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Mehmed Kilic

18475034
Tutor: Dr Ruth Ford
Tutorial Time: 11am Friday

The 1860s were lawless times in Australia. The new breed of bushrangers which grew

so prevailing during this period were not escaped convicts but were either Australian-

born or the sons of immigrant settlers. In this era, bushrangers such as Frank Gardiner

and the Clarke Brothers remain notorious, mysterious and surprisingly forgotten. In this

illustrated essay, Ill focus on why these fearsome bushrangers have been left out of

Australian history compared to the famous Kelly Gang. The 1860s bushranger era is

important because many laws and regulations were enforced in relation to failure to

defeat bushrangers. The Clarke Brothers are believed to be the deadliest of all

bushrangers who executed dozens of raids, holdups and murders, allegedly killing a

record five policemen. I will further point out the reason the likes of Gardiner and the

Clarkes became who they were and analyze the background of the bushrangers.

Moreover, my research involved a deep analysis of books, newspapers, archives,

journals, images and both primary and secondary sources accordingly to present this

work in the best way possible.

Photo of the
location of Frank
Gardiners famous
holdup in Eugowra
Mehmed Kilic
18475034
Tutor: Dr Ruth Ford
Tutorial Time: 11am Friday

LEFT: Image showing details on a


rock of the Frank Gardiner led
ambush at Escort Rock. Image
taken at the site.

LEFT: This photograph angle


predicts in what position
Gardiner and his gang were
in before they launched
their ambush

LEFT: Vide Report of


Crime of 5th January,
1860 discussing
Frank Gardiner.
Source: Frank
Gardiner Images
Mehmed Kilic
18475034
Tutor: Dr Ruth Ford
Tutorial Time: 11am Friday

ABOVE: Frank Gardiner and Johnny Gilbert. Source:


The Courier Mail

LEFT: Image depicting the capture of Frank


Gardiner in the early 1860s in a store in
Queensland. Source: Frank Gardiner images
Mehmed Kilic
18475034
Tutor: Dr Ruth Ford
Tutorial Time: 11am Friday

Frank Gardiner and his gang were folk-heroes, they took what they pleased and made

bushranger related activities a successful field to work in. Frank Gardiner was the son of

a Scot who immigrated to Australia in 1834, when Frank was five. The family settled in

Boro near Goullbourn in New South Wales, and by the age of 20, he started stealing

horses, a huge crime for that time (Hill 2010).1 He was imprisoned twice immediately

afterwards, released once and then he gained a parole and by 1861 he was known to

have become a bushranger. He alleged to have shot and wounded two policemen that

year. By 1862, Frank Gardiner became the leader of a gang of highwaymen based in

the Weddin Mountains. Other influential members included Ben Hall and Johnny Gilbert,

a Canadian national. The gang consisted of over known 20 members, operating more

as a territorial army than a gang, occupying towns at times, setting an example later for

the Kelly Gang.2 In 1862, Frank Gardiner and his associates accomplished the biggest

and most dramatic robbery of the gold period took place about 300 kilometers west of

Sydney near Eugowra in western New South Wales. Nearly 3000 ounces of gold and

4000 pounds in banknotes and coins was stolen from the gold escort on its way from

Forbes to Sydney.3 Surprisingly, despite large amounts of money and gold being

carried there was no mounted guard riding alongside. This attack has never been

1
David Hill. The Gold Rush. (North Sydney, Penguin Random House, 2010), 268.
2
Dame Husluck etc. Australia's Heritage: The Making of a Nation, Volume 6: New breed of Bushrangers. (Dee
Why West, Landsdowne Press, 1971), 6.
3
Ibid, Hill, 268.
Mehmed Kilic
18475034
Tutor: Dr Ruth Ford
Tutorial Time: 11am Friday

forgotten by Australians although it is not much mentioned in history books. Most of the

gold was never to be re-found again.

Following the notorious Eugowra gold robbery, Frank Gardiner was heavily suspected

and hence became one of the biggest criminals in Australian history. On 18 June 1862,

only three days after the crime, the government in Sydney published a reward in the

New South Wales Police Gazette:

MAIL AND ESCORT ROBBERY: 1000 REWARD AND PARDON TO AN

ACCOMPLCE

This statement discussed that they were ten in number, described as dressed in red

shirts, red caps, with their faces blackened, the bushrangers fired on and wounded the

police forming the guard and finally an amount of reward will go to anyone that helps to

find the perpetrators.4 Nevertheless, although many of the Gardiner gang were captured

such as Ben Hall, William Hall, John Brown, John Walsh and Patrick OMeally, they

were discharged due to lack of evidence on 24 August, 9 days after the assault. Ben

Hall will become known as one of the most famous of bushrangers, he got shot dead

three years later in 1865. Frank Gardiner was difficult to find, however finally in 1864 he

was sighted and captured in Rockhampton in central Queensland and he was taken

heavily ironed and charged with having committed various highway robberies in New

4
Ibid, Hill, 266
Mehmed Kilic
18475034
Tutor: Dr Ruth Ford
Tutorial Time: 11am Friday

South Wales.5 Gardiner was welcomed with an excitement as he was taken to

Darlinghurst Goal in Sydney. According to David Hill, who analyses the romantic love

for bushrangers and the wrath of the colonial authorities: The colonial authorities and

some of the newspapers were frustrated at the romantic popularity of the bushrangers.

