.


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

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


Fortune Telling
Gardiner's Dark
Arts companion.
Frank commenced organising the daring heist of Gold from a Royal Mail Escort. Frank had been scrutinising the gold escort movements around the goldfields of Forbes and Lambing Flat for months. Recording their routes and departure times as well as the number of ounces of gold on-board each coach. What made it easier for the King of the Road was that the details he needed were frequently published in the columns of local newspapers. Moreover, Gardiner's inspiration for success may well have sprung from his recall of a bold and widely publicised robbery in Victoria in 1853. Here a private gold escort under strong guard by the Victorian police were travelling from the McIvor diggings to Bendigo to connect with the Melbourne escort. Subsequently, it came under attack and then robbed by a gang of six men who split into two groups with one section firing on the police while the others snatched the gold. The gang-affected their escape after wounding four police officers in the process. At the time, it was a sensation. The banditos cleared out with over 2,300 ounces of gold and £800 in cash. Nevertheless, while Gardiner was reconnoitring for the robbery. Serious concerns were being raised by the very newspapers Gardiner had been perusing regarding the escorts lack of sufficient police protection. The 'Western Examiner' expressed this concern on 30th January 1862; "Lachlan escort has, for some time, past, formed a subject of comment here. It consists of four men only, and as if to facilitate their destruction by any gang of ruffians that may take it in their heads to "stick them up," they are cooped up, two in a row, in the vehicle containing the gold. It is pretty generally admitted that our whole escort system is faulty. The men should be mounted in order to be effective in an emergency. Under the present system what would be easier than for half a dozen determined fellows-of which there are numbers on the Lachlan-to fell a tree, and when the coach had pulled up, to fire into the escort, the robbers all the time under cover. 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, under cover 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 also cognizant of that very sentiment and would amazingly almost follow the paper's analysis to the letter. Therefore, gratified in the knowledge that the small number of police guards could be overcome, Gardiner set about finalising the logistics for the robbery. John Maguire, a close acquaintance of Frank Gardiner wrote of Frank's desire in 'The Biography of a Reliable Old Native' (written by P.H. Pinkstone, owner of the 'Hawkesbury Herald' and first published in the said newspaper after many in-depth interviews and fireside talks, c. 1906) "it was with Gardiner that the idea of taking the escort originated and took a fortnight to prepare for the attack. For some months before Gilbert and O'Meally were Gardiner's constant companions, and they had been talking about it together. They were getting full of the petty bailing-up business, and wanted to make a grand haul and then quit the country..." All 'The Darkie' needed was a perfect place to ambush a gold escort and that place was revealed by Ben Hall following their discussions of various locations. The area required that it not be well patronised such as the main road between Lambing Flat and Forbes, therefore, Ben proposed Eugowra Rocks an area of large granite rocks and boulders shouldering the road the escort would travel over between Forbes and Orange. Accordingly, with the knowledge in hand and the site decided 'The Darkie' set off for Eugowra Rocks with these men John Gilbert, John O'Meally, John Bow, Alex Fordyce, Daniel Charters, Henry Manns, himself and Ben Hall. Upon an untroubled arrival at Eugowra Rocks, Gardiner set about pacing the firing distance as well as seconding some passing bullock dray's for use as an obstacle for the coach and prepared his troops. Then sat patiently and waited.

NSW Gold Escort.
c. 1870's
The rattle and tramp of the Gold Escort Coach reverberated through the quiet late afternoon as it approached the secreted bushrangers littered amongst the distant boulders. As it traversed the slight incline towards the large rocks alongside the rutted wheel tracks, it carried onboard a police sergeant and three troopers. To the surprise of the whip John Fagan the coach was impeded on its path by two bullock teams without their drivers and were drawn diagonally across the road hindering Fagan's passage. Fagan called to the drays, “Make way for the Royal-mail”, then made a circuit to pass around them. However, when the coach neared close to the clump of rocks four men suddenly rose from their shelter. They were attired in red shirts, their faces blackened, and red comforters wrapped around their heads armed with rifles and revolvers. On Gardiner’s command ‘Fire’ the men discharged their guns in a volley and riddled the coach.

A bullet pierced the driver, Fagan’s hat, another perforated the skirt of his coat. With bullet rounds cutting the air following the first volley, another set of bandits stood up and fired a second salvo, at which point, the horses being startled, bolted, and the coach rolled over. Police sergeant-in-charge Condell and his men dazed and disorientated retreated under continuing fire clearing out as the gang rushed upon the coach firing again at the retreating police. After the gun-smoke cleared Sgt Condell had been wounded in three places and Trooper Moran in two. Trooper Haviland was uninjured, and he fled into the bush with the driver and Trooper Rafferty. The robbers shrieking in their adrenaline-charged victory carried away the escort boxes filled with gold, two rifles, and one of the coach horses. Haviland and the driver made for Hanbury Clement’s Station nearby. The bushrangers having fled. Hanbury Clements’ brother John returned to the scene with a party of men, who found only the scattered contents of the mail bags, these they gathered up.


Orange Post Office.
c. 1870.

Courtesy NLA.
Word was rushed to Forbes, and early on the Monday morning of the 16th June Sir Frederick Pottinger arrived and commenced the chase for the culprits. Subsequently, after obtaining fresh horses the bullet-riddled coach righted proceeded to Orange with the wounded police. However, along the way it picked up some passengers. Clements had also discovered the missing bullock drivers. Consequently, the coach arrived in Orange at six o’clock on the following evening. Travelled up Byng Street and turned right at the corner of the Commercial Bank into Sale Street heading for the Post Office. Here the untouched mail was deposited. The coach then headed the short distance to Dalton’s Inn on Summer St. However, as the coach departed and was proceeding to Dalton’s Inn, there was the report of a gunshot. Whereby, Constable Haviland seated inside the coach was shot and killed instantly by a single round from Constable Moran’s revolver. The revolver had in the melee with the bushrangers fallen to the floor and had gone unnoticed under Haviland’s seat. Constable Moran at Haviland’s inquest gave a detailed account of the tragic death of Haviland.; “we left Mr. Clement’s yesterday morning; the sergeant was on the box with Haviland, and a passenger in the coach; deceased said during the day he would not come on the escort any more unless there was a mounted party along with us; deceased had no spirits or wine that I know of; he was perfectly sober; yesterday evening between six and seven o’clock we arrived at Orange; we had taken up a lady passenger, with her servant and child; I and a lady and the other male passenger were sitting with our backs towards the driver; the female passenger was sitting in the middle; we heard the report of a revolver after leaving the Orange Post-office; the female passenger exclaimed “My God the man is shot!” Haviland was sitting at the back of the coach opposite me; I said “No! It can’t be!” I saw the flash from the revolver in a line with deceased’s chest; the female put her hand over first; I then put out my hand and felt the blood pouring down quite warm; I said, “he is shot in the stomach”; the coach was going on all the time; I said it might be from the sergeant’s rifle; he said “no it could not be”’ in reply to a question from the sergeant I said deceased was shot; in the coach there was my revolver, and a revolver case empty...”³² Consequently, the verdict at the inquest for Haviland found that; "died from a wound by a bullet, whether by intent or accident not known..."³³ The unfortunate Haviland left behind a widow and two children. Furthermore, in 1890 aged 63 Henry Moran who had survived the Eugowra onslaught in 1862 died tragically after falling from a cart at Mt Lambie, NSW. William Haviland's death was the first as a member of the newly formed NSW Police Force on duty.


Hanbury Clements.
c. 1880's
However, prior to the unfortunate death of Constable Haviland and as Gardiner and his band retreated from Eugowra. Mr Clements and his efforts were highlighted in the newspaper whereby after assisting the police survivors Hanbury Clements had ridden valiantly into Forbes 25 miles distant to raise the alarm and seek out Sir Frederick Pottinger officer in charge of the Lachlan police district. News soon spread like wildfire as Inspector Pottinger and a party of settlers set off utilising the skill of the aboriginal black trackers who were soon on the trail of the bandito's; The attack upon the escort took place at the Rocks, near the station of Mr. John F. Clements, Eugowra Creek, and it was the discharge of about a dozen shots which first attracted the attention of his brother, Mr Hanbury Clements, about four o'clock in the afternoon. Suspecting something wrong, he took horse and galloped in the direction whence the sound proceeded. The first man he met was the coachman, by whom he was informed that the escort had been stuck-up, and all the men shot. Mr. Clements succeeded, shortly afterwards, in bringing all the men together, save one and taking them to his residence; and, after attending as best he was able to the injuries of two who were wounded, started to Forbes with information of the occurrence, where he arrived at nine o'clock in the evening. About an hour afterwards the missing man arrived also. In the course of the night. Sir Frederick Pottinger reached Eugowra with his force, and at daylight, reinforced by Messrs. Cropper, Clements, Campbell, and a blackfellow, started on the tracks. At about a mile distance the gold-boxes were found, the mail bags having been picked up the previous evening by Mr. Clements' brother. Judging by the tracks, the robbers have evidently made off as fast as their horses and moonlight would permit, crossing the Canowindra road, and running down the southern side of the dividing fence between Mr. Clements' and Mr. Campbell's runs. In making along between this fence and the back of the creek, which at the point is very steep, one of the body who had, apparently, approached too close to the brink, had evidently been precipitated to the bottom, from the tracks, about the spot near which Mr. Cropper found a broken bottle of old tom.

