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.


The early death of the bushranger George Palmer

George Charles Frederick Palmer
George Charles Frederick Palmer (c. 1846 – 24 November 1869) was born and brought up  in Queanbeyan, New South Wales. He was named after both his father and grandfather who were both named George Thomas Palmer.  His father was George Thomas PALMER (1809 - 1889) and his mother was Selina Augusta ROWES (1820 - 1902). He was their third son. His grandfather, George Thomas Palmer, (1784-1854) was a landowner and magistrate who acquired extensive lands and stock in Australia including Ginninderra Station

Death of Captain Thunderbolt

Death of Frederick Ward (aka Captain Thunderbolt)
Death of Frederick Ward (aka Captain Thunderbolt)
(State Library of Victoria, IAN18/06/70/116, engraving by Samuel Calvert)

In 1870 Frederick Ward (18351870), the bushranger known as Captain Thunderbolt, was shot dead by police near Uralla in New South Wales. 

He was a former drover and horse breaker. He was first convicted of stealing horses in 1856. 


Shearing in the bushranging era

Sheep shearing at Yandilla Station, ca. 1894
Sheep shearing at Yandilla Station, ca. 1894
Sheep shearers working in a shed at Yandilla Station.
A supervisor or manager in a hat, vest, shirt and trousers
and a tarboy in rough clothes pose for the photograph.
(A tarboy assists by dabbing tar or antiseptic on any cuts suffered
by the animals during shearing.


Books about Australian Bushrangers

List of Books about Australian Bushrangers

Here is a list of over 60 books written about Australian bushrangers. Some are modern and some are written back in 1911. Some are available to purchase on Amazon in book or kindle format. They are in no particular order. I hope you find what you are looking for...

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. 

She married Edmund Baker when she was 14 years old in 1848. 

Mother: On Mary Ann Bugg's birth certificate her mother is named as "An aboriginal woman". Charlotte Derby's son William gave the information that she had had 8 children, the first being Mary Ann. Charlotte was a Kamilaroi woman.

Father: Born James Bugg in Essex, England and died Monkerai, in the Hunter region of New South Wales, Australia. He was convicted of stealing meat and transported to Australia onboard the Sesostris arriving in NSW on 23rd November, 1825. His name was recorded as James Brigg in these records. 

James Brigg Convict Records
Hill End Family History - May Ann Bugg  - Captain Thunderbolt - Michael Ward & James Bugg Families Australia
Convict Creations - Mary Ann Bugg
Mary Ann Bugg"Captain Thunderbolt's Lady"
Coal River - Mixed-race unions and Indigenous demography in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales, 1788-1850


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
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