A. L. (Arthur Lincoln) Haydon.

The trooper police of Australia; a record of mounted police work in the commonwealth from the earliest days of settlement to the present time online

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Baskets of fruit, bouquets of flowers, and dishes of con-
fectionery prepared by his fair admirers, were tendered in






abundance to the gaoler for his distinguished captive. The
last moment came. The dramatic scene was maintained to
its close. Pinioned, he stood on the scaffold, before a dense
mass of spectators, who cheered him for his courage, or
grieved bitterly for his fate. He received the consolations
of the Roman Catholic faith ; he bade a familiar adieu to
the gentlemen about him ; and he died more like a patient
martyr than a felon murderer."

Such laudation of a criminal was a sad reflection on the
society of the day, and is in striking contrast to the attitude
adopted some time earlier while Brady was still at large.
Then, in fear for their lives, a large number of settlers and
their wives petitioned Governor Arthur (the successor to
Sorell) to execute certain of the prisoners then in gaol, and
thus obviate the possibility of any escaping to turn bush-
ranger. It is stated that the Governor responded to the
petition by hanging some forty.

The bushranger Mosquito was an aboriginal, a member
of a Sydney tribe who suffered transportation to Van Diemen's
Land for the murder of his gin. At Macquarie Harbour he
was soon employed by the authorities in hunting escaped
convicts, for his powers of tracking were exceptional. But
the temptation to break prison himself was too strong to be
resisted, and he finally made a dash for liberty. The next
that was heard of Mosquito was that he had become the
leader of a tribe of blacks at Oyster Bay. Over these natives
he exercised unbounded influence, inducing them to aid him
in harassing the whites. The island was soon startled by the
commission of several atrocities. In one case it would be a
settler's farm attacked and the brutal murder of all its
occupants, men, women and children. In another the way-
laying of some party whose mutilated remains in the bush



told the story of their fate. So terrible a pest did this black-
fellow and his adopted tribe (they numbered about 200)
become that a very big reward had to be offered before
his capture could be effected. He was eventually tracked
down by another native in the company of two police
constables, and after making a desperate fight was badly
wounded. The police carried him back to Hobart and
there he was duly executed, together with another aborigi-
nal, Black Jack, who had been prominently associated
with him.

Of the same class as Howe and Brady, though of a later
date, was the bushranger Cash. Martin Cash, to give him
his full name, fell into evil courses by accident. Wrongly
suspected of illegally branding some one else's cattle, and
conscious that as an ex-convict he would be hardly dealt
with, he fled the police and then stole and sold some animals
belonging to a man who had defrauded him. Having defied
the law he made an honest effort to keep straight, but cir-
cumstances were against him. The police followed too
closely on his tracks in New South Wales and he accordingly
took ship to Van Diemen's Land.

In the story of his life which he subsequently wrote Cash
tells how he was again wrongfully charged with theft, and
how, despite his innocence, he became convicted. Sentence
to a penal settlement followed, but not for long. When out
with a road party of prisoners he gave his guards the slip and
hid himself in the bush. However, two days' freedom was
all he secured ; a search-party chanced upon his retreat and
he was recaptured. As a dangerous criminal he was now
heavily leg-ironed, while a closer watch was kept upon his
movements. The chances of escape, one would have thought,
were eliminated, but Cash was no ordinary man. Even in



these conditions he found opportunity to break his fetters,
scale the high stockade surrounding the prison yard, and
unobserved leave the settlement.

For a little over a year Cash eluded the vigilance of the
police. Then one day he was identified by a constable, ap-
prehended, and a third time re-sentenced to penal servitude.
Another dash for liberty from Port Arthur and another
recapture brought him still heavier punishment, and then,
undeterred by his previous experiences, he made his final
and successful escape. This time he found two companions
convicts named Kavanagh and Jones ready to share his
fortunes. The way to freedom was fraught with many
difficulties. Armed sentries and big watch dogs patrolled
the roads and every point on the two narrow strips of land
that connected the peninsula with the mainland. But by
clever manoeuvring Cash led his mates through the cordon
of soldiers and got clear away.