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

George Burgess
c. 1930's.

Rare photo.
One of those held prisoner with the bullock-drays by Gardiner was George Burgess a 13 year old and an eye witnessed to the robbery gave this account; "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. 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. Clemens, who, after attending to the wounds of his visitors, galloped to Forbes to inform the police. In very quick time the coach was, rifled, the gold: — about 5000 ounces was packed on the coach horses, and when everything was in readiness one of the bushrangers came over to us, took our blindfolds off, broke open a case of grog from one of the teams, and gave us a drink and £1 each. With my £1 I ate lollies continuously for about two weeks..."³⁵

View from Gardiner's camp
Wheogo Hill. Weddin
Mountains in the foreground.
Courtesy Peter C Smith.
Having escaped the police pursuit, Gardiner led his men back to Wheogo Hill 60 odd miles distant, instructing their guide Daniel Charters to;[sic] "Go as crooked as you can, so as to bother the trackers." Wheogo Hill boarders Ben Hall's station and the home of Gardiner's lover Kitty Brown's families Wheogo station. Here the gang set up camp to divide the spoils. While on the summit of Wheogo Hill the men were joined by young Johnny 'Warrigal' Walsh who over the next few days would run errands to provide the food and drink required to sustain the Eugowra raiders. The robbers had plundered a fortune consisting of 2700 oz. of gold, representing over $3 million in today’s value, and £3,700 in Oriental Bank notes equal in today’s terms to $310,000. Following the division of the booty into eight equal shares, Ben Hall, Jack O'Meally, Manns and Bow departed. John Gilbert with his share of 22lbs of gold and £460 in notes safely in his saddlebag remained at the camp. Gardiner, Fordyce, and Charters placed their gold back onto one of the coach horses. However, Gardiner required more carrying capacity, therefore, Charters was sent to down to Hall's home for extra saddle bags. Maguire and Hall lived within 500yds of each other with Hall's abode closer to Wheogo Hill. Charters on approaching his good friends home was surprised by Sgt Sanderson in Hall's yard, turned tail riding hard back to the hill crying out at as he approached the summit "Look out the traps are upon us." Gardiner now joined by a panicked Charters snatched up the reins of the pack-horse and bolted proceeding towards the vastness of the Weddin Mountains. Gilbert in the rush jumped his horse and left his mate and leader to fend for himself. An act that brought their friendship to an acrimonious end. Sanderson followed the trail of Charters to the summit assessing the tracks through his blacktracker. Following a quick survey of the villains camp Sanderson was quickly back on the bushrangers trail.

For the first time in his lawless career Gardiner panicked and with Charters and Walsh as his companion made a catastrophic mistake. Fearing that the police were almost upon him and the pack-horse slowing their escape, Gardiner dropped its reins and galloped off leaving his, Charters and Fordyce's share on its back. A move that had all his effort lost forever. Subsequently, at the later Escort trial in February 1863, 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. Map on the right
re-drawn by Mr. Edgar Penzig.

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

The reward offered is good, but should have been £200 each for the first four robbers taken. There is a feeling here that the Government is decidedly liable for the loss on account of want of proper precaution. If properly managed by Pottinger, who is still out, I firmly believe all the gold will be got. It is most amusing to us to see by the Sydney papers that an impression prevailed that Gardner was not concerned in the robbery."³⁷ Current research indicates that Kitty's young brother the 'Warrigal' was at the bushrangers camp as well. Providing the grog and food from his families Wheogo station and was with Gardiner when during the pursuit they split to shake off the police hot on their trail. There is as well evidence to suggest that it was the 'Warrigal' who went to collect the saddle bags from Hall's as he would have not raised suspicion and that Maguire named Charters to protect the young larikin. Johnny Walsh was devoted to Gardiner and was widely known as Gardiner's Groom. 'Warrigal' was also recalled as attempting to lure Sanderson off Gardiner's track. An old timer who knew 'The Warrigal' in their youth recounted in a look back in the 'Freeman's Journal', 10th November 1906, of the young 'Warrigal' and his skill as a horseman as he and his master bolted from the police at Wheogo; "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."
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. 
"Gardiner's horse then began
to rear and plunge."

Scetch by Percy Lindsay. c. 1935.
The huge escort robbery would be Gardiner's final bushranging exploit. Following the achievement of the Escort robbery and poorer for his effort with no prize in his pocket. Frank Gardiner reputedly cleared out of NSW with reports of his presence in either Victoria or South Australia. However, after some weeks incognito Gardiner returned to Wheogo and the home of Catherine Browne. One report covering his earlier whereabouts during this period of inactivity appeared in 'The Argus, Melbourne' 25th August 1862; GARDINER.-There seems to be no doubt of the celebrated highwayman Gardiner having been close to this district a short while since. It appears that about six weeks since, when it was generally reported that Gardiner had been arrested at Kilmore, he was in Ballarat, and that he was accompanied there by two of his mates. He then visited the "Fat Girl" and her father, whom it appears he had known at the Lachlan, from whence, it will be remembered, the family originally came. Gardiner and his mates spent three days in Ballarat, and the night previous to their departure they visited the theatre, where, however, they remained but a short time, as Gardiner detected among the audience two or three persons who knew him. On the following morning the three left Ballarat, en route to the Lachlan district. This occurred about six weeks since, and at the time, it will be remembered, when Sir P. Pottinger had lost all traces of Gardiner's whereabouts. The source from whence we have obtained the above information establishes it as genuine.- Talbot Leader, Aug, 23. The father of the 'Fat Girl' is also the father of John Youngman who fled Orange after receiving bail at the time of his and Ben Hall's court proceedings at the Orange Courthouse in May of that year 1862, regarding the Bacon robbery. Youngman's fleeing cast a shadow over Ben Hall. Another report recorded the girl held over at Smythes five miles from Ballarat as no coach would transport her due to inclement weather: '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." Although acquitted Ben Hall within weeks strapped on a six gun and took to the bush. Furthermore, the arrest of a suspected Gardiner near Kilmore, the boyhood home of John Gilbert was a case of mistaken identity. The above newspaper report was also tempered by another questioning Gardiner's activities. 'South Australian Weekly Chronicle' Saturday 30th August 1862; "There seems no end to the rumours about Gardiner, the bushranger. Lately it was said that he had been seen in the theatre at Ballarat, and now it is rumoured that he has sailed for California, and that some other rascal is impersonating him. If he reaches California it is to be hoped the Vigilance Committee will get hold of him." Ironic how California is consistently addressed as Gardiner's preferred destination by correspondents. Newspapers were full of Gardiner sightings, his exploits, his whereabouts. All sensationalised for those hungry for scuttlebutt. However, even with the rampant reporting of sightings here and there. It is doubtful that Frank left the Lachlan as there were more than enough supporters in his favour. As well as his love affair with Kitty, whom it would be doubtful that he would abandon her warm embrace.

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


Sir
Frederick Pottinger.
1831-1865.
However, Sir Frederick Pottinger in light of his limited success against the bushrangers was more and more determined to bring the law to the lawless West. Especially in regard to those residing at the many stations by which Sir Frederick noted as the centre of flagrant anarchical activities. These settlers were highlighted on the map drawn up by the police which named all those associated or were known protectors of Gardiner. (See police map bottom of page.) Therefore, extremely frustrated that people associated with the Escort Robbery (and there were many) had so far managed to escape justice. Pottinger would have his day. Furthermore, to rub salt into the wound over his constant lack of success, Sir Frederick was still smarting from the humiliation of failing to capture his nemesis Frank Gardiner upon receiving solid information of his presence at Wheogo. A local had informed Pottinger that the 'Darkie' was in the district, whereby, gifted of the sound intelligence Pottinger and his brigade set off to snare a bushranger. 