These outlaws terrorized the countryside, robbed gold escorts.and cost the public

thousands of pounds in policing. Yet, to many of the public, they were heroes, and their

deeds were surrounded by great mystery and bold adventure.6 Gardiners trial was

complicated and many cases were covered from his intent to kill policemen in 1861 to

his leadership in the Eugowra escort robbery and some other crimes. He was

sentenced 32 years in prison and his family continuously campaigned for his release in

the coming years. His two sisters petitioned and one sentence was clever: Previous to

his apprehension he was obtaining his living as a storekeeper in Queensland for nearly

two years having abandoned his former career of wickedness.7 Gardiner apparently

was also well behaved in prison and eventually the then colonial secretary, Henry

Parkes, said a reduction for his sentence would be acceptable. Gardiner was released

in 1874 and exiled to California, the United States, one of the few bushrangers allowed

to leave the country. He is reported to have died in 1903 aged 73 and with him went the

secret of what happened to the bulk of the unrecovered gold from the Eugowra gold-

5
Ibid, Hill, 274
6
Ibid, Hill, 282
7
Ibid, Hill, 284
Mehmed Kilic
18475034
Tutor: Dr Ruth Ford
Tutorial Time: 11am Friday

escort robbery nearly 40 years earlier.8 Moreover, Frank Gardiner is an undervalued

bushranger that deserves more mention and research.

The Clarke Brothers reward of capture was 5000 pounds, second only to the Kelly

brothers. They were indeed the bloodiest bushrangers and most Australian history

authors hardly reference them due to the amount of pain they caused. As bushrangers

they plundered publicans, storekeepers, farmers and travelers. They ambushed Gold

Shipments from Nerrigundah and Araluen and the coaches that moved from Sydney

and the Illawarra. The memorial in Nerrigundah is an acknowledgment to Constable

O'Grady who got out of his sick bed to fight the gang.9

For decades, Peter C Smiths obsession and research on the Clarke Brothers finally

came to a successful end. Peter Smiths masterpiece: The Clarke Gang: Outlawed,

Outcast and Forgotten, was written over the course of 50 years of intense research on

the Clarke Brothers.

The Clarke brothers were declared outlawed through the Felons Apprehension Act and

after a series of clashes the brothers were captured on 27 April 1867. During the trials

precautions were taken to avoid public attention and support, although many appeals

8
Ibid, Hill, 285
99
John OSullivan. Bushrangers of The Araluen. (New South Wales, Gold Rush Colony, 1973),
Mehmed Kilic
18475034
Tutor: Dr Ruth Ford
Tutorial Time: 11am Friday

were made they were hanged at Darlinghurst gaol on 25 June 1867, two months after

their capture.10 Their death effectively ended organized bushranging in New South

Wales.

Peter Smith simply was interested in finding

out the truth about the Clarke brothers.

Basically, I found that what was written in

the past was mostly garbage and through

my research, uncovered much more factual

information,11 explains Smith, who overtime

wrote journals and collected them to

eventually publish his 664-page book.

Smiths quote represents an important

aspect in historical analysis as conducting

research by travelling from town to town and

investigating archives tend to prove the

errors of broad historical work. In 1973

Cover of Peter C Smiths new book which Smiths was demotivated by John OSullivans
chronicles the life and times of the Clarke
gang. Photo: Supplied. The Bloodiest Bushrangers (Rigby, Adelaide,

1973), which covered general accounts of the

gang that was largely forgotten. Fortunately, Smith quickly recovered and continued his

10
Nan Phillips. Clarke, Thomas (1840-1867). (Canberra, Australian Dictionary of Biography, 1969), volume 3.
11
Tim the Yowie Man. Clarke gang: Peter C. Smiths book breathes life into bushrangers tale. (Canberra, Canberra
Times, 2015), May 15.
Mehmed Kilic
18475034
Tutor: Dr Ruth Ford
Tutorial Time: 11am Friday

journey to find out more of the worst and most troublesome bushrangers of all time.12

Showing the need for determination and patience in pursuing historical knowledge.

