Wednesday

Frank Gardiner Bushranger "THE KING OF THE ROAD" Workday Wednesday



"THE mere mention of the name of Frank Gardiner in  any part of the Western or Southern districts of New South Wales, is sufficient to set any of the residents in  those districts of 30 years' standing talking of the "old bushranging days." For Christie, alias Clarke, alias Gardiner, has been ever looked upon as the father of that bushranging which was followed by so many young men during the decade commencing in 1860."
"Frank Gardiner — I shall call him throughout this story by the name by which he was commonly known in the bush   — commenced his criminal career by "lifting" a horse when     20 years of age. He was born at Boro Creek, near Goulburn,   in 1830, and when quite a young man crossed the border into   Victoria. In October, 1850, he committed the crime of horse-   stealing, and as that exploit was the initial step in his down-   ward course, a short account thereof will not be considered out of place just here.  
At the time that Gardiner crossed the border into Vic-toria that part of the country was infested with prowling bands of well-mounted men, ostensibly in search of employ-   ment ,but really on the look put for horses and cattle that admitted of easy "lifting." It was the custom in those days for the station-holder to extend hospitality to all callers, and  it is said that on some stations the cost of entertaining the callers amounted to over £1000 per annum. It was a fortu-nate thing, indeed, for the colony that the discovery of gold was made, and that the periodical wanderers were drawn off by the excitment to different and widely separated fields.  
In was in June of 1850 that Mr. Lockhart Morton, who had recently entered into possession of Salisbury Plains  Station, on the Loddon, suddenly discovered that all the horses on his station, with the exception of four which were  in a secure paddock, had mysteriously disappeared. Search- ing round the run with one of his stockmen, Mr. Morton at last came upon their tracks, making straight for the Lower Avoca, and he at once arrived at the conclusion that they had been driven off by horse stealers. Returning home he found a message awaiting him from an adjoining station to the effect that three men had been seen by the shepherd three days before driving ofl the horses at a furious pace. Mr. Morton was a man of pluck and energy, and after making a supply of cartridges for his guns and writing to the chief con- stable at Melbourne, asking him to send intelligence of the robbery to Geelong, Portland, and Adelaide, daylight on the Wednesday morning (the horses had been removed on the   previous Sunday) saw him in the saddle fully equipped and determined to run down the robbers. (To be Continued.) 

Written by "Chatterer" C White. 
Printed in the Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal Tuesday 26th January, 1892.

The spelling errors are in the original newspaper article.

RESOURCE: Trove

SEE: more general information on Frank Gardiner

Tuesday

Tombstone Tuesday - John Gilbert's Grave

Bushranger John Gilbert's grave
John Gilbert's lonely grave near Binalong, NSW.
In May 1865, Ben Hall, John Gilbert, and John Dunn were proclaimed outlaws. The Felons Apprehension Act 1865, allowed known bushrangers to be shot and killed rather than taken to trial.
John Gilbert, aka Happy Jack, Johnny, and Flash, had a 1000 pound reward on his head and had been involved in around 630 hold ups including the death of a police man.
John Gilbert was shot and died instantly on the 13th May, 1865 near Murrumburrah, New South Wales, Australia in a shoot out with police troopers.  The police involved in the shoot out were Senior Constable Charles Hales of the Binalong police station and constables John Bright, Michael King and Henry Hall. Constable Henry Hall was put in charge of the body. When Gilbert's body was searched money, jewelry, powder flask, guns, and bullets were found. The guns included a Tranter revolving rifle and a government issue revolver.
Gilbert's body was taken back to the court house of the Binalong Police Station.
An inquest was held on the 14th May 1865 and it was generally agreed that Constable John Bright fired the fatal shot that had killed Gilbert and that he had died instantly. The verdict of the jury at the inquest was "Justifiable Homicide." The jury also found "that Senior Constable Hales and Constables Bright, King and Hall were deserving of great praise for the gallant and courageous manner in which they acted."
The Government reward for the dead bushranger was divided up: the informer received £500; Hales, £150; Bright, £130; King, £120; and Hall £100.

The New South Wales Police Report published in the Sydney Morning Herald 16th July, 1870 stated:
May, 1865.—John Gilbert, robbery under arms ; shot dead
by police under senior-constable Heales.

John Gilbert (1842 - 1865) was buried in a paddock at the back of the Binalong Police Station.


Bushranger John Gilbert's Grave

RESOURCES:
Felons Apprehension Act 1865 PDF
Australian Cemeteries Index
"NEW SOUTH WALES POLICE.". The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954)
Senior Constable Charles Hales's Police Report Dated 15th May 1865
The Yass Courier of 17th May 1865.
New South Wales, Australia, Registers of Coroners' Inquests, 1821-1937 for John Gilbert        

Monday

Owen Suffolk Free Pardon granted

Free Pardon was granted to Owen Suffolk in return for his commitment to return to England and never return to the colony of Australia.

Owen Suffolk granted Free Pardon

Transcription of original document

By his excellency The Honourable Sir John Henry Thomas
Manners Sutton, Knight Commander of the Most Honourable
Order of the Bath, Govenor and Commander-In-Chief in and over
the Colony of Victoria &c, &c, &c.

