xenith: (Eucalypt)
A sequel to yesterday, but now it's 1826. Almost two years later.

The horse thing is interesting. Later in the century, bushrangers are closely associated with horses, but in this era of banditti or escaped convicts, they're unusual. Moreso for a large gang to be mounted. That's probably a large part of the reason for the last comment in second article. Although then comes the question of how are they keeping them without attracting unwarranted attention.

Colonial Times 20 January 1826

This lawless banditti move rapidly. On Saturday they robbed Mr Lord's house at Laureny, on the Derwent, in the Macquarie District and on Sunday they robbed Major De Gillern at the Coal River. They are 13 in number - all mounted. The armed Bush Constables were said to be close upon them on Wednesday night but no accurate information had been received of them up to our going to press.

Colonial Times 24 February 1826

This banditti has been again heard of. On Saturday evening a part of them crossed the river Derwent and proceeding to Mr Humphrey's estate near the river Styx, stole and killed a considerable number of his most valuable sheep. 50 of those that were taken by them were valued at £5 each, being of a very improved breed.

That active and indefatigable Police Officer, Mr Kerby, was on Monday dispatched with an armed party in pursuit of these robbers, and we trust he may be more fortunate than have been his predecessors upon that service. The movements of this banditti have been certainly extraordinary. In a small island, such as this, and within a very limited space of it, that 14 men should have so long escaped the pursuit of at least 400 soldiers, and 100 armed prisoners, to nothing of a considerable local interior Constabulary is certainly a most unaccountable circumstance. There must be something wrong somewhere.


Sep. 12th, 2013 10:35 pm
xenith: (Eucalypt)
Too tired to write anything tonight, so I'll use the editorial from the Hobart Town Gazette, 25 June 1824. I found it while I was looking through some old folders on the computer and it predates Trove (i.e. it's typed up from a printout from microfilm, not copied from a web page). I love his optimism that they'll all soon be caught, and James Crawford is a name rather forgotten now.

Hobart Town Gazette

On Friday last, after our Paper has gone to press, intelligence reached town, that fourteen prisoners had escaped in a boat from our penal Settlement at Macquarie Harbour, and had since committed various depredation's on the other side of the Derwent.

Early on Monday morning they burglariously entered the country residence of W. H. Mason, Esq.; and, after beating him severely, stole many valuable articles, belonging to him and to other Gentlemen, visitors, with which they decamped. On the preceding night, they had also robbed a Mr. Brodie, on the highway, of his watch, and the servant of Lieut. Gunn of some fire-arms. Luckily, however, five of them were soon after taken, thro' the intrepidity of Lieut. Gunn, who on hearing of his loss, immediately left town in pursuit of them; and yesterday, as we have reported in the third page of our Gazette, they, with another, who had since surrendered, were tried, found guilty, and sentenced.

Whilst speaking on this subject, we feel compelled to acknowledge the promptness with which Government sent of a party of soldiers and constables, in chase of these wanderers from offended justice.

Besides the military, whom we stated to be in quest of the absentees above mentioned, we are proud and happy to record, as a proof of very creditable public spirit, that a considerable number of Gentlemen have volunteered their services on the occasion. It therefore may be confidently hoped, that their united exertions will prove effectual, and teach the vicious that this Colony is at length too well inhabited for any banditti to long escape apprehension.

By a Public Notice from the Police Office, we learn that £10 will be paid as a reward for apprehending each of the eight runaways yet at large.

We also are enables to state, that James Crawford, the leader of this lawless gang, is a fellow who had long been decidedly infamous before his banishment to Macquarie Harbour, where however he for a short time behave remarkably well, but merely, as now is evident, to obtain that opportunity which at length has been realized so fatally.
xenith: (Coloured scales)
Here's an incorrigible character. I happened the other day to look at his records, and they seemed somewhat interesting. I come across a lot of such stuff but usually I'm left wondering what the rest of the story is. For this young man, his life story is given in a few documents.