Saturday the 9th August 1862 was a red letter day for the inspector. Pottinger armed with his information, the indefatigable inspector arrived in the dead of night and staked out Gardiner's paramour Catherine Browne's home at Wheogo with eight officers. The Inspector utilising his solid information that 'The Darkie' would appear or be present for a romantic liaison with Mrs Browne that evening waited in nearby scrub. Great excitement prevailed as Pottinger's information proved correct when in the dead of night Gardiner was seen arriving for an evening in Mrs Browne's warm embrace. At the midnight hour the bushranger mounted on his horse rode leisurely toward her home completely unaware of his Nemesis' presence. Pottinger with complete surprise on his side rose and within touching distance abruptly called 'Stand in the Queens name', at the same time lifting his carbine fired point blank at Gardiner, who was completely startled. However, due to a failure of Pottinger's carbine in firing, it allowed a panicked Gardiner to escape from the inspector and his eight carefully positioned troopers, two of which also discharged their weapons missing Gardiner who vanished into the night. Raging, Sir Frederick Pottinger proceeded to the home and after some heated interrogation of both Kitty and her younger brother 'Warrigal', Pottinger arrested the lad.[sic] "Walsh, a boy aged seventeen years, was brought up in custody, and charged with being an accomplice of Gardiner." Sir Frederick provided his version of events before the Forbes Bench during Kitty's younger brother John Walsh's arraignment; "On Sunday morning at half-past 3," said he, "I apprehended a youth named Walsh at the residence of his sister, at Wheogo; being aware that Frank Gardiner, the bushranger, was enamoured of Mrs. Brown, and believing that he would take advantage of her husband's absence to tender his addresses. I proceeded on Saturday with eight men to the premises; I arrived at 12 p.m., and leaving four of the men in charge I went with Senior-Sergeant Sanderson and Trooper Holster 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


Kitty's home Wheogo.
c. 1920's.
Although Pottinger's knowledge of Gardiner using Kitty's home as a retreat, the ramifications for her arrested brother young John 'Warrigal' Walsh often referred to as Gardiner's groom would be catastrophic, whereby, after some seven months in the custody of the police at Forbes, the young lad would tragically die of Gaol Fever at the tender age of 16. (See Ben Hall page.) However, following this narrow escape Gardiner quickly returned to the hut later that night and with Mrs Brown in toe the pair commenced the long trek to Queensland. Furthermore, a long-time resident of the Lachlan District who went by the pseudonym of John A Hux, and who was responsible for a lot of favourable comment about Gardiner and Co in the newspapers, wrote the following information reputedly from the very lips of Frank Gardiner regarding the narrow escape from Sir Frederick Pottinger. Gardiner's provides his assessment and admiration of Sir Frederick; "I asked him the particulars of Sir F. Pottinger's meeting him at Mrs. Brown's; he gave almost word for word the same statement made by Sir F. Pottinger of their meeting, adding that he never had the slightest suspicion of any police being near him, that he was quietly ambling along when he heard someone shout out "Stand," and almost immediately level a rifle. So sudden was it, that he felt as if he were electrified. Jumping up in his saddle, and spurring his horse, he galloped away into the bush, distinctly hearing the cap of the rifle snap, and adding "by God, I thought I was a dead man". He returned to the hut the same night and took Mrs. Brown away. I asked him what they thought of Sir F. Pottinger, to which he replied, the papers may say what they like about him; some call him a coward, I wish he was. There is nothing of the coward about him; he is the only man in the police I care for, and the only one that hunts and keeps me moving; in fact, the place is getting too hot for me. I shall try and clear out. Such is the statement made by Gardiner himself, and I leave the question of the cowardice or not of Sir F. Pottinger between the statements made by the hon. members Messrs. Harpur and Driver and the notorious bushranger Gardiner. I merely state facts..."³⁹ Gardiner susceptible to feminine charms had for some time had been the lover of Mrs Browne who was in turn devoted to Gardiner. Gardiner's personality was stated as somewhat attractive. He was about 5 ft. 8½in. in height, of athletic build, with brown hair, hazel eyes, a face of the Corsair type, and a smooth voice.


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

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

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

Just where had the mythological bushranger evaporated too. Rumours persisted that Gardiner had fled the colony with Mrs Browne in tow, however, it was to Queensland not California that the pair had fled too. The trek north would take the pair a number of months and evidence indicates they crossed the Barwon River travelled via Dubbo, Walgett, St George, Miles, Taroom, Theodore, Rannes with the couple arriving at their final destination Apis Creek sometime in January/February 1863, a trek of some 800 miles. Constable Wells who was one of those instrumental in the capture of Gardiner recounted; "About 7:30 p.m.-that evening Pye and I went to the store and there saw behind the counter Mrs. Brown who was Gardiner's paramour, and who had accompanied him from Weddin Mountains (N.S.W.), leaving her husband there, and going via the Barwon to Rockhampton, thence to Appis Creek, where she settled under the name of Mrs. Christie." (Kitty claimed they arrived in June however this maybe a faint.) However, prior to their arrival at Apis Creek, it was observed by a Mr J.E. Richter of the redoubtable pair's appearance at Rannes, 80 miles short of Rockhampton. Here they had attempted to negotiate the purchase of a new hotel owned by a Mr Pendrigh built entirely of split timber and provided a bar and other accommodation. Richter had observed the cut of the pair which with limited female company in the distant back-blocks Catherine stood out with her attractive good looks and lush blonde hair and Gardiner's athletic appearance. They made for a stunning couple. Whilst staying at Rannes for some two days, Ritcher noted Catherine's proficiency as a horsewoman; “whilst, these negotiations were in progress, the woman one morning was noticed in the act of catching one of the horses on the grass within a few chains of the hotel. The horse was restive, and would not allow itself to be caught as easily as usual. She, however, had got a hold of the mane above the wither and ran alongside the animal as it trotted, in the endeavour to stop it. Then the horse commenced to canter. As the pace was becoming too fast and still having hold of the mane, she gave a spring and landed on its back, after which the horse was as much under control as if it had a bridle on its head. It was the smartest bit of athletics I ever saw outside of a circus...”⁴²


Archibald Craig.
1835-1868.

Never before published.
The prospect of a purchase unrealised the pair moved on from Rannes. Unperturbed the two passed through Rockhampton having in the process made the acquaintance of another couple going their way, the Craig's, whose buggy had become bogged on the road near Yaamba. Here the affable Gardiner lent a helping hand; "shortly afterwards the driver overtook a dogcart, which was stationary, owing to one of the horses having bogged. The owners, a very respectable looking couple—a man and woman—were evidently unable to extricate themselves without assistance which was promptly rendered by the man in the tilted cart lending one of his horses to pull out the drag. This led to some conversation, and to the discovery that the latter was wholly ignorant of the road of which the owner of the bogged horse was well acquainted. The obliging party was Mr Christie, and the obliged Mr Craig..."⁴³ Following the extraction of the buggy the four commenced travelling together. During their conversation Gardiner stated he was going to Connor's Range 40 miles south of Mackay, however, Craig disclosed that he had a hotel near completion and much closer in distance at Apis Creek; "in the course of the conversation which ensued, it transpired that Mr. Christie was on his way up the country to start a store upon Connor's Range, and Mr. Craig on a similar errand to Apis Creek at which place a building was already in the course of erection. It ultimately was arranged that a partnership should be formed upon Christie paying down the sum of £60. It appears that Mr. Craig had no interest in the store which was afterwards added by Christie to the public-house..."⁴⁴ In due course, the Christie's arrived at their adjusted destination Apis Creek which is situated 100 miles north-west of Rockhampton. The tiny outpost was on the busy road to the new Peak Downs Gold and Copperfield with thousands of prospective miners passing through including many from Gardiner's former haunts of the NSW Burrangong and Forbes goldfields. The partnership with Craig's encompassed establishing a hotel, general store and butcher's shop under one roof. The building was built out of wood slabs, with a roof of bark made from white and gum topped box and ironbark trees all stripped by local aboriginals. Once the new enterprise was organised Frank and Catherine attended the general store and butcher's shop. Archibald Craig and his wife oversaw the hotel, where all drinks cost a shilling. Before long, Gardiner built a reputation whereby he was respected as a very courteous and helpful fellow and a general favourite with everybody and most importantly to Gardiner trustworthy. At differing times Gardiner guarded hundreds of £'s worth of gold. During his time at Apis Creek, he was described as about five feet eight inches, 11 stone in weight, with a long full beard and whiskers which concealed most of his face. Catherine was described as attractive, small in stature with sandy blonde hair. However, the lovers kept quietly to themselves. The relationship between the Christie's and Craig's appeared to be purely business as Craig; "admits that his partner was retiring, and uncommunicative-that Mrs Christie was even more taciturn, and that she was a great stranger to Mrs Craig and himself as the first day they met..." ⁴⁵ The reserve demonstrated in a strangers presence exhibited by the two was understandable for one slip of the tongue could well mean exposure and arrest. Furthermore, it appeared in the press, but never fully verified, that before the trek north Gardiner and Catherine Browne may have visited Gardiner's family at Portland, Victoria. Sometime after his August 62 confrontation with Pottinger. Although Catherine herself countered this assertion stating that they travelled directly to Queensland from the Lachlan and that they were then legally married. However, it is interesting that upon Gardiner's eventual capture he had in his possession a beautiful black racehorse named 'Darky'. However, McGlone, the arresting officer stated the horse was named 'Racer' believed to have been lifted from a Mr Peter Beveridge near Swan Hill, Victoria. A mistake maybe? As in April 1862, Gardiner was noted to have a striking black racer under him: 'Empire' Friday 11th April 1862; "when Gardiner was last seen he was riding a splendid thorough-bred black horse, of beautiful build and racing proportions..."  Subsequently, when Gardiner was held at Darlinghurst in April 1864, the subject of his pride and joy, his horse 'Darky' was raised. The very thought or mention of the animal excited the former bushranger;[sic] "Gardiner seems to care about nobody, but this woman and his black horse, of which he is extraordinarily fond— the horse which carried him and Mrs Brown from the Lachlan to 100 miles beyond Rockhampton. The animal is now in Sydney, and £5 - has been offered for it. Gardiner himself says it is so docile that when he whistled it would come to him in the bush. He likes to talk about this animal, and the mention of it will rouse him out of one of his reveries into animation..."

