Book One: The story of the Long Tailor
Copyright 2015 Peter Quinton
Published by Peter Quinton
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The Long Tailor has been long forgotten. The official records concerning him are remarkable only because they are entirely inconsistent. Unwritten memories of the man are tainted by politics and personalities.
In the absence of any historical record, I have turned to the hills to tell these stories concerning the man and those who loved and chased him.
the Long Tailor.
I know what really happened
The Long Tailor tightened his grip on the bridle, and the chestnut slowed, and came to a stop. One more day.
Ahead the land rose in front of him, in every direction. He paused, then spun the horse around and looked back across the plains from where he had come. Once more he cursed that English toff, from Boloco Station – the one who would not share a drink with him.
He winced, but held his position, carefully looking back into the distance, watching for any sign of pursuit. Finally, when satisfied there was no unexplained rise of dust or flight of birds, he relaxed and reached into his coat for a tote of rum. Drinking deep, relishing the bite of the alcohol.
He turned the horse back to address the mountain.
The morning was still, and the heat was starting to build. The horse danced and snorted from the ride from the station.
A flock of galahs rose from the line of trees and flew up, into the wisps of clouds forming around the mountain tops. For a moment the mob and the clouds formed a long trail. He shook his head, but the chance image of the Milky Way persisted.
He remembered the stories of the unseen river in the sky. The Yuin created songs and song-maps to guide them through the bush country - the legends indicated that they did the same in relation to the sky - treating the features as almost natural - identifying risks and benefits of particular paths. A bit like the mountain creeks, that image, small whirlpools of cloud forming near the peak tops. The old legends warn of the need to avoid whirlpools in the sky.
He shook his head again and let the bridle loose. The chestnut danced.
The police were all behind him now. Now, just friends and his mother’s people ahead.
He pointed the horse to trees with the surveyors mark cut deeply into them, marking the bridle path’s ascent. He laughed and said to the horse “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” On the word “knock” he kicked the horse forward.
He was on his way to meet the Irishman Kirwan at the top of the mountains and then be on his way to Gippsland and a new life. With a little luck, a farmhouse in the future. And Kate.
On his last day on Earth.
John Vallentine Wareham, registrar of the Court, rode down the hill into the port of Ulladulla.
He smiled. He had good reason to. After years of argument and planning, the port now had a fine stone pier, which gave protection to the coastal traders and the small fleet of fishing vessels that were being built on the beach. Stones sourced, in part, from his own farm, sufficient to build a fine stone house from his wife and children. And now, others sought access to that same resource – the new church at Milton and townhouses and other farms being constructed nearby.
He saw the mail rider waiting for him at the court house.
He dismounted and called the boy over. News from Braidwood and Cooma was not due for a couple of days.
“What brings you here now?” he asked the young man.
“Master Dawson has sent a communication for you. He asked me to wait for your reply and ride back as soon as I can”, the young boy said. He could not be more than thirteen, and faced a couple of days riding ahead of him.
Wareham sent the boy for refreshment at the local inn, and took the mail dispatch packet into his office.
The Courtroom was small, enough space for a lock-up, a meetings room in which the magistrates would sit as a panel and his own office. He sat on his chair and wondered what could have given rise to such an urgent communication. Cooma was four days ride from here – while the court districts stayed in close contact with each other, particularly as the Irish problems had grown, communication was generally through the more sedate pace of the ordinary mail.
There were a number of letter in the package – some addressed to Sydney.
He broke the seal on the letter addressed to him and held it up to the light.
9 February 1867
John Wareham, Esq
Registrar Ulludulla Court
I am told that James Dornen, known to us both as Long Jim the Tailor, has been found dead. You are of course aware that he was outlawed and that a significant reward was offered for his discovery. I am told he was attempting a crossing of the mountains past Buckley’s Crossing half a day’s ride from here and may have been seeking the aid of Kirwan – whose brother was shot by police a little while back.
I do not know the full details as yet – I am riding there today to conduct an enquiry into the death. I am taking the precaution of writing to you to alert you and your district of the event in view of your past association with the man and the disquiet that might accompany the news. I have, of course, alerted the registry at Braidwood and Monaro.
Please advise the Magistrates of the news and arrange for the attached package to the Secretary and the Chief of Police in Sydney by the next available ship.
R. Dawson, Esq.
Wareham continued to stare at the letter for a while after he finished reading. Then with a start he picked up the package and headed down to the beach and onto the pier. How long till the steamer sails he asked. Soon, on the tide, he was told. Slowing down, his heart beating fast, he pressed the charge into the hands of the Captain and returned to the court house.
No one knows yet, he thought. I have time to think.
