Frank Gardiner

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

This page aims to recount aspects of Francis Christie, aka the Australian bushranger known as Frank Gardiner, from the cradle to the grave. The information herein has been derived through many first and secondhand accounts, utilising the volumes of newspaper articles of the period, government documents, private sources, and eyewitness accounts. (All related articles incorporated into the narrative are coloured and transcribed as originally published.)

Colloquially known as Frank 'The Darkie' Gardiner. Francis Christie is widely claimed to be the father of the modern Australian bushranger. However, for Ben Hall, Frank Gardiner became the one person who would wield the most influence as Hall descended deeper into criminal activity commencing at the close of 1861. Ben Hall's Sandy Creek Station co-owner John Maguire noted:

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

Gardiner was irrepressible, often characterised in the mould of the famous 17th-century highwayman Claude Du Val. He was educated, articulate, handsome, roguish, daring, an excellent horseman, charming and quick-witted. He was known more than once to put a twinkle in a ladies eye.

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

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

Frank Gardiner was born Francis James Christie at Dingwall, Ross-shire, far north of Scotland in 1829. Dingwall sits fourteen miles north-west of Inverness, at the mouth of the River Peffery which drains into the Cromarty Firth and was founded by royal Charter granted by Alxeander III as a market town in 1226.  
Francis Christie set foot on the shores of New South Wales in 1834, aged five years old. When grown into manhood, Francis Christie emerged under the pseudonym of Frank Gardiner. Well recognised historically as the father of modern Australian bushranging. As Frank Gardiner, he would singularly become the one person to ruin many a young colonial boy's life:

"Amongst the lawless marauders who, during the early eighteen sixties, established a reign of terror in the country districts of New South Wales, says the Melbourne 'Argus' of the 30th of September, Frank Gardiner achieved special distinction. He was the founder, and first leader, of the ruffian syndicate which included Ben Hall, Gilbert, Dunn, Vane, Burke, and John O'Meally as well as other miscreants. Within four years these truculent bandits perpetrated over six hundred crimes, which included daring robberies and cold-blooded murders. Frank Gardiner was Australia's premier bushranger, the most sophisticated of those criminals who plyed their trade in the late 1800s through the use of the revolver pointed at the heart of innocents. During his life, Gardiner would adopt the pseudonyms of both Frank Clarke and Frank Gardiner. The quintessential bushranger encompassed as well the use of theatrics in the form of disguises, chiefly as a man of the cloth.¹ 

Documents record the Christie family arrived in Australia on the 17th of November 1834 onboard the migrant ship 'James' 568 tons. The master was Captain Paul. The 'James' sailed from London on the 29th of June 1834, arriving at Simons' Bay, the Cape of Good Hope Africa, on the 29th of September, then proceeded to Port Jackson, New South Wales. At some point during the passage, tragedy struck the Christie's.

'James' arrival
recorded in
 The Sydney
Herald, Nov 1834.
The 'Sydney Monitor' on 19th November 1834 revealed upon arrival that the family lost a child who died at sea:

Charles Christie, agriculturalist, Mrs Christie, and six children, infant child died on the passage. 

Who the child was or their age is unknown. However, it indicates possibly two years old, born between Archina and Charlotte. It was also recorded that several other families en route lost children as well.
The family's road to New South Wales faced many twists and turns. It involved tragedy, illness, destitution and death. The 'James' manifest disclosed their accommodation as Steerage Class. Quartered with seventy-nine other passengers. As well as Francis' parents Charles and Jane, there included older half-brother Charles b. 1824, half-sister Robina b. 1827. Their mother was Charles's first wife, Jean (Mcleod) who passed away. Then followed Francis, aged five, Archina, four years old and baby Charlotte, just 12 months. All born to Jane Whittle, the widow of Charles Christie's older half-brother James, 1787-1822.

However, the ships manifest recorded Jane Christie (1799-1842) as Charles Christie's (1791-1864) wife. Therefore, based on all the current evidence, the record is incorrect, and Jane undoubtedly was Charles' Common-Law-Wife or Defacto.

Note: There has been no documented evidence to date or any record of a Birth or Christening certificate for Francis Christie in either Scotland or England. Furthermore, some accounts of his birth at Argyle Argyle shire, Scotland, are unfounded. In addition, Christie's prison release papers for Boro Creek, which slated the country of Argyle NSW as ancestral, are misleading. To compound, the mystery of his later life reports of his death in Colorado in 1903 is also inaccurate and highly misleading.

Jane Christie nee Whittle was from the Isle of St Michael and married James Christie at Maker, Cornwall, in the church of St Mary and St Julian in 1814. Jane, although underage, was given consent from her guardians, the Lloyds. The marriage produced two daughters, Mary Jane Christie b. 1817 Portugal (Azores) and Eliza Sarah b. 1822, Nassau, Bahamas. At the time of marriage to James, Jane was 14 and he 27.

Upon the family's immigration to Australia, Francis' half-sisters remained in the United Kingdom. Eliza Christie married a fellow named Cruikshank, and she passed away in 1892 in Glasgow. Mary Christie, however, joined the family immigrating to Victoria in the 1840s and died in 1861 at Mount Eliza, Victoria. Mary witnessed her half-brother Charles' marriage at Gippsland Victoria. Mary married Henry Griffiths in 1847, and upon her death, Henry married Frank's sister Archina in 1864.

Note: I understand Peter C Smith discovered the original 'James' manifest exposing the Christie family's passage while researching with Edgar Penzig many years ago. This marvellous research ended the notion of Frank Gardiner's birthplace as Boro NSW. Therefore, much praise is due to Peter.

Complete Mercantile Guide
to the Continent of Europe,


C. W. Rördansz
In the many years before the family's eventual departure for Australia in June 1834, misery lurked close at hand. Calamity struck when Charles' brother James died on 21st July 1822 in or near Maracaibo province, Venezuela. His body was returned to Nassau, where his remains were buried on 18th August 1822 at the Western Cemetery Potter's Field, Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas. Charles and Janet/Jean/Jane (Mcleod) Christie also resided in Nassau. Upon James' death, they returned to England with his widowed sister-in-law.

In Nassau, the two brothers maintained a shipping business ploughing the trading routes of the old Spanish Main through the Caribbean Islands and the American Carolinas. Trading goods such as wine, salt, sugar, molasses, tobacco, and cotton. To supplement their income transported African workers to the plantations of the West Indies. Lloyd's of London granted them to be their agents for the Portuguese coastal townships of Figueira and Aveiro. As such, the enterprise prospered.

Unfortunately, skulduggery by the villainous behaviour of a shipping agent. Reputedly diddled them out of their business and fortune.
H.C. Kent memories 1932:

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

As a consequence, while investigating the fraud of the shipping agent James Christie died (possibly murdered?) under mysterious circumstances in Venezuela: ibid.

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

The brothers shipping ties ran through the Portuguese territory of the Azores archipelago, the town of Ponta Delgada. Ponta Delgada was the home of the Whittle family as Jane Christie was born there c. 1799. (Ref; Mary's birth) Upon James' death, Charles broke and returned to England with his family and widowed sister-in-law Jane Christie. In the upheaval, the extended family was most probably born via the Azores, residing with Jane's family. There is speculation that after departing the Azores, they travelled to London and Scotland following Jean Christie's death in c. 1828. However, before returning to London in the 1830s, it was noted that they had come up to London from Devonshire. Possibly Exmouth a seaport; ibid

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

Charles Junior Baptism 1824.
Note Father occupation

London, England,
Church of England
Births and Baptisms, 1813-1917. 
In the twelve years between James' loss in 1822 and their immigration to Australia in 1834, the family's circumstances reflect an itinerant lifestyle. Evidence suggests that after leaving the Azores circa 1824, the mixed family resided in Stepney, Middlesex. While living in Stepney, Charles Junior was born according to The London, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1917 on 11th June 1824. Charles' baptism was registered at Tower Hamlets St Dunstan and All Saints, Stepney. Charles Jnr's parents were Jean/Jane (Mcleod) and his father, Charles. The birth gives credence to the London connection in 1824. The document of Charles Jnr's baptism illustrated right notes Charles senior's trade as a carpenter.

Note: Janet/Jean/Jane are all interchangeable and are affectionate Scottish terms for the name Jean.

Jean Christie nee Mcleod passed away following illness circa 1828/9, notably Cholera. Dying in the Pandemic that swept London in 1827. Jean was buried at Islington Cemetery London on 2nd April 1830: The UK, Burial and Cremation Index, 1576-2014 for Jean Christie.

After Jean Mcleod died in London. Archina's birth certificate suggests that Charles and his brother's widow Jane were in a relationship, both widowed, returned to Scotland for Francis' birth, followed by Archina.

The Christie family relations were numerous and spread across Scottish towns from Glasgow to Inveravon, Elgin, Ballimore and Abernethy, home of William Christie's (d, 1846) brother. As was common practice for families of the 19th century, accommodating their relations for long periods, especially in times of crisis, was not unusual. However, by 1833 the extended family returned to London, where Charlotte Deacon Christie was born, at the Deacon family's residence.
Note: The Cholera outbreak in England at that time also claimed the lives of two sisters of John Gilbert. A future lieutenant of Christie's.

Upon the family's return to London. They fell into financial hardship living under trying or unfortunate circumstances. However, a change was in the wind. While in London, they came under the friendship and charity of a family by the name of Deacon:ibid

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

The family benefactor was Frederick Deacon. A high-level Civil Servant in London married Charlotte Deacon nee Maule on 5th November 1823 at St Mary, Leicestershire, England. However, the charitable Deacons saw fit to offer some assistance to Charles and Jane. The help entailed Charles working odd jobs in line with his agricultural and carpentry skills and Jane being employed in needlework and maid service:ibid 

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

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

The Deacon's became the driving force behind the family's immigration to New South Wales.

In 1932 Mr Harry Chambers Kent, a highly respected Sydney architect, was twenty-one when Frank Gardiner was released from Darlinghurst in 1874. Kent provides an account of his family's connection to Christie's pre-immigration to Australia. He divulges that Frank's youngest sister Charlotte Deacon Christie was named after his paternal grandmother as a mark of respect. H.C. Kent was noted in Who's Who of Australia in 1922 as a senior partner in Kent and Massie Architects, Sydney.

Note: Current research establishes the bona fides of the Deacon family. Their connection to the Christie's can not be undervalued. It corroborates the known origins of Christie's circumstances before immigration to NSW.

Kent reveals that during the family's time in the care of his grandparents. It was proposed that the family should seek new beginnings in the burgeoning colony of New South Wales where opportunity knocked for those of enterprise:ibid

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

In due course, clothing and sundry items for the passage were supplied. When the family boarded the 'James,' it was noted that the living conditions from the view of the upper-middle-class Deacon family were quite inferior:ibid 

My aunt went to see the Christie family off to Australia on the emigrant ship, and of how terrible the accommodation, or lack of accommodation, seemed to her.

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

Courtesy University of
However, as the 'James' sailed to NSW, several clergymen and teachers were onboard. The most prominent being The Rev. Dr Lang, a force in New South Wales politics, often referred to as the 'Stormy Petrel'. On numerous occasions, Rev. Dr Lang returned to England, encouraging those who wished for a new life to emigrate and was active amongst the Scottish community in London, assisting with the passage fees.

Lang advertised for men and women to take up the new world for the betterment of the colony. To effect his immigration goals, Lang accosted Lord Goderich, then Secretary of State for the Colonies, and obtained grants of £1500 towards the cost of passage for immigrants to Australia. The Christie clan became beneficiaries of Lang's efforts.

There can be no doubt that young Francis commenced his education under the tutelage of the embarked ministers and educators' during the three-month voyage. The influence of these men and the reverence they were held in certainly impressed the five-year-old. As in the years ahead and when disguised. Francis would imitate those of the cloth as a means of impersonation when laying low. (See above manifest right.) 

Upon arrival in NSW, Charles Christie and his family integrated themselves into the life of fellow immigrants and future step-father to Francis, Mr Henry Munro (Monro, Munroe). During the voyage, Munro had been accommodated in a private cabin. The Christies in steerage. Henry Munro was a man of means with introductory letters and a prestigious family background. Settling, Munro purchased a property and employed Charles as his overseer. Munro's insistence on using Christie may well have sprung from his desire for Mrs Christie, whom he would eventually marry. For the new James immigrants, the challenges ahead were commented on in, 'The Sydney Herald' 20th November 1834;

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

Henry Munro was the son of the esteemed Professor Munro of Edinburgh College. During the after events of the 1828 Burke and Hare serial murders in England. Where the pair killed their victims fresh, then on-sold the cadavers to anatomy Doctor Dr Robert Knox had been executed. Munro's father, Professor Munro, was noted for famously dipping his quill into the blood of Burke during the autopsy, wrote:

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

The Sydney Gazette and
New South Wales Advertiser
Saturday 25 July 1835.
Munro and Christie became close as theey slogged it out in a new world. The closeness was enhanced by Jane Christie, who, by all accounts, was quite a beauty. Soon after, Henry applied for several land leases in NSW under the EMIGRANTS NEWLY ARRIVED initiative, first at Kurradu Bidgee, on the Shoalhaven River, of 960 acres:

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

Munro also applied for property near Goulburn (Boro) and Lake George in the counties of Argyle and King in 1835. Having arrived in NSW, fifteen months later, Francis' mother, Jane Christie, gave birth to Maria Agnes in 1836.

NSWBDM Reg; 720/1836 V1836720 47 Charles Father-Mother Jane Christie. 

However, there is a train of thought that Maria is reputedly the daughter of Henry Munro? There is also evidence of the Christie's at Goulburn before relocating to Victoria. Charlotte, aged four, was Christened at Goulburn in December 1837.

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


Munro & Christie.
c. 1838.
After three years in NSW, Henry Munro and the Christie's resettled in Victoria. Munro took up new holdings in April 1838 at Campasne, 110 miles north of Melbourne and 40 miles northeast of Bendigo.

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

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

Henry Munro's £160
purchase of 640 acres
at Boro Ck NSW,
At various stages, the new farmers individually commenced their arduous trek south. There is no doubt that Munro, by December 1837, had also acquired his stock and, with the Christie's, headed for the Campasne district, 1000 km south. What became of the properties applied for on arrival in NSW by Munro is unknown. It may have been that Munro only took possession of one at Boro Creek near Goulburn, where he possibly agisted his stock for the trip south. 

The trek to Campasne was steady. Whereby on occasion, they encountered aboriginals who, in the main, appeared friendly and cooperative. While many settlers were nervous about the presence of the natives, there was no confrontation between them. However, when Munro and his fellow squatters built their homesteads on arrival at Campasne, a different tribe of more aggressive aborigines lived. Young Francis, excited at a new home, would have been old enough to pitch in handling the stock and, in the daily grind, soon attained the skills displayed in his future nefarious activities.

Charles Christie's letter
referencing his sly-grog
Port Phillip Gazette
25th April 1840.
However, in Victoria, then known as the Port Philip district, Charles Christie, in late 1838, was arrested and fined over £80 ($6700), a lot of money, for operating a much frowned upon sly grog shop. The brush with the law may have been the first insight into dubious money for Francis Christie, an impressionable nine-year-old, on seeing his father arrested. The 'Port Philip Gazette' of Saturday, 25th April 1840, noted his involvement with sly-grog selling from Christie's own admission;

A circumstance that occurred many months ago as "The reported keeper of a sly-grog-shop" It is a fact, Sir, that I paid in Melbourne above £80 penalty, a considerable time ago. 

The term Keeper does, however, indicate that Charles worked an establishment of sorts or may have had a passing side trade at Spring Plains Station. The confession is undeniable. (See letter right.)
Unfortunately, Francis' father, Charles Christie, his tenure with Munro ended late, circa 1840. He left behind his deceased brother's wife, Jane and their three children in the care of his employer and old friend Henry Munro. Included were Charles Jr and Robina. The circumstances may have been that Jane formed a secret and intimate relationship with Munro in NSW or, as far back as possible, the voyage out to NSW from England. The liaison forced Charles' departure. Nevertheless, Munro and Jane's relationship flourished. The home to which Francis lived in at Campasne was described in a letter from Munro' brother who spent some months in 1842 with Henry.
The cottage and things are very comfortable; his cottage is built of upright slabs of wood and plastered inside which is quite sufficient protection against any weather here, and is divided into half a dozen rooms of convenient size. In front there is a verandah which we enjoyed very much in the fine evenings. Detached from the cottage and behind it is a cottage which contains a kitchen and a store room. It is a great luxury in a hot climate to have the kitchen separate from the house. By this arrangement both heat smell and noise are avoided and when the temperature is above 100, this is no slight comfort.


Courtesy NLA.
Cuthbert Fetherstonhaugh describes his reminiscences titled 'After Many Days' published in 1917. Meeting Charles Christie in 1854 (Charles was then 61) while surveying at the Goulburn River Victoria. In this extract, Charles Christie refers to Jane as his wife;

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

Note; It is unknown if, after leaving Jane that Charles returned to Boro NSW. There is also a thought that Charles was unaware of his son's criminal activities. At Francis' trial for horse stealing in 1850, Charles appears to have offered no assistance. Whether the two men ever came into contact in later life is unknown. However, it would be doubtful that as Charles ended his days at Archina's home in Sydney, his daughters had kept him in the dark about Francis' activities.

Of course, the squatter alluded to is Henry Munro, and Francis is the son as he was the only son of both Jane and Charles. Whether or not Charles discovered Jane and Henry's love affair and that Maria was, in fact, Henry's daughter. Led him into alcoholism and his ruination, Fetherstonhaugh gives the impression of truth.

Furthermore, Francis' half-brother Charles would also work under the direction of Henry Munro, holding overseer positions, before settling in the Gippsland region. Charles married Elizabeth Hendrick on April 11th 1849, at St James Church, Melbourne. The couple had ten children. However, his thoughts regarding his younger brother Francis must have often been at the forefront of Charles's mind. As one of his sons was named Francis Christie, born in 1870. Another child was named after his sister Archina. Charles passed away at Bairnsdale in 1884. It may also be not from the realms of possibility that Charles maintained contact with his mischievous brother. On Thursday, August 13th 1857, Charles Christie jr was charged with drunkenness and fined ten shillings at Sale, Victoria. Not uncommon. Francis' sister Robina upon her marriage, resided close to her brother Charles at Sale Victoria while Archina settled in Sydney. Charlotte married William Ion in 1854, settling in Hobart. William died in 1864, and Charlotte resettled in Sydney. In 1870 Charlotte married Joe Cale.

Interestingly Charlotte, in her marriage to Cale, her service was performed by The Rev Dr Lang. On the death of Robina's husband, she, too, settled in Sydney. It is undeniable that the Christie sisters were incredibly close. A closeness that never had their thoughts far from their black sheep of the family, Francis Christie.

Subsequently, with Charles' departure, Munro immediately married young Francis' mother, Jane. The marriage announcement noted the latter as a widow casting doubt on Charles' statement of Jane as his wife. Furthermore, the report of Jane as a widow was no doubt to avoid scandal as the couple utilised the death of Jane's first husband, Charles' brother James; 'Geelong Advertiser' February 13th, 1841;

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

Jane Munro, not long after her marriage past away in 1842 through illness.

However, for Charles, Frank Gardiner's father, there is little recorded of his life. In February 1864, in the Sydney Morning Herald Family Notices, Charles Christie was recorded as passing away on the 16th February at his daughter Archina's residence in Pitt Street Sydney following a long and painful illness:

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

Charles was buried at Camperdown Cemetery, Newton. Charles was recorded on the burial record as a Gentleman Farmer. Frank Gardiner, a scrutineer of newspapers, may well have read of his father's death in the weeks before his capture in Queensland.

