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

In the annals of Australian bushranging history, few events have captured the public imagination as much as the audacious Eugowra Gold Escort robbery in June 1862. Orchestrated by the notorious bushranger Frank Gardiner, this daring heist was carried out by a group of men who would become infamous in their own right. Their actions would become intertwined with the legend of the bushrangers.

When Gardiner planned the Eugowra Gold Escort robbery, he recruited John Bow, Alex Fordyce, Henry Manns and Daniel Charters mate of fellow accomplices Ben Hall, John O'Meally and John Gilbert. The robbery was a success, with the gang making off with over £14,000 worth of gold and cash. The men received equal shares of the proceeds, 300 oz gold and £335 cash.

This webpage, "The Eugowra Gold Escort Robbery: The Men Behind the Heist," will delve into the lives of John Bow and his fellow bushrangers, their audacious crimes, and the society they rebelled against. It will explore the circumstances that led these men to choose a life of crime and the impact of their actions on Australian history.
(All related articles incorporated into the narrative are coloured and transcribed as published.)

John Bow ("the very opposite of a bushranger")

John Bow
Prison Release, 1874.
In the heart of the Blue Mountains foothills, in the charming town of Penrith, NSW, John Bow embarked on his life journey in 1841. Born to a family that valued respectability and education, John was privileged to acquire the essential skills of reading and writing at a young age.

Martin Bow was an industrious man of the soil, ran a modest farm in Penrith. The family's resilience was tested when they were met with the untimely demise of John's mother in 1851 and later Martin himself in 1858. In these testing times, John found solace and companionship in his sister, Margaret Holburid, née Bow

Are natives of Penrith, in this colony, and, by the death of their parent twelve years ago, were left helpless upon the world, together with three other girls and two boys.

In his early teenage years, around the age of 14, Bow decided to venture out of his familial environment and started working as a stockman at Burrowa (Boorowa), a place situated near the Lambing Flat goldfields. This location was a significant one, brimming with the promise of prosperity and fraught with the dangers that often accompany such ventures.

In an unfortunate incident in 1857, while herding cattle from the Blue Mountains, Bow found himself on the wrong side of the law. He was apprehended on suspicion of cattle stealing. The incident wasn't an isolated one; he was not alone in this supposed misadventure. Alongside him were two brothers, John and Patrick Walsh, as well as an individual named Michael Driscoll. The young stockman's life was taking an unforeseen turn, painting a stark contrast to his respectable upbringing.

Michael Driscoll and John Bow, charged with receiving stolen cattle, were remanded until the 28th inst.

The event that led to Bow's apprehension revolved around a single animal that had been originally owned by a Mrs. Maryanne Hyndes. This bovine found its way into a herd of 82 cattle, all of which were under the watchful eye of John Bow. When the police intervened, they singled out Bow and his associate, Driscoll, as the prime suspects for this apparent theft. The supposed mix-up in herds put Bow in an undesirable spotlight, marking a turning point in his early career as a stockman.

The heifer in question was found in a mixed herd of 80 or 82 head which he found in possession of a youth who called himself John Bow and a man named Michael Driscoll, whom he apprehended near Cheshire's on their way to the Lachlan. 

After investigation Bow and Driscoll were released:

Were subsequently discharged so far as this case was concerned. Mrs Hyndes had identified the heifer as her property.

John Bow was called to give evidence against Walsh:

John Bow, a fine-looking youth of about 14 years of age, who was brought from gaol, deposed that he could neither read nor write— that he knew the prisoner and Maryanne Hyndes; assisted to drive about 90 head of cattle from Blaxland Swamp. The prisoner and his brother, Patrick Walsh, assisted to drive the cattle during the first two days but left them on the evening of the second day. Witness was examined at the police office and was shewn the heifer in question, but he did not know her, nor recollect having seen her amongst the mob. The cattle were principally collected about Blaxland Swamp, and some of them branded in his presence. Two or three small mobs joined the cattle shortly after starting, and he acquainted the prisoner with the fact, who looked through the cattle but did not drive any of them out. Witness and Patrick Walsh drove out a number of strangers from the mob. Resided on the Lachlan, was seldom at Blaxland Swamp and never whilst the branding was going on.

Following the Hyndes trial where the Walsh's were found not guilty, Bow and Driscoll were released with no case to answer. 

William Costello,
Half brother.

Private Source.
In a subsequent twist of events in 1858, Bow found himself once again on the wrong side of the law. This time, he was accused of being in possession of a stolen mare and her foal. Bow was not alone in this situation; his half-brother William Costello was similarly charged after voluntarily turning himself into the police. After being apprehended near Cheshire's, Bow was transported to Bathurst and charged with horse stealing. The Cheshire family, who were related to John Vane, found themselves inadvertently embroiled in this legal fracas. Facing the serious accusations, John Bow prepared his defence, ready to plead his case.

That he knows the prisoner, and met him at Hartley in February last when he lent witness a mare to ride to the Lachlan. After travelling some distance on the road, he was apprehended for being in possession of a stolen mare. 

However, Costello was acquitted, and Bow set free.

Life at the station was disrupted with the discovery of Gold at the nearby Lambing Flat in 1860. This development led to Bow becoming notorious for his connections with individuals who were frequently in communication with Gardiner, the infamous bushranger. Over a span of three years, Bow had held various roles at different stations in the Burrowa district, predominantly working as a roustabout.

His constant interaction with Gardiner's band of robbers led him down a path of criminal activities, a path that often promised a grim future of lengthy imprisonment or worse, a date with the gallows. His reputation was further marred as he was reputedly used by the bushrangers as a 'Bush Telegraph'. He was known to provide intricate details about travelers bearing valuables, as well as divulging confidential information on the movements of the NSW police.

Despite these nefarious activities, Bow continued his work as a stockman, predominantly at John Nowlan's Wentworth Gully Station. The dichotomy of his life, split between his duties as a stockman and his involvement in criminal activities, only added to the complex nature of John Bow's character.

He was a stockman employed by Mr John Nowlan, of Bimbi.¹

John Bow's unusual profession as a 'telegraph' for the bushrangers yielded handsome returns. The substantial amount of easy money that he earned brought about raucous celebrations in shanties and dance halls across the goldfields. John Nowlan's station, where Bow was employed, was often visited by notorious figures such as Gardiner, Charters, and Ben Hall. Like many young men of his era, Bow enjoyed displaying his wealth through flashy dressing, and he had a habit of spending his money lavishly. These indulgences eventually drew the unwanted attention of local law enforcement.

Meanwhile, Frank Gardiner was devising a scheme that would allow him to escape the relentless pursuit of the NSW police. His plan aimed to secure a fortune large enough to provide him and his beloved, Catherine Brown, with the means to start afresh, far from their current troubles. Aware of the lucrative amounts of gold traveling along the Queen's highways, Gardiner shared his audacious plan with his close criminal associates, John Gilbert and John O'Meally.

For the plot to work, they needed additional help. John Maguire, a partner at Sandy Creek station with his brother-in-law Ben Hall, was brought into the planning phase. Bow, who had been a peripheral figure to Gardiner's group, was also extended an invitation to join the daring endeavor. Recognising the opportunity for quick riches, Bow readily accepted the offer, becoming an active participant in Gardiner's grand plan. The robbery of the Forbes Gold Escort.

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.

Escort Rock, Eugowra.
My Photo.
On the afternoon of June 15, 1862, the grand scheme was set into motion in the small hamlet of Eugowra. Located along the road to the Forbes gold diggings, Eugowra was peppered with large granite boulders that provided the perfect cover for an ambush. For this operation, Gardiner had assembled a trustworthy team, including six youthful accomplices, among them John Bow.

In the days leading up to the heist, a certain Tom Richards, a close associate of Maguire's, was present when Gardiner arrived at Sandy Creek to strategize with the would-be robbers. However, after the heist, lured by the prospect of a £1000 reward, Richards turned informant. Leveraging his insider knowledge, he approached Sir Frederick Pottinger, a local police officer, and disclosed Bow's involvement in the raid, effectively betraying him and the rest of the gang.

Charters came in, and was talking to Maguire; he did not speak to me; they were drinking; he afterwards went away, and came back with Gardiner; Gardiner had arms-a gun and a revolver; the latter he placed on the table; he asked Bow how he was, and shook hands with him; Gardiner did not then speak to me; Maguire and Gardiner were talking in low tones together; Gilbert was also there; Maguire told him to go on the hill and get some more gin; Gilbert went out and came back with the gin; they had another glass of gin together, and I had some with them; then Maguire, Gardiner, Gilbert, and Bow went outside and were talking together; I would not be positive that Bow was talking with them-he was outside; Hall came in afterwards; when he came in it was about nine o'clock; Maguire told me I had better go to bed.²

However, before the coach's arrival on that fateful Sunday afternoon as Bow and the others lay in wait:

Gardiner hid his men behind some large rocks by the roadside, having first forced a number of carriers to block up the road with their wagons. The long-expected coach came in sight. "Make way for the Royal mail," cried the driver John Fagan, as he noticed the teams on the road. There was no answer, and again he repeated the order. There was no answer but the echo of his voice.³ 

The peaceful echo of Fagan's voice was abruptly shattered by the sharp crack of gunfire, bullets zipping through the air, tearing into the gold escort coach with a fury that sent splinters of wood flying. The unsuspecting policemen, including Sergeant Condell, were caught in this hailstorm, sustaining injuries. The thunderous rattle of the weapons startled the horses pulling the coach, causing them to bolt and ultimately capsize the vehicle.

Outgunned and under a relentless spray of bullets, the beleaguered troopers managed to extricate themselves from the overturned coach and retreat into the safety of the nearby scrub. They stumbled upon Mr Hanbury Clement's farm, a short distance away. Having heard the commotion and gunfire, Clement ventured out to investigate, ultimately coming across the disheveled policemen to whom he promptly offered first aid.

Meanwhile, the armed robbers – Gardiner, Bow, and their associates – descended upon the coach, exclaiming in delight as they ransacked it. They made off with a staggering haul – over £14,000 worth of gold and cash, equivalent to around $4,162,500 in today's value (assuming the price of gold at $1300 per ounce).

Covering a distance of about sixty miles, Bow and his companions quickly retreated to the safety of their camp on Wheogo Mountain, conveniently located close to Ben Hall's property, Sandy Creek. Here, the spoils of the robbery were divided. John Bow walked away with a substantial share – 300 oz of gold and £335 in cash.

With their share in tow, Hall, O'Meally, and Manns vacated the hideout, leaving Gardiner, Gilbert, Fordyce, Charters, and Bow at the camp, temporarily safe from pursuit and basking in the afterglow of their successful heist.

Bow's original charge
 - a capital offence
As they were preparing to leave Wheogo, Gardiner reportedly sent John Walsh to John Maguire's home for more saddlebags. However, the Warrigal returned in haste, the color drained from his face. He had run into the police exiting Maguire's house. Realising they had been compromised, Bow and the remaining bushrangers scattered in different directions as the lawmen closed in on them.

The getaway was chaotic and frantic, resulting in the loss of the gang's pack horse that carried the rest of the gold — about 1500 ounces, a hefty fortune belonging to Gardiner, Fordyce, and Charters. As they melted away into the landscape, the police, led by Sgt Sanderson, recovered the forsaken pack horse and its precious cargo.

In the aftermath, Bow was apprehended by Sir Frederick Pottinger, not for his part in the notorious gold escort robbery, but for the relatively lesser crime of horse stealing. However, once ensnared within the system, the law had other plans. Bow was informed that the suspicion of his involvement in the Escort Robbery was the real reason behind his arrest, as stated here:

It was on a Sunday night, and he was arrested at midnight; he had tea at our place that night— that was three weeks after the escort was robbed.

Sgt Sanderson highlighted the camp at Wheogo Hill.

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, rum, 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. 

John Bow's entrance record Bathurst 1862
Extracts from the Empire February 1863 of
Dan Charter's Damning Evidence (above)
At Darlinghurst Gaol for trial 
McGuire, Bow, Fordyce and another implicated in the Escort Robbery, Healey through his supply of bullet moulds to Ben Hall and others before the robbery. Note John Maguire was blind in his right eye.

As John Bow was taken to Sydney to face trial under the Special Commission into Bushranging, he found himself alongside Alex Fordyce, John Maguire, and Henry Manns. All of them were to face the shocking treachery of Daniel Charters. Charters had agreed to become an informer, turning Queen's evidence for a free pardon. He testified that Bow was not merely a fringe accomplice but was in Gardiner's direct company when Charters himself was recruited. Not stopping there, Charters added a chilling detail to his testimony: Bow was armed. This revelation painted Bow not as a mere bystander, but as an active participant in the bushranging activities.

Gardiner asked me where I was going, I said I was going home. He then said "I want you to go with me for a few days," I asked him "where to" and he answered "I will tell you that by and bye. He had a double-barrelled gun slung to his side, the same as I have seen the troopers carry them. He had two revolvers, one on each side of his valise. They were exposed to view. I saw them. John Bow had a double-barrelled gun slung to his side Gilbert had two revolvers placed in the straps of his valise, in the same way, that Gardiner had his.

Bow's arrival in Sydney
26th Jan 1863.
On the 26th of February, 1863, after enduring two grueling trials at the Sydney Criminal Court, John Bow faced the repercussions of Daniel Charters' damning testimony. Charters, who had known Bow well before the infamy of the robbery, offered a portrayal of Bow so convincing that it cemented a guilty verdict against him. The court's description of John Bow during the trial stands testament to the gravity of his deeds:
The prisoner, Bow would be termed a "respectable" man as far as personal appearance goes-he has a good-natured face, with a broad and well-shaped forehead, is neatly dressed, and certainly strikes the observer as the very opposite of a bushranger.(See article right.) 

When asked by the Judge if he had anything to say, Bow responded:

The jury had found a verdict against an innocent man.