With fresh clothes and provisions obtained from farm-
houses and other places which they visited the refugees entered
upon a career of bushranging. Robbery followed robbery
in quick succession and the colony experienced a sensation
that it had not enjoyed for some years. Soldiers and police
were baffled in their attempts to surprise them. Their
raids were made with startling unexpectedness and with a
daring that paralysed opposition. It was about this time
that the three issued their famous threat to the Governor,
Sir John Franklin, who had seized the person of Mrs. Cash
on a charge of " receiving " and lodged her in Hobart gaol,
" If the said Mrs. Cash is not released forthwith," they
wrote, " and does not receive proper remuneration, we will
in the first instance, visit Government House and, beginning
with Sir John, administer a wholesome lesson in the shape



of a sound flogging. After which we will pay the same
currency to all his followers."

There was every reason to believe that this impudent
threat would be carried into execution, and the authorities
were in no little alarm for their safety. That the police
officials not actively engaged in the hunt were in some fear
is evidenced by the following paragraph from the Hoba/rt
Town Advertiser, which Mr. White quotes in his account of
Cash i :

" So universal has been the panic among the police that
the acting police magistrate, living in one of the most popu-
lous towns in the country and at a distance of several miles
from the scene of their depredations, has actually applied for
a military force for his own particular protection, fancying,
as he alleges, that he may be carried off and obliged to pay
ransom." The same paper, of a later date, contained the
following : " The perfect insufficiency of the police to
apprehend Cash and his troupe is at length acknowledged,
after some months' unavailing efforts. The military have
been in consequence ordered to their assistance. Thirty-
nine men, under the command of Lieutenant Doreton and
Mr. Stephenson, have been ordered to occupy several posts
in the district which has been the scene of their daring
exploits. Here, stationed at different points, they may
intercept them in their progress when necessity compels them
to leave their haunts, which their knowledge of the locality
renders secure while they choose to remain hi seclusion.
We have no doubt that these measures will prove success-

That these measures did not prove immediately success-
ful was shown by fresh raids upon outlying settlers, whom the

1 History of Buehranging, by Charles White. Vol. I.

65 F


bushrangers " stuck up " to a pretty tune. To show his
contempt for the military, Cash even singled out a well-
known officer who had been on the search for him, and made
this gentleman an ignominious prisoner among his own
household. And so the game went on. The bush " fortress "
to which the gang retreated when pressed was now well
stocked with loot, and the trio felt much elation over their
exploits. But all things come to an end, and bushranging
is not a business that can be followed with impunity. The
remarkable success that had attended him so far led Cash
to take greater risks. A trap was laid for him, and at last
the police triumphed.

The bait was a cunning one. Mrs. Cash had been released
in the expectation that her husband sooner or later would join
her in Hobart, and so it fell out. The bushranger secretly
entered the town, where he had friends, and was recognised in
the street. The hue and cry was raised at once. Cash bolted,
firing at his pursuers, but the number of these increased at
every turn. In a short time the way was barred for escape ;
he was overpowered and manacled after a sharp hand-to-
hand fight, in which a constable was mortally wounded, and
was borne off to the lock-up.

At his trial Cash was placed in the dock with Kavanagh,
who, having been incapacitated by the accidental discharge
of his gun, had fallen into the hands of the police some weeks
before. The two men were condemned to death, but a
reprieve was obtained and the sentence altered to trans-
portation for life. In the end Cash turned over a new leaf.
Having served a long term at Norfolk Island with good
conduct, he gained release and eventually became a staid
farmer in the vicinity of Hobart. Both his companions,
Kavanagh and Jones, ended their careers on the gallows.



Of bushrangers who created a reign of terror in New
South Wales and the outlying settlements which later
formed the separate colony of Victoria, some mention has
been already made. To enumerate in full the immediate
imitators of Donohue and Underwood would occupy many
pages, and but a summary of them can be included here.
A great number of the most notable of these gangs operated
on the Western Road, afterwards the scene of many desper-
ate affrays with the better-known bushrangers of the sixties.
It is to these, therefore, that we may first turn.