When Francis' mother died in 1842, Francis was 14yrs old, and he and his siblings remained at Munro's property, 'Spring Plains Station'. Francis Christie was well-educated in Victoria. Since Munro's arrival from NSW,. Munro became a respected and wealthy squatter controlling another run in the district named 'Campaspie' between 1838- 1843.

However, when Charles Christie and his family initially took up residence at Campasne with Munro. Local aboriginals had been continuously attacking the remote stations, even killing solitary shepherds and running off the sheep, taken as an easily accessible food source.

On one occasion, Henry Munro was speared by the aborigines while recovering his stock from a raiding party. The attack on Munro was in the company of Charles Christie in 1839. The settlers soon retaliated, attacking the aboriginals; 'Port Phillip Patriot and Melbourne Advertiser' Monday 22nd July 1839;

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

Letter was written
by Charles Christie
in April 1840, while
employed by
Henry Munro.
A fight would become known as the battle of 'Waterloo Plains'. Resulting in eight natives dying. And some settlers were injured, one of which was Henry Munro. Munro was speared and, following a long convalescence, recovered from his spearing, although it was a close call. Charles Christie fired off a letter to the editor of the Port Philip Gazette on the matter. (See right.)

As a young boy, Francis enjoyed a good quality of life and gained a solid education under his father's and Henry Munro's guidance. Upon Charles' departure, Henry Munro fully incorporated the Christie children into his life. 

However, whether some anger, ill-feeling, or resentment arose between Francis and his new stepfather is unknown. The departure of his father was also a difficult time. Therefore, Christie's mother's death was undoubtedly a grievous blow to the young man just thirteen years of age. Resulting in rebellion or falling in with the wrong crowd may have tested the relationship between Munro and Francis.

Furthermore, Munro's prospects changed following Francis' mother's death. Henry Munro resettled the family in 1843 to the tiny hamlet of Portland in southern Victoria, up close to the South Australian border at the Crawford River. Taking ownership of a station of that name. Before Munro and a partner, Andrew Cruikshank took control of the station, it was owned by Mr Cameron; 'The Melbourne Daily News' Tuesday 13th February 1849;

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

Munro later sold Crawford Station and assumed Bassetts Station's, 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. While under the name of Clarke and applying all his charm in procuring a 'Ticket of Leave' in 1859 from Cockatoo Island, Christie generated some empathy from the powers that be by commenting that;

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

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

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

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

This is no doubt,
Jane/Jean McLeod.
Charles' Profession; Carpenter.
Authors Note: There has been a long-held belief that Francis Christie was born at the small settlement of Boro Creek situated 30 miles southeast of Goulburn. Therefore it is widely espoused that Francis spent his early childhood there.

However, substantial evidence dismisses that assumption. Three children born to Charles and Jane Whittle were Francis, Archina and Charlotte Deacon Christie. There is also an indication of another child born. However,  it was noted as passing away during the voyage to NSW. Shortly after they arrived in NSW 1834, the family migrated to Victoria, whereby Francis' early years 1837-1852 were spent there, including prison time at Pentridge Gaol 1850.

The confusion regarding Francis Christie's origins stems from Christie's final prison release papers (seen above) that have Boro Creek recorded as his birthplace in 1831. Christie's deception on release from Darlinghurst Gaol in 1874 was no doubt a ploy regarding his 1851 escape from Pentridge Gaol in Victoria, which, if exposed, may have resulted in a return to face those outstanding matters. At the time of Francis release in 1874, the Melbourne papers did canvas the subject. However, no action was taken in returning him to Melbourne. Subsequently, Jean McLeod, Charles Christie's first wife, recorded on Charles & Robina Christie's; birth certificate was married to Charles Christie.

Jean McLeod was born on 12th April 1798 in England at Berwick Upon Tweed, Northumberland. Her parents were George McLeod and Robina Stout. Northumberland is 230 miles North of London. Robina Christie was born in 1827 at Leith near Edinburgh. Robina is named after Jean's mother. Sadly the outcome of Jean Mcleod's life is unknown at present but is presumed from scant evidence to have passed away. However, this evidence indicates that Jane Mcleod/Christie was buried or registered circa 1830 at Islington, London, England. Islington is in the purview of Stepney, Christie's residence before immigration and Charles jnr's birth in 1824. Stepney housed the poorest in London.

It is also interesting to note the number of ministers of the cloth embarked on the 'James'. In particular, the Reverend Dr Lang, who years later would be sought out by Frank Gardiner regarding the Reverends son's newspaper at Lambing Flat NSW. In later life, when the law closed in, Francis would assume the disguise of a Vicar. 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.

First offence.

The arrival of the
Christie Family,
In June 1850, at the coming-out age of twenty-one, when children were no longer under the discipline of parents, Francis Christie stepped outside the constraints of an ordered society. With his extended family re-settling in at Portland, Francis remained in the Loddon River's vicinity, joining in with several misfits. Whereby they procured valuable horses of a prominent settler, illegally.

With Christie's family in Portland. The aspiring horse thief headed for that place to offload the stolen stock. Munro's new station at Crawford River would be a convenient place to hold up if the theft were 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, upon discovering the horse theft, Christie, 24 in number, the animals' owner, Mr Morton, was incensed at the brazen thievery and unexpectedly saddled up to track down and recover his horses. For Morton, the only reliable man available to accompany him was his employee William Mercer and the cook. Mercer was an experienced bushman and an expert tracker like Morton. Preparing to depart, Morton was approached by another. Williams, who had reached his seventieth year, asked to join the search as a horse belonging to him was part of the stolen mob. Williams received his wish, and he saddled up, and although his day of hard riding was behind him, Morton said he was allowed to follow as long as he kept up with the two men.

Leaving 'Plains of Thalia Station' and intercepting the tracks, Morton and his men ran them for some time. Passing Mount Sturgeon station and resting at a Mount Sturgeon hotel. Morton later revealed; 'Geelong Advertiser' 23rd October 1850;

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

Arriving at the Mount Sturgeon Inn owned by Andrew Templeton, he informed Morton during a discussion. At the local races held two days previously, the suspected robbers had raced some horses against those entered by the police. Successfully winning the purse without raising an eyebrow. During Morton's stay, the publican pointed out a letter to be posted, which one of the gangs, Christie, had left in his charge. Morton seized the letter, 'Geelong Advertiser' 23rd October 1850;

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

Suspicious, Morton, with the unopened letter in hand, headed at full gallop to the police stationed at Hamilton 18 miles distant. Arriving, the Bench Clerk was fetched and opened the letter addressed to a Mr Crouch, the postmaster at Portland who acted as auctioneer, at Morton's direction.

The letter illustrated below highlights that Christie had an excellent hand and education and exposes another alias, Taylor.

Lake Mingo, Murray River, May 1850.

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

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

I remain sir,
your obedient servant,


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

Courtesy N.L.A.
However, Christie proceeded with the stolen stock to Portland without knowing the letter's interception. Subsequently, a fast-riding Morton saw that they did not reach the town.

Without fear of capture, Christie and his accomplices halted at Mr Bilston's residence, who operated The Bush Tavern at the Fitzroy River 36 miles from Hamilton and 18 miles from Portland. So Bilston would state in court. 'Geelong Advertiser' 23rd October 1850:

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

Arriving at Hamilton after a chase of over 200 miles, predominantly along cross-country bush tracks, a hunt that lasted ten days. Morton confronted constable Thornhill ordering him to proceed with him to the suspected robber's lodgings at the Fitzroy River. There Morton recognised the horses in the Fitzroy Inn stockyard whereby Morton and the troopers promptly set about arresting the thieves. Arrangements were quickly made with Bilston for their apprehension as they were somewhere about the Inn.

Thornhill and Morton went to the front, and another trooper with Mercer and Williams, went to the rear. Morton tapped quietly at the entrance when Bilston called  out, "Who is there?"

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

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

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

Francis was nicked. Captured the prospect of hard time in chains lay at Christie's feet. Whereby a plan amongst Christie, Stewart and Newton was enacted to flee the Geelong Goal. However, only accomplice Stewart succeeded, and he was never heard of again. Christie and Newton's attempt was unsuccessful:

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

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

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


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

Receptacle for Criminals.
Artist unknown.
Arrested, his stepfather, Henry Munro attempted to exert some influence on Morton, a fellow Scot. Unfortunately, his attempted 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 to free his troublesome stepson, but to no avail.

Dr W.C. Haines, Foreman
of the Jury for Christie.
Later 1st Premier of
The dye was cast, and Francis was beyond Munro's influence. Consequently, with accomplice John Newton, Christie was found guilty and sentenced to five years on the roads. Both were removed from the dock and sent to the Pentridge Stockade, Coburg, Melbourne. Abridged from 'Geelong Advertiser' Wednesday 23rd October 1850:

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

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

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

For William Mercer, however, who had assisted his employer in tracking Christie and helped effect Christie's capture was reported three years later to have drowned in the Saltwater River near Footscray under mysterious circumstances. However, as no injuries were noted, his death was marked 'Found Drowned'. There circulated a strong suspicion that Mercer was 'put out of the way' over his evidence that saw Newton and Christie convicted. (See link below for the full 1850 court proceedings.)
Illustration of Christie's
escape from Pentridge,
Coburg, Victoria, 1851.

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

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

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

Escape from Pentridge Gaol.

Eleven prisoners succeeded in escaping from Pentridge. Of the escapee, all but five were recaptured within a few days. The fugitive Christie set off north towards his former home with another escapee, Charles Herring, a local from the Bendigo district. Herring arrived in Hobart, Tasmania as a convict on the Egyptian ship in 1839 from Surry, England, and was sentenced to seven years. Released in 1847 crossed to Victoria, wherein 1850 was convicted of assault. 

Not long after fleeing Pentridge, Christie was sighted 'digging close' to the Government camp at a new perspective goldfield on Bandicoot Creek (Bendigo) by some settlers. Who may have remembered him from the connection to Munro forcing him to flee. Herring would later fit the description of Charles Zahn twelve years later, who pursued Ben Hall.

However, by the end of 1851, Christie fled north, fearing arrest, and crossed the Murray River into NSW. Francis blended in with the many gold miners en route to the new goldfields near Bathurst at Ophir, discovered by Hargraves, Lister and Toms. 

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

Christie arrived in NSW in an area he last saw in 1837, the Goulburn district. After crossing the Murray, the fugitive put a great distance between himself and the Victorian authorities. However, after firing with intent to shoot a prison guard, an aboriginal, Francis' escape may well have been seen in the extreme as a hanging offence. 

Subsequently, Christie assumed new aliases of Clarke and Gardiner. After an uneventful period of stock work in the Abercrombie/Goulburn surrounds, he again resorted to his old trade, horse duffing. 'The Darkie' commented years later on his fall into horse stealing and theft generally as he restarted his criminal life:

From want of suitable, employment. Young men can find no employment in the country districts except herding sheep or stock-riding. The latter occupation leads to horse-stealing simply because you become wholly engrossed in horseflesh, and the crime is so easily committed that you do not think of the consequences. Horse-stealing and horse "sojering" are of everyday occurrence in certain parts of the country.⁸ 

However, Christie's first foray into theft in NSW did not go well, when in the company of a youth named Prior he attempted to pull the same stunt as at Portland.

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

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

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

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

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

It may also be that Henry Munro had also retained his run at Boro Ck, and speculation arises that Charles Christie at this time 51/52 had been living there as stated to Fetherstonhaugh who wrote in his narrative 'After Many Days' quoted:

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

The Sydney Morning Herald
Thursday 13th April
Note: Fetherstonhaugh wrote his memoirs in 1917 at an advanced age. As such his time frame may be confused. However, this does fill in Christie's two years 1852-1854, where his father in 1854, which Fetherstonhaugh dates, may have returned to Victoria and his other children who appear to be very caring of their father as per his living in Sydney before his death in 1864 with Archina Griffiths and Charlotte Ion at 283 Pitt Street, where he was noted as a gentleman farmer. The Griffiths were in the fruit business. Therefore, the missing two years could have been in his father's company at Boro Creek, and, as such, allowed him to legitimately obfuscate his origins, creating a sophistry to protect his true identity.

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

Furthermore, constable Pagett who escorted the now named Clarke to Wingello then passed him on to Cockatoo Island stated that he knew him both as Clarke and Gardiner in Goulburn in late 1851. 1851 is crucial as it excludes Gardiner from participation in the Victorian gold robbery at McIvor 1853. (More on that subject later.) There has been speculation that Clarke and Christie are not the same men; however, this has been decidedly proved wrong. They are one and the same.

William Fogg.

Early woodcut of
Frank Gardiner,
The Bushranger.
c. 1861.
While roaming the Abercrombie/Goulburn and Fish River area, Christie made the acquaintance of one William Fogg. Who would become a close and lifelong friend. Fogg, an ex-convict, arrived in NSW sentenced to seven years for stealing hats in 1832, aged nineteen and hailed from Colchester, where he was employed as a factory boy. Fogg fronted court at Lancaster on the 9th January 1832, transported receiving a ticket-of-freedom in 1840. Fogg married Mary Taylor and resided in the remote parts of the Fish River. There he dabbled in all manner of theft and villainy throughout southern NSW in the Abercrombie, Wheeo, areas to Bungendore. Fogg was closely associated with bushranger John Peisley in the 1850s. 

Fogg was never far from police scrutiny and escaped conviction several times, including allegedly stealing Brandy in 1845:

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

In 1846 stealing nails: 

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

Peisley also emerged as an accomplice of Christie's:

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

However, Christie's knowledge of Peisley existed before their Cockatoo Island incarceration through both men's association with Fogg. Peisley was interned for horse stealing and tried on the 13th of July 1854, four months after Francis Clarke was convicted for horse stealing and sent to Cockatoo Island in March 1854. After three years, Peisley was granted a Ticket of Leave in 1857 for the Goulburn district. A review of Fogg's brushes with the law and those within his circle were noted as Solicitor Mr Holroyd's clients. Holroyd was as well a member of parliament for the seat of Bathurst. In 1881 Holroyd became a Justice of the Supreme Court.

The Yass Affair.

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

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

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

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

Certificate of
Licence, Henry
Prior, Goulburn 1853.

New South Wales,
Australia, Certificates for
Publicans' Licences,
1830-1849, 1853-1899

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

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

Another Christie alias, Williams.

Consequently, Chief Constable Robert McJannett armed with the evidence arrested Francis Christie, who had dropped the Christie for Francis Clarke, and his accomplice Edward Prior. When arrested Christie was found to have had £5 5s upon him and Prior £25; 'The Sydney Morning Herald'Tuesday 21st March 1854 reported:

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

Note; The date of horse theft 1st July 1853. McIvor robbery often linked to Francis Christie was on the 20th July 1853. Time and distance disqualify Christie from involvement at McIvor.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another officer, constable Pagett, revealed that he had known Christie at Goulburn:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cockatoo Island.

Cockatoo Island (1839-1872) was a prison with a hellish reputation for those who failed to conform. The superintendent of Cockatoo was Charles Ormsby 1842-1859. For Christie, it was a nervous time as his Victorian escape could well be exposed. However, Christie arrived at Cockatoo Island to commence 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 prison facility. 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 was a stroke of luck for Christie as many new convicts were being re-routed to Newcastle to work on the breakwater then under construction at the harbour. The breakwater was hazardous and backbreaking work, and for some, it cost their lives. Christie's luck held as he settled into prison life. However, with the islands proximity to Sydney Harbour's shores, escape no doubt wondered in his mind. Therefore, patience was required.   

In the first year of his time at Cockatoo, he was recorded twice for bad conduct. On the first offence, Clarke was placed for three days in the cells. The second attempt was regarding an escape attempt with another. Both were discovered loitering in the lumber yard secreted for a few days;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Furthermore, Clarke was gifted with artistic talent (see bottom of this page), demonstrated when in 1865 he inscribed through exquisite calligraphy a Bible to his future lover Kitty Brown currently displayed at Young, NSW. He was also noted as talented in other areas, namely Bone Carving. He was also excellent at Arithmetic;

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

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

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

Attempted Escape. 

Escape from Cockatoo Island was fraught with unseen dangers, such as strong currents, rocky shoreline littered with cutting oyster shells, sharks, and other hazardous obstacles. These, however, did not deter men hell-bent on taking the plunge for freedom. There were many attempts. There were many failures. Francis Clarke would also have a go. Twice, in fact.

A former prisoner incarcerated with Clarke provided an insight into his early prison life and recounted his eyewitness account of the Darkie's swim for freedom. Published after the notorious bushrangers 1874 release and deportation. Although the writer's name is lost forever. At the time, the pseudonym of 'Old Hand' was used and illustrates the Darkie's two attempts at freedom; 'Freeman's Journal' Saturday 26th May 1877;

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

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

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

A Ticket-of-Leave.

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

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

Furthermore, whether or not his family connections influenced the powers that be anonymously is more than possible. Although convicted under the name of Clarke there no doubt existed correspondence between him and his family. In the future when he was eventually thrown out of Australia his three sisters had been instrumental in pursuing his release following ten years of a thirty-two-year sentence of imprisonment.

Note: Frank's 1874 release was primarily achieved through his three devoted sisters.

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

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

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

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

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

Cancellation and warrant
for Ticket of Leave.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Francis Clarke,
Ticket of Leave. 1859

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

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

Frank no doubt charmed those officials who granted his ticket-of-leave even after his reported bad conduct at Cockatoo Island. The authorities, hadn't realised that his spokespersons were mere dupes, and were hoodwinked into release, where no doubt, the hand of Fogg lay across the subterfuge as he called in all his owed favours from his suspicious associates. The thoroughness of his champions petition had even the Inspector of Police J McLerie approved his release:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Although convicted as Clarke, Frank's Ticket-of-Leave correspondence within the relevant authorities named him Gardiner from which he was identified by const Pagett of Goulburn. Mr Ledsand who also championed release refers to Clarke as Gardiner:

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

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

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

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

E Ledsand
Dec 13 1859.

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

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

John Peisley.

Gardiner headed for the Abercrombie.

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

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

Lambing Flat.

Opportunity knocked and having linked up with William Fogg, Gardiner relocated to Lambing Flat where gold's allure was drawing thousands and opportunity knocked as the pair commenced a butchers shop. Gardiner under another alias Francis Jones. The pair arrived at Lambing Flat circa mid 1860. In August 1860, Michael Sheedy was awarded a reward for discovering payable gold in June 1860. The biggest New South Wales rush was on. After many months trading beef. On 15th May 1861, Christie's ticket was cancelled on the orders of Governor Sir John Young.

Discovered absent from the Carcoar after failing to report to police as per his ticket privileges 
Gardiner became suspected at Lambing Flat of organising a cattle stealing ring for the his butchering enterprise. However, the butcher business caught the watchful eye of Captain Battye, the officer in charge of the Flat, who had his hands full with quelling the anti-Chinese sentiment widespread amongst the miners of the new goldfield. Regardless, for Christie/Clarke/Jones/Gardiner (but a few of his alias'), his chicanery knew no bounds.

Whereby before cancellation, the wily Francis had petitioned for a full pardon in 1860. Here he used references of some prominent men without their knowledge or consent. One thing is for sure! Christie was smart. After all, deception, horse and cattle theft for Christie was it appeared to be in his DNA.  'The Brisbane Courier' Monday 18th July 1864;

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

Isaac Shepard, Jun, J.P.

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

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

Following Sheedy's discovery of gold, an article appeared in the newspaper outlaying the reward presented to Sheedy for his lucrative find which dwarfed Hargraves 1851 goldfield at Ophir NSW; 'Sydney Morning Herald';

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

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

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

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

Butchers Shop.