John Bow was sentenced to death for his part in the robbery. The Empire newspaper reported his reaction on hearing the terrible news:

All the prisoners appeared to fully feel their awful situation. Bow, who presented a marked contrast to Fordyce, being both strong and athletic, and of very healthy appearance, gave a deep sigh, and changed colour immediately, wiping his face with a handkerchief. He seemed to have been quite unprepared for the result. He is twenty five years of age, and has a numerous circle of relatives in the Weddin Mountains to deplore his untimely fate. His prospects were good, so far as a nice farm, well-stocked, could afford.

At the time of Bow's sentence, and with the help of influential citizens, set about gathering petitions to help save Bow from the gallows. This was achieved with nearly 15,000 signatures which were presented to the Executive (the Government) on behalf of John Bow and Henry Manns:

A petition signed by 14,304 persons was presented to his Excellency on Wednesday last, praying for the reprieve of the prisoner's Bow and Manns. It contained the signatures of many of the most respectable men of the city. The petition was presented by a deputation headed by John Hubert Plunkett, Esq., but in itself and in the arguments which were adduced, it was ineffective on the mind of his Excellency, who informed the deputation that without the contrary advice of his Executive Council, he must let the law take its course. A meeting of the Executive Council was subsequently held, and the result was that the decision was adhered to.

Sir James Martin, a prominent figure in both law and parliament, wrote an open letter to the governor addressing the unsafe verdict of guilty based on the uncorroborated testimony of an informer:

BOW AND MANNS, a petition was signed by 13,000 in two days exclusive of large numbers who signed other memorials, Sir James Martin addressed an open letter to the Governor, Sir John Young, pointing out that it was unsafe to hang men on the uncorroborated testimony of an informer. The Governor listened to the sturdy Martin as far as Bow's case went, as no property was found on him, and reprieved him.

Martin's efforts for Manns failed. As a result, three days before his execution was to be carried out at Darlinghurst Gaol, Bow was reprieved; 

For the week ending Match 28th 1863. THE leading topic of the week has been the consideration for the two condemned, men in Darlinghurst gaol, for the robbery of the Western escort. On Monday, however, it was announced that his Excellency had reprieved Bow, and such announcement was subsequently confirmed.

Authors Note: Research indicates that John Bow had a sister Margaret Holburid Bow (Bowe), who resided at Mudgee. Margret also states that Bow had two brothers and three sisters from both his father and mother and his father's remarriage after Bow's mother died in 1851. Newspapers stated that his sister was a driving force behind the petitions at the time of Bow's reprieve. However, by Bow's release in 1874, his sister had died after falling from a gig while pregnant. The child did not survive, and Margaret passed away two days later, on the 25th March 1870. The family held licences for hotels in the district, namely the White Swan Inn Gulgong. John Bow's father was Martin Bow (Bowe), who died in 1858 at Penrith. NSWBDM BOWE  MARTIN 5049/1858 AGE 66 YEARS DIED PENRITH District of PENRITH.

However, at the time of Bow's reprieve, Charles Cowper, the Colonial Secretary, was absent in Melbourne. Upon his return to Sydney, Cowper was incensed to learn that Bow and Fordyce had been spared. As a result, their sentences were revised to life imprisonment with hard labour, the first three years of which were to be spent "in irons on the roads". Bow's accomplice, Manns, was not as fortunate and was sentenced to death by hanging. As their fates diverged, it is said that Manns and Bow shared a poignant exchange during the final days of Manns' life:

Mann's, the escort robber, who, when he bade adieu to his partner in crime, Bow said to him, "Do not feel sorry for me; I never was more happy; I had rather have my lot than yours."

Before Bow commutation, this view was published of his time in the condemned cell:

Of John Bow, his (Mr Hamilton's) first impressions were unfavourable-his appearance was defiant. But afterwards, in the condemned cell, his deportment was subdued and humble. He believed that death was his doom, and was deserved: He had little hope; but his imagination, caution, reason, and veneration were active, He was very deficient in conscientiousness; and of a roving turn, having no fixedness of thought. He was slow to receive an education. His mind possessed great energy, and unless trained by alternate labour and instruction, he would be maddened by confinement. An awful responsibility rested on those who had the control of such men. To spare his life was only useful on the condition that his immense power was properly trained to industry and virtue.

While serving time in prison, John Bow discovered a talent and work ethic for stone-cutting, becoming known as an orderly and industrious inmate. This characteristic shift was noted by the prison authorities. When John Vane, a member of the residual Gardiner gang which included Ben Hall, John Gilbert, and John O'Meally, was convicted and began his 15-year sentence in 1864, he received advice from the Warden to befriend the more well-behaved prisoners. Vane was specifically encouraged to seek out John Bow, whose orderly conduct stood out among the prison population.

Mr Read, the Governor of the gaol, was very kind to me from the start of my sentence. He advised me to choose my company among the prisoners. He named several of the quietest and best-behaved, particularly mentioning John Bow, one of the Eugowra escort robbers in Gardiner's bushranging gang, who had been sentenced to death, but whose sentence had been commuted to imprisonment for life, the first three years in irons.

Therefore under advisement, Vane sought out Bow:

I discovered that Bow was one of the gaol stone-cutters, and as each stone-cutter was allowed an assistant (or 'bullock,' as he was called in the yard), I applied to Mr. Telfor the overseer of the stone works, for permission to serve as Bow's 'bullock,' which request he readily granted. (Archibald Telfor was the overseer for Masons.) 

John Bow's instruction proved to be influential for Vane, as he quickly picked up the skills of stone-cutting and was given his own 'Bullock' within a short period. The demand for stone-cutters was high, owing to the ongoing construction of a new dry dock for ships at Cockatoo Island. Consequently, Bow was deployed to the island as part of the construction crew, alongside Vane.

In a fascinating revelation, Vane's biography suggests a different narrative surrounding the aftermath of the Eugowra robbery. According to Vane, Daniel Charters and John Bow had a confrontation over the division of their spoils. While it was publicly reported that Charters lost his share along with Gardiner when the police seized the pack-horse, leading Gardiner to compensate him with £50, Vane offers a different account of events:

Charteris was also, Gardiner said, robbed of his share. Bow and Charteris had each planted their gold in a bag with other things and told each other their hiding places. Subsequently, Charteris had discovered that his bag had been cut open and the gold abstracted, the knife which made the cut being left inside the bag. The knife happened to be his own, and as he some time previous to the discovery of his loss lent it to Bow, he accused Bow of the theft; but Bow declared that he handed the knife to N------ (Nowlan) who had left the place and that the gold dust must have been taken by him. This did not satisfy Charteris. He said that either Bow or Manns had taken the swag and that if they didn't give him £400, he would give the whole show away.

In a twist of fate, Charters was arrested at Ben Hall's residence, and in an attempt to save his own skin, he turned into the Queen's evidence, casting aspersions on Bow after a consultation with his sisters. As Bow's sentence was announced, his sister Margaret Holburid, residing at Gulgong/Mudgee, was unbeknownst to the imminent peril her brother was in. Upon receiving the news, she immediately set off for Sydney, with her infant in tow, to plea for her wayward brother's life.

Supported by Dr Lang M.P., famously known as the 'Stormy Petrel', and other sympathizers, Margaret penned a plea to the Governor, imploring mercy for her brother John Bow.

Letter of Petition from Bow's sister Margaret Holburid to Sir John Young dated 20th March 1863;

May it please your Excellency, The humble petition of Margaret Holbuird

Most respectfully showeth:

That your petitioner is the wife of a tradesman residing at Mudgee, and is one of the sisters of John Bow, the unhappy prisoner now lying under sentence of death in Darlinghurst gaol, and ordered for execution on the 26th of this month, for having been concerned in the robbery of the gold escort from Forbes in the month of June last.

That your petitioner and her brother John Bow are natives of Penrith, in this colony, and, by the death of their parent twelve years ago, were left helpless upon the world, together with three other girls and two boys.

That, notwithstanding this calamity, the prisoner John Bow, now but little more than twenty years of age, had always borne a good character up to the time of the escort robbery. He had never been charged with any offence against the laws but had gained his livelihood by honest labour. His conduct was uniformly good, but a pliant disposition, and early deprivation of parental care, appear to have led him into his present most melancholy position.

That your petitioner had not seen her brother, the prisoner John Bow, for some years. When she heard of his trial and conviction she immediately hastened to Sydney, with an infant not then a month old, and found her brother in the condemned cell, and ordered for execution. It appears that he was arrested almost immediately after the robbery, which must prove that he was ignorant of those arts which enable experienced offenders to elude the police.

That your petitioner might have procured the signatures of many reputable colonists, in support of this appeal to your Excellency, but had only thought of hastening to her unhappy brother. She now finds herself almost as hopeless as he is and has no recourse but to appeal to the clemency of the Government, and to that Royal prerogative of mercy of which your Excellency is the custodian on behalf of our Gracious Queen.

That your petitioner, in deep sorrow and affliction, now most humbly and earnestly Implores your Excellency to take this distressing case again into consideration, and to save her unhappy brother John Bow from the dreadful fate to which he stands condemned. His youth, his previous good character under all disadvantages, and the agonising sorrow which his execution would inflict upon brothers and sisters all leading an honest life may plead who with your Excellency for a mitigation of his terrible sentence. Whatever punishment he may be deemed to undergo, if his life be saved he may yet prove himself not unworthy of the Royal mercy.

Your Excellency's petitioner therefore humbly prays that the extreme sentence of the law may not be carried out upon her brother, the prisoner John Bow.

And your Excellency's petitioner will ever pray.
Sydney, 20th March.
John Bow death warrant.
New South Wales, Australia, Sheriff's Papers, 1829-1879 for John Bow.
John Bow's and Henry Manns execution date Darlinghurst Gaol.
New South Wales, Australia, Sheriff's Papers, 1829-1879 for John Bow.

                                        The Petition's

John Bow death sentence was computed following the petitions.
New South Wales, Australia, Sheriff's Papers, 1829-1879 for John Bow.
Stone Cutters Yard Darlinghurst Gaol, where John Bow was employed. John Vane worked under Bow's supervision. Illustrated Sydney News Friday 16th November 1866:

I discovered that Bow was one of the gaol stone-cutters, and as each stone-cutter was allowed an assistant (or 'bullock,' as he was called in the yard), I applied to Mr. Telfor the overseer of the stone works, for permission to serve as Bow's 'bullock,' which request he readily granted."  
John Bow, Darlinghurst 1866.
John Bow's tenure at Darlinghurst was marked by steady progression and diligent industriousness. His good behavior didn't go unnoticed. After having served 11 years of his sentence, an opportunity for conditional pardon came knocking at his door in August 1873. However, Bow chose not to seize this chance. His hesitation was rooted in the condition that came attached to the pardon - it would lead to his forced exile from Australia, akin to the fate of Frank Gardiner. As such, Bow chose to delay his release by a few months, in an attempt to evade this unwelcome exile.

JOHN BOW and ALEXANDER FORDYCE, have declined, as was stated by the Premier in the Legislative Assembly last week, to accept the offer of pardon on condition of leaving the country. They had rather wait some months longer in gaol, to obtain an unconditional liberation. Their attachment to their native land speaks in their favour. These men are not lost to all generous sentiment when they prefer to submit to an addition of three-quarters of a year to their imprisonment rather than be exiled from their own country and their kindred. We hope it may be seen hereafter that their love to their native land acts in the direction of prompting them to fulfil an honest part in promoting the welfare of the country, and that they will return to freedom with some intelligent appreciation of the honour and blessing attached to true work. 

John Bow was released in June 1874 after the Governor of New South Wales approved his release along with Alexander Fordyce and of all people - Frank Gardiner. (See article below.)
John Bow's Conditional Pardon approval in September 1873.
 The Armidale Express and New England General Advertiser Friday 5th June 1874.
Bow, Fordyce and Gardiner release 1874.
Following his eventual release, John Bow chose a path of peaceful reinvention, venturing towards Lake Cargelligo, NSW. Here, he made a noteworthy transition from a convict to a respected landowner, acquiring a property he named 'Woodside'. Trading his criminal past for a shepherd's crook, Bow emerged as a respected sheep farmer in the community.

Not content to just rehabilitate his own life, he was eager to contribute to the community's development. Bow, in 1889, became a crucial figure among the residents of Cargelligo, taking the lead in the establishment of the local racecourse. His transformation into a model citizen was complete, illustrating that even those who have strayed can find their way back and contribute meaningfully to society.
The undermentioned gentlemen as trustees of reserve No. 8655, Parish of Gurangully, county of Dowling, area 164 acres 3 roods 21 perches, which was notified for a racecourse at Cudgellico, in Gazette of 23rd February, 1889-Messrs Andrew M'Innis, John Bow, William Byrnes, James Osborne, and William Budd. (See article right.)
NSW Government Gazette records John Bow's address and the transfer of sheep brands into his name.
John Bow's final years were marked by tranquillity and respectability. He breathed his last on March 5th, 1895, at the age of 52. He lived a bachelor's life and found his final resting place in the Catholic section of the Lake Cargellico Cemetery. In the time leading up to his death, he added to his property holdings, acquiring a 154-acre selection near Hillston, which was officially gazetted a year after his passing.

In a testament to his transformation and contribution to his community, it was noted in the local history of the Catholic Church at Lake Cargellico that John Bow had generously provided the necessary funds for the establishment of the first Catholic Church. His estate, valued at £1,640 (equivalent to $136,000 today), further underscored his successful life as a farmer.

Remembered fondly by the local residents, Mr K.W MacRae, a contemporary of Bow, had this to say about him:

I knew John personally and classed him to be a gentleman.