The acclaimed stolen horse would be delivered along with Gardiner to Sydney; however, the supposed former owner when informed never laid claimed to the horse, and it was sold for £122, then sold again for £172. In Gardiner's early exploits on the Lachlan it was well known that he was in possession of a fine racehorse 'Don't You Know' which ran at bush tracks surrounding Forbes and was entered often by Tom Higgins. Higgins was noted as trainer to allow the horse race under the stringent rules. 'Don't You Know' was regularly run in one on one races with large purses up for the taking. This may well be the horse amongst others of fine quality in his keeping. No doubt a favorite. Furthermore, in January of 1864 three months before Gardiner's arrest, a reporter for the 'Geelong Advertiser' trumped the police and made the sensational claim that Gardiner was indeed in Queensland. The reporter appeared to have a very credible source. Moreover, the article may also have been the catalyst for the police to act finally. Contrary to the various reports that Catherine's sister Bridget's lover James Taylor, the man Bridget Hall deserted Ben Hall for may have informed on their whereabouts via a note received from Kitty and sought the substantial reward is doubtful. Others claim a former digger from Lambing Flat recognised Gardiner or Catherine and went to Sydney seeking the reward. However, it is all hearsay as the reward for Gardiner's capture was only paid to Detective McGlone, which was a paltry sum of £15; 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 £15, and that his position in the service is no higher now than it was previous to that event. When the performance of special and dangerous duties, such as the arrest of the most notorious bushranger that even New South Wales ever produced, is thus inadequately recognised, there is little inducement for what in the navy is termed "zeal for the service" in the police force" - Young Tribune.

Nevertheless, the article that may have piqued the interest of the NSW police regarding Gardiner's whereabouts had originated in Queensland and although the writer expresses Brisbane as Gardiner's new home, it is true in what they say, 'where there's smoke there's fire', consequently, the story was forwarded to Geelong where it also covered the well-known use by Gardiner of a variety of disguises often employed for anonymity; '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 mouths 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 suit of seedy black, white cravat and spectacles; as a rollicking squatter in loudest modern attire; and as a rough bushman and stockrider, Crimean shirt, tights, long boots and 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; and 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 favored 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 honored Queensland with his presence."


Dramatised Illustration of
Gardiner's arrest at
Apis Creek QLD,
1864.

F. Cubitt.
However, for the Christie's their past nineteen months had been full of mystery, rumour and innuendo as to their whereabouts, as attested to above, and as such, time had drifted by with no apparent hindrance as the happy couple adjusted to their new life of anonymity far from their previous home and haunts in NSW. However, their blissful hiatus would come to an abrupt end. Upon information accumulated by the NSW police, Detective Daniel McGlone, constables James Pye and Wells were dispatched to Queensland to substantiate the current intelligence as to Gardiner's presence at Rockhampton or its surrounds. Constable Wells states on their secondment for the task; "Early in February! 1864, the late Capt. McLerie organised our party, consisting of Daniel McGlone, James Pye, and myself, McGlone being In charge. We left Sydney by steamer for Rockhampton, which was then in a state of flood. Upon our arrival there, we found it impossible to proceed on foot as diggers." Intelligence that ultimately deemed accurate. A correspondent of the 'Brisbane Courier' on hand in Rockhampton broke the sensational news on March 10th 1864 and in an instant, the telegraph wires lit up and rocketed countrywide the story of the notorious bushranger Frank Gardiner's capture; FRANK GARDINER IS CAPTURED, and at the present moment lies heavily ironed in the Rockhampton lock-up. Rumours upon rumours have lately been in circulation to the effect that the notorious bushranger had been in this town, but all without foundation; now, however, it is beyond doubt that he paid a visit to this lively locality, though at a period long previous to that hinted at by any of the rumours. About nine months ago Mr. Frank and his paramour, the almost equally notorious Mrs. Browne, who absconded from her husband at the Lachlan, arrived overland in Rockhampton, under the assumed names of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Christie. Their stay was very brief, and they left town, taking the route for the Peak Downs, after passing Yaamba the interesting pair fell in with a Mr. Craig, who was going in the same direction, and, as the woman said in the police-court, "they travelled together for company." While thus journeying together Craig (who, to do him justice, appears to have been totally ignorant of the true character of his fellow-traveller) entered into an exposition of his intentions and prospects, which confidence was returned in kind by his new acquaintance, who appears not to have concealed the fact of his having at least sufficient capital to make a good beginning in the public or store-keeping line. What more natural, then, that these very communicative fellow-travellers should begin to entertain and discuss the notion of the probable success of a little "spec" in the public-house and store way. Craig knew of a good stand at Apis Creek, and had a little spare cash; while Christie, alias Gardiner, was similarly provided;—and then, too, how well Mrs. Christie would suit behind the bar of a country inn, or counter of a snug little store. As Craig was not a detective policeman it is not likely that he would look for any of the peculiar marks on Mr. Frank Christie's person, which are so elaborately set forth in the Crime Report—if, indeed, he had ever seen the description referred to. Christie, and his "wife," were a "likely" couple, no doubt; and, having a little ready, Craig did not hesitate; —the partnership was entered into, a public-house and store were opened at Apis Creek, and our quondam bushranger, settled down apparently for a quiet life. Apparently, because some very knowing people affirm that Gardiner only intended to lay by till there was something worth taking from successful Peak Downs miners, when he would be "at his old tricks again," and return "like the dog to his vomit," or "the sow to her wallowing in the mire." At any rate, in whatever light he may have regarded the prospect of any further achievements on the "road," it is obvious that his intentions in a moral point could have been none of the purest, as he still consorted with Mrs Brown.

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

James Pye & George Wells.
Photo taken soon after
the capture of Gardiner.

c. 1864
Penzig
With the Fitzroy river in flood at Rockhampton Daniel McGlone, James Pye and George Wells went about procuring equipment for the task of passing themselves as diggers. After some weeks held-up the trio commenced their trek to the Peak Downs with the pack horse loaded with their supplies. However, all was not kosha between the men and a disagreement bordering on mutiny arose between Pye, Wells and McGlone, who had refused to divulge the purpose of their expedition. Indignant at not being taken into McGlone's confidence Pye and Wells declined to proceed unless fully informed of their task. Unhappy, McGlone relented and presented a picture of their quarry Frank Gardiner who McGlone stated that through certain information Gardiner was believed to be about Peak Downs. In 1915 aged seventy-three George Wells decided to set the record straight regarding the facts of Gardiner's arrest and highlight the little McGlone played in the affair. George Wells had joined the NSW police in October 1863, promoted to constable on 1st February 1864. Wells retired in 1903 after a distinguished career on a pension of 8 shillings a day.

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

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

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

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

After explaining the situation of the place, etc. as above stated, and also that we had seen two rifles, which we afterwards found to be loaded, standing underneath the lower shelves of the store behind the counter, close to where Gardiner would approach from his bedroom to the store, McGlone immediately said that if Gardiner was behind the counter of the store when we called in the morning for our flour, etc., we were not to attempt to arrest him until some more favorable 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 nalive 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 stole 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 instanlly 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 properly, gold, money, etc., found on the premises.


Next day the prisoners were escorted to Yamba and thence to Rockhampton. Mrs. Brown accompanied the escort, and showed great courage in swimming her horse over the Yamba River, which was flooded at that time; and she followed us from Rockhampton to Brisbane-, thence to Sydney, trying at every opportunity to bribe me and others with money to get Gardiner's liberty before reaching Sydney. She nearly succeeded in securing his escape at Brisbane owing to McGlone's blunder in not taking Gardiner direct to Sydney from Rockhampton from which town he was remanded."
  
Roderick McLennan
c. 1880's.
Courtesy NLA.
Leaving the store and hotel after a full inventory was recorded it was placed in the charge of two of Lieutenant Brown's troopers as locals in shock gathered around. The men were all handcuffed and ushered off. They consisted of Christie, the hotel cook and two wood splitters and Archibald Craig. With Catherine following closely. All were marched to Mr M'Lennan's station in pounding rain. Gardiner was placed on a lead horse, handcuffed, his ankles tied under the horse. He rode along quite quietly, and as easily as if free. The black boys rode alongside with their carbines ready. The NSW troopers in front, while McGlone and Mrs Brown brought up the rear. McGlone was mounted on a big powerful black horse, a grand horse up to 17 hands, well known by the name of 'Darky.' Departing at daylight the police and their prized prisoner passed through Marlborough, Princhester, Canoona, and Yaamba. The Yamba river was in flood forcing the troupe to negotiate its confines, here Kitty once more displayed her prowess as a horsewoman driving her charge into the raging waters crossing without incident much to the admiration of the accompanying men. When within eleven miles of Rockhampton the police camped to have dinner and dry off. The arrest of Gardiner had been a painful shock to all who knew him, especially to the diggers of the Peak Downs. Whilst camped McGlone read over the charges to the prisoner to which Gardiner exclaimed;[sic] "in June '62 — is that what you say — '62?" The posse without fanfare arrived in Rockhampton at seven p.m. on Sunday, here Gardiner was placed in a room with a strong guard and the other men were set at liberty having been detained solely to prevent the alarm being raised. Craig, the publican, the partner of Christie, however, was charged with harbouring Gardiner. 