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

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

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

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

Goldfield butchers shop.
c. 1861.
The need for cattle for the butchering business was constant. Obtaining them was labour intensive. Workforce on the diggings was plentiful as men flooded into the goldfield, many not fussed about stealing. Two men Gardiner came in contact with was a young Canadian from Kilmore Victoria. Johnny Gilbert employed as a horse-breaker at nearby Marengo and John O'Meally, a stockman from the nearby rugged Weddin Mountains. Several other hardcore local criminals who had no issues with taking animals on the cross were also employed. In particular, John Davis, who would team up with Gardiner as his Lieutenant and hailed from Singleton in due course. Davis was a qualified carpenter by trade, having worked for Patrick O'Meally, father of John O'Meally, in constructing the family home and hotel at Arramagong Station at the Weddin Mountains 25 miles to the Nth West.

Business boomed, and Fogg hired another rogue with a shady past named Thomas Matthews, alias Thomas Richards. Matthews was a former convict freed from Tasmania circa 1850 after serving ten years of a fourteen-year sentence. Matthews was an itinerant worker who had spent time at the Ovens River diggings near Beechworth, Ballarat and Castlemaine, where he had been run out of town for cheating at the betting game of Thimbles. At some point, Matthews had been linked to a brothel on one of the diggings. He was also reputed to have been charged with rape in Adelaide. He arrived at the Fish River NSW and made the acquaintance of William Fogg, consequently joining him at Lambing Flat with Gardiner butchering. Matthews on the Flat was often referred to as Tom, the butcher, but he was known as Double Dummy to others. In the future, Matthews, who was well acquainted with John Maguire, Ben Hall's business partner, would volunteer information regarding the Eugowra Gold Escort Robbery. Matthews was well known to Gardiner and was thought to have been involved in Gardiner's various robberies. When the Lambing Flat undertaking was scuttled, it was said that;

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

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

John Gilbert and John O'Meally.

John Gilbert.
Lambing Flat was awash with idle youths too lazy to have a crack at the pick and shovel. The search for game men brought Gardiner into contact with the fast and flash youth John Gilbert. Although years apart in age, Gardiner and Gilbert struck up a strong kinship as both hailed from Victoria and Gilbert's former Kilmore district was one that Gardiner undoubtedly knew well from his youth. There is a possibility that there were people in Kilmore common to both.

However, at the time of their acquaintance, Gilbert was a seasoned shyster. Slick in the saddle and having a way with unruly stock Gilbert was the perfect choice for Gardiner's cattle operations. Not only was Gilbert streetwise, but he also had intimate knowledge of the surrounding stations whose cattle often roamed unattended at a time when fences had not existed. Gilbert's reputation included being a part-time bush telegraph and appeared to be never short of a quid while living at his ease in a boarding house at Lambing Flat. With a sharp eye for easy pickings, he often acquainted his associates with persons worth robbing. However, upon Gardiner's endorsement, Gilbert was given the job to purchase and pinch cattle, in that capacity Gilbert brought in stockman mate John O'Meally;

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

Mrs Betsy Toms
c. 1920.

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

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

Consequently, obtaining cattle on the cross (theft) inevitably brought Fogg and Gardiner's activities under the purview of the police led by Captain Battye. Scrutiny of their dubious stock raised all sorts of suspicions. Stoking the ire of the dogged police Captain who was adamant that cattle stealing would be checked and continuously raided the butchers operating and their suspicious trade. As such, it was not long before police gained helpful information supporting their suspicions of the nefarious activities of Fogg and Gardiner. In April 1861 Christie/Clarke/Jones/Gardiner was arrested by a trooper at Spring Creek and charged with, of all things, horse stealing;

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

However, identity confusion reigned and in May 1861, the police held Christie in custody at Burrangong, where he convinced them he was not the man they were looking for and was granted bail. For a Scotsman, Christie had the luck of the Irish. He quickly fled Lambing Flat for Fogg's Fish River farm 100 miles away. The "Burrangong Miner's" news columns contain the following:

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

His escape cost £400 forfeited. (Roughly a loss of $33,000) Indignant at the charge, Gardiner allegedly posted an advertisement in the "Burrangong Miner" refuting the assumption that he was a thief and that it all was a lie;

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

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

Gunfight at the Fish River.

john middelton
Sgt John Middleton wearing
 his Silver Bravery Medal

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

Having returned to Fogg's farm, information was relayed to Carcoar magistrate Mr Beardmore of Gardiner's presence in the Lachlan River area and intelligence linking Gardiner to a spate of armed robberies in the company of bushranger John Peisley. Beardmore instructed the local police to re-arrest Christie/Clarke as per the outstanding warrant. 

On the 16th of July 1861, two officers were dispatched. Constables Hosie and Sgt Middleton set off. The two troopers were very active in the Carcoar police district, which went as far as Trunkey. Trunkey was also a gold-based settlement, and as such, it had its fair share of bushranging in which John Peisley was the main culprit operating a gang of misfits. Gardiner, having fled Lambing Flat, may well have been involved in the area. However, diligent in their efforts Middleton and Hosie was successful in apprehending bushrangers, earning the respect of the locals; 'Goulburn Herald' Wednesday 6th March 1861;

Mining matters have passed the Rubicon of either good or bad, the exodus of the digger, and their families, to the Lambing Flat, having depopulated this locality, and left the golden treasures of Tuena to continue undisturbed.

The district around is, I am sorry to say, in a state of more insecurity, than at any previous period for some time past, bare-faced robberies and sticking up, seem to be the rule and not the exception. Our police force consists at present, of one serjeant, and one trooper, who have quite enough to do to keep matters right among the settlers, by protecting, or rather I should say, hunting after the villains, who have lately been levying black mail at Trunkey, or the Abercrombie, and the surrounding neighbourhood. The notorious Peisley has it appears, in concert with other villains been robbing right and left, and on Friday morning early, or rather, between Thursday night and Friday morning, our indefatigable sergeant Middleton, with trooper Hosie, brought in two men with whom they previously had some acquaintance; having some days since accidentally fallen in with them, and passed them by as honest men, but subsequently finding they were deceived, again tracked them, but only found their horses and swags, which they conveyed to Carcoar, and upon investigation the proceeds of a small robbery belonging to a travelling jeweller appeared among the contents.

Ever on the alert, Middleton has at last secured these two worthies, and has started with them for Carcoar. It would be premature to say more just now, but there can be no doubt but they are connected with recent robberies. Stapleton, a publican at Trunkey was robbed of a large sum of money; the like misfortune happened some Chinese on the Abercrombie; Gunning Flat has had the compliment paid and probably time will reveal a few more localities. When Middleton seized the men referred to, they were armed to the teeth, and too much credit cannot be given to him and Hosie for the zeal and promptness with which they do and are ever ready to discharge their duties. It is to be lamented that we have no unpaid J.P. anywhere near us, our P.M. lives 30 miles away, and visits us but once a month.

It is to be hoped that so extensive a district as that of the Abercrombie will not be left so unprotected as at present, but that the hands of sergeant Middleton will be strengthened to enable him to extend his protection to the settlers, and to spare some of his force to unkennel the villains who lurk about this district. - Tuena, March 1861.

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

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

Caught unaware, Mrs Fogg stood outside the dwelling as the two policemen draped in heavy coats and wearing cabbage tree hats came through the slip-rails heading for the house. Mary Fogg realising they were police, instantly yelled out an alarm. Her ardent cry alerted Gardiner inside the hut. The police, dismounting, approached the front door where a figure, Gardiner dressed in a dark coat and striped trousers, moved to a back room screened by a hanging piece of calico. Middleton first entered the house, pushing Mrs Fogg to one side, asking her "who had gone in there," Mrs Fogg said, "a man." Middleton crossed the floor toward the screen as Hosie covered the back of the home. Gardiner called out, threatening Middleton to not come near, adding that he would shoot the first person that came in. Middleton, fearless, approached the screen and, on lifting it, was met with a gunshot. Instantly Middleton returned fire. A quick succession of revolver shots was exchanged, and some of Gardiner's bullets struck Middleton, one in the mouth/neck, the other in the left hand. Middleton's shots missed their mark, and he bleeding profusely, withdrew. Hosie hearing his comrade's shots, strode up to the front door and went inside. Gardiner again fired the shot and struck Hosie in the head, whereby he instantly collapsed, believed dead.

As Middleton had entered the home, a panicked Mary Fogg following gathered up two of her children and fled the house. At the same time, a man named James Barney, living at Fogg's, grabbed the third child retreating outside into the yard as the melee took place.

However, Gardiner rushed full steam out of ammunition and was uninjured at the wounded and dazed Middleton as Hosie lay unconscious. Middleton was, however, no slouch. Severely bleeding, Middleton took the charging Gardiner's weight upon himself and armed only with his silver-topped riding whip, they struggled into the yard. Brutal hand-to-hand combat and a fight to the death erupted. Middleton bludgeoned Gardiner into submission with the solid whip handle. Hosie's non-compos mentis arose and staggered to Middleton's aid. Gardiner had the cuffs applied in a semi-conscious state after Fogg begged him to desist from the struggle. The two injured troopers affected their man's capture.

Their wounds were reported, with Middleton shot through the lower lip, knocking out three of his front teeth, the bullets passing through the root of his tongue. It adjudged that he swallowed the lead ball after seeing a doctor and could not be found. Middleton was also shot through the wrist, besides three other bullet wounds. Hosie was hit in the temple, but the bullet glanced off without serious injury other than severe delirium and concussion.

Fogg's Hut. This is not the
original home but built
over the old Hut
site c. 1867.

Photo c. 1920s
However, only in 1864, the full scope of the confrontation and its viciousness had been shrouded in mystery and hearsay. Gardiner's court case after his arrest at Apis Creek, the full facts were brought into the light. Evidence highlighted the battle royal between the police and Gardiner finally emerged. Middleton sorted out the facts from fiction in delivering his testimony on the events. Recounting the life and death struggle in his own words, John Middleton deposed;

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dramatisation of Gardiner
and Hosie encounter at

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

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

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

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

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

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

Far from dying and the brawl at Fogg's over. Gardiner fled to the Weddin Mountains. However, while serving time at Cockatoo Island, Gardiner/Clarke was reacquainted with one John Peisley. John Peisley hailed from the O'Connell Plains near Bathurst, born in 1834. Peisley and his family were well known to the police and faced court at various stages but inevitably escaped conviction. However, his father was sent down over a bull theft from prominent landowner Mr Icely of Coombing Park. Sentenced to seven years at Cockatoo, Peisley's father reputedly died in prison before completing his sentence. The Peisley home was home to a 'den of thieves.' In February 1852, Peisley was arrested for stealing two horses from Mr Patrick Kurley. However, two years would pass before Peisley fronted the court. After all the evidence, the jury retired and returned a guilty verdict shortly after. Peisley was sentenced to five years at Cockatoo Island.

John Peisley,

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

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

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

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

The Darky' having survived his beating and left the Lachlan River, his relationship with Peisley faded. However, the earlier alleged bribe to Hosie cast suspicion that the notorious rogue John Peisley provided the funds. Upon hearing the accusation, Peisley wrote a letter to the Editor of the Bathurst Free Press in September 1861. He was refuting in any way that he had assisted in the release of Gardiner from Fogg's. Peisley was adamant that he was not involved with Gardiner's rescue. Nor that he provided the £50 reputed to have been paid to Hosie for the escape.

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

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

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

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

Note for Execution
of John Peisley.

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

It was noted in 'The Courier' that Peisley;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

'The Darky' was a true celebrity whose very name touched every citizen of NSW. Whose exploits were romanticised and full of adventure, daring and bravery regardless of the poor victims' who suffered under his revolver. Furthermore, the scenes generated in and outside the filled court and through the general public brought much displeasure and disgust to the presiding Judge, Mr Justice Wise;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kitty married John Brown
when aged 16 at the same

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Lachlan.

When Gardiner arrived at Wheogo in 1861, Maguire stated;

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

The friendship between Maguire, Hall and Gardiner evolved through Gardiner's Lambing Flat butcher's shop. John Maguire and Ben Hall were then commencing a new venture. A cattle station called Sandy Creek, sixty miles distant. The two men also drew cattle from the adjacent Wheogo Station. Through Hall and Maguire, Gardiner fell for the beautiful Catherine Brown. A vivacious blonde, 5ft 3in tall. Wheogo Station was owned by Sarah Walsh nee Hurpur nee Chidley the stepmother of the men's wives Elen Maguire and Bridget Hall, following the women's father's death in 1858. 

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

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

  Note;  Letter published below.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sir Frederick Pottinger.

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

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

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

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

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

Gardiner, Where are you!

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

Moreover, throughout the detailed map. The police furnished insight and opinion regarding the character of those considered criminal or just plain reprehensible who were known protectors of 'The Darky'. However, two names on the highly confidential map are surprisingly the young wife of Ben Hall and her sister Mrs Catherine Brown. Both noted as 'bad', and at one farm on the map states; "Harbourer, Yorkshire Jack, good man bad women, the retreat of Mrs Hall and Brown." (See map bottom of page) 

An 1861 newspaper article notes Yorkshire Jack as;

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

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

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

The police in constant search and on alert were always one step behind the Darky as he covered the districts with ease. Gardiner was irrepressible, the newspapers often characterised him in the mould of the famous and cavalier 17th-century French-born English highwayman Claude Du Val (b.1643-d.1670) or another 18th century famous English highwayman Dick Turpin (1706-1739);

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

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

The Australian Dick Turpin.
Gardiner's Flight.

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

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

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

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

A standard embraced by accomplice John Gilbert who styled himself also as a flash cove. Accordingly, Gardiner was also very well aware that the settlers, both rich and poor, were his most significant asset for protection, however, at a cost.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kitty reputedly in
action with Gardiner.
c. 1862
Gardiner, having fully recovered from the gunfight and struggle at Fogg's farm and in the throes of a sizzling love affair with the beautiful blonde haired Catherine in full bloom. All roads and tracks surrounding the Goldfields at Forbes, Lambing Flat and the Weddin/Pinnacle Mountains were now under Gardiner's domain as he leapt into bushranging.

John 'Warrigal' Walsh.

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

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

John Walsh was 14.

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

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

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

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

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

Sadly, the Warrigal's relationship with Gardiner would cost him his life at age 16 in March 1863 following his arrest at his sister Kitty's home in August 1862, incarceration covering many months at the primitive Forbes lock-up. John Walsh died from Gaol Fever. (Typhus fever.) (For full details, see Ben Hall Pt. 1.)

Dick Turpin or Claude Du Val?

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

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

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

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

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

However, as they say, actions speak louder than words, as described in the article below. Some tough talk by two local businessmen unknowingly in Gardiner's presence at a local shanty saw two men quiver. One a Mr James Torpy was a prominent leader during the anti-Chinese sentiment at Lambing Flat 1861. The link below illustrates the events and meeting between Torpy, his mate and Gardiner.
Wednesday, 12th February 1862
However, a letter to the 'Sydney Morning Herald' penned by Henry Kirwen draws a diffing view of the gameness of the men who poured scorn on Gardiner then wet their pants when confronted by the redoubtable bushranger.
Sydney Morning Herald
Wednesday, 12th February 1862
The article's reference above to Mrs Fielding or Feehey must be noted that she is Daniel Charters's older sister and Pinnacle Station owner. Margaret Feehily operated a public house on the property frequented by Gardiner and others regularly. Its reputation drew the NSW police to place a station a short distance from the homestead in late 1862. A few days after the confrontation with Torpy, Gardiner with Gilbert robbed Mr Alfred Stokes at the Bland. 21st February 1862;

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

Nevertheless, recruits, such as John Gilbert, John Davis, Jack O’Meally and Pat M'Guinness and others, all gravitated to 'The Darky', reputedly nicknamed by his muscular, athletic build dark-complexioned handsome looks as well as a love of the dark arts ... 'Fortune Telling'. The band of marauders commenced waylaying travellers daily on the roads between the Burrangong and the Lachlan gold diggings at Forbes. However, one of the most successful and most rewarding robberies for the bushranger was the bailing-up of two storekeepers on the 10th March 1862. After months of small takings, Gardiner hit pay dirt.

Alfred Horsington - Henry Hewett.

Gardiner's victims were Alfred Horsington (Hossington) and his wife Sophia, and Henry Hewett. The businessmen were stopped near Big Wombat. Alfred Horsington knew Gardiner by sight, saying in 1864;

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

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

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

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

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

However, while in the dock at the Sydney Criminal Court at Darlinghurst in 1864. Frank Gardiner pleaded Guilty to the charge of Highway Robbery against Horsington and Hewitt but took umbrage at the evidence put forward by his victims. In a letter to the judge, Chief Justice Alfred Stephen, Gardiner cast doubt over the victim's claims. Gardiner, in fact, stated that there were five in number, not four. The fifth man may have been Samuel Dinnir (Dinner), a well-known hoodlum of the district released from Bathurst Gaol in 1860; from the Yass Courier:

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

Gardiner stated that only two of the bushrangers involved remained alive during the court proceedings since the events. At the time of the 1864 trial, Pat M'Guinness had been shot dead. John O'Meally also shot dead, and John Davis, unmentioned previously, was serving a fifteen-year sentence. Whether by design or mischievous intentions, Gardiner hints that Gilbert may not have been a participant. This lack of linking Gilbert to the robbery was quantified by Henry Hewitt himself at the inquest into Gilbert's death in May 1865 where if Gilbert's participation was evident, Hewitt would have stated so; 'The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser' Saturday 20th May 1865  Robert Henry Hewitt, being duly sworn, states;

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

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

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

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

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

Nevertheless, Gardiner brazened by the police's failings at any real attempt in pursuit or capture the Darkie became from March to June 1862 the governor of the Queen's roads and uninterrupted perpetrated a large volume of robberies. Supported by a band of ruffians constantly changing; March 25th 1862.- Telegram, Forbes;

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

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

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

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

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

Gunfight at Brewers - Davis falls.

Emerging as the unchallenged leader Frank Gardiner had surrounded himself with fierce and daring accomplices. One accomplice was Gardiner's closest ally John Davis, a native of Singleton and of the same age who was a carpenter by trade. Davis and Gardiner struck up a good friendship. However, Davis was as reckless as 'The Darkie'. When in company with McGuinness and Connolly, Davis' run was checked. On the 10th of April 1862, Davis and Gardiner's partnership came to an abrupt end. Lyons, Kennedy and Sanderson escorting prisoners alighted from a coach outside Brewers Shanty, 25 miles from Lambing Flat. Here they chanced upon Davis, McGuinness and Connolly. Observing the three bushrangers suspiciously, the police challenged them to stand. Davis undeterred withdrew his revolver and opened fire as his cohorts took flight. The battle royal between Davis and the police officers can be read through the link below and is well worth it. Davis would be shot several times and taken. Lyons had a finger shot off, and Mrs Brewer would be grazed on the cheek.
Sydney Morning Herald
Thursday, 17th April 1862

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

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

Gardiner, seated left.
The capture of Davis was a blow to Gardiner, as he had lost his First Lieutenant. Davis would now be ably replaced by John Gilbert. It appears that Davis and Gilbert had similar personalities, brave, daring, smart, educated, happy go lucky, loyal and excellent horseman. Davis was also quite musical and was known to entertain the gang with musical ditties;

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

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

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

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

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

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

John Davis sentence
November 1862.

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

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

Following Davis' capture, 'The Darkie', either to rescue or avenge his mate's capture, commenced searching passenger coaches along the Lachlan Road, seeking the troopers responsible for grabbing his mate. The following article is from the 'Sydney Morning Herald' 17th April 1862 refers to Gardiner in company with four bushrangers riding magnificent mounts, one of whom was the newly single Ben Hall;

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

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

No doubt the riders John Gilbert, John O'Meally, Ben Hall and Patsy Daley, O'Meally's first cousin.