Bow's brother William Costello made a claim for Bow's estate and lived at Lake Cargellico until his death in 1921.
John Bow was released in 1874.
John Bow, Land Purchase Hillston, NSW.
John Bow's prison file on his release from Darlinghurst Gaol.
John Bow
John Bow's Grave
John Bow's Will.
Alex Fordyce ("a quiet-looking little fellow")

Alexander Fordyce,
prison portrait
c. 1873.
Born in 1828 in Camden, New South Wales, Alexander "Alex" Fordyce was the child of two transported convicts, John and Mary Fordyce, nee Gill. His beginnings were humble, and life took a significant turn when his father passed away in 1839. Alexander Fordyce followed in his father John's footsteps, mastering the carpenter's trade. However, the young Fordyce was left to continue this craft alone when his mother, Mary, passed away in 1854, leaving a young Fordyce to fend for himself.

By the late 1850s, Fordyce had begun to carve out his own path. He found employment in the Lachlan District, where he developed skills as a horse-breaker and carpenter. He began working for the O'Meally family, who leased the expansive Arramagong Station at the Weddin Mountains base in New South Wales.

Fordyce was not tall, standing at 5 feet 6 inches, with dark brown hair and striking grey eyes. He bore a mark of his early life as a horse-breaker in the form of a broken right leg.

NSW Camden Census 1828
Gold discovered at Lambing Flat and Forbes led to rapid changes in the local districts. O'Meally Sr, seizing this gold rush's opportunities, built a brick public house on the road passing Arramagong Station. The establishment quickly gained a notorious reputation, eventually attracting the attention of the New South Wales police, who closed the premises and placed a police station close by.

Versatile and adaptable, Fordyce found employment at the public house, working both as a barman and yardman. However, during his incarceration for the 1862 escort robbery, he learned to read and write, further widening his skill set and paving the way for the next chapters in his life.

A bush carpenter, and was working at Arramagong Station, owned by Paddy O'Meally, where he was taken.

During his employment with the O'Meally family, Fordyce's path crossed with a notorious figure of the time - Frank Gardiner, who was also known as 'The Darkie'. Gardiner was a frequent visitor to O'Meally's hotel and his bushranging activities were well-known. Though Fordyce was not a central figure in these exploits, he was reputed to have hovered on the periphery, familiar with Gardiner and his dealings.

The O'Meally family, especially the sons of Patrick O'Meally Sr. - John and Patrick, had their own brushes with the law, often intertwined with Gardiner's notorious escapades in the Weddin Mountains area.

A significant incident occurred in 1861, when Gardiner committed a high-profile robbery. He targeted two merchants from Lambing Flat, Horseington and Hewitt, making off with over £1000. In the aftermath, Fordyce found himself playing a crucial role in the case. He provided an alibi for one of the suspects arrested in connection with the robbery - Downey, a cousin of the O'Meallys. Thanks to Fordyce's alibi, Downey was released, though it was later proven that he had indeed been involved in the heist. This incident drew Fordyce deeper into the complicated web of relations and activities surrounding the infamous bushrangers. (See article below.)

Fordyce alibi for Downey, a 1st cousin of John and Patrick O'Meally.
Growing tired of the limited spoils from his regular highway robberies, Frank Gardiner started to conceive a more ambitious plan - holding up a gold escort. While scouting for recruits to execute this daring plot, he found a willing participant in Alexander Fordyce.

Despite being significantly older than most of his co-conspirators at the age of 33, the same age as Gardiner himself, Fordyce readily volunteered. His companions in this daring escapade included notorious figures like John Gilbert, John Bow, Ben Hall, John O'Meally, Henry Manns, and Daniel Charters.

Image of the Escort Coach
c. 1917.

Courtesy Dick Adams.
Fordyce played an active role in planning the audacious heist, and he was present when Daniel Charters, who would later turn Queen's evidence, joined their ranks. It was Charters who led the group to the chosen location for the heist, Eugowra.

The robbery was executed flawlessly. The gang successfully made off with the gold and cash, retreating to Wheogo Hill, some 60 miles away. Here, they divided their ill-gotten gains equally among themselves. However, not all was harmonious within the group.

Gardiner was irate with Fordyce, who, in a bout of overindulgence, had become inebriated before the ambush on the gold escort. This resulted in Fordyce being unable to fire his weapon during the heist. An angry Gardiner expressed his displeasure, hinting at potential consequences for Fordyce's conduct.

 Cut his rations b____y short.
View from the bushrangers
on Wheogo Hill
toward Weddin

Courtesy Peter C Smith.

While the gang was camped out on Wheogo Hill, close to Ben Hall's home, Gardiner decided to send John Walsh, the brother of his lover Kitty Brown, also known as 'Warrigal', to Hall's residence to fetch some saddlebags. However, fate intervened in the form of Sgt. Charles Sanderson and his police force who happened to be present at Hall's home. They spotted 'Warrigal' Walsh, and swiftly began a pursuit that led them to the bushrangers' camp on Wheogo Hill.

Thanks to 'Warrigal' Walsh's timely warning, Gardiner was alerted to the approaching police. In the ensuing chaos, the remaining gold from the escort heist, belonging to Gardiner, Charters, and Fordyce, was hurriedly packed onto a horse. The trio then made a hasty escape towards the Weddin Mountains, located about 18 miles away.

Years later, upon his retirement in 1903, Charles Sanderson gave his account of the events in an article for 'Old Times' published in May 1903. He detailed his independent search for the notorious gang, separate from Sir Frederick Pottinger, his journey to Ben Hall's home, and the climactic chase that concluded with the police securing the packhorse. His recounting provided a personal and vivid perspective on the relentless pursuit of law enforcement in the face of audacious bushranging activities.

On leaving Forbes, I took four men and a black tracker, with the object of moving in a different direction, as it was only natural to suppose such a large party of bushrangers would separate. I camped by the banks of the Lachlan, and as there were no tracks on the opposite bank, I presumed some of the men had made for the Weddin Mountains. When we reached Ben Hall's house near Wheogo, the tracker noticed a man riding from it for all he was worth. Surmising this was a bush telegraph, we followed him immediately, and in course of time, his tracks brought us to a camp, which had evidently been abandoned in a hurry. We pushed on as fast as we could and were soon rewarded by seeing a packhorse in the trees ahead. When we came up with it, we found four bags of gold, containing 1239 ounces, strapped to the saddle. It was then dark, and as we consequently could follow the tracks no further with them in that condition, we returned to Forbes, consoling ourselves that if we hadn't caught anyone, we had recovered part of the gold.

In the panic of escape Gardiner lost the packhorse and with it Fordyce's share of the robbery. 
Alexander Fordyce's entrance record Bathurst 1862
By August 1862 Fordyce while remaining with the O'Meally's Fordyce was arrested by Sir Frederick Pottinger and presented at the Forbes court:

Again Remanded. — O'Maley, McGuire, John Bow, and Alexander Fordyce were brought up at the Police-court, Forbes, on Monday, the two first charged with being accessory, the others with being directly concerned in the late escort robbery. Sir Frederick Pottinger prayed that they be remanded for three days. Remanded accordingly, no bail allowed.

In October 1862, Fordyce removed to Bathurst then to Darlinghurst Gaol in Sydney to face trial in the most sensational court case in the Colony's history. (See article below.)

Fordyce arraigned at Bathurst 1862, John O'Meally would get bail for £100.

Sent to Sydney.
Fordyce, Bow, Manns and Maguire would be the only persons charged with the robbery. O'Meally and Ben Hall were cleared by Charters’ evidence and Gilbert was too slick for the police, and the Darkie fled from New South Wales to Queensland.

At his trial, Fordyce was described as elderly. (See article right.)

With the closing of the Prosecution’s case, Fordyce attempted to produce an alibi from Dr Slidell which proved to be of no value. (See article below.)

Daniel Charters, who had once been a part of their daring escapades, turned into the primary informer against the gang. He became the main source of evidence presented by the Crown in the case regarding the escort robbery.

On their retreat back to Wheogo, after the successful heist, the gang made a pit stop near Eugowra. This pause allowed them to transfer the stolen gold from the boxes into the saddlebags, and also to reload their weapons, preparing for any potential pursuit or conflict.

It was during this interim that Gardiner discovered an unsettling detail - Fordyce's gun was still loaded. This revelation confirmed Gardiner's suspicions about Fordyce's performance during the robbery. Incensed at Fordyce's apparent lack of courage to fire his weapon, Gardiner directed a heated tirade at him. (See article below.)

After the gripping trial, the court delivered its final verdict. Alexander Fordyce, along with John Bow and Henry Manns, who had all pleaded guilty, were found guilty as charged. The sentence handed down was the gravest one - death.

The news of their sentencing sent ripples through the colony, marking a somber end to their notorious exploits. The Empire newspaper captured the poignant moment when Fordyce received the grim news. It was a testament to the harsh reality of their outlaw lives, bringing the curtain down on a chapter marked by daring heists, audacious escapes, and relentless pursuit by the law. The impending execution underscored the stark consequences of their chosen paths, ending the tale of Fordyce and his companions in a manner as dramatic as their notorious careers.

All the prisoners appeared to fully feel their awful situation. Fordyce who is a man of puny and emaciated frame had previously been leaning with his head on his right hand, rose up with a start, and then supported his head against the iron railing of the dock-in fact, he becomes completely subdued. His nerves were at once prostrate.

S.A. Register, August 1874
As soon as the death sentences were announced, a wave of righteous fervor swept through the Sydney. Concerned citizens sprang into action, rallying support and initiating petitions to seek reprieves for the condemned men.

These petitions, driven by a spirit of humanity and mercy, were presented to the government. In response to the public outcry, the authorities decided to commute the death sentences of Fordyce and Bow to life imprisonment, with a particularly harsh stipulation of spending the first three years in irons.

Fordyce was dispatched to Berrima Gaol, where he would serve a decade-long sentence before his release in 1874. Coincidentally, Bow and Gardiner also regained their freedom in the same year, emerging from Darlinghurst Gaol. Gardiner, however, had served time exclusively for his attacks on Horssington and Hewitt in 1862, and the wounding of Middleton and Hosie at Fogg's farm in 1861. His involvement in the Eugowra Gold Escort Robbery went unpunished.

Of the entire gang, Henry Manns was the only one to face the ultimate punishment for the Eugowra Gold Escort Robbery. His execution was carried out under distressing circumstances, serving as a grim reminder of the ultimate consequence of their outlaw lifestyle.

New South Wales, Australia, Sheriff's Papers, 1829-1879 for Alexander Fordyce. Darlinghurst Gaol.
Alexander Fordyce leg irons were removed from his right leg. Darlinghurst Gaol.
New South Wales, Australia, Sheriff's Papers, 1829-1879 for Alexander Fordyce.
Alex Fordyce Berrima Gaol record 1867
Berrima Gaol, 1868.
Alex Fordyce, Berrima Gaol Cells
 The Armidale Express and New England General Advertiser Friday 5th June 1874.

In 1877, a journalist embarked on an investigation into the alleged cruelties within the prison system during the 1860s. As part of this inquiry, an interview was conducted with Alexander Fordyce, who had firsthand experience of the harsh realities of prison life, particularly concerning the infamous 1863 mutinies at Berrima Gaol.

Fordyce revealed that he had not participated in these mutinies, offering an interesting perspective on the punitive measures enforced within the prison. Despite having been a prisoner himself, Fordyce upheld the belief that the severe punishment meted out was justifiable for the more hardened or "devil" prisoners, as he termed them.

His viewpoint highlighted the complexity of the prison environment, where the lines between perpetrators and victims often blurred, leading to a tangled web of morals and ethics. Fordyce's insights provided valuable context for the journalist's investigation into the dark underbelly of the prison system in the 1860s. (See article below.)

Alex Fordyce was admitted to the Liverpool Asylum NSW on the 19th December 1898 and passed away at 11 am 5th January 1899 destitute. There is no record of Alexander Fordyce ever marrying.

New South Wales, Australia, Hospital & Asylum Records, 1840-1913 for Alexander Fordyce Liverpool Asylum for the Infirm and Destitute Register admission into and discharge from hospital wards 1898-1901.

Alex Fordyce parents Application to Marry in 1827. 

Fordyce and Bow's admission to prison 1863
Alexander Fordyce prison papers 1873.
Fordyce, Bow and Gardiner's discharge from prison 1874
Henry Manns ("a thorough stockman")

Caricature of Henry Manns
around the time of his death
Henry Manns was born at Campbelltown NSW on 20th June 1839 the son of William Manns. His father was a convict and his mother, Mary Turner, arrived as a free settler in 1836. In his early 20's Manns worked as a carrier and a station-hand in the Lachlan district.

In June 1862 Manns, along with Ben Hall, John O'Meally, Daniel Charters, Alex Fordyce and John Bow participated with Frank Gardiner and John Gilbert in the gold coach's hold-up at Eugowra rocks. The amount obtained was 2719 ounces of gold valued at over £14,000 and £3,700 in banknotes.

A month after the success of the gold robbery, Manns, John Gilbert and his brother Charles were on their way to Victoria, with their share of the booty. Just having lost sight of Merool Station, Sir Frederick Pottinger, Detective Patrick Lyons and a court clerk Mr. After an unsuccessful search for the escort robbers, Richard Mitchell, who was returning from Hay, met three noticeably well-dressed young men with boots, spurs, and new cabbage-tree hats. Pottinger asked John Gilbert for a receipt for his “good” horse.  Pretending to search his pocket for the receipt, Gilbert “as quick as lightning” put the spurs to his horse and escaped. Pottinger and Mitchell drew their revolvers, handcuffing Manns and Charles Gilbert and proceeded to Merool Station. 
Site of the rescue of Manns,
near Temora.