So, one of the articles I included in the posts about Mrs Cox's coaches was this one:

THE BUSHRANGERS.--These men, since our last detail of their movements, seemed to hesitate at an endeavour to pass into the western country by the Lakes, considering the quantity of wet which had fallen, and retraced their steps to the Lake River, where they committed two petty robberies, and subsequently fell in with a party of ten police from Campbell Town, after dusk on the evening of Friday last. After challenging and firing eight shots upon them, the bushrangers retreated into a scrub, followed by the constabulary, who reserved their fire for closer quarters. But again the fortune of war was in favour of the robbers, who escaped their pursuers (again, however, leaving their plunder behind them,) and were next heard of on the main road near Epping Forest, where they stopped Mrs. Cox's coach, and robbed the passengers, on Monday forenoon. In spite of Mr. Samuel Smith's high opinion of the nerve of the thieves, they exhibited great haste and trepidation on this occasion, joined to a squalid and miserable appearance. Mrs. Cox, who occupied a seat in the coach, rebuked them in severe terms for the wickedness and folly of their career. She showed them, also, that they were more alarmed on the occasion than she was, and with perfect truth, for in their fear and confusion they failed to take her gold watch, and another lady's, with various other portable property within their reach. The coach was detained not more than ten minutes, and on its proceeding took active steps to promote the pursuit of the freebooters, who are evidently closely hunted. We doubt if they will outlast the month at large ; and we really hope, for their own sakes, they will be speedily taken, for whatever the Review's philanthropy may suggest as to the worse-than-death-system of Port Arthur, their present sufferings, as abundantly shown by their appearance, must wholly eclipse the endurance of a penal settlement.
Hobart Town Courier, 7 July 1843

One of the participants in that robbery was later for tried to it. The Courier article is long so I won't include it, but the first few lines are interesting:


The prisoner at the bar stood charged with having feloniously and violently put in bodily fear James Hewitt, and from his person taken one watch and seven promissory notes of the value of £1 each.

Plea--Not Guilty.

Kavenagh-I beg pardon, your Honor, as this charge effects my life, I should like to have counsel allowed to me.

His Honour-I do not see anything in your case that you should have counsel assigned to you. A report exists at Port Arthur, that all prisoners of the Crown, charged with capital offences, are assigned counsel, but it is not a matter of right. [His Honor here asked Mr. Macdowell as to the fact. Mr. Macdowell stated merely that prisoners were generally allowed the benefit of counsel.]

His Honor--When a case requires counsel, I never refuse: in this case I can see no necessity that the prisoner should have that indulgence.

The Courier 15 September 1843

Read more... )
xenith: (Deck quoits)
Last random entry for today because I am tired, and sick of fighting with computer. This the first in a series that was published in the Examiner. I saved to a folder on the drive years ago, but I'll just use the first one :)


Sir, I am aware that it is next to impossible for a writer to give en exact description of occurrences of 60 years back. At the same time an eye witness, on whose memory the scenes remain as vividly as if they had happened yesterday, naturally has a desire to see them related correctly, and, perhaps, "B" may also like to be in possession of the real facts of his story. I do not propose to add to the necessarily brief and rapid sketch which he given of the startling events that were crowded into that night at Elphin with the exception of one instance in order to further elucidate the character of Brady.

My father, hearing a gun discharged at the back of the house, went out to see what it meant, not suspecting bushrangers, when he was immediately seized by armed men from each side of the back porch, one of whom, annoyed at resistance, gave him a bayonet thrust, but the weapon getting tangled in his necktie, the man gave him a blow on the head with it, and when he was taken back into the house the blood was seen running over his face. The wound was dressed by his son-in law, Dr. Landale, Brady assisting and expressing his sorrow for what was done, and threatened summary punishment on any man who offered further violence.

There was not a large party of friends collected, the only visitors being Dr. Landale and his wife. The family consisted of my father and mother, myself, then a boy nearly eight years old, and my younger sister, too young a child to retain any distinct memory of what took place. My brother and my other sisters were from home at school.

The story of Brady requesting one of the ladies to seat herself at the piano, and singing to the music, is probably founded on the fact that while the bushrangers were surrounding the house, my sister, Mrs. Landale, was playing on that instrument the ominous air "The Campbells are coming."

