Traps

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...

This page aims to provide an overview of the NSW police on duty out in New South Wales's back blocks in the 1860s. It will include appointments and promotions, as well as a brief review of prominent officers life stories. Combined with various articles from newspapers of individual police officers engaged in Ben Hall and his Associates' pursuit. Including controversy surrounding those courageous officers during their efforts to hunt, capture, and, where necessary, kill bushrangers. Time and time again, these valiant troopers were ridiculed in the press, often unjustly, when exhibiting their capacity for a protracted effort, regardless of their difficulties or frustrations. Their perseverance, in many instances, was at a considerable cost to their lives. Furthermore, they endured with inferior equipment, harsh elements and substandard horses. 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.

(If any reader should like a free PDF copy of 'a splendid type of the genuine English gentleman:' Sir Frederick William Pottinger, Bart., 1831-1865, please email me through the contact details on the home page.)

Sir Frederick William Pottinger (1831-1865)

Sir Frederick Pottinger was born in India on 27th April 1831. He was the second son (his elder brother Eldred having passed away as an infant at Bombay 1824 aged one.) of Sir Henry Pottinger 1789–1856 officer of the East India Co who arrived in India 1804 a cadet officer. Sir Henry would rise to the highest position of brevet rank Major-General and achieved a distinguished service in the military and diplomatic corps. Notably, Sir Henry was appointed as the first Governor of Hong Kong, where he had been instrumental in ending the First Opium War in China through the Treaty of Nanking, 1842. He served as Governor from 1843 to 1844. Returning to England in 1844, Sir Henry was appointed to Queen Victoria's Privy Council. However, Sir Henry returned to the diplomatic corps in 1847 as Governor of Cape Colony, South Africa, and Governor of Madras, India, in 1851.

Sir Henry married Susanna Maria, née Cooke, of Dublin, Ireland and produced four children. Sir Frederick was educated privately at Eton and followed his father into the army, purchasing a commission in 'Grenadier Guards' 1850 as an Ensign and rose to Lieutenant's rank. Life in the Guards was expensive, whereby, the cost and position Pottinger held forced Sir Frederick through mounting debt to sell his commission in 1854, ending Pottinger’s Army career; “Frederick William Pottinger, at one time held a commission in the Grenadier Guards (in 1850 he was appointed), one of the most expensive regiments amongst the Household Troops, and one in which a poor man like the eldest son of Sir Henry Pottinger must, in time, go to the wall. In his time in the army, a commission had a high monetary value. The Army Agent, so-called, was the banker of the regiment, and not infrequently held the officer's commission as security for overdrafts. The regimental pay would not keep some officers in cigars and gloves. When the overdraft reached the value of the commission, the officer went under. Few regiments in the Army of sixty years ago, could tolerate an officer who was "mean." No matter what his means, he was expected to keep decently in line with, those who had plenty of cash and allowances. Fred Pottinger appears to have been somewhat wild, and to have got out of the army before his father's death...”¹

Sir Frederick's
attire as a
Guards Officer.
Following Pottinger's father's death at Valletta, Malta, in March 1856, aged 67. At age 25, Frederick succeeded his father as 2nd Baronet. Frederick inherited his father's title of Baronet and the family’s fortune as the benefactor of Primogeniture. Primogeniture had existed since 1066, which dictates the common law right for the first-born son or surviving son in a family to inherit an entire estate; therefore, Sir Frederick Pottinger inherited his family’s entire estate. The inheritance estimated at £70,000. (5.9 million dollars at today's value.)

Sir Frederick Pottinger upon discharge from the army threw himself into the life of an English gentleman and all that it entails. Whereby, as a bachelor, the bright lights of London’s late 1850’s beckoned, and having earlier departed the Grenadier Guards through the sale of his commission to clear his then regiment debts, Pottinger set about enjoying the privileges that befell the idle rich of 19th century England. However, Sir Frederick Pottinger in the fast lane found himself embroiled in public controversy within a year of his father’s death.

Now titled Sir Frederick Pottinger, the new Baronet would be dragged before the court over the refusal to pay an outstanding bill for services rendered to a house agent and furniture dealer, Mr F. Clerk, totaling £84. 13s. The debt had accrued through services provided and goods supplied to a home rented by Pottinger on behalf of his mistress Miss Kate Perry.

However, Sir Frederick denied liability. Nevertheless, in the ensuing court action, a scandal erupted when Sir Frederick's mistress was exposed in court. The action revealed that the goods and furniture were procured to furnish a rented house in Pimlico London, specifically for Miss Kate Perry as their love nest. On occasions, she represented herself as Lady Pottinger.

The house at 165 Cambridge St,
Pimlico, London,
rented by Sir Frederick
 and Miss Perry,
as it appears today.
Consequently, the salacious court proceedings were aired in the various newspapers where it appears that Sir Frederick, conscious of propriety and his families good name, had through an intermediary (later denied) rented the property in another’s name as a dupe. The deceit was exposed in the court transcripts, published in ‘The Morning Chronicle’, 11th August 1857. Titled 'The Knight and his Lady', before Lord Baron, and a Special Jury. The case Clerk V. Pottinger was played out; “In the commencement of the present year a person named Russell, who, he was instructed, he should be able to prove acted as agent for the defendant, applied to him to have a house in Cambridge Street for the use of the defendant and a lady, but he, at the same time, stated that Sir Frederick did not wish to hire the house in his own name, but that of John Perry; after some negotiation, he let the house at No. 165 Cambridge Street, and an agreement was drawn up wherein the defendant was described as John Perry of Lansdowne Street, Bath, and a young lady, who subsequently was called Miss Perry and occasionally Lady Pottinger, took possession. Some of the furniture she brought with her was cleaned and polished, and a piano and other articles were supplied, and the bill of the plaintiff amounted altogether to £84. 13s. When he sent in his bill Miss Perry asked him not to claim the whole amount, and he accordingly made out a bill for £44 and the defendant called upon him and offered to pay £20 on account, but when he became aware that there was a larger sum he refused to pay anything, and the plaintiff was in consequence compelled to bring the present action.”

Howeverunder the pseudonym of John Perry, Sir Frederick had his agent Mr Russell indicate to Mr Clerk that Sir Frederick wished to avoid using his own name in an attempt to exempt himself from any possible Jury duty and avoid appearing on the rate-books. The ploy allowed Sir Frederick to enjoy Miss Perry's charms undetected. Subsequently, during witness statements, much mirth was expressed by the court gallery over a 'Knight of the Realm' dalliances. Mr Clerk the aggrieved deposed; op.cit. “under her direction he did all the work for which the present claim is made. A short time afterwards he saw Sir F Pottinger in the drawing-room, and he complained of the bill that had been sent in, and said he would pay anything that was reasonable, but that he would not be ‘done’. Sir Frederick after this called at his shop and offered to give him £20 on account, but he then told him that his bill was £84, and not £44, and Sir Frederick then said he should not pay anything, and that he was going abroad, and he might get his money where he could..." Mr Clerk added; “the goods were all sent in by direction of Sir Frederick’s lady. She was called sometimes Miss Perry, but he also believed she also went by the name of Lady Pottinger. The servants used to call her “My Lady...” (A laugh expressed.)

However, a servant girl employed as a cook in the household shed light on Sir Frederick’s hanky-panky, deposed; op.cit. "Sir Frederick use to come there frequently, and stayed all night and breakfasted, but never dined. She remembered that when the bill was sent in, Sir Frederick was very angry, and she had repeatedly heard him say; "You must not be extravagant, darling.” (A laugh) At the time she saw the plaintiff’s bill he gave Miss Perry £20, and he then gave her and her fellow servant 10s each and went out of the house. Sir Frederick would not allow anyone to come to visit Miss Perry but himself, and she heard him say that if he ever found anyone in the house he would kick them out.” (A laugh) The cook went on to state, “Miss Perry formerly lived in Stanley Street. She would rather not answer the question whether other gentlemen besides Sir Frederick use to visit her there...”

After the plaintiff’s witnesses concluded their statements, Sir Frederick Pottinger took the stand and wherein true aristocratic fashion did the privileged two-step whereby Sir Frederick countered all the assumptions of the previous testimonies by stating his ignorance over the whole affair, breaking it down to a simple case of he said they said. Sir Frederick's testimony was reported in the ‘Reynolds Newspaper’, August 16th, 1857; (See article right.)
After the case was laid out before a special jury. They retired and returned a verdict in Sir Frederick's favour, and he was discharged. To let matters settle, Sir Frederick reputedly went abroad for a short time, possibly Spain. However, before long, the baronet was back enjoying all that London had to offer with or without Miss Perry. Sir Frederick also had a brother Eldred who died as an infant. Henry (1834-1909- 3rd Baronet) and one sister Henrietta-Maria (1829-1905)

Great Western Hotel,
Paddington, London.
Sir Frederick's and

Miss Perry's Haunt.
Pottinger, with the latest sport's journal under his arm, continued with a flamboyant lifestyle. Within a short period, the 2nd Baronet would squander and eventually lose much of his families’ wealth through the medium of racecourses and London's notorious dens of iniquity and gambling houses. With the loss of prestige and causing great embarrassment to his adoring mother, who was reputed to have sold off much of her jewellery to hold off debt collectors hot on his heels. Pottinger quietly disappeared without fanfare and departed for the antipodes under an assumed name, migrating from Liverpool, England, to Melbourne, Australia, in 1859. Pottinger arrived incognito at Melbourne's Port Phillip Bay on board the passenger ship 'British Trident' under the name of 'F.W. Parker'. (Why Parker? Admiral W. Parker was a close ally of his late father in Asia during the 'Treaty of Nanking' negotiation in 1842 and a mentor to Sir Frederick.)

Throughout the early days of Australia and the fervour of the gold rushes, the free movement of people was unencumbered by bureaucratic red tape. Individual passports per sae did not exist. Therefore, if an enterprising family, man or woman, wished to up stakes and disappear to the antipodes, they only required the passage fee to embark on a sailing ship destined for their desired location. The record of their travel appeared only on the vessel's manifest. On arrival at the port of choice, they merely disembarked without fanfare or scrutiny. Therefore, if a scallywag who was sought or had committed some wrong or to avoid other charges wanted to flee through anonymity for a far horizon post haste, they needed only to purchase passage under an assumed name. Consequently, many rolled in and out at the bottom of the world, Australia on fabricated names. One such person to take the opportunity was Sir Frederick Pottinger, who had fled England, and debt collectors taking passage to Victoria under the name of F. W. Parker aboard the ship British Trident arriving on the 8th March 1859.

For many arriving, either incognito or as migrants, gold fever and its riches remained the focus. After landing in Melbourne with a fellow passenger from the voyage, Sir Frederick chased the elusive golden metal along with thousands of others. However, without success, following eight months and failure to strike it rich on the Victorian goldfields, Pottinger redirected his attention north to NSW sailing to Sydney, the metropolis of the young nation. Boarding the ship 'City of Sydney' 700 tons, under the command of Captain Moodie. Sir Frederick sailed through Sydney Heads on 4th March 1860. (See 'City of Sydney' Shipping manifest below.)

Departing Melbourne, Pottinger resumed his bona fide but dropped the title Baronet. 'City of Sydney' docked in Sydney Harbour, and Pottinger disembarked without pomp or ceremony. Stepping ashore, Pottinger neither revealed his true status as a Knight of the Realm nor his military background or engaged in Sydney society. However, seeking a solid paycheck, Pottinger enlisted as a mounted trooper of the Southern Mounted Patrol attached to the NSW Gold Escort operating in the South-Western Districts of NSW headquartered at Bathurst. At the time of Pottinger's enlistment, the NSW police were divided into various entities such as the Row Boat Guard, the Mounted Police, the Border Police, Foot Police and the Gold Escort, the latter patrolling the goldfields. These sections were amalgamated into the NSW Police Force we are accustomed to today, formed on the 1st March 1862 and coming under the direction of a single Inspector-General Captain John McLerie and reorganised into police districts.
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.)
t
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,
c. 1870's.

Courtesy NLA.
With gold fever stripping the police force of reliable men, enlistment came with limited scrutiny. Pottinger was posted to the southwest to guard the gold escort at the recently discovered goldfield at the Snowy Mountains, Kiandra. With his feet back in the stirps, Pottinger commenced transporting the golden riches via Gundagai to Bathurst. Accommodation for the police was based at Gundagai. Pottinger later described Gundagai as "a miserable township."

While in the backblocks of NSW guarding gold, a letter arrived at Bathurst Police HQ addressed to Sir Frederick Pottinger Bart. C/NSW Police. The mysterious letter's appearance was to change the course of Sir Frederick's life. Furthermore, Pottinger transcribed his fall from grace in his diary in a candid moment of self-reflection regarding his situation. The current life of a trooper did not sit well in remote towns such as 1860 Gundagai. Towns far from the bright lights of the provincial towns or the metropolis Sir Frederick craved; Pottinger Diary Entry 1860: "At the age of 29 I had fallen as far beneath the position and expectations I was born to... let me hopefully and cheerfully turn to the future and trusting providence... enable me to regain the position I have forfeited."  

As the gold rushes took hold, the NSW government became responsible for safe delivery from the new fields springing up like mushrooms to the regional city Bathurst for further delivery to the metropolis and Mint. The NSW goldfields were placed under the command of Capt. Battye at Bathurst. Here Baytte established weekly gold escorts from all the principal gold diggings to the town. Gold was transported in a light but strong spring cart, guarded by armed constables and mounted troopers. However, Pottinger spent a relatively short period as a mounted trooper on the escorts. (On 1 March, the Police Regulation Act 1862 commenced, creating the present police department of New South Wales. Thus, after a period of 73 years, the police service of NSW became, and has so remained, consolidated. THE POLICE OF SYDNEY 1788-1862; Bruce Swanton, 1984.)
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. A search and no luck in ascertaining who the gentleman was within his command and at a loss over this curious peer of the realm, Battye placed an advertisement in the newspapers seeking any 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 lightning striking, Government promotion came rapidly for the unveiled Sir Frederick Pottinger. (See Article Right.) The Baronet was described as;[sic] "a fine, straight, aristocratic-looking fellow, nearly 6ft. in height—and there was something very superior about his features. He was a gentleman if ever there was one."²

At Pottinger's unveiling, his first promotion from gold trooper was to Clerk of Petty Sessions stationed at Dubbo. Effective from November 1860. From his exposure in May 1860 to his first appointment at Dubbo in November, Pottinger's metalogical rise was astounding. During his time at Dubbo, he was known as diligent and well regarded. (See Article Below.)
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.
Before long, Sir Frederick was again promoted to Assistant Superintendent of the Southern Patrol and Gold Escorts, his former trooper station, on 1st October 1861 stationed at Lambing Flat and a Magistrate of the Colony. (See Article Below.)

Empire, 5th October 1861.
NSW Government Gazette, 1861.
Sir Frederick at work Dubbo June 1861.
 Bathurst Free Press and Mining
Journal Saturday Wednesday
15th January 1862. 
Sir Frederick had achieved new and remarkable positions, all within 12 months of his identity revealed. The leap from a trooper in pay was astounding, whereby as a trooper, Sir Frederick earned 5s 6d a day. (20 Shillings = £1) The new roles had a pay jump to £300 a year.

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; "They lived in a special Chinese quarter on the diggings, built temples and installed images of the Sacred Dragon - "joss-houses" with "idols" as the whites called them. They played fan-tan all through the night, smoked opium and practised strange vices. Their living habits were filthy: they fouled the earth and the water; they were heathens and aliens; they couldn't speak English; and - worst of all - they were getting plenty of gold and sending it all back to China." (Source; The Battle of Lambing Flat-Frank Clune.) The sentiment on the goldfield was expressed in the same terms as the incursion of the Eureka Stockade. Where miners affected change through force, "I tell you," says an elderly miner, "it's only by direct action that you'll make the government sit up and take notice. That's what we did at Eureka in '54. Well, I remember it, and hundreds of others on this field remember too. The diggers of Ballarat stood up and fought for their miners' rights. And we got them, too - a pound a year instead of thirty bob a month. But there had to be bloodshed before we got our rights." Chinese bloodshed was not given a second thought. (Source; The Battle of Lambing Flat-Frank Clune.)

As law and order were flouted, the police began rounding up those whose voices stirred the miners into action. Leaders of the attempted expulsion such as William Spicer, Charles Stewart and Dougal Cameron led the 'Roll-up' 'Roll-up' campaign to oust the Chinese from the Flat. Sir Frederick Pottinger as a magistrate, sat on the Bench conducting trials and passing sentences. In this capacity, Pottinger sat for the arraignment of the leaders of the infamous Chinese riots. (See Article right.)

At the time of the unrest, Pottinger commanded a police force which in the interim had been considerably strengthened to subdue the anti-Chinese sentiment at Lambing Flat. The mounted patrol at Pottinger's disposal consisted of a sergeant-major, seven sergeants, twelve corporals and fifty-seven troopers, and a foot patrol under Senior-Sergeant Sanderson, consisting of a sergeant, a corporal and twenty-one constables. (extracted from The Birth of White Australia, The Battle of Lambing Flat by Frank Clune.)

The 1st March 1862, initiated through the New South Wales parliament, saw the legislated 'New Police Act'1862. The legislation brought about the complete re-organisation of the entire Police force, including commands, broken into regions. Sir Frederick was promoted to Inspector of Police, transferred, taking command of the Lachlan District based at Forbes, NSW. Forbes was developing into a major regional centre due to the newly discovered Goldfield, which saw an influx of men and women from all parts of the colony descend on the town. At its peak, some 30,000 flooded the town. Pottinger was known to enforce the law vigorously and without favour, earning the influential citizens' respect. (See Article right.)

(1833-1913)
Private Source.
Pottinger was never far from controversy, in December 1861, while playing and betting on game's of billiards at the Great Eastern Hotel in Yass, there was an altercation with a Mr Thomas Watt, a butcher at Burrangong over perceived dishonesty conspired between Pottinger and Henry Cohen whom Watt referred to as swindlers resulting in Pottinger bashing Watt across the back of the head with a pool cue. The scuffle lasted some minutes, with Pottinger saying, "he could not allow Mr Watt to call him a scoundrel in a public room without resenting it, he happened to get plainitiff's head near a window, and took the opportunity to knock his head through it." The court action came close to costing Pottinger his job; however, escaping dismissal, he was censured by the government while holding on to his position. (For a full description of the events, see the link below. For letter of censure, see further down.)


On the 15th of June 1862, a Sunday, a gold escort coach prepared for departure from Forbes at 12 noon, loaded with 2700 ounces of gold and £3700 in cash bound for Bathurst. The coach would travel via Eugowra, Orange, and Bathurst, then transferred to the Sydney mint. The transport was initially under the command of Sgt McClure but was replaced by Sgt Condell, who was bound for Sydney for training to transfer to the mounted police force. En route passing the small village of Eugowra, the road ran alongside a mass of large granite boulders, which littered the local range. Seated on the box next to the driver, Condell was perplexed at 3 bullock teams obstructing the track. The coach slowed with the driver calling loudly, "Make way for the Royal mail." As the driver John Fagan negotiated the drays, the coach neared the boulders where suddenly the call of "FIRE" resounded, and the discharge of weapons shattered the coaches timbre frame, wounding two of the police. Condell was shot in the ribs, and a constable in the coach, Moran, was wounded in the groin.

Reputed Eugowra Escort
Coach. c. 1900s.

The photograph was taken by
Frank Walker, 1861-1948.
The police scattered, and the contents of the escort fell to the bushrangers. Retreating, the police made haste to Hanbury Clements' farm a short distance off. On dressing the wounds of the injured troopers, Clements saddled up and galloped into Forbes, appraising it Sir Frederick Pottinger of the melee at Eugowra.

Immediately Pottinger departed for Clements gathering locals en route. Reconnoitering the scene and righting the upturned coach. Pottinger put the trackers to work and was soon on the trail of the raiders. However, the elusive bushrangers led by the ach-feind Frank Gardiner escaped to the gang's secluded hideout at Wheogo Hill 60 miles to the south. Undeterred, Pottinger divided his forces and, believing that the men hailed from Victoria, commenced a hard ride south in hopes of intercepting the bandits.

200 miles south, Pottinger arrived at the village of Hay without sighting his quarry. Resting Pottinger and his party of four commenced the return to Forbes. While proceeding back to Forbes, Pottinger's party came into contact with 3 riders. All well dressed and mounted on fine horses. One of Pottinger's men commenced a conversation with the three where Sir Frederick asked one for a receipt for the fine horse he rode. The mystery rider edged his horse towards the scrub faking a search for the receipt when suddenly he spurred his horse and bound away into the scrub. Startled, the police drew the revolvers covering the two others and handcuffed them.

Gunfight marker at
Sproules. Temora.