My Photo, 2020.
In contrast to the fine steeds ridden by the bushrangers, Pottinger and Lyons led the prisoners mounted on two of the worst horses. Disguised with blackened faces and red caps, John Gilbert and three others (possibly John and Patrick O’Meally and Ben Hall) brutally attacked the police. The odds were in favour of the bushrangers, and they affected the release of Manns and Charlie Gilbert. 
After Manns’ subsequent escape and recapture in December of 1862, Manns’ faced trial at the ‘Special Commission trials’ as part of the prosecution by the NSW government where detective Lyons was called to describe the occasion of Henry Manns’ initial apprehension and stated:

I was present at the escape of the prisoner’s arrested for the escort robbery on the 9th July last. We fell in with them on the 7th of that month. Manns was one of the parties then arrested. I searched him and found £135 in bank notes in his pocket; these notes consisted of a few ‘tens’ and some ‘fives’, but they were mostly ‘ones’ and were principally of the Commercial Bank. On the other prisoners, I found bags of gold, similar to those produced. I believe the gold I saw in those bags to be Lachlan gold and I believe so still. The gold found on the Lachlan is of a peculiar character and may, in my opinion, and according to my experience, be distinguished from the gold found elsewhere. 

The prisoner Manns asked me, sometime after his apprehension, if I did not wonder how he came by all that money. I said, “that was what I asked you when you were first taken.” He said, “I will soon let you see where it came from.” And said when his mate or mates, come up. I think he said mates, not mate. I saw several men who came to rescue him and the other man. Manns was rescued about three hours after he said what I just mentioned. Seven men came to rescue the prisoners on that occasion. They were dressed in black with red caps, and they had their faces blackened. I do not know whether they had red shirts on or not; what they had on appeared to me to be something dark. 

They ran out of the mallee scrub, crying out “bail up, you bastards,” and then a volley was fired-fired, I believe, at me. My horse took fright, and I was thrown. I heard another volley fired after I was thrown. I attempted to regain my horse but was unable to do so. The notes were in my coat which was tied onto the saddle. When the horse went off the notes, of course, were taken away with it. Three or four men went forward and liberated Manns, now in the dock, and Darcy who is not here. This was on the 9th of July last.

To Pottinger’s credit, he realised the only course of action was to retreat and rescue Lyons and save the gold. (See link below for full details of the Battle of Sproules Station.)

The Sydney Morning Herald
After his escape, Manns' luck had run out, and he was arrested again on 1st December 1862 whilst hiding out at the Wombat Diggings near Lambing Flat. (See article below.)

Sydney Morning Herald, 12th December 1862
Manns was remanded at Bathurst. Gaol December 1862 then forwarded on to Darlinghurst Gaol in Sydney with John. Bow, Alex Fordyce and John McGuire. (See article below.)

Henry Manns Bathurst gaol entry book, December 1862

His trial commenced on the 23rd of February 1963. Manns had already pleaded guilty to the charges hoping for mercy unfortunately, Manns was unsuccessful as the evidence against him of having given a false name of Turner, escaping custody, possession of the stolen gold and £135 in banknotes found on his person when captured by Inspector Pottinger. The sworn evidence of "the approver" (a term of the day for a snitch) Dan Charters didn't help his case either. This was enough for Justice Stephens to sentence him to death by hanging to be carried out on 26th March 1863. During the trial, an observer wrote of Manns stature:

Manns is a regular "bush native" rough in exterior, and, as a gentlemen remarked in Court, "a thorough stockman-only to be seen in his prime when on horseback." His features are sharp, but he has that listless or lazy sort of carriage often to be met with on the roads among the youths who are drivers of teams.

Many influential Sydneysiders strongly believed that the death sentence was unjustified. Ben Hall continued conducting a new wave of bushranging culminating in the capture of inspector Norton at Wheogo three weeks before Manns was due to hang. Some held a thought that the capture may have swayed the resolve of the Government to press the Governor to abandon any reprieve and to drive home Mann's own complicity in evading the law and send a message to the bushrangers:

As regards Manns. Though he was not the worst of them, had much in his favor, as, for instance, extreme youth, excellent previous character, brought up away from all moral and religious influences, and urged into crime, as Charters the informer swore, from fear of the notorious ruffian Gardiner. Yet, he stood in the dock in the near embrace of death, because, in his case, there was corroboration. 

In a former article, it was stated that Mann's was captured with 200 ounces of gold and £135 in notes on him. This was corroboration. At his first trial in February, he made an oath in support of a postponement of his trial to the effect that if time were granted to him, he could produce witnesses to prove that he was not the person arrested on whom the gold was found. He had been apprehended at Forbes and on the road was rescued by seven men disguised and armed, but was soon after retaken. He swore an affidavit that he was not the rescued man and that he could prove it. When the second trial came on, he admitted that he was the man. This sealed his doom, through extraordinary efforts were made to have his sentence commuted.

The Governor was even more distressed when Mann's mother, who had somehow gained access to his presence threw herself at his feet pleading for her son's life — a plea which he could not grant.

The Empire newspaper reported Manns' reaction to his hearing the terrible news:

All the prisoners appeared to fully feel their awful situation. Manns looked quite dogged and was the beau ideal of a young Australian stockman. He held his head down in a sullen manner, and one would suppose that he made his mind up not to stir a muscle even if put to the torture of the rack. But yet a close observer could not fail to perceive that with all this apparent determination, he felt his position acutely. In fact, his legs at last trembled, and he was obliged to support himself by his breast and arms against the dock.
Manns' Admittance to Darlinghurst Gaol, note Manns was entered as a Protestant, he converted to the Catholic Faith just before Execution, which caused much argument after his death.

Goulburn Herald, 11th March 1863
Article on Henry Manns; his age is incorrect. 
Despite petitions from his mother and continuous efforts from the public where:

A dozen of the most influential men in Sydney presented his Excellency with a petition for Manns' reprieve, signed by 14,072 signatures, obtained in Sydney, in 16 hours. The Hon. J. H. Plunkett, M.L.C., the Hon. J. Campbell, M.L.C., and Sir James Martin, M.L.A., were the speakers at its presentation, but it was in vain, similar petitions poured in from Parramatta and other suburbs, but the fates were inexorable.

After the presentations it was stated that; (See article below.) 

The Governor, with tears in his eyes deplored the sad necessity of not, in this particular instance, opposing the advice, of his Ministers, and, so, in accordance with their advice, the flat went forth for the execution of the unfortunate Manns.

Manns was hanged on the morning of 26th March 1863. 
Listen to Henry Manns' final letter, dictated and written on his behalf by one of the attending ministers to his parents and family an hour before his execution on the morning of the 26th March 1863.

In the final days of Manns' life, it was said that John Bow following his reprieve exchanged words on their fates:

Mann's, the escort robber, who, when he bade adieu to his partner in crime. Bow said to him, "Do not feel sorry for me; I never was more happy; I had rather have my lot than yours.

Manns was accompanied to the gallows by the Venerable Archdeacon McEnroe, the Venerable Archpriest Thierry and the Reverend Father Dwyer and stated to the holy men;

Fathers, I am not afraid of death.

As Manns was lunched into eternity the hangman bungled the execution and Manns died a frightful and hideous death. For a man at the pinnacle of youth as an Australian native he was strangled slowly as the noose had shifted around to the front of his face. 

In diabolical circumstances his body had to be re-lifted so that the noose could be replaced around his neck and Manns was dropped again with prisoners force to drag his legs down. It is also reported that the hangman, who is not seen as a respectable person, attempted to steal Manns' boots, as reported in the 'Freeman's Journal' 4th April 1863. (See article below) 

The officer to whom is deputed the duty of performing so solemn an act of retribution is surely entitled to all honour, but so far from this being the case we find that the public executioner is, and always has been, looked upon as a loathsome unclean thing, cut off from society, and certainly in most cases exiting greater feelings of aversion than the criminal whom he is paid for launching into eternity. Is there any man who would be proud to claim the hangman as a friend, to sit at his table, to live under his roof? or rather should we not shrink with horror from a wretch whose very touch would be pollution? 

The scene - that occurred at the execution of Manns is sufficient to show the extremity of degradation to which such an office can reduce a human being. No sooner was the fatal bolt withdrawn than the executioner coolly retired to smoke his pipe, not improbably chuckling with inward satisfaction at having been the means of depriving another fellow creature of the breath of life. We may judge that he was, not afflicted with any superfluous amount of remorse for having subjected his victim to unnecessary torture for no sooner was the mangled and lifeless corpse cut down than he attempted to remove the boots off the feet and no doubt would have stripped the body of his other perquisites if the loudly expressed disgust of the spectators had not prevented him.

Gallows at Darlinghurst

Sydney Morning Herald
Tuesday, 21st April 1863
Darlinghurst Gaol Morgue: Following Manns execution at Darlinghurst Gaol, his body was held here before being claimed by his family.
A few days after Henry Manns' execution, this article appeared regarding the efforts of those involved in an attempt to save his life. From 'The Courier' Friday 3rd April 1863;

NEWS AND NOTES BY A SYDNEY MAN. CCLIII.- We have this week passed through a scene of excitement and horror. I may mention that I was one of those who took interest and considerable share in the attempt to save the life of the prisoner Manns. He was a novice in crime and the mere dupe of Gardiner. He had a mother and father, sisters and brothers, to lament his fate. He had borne a good character and was but little more than twenty years old. Added to all this, the evidence was not such as would have convicted him before an English Judge. When, therefore, on Wednesday morning, a petition signed by fifteen thousand persons, many of high standing, was presented to the Governor by two such citizens as John Campbell, of the wharf, and Mr. Plunkett, accompanied by Mr. Martin, and several members of the Assembly, but little doubt was entertained that mercy would be granted. The Governor's reply, however, was unfavourable. 

He declined to exercise the prerogative of mercy in this case, as he had done in that of Bow; as, to his mind, there were marked distinctions in the two cases. He would, however, lay the petition before the Executive Council, which was to meet at 4 o'clock that afternoon. You would hardly believe the amount of excitement that existed during that afternoon. Almost all persons - men, those who would have hanged all the prisoners - agreed that the selection of this young man as the single victim was unjustifiable. By-and-bye it was said that one or two members of the ministry had stated their determination to vote for a reprieve. This was the general impression at about 4 o'clock. At that time, I went up to the gaol. Poor Manns was just going into his cell. He knew that great exertions were being made for him, and had some hope, but he was resigned to die. He told his mother his chief grief was for her, and if they hung him next morning, they would hang the least guilty of the whole party. This, I believe to be the fact. I shall never forget that afternoon. 

The hideous gallows were standing in the yard, but the beam was not on, and I remarked to the Governor "I hope you will be able to take that disgusting machine down presently." After a time, addressing a workman, he said: "I think we had better get ready for fear of the worst." Soon afterwards, I saw that the beam was put up, I did not like the look of it, but still felt confident. I hastened to Government House, with other friends, and met one of the Ministers, hurried and excited, and leaving the precincts of Government House, by the back way. "How is't to be?" I asked. "No interference with our former decision," was the reply; and the Executive councillor was gone. Still, we would not be satisfied. One gentleman was present in his carriage, having come down from Parramatta that day to present a numerously signed petition. We obtained an interview with the Private Secretary, who communicated our inquiries to the Governor, and came back with the reply: "His Excellency desires me to state that the Executive Council has been held, and the man is to be executed." The Secretary added that none could feel the necessity more acutely than the Governor. 

The effect of the announcement was a perfect consternation. I returned to the gaol about an hour afterwards. There was no doubt now. Two Sisters of Mercy were just leaving Manns' cell, weeping. The gallows was all ready - beam and ladder adjusted. The guards looked grave as they paced the yard with their rifles and bayonets. Soon afterwards, I heard, the hangman was enjoying himself in his lair. He had oiled and greased the rope, and was softening it at the fire with one hand while he fried mutton chops for his supper with the other. Even now, the case was not given up. Another memorial was prepared, praying the Governor merely to grant a respite until Mr. Cowper could communicate. This was at eleven o'clock at night. Government House was closed and in darkness, and there was no getting access. Next morning at 7 some of the same gentlemen went again, but the Governor declined to see them. All hope was now gone. 

The Empire of that morning said: "With mingled feelings of shame and sorrow and indignation, we have to announce that Henry Manns has been doomed to the scaffold. The one has been taken and the other left. The wretched and irrational bungling that has marked this case from its commencement marks it to its close. It is well, indeed, to be consistent, even in our folly... But the evil has been done; the one evil that can never be repaired. To-day a crime will be committed which will bring anguish to many hearts; a crime which will ever leave its 'damned spots' upon the hands of justice; a crime which will reflect indelible disgrace upon the administration of the law; a crime which we do not scruple to designate a judicial murder." Little did anyone think to what horrors further bungling would lead.

Following Henry Manns' execution, his Mother through a supporter, Mr. Plunkett, expressed her appreciation of the sympathy and the comfort of those who tried through petitions to save her son, published in the 'Empire' on the 30th March 1863 as follows; 

                                                      TO THE EDITOR OF THE EMPIRE

Sir -Mrs. Manns, the affected mother of the late Henry Manns, called on me this morning, impelled by a sense of gratitude for the interest I have taken, and the sympathy I have felt for her in her trouble, having seen her several times. She wished me to express, likewise, the gratitude she feels for the kind help and commiseration attended to her by the gentlemen connected with the Empire, by the deputation who waited on the Governor with the petition for mercy, and to all those who have kindly assisted in procuring or in giving their signatures to that petition. She feels this public sympathy a great consolation in this time of extreme distress, but her chief consolation is the certainty she feels that although mercy has been denied to her son in this world it has been granted him by the Almighty, in whose eyes the repentant and returning prodigal is ever welcome.

Hoping you will allow this to appear,

I remain, Sir, yours very respectfully,
John Palseh
March 26.