The servant alluded to having been thrust into a room and the door locked, escaped by a second door, eluded Brady's sentry within a few yards of him, and made straight for Mr. Mulgrave's, the P.M., who despatched a message to the barracks, and at once armed himself and hurried to Elphin accompanied by one soldier, one constable, and, I think, the messenger. In the meantime Brady having been signalled by one of his sentries that men were on the move towards the house, collected his men with a whistle, gave the order, " Now my lads, we must go," and retired to an outhouse, whence they intended to give the soldiers a warm reception. Mr. Mulgrave rushed into the house at the front, double-barrelled gun in hand, enquiring in excited tones, " Where are the scoundrels?" and was answered by a volley from the outhouse, one bullet taking a piece out of the soldier's coat, one leaving a round hole in an upper window, and several leaving their track along the shingles of the porch, where it could he seen for many years. Brady and his men then removed to a field bounded by the Patterson's Plains and Elphin roads. Then arrived Dr. Priest, who would not dismount but insisted on reconnoitring, and rode round the field where the bushrangers were. As he passed they fired a volley, nine bullets hitting the horse, and two piercing his knee. I saw the dead horse riddled with bullets. The doctor was taken, not to Launceston, but to Elphin, where he was well known, and where he died after a fortnight's suffering. When he at length consented to have the limb amputated his medical brethren agreed that it was too late to perform the operation. Dr. Priest's white trousers accounted for the line in which the bullets took effect.

A good deal of plunder was collected, and bound in bundles, and a horse and cart were got in readiness for carrying it away, but, thanks to Mr. Mulgrave's prompt action, these bundles were left behind, and so were the horse and cart.

Colonel Balfour was riding past some men whom he mistook for his own. Hearing the click of fire-locks he called out, " My men, what are you doing ? I'm the colonel," and was replied to by shots, which blew off his cap and pierced it. Some ten soldiers were sent to Elphin under a lieutenant, but did not arrive till the bushrangers had disappeared. The officer said that he had made a detour with a view of cutting off their retreat. He had to endure much "chuff" on this account, but I presume he did what he judged to be the right thing.

Brady, when captured, was wearing Colonel Balfour's cap. He was brought along the Elphin road well guarded, and on horseback, his leg being wounded. My father met him, and had a conversation with him, and took me with him. I observed that the prisoner spoke calmly, and occasionally smiled and joked. He was certainly a different man from the run of bushrangers, and, perhaps, had he lived under milder laws in the first instance, would have exhibited a very different course of life.

Yours, etc., William Dry

Launceston Examiner, 1 February 1888
xenith: (Eucalypt)
I'm revisiting the story of the "boy bandit" from a month ago.

I won't repeat the story here. It's in the original post, although it's different now. The book I have (Tell 'em I Died Game, by Bill Wannan) took the story from Sea Wolves and Bandits, by Leslie Norman, and he took the story from a book called In Old Days and These by "The Captain" (Thomas Ford) that was published in 1930. It's that story that I've put in the first post.

As I said at the end, it gets interesting but it's not the story itself that is interesting, (although it might be) but the process of trying to work out what the story actually is. So I'll start with the easy part, and that's Tom Rares, who wasn't transported at age 9 for stealing an apple. Rather he got life for pickpocketing. That has him as age 17.

He arrives on the Earl St Vincent in August 1836 (aged 14, 5', brown hair, "hazle" eyes) and doesn't seem to waste time getting down to trouble. If you can read all that, you're doing a better job than me (the easiest way to view it is right click and view image so it's outside of the provided frame).

He finds himself in a chain gang within a few months of arriving. Then some absconding, stealing from his master etc. In 1829, when he's in the employ of William Brumby, he absconds again and hooks up with a notorious pair by the names of Samuel Britton & John Bevan

Cut for length )

Boy Bandit

Jun. 5th, 2011 02:19 pm
xenith: (Default)
What interests me about these stories, is the difference between fact and fiction. They're never the same, things change in the retelling, bits are added or borrowed from someone else's story.

This particular story I first came across in a song ("Sixteen Summers" by Johnny Ashcroft) and then again while flicking through a book. A rather neat little account, with lots of details. It's when you start to actually look at those details then the story starts to fall apart.

This appears to be the original version of the story, from "In old days and these, and other stories" by "The Captain", published in the 1930s.