My Photo.
The mystery rider was John Gilbert. Gilbert made post-haste for the Weddin Mountains securing some men to return and rescue the two prisoners. They being Henry Manns, one of the Eugowra robbers and Gilbert's elder brother Charles D'arcy Gilbert. Gilbert assessed the polices' route and dead reckoned a point to attack and rescue his companions. As Pottinger approached the home of the Sproules, eight miles from Temora NSW, Gilbert opened fire on the police and freed his companions. Unfortunately, one of the police horses holding the cash retrieved from Manns was shot and bolted away in the gunfight. However, Pottinger held 230 ounces, retreated, regathered his men and headed for Forbes.

Authors Note: To visit the approximate area of the gunfight at Sproules Timoola Station, take the Goldfields Hwy from Temora for 9.6 km's turn right at the Flying Spitfires Temora sign. Travel roughly 2.5 km's on Treagers Lane (un-signposted). The road is very rough but with care can be taken by car. The Commemorative Marker is on the right of the track, fenced off alongside a creek, and easy to spot. (Sproules Lagoon) Sproule's old station (Sprowle's) homestead was opposite the Marker. Congratulations to those in Temora who erected the Marker and their help in directing me there.

Knowing that the Eugowra robbers were undoubtedly local men. Pottinger, in rapid succession, started making carte blanche arrests of those persons he knew to be associates of Frank Gardiner. Confident that one would dobbin the others, the pressure was applied successfully. Daniel Charters spilled the beans naming the robbers but failed to implicate co-conspirators Ben Hall and John O'Meally. It was widely believed that money changed hands.

Four of the gang were escorted to Sydney for trial. They were John Maguire, Alexander Fordyce, John Bow and the recaptured Henry Manns. The trial for the conspirators commenced in the first week of February 1863. The trial resulted in a hung jury. A second trial was commenced two weeks later. Bow, Fordyce and Manns were found guilty and sentenced to hang. John Maguire was found not guilty. However, Bow and Fordyce were commuted to life, and Henry Manns would hang.

As the trial of the robbers was held, Sir Frederick in the big smoke was enjoying its wiles and, while strolling down King Street Sydney and returning to his quarters, The Victoria Club in Castlereagh Street was reputedly set upon by some men and assaulted;   ATTACK ON SIR FREDERICK POTTINGER.— "On Saturday evening, about twelve o'clock, As Sir Frederick Pottinger was quietly strolling down King-street he saw three men following him. He, however, did not take any particular notice of them, and before he was aware of their proximity to him, he received a severe blow in the face from one of The party behind him which knocked him off the pavement in the mud. As soon as he recovered himself he perceived several men at some distance from him who, by their manner must have been the individuals who assaulted him, and who appeared to be regarding it as a good joke. There being no person by to render assistance, and not being able to identify the party who struck the blow, the miscreant escaped." Sir Frederick, who had been much vilified in the press over his heavy-handed attitude towards those he deemed of low character in the backcountry, may have been targeted deliberately or was the Baronet just an unknown mug wandering late at night to some street thugs or was his behaviour the source of the beating?

The attack garnered those of the upper echelons to come to his defence, and many praises of his bush efforts appeared in papers of a more conservative nature, such as The Sydney Morning Herald. However, the Empire would take an opposing view of the efforts of Sir Frederick pouring scorn on the idea of his assault being anything but random; "Inspector Sir FREDERICK POTTINGER was attacked in the streets, by some, "miscreants" who favoured the prisoners. Now, taking this assertion on its bare merits, let us ask what motive any criminal sympathiser could have in making an attack upon this very harmless policeman? We can imagine that the friends of Messrs. GARDINER, GILBERT, and Co. would desire no more "ancient and quiet watchman" than the prudent baronet to perambulate the regions of Wheogo and the Wedden Mountains. GARDINER and his men led Inspector POTTINGHR on a wild goose chase all over the country, and were able to laugh at him after all. The arch robber, single-handed, rode up to the place where this gentle constable lay in ambush, with ten otber armed men, and yet slipped through all their fingers. Why, then, should any thief's friend wish, to hurt Sir FREDERICK! We could rather imagine the fraternity presenting a memorial to the Chief Secretary, to retain him perpetually in his present command. Even if it were otherwise if Inspector POTTINGER were as formidable as he is really innocuous to the commanders of the roads in his district, experience has shown that he might pass through the streets unmolested at all hours, if he only behaved himself." 

However, minor outrage over the altercation was quickly silenced when it appeared that Sir Frederick was perving or behaving in a lewd manner towards some of Sydney's finery and as such kicked a hornet's nest of brothers and sweethearts; "But rumour assigns another origin for this sensation statement about Inspector POTTINGER. It is said that the gallant, policeman, fatigued with the slow proceedings of the Criminal Court during the day, took occasion in the evening to lounge into the Hyde Park Bazaar, given for the benefit of St. Vincent's Hospital, and, being of a social and adventurous turn under some circumstances, distinguished himself by closely scrutinising the ladies under their bonnets-a piece of baronet-policeman impertinence, which was so resented by certain young fellows-brothers and sweethearts mayhap-that they took the first opportunity of giving the beau a jostling outside, said to be considerably less than he deserved. This is the explanation of the matter that we have heard, and it certainly does not exhibit such a woful state of society here as our contemporary, who dutches at any dirty straw to keep his argument afloat, would desire to make out." However, the stark difference in social commentary from the SMH and the Empire on both government and police matters cast suspicion on either story of Pottinger's assault. Needless to say, as a man's man Sir Frederick no doubt made merry his time in Sydney.

Cause célèbre shadowed the rugged Baronet when previously in late September 1862, while on a night out at Bathurst, an altercation occurred with a local resident William Campbell Mocket. Indignant over the incident, Mocket brought charges against Sir Frederick after the inspector placed his revolver at his head, threatening to "put a bullet through him." The fracas arose following a private party at McMinn's the jeweller's when Mocket attempted to encourage a friend to return to the party. In doing so, Sir Frederick intervened. The court proceedings can be accessed through the link below.
Bell's Life in Sydney and Sporting Chronicle
Saturday 4th October 1862
BATHURST POLICE COURT.
Over the next few years, Sir Frederick was never far from controversy and criticism from both the government's press critics for his vigorous and often harsh treatment of people suspected of being involved with the new bushranging epidemic and of those harbouring them. However, Pottinger's past and penchant for a good time were never very far from the surface, and his reputation for living life in the fast lane often ruled his behaviour.

However, any criticism of Pottinger reinforced his defence to maintain a position of strength by wielding the law to the fullest. Pottinger was in no way an advocate nor a fan of leniency nor compassion. Pottinger's hard-line stance was demonstrated when a subordinate, Constable Hassen, was charged with killing a man in police custody. In January 1863, Sir Frederick Pottinger was called to Orange as a character witness for the constable. A jury found it was 'Justifiable Homicide' by a majority of 7 to 5; 'Goulburn Herald', January 1863; "Boyd never the less put himself in an attitude as if about to strike; on which Hassen fired Boyd fell mortally wounded. He died about noon. The jury by a majority of 7 to 9, returned a verdict of justifiable homicide. Sir Frederick Pottinger gave Hassen a good character, and said that there had been only one charge against him since he had been in the police force, and that was for excessive leniency."

Having faced several assault charges, the Baronet was on one occasion on the end of an attempted horsewhipping from a young lady and local Forbes identity a Miss Kyle who had a Lola Montez reputation after receiving a letter from Pottinger of an impudent nature and which raised Miss Kyle's heckles. (See clipping right.) Miss Kyle owned and partnered several Rankin Street public-houses with a Mr Huey, such as the 'Horse and Jockey Hotel', 'Bull and Mouth', 'Diggers Return' and 'Tara Hall'. It was reported in the 'Empire' June 1864 that due to a large fire erupting in the street, Miss Kyle's establishments went under in flames; "the Bull and Mouth was burned in a moment, Mr. Huey saving next to nothing; at the same time the Diggers Return shared the same fate, but Miss Kyle was, fortunately, able to get most of her properly out.  Mr Wall, who was lodging at Miss Kyle's had the place on fire over him before he could get out of his bed-room, and indeed from the combustible nature of the buildings, it is almost inexplicable that no loss of life should have occurred. Gold, as well as money, was lost in the flames both by Miss Kyle and Mr Huey, and also some watches by the later. The places destroyed are-1, Thompson's building pulled down; 2. Ellet's iron store, burned; 3. Tara's Hall,  burned; 4. Bull and Mouth, burned; 5. Greig's old store, now the properly of Mr. Richards, burned; 6. Miss Kyle's burned. Inspector Saunderson was especially noticeable, and senior, sergeant Rush kept a sharp lookout over the property which was brought out into the street..."(See Article right.) However, after the attempted belting, Miss Kyle was bound over to keep the peace for six months.

Frank Gardiner.
c. 1862.
Moreover, Pottinger's Achilles heel was his failure to capture the prolific bushranger Frank 'The Darkie' Gardiner. The failure would have Sir Frederick ridiculed in the presswhere his lack of success would be recounted in poetry and song. Such as 'The Bloody Field of Wheogo' below.
The Sydney Morning Herald
Saturday 23rd August 1862
THE BLOODY FIELD OF WHEOGO.
However, poetry and songs aside, a further controversy was afoot as parliamentarian Joseph Hurpur son of the stepmother-in-law of Ben Hall, arose in parliament and covered by the privileges of the House labelled Sir Frederick Pottinger "a liar and a coward." Harpur had for some time been one of the most virulent critics of the new police act promoted by a bias against the police and their tough enforcement of the law. No doubt an attitude prompted by his mother Sarah Walsh nee Hurpur in light of her stepson Johnny Walsh's imprisonment and subsequent death in Forbes. "he would advocate the cause of robbers and murderers-no, not even where some of them his own blood relatives." Sir Frederick took Umbridge to the slur and sought an apology fronting Harpur as a man of action. However, Harpur held his ground, and with Pottinger's recent public controversy, Pottinger let the matter dissipate, possibly over the death of Johnny Walsh and the advice of Mr D Egan. Egan eventually received an apology from Harpur to Sir Frederick Pottinger, "Mr. Harpur endeavours to support a statement he had previously made in the House respecting Sir F. Pottinger, after "he had given to Sir F. Pottinger a written apology" (vide Mr. Egan's speech, published in the same issue), for using the offensive expression."

Regardless, Pottinger maintained his passion for the fast life as previously enjoyed in the 'Old Dart' (England). Whatever, his shortcomings Sir Frederick had as well many admirers; 'Maitland Mercury and Hunter River Advertiser' on the 4th September 1862, the following; "while amongst us previous to his removal to the Lachlan, he was highly esteemed as a most efficient and praiseworthy officer, and without the slightest hesitation, notwithstanding all the fulminations against him of a portion of the press, and our own expression of opinion as to the late encounter with Gardiner, we state it is our belief that he is one of our best and most zealous officers..."

On Saturday the 9th August 1862, became a red-letter day for the Baronet. Pottinger and with solid information got wind that 'The Darkie' would appear or be present for a romantic liaison with lover Mrs Brown at Wheogo. Subsequently, Pottinger staked out Kitty's home. Wheogo Station. The intrepid Inspector with eight officers in tow, including Hollister, Sanderson and Condell, awaited 'The Darkie's' appearance.

For the first time, Pottinger's information was tangible when in the dead of night Gardiner looking to an evening in the arms of Mrs Brown and mounted on his white charger casually returned to her home after an earlier visit. With complete surprise on his side and as Gardiner was within 5 yards, Pottinger rose abruptly calling 'Stand in the Queen's name', then fired point-blank at Gardiner, who was completely startled. However, due to a failure of Pottinger's carbine, it allowed Gardiner to escape from the eight carefully positioned troopers, two of which also discharged their weapons, missing Gardiner, who vanished into the night. Sir Frederick Pottinger then proceeded to Kitty's home and, after interrogating both Mrs 'Kitty,' Brown and her younger brother Johnny Walsh arrested the young lad. Sir Frederick stated his version of events before the Forbes Bench during Kitty's younger brothers arraignment. This incident was to bring Sir Frederick much ridicule. Young Walsh, Ben Hall, John McGuire and John Brown Kitty's husband's brother-in-law would die from a fever in gaol. At the time of the incident, Hall, Maguire and Brown were in the Forbes Lockup, arrested over the Eugowra Gold Robbery. (For full details of the encounter between the two adversaries, see link below.)
Bendigo Advertiser
Thursday 21st August 1862
MIDNIGHT ENCOUNTER WITH GARDINER.

Patsy Daley.
(1844-1914)
Sir Frederick Pottinger's one true success came when Pottinger affected Patsy Daley's capture on 11 March 1863. Pottinger and his troopers pursued the bushrangers' suspected path between the Weddin Mountains and Pinnacle Station area when his tracker Billy Dargin spotted fresh horse tracks crossing their path. Pottinger gives a first-hand account of the events at Daley's court appearance. See attached link below.
Sydney Morning Herald
17th March 1863
The capture of Patrick Daley

Gardiner having fled the Lachlan, Sir Frederick's focus turned to Ben Hall. The bushrangers whereabouts was well protected by his harbourers and old friends. Latest reports for Sir Frederick held that Hall was somewhere about Lambing Flat. As such, the Inspector made for that town to link up with a patrol. However, coinciding with Pottinger's arrival at Lambing Flat, the local horseraces were scheduled. Pottinger loved a good race meeting something which would be his undoing in the future, costing him dearly. "Sir Frederick was very fond of fun, and very fond of a horse-race." In June 1863, Pottinger rode into town as reported in the 'Empire', of the 13th June 1863.  "the three days races passed off very quietly, although the sport was very fair, and the attendance pretty numerous, yet the scarcity of money threw a damper on that hilarious spirit so necessary to enjoy a race meeting. Sir Frederick Pottinger, as usual, created much amusement by appearing on the racecourse with blankets, strapped on before him on the saddle; a quart pot, a pair of hobbles; and a pair of handcuffs, being artistically arranged around other parts of his saddle. His man Friday, (Dargin) in the shape of a black tracker, followed him. The who o, to use a much-hackneyed phrase "forming a unique sight which must be seen to be fully appreciated..." 

Sir Frederick
Pottinger.
In July 1863, the NSW Parliament was in an uproar over the new police forces' inability to bring under control the scourge of bushranging in the Western Districts, forcing Sir Frederick Pottinger to address the work of the police and their efforts under his Lachlan District command. Consequently, Pottinger sent a detailed memorandum to the Colonial Secretary, Mr Cowper, who tabled it in NSW Parliament so that honourable members would have a clear understanding of the polices' struggle to overcome not only the elements but those who aided and abetted bushrangers. Below is Sir Frederick Pottinger's memorandum, sent from the Lachlan district: - 
"The Lachlan police district comprises an area of about 600 miles by 200, but does not include the Wedden. "Forbes is ninety-five miles from Young, the point of junction between the two districts (the Lachlan and Captain Zouch's), being just half-way.

2. The Lachlan police do duty in the bush invariably in plain clothes, saddles, &c., without swords, disguised in fact as far as possible like bushrangers. "Their 'orders' are to 'bush out', avoiding roads, public-houses, stations, &c., in short, to in every way conceal themselves and their movements, which orders are generally duly obeyed. I have myself 'bushed out' with parties for fifteen and twenty days consecutively, the men subsisting solely on the 'rations' with them, and the horses on grass feed. "The Lachlan district, from having been one of the most disorderly, has become one of the quietest in the colony. Since the 15th June, 1862, but five cases of robbery under arms have occurred within fifty miles of head-quarters, Forbes, and two out of the five were owing to police officers themselves running into the 'lion's mouth'. "Besides the recovery of the escort gold, the Lachlan police have captured Healy, Owens, Hilton, and other notorious bushrangers (hereinafter specified), also some hundred lesser criminals at Forbes and elsewhere.

At present, not a bushranger dares show in the district but he is accounted for, if not caught. "The last time Gilbert, O'Mealy, and Hall shewed they were tracked sixty miles in twenty-four hours, and after losing six horses (including Mr. Roberts' racehorse Chinaman), were hunted out of the district. "In short, nothing can be more satisfactory than the results of police operations, as evinced in the existing state of the Lachlan district.

Myself, I have during my tenure of office personally apprehended Manns, Bow, Fordyce, Charters, Ben Hall, John O'Mealy, John Youngman, Billy the Native, Patrick Daly, besides being personally instrumental to the capture of dozens of others of more or less criminal repute." "It was owing wholly and solely to me that the escort robbery was brought to light, and four of the offenders to justice. "When I took Manns, Darcy, and the 217 oz. of gold, I was accompanied only by Mr. Mitchell (a volunteer) and a detective —Lyons—and I only consented to their rescue by seven armed men when I found Lyons was hors de combat on the first volley, and that Mr. Mitchell had but one shot; I then, after standing fire some five to seven minutes, reluctantly resigned my prisoners, in the hope of, at any rate, saving the gold (£900),  which I did.

From the 15th of June to the 1st of December, 1862, I slept out in the bush ninety-three nights, and I am prepared to show that I have (by the universal admission of all my men), done more bush duty than any officer or constable in the colony. "But one ejectment has been enforced by Lachlan police. "Ben Hall's house was alone burnt down, and that at the request of the then (by mortgage) actual proprietor. The house was at the time occupied by Henry Gibson (notorious villain since committed), also illegally at large from Victoria, Mrs. McGuire, and Hall's mother, and was daily frequented by bushrangers.

A week's notice was given and nothing destroyed — no woman or child frightened or molested." "Welsh was only in the first instance fourteen days in custody when he was discharged on bail. "Some five months after his own surety gave him up as being 'out' (a bushranger), and a month after he was arrested on a supplementary and subsequent charge of horse stealing.

He was taken every care of, and was recovering under the care of Dr. Connel, when he was removed by his mother to a public-house, and there his jugular vein and two temporal arteries being opened by some 'quack,' under whose treatment he had been placed—he (of course) died. "His original complaint was simply Lachlan fever, at the time frightfully prevalent."

Frederick W. Pottinger,  
In charge Lachlan district.

"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.

Courtesy NLA
Sir Frederick Pottinger's published official sanction
for brawling and gambling.
However, it was noted that the rewards paid to the police for the apprehension of bushrangers were due to Sir Frederick. Those rewards were shared amongst his men, Pottinger taking nothing for himself. Even though Sir Frederick raised the hackles of some regarding his abrasive measures, regardless, he often faced much support from his fellow citizens who longed for a strong punitive hand to reign over the burgeoning bushrangers onslaught. 'The Courier' Brisbane; “there is nothing in the fact that he wears a title which places his official acts beyond the pale of honest and impartial criticism, but we have yet to learn that it constitutes him a butt for every bilious, ill-natured scribbler, who loves to shine in print. Fiat justitia ruet coelum ("Let justice be done though the heavens fall."). Let Sir Frederick Pottinger, like every other public man, be dealt with upon his merits. Above all, let the truth be spoken of him, and when the occasion is one of sufficient gravity, by all means employ the language of censure and condemnation, as unreservedly in his as in any other case. Persecution we detest, and have small respect for that class of scribblers who hound a man down for fashion's sake. A correspondent also noted Pottinger's censure from the Colonial Secretary; "Mr. Cowper has caused to be written and published a very severe letter of censure to Sir Frederick Pottinger, Inspector of Police on the Lachlan, for having lately been concerned in a quarrel at a hotel. The Premier sends him a stern lecture and warns him and others to be more careful for the future. No doubt Sir F. Pottinger had no business at the hotel, and ought to avoid billiard table squabbles while in the police; but on the other hand, it is very plain that he was directly insulted, and could not well avoid pitching into the fellow who did it."⁴ Old habits die hard. However, other articles appeared expressing deep support for the Baronet. (See Article Below.) Furthermore, although censured by the Colonial Secretary for his misdemeanours, the Colonial Secretary's son Charles junior was a defender of the unjust ridicule of the hard-working inspector because he had "a handle to his name" stating, "If he had been named simply Charley, Billy or Paddy Pottinger we should never have heard anything of this sort." 
Bell's Life in Sydney and Sporting Chronicle
Saturday 1st November 1862 
SIR FREDERICK POTTINGER.
https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/59792056?browse=ndp%3Abrowse%2Ftitle%2FB%2Ftitle%2F57%2F1862%2F11%2F01%2Fpage%2F6052175%2Farticle%2F59792056

Accordingly, no one could fault his endeavours and imagination in his attempts to capture Gardiner, Gilbert and Hall and many others. Sir Frederick was the officer who introduced the concept of the police wearing civilian attire when on patrol in the bush, and his widespread employment of the black trackers was often the difference between success and failure, keeping the bushrangers constantly on guard; "a gamer man than Pottinger never breathed — his whole heart and soul was set on trying to get the Gardiner gang of bushrangers. He lived in a very nice residence on a hill just out of town..."

