The website "Ben Hall: Traps" provides a detailed account of the New South Wales (NSW) police force's struggle against the bushranger epidemic and criminal activities in the gold fields of NSW and beyond during the 1860s. The police force, often referred to as 'Traps', faced numerous challenges, including inferior equipment, harsh elements, substandard horses, and a lack of public support. Despite these obstacles, they persevered in their mission to maintain law and order.
Key figures in this struggle included Sir Frederick William Pottinger, a baronet who served as an Inspector of Police in the Lachlan District, and officers like Sanderson and Lyons. Pottinger, born in India and educated at Eton, had a tumultuous journey from a life of privilege in England to becoming a dedicated law enforcement officer in Australia. Despite facing public controversies and personal setbacks, Pottinger's commitment to his duty was unwavering.
The website also highlights the crucial role of Aboriginal trackers like Billy Dargin in the police force. These trackers used their intimate knowledge of the land and exceptional tracking skills to assist the police in their pursuit of bushrangers and criminals.
The site provides a comprehensive overview of the challenges faced by the NSW police during this period, the strategies they employed, and the individuals who played significant roles in this historical context. It offers a unique perspective on the law enforcement efforts during the bushranger era and the gold rush in Australia. Yet, despite the many obstacles, including the cone of silence from the bushrangers sympathisers, these police troopers undertook the exhausting and dangerous task of pursuing those outlaws who thought nothing of putting a bullet between their eyes.
'Traps,' The term used for Colonial Australian Police, most probably has its origins from the early period of the Colony of NSW when drinking in a public house on the sabbath was deemed sinning. Whereby, to catch publicans who flouted the sabbath, the Police would send in persons or Police in disguise to "Trap" a publican into or was known to be trading on Sunday by selling the plant grog. In due course, the term became synonymous to all Police in executing their duty, employing deceitful means to make arrests, i.e. "To Trap them." In the goldfields of Victoria and NSW, the term 'Trap' became famous as the more impoverished miners avoided purchasing Gold licences and were often snared by the Police, similarly dressed as the miners who were often nabbed in the dead of night. Those measures of trapping were a part of the catalyst leading up to the Victorian Eureka Stockade debacle.
Sir Frederick Pottinger born on April 27th, 1831, in India, was the second son of Sir Henry Pottinger and Susanna Maria Cooke.
His father, Sir Henry Pottinger, arrived in India in 1804 as a cadet officer of the East India Company. Climbing the ranks, he eventually reached the position of brevet rank Major-General and proved instrumental in ending the First Opium War in China with the Treaty of Nanking in 1842. Sir Henry's significant contributions led to his appointment as the first Governor of Hong Kong, serving from 1843 to 1844. Upon returning to England in 1844, he was appointed to Queen Victoria's Privy Council and, in 1847, returned to the diplomatic corps as Governor of Cape Colony in South Africa and later Governor of Madras, India, in 1851.
Following his father's footsteps, Sir Frederick Pottinger pursued a private education at Eton before joining the army. In 1850, he purchased a commission in the Grenadier Guards, rising to the rank of Lieutenant. However, maintaining a position in the Guards proved financially burdensome, and the accumulated debt forced Sir Frederick to sell his commission in 1854:
attire as a
A lawsuit emerged as Pottinger was accused of neglecting to pay an outstanding bill of £84. 13s for services provided by a house agent and furniture dealer named Mr F. Clerk. This debt had accumulated through the procurement of goods for a residence leased by Pottinger, ostensibly for his mistress, Miss Kate Perry.
|The house at 165 Cambridge St,|
rented by Sir Frederick
as John Perry & Miss Perry,
as it appears today.
Sir Frederick was not the only child of Sir Henry Pottinger. He had a brother, Eldred, who sadly died in infancy. Another sibling, Henry, who lived from 1834 to 1909, succeeded their father as the 3rd Baronet. He also had a sister, Henrietta-Maria, who lived from 1829 to 1905.
|Great Western Hotel,|
Sir Frederick's and
Miss Perry's Haunt.
To escape imminent court appearances over his debts, Pottinger slipped away to Spain, specifically Cadiz, in the company of a friend from the Guards. After a brief period, he returned to England quietly, only to leave again shortly. This time, his destination was Australia.
In 1859, under the guise of F.W. Parker, Sir Frederick migrated from Liverpool, England, to Melbourne, Australia. Arriving inconspicuously at Melbourne's Port Phillip Bay on board the passenger ship 'British Trident', he left his past behind, starting a new chapter of his life in a foreign land.
Australia, being situated at the 'bottom of the world', was a place where many could blend into the fabric of the growing colonies, often under assumed identities. Sir Frederick Pottinger was one such individual who seized this opportunity. Fleeing England and his relentless debt collectors, he booked passage to Victoria under the pseudonym of F. W. Parker. His ship, the British Trident, arrived on the shores of Melbourne City on 8th March 1859, marking the beginning of Pottinger's new life in the southern hemisphere.
|City of Sydney|
Oil painting by C. D. Gregory.
Courtesy Flotilla Australia
However, after eight months of arduous toil and no significant finds, Pottinger found himself disillusioned with the promise of easy riches. He decided to shift his focus north to New South Wales and the bustling city of Sydney, the fledgeling nation's metropolis. Sir Frederick secured passage on the ship 'City of Sydney', a 700-ton vessel under the command of Captain Moodie, and embarked on his journey.
It was during this voyage, on 4th March 1860, that he opted to reclaim his original name, registering his passage as Frederick Pottinger, while still withholding his baronet title. He left behind the pseudonym of F.W. Parker that had served him well on his initial journey from England. The 'City of Sydney' docked in the majestic Sydney Harbour, where Pottinger, keeping a low profile, disembarked without any fanfare or ceremony, ready to start a new chapter in the vibrant city.
After setting foot in the bustling town of Sydney, Pottinger opted for a degree of anonymity. He chose not to disclose his standing as a member of the British aristocracy or his military background and refrained from involving himself in Sydney's society. Taking an unexpected turn, Pottinger joined the ranks of the New South Wales mounted patrol.
This career move saw him assigned to the Southern Mounted Patrol in Gundagai. His responsibilities involved working with the NSW Gold Escort, an essential service operating in the South-Western Districts of NSW with its headquarters at Bathurst. This position allowed Pottinger to serve in a capacity that utilised his military skills and experience, all while maintaining a low profile.
|Brevet Major General Sir Henry Pottinger, 1st Baronet, GCB, PC|
Pottinger residence at Victoria, Hong Kong 1845.
Pottinger family residence at 67, Eaton Place, London, 1851.
|Sir Frederick Pottinger's Fathers Will, published in the|
Illustrated London News, 14th February 1857.
(In today's terms, £70,000 is more than $5.8 million, squandered in three years.)
|Sir Frederick Pottinger's alias of F.W. Parker departed Liverpool on 8th March 1859.|
|Sir Frederick Pottinger's alias of F.W. Parker arrival in Victoria on 8th June 1859.|
|A Gold Escort, Bathurst,|
However, gold at Kiandra and Ohir created a fever that stripped the police force of reliable men, whereby enlistment came with limited scrutiny. The impact of gold fever on the police force was noted:
Dozens of constables had deserted their posts during the decade of golden glory. The substitutes, hastily recruited to cope with the ever-expanding population and increase of crime, were seldom satisfactory. Many a constable was dismissed for drunkenness and other vices. A policeman's lot was "not a happy one" in New South Wales in the Furious Fifties and Sensational Sixties.Assigned to the remote southwest district, Pottinger was tasked with guarding the gold escort from the newly unearthed goldfield at Kiandra, in the Snowy Mountains, to Gundagai, and onwards to Bathurst. His accommodation, a far cry from the luxuries he was accustomed to, was based in the modest township of Gundagai, a place he would later describe as "miserable".
While Pottinger was navigating this new existence amidst the rugged terrain of New South Wales, safeguarding gold, an intriguing letter arrived at the Bathurst Police Headquarters. Addressed to Sir Frederick Pottinger Bart., the mysterious letter signalled a turning point in his life. The abrupt reminder of his noble roots forced him to face his precipitous descent from the aristocracy, prompting a moment of self-reflection captured in his diary. Here he candidly discussed his current life as a trooper, an existence far removed from the vibrant provincial towns or metropolises he once roamed. His 1860 diary entry spoke volumes about the discontent he felt amidst the humble surroundings of Gundagai.
|Sir Frederick Pottinger's arrival in NSW, 4th March 1860,|
no longer using the alias of Parker.
|Bathurst Free Press and|
Mining Journal Saturday
5th May 1860.
Pottinger kept the title of Baronet a secret until uncovered in May 1860. Whereby, the masquerade was exposed by Captain Battye (Officer-in-charge of the Bathurst Police), who had been handed a letter addressed for a Sir Frederick Pottinger Bart, Mounted Police Bathurst. There was a search and no luck in ascertaining who the gentleman was within his command, at a loss over this curious peer of the realm. Battye placed an advertisement in the newspapers seeking knowledge of the mystery Baronet's whereabouts.
Subsequently, living the mundane life of a gold escort guard and a fall from grace. There could only be one possibility for the letters' appearance. Sir Frederick himself sent the letter knowing that a change would be in the air. Therefore, upon Pottinger's unearthing, Captain Battye informed the powers that be in Sydney.
Now exposed, propriety stepped in as a Baronet riding shotgun on a gold escort could not possibly be condoned. Consequently, like lightening striking, Government promotion came rapidly for the unveiled Sir Frederick Pottinger. The Baronet was described as:
|NSW Government Gazette, 1860.|
|Clerk of Petty Sessions, Dubbo 30th Oct 1860.|
|Pottinger appointed Assistant-Inspector Burrangong, November 1861.|
|The table illustrated from the Police of Sydney 1788-1862. Showing the command organisation up to the consolidation of the current NSW Police Force. Swanton 1984.|
| Bathurst Free Press and Mining|
Journal Saturday Wednesday
15th January 1862.
