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