Nevertheless, Pottinger would spend days/weeks in the saddle, living rough in the bush. Unfortunately, he was unlucky not to find the success he had striven for in the capture of Gardiner, Gilbert, Hall and Co. This comment was stated in August 1863, in the NSW Parliament as to the general consensus of Sir Frederick's character; "whilst at Young to enquire of respectable diggers there into what was the general character of Sir Frederick Pottinger as an officer, and he had been told that he was a most efficient officer. He was not, as some had taken upon themselves to state, deficient in courage, but, on the contrary, was universally looked upon by the diggers up there as a brave and fearless man. He might perhaps be somewhat wanting in experience, but he was certainly not wanting in courage; those who had said so would not dare to say so out of doors, and were not worthy to clean the shoes of the officer they so misrepresented. He said it fearlessly, and thought it was beneath honourable members to shelter themselves behind the walls of this House whilst they assailed the character of officers whom they should rather protect..."

Artist's impression of
Sir Frederick Pottinger
on return from the
hunt for bushrangers.
c. 1928.
Courtesy NLA.
However, although Ben Hall and Co. appeared elusive, Sir Frederick would find other success when he wounded and finally captured James Alpin MacPherson aka ‘The Wild Scotsman’, who had arrived in New South Wales from Queensland in late 1864, in an attempt to link up with Ben Hall and his gang whose exploits were being soaked up in all the colonial newspapers. MacPherson assumed the name of John Bruce and shortly after arrival stole a horse at Wowingragong, but was unable to find Ben Hall, as reported in 'The Sydney Morning Herald', Tuesday, 3rd January 1865; "The Weddin gang are likely to have an accession to their corps in the person of the Scotch bushranger who appeared upon the scene some time ago, was wounded, and suddenly disappeared. He was seen, a few days since, in the neighborhood of Goimbla, well mounted, carrying a brightly-polished rifle, and a brace of revolvers to boot. About three hours afterwards, Sir Frederick Pottinger appeared, and, having heard of the circumstance, started in pursuit; but the fellow must have taken the bush, as he was nowhere to be found. It appears that he is now, and has for some time, been, in search of Hall, with the intention of joining him; whilst Hall is equally anxious to secure his adhesion. Both have been looking for each other from the first; but have thus far been unsuccessful. The probability, however, is that they will soon be associated."

Before long, MacPherson encountered the NSW police, and after losing his horse and ammunition, MacPherson escaped from police inspector Sir Frederick Pottinger on foot but was later surrounded and arrested. He was charged with shooting at Sir Frederick, but the charges were later dropped after Sir Frederick's death. However, MacPherson was to be sent on to Rockhampton to stand trial for a publican's earlier hold-up but consequently escaped when the steamer anchored at Mackay. According to 'The life and adventures of the Wild Scotchman' by P.W. McNally, MacPherson's leg-irons were discovered nailed to a tree with a note attached that read: “Presented to the Queensland Government with the Wild Scotchman’s best thanks, that gentleman having no further use for them, the articles being found to be rather cumbersome to transit in this age of enlightenment and progress – the 19th century – Many thanks ; adieu.”

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; “at the same meeting, there was a race called the Ladies' Bag, for amateur riders, welter weight for age. Sir Frederick Pottinger rode his own horse in the race. Knowing the bushrangers were in the vicinity in the scrub, the police galloped on the inside of the track while the race was on. They were afraid the bushrangers would dart out and cut Sir Frederick off. Through riding in that race Sir Frederick Pottinger was recalled to Sydney, and was nearly dismissed. His chiefs considered that he would have been better employed following the bushrangers than riding in races...”⁷ Pottinger's mistake was the moment the government was waiting for; thus, he was dismissed from the NSW police force on 16th February 1865. (See article right.)

The Forbes populace turned out in force, and protest meetings against his dismissal were held on the diggings and adjoining towns with petitions calling for his immediate reappointment; FORBES. —"Great interest is felt here in the case of Sir Frederick Pottinger. An appeal has been signed by about three hundred inhabitants of this district to the Colonial Secretary, on behalf of Sir. F. Pottinger, expressing confidence in him, and praying for a full inquiry into the circumstances." 

Therefore, Sir Frederick took matters in hand and on his way to Sydney to seek redress and on the 5th March 1865, Pottinger accidentally shot himself in the upper abdomen while boarding a moving coach at Wascoe's Inn in the Blue Mountains, it was reported that; "Sir Frederick Pottinger shot at Wascoe's inn, while travelling towards Sydney, by the accidental discharge of a pistol which he carried in his breast..."

First report of Sir Frederick's Accident.
The actual c. 1860 English made Tipping and Lawden American Christain Sharpes patent four-barrel.30 calibre breech-loading pistol issued to Sir Frederick and with which he suffered his fatal wound.
(Photo reproduced from Edgar Penzig's book Definitive Illustrated History of Ben Hall©)
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.
Petitions calling for Pottinger's reinstatement 
Sir Frederick recovered long enough to be relocated from the Blue Mountains to the Victoria Club in Sydney, where he was an esteemed member and after showing signs of recovery, suddenly relapsed and sadly died intestate on 9th April 1865, coincidentally, the same date that Robert E. Lee surrendered the last major Confederate army to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia, on April 9th, 1865, including the terror of southern NSW Daniel 'Mad Dog' Morgan shot dead on the morning of the same date at 'Peechelba Station', Victoria. Sir Frederick's death was reported; "Sir Frederick Pottinger died at the Victoria Club, from the effects of injuries received by the accidental discharge of a pistol, which he carried in his breast..."¹⁰ The Victoria Club ceased to exist in 1872, Mr W. H. Cattell being the secretary at the time. The building was then occupied by the officers of the NSW Department of Audit.
The Victoria Club, 136 Castlereagh Street, Sydney c1870. The Victoria Club ceased to exist in 1872.
Authors Note: My Great, Great Grandfather on my Mother's side served and fought during the American Civil War with the Union Army; GROUNDS, ALGERNON. —Age, 24 years. Enlisted March 30, 1863, at New York; mustered in as private, Company B, March 30, 1863, to serve three years; wounded in action at Trevillian Station, Va., June 12, 1864; transferred, July or August 1864, to Company M; transferred, February 27, 1865, to Company B, Ninth N. Y. Cav. I am told he was at Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia, on April 9th, 1865, for the surrender of General Lee's forces and was a part of Gen Custer's regiment. He returned to Australia and was a Chemist in Victoria and NSW.

Sir Frederick Pottinger was buried at St Jude's Anglican Church, Randwick, where his close friends and agitators attended. (See Article Below.)
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. 



SACRED
To the memory of
SIR FREDERICK WILLIAM POTTINGER
-Baronet,
Formerly of the Grenadier Guards,
and for many years a zealous and active
Officer of Police in New South Wales.
Born 27th April, 1831-Died 9th April 1865. 
This monument is erected by his friends
in the Colony.
Sir Frederick Pottinger's grave St Judes Anglican Church, Randwick, Sydney, NSW.
The broken column indicates a life cut short. (My Photo.)
Sir Frederick Pottinger
William 'Billy' Dargin (Dargan) Police Black Tracker.

NSW Police Tracker.
c. The 1800s
William 'Billy' Dargin (Dargan) was born at Windsor, NSW c. 1841, and was of the Dharug people, the local Aboriginal's residing in the richness of the Hawkesbury river surrounding the settlement of Windsor established c. 1791. William 'Billy' Dargin may have taken his English name from William Dargin a settler born in the colony in 1806 at Windsor and died 19th March 1875 and buried at Rouse Hill, Parramatta. Bill Dargin was a landholder and Inn Keeper at Windsor holding the 'Barrosa Tavern' licenses and the 'Emu Hotel'. William Dargin may be the father of Billy as although married to Eliza Byrne, with children of their own, it was observed that William was often away from his marital home and living in the surrounds of the Hawkesbury amongst the natives for long periods, even amounting to years"William Dargin, who was last seen alive by both those witnesses on the 19th May, 1873, on which date he left the residence of Needham with a small bundle of clothing with the intention, as he said, of going up the Hunter by Wiseman's Ferry. Since that date no tidings have been received of the deceased, which however caused little or no anxiety to his relatives, as the deceased had been in the habit of staying away for years at a time without writing."

Evidence also reveals that William was a man of intemperate habits and had been arrested at Windsor in 1830 for assaulting a Lieutenant William Bell commander of a detachment of the R. V. C; William Dargin (a native of Windsor), for violently assaulting Lieut. William Bell, commanding a detachment of the R. V. C. at Windsor, Guilty. To pay a fine to the King, of £5. In 1854, William was again arrested on this occasion for gambling. He pleaded guilty and was fined £5 10 shillings plus costs. Bill Dargin was also an excellent shot, having won numerous competitions in pigeon trap shooting. William, from all accounts, appeared to be his own man. It is unknown if Billy Dargin had a tribal name. Bill Dargin and Billy's relationship is not officially recorded and is only speculation based on name and locality. However, early colonial history demonstrates that on many occasions, local children of aboriginal or mixed descent were taken under the wing of local settlers and provided with a rudimentary education, care and religious teaching. Even as offspring, many fathers in a relationship with indigenous women catered to their children's needs.

Children c. 1860.
Furthermore, an article published in 'The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser', Saturday 9th January 1830, provides an account of the interaction and warmth via a yearly picnic held by Sydney citizens and local aboriginal's attended by the Governor of NSW, Lieutenant-General Ralph Darling. The article canvasses the government's strides for the welfare of aboriginal's and their children, including their education. Furthermore, it takes into account the respect for the elders held by those early citizens; 'Annual Conference with the Natives'; "the ground was roped in for the occasion, and decorated with a profusion of shrubs. The chiefs of the tribes were noticed in the kindest manner by His EXCELLENCY, who placed a badge of distinction on the neck of one of them, and personally took care that their wants were supplied with every thing which had been provided for the feast. At the conclusion of the repast, blankets, hats, handkerchiefs, jackets, trousers, and tobacco were plentifully distributed; and after The GOVERNOR and his immediate attendants had retired, Lieut. DARLING prevailed on the blacks to indulge the spectators with a dance, or corrobora, which ended the day's amusements...," the article continues "particular notice was taken of two Aboriginal native boys and a girl who were brought up in the house of the Rev. W. Walker at Parramatta, and accompanied him to the meeting. These children have made a very creditable progress in reading and writing, and are excellent house servants, a proof that the intellect of the natives is not so debased as to be incapable of cultivation if judicious measures be adopted...” However, some sections of the colony also garnered much injustice against the aboriginals for reasons far too complex to address here. Furthermore, in 1863 an expose on aboriginal life within European settlement noted that many local Sydney natives viewed the Europeans as self-imposed slaves. It was also noted that the aborigines considered the native-born Australians as brothers;  'The Sydney Morning Herald' Tuesday 22nd September 1863- A VOICE FROM THE COUNTRY; "The aborigines appear to pity the Europeans, as persons under self-imposed slavery to toil, holding themselves as quite their superiors. The difference of employer and employee they appreciate, and distinctions of Australian born, or otherwise "You brudder of mine, all same as me, native," is a high mark of esteem." Suffice to say that for Billy, he appears to have been well cared for in his education and welfare during his formative years and spoke English fluently.

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
Billy, as with many of the children of aboriginal descent, was brought into the Christian faith. It was recorded that Billy was baptised c. 1850 at around eight years of age by the Reverend of Windsor, the Rev. Henry Styles (Stiles) minister at St Matthew's Church. (designed and built by Francis Greenway in 1817The Rev. Henry Styles was a most compassionate and caring minister and had arrived in the Colony of NSW in 1833 on-board the vessel 'Warrior', in company with his wife. Upon arrival Rev. Styles was employed as the assistant curate at Windsor's St Matthew's Church of England, followed later by appointment as Master of the Parramatta Orphan School. There is a train of thought that Dargin may have hailed from the Bogan District. However, evidence suggests this assertion is without foundation through Billy's own admission in March 1863. He stated he came from Windsor; "William Dargan, then stated that he was employed in the police force. He was twenty years of age, and was baptised twelve years ago at Windsor, by the Rev. Mr. Styles." 

Traditional Fishing
c. 1800's.
Unfortunately, there is no record of young Billy's early life previous to joining the NSW police as a tracker. Whether full blood or mixed, Billy's heritage does not lessen the dignity of his life as a reliable and loyal police tracker. William's steadfast loyalty was praised years later, and where often other ex-trackers for various reasons harassed him and others;[sic] "Billy Dargan and Jackie Watson were the only two trackers who proved themselves faithful, and they were marked by the traitors. Watson was attacked by the dismissed trackers, who had raided one of the stations and secured firearms, and was shot so badly in the right arm that it had to be amputated."

Before Billy's police employment and whilst amongst the Dharug people, the young man most probably was taught the tribes traditions and learnt the bush-craft inherent in their culture.(lesson's which were to become Billy's bread and butter) Lesson's where he would no doubt become a skilled hunter and fisherman in the surrounds of the bountiful Hawkesbury River. A. L. Haydon provides an insight into the learned skills of the police trackers in 'The Trooper Police of Australia'; "By constant practice from childhood upwards, and the aid of an eyesight that is the keenest of any savage people in the world, he learns to read the story of a bush track as none other can read it.

The schooling of an aboriginal in this respect begins very early. As a child he is set to play games in which animals and birds are the principal figures. Footprints of various creatures are drawn by him in the sand, seemingly for amusement, but actually as part of his education. Later on he is taken in hand by the man whom he accompanies into the bush, learning each day something that quickens his intelligence. Nor is it only the boys who thus develop this power. The native girls and women are often quite as good at the game. Where the ordinary observer's eye cannot see anything out of the common an aboriginal will read a whole page of facts.

They literally stare him in the face. A dislodged stone, a turned leaf, a broken twig, a few grains of sand left on a patch of rock all tell him something about what has passed that way. From a horse's hoofmarks he will tell you both the size of the animal and the time that has elapsed since the impressions were made. By the way a hole is dug of a tree notched he will probably tell you what tribe the man belongs to who did the act. A tracker has even been known to say that the man (a complete stranger to him) whose trail he was following was knock-kneed, and he proved to be right."

The Dharug aboriginals had inhabited the Hawkesbury region for many thousands of years and were made up of a complex tribal group of various names. The Dharug tribe's also inhabited the wider Port Jackson, Broken Bay areas and the Blue Mountains. From historical records, the different tribes of those living within the confines of major settlements continued to hold on to their past ways. The cohabitation of many aboriginals from Hawkesbury to Shoalhaven, where neighbouring tribes mixed in for a Corroboree on various occasions. This wandering lifestyle was prevalent in all the varying tribes of Australia; 'The Sydney Morning Herald' Tuesday 22nd September 1863- A VOICE FROM THE COUNTRY; "Their personal appearance is very similar, although the dialects of different tribes vary considerably, they are usually short, particularly the woman, slender and active, with dark - but not African black skins. Black hair, frequently curling, never woolly, or straight, and large beautiful eyes; the nose is broad and spread at the nostrils, the point compressed towards the lip; the lips thick and prominent, mouth wide; the teeth a fine white.

The habits of these races were wandering; they lived by the chase, having no idea of cultivating the soil, and it is a noteworthy fact that the Allwise has implanted no indigenous cereal, excepting grasses, in this wide region, which commands so vast a difference of climate end soil. Nor have we roots to take the place of the taro, sweet potato, and yam of the South Sea Islands. Thus, while the American Indian tills his maize, the African his rice, and the inhabitants of the Pacific these esculent tubers, the Australian tribes seemed destined for a race of hunters - hence wanderers. To the European was reserved the developing these sources of wealth and plenty.

That a people, whose lives are bound by no tie to particular localities, should display the habits of this people, we might reasonably expect; yet these movements were circumscribed, as any infringement on neighbouring territories was fatal in its results.

Their dwellings were of a description most readily constructed, soon dilapidated, and forsaken without regret. Sometimes a sheet of bark supported on end in an inclined position by a small pole, at others, a few branches placed round a triangle, formed by partially severing a sapling so as to bend both ends to the ground, and supported in the middle by a sloping forked stick, were the materials almost always employed, but occasionally these were rendered more comfortable, and impervious to wind and rain, by being built over with grass.

As the tribe travelled together, or in parties of several families, a number of these gunyahs might sometimes be seen near each other, yet each was so arranged that its open side was turned from its neighbours. On one occasion, when the remnants of three different friendly tribes had assembled for a grand corroboree or dance..."

Alexander Riley. Pictured
on the right C. 1970s
Courtesy Pathfinders.
Turn of the Century police tracker, the highly respected Alex Riley, responsible for leading the polices' tracking effort in the capture in June 1923 of Roy Governor's youngest brother of Jimmy Governor at Mendooran north of Dubbo NSW. Mr Riley spent 40 years in service with the NSW police. Riley enlightens on the skill's he learnt through his early life out on the mission station's where he gained his experience in the craft of tracking man; "credit for any skill I have as a tracker goes to a tribe of full-blooded blacks who roamed the bush near Condobolin 60 years ago. We lived at the Mission Station, but I liked to hunt with the full bloods. When I was eight years of age they started to teach me how to track. They first showed me how to recognise the hoofs of police horses—by the way they were shod. They always knew when a trooper was in the locality..." No doubt, Billy Dargin also learnt the signs of a quarry and how to catch prey and, ultimately, man.

Contemporary illustration
of a tracker's employment.
However, Billy Dargin’s pathway into the tracker force may have come about through relationships with other aboriginal trackers already performing work in the NSW police of the Central West. Furthermore, the steady pay which Aboriginal trackers in the 1860s received by way of a daily rate of 2s 6d, not including possible reward payments for bushranger captures, was excellent money. At the time of Billy's entry into police employment, four other trackers were stationed at Forbes under newly appointed inspector Sir Frederick Pottinger. Those were Pilot, Jacky, Hastings and Charlie Edwards, aka Prince Charlie. Furthermore, Billy was a brilliant horseman. In actual fact, having never seen a horse until European settlement, the aboriginal's ability became sublime. Those skills were unwavering in finding the signs left by those pursued. In some instances, the tracker's perception of their quarry's guilt had been by victims untruthfully reported whereby they demonstrated good insight into their police work and knew a falsehood when it was presented; "whether they could not or would not continue the track, I cannot say. I have known a black tracker to track a barefooted child through the bush in a dry season; but in this case, as is well known to all, we have had any quantity of rain for the last two months, which must have made the tracks plain to the tracker if he liked to persevere; but it appears this case was treated rather a cooly on account, I presume, of there being no money lost; and the tracker, it appears, was heard to remark that King was not stuck up — that it was only a made up yarn of his..."

Nevertheless, Dargin undoubtedly travelled from his home territory of Windsor out to the Lachlan or even further out to the Bogan region, working as a stockman. Employment for stockman become in high demand due to the high loss of workers rushing to the new goldfields discovered in 1860 at Lambing Flat and later Forbes. Sir Frederick Pottinger, the Lachlan district officer, took on and placed Dargin under his command sometime in late 1861 or early 1862. Pottinger was the officer who saw the trackers' significance and their uncanny skills in the pursuit of the new wave of bushranging breaking out across the Western Plains. Pottinger and his fellow officers and constables in the years to come would rely heavily upon them. (A tracker earned approximately ₤3 17s 6d per month or today $336.00 per month, whereas an NSW trooper at the time earned 5s 6d a day). The trackers' workload varied immensely from rounding up and caring for the police horses, saddles, and general equipment to bush patrol to gunfights with the bushrangers. The tracker's accommodations also varied from living in the police stables to rough shacks close to the station where they would always be on hand in an emergency. The trackers were fitted out with a constables uniform or, when on bush patrol, often dressed the same as police in bush clothing instigated by Sir Frederick Pottinger.

However, not only were men utilised for tracking, but young girls were as well. In most cases, their skills were equal to the men and were also employed by the police in finding persons, both criminal and people lost in the bush or seeking runaway stock. A former district officer noted one instance of the skills of a young girl that are worth noting. Her name was Mayella or, to some Kitty; "Quite the smartest tracker I ever had," he said, "was a young gin, and she was deaf and dumb. These defects may have intensified her other faculties; I should think they did so, as she could follow up a trail with unerring certainty. Her father was a good tracker in his time, but he went blind and had to drop out. The girl worked with him at first and picked up a lot from the old man. I've known that gin to find a horse that had strayed after several others had tried and failed."

"Her best performance happened when I was a trooper up in the Brewarrina district. A child a boy of nine went out with some others into the bush for a picnic. Towards the end of the afternoon he wandered off by himself and got too far. They 'cooeeyed' for him, but didn't receive any answer. If he was within hearing distance he was probably too badly frightened to shout back. Any way, he just went on and on as any one will who gets bushed; and it's wonderful the distance even a child can travel in the circumstances."

"The bush in this part was particularly bad. It was thick, heavily timbered with gums and ironbark's. When we were called out to join in the search early the next morning, I took the gin, Mayella, with me. There were a lot of people out in various directions, but she soon picked up a trail and went off on her own. She was riding a small brown horse, sitting astride as native girls do, while I was on my mare. After the trail had taken us a few miles, I lost sight of it entirely. How Kitty (that was our own name for her) could follow it beat me. But she was a wonder! Then we came to a place where it stopped dead. Kitty got down and went on her hands and knees examining the bushes and grass minutely, and shaking her head with the little moaning noise she used to make when troubled."