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


Reputed to be the remains
of Fogg's hut.
c. 1930's.
'The Darkie' was got. The whole of the country was now enthralled and desperate for every morsel of news as correspondents scrambled to gather the latest. Many who claimed association with the celebrated bushranger began to emerge to recount their brushes with the famous Gardiner. Our informant states that Gardiner was, some years ago, at Cockatoo, and discharged on a ticket-of-leave, so that the advertised description must have been obtained from the official records, and hence the intimate knowledge of the scars on various parts of his person. He is said to have been pursued by troopers Hosie and Middleton on a charge of cattle-stealing, and discovered at a notorious place—Fog'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 Fog 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 Below is the transcript of Gardiner's &c, Rockhampton appearance and McGlone's statement of events.


'The Darkie'
c. 1864.
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 charge (of having committed various highway robberies in the colony of New South Wales) having been read — Mr. C. S. Dick rose and said he had been instructed to prosecute on behalf of the Crown.

Mr. T. Bellas said he appeared to watch the case for the prisoner.


Mr. Dick said he only intended calling sufficient evidence to justify an application to remand the prisoner to Sydney, and called John Harvey Canning, who deposed that he was a constable in the Rockhampton police, and the lock-up-keeper; he received the prisoner now in the dock into the lock-up be tween the hours of seven and eight o'clock the previous (Sunday) evening, from detective M'Glone; the charge preferred against him was that of "having committed sundry highway robberies under arms in New South Wales."

By Mr. Bellas : There was no warrant for the prisoner's apprehension produced when he was given into his custody.

Daniel M'Glone, being sworn, said: I am a detective officer in the Sydney police; I arrested the prisoner now before the court; when I apprehended him he gave the name of Francis Christie; that is not his real name; I believe his proper name to be Francis Clarke, alias Gardiner. — (Mr. Dick here handed to the witness a copy of the New South Wales Police Gazette bearing date Wednesday, the 25th February, 1863). This Gazette is issued by order of the Inspector-General of Police of New South Wales, and it is printed by Thomas Richards, the Government printer. In the first page I see an advertisement offering a reward of £1000 for the apprehension of Francis Gardiner alias Clarke, and one John alias Johnny Gilbert. I also see on the same page a description given of the man Francis Gardiner which reads as follows :— Native of Goulburn, New South Wales, 32 years of age, 5 feet 8¼ inches high, a laborer, dark sallow complexion, black hair, brown eyes, small raised scar on left eyebrow, small scar on right chin, scar on knuckle of right fore finger, round scar on left elbow joint, two slight scars on back of left thumb, short finger nails, round scar on cap of right knee, hairy legs, mark on temple from a wound by pistol ball or whip." I have examined the prisoner, and the marks as thus described correspond exactly with those I found upon him. The chief constable (Mr. Foran), was present when I made the examination. After reading that description, and from the result of my examination of the prisoner, I have no doubt whatever that he is the person referred to.

McGlone continues; "I am still in the Sydney Police Force; I came up here from Sydney, from information which I received some time ago, in company with Detective Pye and Mounted Police Constable Wells; from Rockhampton we proceeded to Apis Creek, a place a hundred miles or thereabouts from here, on the Peak Downs Road; here, at Apis Creek, I saw the prisoner in a store; I saw him when I arrived; I believe the store belongs to him; it was on the 2nd instant that I first saw him; I did not then arrest him, but on the following morning I saw him again, and with the assistance of Detective Pye, Constable Wells, and Lieutenant Brown, of the Queensland Native Police, I took him into custody; I apprehended the prisoner on the road outside his own store; I did not then charge him with any offence; I took him to Mr. M'Lennan's station, which is about a mile from the place where I apprehended him, and here, at the station, I informed him of the charge against him; I confined the prisoner at the station, and here secured him safely until I could bring him down to Rockhampton, where I delivered him over into the custody of the last witness; I charged him with the commission of various robberies, and also with the escort robbery at Eugowra Creek in June, 1862; I believe it was in June last that the escort was robbed at Eugowra Creek, but do not recollect the exact date, not having the Gazette by me; it was about that time; I know of there being a warrant in existence issued by a justice of the Peace for New South Wales for the apprehension of Francis Gardiner alias Clarke; I am not positive what the charges are as contained in that warrant, but I know there are numerous offences charged against him in it; it is from information I received in Sydney respecting him, and from the Crime Report, and also from my own knowledge of him that I arrested the prisoner. (The question being again put to the witness by the Bench, he made the same reply, adding "and from other documents.") have also in my possession a photograph likeness of the prisoner; it corresponds with his appearance, and I consider it to be a fair likeness of him; this photograph (produced) is also a likeness of Francis Gardiner alias Clarke, for whom a warrant has been issued by a magistrate of New South Wales. (The photograph was here handed to the Bench for inspection. It certainly could not be said to bear a striking resemblance to the prisoner, and nearly every one who saw it remarked that it could scarcely be called a likeness at all.) I am perfectly certain from that likeness, and from the description given of Francis Gardiner alias Clarke, that the prisoner in the dock is that man; that likeness was issued to the police of New South Wales, together with the description alluded to, for their information and guidance; the Crime Report is issued to the police once a week; all the highway robberies with which the prisoner is charged were committed in New South Wales, and all the witnesses, as far as I know, who are to prove the offences, reside in that colony; it is necessary for the ends of justice that the prisoner should be sent to Sydney, and I therefore pray that he be remanded there, where, I believe, he will be put on his trial."

Mr. Bellas said he had no questions to put to this witness.
Mr. Larnach, J.P.: Why did you not tell him the charge when you arrested him?
Witness: Well, I was afraid to do so then, but took him to Mr. M'Lennan's.
Mr. Larnach: Did he offer any resistance ? Witness: Not the slightest.
Mr. Bellas : How did you arrest him ?
Witness: In the usual way, the same as any other man; I arrested him fairly.
Mr. Bellas: Was he knocked down senseless?
Witness: Not senseless.
Witness: Yes; he was laid down on his back quietly, and secured.


Rockhampton c. 1900
Jeremiah Foran, sworn, said; I am sub-inspector of the Rockhampton police; in company with the last witness, about ten o'clock this morning, I went to the lock-up for the purpose of examining the prisoner; I then had in my possession a description of Francis Gardiner alias Clarke which I now produce; I asked the prisoner his age; he said he was thirty-two years old, which answers to the description of his age given in this document; I then examined him carefully and observed that there were marks on his person corresponding precisely in every minute particular with those mentioned in the description of him; there were some Indian ink marks seemingly on his arm which were not alluded to in the report; I believe he is the person referred to in that report; I have no further witnesses to produce, and pray that the prisoner be remanded to Sydney. Mr. Dick said that he had no further evidence to offer, and having made out a sufficient case, he applied on behalf of the Crown for a Bench warrant remanding the prisoner to Sydney. After some consultation among the magistrates. Mr. Dick again rose and said he wished to point out, as a matter of law, that this being an indictable offence any one magistrate sitting on the Bench could order the prisoner to be taken to Sydney. The Bench decided to remand the prisoner to Sydney, there to be dealt with according to law. Mr. Dick asked the Bench to make a note of his objection to the prisoner being allowed bail. The Bench said they certainly should not admit the prisoner to bail.⁴⁷ Catherine would make every effort to hinder McGlone, even attempting to procure a horse for escape.