There is an old-time incident of the bushranging days of Van Diemen's Land in connection with 'The Man of Ross Inn.' A lad named Tom Rares was transported from England when he was nine years of age, in 1832, for stealing an apple valued at 2d. He was a child of the London slums, and was sentenced to seven years in Van Diemen's Land, and consequently was sent to Point Puer at Port Arthur. When that period had expired the authorities raked up a number of 'offences' which he had committed in that time, and sentenced him to a further period of seven years. He was then a lad of sixteen years, and of strong build and determination.

Great precautions were always exercised on Eaglehawk Neck which joins Port Arthur with the mainland. There were ferocious bloodhounds at intervals across the neck, and an extra guard was-always placed there. In spite of all this young Rares battled across it into the bush the day after his first seven years had expired. It took him two days to accomplish this, but he reached the mainland. He was several weeks making his way up to Kangaroo Point (Bellerive). It must be remembered that all the assigned servants whom he met on his way were fellow victims of the law. So with their secrecy and assistance with food, with dogged persistence he reached Hobart Town.

His long term at Point Puer had not made him better in his habits, for on his arrival at Kangaroo Point he burgled the 'Plough Inn', kept by Mr. J H. Dawson, and stole a considerable sum of money and a pair of pistols and then in the night he stole a boat and paddled over to Hobart Town. He lived for several weeks in a shed at the rear of "The Man of Ross Inn" and lived on the proceeds of stealing. He was caught one day in the act of robbing a sailor but was too smart for the police, and made his escape to New Norfolk. On his arrival there he foolishly walked into the Police Station and bailing up the two constables with a pistol, stole their firearms and a sum of money.

He made his way from there towards Launceston, intending to join up with two outlaws, Lawton and Cowden, who were terrors to the surrounding districts there. On his way to the North, between Snake Banks and Perth, he met the mail-man who was carrying a heavy sum of money from Captain Gray to Mr. Harry Jennings. Rares shot the mailman's horse from under him, and the animal, falling on the rider, fractured his leg. Rares robbed the bags of their contents and emptied the mailman's pockets and then left him there, refusing him even a drink of water when he asked for it.

He joined with Lawton and Cowden when they made a most cowardly attack on Mr. John Lamond and family's place on the South Esk and robbed them of everything. They then made for the Emu ground and attacked Mr. Parsons' place. In this attack Lawton was wounded in the jaw, his teeth blown out, and a portion of his tongue. Rares had got on to the roof with a view to picking off the settlers. But, unfortunately for him, his gun burst, and his right hand was blown off at the wrist. The others took to the bush. Mr. Thompson did what he could for the lad, and putting him in a cart, took him to the Launceston Gaol, Rares being nearly dead from the loss of blood. Dr. Mountgarret stopped further bleeding by cauterising the end of the limb with a red hot iron.

A week later Rares was tried. He was too near death to say a word for himself. After a brief trial he was sentenced to be hanged the following morning. When the hangman and two assistants carried him up to the gallows, he was swung off into eternity more dead than alive.

I'll note here that Port Arthur was established in late 1830, Point Puer in 1834.

The index to the convict database gives one match for "Rares" and that's Thomas who arrived on the Earl St Vincent in 1826.

The "Lawton and Cowden" referenced are, I assume, this bunch:

SIR, - The strong degree of feeling that has been excited in favour of the five Bush-rangers, Morton, Cowden, Sainter, Laughton, and Stuart, who are erroneously stated to have absconded from my service, and the prejudice endeavoured to be excited against me and my family, on their account, induce me to offer to the Public the following statement of facts, as it cannot now be supposed lo have any influence either one way or other on their sentence, which must have been decided upon by His Excellency before this can be published.

That's taken from a letter published in the Colonial Time in 1830.

If Mountgarret is the colonial surgeon, then from the Australian Dictionary of Biography: Finally in 1821 he was succeeded as surgeon at Port Dalrymple by Robert Espie and was placed on half-pay. He died insolvent on 27 January 1828 and was buried in the old Church of England burial ground, Launceston.