In the Bathurst district in 1826 was a band led by a man
named Sullivan. With these outlaws the Mounted Police
had many a tussle. One of them, Morris Connell, was shot
down by Corporal Brown ; of the others four were executed
and three transported to Norfolk Island for life. The next
few years saw some minor affairs, and then, in 1830, came
an organised outbreak on a rather unusual scale. A party
of assigned convict servants on a farm at Evernden, near
Bathurst, rose against their master, stole a quantity of arms
and ammunition, and made a round of other farms in the
neighbourhood in order to gain recruits. Ere long their
numbers had swelled to nearly a hundred, but when the
authorities had been apprised of the rising and began to take
the field the new bushranging corps had dwindled to twenty.
Many who had been forced to join thought better of their
decision, and those who desired to fall out were not hindered.

The mere score left under Sullivan's leadership consisted
of the most determined and dangerous criminals. To com-
bat this band, who already had several robberies and one
brutal, unprovoked murder to their account, a body of volun-
teers was raised by a Mr. William Suttor, a prominent settler.
By means of native assistance the bushrangers were tracked



to their haunt, but the position proved to be too strong,
and the attacking party was forced to fall back. A number
of mounted police under Lieutenant Brown, of Bathurst,
similarly failed tojdislodge them. A day or so later a detach-
ment of police was brought from Goulburn by Lieutenant
Macalister and a brisk engagement ensued. The convicts,
well aware what fate awaited them on capture, were re-
solved to sell their lives dearly. They had obtained ex-
ceptionally good cover and from their vantage kept up a
deadly fire. Macalister himself, it is stated, was struck in the
arm, causing him to drop to the ground ; but the lieu-
tenant was not hors de combat yet, for using his wounded arm
as a rest for his musket he fired in return and succeeded in
hitting the leader of the bushrangers.

Despite the bravery of the mounted police it was found
necessary to enlist the services of the military before the gang
could be routed. Then, with a flanking movement, police
and soldiers swept them from their position and all were
captured. Ten public executions followed, these taking
place at JBathurst. Others of the convicts received varying
sentences of imprisonment.

The year 1830 which witnessed so sensational an out-
break is also notable for the passing of the " Bushrangers
Act " (2 George IV, No. 10), which gave considerably
enlarged powers to constables for the apprehension of sus-
pected persons. 1 This important measure no doubt did
much to lessen the evil at which it was aimed, but it was
often the cause of wrongful imprisonment. With so many
immigrants arriving in the colony, men fresh to the con-
ditions of the new life, there was bound to be frequent mis-
understanding. Old settlers have placed on record many

1 See Appendix C.



instances in which young fellows who were genuine " new
chums " were arrested by too-zealous constables and held
for identification. One such may be quoted from a volume
of reminiscences entitled Settlers and Convicts. Says the
writer : "In travelling through the upper part of the Hunter
I stopped a few days at one of the principal farms.
During dinner the first day, the farm-constable arrested a
traveller on suspicion of being a bushranger, and put him in
confinement in a private lock-up, built on the farm. The man
was kept there several days before any magistrate sat at the
adjacent court to hear cases ; and it then turned out that
the man some years before had worked for that gentleman,
who recognised him and discharged him. The poor fellow
said he had come free to the colony twelve or thirteen years
before, and was generally arrested twice every year under
the Bushrangers Act. He had made application in one
quarter and another for some protective document, till he was
quite tired and had quite given it up. He had now made
up his mind to it, and it did not affect him as it did at first.
He slept the time away as well as he could, and was all the
readier for work when he got out."

A native once informed the same writer that he had some
time before passed seven weeks out of three months marching
in handcuffs under the Bushrangers Act. Having been
born in the colony he had no protective document whatever.
Some busy farm -constable arrested him on suspicion of being
a bushranger at one of the farthest stations at Hunter's
River, where he was looking for work. After being taken in
handcuffs to Sydney, over two hundred miles away, and dis-
charged, he went to the Murrumbidgee on the same errand,
where he was again arrested and forwarded in handcuffs
to headquarters under the same law.