Craig's death certificate.
B.D.M.
However, for the unfortunate Craig, he was lumbered in with Gardiner whereby a charge of harbouring was preferred against him. However, after careful consideration Craig was exonerated but not before he had endured an unknown future; "The Bench ultimately consented to allow bail, the prisoner in the sum of £80 and two sureties in £40 each, and accepted too highly respectable persons as sureties. On the following day Craig was brought up on a remanded charge, and after hearing a great deal of evidence. The Bench, after some consultation, said they were of opinion that not a shadow of evidence existed to connect the prisoner in any way with Christie alias Gardiner, and they, therefore, ordered the prisoner to be discharged from custody."⁴⁸ Sadly for Craig, he would die from a fever in 1868 whilst erecting a new hotel some eight miles from he and Gardiner's former establishments. Catherine Christie formally Mrs Brown was next charged with assisting and concealing the prisoner Francis Christie alias Gardiner. Constable Canning and detective M'Glone were the only two witnesses who gave evidence in this case. The latter produced a portrait of her which he had had given him for the purpose of identifying her. (sadly lost forever)


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

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


East St, Rockhampton
looking South c. 1866
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

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


Port Of Brisbane c. 1860/70's
Furthermore, in regards to Gardiner and Mrs Browne it was reported; "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 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..." McGlone, therefore, frustrated the writ AND prevented any interference by taking his prisoner from the gaol to the vessel that was to convey him to Sydney. It is stated that a magnificent horse was in readiness for Gardiner in the event of his release by the operation of the writ of Habeas Corpus and whilst present may have affected an escape. It was a cunning plan and doubtless if the case had succeeded Gardiner may have had a continued career of crime. As Gardiner was held in custody and examined a correspondent note Gardiner's demeanour throughout the proceedings; "Christie, or Gardiner, has never spoken since his arrest, and has exhibited a coolness of demeanour indifferently attributable to conscious innocence, or the despair of a determined man. The man's face is by no means unpleasing; a masculine, well-formed enough set of features implanted in a bold front, with a keen eye a well-set and enduring form. Add to these a head of'dark hair-and a moustache, and you have a type that may be found in hundreds wherever the south counties man had been quickened by a spell at colonising! Perhaps, if you glanced at the face, you might, if you gave its expression a thought, deem it the property of one calculated to be a good backer in a row, and by no means untrustworthy as times go..."⁵² (Habeas corpus is a recourse in law through which a person can report an unlawful detention or imprisonment to a court and request that the court order the custodian of the person, usually a prison official, to bring the prisoner to court, to determine whether the detention is lawful.) 


'Goulburn Herald' Wednesday 23rd March 1864 reported Gardiner's arrival in Sydney;- "The Telegraph, a 700 tons, Iron paddle steamer under command of Captain Coote, arrived from Brisbane 10th instant, with 10 passengers, and Francis Christie (alias Clarke, alias Gardiner), and P. Falkenberg, as prisoners. While on his journey from Queensland Gardiner was cheerful and some what communicative; but it would not be just to retail any of his conversations. It appears, however, that the unfortunate and misguided man has not much hope of his life being spared. On Saturday, the police-magistrate took the evidence at the watch-house of the D division, Darlinghurst, in the presence of Francis Christie alis 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..."

W.B. Dalley
1831-1888.
With Frank's arrival in Sydney and having escaped the full force of the law at his first trial where the packed courtroom had erupted in jubilation at his acquittal, much to the judge's horror, that on the occasion Justice Wise furiously had singled out a boy of fifteen the son of a magistrate, as the dumbfounded press reported; "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..." However, for Gardiner's second trial he engaged the services of well known parliamentarian and astute lawyer Mr William Bede Dalley widely referred to as W.B. With Dalley as counsel he was presented before the Chief Justice (Sir Alfred Stephen) on the 5th of July, and in a shock move pleaded guilty to two charges—the robberies of Horsington and Hewett on the Lachlan road in March, 1862. On the 9th of July, he was arraigned on the more serious crime of wounding Constables Hosie when he and Middleton had sought to arrest him at Fish River in July, 1861. During the proceedings Gardiner was asked; "if it was true that Middleton and Hosey were bribed to let him escape, and 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." Although ably defended by W.B. Dalley and upon his advice Gardiner pleaded guilty, therefore, the gallows dimmed into the background. Before the Judge passed sentence the prisoner was asked if he had anything to say why the sentence of the Court should not be passed upon him Gardiner asked if a letter of mitigation maybe be placed before the Judge. Other than the letter Gardiner said he had nothing to say. In receipt of the document his Honour read the contents to the packed Court;To his Honour the Judge.

Sir Alfred Stephen
(1802-1894)
Your Honour,-I do not address you with the desire to impress upon your mind my innocence of the charge to which I have pleaded guilty, but my wish is to point out the untruths in the evidence on the part of the witnesses In the first place they all distinctly assert that there were four in number, where there were, five; they also state that three stuck up the cart containing; Mr Horsington, his wife, and boy, and that I alone went to Mr. Hewett, now it is just the opposite-I went to the cart, the four to Mr Hewett.

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

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

Again, Mr Horsington and his party assert that the robbery took place on the 10th of March, while it really did not take place until some five or six weeks afterwards, so that if I had been inclined to stand my trial I might have been enabled to prove an aliby, this, as your Honour will see, is not written with a view to escape punishment, for, on the contrary, it criminates 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 judgment 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,


FRANCIS CHRISTIE⁵⁴

Courtroom scene depicting
Gardiner's Trial
The Judge expressed a doubt as to the genuineness of the prisoner's repentance and delivered the following sentences:op.cit — fifteen years’ hard labour for wounding the two constables, ten years for the robbery from Horsington, and seven years for the robbery from Hewett—a total of thirty-two years! Outrage was sweeping through Sydney as the newspaper correspondents assessed the failure of the twelve strong and true jurors in a finding at the first trial where with all of Gardiner's villainy he had escaped the gallows; 'South Australian Register' Tuesday 7th June 1864- "a Jury of twelve 'honest men,' sworn to do justice, have, in the face of the clearest evidence of the notorious bushranger’s guilt, bravely acquitted him. Gardiner is a lucky fellow. He succeeded for many months in evading the most active efforts of the New South Wales police to apprehend him. He has shown himself to be the most impudent and desperate of all the heroes of the Claude Duval style which have yet appeared in these colonies; and yet, though his exploits were chronicled in the newspapers week by week, he set at complete defiance all attempts to take him. Sometimes he was hard enough run, and for his safety had occasionally to fire upon his would-be captors, but he always managed to escape somehow, until at last he was run to earth and cleverly captured. Even when he was secured the police were obliged to hurry him away to Sydney, so strongly was the tide of public opinion and feeling setting in his favour.

When he was safely lodged in gaol people began to breathe more freely. While he was at large no man was safe. He had defiantly set himself against society and the laws, and only his conviction and punishment could restore some measure of security to the public mind. We suppose it was never imagined by the decent and orderly people in New South Wales that by any defect in law or evidence—by any chicanery of counsel or weak technicalities —such a consummate scoundrel could by possibility, escape. His crimes were notorious. He had been guilty of every kind of villainy; and when he was placed in the dock charged with the crime of murder, it was hoped, that just retribution had at last overtaken him. The case against him was very clear, and as the evidence was brought forward everyone would have thought that it would be sufficient to convict him with any ordinary Jury; and yet he was apparently after, but little thought or consultation, at once acquitted. And then such a scene occurred as has happily but seldom been witnessed in a Court of Justice. One Wild burst of applause—'a perfect yell of delight,' as it is described—rose from the crowded Court. The bushranger was the hero of the hour, and this red-handed murderer received an ovation such as is but seldom accorded even to the most virtuous and brave. Had the person who stood in the dock been the purest patriot persecuted by a tyrannical and despotic Government, he could have received no more enthusiastic plaudits than those which greeted the verdict of the 'twelve honest men' of Sydney. We are not surprised to read that the presiding Judge was 'pale as death' with shame or infer, or both. The unseemly outburst was a disgrace to a Court of Justice, and a bitter reflection on the social morals of the community.

The verdict of the Jury and the reception it met with from the spectators in the Court show that the people of New South Wales are utterly demoralized. They are blind to justice and insensible to shame. That any considerable number of persons outside a gaol should have been gratified at the escape of a villain like Gardiner from the just punishment of his crimes shows that all respect for law and morality was lost; but that they should have publicly and ostentatiously, with noisy yells and deafening plaudits, expressed their gratification, shows that they are beyond the reach of shame. It has often been asserted that the element of felony in the community of the oldest of the Australian Colonies has corrupted the social health of the people; and here we have at least the practical proof of this assertion. The stream of national life has been poisoned far back at its source. The convict virus has tainted the life-blood of the colony. Gardiner, the murderous bushranger, is the type of hero whom the people delight to honour. A nation's gods are the embodiment of a nation's ideas, and a nation's heroes will be the reflection of their highest conceptions of greatness. England has its Sydney and Russell, America its Washington, Switzerland its Tell, Hungary its Kossuth, Italy its Garibaldi, and New South Wales its—Gardiner! The honours which great nations pay to their patriots and benefactors, Sydney gives to Frank Gardiner.

The result of this cause shows the weakness of trial by Jury. The system has broken down and failed egregiously. Edmund Burke maintained that the great end of all free institutions, and of all legislative and administrative machinery, was to get twelve 'good men and true' together in a box. Having gained that the functions of Government ceased. If that be true, then we can only say that our neighbours are still a long way from the end contemplated. The Jury system in New South Wales has failed. It has, in spite of evidence which almost anywhere but in Sydney would have secured a conviction, allowed a murderer to escape. There was a time in the history of Ireland when the Government failed to obtain a verdict against well-known miscreants from the partiality of Juries, and when the course of justice was impeded by the stubbornness of the Jury-box; but then it was not so much sympathy with the prisoners as hatred of the Government that allowed the guilty to escape.