"You're stumped, old girl,' I said to myself. It wasn't any good speaking to her, you see.

"But I was wrong. When she jumped on her horse again she turned him sharp off to the left, through some longish grass. And away off to that side, about forty yards from where we had stopped, she picked up a fresh track. Ten minutes later we found the little chap lying under a tree asleep. He had been travelling round about a good part of the night and was fairly tuckered out." (Source: The Trooper Police of Australia; A L Haydon. See Source page for book.)

Much loved Tracker
"Tommy" of

Broken Hill
c. 1900.
Furthermore, and throughout the past, most black trackers and Aboriginals were seen as lacking education. However, this was not always the case as, at the time of the later trial of Patsy Daley in March 1863, a newspaper correspondent covering the proceedings noted Billy Dargin's concept of right and wrong and of what he believed. Again, an understanding instilled through his early education under Rev. Styles; "Sir Frederick would ask the Bench to hear his evidence.-The black tracker was then called, and being asked the nature of an oath, replied, that he believed in another world, and that he would be punished if he told a lie; In answer to another question, however, he could not exactly describe the meaning of an oath, although he had heard of the Testament and believed in telling the truth..."

It was also stated that Billy Dargin's grammar and understanding appeared amongst his class to be an exception and that Billy was fluent in English and he was intelligent in his delivery of it; "to all of which questions Billy answered with an intelligence and straightforwardness quite surprising, and in excellent English..." Another observer wrote; "a good deal of cross-examination followed, and Billy answered all the questions put to him with an amount of intelligence quite surprising..." Throughout the recent past, some trackers' bravery has been brought into question, even Billy's. However, let us not forget that young Billy Dargin had been at the side of some of the most esteemed leaders of the NSW police and more than once displayed an amount of courage equal to and no more or no less than many other NSW troopers who often baulked when confronting the bushrangers. 

Extract from Hollister
Diary April 1863.

Courtesy RAHS.
History reveals that Billy Dargin was highly respected as a tracker by his fellow troopers and officers. Inspector Davidson, who succeeded Pottinger at Forbes, would later praise Dargin's efforts in the death of Ben Hall; "The coolness, courage and determination of the tracker Billy Dargin is worthy of some substantial reward and the greatest praise is due to him..." Dargin rode beside some of the most well-respected Inspectors in the NSW police service, many of whom would rise to the highest rank largely on the successes of the police trackers' abilities to hunt and capture bushrangers. Some of those esteemed officers were; Inspector Sir Frederick Pottinger, the officer most responsible for employing trackers for the specific task of uncovering bushrangers and their haunts, Inspector Sanderson, Inspector Davidson, Captain Battye, Inspector Norton, Superintendent Morrissett, Sgt Condell. Dargin also worked daily with the mounted constables such as Trooper Hollister, just to name a few of whom Billy Dargin had earned respect. 

Police Tracker Sam Hall in
mounted uniform
with, horse.
b.c. 1845 - d. 1909.

Courtesy State Library of. NSW.
However, as an Aboriginal employed as a police tracker, William also demonstrated his character while out in the harshness of the Australian bush in search of bushrangers when in the company of mounted troopers. Dargin, as well as his contemporaries, endured those problematic slogs through the scrub. An environment where a man soon learns a lot about his companions, attitude, humour, commitment, and loyalty as they carried out their bush tasks without prejudice or animosity towards each other.

Billy was part of the team. As troopers, they also had to survive in all types of weather, riding over rough inhospitable terrain and surviving at times in freezing conditions as well as sleeping and eating together in makeshift camps during their effort to apprehend bushrangers;[sic]"I can safely assert that for some weeks past almost their whole time has been spent in the bush and saddle, and I'm sure I need not inform the contented and comparatively luxurious citizens of Sydney that eight or ten consecutive nights in the wilder and colder parts of the Weddin and Abercrombie Mountains, with nothing but a saddle for a pillow, and the stars and sky for a quilt or counterpane, is not so very pleasant after all."

Sir Frederick
 Pottinger.
The police's tireless efforts, including Sir Frederick Pottinger, were earmarked in a letter to the Colonial Secretary in 1863. Demonstrating the demanding work being carried out by the police, including Pottinger himself supported by the trackers; "I have myself 'bushed out' with parties for fifteen and twenty days consecutively, the men subsisting solely on the 'rations' with them, and the horses on grass feed. "The Lachlan district, from having been one of the most disorderly, has become one of the quietest in the colony..," Pottinger continues "from the 15th of June to the 1st of December, 1862, I slept out in the bush ninety-three nights, and I am prepared to show that I have (by the universal admission of all my men), done more bush duty than any officer or constable in the colony..."

The boldness displayed by bushrangers roaming the Lachlan, such as Frank Gardiner, Johnny Gilbert, Johnny O'Meally, Ben Hall and many others associated with the gang's non-stop prowling of the Western District settlements early in the 1860s saw Billy Dargin right in the thick of it. By early 1863 use of black trackers was in the throes of being employed throughout NSW. However, not only for police work but by explorers such as Burke and Will's who suffered a horrid death by starvation after forsaking their tracker, or by parents searching for their wayward daughters having run away; "on last Friday afternoon (says the Tenterfield paper) a man about 35 years of age and a girl about 17 (the latter riding on a man's saddle) arrived in town, and stayed for two or three hours at the Tenterfield Hotel the landlord judging that a female ought not to travel in the night, and at the same time imagining that she was either the wife or daughter of the man who accompanied her they mounted their heavily-swagged horses and soon disappeared in the twilight. Unconsciousness of the near approach of the paternal avenger, whose foaming steed meanwhile travelled with an impetuosity far behind that of the rider's will. The unhappy parent, accompanied by a black tracker, arrived in town at daylight the following morning, and having made some inquiries concerning the runaways, at the same time exhibiting a loaded pistol with which he vowed to shoot the man, he was informed that they had passed through the town on the previous night, whereupon he went off in hot pursuit and startled the guilty pair while breakfasting about four miles from town. The man was shot in the knee..." 

At Work
In June 1862, a robbery occurred, which set the whole of NSW alight. The brazen attack on the Forbes Gold Escort at Eugowra NSW. The theft was orchestrated by the notorious Frank Gardiner and his cohorts Gilbert, O'Meally, Ben Hall, and others. When news of the attack reached Forbes, Inspector Pottinger mustered all available troopers plus his two trackers Billy Dargin and Charlie. Setting off for the robbery site arriving within hours. Pottinger immediately set Billy to work on the tracks.

The robbery was a complete success, and the retreat of the gang's path was quickly uncovered, allowing the police to set off for the purpose of apprehension. However, rain fell in the district, causing issues with the tracks. Therefore, Pottinger split his tracking party to cover more ground. Gardiner himself was very mindful of the black trackers' skill, and in fact, Gardiner feared the trackers more than the police and remarked to Daniel Charters during the gangs escape from Eugowra;[sic] "go as crooked as you can so as to bother the trackers..."

Following the gold escort's attack, newspapers were clamouring for any up-to-date information waiting as each new report surged along the telegraph lines. By the 18th June 1862, articles appeared with brief and distorted account's of the robbery highlighting the tracker's good work in pursuit;[sic] "about six o'clock yesterday morning Sir F. Pottinger, with eleven troopers, twenty settlers, and two trackers, got on the track of the bushrangers. About three miles from the coach they found, near a campfire, the gold boxes, which had been opened..." In trying conditions, it was here that Billy and his fellow tracker showed how invaluable they were.

Tracker Jack Cave
in Mounted
Police uniform.
b. 1865 - d. 1950's

Courtesy Blayney Library.
The news swept the colony, and the Colonial Secretary added to the story that Sir F. Pottinger's party was furnished with aboriginal natives as trackers. Within days of the robbery, the police, through the trackers' skill's soon came in sight of the bushrangers camp at the summit of Wheogo Hill, a short distance from the home of Ben Hall. Here the troopers lead by a tracker named Hastings under Sgt Sanderson's command espied a rider fleeing Hall's home and set to the trail. Sanderson later stated; "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," Sanderson continued; "I found the top of the hill very stony, 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..."

Inspector Sanderson
c. 1896
However, after a vigorous chase, success was soon in the grasp of the much-maligned NSW police, as they, in Gardiner's panic, took possession of a pack-horse carrying part of the stolen booty. Elated at the news, the people of Forbes rejoiced; June 22nd 1862: "Senior Sergeant Sanderson returned to Forbes yesterday with half the gold taken from the escort on the 13th instant. It appears that when near Wheogo, Sanderson's party saw a man at a distance riding towards them, who, when he saw the police, at once turned and rode back full gallop. The police followed on his track and ran him to the top of a high mountain, from which four others had just decamped. Hastings, a black tracker, being with the police, they were enabled to follow on their tracks for twenty miles; and the bushrangers, finding themselves so hotly pursued, let their packhorse go, and on him was found about 1600 ounces of gold, the police cloak, and the two Terry's breech-loading carbines, which had been stolen from the escort coach. Sanderson's horses being quite knocked up, the party were compelled to return. Sir Frederick Pottinger's party have not yet returned since they first started in pursuit."

"The black tracker"
George Rossi Ashton, 1881.

 number: A/S18/06/81/SUPP
Courtesy State Library of Victoria 
Upon Sanderson's' return with the robbers lost gold, the success of the recovery was noted in regards to tracker Hastings' jubilation and his demeanour after a lengthy time in the saddle; "on the arrival of the little band with the treasure-viz., a pack horse carrying about 1600 z° of gold, two rifles and a trooper's coat, they were loudly cheered, and surrounded by some 3000 people, eager to learn the news and see how affairs stood. The horses and men appeared knocked-up, the blackfellow who had served as tracker appearing the least fatigued, to judge by his self satisfied and merry countenance... "

With the success of the recovery of the gold from the Escort robbery, the trackers' use was now more important than ever for the success or failure of the NSW Police in the western districts. The bushrangers' vexed by the relentless pursuit of the trackers, put an end to the bushrangers having any time to relax at their often makeshift camps. John Gilbert stated this about his fear of the trackers; "I'm not afraid of the police" said Gilbert, "it's those bloody black hell-hounds of trackers that we have to fear-they pick up tracks and follow them so devilish quick..." Gilbert's fear of the trackers was well-founded as on many occasions Gilbert himself was to have many close shaves as would Ben Hall.

On 7th February 1863, the newly established police station on the vast Pinnacle property owned by escort robber and informer Daniel Charters' sister Margaret Feheeily saw fringe bushranger Ben Hall in company with Patsy Daley rob the station whilst unattended. The raid was to procure weapons following their raid on Meyers Solomons store at Lambing Flat on the 2nd of February. In charge, Constable Knox managed to follow the pair 3 miles north to Allport's shanty close to the Pinnacle Station. As the pair departed, Allport's they were spotted by Billy Dargin accompanied by Trooper Hollister and another tracker, Prince Charlie. Hollister recorded in his diary the events on the theft; Hollister diary entry for Saturday 7th February 1863; "On Saturday 7th instant the Pinnacle barracks were broken into and robbed of one rifle one carbine 10 rounds of rifle ammunition one pouch and bridle one pair of saddle bags belt one gunnysack one flask of powder two pair of handcuffs two Crimean shirts &c. Ben Hall was tracked from the barracks to Uar by constable Knox." Diary entry Sunday 8th February 1863;"With Dargin (Tracker) from this station to Uar from Uar to Pinnacle reefs from reefs to this station. Myself and Dargin from Forbes met constable Knox at Uar and took up the tracks and ran them for about 12 miles and came upon Ben Hall and Patsy Daly within about 3 miles of the Pinnacle reefs and chased them about one mile when my horse ran me against a tree Daly tried to shoot one of the Black Trackers. McFenns black fellow was with me through me getting the fall Hall and Daly escaped came to Pinnacle Police Station. When I met Knox, I sent him back to this station." Hollister was in no doubt it was Ben Hall. Ultimately Constable Knox would be dismissed from the NSW police after the Pinnacle robbery.

Later that day, the police came in sight of Hall and Daley and gave chase. After a gallop of some miles, Hollister had become unseated from his horse when Ben Hall's accomplice Patsy Daley wheeled around and fired attempting to shoot tracker Prince Charlie. (Charley Edwards) Dargin stated; “followed them at that time with Prince Charlie and Trooper Hollester. Chased them for three miles and a half, and should have taken them but for Hollester getting thrown from his horse through running against a tree; saw Daley snap his revolver three times at Charlie..." The robbery would cost Knox dearly as he was subsequently dismissed from the force on the 31st March 1863.

Artists impression
of Billy fleeing
after Norton capture.
c. 1933.
Following the confrontation with Hall in February 1863, Billy Dargin was tracking Inspector Norton on patrol in the vicinity of Ben Hall's former station Sandy Creek when the two officers were approached by two horsemen in the afternoon. A third then appears, shortly after a gunfight ensues and the Inspector discharges his revolver without effect, was taken prisoner by Ben Hall, John O'Meally and Patsy Daley. Inspector Norton retells the event in his own words as follows; “I was proceeding through the neighbourhood of Wheogo, accompanied by a black tracker, each of us leading a horse; about 9 o'clock I saw two men riding, about 500 yards before us, one of whom had a led horse, and the other a gun on his thigh; I beckoned to the tracker, who was on the hill opposite, and he came down; on nearing the men, they made off; we followed them for some distance into the scrub, and got off, and then fired on them; we then returned to our horses, to pick up our led horses, and, on preparing to start, saw them again watching us; we followed them again, and fired on them, when, finding our horses unable to overtake them, we returned to some huts, and remained there for twenty minutes or half an hour; seeing no more of them, I thought it advisable to go to the police station to get some men, who were to have met us in the neighbourhood, to follow them; about three or four miles from those huts, the black fellow called out that there were three men coming up behind us ; they were so near that I could hear them; I could hear them shouting, " Bail-up," evidently with the intention of stopping us; the black fellow passed me and left his led horse; I dropped mine also and turned round, and, on seeing me do so, the tracker stood at about fifty yards distance.

The three men were scattered at about 100 yards apart, one on each side of the road, and one near the road; the man on the left side advanced within eighty yards of me, and then commenced firing; the man on the left charged and fired a double-barrelled gun; I cannot swear to the man on the right firing his rifle, but he fired a revolver; the man I supposed to be O'Maley took up his position about eighty yards from me; Hall and the prisoner a little farther off; O'Meally cried out, "Throw up your arms, repeatedly; they then commenced firing with revolvers; we fired several return shots; they might have fired fifteen or eighteen shots; my ammunition was then expended, and O'Meally with Hall rode up to me; the latter presented a revolver at me, while O'Meally and Daley ran after the black-fellow, and fired after him; after a few minutes, Hall rode up to me, and said that they had nothing against, me, and that I might go; Hall spoke of a trooper named Hollister, who had threatened to shoot him, and that he would return the compliment when he got hold of him; Hall returned me a revolver which he said was no good to him; he spoke of Sir Frederick Pottinger; how Sir Frederick had brought him (Hall) several times into Forbes, and had him remanded from time to time, until really the magistrates were inclined to believe that there was some charge against him, and those, with him; that it was his opinion that Sir Frederick detained them till he could make up a case; Hall referred also to the case of young Walsh who was then suffering in the lock-up, as he (Hall) had suffered before; I asked for my horse, and he said that I could take them; but he inquired if there was anything particular in the swag on one of them; I told him there was nothing of any consequence; the three detained a Government revolver, a Government carbine which the black-fellow had dropped, a Government saddle and bridle, and the horse on which the black-fellow rode, remarking that they would shoot the horse, and so teach people not to lend horses to policemen; the man who I supposed to be O'Meally, said to me, "you had better not give our description when you return to town; "they then rode round, and picked up their discharged arms, and cleared off.

I cannot swear positively that the prisoner is one of the men; I never saw O'Meally but once before, and the prisoner never but on that occasion; I could not have been close to the prisoner more than three or four minutes; Hall was the one who was in conversation with me, and whom I would swear positively to; the names were given to me by the black-fellow as Hall, Daley, and O'Meally; O'Meally was dressed differently to the prisoner, the hat is exactly like what I have seen Daley wear; have seen the prisoner twice since he was apprehended, and I identify him so far as that to the best of my belief he is the man; I will not swear positively to him; while the others were away Hall fed his horse at a distance from me; I was unarmed, and he had a revolver in his belt and a gun in his hand; I did not care to go near him; he looked as if keeping guard."

At work.
Courtesy NLA.
However, following the capture of Inspector Norton and his release by Ben Hall, Sir Frederick Pottinger out on patrol near the scene of the encounter at Wheogo, had pointed out to him by tracker Billy Dargin the exact spot where Ben Hall had attempted to shoot and kill Norton. Dismounting, the Inspector examined the tree where the bullets fired by Hall had struck, and the mark showed how it narrowly missed Inspector Norton; "on Wednesday morning last, whilst Sir Frederick Pottinger with Billy, the black tracker, and some of the mounted police were out in the neighbourhood of the suspected bushrangers, near the Wedden Mountains, the tracker detected fresh footprints of a horse crossing the path Sir Frederick and his party were pursuing and directing the master's attention to the circumstances Sir Frederick turned his course in the direction of the tracks. Billy soon pointed out the identical spot which had afforded such friendly protection to J. O. Norton, the sub-inspector of police. Frederick Pottinger descended from his horse and minutely examined the tree, and found the imprint of two large bullets, one of which must have strayed just over the head of Mr. Norton, as he was described to have stood by the tree, and the other nearly at the level with his chest..." 

Inspector Norton.
c. 1880s.
Never before published.
On the above-mentioned occasion, Billy Dargin continued to track the fresh hoof-prints he had detected and led Sir Frederick Pottinger and troopers to arrive near the Pinnacle station. While hiding in a mine shaft, they affected the capture of Patsy Daley on 11 March 1863. In court at Forbes, Pottinger recounts the events; 'The Sydney Morning Herald', Tuesday 17th March 1863; “Sir Frederick turned his course in the direction of the tracks. Billy soon pointed out the identical tree which had afforded such friendly protection to Mr, J. O. Norton, the sub-inspector of police. Sir Frederick Pottinger was directing his course again, when he espied in the distance, through the foliage of the trees in the bush, a mounted horseman, and at once gave orders for pursuit. The party were now in the vicinity of the Pinnacle reef, and, first of all ordering two of his troopers to make round the hill, on which the reef is situated, in order to intercept the flight of the horseman, Sir Frederick, with the black tracker and the two remaining troopers, continued the chase. All this was done in less time than it takes to write, and very shortly afterwards, Sir Frederick pulled up before some deserted-looking huts and found a horse, with a saddle on it, tied up to one of the huts. He at once recognised the horse to be one he had seen the night before in Ben Hall's paddock, "all in a sweat." to use the baronet's own language. The black-fellow also recognised a pair of girths on the horse as being a portion of the property stolen from the Police Barracks, at the Pinnacle station, on the occasion of that place being stuck up and robbed during the temporary absence of the police, shortly before. Entering the huts, Sir Frederick saw two or three men inside, and finding them unwilling to answer his questions, he threatened them, where upon he was informed that the rider of the horse was down a shaft on the reef above named. Proceeding to the place indicated, Sir Frederick found that the shaft was about sixty feet deep, and that a permanent kind of ladder was fixed to the side, for ascent and descent.

Sir Frederick called to the man (presuming him to be there) to surrender, but received no answer. Again, after an interval, the same request was repeated, but met with no response. After several minutes, the supposed bushranger was again summoned to appear, without eliciting any reply. At length, finding mild exhortations insufficient, Sir Frederick threatened that he would at once proceed to burn and smoke him out like an opossum. The man not liking the latter alternative, surrendered at discretion, and was immediately taken into custody. It is obvious that if the notorious Gardiner selects such innocent looking striplings to execute the deeds generally left to men of sterner stuff, it must be for some new arrangement in bush tactics, such as the human telegram hinted at by a contemporary. Patrick Daley, who forms the subject of this sketch, is a mild, youthful whiskerless looking person, with light-blue eyes and fair complexion. There is nothing in his physiognomical expression outwardly, to denote the degraded villain. He certainly, during the examination, kept his head down, glancing furtively round. His eyes move quickly and, with a sinister expression, as if were in the habit of looking under his eyebrow and "taking stock" of those around him. Sir Frederick Pottinger undoubtedly deserves great credit for his prompt action and discernment in this matter; and doubtless, he is willing to accord is portion of the merit to the acute sight of his black tracker. Lachlan Observer. [prisoner was brought before the Forbes bench on the 12th instant, and remanded for a week."] 