In 1860/1, Lambing Flat was in turmoil over the question of Chinese gold diggers. These ill feelings came to ahead as disgruntled European miners rallied to rid the field of the celestials. Riots became a daily part of life as men continued to agitate the banning of the Chinese. The Europeans despised the Chinese, who were considered the closest thing to an alien. The Battle of Lambing Flat-Frank Clune:
The journey took them through the tiny village of Eugowra, where the road ran parallel to a vast array of granite boulders strewn across the local range. As they approached, Sgt Condell, seated next to the driver, found their way obstructed by three bullock teams. The driver, John Fagan, loudly demanding passage for the Royal Mail, called out, "Make way for the Royal Mail." they slowly maneuvered around the impediments.
However, as they neared the imposing granite boulders, a sudden cry of "FIRE" echoed through the air, followed by a flurry of gunfire that riddled the wooden frame of the coach. The attack resulted in injuries for two of the escort; a bullet found its way to Condell's ribs, while Constable Moran, seated inside the coach, sustained a wound to the groin.
|Reputed Eugowra Escort|
Coach. c. 1900s.
The photograph was taken by
Frank Walker, 1861-1948.
Pottinger, acting promptly, gathered local support and made his way to Clements' farm. Upon reaching the scene, he assessed the situation, organized the righting of the upturned coach, and set trackers to work tracing the assailants' steps. Led by the notorious Frank Gardiner, the bushrangers had seemingly evaporated into the wilderness, fleeing to their concealed refuge at Wheogo Hill, some 60 miles to the south.
Pottinger split his forces, sending one contingent to pursue the fugitives south. He reasoned that the culprits were likely from Victoria and set off on a gruelling 200-mile journey to the village of Hay, hopeful of intercepting the bandits. However, the expedition yielded no results, and a weary Pottinger and his small party decided to return to Forbes.
They chanced upon three well-dressed riders mounted on fine steeds during their return journey. Striking up a conversation, Pottinger requested one of the strangers produce a receipt for his impressive horse. The stranger, playing along, steered his horse towards the nearby scrub under the pretence of searching for the receipt, only to suddenly spur his horse and make a swift escape into the thickets. Taken aback, the police quickly recovered, drew their revolvers, and managed to handcuff the remaining two riders.
|Gunfight marker at|
Having expertly calculated the police's route and the ideal location for the ambush, Gilbert waited in the shadows, ready to strike. As Pottinger and his contingent were passing by the Sproules' homestead, a mere eight miles from Temora in New South Wales, Gilbert launched his assault. A heated firefight ensued, in the midst of which the prisoners were freed. Unfortunately, amidst the chaos, one of the police horses, carrying the cash recovered from Manns, was shot. Startled, the wounded horse bolted, disappearing into the surrounding wilderness.
However, not all was lost. Pottinger, still in possession of 230 ounces of the stolen gold, managed to retreat successfully. Rallying his scattered men, Pottinger set a course back to Forbes, resolved to regroup and reassess their pursuit of the audacious bushrangers.
With the invaluable information at their disposal, four members of the gang - John Maguire, Alexander Fordyce, John Bow, and the recaptured Henry Manns - were transported to Sydney to face trial. The proceedings commenced in early February 1863, but the jury was unable to reach a unanimous decision, leading to a mistrial. The second trial convened two weeks later, ultimately finding Bow, Fordyce, and Manns guilty. They were sentenced to death, although Bow and Fordyce's sentences were commuted to life imprisonment. Manns was not so fortunate - he was destined for the gallows.
Meanwhile, as the trial was unfolding, Sir Frederick was soaking in the delights of city life in Sydney. However, an unpleasant incident occurred during one of his late-night strolls down King Street. On his return to his residence at The Victoria Club in Castlereagh Street, it was reported that Sir Frederick was accosted and assaulted by a group of men.:
This violent event prompted many among the city's elites to rally to his defence. Praise for Sir Frederick's dedicated work in the bush began to appear in the more conservative newspapers, such as The Sydney Morning Herald. However, opposing views were put forward by The Empire, a publication that scoffed at the notion that his assault was anything more than a random occurrence. They poured scepticism onto the narratives praising Pottinger, generating further controversy around the already contentious figure of Sir Frederick.
Unfortunately, controversy once again stalked the tenacious baronet. In late September 1862, during a night out in Bathurst, an altercation occurred with a local resident, William Campbell Mockett. Outraged by the incident, Mockett pressed charges against Sir Frederick, alleging that the inspector had held his revolver to his head, threatening to "put a bullet through him." The dispute had stemmed from a private party at McMinn's, the jeweller's shop when Mockett tried to persuade a friend to return to the gathering. For reasons unclear, Sir Frederick intervened in a manner that would lead to further scandal. The court proceedings can be accessed through the link below.
Any criticism aimed at Pottinger only served to bolster his resolve, solidifying his determination to exert the full force of the law. He was not one to favour leniency or compassion, instead adhering to a rigid, unwavering stance. This became particularly evident when a subordinate, Constable Hassen, was charged with the killing of a man in police custody. In January 1863, Sir Frederick Pottinger found himself summoned to Orange, called upon to serve as a character witness for the accused constable. The jury, swayed perhaps by Pottinger's testimony, ruled the incident as 'Justifiable Homicide', by a slim majority of 7 to 5. 'Goulburn Herald', January 1863:
Sir Frederick Pottinger's tempestuous nature seemed to perpetually draw him into confrontations. On one occasion, he found himself at the receiving end of a young lady's wrath, a certain Miss Kyle, a local identity in Forbes renowned for her fiery Lola Montez-like temperament. Offended by a particularly impudent letter from Pottinger, Miss Kyle responded by attempting to horsewhip the Baronet in public, an event that undoubtedly stirred the local community.
Miss Kyle, a formidable entrepreneur in her own right, owned and managed a series of popular public houses on Rankin Street, alongside a certain Mr Huey. Among these establishments were the 'Horse and Jockey Hotel', 'Bull and Mouth', 'Diggers Return', and 'Tara Hall'. However, in June 1864, a massive fire ravaged the street, decimating her thriving businesses as reported by the 'Empire'. Pottinger's escapades with Miss Kyle added yet another layer of colour to his eventful life in colonial Australia.
The roots of Harpur's antagonism can be traced back to the experiences of his own family. His mother, Sarah Walsh nee Harpur, had suffered the traumatic experience of her stepson Johnny Walsh's imprisonment and subsequent death in Forbes. Harpur's defiance seemed to stem from a personal vendetta, wherein he declared, "he would advocate the cause of robbers and murderers-no, not even where some of them his own blood relatives."
Never one to shy away from confrontation, Sir Frederick took umbrage at the insult and demanded an apology. He challenged Harpur directly, ready to defend his honour. However, Harpur stood firm, refusing to back down. Given the recent public controversies surrounding Sir Frederick and perhaps considering the tragic circumstances of Johnny Walsh's death and the counsel of Mr. D. Egan, Pottinger decided to let the issue fade away. Eventually, Harpur, through Mr Eagan, issued an apology to Sir Frederick.:
Never one to leave things to chance, Pottinger meticulously planned his strategy. He summoned eight of his officers, including Hollister, Sanderson, and Condell, to accompany him. Together, they hunkered down in their hideout, patiently waiting for 'The Darkie' to appear. As the day unfolded, the air was thick with anticipation as Pottinger and his men kept their eyes peeled for any signs of their target.
For the first time, Pottinger found himself acting on solid intelligence. In the eerie quiet of the night, he spotted Gardiner, who had casually returned to Mrs. Brown's home after an earlier visit, anticipating an intimate evening with her. Astride his white charger, Gardiner seemed to be oblivious to the imminent threat.
As Gardiner neared within a few yards, Pottinger sprang up suddenly, hollering 'Stand in the Queen's name', before aiming his carbine at the unsuspecting man and firing point-blank. However, a misfire allowed a thoroughly startled Gardiner to escape, even as two other troopers added to the chaos by discharging their weapons, their bullets whizzing past Gardiner as he disappeared into the obscurity of the night.
Despite the failure to apprehend Gardiner, Pottinger was undeterred. He proceeded to Mrs. Brown's home, questioning both Kitty and her younger brother Johnny Walsh, ultimately arresting the latter. The events of that night were laid out before the Forbes Bench during Walsh's subsequent arraignment, an incident that attracted much derision and criticism for Sir Frederick.
During this time, Johnny Walsh, along with Ben Hall, John McGuire, and John Brown—Kitty's brother-in-law—found themselves locked up in Forbes Jail in connection with the Eugowra Gold Robbery. Tragically, young Walsh would succumb to a fever while in Pottinger's custody, his demise marking a grim footnote to this tumultuous period. (For full details of the encounter between the two adversaries, see link below.)
Pottinger penned a detailed memorandum, elucidating the Herculean tasks faced by the police under his charge. The memorandum was not only intended to shed light on the difficulties posed by the harsh environment and hardened criminals but also highlighted the problem of those aiding and abetting the bushrangers, which compounded the police's struggle. 'The Cone of Silence.'