But in the case of Gardiner, the reason is plain. 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. The trial comes opportunely enough at the present time, and when the report reaches the mother-country will, we trust, forcibly illustrate the reasons and give emphasis to the remonstrances of these colonies against the continuance of transportation to any part of Australia. There can be no doubt whatever that as the result of a convict element in their midst a large body of the New South Wales population have had their eyes blinded to the enormity of crimes such as that for which Gardiner had to answer. Robbery on the highway, 'sticking up' mail, and occasionally shooting at a policeman are considered by a portion of the people as fine gentlemanly pursuits, which call for admiration rather than censure, and instead of being visited with punishment will secure imitation. This is one of the bitter results of convictism in a community. It pollutes society at the core.

The public thought they had heard and seen the last of Frank Christie/Gardiner, especially as the remnants of his gang—Hall, Gilbert and newcomer Dunn—were still the scourge of the peaceful settlers of the Bathurst and Goulburn districts with even more brazen raids, robberies, arson, murder and kidnapping to come. But amongst all this from his former bandito friends Frank Gardiner had a curiously active and sympathetic circle of admirers even hero worshippers, and foremost amongst these were his three devoted sisters Robina, Archina and Charlotte, who continuously strove for his release through petitions and political influence. Gardiner also had ample funds secreted from the proceeds of his robberies to help stimulate agitation by the circulation of favourable pamphlets and other means. Furthermore, in 1874 a monster petition for a pardon was presented to the Governor, Sir Hercules Robinson (afterwards Lord Rosemead). It was led by Colonial Secretary Sir Henry Parkes and signed by Ministers of the Crown, members of Parliament, magistrates, lawyers, doctors, merchants, and other notable citizens. The pressure was so presto that the Governor exercising his prerogative decided that Gardiner should be released on the expiration of ten years of his sentence in July 1874. The country people, remembering his misdeeds protested vigorously, as well as the Chief Justice. The question was made the subject of a long and heated debate in Parliament.

Francis Christie alias Frank Gardiner
 Darlinghurst Gaol entry record.

 Note: Born in Colony is incorrect.
Darlinghurst Gaol from Burton Street 1870.
Sir Henry Parkes.
 (1815-1896)
When the division came for a vote on the bushrangers freedom the ayes and noes, were equal — twenty-six on either side and the Speaker, The Hon. William Munning Arnold gave his vote in approval of the Governor's decision for release. Gardiner, therefore, was released with the proviso of exile from Australia never to return. He went first to China, then on to California and lived there for several years. Gardiner's case was to become the means of raising and settling on an important constitutional issue as until then, there had been some doubt as to whether the Governor should exercise the prerogative of mercy on his own judgement or be ruled by his Ministers. As Sir Hercules Robinson read the Royal instructions, he believed that they required him to decide for himself as representative of the Crown, and in his dispatch to the Secretary of State he pointed out what an invidious position the Governor was placed in a colony under responsible government when he had to act without reference to his advisers. The quandary was resolved when the Imperial Government in England, in reply, directed that in all future cases the Governor, when petitioned to remit sentences should act as his Ministers advised. The release of Gardiner brought the Henry Parkes government to its knees and led to the defeat of the ministry.

Nevertheless, with Frank's 1864 sentencing Catherine was devastated by the incarceration and length of her Frank's punishment, she held on to the belief that they would be re-joined somehow, and indeed set about plans for their reunification in late 1864, where through the power of greed was able to corrupt a prison warden to help expedite their escape plans. However, the ability to keep those plans confidential was an uphill battle where Frank Gardiner was concerned and with rumours circulating of an attempt at escape Frank was watched closely by the authorities. The first attempt was made through a fake illness which required hospitalisation for a reported heart condition but before long it was thwarted by a fellow inmate who had got wind of the attempt involving a corrupt warder and squealed. To give his claim substance the canary named the guard; 'The Newcastle Chronicle and Hunter River District News'Saturday, 7th January, 1865; Gardiner, the Bushranger.It was recently stated that a discovery had been made of Gardiner's intended escape from Darlinghurst Gaol, by bribing a warder to help him. The Sydney correspondent of the Goulburn Herald thus narrates the affair:—"Mr. Francis Gardiner, ex-bushranger-general, is neither dead nor dying. Since his conviction many persons have said he would never die in prison if he could make his escape; but the clever scoundrel's apparent good conduct in Darlinghurst gaol appeared to be a complete refutation of all such insinuations. Had he not made important revelations to the Government respecting bushranging and bushrangers? Was he not suffering from a deep-seated disease of the heart? Even the gaol surgeon was so completely deceived, and sympathisingly sent Gardiner to the hospital, ordering him to be supplied with the usual medical comforts. During the recent disturbances Gardiner's conduct showed so marked a contrast to that of the mutinous scoundrels who kept the unfortunate warders constantly on the qui vive, that he humbugged the gaol officials as successfully as an English ticket-of-leave-man I read of some time ago, who, when giving advice to a notorious housebreaker as to the easiest means of getting a ticket-of-leave, said, be sure to have the chaplain visit you as often as possible; and on every occasion turn up the white of your eyes.” Gardiner adopted tactics something similar. A few days ago, when a fellow-prisoner informed the gaoler that Frank Gardiner was about to escape, the story found little credence; but the informer backed up his story by naming a warder with whom Gardiner was said to have made arrangements for escaping. The warder was watched, and on his attempting to leave the prison he was arrested and searched when fortunately for the public, but unfortunately for Gardiner and his friends, documents were discovered, one of which showed that the next night the former expected to be without the prison walls, and wished his friends to meet him at ten p.m., naming the rendezvous; and the other was a promissory note or order for £300 for serves rendered by the bearer. It is needless to say that the Warder's future services have been dispensed with, and that Gardiner's future security will be more closely attended to. Meantime he has been initiated into the art and mystery of matmaking."⁵⁶

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

Courtesy Newcastle University.
However, with Gardiner's final release the wheels of government were enacted and the deportation and exile of Gardiner swung into action. Gardiner's arrival at Newcastle was reported on the 21st July 1874; FRANK GARDINER IN NEWCASTLE. "Yesterday (Tuesday) morning many of the inhabitants of Newcastle were somewhat excited by the rumour that no less a personage than the redoubtable Frank Gardiner was amongst the passengers that arrived from Sydney by the Lady Young (s.) On the arrival of the steamer Mr. Sub-inspector Thorpe was in waiting and, accompanied by a detective officer, he was escorted to the station, but in such an unconcerned manner that many persons who were expecting him, and anxious to gaze upon the celebrity were completely thrown of the scent. We understand Gardiner is to be sent to San Francisco by the Barque Charlotte Andrews, which leaves Newcastle in a day or so."⁵⁷ A short time later it was reported that; "The illustrious exile Frank Gardiner has quitted his native shores. A telegram to the 'S. M. Herald ' states that on Monday he was put on board the Charlotte Andrews, Capt. Place, for Hong Kong, by sub-inspector Thorpe. Directly after he went on board the barque was towed to sea. It does not, however, seem certain that the ex-bushranger will complete his voyage to the above place. The 'Empire' states that a gentleman who professes to be in the secret declares that the reformed bushranger will not go further from us than New Caledonia, where he is to take charge of an extensive sugar-mat and basket factory for a firm whose principal place of business is in Sydney."⁵⁸ It was then revealed that en route to Hong Kong, Gardiner's ship almost floundered as the ship was dis-masted in a heavy storm. 'The Age' 6th October 1874; "a private telegram from China reports that the Sydney ship Mendona foundered, having on board a cargo for the colonies. The crew were saved. The barque Charlotte Andrews was dismasted 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 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


