Mary Ann Bugg

Mary Ann Bugg (Ward)

Mary Ann Bugg (1834 - 1867)

Mary Ann was born on 7th May, 1834 in Stroud, New South Wales, Australia.
Her mother was Charlotte Bugg (nee Derby) and her father was James Bugg.

SOURCE: WikiTree


Bushranger - Captain Moonlite

Captain Moonlight, November 1879 Gaol photograph
Gaol Photograph of AG Scott alias Captain Moonlight, November 1879
NRS 2138 [3/6043] No. 2170 p.132 
The historical gaol photograph description books at State Records were created to assist gaol staff to keep track of each prisoner’s record. The records cover c.1870-1930 and contain a photograph of each prisoner along with information such: as name, place of birth, year of birth, year and ship of arrival, occupation, religion, education, physical description, where and when they committed an offence, sentence, previous convictions and when the portrait was taken.
One of the more famous photographs in the collection is that of A.G. Scott otherwise known as Captain Moonlight (or sometimes Moonlite) who committed various crimes – bank-robbery, passing false cheques, stealing gold – and led a gang of outlaws until he was eventually caught by police, tried in Sydney in 1879 and subsequently executed in Darlinghurst Gaol in 1880. NSW Gov. Archives Outside
Find out more about Captain Moonlite here. 


Australian life in Queensland in the bushrangers time

The bushrangers roamed Australia during the 1800's. The term bushranger was first used in a newspaper in 1805. Here is are some images of what life was like in the northern state of Queensland during that time.

1878 image of police station Cooktown
Mounted Police station in Cooktown.
Barracks and police station in the country above Cooktown 1878
Australia 1800's
Hopetoun selection in southern Queensland.
Edward McDermott's grocery store
in Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane, ca 1884

Bushranger era public domain image
 Family having tea in the garden of Richmond Hill homestead,
Mackay, Queensland, ca. 1890
Australian life in Queensland in the bushrangers time
Group of women having a tea party in Queensland, ca. 1887
Bushranger era public domain image
Reading the paper in a Gympie garden, ca. 1871
Blacksmith shop, Oxley Road, Oxley, Brisbane 1888.
 bushrangers era
 Gold miners outside a bark hut, Queensland, ca. 1870
Two gold miners dressed in working clothes outside a slab bark hut
with mining tools nearby
You might like to find out more about:

Moondyne Joe

Joseph Bolitho Johns better known as Moondyne Joe
Joseph Bolitho Johns (1826 or 1830 - 1900) aka Moondyne Joe.
This is the only known photo of him.
Born in Cornwall, England around 1826 
Died Western Australia 13th August 1900

Joseph Bolitho Johns was the third child of blacksmith Thomas Johns and his wife Mary Bolitho. He was one of six children in a poor family and had to work as a copper miner with his brothers after his father died.

On 15 November 1848, Johns and William Cross, were arrested near Chepstow for "... stealing from the house of Richard Price, three loaves of bread, one piece of bacon, several cheeses, and other goods".[1] He was charged with burglary and stealing, the pair pleaded not guilty. On 23 March they were tried at the Lent Assizes before Sir William Erle. Newspaper reports of the trial suggest that the pair gave an unexpectedly spirited defence, but Johns was abrasive and "contravened the conventions of court procedure". The men were convicted and sentenced to ten years' penal servitude.

He came to be better known as Moondyne Joe.  He goes down in history as Western Australia's best known bushranger known, not for his offences and crimes but, for being the person who had escaped multiple times from prison. Here is his brief history:
  • Johns and Williams were transferred to Millbank Prison 
  • transferred to Pentonville Prison to serve their mandatory six months of solitary confinement
  • transferred to Dartmoor Prison on 21 October 1851
  • Johns transferred to the Woolwich prison hulk Justitia, probably for disciplinary reasons
  • transferred to the Defence when the Justitia was destroyed by fire 
  • transported to the British penal colony of Western Australia prison ship Pyrenees to serve out the remainder of his sentence
  • arrived at Fremantle on 1 May 1853
  • Granted an immediate ticket-of-leave on arrival in reward for good behaviour
  • 1855 granted a conditional pardon
  • worked at various tasks near Toodyay, in the Avon Valley, one of the most rugged and inaccessible places in the Darling Range. The Aboriginal name for the area was Moondyne
  • arrested on a charge of stealing the local magistrate's horse in 1861
  • While awaiting trial he escaped from Toodyay gaol but was recaptured to serve three years' imprisonment
  • Released
  • sentenced in 1865 to ten years for killing an ox with the intent of stealing the carcass
  • Determined not to serve this long sentence and protesting his innocence, he made four attempts to escape from November 1865 to March 1867, three of which were successful. With two companions, he was once at large for two months in the unsettled Darling Range. 
  • Recaptured he was placed in irons in solitary confinement in a specially reinforced cell with triple-barred windows at Fremantle gaol. He was only allowed out for exercise on medical advice.
  • He escaped again in 1867 through a clever trick and for two years roamed the hill country east of Perth.
  • Recaptured while raiding a wine cellar and sentenced to a further term in Fremantle prison. He was released in 1871 and gained his conditional pardon in 1873.