William Dargin's evidence at Patrick Daley's trial.
The newspaper account (above) gives insight into Billy Dargin and his right and wrong concept.  Although history portrays most black trackers as lacking education, Billy Dargin was an exception.  He had a good grasp of English, and he was intelligent in his delivery of it.
NSW Police Gazette.
In his role as a tracker, Dargin was instrumental in effecting the pursuit and capture of rogues during 1862-1865. Dargin was one of the trackers to interact with the scourge of the NSW police, Ben Hall and was often within yards of the bushranger as both pursuer and pursued. Dargin was also instrumental in hunting some of Hall's associates, such as the 'Old Man' James Mount, whom Dargin helped capture at 'Gallenbagh' on the Murrumbidgee in October 1864 after a chase of 200 miles. "Ben Hall's mate, "the old man," White, has been captured by constables Nicholas, Summers, and Billy (the black tracker), who dogged him from Wheogo to the  Murrumbidgee, where he went on the spree, and was caught sleeping in a public-house; he was taken to Forbes and committed for trial at the next Criminal Sessions..."

For the capture of Mount, Billy received £5. Earlier in December 1863, Billy again received £12 5 shillings ($1050 today) to capture two culprits named John Fitzgibbons and Foster, who had robbed the Molong and Wellington mails were subsequently convicted. However, Billy's participation in the brutal killing of Ben Hall brought him not only praise but also a modicum of fame as one of the perpetrators in ridding the colony of its most fearsome bushranger on a cold and windy morning on the 5th May 1865. Billy's actions were recounted at the inquest into the police killing and where he received kudos from his superior Inspector Davidson, who recounted the events of the death in a letter to the Inspector-General of police Captain McLerie; Police Report, Forbes, Saturday, May 12th, 1865; Sir, 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
J.H. Davidson

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 pounds, 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..."

James Henry
Davidson.
In the months following Hall's death, Billy continued in the police service and worked closely with Davidson. On the 31st of August 1865, while out searching for a lost revolver from an encounter with bushrangers sometime previously, Billy came across a hidden plant of money no doubt placed by Ben Hall; 'The Sydney Morning Herald' Saturday 2nd September 1865; Discovery of a "Plant"- "The Lachlan Chronicle states that on Thursday, while out in the bush with Mr Inspector Davidson, Billy Dargin, the black tracker, came across a bundle which, upon being opened, was found to contain the sum of £800 in bank notes Mr Davidson had come out for the purpose of searching for a revolver which had been lost during the chase by his party after bushrangers some time ago in the direction of the Talibang Mountain When nearing the end of Boyd Creek, about four miles from Uah station, Billy saw what he at first thought was a bone wedged under a log. He dismounted, and found the object to consist of an oilskin wrapper, inside of which was a mail bag containing £800 half notes. From appearances, it was evident that the parcel had been put where it was found when the grass was high, and that cattle by feeding had disturbed it, and so exposed it to view. Inspector Davidson will forward the notes to the proper bank in Sydney, when, no doubt, Billy will be rewarded as he deserves."

However, soon after this stroke of good fortune, William Dargin died suddenly at noon on the 4th of September 1865 in pain and 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.

Furthermore, Ben Hall 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 actually 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 2IC, Sergeant Condell. In turn, following Ben Hall's death, within months, the two Aboriginal trackers Dargin and Charley associated with the deed were also dead. Moreover, both of their deaths came about under mysterious circumstances! Subsequently, Hall's killing and ferocious manner never sat well with many of Hall's close friends and family. Whereby, speculation soon mounted as to what the actual events of that fateful morning engendered! Did Davidson and Condell tell the whole truth regarding the savagery of their actions at the inquestShortly after the police had returned to the town of Forbes with the gunshot-riddled body of Hall, William Dargin, widely known as 'Billy' the hard-working and right hand of numerous Inspectors, put forward to some people his own account of Hall's death.

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;[sic] "the brain was penetrated at two points through the forehead, the left arm lacerated with slugs or large shot, and the body perforated in sundry places by bullets and rifle balls. In short, the body was literally riddled, and its appearance presented a tremendous commentary..." Nonetheless, the medical examiner Charles Ashenheim who conducted a seemingly scant autopsy, did not reveal in his findings the full extent of Hall's gunshot wounds and said: "I am a qualified medical man; I have examined the body of the deceased, and find it perforated by several bullets; the shot between the shoulders the two shots through the brain, and the one through the body were severally sufficient to cause death." Even the evidence nullifies any idea that Hall stayed on his feet grasping a sapling long enough to defend himself while shot after shot was poured into him. The idea is fanciful! The barrage of bullets had consequently ripped into a no doubt dead Ben Hall and fired after his demise in the early hours by a highly-strung if not hysterical police. Davidson even wrote to his father that he had lost control of his men in checking their fire. Logic took a holiday on 5th May 1865!

"Death of Ben Hall" painted
by Patrick Maroney
in 1894.

Courtesy NLA. 
Nevertheless, the rampant gossip that took hold in Forbes Dargin's version failed to gain traction, possibly due to his aboriginality. Therefore, his comments were subsequently dismissed by the wider local community, who in a few cases referred to them as fanciful or an exaggeration of his part in the shooting for notoriety. Would the police be so cold-hearted? It should be said that William would not have gained a scintilla of acknowledgement for divulging his version of Hall's death. However, his account may have ruffled a few feathers. Accordingly, in 1906, Ben Hall's former brother in law John Maguire in his biography 'The Biography of a Reliable Old Native' claimed that Billy recounted first hand to him what actually happened that night and its end result; "The blacktracker, Billy Dargin, told me that they waited till Ben was asleep; then he (Billy) crept up in the darkness, put a revolver to Ben's head, and shot him dead. The wife of Ben's 'friend' (Mary Coneley) also told me that her husband was uneasily pacing up and down and that she suspected his treachery. Not only did this man have the use of Ben's ill-gotten gains, but he received £500 from the Government for acting the betrayer. Billy Dargin was never the same man after the affair."

Whether or not in the few months after Hall's death and with William holding fast to his version, revenge lay in wait. Possibly, those of a higher station worried about a future kerfuffle, where rumours and innuendo may take hold put him out of the way? Therefore, the question is, had Billy been murdered to deflect further investigation? So the press reported in September 1865; DEATH OF BILLY DARGIN.—The Lachlan Reporter says: —"The black tracker, who has been in the police force about three years, died very suddenly on Saturday last. At the morning he appeared in great agony, but became easier, and died about noon. His last and crowning exploit was the part he took in the compassing the death of Ben Hall. Inspector Davidson spoke of his conduct upon that occasion as being admirable. His remains were handed over to the undertaker, and on Sunday morning he was quietly buried in the Presbyterian portion of the cemetery, there being neither followers nor mourners. He gave his age as twenty-two."

Was Billy poisoned? It may be that while in his camp at Forbes. Billy was administered one of the most common poisons available on a goldfield such as Forbes, Arsenic, where violent death can come in great agony and within hours of its ingestion, "he appeared in great agony and died very suddenly." The symptoms of Arsenic poisoning are described as; Diarrhoea, vomiting, vomiting blood, blood in the urine, cramping muscles, hair loss, stomach pain, and terrible convulsions. The organs of the body that are usually affected by arsenic poisoning are the lungs, skin, kidneys, and liver. 

When William died, 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 killed, some Hall sympathisers' may have quietly smiled. William's death may have also put the kibosh on others within the police party from speaking out. For his part, Billy had received £50 ($4,200 today), a hell of a lot of money for a tracker in the 1800s, and this was not the only reward Billy was awarded. However, it was well earned. Furthermore, on the day of Hall's death close to her home at Billabong Creek, a distressed Mary Coneley reputedly cut off a piece of Ben's hair as a keepsake. She reputedly would later divorce the informant Michael Coneley.

James Condell.
Nonetheless, the evidence of Davidson and Condell has long been suspect as both gave verbatim versions. Therefore their comments point to collusion in their recounting of the events. Furthermore, out of the six officers involved, these two were the only police to provide a statement at Hall's inquest. Subsequently, their version puts forward the impression that they were perverting facts with vague comments, including a debatable knowledge of the Felons Apprehension Act and the overall legality of their actions. Although Hall, Gilbert and Dunn had been ordered to report to Goulburn Gaol by the 29th April 1865, the Act of Outlaw would come into force on the 10th May 1865. Whereby, after that date, any citizen may lawfully kill them, and their harbourers would face confiscation of all property and suffer fifteen years gaol. In light of this, the two senior police Davidson and Condell, could not have been ignorant of the Acts pending enforcement.

Hall's death generated much sympathy and bewilderment for others in its viciousness. Therefore, the thought of reprisal and the ridicule created by Hall over a long period may have been a factor in the polices' merciless actions. Thereby, if the real situation had been revealed, Davidson and Co could have been charged with murder as Felon's act was as yet not in force? However, for Davidson, he was never going to allow Hall to flee. "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." The comments of Hall carrying a revolver appear spurious and cooked up. Therefore, it would seem that Hall's shooting was most probably completed after Dargin shot him in the dead of night other than at daybreak as attested to? Another view of Williams death could well have been Appendicitis, where a sharp pain in the lower right area of the abdomen if unattended would cause death, but this would be over several days, not immediately. Symptoms, fever (high temperature), stomach tender to touch low on the right, nausea (feeling like throwing up), loss of appetite (not feeling like eating), vomiting, although usually only once or twice, diarrhoea or constipation.

As for Charley, his death earlier in August 1865, was also shrouded in mystery after his decomposed body was found at Grudgery Station, Lachlan River; 'Empire' Monday 14th August 1865; Skeleton Found.- "Davidson brought into Forbes, on Thursday, the skeleton of a man, which he had found in the bush, about a mile below Grudgery Station, and three-quarters of a mile from the road. The skeleton is that of an aboriginal and is supposed to be the remains of Charley, a tracker employed by the Forbes police in their searches after the bushrangers. The hands were left perfect, and a quantity of hair was also found near the bones, but the feet were missing and had evidently been taken away by native dogs. Three shirts known to have belonged to Charley were also found near the body. From the fact of a particular tooth in the front of the mouth being gone, and its general formation, little doubt exists as to whom the skeleton belonged. Charley had been missing for some time."-Lachlan reporter.

Inspector James Henry Davidson


James Henry Davidson
c. 1880s

Coloured by me.
James Henry Davidson was born on 29th March 1840 in Sydney. He was the eldest son of Walker Rennie Davidson and his wife, Christiana. They were married at St James' Church, Sydney, on 19th July 1836. Walker Rennie Davidson hailed from Scotland, arriving in Australia early in 1829. Walker Davidson gained employment within Surveyor General's Department of NSW, working his way to becoming Surveyor-General of NSW in 1864, a post he held until 1868. With the foundation of the new Police Act of 1862, at the age of 23, James Henry Davidson held the position of Sub-Inspector of Police. At the 1865 dismissal of Sir Frederick Pottinger, Davidson assumed command of the police at Forbes NSW at the age of twenty-five.

Although Davidson was active in the pursuit of Ben Hall and his gang Forbes would be his first command. Previously, Sub-Inspector Davidson was deployed to the Bathurst region under Superintendent Morrissett. Davidson patrolled mainly in and around the Carcoar district, initially for Frank Gardiner, then as Ben Hall, Gilbert and O'Meally became more prominent, his task was their apprehension. Unfortunately, while preparing to venture out on patrol, Davidson shot himself accidentally in the foot in August 1863. 

[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; "Normal rights under the law, including “assumption of innocence”, were revoked. The offenders were legally considered guilty without the usual pre-requisite of a trial, the lives of an “outlaw” were considered forfeited, and so once the Act was in force against an individual, killing that person became a “legal” action..."

Whether Davidson was aware of the 'Outlaw' declaration and its ramifications, in his report on the death of Hall, he writes of his knowledge; "I determined upon doing this, thinking that the Felons Apprehension Act was about this time in force." However, at the time of the proclamation, Davidson was not in contact with police Inspector General McLerie, nor provided McLerie with his strategy or informant's tip. Regardless, Davidson was conscious of Felon's act but determined not to let Hall or the others slip through his fingers.

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. "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..."

Therefore, it is evident that the police's mindset was to shoot dead all three bushrangers. On the 29th of April 1865, the bushrangers were to give themselves up at Goulburn Gaol. Davidson set off at 4 am from Forbes with a heavily armed police party to rendezvous with the informant near his home and at long last to hopefully end the bushrangers years of the police's humiliation. Relying on the informant's information, Davidson's party made camp not far from the bushrangers' reported campsite and waited for further word from the informant; "having taken every precaution to destroy our horses’ tracks, we encamped in a dense oak scrub, remaining there until Tuesday, when information reached me..." 

Mary Coneley
The informant, Coneley, was a long-time friend of Ben Hall through his wife Mary Strickland, the niece of Mary Strickland who had assisted Ben Hall in re-setting his broken leg and recovery under their care. During Ben Hall's recovery, Mary and Ben, as teenagers, formed a close bond, and romance with Mary blossomed. Ben Hall often called at their home from that intimate friendship when he required a respite from the relentless pursuit of the NSW police. Furthermore, Coneley lived with his in-laws' benevolence in a small cottage on the Strickland's Billabong property. Although the reward for capturing the three bushrangers (Hall, Gilbert and Dunn) was £3,000, Coneley would have been entitled to 50 percent of the prize. It was enough incentive for his course of action and finally provided him with the independence he sought from his in-laws and where Mary's family may have perceived that she may have married beneath her station.

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.

Michael Coneley
However, on the afternoon of 2nd May 1865, Davidson nestled in the scrub some 7 miles from the suspected bushrangers camp. Coneley appeared to meet with the Inspector reporting Gilbert and Dunn had arrived but not Ben Hall, insisting that the Inspector attack these two in their camp that evening. As £1000 for Coneley was as good as £1500, and Coneley was worried that his payment might escape if Davidson waited longer. Unknown to Davidson, Gilbert and Dunn in the camp were disturbed by some stockmen searching for strayed cattle. Believing them to be troopers, bolted as the police were now often dressed as Bushmen or drovers. Davidson wrote later in his report:-I determined to wait until the three got together and then attack them in their camp, I determined on doing this...”

In the afternoon of the 4th May, Coneley met with Davidson and informed him of the bad news that Gilbert and Dunn had fled, but Ben Hall had arrived at the campsite. This time Davidson would not wait and on that evening moved his men consisting of five troopers and two black trackers all heavily armed into position close to Hall's reported campsite.

At dawn on 5th May 1865, the Inspector struck. Davidson had caught his prey by complete surprise. Ben Hall was alone. What follows is Davidson's written account of the events of that fateful morning and the outcome as reported in the 'Clarence and Richmond Examiner' Tuesday, 16th May 1865. (See Article Below.)
Clarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser
Tuesday 16th May 1865
DEATH OF THE BUSHRANGER BEN HALL
https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/61895310?browse=ndp%3Abrowse%2Ftitle%2FC%2Ftitle%2F65%2F1865%2F05%2F16%2Fpage%2F6143498%2Farticle%2F61895310
When Sub-Inspector Davidson returned to Forbes with the bloodied corpse of Ben Hall slung on his belly across a horse partially covered by a blanket, the police party's arrival was reported by the 'Western Examiner'A DEAD BUSHRANGER.-The Forbes correspondent of the 'Western Examiner' writes: -On Saturday morning the 6th May, at about 4 o'clock in the morning, a body of Police under the direction of sub-Inspector James Henry Davidson arrived in Forbes with the corpse of Ben Hall, the bushranger. He had been killed the night before near the north Billibong, about twelve miles, from Forbes, and the body was pierced with eight or nine bullets. Either one of four of the wounds must have proved fatal. It is said that the spot where he was killed is not far from Mr Pierce Strickland's station. It is also said that Hall had been in and about the town of Forbes two or three days previous to being shot. Gilbert and Dunn were not with him, and it is rumoured that they were off after some horses, while Hall visited Forbes and neighbourhood, and that it was while Hall was on his way to join Gilbert and Dunn that he was killed.

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;

 Sir,

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

J.H. Davidson

Reward distribution
1865.

NSW Police Gazette.
With 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 £500 ($41,500) Davidson received £150 ($12,500), Sergeant Condell £75 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, 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?
Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser
Monday 29 May 1865
DEATH OF THE BUSHRANGER CHIEF BEN HALL.
In 1869, Davidson was Inspector of Police for the South-Western District at Deniliquin NSW and married Catherine Shanahan in the same year in Victoria. Earlier Davidson was to marry Miss Sarah Bayly; "was engaged to [sic] be married to Miss Sarah Bayly, daughter of the late N. P. Bayly, of Havilah; but the contract was broken off, and the young lady became the wife of Mr. George Thompson, son of E. Dean Thompson, of Sydney." However, the newly married Davidson's soon felt the hand of tragedy when their first son, James Henry, died one year old. Still, the following year, 1872, Mary Christiana was born. In 1873, they were blessed with another son, John Rannie Davidson, there followed over the next decade more children, Catherine Josephine, born in 1876, and Arthur Andrew in 1878. The family moved to Darling Downs, Queensland, where sadly Catherine, just three years old, died in July 1879 in Toowoomba. The following year another son, Martin Shanahan, was born and, in 1884, the last son, Alfred Charles, was registered in Sydney. Their other daughter, Mary Christiana, died in June 1882, aged ten years and three months. The last child, Eleanor Angelina, was born in 1888.

Whilst in charge of the police at Deniliquin 'The Pastoral Times' published this comment; "Ever since Davidson was placed at Deniliquin as headquarters of an immense police district requiring very great and laborious attention, we have felt the effects of strong and determined direction in police affairs. Mr Davidson came to Deniliquin seven years ago flush with having, by extraordinary exertions, eased the country of one of the most daring and reckless bushrangers, viz. Ben Hall."

In 1870 James Davidson became a magistrate at Deniliquin as published; The Government Gazette to-day announces the appointment of eighty-eight new magistrates, including the names of James Henry Davidson, John Bellew Graves, and Thomas Brown of Deniliquin. 

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; On Monday afternoon, 7tn instant, a meeting was held at the Royal Hotel, Deniliquin, for the purpose of presenting Mr. Inspector Davidson, who is leaving the district for Armidale, with an address, as also a service in silver. The former was engrossed on parchment and numerously signed by the residents of the town and district, and on the chief piece of plate was inscribed, "Presented by the residents of die town and district of Deniliquin to James H. Davidson, Inspector of Police, on the occasion of his leaving the district." He resigned from the NSW Police in January 1874 as reported via the Government Gazette; Inspector Orridge, of the Braidwood district, will succccd Mr. James Davidson, of Armidale, resigned, as Inspector of Police for the Northern district


Sir Patrick Jennings (1831–1897)
Premier of New South Wales
 26 Feb 1886-19 Jan 1887
The reason for his resignation was so that his brother-in-law, NSW parliamentarian, Mr P. A. Jennings could return to Sydney as reported in 'The Pastoral Times'; Mr. P. A. Jennings intends to leave Warbreccan and to reside in Sydney. He will, we (Pastoral Times) hear, offer himself for some constituency. The electorate will, we think, be-fortunate that secures his services, and his return to the Sydney Legislative Assembly will be very acceptable to its foremost members; -Mr. James Davidson, who is brother-in-law to Mr. Jennings, has resigned office as Police Inspector, and takes Mr. Jennings' place at Warbreccan. Davidson's brother-in-law would have an outstanding career in politics becoming, Colonial Secretary of NSW in 1885, as Sir Patrick Jennings, and Premier and Treasurer in 1886 before being succeeded by Sir Henry Parkes, for his fourth term, in 1887.


James Davidson after taking control of Warbreccan was voted in and became Sheep Director for that district; The annual meeting of sheep-owners, holden yesterday, resulted in the election of Messrs. James Davidson, William Officer Tracey, Brown, and Patterson, as sheep directors. Whilst manager of his brother-in-law's property "Warbreccan Station" his father passed away; "we notice that on the 20th of last month Mr. Walter Rennie Davidson, formerly surveyor-general of New South Wales, died at Warbreccan, Riverena, in the sixty ninth year of his age..." James Davidson, however, shortly after his father's death, stood for and was elected as the Mayor of Deniliquin in 1877, and the election was reported as dull; The annual municipal election of two aldermen and two auditors for the town of Deniliquin took place on Friday last. The affair was conspicuous for the absence of that animation or life which are supposed to be indissolubly connected with politics, either local or parliamentary. There were three candidates for aldermanic honours-viz., Messrs. James H Davidson (mayor). James Burchfield, and George Hunter, The two former gentlemen were retiring by effluxion of time, and sought re-election ; but Mr. Hunter was of opinion that new blood was necessary in the council to make it work for the interests of tho ratepayers. As an illustration of tho total absence of political life in the late contest, it need only be mentioned that not a single candidate thought it incumbent upon him ¡to hold a public meeting of the ratepayers, but .were content to advertise themselves In an address of about sixty lines in length, setting forth the usual number of pro mises, and apologising for promises unfulfilled. The result was that many ratepayers declined to waste their time in walking to the Town Hall to record their votes. The number of votes recorded for each candidate was as follows :-Davidson, 235 ; Birchfieid, 189 ; Hunter, 174. At the official declaration of the poll, Mr. Burchfield, who was the only candidate present, returned thanks, and stated that the re-election of the two old members was a proof that their past services were appreciated. The council had been blamed in the Press, and elsewhere, for an absence of debate at their meetings, but it was owing to the matters coming before the council being of so simple a nature as not to require discussion. He thought arguments were often brought forward from personal motives, and not from a desire to serve the ratepayers, and surely it were better to refrain from such scenes as had characterised many council meetings elsewhere, and which were a disgrace to the community. Again, it had been stated that Deniliquin was far behind in the matter of a water supply scheme, but he differed in that respect, as he thought previously the town was too small, and the houses too scattered to make waterworks remunerative. With regard to other improvements, he might say that the building of the Town Hall, which he considered a very necessary building, had, to a very great extent, crippled the finances of the municipality for some years to come; consequently, only those improvements which were absolutely necessary could be undertaken. The speaker's remarks were well received by the few ratepayers present. The election of two auditors resulted in the two old ones being returned, the numbers for each being-W.H. Hooper, 230 ; James Thies, 212; Alfred Sugden, 171.