A short time after the execution of Manns, some controversy arose over Manns' religion as he was recorded on entry into Darlinghurst Gaol as a Protestant but before his death, Manns converted to the Catholic faith as per this document below;

Freeman Journal,
Wednesday, April 8th
Furthermore, the letter dictated to his family hours before his horrid death was accused of being a forgery on his conversion to the Catholic faith, the faith of his mother. However, Mrs Manns produced the letter and placed an article to that effect in the newspaper. (See right.) Mrs Manns states that all correspondence between her and her son were dictated, and all existing copies are not written in Henry Manns' own hand but that of the warder in charge of Manns. Henry Manns’ body was handed over to his family and brought back to Campbelltown. He was aged 24, below is the report of his funeral from 'The Empire' on 27th March 1863.

THE FUNERAL OF MANNS-The unfortunate mother of the deceased criminal being anxious to have the body of her son for internment at Campbelltown made application for that purpose through Dr Wilson, M.P. The  request was at once complied with by Mr. Robertson, the Secretary for Landa. At half-past 10 o'clock accordingly Mr. Loseby, of the Pack Horse Inn, Haymarket, who knew the deceased from his infancy procured a coffin and hearse at Mr Hanslow's, Brickfield-hill, and proceeding to Darlinghurst gaol got the corpse, and depositing it in the hearse, told the driver to proceed with all speed to the Haymarket, as he was afraid that the immense crowd congregated outside the gaol would follow after the vehicle and prevent its easy access into the yard of the Pack Horse Inn, where Mrs. Manns was waiting with anxiety. Mr. Loseby going after in a cab. Arrived at the Inn, the body was removed from the prison shell to the coffin Mr. Loseby had procured and remained at the Inn until five o'clock in the afternoon, when it was again placed in the hearse, followed by a mourning coach, containing the affected mother and three or four friends, who accompanied the poor woman to console her, the procession proceeding to the railway station for conveyance to Campbelltown, where Mrs Manns has already a couple of children buried, she having resided in that district for many years although her present residence is at the Adelong Crossing, Place. 

The crowd at the Haymarket yesterday was immense, the people following the hearse to the station and it was contemplated that at the funeral at Campbelltown, the people would assemble from many miles around, Manns having been well known about there from his infancy. There was but little alteration in the features of the culprit after death, the skin having only a mark where the rope had slipped, and under one of the eyes was a scrape. We feel it due to Mr. Loseby to state that we understand he closed his establishment all day, while the corpse was in the house, refusing admission to everyone, unless the immediate friends of the unfortunate deceased, the bar being closed to all customers. At the Adelong Crossing Place, where Manns' family is residing, are at present no less than five brothers and two sisters, left this day to deplore the fate of their misguided and unfortunate relative.

New South Wales, Australia,
Sheriff's Papers, 1829-1879
for Henry Manns.
26th March 1863.
After his death, this was written of him in the 'Sydney Morning Herald' on the 21st April 1863:

Henry Manns was twenty-four years of age and a native of Campbelltown. Many persons who knew him there as a boy and youth have spoken of him favourably as a very well conducted lad. For the last six or seven years he was employed in looking after stock in the district lying between the Murrumbidgee and the Lachlan Rivers, and for the last twelve or eighteen months was at a station called the Gap, belonging to a Mr. Sutherland, at no great distance from Burrangong. He was supposed to have made the acquaintance of Gardiner at Lambing Flat where he was frequently seen lounging about the hotels, and is imagined to have been one of the gang employed by that marauder in that particular part of the country.

Note: The death of Henry Manns and its manner was still causing debate in the NSW parliament well after Henry Manns' demise. The evidence of Daniel Charters was still being brought into question by many members of the house. One parliamentarian, in particular, a Mr. Harpur was constantly attacking the Cowper government over the speed in which the executive through the Governor had approved the execution of Manns when they had granted clemency for Bow and Fordyce. In Parliament on the 21st August 1863, during the debate on the failure of the new Police Act, Mr. Harpur made this sensational statement, as follows on an unpublished element of the execution of young Manns, taken from the 'Empire' of that date:

The gravamen of his (Mr. Harpur's) charge was the execution of Manns. That criminal was, executed in the most barbarous manner. Fourteen or fifteen prisoners were brought out to expedite the man's strangulation by clinging to his legs. (Sensation.) Manns was put to death in that shocking manner. Yet had crime in the least diminished. There was one circumstance that caused him alarm. It was said that there were 120 applicants for the office of hangman.

Father Tim McCarthy had a long career in the bush towns on the Western Districts of NSW and was well acquainted with Ben Hall, John Gilbert and was responsible for John Vane and young Dunleavy's surrender. In the 1930s, an article appeared on Fr. McCarthy's life and his noble work, along with this extract on the execution of Henry Manns taken from the 'Freeman Journal':

The execution was stayed for fully 20 minutes after the time, in the hope of a reprieve or a respite — for up to the very last the greatest pressure was brought to bear upon the Government — but all to no purpose. During this suspense, Manns betrayed no emotion of hope or of fear. He fervently repeated the short prayers and ejaculations after their enunciation by the noblemen of God who accompanied him to the scaffold. He walked firm and erect, displayed no agitation or want of fortitude, still less anything approaching bravado, or recklessness. When the fatal bolt was drawn: an appalling spectacle presented itself. Let an eye-witness of this horrible scene describe it.

The noose of the rope, instead of passing tightly round the neck, slipped completely away, the knot coming around 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 struggles and sufferings of the wretched being were terrible to behold. His body swayed about and writhed evidently in most intense agony, he 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 noisier proceeded 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 that 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 writhings were renewed, and the sickening scene was only terminated at the instance of Dr West by the aid of four confinees, who were made to hold the dying malefactor up in their arms while the executioner readjusted the rope when the body was let fall with a jerk and another minute sufficed to end the agonies of death.

NB: A prison photograph of George Manns (Henry's brother) said to have been his brother's spitting image.  There are no known photographs of Henry Manns.

Daniel Charters
("a young man of rather a decent appearance")

Daniel Charters, this
 photo was most
 probably taken at
 Mrs Reed's
gallery Forbes
 in 1862.
Daniel Charters was born in County Antrim, Ireland in 1837; his parents were Daniel and Jane Chartres (French version) who migrated to Australia on board the “Isabella”, arriving in Sydney on the 18th October 1840, as assisted settlers. Daniel Charters was aged three. The family resided in Sydney for about five years, at which time Daniel had attended school for one year, whereby at the age of eight, the family moved to Carcoar, NSW, where a tutor was engaged.

Daniel Charters stated about his early life in NSW whilst giving evidence as a crown informant during the Special Commission into the Eugowra Gold Escort Robbery of 15th June 1862 as well as bushranging in general February 1863; "I was born in the north of Ireland. I first lived in Sydney; at seven or eight years of age I went to the country; I have lived since in the Bathurst and Burrowa districts; My father is dead about three years (actually five years), but my mother is living, I have four sisters but no brother. One of my sisters is living with my mother, one is living at the Pinnacle, another lives on the Lachlan, and another at Carcoar. They are all residing in the two districts I have named. My business is that of a stock-owner, looking after my own and my sister's cattle. I have never been employed as stock-keeper by anyone, and have never in my life received wages from any person. My sister's station at the Pinnacle is a large one. She has a good many people employed there and has about 2000 head of cattle. I have about 500 or 600 head of my own. I can read and write, but not very well. I was at school for twelve months in Sydney, and have since been taught by a private master at my father's and my brother-in-law's. There is a place of worship at Carcoar, and my mother's place is near there. When I was there, I attended worship regularly every Sunday, when it was fine. As a child, I was taught my prayers. I believe in God firmly and sincerely. I believe that the Almighty knows all that crosses in my mind, and will reward me or otherwise, as I speak the truth.” (Evidence suggests that Daniel had one brother b. 1832, although denied, named Thomas as per their arrival. Thomas died, reputedly at St Leonards, Sydney in 1918. His splitting from the family is unknown. Furthermore, three other members travelled to NSW as well. They were Sarah Jane, 19, Margaret 15 and Elizabeth 21, all single, occupation was nursemaid. The family were Presbyterian.)

Charters' Family
arrival in 1840.
However, during the mid-1850s, Daniel Charters would strike up a friendship with a local and well-respected stockman working in the area between Carcoar and Forbes by the name of Benjamin Hall. The two soon became close friends and could be often found in each other company. Both were excellent bushmen and horsemen.

Daniel Charters was described as 6ft tall, of stout build, a fresh complexion, light brown hair, blue eyes and could read and write. Daniel's father, Daniel Charters senior, anglicised their surname from Chartres to Charters soon after they arrived from Ireland. Throughout the 1850s, the Charters family acquired extensive landholdings around Carcoar, Kings Plains and Bogolong (near present-day Grenfell) and Charters' sisters also held large landholdings, including publican licences, operating several inns and shanties in the Lachlan district. The most famous and notorious was at the 'Pinnacle Station'. Agnes Newell, another sister, owned a hotel at Bandon, New South Wales, often frequented by the two men. Unfortunately, Daniel's father died as a result of a fall from his horse whilst returning from a night out in Carcoar intoxicated; 'Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal' on the 3rd March 1858; "a fatal accident occurred to Mr. Daniel Charters, an aged man of about seventy. It appears that he left the five-mile water hole public house for the purpose of going home, and by some means, his horse run against a tree, severely injuring his head and breaking four of his ribs; and after lingering in great agony for three days, he died. An inquest was held on his body, and a verdict of accidental death was returned..."
Daniel Charters' father's Inquest record.
Daniel Charters Land
purchases 1856-1861.
However, records indicate Daniel purchased his first property in 1856 and by 1858, Charters was a very well-off young man. As well as land at various locations, Charters as well owned over 500 head of cattle. In the late 1850s, could cattle at the market could reach £7-10 ahead.

In 1860, his close friend Benjamin Hall obtained his own lease, 'Sandy Creek', where Daniel could often find stock working alongside Ben Hall. Charters agisted some of his own herd and horses on Hall’s station. (Sandy Creek is situated near the township of Grenfell and is accessible to visit. See video below.) Charters commented on his relationship with Ben Hall in 1863"I have known Ben Hall for six or seven years; I used to be at his place when I was gathering cattle for myself and for my sister..." Charters and Ben Hall had established a close friendship and was often seen at the districts' local musters and dances. 
Sandy Creek Station

The Charter's residence
Carcoar, reputed

birthplace of 
Henry Hall, now
Fern Hill.
c. 1970's.

Courtesy, Carcoar Historical Society.
Daniel Charters and Ben Hall in 1860, were summoned to appear at the Burrowa court regarding a matter of ownership and payment of a horse. Ben Hall was Charters' witness in the affair, as well as being implicated. The circumstances appear to be a fine line between a stolen or trialled horse. In court Charters stated;  "I was brought up with Ben Hall at the court at Burrowa; I was not brought up there on any charge; I was summoned there about a horse; I had a horse from a man on trial, and he summoned me for payment for the use of it; I swear it was no charge of criminality at all; it is about two years and a half years ago; Ben Hall was present when I borrowed the horse; he was implicated in the matter in no other way, I was summoned by John Healy; the charge was made against me; I was not in custody; I went in and spoke a few words; the verdict was against me, and I paid £2..." (John Healy was well known to both Hall and Charters and was one of the many shady criminals that both knew well, and who would eventually be sent down to Cockatoo Island for larceny and for the robbery of a dray with firearms and sentenced to 15 yrs., the first year in Irons in early 1863.)

The close friendship between Charters, Ben Hall and Hall's wife Bridget was highlighted when Bridget went into labour and gave birth to Ben's son Henry in 1859 at the Charter's residence at Carcoar, furthermore, Daniel's mother Jane acted as mid-wife and the happy couple convalesced there for several weeks.

Frank Gardiner
Daniel Charters as with most stockmen and settlers of the Lachlan district, knew Frank Gardiner. Charters recalled his relationship to the 'King of the Road', who was often to be seen at O'Meally's public house the 'Weddin Mount Inn' and at the Pinnacle Station public house, both of which Gardiner used as a lair, Charters recalled in 1863; "I have known Frank Gardiner for about thirteen years, from first to last. I have not known him to speak to him until the last eighteen months. He used to be horse-racing in the district. I did not know him as a bushranger until lately, I saw Gardiner at Maguire's about six weeks before meeting him in June last. I was there (at Maguire's) in June last, and had some drink. Maguire told me that a man who was there was Frank Gardiner. I know him by eyesight before that time, for some years. I knew he was a bushranger at that time. Gardiner had some grog with him, and we drank some of it. I saw him next at the "Pinnacle." He had been sticking up some people all along the road, and came in there for something to drink, with another man. He was at that time pursued closely by the police and had to escape round by the fence of the house. He presented a pistol and told me to fetch him a horse that was near. I did as I was told, and brought the horse to him. He got away on that occasion. I saw him afterwards at Wheogo. I have seen Gardiner oftener at Maguire's than at any other place. He came in there when I was there, on two occasions..." His statement, however, regarding his knowledge of Gardiner is exaggerated. However, eighteen months would be true as Gardiner was at Lambing Flat 1860, where there is no doubt he made Hall, John Maguire and Charters' acquaintance. In 1850 Gardiner was held at Pentridge Melbourne, arriving in NSW c 1852, then incarcerated at Cockatoo Island 1854-1859.

Ben Hall
The Pinnacle Station was owned by Rodger Feehiely, who was married to Charter’s older sister, Margaret. Unfortunately, Feehiely, who was much older than Margaret by 16yrs died in 1859, leaving his widow Margaret to operate the large cattle property in conjunction with her brother Daniel which included the public house situated on the station regularly frequented by the Weddin Mountains mob including the O’Meally’s, John Gilbert, John Bow, Ben Hall as well as many others involved in illegal activities throughout the Lachlan district. The following extract is from the earlier police confrontation involving Frank Gardiner at Margaret Feehiely's, Pinnacle station in February 1862; "they rode up to Feehiley's, and one of the party immediately recognised Gardiner's horse tied up to the fence, the constables rushed into the house - but no robber was to be seen. Upon going outside the door, however, one of them saw a man crouching down, whom Mr Torpy recognised as the man who had just before stuck him up - that is the man Gardiner."

