On This Day …

25th May, 1870

From the Sydney Morning Herald, 27th May 1870

One of Australia’s most notorious bushrangers, Captain Thunderbolt is dead. Shot down by Constable Alexander Binney Walker near Uralla after a long chase.

By the age of twenty, Frederick Ward had already begun a life of crime. Stealing horses was what he was first arrested and sentenced for. Following that, he added escape from gaol and went on to become the bushranger as he was known, with the alias Captain Thunderbolt. He most commonly robbed the mail coaches by hiding out behind Big Rock near Uralla, but his list of crimes also includes robbery of hotels, stores homes and even a toll-gate — seventy-seven crimes in all.

Although he was a thief, he must have been otherwise pleasant in character, for he was known as the gentleman bushranger. He was apparently polite, agreeable to look at, and he avoided violence where he could. He was an excellent horseman and only rode the best — or stole them as the case may be.  And there was romance in his life as well. He lived and rode with Mary Ann Bugg, a half-caste aboriginal, for many years, but they separated a few years before his death.

His life may have been short — he was only thirty-five when he died — but he is known as one of Australia’s most successful professional bushrangers.

Published in: on 25th May, 2012 at 3:02 pm  Comments (6)  
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