The " farm-constables " referred to were actually prisoners
of the Crown who were still serving their sentences, and
were appointed to act in this special capacity as guards
over the other assigned convict servants. It was a practical
illustration of the old adage, " Set a thief to catch a thief."
As any such convict-constable was sure of freedom, or, at the
very least, of a remission of his sentence, did he succeed
in bringing any bushranger to justice, it is easy to see how
zeal might outrun discretion. The Mounted Police must not
be confused with these guardians of the law, and one may
credit them with the exercise of more judgment. At the
same time, there is fault to be found with them on some
points. In the handling of their prisoners they were often
brutal beyond reason. It was customary for a trooper to
handcuff a prisoner to his stirrup-iron and compel him to run
with the horse at trot or gallop. This led to much ill-usage,
and the practice was discontinued by official orders after a
bushranger, thus fettered, was killed by a horse that ran
away with him.

A New South Wales outlaw of no little notoriety in the
forties was Jackey Jackey. From this peculiar cognomen he
has been written down by some writers as an aboriginal, but
this is erroneous. Jackey Jackey in real life was William John
Westwood, son of a Kentish farmer in the " old country "
and transported convict in the new. On being shipped out
to the colony in 1837 he was assigned to a Mr. King, at
Gidleigh, but eventually absconded and turned bushranger.
For mate at this time he had one Paddy Curran, a scoundrel
who was hung at Berrima in 1841. After this loss Jackey
Jackey carried on his depredations single-handed.

A too daring escapade landed him at last in the clutches
of the law. The Goulburn Mounted Police were his captors



and they placed him in the lock-up at Bargo. From this
prison he made his escape, taking with him a gun and pistol
with which he promptly did some " sticking up." A horse
was soon added to his equipment, and he was next heard
of at the Black Horse Inn, on the Goulburn Plains, but his
career received a check, for at this hostelry he was over-
powered by the landlord and the latter 's wife and daughter,
aided by a convict servant.

Jackey Jackey was now sentenced to a life term and be-
came a " Cockatoo bird." 1 He attempted to escape again
by swimming from the island, but he and several others
who made the attempt were overtaken and brought back.
Thereafter he was despatched to Van Diemen's Land,
" chained to a cable in the hold of the ship " along with other
irreclaimables, and on the voyage broke loose to head a
futile mutiny. At Port Arthur he kept up his record by
making two escapes from gaol, on one occasion being nine
days in the bush ; then came his final exploit. Sent to
Norfolk Island in 1846, he managed to organise an insur-
rection among the convicts.

With some four hundred at his back who had murdered
their overseers, he led a march upon Government House.
Fortunately there was a strong body of soldiers on the island,
and the officers were men of courage and resource. The rebels
had not proceeded far when they were met by a charge which
broke up their ranks and threw them into confusion. Jackey
Jackey's following melted away before he could re-form them,
and he was speedily captured. His execution, with that of
several other principals, put an end to risings among the
Norfolk Island convicts.

1 A prisoner on Cockatoo Island, in the Parramatta River, N.S.W.
Many of^the worst characters were sent thither.



A new era First discoveries^ Count Strzlecki's reports Clarke and
Murchison The Daisy Hill nugget Edward Hammond Hargraves
At the Californian diggings Prospecting in the Blue Mountains
Summerhill Creek The " rush " begins Regulations and pre-
cautions The Mounted Police The exodus from Port Phillip A
Gold Discovery Committee Victorian discoveries James Esmond
Ballarat goldfields Mount Alexander Bendigo Undesirable ele-
ments The Influx of Criminals Prevention Act Duties of the
police Mr. William Mitchell appointed Commissioner Dodging the
" Joeys " A typical scene Ex-Superintendent Brennan The bush-
rangers outwitted Another story of Gardiner.

THE opening up of the goldfields in New South Wales
and Victoria marked a new era in the history of the
Mounted Police. Not only was the scope of their work
enlarged by the necessity for supervising mining camps
and enforcing Government regulations ; the sudden extra-
ordinary development of the diggings was responsible for
the force being placed on an entirely different basis. The
Lambing Flat riots and other disturbances, to which refer-
ence has been already made, awakened the authorities to the
fact that new conditions had arisen which demanded states-
manlike methods. It is important, therefore, to note how
this state of affairs was brought about.

