Australian Crimes
The Aussie Criminal Record
True Australian crime stories
from newspaper reports
and historic crime records.
Saturday 18th April 1868:
Thunderbolt Strikes Again
-Two armed bushrangers, believed to be Captain Thunderbolt and his partner, stuck up four German musicians and a lucky punter returning home from the Tenterfield Races yesterday, taking a total of £121. The notorious pair began the day with an ambush of the Mail about 13 miles on the New South Wales side of Maryland. Thunderbolt grabbed the mail bags and returned them when he found no money. Soon after the incident, four German musicians passed the bushrangers on their way home from the Tenterfield Races. The pair passed them but quickly turned around and threatened them with a loaded revolver, demanding they dismount. He checked their pockets and stole £16
   Some time later, a ration carrier from Maryland Station, also returning from the races with a substantial win of £105, was relieved of his winnings by the pair. Thunderbolt has been on the loose for three years now and although he has committed hundreds of robberies, he has not killed any of his victims.
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Thursday 21st July 1874:
Gardiner Released Into Exile
-Frank Gardiner, the notorious bushranger, walked out of gaol yesterday after serving less than one-third of his 32-year sentence on the condition that he leaves the colonies of Australia and New Zealand. Gardiner is one of 23 criminals convicted during the bushranging era 10 years ago who have had their sentences commuted by the New South Wales Governor, Sir Hercules Robinson. more »
Tuesday 30th November 1878:
Kellys Kill 3 Policemen
-Three policemen have been shot dead at Stringybark Creek in Victoria by the bushrangers known as the Kelly Gang. The only survivor from the police team which was hunting the gang is Constable McIntyre who escaped on horseback to give the details of the murders. Rewards were yesterday increased from £100 to £500 each for the two brothers, Ned and Dan Kelly, as panic spread in towns throughout the area. more »
Wednesday 11th December 1878:
Kelly Gang Strikes Again
-A daring daylight robbery yesterday has netted the Kelly Gang £2,000 after they bailed up the National Bank at Euroa in Victoria. The crime has outraged members of government, who this morning increased the reward to £1,000 on each head and posted military police on all banks in the north-eastern district. more »
Saturday 30th May 1874:
Bushranging Revival Feared
    -Authorities fear a revival in bushranging after the stick-up of the Mudgee mail coach yesterday. The coach was travelling with six passengers and the mail from Mudgee to Wallerawang when two armed men bailed up the driver Mr Charles Mortimer said their faces were covered with cloth and they wore canvas bags over their clothing in order to disguise themselves. They ordered the passengers out of the coach onto the side of the road and demanded they empty their pockets of all money. One female passenger, by the name of Miss Power, offered her money to the bushrangers but they refused. The male passengers provided about £7 in cash. A gun was fired, but all agreed it was an accident as the bushranger was not aiming at anyone.
   With seven mail bags and the cash, the bushrangers told Mr Mortimer to drive on or they would 'blow the roof off his bloody head off.' The robbery was reported in Illford and when the police returned to the scene of the crime, they found the seven mail bags cut open and the letters scattered everywhere.
Thursday 13th February 1879:
Kelly Gang Strikes Jerilderie
-In a bizarre twist to the long list of crimes committed by the Kelly Gang, the four outlaws crossed the border from Victoria to rob the Bank of NSW and held 60 people hostage while Ned Kelly unsuccessfully tried to get his autobiography printed in the local newspaper. The gang escaped with £2,141 after the daring robbery in which they locked up two local policemen. They committed the crime while wearing police uniforms. The latest spree has caused the government to increase the reward to £2,000 for each of the gang memebrs; Joe Byrne, Steve Hart, and Ned and Dan Kelly. more »

