Thursday

The Gilbert Brigade

Frank Gardiner on left and John William Gilbert (1842 - 1865) on right
On 15 June 1862 John Gilbert took part in the Eugowra gold escort robbery and had a £500 reward on his head. 
In May 1863 Gilbert returned to the Wedden Mountains and became Ben Hall's right-hand man although they did not always work together.

"it was with Gardiner that the idea of taking the escort originated and took a fortnight to prepare for the attack. For some months before Gilbert and O'Meally were Gardiners constant companions, and they had been talking about it together. They were getting full of the petty bailing-up business, and wanted to make a grand haul and then quit the country..."
The gang was made up of leader Frank Gardiner, John Gilbert, Ben Hall, John O'Meally, Daniel Charters, Alex Fordyce, John Bow and Henry Manns.  Was this the Gilbert Brigade mentioned in this 1863 newspaper report about the theft of race horses?

THE GILBERT BRIGADE 
These lawless desperadoes are carrying on their depredations with such barefaced impudence in the district surrounding Lambing Flat, that people begin to imagine that the police endeavour to their utmost to avoid an encounter with them.  
The last exploit that has occurred, or rather that we have heard of, is the entrance of two of the gang, well-armed, upon the premises of Mr James Roberts, at Currawong, near Murrumburrah, on last Thursday evening, at seven oclock. 
They forced an entrance into the stables, and rode off with the race-horses, Mickey Hunter and Chinaman. It is only a short time since the latter animal was stolen, and subsequently recovered by Inspector Shadforth. Gilbert seems determined to have his bodyguard well mounted. ~ Yass Courier June 17, 1863. 

Ben Hall (9 May 1837 – 5 May 1865)
Copy of the only known photograph of him.


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