Frank Gardiner and
John Gilbert
Frank Gardiner planned one of the boldest robberies in early Australian history, the Forbes Gold Escort hold-up in early June 1862. Ben Hall’s was heavily involved in the planning stage, conducted at his and John Maguire's homes. Hall instrumental in luring Daniel Charters into the audacious plan. Ben Hall had suggested to Gardiner that the most felicitous site for the robbery was at Eugowra Rocks. McGuire wrote; "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..."

The Rocks at Eugowra was an area Gardiner was unfamiliar with, but Ben Hall knew fairly well through Daniel Charters. (Eugowra Rocks were situated close to the main road from Forbes to Orange and were ideal at the time for providing perfect cover and surprise for Gardiner’s hold-up of the coach. I was there in 2013 and as I stood on the rock, and in the quiet, you could almost hear the gunfire and raucous yells of Gardiner's men.) Ben Hall related to Gardiner of Daniel Charters' knowledge of the area, as they had often visited Charters' sister Agnes and brother-in-law James Newell who operated a public house close to Eugowra township at Bandon. The location for the robbery came from Ben Hall. As a result, according to his future testimony, Charters seconded into the gang for his local knowledge of the country which was invaluable for Gardiner’s plan. Although Charters' stated secondment is not true, as Ben Hall's influence, Charters seemed keen for the bold once in a lifetime get rich quick heist. However, Daniel Charters was not short of a quid through ownership of valuable properties and cattle. Charters prospects were exceptional. Ben Hall was on the downward slide after an earlier brush with the law in April 1862 and was widely acknowledged to have fallen in with Gardiner. No doubt exacerbated by a failed marriage. (see Ben Hall page.)

Eugowra Rock today; 
Gardiner's viewpoint as the 
the coach would have
The hold-up site.
The fledgling group of robbers held their last meeting at John McGuire’s home at 'Sandy Creek' on 13th June 1862. Firstly, Hall and Charters departed for Forbes to obtain weapons and equipment for the robbery, a Mr William Baldwin stated at the second Escort trial; "I am a storekeeper. I was living at Forbes in June last. My store was opposite the 'Harp of Erin' public house kept by Mr Patrick Gallen. I remember one Friday evening, 13 June, and on that evening, I remember selling two double-barrelled guns to two young men. I noticed one of them; the other kept near the door, and I did not notice him so fully. They did not pay me in cash, but they went away and sold the gold came back and paid me in cash. They also brought an American hatchet or tomahawk, and some other things were sold them by the shopman. This was between 6 and 8 o'clock in the evening..."

After the purchases and en-route to the Rock, they robbed Mr. Green's station, 'Uar', outside Forbes of fodder and food, Mr Green would later state at the second Escort trial; "I am a grazier living at the Uar station. It is about seventeen or twenty miles from Mr Cropper's place. In June last I kept a store. About 12 June I was away from home - I was away from 11th to 16th. When I came home, I found that the house had been robbed. I missed some oats, amongst other things, about a bag and a half. Bags and all were taken. I also missed one case of lobsters, about two dozen tins, less two or three I had taken out of the case myself..." Charters, as guide proceeded to lead the group to Eugowra Rocks arriving on the morning of 15th June 1862. Gardiner then paced out the firing range from The Rocks to the coach's prospective position at the hold-up time. About midday, Gardiner bailed up two bullock drays approaching the hold-up site. Gardiner placed the drays across the track as an obstacle for the coach to negotiate. As the gang waited for the coach to arrive, one of the men suggested someone should go and mind the horses hidden just over a rise from the rocks - Charters volunteered. After some thought, Gardiner agreed, stating; "very well, you go; you're bl--dy frightened of your life, and you're the best to go..."
My Video of the Eugowra Robbery Site.

Extract of Daniel Charter's
 statement of events
of the robbery (above).

Minding the horses, Charters later said he “heard several discharges of weapons firing and shortly after the men returned with gold-boxes, some rifles, and a cloak; the gold was placed on the horses...” Gardiner remarked too Charters, "it was a very narrow escape..." With the proceeds in hand, the gang departed, bypassing Eugowra stopping at Newell’s Inn (Charters brother-in-law) for food. James Newell stated at the future court hearing that; "I am a publican at Bandon; remember hearing of the escort robbery; I remember people being brought up at Forbes for the escort robbery; I sell preserved fish, in tins, such as sardines, oysters, &c; I did sell such articles about this time..."

Following the robberies, success Charters led the gang back to Wheogo Mountain close to Ben Hall's property, 'Sandy Creek', some 60 miles from the robbery site. Under Gardiner’s instructions, Charters took the gang on a zigzag course to confuse the black trackers. "Go as crooked as you can, so as to bother the trackers." Arriving at the hill, the proceeds were divided equally, and Hall, O’Meally and Manns departed.

Gardiner required more capacity to carry the gold, and Charters was dispatched to Ben Hall's home for more saddlebags. (At the future Escort trial, Charters would claim it was Gilbert who went). As Charters was collecting the items, the dogs commenced barking, and Charters saw the approaching police. Slipping out of the hut, he mounted his horse and bolted, using the hut as a cover between himself and the police and at full gallop headed for Wheogo Mountain. John Maguire, in his narrative, wrote of Daniel's flight from Sandy Creek; "the police sighted him, and, looking as it did, rather suspicious, they started in pursuit, I witnessed part of the pursuit as they passed my house. Charters had a lead of a few hundred yards and was mounted on a splendid animal. However, the police kept him in sight till the foot of the mountain was reached..." Maguire goes on to say, "when Charters got within speaking distance, he shouted out, "here come the police, boys!" Shortly after, the long arm of the law was upon the remaining members, and they fled Wheogo Hill. The fact that Charters was at Sandy Creek was also corroborated by another witness and friend of both Charters and Maguire, Thomas Richards, who saw Chartres leaving Maguire's. Richards became a Crown Witness against those involved in the Gold robbery, stated; "on the Monday I went after cattle again; I saw Maguire as I was going up from the yard, and I saw a man running away from the yard; I saw a man running away; he and Maguire had apparently been talking together; I went up to Maguire and asked if the man who was running away was not Charters, Maguire said it was..."

"Here come the police, boys!"
In Jack Bradshaw's narrative of Ben Hall drawn heavily from interviews with William Hall, Ben Hall's older brother, William corroborates John Maguire's account of Charters' ride back to Wheogo and states; "He (Charters) was sent there from the top of the Wheogo Mountains two miles away for a pair of saddle-hags for Gardiner to carry his gold in. Charters heard the dogs bark and saw the police coming. He slipped out, mounted his horse, and made for the Mountain at full gallop. The police caught sight of him, and they quickly followed in pursuit. (Bill Hall is my authority for all this.) Charters had a lead of a hundred yards and was mounted on a good horse. However, the police struggled to keep him in sight till the foot of the mountain was reached. In the meantime, from the Look-out the gang got sight of Charters coming at a gallop, with the police at a distance behind him, and made preparations for departure as soon as Charters reached them". (At the time William was residing at Ben Hall's house.) After a chase of over twenty miles through scrubland and close to the Weddin Mountains, Bradshaw writes; "the pack horse fell, Gardiner looked behind, and found the police not far away. He uttered a curse, dug his spurs into his horse, lost the prize, and narrowly escaped being captured himself..." The pack-horse was soon recaptured along with Charters’ share and the remaining gold. Frank Gardiner then confessed to Charters of making a “bad job of it” and as compensation handed Charters £50 and a gold nugget - a far cry from the 300 oz of gold and £435 he was due. (See article above.)

Bathurst Free Press Report, 28th June 1862
 Recapture of the gold and police pursuit.
Wheogo Hill.
Courtesy Peter C Smith.
Sergeant Sanderson was the pursuer of Daniel Charters back to Wheogo Hill. He describes the scene on his arrival at the gangs hideout during the Escort trial in February 1863; "on the Thursday morning following he 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...” The police had their suspicions and were soon making arrests, and on 29th July 1862, Daniel Charters was arrested with Ben Hall, Maguire, John Brown and Hall's brother William at Sandy Creek Station. Charters faced court in Forbes, and he was remanded along with his co-arrested on Sir Frederick Pottinger's advice.

Charters and Hall's
 Arrest Report.
During this period Charters
 made his decision to turn 
Queen's evidence.
Under pressure from his devoted sisters and influenced by Pottinger. Charters wrestled with his conscience and finally turned Queen’s evidence unbeknown to Ben Hall and the other conspirators held on remand. Maguire at the time noted that he overheard Ben Hall tell Charters, “they haven’t found anything on us, and they can do nothing to us..." At Charters’ bail application, Pottinger stated; “he protested against bail being taken for the appearance of any of the prisoners excepting against the prisoner Daniel Charters, of whom he had nothing to say...” The release of Charters on bail shook Ben Hall. Maguire wrote in his memoirs, "Sir Frederick then came and took Charters away. On his return Charters told us he was going to get bail whilst we could not, I watched Ben’s countenance, and noticed that he looked a bit upset when Charters got his freedom..." Charters was bailed early August 1862, on his own recognisance of £500, paid by Charters and two sureties of £250 each, one paid by his sister and the other paid by his brother-in-law James Newell. (£1,000 in 1862 is worth today around $85,000) The family was not short of a quid.

Charters' Bail Granted
(The amount set demonstrates the
 wealth at his disposal.)
During the preliminary hearings, Charters out of loyalty to his close friend Ben Hall and his sheer terror of the menacing John O’Meally, denied that they had participated in the Escort Robbery. This steadfast position allowed Hall and O'Meally to be eventually set free on bail. While on bail, Charters visited the Forbes Police station for an interview and, with Sgt Sanderson, met Sir Frederick Pottinger. After considerable persuasion from his sister's and a fear of the drop (hanging), Charters offered to give evidence for the Crown in the matter of the Escort Robbery, and for the subsequent pardon that had been on offer from the government for information, Charters stated; "I was out for ten days or a fortnight before I gave any information about Gardiner and these men. I went and spoke to Sir Frederick Pottinger. He made me no promises. I went to get free pardon, under the proclamation, as an accomplice. I remember all the particulars very distinctly because I know the country very well. I ought to remember what has involved my ruination..."

Sir Frederick Pottinger
With Sir Frederick Pottinger's assurance, Charters implicated those involved but left Ben Hall and John O'Meally's names out of it. Instead, two men named Charlie and Billy were also involved but did not know who they were or where they were from. The others he named were Frank Gardiner, John Bow, Alex Fordyce, John Gilbert, Henry Manns. Charters went on and gave the delirious Inspector the intimate details of the robbery and distanced himself from any real part in the affair. Claiming that he was not actually present at the coach's shooting and went on to neither confirm nor deny John Maguire's involvement. With this act of betrayal, Daniel Charters had stained his life forevermore and would now always be referred to as the 'Approver' (Informant), a much-despised character in 1860's Australia and a title that could cost Charters his life as was reported in the 'Lachlan Times'; "you could expect that Daniel Charters, the approver, upon whose evidence the convictions for the escort robbery will be obtained, will not settle down again on the Lachlan for many along day. The position of an informer is not generally an enviable one; but in this case, we fancy it will be trebly so if ever he shows himself among is old friends..." The police with Charters' information soon arrested Alex Fordyce and John Bow, then in late August 1862, based on Charters' confession, Ben Hall, William Hall, John Brown, John 'Warrigal' Walsh (later to be arrested again and would die in the Forbes Gaol, age 16) and John O'Meally's and father Patrick were released from Forbes and Bathurst lockup's due to a lack of evidence.

Charters became the principal witness for the crown and was conveyed to Bathurst for the court's next sitting, with John Bow, John Maguire and Alex Fordyce. John O'Meally would be released on bail soon after their arrival. The hearings conducted at Bathurst were closed to the public for the protection of Charters, who at this point implicated Maguire as a supplier of goods to the gang. The court found sufficient evidence for a trial, and all but O'Meally was remanded at Bathurst Gaol. In December 1862, Henry Manns was recaptured by Sir Frederick Pottinger after an earlier escape and lodged at Bathurst. In January 1863, the four prisoners were transferred for trial to be held in Sydney. The trial would become known as the 'Special Commission' and would also incorporate the trials of several other felons; The list of cases was reported in 'Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Chronicle' January 1863; SPECIAL CRIMINAL SESSION.--The special session for the trial of certain cases of crime from the interior, will commence at Darlinghurst, on Monday, the 2nd February. At present there are seven cases for trial, but it is possible that one or two may yet be added to the calendar. 1. Charles Mackay, robbery with firearms. 2. George Williams, robbery with firearms (sticking-up Bathurst mail). 3. George Willison and Frederick Britten, robbery with firearms (robbing the Bathurst mail and taking large quantities of bank notes). 4. Charles Foley and John Brownlow, robbery with firearms. 5. John Healy, robbery with firearms (near Goulburn). 6. Alexander Fordyce, John Bow, John Maguire, Henry Mann (alias Henry Turner), robbery with firearms and wounding (robbery of Lachlan escort). 7. Alexander Ross, Charles Rose, and William O'Connor, robbery with arms and wounding (attempted murder of Mr. Stephens). As far as present arrangements are made, we believe that one court only will sit for the trial of the prisoners.

Alexander Ross and Charles Ross (not related) were both convicted of the wounding of a Mr. Stephens of Caloola, and both were hanged. Another interesting person to be charged was John Healy, at whose place the escort gang prepared and loaded the guns for the heist and who also had been involved with Frank Gardiner as reported in 'The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser', January 1863; "Healy, one of Gardiner's companions, who was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the escort robbery, was brought up on Saturday, for highway robbery under arms, on the Lambing Flat road, Jacobson, a jeweller and storekeeper in Forbes, was the prosecutor, he recognised the prisoner in the bar of a public house on Friday. A good deal of stolen property was produced. Healy's wife was insane from drink. Gardiner is reported to have been seen, mounted and well-armed, between Lambing Flat and Forbes..." Healy was found guilty of bushranging and sentenced to 15 years on the roads, the first year in irons. 