That dates don't add up at all. Of course, even if the story as given isn't correct, it doesn't mean there isn't some truth behind it, and that's where it's starting to look interesting.
xenith: (Moon behind trees)
What I'm doing

Part I: Meeting
Part II: On The Run


"I informed my mates [Jones & Kavanagh] that I should have the pleasure of introducing them to an old acquaintance of mine who lived on the Dromedary, named Mrs B----n, and that in all probability they might shortly, while there, see Mrs Cash. Jones immediately exhibited a silk dress, which he had taken from Mrs Cawthorn's, and expressed his intention to present it to my companion, but I told him that I would much rather he would give it as a present to Mrs B----n. On the night following we all three repaired to the house, where we were most hospitably received. The family lived at a place named Cob's Hill on the Jordan side, they were very poor and rented a small piece of land, which barely maintained them, having neither horses, cows, nor pigs, and were in all respects in the most abject poverty. They were all, both young and old, natives of the colony.

"We found Mr. and Mrs B----n at home, together with other members of the family, and after partaking of some refreshment we spent a very pleasant evening, chatting over times past. Early next morning Mrs B----n was on her way to town for a fresh supply of necessaries, also bearing instructions for my companion to return with Mrs B----n, but as I did not know the address f the latter I told Mrs B----n to call at the residence of Mr M----t, opposite the Angel Inn in Argyle Street, where she would learn all the particulars, and being of opinion that the police were on the watch we did not consider it prudent to await their return. We therefore concealed ourselves about a mile from the house, where we remained until the afternoon, returning by a different route.

Read more... )

And that done, it's time to move onto NSW.
xenith: (Moon behind trees)
What I'm doing

Part I: Meeting

On The Run

[A few months of wandering about, working in various places]
[Being arrested over a stolen watch, but as it was apparently planted "I and my companion were therefore acquitted".]
[Punching out the traps and getting compensated for it]
[Then things turn a bit more serious...]

"One evening after work, and while in conversation with Mr Kane [former employer], I was accosted by a man named Miller, who requested that I would let him stop at my place for a night or two as he was out of employment but expected work on the following day. My knowledge of this man was very limited, Mr Kane having some few days previously employed him in clearing away the rubbish from the new building at which I had been at work. I took him home that night and permitted him to remain the night following. The next day I went into the township with a view of paying my landlord (Mr Hamilton), the rent, leaving Miller in charge of the house until I returned. I had scarcely concluded my business before I was arrested by a party of constables who, it appears, had searched the house in my absence and found the articles which Miller had stolen, the later have decamped on seeing the constables approaching the house, leaving me, as the occupier of the house, to answer for his delinquencies. I was fully committed and arraigned at Launceston, Mr Mulgrave being then Chairman, where I was sentenced to seven years' transportation, and forwarded to a station known as Malcolm's Huts, distant some two miles from Richmond."

[From which he escapes.]

Read more... )


Mar. 12th, 2011 09:38 am
xenith: (Moon behind trees)
What I'm doing

I'm letting someone else tell this story, by pulling the parts from his biography* that relate to her. It got a bit long, so I'm splitting it over three posts. Still, I find it interesting, so if you only read one of this series, I'd make it this one (or this three).

I hope it makes senses. It does to me, but I've read a lot of missing bits. If it doesn't, I can add notes to clarify things

(The conventions I've used: I put quote marks around each extract. So the closing quotes mark effectively means "there's something missing after this". Sometimes that's is a few sentences, sometimes pages, but using ellipses was getting messy. Although I've used them within a paragraph where it's only part of a sentence missing. I added some comments in [] to clarify the passage of time or summarise missing bits. Italics means it's a passage from the latest version, which has differences to the original published text.)


"Shortly after our arrival, we were introduced to the newly appointed store keeper's missis, who, by the by, appeared to be at the time the most beautiful person I had every beheld. She was a finely proportioned woman with a very fair complexion, light blue eyes, and dark auburn hair and appeared to be about twenty-two years of age. I could not take my eyes away from her, and I felt embarrassed on one or two occasions when she appeared to be conscious of my admiration, not having the presence of mine to conceal it. I felt completely lost in a reverie of blissful anticipation, building castles with a very unstable foundation, and imaging how happy I would have been in having such a piece of property as the residing goddess."

Read more... )


Mar. 5th, 2011 01:15 pm
xenith: (Moon behind trees)
What I'm doing

Probably I shouldn't include Mrs Davis, because she doesn't play an important part in the story, but you can't expect me to pass on Brady & Co, and she is interesting -- for something it's claimed she didn't do.