James Davidson also campaigned for a seat in the NSW State Parliament but was defeated. (See above right.)

In 1879, Davidson moved with his family to the Darling Downs near Toowoomba and managed a sheep station named 'Westbrook'; Mr. James Davidson, of Warbreccan, purposes leaving Riverina for the Darling Downs during this month. The Deniliquin Institution will suffer by this step. Our Town Council will lose its Mayor, and the School of Arts its President.  (See Article right.) During Davidson's time at Deniliquin, he was held in high esteem by the community.
The Riverine Herald
Tuesday 14th January 1879
DEPARTURE OF MR. DAVIDSON FROM DENILIQUIN.
His wife Catherine passed away in 1904 aged 53 after his final move to Wellington Point, Brisbane where he became "Commissioner of the Peace".

Inspector James Henry Davidson passed away at the age of 74 in 1914 and was buried alongside his wife at the Toowong Cemetery. At his passing, the public didn't seem to know that he was the officer in charge of the notorious Ben Hall's shooting death. (See Article Below.)



 Inspector Davidson Grave at Toowong Cemetery, Brisbane, Queensland 10/07/2014. In need of some TLC. My photos.


Senior Sergeant James Glynn Condell

Senior Sergeant James Glynn Condell was born in 1837, in County Carlow, Ireland. His parents were Thomas and Caroline Condell who resided at Bagenalstown nine miles south of Carlow City, Ireland. The family were of the Church Of England faith in predominately Catholic Ireland. The Barrow River flowed through Carlow City and was situated 46 miles from Dublin and boarded County Wicklow. At the age of eighteen James Condell joined the Irish Constabulary at Kilkenny in 1855, where recruits to the Constabulary were required to be single, between the age's of 18 and 27 years old, in good health and at least 5' 9" tall, James Condell stood 5' 11''. Newly recruited constables were not allowed to serve in the county where they (or their wife) resided, therefore James Condell was posted to Mulroy Carricart, Donegal, Ireland situated on the banks of Mulroy Bay in the north-west of the country. Single constables in the Irish Police could only marry after seven years of service, and then, only with their superiors' permission. County Donegal was a harsh, uncompromising part of the Irish coastline in the North West and battered by the Atlantic Ocean. Many of the families in Donegal struggled to get by on the small plots of farmland controlled by the British Aristocracy; therefore, immigration to a faraway land was the only avenue to a better life. This avenue led to New South Wales. In the mid-1850's the NSW government commenced an assisted immigration scheme utilised by the Donegal residents and became known as the Donegal's. Among this influx came police officer James Condell.
James Condell NSW Police promotion and enlistment
 1860-1865 at enlistment James Condell was 25 yrs old.
He arrived in Australia in 1859 landing reportedly at Melbourne, Victoria. Condell spent a short period of time on the Victorian Goldfields without luck? (more research) James Condell travelled to NSW and with his background in the Irish Police Force soon joined the NSW police force, first as a supernumerary in October 1860, then was promoted to Sergeant in 1861 and was heavily involved in quelling the Lambing Flat riots against the Chinese miners in June 1861 and where on the 21st September 1861, the Crown prosecutor Mr Butler made this opening (abbreviated) address in defence of the brutalities meted out to the Chinese miner's who had come under the protection of the constabulary; "would any reasonable man not be alarmed on such an occasion for himself, his wife, his daughter, and his property? This was the character of the assemblage, and its object and purpose were further disclosed by inscriptions on the flags to drive away the Chinese. As to the object, no doubt much would be said, an appeal be made to their feelings, on the score of enmity to the Chinese, but he must tell them they must simply be guided by the evidence adduced. It was, as far as this trial was concerned, a matter of indifference what their views were about the Chinese. The Chinese had come lawfully into the country, and were entitled to the protection of the law as well as every other person..." At the trial of the provocateurs, James Condell gave the following evidence against those who brought before the court; Robert McBride, Patrick Day, William Tomalty; Charles Coyle, and James Rolleston were indicted for that they, at Lambing Flat, in the colony of New South Wales, together with about fifty others or more persons unknown, on the 30th June, assembled and gathered together, and did then and there, with arms, commit a riot and disturbance for one hour and more, to the terror of well disposed persons, and in contempt of the peace of the Crown.

"...I heard three or
 four shots fired..."
James Condell deposed; "I saw a great gathering on the 30th June, between ten and eleven o'clock, coming towards the Camp; they crossed the creek; there was a Chinese camp close to the creek at Sawpit Gully; at first there were about 200 to 300 persons; they had a band of music and flags, and were crying out, "Roll up to the Chinese" on the flags was "Roll up. No Chinese", I heard three or four shots fired from the middle of the crowd; I saw six or seven with arms; most of the people carried sticks when across the creek they went to the Chinese camp and fired it; at first camp I saw the multitude tear down the tents, and burn tents, rice, meat, &c., together they then went to another camp. I went also in sight; they went to burn the second camp; they then went to the third camp I did not go further; I saw McBride, Day, Tomalty, and Coyle at the second Camp-; at the first camp I saw McBride take a lighted bush from the fence and thrust it in the door of the tent and set fire to it; McBride then went to Back Creek; I knew McBride for six months; I was within three or four yards of him, I arrested no one that day, I had not sufficient force, and was afraid to undertake it; I am certain it was McBride, I saw Day at Sawpit Gully, he was carrying a stick and running with the mobs was about three or four yards off: I knew him four or five months; I am quite certain of him; I did not speak to him; I saw Tomalty, he had no stick he was running with the mob; he was four or five yards off; I had seen him several times before; I saw Coyle at Sawpit Gully, at the Chinese Camp; I saw him take a match and try with it to fire a tent, but it went out; he then lighted a bush and then a second time fired the tent; Coyle then went to the second camp; I knew Coyle five years; I knew him in Ireland; he came out with the Donegals; I knew Rollston; l cannot swear I saw him there that day; there was a deal of noise and shouting..."
After Condell's evidence Mr Holroyd commenced his cross examination; James Condell continued; "I was in uniform on the 30th June - I only went as far as the second camp in Sawpit Gully; I first saw McBride at the first camp; he had a large stick in his hand, of some sort of greenwood; I was within three or four yards; he was dressed as he is now, only with a blue shirt; he had the same coloured trousers; he had no coat on; I will swear he had a blue flannel shirt on, and a Panama hat or a cabbage-tree hat I cannot be sure which; I swore at first it was a Panama hat; I first saw Day in the mob; I think he was dressed much as he is now; cannot say as to the comforter, he had on a coat similar to the one he has on now; there were Chinese at the same camp when Mr. Cowper was there, and they remained until driven away; I saw storekeepers riding on horseback with the mob; they were at some distance from the burning; no storekeeper has been arrested; some of the people had sticks, some had pick shafts; about six or seven had fire-arms, and some were carrying picks; I did not see Day with a bridle or halter; I saw Tomalty at Sawpit Gully, at the second camp; he had nothing in his hand; I did not go further than Sawpit Gully; I saw a stick in Coyle's hand; I think it was a pick-handle; it was lightish colour; I knew McBride at McGurren's store; I had been there; he did not continue there after the 14th July; I did not speak to him in the crowd; I apprehended McBride at rear of the Catholic Chapel, on 14th, and Coyle in the dancing-room at Vicq's public house I did not drag him out; I dragged him into the centre of the flour; it was about eight o'clock; this was the occasion when we fixed bayonets and charged; we were six or seven, and the people rushed us and hustled us; it was on Sunday, about half-past one, when I arrested McBride coming out after prayers. Re-examined by Mr. Butler: I identify the prisoners most by their faces; I did not pay much attention to dress. Sergeant Condell recalled and examined by Mr. Holroyd: I apprehended Coyle on 14 August in the ballroom at Yicq's public-house and McBride after coming out of chapel on the 14th July. To his honor: I first knew Coyle in Ireland five years ago; I was then in the Irish constabulary..."

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.
Sponsored
After the Lambing Flat events, James Condell was posted to Forbes. In March 1862 the NSW police were reorganised into a single force and, as such, James Condell retained the rank of Sergeant on the 1st of March 1862, under the New Police Act.

"Fire"
Before long Sgt Condell would become part of the most daring of robberies - the hold-up of the Gold Escort coach at Eugowra Rocks, NSW. This article appeared in the 'Goulburn Herald' after the attack; ROBBERY OF THE LACHLAN ESCORT. The following account of this event, from the Western Examiner, is the fullest and most connected yet to hand: The escort left Forbes on Sunday morning, under the immediate charge of Sergeant Condell, seated on the box, alongside the driver, Mr. Fagan; the remainder of the escort, three men, were seated in the body of the couch-their names were, Senior constable Moran. Constable Haviland, and another constable Raferty. The treasure consisted of 2719 ounces of gold and £3700 in cash; there were also the usual mails, which were heavy. The escort proceeded on its way without any unusual occurrence to warn them of impending danger. At about half-past four o'clock, on arriving at Coobong, a distance of twenty-seven miles from Forbes, and immediately in the vicinity of Mr. Clements's station, two teams were observed in the roadway-no uncommon. circumstance. As the coach drew near it became evident there was but one passage, and that between the obstructing teams and a mass of broken perpendicular rocks, overhanging the narrow passage; the peculiarity of the situation never for a moment excited suspicion, but the driver brought his horses in to a walk, in order to steer between the drays and the rocks. The coach at this time lay in such a position as that a party under cover of the rocks might pour a destructive fire upon the escort with impunity; in an instant, six men, dressed in red serge shirts and red nightcaps, with faces blacked, showed themselves from behind a breastwork of rock, and at the word "Fire," delivered their bullets with but too much precision. The sergeant was wounded in the side, the driver's hat was perforated with a number of bullets, Senior constable Moran was wounded in the groin; and as was quite natural, the escort were unnerved at the unexpectedness of the attack. No sooner had the six bushrangers delivered their fire, than they fell back with military precision and were replaced by five or six others, who delivered their fire and fell back in turn. The two volleys were the work of an instant. Never was more truly verified the saying that "every bullet has its billet," for the clothes of the escort were perforated in several places in the arm, in the legs, and in the side; but the men themselves escaped with comparatively trifling flesh wounds. Sergeant Condell states that he was knocked of the box at the first volley; Mr. Fagan jumped off and hold the reins, whilst the horses walked on slowly.

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
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 "honorable" 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. Clements's station, and placed in the coach, which, with two of the horses, had been recovered.
A video I took at Eugowra Rocks, 2013.
Sgt Condell was in charge of the police escort and was seated beside the coach driver, John Fagan when Gardiner and his gang opened fire upon the coach and Sgt Condell was wounded, soon after the ambush, Sgt Condell wrote a letter of explanation to the Inspector General of Police, Captain McLerie, James Condell wrote; 

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."


After the Escort Robbery, and as the Escort coach was leaving the Orange mail office a tragedy unfolded which saw Constable Haviland shot accidentally by a revolver Sgt Condell stated at the inquest; "I am sergeant of police, stationed in the Western district; was in charge of the gold escort from Forbes to Sydney; I started on Sunday last, the 15th instant; the deceased William Haviland was with me; he was a constable in the Western Escort; about 5 o'clock on Sunday evening, the escort was fired upon at Coobong, off of Mr. Clement's station, by a party of armed men; I was wounded as also senior constable Moran; the gold was taken from us; the deceased escaped unhurt; he was troubled in mind the whole of yesterday; he said he had several narrow escapes, and would not stop on the escort any longer; he was quite sober yesterday; he did not take any drink to my knowledge; we arrived in Orange about seven o'clock last night, and delivered the mail bags to the postmaster, when deceased got out of the coach at the post-office; he got in again, and we started for Mr. Dalton's inn, where we usually put up; on turning the corner at the Commercial Bank, I heard the report of firearms; I inquired where it came from, and was told deceased was shot; I was sitting on the box seat; the body was brought down here (Dalton's Inn); I saw the body removed from the coach; I saw that deceased was shot somewhere about the head; I searched him, and found his own revolver on his side in the sheath; I produce deceased's revolver and pouch as I took it from his side; the revolver is loaded in every chamber; I then searched the coach, and found the revolver produced lying in the bottom of it; I examined it and found one chamber discharged; it was senior constable Moran's revolver, and he being wounded could not wear it-could not keep his belt on; deceased only "appeared" distressed in his mind, but did not say anything; he spoke of his wife and children in Sydney, and said this was a very unfit life for him; there had been no dispute; he was a very quiet and well behaved man; you would not hear a word out of him daring the day; the utmost good feeling existed amongst us; the deceased appeared to be a delicate man, but he never complained; the distance from where deceased was shot to Dalton's Inn is very short; Constable Moran told me, before we came to Dalton's that deceased was dead; I sent for Dr. Warren, who, on seeing the body, pronounced the man dead; I found no property upon deceased's person, except one shilling, and a watch, which constable Moran claims as his property..."

In 1864, after waiting over two years, the ladies Margaret and Elizabeth Davis of whom Elizabeth was James Condell's betrothed arrived in NSW on the 28th January 1864, on-board the 'Sirocco', 1132 tons under the command of Captain Berriman, and shortly after it was reported that Elizabeth and James Condell married at Sydney in 1864. Elizabeth was twenty years old.
The arrival of Margaret and Elizabeth Davis 1864.
James Condell would become a right-hand man of Inspector Sir Frederick Pottinger in the pursuit of Frank Gardiner, John Gilbert, John O'Meally, Ben Hall and others, spending considerable time out in the scrub. Furthermore, Condell also handled local day-to-day police work in Forbes and the surrounding district. After many encounters with Ben Hall and the other gang members, wherein August 1864, Condell was attacked by Ben Hall as reported in the 'Bendigo Advertiser'; A party of police, under Sir F. Pottinger, encountered a bushranger, who fired at Sergeant Condell, near Wheogo, yesterday. A regular bush fight took place. A number of shots were exchanged. The police horses got bogged, and the bushranger escaped. The police are still on the track. Sgt Condell joined Insp Davidson and on the morning of 5th May 1865, participated in the killing of Ben Hall at Billabong Creek. At the inquest in Ben Hall's shooting, James Condell gave the following evidence; I am sergeant of police stationed at Forbes. On Saturday night last, 29th April, I started from Forbes, in company with Sub-inspector Davidson, four constables, and two trackers, in pursuit of the bushrangers—Hall, Gilbert, and Dunn. On the Thursday night following, we observed two horses hobbled in the bush. We watched the horses for about an hour. We then saw a man approach the horses and take the hobbles off, and lead them through the bush for about one hundred and fifty yards. He then hobbled the horses, and let them go. He afterwards proceeded into the scrub, and immediately afterwards we were in formed by the black tracker, Billy Dargan, that he heard him scraping on the ground, as if to make a place for a bed. Sub-inspector Davidson and myself then posted the men in a half-circle on one side, and Sub-inspector Davidson and myself proceeded to the opposite side. Myself, Mr Davidson, and the tracker crept about through the bush in search of his camp. Finding that we could not succeed in discovering the camp we resolved to watch the horses all night, and about six o'clock next morning I saw a man emerge from the scrub into a piece of open country, and walk in the direction of the two horses. When about midway from the camp to the horses, we started in pursuit, and ran about fifty yards before he observed us. He then looked up and saw us: he turned and ran from us. Sub inspector Davidson then called on him to Stand; he looked round and still kept running. Sub-Inspector Davidson then fired at him. Immediately afterwards I saw Hall jump; he still kept running. I then levelled, my rifle at him, covered him fall in the back, and fired. I believe the shot took effect between the shoulders. After this he rolled about, and when running appeared very weak. The tracker then fired with a double barrelled gun, and I believe hit the deceased. We called out for the men stationed on the opposite side. When he saw them emerge from the scrub, he turned and ran in another direction. The men all fired, and I believe most of the bullets hit him. Deceased then ran to a cluster of timber, laid hold of a sapling, and said, "I am wounded; I am dying." The men then fired again, and he immediately rolled over. He threw out his feet convulsively once or twice, and said, "I am dying; I am dying." We all then approached him, and found he was dead.

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
At the death of Ben Hall, James Condell and the other troopers led by Insp Davidson were rewarded with £175 for Insp Davidson and £75 for James Condell. After Condell's promotion to Snr Sgt and the bush surrounding Forbes quieter after Hall's demise, Condell was posted to Gundagai where he remained for some time. In 1874, Mrs Condell almost lost her life as reported in the 'The Gundagai Times and Tumut, Adelong and Murrumbidgee District Advertiser' and highlighted the poor quality of the police housing; Mrs James Condell, on Sunday last, very narrowly escaped receiving serious, if not fatal, injuries. During the heavy thunder shower which fell in the afternoon Mrs Condell went to a chest of drawers in her bed-room for some article, and had just turned away to quit the room when a large mass of the heavy plastering of the ceiling came crashing down on the spot where she had a moment before been standing, portion of it, indeed, touching the skirt of her dress. Her escape may be considered providential; but she, or others, may be less fortunate on a future occasion, and unless the necessary repairs are promptly effected similar casualties are almost certain to happen. It is quite too bad that the members of our police force should be obliged to live in a leaky, uncomfortable, dangerous place, and to run the risk of sustaining accident or injuring their health's, because of the neglect of the department above mentioned. We trust the occurrence we have narrated will cause steps to be taken to place the police barracks in a sound and safe condition. Surely the authorities do not intend to wait until some one is much hurt or killed before doing so.

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. "The sergeant attributes that this savage assault is owing to an old grudge Paine was arrested, but he escaped from the lockup, and after a somewhat smart chase was recaptured. Dr McKillop is of opinion that the wounds are not fatal others surmise that, the green-eyed monster had something to do with it."

Following all the evidence presented, a summary of the events appeared in the press; The Gundagai Shooting Case. — It will be in the recollection of our readers that a man named William Paine, residing at Gundagai, was committed for trial at the recent Circuit Court held at Wagga Wagga on two counts. First for having on the night of the 1st of July last discharged firearms at Senior Sergeant James Condell of the Gundagai police force, with intent to murder him. Second with having unlawfully wounded the same person. The case has been tried and the prisoner was acquitted of both charges. Mr Butler defended the accused, and submitted the Senior Sergeant to a rigid cross examination, touching some letters alleged to have been sent by him to prisoner's wife for improper purposes. The evidence of this officer of police in the witness-box was so highly unsatisfactory as to elicit a rebuke from the learned judge who presided at the Court. For the defence it was pleaded that the prisoner was justified in defending his wife from the attack of Condell, a view which the jury accepted. It is thought that Mr Condell is not a desirable person to retain in the police force, and readers should not be surprised if Mr Superintendent Singleton recommended his dismissal. Husbands can stand a great deal of annoyance, but the most exemplary of the class cannot be expected to behave quiescent, whilst his better bait was being subjected to brutal insults. It is to be hoped that this example will not be lost upon those gentlemen of licentious propensities, particularly married men, like Mr Senior Sergeant Condell of Gundagai. — Border Post.

The consequences of his obsession forced James Condell to resign from the NSW Police service to which he had given honest and brave service for over 15 yrs and who had been involved in the dangerous hunts for Ben Hall and Co surviving numerous attacks and gunfights with the Lachlan bushrangers in the early '60s.


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.)

