On This Day …

15th June, 1862

Once again our bush rangers are in the news. It was a lazy Sunday in Forbes. Men and women drifted off to church, or those not so inclined probably imbibed several pints down at the local pub. Around midday, the Gold Escort left for its journey to Bathurst.

Around 3:30pm, the coach had to slow down to navigate a steep gully, five miles north of Eugowra. It was here that Frank Gardiner and his gang of disgruntled cattlemen waited in ambush behind a rock the aborigines called ‘Coonbong’, or dead man (now called Escort Rock).

At the shout of ‘bail up’ the driver and the troopers jumped down and ran for the bush. So it was that Frank Gardiner managed to make the largest gold robbery of Australia’s history. The gang made off with 2700 ounces in gold, valued in the millions today.

Sydney Empire news article, 24th June 1862.

The police only ever managed to recover half the gold. Frank Gardiner escaped to Queensland and eventually moved to San Fransisco. It is rumoured that two Californians came to Wheogo (Gardiner’s former property) in 1912, and posed as prospectors, were in fact, Gardiner’s sons, returning for the rest of their father’s gold. They left with their specimen bags full, so who knows?

If you were held up by a bush ranger, do you think you’d run like the men in this story, or stand your ground and fight for your property?


Published in: on 15th June, 2012 at 10:00 am  Comments (4)  
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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Sadly I would have tucked tail and run. But I probably would have followed them to learn where they hid it. Thanks for sharing Amanda. Love the history. x

    Or perhaps..

    Gardiner rode hard, perspiration beading his determined frown. Nothin’ was going to keep him from this prize. Months of preparation came down to this moment, finally he would have his revenge and the reward of wealth. Soon his dreams could become a reality. Shaking his head the burly bushranger rode on, now was not the time for dreamin. Hooves pounded the rocky ground as they rounded the gully, and the prize came into sight.

    Sarah McGee squnited, her green emerald eyes flashing in the midday sun. Licks of her wild auburn hair whipped in the wind, torn free by the speed of their pace. She raised an arm, shileding her eyes from the sun, and glanced at her Pa. She had never seen him so determined, his brow furrowed, eyes never leaving the road. Ther was too much at stake on this run, and her company also spurred him to safely return her safely home to Bathurst. She had heard too many stories in recent weeks. Tales of bushrangers, in particular the elusive Frank Gardiner…

    • Nice work, Nicole! Have you ever considered writing a historical? πŸ˜‰

  2. I’m sure they weren’t all attractive and secretly tender-hearted like several bushrangers I’ve come across in works of fiction (sigh), so my instinct would probably be to run.
    I’m so glad I was able to visit Forbes in 2004 before the old icon burned down.
    I’m contemplating making a bushranger story, “Midnite” by Randolph Stowe, our next family read-aloud bedtime story.

    • I think probably most of us would run, eh Paula? Is that book you mentioned about Captain Midnight? I vaguely remember reading a book about him when I was a kid. πŸ™‚

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