This little notice appeared in the Hobart Town Gazette on the 8th July 1825:

Brady and McCabe made their appearance during the week, at the Farm of A.F. Kemp, Esq. up the country. They had previously been robbing some individual;--and it is supposed are harboured by a woman named Davis, who lives in the interior.

About five years after Lt-Gov Sorell managed to suppress his outbreak of bushranging, fourteen men escaped from Macquarie Harbour in a whale boat. Of course, within weeks of their escape, all but two were capture and dealt with. And at the time of that notice, L-Gov Arthur probably thought it just a matter of time until the last two were rounded up. Unfortunately for him, they went on to build up a gang of considerable size that terrorised the colonies for a few months to come.

Although McCabe's time was soon to come. By the end of the year he was in custody and awaiting his execution in January. The Colonial Times reported on his hanging, along with seven others, in some detail. Underneath that was this paragraph:

This morning, immediately before the Execution, the Rev. Mr. Conolly communicated to the High Sheriff, that M'Cabe wished to speak to him. Mr. Fereday went to him instantly. He stated, that it having been reported that Brady and himself had been harboured by a Mrs. Davis, near the Black Marsh, he declared, as a dying man, that such a report was absolutely false. He had never seen Mrs. Davis in his whole life.

(Colonial Times and Tasmanian Advertiser 6 January 1825)

You think he protests too much?

Cut for length. )


Mar. 3rd, 2011 01:13 pm
xenith: (Moon behind trees)
What I'm doing

So let's go back to a time when bushranger meant bolter, bandit, runaway convict; and those that made the news were described with words like murderous, atrocious, vicious -- no outlaw heroes here -- and Mick Howe was the king of them all. Or should that be the governor of them all? Back to 1817, which is a long time ago in Australian terms. British settlement was in its early stage. Other than Sydney, the mainland capitals are vague ideas at best. Down in VDL, William Sorell had just arrived to try and make order from chaos, and the big growth in settlement that exacerbated relations between settlers and natives hadn't taken place. Not that there wasn't conflict, just not on the scale that was to come.

There aren't many primary sources from this time so we're mostly relying on folklore and oral tradition. So, to start with I'll pull out three paragraphs from James Bonwick's book (The bushrangers: illustrating the early days of Van Diemen's Land, which I'm just going to refer to by the author's name from now on.)
Cut for length )

A Note

Nov. 8th, 2010 08:58 pm
xenith: (Default)
A copy of the note I was looking at today. There are two notes (but I couldn't find a copy of the other to stick in the photocopier), the other being the previous set of directions, sent to 'Lengan'. This one was sent to 'Logan'.


I have Sent Directions to You Before Go from the New Plains in a Direction for the White Marsh To You Come to a Creek Cross The creek and look for a large Sugar Lofe Go Neer the Top of it And look under ling Tree and There you will find the Guns and Close to there You will find a Riffle and also a Duble Barl Gun

Mathw Brady

Its accompanying "envelope" is addressed to:


His Excellency
Colonel George Arthur Esq(?)
Lieutenant Governor
xenith: (Default)
If I put this here, I can link to it from the Sorell post :)

The township [of Sorell] then boasted of many houses, two hotels, a handsome church, the parsonage of the excellent Mr. Garrard, a "good gaol" and a schoolhouse. It was into such a populous and established neighbourhood that Brady, with Dunne, Bird, Murphy, and four others, dared to venture. Arriving at Mr. Bethune's house on the Friday evening, they took that gentleman, his overseer and servants, prisoners, and then made themselves comfortable for the night.

The next day was very wet, and the Bushrangers did not feel disposed to change their comfortable quarters. In the evening Mr. Walter Bethune and Captain Bunster rode up. Personating a servant, Brady came out and called for the groom to take Mr. Bethune's horse. When the gentlemen got inside they found themselves in the hands of the Philistines. But Brady at once allayed their fears, ordered dinner for them, and behaved with courtesy and respect. In the course of conversation at table, a remark was made about Brady offering to yield to Government. He indignantly denied that he had thought of such a thing. It was afterwards astertained that some other party represented himself to be Brady, when rifling a house at Bagdad, and there gave information of the intention of the gang to surrender. The brigand chief said that no occasion at present existed for such a course; for, when hard pressed by pursuit, they could easily retire to a farm they had among the mountains, where they had an abundance of sheep, horses, cattle, flour, and other necessaries. In that secure and pleasant retreat they could take a spell until the excitement had passed.