Although this eulogy states that James Condell was 63 evidence
points to this being incorrect.
Detective Constable Patrick Lyons

The definition of Bravery: the quality that allows someone to do things that are dangerous or frightening: Detective Patrick Lyons had bravery in spades, his commitment to his work as a detective in the NSW police as well as the formative years of the newly reorganised New South Wales police force was outstanding, during a period of Australian history where the juggernaut of bushranging festered in the NSW Western Districts and Goldfields. Patrick Lyons was one of the many policemen at the forefront of justice.
Arrival
Patrick Lyons was born in County Mayo, Ireland in 1832, moving to Clonbervie, Kincardine, Scotland where he joined the constabulary and was initially stationed at Brailsford, Derbyshire, England. Whilst stationed at Brailsford, Lyons answered an advertisement calling for Police for the colony of NSW. Lyons duly applied and was accepted, arriving from England on-board the migrant ship 'Exodus', 1237 tons, under the command of Capt. Owen Evens with Osborne Johnson, the superintending surgeon. The 'Exodus' sailed from Liverpool on 21st April 1855 to the Colony of NSW, arriving at Port Jackson on 26th July 1855.
Arrival per the Exodus
However, Lyons' arrival in Sydney was an inauspicious introduction to the colony, a result of which, the new constable became embroiled in a sensational court case brought by the government when out of the 100 new police recruited, 42 of them refused to be sworn in as they were dissatisfied with their conditions of employment regarding their living arrangements for both married and single recruits, as before they departed from England they had been informed that suitable living conditions would be supplied. Therefore, the men held firm in their refusal to "be sworn in until the terms on which they were to serve were reduced to writing..." (See article right.) Furthermore, one of those men who had arrived on board the Exodus, Mr Swyny, who was not a part of the group, including Lyons, dissatisfied with the conditions had been sworn in and was made a Sergeant. At the police court, Swyny gave evidence in support of the disgruntled immigrant police, stated; "he distinctly swore that Mr. Hampden (Govenment agent in England) had promised him and others, that the single men would be provided with lodgings at 2s., and the married men with rooms at a corresponding rate..." 

However, Captain McLerie, then in charge of the recruitment took a hard line towards the reluctant signees and responded in an attempt to portray the men who had been holding out for the promised conditions as petulant by stating; "that the last lot of police who came out were under a similar impression to these men, but upon his (Captain McLerie's) pointing out the Government were erecting barracks for them, and those men had stuck to their work and had done their duty honestly and honourably like men, and were the most efficient they ever had in Sydney..." 
Following protracted court appearances the recruited officers stubbornness soon broke down into farce with threats of prosecution by John McLerie, against the men if they continued objecting to taking their oath of office as per the contracts they had entered into. The prospective police realised that once the oath was taken, recourse to their conditions of employment could be lost. Under this threat, Patrick Lyons was one who stuck to his guns. This came to a head when on the 14th August the policemen from the Exodus had another hearing so; "that they might reconsider their conduct, and in the event of their persistence in refusing to take the oath of office, they will be committed..."

As the tussle between the recruits and government played out and to prevent any of the recalcitrant recruits from obtaining interim work the 42 prospective officers were blacklisted by the Government with an advertisement placed in the newspapers of the day; "cautioning anyone in the community of employing them..." including Patrick Lyons. (See article left.)     

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; "in consequence ot information received, he went to the last witness' house, and saw the bag opened in his presence; it contained the amount of money already stated £565; witness locked the bag, put his seal to it, and forwarded it to Sydney". Patrick Lyons, a detective officer in the Sydney police, deposed to having arrested the prisoner on the 20th May. When witness arrested him he said he did so on a charge of fraudulent insolvency. Prisoner replied he did not know what he (witness) arrested him for. The end of the trial his Honor summed up, and the jury, after a few minutes' consultation, found the prisoner guilty. In reply to the usual question the prisoner made a long statement, in which he endeavoured to show that he was innocent of the offence for which he had been convicted; but the greater part of it was unintelligible, owing to its being spoken in broken English. Valenti was then sentenced to be imprisoned in Parramatta gaol for the space of three years.

Kiandra late 1800's
In a short space of time Lyons was transferred to the new hot spot of unrest in the colony, the newly discovered goldfield at Lambing Flat, 80 miles from Bathurst and were with the flood of Chinese miners the goldfield was simmering with unrest, from Lambing Flat, Lyons was sent to another lawless frontier, Kiandra in the Snowy Mountains. Lyons arrived in Kiandra at the end of October 1860 and went straight into action bringing law and order to the wilds of the Snowy region and the many goldfields springing up such as the ''Nine-Mile,'' ''The American Gully,'' "Rocky Plains,'' the ''River Bend,'' and other rushes. Lyons' was tough on any who crossed the line to lawlessness instigating a form of justice that was seen to be that predicated on not to taking a backward step, and on the 29th November 1860 made his presence felt at Kiandra when he was charged for 'Malicious Assault' against one James Dawes; 'Sydney Morning Herald'JAMES DAWES v P. LYONS -Plaintiff endeavoured to prove a ease of malicious assault committed by defendant, a detective in the police force, at Bond's Hotel, Kiandra. He called Bond as a witness, who materially disproved his assertions, saying that if Lyons had struck him with a 'Whip' he must have seen it. Case dismissed.

Kiandra Mail Coach c. 1860's
Kiandra's crime was no different from the other parts of the western and southern NSW districts, and Lyons was in the thick of it, arresting sheep stealers, petty thieves, highway robbers and resolving mining claim fights and even investigating a murder. At Lambing Flat tensions between European gold miners and the Celestials as the Chinese were referred to were coming ahead. Mining committees were formed to eradicate the Celestials and as such Detective Lyons was returned to the Flat arriving on the 13th February 1861. Lyons' arrival was reported in the press, as stated;  Detective Lyons arrived from Kiandra last evening. The foot police have not yet arrived, although much wanted. The state of society is anything but safe. The rain has done much good.

Celestials Lambing Flat c. 1860
The Celestial question was causing great consternation amongst the miners, and in the short term, some of the attacks by European miners upon the Chinese diggers were beyond the police's control. This appeared in the press on the 16th February 1861; At present quietude reigns in reference to that particularly vexed question-ie. the quiet endurance, or the utter ejection of the pig tailed fraternity, alias John Chinamen. Yet is there ground for apprehension of far more serious disturbances than any which have yet been here witnessed, in the reports that are circulating, to the effect that these diggings are to be infested with these (to the European diggers) intolerable nuisances, to the number of five thousand, under trooper protection. Should such an over-riding of the wishes and interests of the whole of the digging community occur, then I fear that the consequences will be such as to cause universal regret and leave the Government much to answer for. Doubtless, the Executive is in a dilemma, owing to the culpable apathy with which it and the preceding cabinets have sleepily tolerated the introduction into the colony, and the settlement upon the diggings of hordes of Tartars-aliens in every sense. But, assuredly, they will not find their way out of it by compulsorily imposing upon "white men" a further endurance of the pest. I would fain believe that so wilful a disregard of the peace and well-being of this populous community will not be manifested by either the Government or its subordinates.

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;  "the cry of "Help-murder," has resounded through the stillness of the night; then arose the cry of ''Roll up, roll up," " Hold him," and last, not least, of "Vigilance Committee, to the rescue;" then men were heard in the darkness of the night, running from all quarters; a pursuit was led off in the direction of which the stickers up, who had attempted to rob and to steal a horse from a young man, passing homeward,- had decamped. A neighbouring shanty was visited, where, by the lights, it was to be seen that some of the diggers had armed themselves with sticks, one or two carried firearms. The youth who had been attacked was bleeding from the mouth...",

A Goldfield c. 1860's
"one tent where there were a married man and his wife, was visited on account of some desperate and extensive robberies that, it was well known, had been committed by a ruffian who was harboured there. When the mob arrived a few of the number, who had picks and shovels with them, commenced digging a hole, which, from its shape and dimensions, gave indications that it was intended for a grave. The dismay of the guilty parties may well be imagined. One of the diggers who acted as spokesman appealed to the others whether the male offender did not deserve the punishment he was about to meet with. A cordial assent was given, and the work of sinking the grave was proceeded with. When it was ready to receive its victim, an appeal was made to save the husband on account of his wife, and after some consultation, a few spades full of earth were thrown into the grave as a token that the "burying alive" was then abandoned, but the hole was left unfilled in, as a warning that unless the parties got rid of the man they had been harbouring, the ground still remained prepared to receive the husband.

These particulars have been furnished by a person on whose veracity we have every reason to rely. We do not for a moment suppose that the diggers ever intended to carry their threats to an extremity, but were desirous to instil into the minds of those who were harbouring thieves and vagabonds that their conduct was watched, and would not be tolerated...", "the news was soon spread amongst the diggers, and, as is known already, it was not long before that as well as other harbours for thieves was soon levelled with the ground. The fact of one of these species of shanties having given shelter to vagabonds of this class, led to the demolition of all kindred buildings, and the work of destruction was carried on with good order, and even good humour..."

A Sly Grog shop.
With tensions rising the government sent an additional 50 troopers to the Flat, but the real scourge of the goldfield was the shanties and the desperate characters who haunted them providing non-stop work for the detective force, this was reported in the Empire February 1861; Our police arrangements are somewhat on a scale with the amount of population. We have nearly fifty of the mounted patrol (but most of these are only temporarily located here); three active detectives in Messrs. Carnes, Scarlett, and Lyons; and I bear that Mr. Inspector Singleton, with a foot force of twelve men, is to arrive shortly. It has been semi-officially noticed that after Monday next (the 11th), the police will pounce on all persons selling liquor without a license. Of course, there will be a few conviction, but I think it will be utterly impossible to suppress the illegal disposal of grog. As on all other diggings, there are certain shanties that should be put down-not because drink is sold there, but because they are harbours for desperate characters, and the owners "put up" half the robberies and share the booty. All these excesses and vices die out in time; they thrive only so long as the diggings are novel and the population only partially set into work. As soon as the feverish excitement is over, everything becomes as orderly as is a town.

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; "and on dismissing the witness (Lyons), the Chairman told him that he had grossly misconducted himself while giving his evidence, that he did not believe a word of what he had said, and that the manner in which he had given his testimony was discreditable to himself, and calculated to bring disgrace on the force of which he is a member...".

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; The case was thus stated: Two persons named Andrews and Quinn were, on the night of the 20th February, proceeding from the township of Lambing Flat to a place in the locality-Blackguard Gully. Whilst on their way and at some short distance from Lambing Flat, they were overtaken by three men whom they had passed and spoken to. Some short time afterwards the same three men overtook Andrews and Quinn and commenced upon them a murderous attack. They were beaten with sticks, knocked to the ground senseless, and lying in a pool of blood, and Quinn's scalp nearly torn off by the violence to which he had been subjected. Before the victims were quite senseless they perceived that the men by whom they were assaulted were looking round for a waterhole into which to throw them. Apparently, they were lifeless and must have been left by prisoners as dead men, as they could scarcely expect other results from such violence. The head of Quinn was so beaten that the scalp slipped off, and he was lying in a pool of blood. It was said that Quinn had been to some extent instrumental in suppressing sly grog selling, and hence might arise some enmity. The identity of prisoners would be proved in evidence.

After the charges were read and the bulk of evidence provided, Detective Lyons was called and stated; "l am a detective constable and was stationed at Lambing Flat in February last, I was in company with inspector Carnes when Quinn and Andrews were found; we went that morning to Blackguard Gully; I apprehended Heron and Collins; they were laying bed in a tent; on Heron's bed after taking them into custody, I found two pair of trousers, the legs of one pair covered with blood. On Collins's bed, I found a poncho coat spotted with blood on the sleeves; there was also pair of boots also spotted with blood; I marked these things, and should know them again; where Quinn and Andrews were found I picked up several heavy sticks covered with blood; I think the blood marks were recent from their fresh appearance". The result was Guilty, and the judge summed up the case and passed sentence, as follows; His Honor said it was fortunate for prisoners that they had not been indicted for robbing and wounding, or with such a verdict they would have been liable to the penalty of death. But if ever there was a crime of abominable barbarity, short of taking away life, and which called for heavy punishment, this was one. He felt ashamed that there should be such monsters in human shape. Scalping by New Zealanders or torturing by American savages had the excuse of their want of civilised humanity, but even their victims suffered only in the heat of war or in the order of savage custom. But here was a man knocked down with a bludgeon, his scalp by unnumbered blows cut into strips, fingers smashed, and body bruised, probably for the sake of a few pounds. The punishment which would he inflicted upon prisoners, he trusted, would be a terrible example to others. Prisoners were severally sentenced to fifteen years hard labour on the roads or other public works of the colony.

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; Misadventure of the Burrangong Coach.— On Friday evening last, while Messrs. Crane and Hubert's coach was on its way into Yass, and in crossing Barber's Creek, which was very much swollen by the previous night's rain, the vehicle stuck fast in the centre, and the horses were carried off their feet. All the exertion of the coachman, who is a first-rate whip, assisted by the passengers, were unavailing to extricate the coach from its position, at that time so perilous to the passengers, among whom were Colonel Kempt, Captain McLerie, Inspector-General of the Police, and the adjutant of the 12th Regiment. These three gentlemen managed to get over the Creek, but the vehicle still remained in its difficulty. The Colonel and party tramped it into Yass, crossing Junes Creek above their middle in water, On arriving in town, detective Scarlett and Lyons were apprised of the position in which the coach had been left and immediately started with Devoy, of the other line of the Lambing Flat coaches, with four horses, for the purpose of extricating the vehicle if possible. On arriving at the Creek, detective Lyons attempted to cross it, but the horse on which he was mounted was carried many yards down by the flood and turned over three times before it got out of the stream. Lyons had a narrow escape of drowning and was struck on the side by one of the animal's hoofs. Ultimately a rope was passed to the vehicle, and it was pulled out backwards by the united exertions of six horses. Of course, the position of the coachman before the unexpected aid arrived can be more easily imagined than described. The two police officers are deserving of much praise for their voluntary exertion in this affair. — Yass Courier.

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; "the principal features of the new bill are, the centralisation of the whole force, under the direction of one head; the division of the colony into new and fewer districts; the organisation of mounted constabulary, in addition to the maintenance of an adequate foot force; and the officering of the whole by an inspector, sub-inspectors, and sergeants for each district. The cost of maintaining this force, and the number of men employed; will be about the same as at present. It would be impossible, within the limits just, now, at our command, to show the full advantages to be derived from the contemplated change;- but while we know that the proposed system of centralisation has worked well in other countries, we have every reason to believe in its adaptability to the requirements of our own. By its operations, old abuses will be effectually checked, while it is scarcely possible that new ones at least of an equally objectionable character can be introduced. A glance will enable us to perceive the objects to be achieved by the formation of a strong body: of 'mounted' constabulary which properly equipped, will be something like a match for the villains who now with impunity molest the peaceable traveller, rob the mails, and drive off the unprotected stock of the industrious settler. The bill presenting these advantages has passed its second reading in the Assembly..."

Promotion of Lyons.
Note; Edmund Parry who was killed
by Gilbert 1864.
The Police Regulation Act passed the NSW Parliament. From the 1st March 1862, all existing police force branches combined to create the NSW Police Force with former Army Captain, John McLerie as Inspector General of Police. A new rank structure was established, and as a result, Detective Lyons was promoted to First Class Detective. The following extract is from the 'Goulburn Herald' 12th March 1862; LOCAL AND PROVINCIAL POLICE ARRANGEMENTS.-The old government Hue and Cry is now abolished, and instead, we have a Police Gazette, similar to that published in the colony of Victoria, It is issued every Wednesday and forwarded to all the police stations in New South Wales, and to the principal police stations in the adjacent colonies, and is compiled by the inspector of the detective force and published at the office of the inspector-general. The first number was published on Wednesday. By it, will be found that the colony is divided into nine police districts. The metropolitan district is sub-divided into four divisions, A, B, C, and D, and consists of the metropolis and neighbourhood; this is under the control of the inspector-general, with sub-inspectors Read and Black. The south-eastern district or F division include Goulburn, Yass, Gundagai. Tumit, Binalong, and portions of Albury and Wagga Wagga superintendent, H. Zouch; inspector, E. M. Battye sub-inspector, W. Blenon. The western district, or H division, comprises Bathurst, Orange, Molong, Wellington, Dubbo, Carcoar, Mudgee, and Rylstone: superintendent, E. Morrisset; inspector, Sir F. W. Pottinger; sub-inspectors; J. I. Bruyeres and T. Hogg. The detective force is divided into first and second class detectives. Mr. C. I. Harrison is sub-inspector of detectives; Carnes., Camphin, Scott, Lyons, Scarlett, and Downham belong to the first class; and Elliott, Clarke, Roiston, Swainston, Mc Martin, and Sanderson to the second class.

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.

Superintendent Charles Allen Sanderson

Charles Sanderson was born in 1822, in the City of London, close to Temple Bar. In June 1848, he joined the London police under Sir Richard Mayne, a plain-clothes officer during the Chartist Riots, a time of civil unrest, culminating in a massive rally in Kensington Park London. Superintendent Sanderson was on duty during the occasion of the Duke of Wellington's funeral in 1852 when the Duke of Wellington was carried through the streets of London on the same funeral car used for Lord Nelson years before and Churchill over a century later. Charles Sanderson and his wife Susan arrived on board the 'Bangalore' and on arrival Sanderson was employed as a sergeant.

Charles Sanderson and his wife, Susan, arrival.

Sanderson's first position as a sergeant was posted to Kiandra. When the riots broke out at Lambing Flat (now Young), he was ordered there with other police including Detective Lyons. Shortly afterwards, riots occurred at Forbes, and he helped to quell them. Sanderson was described as; "There was need of men like Sanderson to steady the police force at a time when constables were hard to recruit and harder to keep, the scourge of criminals, as brave as a bulldog, and completely lacking in imagination, as a good policeman should be. There was need of men like Sanderson to steady the police force at a time when constables were hard to recruit and harder to keep - for who would be a policeman at 5s. 6d. a day when fortunes were being made by diggers from the golden gravel? Dozens of constables had deserted their posts during the decade of golden glory. The substitutes, hastily recruited to cope with the ever-expanding population and increase of crime, were seldom satisfactory. Many a constable was dismissed for drunkenness and other vices. A policeman's lot was "not a happy one" in New South Wales ..."

Lambing Flat riots 1861
On the 15th August 1862, Sanderson was promoted from Sergeant to Sub Inspector after his success during Frank Gardiner and his comrades, and other bushrangers demise. Sub Inspector Sanderson played a prominent part, his police work helping in no small degree to rid the country of these desperadoes. In the Eugowra gold escort robbery on June 15, 1862, Gardiner and Gilbert and six others including Ben Hall were concerned, Sergeant Sanderson recovered the 1289oz of gold stolen from the coach and was involved in the capture of four of the bushrangers. It was noted in the 'Sydney Mail' June 1862 of the great efforts and duty to the Colony of Sanderson; Senior Sergeant Sanderson. — This officer, who has distinguished himself in recovering one-half of the gold taken from the Lachlan Escort, arrived in this colony as a volunteer from the Loudon police, by the "Bangalore", and shortly after commencing duty in Sydney as & police constable, was promoted by Captain M'Lerie for his general intelligence and efficiency to the rank of acting-sergeant, subsequently to sergeant, and then inspector of the Sydney police, under the former system. On the rush to Kianda, he was detached by the Inspector-General to that place, in charge of the police force sent there, and from Kiandra to the Lambing Flat gold-fields, on the rush taking place there. On the discovery of gold at the Lachlan, he was removed from Lambing Flat to that place, and his whole career, as an officer of police in this colony, has been such as to gain for him the confidence of his superiors and the public, and this last act of duty will no doubt entitle him to a recommendation to the Government for further promotion in the service.
February 1863 Sub Inspector Sanderson gave evidence at the Special Criminal Commission and recounted his efforts in tracking the villains, this is that account; “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 be 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 lop of the hill very stony, end 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, l5th June, from Forbes...”
   
Promotion following recovery
of the Gold from the Eugowra
robbery.
NSW Police Gazette.
A year later, when the mailman (Crotty by name) who carried the mails between Marengo and Lambing Flat was shot by a Frenchman named Robardy, he tracked the latter for 300 miles and arrested him at Forbes where Charles Robardy and Auguste Rivet were placed in the dock, charged with the wilful murder of Daniel Crotty, the Marengo mailman, on or about the 16th of August 1862. Charles Sanderson, being duly sworn, stated; "I am sub inspector of police stationed in Forbes; I arrested the prisoner Robardy at the Harp of Erin Hotel, Rankin street, Forbes, on suspicion of being implicated in the murder of Daniel Crotty, on the 16th August last; he gave his name as Henry Charles Robardy, and denied ever having been on Lambing Flat; the following morning he admitted he had been on the Flat; I arrested prisoner on the 11th of last month".

