Thomas Rogan

Thomas Rogan bushranger
Thomas Rogan, alias Brown, alias Baker.
1857 - 1880
Image from 26th November, 1879.

Thomas Rogan was a member of Captain Moonlite's gang and born Thomas Baker in 1857. 
Mr Baker, father of Rogan, living at Moray Street, Emerald Hill said his son served his time - 3 years -  as a boot maker with Cooney, Peel Street, West Melbourne. From SYDNEY MORNING HERALD JAN 21, 1880.

When 22 years old Rogan joined the Moonlite gang. He had already been convicted of larceny and horse-stealing. He was arrested for larceny, or stealing, in St Kilda in1875, and sentenced to 3 months imprisonment in Pentridge Gaol, Melbourne. In 1877 he was gaoled, again at Pentridge, for 2 years and 6 months for horse stealing and larceny at Beechworth.

Thomas Rogan, Frank Johns and Graham Bennett and Captain Moonlite (Andrew Scott)  - were tried at Gundagai and later at Sydney for shooting Constable Edward Mostyn Webb Bowen.

'The trial contained much conflicting evidence and was conducted in an atmosphere of public hysteria with over 2,000 people crowding the courthouse. The judge sentenced all four "to hang by the neck until your bodies be dead..." ' FROM History of Gundagai

Thomas Rogan and Andrew Scott were hung on 20th January 1880 in Darlinghurst Gaol and Rogan was buried in an unmarked grave at Rookwood Cementary in Sydney. There were about thirty or forty persons present consisting of magistrates and gaol officials, the representatives of the Press having been pur-posely excluded. TROVE 

Wantabadgery was a sheep station near Wagga Wagga, NSW, besieged for two days by the Moonlite gang.

The following petition has been prepared, praying for a reconsideration by the Execu- tive Council of the case of Scott and Rogan :—
"To His Excellency the Right Honourable Lord
Augustus William Frederick Spencer Loftus, K.C.B., &c.
"The humble petition of the undersigned residents
of the city of Sydney and its suburbs respectfully sheweth,—
" 1.That your petitioners have read with anxious  interest and care the reports of the proceedings of the Criminal Court holden at Darlinghurst, in reference to the trial of Andrew George Scott, Thomas Rogan, Thomas Williams, and Graham Bennett, and have otherwise made themselves acquainted with particu-lars of that trial.
" 2. That while extremely solicitous for the main- tenance and vindication of law and order, they are more strongly impressed with the supreme necessity of maintaining inviolate the principles on which the British jury system is based, and fully believe that it would be far better that a number of malefactors should escape condign punishment than that one of those fundamental principles should be violated.
" 3. Your petitioners have learned with extreme surprise that at the trial of the before-mentioned prisoners one of the jurymen, named John Stroh, was not only a foreigner imperfectly acquainted with the English language, but was, and we believe still is, of unsound mind, and was then as he is now utterly unqualified to act as a juror, and the fact is, we think, conclusively proved by the said Stroll's conduct at the trial, and the subsequent swom testimony of Mr. John Black, of 110 Kent-street, in the city of Sydney, who, in an affidavit made on the 18th inst.   (December) testified to his insanity, to the necessity of his being kept under restraint, and embodying the following statement of his (Stroh's) wife :—'The said Martha Stroh informed me (the said John Black) that her husband (the said John Stroh) was not a fit person to have acted as a juryman on the said trial (meaning the trial of the beforenamed prisoners) as he had not been "right" for some time, that he had been attended by a doctor, and that she was in dread of her life from him ; and further, that she was greatly indebted to me for my kindness in looking after him.'
" 4. That, in reference to the prisoner Scott, we are profoundly convinced he did not shoot the late Con- stable Bowen, nor do we believe any of those con- victed for the murder of that faithful and intrepid public officer fired the fatal shot. Further, that they were not in the actual perpetration of a felony when  the police came upon them at M'Glede's house, and we believe that the prisoner Rogan took no part what- ever in the affair at that place.
"Taking all these facts and circumstances late con- sideration, and respectfully reminding your Excel- lency that under the ruling of the Privy Council (the Queen v. Bertrand, L.K.P.C., p. 520) a new trial cannot be granted in cases of felony, we earnestly pray and beseech your Excellency to take the pre- mises into your gravest consideration and humbly hope you will be able to blend the Divine prerogative of mercy with human justice by sparing the lives of the four condemned prisoners, more especially as the presumption (now widely spread) that they have not had a full and fair trial in accordance with British law and usage is likely to disturb the public mind, and distress the conscience of the community.  
"And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray."
Rogan's sister, who has been so untiring in her earnest exertions to obtain a reprieve for her condemned brother, proceeds this day to Government-house for the purpose of obtain- ing his Excellency's sanction to the presenta- tion of the above. We understand that many influential citizens who desire the commuta- tion of Rogan's sentence, but who will not commit themselves to some of the statements contained in the above petition, are pre- paring another one, the object of which is Rogan's reprieve on different grounds.

There is an unusual relic of both Scott and Rogan - death masks which were cast from the dead men's faces.  Sir Henry Parkes, Premier of New South Wales, gave permission for the sculptor and phrenologist, McGill to take casts of their heads. These casts are still on display at the Justice and Police Museum, Sydney. At the time the masks were made there was public interest and belief in phrenology, which claimed that the contours of a person's head showed their character.
See the death masks: at ABC site: Captain Moonlight's death mask is white and Thomas Rogan's is black.

Australian Heritage PDF

Papers Past National Library of New Zealand 
New South Wales, Australia, Gaol Description and Entrance Books, 1818-1930 forThomas Rogan


jmommymom said...

What a cool blog! I love the way you have it focused on Australian History. I'm looking forward to checking the rest of it out.

Bushrangers said...

Thanks j mommy mom

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