When it was about ten o'clock on the Saturday night, Brady announced to his friends his resolution to attack Sorell Gaol, and liberate some acquaintances. The two Bethunes were tied, as well as the other inmates, and the whole, eighteen in number, were marched in solemn and silent procession towards the town. Most opportunely for the eight Bushrangers, they arrived at a moment when least expected, and when, in fact, a party of soldiers within were cleaning out their guns. The military, under the command of Lieutenant Gunn, had been out all day looking for the very men who had thus civilly placed themselves in gaol--to make them prisoners. The arms were secured, and the warriors and civilians securely locked up in a cell from which the prisoners had just been released.

Mr. Long, the gaoler, was in his house adjoining the lock-up; and directly he saw how things stood, he made his escape over the wall, and ran off for Lieutenant Gunn, who was then staying with Dr. Garrett. Catching up their double-barrelled guns, they made for the town. The magistrate hurried too much, and fell into the hands of the Bushrangers, who broke his gun, and placed him with the others in the cell. Two of the robbers stood in the path of Mr. Gunn. He raised his fowling piece, but at that instant a shot shattered his arm above his elbow. When the rascals left the scene of their triumph, they placed against the door of the gaol a log ornamented with a coat and hat, to resemble a sentinel. The enterprizing and brave Gunn was brought to town, and suffered amputation of his arm. The Government rewarded his zeal with a pension of £70 a year, and the honourable post of Superintendent of the Hobart Town Prisoners' Barracks.

From James Bonwicks's The bushrangers: illustrating the early days of Van Diemen's Land , the original edition of which is actually available on Google Books


Dec. 6th, 2009 06:36 pm
xenith: (Steps)
Last Tuesday we visited Somercotes, an old farming property near Ross.

Now what makes this place worth posting about: it's not a house museum, it's a working farm with an assortment of outbuildings and an old homestead they're trying to maintain. So it has some rather interesting features.


I did completely forget to get a photo of the whole house but there is one here or an older one. If you've ever been down to Hobart, you've probably seen it in the middle of a paddock just after the second turn off to Ross. Unless you are looking at the other side of the road.

The estate was established by Captain Horton back in 1823, which is of course, a Long Time Ago. The focus then was on establishing the farm buildings and the house was constructed later, sometime before 1842.

Interestings bits to do with house )

Interesting bits to do with other buildings )


Jan. 27th, 2009 12:36 am
xenith: (Frigate)
Not having written anything on the topic all last year! and at the request of [livejournal.com profile] gillpolack, I'm doing a post on Matthew Brady, VDL bushranger.

Once I work out where to start.

Read more... )
xenith: (Default)
For [livejournal.com profile] buffysquirrel. The actual story is at the bottom. The rest is, well, how it would have appeared to readers of the newspaper.

Hobart Town Gazette, 18 January 1823

Wm. Davis and Ralph Churton, who made their escape in April last from a military guard, while being conveyed to town on a charge of sheep-stealing, were apprehended on Saturday last, in company with an absentee named Pearce, by a party of soldiers near Jericho, and were on Monday night, brought into town, and lodged in gaol. Davis was severely wounded.

Trial )

Hobart Town Gazette, July 23, 1824

EXECUTIONS - On Monday, Alexander Pearce for murder! and yesterday, John Butler, for sheep stealing, John Thompson, Patrick Connolly, James Tierney, and George Lacey, for burglary and highway robbery, were executed in this town pursuant to their sentence. Pearce's body was, after it had been suspended for the usual time, delivered at the Hospital for dissection.

We trust these awful and ignominious results of disobedience to law and humanity will act as a powerful caution; for blood must expiate blood! and the welfare of society imperatively requires, that all whose crimes are so confirmed, and systematic, as not to be redeemed by lenity, shall be pursued in vengeance and extirpated with death!

We have reason to expect that by next week, we shall, through the kindness of an esteemed Clergyman, be empowered to communicate some extensive information, of a very interesting kind, respecting the murdered Pearce.

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