The 'Special Commission' trial for the escort four was set for 2nd February 1863 and was the hottest ticket in town for the entertainment starved populace. The prisoners were arraigned in court on the 3rd February 1863 and presided over by Justice Wise. Also attending were some of Sydney's elite in the form of politicians and celebrities of the day to see and hear of the daring deeds of the wild colonial boys. "Not Guilty" was the cry of the accused, and the courtroom hushed over as Daniel Charters was called to give evidence. At the commencement of the proceedings, an observer wrote of Daniel Charters; "...Charters, who is a very young man, of quiet demeanour, and has evidently received an education superior to that generally given to bush lads; he is, however, a thorough bushman, and well acquainted with the country and the mode of travelling adopted by men who desire to mystify persevering "trackers." He gives his evidence with extraordinary fluency and is very particular as to minor details. His description of the country through which he says he led the gang of robbers is vivid in the extreme, and anyone acquainted with the bush of Australia will readily realise the scenes described by him. When Charters stepped into tho witness-box, he reminded one of Sheil's description of the "approvers" in the celebrated Clonmel trials, "an informer, but not a common informer."

Charters was the one who sat the filled courtroom onto the edge of their seats as Charters commenced to drop the defendants in it upon his appearance. Charters commenced his testimony which was long and laborious and as history has proved was full of misleading falsehoods, extracts of his testimony follow, Charters stated; "I lived at Humbug Creek, on the other side of the Lachlan; in the beginning of June last I was within twenty-five miles of Forbes; It was on the 15th June; I know the prisoners; saw John Bow and Fordyce on the 12th June; they were within a quarter-mile of Mrs. Feehiely's station, called the "Pinnacle"; I was driving some horses; I met Frank Gardiner, John Gilbert, and the two prisoners, Bow and Fordyce; Gardiner is a bushranger in that part of the country; they were coming towards me; Gardiner rode up to me about fifteen yards in advance of the others; he asked where I was going to? I said to my sisters; he then said he wanted me to go with him for a few days; I said I could not, for if seen with him I should be thought as bad as him; he said I must go, as he wanted me to show him the road to someplace that he did not name; Gardiner was armed; he had a double-barrelled gun slung to his horse, and two revolvers on his person; Gilbert was armed, and Fordyce also was armed; when I declined going with him, Gardiner put his hand on his revolver, and said, "I've come for you, and you must go." I then went with him."  [The witness here identified the prisoner Manns as one of the men concerned]

Charters continues; "...We camped again, and Gilbert went into Forbes; I heard Gardiner tell him to fetch six double-barrel guns, some rations, an American tomahawk, some blacking, some comforters, and some caps, and also a flask of powder. The men were at this time camped at a fire, lying down. Gilbert returned about one or two in the morning; he had three other men with him; one of them, " Charley," I had some knowledge of (this was Ben Hall). One was called 'Harry,' and the other " Billy(this was John O'Meally);" I saw him (Harry) in the Sydney Police Office since; Gardiner said shortly after that no man's name was to be mentioned, but it did not matter about him." When the men come, they had six guns, and the other articles which were sent for; they had some rations also, and we consumed part of them. Heard Gilbert say he had great trouble in getting the guns and the axe, as there was only one store where he could get one. One gun with a rifle barrel, and nice carved stock. Gardiner chose for himself. On the Saturday morning, Gardiner said, "Go on to the Eugowra Mountain." As we reached the river near Robert's station, I saw a gentleman on the other side of the river whom I knew to be Mr. Rutherton; I was not armed; I was mounted, and led a horse -, we cantered across a piece of clear ground towards the river, and in doing so Gilbert lost his revolver; he wanted to return to look for it, but Gardiner would not let him, saying there was no time to lose; Gilbert cut down the fence at Roberts', and we went on towards Eugowra; Gardiner rode mostly behind the others; I asked him where we were going; he said he'd tell me by and bye; we camped on the Saturday night between Eugowra and Campbell's. On the Sunday. Gardiner rose early and ordered the arms to be loaded; I asked what he was going to do, and he said " We'd see; that if he was lucky he meant that day to stick up the Escort," "we tied our horses up by direction of Gardiner; we each had a gun then; we then went to the large rocks overlooking the road; we remained a short time: Gardiner went down to the road, stepped the distance, returned, and said, "That will do." At about three o'clock someone said, "It would be a bl---y lark to get the escort horses to take them back; "it was then suggested that someone should go back and look to the horses we had left tied. I proposed to go back, and after Gardiner studied for a while, he said: "Very well, you go; you're bl---y frightened of your life, and you're the best to go." I said I had never done anything of the kind, and did not like firing on men who never did me any harm. I then went away, leaving Seven men at the rocks, of whom Fordyce and Bow were two; Fordyce was under the influence of drink, and two or three times Gardiner said ."If he didn't wake up and look sharp, he'd cut his rations bl---y short." I went and found the horses all right.

While away, I heard firing, several discharges; the men returned with some gold-boxes, some rifles, and a cloak; the gold was placed on horses; Gardiner made the remark that "It was a very narrow escape"; I saw the cloak; it was a  police cloak; I noticed that the cloak had a bullet hole in the cape; this is the same cloak; I have not seen it till today since I saw it at the rocks; when the men came I back, I asked Gardiner if anyone was shot? He said " No, and he was bl---y glad of it, but if there had been it was their own fault, for he told them to stand, and they fired upon him"; when the men came back, Gardiner said "Get ready and make for where we camped last night"; we came on to a piece of clear ground, about a mile and a half near a creek when Gardiner said "We'll stop, open these gold boxes, and lighten the loads on the horses"; the boxes were opened with a tomahawk; we all had a hand in the opening. I saw the gold-bags and money taken out of the boxes; did not notice how many bags there were; I think there were three parcels. We left the boxes there, and we burnt some of the red comforters which had been used in the attack for disguise. We packed the gold afresh on one of the escort horses, and on Gardiner's own horse; this occurred on the piece of clear ground near the fence; we then went on; Gardiner told me "to go on as direct as possible to where we camped on the Saturday night;" we went on till we reached Clement's fence; I knew it, and we turned and went along it; I was leading Gardiner's pack-horse; we were all together, I was leading the way; we came to and crossed an awkward deep creek; after crossing it we again came to the fence; Gilbert got off and cut down the fence; the rails were cut down, and we went through; the fence was cut about twenty panels from the creek. We then travelled towards the Lachlan Road; this was in the dark; we came on the road close by the creek; we went about 300 yards along the road, then turned off, and came on it again. We again went off and did not get on the road afterwards till we come near to Waygar Clements' station. When we came to the fence, I made for the slip-panel, and we crossed the river; after that, we camped on the bank; made a small fire at the foot of a gum tree. Here the mail letters were opened. I forgot to say that when the guns were reloaded when we reached where the gold boxes were opened, Fordyce's gun was found to be loaded, but the caps were off. Gardiner swore at him and said, "You were afraid to fire, but I'll stop your bl---y rations." This was near Eugowra, where the gold-boxes were opened. I think each man reloaded his own gun. We camped only a short time there. It was about nine miles from the place where we opened the boxes to where we camped that night; the place where the boxes were opened was about two miles from the scene of the attack. We crossed the river about twelve at night; we did not stay more than two hours. The registered letters were opened by the light of the fire; I heard Gilbert say, " Here's £6," as he put some notes in his pocket; we had some refreshment here, part of what Harry had brought when they were going to the rocks. After leaving this, we went to Newells, where Harry got some cans of oysters or sardines, two loaves of bread, and some gin, We left the large bone at the foot of the gum tree; on leaving, Gardiner said, "Go as crooked as you can, so as to bother the trackers, "We went on till we saw some drays, when we turned off and came to the gate at Mr. Suttor's station, we went through and travelled about half a mile, till we saw another small fire; we again turned off; the pack-horses were going two and two; I was leading the foremost horse; we went on by the direction of Gardiner, till we came within a few (eight or nine) miles of Forbes. When daylight arrived, Gardiner said -' we'll go on to John Reeve's;" we went on, and after taking a drink at a creek Gardiner said "make for the Wheogo Mountain;" we went on past Wheogo house, and reached the top of the mountain, where we camped about 2 p.m. on the Monday. This place was about sixty miles from where the robbery was done." 

Charters then finalised his testimony by describing the events of the police arrival at Wheogo. At this point, Charters misled the court and attempted to lessen the impact of his complicity so much so that he transferred the ride to obtain the saddlebags at Maguire's to John Gilbert, claiming Gilbert went for the saddlebags, this was following the first visit to John Maguire's to replenish their food stocks, here Charters stated under oath; "Gardiner said to Gilbert "you had better go down to McGuire's and tell him to send me some rations enough for two or three days." He alluded to the prisoner at the bar. McGuire lived close to the place where we camped. I did not see McGuire on the occasion, nor had I seen him since I joined with Gardiner. Gilbert went away in the direction of McGuire's. Gilbert was absent for about two hours. He returned with some rations in a large dish, and he had a tin can with tea. We had something to eat there. I saw tea taken out of the can at the camp. After we had something to eat, the three strange men, Harry, Billy (O'Meally), and Charley (Ben Hall) packed up their gold in a police cloak or in the lining; they got on their horses, and went away; each man's gold was packed on his saddle. They bid us "goodbye," and went away; they took their guns with them." Charters continued; "Gardiner and I never left the mountain. Bow, and Fordyce, and Gilbert went after the horses on the Wednesday morning and brought them up; on Thursday we got ready to start; Gardiner said "he wished he had another pair of saddlebags, and asked Gilbert to go and see if McGuire had some;" he went away, but returned very shortly after in fright, saying that, as he came near McGuire's, he saw a lot of police coming from the direction of Hall's towards McGuire's. After that we all got ready to start; after we got ready, we could hear the tramp of the police horses coming up the mountain." John Maguire's narrative of the occasion stated; "it was to Hall's, not my place, that Charters, not Gilbert went. Hall had told them previously that they could get them. It was from here that the police galloped after Charters to the mountain..." it made sense for Gardiner to send Charters, as he knew the terrain around Wheogo and Hall's property intimately, before long the police at full gallop tracked Charters to their hideout on Wheogo Mountain. This misinformation on the part of Charters was refuted by another witness to Charters' presence at Sandy Creek on Monday following the robbery, when another of the crown witnesses, Thomas Richards (alias Matthews), corroborated Maguire's future narrative of 1907, stating at the second Escort trial; "on Monday I was away looking for cattle in the bush when I got back to McGuire's I saw a person riding away whom I took to be Charters, I knew Charters by sight, I had some conversation with McGuire. He told me the Escort had been robbed and that they were camped in the scrub five or six miles off when he told me about the robbery, he said that if it was found out, it would be all through flash Charters, for he rode off to the camp and they would track him..."

Darlinghurst Gaol
Day 3 of the 'Special Commission' concluded the crown and the prosecution cases, and all eyes turned to Justice Wise for his address to the jury, after which they retired to reach a verdict against the accused. Like the prisoners, Daniel Charters had been kept in custody from his first statements at the Bathurst Court House. During the Sydney trial, where Charters was held at Darlinghurst Gaol for his safety separated from the general populace of the prison. As day 4 dawned and the crowds milled around the courthouse, Charters and the prisoners after breakfast were escorted through Darlinghurst Gaol's tunnel to the courtroom. At 0930, 6th February 1863, the jury returned to the court, where over 1000 people waited to hear the conclusion and punishment of the Escort Four. Still, a sensation was about to unfold when Justice Wise asked the jury, "Have you reached a verdict" to all present, the shock of the foreman's next words reverberated through the court, "We have not agreed on a verdict", replied the Foreman, "and there is not the slightest possibility of members being likely to agree", Justice Wise after a brief statement thanked the jury and discharged them. The prisoners were returned to Gaol, where their fate was again to be decided. After consultation with the Chief Justice, a new trial date was set and commenced on the 23rd February 1863; this time presided over by Chief Justice Alfred Stephens, the government were to have their pound of flesh.

The main witness Daniel Charters, once more recounted his earlier evidence, and although some aspects were slightly contradicted, the bulk was enough to send the jury out to consider a verdict, which they did and on the 27th February 1863, returned a verdict of Guilty against Bow, Manns and Fordyce and Not Guilty for John Maguire as reported in the 'Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Chronicle'; 

THE VERDICT. On His Honor resuming his seat at a quarter to ten, the most intense excitement prevailed throughout the densely crowded court and the Jury having re-entered their box, on being called upon by the Clerk of Arraigns pronounced a verdict, of GUILTY on the first count against FORDYCE, BOW, and MANNS, and a verdict of NOT GUILTY as against McGUIRE, who was removed from the dock in custody, to await his trial on another charge. (The outstanding bond for Youngman in May 1862.)

SENTENCE OF DEATH. According to law, the prisoners were then severally asked if they had anything to say why judgment should not be pronounced upon them to die." 

Alexander Fordyce said he was not guilty of wounding at the time of the robbery.

Henry Manns said he had nothing to say, only he was not guilty of the charge.

John Bow said the jury had found a verdict of guilty against an Innocent man.

The usual proclamation for silence, having been made, his Honor, addressing the prisoners, said it now became his painful duty to pass upon them the sentence of DEATH.