This memorandum was addressed to the Colonial Secretary, Mr Cowper, who subsequently tabled it in the New South Wales Parliament. Pottinger's intent was to ensure that the honourable members of the Parliament would gain a comprehensive understanding of the gritty reality of the police's endeavours. Thus, from the Lachlan district, Sir Frederick Pottinger's memorandum made its way into the chambers of the Parliament:
"P.S.— But for the merest accident Gardiner would have been shot by me when Sanderson and myself alone met him in the bush at Wheogo, and it is chiefly owing to that fact, and my previous and subsequent untiring exertions, that Gardiner has finally left the colony.³
|The above hotel was Frequented by Sir Frederick Pottinger and Ben Hall|
during the 1860s.
|Sir Frederick Pottinger's published official sanction|
for brawling and gambling.
Sir Frederick's sometimes abrasive tactics stirred discontent among some quarters, but they also resonated with a significant faction of citizens who yearned for a resolute and forceful hand to curb the growing menace of the bushrangers. Thus, while his methods may have raised eyebrows in some circles, they earned him a wave of support from those desperate for effective action against the escalating bushranging onslaught. His unyielding stance and commitment to his duty were recognised and respected by many in the community, who saw in Sir Frederick Pottinger a beacon of hope in these tumultuous times. 'The Courier' Brisbane:
Moreover, despite his father's official censure of Pottinger for his perceived indiscretions, Charles Cowper Junior emerged as a staunch defender of the Inspector. Cowper Junior argued that much of the unjust ridicule directed at Pottinger was largely due to his aristocratic title, claiming that if Pottinger bore a more common name—such as "Charley," "Billy," or "Paddy"—the public criticism would be considerably lessened. In his view, Pottinger's noble lineage only amplified the public scrutiny he faced, unfairly overshadowing his tireless efforts to combat the lawlessness of the times.
Saturday 1st November 1862
SIR FREDERICK POTTINGER.
Pottinger introduced groundbreaking practices in the police force that were pivotal in the fight against bushranging. In a move that was quite novel for the era, he championed the concept of police officers adopting civilian attire while on patrol in the bush. This gave his men an element of surprise, blurring the line between the law enforcers and the general populace, thereby making it harder for the outlaws to evade capture.
Moreover, Pottinger's extensive deployment of Indigenous trackers proved to be a game-changer in the law enforcement landscape. The trackers' keen understanding of the terrain and tracking abilities provided the police with invaluable insights and, more often than not, spelled the difference between the successful apprehension of outlaws and futile pursuits. This kept the bushrangers perpetually on their toes, significantly disrupting their operations. Through these initiatives, Sir Frederick Pottinger demonstrated his firm commitment to pushing the boundaries of conventional policing in his relentless pursuit of justice:
Regrettably, despite his intense efforts, Pottinger's ultimate objective—the capture of notorious outlaws Gardiner, Gilbert, Hall and their associates—eluded him. He was known to have displayed an unwavering determination in his relentless pursuit of these lawbreakers, but success, it seemed, always stayed just out of his grasp.
This struggle was acknowledged in August 1863 in the NSW Parliament, where a more nuanced view of Pottinger's character was presented. It was noted that despite the missteps and controversies associated with his name, the dedication and tenacity of Sir Frederick Pottinger in fulfilling his duties as a law enforcement officer remained unquestionable. His commitment to the pursuit of justice, often in the face of daunting challenges and harsh conditions, was a testament to his character and dedication to his role.:
|Artist's impression of|
Sir Frederick Pottinger
on return from the
hunt for bushrangers.
In the latter part of 1864, MacPherson had crossed into New South Wales from Queensland. His motive was allegedly to join forces with Ben Hall and his notorious gang, whose daring exploits were being voraciously consumed in newspapers across the colonies.
Operating under the assumed name of John Bruce, MacPherson initiated his nefarious journey with a horse theft at Wowingragong. However, he found himself unable to locate Ben Hall and his gang.
Pottinger, ever vigilant and proactive in his role, seized upon the opportunity presented by MacPherson's transgressions. In a display of skill and courage, Sir Frederick not only managed to wound the elusive "Wild Scotsman" but also effected his capture, adding another feather to his cap in his ongoing battle against bushranging in New South Wales, as reported in 'The Sydney Morning Herald', Tuesday, 3rd January 1865:
Before too long, MacPherson found himself crossing paths with the indomitable Sir Frederick Pottinger and the New South Wales police. In the ensuing confrontation, MacPherson found himself at a distinct disadvantage, having lost his horse and ammunition. Although he initially managed to elude Pottinger on foot, he was later encircled and apprehended by the police.
MacPherson was then slapped with charges of shooting at Sir Frederick. However, these charges were subsequently dropped in the wake of Sir Frederick's untimely demise. Despite the dropping of the charges, MacPherson was not destined for freedom. He was earmarked for transportation to Rockhampton, to stand trial for his suspected involvement in an earlier robbery of a publican.
However, displaying his habitual knack for eluding the law, MacPherson managed to abscond while the steamer carrying him was anchored at Mackay. In an audacious display that was nothing short of a mockery of the law enforcement authorities, MacPherson left behind his leg-irons nailed to a tree, with a note attached to them. The scene was later described in "The life and adventures of the Wild Scotchman" by P.W. McNally.:
Furthermore, in early January 1865, hoping to lure Hall, Gilbert and Dunn into the open at a local Forbes horse race, Pottinger rode in the Wowingragong horse races in breach of police regulations:
The abrupt termination of Sir Frederick's services, however, didn't go unnoticed by the local populace of Forbes. A wave of outrage swept through the community, leading to a significant show of support for the dismissed inspector. The residents rallied, organising protest meetings against his dismissal on the local diggings, while neighboring towns drafted and sent petitions calling for his immediate reappointment.
The overwhelming response was a true testament to the esteem and trust that Sir Frederick Pottinger had managed to earn from the people of the Central West during his tenure as a police officer. Despite his perceived flaws and the numerous controversies that seemed to follow him, it was clear that many regarded him as an indispensable bulwark against the prevailing lawlessness of the time:
However, on the 5th of March, 1865, a tragic accident befell him. Sir Frederick Pottinger was trying to board a moving coach at Wascoe's Inn, nestled in the Blue Mountains, when he inadvertently shot himself in the upper abdomen. News of the incident spread rapidly, and it was reported that:
|First report of Sir Frederick's Accident.|
|Photograph of the first Pilgrim Inn built by Barnett Levey at Blaxland in 1826. Destroyed by bushfire in 1968. Photograph dated 1927. Frank Walker 1861-1948|
|The main building of the first Pilgrim Inn at Blaxland. Dated 1927. Frank Walker 1861-1948|
|The Pilgrim Inn, Blaxland, built in 1826. In later years the house was occupied by Mr John Outrim Wascoe. The building was utilised as both a hotel and a boarding house.|
However, in a cruel twist of fate, he abruptly suffered a relapse. On the 9th of April, 1865, Sir Frederick Pottinger passed away, leaving no will, a legal status referred to as "intestate". His passing coincided with a historic day - the same day saw Robert E. Lee surrender the last significant Confederate army to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia. It was also the day when the infamous 'Mad Dog' Morgan, a terror in southern NSW, was shot dead at Peechelba Station in Victoria.
News of Sir Frederick's death was conveyed in somber tones, echoing the loss of a dedicated officer and the end of a tumultuous era in the annals of law enforcement in New South Wales
|The Victoria Club, 136 Castlereagh Street, Sydney c. 1870. The Victoria Club ceased to exist in 1872.|
|Sir Frederick's Obituary, Bells Life and Sporting Chronicle|
15th April 1865.
|Memorial Card in honour of Sir Frederick Pottinger, 10th April 1865. Discovered with Constable Hollister's effects.|
|St. Judes Church, Randwick with Parsonage at left. c. 1873.|
|NSW Police Tracker.|
An intriguing speculation involves the relationship between the younger and older Dargin. Despite the elder William's marriage to Eliza Byrne and having children of their own, it was noted that he spent considerable time away from his domestic life. He often lived among the indigenous people of the Hawkesbury area for extended periods, sometimes spanning several years. This prolonged and intimate interaction with the Dharug people raises the intriguing possibility that the elder Dargin could be the father of Billy Dargin.
Despite this uncertainty, it's significant to highlight the prevalent practices of the early colonial period, which saw local settlers frequently providing care, education, and religious instruction to children of mixed Aboriginal and European descent. Therefore Billy from his recorded understanding of English and Christian influences point the probability of his mixed ancestry. In light of that, children, often the offspring of relationships between settlers and Indigenous women, were commonly taken under the wing of their European fathers or other local settlers. This period of Australian history is marked by such informal foster relationships, painting a possible picture of the circumstances that could have shaped Billy Dargin's upbringing
|Children c. 1860.|
|The arrival of Rev Styles and his wife in 1833.|
Note, that the Agent for the ship is
Ben Hall's fathers Master, Mr A.B. Sparke.
|Rev. Styles c. 1840|
Reverend Styles, a compassionate and dedicated clergyman, arrived in the Colony of New South Wales in 1833 aboard the 'Warrior', accompanied by his wife. He first served as the assistant curate at St Matthew's Church of England in Windsor, later becoming the Master of the Parramatta Orphan School.
While there is speculation that Dargin may have originated from the Bogan District, evidence suggests otherwise. In March 1863, Dargin himself confirmed his roots in Windsor. He declared, "I was employed in the police force. I am twenty years of age, and was baptized twelve years ago at Windsor, by the Rev. Mr. Styles." This statement clearly places his origins and early life in Windsor, effectively ending the Bogan District claims.
As time went on, this loyalty became increasingly apparent. Despite facing harassment from other former trackers for reasons unknown, possibly his grasp of English and dedication Billy remained steadfast in his commitment to his role and duty. His dignified approach to the trials he faced underscores the respect and acclaim he earned throughout his short career.