THE CAPTURE OF THE CLARKES,


WATERCOLOUR BY GEORGE LACY. PHOTO:
STATE LIBRARY NSW

Peter Smith in April 1967


at the centenary re-
enactment of the
bushrangers raid on
Nerrigundah and the
murder of Constable
OGrady. Photo: Peter C.
Smith

12
Ibid, Canberra Times, May 15
Mehmed Kilic
18475034
Tutor: Dr Ruth Ford
Tutorial Time: 11am Friday

One of Smiths most important researches was the locations of The Clarke brothers

many hideouts, settings and other significant areas, although many of them are on

private land today, there are still many possibly out there. Those included are Clarkes

Lookout, Majors Creek-Araluen Road, Hibernian Inn, Monaro Highway, Michelago,

Squatters Arms, Monaro Highway, Bunyan (7km north of Cooma), Braidwood

Museum, 186 Wallace Street, Monument of the Special Police, Braidwood Cemetery

(Uabba Road).13 The Braidwood Cemetery is the site of the alleged ambush and

murder of four special policemen by the Clarke brother on January 9, 1867. According

to Smith these murders were the worst of the bushranging era and from subsequent

medical evidence its clear that the victims were shot in execution style, showing the

further brutality of the Clarkes.14

The Clarke Brothers originated from the south of the Braidwood area in New South

Wales. Smith in his recent published book also discusses the how Braidwood was

LEFT: Tom and John Clarke in


Braidwood Gaol after their
capture. Photo supplied by
Peter Smith

13
Ibid, Canberra Times, May 15
14
Ibid, Canberra Times, May 15
Mehmed Kilic
18475034
Tutor: Dr Ruth Ford
Tutorial Time: 11am Friday

known for being notorious in bushranging and lawlessness, representing the reasons for

such gangs to rise and perform crime across the countryside.15

ABOVE: The Chimney is all that remains of Levys Store on the Monaro Highway at
Michelago which the Clarke Gang raided on June 1, 1866. Photo: Peter C. Smith

15
Billy Brown. Bushranger shootout in Nerrigundah commemorated with NSW Police flag ceremony.
(Nerrigundah, ABC News, 2016), May 3.
Mehmed Kilic
18475034
Tutor: Dr Ruth Ford
Tutorial Time: 11am Friday

LEFT: THE HISTORIC WAGONETTE ON


DISPLAY AT BRAIDWOOD MUSEUM.
PHOTO: BRAIDWOOD MUSEUM

BELOW: Peter Smith demonstrates the correct way of holding and firing a
double trigger Tranter revolving rifle, as issued the parties of special police
who pursued the Clarke gang. Photo taken in Braidwood.
Mehmed Kilic
18475034
Tutor: Dr Ruth Ford
Tutorial Time: 11am Friday

Police Gazette NSW -16 January


1867-Discussing the reward bounty
for the capture of the Clarks.
Mehmed Kilic
18475034
Tutor: Dr Ruth Ford
Tutorial Time: 11am Friday

GOING BUSH: Tom and Luke Clarke as their famous


antecedents Tom and John Clarke. PHOTO: Elspeth
Kernebone

The two men from the above image are descendants from a sibling of the Clarke

brothers. They are a significant part of the research as they provide valuable

information, source and evidence of the family history of the famous bushrangers.

These two brothers recently performed a re-enactment of the Clarke gang, gaining

much attention and publicity online. They are proud of their work and are not ashamed

of their ancestors criminal activities. Luke, one of the brothers re-enacting says, I think

its more of an actual history of Braidwoodpeople had to fight to survive [then], it was
Mehmed Kilic
18475034
Tutor: Dr Ruth Ford
Tutorial Time: 11am Friday

about life and deathyouve got to be proud of the history.16 This shows the mindset of

the family members of the notorious Clarke gang, seeing them as heroes rather than

thugs and outlaws, like the Kelly gang, who are continued to be viewed as a glorious

part of Australian history.

Frank Gardiner and the Clarke brothers are examples of forgotten legends that need

more attention in modern times. Their biographies are just as or more exciting and

thrilling than the Kelly Gang, many films and other shows can be produced through

these stories. They can give Australians and worldwide audiences further knowledge,

fantasies and promotion of Australian bushrangers in the 19th century, possibly

becoming just as popular as American cowboys one day, which was based in the same

era. Although it may still come as a shame to many Australians that Gardiner got away

easily despite his crimes and the fact the Clarkes committed disturbing offenses,

historical knowledge must be preserved and be known to the public, so lessons can be

taken regarding consequences of crime will always be eventually dealt with by the

higher authority.

16
Elspeth Kernebone. Capturing the essence of the Clarkes. (Braidwood, Braidwood Times, 2017), April 18.
Mehmed Kilic
18475034
Tutor: Dr Ruth Ford
Tutorial Time: 11am Friday

Bibliography
Dame Hasluck, Betty Archdale, Jim Cairns, Ales Chisholm, Geoffrey Dutton, Max Harris, Robert
Helpmann, Bruce Miller, Alan Shaw, Bernard Smith. 1971. "New breed of Bushrangers." In
Australia's Heritage: The Making of a Nation, Volume 6, by Archdale, Cairns, Chisholm, Dutton,
Harris, Helpmann, Miller, Shaw, Smith Hasluck, 1016-1017. South Creek Road, Dee Why West,
NSW: Landsdowne Press.

Hill, David. 2010. The Gold Rush. North Sydney, New South Wales: Penguin Random House.

. 2010 and 1864. The Gold Rush and Brisbane Courier. North Sydney: Penguin Random House.

O'Sullivan, John. 1973. "Bushrangers Of The Araluen." Gold Rush Colony.

Thurgood, David Hill and. 2010. The Gold Rush . North Sydney: Penguin Random House.

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