The discovery of gold in New South Wales properly dates
from the valuable finds made by Mr. Edward Hammond



Hargraves in 1851. But the existence of the precious metal
was known long before this. Convicts while at work mak-
ing roads through the bush had unearthed nuggets, and it is
stated that they were compelled to keep silence on the matter
for fear that the news might unsettle the population and
disturb the industries of the country. In 1823 an Assistant
Surveyor, named McBrian, whilst examining the Fish River,
some fifteen miles east of Bathurst, noted in his field-book :
" At 8 chains 50 links to river and marked gum-tree, found
numerous particles of gold in the sand and in the hills con-
venient to the river." This evidence of a goldfield in the
Bathurst district was confirmed later (in 1839) by Count Paul
Strzlecki, a distinguished geologist and mineralogist. He
found gold-bearing quartz in the Vale of Clwydd, in the Blue
Mountains, and communicated the intelligence to the
Government ; but, being fearful of disastrous consequences
arising from the discovery being made known (there were
45,000 convicts in the colonies), Sir George Cripps imposed
secrecy upon the Count. Strzlecki accordingly omitted
mention of the fact in the book on New South Wales which
he subsequently published.

From that time on, however, explorer after explorer
brought back tidings of gold in and near the ranges. Of these
pioneers the Rev. W. B. Clarke was undoubtedly the first to
proclaim on true scientific grounds the " probable auriferous
veins of Australia." Between 1842 and 1847 he found indi-
cations of gold in several places and made public the results
of his investigations. At the same time we find Sir Roderick
Murchison lecturing to the Royal Geographical Society in
London on the striking resemblance between the Blue Moun-
tains chain in Australia and that of the Ural in Russia, the
similarity leading him to predict the presence of gold in the


former. He even went so far as to recommend Cornish tin-
minerS|Who wanted employment to emigrate to New South
Wales and turn gold-seekers. That gold was actually there
was proved again at Daisy Hill, in Victoria, where one,
Thomas Chapman, happened on a nugget weighing 16
ounces. This was in 1849, and the lucky prospector was so
afraid of the Government's disapproval that after selling his
find to a Melbourne tradesman he fled to Sydney ! His fears
were not groundless, perhaps, for Mr. Latrobe, the Super-
intendent of Port Phillip, afterwards sent an officer with a
detachment of native mounted police to that same Daisy
Hill to prohibit any one digging for gold.

The year 1849 witnessed the great gold-rush to Cali-
fornia, a rush, by the way, in which hundreds of New South
Wales colonists joined, ignorant of the wealth that lay
untouched at their very doors. This event was of great
importance in itself, but greater in that it provided the key
by means of which Australia's riches were at last unlocked.
The story of Hargraves and his discoveries is one of the
romances of our own times.

When news first came of the great finds in California,
Hargraves was living quietly as a squatter a few miles out of
Bathurst. He had done well for himself until droughts and
floods brought disaster in their train and a great part of his
fortune disappeared. In the four years after 1 844 numbers
of Australian farmers suffered from these calamities. It was
in the hope of rehabilitating himself that Hargraves, like
many others, set off for the Eldorado of the Pacific slope.
He took ship to San Francisco and started out prospecting
in the valley of the Sacramento. Two years were thus spent
with varying fortune, Hargraves at the end having little cause
for satisfaction with his change. But if Calif ornia was slow



to yield him wealth it did him one good turn. It sent his
thoughts chasing back to the rugged gullies of the Macquarie
in his own land. The conviction formed in his mind that
New South Wales contained a similar gold-bearing region.

Hargraves was no mere dreamer, he was a practical miner.
A thorough examination of the rock strata in the Sacramento
district made it clear to him that it was of the same formation
as that in certain parts of New South Wales. The soil, too,
was very similar. Once this belief in a probable Australian
goldfield had taken hold of him, he could not shake it off.
His mate, also from the Blue Mountains, was inclined to
ridicule the idea, pointing out that geologists had already
examined and reported upon those very gullies and creeks
which he credited with hidden treasure. Why give up a sub-
stance for a shadow ? he urged. Hargraves in return argued
that the expeditions of Strzlecki and other geologists had

Online LibraryA. L. (Arthur Lincoln) HaydonThe trooper police of Australia; a record of mounted police work in the commonwealth from the earliest days of settlement to the present time → online text (page 6 of 32)