Whereas Owen Suffolk alias Charles Vernon was in the Year One Thousand Eight Hundred and fifty eight tried and convicted in the Colony of Victoria of Horse Stealing and received two cumulative Sentences of Five and Seven Years respectively Hard Labor on the Roads of the said Colony. And whereas on the fourth day of July now last past a Ticket of Leave was granted unto the said Owen Suffolk alias Charles Vernon And Whereas it has been deemed expedient by me to pardon the said Owen Suffolk alias Charles Vernon. Allow Therefore in pursuance of the power and authority in one vested, I the Governor aforesaid do hereby grant to the said Owen Suffolk alias Charles Vernon a Free Pardon for the Crime of which he has been so convicted in the said Colony of Victoria.

29 Aug 1866Melbourne, Victoria.

Departed from Australia: 17 Sep 1866

RESOURCES:
National Museum of Australia: original document

Thursday

Australia’s largest gold robbery

stage coach hold up in 1862 in Eugowra NSW Australia
Stage coach hold-up, Eugowra Rocks, oil on canvas, 137.5 x 183 cm
by Patrick William Morony (1858-1939) painted in 1894.


It was at Eugowra, on the 15th June, 1862 that Frank Gardiner, and his gang of bushrangers, robbed the Ford & Co. coach on its way from Forbes to Bathurst in New South Wales. It was Australia’s largest gold robbery - 14 thousand pounds worth of gold and banknotes.
The rock, in the painting, above, where the bushrangers waited to ambush the coach is now called Escort Rock after the fact that the coach was a gold escort meaning it escorted or carried gold from one place to another.
Gardiner's gang included Ben Hall, John Gilbert, Henry Manns, Alex Fordyce, John Bow, John O'Meally, and Dan Charters.
"...the greatest achievement of Gardiner's gang, the Lachlan escort robbery; at Engowra Rocks, about forty-five miles distant from the town of Orange. Here the escort coach, carrying a sergeant and two troopers, was impeded by two bullock teams, without drivers, drawn across, the road. The driver made a circuit round them to pass, and when the coach neared a clump of rocks four men rose from their shelter. They were attired in red shirts, their faces were blackened, and they were armed with rifles. They dis charged their rifles in a volley at the coach. A bullet pierced the driver's hat, and another perforated his coat skirt. The constables in the coach were not hit. Then four other bandits stood up, and fired a second volley, whereupon the horses bolted, and the coach was upset. The gang rushed upon it and fired again. The sergeant was wounded in three places, and Trooper Horan in two. Trooper Haviland was uninjured, and he fled into the bush with the driver. The robbers carried away the escort boxes, two rifles, and the coach horses. Haviland and the driver ran to Clement's Station, and re turned with a party of men, who found only the scattered contents of the mail bags. These they gathered up, and, after obtaining fresh horses, proceeded on the road to Orange with the wounded police. They also discovered the bullock drivers, who had been bailed up by the gang,  ordered to draw their teams across the  road, and hide themselves in the bush, with, their faces on the ground. The coach arrived at Orangeat six o'clock   on the following evening. Shortly after it left the post office, a bullet struck Constable Haviland in the head, and killed him instantly. Doubtless it came from the rifle of one of the gang, who must have been lingering on watch in the   neighbourhood unseen. The robbers'  booty was heavy ; the escort boxes con tained 5509 oz. of gold, representing £22,000 in value, and £7490 in Oriental Bank notes. The gang consisted of Gardiner, Ben Hall, Gilbert, O'Mally, John   Bow, Alexander Fordyce, Henry Manns, and Daniel Charteris. They divided the booty into eight shares. Gardiner, For dyce, and Charteris put their gold on one of the coach horses, and proceeded towards the Weddin Mountains. The others took their shares separately, and went on other tracks. On ths following day Sir Frederick Pottinger, who was district superinten dent of police, set forth in pursuit of the bandits with eleven troopers, twenty   armed volunteers, and two black track ers. They followed the trail of Gardiner  and his two companions, whose pack horse became exhausted at the foot of the Weddin Range. While they were engaged in removing the gold they caught sight of their pursuers approaching, and fled into the hills, leaving behind 1239 oz. of gold, which fell into the hands of the police. Some time after Charter is turned informer. Manns, Fordyce, and Bow were arrested; Manns was hanged, and the other two were sentenced to life imprisonment. Gardiner disappeared. Hall, Gilbert, and O'Meally went on their way of blood and plunder for three years longer in defiance of the police.

The huge escort robbery was Gardiner's final exploit." TROVE: The Capricornian Newspaper. Rockhampton, Qld. Saturday 14th October 1905.

Read the details of the robbery here.

Linked up at History and Home

Sunday

Martin Cash - his later life

Martin Cash bushranger
Martin Cash (1808-1877)

Martin Cash is known for escaping twice from Port Arthur gaol, in Van Diemen's Land.
On the 14th May,1854, on Norfolk Island, Martin Cash married Mary Bennett (1824 - 1891), a convict from County Clare, aged 34.
Later that year, after years of imprisonment on Norfolk Island, Martin Cash was given a ticket-of-leave and released back into society. He travelled back to Tasmania where between 1854 and 1856, he was an overseer in the Royal Hobart Botanical Gardens. He was also gazetted as a constable for the Cascades Agricultural Settlement. He received a conditional pardon in May 1856 and went to New Zealand for four years where he ran several brothels.