The abundant surroundings of the Hawkesbury River served as the ideal environment for young Billy to become a proficient hunter and fisherman, essential skills in the Aboriginal culture. The trove of knowledge and experiences he gained during this time would become invaluable in his future police career.
A.L. Haydon, in his work 'The Trooper Police of Australia,' provides a glimpse into the specialized skills of police trackers, skills that Billy would have honed during these early years. The rich traditions and practical teachings of the Dharug people formed the foundation of Billy's skills, which he would later put to excellent use during his tenure with the police.
Coexistence and occasional social gatherings, such as Corroborees, brought the local tribes from diverse regions, from Hawkesbury to Shoalhaven, together. Despite the influences of European settlers, the nomadic lifestyle remained deeply ingrained in all Australian tribes. The concept of land ownership was subjective, and territorial disputes often erupted into bloody conflicts.
This lifestyle, albeit harsh by today's standards, was documented in an excerpt from 'The Sydney Morning Herald' published on Tuesday 22nd September 1863, under the title "A Voice from the Country." The article provides a glimpse into the often brutal reality of Aboriginal life in Australia during this period. It was also noted that those of mixed decent were often outcast or shunned by the tribal peoples in some quarters. How this facet may have affected Billy is unknown but amongst the full blood trackers sentiment appears to be that Billy was ostrisied at Forbes.
|Alexander Riley. Pictured|
on the right C. 1970s
Riley attributed his finely honed tracking skills to his early life on the mission stations. There, he learned and perfected his craft, an intricate art passed down through generations, which eventually became pivotal in his pursuit of law enforcement. He held immense pride in his ability to read and interpret the subtle signs of nature, a talent that would prove to be invaluable in his tracking endeavors. The way Riley spoke of these skills offered a glimpse into the depth of his knowledge and the mastery of tracking that would have been unchanged since the efforts of Billy Dragin:
of a tracker's employment.
At the time of Billy's entry into police employment, four other trackers were stationed at Forbes under the newly appointed inspector, Sir Frederick Pottinger: Pilot, Jacky, Hastings, and Charlie Edwards, better known as Prince Charlie. Notably, Billy was an excellent horseman. Despite having been unfamiliar with horses until the arrival of Europeans, Aboriginal people demonstrated an extraordinary aptitude for riding. Their skills were invaluable in deciphering the signs left by those pursued.
In some instances, the trackers even had an uncanny ability to distinguish truth from deception in their police work. They were often presented with victims' stories and, with an uncanny knack, they could discern a falsehood when they encountered one.
It's likely that Dargin, like many of his contemporaries, ventured from his native Windsor to work as a stockman in the Lachlan or even further afield in the Bogan region. The demand for stockmen had surged due to many workers rushing to newly discovered goldfields in 1860 at Lambing Flat and later, Forbes.
Sir Frederick Pottinger, the officer in charge of the Lachlan district, recognised Dargin's potential and recruited him into his command sometime in c. 1861. Pottinger was a strong advocate for the trackers, appreciating their unique skills in pursuing the rising tide of bushranging across the Western Plains. In the coming years, Pottinger, along with his officers and constables, would rely heavily on their trackers' expertise.
Trackers at that time earned approximately £3 17s 6d per month (or around $336.00 per month in today's terms), whereas a NSW trooper earned 5s 6d a day. The workload of a tracker was varied, encompassing tasks from tending to police horses, maintaining saddles their weapons and general equipment, patrolling the bush and even engaging in gunfights with bushrangers.
The trackers living conditions also varied widely, from residing in police stables to rudimentary shacks close to the police camp, ensuring their availability in times of emergency. Trackers were often outfitted with a constable's uniform, or when on bush patrol, they dressed similarly to the police in bush clothing, a practice introduced by Sir Frederick Pottinger.
|Much loved Tracker|
|Extract from Hollister|
Diary April 1863.
|Police Tracker Sam Hall in|
b. 1845 - d. 1909.
Courtesy State Library of. NSW.
Billy Dargin was not merely a part of the team; he was an integral element. As troopers, they had to endure all sorts of weather, traversing harsh, inhospitable terrains, and at times braving freezing conditions often without a fire. Their shared experiences extended to sleeping and eating together in impromptu camps during their relentless pursuit of bushrangers. These trials forged bonds among them, solidifying their collective spirit and camaraderie. Their shared adversity under the most challenging conditions underlined Billy's value as an essential member of the team.
Billy Dargin found himself squarely in the thick of things, as the audacious bushrangers—Frank Gardiner, Johnny Gilbert, Johnny O'Meally, Ben Hall and their cohorts—repeatedly terrorised the Western District settlements in the early 1860s. The heightened bushranging activities initiated an era where the employment of black trackers was on the rise, and by early 1863, they were being used extensively across New South Wales. However, the scope of their work extended beyond police services. Explorers like Burke and Will's, whose ill-fated expedition led to their tragic death from starvation, had employed trackers too, although tragically they abandoned their tracker before their unfortunate demise. Trackers were even sought out by desperate parents in search of their wayward daughters who had absconded for an ill fated love. In every sphere, the unique skills of trackers like Billy Dargin were being increasingly recognised and utilised.
Upon receiving news of the attack, Inspector Pottinger quickly mobilized all available troopers, enlisting the aid of his reliable trackers, Billy Dargin and Charlie. They reached the site of the robbery within hours, and Billy was promptly tasked with deciphering the robbers' trail.
The gang's retreat path was swiftly uncovered, setting the stage for the police to embark on a chase with the hope of apprehending the culprits. However, the weather proved uncooperative. Rain washed over the district, obscuring the tracks and forcing Pottinger to divide his team to cover more ground.
Frank Gardiner himself was acutely aware of the formidable tracking skills of Billy and Charlie. He held a healthy fear of the trackers, a sentiment he valued more than his fear of the police. During the gang's flight from Eugowra, he advised Daniel Charters, "Go as crooked as you can so as to bother the trackers."
In the aftermath of the gold escort attack, newspapers were eager to report on the latest developments. With each report that surged along the telegraph lines, the press awaited up-to-date information, anxious to share it with their readers. By 18th June 1862, articles began to surface, offering brief and somewhat distorted accounts of the robbery. Yet amid the confusion and speculation, one thing was clear – the trackers' dedicated pursuit of the criminals was garnering recognition and praise.
|Tracker Jack Cave|
b. 1865 - d. 1950's
Courtesy Blayney Library.
Sgt. Sanderson, leading the troopers with the aid of another tracker named Hastings, spotted a rider fleeing from Hall's home. Seeing this, they immediately set off on the trail. Sgt. Sanderson later narrated the thrilling chase and the pivotal role of the trackers in their pursuit of the bushrangers.
The news spread rapidly to Forbes, where the townsfolk had been anxiously following the developments. Their worry transformed into jubilation upon hearing of the retrieval of part of the stolen goods. This triumph provided a glimmer of hope in their ongoing struggle against the audacious bushrangers, a reason to celebrate amid the tension and apprehension.
|"The black tracker"|
George Rossi Ashton, 1881.
Courtesy State Library of Victoria
The sight of the diligent tracker, elated in the face of success, was a testament to the unyielding spirit and skill of those tasked with bringing the bushrangers to justice. The joy and pride radiating from Hastings served as a poignant reminder of the value and importance of their tireless efforts.
The recovery of the gold marked a significant milestone in the investigation of the Escort robbery. The success underscored the vital role of the trackers in the efforts of the NSW Police, particularly in the western districts. The use of trackers was no longer a mere strategy; it had become indispensable to the success or failure of the police operations.
For the bushrangers, this relentless pursuit was a thorn in their side. The constant pressure exerted by the trackers meant that they could no longer afford the luxury of relaxation at their makeshift camps. Their every move was scrutinized, every trail followed. The relentless shadow of the trackers forced them to remain vigilant at all times.
Even the fearless John Gilbert expressed his concern over the prowess of the trackers. He was forced to acknowledge the growing threat the trackers posed, their relentless pursuit, and their unwavering dedication to justice, which had struck fear into the heart of even the most daring bushranger.
One such incident occurred on 7th February 1863. The Pinnacle property, owned by the sister of escort robber and informer Daniel Charters, Margaret Feheeily, had recently seen the establishment of a new police station. Ben Hall and Patsy Daley, notorious bushrangers operating on the fringes, seized an opportunity to rob the station while it was unattended. The purpose of this daring raid was to procure weapons, following their earlier raid on Meyers Solomons store at Lambing Flat on 2nd February.
In charge of the station, Constable Knox managed to trail the bushrangers for three miles north to Allport's shanty, situated close to the Pinnacle Station. As Hall and Daley departed from Allport's, they were spotted by Billy Dargin. Accompanied by Trooper Hollister and another tracker, Prince Charlie, they set off in pursuit of the criminals.
In his diary, Hollister documented the details of the theft and their pursuit of Hall and Daley. His entry for Saturday, 7th February 1863, provided an insightful record of the events, showcasing the keen observation skills and tenacity of the trackers in their pursuit of justice.
Later in the day, the police spotted Hall and Daley and initiated a pursuit. After galloping for several miles, Hollister found himself dislodged from his horse. In a surprising turn of events, Daley swung around and fired a shot, intending to hit the tracker, Prince Charlie (also known as Charley Edwards). Billy Dargin later recounted the daring encounter:
of Billy fleeing
after Norton capture.
|John Oxley Norton|
|NSW Police Gazette.|
At 4 o’clock on the morning of the 29th inst. I started with a party consisting of Sergeant Condell, Constables Buckley, Caban, Bolan, Hipkiss and the trackers Billy Dargin and Charley. Having taken every precaution to destroy our horses’ tracks, we encamped in a dense oak scrub, remaining there until Tuesday, when information reached me – a watch had been kept on the edges of a large plain to look out for the informant – that Gilbert and Dunn had only come, and Hall would surely be there the following day. I determined to wait until the three got together and then attack them during the night in their camp, which was about seven miles distant in an almost impenetrable scrub. The informant said the only way we could take these men was to fire on them in their camp, for if they had one yard start, we would see no more of them. I determined upon doing this, thinking that the Felons Apprehension Act was about this time in force.