Cop a Mouse - Mr Editor.

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

One newspaper that repeatedly disparaged Gardiner's character was the 'Burrangong Courier'. The paper was editor-ed and owned by Mr G.D. Lang, son of the highly esteemed parliamentarian The Rev Dr Lang M.P. who had returned in 1834 from England on the same ship that brought out a five-year-old Francis Christie, 'The James'. Incensed at the unfavourable and derogatory reporting of the paper. Gardiner had been apprised that the influential father of the paper's owner was travelling through the Burrangong District gathering research for his highly anticipated article for the Sydney papers titled 'NOTES OF A TRIP TO THE WESTWARD AND SOUTHWARD'. Gardiner soon set his telegraphs to seek out the good Reverend for a parlay;

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

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

Accordingly, one such letter penned by Gardiner appeared in the Lachlan Miner and was reprinted in the unfavourable Burrangong Courier. According to Frank's anamnesis, the letter highlighted the misrepresentation of Gardiner's most recent activities, whereby 'The Darky' wished to put the editor straight; BURRANGONG. (From the Burrangong Courier, April 23, 1862)- The following extremely respectable note and a letter appeared in the Lachlan Miner of the 10th instant. The Miner published Gardner's letter as we give it below, with the annexed endorsement as to its authenticity: 

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

To the Editor of the Burrangong Miner, Lambing Flat;

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Grand Haul - Eugowra.

"Make way for the Royal Mail."
The howls of magistrates and the outrage of local newspaper editors did little to curb the 'Darky' as he set his sights on a grand prize. Gardiner had had his fill of the mundane and often reward-less robberies after payoffs to his harbourers quickly resulted in Gardiner setting forth a plan to obtain instantly the riches he needed for a new life. Gold was the lure as Gardiner began formulating a grand attack on one of her Majesty's mails, carrying thousands in gold and cash. Success would allow him to flee with his lover Catherine Brown. Far from the haunts of the Lachlan. Gardiner's most outstanding achievement would be the robbery of the Gold Escort at Eugowra Rocks. Eugowra Rocks were situated twenty-seven miles from the provincial gold town of Forbes. Gardiner put together seven men of various means to help to effect the undertaking. Two men were Ben Hall, a part-time accomplice, and Daniel Charters. Both are financially well-off and well-known to Gardiner. 

Fortune Telling
Gardiner's Dark
Arts companion.
Interestingly in the process of the planning and gathering of the required equipment and personal. It was noted that Frank Gardiner was seeking advice regarding the success or failure of the proposed audacious task through the black arts via a Fortune Telling book. A book for which he was widely known to consult regularly and where Gardiner had held great faith in the mechanisms of the Oracle;

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

Frank commenced organising a daring heist of Gold from a Royal Mail Escort, as such had been scrutinising the regular gold escort movements around the goldfields of Forbes and Lambing Flat for months. Recording their routes and departure times as well as the number of ounces of gold on-board each coach. What made it easier for the 'King of the Road' was that the details required were frequently advertised/published in the local newspapers' columns. Some papers even went so far as to highlight how to conduct the robbery as early as January 1862. Expressed in; The 'Western Examiner' 30th January 1862;

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

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

Frank Gardiner was cognisant of the very sentiment revealed in the paper and amazingly almost followed the analysis to the letter. Therefore, gratified by the knowledge that the small number of police guards could be overcome. Gardiner set about finalising the logistics for the robbery. John Maguire, a close acquaintance of Frank Gardiner, wrote of Frank's desire in 'The Biography of a Reliable Old Native' (Written by P.H. Pinkstone, owner of the 'Hawkesbury Herald' and first published in the said newspaper after many in-depth interviews and fireside talks, c. 1906.)

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

McIvor Gold Robbery, Victoria 1853.

Moreover, possible inspiration may have sprung from Gardiner's recall of a bold and widely publicised gold robbery two years after escaping from Pentridge Stockade Victoria. The heist occurred on 20th July 1853. Nine years earlier than Eugowra. The privately organised gold wagon departed under strong guard provided by the Victorian police. They left from the McIvor diggings near Bendigo for Kyneton to connect with the Melbourne escort. Subsequently, it was attacked and robbed by a gang of six men at Mia Mia south of Lake Eppalock. The men split into two groups, one section firing on the police while the other snatched the gold.

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

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

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

At the time, it was a sensation. The banditos cleared out with over 3,000 ounces of gold and £800 in cash. Their shot at freedom and riches was short-lived. However, Frank Gardiner played no part in the McIvor affair. As in 1854 Gardiner as Clarke was recorded as stealing horses from Tunea in July 1853;

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

Two brothers named Francis, George and John were arrested with John turning Queen's evidence and ratted his partners out, six men were involved. The comparison to Daniel Charters and his turning Queens evidence is astounding. Those nicked included John Francis' brother George who committed suicide while in custody by slashing his throat in a water closet (Toilet). The other robbers were Joseph Grey, George Melville, George Wilson and William Atkins. George Melville, George Wilson and William Atkins were found guilty and hanged before, "an immense crowd of persons assembled to witness the spectacle." 

Joseph Grey escaped and vanished from Melbourne reputed to have made for Adelaide. Furthermore, the men involved in the robbery were all noted as married men except Grey. At no stage was Christie mentioned or alluded to in the evidence as one of the robbers. Apart from the road being blocked, the similarities between McIvor and Eugowra end there as Gardiner did not split his men. However, unlike at McIvor, Gardiner attacked as a concentrated group firing two volleys at the troopers penned in the coach.

As such, the subject of Christie/Gardiner's often linked historical involvement in the McIvor affair appears to have sprung from a Sydney newspaper that picked up a report from a Melbourne paper insinuating that Christie was a person of interest even leader in the affair. That, however, has proven to be inaccurate. Any use of that sentiment is untrustworthy in the extreme. Furthermore, the paper states that Christie is a native of Sydney. This is as well false. Gardiner had been in Victoria since 1838. Having left NSW with his family and Henry Munro coming from the Goulburn district and arriving as an eight-year-old at Campasne Victoria, only resurfacing in NSW after he escaped from Pentridge in 1851 along with fellow escapee Charles Herring who accompanied Gardiner and who as well linked up with William Fogg; 'Bell's Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer' Saturday 6th August 1853 Page 2 extracted from the 'Melbourne Herald' 'The Murderous Attack upon the Melbourne Private Escort.' 

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

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

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

The gazette report provides no indication or suspicion regarding Gardiner and the robbery.

The general consensus on Gardiner's physical appearance highlights that he was far from an ill-looking fellow. Evidence concludes Gardiner had left for NSW from Victoria by late 1851 at the age of 22. However, if perchance Francis Christie had been captured, the authorities undoubtedly would have held him for identification and incarcerated him at once as a convict illegally at large and returned him to Pentridge. 

Furthermore, Gardiner was in the habit of using many aliases'. An absconder would no doubt, if seized, have instantly provided one of the many false names in his repertoire. Apart from the one mention in the Sydney paper picked up from Victoria, there is no other link to Christie/Gardiner's alleged involvement. Finally, 'The Argus' 17th August 1853 names those arrested on suspicion of participation in the affair and half of whom were released. Note one, Christopher William Christy, as one detained then released in connection with the McIvor robbery. Therefore, Christopher William Christy/Christie may be the source of confusion and the person alluded to as;

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

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

Evidence suggests that Christy hailed from Tasmania and, as with the McIvor robbers, crossed to Victoria as a former convict, receiving a pardon in 1850. Christie appeared in a Tasmanian paper highlighting his arrest, 'The Tasmanian Colonist' Thursday 18th August 1853;

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

Consequently, all the evidence at the subsequent trials of the actual perpetrators, in which John Francis turned Queen's evidence, makes no mention of the involvement of Christie or a man fitting his description. However, in his evidence, the approver John Francis references Pentridge;

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

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

Thus, January's 1862 'Western Examiners' assessment of how to rob a coach may well be the only grounds for Gardiner's strategy at Eugowra and McIvor purely a historical coincidence. Another plausible explanation may well have been a correspondent pursuing the police Victorian Hue and Cry in 1852, drew a link confusing Francis Christie's escape from Pentridge and the Francis brothers and Christopher Christie's apprehension's at the McIvor diggings.

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

In a postscript, the man Joseph 'Nutty' Grey was believed to be the ring leader and subsequently disappeared. However, of interest was a newspaper report in 1899 of an unknown gentleman enquiring about the legalities of recovering the unaccounted McIvor treasure, 'The Bendigo Independent' Saturday 13th May 1899;

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

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

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

No! Place and Time were Francis' alibi.

NSW Gold Escort.
c. 1870's
Eugowra Gold Robbery, New South Wales, 15th June 1862.

All 'The Darkie' needed for success in sweeping Catherine from the Lachlan was a perfect place to ambush a gold escort. That place was revealed by Ben Hall following their discussions of various locations. The area required that it not be well patronised, such as Lambing Flat and Forbes's main road. Therefore, Ben proposed Eugowra Rocks, an area littered with large granite rocks and boulders shouldering the road the escorted coach would travel through between Forbes and Orange. Ben Hall's knowledge of that particular area came from his many journeys with his close friend Daniel Charters and time spent at Charters sister's hotel and farm at Bandon, a stone's throw from the Gates Road Eugowra. Bill Hall, Ben Hall's brother, blows the whistle on Ben Hall's contribution and participation. Bradshaw write;

Ben Hall knew the place well and had a good knowledge of the surrounding country. He was also appointed pilot. Ben Hall was likewise chosen to go into Forbes and inquire particulars as to the escort. Hall found out that the escort would be leaving Forbes on Sunday. Word was passed around for another meeting on the Friday before. True to their promise, the lot turned up on that day.

Accordingly, Gardiner found no trouble recruiting his accomplices once the sweet riches were revealed. Gardiner recruited seven men with himself in command: John Gilbert, John O’Meally, Daniel Charters, Alex Fordyce, John Bow, Ben Hall and the last one recruited Henry Manns. Final preparations for the bold attack now began in earnest, correspondence regarding the meeting and get together's between the gang members was facilitated by young Johnny 'The Warrigal' Walsh on Gardiner's orders;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

George Burgess
c. 1930's.

Rare photo.
George Burgess was a thirteen-year-old lad who assisted one of the dray whip's Dick Bloomfield and acted as a 'billy boiler.' (Tea maker) Burgess witnessed the process of Frank Gardiner seconding the drays commenting in the 'Molong Express and Western District Advertiser' Saturday 14th September 1935;

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

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

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

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

Image of the Escort Coach
attacked at Eugowra
15th June 1862.
Photograph was taken in 1917
by W H Burgess.

Held at the Mitchel Library.
Many thanks to Dick Adams.

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

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

Another image of
the Escort Coach
photographed by
Frank Walker.

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

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

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

Eugowra Escort Robbery
June 1862.

Illustration by Monty Wedd. ©
George Burgess again relates the events during the robbery; 

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

Commissioner Grenfell.
Newspaper Image, 1867.

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

Captain Brown and Mr. Commissioner Grenfell were to have come down by the escort, but owing to special instructions from Inspector General M'Lerie, they came on horseback and were some miles in advance of the escort when the attack was made. As the gang waited for the approaching coach and before blocking the road, the robbers watched the two men pass by is unknown.

The police survivors gathered at Clements. After some medical attention, Clements rushed to Forbes in the darkness reined his horse at the police camp relaying the sensational news of the happenings at Eugowra. Soon after, Rafferty appeared at the Forbes police camp, believing all the other police were killed. As word spread, great pandemonium broke out as the circumstances were blazed across the 1860's internet, the Electric Telegraph. Later on, the Sunday evening of the robbery and the Clements' news in hand.

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

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

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

Sir Frederick Pottinger arrived and commenced the chase for the culprits. Subsequently, after obtaining fresh horses, the bullet-riddled coach was righted and proceeded to Orange with the wounded police. However, along the way, it picked up some passengers. Clements had also discovered the missing bullock drivers.

Following the affray and instructions from Sir Frederick Pottinger, the battered and bullet-riddled escort coach the next day resumed its journey, finally entering Orange at 7pm on Monday evening, travelling up Summer Street headed for the Post Office. Those onboard were Driver John Fagan, Sgt Condell, Const Moran, Const Havilland, Mr Boynton (Manager of the coach company involved Ford &Co.,) Ellen Chandler, her servant and child. Here Haviland and the troopers deposited the untouched mail. The coach then set off for Dalton's Inn (The O'Connell Inn). However, as the coach departed and proceeded to the Inn in Byng St, a gunshot report was reported. Constable Haviland, seated inside the coach, was killed instantly by a single shot from Constable Moran’s revolver. In the melee with the bushrangers, the gun fell onto the floor and had gone unnoticed under Haviland's seat;

Orange Post Office.
c. 1870.

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

James Dalton licence
for The O'Connell Inn.

New South Wales, Australia,
Certificates for Publicans'
Licences, 1853-1899 for
James Dalton, 1860.
Haviland was removed to a bed at the hotel where Dr Warren was called for and deposed at the inquest of the effects of Haviland's gunshot;

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

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

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

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

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

Hanbury Clements.
c. 1880's
The police in pursuit and the gang dispersing Hanbury Clement's penned a letter to an acquaintance in Bathurst providing a good account of the robbery and its after-effects praising Sgt Condell for his cool-headedness during the onslaught. Clement's highlights that three bullock teams were blocking the road, and the only member not in disguise was Frank Gardiner. Amazingly one of the guards Rafferty covered the twenty-five miles back to Forbes through the bush; The following extract from a letter received by a gentleman in Bathurst is published in the Free Press 24th June 1862:

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

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

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

Before long, news of the astonishing robbery spread like wildfire as Inspector Pottinger with a party of settlers sprung into action. After appraising the escort troopers' condition and righting the upturned coach, set off with the aboriginal black trackers. Canvassing the scene, they discovered the trail of the bandito's putting the trackers on the scent proceeded on the hunt;

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

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

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

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

Wheogo Hill borders Ben Hall's station and the home of Gardiner's lover Kitty Brown's family Wheogo station. Returning safely to the summit of the hill, the gang set up camp to divide the spoils. While on Wheogo Hill, the men were joined by young Johnny 'Warrigal' Walsh, who would run errands over the next few days to provide the food and drink required to sustain the Eugowra raiders. The marauders had plundered a fortune consisting of 2700 oz. of gold, representing over $3 million in today’s value, and £3,700 in Oriental Bank notes equal in today’s terms to $310,000. 

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

However, the role of young Johnny Walsh following the men's return to Wheogo Hill has been overlooked in the main. 'The Warrigal' was the link in fetching the victuals needed to sustain the men as the robbery proceeds were divvied up. Furthermore, the man Gardiner sent to Hall's for saddlebags may well have been Walsh and not as suspected Gilbert nor Charters, as evidence suggests that it was the 'The Warrigal' who was sent to collect the saddlebags from Hall's as he would have not raised suspicion and that Maguire named Charters to protect the young larikin who on seeing the troopers quickly turned and fled. On Sanderson reaching the camp, he noted Warrigal's supply chain;

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

For Johnny's help in the camp at Wheogo. Maguire comments that the young lad received £100;

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

Every man for himself.

For the first time in his lawless career, Gardiner panicked and made a catastrophic mistake. Fearing that, the police were almost upon him and the pack-horse slowing their escape. Gardiner dropped its reins and galloped off, leaving his, Charters and Fordyce's share on its back, calling out;

Go your own roads, and look after yourselves" This command was promptly acted upon, the other three promptly, disappearing in various directions.

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy Penzig.
However, in the flight from Wheogo Hill, Gardiner, in his panic, had not fully realised that the pursuing Sanderson was still some way off and that they actually had more time to facilitate their escape even with the pack-horse in tow. Thereby, Gardiner may have avoided forfeiting the remaining gold if he had held his nerve. The following letter was published in the 'Examiner', Tuesday 1st July 1862, exposing just how far Sanderson was from the fleeing bushrangers and included the district's widespread knowledge that it was indeed Gardiner who was the mastermind; LACHLAN.-LATE ESCORT ROBBERY. -We have been furnished with the following letter, received by a gentleman in the city from his correspondent at Forbes. As it contains some particulars of the recovery of a portion of the gold stolen from the escort, it will perhaps be interesting to our readers:

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

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

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

The huge escort robbery would be Gardiner's final known bushranging exploit. Within days of the momentous feat, that sentiment was commented on and proved accurate. Lachlan Observer, June 1862;

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

Following the achievement of the Escort robbery and poorer for his effort with no prize in his pocket. Frank Gardiner reputedly cleared out of NSW with reports of his presence in either Victoria or South Australia. However, after some weeks, incognito Gardiner appeared in Wheogo and the home of Catherine Brown. One report even insinuated his whereabouts during this period of inactivity as in Ballarat; 'The Argus, Melbourne' 25th August 1862;

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

The 'Fat Girl'! 

What is not widely known is that the father of the young lady is also the father of John Youngman who fled Orange after receiving bail at his and Ben Hall's court proceedings at the Orange Courthouse in May of 1862, regarding the Bacon robbery. Youngman's fleeing cast a shadow over Ben Hall. Gardiner and the Youngman's were good friends. Another report recorded the Fat Girl was held over at Smythes five miles from Ballarat as no coach would transport her due to inclement weather at the alleged time of Gardiner's presence there: 'The Star' Friday 25th July 1862;

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

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

As a master of deception, Gardiner could have been anywhere, however, even with the rampant reporting of sightings here and there, including Ballarat. It is doubtful that Frank ever left the Lachlan as there were more than enough supporters in his favour. There was also his love affair with Kitty, from whom it would be unusual that he would abandon her warm embrace for six weeks or that she went with him south. Furthermore, an arrest was reported of a suspected Frank Gardiner near Kilmore, the boyhood home of John Gilbert. However, it was a case of mistaken identity. Did Frank head for Gippsland and the home of his brother Charles and sister Robina? Newspaper reports were also tempered by another questioning Gardiner's activities and that he had fled Australia. 'South Australian Weekly Chronicle' Saturday 30th August 1862;

There seems no end to the rumours about Gardiner, the bushranger. Lately, it was said that he had been seen in the theater 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 was consistently addressed as Gardiner's preferred destination by correspondents before his eventual ejection from Australia in 1874. Newspapers were full of Gardiner sightings, his exploits, his whereabouts. All sensationalised for those hungry for scuttlebutt. However, Gardiner's presence in the south has never been fully authenticated. One newspaper correspondent from Yass appeared to have the inside knowledge and that Gardiner's fleeing the Lachlan was all subterfuge and that the 'Darkie' had been to his old quarters of Goulburn/Wheeo or remained close to Kitty's home where in due course Pottinger arrived hoping against hope of if not killing him at least snaring his man; 'Bell's Life in Sydney and Sporting Chronicle' Saturday 6th September 1862;

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

A night to remember.

Frederick Pottinger.
In light of his limited success against the bushrangers, Sir Frederick Pottinger was more and more determined to bring the law to the lawless West. Especially regarding 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 known protectors of Gardiner. (See police map bottom of the page.) Therefore, incredibly frustrated that people associated with the Escort Robbery (and there were many) had so far managed to escape justice. Pottinger would have his day. Furthermore, to rub salt into the wound over his constant lack of success. Sir Frederick was still smarting from the humiliation of failing to capture his nemesis upon receiving solid information of his presence at Wheogo in early August 1862. A local had informed Pottinger that the 'Darkie' was in the district, notably Mrs Brown's home, whereby, gifted of the sound intelligence Pottinger and his brigade set off to snare a bushranger.