He later farmed at Glenorchy on land he had purchased. He died there a free man on 27th August 1877 in Hobart, Tasmania. He is one of the only bushrangers to die of old age and not by the gallows.

His Death Certificate states"that the deceased died from Natural Causes namely fatty degeneration of the heart combined with inflammation of the stomach and intestines brought on by acute intemperance"
 
He was buried in Cornelian Bay Cemetery, in Hobart, in the Roman Catholic section, after a service, on the 30th August 1877. His widow Mary Cash was later buried there in 1891.


MORE ON MARTIN CASH:
  • Australian Dictionary of Biography Martin Cash: The Bushranger of Van Diemen's Land in 1843-4: A Personal Narrative of His Exploits in the Bush and His Experiences at Port Arthur and Norfolk Island. Author Martin Cash.
  • DECONSTRUCTING AND RECONSTRUCTING THE MARTIN CASH/JAMES LESTER BURKE NARRATIVE/MANUSCRIPT OF 1870 PDF by Duane Helmer Emberg
  • Way Back Machine
REFERENCES:
Roots Web Cash/Bennett marriage registration
Australia Death Index, 1787-1985
Trove Launceston Examiner 1st September 1877
Sydney Morning Herald 2009 Hobart - Places to See.
Trove The Mercury 17 July 1891 Death of Mary Cash aged 72
 

Tuesday

The Bush Rangers by Edward Harrington



Ned Kelly, Dan Kelly, Steve Hart and Joe Byrne

Four horseman rode out from the heart of the range,
Four horseman with aspects forbidding and strange.
They were booted and spurred, they were armed to the teeth,
And they frowned as they looked at the valley beneath,
As forward they rode through the rocks and the fern -
Ned Kelly, Dan Kelly, Steve Hart and Joe Byrne.

Edward Harrington (1896 – 1966)
Read the full poem

Thursday

Ben Hall's Death

the death of bushranger Ben Hall

"Don't let the traps take me alive."

Ben Hall did most of his bushranging in New South Wales, where he was known as 'Brave Ben Hall'.

Between1863 to 1865, Ben Hall and his gang are thought to have conducted over 100 robberies, including the robberies of 21 towns and many coaches.  Due to the amount of hold ups on their coaches the Cobb and Co. coaches published in their timetable the phrase: "Ben Hall permitting".

By May 1865, Ben Hall planned to leave New South Wales. He was betrayed by a man who had previously given him assistance and the police were prepared to catch him.  The illustration above shows his ambush by eight armed policemen at dawn on 5 May, 1865 at Billabong Creek near Forbes.  Ben Hall did not fire a shot and was shot 30 times and killed. It is said that while he was lying wounded he turned to Billy Dargin and said "Shoot me dead Billy! Don't let the traps take me alive."

More information on Ben Hall:
Timeline of Ben Hall's Life
His early life
Illustration

Friday

Bushranging in Tasmania

Tasmanian convict uniorm
Studio photograph of old William Thompson
a Tasmanian convict
wearing convict uniform and leg irons
Bushranging began in Tasmania in the early years of settlement, when near starvation meant convicts were sent into the bush to hunt. Some remained there, living by stealing from or trading with settlers. Their numbers grew as more convicts escaped, and until the 1850s there were many bushrangers. Attempts made to suppress them included a proclamation in May 1814 promising a pardon if they came in by December. Thus they could continue their depredations without fear of punishment for six months, after which many came in; some later returned to the bush.
Read more of Robert Minchin's article at the companion to Tasmanian History.

Tuesday

What did bushrangers eat?

Australian pioneer settler's hut
Pioneer settler's home in the Australian bush

What a bushranger ate, when they were in the bush, would depend upon many factors:

  • what part of the country they were in
  • their own bush survival skills
  • if they were actively on the run from the authorities
  • if they knew free settlers who would support them
Many bushrangers hunted wild rabbits and native animals such as duck, pigeons and kangaroos and if they were near an ocean or river they would try and catch fish or eels.
When bushrangers were being hunted by police and trackers it would have been difficult to stop and cook food over a fire.
Some bushrangers stole provisions owned by the settlers or travellers or store owners if they were near a town, helping themselves to salted meats, potatoes, onions and flour.
Some were supported by free settlers who had been convicts and were sympathetic to the bushrangers hatred of authority.  

Bushrangers may have known about native plants that they could eat such as stinging nettle, prickly pear and tea tree but this is not documented.

Monday

The call of the Australian Bush 1880



vintage photo 1880 Queensland
1880 Northern Queensland Australia
Travelling through the bush in the Cooktown District

The road is rough - but to my feet
Softer than is the city street;
And then the trees! - how beautiful
She-oak and gum - how fresh and cool!
From The Call of the Bush by Dora Wilcox,
born Mary Theodora Joyce Wilcox (1873-1953) poet and playwright.
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