On Wednesday night according to arrangement, I met my informant and found that Gilbert and Dunn had started towards Monwonga and having been frightened by some stockmen who had been looking for horses, passed close to their camp and whom Gilbert mistook for police. They left two horses and some ponchos intending to come back for Hall next day, but did not, nor have I since had any authentic account of them. On Thursday evening I again saw my informant who told me that Hall had come but not the other two. He being the ringleader I determined to endeavour the arrest without the others, and then if successful, wait for their coming. Having been shown near the place where Hall was encamped; this was in a scrub on the border of a large plain, I proceeded towards the place indicated. When about one quarter of a mile from the spot, I made everyone take off their boots and coats, so we should make no noise amongst the thick dead leaves, and would be better prepared for running. We then passed stealthily along through a narrow belt of thick pine scrub, and got up to where there were horses and a poncho. I knew at once these belonged to Hall and intended to watch until he came for them for we could not find out exactly where he was sleeping, and were unable to walk about without making some noise; at about ten o’clock the moon was shining, the night cloudy and wind blowing bitterly cold.
A man with a poncho on walked towards the horses, passing close to myself and Condell, which after catching and unhobbling, he led away. (At this time Constables Caban, Buckley, and Hipkiss could have touched the man with their guns) and rehobbled them, about ninety yards below us. He then sneaked very quietly down the belt of pine, nearly walking over Billy Dargin and camped at the point of the scrub, just off the edges of the plain. Dargin then crawled up and pointed out where the man was sleeping. It was now about half past eleven o’clock. I arranged to give him two hours to get well asleep, then rush the camp and arrest. At half past one, the four men were now posted in a circle from the camp to them. A little before seven o’clock we saw the man, whom we instantly recognized as Hall, moving out of the scrub with a bridle and a revolver in his hands and making for the horses. On his coming on the plain opposite us, we commenced to run and gained on him fifty yards before being seen. Seeing us, he immediately dropped the bridle and ran having the revolver in his right hand, and made towards the hidden men past the camp. I ran after him a considerable distance, calling on him to stand, several times, gradually gaining on him, and when within about forty yards, fired.
The shot taking effect in the left shoulder, he looked around. I thought with the intention of firing at me, I put up the gun again to fire but did not. Condell and Dargin then fired two shots each which seemed to have a slight effect. The four men and Charley now showed up. Hall, seeing them, turned to the right and made for a small clump of saplings on the plain. He still had the revolver in his hand. He caught a sapling with his left hand with the intention of trying to shoot round it. This he continued to hold until he fell. At this time I noticed Hipkiss firing with a revolving rifle, the bullet from which struck Hall on the belt and cut it, his revolver falling to the ground. Hall then seemed to be badly hit and appeared to me to be about to fall. At this time the whole of the remaining shots were fired; he fell back saying “I am wounded, I am dying, shoot me dead” and after a few convulsive shudders he moved no more. The body was then packed on one of his horses and taken to our camp and there remained until night when four of us started with it for Forbes, the others being left in case Gilbert and Dunn should come before we had time to get back again, which place we reached about 4 o’clock in the morning.
I endeavoured to keep the death of Hall a secret, hoping that the next night Gilbert and Dunn would be back, but before I could get to the Telegraph Office it was known to everyone. In the afternoon I started again, sent the horse back to barracks and remained out until the following Thursday, when we returned having to walk. Great difficulty was experienced in destroying the tracks of our shod horses. There were scouts out every day trying to find us but failed, owing to the precautions we had taken. Our arms consisted of five double-barrelled guns, which I carefully loaded, and three revolving rifles, these being fired without cessation, it was impossible to keep the men from firing off all the shots, will account for the large number of shots fired at Hall. None reloaded and fired again.
During the weeks we had been out we subsisted on possum and water, having been short of provisions and could not get any. The night during which we watched the camp was most bitterly cold and frosty, and being without boots or coats we all suffered severely, and in the morning when running, were bent nearly double with cramps and cold. The coolness, courage and determination of the tracker Billy Dargin is worthy of some substantial reward and the greatest praise is due to him. Tracker Charley, from his behaviour, should not, I think, participate in the rewards beyond some slight recompense.
Herein enclosed is a list and description of the property found with Hall at the time of his death.
I have the honour to be Sir,
Your obedient servant,
Ben Hall dead and the inquest held, the reward money was divided among the police with half of the amount of £1000 going to the informant, namely £500, with the police receiving the other £500($41,500), led by Davidson £150($12,500), Sergeant Condell £75 and the four constables and Billy Dargin, the black tracker, each received £50 ($4,200 ea.) The other tracker, Charlie, was said to have "no claim". Both Davidson and Condell were promoted, Davidson to the rank of Inspector; "in order to mark the high sense that the Government entertains of the zeal and determination which he has shown in the performance of his duty."
However, soon after this stroke of good fortune, William Dargin died suddenly at noon on the 4th of September 1865 in great agony. Billy was reported very ill at 10 am and within two hours succumbed to his ailment. There was no inquest on the circumstances nor any of his esteemed police comrades at his funeral, and he was buried at Forbes; "Dargin was buried in the Presbyterian portion of the cemetery, there being neither followers nor mourners." It was also reported that William Dargin hailed from the Bogan District and employed there by a Mr Dargan of Bathurst; however, evidence dictates otherwise.
Ben Hall had died in a hail of gunfire as day broke over the Rankin Plain 12 miles northwest of Forbes NSW by police and the two black trackers, Charlie Edwards and William Dargin. Although Charley never fired his weapon and was censured by Davidson, including dismissal from the service. The brutal nature of the killing even a century and a half later still raises considerable suspicion over the evidence provided at Hall's inquest by Inspector Davidson, Officer-in-charge, and his 2 IC, Sergeant Condell. In turn, following Ben Hall's death, within months, the two Aboriginal trackers Dargin and Charley associated with the killing were also dead. Moreover, both of their deaths came about under mysterious circumstances!
Billy said that he had stealthily crept up and discovered Hall's camp and where the bushranger had prepared his night's rest. Subsequently, Billy revealed the position to Davidson, who sent him back allegedly to watch it. However, Billy divulged that he heard Hall making up a place to sleep amongst the ground cover and as the night was frigid with a strong wind blowing deadening most bush sounds. Billy stated that he crept up to a sleeping Hall under this cover, placed a revolver at his head, pulled the trigger, and shot him dead. This is contrary to the inquest testimony. Therefore, some speculated that the mass of wounds inflicted upon Hall came after he was dead. Some of the carnage was recorded by an observer as Hall's body lay at Barracks Hill:
|"Death of Ben Hall" painted|
by Patrick Maroney
Was Billy poisoned?
Upon William's death, there was no inquest, no questions and no men of honour at his graveside, not even those he so valiantly served. Shame! However, for others of a less reputable station, his death would not have even raised an eyebrow, and if skulduggery killed him, some Hall sympathisers' may have quietly smiled.
Hall's death generated much sympathy and bewilderment for others in its viciousness. Therefore, the thought of reprisal and the ridicule of the police displayed by Hall over a long period may have been a factor in the polices' merciless actions. Then again the men who lay in wait may just have been scared witless. Therefore, if the real story had been revealed, Davidson and Co could have been charged with murder of an unarmed man as Felon's act was as yet not in force? However, for Davidson, as he stated in in own words he was never going to allow Hall a chance to flee.
As for Charley, the other aboriginal at Hall's death and denied any reward was found dead four months later where his decomposed body was found at Grudgery Station, Lachlan River in August 1865. A death also shrouded in mystery; 'Empire' Monday 14th August 1865:
Inspector James Henry Davidson
[THROUGH GREVILLE AND BIRD.]
Friday Evening.- INSPECTOR DAVIDSON.-A report reached here yesterday that this gentleman, while fixing his gun, accidentally shot his toe off. This accident is very much to be regretted, as Mr Davidson's services can be ill spared at the present time, for since Gilbert and his gang made their appearance about here he has exerted himself to the utmost in trying to find out their haunts. Davidson was not at Coombing when his horse was stolen, but had left him there to rest for a few days. Mr. Icely's man that was shot in the mouth on Sunday last is gradually recovering; Dr Rowland was only able to extract the ball yesterday.
Sir Frederick Pottinger's dismissal on 16th February 1865, after riding in a race at a Forbes meeting and against police regulations, Davidson assumed command of the Forbes region. In April 1865, Davidson received information from an informer. (widely suspected to be Michael Coneley. Husband of Mary Strickland confidant of Ben Hall) Ben Hall, John Gilbert, and John Dunn would camp close to Coneley's home at the Billabong Creek 12 miles NW from Forbes.
Upon the intelligence, Inspector Davidson prepared his course of action. However, in the NSW parliament, a debate had concluded as to the stratagem the NSW Government would take in bringing about the cessation of bushranging conducted by Ben Hall and Co and Daniel 'Mad Dog' Morgan. Who crossed over to Victoria and was shot dead. The strategy approved by the NSW Government was the introduction of an ancient English Law, 'The Felons Apprehension Act'. Accordingly, Ben Hall, Gilbert, Dunn, and Morgan (separate from Hall &c) were to surrender themselves at Goulburn Gaol by the 29th of April 1865. Any failure to appear after that date the government would declare on 10th May 1865, the bushrangers to be 'OUTLAWS' and shot on sight.