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

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

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

Raging, Sir Frederick Pottinger strode to the home and after some heated interrogation of both Kitty and her younger brother 'Warrigal', Pottinger arrested the lad;

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

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

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

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

Startled by the voice in the darkness followed immediately by the snap of the carbine, Gardiner plunged his horse into the scrub, reining the animal some 500 yds off to regather his nerve. Lachlan Miner 12th August 1862;

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

Death of the Warrigal.

Kitty's home Wheogo.
c. 1920's.
Although Pottinger's knowledge of Gardiner using Kitty's home as a retreat, the ramifications for her arrested brother young John 'Warrigal' Walsh often referred to as Gardiner's boy would be catastrophic, whereby, after his release on bail Walsh was again arrested in January 1863 after his bondsman withdrew their support. Following some eight weeks in the custody of the police at Forbes, the young lad would tragically die of Gaol Fever at the tender age of 16. 'Yass Courier' 8th April 1863;  The Lachlan Observer has the following particulars:

The Deceased Boy Walsh;-"When our informant first saw Walsh, he was able to walk about, but complained of pains in his head and chest, and said that he had been in confinement for eight weeks, during which time he had only left the lock-up for the purpose of being taken to the Police Court, to procure a remand, every seven days, and once when he was taken to Orange, where he remained five days.

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

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

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

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

However, following this narrow escape, Gardiner quickly returned to the hut as the first light was breaking, and with Mrs Brown in toe, the pair commenced preparations to depart for the long trek to Queensland. Furthermore, a long-time resident of the Lachlan District who went by the pseudonym of John A Hux, and who was responsible for a lot of favourable comment about Gardiner and Co in the newspapers, wrote the following from information reputedly said by the very lips of Frank Gardiner regarding the narrow escape from Sir Frederick Pottinger. Gardiner's provides his assessment and surprisingly his admiration of Sir Frederick;

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

Gardiner susceptible to feminine charms had for some time had been the lover of Mrs Brown who was, in turn, was devoted to Gardiner. Gardiner's personality was stated as somewhat attractive. He was about 5 ft. 8½in. In height, athletic build, brown hair, hazel eyes, the Corsair face, and a smooth voice. For Catherine, she was described as 5ft 3in Sandy Blonde hair and striking beauty. In fact, all three of the Walsh women were referred to as attractive.

Although Frank Gardiner subsequently disappeared from the Lachlan with Mrs Brown, many robberies in the early months of the new year, 1863, continued to be attributed to Gardiner, where still yet, Gardiner! Gardiner! was the cry in many of the robberies perpetrated, however, not by Gardiner but at the hands most certainly of John Gilbert, Ben Hall and John O'Meally. In turn, as nothing concrete had been seen of the celebrated bushranger for some months led one correspondent to ponder;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Although Frank Gardiner was gone, it was treated in the press as if his disappearance had become a major corporation's CEO resignation. The 'Illawarra Mercury' reported the following tongue-in-cheek comment regarding the transfer of bushranging responsibilities from Frank Gardiner to the bands' new CEO John Gilbert, now responsible for the South Western districts promulgated in July 1863. Gilbert's wide notoriety as Gardiner's lieutenant naturally had the press promote the rogue as the group's heir apparent;

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

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

Weddin Mountain, 6th July 1863.

Gardiner, Wheeo, 1862.
Leaving the home of Kitty Brown hours after the Pottinger confrontation, nothing had been heard of Gardiner and Kitty. However, the Wheeo district was their first destination. It held many disreputable identities and was remote from prying eyes, with its closest large town being Crookwell and the sparsely settled Grabben Gullen. Here in the closing months of 1862, Francis Christie married secretly and under James Christie, Catherine Brown. Gardiner's presence in the Wheeo area was widely reported. Gardiner mixed in with some old mates Ruggy Jim, Long Tom, and Topham. 'Empire' Oct 1862;

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

 The district police appeared not to react to the information.

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

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

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

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

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

There can be no doubt that Frank Gardiner was scrutinising as many newspapers as he could get his hands on to help facilitate his pending departure and be abreast of police activities. Still rumors of Gardiner's free movement when another near Foggs came reputedly across the bushranger. October 1862;

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

Queensland. Apis Creek.

As such, rumours persisted that Gardiner had finally fled the colony with Mrs Brown. Just where had the mythological bushranger evaporated too. Queensland, not California, the pair fled too. Evidence suggests their departure occurred in late October early November 1862.

The trek north would take the couple several months whereby evidence indicates the pair travelled via Dubbo crossed the Barwon River near Walgett, then on to St George, Miles, Taroom, Theodore, Rannes passing through Rockhampton arriving at their final destination Apis Creek near Peak Downs sometime in March/April 1863, a trek of some 900 miles. Along the route, Catherine told of a man joining them as a servant;

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

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

About 7:30 p.m.-that evening Pye and I went to the store and there saw behind the counter Mrs. Brown who was Gardiner's paramour, and who had accompanied him from Weddin Mountains (N.S.W.), leaving her husband there, and going via the Barwon to Rockhampton, thence to Appis Creek, where she settled under the name of Mrs. Christie.

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

However, before they arrived at Apis Creek, it was observed by a Mr J.E. Richter of the redoubtable pair's appearance at Rannes 80 miles short of Rockhampton. Frank had attempted to negotiate the purchase of a new hotel owned by a Mr Pendrigh built entirely of split timber providing eight rooms adjacent to the main road a mile from Rannes. Mr Pendrigh installed its inside fittings. The new hotel contained a bar and accommodation long before its full completion. Pendrigh's hotel became 'The Netherby Arms.' Richter had observed the pair's cut, which with the limited female company in the distant back-blocks, Catherine stood out with her attractive good looks and lush blonde hair and noted Gardiner's athletic appearance. They made for a stunning couple. While staying at Rannes for some two days, Ritcher noted Catherine's proficiency as a horsewoman;

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

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

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

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

Archibald Craig.

Never before published.
Private Source.
Pendrigh declined the sale, and with the prospect of a purchase unrealised, the pair moved on from Rannes. Unperturbed, the two passed through Rockhampton having in the process made the acquaintance of another couple going their way, the Craig's, whose dray had become bogged on the road outside Rockhampton near Yaamba. The couple were returning to Apis Creek with their six-month-old baby Ellen Louisa. Here an affable Gardiner lent a helping hand and introduced himself as James Christie;

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

The Craig's had made their initial trek to Queensland from Victoria. Archibald Craig hailed from The Mosquito Plains near Narracoote on the South Australian Victorian border and married Maria Young at Harrow Victoria on 26th September 1860. Maria was eighteen. Craig arrived from Middlesex, England, in 1855.

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

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

During their 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 the 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 £61. It appears that Mr. Craig had no interest in the store which was afterwards added by Christie to the public-house.⁴⁴

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

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

Maria Louisa Craig.
Never before published.
Private source.
In due course, the Christie's arrived at their adjusted destination Apis Creek, situated 100 miles northwest 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, the goldfields of NSW Lambing Flat and Forbes. The partnership with Craig encompassed establishing a hotel, general store and butcher's shop adjoining each other. The Apis Creek Hotel was constructed out of wood slabs, with a bark roof made from white and gum topped box, and ironbark trees 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. The division of responsibility was noted as. Rockhampton Bulletin;

Craig held the license, and managed the books, purchased supplies, and generally found head. Christie, a more muscular, specimen of humanity, split shingles, drew wood, and generally assisted; Both- from the report of our special correspondent, at peak Downs while at Apis Creek- were hardworking, offensive, and apparently respectable men. The females in the establishment comprised Mrs Craig and Mrs Christie.

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

Courtesy Gary Hunn.
Before long, Gardiner established a reputation as a respected, courteous and helpful fellow and a general favourite with everybody, and most importantly, to Gardiner himself, trustworthy. Kitty as Mrs Christie was known as a little fair woman, of rather attractive appearance, about 25 years of age. She
also became well known to travellers for her bar kindness, noted as quite an unusual feature among storekeepers and hotel keepers, with many of whom the policy was— money first and goods after. 

In granting the hotel license, known as the Apis Creek Hotel, there had been one objection from a Mr Fitzsimmons. Chief Constable Foran, however, granted the license, commenting;

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

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

Apis Creek is a tributary of the Mackenzie, lying at its nearest approach to the Peak Downs road, about 105 miles from town, and twenty-two miles from that river: Journeying from town Peak Downs ward, you pass on the left the sheep station of Mr. McLennan, lately purchased from Charles Fitzsimmons, Esq., and keeping the road over a moderate swell, cross a small scrubby watercourse, and, gaining its opposite bank, see to the immediate right the Apis Creek Hotel and a small detached store, jointly managed by A. D. Craig and Francis Christie alias Gardiner.
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 concealing most of his face. Catherine was described as attractive, small in stature, with sandy blonde hair. However, the lovers kept quietly to themselves. The relationship between Christie's and Craig's appeared to be purely business as Craig;

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

Oscar De Satge
Local grazier Oscar De Satge, who held 'Wolfgang Station' Peak Downs, appeared as the partners were organising themselves at Apis Creek. De Satge came into contact with Gardiner after 
having admired the fine brown horse he was riding introduced himself. Gardiner replied his name was James Christie. Pleasantries exchanged De Satge would later on occasions leave large sums of money in Gardiner's safekeeping. De Satge, in his memoirs "Pages from the Journal of a Queensland Squatter" printed in 1901, noted;

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

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

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

The reserve demonstrated towards Oscar De Satge exhibited by the Christie's was understandable, for one slip of the tongue could mean exposure and arrest. Furthermore, it appeared in the press but was never fully verified. That however, before the trek north, Gardiner and Catherine shortly after his August 62 confrontation with Pottinger. Gardiner in September may have visited family in Portland, Victoria. It was recorded in Rockhampton during evidence at Craig's hearing whereby Catherine stated that it was not the case commenting that she and Frank had come from the Edward River but claimed it was in the vacinity of the Lachlan District;

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

Edward River was situated roughly 200 miles south of Wheogo and 50 miles Northeast of Swan Hill across the Murray River. Therefore it is not beyond the realms of possibility that in the weeks following departure from Wheogo to Wheeo, the pair may well have made for Gardiner's Edward Rive. However, based on her statements it may well have been more in tune with obfuscation. 

Sale of Apis Creek horse.
However, it is interesting that he had a beautiful black racehorse named 'Darky' upon capture. Possibly the same horse that piqued De Satge's interest. Detective McGlone, one of the arresting officers, stated the horse was named 'Racer' believed to have been lifted from a Mr Peter Beveridge near Swan Hill, Victoria. A mistake, maybe? As in April 1862, Gardiner was noted to have a striking black racer under him regardless the horse was sold for £ 81 15s: 'Empire' Friday 11th April 1862;

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

The police as well obtained various jewellery and cash from the store. McGlone divulged;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kate Christie

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

In turn, another claim is that John Brown himself turned on the couple. Others claim a former digger from Lambing Flat recognised Gardiner or Catherine and went to Sydney seeking the reward. 
However, all hearsay as the reward for Gardiner's capture was paid to Detective McGlone, a paltry sum of £20 of the original £500. Young Tribune Saturday 7th January 1865;

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

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

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

Another recipient was thought to have been Mark Brown (Penzig), a commercial traveller who recognised Gardiner. None of the reputed recipients of the reward was ever publicly published.

McGlone, Pye and Wells.

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

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

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

The Christie's whereabouts had been full of mystery, rumour and innuendo for the past nineteen months, as attested to above. As such, the time had drifted by with no apparent hindrance as the happy couple adjusted to their new life of anonymity far from their previous home in NSW. However, the blissful hiatus would come to an abrupt end. Upon information accumulated by the NSW police, Detective Daniel McGlone, constables James Pye and Wells were dispatched to Queensland to substantiate the current intelligence regarding Gardiner's presence at Rockhampton or its surroundings. Constable Wells states on their secondment for the task;

Early in February! 1864, the late Capt. McLerie organised our party, consisting of Daniel McGlone, James Pye, and myself, McGlone being In Charge. We left Sydney by steamer for Rockhampton, which was then in a state of flood. Upon our arrival there, we found it impossible to proceed on foot as diggers.

Frank Gardiner is got.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next day the prisoners were escorted to Yaamba and thence to Rockhampton. Mrs. Brown accompanied the escort, and showed great courage in swimming her horse over the Yaamba River, which was flooded at that time; and she followed us from Rockhampton to Brisbane, thence to Sydney, trying at every opportunity to bribe me and others with money to get Gardiner's liberty before reaching Sydney. She nearly succeeded in securing his escape at Brisbane owing to McGlone's blunder in not taking Gardiner direct to Sydney from Rockhampton from which town he was remanded.

George Wells Record of Police Employment joined 29th October 1863.
Australia, New South Wales, Registers of Police Employment, 1847-1885
Roderick McLennan
c. 1880's.
Courtesy NLA.
After a full inventory was recorded, Leaving the store and hotel was placed in charge of two of Lieutenant Brown's troopers overseen by  McLennan as locals gathered around in shock. For Frank inside the store, was found quite an arsenal of weapons, some loaded, they were; two double-barrelled guns, one barrel in one of them being a rifle, and the other barrel being loaded; also two single barrel guns, a police carbine, Colt's revolver, and a double-barrel pistol, together with bullets, powder, and shot. However, this arsenal may not have been for the purpose of defence against any arresting police but was revealed as had been brought from travellers hard up. Good naturedly purchased by Christie as payment for assistance. Arrested, the men were all handcuffed and ushered off. They consisted of Christie, the hotel cook, two wood splitters and Archibald Craig. With Catherine following closely on horseback.

All were marched to Mr M'Lennan's station in pounding rain. Gardiner was placed on the lead horse, handcuffed, his ankles tied under the horse. He rode along quietly and easily, as if free. The black boys rode alongside with their carbines ready. The NSW troopers in front, while McGlone and Mrs Brown brought up the rear. McGlone was mounted on a big powerful black horse, a grand horse up to 17 hands, well known locally by the name of 'Darky.' Departing at daylight, the police and their prized prisoner passed through Marlborough, Princhester, Canoona, and Yaamba. The Yaamba river was in flood, forcing the troupe to negotiate its confines. Kitty once more displayed her prowess as a horsewoman driving her charge into the raging waters crossing without incident, much to the accompanying men's admiration. When within eleven miles of Rockhampton, the police camped to have dinner and dry off. Gardiner's arrest had been a painful shock to all who knew him, especially the Peak Downs' diggers. Whilst camped, McGlone read over the charges to the prisoner to which Gardiner exclaimed;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Artist's impression
of Catherine Brown
during Gardiner's

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

East St, Rockhampton
looking South.

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

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

List of Gardiner's
property at Apis
Creek 1864.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The man Richards also known as 'Double Dummy', was present at Maguire's during the pre-planning of the Eugowra hold-up 1862 and a key witness together with Charters in February 1863 Escort trials. However, following the trial and convictions, Richards failed to gain a part of the Escort reward money.

The Brisbane Courier,
28th February 1865.

Courtesy NLA. 
With Gardiner in custody, his possessions were removed from Apis Creek and subsequently went under the hammer at an auction in Rockhampton. Amongst items sold were his horses obtained at Apis Creek. Opportunity knocks, as one a Grey was purchased by a Mr William Healy resident of the Brisbane Hotel in Queens street, and Mr John Creagh allowed Healy to place the horse on display at the hotel's stables. The attraction for viewing at 1/- a pop. No doubt the one most probably ridden on the evening of Gardiner's encounter with Sir Frederick Pottinger at Kitty's home where through a stroke of good fortune for the 'Darkie' Pottinger's carbine failed to fire. Its name was reputed to be 'White Swan'[From the "Courier" files from February 27 to March 4, 1865.] FRANK GARDINER'S HORSE. The following advertisement appeared:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

'Goulburn Herald' Wednesday 23rd March 1864 reported Gardiner's arrival in Sydney;

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

Trial of the century!

In the Darlinghurst courthouse, a correspondent of the Yass Courier, also observing the procedures, wrote this of Gardiner's deportment and appearance. 'The Yass Courier' Sydney correspondent says:

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

W.B. Dalley
However, having faced court for the first of two trials, Frank Gardiner was acquitted, 
escaping societies retribution over his violation of the law and victims and verdict of not guilty over the Middleton and Hosie encounter by twelve of his peers. The packed courtroom erupted in jubilation at his acquittal, much to the judge's horror. So much so that Justice Wise furiously singled out a boy of fifteen, the son of a local magistrate, for expressing his gleefulness and threatened him with incarceration. The press were dumbfounded at the rejoicing of the court patrons:

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

Sir Alfred Stephen
However, for Gardiner, the beau monde was to have their man. Gardiner faced a second trial over two storekeepers 
Alfred Horsington (Hossington) and Henry Hewett. For this defence, he engaged the services of well-known parliamentarian and astute lawyer Mr William Bede Dalley, widely referred to as W.B. With Dalley as counsel. Gardiner was presented before the Chief Justice (Sir Alfred Stephen) on the 5th of July, and in a shock, move pleaded guilty to two charges—the robberies of Horsington and Hewett on the Lachlan road in March 1862. Although ably defended by W.B. Dalley and upon his advice, Gardiner pleaded guilty. Therefore, the gallows dimmed into the background. Here the jury had again deliberated of the attack at Fogg's farm where Gardiner was sentenced on the lesser charge of "Wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm." Before the Judge passed the sentence, the prisoner was asked if he had anything to say about why the Court's verdict should not be given 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am, your Honour, your humble servant,


Courtroom scene depicting
Gardiner's 1864 trial.
As the jury deliberated, it was reported that Mr Martin, prosecutor, left Sydney; The Argus 5th July 1864;

The Attorney General's conduct at the conclusion of Gardiner's trial has been severely commented upon in Sydney. As soon as the jury retired to consider their verdict, Mr Martin left the court and, proceeding to the railway-station, left town for Parramatta. He did not leave behind him in court a single Crown law officer to represent him.

The Judge expressed doubt about the prisoner's repentance's genuineness and delivered the following sentences:

Fifteen years’ hard labour for wounding the two constables, ten years for the robbery from Horsington, and seven years for the robbery from Hewett—a total of thirty-two years! 

As Gardiner sat through the judgement, it was noted that Mrs Brown had returned to the Yass district, commenting on her beauty; The Argus 5th July 1864;

Mrs Brown, Gardiner's late companion, was in Yass during the past quarter sessions. She is of slight build, low stature, and has a prepossessing appearance. Pleasing to the eye or mind, especially through beauty or charm.

32 years.

Frederick Gannon
Part of Frank Gardiner's
defence team, 1864.

Private Source.
With the trial concluded and Gardiner's sentence announced, it was most interesting that his most significant feat, the 1862 Eugowra Gold Escort robbery, was sidelined. Through the whole of the proceedings, the one person who had been instrumental in providing evidence at the 1863 case against the escort robbers, Daniel Charters, was at no time called to give evidence against Gardiner, who as leader of the gold heist gave the orders to fire on the escorted coach resulting in the wounding of two police troopers Condell and Moran and the near-death of the driver Fagan. If provided, Charters' testimony may have been the clincher for Gardiner to have as well been charged regarding the famous escort robbery. As a result, Gardiner was never convicted or held accountable for the happenings of the 15th June 1862, which saw Henry Manns the last man drawn into the robbery swing upon the gallows rope at Darlinghurst most horrifically; 'Sydney Morning Herald' April 1863:

Henry Manns- On this occasion, whether it arose from nervousness or excitement on the part of the executioner, the preliminaries were not so speedily performed as they were in the case of the two men (Ross), a lapse of nearly two minutes occurring ere he had concluded his preparations. When at length these were completed, and the bolt was drawn, there ensued one of the most appalling spectacles ever witnessed at an execution.