Daniel Charters' character was brought into question. Public opinion soon manifested in a belief that the trial of the robbers was fixed and if Charters had received his share of the proceeds, the outcome of the events might have been completely different as reported in the 'Empire'"the excitement of the crowds congregated at the trials arose out of a common dislike to the evidence of an approver. The popular mind detests this kind of testimony, not merely because it is seldom to be relied on, nor indeed from any other reason as such, but from a sort of instinctive feeling that rushes at once to conclude that it is an augmentation of villainy. He is regarded as infinitely worse than those against whom he testifies. He is not only a thief but a traitor. His accomplices are punished through his means, but it is at the expense of a deeper dip into crime. He saves himself, but to do that probably sends his own companions in guilt to death. What is called justice is supposed to reap some advantage; but even this is only apparent, for whilst the law wreaks its vengeance on the condemned, it lets loose the greatest villain of the mob to prey upon mankind, and the imagination pictures him as drinking the blood of his accomplices. But this particular approver endeavoured to screen himself under a declaration that he was coerced into the scheme. It would have been more creditable for him not to have urged this, as he entirely failed to make it so appear. He was disappointed, not from his associates' unfairness towards himself, but from the loss of the grand booty. If he had received 22 lbs. weight of solid gold, and £3000 in notes as his share of the spoil, would he have delivered it up to the authorities and turned approver then? Of course, this is not exactly what Government cares about, but it is the popular reasoning; most men believe that it would be better for the accused to escape than the accuser to have his revenge."

Darlinghurst Gallows c. 1863 
Henry Manns would be the only Escort Robber to hang and was accompanied to the gallows by the Venerable Archdeacon McEnroe, the Venerable Archpriest Thierry and the Reverend Father Dwyer. The hangman bungled the execution, and Manns died a frightful and hideous death. He was strangled slowly as the noose had shifted around to the front of his face. His body had to be re-lifted so that the noose could be replaced around his neck, and Manns was again dropped. It is also reported that the hangman attempted to steal his boots.

Daniel Charters was 6ft tall and a handsome man and had a reputation along with his closest friend Ben Hall of being quite the ladies man; this reputation was highlighted during the Escort trial by defence lawyer Mr Issacs, in an attempt to bring the veracity of Charters' erratic evidence into question, under intense pressure from Mr Issacs who had constantly attacked Charters version of events, would bring into question Charters relationships, and at the same time question the fidelity of John Maguire's wife, Elen. Ellen's relationship with Charters during his initial bail period at Forbes whilst Maguire was still incarcerated. The tactic was an attempt as part of Maguire's defence to show a motive for Charters to attempt to 'lag' Maguire, as there had been raised by the defence an impression that Charters was having an affair with Ellen Maguire whilst staying in Forbes during the time of his confession to Inspector Pottinger. 

The defence questioned Charters; "Didn't you stay at the Harp of Erin Hotel", Daniel Charters responded, "When I was liberated, I went to my brother-in-law's James Newell's; I was staying at Forbes, afterwards at the European Hotel; I did not stop at the Harp of Erin; I had no particular friend with me at that time", the defence shot back, "But you stayed at the Harp Of Erin Hotel with the wife of the accused, McGuire", as Charters commenced to elaborated, the Sheriff's Officer of the court shouted towards the public gallery "Silence! Silence! Silence in the court" as the observers reacted to this sensational proposition, "I will swear I did not stop at the Harp of Erin with McGuire's wife; I have seen her at the Harp of Erin but did not stay with her", Charters continued, "I never on any occasion said, if I could "lag" McGuire, that I would then be able to sleep with his wife." On this unsavoury news, it was recorded that John Maguire grabbed the railing of the dock firmly. Sadly after the trial and Maguire's acquittal, his marriage to Ellen would soon come to an end, and Ellen went to live at Ben Hall's ex-home as an illegal squatter. Maguire and Ben Hall had lost the Sandy Creek station to John Wilson.

Daniel Charters
c. 1861.
Coloured by me.
On the 4th March 1863, while Charters was still being held at the Darlinghurst Gaol, another woman would pursue Charters in the court, as reported in the 'Goulburn Herald'; "on Wednesday Mr. Carroll, on the part of Miss Ellen Charlotte Brandon, of the Lachlan, appeared before Messrs. G. Hill, Caldwell, and Peden, and stated that he had served a summon upon Daniel Charters, at present confined in the B division watch-house, to appear and answer a charge of affiliation preferred against him by the above named young lady. Mr. Carroll intimated his intention of applying for a writ of habeas corpus to bring the defendant before the court on Wednesday next, for which day the hearing of the case is appointed. If it be substantiated that Charters approved Ellen Charlotte to the extent alleged, he deserves to have a Brand-on." On the 12th March, this appeared in the paper as Ellen's lawyers continued to bring the matter of child support before the court; Daniel Chartres, the approver, summoned by Ellen Charlotte Brandon, to provide support for his illegitimate child, did not appear, and the case was postponed till Wednesday next.

Charters still held incognito by the government, the press rampant about the deeds of  Frank Gardiner wrote this in regards to Gardiner's possible capture; "if the Government is particularly anxious to have this freebooter alive, let them send their late approver under a strong escort to find him, for if anyone in the colony knows Gardiner's haunts, "flash Dan Chartres" is the man; but he would want a strong escort, and even then I don't think he would be game to visit this district, as the fate of John M'Guiness must be yet vividly impressed upon his mind; therefore the best thing he can do is to get his "blood "money and go to America, for, so long as Gardiner lives, his life is not worth a month's purchase."(M'Guinness was believed to have been shot dead on Gardiner's orders after another bushranger John Davis was captured by police and M'Guinness and another instead of fighting, fled in April 1862.)

As Daniel Charters was being protected from Ellen Brandon, three prominent politicians on the 17th March 1863, were petitioning the Executive to spare the lives of Bow and Manns, one of these was Mr Harpur, who it should be noted was the son of Sarah Walsh, stepmother to Bridget Hall, Ellen Maguire, Catherine Brown and the 'Warrigal', John Walsh. Mr Harpur would over the next few years, become the most critical of the new police act and a strident critic of Sir Frederick Pottinger, and would go so far as to brand Pottinger under parliamentary privilege 'a coward' a tag when called upon by Pottinger to a state outside the parliament Harpur refused. The petition rebukes the evidence provided by Charters and brands him a perjurer, as follows;


The following memorial has been transmitted to his Excellency the Governor in reference to the case of Manns and Bow, now under sentence of death, for the escort robbery. — "Statements connected with the escort robbery and the prisoners Manns and Bow, brought under the notice of the undersigned, which they think deserve the earnest attention of the Executive.
"1. Chartres, the approver, was not the compulsory guide he represented himself to be; but took a most active part in planning and carrying into execution the escort robbery.
"2. On the Friday night preceding the robbery, Chartres, in company with Gilbert and another, bought at least five of the guns used on that occasion: two guns and American axe, at Baldwin's; one gun at a bowling alley, Main-street, Forbes; two guns and tins of oysters at a grocer's shop, also in Main street, Forbes —two men were serving in this shop.
"3. Same night Chartres and Gilbert moulded the balls in the house of a woman named Healy. Her husband is in Cockatoo.
"4. There were five men and a boy with the teams. Immediately after the firing and while the escort and mail bags were being robbed, Chartres and Manns stood guard over the men. Why were none of these men produced at the trial?
"5. Chartres not only received his share of the gold and notes, but procured the scales (from either his sister's or Ben Hall's) with which the gold was weighed.
"6. Chartres was previously a mate of Davis, now in Cockatoo.
"7. Chartres' criminality with Maguire's wife, we understand, can be proved by Healy, now in Cockatoo; and also by a publican of the name of Cannon, on the Lachlan.
"8. Chartres was confined for a considerable time in the lock-up at Forbes, in company with Ben Hall and J. O'Mealy, when his statement was concocted; he agreeing, in consideration of the sum of £200 cash, to be paid by Hall and O'Mealy, to swear that they were not connected with the robbery, he well knowing that both of these men were actively engaged in it.
"9. This is the first offence with which John Bow has been charged, having served one master, as stockman, for six years previous to his apprehension. John Bow can neither read nor write.
"10. Henry Manns was a carrier, engaged, shortly before the escort robbery, in carrying goods to the Lachlan, when he was stopped and robbed by Gardiner, who, perceiving a degree of courage and determination in Manns, resolved, if possible, to secure him as a mate. Gilbert (who had known Manns when a boy) and Chartres were sent by Gardiner to Forbes to invite him to the camp. He at first refused to go because be had no horse; but Chartres, having brought one, took him to the camp and introduced him to the escort robbers for the first time on Saturday, the day preceding the robbery. Henry Manns can neither read nor write. This also is his first offence.
"11. We are informed that none of the first jury wished to bring in a verdict of guilty of wounding, but simply guilty of robbery.

(Signed)         " RICHARD SADLEIR,  
                            "J. BOWIE WILSON,  
                            "JOSEPH J. HARPUR,(Son of Ben Hall's former stepmother-in-Law)

"Sydney, 16th March 1863."

The government were reluctant to produce their star witness to public scrutiny as lawyers for Miss. Brandon continued in their attempt to have Charters frontcourt, as again reported in 'Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Chronicle' 18th March 1863; THE WOOING OF DANIEL CHARTERS.-The Central Police Court on Wednesday was crowded in the expectation of this interesting individual being introduced to his 'chere amie', Miss. Ellen Brandon. The visitors were doomed, however, to disappointment, as the authorities, in turn, are so much enamoured of the gentleman, that they decline to submit him to the public gaze; and another postponement for a week was granted to enable Mr Carroll to renew his application, for a writ of habeas corpus.

On the 28th March 1863, 'Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Chronicle' again reported Ellen Brandon's efforts to have Charters before the court; THE APPROVER'S DESERTED FAIR ONE.-The case of Miss Ellen Charlotte Brandon v Daniel Charters also appeared on Thursday's sheet, but the lady's solicitor is still unsuccessful in his endeavours to bring the defendant into the magisterial presence, and the matter lapsed in consequence of his non-appearance.

Charters requirement to frontcourt was that Miss Brandon was pregnant. Daniel Charters was the father from a relationship that the pair had consummated back in the Lachlan district about the time of Charters becoming involved with the Escort Robbery, and Miss Brandon was attempting to have Daniel Charters met his responsibilities by providing funding for the upkeep of the forthcoming child and acknowledgement as the father. Unfortunately, Charters avoided his responsibility to Miss Brandon as the government hid Charters away in a witness protection scheme, and he was not heard of for some time to come. There was a report in the papers at the time of this prospective court appearance that "referring to Daniel Charters, the approver in the escort robbery case, and who, by the way, as I hear, has gone back to the Lachlan under charge of a mounted police escort..." The outcome of Ellen Brandon's lawsuit against Daniel Charters is unknown. Miss Brandon gave birth to a baby boy named Henry William Brandon, who survived 12 months and died on the 10th March 1864. Miss Brandon would marry a Sea Captain, Sheppard Giles; GILES—BRANDON—At the Scots Church, on Wednesday, the 1st February 1865, by the Rev. Dr Lang, M.P., Mr. Sheppard Giles, shipmaster in the intercolonial trade, to Ellen Charlotte, daughter of Mr. Richard William Brandon, tobacconist, both natives of London.

Daniel Charters' whereabouts following the completion of the 'Special Commission' in February 1862 was a closely guarded secret kept by the government. Where even the solicitor representing Miss Brandon with a writ of 'Habeus Corpus', which compelled a prisoner to be presented to the court, had failed due to the government's procrastination with Charters and where they were able to keep Charters incommunicado. Daniel Charters was actually employed by the NSW police and held at the Longbottom stockade, situated at Canada Bay along the Parramatta River, boarded today by Burwood and Croydon suburbs. The stockade was situated on Concord Oval, where Daniel Charters worked as a horse breaker.

Note: The name Canada Bay honours an association between Australia and Canada, following the 'Lower Canada Rebellion' of 1837 to 1838 (John Gilbert's father fought in this war, on the side of the British,) two Irish and 58 French Canadian rebels were deported to Australia. Imprisoned at Longbottom Stockade, which was located at what is now Concord Oval, the convicts broke stone for the construction of Parramatta Road and collected oyster shells for making lime.

This article appeared in the 'Goulburn Herald' on the 25 July 1863; THE INFORMER DAN CHARTERS - Everyone will recollect the notorious informer who appeared against the escort robbers. Mr. Lucas, in his speech in the Assembly, on Thursday, upon the police regulations, gave the following information as to the whereabouts of this worthy:--" The notorious Dan Charters, the approver, under the name of Thompson, had recently been staying out at Long Bottom, and has been permitted to pass for a policeman if he was not actually one of the force. He was engaged as a breaker of fancy horses for Captain McLerie and had been recognised by a gentleman at Mr. Neitceh's public-house, who had come down the country. He had endeavoured to brazen out the identification, but being unable to do so, had since he was recognised, disappeared."-Braidwood Dispatch. This news prompted questions in Parliament in August of 1863 with regards to the Approver, Charters' whereabouts being confirmed in parliament by Mr. Martin (Three-time Premier of NSW) who was seeking to avail himself of "...the acknowledged difficulties of the country in the matter of the police arrangements," divulged Charters' new-found employment at Longbottom Stockade, as reported in the 'Sydney Morning Herald' 19th August 1863, as follows, Mr. Martin stated, " of the robbers had turned approver (Charters), and had since the trial been employed, as it was believed by many, in the police. This was answered by Mr. COWPER who said, "that the man Charters had not been one of the police. The hon. member was mistaken..." Mr. MARTIN countered with, "he had been associated with the police and was seen connected with the force in some way at Longbottom. He had there given out that he was a policeman...". Mr. LUCAS replied, "he was employed in breaking-in horses for them...". Mr MARTIN then remarked that "it was evident that the man had been, since the trial of the escort robbers, associated with the police, that was not to be denied..."

#-Reference notes and source material can be accessed on the EndNote page except where the 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 the right mouse button and select 'open in new tab'.


  1. Henry Manns is my Great gr gr Uncle
    William Manns,Peter Alexender Manns,Eric Manns, My mum Carol Manns, Me ��
    Happy Reading Everone

  2. I'm interested in any information about the bushranger Johnny Piesley (Peisley) including his parents, siblings, date of birth.