The remainder of John's life consisted of periods of good behaviour punctuated by occasional minor misdemeanors and brief jail terms. In January 1879, he married a widow named Louisa Frances Hearn, née Braddick, and they spent some time prospecting for gold near Southern Cross, in Western Australia. In 1881, while exploring the countryside around Karridale, in the south-west of Western Australia he discovered Moondyne Cave.
In his later years he became known locally, in Kelmscott where he lived after his wife's death, as 'Old Mad Moondyne Joe'. He was declared to be mentally ill and died of senile dementia in the Fremantle Lunatic Asylum on 13 August 1900. He was buried, in a paupers grave, in Fremantle Cemetery , his tombstone bearing the Welsh word for freedom - "rhyddid".
 Fremantle prison and Moondyne Joe
Illustration of Fremantle prison with image of Moondyne Joe on left by Ian Coates

It was because the authorities found it impossible to keep Moondyne behind prison walls that a cell in Fremantle Gaol was specially prepared for him, and it remains today as it was when he occupied it many years ago.
The walls of the confined space are heavily timbered and appear to have been laboriously carved and patterned, but is the triple-barred window which is of special interest. Moondyne laughed at ordinary locks and bars and prison walls, but when he first saw the cell prepared for him after many escapes, he must have realised that he would never be able to break through the bars which covered the small window space.
He became a romantic figure in the eyes of the public, at the time, and after for his many escapes. 
His determined bids for freedom inspired John Boyle O'Reilly, a convict who escaped from Western Australia to the United States, to write in 1887 a novel on convict life in Western Australia featuring a fictitious and highly romantic Moondyne as central character.

[1]"Breconshire Lent Assizes". The Welshman. pp. 1849–03–30.
  Bolitho Family History
  Fremantle prison records, convict register 1853 (State Library of Western Australia)
  Australian Dictionary of Biography

A book by Mark Greenwood
These books are available to purchase at Amazon through my affiliate account*.
The Legend of Moondyne Joe by Mark Greenwood.
The Ballad of Moondyne Joe by John Kinsella and Niall Lucy.

* I am an Amazon Affiliate which means a very small percentage of the sales of these books go to me, at no extra cost to you.

Artworks about bushrangers

paintings about bushrangers
Bushrangers attacking Goimbla Station
Bushrangers attacking Goimbla Station
an oil painting (1894) kept in the National Library of Australia
by Patrick William Marony (1858-1939)

Bushrangers on the St Kilda Road
 Bushrangers on the St Kilda Road
 painted by William Strutt in 1887.
Stage coach hold-up, Eugowra Rocks
Stage coach hold-up, Eugowra Rocks, oil on canvas, 137.5 x 183 cm
by Patrick William Morony (1858-1939) painted in 1894.

Bailed Up 1895 painting by Australian artist Tom Roberts.
Bailed Up 1895 painting by Australian artist Tom Roberts.
Shows a stage coach being held up by bushrangers in an isolated, forested section of a back road.
Part of the collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales
 Troopers after bushrangers by S.T. Gill 1871
watercolour, pencil, ink and gum arabic on cream paper ; 17.6 x 25.8 cm
owned by the State Library of Victoria


Ned Kelly's Jerilderie Letter.

Jerilderie Letter
Extract from Ned Kelly's Jerilderie Letter. 

The Jerilderie Letter was dictated by famous Australian bushranger Ned Kelly to fellow Kelly Gang member Joe Byrne in 1879. It is one of only two original Kelly documents known to have survived.

The Jerilderie Letter is a 56-page document of approximately 8,000 words. In the letter Kelly tries to justify his actions, including the killing of three policemen in October 1878. He describes cases of alleged police corruption and calls for justice for poor families. Ned Kelly is the only Australian bushranger known to have attempted to justify his actions in writing.  WIKIPEDIA

Dear SirI wish to acquaint you withsome of the occurrences of the present pastand future, In or about the Spring of1870 the ground was very soft, aHawker named Mr Gould got his waggonbogged, between Greta and my mother'splace house on the eleven mile creek,the ground was that rotten it wouldbog a duck in places so Mr Gouldhad to abandon his waggon for fearof losing his horses in the spewy groundhe was stopping at my mother's awaitingfiner or dryer weather, Mr McCormack and hisWife, (Hawkers' also) were camped in Gretaand the mosquitoes were very bad which theygenerally are in a wet spring and tohelp them Mr Johns had a horse calledRuita Cruta, although a gelding was asclever as old Wombat or any other Stallion      
 Transcript of page 1 of the letter from The National Museum of Australia


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.


SEE: more general information on Frank Gardiner


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

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        


Owen Suffolk Free Pardon granted

A Free Pardon was granted to the bushranger 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


National Museum of Australia: original document


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.

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