The Act also legislated against harbourers of the bushrangers to prevent providing aid to the bushrangers. If convicted, it resulted in severe punishment and loss of property. Furthermore, the Act suspended the rights applied to lawbreakers under the customary law's of the land;
Whether Davidson was aware of the 'Outlaw' declaration and its ramifications, in his report on the death of Hall, he writes of his knowledge:
Nevertheless, in his later report on the course of action pursued by Davidson, it appeared that Davidson, regardless of the upcoming law, had predetermined the outcome. Hence, the standard of the current situation regarding the law of apprehension i.e. 'Stand in the Queen's Name' before opening fire, or at least to ensure the police were fired at first. However, as far as Davidson was concerned, Ben Hall, Gilbert, and Dunn were dead men:
Authors Note: Although at the time of Hall's death, it was widely suspected that Coneley was the man responsible for selling him out. Much credit should be directed towards Peter Bradley and his meticulous research on Coneley's role as the man responsible. The Judas Covenant is a first-class history reference on Coneley's participation and post Hall death circumstances.
Tuesday 16th May 1865
DEATH OF THE BUSHRANGER BEN HALL
From ten o clock in the morning of Friday, the room, where the body lay was filled with persons curious to have a look at the corpse of the man who has contributed so much to bring New South Wales into disrepute by his wanton outrages. I suppose that four or five hundred persons visited the barracks, and I saw several females among the crowd. After the enquiry several parties availed themselves of an opportunity to got a lock of the bushranger's hair. His body was lying upon a stretcher in the south-west corner room of the building appropriated to the foot police. There was nothing forbidding in the countenance of Ben Hall, as he lay there still in death. In fact, I heard the remark made several times, during the moment I was in the room, "What a handsome, face." He appeared to be a young man about twenty-eight, finely made, excellent features, lofty forehead, and fine brown hair. His whiskers and moustache were cut quite close and of a much lighter colour than the hair on his head. I heard many make the remark, "I have often seen that face somewhere, but cannot tell where." I have myself seen the face, but have no idea when and where. The most remarkable feature in the countenance was a peculiar curl in the right side of the upper lip, indicating ordinarily a feeling of contemptuous scorn, and produced by the action of the mind upon the muscles. In this case, I am told that it is n constitutional feature, and may, therefore, indicate nothing.
I am told that the grave has been dug and that Hall will be interred, under the superintendence; of Mr J. S. Toler, the well-known undertaker, to-morrow. Such are a few of the particulars attending the death of Ben Hall.
As the dust settled after Hall's death, Inspector Davidson forwarded his final report of the events to the Inspector-General Captain McLerie as follows; Police Report, Forbes, Saturday, May 12th, 1865;
In reference to the recent capture and shooting of Benjamin Hall, I have the honor of forwarding the following particulars for your information.
On the 23rd of April, I received information that the offenders Hall, Gilbert and Dunn were about to leave the district for the Merro Creek, that they were then collecting saddle horses for the purpose of making a start, and that they would be at a certain place, distant about fifteen miles from Forbes over the Billabong Creek for two or three days before leaving for the purpose of shoeing the horses, and further, that they then went down the river. I immediately started Sergeant Condell with a party of pursuers with orders if he saw the bushrangers to show to them, but not attempt a chase on horseback and to return on Friday.
He came up with the bushrangers on Wednesday 26th instant at Monwonga, pretended to give chase but doubled round and came into Forbes on the Friday evening. I then led the bushrangers Scouts to believe that all the Mounted Constables were absent from the town.
At 4 o’clock on the morning of the 29th inst. I started with a party consisting of Sergeant Condell, Constables Buckley, Caban, Bolan, Hipkiss and the trackers Billy Dargin and Charley.
Having taken every precaution to destroy our horses’ tracks, we encamped in a dense oak scrub, remaining there until Tuesday, when information reached me – a watch had been kept on the edges of a large plain to look out for the informant – that Gilbert and Dunn had only come, and Hall would surely be there the following day. I determined to wait until the three got together and then attack them during the night in their camp, which was about seven miles distant in an almost impenetrable scrub.
The informant said the only way we could take these men was to fire on them in their camp, for if they had one yard start, we would see no more of them. I determined upon doing this, thinking that the Felons Apprehension Act was about this time in force.
On Wednesday night according to arrangement, I met my informant and found that Gilbert and Dunn had started towards Monwonga and having been frightened by some stockmen who had been looking for horses, passed close to their camp and whom Gilbert mistook for police. They left two horses and some ponchos intending to come back for Hall next day, but did not, nor have I since had any authentic account of them. On Thursday evening I again saw my informant who told me that Hall had come but not the other two. He being the ringleader I determined to endeavour the arrest without the others, and then if successful, wait for their coming.
Having been shown near the place where Hall was encamped; this was in a scrub on the border of a large plain, I proceeded towards the place indicated. When about one quarter of a mile from the spot, I made everyone take off their boots and coats, so we should make no noise amongst the thick dead leaves, and would be better prepared for running. We then passed stealthily along through a narrow belt of thick pine scrub, and got up to where there were horses and a poncho. I knew at once these belonged to Hall and intended to watch until he came for them for we could not find out exactly where he was sleeping, and were unable to walk about without making some noise; at about ten o’clock the moon was shining, the night cloudy and wind blowing bitterly cold.
A man with a poncho on walked towards the horses, passing close to myself and Condell, which after catching and unhobbling, he led away. (At this time Constables Caban, Buckley, and Hipkiss could have touched the man with their guns) and rehobbled them, about ninety yards below us.
He then sneaked very quietly down the belt of pine, nearly walking over Billy Dargin and camped at the point of the scrub, just off the edges of the plain. Dargin then crawled up and pointed out where the man was sleeping. It was now about half past eleven o’clock. I arranged to give him two hours to get well asleep, then rush the camp and arrest.
At half past one, the four men were now posted in a circle from the camp to them. A little before seven o’clock we saw the man, whom we instantly recognized as Hall, moving out of the scrub with a bridle and a revolver in his hands and making for the horses. On his coming on the plain opposite us, we commenced to run and gained on him fifty yards before being seen. Seeing us, he immediately dropped the bridle and ran having the revolver in his right hand, and made towards the hidden men past the camp. I ran after him a considerable distance, calling on him to stand, several times, gradually gaining on him, and when within about forty yards, fired.
The shot taking effect in the left shoulder, he looked around. I thought with the intention of firing at me, I put up the gun again to fire but did not. Condell and Dargin then fired two shots each which seemed to have a slight effect. The four men and Charley now showed up. Hall, seeing them, turned to the right and made for a small clump of saplings on the plain. He still had the revolver in his hand. He caught a sapling with his left hand with the intention of trying to shoot round it. This he continued to hold until he fell. At this time I noticed Hipkiss firing with a revolving rifle, the bullet from which struck Hall on the belt and cut it, his revolver falling to the ground. Hall then seemed to be badly hit and appeared to me to be about to fall. At this time the whole of the remaining shots were fired; he fell back saying “I am wounded, I am dying, shoot me dead” and after a few convulsive shudders he moved no more.
The body was then packed on one of his horses and taken to our camp and there remained until night when four of us started with it for Forbes, the others being left in case Gilbert and Dunn should come before we had time to get back again, which place we reached about 4 o’clock in the morning.
I endeavoured to keep the death of Hall a secret, hoping that the next night Gilbert and Dunn would be back, but before I could get to the Telegraph Office it was known to everyone. In the afternoon I started again, sent the horse back to barracks and remained out until the following Thursday, when we returned having to walk. Great difficulty was experienced in destroying the tracks of our shod horses. There were scouts out every day trying to find us but failed, owing to the precautions we had taken.
Our arms consisted of five double-barrelled guns, which I carefully loaded, and three revolving rifles, these being fired without cessation, it was impossible to keep the men from firing off all the shots, will account for the large number of shots fired at Hall. None reloaded and fired again. During the weeks we had been out we subsisted on possum and water, having been short of provisions and could not get any. The night during which we watched the camp was most bitterly cold and frosty, and being without boots or coats we all suffered severely, and in the morning when running, were bent nearly double with cramps and cold. The coolness, courage and determination of the tracker Billy Dargin is worthy of some substantial reward and the greatest praise is due to him. Tracker Charley, from his behaviour, should not, I think, participate in the rewards beyond some slight recompense.
Herein enclosed is a list and description of the property found with Hall at the time of his death.
I have the honour to be Sir,
Your obedient servant,
NSW Police Gazette.
However, whether by mistake or misinterpretation, a newspaper article on the 23rd May 1865 demonstrates that Davidson was out to kill all three bushrangers but had to settle for Hall. The idea that Davidson needed to identify Hall before acting is ludicrous, as a Sub-Inspector of police and all its powers and having drawn himself close to Hall's position in the night. Davidson could have arrested him without a shot fired while Hall slept. Eight to one are pretty good odds. No Hall was a dead man sleeping. I have provided an excellent link to an article that comments that the police were close enough to seize him. Why didn't they?
Whilst in charge of the police at Deniliquin 'The Pastoral Times' published this comment:
In 1870 James Davidson became a magistrate at Deniliquin as published:
In 1872 Davidson left the South Western police district to assume the command of the Northern police district based at Armidale, NSW and on leaving Deniliquin James Davidson was presented with a parting gift:
|Sir Patrick Jennings (1831–1897)|
Premier of New South Wales
26 Feb 1886-19 Jan 1887
James Davidson after taking control of Warbreccan was voted in and became Sheep Director for that district:
In 1879, Davidson moved with his family to the Darling Downs near Toowoomba and managed a sheep station named 'Westbrook':
|James Condell NSW Police promotion and enlistment|
1860-1865 at enlistment James Condell was 25 yrs old.
|"...I heard three or|
four shots fired..."