Dramatised Illustration of
Catherine, on hearing
of no visits to her Frank.
Courtesy NLA.
Fortunately, having survived the perils of the sea. Gardiner's stay in Hong Kong was brief, and the 'Charlotte Andrews' out of action Gardiner boarded another unknown vessel possibly the 'Great Republic' owned by the San Francisco shipping line 'The Pacific Steamship Company' moved on to California arriving on the 18th December 1874 along with 542 other passengers. Sadly upon Gardiner's release he would not be re-joined by his love Catherine Browne who had in the first few years of Gardiner's long 32yr sentence long hoped of a future together and even scheming an escape. However, at its failure Catherine was completely shattered by the prospect of never having Gardiner in her life and with the Sir Henry Parkes' refusal to allow visits Catherine returned to the Lachlan and her sister Bridget's home. The parliamentary Hansard of March 1866 recorded Henry Parkes address to parliament on the subject; "In the Assembly of New South Wales, on Thursday last, the following questions and answers are reported in the Empire: Mr. Cowper asked the Colonial Secretary- If it is true that the Colonial Secretary has given a special authority for Mrs. Brown, the paramour of the notorious Gardiner, to have access to him in Darlinghurst gaol; asked if so, whether he had any objection to lay a copy of such authority upon the table of the House? Mr. Parkes, in reply, said "he felt it incumbent on him to state the whole of the facts in connection with this matter. Soon after he was called to office, he paid a visit to Darlinghurst gaol, and during his visit there, a number of prisoners made application, through the gaoler, to see him (Mr. Parkes) for the purpose of making sundry requests. Among those persons was Francis Gardiner, who requested to be allowed to be visited once a month by Mrs. Brown. He added that he would not have made this request only this woman had been living with him as his wife. "I told him," continued Mr. Parkes, "that I would consider his application and give my decision to the Sheriff" I accordingly caused a minute to be sent to the Sheriff requesting him to inform Gardiner that the permission asked for could not be granted, as Mrs. Browne was the wife of another man, and that the refusal was not done harshly, but as being entirely against the spirit of the regulations. Two or three days after this decision had been given, I was informed at my office that a Mrs. Hyam wished to see me, and I told the messenger to show her in. Mrs. Hyam, who said she was Gardiner's sister, had a very respectable appearance, and so had her companion, a young woman whom accompanied her. Mrs. Hyam's said she had come to make a request to me that Mrs. Brown, who, she said, was a resident in her house, and had been living in her house since Gardiner's conviction, might be permitted to see that prisoner. As this person had all the appearance of being a respectable woman, and so I felt that commiseration for her which anyone, must feel who has a relative in the positions of Gardiner, I spoke calmly to her, and represented the impossibility of the Governor granting the petition. She at last appealed strongly that the person should be allowed to see Gardiner at least once. I came to no decision, and these persons, one of whom was said to be Mrs. Brown, but to whom I never spoke, my conversation being entirely with Gardiner's sister, went away. I consulted with another member of the Government, made inquiries of the police as to the character of Mrs. Hyam, and was assured by Captain M'Lerie, the Inspector-General, that she was a respectable married woman. I made further inquiries, which satisfied me that this person, Mrs. Brown, appeared to be permanently separated from her husbands, and that she had lived since the conviction of Gardiner, in the house of this person who was represented to me as a respectable married woman. After making these queries, I gave this special order to the principal gaoler at Darlinghurst: --"You will allow the bearer, Catherine Brown, to see Francis Gardiner, alias Clarke, now under sentence in Darlinghurst prison. This order, however, is available for this day only, and must not be allowed to alter or modify, in any respect further the instructions from this office on the 2nd instant. (Signed) H. Parkes."⁶⁰

Catherine's death.
New Zealand Herald
1st February 1868.
Catherine, devastated by the failure of Gardiner's escape plans and the failed efforts of his devoted sisters to obtain frequent gaol visits. As a consequence, Catherine returned to her sisters at the Lachlan where in company with Bridget's lovers brother Richard Taylor in 1867, Catherine departed the Lachlan for New Zealand, arriving at the Tappue Gold Diggings near Auckland on the Thames River and whilst there on the 14th January 1868, in a frenzy of mental anguish shot herself in the head, whereby, after lingering for a short period died in extreme agony. The death of Catherine and its effect on Frank is not known to date. However, a witness to the dreadful scene was a miner and his brother named Turner who in 1902 gave an account of the circumstances surrounding Kitty's death.[sic] "Mr. Turner describes Mrs. Brown as being a dainty, natty little thing, tidy in her dress, and very nice looking. She was the Mrs. Brown who attached herself to Gardiner's fortunes and romantically followed him through good and evil repute.

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

Outside the little reed fence surrounding the tent- Taylor was grovelling on the ground, tearing up the grass with his hands, at the same time crying but, "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 'bushcognomen,' Frank Gardiner, on it.  (See note below of her exonerating Richard Taylor in her suicide attempt and ultimate death. Turner mistakenly referred to Taylor as Brown. However, his account is quite good for detail. Catherine is also noted as spelling her name with a K.)

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

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

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

Reporter: Why was that?

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

Reporter: Why did you commence such career?

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

Rep.: But what made you rob the mails?

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

Rep.: Have you a cheerful prospect before you?

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


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

c. 1876
Of course this self-assessment by the Darkie 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 However, in 1910, Frank Gardiner was recalled in the San Francisco Call newspaper as; "Frank Gardiner, a famous Australian bushranger, who served several years in gaol and who, having been pardoned, came to San Francisco and conducted a thriving liquor business..."

The Pioche Weekly
Record, 21st 
February 1880.
For the next thirty years’ stories continued to abound regarding the life of Frank Gardiner and his whereabouts in the Californian sunshine. There would be reports and rumours of mysterious men digging at Wheogo for Gardiner's hidden treasure, of bar-room fights and running seedy hotels on the Barbary Coast, a marriage to a wealthy woman (see clippings below) and even an accusation of stagecoach robberies. The latter exposed as a hoax; 'Northern Star' Saturday 22nd November 1879; NOT TRUE.- "It now turns out that the sensational accounts in the American papers, about Frank Gardiner having resumed highway robbery in that country, is all a hoax." However, it may also be that with Francis Christie's penchant for disguises, namely as a minister of the cloth, and incorporated with the wealth and social standing of his devoted sisters Archina, Charlotte and Robina. That the sisters conspired to bring their brother home possibly on the steamer 'City of New York' in the late 1880's and that he died in family secrecy and obscurity in Australia?
This Photograph was first highlighted in Edgar Penzig's fine book 'Ben Hall The Definitive Illustrated History' Penzig rightly identifies the man seated centre as James Pye. However, upon further scrutiny and new research the photo is no doubt a celebratory pose in full police uniform of those who captured Frank Gardiner . I believe standing left is Daniel McGlone, seated centre is James Pye and seated right is George Wells. The gentleman standing rear is unknown. 
New South Wales, Australia, Criminal Court Records, 1830-1945  for Francis Clarke, Supreme Court Registers of Criminal Indictments, 1863-1898
At Darlinghurst Gaol 1866.
Francis Christie alias Gardiner recorded here with Patsy Daley
 1867 at Darlinghurst Gaol.
Gardiner's release along with John Bow and Alex Fordyce
1874. Note as well the Remarks column and Gardiner's tattoos of a female figure and heart in a wreath. These were no doubt inked in Darlinghurst with the female image his love Catherine. (Under Native Place it should read Scotland)
Frank Gardiner was 45 years old at the time of his release in 1874. This photo above is a prison portrait and was coloured by me through Photoshop.
Letter by Frank Gardiner's father Charles referring to the operation of a Sly-Grog shop.
'Port Phillip Gazette' 25th April 1840.
Geelong Advertiser
Wednesday, 23rd October 1850



Francis Christie alias Clarke at Darlinghurst Gaol
 awaiting trial 1854
The Sydney Morning Herald
Tuesday, 21st March 1854
Goulburn Circuit Court 
17th March 1854


Edward Prior and Francis Clarke at
 Goulburn Gaol and sentenced 1854.
The court proceedings (above) were held in NSW where Gardiner used the alias of Clarke. After serving 6 years of his sentence Christie/Clarke/Gardiner arrived in the Carcoar district on a ticket of leave in 1860. 


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

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



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


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


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

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


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

This is a copy of the petition for Gardiner's release by his sisters Archina and Charlotte, who never ceased in their efforts for his eventual release in 1874. 

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/13347543?searchTerm=%22Gardiner%221864%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20&searchLimits= This link will access the letters of petition for the release of Francis Christie. Wholeheartedly driven by the influence of Francis' devoted sisters. An earlier letter to the Government from his sister Archina. 
The above comment is from the
 satirical publication 'Melbourne Punch', Thursday 11th June 1874.
Exiled
Clarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser
Tuesday, 23rd February 1875

The article above is an account of Gardiner's arrival and work in San Francisco.

Geelong Advertiser
Saturday 18th August 1877

There is some merit in the last lines as to Frank's return to Australia. He was a master of anonymity when required.
From the Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners Advocate
Tuesday 6th August 1878.
Report of Gardiner marrying from
the Evening News, Monday 1st December 1879. 
The Northern Star
Saturday, 14th February 1880 


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


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


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



One of the many newspaper stories (above) which began to circulate as to the perceived plunder which might have been stashed by Gardiner after the Escort Gold Robbery.

Morning Bulletin
Wednesday, 27th November 1929

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

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

The Sydney Morning Herald
Monday, 8th June 1874

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

Report of Frank's death in the Evening News 28th August Sydney 1882.
However, this appears to be incorrect and a subterfuge for Frank's return to Australia in company with an American Mr Baines.
Singleton Argus
Friday, 16th August 1946
Gardiner's reported departure to exile from Australia still driving interest after almost 80 yrs.(above).

#-Reference notes and source material can be accessed on the EndNote page except where book, author or newspaper title are named. Publications referred to can be found on the Links Page. For any research assistance no charge, contact is on the Home Page under Contact details or Email to benhallbushranger@gmail.com. For an enhanced view of photographs, click right mouse button and select 'open in new tab'.

4 comments:

  1. Great site thank you. Can you please tell me where you saw Kate Brown's suicide letter? And also the photos of her hut and of Middleton, and the passenger arrival document for the 'James'? I am looking for images for a book and need references for the originals.

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

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

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

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