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

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

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

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

However, outrage swept through Sydney as newspaper correspondents assessed the failure of the twelve strong and true jurors in finding him 'Not Guilty' at the first trial as with all of Gardiner's villainy he had escaped the gallows. 'South Australian Register' Tuesday 7th June 1864:

A Jury of twelve 'honest men,' sworn to do justice, have, in the face of the clearest evidence of the notorious bushranger’s guilt, bravely acquitted him. Gardiner is a lucky fellow. He succeeded for many months in evading the most active efforts of the New South Wales police to apprehend him. He has shown himself to be the most impudent and desperate of all the heroes of the Claude Duval style which have yet appeared in these colonies; and yet, though his exploits were chronicled in the newspapers week by week, he set at complete defiance all attempts to take him. Sometimes he was hard enough run, and for his safety had occasionally to fire upon his would-be captors, but he always managed to escape somehow, until at last he was run to earth and cleverly captured. Even when he was secured, the police were obliged to hurry him away to Sydney, so strongly was the tide of public opinion and feeling setting in his favour.

Mr. Gannon had the conduct of his defence. Gardiner was charged with, several offences; but Mr Gannon's efforts were directed only to save his client's neck. This he managed to do; and after that the term of imprisonment totalling 32 years, on three charges, was regarded by Mr. Gannon in the light of a victory.

Now secured for 32yrs the general public thought they had heard and seen the last of Frank Christie/Gardiner. However, the remnants of his former gang—Hall, Gilbert, Dunleavy, Mount and newcomer Dunn were still very much active and the scourge of the peaceful settlers of Forbes, Bathurst and Goulburn districts. Districts where even more brazen raids, robberies, arson, murder and kidnapping were to come. Among all this activity from his former bandito's friends, Frank Gardiner had a curiously active and sympathetic circle of admirers, even hero worshippers. Foremost amongst these were his three devoted sisters Robina, Archina and Charlotte, who continuously strive for his release over the next eight years. They produced pamphlets and petitions to the well to do. Harassed Judges, Doctors, Parliamentarians and the man in the street, where Gardiner was still a romantic figure. Gardiner also had ample funds secreted from his robberies' proceeds to stimulate agitation by circulating favourable handbills and other means.

Gardiner's time at Darlinghurst Gaol a prisoner riot broke-out soon after Gardiners incarceration in 1864, that included the young Patsy Daley. Frank never participated and conducted himself beyond reproach. The riot was quelled with blood shed. A conduct that set him high in the esteem of his gaolers. Within a few years, they were less his grim warders than his tolerant friends, basking a little in the reflected glory of bushranging exploits. Little more is recorded except for an occasional article of reference when some heinous or sensational crime occurred. In those instances, Gardiner is often attached to its story. There was as well as an attempted escape set in motion in 1864 by Kitty Brown that failed. Darlinghurst Gaol for Gardiner as at Cockatoo Island cast him back into a life of strict routine;

Routine is strictly adhered to, bells rounding the break or division of labours. At the welcome clang, a squad are perhaps marched out into the courtyard for physical drill, whilst others set about their freshly appointed tasks. Change of work is equivalent to a rest. At 4 o'clock the prisoners leave the workshops, muster, and go into the yards for ten minutes, they pay attention to personal cleanliness, polish their boots, etc., for inspection. At 4.30 there is a general assembly, when everyone answers to their number, for names, are forgotten here, and everyone is only a human numerical unit. After the roll-call, to the right-about, march, and the steady tramp echoes on the flags as the men file off, each squad to their tea of bread and hominy. This meal over, away to their cells, where, by the touching of a lever, every door is closed simultaneously. From then till 6 next morning, time belongs to each individually, to do as he wills with. Some spend it in sleep, others in reflection, some in reading. A hush is over all, and quiet reigns within.

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

However, the ability to keep those plans confidential was an uphill battle where Frank Gardiner was concerned. Before long, rumours circulated of an attempt to escape. The authorities observed Frank. Nevertheless, Frank had resorted to his old habits of feigning illness that required hospitalisation. Once more, his old friend, a reported heart condition, enabled him to be admitted. Unfortunately, it was thwarted by a fellow inmate who had got wind of the attempt involving a corrupt warder's help. The canary sang and named the guard. A Quid Pro Quo; 'The Newcastle Chronicle and Hunter River District News'Saturday, 7th January 1865; 

Gardiner, the Bushranger. — It was recently stated that a discovery had been made of Gardiner's intended to escape from Darlinghurst Gaol, by bribing a warder to help him. The Sydney correspondent of the Goulburn Herald thus narrates the affair:

Mr Francis Gardiner, ex-bushranger-general, is neither dead nor dying. Since his conviction, many persons have said he would never die in prison if he could make his escape, but the clever scoundrel's apparent good conduct in Darlinghurst gaol appeared to be a complete refutation of all such insinuations. Had he not made important revelations to the Government respecting bushranging and bushrangers? Was he not suffering from a deep-seated disease of the heart? Even the gaol surgeon was so completely deceived and sympathisingly sent Gardiner to the hospital, ordering him to be supplied with the usual medical comforts. During the recent disturbances, Gardiner's conduct showed so marked a contrast to that of the mutinous scoundrels who kept the unfortunate warders constantly on the qui vive, that he humbugged the gaol officials as successfully as an English ticket-of-leave-man I read of some time ago, who, when giving advice to a notorious housebreaker as to the easiest means of getting a ticket-of-leave, said, be sure to have the chaplain visit you as often as possible; on every occasion turn up the white of your eyes.” Gardiner adopted tactics something similar. A few days ago, when a fellow-prisoner informed the gaoler that Frank Gardiner was about to escape, the story found little credence; but the informer backed up his story by naming a warder with whom Gardiner was said to have made arrangements for escaping. The warder was watched, and on his attempting to leave the prison he was arrested and searched when fortunately for the public, but unfortunately for Gardiner and his friends, documents were discovered, one of which showed that the next night the former expected to be without the prison walls, and wished his friends to meet him at ten p.m., naming the rendezvous; and the other was a promissory note or order for £300 for serves rendered by the bearer. It is needless to say that the Warder's future services have been dispensed with and that Gardiner's future security will be more closely attended to. Meantime he has been initiated into the art and mystery of mat-making.

Bible, handwritten
by Frank Gardiner
to Catherine, 1865.
In 1869 and five years into a thirty-two-year stretch. Gardiner was noted by some, who employed the Darlinghurst inmates in various undertakings that assisted the prison's financial upkeep. Gardiner's skills in 
Bookbinding and Coir Mat-Making contributed to making a pound for the prison. At Cockatoo Island in the 1850s, Frank turned his hand to Bookbinding and Coir Mat-Making. In bookbinding, Gardiner also exhibited a stylish and exemplary hand at Calligraphy, demonstrated by a small Bible inscribed for his love Catherine Brown. However, Gardiner as well showed initiative in the Coir Mat-Making department. A field of work that brought Frank praise and admiration from authorities. Gardiner as well exhibited a skilled mechanical knowledge in the machinery apparatus used in the Coir Mat's manufacture;

Too much indeed can hardly be said in praise of that laudable foresight which provides men with work suitable for them, and profitable to that community whose laws they have violated. Thus, in connection with, the machine for making matting is to be seen a very simple but most ingenious machine for improving the selvage of the matting, which, from the duty it performs, has been named the "Selvage Improver." By this simple contrivance, a twofold object is gained, viz, a straight selvage is made, and a superior finish imparted to the work in hand; and in comparing matting made without this apparatus with some made with its help, its advantages are at once obvious, and by its general application a difficulty against which even the home manufacturers have to contend will be overcome; and they may thank the once-notorious Frank Christie (better known as Frank Gardiner) for the boon thus bestowed, together with that admirable arrangement by which his ingenuity has been diverted into a profitable and legitimate channel. Now, had it not been for this system, this very man, evidently of a high mechanical genius (for, in addition to the 'Selvage Improver," he has also invented a loom which can be taken to pieces almost instantly, and be put up in a small space, and which has been tried at Berrima, and given every satisfaction, would, in all probability, have been put to stone-breaking or some similar employment. So much for that plan which discriminates and places men, even under the most adverse circumstances, in the position of making themselves useful, instead of a burden to the country. Would it be considered as sympathising with crime, were one to venture to express a hope that the efforts of Frank Christie, added to his uniform good conduct since his confinement, may thus be of ultimate benefit to him? Why does not the Government patent Christie's invention?
Note; Selvage is an edge produced on woven fabric during manufacture that prevents it from unraveling.

Ben Hall left -
 John Vane right.
Gardiner facing the prospect of a lengthy prison term and an even longer chance of release from Darlinghurst Prison's confines, turned to enterprise, as alluded to above and was known to keep much to himself. As a result, over time, Gardiner became known as the "white-headed boy" of Darlinghurst. 

While serving his sentence, his relationship with his family endured. Whereby at the celebratory times of birthdays and Christmas, Frank received gifts of the necessities of life in the form of food parcels provided by his sisters. 'The Sydney Daily Telegraph' Thursday 27th December 1883. CHRISTMAS IN GAOL:

The then notorious Frank Gardiner comes what might be called the lion's basket, containing perhaps a pudding, through which the gatekeeper's knife was paired through and through, some bread and butter, which has been similarly treated, some vegetables, and perhaps a leg of mutton, if even nothing more delicate, and last, but not least, what may not inappropriately be called the solace of prison life, tobacco, for the use of which ere now prisoners have risked their lives and endured such floggings.

Many were curious about his exploits, but he rarely reminisced on his bushranging time. John Vane quotes that Gardiner said that while in Queensland, he kept abreast of Ben Hall's plight. By May of 1865, Gardiner's former and two close friends who had at the very beginning, including John O'Meally, shot dead in 1863, pitched in as an integral part of Gardiner's bushranging exploits were all dead. Ben Hall was gunned down in a bush camp riddled by a frenzied firing squad of NSW police. John Gilbert was shot dead at Binalong in a creek bed while fleeing an ambush. Micky Burke was shot dead in 1863. If it was not for Gardiner's influence, each of these wayward men might have led very different lives.

As Gardiner toiled away in prison, many politicians, influential persons and celebrities of the day were keen to visit him. Some came away disappointed in what they saw. No longer the much-heralded 'Knight of the Road,' or the dashing brigand driving his horse hard from capture as he bounded over hill and dale. The shock of seeing Gardiner in person soon after his incarceration stunned a gentleman, Clarence Paget Bayly, who wrote in the 'Truth' June 1911;

On one occasion when in Sydney I was very anxious to see Gardiner, the outlaw, and at the time I was staying at Richmond, with the late lamented Mr. Andrew Town. I broached the subject to him, and he promised at once to go to Sydney the next day, and look up the late Mr. Richard Hill, of Bent street, and who was then a member of Parliament. This he did, and with them I went all over that great structure, Darlinghurst, and there I saw the man of my curiosity. He was mat-making. However, we don't want to bother about mats. There was Gardiner right bang before me, and if ever I was disappointed in a man it was him — not on account of his daring and bravery, because he must have been one of the bravest 'rangers that ever fired a shot. No, sir, it was not that, it was his appearance as a first-class horseman. He did not strike me as being the cut of an accomplished horseman; but of course I must make this allowance, for he was in his prison garb, besides, the great trouble and anxiety which he must have gone through would, of course, alter the man to a very great extent. However, he spoke very nicely to Mr. Hill, who put a few questions to him. We then strolled away.

Visitations from the many Sydney swells who jockeyed to see the now caged bushranger included the Father of Australian Federation Sir Henry Parkes who was greatly interested in the Gardiner case-he visited the bushranger several times in Darlinghurst gaol and was greatly impressed by Gardiner's character and conduct. 

However, in 1868 Catherine took her own life. The death of Catherine and how Frank took the news is not known. However, while at Darlinghurst Gaol, Frank added two tattoos to his arms: a Cupid on the upper right arm and a Heart with a wreath of roses on the upper left arm. These were undoubtedly inked in memory of his love Catherine Brown possibly the only indication of his heartache at her loss. There was as well stories that he appeared to age soon after. However, the years passed, and his sister's endeavours for release were always at the forefront. Vane stated;

Although he didn’t say much about it, I know that he was always looking forward to a shortening of his sentence, as he had influential friends at work for him outside. 

Archina Christie
1832 -1892.

Private Source.
These influential friends struck in 1874 with a monster petition which once more pushed for a pardon and was presented to the Governor, Sir Hercules Robinson (afterwards Lord Rosemead). It was led by Colonial Secretary Sir Henry Parkes and signed by Ministers of the Crown, members of Parliament, magistrates, lawyers, doctors, merchants, and other notable citizens hounded time and again by Frank's sisters led by Archina who never lost faith in their brother's pursuit of freedom;

The sisters presented a pitiful petition to the newly arrived Governor, Sir Hercules Robinson, in which they pointed out all the good qualities of their brother. William Bede Dalley and William Forster the Colonial Secretary when an outbreak of prisoners occurred in Darlinghurst. Gardiner, assisted to suppress, were among the backers of the petition which had also 500 citizens signatures attached to it.
Francis Christie alias Frank Gardiner
 Darlinghurst Gaol entry record.

 Note: Born in Colony is incorrect.
The agitation and outcry in the back-country within his former haunts regarding Gardiner's pending release were deafening. Public meetings rallied in opposition placing pressure on the Parkes administration. Parliamentarians whose districts locals remembering Gardiner's misdeeds protested vigorously. 'The Sydney Morning Herald' Tuesday 2nd June 1874:

The dwellers in the country districts evidently look upon his forthcoming release from very different points of view. To the former perhaps the circumstance is regarded as at the worst likely only to impart a lively readable element to the newspapers, in the shape of items of bushranging intelligence. But to people in the country, who have known what it is to live in terror of their lives owing to the outrages of this scoundrel, the prospect is not altogether so cheerful.

Chief Justice Sir A. Stephen was of the opinion that Gardiner should have been hung, stated;

He ought to have been hanged.

The pressure was not only rendered to the government but the Governor as well. The possibility of Gardiner being free caused outrage and the question was made the subject of a long and heated debate in Parliament. 

Note: The debates on Gardiner's release can be read on the Source Page.

In March of 1874, Gardiner's impending release was summarised in the 'Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser', writing that the original sentences were excessive. 

The Executive Council recently determined upon the commutation of the sentences passed upon several criminals who were convicted during what may be called the bushranging era, some ten years ago. In consequence of the representations made with respect to Christie, better known as Gardiner, and of the prisoner's own good conduct and services rendered while in gaol, that offender's imprisonment has been commuted to ten years, when he is to be released on condition that he becomes an exile from the Australian colonies and New Zealand. The cases of a number of other prisoners of a similar character were also considered at the same time. In view of the severe sentences which the Judges at that time thought necessary in order to put down bushranging, and in consideration of the decadence of that crime, weight being also given in each case to the age, conduct, and circumstances of the prisoner, somewhat similar commutations have been allowed. In certain cases where the prisoners are unable to avail them selves of the conditional pardon, they will probably be liberated at an earlier period than under other circumstance would be consistent with the ordinary remission regulations.

However, the opposers blitzed the Governor, arguing strenuously against release. With Gardiner's freedom pending a Wagga newspaper the Advertiser was outraged and published that a Kiwi named Sullivan who was part of the Burgess Gang that murdered a number of men in New Zealand's south island in 1866 and who turned Queens Evidence as Daniel Charters had eleven years before for a pardon was deported from New Zealand for London but was discovered in Sydney and imprisoned for three years for breaking his conditions. Highlighted what advice they believed Sullivan should impart regarding the upcoming release to Gardiner's advocates and the folly of their ways by implying they too should suffer death in heinous ways.
 'Lake Wakatip Mail'  30 June 1874: 

There is something really cruel in the mode a Wagga paper (the Advertiser) suggests for raring people of undue and ill-timed lenity to great offenders against society. That journal states— It is reported that Sullivan, the wretch who escaped being hanged in New Zealand by turning Queen's evidence against his mates (who enjoyed the utmost penalty of the law), is in Sydney. This must be refreshing news to the friends of Mr Frank Gardiner. We have often heard of extraordinary coincidences, and this is one of them. In fact, looking at the matter philosophically, one cannot help thinking that there must be something of the nature of an epidemic in the fashion, which is in full swing just now, of liberating scoundrels on the plea of good behaviour. It seems to be forgotten that the goody business is resorted to as the most expeditious means of getting released. We trust Mr Sullivan may find time to convince the advocates of Gardiner's cause the folly of their ways, by administering on them a knock-down in the shape of garroting, or, perchance, a gentle gash in the vicinity of the windpipe. It is wicked to say so, but experience is the only master for such people.

The country was divided however, regardless of the widespread anti or pro-Gardiner release sentiment The Governor wherein exercising his prerogative, by using his discretion decided that Gardiner's release should be granted:

The Colonial Secretary stated the other day that Sir Hercules Robinson intended, if Gardiner continued his good behaviour until then, to release him on condition of his undertaking not to remain anywhere in the Australasian colonies. Gardiner has made himself useful in the gaol, both by the self-control he has exhibited in time of a disturbance among the prisoners and by the invention of a great improvement in mat-making. But the records of his past career, and the doom which has been awarded to his subordinates, render it highly inexpedient, in the view of many, to release him before the termination of his sentence. Such clemency, after the hanging of Manns and the two Clarkes, and the shooting of Ben Hall, Gilbert, and Ward, would have a bad effect on the consciences of that part of the population whose confidence in the impartiality of the administration of justice is liable to be shaken. But the matter rests in the discretion of his Excellency.

Darlinghurst Gaol from Burton Street 1870.
Sir Henry Parkes.
When the division on the vote for release finally came the Ayes and Noes were equal — twenty-six on either side. It fell to The Speaker, The Hon. William Munning Arnold, who gave his vote approving the Governor's decision for release. Gardiner, therefore, was released with the proviso of exile from Australia, never to return. First to China, then on to California and lived there for several years.

Gardiner's case was to become the means of raising and settling on an important constitutional issue. Until then, there had been some doubt about 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. (Much similar to the delightful dismissal of the monster Whitlam in 1975.) In his dispatch on Gardiner to the Secretary of State, the Governor pointed out what an invidious position he was placed in, in a colony under responsible government when he had to act without reference to his advisers. The quandary was resolved when the Imperial Government in England, in reply, directed that in all future cases, the Governor, when petitioned to remit sentences, should act as his Ministers advised. Gardiner's release brought the Henry Parkes government to its knees and led to the ministry's defeat.

William Arnold.
Speaker of the House.
The defeat of Parkes was instigated by the great public outcry generated through Gardiner's release. Opposing petitions were raised in their hundreds from all quarters of the state from Albury to Tenterfield. The most vigorous opposition was the towns most affected by Gardiner's marauding. The goldfields of Lambing Flat and Forbes;

THE YASS GARDINER BANQUET.  (FROM A CORRESPONDENT.)-A BANQUET was given here on the evening of Friday last, with a view to celebrate the "Release of Frank Gardiner," and at the same time, by a well sustained and clever burlesque, to evidence the horror and indignation felt by: the residents of Yass at the liberation of the mainspring of bushranging, and the proposed release of such of his companions in crime as still remained confined in the various penal establishments of the colony. The banquet was held in a large store, adjoining the Globe Hotel, and was provided in a most liberal manner by Host Shipway, the proprietor of the above named, hotel. The banqueting-room was decorated in a very becoming manner with evergreens, &c. Over the vice-chair's seat were the arms of Australia, with the well-known motto, ''Advance Australia;" but, over the chairman's head was displayed a black flag with the skull and cross-bones.

Released - Deportation.