Soon after the affray at Lambing Flat, James Condell sponsored two sisters' passage from Donegal, Ireland, they were Margaret and Elizabeth Davis, during James Condell's police employment at Donegal he had formed a relationship with Elizabeth Davis, paying the deposit of £3 each for their passage to NSW on the 21st December 1861, the two ladies were given the required reference by The Reverend Cox of Donegal, Ireland.
Corporal Moran and Constable Haviland discharged their carbines at the bushrangers; as for the third constable nothing appears to be known about him. Senior-constable Moran, after discharging his carbine called upon his comrades to "man their revolvers." when they again exchanged shots with the bushrangers. It would appear that at this point the bushrangers fired at the horses and wounded one of them in the leg, which caused them to bolt. Constable Moran was thrown out upon his back and much injured; and the horses ran in among a lot of broken rocks upsetting the coach. Meanwhile the bushrangers kept up their fire, when, seeing the coach capsized, they began to cheer and rushed down pell-mell to secure their booty. Mr. Fagan, who appears to have been much exposed, called out to the ruffians not to shoot him for God's sake; but they took no heed of his cries, and it is probable that but for the fortunate circumstance of the horses bolting, every man in the escort would have been ruthlessly murdered. The escort by this time became scattered, and the law of self-preservation came into operation, for every man sought cover from the fire; and just about dark the party re-assembled at Clements's station, Mr. Clements, who heard the firing, came out to meet the men, and taking them to his residence, had their wounds dressed and housed them for the night. His first care was either to go or send a messenger to Forbes at once (we are unable to say which.) The messenger accomplished the distance-twenty-seven miles-on a dark night in three and a-half hours; the camp authorities were called up, and Sir Frederick Pottinger with eleven troopers, a couple of black trackers, and a number of volunteers, arrived at the scene of the attack at two o'clock on Monday morning. Sir Frederick at once ran the tracks of the bushrangers down, and shortly after day-light succeeded in finding their camp, some three miles off the road, and at the other side of a lofty ridge. The fire was still, in and fag-ends of the red shirts worn by the bushrangers on the previous evening were found amongst the embers-thus indicating that they wished to destroy every trace of identity.
|Wall Mural at Eugowra|
June 23rd, 1863.
Sir,- On Saturday, the 15th instant, I was ordered to Sydney for drill instruction as I was getting transferred from the foot to the mounted force. I was ordered to take charge of the gold escort from Forbes to Sydney. We started on Sunday the 15th instant, at 12 o'clock p.m. About 5 o'clock p.m., we were attacked by a party from twelve to fifteen armed men, dressed in red jumpers, red caps, and blackened faces. The road being blocked up with several drays, so that we had to pass close to a rock, where they were concealed, and as the coach was passing, six or seven men fired into the coach, and then drew back. Then six or seven others fired. We then returned the fire; two of the horses got wounded and started off with the coach, capsizing it, and turning the escort out. I received four bullets through the coat, one entering my left side. Senior constable Moran received two balls, one which wounded him in the groin. The coachman receiving also two bullets, but was not hurt.
The men then rushed to the coach taking the gold boxes out, and also the mail bags, which they cut open, opening several of the letters. l and two of the escort got to Mr. Clement's station, I requested of him to proceed to Forbes, and give information, which he did. Sir F. Pottinger and a party of mounted men arrived about 4 o'clock a.m:, on the 16th instant, and with two black trackers, and a party of the settlers started on their track. About three miles from where the coach was attacked, they found the gold boxes cut open, and the contents gone. They also found the remains of a camp fire, and could track the foot marks of ten horses, I had the mail bags and letters picked up, and handed them over to the postmaster at Orange. I started for Orange with two of the escort next morning, and arrived about 7 o'clock p.m. the 16th instant, and as we entered the town, I heard the report of fire arms in the coach, and on inquiry was informed that constable Haviland was shot. I examined the arms, and found that the revolver he had in his charge had one chamber discharged. The bullet entered underneath his chin, killing him instantly. An inquest was held on Tuesday the 17th instant, and the jury returned a verdict came by his death as follows:- Died from a bullet wound under the chin, but how received there was not sufficient evidence to show. The bushrangers were commanded by one man, who gave them orders to fire and load. I believe it to have been the voice of Gardiner, as I know his voice well. The bushrangers took two of the men's rifles, and three cloaks which remained in the coach after it was capsized, and they also cut open my carpet bag, taking from it two shirts, three pairs of socks. I cannot identify any of them with the exception of the voice I heard.
JAMES CONDELL, Sargeant.
|The arrival of Margaret and Elizabeth Davis 1864.|
Sub-Inspector Davidson searched the body, and found £74 in notes, a gold watch, three revolvers capped and loaded, a powder flask with powder, two boxes percussion caps, a bag of bullets, and a quantity of wearing apparel. At his camp we found a saddle and bridle and a pair of blankets. We then packed his body on a saddle, and removed it to our camp, and then to Forbes. I have known the deceased for four years. About three years ago I escorted him as a prisoner to Orange, and saw him frequently afterwards. I identify the body of deceased as that, of Ben Hall.
The death of Ben Hall saw Sergeant Condell promoted to Senior Sergeant.
|Ben Hall reward distribution 1865|
However, in 1875, James Condell would be shot once more; this time by a woman's husband. It appears that although a married man of eleven years, Senior Sergeant Condell had a roving eye and was captivated by a married woman whereby improper advances were made to a Mrs Paine much against the ladies wishes. Resulting in a confrontation with the woman's husband, which was of a deadly nature. The aggrieved husband, William Paine operated a butcher shop, and became enraged over the advances to his wife and shot James Condell in the head, shoulder and arm. Moreover, in the act of fleeing the husband and whilst jumping a fence, Condell severely damaged his right ankle. A doctor was called and tended Condell's wounds, which would take five weeks to heal although not life-threatening. The affair was a sensation in the town of Gundagai as William Paine was arrested for attempted murder.
The accused stood trial for the attack, but while in custody Paine escaped:
Following all the evidence presented, a summary of the events appeared in the press:
Senior Sergeant Condell retired from the police force and was granted the post of Inspector of Conditional Purchases within the Forestry Department at Narrandera. At the age of 69 passed away as reported:(see article below.)
|Arrival per the Exodus|
To counter the Inspector-General's efforts to prevent the employment of the 42 officers, they themselves place an advertisement seeking work.(see article right.) By the end of August 1855, four weeks after arrival a suitable arrangement was finally achieved that suited most of the 42 who then signed the oath and joined the NSW constabulary including Patrick Lyons.
Patrick Lyons commenced his police duties and was stationed in Sydney and in 1859 was promoted to detective. Det. Lyons was soon involved in one of his first court cases when called a witness in insolvency against a Mr Camillo Valenti, an Italian. It was reported in the 'Sydney Morning Herald', 6th October 1859, where Bathurst magistrate, Dr Palmer, in evidence deposed that;
|Kiandra late 1800's|
|Kiandra Mail Coach c. 1860's|
|Celestials Lambing Flat c. 1860|
The police were being overwhelmed with crime and as such crimes committed on the goldfield were at times dealt with by the miners themselves without police intervention as reported in the 'Empire' February 1861 as follows;
|A Goldfield c. 1860's|
|A Sly Grog shop.|
The workload for the detectives was enormous and at times to achieve a court outcome evidence provided by the detectives including Lyons might be embellished slightly as in the case of three women charged by Lyons for stealing £15, the presiding magistrate was not convinced of the testimony of Lyons and stated on the 29th May 1861:
Detective Lyons next appears in court in Sydney at the Central Criminal Court Darlinghurst to give evidence against two men, Heron and Collins, charged with Assault with Intent to Murder, at Lambing Flat. it was reported in the 'Sydney Morning Herald' on the 6th June 1861;
Thursday 6th September 1861, a coach with government officials on board including the Inspector-General of Police, Captain M'Lerie came to grief whilst crossing a rapidly flooding creek near the Yass township, the event was reported in the 'Illawarra Mercury', and the plight of the coach displays an episode of selfless bravery that nearly cost Detective Patrick Lyons his life, as stated;
In November 1861, Detective Lyons' life as a Bachelor came to an end when he married a Miss Sarah J Marshall at St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney. The start of the year 1862 saw the commencement of the reorganisation of the NSW Police Force with the introduction of the New Police Bill put before parliament at the end of 1861, with the following comment in the 'Queanbeyan Age and General Advertiser' 5th December 1861;
|Promotion of Lyons.|
Note; Edmund Parry who was killed
by Gilbert 1864.
Frank Gardiner, was at this time making his presence felt around the Lambing Flat area and was not short of recruits for the enterprise of bushranging and on the 10th March 1862 in company with John Gilbert, John O'Meally and Tom MaGuinness robbed two shopkeepers of over £1700 and brought the goldfield into a state of panic over their monetary safety. Within days of the attack on the shopkeepers three of Gardiner's neophytes were encountered at a shanty known as Brewers and Detective Lyons and two other police officers were escorting prisoners by a coach when they were confronted by three known bushrangers one of which was Gardiner's close mate and lieutenant, John Davis, a brief account of the police action follows as well as the bravery of Lyons, as Lyons stared down the barrel of Davis' revolver as the gunfight erupted, taken from the 'Sydney Morning Herald' 12th April 1862;
LAMBING FLAT. Friday, 11th April 1862,
Sergeant Saunderson with detectives Lyons and Kennedy, left the Lachlan in charge of three prisoners by the coach for Lambing Flat yesterday. On reaching Brewer's Shanty three horsemen with two led horses were observed. The horsemen on seeing the coach bolted, and were followed by the detectives on foot. Suddenly they faced about, went round the coach, and drawing their revolvers, opened fire on the police. Two of the horsemen bolted, but the third, Davis, stood his ground and received four shots from detective Lyons, all of which took effect-one in his thigh, one in his wrist, and the other two in his hand. Davis fell and was immediately pounced upon by detective Lyons, who had already had his right fore-finger cut in two by a shot from Davis' revolver. On the fall of Davis, the prisoners assisted in securing him, and he was brought to Brewer's shanty. Mrs. Brewer received a random shot in the cheek but is not seriously injured.