After the apprehension, Crotty's body had to be exhumed for a post-mortem to be carried out as reported in the 'Sydney Mail'The Murder of Crotty, the Mailman. — On Saturday morning, Dr. Wilkinson, of this township, went to Burrowa, pursuant to instructions from headquarters, to exhume the body of Daniel Crotty, Marengo mailman, who is supposed to have been murdered by two men on the Burrowa road, about five weeks ago. The doctor had a most disgusting duty to perform. He appears, nevertheless, to have performed it with skill, and most successfully, for he discovered that the man had been shot, and that the ball had entered one of the temporal bones drilling it without fracturing or smashing it, and afterwards passed through the occiput, which it had splintered in a dreadful manner. The man must have been on his knees when the muzzle of the pistol was held to his temple and discharged, for the ball passed downwards, and is doubtless lodged in the earth. That the poor man was brutally murdered there can be no doubt, and the evidence of the doctor will be conclusive. Yet we should recommend a search in the earth for the ball, as it must lie near where the body was found. It cannot be far below the surface, as from the fracture of the occipital bone, it is evident that the bullet had nearly split itself before passing through the head. It is a matter of wonder to us that the coroner of the district of Burrowa did not hold an inquest, as he was in July bound to do, at the proper time. By his neglect, the ends of justice might have been completely defeated, and the murderers allowed to escape. To say the least of it, it appears inconsistent to bury a man as if he had been accidentally killed, and treat his body accordingly, and then apprehend two men on the charge of murdering him.-Burrangong Courier, October 1, 1862. Robardy would be hanged for the murder; THE MURDER OF THE MARENGO MAILMAN. - The Government have fixed the 13th of May for the execution of Charles Robardy, who was sentenced to death at the late assizes at Goulburn, for the murder of the Marengo mailman. It is a singular coincidence that the prisoner's birthday should have been fixed for his execution; Charles Robardy, the murderer of Daniel Crotty, was hung in Goulburn gaol on Wednesday morning last. The unhappy man displayed much firmness and resignation. 16 May, 1863.

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;
Bell's Life in Sydney and Sporting Chronicle
Saturday 11th July 1863
THE MODEL POLICE FORCE AGAIN.

Supt. C. A. Sanderson
c. 1896.
The 'Lachlan Miner' of June 24 summarised the rather amusing account of inspector Sanderson dealing with those stonewalling him. It appears the gallant inspector arrived at Margaret Allport's boarding house drunk threatening to burn it down. At first, he said, he was Ben Hall, then O'Mealley; he broke in the door, smashed some crockery and then made a tour of inspection through the sleeping rooms, whereby dragging one man out of bed by the hair, &c. The bench, however, did not believe that Mr Sanderson intended to burn the house, and decided that the action was stale from effluxion of time, as three weeks had elapsed, and concluded by this remarkable observation — "The police had a very onerous duty to perform, and, in carrying out their instructions, did no doubt at times bring about some in convenience. The defendant paid for the crockery..." If the onerous duty of the police consists in following Sanderson's example we think the sooner they are relieved of it the better. The bench made an order for 13s, the amount of the damage; and 8s 6d, the costs of court. 

Despite his court infraction, Charles Sanderson rapidly rose through the ranks to the first-class superintendent, an office he held for 20 years. In 1878 he was ordered to Narrabri to form a new district out of portions of the Tamworth and Bourke districts, and after remaining there four and a half years, he relieved Superintendent Garland at Tamworth. Fourteen months later he succeeded Superintendent Morrissett at Maitland, and in 1884 he came to Bathurst, where he succeeded Superintendent Lydiard. He had been out of Sydney for 40 years and received “marching orders” 15 times. He had served under three officers, Captains Mayne and M'lerie, and Inspector-General Fosbery. His district takes in from Penrith to as far west as Coonamble and Quambone, and he had five inspectors working the different portions of the district, namely, at Dubbo, Orange, Forbes, Mudgee, and Bathurst. Superintendent Sanderson, retired from the police force of New South Wales in 1902, after serving as one of the oldest officers in the service, his career extending over a period of 54 years.

Superintendent Charles Allen Sanderson, died at his home in Ashfield, on Saturday the 4th of January 1919. He was 96.

Captain
 Edward Montagu Battye
Captain Edward Montagu 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 Montagu 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,
 note spelling
Batty

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.
In 1890 he celebrated his golden, wedding. At the hands of the Mayor and Albury residents, Mrs Battye was presented with a diamond ring and the popular captain with an illuminated address of congratulation, also a purse of sovereigns, to mark the occasion. For the last four years, the deceased officer was a resident of North Sydney, where he resided with his family in quiet retirement. The Battye family's story for the last two generations furnishes a story of military pluck and achievement difficult to surpass. The earlier generation was represented by Captain Edward Montagu Battye the subject of this sketch; George Wynyard Battye, Montagu John Battye, and Colonel Arthur Battye, Captain Battye at his death being the last of the generation. He leaves a widow and several sons, daughters, and grandchildren, besides a large circle of friends. His burial took place on Wednesday, the 13th instant, a St. Thomas' Church of England cemetery, North Sydney, and was largely attended, amongst those present besides the relatives of the deceased being the Inspector-General of Police (Mr. E. Fosbery) and many police officers of long-standing, some of whom were comrades of the venerable officer and who assembled to pay the last tribute of respect to one who was held in universal esteem and affection. The cortege was preceded by the New South Wales Police band, under Bandmaster Hutchinson, and played the Dead March in 'Saul' and the 'Funeral March,' rendering the sad and solemn function doubly impressive.

Superintendent Henry Zouch (1811-1883)

Henry Zouch, soldier, pastoralist, gold commissioner and superintendent of police, was born on 18 August 1811 in Quebec, Canada, eldest son of Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Zouch (d.1818), 10th Royal Veteran Battalion, and his second wife Ann, née Ritchie. Educated in 1826-28 at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, he was commissioned ensign, by purchase, in the 4th (King's Own) Regiment on 10 November 1826 and reached Sydney in the ship Midas on February 1827. He was promoted lieutenant on 1 July 1833 and, from 1 October next year, he commanded the first division of the Mounted Police at Bathurst.

Appointment, October 1834.
In 1835 with a party of troopers Zouch established that the botanist Richard Cunningham had been murdered by Aboriginals. He was appointed a magistrate on 7 October 1835; at Holy Trinity Church, Kelso near Bathurst, on 29 December 1836 he married Maria (d.1885), youngest daughter of Captain Richard Brooks. He was involved in business dealings with his friend Captain John Piper, who had lent his home, Alloway Bank, for Zouch's wedding reception. In 1837 his regiment was posted to India, and he sold his commission and retired from the police. Next year he bought land on the Bell River near Wellington but lived at his wife's house, Ashby, at Bungendore near Lake George in the 1840s. A great horseman, he reputedly spent much of his time breeding and racing horses.

In 1851-53 Zouch was an assistant commissioner of crown lands for the gold districts, based on the Lower Turon. His prudent administration of the hated Goldfields Management Act contributed much towards public peace. He returned to Goulburn in 1853 when appointed a superintendent of police, Mounted Patrol, southern districts, including the Gundagai and Braidwood gold escorts. He coped fearlessly with the anti-Chinese riots at Lambing Flat in 1860 and 1861. On 30 June, when the miners tried to storm the police quarters to release three arrested men, Zouch ordered his troopers to charge and in the mêlée, one miner was killed and many injured. That night he ordered the withdrawal of the commissioners and police to Yass to avoid further bloodshed.

In March 1862, under the new Police Regulation Act, Zouch was appointed a superintendent of police for the south-eastern district at a salary of £500. In the next three years bushrangers, especially Ben Hall's gang, were active in his region; but, through his discretion, courage and horsemanship, Zouch won praise in parliament, at a time when the police were generally proving ineffective. Gentlemanly and quiet in manner, he was one of the most efficient officers in the public service. He was an early member of the Australian Club, founding president of the Goulburn Rifle Club in 1865 and a local Public School Board member.

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."


Zouch died of sunstroke on 28 October 1883 at Goulburn, where he was buried with Anglican rites. He was survived by his wife, four sons and three daughters. His personal property was valued for probate at £4057.©: Australian Dictionary of Biography.

Police Trooper c 1862
(representation only of 
Haviland)
Constable William Haviland. (1827 - 1862)
The first Policeman killed on duty under the New Police Act 1862.

William Haviland was born in September 1827, at St Nicholas, Gloucestershire, England. Haviland joined the Royal Artillery, where he served for twelve months enlisting in 1847 at the age of 20 and was discharged in 1847. Haviland's discharge reason stated: Reduction of Establishment. In February 1858, William Haviland married Sarah Heale (Heal) at St Nicholas Anglican Church, Winsley, Wiltshire, England. Together they travelled to NSW, arriving on the 'Oliver Jordan' at Port Jackson on the 1st July 1858, having sailed from London on the 30th April 1858. The 'Oliver Jordan' was a merchant ship of 1098 tons of American origin under James Frost's command with Dr Mackeller ships surgeon.
Haviland Arrival 1858. Note James Moyes.

The 'Oliver Jordan' whilst laying at Macnamara's Wharf, Darling Harbour unloading cargo and having disembarked the Haviland's, suffered a murder onboard when William A. Alden, a young man, of 24 years of age, an American, born in Augustus, in the State of Maine and was the ships chief officer, was knifed in the throat twice by James Moyes, a seaman, 27 years of age, a native of Lowestoft in Suffolk, England, although it was reported that his speech betrayed a long residence in America. Moyes, who after the stabbing, lept over the side of the ship yelling, "there were plenty had swung before me, and I could swing as well as any of them...". Moyes was quickly captured by the ship's crew. After Moyes trial, the death sentence was passed in the usual form, and James Moyes was executed on  September 7, 1858.

A military background soon found Haviland employment in the NSW Police as street patrol constable based in Parramatta. Before long The Haviland's were the parents of two girls Ellen and Laura. With the new police act coming into force in March 1862, Haviland was assigned to the Gold Escort, as the pay for a family man was higher than an ordinary trooper at £130 per annum.

On Sunday 14th 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.
Artist unknown.
"The escort left Forbes on Sunday morning, under the immediate charge of sergeant Condell, seated on the box alongside the driver, Mr Fagan; the remainder of the escort, three men, were seated in the body of the coach; their names, were senior constable Moran, constable Haviland. The treasure consisted of 2719 ounces of gold, and £3700 in cash; there were also the usual mails, which were heavy. The escort proceeded on its way without any unusual occurrence to warn them of impending danger; at about half-past 4 o'clock, on arriving at Coobong, a distance of 27 miles from Forbes, and immediately in the vicinity of Mr Clement's station, two teams were observed in the roadway no uncommon circumstance. As the coach drew near, it became evident there was but one passage, and that between the obstructing teams, and a mass of broken, perpendicular rocks, overhanging the narrow passage; the peculiarity of the situation never for a moment excited suspicion, but the driver brought his horses into a walk, in order to steer between the drays and the rocks. The coach at this time lay in such a position as that a party under cover of the rocks might pour a destructive fire upon the escort, with impunity; in an instant, six men dressed in red serge shirts, and red nightcaps, with faces blacked, showed themselves from behind a breast-work of rock, and at the word "fire," delivered their bullets with but too much precision. The sergeant was wounded in the side, the driver's hat was perforated with a bullet, senior constable Moran was wounded in the groin; and, as was quite natural, the escort were unnerved at the unexpectedness of the attack. No sooner had the six bushrangers delivered their fire, than they fell back with military precision, and were replaced by five or six others, who delivered their fire, and fell back in turn. The two volleys were the work of an instant. Never was more truly verified the saying that "Every bullet has its billet" for the clothes of the escort were perforated in several places -in the arm, in the legs, and in the side, but the men themselves escaped with comparatively trifling flesh wounds. Sergeant Condell states that he was knocked off the box at the first volley; Mr Fagan jumped off and held the reins, whilst the horses walked on slowly. Corporal Moran and Constable Haviland discharged their carbines at the bushrangers; as for the third constable, nothing appears to be known about him. Senior Sergeant 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 Clement's station..."

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...".

Sgt Condell
After spending the night at Clements station and with the recovery of the coach the troopers set off on the continuation of their journey minus the gold and cash, whilst preparing to depart Clements, Halivand had told Sergeant Condell that "he had several narrow escapes, and would not stop on the escort any longer", Condell had noticed that Haviland had become troubled over the attack. However, as the coach continued Haviland in a conversation with constable Moran stated, "he would not come on the escort any more unless there was a mounted party along with us", another passenger, Mr Henry Boynton, who had joined the coach at Clements station stated that in conversation with Haviland, he appeared very chatty and said to Boynton, "he would probably live 100 years or so as he had so many narrow escapes".

The police in pursuit and the gang dispersing Hanbury Clement's penned a letter to an acquaintance in Bathurst providing a good account of the robbery and its after-effects praising Sgt Condell for his cool-headedness during the onslaught. Clement's highlights that three bullock teams were blocking the road, and the only member not in disguise was Frank Gardiner. Amazingly one of the guards Rafferty covered the twenty-five miles back to Forbes through the bush; The following extract from a letter received by a gentleman in Bathurst is published in the Free Press 24th June 1862: "You will have heard before this reaches you that the Escort was stopped, and of course robbed. It occurred at the head of the blind gully, on the right of the double gate. The Escort goes by Eugowra at about four p.m. I do not know whether you recollect a big rock in the gully, about twenty yards to the right of the road; from behind this a number of men (the troopers say fifteen) jumped up, all dressed in red, apparently red shirts, with red comforter on, night-cap fashion; They let drive at the guard at once. I was in the paddock on horseback, and, on bearing the firing, galloped over at once. I met Fagan, the driver, at the big stockyard, and asked him what was the matter. He said the troopers were all shot, and the coach and horses gone, but where he did not know. I went on and met one of the troopers, who told me that he thought the others were killed. He was wounded in the side. Whilst talking to him, I saw two men at the top of the paddock; I went towards them, found they were two troopers, and brought them down, one of them was wounded in the region of the groin."

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

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

Hanbury Clements.
c. 1880.
The escorted coach arrived without trouble at Orange and stopped at about seven o'clock that evening, delivering the recovered mailbags to the postmaster and where Haviland had got out of the coach at the post-office and carried in the mail bags then returned to the coach which started on for Mr. Dalton's
'The Daniel O'Connell Inn', Byne St, Orange where the police usually stayed the night. 'The Empire' newspaper reported the subsequent events that saw Constable Haviland become the first Police Officer killed on duty under the new police act of 1862 and relates in transcripts from Haviland's Inquest, the tragic events; Constable Moran- "I and a lady and the other male passenger were sitting with our backs towards the driver; the female passenger was sitting in the middle; we heard the report of a revolver after leaving the Orange Post-office; the female passenger exclaimed, “My God the man is shot!” Haviland was sitting at the back of the coach opposite me; I said “No! It can’t be!” I saw the flash from the revolver in a line with deceased’s chest; the female put her hand over first; I then put out my hand and felt the blood pouring down quite warm; I said, “he is shot in the stomach”; the coach was going on all the time; I said it might be from the sergeant’s rifle; he said “no it could not be”’ in reply to a question from the sergeant I said deceased was shot; in the coach there was my revolver, and a revolver case empty."

Ellen Chandler, passenger, stated; "When we arrived in Orange, I saw the flash an heard a shot; I imagined I saw blood flow from deceased; he was sitting on the opposite seat to me; saw him falling forward; I put my hand out to prevent it; I kept him up with the assistance of another passenger until we arrived here; never saw any other arm with deceased except the revolver he wore at his side." Henry Boynton stated; "On coming round the last corner before we arrived here I heard the report of a pistol; my first impression was that the report came from the outside of the coach-very close the coach; I then saw Haviland's head incline forward, and I thought he was looking out see where the report came from; soon after I saw his body incline forward; I caught him by the coat-collar and called out to the driver that Haviland was shot; I was sitting in the near hind corner and he was sitting on the off hind corner of the coach; I held Haviland up until I arrived here; Haviland was dead. On arriving here we lifted from the coach; the coach had previously pulled up at the Orange post-office."

James Dalton
Senior Constable Moran was recalled to clarify the revolver's position and stated;"I saw the deceased put my revolver and belt and case into the coach under his seat. The button on the revolver case was a very bad one".

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; "Last night, about seven o'clock, I was sent for to see the deceased. Arriving at Dalton's Inn, I found him lying on the bed in the verandah room, with blood running out of his mouth and out of a wound in his neck; he was quite dead; this morning I traced the course of the bullet—it entered the throat below the chin—just above pomum Admni: its course was backward and slightly upward—passing through the larynx and through the pharynx back into the spine at the junction of the skull; I believe the immediate cause of death was effusion of blood into the windpipe; the wound would cause almost, instant death". At the inquest the circumstances of William Haviland's death revealed that as the coach rounded the corner of the Commercial Bank, Senior Constable Morans revolver on the coach's floor discharged, firing upwards and into the head of Haviland killing him instantly. The Coroner returned an open verdict:—"That deceased came by his death through a wound indicted by a shot from a revolver; but how the revolver was discharged there was no evidence to show."

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

CAPTAIN M'LERIE. (1809-1874)
(Abridged from the 'Illustrated Sydney News and New South Wales Agriculturalist and Grazier',  Saturday 17 October 1874.)

THE mortality amongst old colonists has been fearfully great this year, and many well known forms and old familiar faces we greeted a twelvemonth ago have departed for ever from amongst us. Prominent amongst the names of those lately deceased is that of Captain M'Lerie, Inspector General of Police for this colony since 1857. He expired on the 6th instant, rather suddenly, although his health had been in so precarious a condition for twelve years past that the event did not give much surprise to those friends who were acquainted with the complaint under which he suffered. For some time previous, Captain M'Lerie had been unable to attend to his official duties with regularity, but on the day before his death he rallied so much as to make a visit of inspection to the Police Department, in Elizabeth street, and afterwards walked through town before returning home. The fatigue proved too great for him, however, and about 3 a.m. on the following morning he was seized with a fatal attack, and in spite of all the assistance his medical attendant, Dr Kenwick, rendered, continued unconscious till half-past 2 p.m., when he expired.

The late Inspector-General, who was born in Ayr shire, Scotland, in the year 1809, In 1826, at the age of sixteen, he commenced his military career in the Scots Fusilier Guards, in which distinguished corps he rose to the highest rank attainable; the Foot Guards being the only regiment in which officers are not promoted from the ranks and continued in that regiment for a number of years, rising gradually. For special duties performed at the time of Oxford's insane attempt on the Queen's life, Captain M'Lerie was raised to the position of an officer, and  shortly after left for Hobart Town, in charge of a number of Crown prisoners, as adjutant in the 58th Regiment. After a brief sojourn there, and afterwards in Sydney, which was then the headquarters of the Imperial forces, Captain M'Lerie went to New Zealand with his regiment, where his conduct during several engagements with the Maoris, during the "Johnny Heki" war, was extolled so highly that he was recommended as a fitting candidate for the 'Victoria Cross' when that order for valour was established. He did not receive the decoration, however, in consequence of the time that had elapsed since the war before the order was instituted. When the rebel forces had laid down their arms, Captain M'Lerie returned to Sydney and became adjutant of the mounted military patrol. After that force was disbanded, he was appointed Governor of Darlinghurst Gaol, subsequently became Police Magistrate of Sydney and Metropolitan Superintendent of Police, and when the present police Act came into force, was transferred to the office of Inspector-General, where he remained, enjoying the confidence and respect of all classes, till his decease. As a mark of respect, the Chief Secretary issued an invitation to all members of the Civil Service to attend Captain M'Lerie's funeral, which took place on the 8th instant, being one of the largest processions which Sydney has ever witnessed; the cortege was fully a mile in length. The Bishop of Sydney preached an impressive sermon in Christ Church, where the coffin lay, previous to being taken to the Camperdown Cemetery for interment.

Here the Rev. Canon Vidal read the appointed service, after which the remains were lowered into the grave prepared for their reception. The Hon. George Wigram Allen, Minister of Justice and Public Instruction; the Hon. Saul Samuel, CM. G., Postmaster-General; the Hon. John Hay, President of the Legislative Council; Captain Mayne the Hon. Geoffrey Eagar; Mr. S. S. Gould, Mayor of Sydney; Mr. Henry Halloran, Principal Under- secretary; Mr. Duncan, Collector of Customs; Mr. G. O. Allan; Mr. E. Rogers; Mr. E. Fosberry, Acting Inspector-General of Police; Superintendent Zouch, Goulburn; Superintendent Morrisett, Maitland; Superintendent Lydiard, Bathurst; Inspector Reid, and Sub-Inspectors Rawlinson, Anderson, and Waters, Senior-sergeant Ferris; and nearly all the members of the Detective Police Forces were present, besides some hundreds of private citizens.

Monument to Captain M'Lerie erected at Camperdown Cemetery Newton NSW; "John M'Lerie, Inspector-General of Police, died in Sydney on the 6th of October, 1874, aged 65. This memorial was erected as a tribute of esteem by the officers and men serving under his command."


NSW Police list of Bushrangers killed or wounded as of March 1862-June 1870. (See Below.)


NSW Police list of Officers killed or wounded as of April 1862-October 1868. (See Below.)

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

5 comments:

  1. Very good website, good to see factual information, and glad to see that Hall is not being portrayed as some sort of folk hero.

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  2. Best website ever & very informative

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  3. Best website ever & very informative as well!

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  4. Fantastic website! Where did you find the images of the 1862 police trooper and Captain McLerie 1860?

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    1. Thank you Nic, The images are from the National Library and Edgar Penzig. This is my hobby so I source as much as I can from those who have gone before including my own pics from my travels. There are many references on both the Source Page and Endnotes. Once again I appreciate your interest. You can Follow the site if you wish. Cheers, Mark Matthews.

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