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

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

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

The ship to remove the 'Darkie' from Australian shores was the 'Charlotte Andrews', a coal barque trading between China and Newcastle. A letter from a passenger on the vessel 'Lady Young' then owned by William Hill to convey Gardiner to Newcastle to join the 'Charlotte Andrews' witnessed Gardiner's embarkation at Sydney. Wrote of the occasion as the 'Lady Young' an Iron Paddle steamer lay at anchor off Pinchcut Island (Fort Denison);

William Andrews, an alderman of the city, and a flourishing ship-owner in after life. He was the owner of the vessel Charlotte Andrews, which under contract with the Government, conveyed the notorious bushranger Frank Gardiner into exile. Freedom would be given on-condition that Gardiner lived outside the British dominions. The difficulty was how to obtain a ship, the master of which would take the responsibility of taking Gardiner from his native land. Mr. Andrews had the Charlotte Andrews at Newcastle loading coal for Shanghai, and he expressed his willingness and the willingness of the master to give the ex-bushranger a passage.

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

Note; Inspector Thorpe retired in 1886 on a pension of £325 per annum. Detective Elliott left the force in 1885 with a gratuity of £100.

A short time later, it was reported that;

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

Vessels damaged at
Yau Ma Tei opposite
Stonecutters Island
Hong Kong
Sept 1874.

Photo Lai Fong (1874)
New Caledonia did not eventuate. It was revealed that en route to Shanghai, Gardiner's ship, the Charlotte Andrews, encountered a fierce typhoon on the 23rd of September 1874. While at anchor off Stonecutters Island, Hong Kong, the ship was dis-masted, and her stern staved in. 'The Age'
 6th October 1874;

A private telegram from China reports that the Sydney ship Mendona foundered, having on board a cargo for the colonies. The crew were saved. The barque Charlotte Andrews was dis-masted in the same gale. 

An accompanying article further commented: 

Frank Gardiner on, his voyage to China was nearly drowned, the ship he was in having narrowly escaped shipwreck in a heavy cyclone. We hear (says the Yass Courier) that the mariners had to lighten the ship by throwing overboard the most part of the cargo. It is somewhat odd that they never attempted to deal with Gardiner as in old times as certain Tarshiah 'salts' dealt with Jonah. Perhaps they charitably thought that the poor wretch, having been vomited forth by New South Wales, would stand a poor show of being taken under the protection of any other whale.⁵⁹

The estimated death toll was over two thousand lives. Almost 90 per cent of the ocean-going ships were sailing ships, albeit with auxiliary engines. They mostly had wooden hulls. They broke adrift, sunk or went aground because their windlasses, anchors, and cables were just not strong enough. Another problem was that many of the captains had no experience of typhoons and did not lower their yardarms and spars, with the result that the masts broke in half." (Source; 23rd of September 1874 Typhoon.) For more on Gardiner's brush with death, see the link attached below.
23rd of September 1874 Typhoon

Great Republic.
sidewheel steamship.
San Francisco–China
Fortunately, surviving the perils of the sea. Gardiner's stay in Hong Kong as a survivor was brief, and the 'Charlotte Andrews' out of action Gardiner boarded another vessel, the 'Great Republic' owned by the San Francisco shipping line 'The Pacific Steamship Company' and moved on to California via Yokohama arriving on the 18th December 1874 along with 542 other passengers at San Francisco. A crossing of eighteen days. 'Daily Alta California' 19th December 1874: 

CHINA AND JAPAN. Arrival of the "Great Republic." - The Pacific Mail Steamship Company's steamer Great Republic, H. Z. Howard Commander, arrived in port last evening. She left Hongkong on the 11th of November, with 7 cabin and 188 steerage passengers, full cargo and mails. Experienced heavy northeast monsoon for first five days; remainder of voyage to Yokohama, weather fair. Arrived at Yokohama on the 20th, and left on the 23d of November, with 20 cabin and 501 steerage passengers. Had heavy gales from southwesterly for four days; since had variable winds, chiefly from South and East. All well on board.

The New South Wales police continued to keep an eye on Frank Gardiner. 'The Burrowa News' Saturday 20th February 1875;

RE FRANK GARDINER, ALIAS CHRISTIE. — Detective Hogan has reported, for the information of the Inspector-General of Police, that an old Sydney resident, a passenger from San Francisco per steamship Mikado, informed him (detective) that Gardiner arrived at San Francisco from Hongkong by the steamship Great Republic ; that he is keeping a first-class public-house, which a number of persons, called a ' ring,' have fitted up in first-rate style for him. Our information is that it is a great draw. He visited the house daily, when it always appeared full. Gardiner is known there as the New South Wales bushranger.


Dramatised Illustration of
Catherine, on hearing
of no visits to her Frank.
Courtesy NLA.
When Gardiner stepped ashore in California, the authorities at first were uneasy about their latest acquisition disembarking from the steamer. However, after lengthy appeals by interested parties, Frank Gardiner was allowed to settle in San Francisco. 'Miners' Advocate and Northumberland Recorder' Saturday 15th January 1876;

I learned from another source that Gardiner was very near being prohibited from landing in California; and had it not been compassion for the victim of such paltriness as cast him upon their shores, he would not have been permitted to land.

Those same authorities were displeased with the NSW government over junking Gardiner onto their shore;

The San Francisco people speak of the Government of New South Wales with most thorough contempt for the part they played in setting Gardiner at liberty and then exiling him away from the scene of his crimes, penniless and friendless, to seek his living in a strange land. They argued that the Australians (for the Gardiner business is, in the eyes of the Americans, a stain upon all the colonies) must have thought Gardiner too good a man to remain in gaol, but not good enough to be trusted at large amongst themselves, yet quite good enough for the Americans. If Gardiner, they say, should betake himself to his old life, and place this country in such terror as he did New South Wales, why it will be another Alabama case, and we will expect Australia to pay the piper.

Note; The Alabama case was a claim of compensation by the US against Great Brittan after the Civil War over the confederate Ship CSS Alabama who sunk or raided over sixty Union vessels. Brittan paid the US est. $16 million dollars as the raiding vessels were constructed in English shipyards.

Catherine 'Kitty' Brown.

Sadly, surrounded with all the hoopla of Gardiner's 1874 release and exile, Frank would not be re-joined by his love Catherine Brown, who in the first few years of Gardiner's lengthy 32yr sentence had long hoped of a future together, even plotting an escape. But, for Gardiner, that future with Kitty upon his freedom became unreachable when Catherine took her own life in 1868.

Bridget Hall,
c. 1919.

Private Source.
Never before published.
However, 1864 escapes failure. Catherine was completely shattered by the prospect of never having Gardiner in her life. With Sir Henry Parkes' refusal to allow visits, Catherine returned to the Lachlan and her sister Bridget's home. The parliamentary Hansard of March 1866 recorded Henry Parkes address to parliament on the subject;

In the Assembly of New South Wales, on Thursday last, the following questions and answers are reported in the Empire: Mr Cowper asked the Colonial Secretary- If it is true that the Colonial Secretary has given a special authority for Mrs Brown, the paramour of the notorious Gardiner, to have access to him in Darlinghurst gaol; asked if so, whether he had any objection to lay a copy of such authority upon the table of the House? Mr Parkes, in reply, said "he felt it incumbent on him to state the whole of the facts in connection with this matter. Soon after he was called to office, he paid a visit to Darlinghurst Gaol, and during his visit there, a number of prisoners made application, through the gaoler, to see him (Mr Parkes) for the purpose of making sundry requests. Among those persons was Francis Gardiner, who requested to be allowed to be visited once a month by Mrs Brown. He added that he would not have made this request only this woman had been living with him as his wife. "I told him," continued Mr Parkes, "that I would consider his application and give my decision to the Sheriff" I accordingly caused a minute to be sent to the Sheriff requesting him to inform Gardiner that the permission asked for could not be granted, as Mrs Browne was the wife of another man, and that the refusal was not done harshly, but as being entirely against the spirit of the regulations. 

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

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

Note; Charlotte's surname Hyam is mistaken and should read Ion. Charlotte married William Ion in 1854. In 1870 Charlotte remarried one, Joseph Cale.

Letter sent from
 Sheriffs Office 1864 to
Col Sec on prohibiting
Kitty's visitations.
New South Wales,
Australia, Sheriff's
Papers, 1829-1879
Catherine, devastated by the failure to obtain frequent gaol visits. The distressed lover fell into depression and returned to the Lachlan in a hopeless state, forming a relationship with her sister Bridget's lover James' brother Richard Taylor c. 1867. Taylor was then married to Mary Nowlan and wed in 1857 and had several children running off with Kitty c. 1867.

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

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

Catherine's death.
New Zealand Herald
1st February 1868.
A prolonged death, a witness to the dreadful scene at Tappue was a miner and his brother named Turner who in 1902 gave his own first-hand account of the circumstances surrounding Kitty's tragic death; 'Sydney Sportsman' Wednesday 9th April 1902;

Mr Turner describes Mrs. Brown as being a dainty, natty little thing, tidy in her dress, and very nice looking. She was the Mrs Brown who attached herself to Gardiner's fortunes and romantically followed him through good and evil repute.

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

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

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

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

See note below of her exonerating Richard Taylor in her suicide attempt and ultimate death. Turner mistakenly referred to Taylor as Brown. However, his account is quite useful for detail. Catherine is also noted as spelling her name with a K.

Kitty's Inquest,
27th January 1868.

Courtesy Papers Past,
New Zealand.
For best,
Open a New Tab
to enlarge.
However, for Frank Gardiner, his arrival in San Francisco was not the first by former criminals from Australia's shores. Before the acclaimed bushranger set up shop on the Barbary Coast. Those previous Australian convicts were known notoriously as the 'Sydney Ducks' started appearing in the 1850s with the Barbary Coast, 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 interview 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! 

Barbary Coast - San Francisco.

The conversation was re-published in the 'The Sydney Morning Herald' Tuesday 6th April 1875, Titled- 

THE SUCCESSFUL BUSHRANGER.- (From the Alta California.) - VASQUEZ, the King of California bandits, pales into insignificance when compared to Frank Gardiner the great Australian bushranger. He arrived here a few weeks ago, having been pardoned by Sir Hercules Robinson, the Governor of New South Wales, after serving ten years of the thirty-two years allotted to him. The colonial papers have been full of discussion on the matter of the Governor's clemency, but the majority have decided that justice was fully vindicated by the ten years confinement, and lost none of its potency because it was tempered with mercy. A Chronicle reporter interviewed Gardiner yesterday and found him to be a man of apparently forty, five years of age, with a full, round, English face jet-black beard and moustache, and a quiet demeanour which sensationalists would hardly associate with the exploits of the great Australian Dick Turpin. The meeting suggested a great many old Australian reminiscences of bushranging days when the name of Gardiner figured in every day's paper in connection with some deed of a daring robbery.

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

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

Reporter: Why was that?

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

Reporter: Why did you commence such career?

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

Rep.: But what made you rob the mails?

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

Rep.: Have you a cheerful prospect before you?

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

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

c. 1876
Gardiners new San Francisco digs were highlighted in 1876, revealing an environment where the reputed lowest of the low held court. Asbury, in Benjamin Estelle Lloyd's Lights and Shades of San Francisco. (1876)

The Barbary Coast is the haunt of the low and the vile of every kind. The petty thief, the house burglar, the tramp, the whoremonger, lewd women, cutthroats, murderers, all are found here. Dance-halls and concert-saloons, where blear-eyed men and faded women drink vile liquor, smoke offensive tobacco, engage in vulgar conduct, sing obscene songs and say and do everything to heap upon themselves more degradation, are numerous. Low gambling houses, thronged with riot-loving rowdies, in all stages of intoxication, are there. Opium dens, where heathen Chinese and God-forsaken men and women are sprawled in miscellaneous confusion, disgustingly drowsy or completely overcome, are there. Licentiousness, debauchery, pollution, loathsome disease, insanity from dissipation, misery, poverty, wealth, profanity, blasphemy, and death, are there. And Hell, yawning to receive the putrid mass, is there also.

Of course, the self-assessment by the Darkie in his newspaper interview needs to be put into context when one considers that;

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

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

The Annual directory
of the City and County
of San Francisco 1878.
Dribs and drabs of news filtered into Australia regarding Gardiner's circumstances as mail steamers plyed their way from the west coast of America to Port Jackson's shores carrying the latest communications, speculations and innuendo. Australian passengers visiting 
San Francisco went about walking the streets seeking out the once-famous Australian celebrity. Those visitors called on local police to point them in the right direction and at times are even escorted to his reputed seedy hotel. One Australian visitor commented to a journalist friend on return after meeting the 'Darkie' escorted by a policeman, 'The Western Independent' 18th August 1877;

When in San Francisco I asked about Gardiner. Accompanied by a policeman, I went one day, about eleven o'clock, to his whisky mill in Kearney Street. It was a low vile street in the worst part, of 'Frisco, called 'The Barbary Coast.

Communications continued to surface on various subjects regarding Gardiner. One visitor stated that the former bushranger sent letters of appreciation to both Sir Henry Parkes and Governor Sir Hercules Robinson for his freedom; What Gardiner has Promised Parkes.'Glen Innes Examiner and General Advertiser' Wednesday 5th May 1875:

If the Sydney correspondent of the Forbes Times is to be credited, Frank Gardiner, the expatriated Bushranger, is not unmindful of his former friend and benefactor, as the following extract demonstrates:—A gentleman, just arrived in Sydney from San Francisco informs us that the slayer of Governments and robber of escorts, Frank Gardiner, is safely and comfortably established in that city in a flourishing bar or restaurant, having been started in that line of business by a friendly circle of beings entitled a " ring," whatever that may be. Frank, it is said, sent a number of grateful messages to the late Premier and to Sir Hercules Robinson, and expressed much regret at having brought so much sorrow and trouble upon their heads. He especially condoles with Mr. Parkes, and declares that if that gentleman will only cut this ungrateful colony and start to 'Frisco, that he will run him for the Presidency of the States and carry him in at the tip-top of the poll.

Another piece of Gardiner news came to light through a letter from a former resident of the Lachlan now living in Sacramento California; 'Burrangong Argus' of 30th June 1875;

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

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

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

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

Libaries Digital Collection

By 1876 a further variety of reports surfaced stating that Gardiner had established and held sway in a small saloon on the Barbary Coast, the Twilight Saloon or Twilight Star. The Annual directory of the City and County of San Francisco 1876 register Frank Gardiner as a saloon owner at 1031 Kearny Street San Francisco. The Directory also establishes that Gardiner was in premises in 1878. The saloon was reputed to be a place of squaller and patronised by the lowest of the dock rats who with one eye open awaited for a sucker to waylay 'The Braidwood Dispatch and Mining Journal' 17th November 1888;

Frank Gardiner, from the first day he landed in San Francisco, until the day he left it did no good for himself. His first job was as a barman in a saloon. This position he left to open a small saloon for himself, which he named 'The Twilight,' situated in Kearney-street, near Broadway. It was a small dingy place of two rooms, and Gardiner never did any good in it; A few months was enough for him in this place, when he descended to a mere saloon hanger-on, living goodness knows how.

Another contrary review stated this about the 'Twilight' saloon;

In company with a friend, a brother scribbler, I had the honor to inspect Mr. Frank's place of business. It is what is termed, in Californian parlance, a "saloon;" that is, a bar room, only stripped of every other appendage that goes to make up an hotel. Gardiner's saloon is located in Kearney-street, near Broadway, and is named the "Twilight," a name suggestive enough.

Contradictions of Gardiner's existence were always close to the surface concerning his life at Kearny Street.

Another San Francisco visitor commented on return to Adelaide South Australia in 1876;

The correspondent of an Adelaide journal writing on the 21st June, from San Francisco, states that he had seen Gardiner who keeps the Twilight Star, a very small drinking shop in Kearney street. The house seemed to be an orderly one. Gardiner looks about 40 years old, which shows that he must have improved very greatly in looks since he left the seclusion of Darlinghurst, and the confinement of the gaol bookbinding room. He does not seem to enjoy good health in America, however, though he has improved very much in general appearance.

Subsequently, another dictated a view regarding those who idolised the 'Darkie.' Expressing an opinion of a man not down in his cups but in fine fettle recounting his grand escapades. At the same time, his lowlife audience threw a few nickels his way. 'The McIvor Times and Rodney Advertiser' Thursday 14th August 1879;

His saloon was little else than a gambling den and a resort for the scum and dregs of the city. The frequent recital of his daring deeds fired his auditors with a spirit of emulation-a hankering after a free life of a brigand; instead of being looked upon with loathing, the man became elevated in the opinion of his hearers into a very hero.

Fred Sofforth standing
left backrow. 
During 1878 in San Francisco as Frank entertained patrons at his Barbary Coast saloon when he was visited by non other than the Australian Cricket Team returning from England after a tour. Stopping over in 
San Francisco the team played a California XXII side from two local cricket clubs. One of the visitors from the Australian team was Fred Spofforth considered one of the best bowlers ever to play. The team sailed from San Francisco on 28 October in the SS City of New York, arriving in Sydney on 25 November 1878.

However, the general consensus was that the saloon itself was held in low esteem, if not the lowest esteem. 'The Western Independent' 18th August 1877;

The house was a filthy-looking blackguard place, and all-round on wooden forms were some ruffians, with a heft of knife peeping out of their rags, but now powerless to use them, sleeping off the previous night's debauch.

Regardless Frank was making fair trade;

Frank Gardiner, the notorious [sic] New South Wales bushranger, is keeping the Twilight Hotel, San Francisco, and doing a roaring trade. He has grown stout. 

Although reputed that not only was he surrounded by barflies and layabout's and dong it tough. Gardiner had the luxury of employing staff. A contradiction on much of Frank's existence in San Francisco; 

On entering, we were waited upon by an athletic son of Adam with brickish coloured hair. We asked if he was the celebrated individual that Harry Parkes had fought and fallen in defence of. He asked- "Who the hell was Harry Parkes? He never recollected him round these diggings." "Well," we said, "we wanted to see Frank Gardiner." "Oh," he said, "he is inside there," pointing to a small room off the bar. "He is very unwell He has not been up-to-day. If you call to-morrow perhaps you-may see him. He is really too ill at present to be disturbed, but if you leave your names, I will tell him you called.

Note: There has been some recent comment that in the late 1870s, the former detective and participant in Gardiner's capture at Apis Creek Daniel McGlone, fired in 1868 by the NSW police force, went to San Francisco commenced working for Gardiner in his saloon. That is complete and utter nonsense. McGlone married Sarah Gibbon, a widow, in 1869 and had one child, Daniel McGlone. In 1870 McGlone had the McGlone Hotel on the corner of Market and Pitt streets Sydney. McGlone resided at 135 Elizabeth St Sydney in 1870. By 1880 McGlone relocated to Brisbane. Sarah McGlone died in Brisbane, c. 1902.

However, others who trod their way to the saloon expressed this view contrary to the belief that it was seedy and noted that his enterprise was a legitimate saloon ticking all the boxes of the authorities licensing board;

The Annual directory
of the City and County
of San Francisco 1879.
Frank's saloon is as clean and well stocked as most of the other places of the same kind are in San Francisco. There is no concealment about Frank as to his name or his fast career. One large mirror at the back of his bar I noticed his name written in very large text; and his license from the city authorities to keep a saloon is also tacked up in a conspicuous part of the bar.

Gardiner, circa 1879, sold off his Kearny St saloon, for a new establishment, possibly the 'Starlight' situated on Brannan-street, between Second and Third streets, near the Pacific Mail Dock, The San Francisco directory:

Gardiner Frank, liquor saloon, 318 Brannan Street.

