Thursday

Frederick Wordsworth Ward alias Captain Thunderbolt

Captain Thunderbolt bushranger

This photo was taken when he was dead or then again it may be his uncle Harry! (read on to find out why) 
First of all I would like to say there is much contention and misinformation about Frederick Ward even including his date of birth and death. 
 
During the last seven years of his life Fred Ward had supposedly done more than eighty robberies of coaches, farms and hotels and became known as Captain Thunderbolt. He was also known for never killing or shooting those whom he robbed.

Frederick Wordsworth Ward was born in the Windsor District of the Colony of New South Wales in the mid 1830's, possibly 1833. His father was John Haswell who was born in Middlesex, England in 1808 and his mother was Sarah Ann Ward but he was brought up by Sarah's parents Sophia and Michael Ward.
 
His first work was as a very young station hand but he went to prison for receiving stolen horses. His sentence was for 10 years but he was given a ticket of leave after 4 years which meant he had to report to police once a week. He met an aboriginal girl named Yellilong, also known as Mary Ann Bugg. When he reported late to police he was sent back to prison. In 1863, he escaped by swimming across from Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour, to the mainland and hid with another escapee in an old boiler in the Balmain area. No one had ever escaped from Cockatoo Island before.
His first robbery was late in 1863, but when he found the toll keeper on the road between Maitland and Rutherford had only a few shillings he gave the money back.
Some believe he was shot by police in May 1870 and died the next day near Uralla in northern NSW, others believe he attended his own funeral, dressed as a woman with a veil, and that the man buried was his uncle William, known as Harry. For more in this fascinating story please go to Barry Sinclair's site.

CaptainThunderbolt's Rocks in Uralla, NSW
One of his vantage points, for robbing approaching mail coaches in the 1860's, now called Thunderbolt's Rocks, can be seen today from the highway near Uralla.
There is also a statue of Captain Thunderbolt where the New England Highway and Thunderbolts Way intersect at Uralla, NSW.

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