The horse of the captured bushranger was taken, together with the two led horses, and brought to the camp at Lambing Flat, Davis and his two companions, who galloped away when the firing commenced, are supposed to be three of the men who accompanied Gardiner on Tuesday when they stuck up Mr Pring at the Crowther Station, and afterwards Croaker's Station. At the former place Gardiner, with seven accomplices, stuck up Mr Pring's servants. One of the bushrangers played the piano while the rest danced and drank brandy and water at Mr Pring's expense. At Mr. Croaker's station, one of the bushrangers played the concertina and sang " Ever of thee" to the host. Sergeant Smith and five troopers are out in chase of the robbers, with a fair chance of capturing them. It is to be regretted that Captain Battye's black trackers have not yet arrived, otherwise, the bushrangers might have been followed to their den.
|Charles Sanderson and his wife, Susan, arrival.|
|Lambing Flat riots 1861|
|Promotion following recovery|
of the Gold from the Eugowra
NSW Police Gazette.
Ben Hall's hunt was extremely frustrating for the police as the populace continued in many quarters to maintain their Cone of Silence. Sanderson also felt the police's frustration and the lack of willing help from the locals in forwarding information that may help curb the bushrangers. In June his frustration came to a head when drunkenly he attacked an accommodation house of a Margaret Allport in Forbes. Sanderson was subsequently charged, to front court over the matter. The court case is as follows;
|Supt. C. A. Sanderson|
Superintendent Charles Allen Sanderson, died at his home in Ashfield, on Saturday the 4th of January 1919. He was 96.
Edward Montague Battye
Edward Montague Battye was born on 29th March 1817, at Rougham Hall in Suffolk, England.
Captain Battye passed away on the 12th of July 1898, his life was one of position and adventure, below is Captain Battye's obituary published in the 'Sydney Mail' on the 23rd of July 1893; One of the few remaining links binding us with the past history of the colony was severed on Tuesday the 12th instant, with the passing away of Captain Edward Montague Battye, who had closely identified himself with the early period of this colony's doing. The venerable gentleman died at his late residence, Cliff Villa, Arthur-street, North Sydney at the ripe old age of 82 years, after a long illness. Captain Battye was the son of Mr George Battye, of Campden Hill, Kensington, London, and was born in March 1817. He was educated at Wandsworth and Brighton, and while at the latter place studied under the same tutor as Prince George of Cambridge, with whom a friendship existed into later life. At the early age of 15 he entered the Royal Household as a page to Queen Adelaide, with whom he was a great favourite. He obtained his first commission in which service he remained until manifesting a desire for military life. He had many pleasant memories and tokens of his association with Queen Adelaide and William IV., amongst the latter being a silver tablet book with which the Queen presented him to refresh a short memory. Another was a pension of £100 a year, which he enjoyed up to his death. His first commission was in the 18th Lancers, where he remained until 1835 when he joined the 23rd Royal Welsh Fusiliers, in which regiment he rose to the rank of captain. In 1837 he sailed for Canada under Colonel Harrison. On arrival in that country, he was selected to fill the post of staff drill adjutant of all local corps, including five battalions, the post being no sinecure. Subsequently, he took part in the Canadian rebellion as aide-de-camp to Sir William Williams. In 1840 he married the daughter of Captain Walford, of the 64th Regiment at Halifax, where he got his company. Finally, he came to New South Wales as aide-de-camp to his uncle, General Wynyard. Almost on arrival, owing to Colonel Munday's absence, he was appointed Adjutant-General, which position he held until the return of the colonel.
|Arrival with family,|
In 1851 the gold diggings broke out, for the time being disorganising the entire social life of the country, and in June of that year Captain Battye, with Mr J. R. Hardy, was sent for by the then Governor, with a view to the entire reorganisation of the police force. Mr Hardy was appointed Chief Commissioner, and Captain Battye was entrusted with forming a corps of mounted men to act on gold escort duty and patrol service, with headquarters at Parramatta, in which service he had many thrilling adventures. In 1855 we next found him at Bathurst, and as about that time the entire control became too great for one officer, Captain Zouch was placed in command of the southern patrol. At Bathurst, Captain Battye was appointed a superintendent of the western patrol. The outbreak of gold mining on the famous Turon fields found him in turbulent times, and both then and later conflicts with the bushrangers who infested the country rendered his life one of great activity. In 1862, when the new police system was introduced, Captain Battye was appointed Inspector of Police at Young, better known as Lambing Flat, where he was stationed during the worst of the bushranging times, his presence ensuring the enjoyment of immunity from their depredations. He was instrumental in the capture of the robbers of the Hartley and Mudgee mail. He was made the recipient of a testimonial, of a practical nature, from the Bank of New Wales's management, as a token of the bank's appreciation of his serves in securing the robbers and the recovery of upwards of £500 in notes, besides other valuable property. Subsequently, he was appointed Superintendent of the Cooma and Monaro district, from which he was promoted to the superintendence of the Murray district, with headquarters at Albury. At that post, he remained until the year 1893 when he was superannuated on a pension.
|Formal Jacket and Pill-Box Cap|
as worn by Capt. Battye.
Courtesy Justice and Police Museum.
|Appointment, October 1834.|
Once when Captain Zouch was at home in the early hours of the morning a messenger named Richards, a coach driver for Cobb & Co appeared at his door with a most important letter, Mr Richards stated;
SAVED FROM THE GALLOWS.
Mr. Richards told how he saved a woman from the gallows at Goulburn. He had an official letter to deliver to Captain Zouch, who was head of the police at Goulburn. Captain Zouch, who lived two miles from the gaol, told him to wait while he read the contents of the letter.
He was in his pyjamas, said Mr. Richards, "for it was early in the morning. On that day a woman was to be hanged for the murder of her husband. When he read the letter, Captain Zouch shouted to me to drive as fast as I could to the gaol, for the letter I had delivered was a reprieve for the condemned woman.
Not welting to dress, he jumped into the cart. When we reached the gaol, we had only three minutes to spare. The cap was already on the woman's head. "I never saw anyone look so pleased as she when she was told of the reprieve.
|Police Trooper c 1862|
(representation only of
The first Policeman to die on duty under the New Police Act 1862.
|Haviland Arrival 1858. Note James Moyes.|
On Sunday 15th June 1862, Constable Haviland was at Forbes preparing the latest shipment of Gold to be transported to Bathurst under Sergeant Condell's supervision. Completion of the loading, the coach departed Forbes at midday for the trip to Bathurst via Eugowra and Orange, onboard was Senior Constable Moran who had brought the coach from Sydney to Forbes and was returning with the Gold and Constable Haviland, both were seated inside the coach with Sergeant Condell seated on the box next to the 'Whip' John Fagan. As the Escort coach approached a large set of boulders some three miles out from the Eugowra township, the 'Whip' Fagan slowed the four in hand down to negotiate two drays which had been placed as an obstacle across the track when suddenly the call of 'Fire' reverberated through the air followed by a volley of lead shattering the coach and wounding Condell and Moran, the following is a summary of the attack on the troopers from the 'Empire' dated the 24th June 1862;
|A Gold Escort.|
Mr Clements provided first aid to the wounded troopers then commenced the ride to Forbes to raise the alarm. The Empire newspaper continues; "Mr Clements accomplished the distance-27 miles-on a dark night in three and a half hours; the camp authorities were called up, and Sir Frederick Pottinger with eleven troopers, a couple of black trackers, and a number of volunteers, arrived at the scene of the attack at 3 o'clock on Monday morning Sir Frederick at once ran the traces of the bushrangers down, and shortly after day-light succeeded in finding their camp, some three miles off the road, and at the other side of a lofty ridge. The fire was still in and rag ends of the red shirts worn by the bushrangers on the previous evening were found amongst the embers-thus indicating that they wished to destroy every trace of identity. The empty, gold boxes were found, as also the mail bags with numbers of letters gutted or torn into fragments. Singular to relate, the registered letters had not been touched. The luggage belonging to the escort had been broken open and searched. Gardiner and his "honourable" men are not given to literature during their leisure, for they did not interfere with the newspapers. The result of the robbery may be briefly summed up. All the gold, 2719 ounces, was taken, and, with it, the whole of the cash, £3700. The empty gold boxes, and the letters and newspapers, after being gathered up in a general medley, were brought to Mr Clement's station and placed in the coach, which, with two of the horses, had been recovered.
The troopers fell across the owners of the bullock teams, who had been stuck up by the bushrangers. The unfortunate men state that they had been made to lie upon the ground, face downwards, for several hours; and that whilst the firing was going on between the bushrangers and escort, they were exposed to the bullets. After urgent entreaty, they were removed from this perilous position by the bushrangers.
William Haviland's body was taken into the Inn and placed on a couch in the verandah room where Dr Warren was sent for and stated;
Mrs Haviland received a gratuity from the police force of £100, and in later life would remarry.
Memorial plaque commemorates the 150th anniversary of the death of Constable William Haviland. The plaque coincides with the 150th anniversary of NSW Police. Photo by Stephen Woods