Tuesday 29th June 1880:
Kelly Captured, Gang Killed
-Ned Kelly was seriously wounded last night and the rest of his gang killed after a dramatic three day long siege during which the ringleader protected himself with steel armour. It began when the police received news of another murder by the Kelly Gang of police informer and former associate Aaron Sherritt on Saturday night. The Kellys 'executed' him outside his home in Sebastapol. more »
Thursday 28th October 1900:
Jimmy Governor Caught
    -Notorious bushranger Jimmy Governor was wounded and captured yesterday after a shoot-out with a party of civilians at Bobin Creek, just outside Wingham in the Hunter Valley. His brother Joe is still at large. The bushrangers have been wanted since July 21st after they murdered four people and seriously injured two others on a Breelong property, 17 miles from Gilgandra.
    Jimmy Governor and his brother Joe had worked for Mr Mawbey clearing and fencing his property, but that night the owner had stayed away from the house where his family slept. Miss Kerz, Miss Hilda Mawbey, Mr Percy Mawbey and Miss Grace Mawbey were brutally killed with a tomahawk as they lay in their beds and Miss Elsie Clarke and Mrs Mawbey were seriously wounded. An eight-year-old boy escaped injury by hiding under a bed while the murders took place.
    During their 14 week spree, Jimmy, his brother Joe and two other members of the gang, Jacky Underwood and Jacky Porter, were suspected of nine murders, four assaults and a number of robberies and arson. more »
Tuesday 7th December 1897:
Police Shoot Native Gangster
    -The notorious native gangster Pigeon has been shot by WA police after three years on the run. As the leader of a 20 strong gang of outlaws, Pigeon has master-minded a series of violent felonies since 1894.
    Efforts to curb his early life of crime by making him a police assistant failed, and in 1894 he murdered a constable named Richardson. With the help of a friend and blacktracker named Captain he freed a group of 15 native killers and thieves who were being held at the police outpost at Lillamaloora near the Lennard River.
    The gang escaped into the bush where, until recently, they continued their vicious business undetected. One of their worst deeds was the killing of stockmen Burke and Gibbs who were on their way to an outback station with large supplies of food and ammunition.
    Police believe Pigeon and his gang were responsible for the murder of five white men, a half-caste and two Aborigines.

Wednesday 17th April 1867:
    Whereas, the abovenamed convict, who effected his escape from the Penal Establishment, Cockatoo Island, on the 11th of September, 1863, is still at large, and is further charged with the commission of other crimes: Notice is hereby given that an increased reward of £200 will be paid by the Government for the apprehension of the abovenamed offender, or, if effected upon information received, then one half the reward to the person giving such information, and the other moiety to the person or persons effecting the capture; and, further, that the Government will pay a reward of £50, to be similarly divided, for the apprehension of any accomplice of the said Frederick Ward, arrested in his company, or associated with him in the commission of crime.
    The above reward to be in lieu of all other rewards payable by the government under previous notice for the apprehension or conviction of this offender.

Friday 12th November 1880:
Kelly Era Ends
-The Kelly era came to an end yesterday when the notorious criminal was hanged at Melbourne Gaol. His final words were 'Such is life,' before the hangman fulfilled his task. It was a quiet end to a trial marked by an audacious argument with the judge, Sir Redmond Barry The judge was constantly appalled at the prisoner's lack of remorse for his crimes, which have included four murders. more »

Monday 28th November 1881:
Kelly Spurs On Police Changes
-The royal commission established to inquire into the functioning of the Victorian Police has described the Kelly Gang period and the corresponding police hunt as 'a disgraceful and humiliating episode in the history of the colony.' It has brought down its first report, recommending a number of dismissals, forced retirements and demotions for charges which range from 'arrant cowardice' to 'indolence and incompetence." more »

Friday 7th May 1869:
Preacher Turns Bushranger
-In the early evening of 7th May a masked man burst into the Mount Egerton bank in Victoria and demanded money from the manager, L. J. Bruun. The bandit forced Bruun to write a note stating 'Captain Moonlite has stuck me up and robbed the bank'. After signing the note with the deliberately mis-spelt name of 'Captain Moonlite', he raced off into the darkness. more »
Wednesday 21st January 1880:
Moonlite Hanged
-Captain Moonlite, or Andrew George Scott as he was born, was hanged yesterday with fellow gang member Thomas Rogan. A phrenologist, Mr McGill, who examined the bushranger's head after the execution, said the shape of his skull suggested he was devoid of all moral courage and found it impossible to tell the truth.
   Moonlite was well known for his charm and had spent his early years in the colony as a lay preacher until he committed his first crime of robbing the Union Bank of almost £700. He spent seven years in gaol for the robbery before being released on to the lecture circuit, speaking on prison reform.
   However, he was captured again after he raided Wantabadgery Station with a gang of four young men last year and, after a trial which Moonlite tried to postpone, was sentenced to death.
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Thursday 10th April 1822:
Musquito: Swings The Hatchet
    -Possibly the most violent of Tasmania's bushrangers in the 1820s was an Aboriginal named Musquito -- a highly intelligent man who formed a savage Aboriginal army to avenge the destruction of his people by white settlers. more »
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