'Northern Star' 14th February 1880 highlighted the move;

Frank Gardiner. As in connection with recent affairs, the name of this notorious ex-brigand has cropped up, some particulars of how he progresses in San Francisco may not prove uninteresting. Frank has returned from his old quarters in Kearney street, and is now comfortably established in a saloon in Brannan-street, between Second and Third streets, and near the Pacific Mail Dock. Gardiner says he made a great mistake in taking the "Starlight" in Kearney street, as it is one of the lowest localities in San Francisco. He says that his sole aim in life is to progress upwards in the social scale, and he points to his removal from Kearney to Brannan streets as evidence of that laudable ambition.

The 'Starlight' was noted as;

The saloon is not a very extensive one; it has more an Australian than a Yankee aspect. It is what may be termed a triangular room, fitted up with a lead-covered counter. In front there is a bagatelle-table where people play for "drinks."  

For all the rumour and innuendo Gardiner does not appear to be a man wracked with afflictions and death at his door as noted by some;

Gardiner looked simply wretched; he was crippled with rheumatism, and not improved by drinking some of his own grog, the vile compound called whiskey, old Bourbon.

For Frank Gardiner illness, however, was a way to obfuscate his true circumstances and as far back as Cockatoo Island, Frank built a reputation of faking illness:

Gardiner the bushranger, and as he always had some ailment, or pretended to have, nearly the whole of his time was spent thereon. He was very fond of reading, but on no account would he work for any length of time; he would soon be back to his old quarters— the invalid bank— and amuse himself with carving and manufacturing figures in bone, and reading whatever book or newspaper he could obtain.

Note: There is evidence that the Twilight saloon and Starlight are possibly interchangeable or possibly the saloons were Starlight at Kearny Street and The Twilight in Brannan Street. The Starlight name may well have been the catalyst for Rolf Boldrewood's naming of his character in Robbery Under Arms,  1882 as Captain Starlight? 

Return to Oz.

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

He said to my friend that he thought of sending a petition to the Government of New South Wales to be allowed to return if it was only to serve out his time.

However, by the 1880s, Gardiner was no longer registered as saloon keeper at Brannan St and nor resident of the Barbary Coast. Gardiner had once again dropped off the map, evaporated. Had he died? There is sufficient evidence to support that Francis Christie never died in America. No record of his demise exists, bar speculation based on nothing proven nor concrete. There are claims he died a pauper in an infirmary and was placed in an unmarked grave. Nonsense! 'Singleton Argus' Saturday 9th September 1882;

Frank Gardner. Says Dr Grundy in the Melbourne Herald:-- The death of Gardiner the bushranger is again reported from San Francisco. This time he died as a pauper in a hospital. Last time it was as a bar-keeper in a free fight. The time before that it was as a road agent sticking up a mail train. Next time it will be from the effects of a balloon accident, or in an excess of delight at a charity sermon. What a comfort it must be to the good man to be able to die so often, and yet keep healthy all the time. The late Lord Brougham possessed this happy accomplishment, and so did Tom Spring the pugilist, and Madame Calatani, the prima donna. Each of these eminent persons had the pleasure of reading their own obituaries on various occasions and flourished to a green old age notwithstanding. The lord and the lady were both past 90 when they died. The pugilist's age I am uncertain about, but his remarkable bravery and fidelity, coupled with the constancy of the reports of his death, made him a striking exception to the proverb that only the coward dies a thousand deaths.

The reference to a paupers grave is fanciful as while in San Francisco thousands of miles from his home country, communication between Frank and his three sisters must have existed. Archina, Robina and Charlotte had worked feverishly in facilitating Frank's early release from Darlinghurst; therefore, it would be unheard of for those devoted sisters, for whatever reason, to abandon their brother even in a faraway country such as America at a time of crisis or possible destitution.

Thomas Baines.

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

You, John Devoy, were appointed center for the military and were engaged in the seduction of soldiers from their allegiance, You, Sinclair, and you, Baines, appear to have been active to an extraordinary extent. The sentence of the court is that you Sinclair, Baines, Slack, Stanley, and Brown be kept in penal servitude for 10 years; The prisoners exhibited great surprise and emotion on hearing their sentences. Baines burst into tears, and Power appeared to be almost paralysed. 

Western Australia, Convict
Records, 1846-1930.
for Thomas Baines.
Convicted for his part in the uprising, Baines became a part of the last transportation of convicts from the United Kingdom to Australia, arriving in Fremantle Western Australia, January 1868 embarked on the sailing ship 'Hougoumont'However, the 'Hougoumont' departure from Portland, England on 25th October 1867 at 2. 55 p.m. filled the authorities with trepidation as Baines and several other Fenian insurrectionists were embarked that a gunboat was dispatched to escort her out to the open south Atlantic:

Private letters inform us that English papers commented strongly upon this vessel being allowed to perform her voyage without an escort, as it was well known that armed Fenian cruisers were prowling about the coast. The Hougoumont was, however, escorted by a man of war until clear of land.

Like thousands of previous convict ships plying the route to the antipodes, the voyage on the 'Hougoumont' had varied little during the last eighty years of convict transportation. Whereby, for those tens of thousands embarked who had suffered, as well as the many who died on those perilous voyages, conditions for Baines were still brutal. As the coast of Western Australia loomed on the horizon, the flat plain of the landscape, uninteresting, stretched out north and south without a break in its bleakness. The afternoon breeze strengthened. The ships rigging pinging with the force of the roaring forties winds pushed the 'Hougoumont' into Cockburn Sound towards the mouth of the Swan River and her final destination, Fremantle. Arriving in the late afternoon at the dock, Baines and his 279 fellow convicts disembarked to the heat, bellowing guards and the inspection of the many locals down to see the latest misfits turn out in their chains. A fellow transportee John Boyle described conditions on the 'Hougoumont':

The smells were, of course, among the notable feature of life on board. The combination of animal and human excrement, foul water from the bottom of the ship below pump wells which never came out, the remains of old cargo's and the perpetually rotten wooden structure of the vessel herself must between them have produced a dreadful stench, unrelieved by any kind of ventilation system in the ship. People were accustomed to this ashore in towns and villages which stank like an Oriental slum today.

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

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

The only person who befriended him was the Fenian.

A friendship that gave rise for Gardiner to return to Australia.

Los Angeles Daily Herald
21st July 1875.
Throughout the world, up to and beyond the Gold rushes of the 1850s. The free movement of people around the world was unencumbered by bureaucratic red tape. Individual passports per sae did not exist until early in the 20th century. Therefore, if an enterprising man, woman or whole family wished to up stakes and head to the antipodes, they only required the passage fee to embark on a sailing ship destined for the desired location, say Sydney or Melbourne. The record of travel appeared only on the vessel's manifest. On arrival at the port of choice, travellers just disembarked without fanfare. Therefore, if a scallywag who had committed some wrong wanted to flee for a far shore through anonymity from any country, he needed only to purchase a passage under an assumed name.

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

Following five years in San Francisco, Frank Gardiner, according to many differing accounts, had had enough. Frank longed for the country of his youth. The former bushranger was regularly seen at the Barbary Coast wharves whenever a packet steamer from Australia secured alongside. Frank would canvass passengers for newspapers of the time, and no doubt sought mail from his sisters. Devouring the latest happenings on the old home front. Gardiner spent hours examining the news on the political state of affairs and skimming the pages of the many changed social attitudes and country district transformations. Inquiring regularly from passengers for the latest doings in his old haunts:

Frank casts longing eyes to the westward, and invariably comes down to the wharf whenever an Australian mailboat arrives, and anxiously inquiries for New South Wales newspapers.

Frank's desire to return home was widely known. Those constant inquiries of steamer Captains to provide passage only to have them shake their heads with a firm No! Querying Australians at the berths of the packet steamers about the current atmosphere since his deportation did not prohibit his yearning to find an opportunity to finally return home to his family, namely his sisters, undoubtedly never far from his melancholy thoughts. Frank bided his time;

His wisest plan is to keep himself very straight indeed, or exile may not be the worst of his misfortunes. One thing is very certain that if ever he is exiled from California New South Wales will be his destination.

Thoughts of hearth and home and his long past bushranging exploits allowed Gardiner to stroke the interest of his friend Captain Baines where talk of Australia, its vastness and a buried treasure secreted in the back blocks of the Fish River or Lachlan excited the Irish rebel with the prospect of wealth. More fiction than fact but enough to have Gardiner through Baines seek a way to return to New South Wales where Gardiner could once more meld into anonymity as he had achieved at Apis Creek many years before. Many treasure seekers canvassed Gardiner on his possible treasure's whereabouts offering huge sums to recover the lost Eldorado. Gardiner held his cards close to his chest but gave those asking a knowing look;

Large offers have been made to him by more than one speculator to tell whereabouts his "plants" are. Frank, on these occasions, mournfully shakes his head and puffs out a larger volume of smoke than usual, but remains ominously silent.

Anonymity was Gardiner's stock-in-trade, as highlighted upon his arrest in Queensland in 1864. Gardiner in a crowd would draw little attention either in manners or appearance, and he had put on weight no longer the lithe man of Lachlan fame;

Altogether he is an ordinary looking man, and you would take him for a labourer, or a gold-digger, or a small huckster. Passing him in a crowd, you would not look at him twice. As for the portraits published of him, they are vile caricatures, and no more like him than I am like the Emperor of China or Austria.

Gardiner's reputation for ordinariness and abilities in the field of disguise was well known;

There is this much to be said in excuse of the police, that Gardiner is such an adept, at disguising himself (making-up is 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.

The Pioche Weekly
Record, 21st 
February 1880.
The old Frank was eager to try his plainness once more, whereby Baines and Gardiner formulated a plan, and Baines leaked their subterfuge to the press in an off-hand manner. 
A Californian paper received by the last mail has the following:

A Fenian of renown has gone to Australia by the steamer City of New York, for the purpose of raising a treasure; of £60,000, buried by Frank Gardiner, a notorious Australian bushranger.

Gardiner, prior to his imprisonment, had buried the swag obtained by countless robberies about half a mile from the Fish River, in a clearing between Goulburn and Bathurst, New South Wales. After his release he came to San Francisco, the vigilance of the Australian police compelling him to leave his booty behind. Here he has become a total wreck. The only person who befriended him was the Fenian and knowing that he had, but a short time to live, he confided to him the whereabouts of the deposit, which is said to consist of gold coin, bills, and jewellery. He has furnished him with accurate plans and diagrams of the buried treasure, which is to go entirely to him, with the condition that he shall provide for Gardiner during his lifetime.  

On the 19th January 1880, the RMS City of New York departed San Francisco embarked with 28 passengers from San Francisco via Honolulu and Auckland NZ, including Captain Thomas Baines and six un-named steerage passengers. Arriving in Sydney on the 15th February 1880.

Me 'ol mate Fogg.

A meeting with William Fogg followed Baines' arrival in Sydney where he reputedly produced a letter and map outlining the whereabouts of the suspected treasure:

Five years later Fogg received a visit from an Irishman bearing a letter from Gardiner. Enclosed was a rough map of the locality in which the Eugowra gold was hidden in a cave with other loot. For 12 months they searched without success, and; the Irishman returned to America. Until he became too old to climb Marys Mount, Fogg maintained the search for the gold hoard but in vain. Somewhere in one of the hundreds of caves haunted by rock wallabies, a fortune lies hidden.

A fruitless search by Baines and Fogg news began appearing from San Francisco that Gardiner had met his end once more. The faint was complete, and Gardiner once more became a ghost and was never heard of again except for unsubstantiated sightings and wild claims of being shot dead, beaten to death, or died as a drunk. Of bar-room fights, a marriage to a wealthy woman and even an accusation of stagecoach robberies. In the main complete falsehoods. Thomas Baines left Australia quietly some months later without any treasure. Still, Baines returned in 1882 under the guise of recovering the remains of a fellow Fenian, Patrick Keating, an old Irish compatriot, transported with him to Australia. So opportunity knocked twice for Francis Christie. 'Braidwood Dispatch and Mining Journal' Saturday 17 November 1888:

By degrees his stories became to be believed, and a kind of a joint stock company was got up in San Francisco to come over to Australia and dig up the wealth, Eventually a well-known Irish-American agitator, with a handle to his name, set out for Australia, accompanied by Gardiner, to unearth the booty. This happened about four or five years ago. It is needless to say they were not successful. The agitator arrived back again in San Francisco, minus the wealth, and Gardiner stayed behind in Australia, and if still in the flesh is no doubt here now, amusing himself with reading the stories that are being printed concerning his career. While in San Francisco Gardiner gave no trouble to the police. His great dream was to get back to New South Wales. He never had enterprise enough to work for money sufficient to pay his passage to accomplish that end, but what he lacked in enterprise he made up in subterfuge. 

Furthermore, there is no foundation to connect Gardiner with any children born at any time in any country or step-children. Their linking is fanciful and untrustworthy. The link to highway robberies was exposed as a hoax; 'Northern Star' Saturday 22nd November 1879;

NOT TRUE.- It now turns out that the sensational accounts in the American papers, about Frank Gardiner having resumed highway robbery in that country, is all a hoax. 

Therefore, Francis Christie's penchant for disguises, namely as a minister of the cloth and the wealth and social standing of his devoted sisters Archina, Charlotte and Robina. The three sisters conspired to bring their brother home on the steamer 'City of New York' in 1880 and that he died in family secrecy and obscurity in Australia? After all, he was eligible to return free in 1896, at the young age of 67! Subsequently, unlike Apis Creek, Gardiner's mistake, he returned to Australia and lived and died in his sisters' care, undoubtedly under one of his many aliases.

However, although home is where the heart is, for the next thirty years' stories continued to abound regarding Frank Gardiner's life and whereabouts in the Californian sunshine or Australia's sunburnt country.

There would be reports and rumours of mysterious men digging at Wheogo for Gardiner's hidden treasure at the turn of the century. Finally, it is doubtful that a man of Frank's intellect could be attached to any of the above innuendo. However, just how much is truth or deception regarding his last days is purely conjecture.

Note: If it can be categorically demonstrated that Gardiner died in San Francisco devoid of hearsay and conjecture, it would be interesting to see the evidence. Obscure references to burials in paupers graves or a violent death are far-fetched. Correspondence reviewed or received to date has not from any of the sources been able to produce one iota of fact regarding his demise or post-1880 circumstances. Newspapers covering up to twenty years give brief hearsay accounts. However, this is challenged by other accounts referenced here of Gardiner not dying and of returning to NSW alive and healthy. Gardiner shrouded his situation in obfuscation. Therefore, at present, I will stand by the belief that he indeed returned. I would be so bold as to align Gardiner's hearsay with that of Ben Hall and the rubbish long espoused of "his cattle abandoned and dying of thirst in his stockyards" complete bunkum. I would say that Clarence Paget Bayly summoned it up nicely when he commented, "The reminiscences of the bushranging days have a sort of a fascination that seems to stir the blood in people, and, as a rule, brings about a lot of controversy."

In 1910 Frank Gardiner was remembered briefly 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.  
Frank Gardiner was 45 years old at the time of his release from Darlinghurst Gaol in 1874. This photo above is a prison portrait and was made through My Heritage nostalgia.
At Darlinghurst Gaol 1866.

New South Wales, Australia, Criminal Court Records, 1830-1945  for Francis Clarke, Supreme Court Registers of Criminal Indictments, 1863-1898

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 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)

Letter by Frank Gardiner's father Charles referring to the operation of a Sly-Grog shop.
'Port Phillip Gazette' 25th April 1840.
Geelong Advertiser
Wednesday, 23rd October 1850
Francis Christie alias Clarke at Darlinghurst Gaol
 awaiting trial 1854
The Sydney Morning Herald
Tuesday, 21st March 1854
Goulburn Circuit Court 
Edward Prior and Francis Clarke at
 Goulburn Gaol and sentenced 1854.
The court proceedings (above) were held in NSW where Gardiner used the alias of Clarke. After serving 6 years of his sentence Christie/Clarke/Gardiner arrived in the Carcoar district on a ticket -of- leave in 1860. 

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

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

A fascinating account in the N.S.W. Police Gazette (above) believed that Mrs Brown participated in Highway Robbery with Gardiner.

A newspaper's account (above) of Pottinger's encounter with Gardiner.  The newspaper wags of the day in ridicule wrote in August 1862; "Sir Frederick Pottinger met Gardiner, at midnight, on Saturday, at Wheoga, and they were within five or six yards of each other; Sir Frederick Pottinger pulled the trigger of his pistol, but it missed fire. Gardiner’s horse swerved, and Sir Frederick escaped."
This appeared in the newspaper in October 1862, the Wheeo area
 is near today's Canberra.
Darlinghurst Gaol Mat Making Facility. "on the occasion of our visit we found Gardiner (the bushranger) and other notorious criminals busy making mats, and in an adjoining room, weaving matting was an unfortunate young man who owes his loss of liberty to the temptations of Gardiner and Gilbert. No time seems to be wasted, no conversation permitted, or anything that would divert attention. The store contained piles of matting, mats, and other manufacturers, some of which have since found their way to the Intercolonial Exhibition..." The prisoner alluded to is Patrick Daley. 'Illustrated Sydney News' Friday 16th November 1866.
The death of Johnny Walsh, brother of Bridget married to Ben Hall, Ellen married to John Maguire, and Katherine married to John Browne & Gardiner's lover was arrested after Pottinger's encounter with Gardiner at Katherine's home died in police custody from Gaol Fever on the 24th March 1863, aged 16.
23rd January 1864
There had long been thought that the police had received a report of Gardiner in QLD
from an informant but it appears his presence was well known before his March 1864 arrest.
Gardiner's new home Darlinghurst Gaol. A sketch from the Illustrated Sydney News Friday 16th November 1866. 1.-The entrance. 2.-The muster on arrival. 3.- The inquiry office. 4:-Selecting boots 5.-The bookbinding shop. 6.-Interior of a cell. 7. - in church 8.-On night watch-"All's well!" 9.-Prisoners' yard. The bookbinding Shop was where Gardiner lovingly produced the small bible for Catherine as seen below.

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

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

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

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

Geelong Advertiser
Saturday 18th August 1877
There is some merit in the last lines as to Frank's return to Australia. He was a master of anonymity when required.
Reputed Business card.
The Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners Advocate
Tuesday, 6th August 1878.
Report of Gardiner marrying from
the Evening News, Monday 1st December 1879.
Sunday Times Sun 15 Jan 1905.
This is the marriage that many have believed to be linked to the 'Darkie'. This has been misused in almost every publication to date.
The Northern Star
Saturday, 14th February 1880 

1911 film on Gardiner. Frank Gardiner Outlaw.
Zeehan and Dundas Herald Tuesday 29th August 1911. 

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

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

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

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

Morning Bulletin
Wednesday, 27th November 1929

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

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

The Sydney Morning Herald
Monday, 8th June 1874

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

Passenger List for the City of New York. Note Baines, cabin. Gardiner for NZ, however, anyone could well be Frank Gardiner. Thanks to David Geerlings for the list.

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

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

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

Crown Solicitor                                                                                                     Signed Jno McLerie   Sydney

Frank Gardiner's streets of San Francisco
The above link is a 1906 hand-coloured film of Market street San Francisco travelling east on a cable car. Although filmed years after Frank Gardiner left Frisco for Australia, this film is taken in the Barbary Coast heart. Gardiner's saloons were in this vicinity and Kearney St to the left of the screen at about 3.08 sec. The finish is where Gardiner would have ventured to meet the mail packets from Australia. 

#-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 
For an enhanced view of photographs, click right mouse button and select 'open in new tab'.


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

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

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

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

  5. Such a brilliant and thorough site. I am having a 'Bushrangers Stall' in the near future and your information here is invaluable to me as an illustrator. Would it be ok for me to quote a few of your sentences here (I'm thinking maybe four or five) put beside a painting on display? I will credit you. Feel free to email me Mark

    1. Contact me directly through the email not through here for best response.