But the Magistrate was sitting in his chair reading the letter as he got back to his office.
“So, when were you going to tell me about this”, the Magistrate demanded.
Flustered, Wareham pointed towards the steamer.
“And why is he writing to you and not me”, Wareham could smell alcohol on the Magistrate’s breath.
Wareham tried to explain about the packet but was cut off, “Don’t ever do that again Wareham – you talk to me first – particularly about anything to do with your past criminal employees”, he spat.
“Well, don’t just stand around – get out and tell the other Magistrates. I will go try to quiet the hotheads threatening to burn down the town”.
Too late, Wareham remembered the boy. He must have told the townsfolk what he knew.
The Magistrate got out the chair, threw the letter onto the desk, said “Get out of my way” and left the office.
Registrar Wareham did not fare any better with the other Magistrates. They all looked at him with accusing eyes.
When he got back to his office, the mail boy was waiting at the door. The boy asked,
“Will you be giving me the reply please sir.”
“Will you be giving me the reply please sir.”
Wareham looked blankly at the boy. The boy said, “”He told me to wait for your reply.”
Wareham told the boy to get ready to ride and readied his quill and ink. He reread the letter. Dawson had not asked him any questions in the letter, but Wareham knew what was being asked.
He wrote: “I do not know why he might be heading for Gippsland. His family is dead -he hardly knew his mother. I expected he would turn up here – something must have gone wrong.”
He sealed the letter and sent the boy on his way. He stood for a while and watched the steamer leaving port. Midday, and no ordinary work yet touched.
The future suddenly in doubt.
Police Magistrate Robert Dawson rode with Doctor Lewis Davidson along the final miles to Boloco Station, ahead of the rest of the party. They were near the end of a forty mile journey on this Saturday – a long days ride for horse and men.
They were travelling towards the only hint of green on the dry dusty plain around them. Further away, in the distance, the high mountains of the alps – shimmering deep blue in the late afternoon heat.
They had worked together before. Dawson respected Davidson and, unlike the rest of the medical men, Davidson did not whine about the pay for this work. He was quiet. Dawson liked that.
Dawson pulled up his horse at the top of the rise. Boloco Station was ahead of them – a collection of buildings surrounded by tall trees nestled into a bend of the river. He looked at it for a moment, his face closed. “We will wait here for the clerk and the tracker.”
Davidson watched him carefully. Dawson was an older law man, his hair greying and home cut, whiskers catching the last of the sun, in full suit and tie despite the sun’s temper. Tall and independent, he ran this district with an iron fist.
“Been here before?” Davidson started, conversationally.
Dawson reached for a water bottle and drank the last of it before answering. “I don’t get here often. But I have been right through this country, over the mountains. All the way down the river and into Gippsland and the Southern Ocean. ”
Davidson protested, “I heard Buckley opened up the cattle track.”
Dawson responded, “I opened up the road to Mallacoota and into Gippsland along the Coast myself, years ago. Only cattle thieves like Buckley used the mountain tracks. Take care around men like him and Kirwan.”
They watched the shadows start to fly over the land towards them, as the sun set in the mountains.
“Let’s go”, Dawson said as the others pulled close. He gave his horse its head and, sensing water and feed close, the horses slipped into a trot, raising dust behind them.
Senior Constable Henry Bryan met the party a little way from the station. He gave instructions for the rest of the party to make camp at the station, but drew Dawson and Davidson to the creeks edge to water the horses.
Dawson started. “The message you sent said the Long Tailor was dead.”
Bryan nodded and told how he and Constable Ford had set off in pursuit of the bushranger but had been informed on the way of the discovery of his body. He had been found dead at the top of the rise beyond Boloco Station near Mowenbah and his body taken there.
Dawson looked at him sharply. “Who killed him”? Bryan fought the urge to look away. Dawson was twenty years in this job – the last ten as Police Magistrate of the region, No one knew it better than him, and he knew every crack and crevice Bryan might run for. “It looks as though he fell off his horse, sir.” Their eyes stayed locked tight until Bryan shrugged.
Dawson asked, “What arrangements have you made for us?”
“Master Brown has offered you accommodation and meals until the inquest on Monday, sir”.
“That is kind of him, but we will hold the inquest tomorrow, Sunday.”
“Can you do that? Master Brown said that Coroners cannot conduct hearings on Sundays?”
“I am not a Coroner. I will conduct the proceedings as a Police Magistrate once the local church service is complete and Lewis finishes the post-mortem. Where is the body and his belongings now? Is Kirwan mixed up in this? Have you questioned him?”
“I have left the coffin at Mowenbah – it is cooler up there and the body is going bad fast. I have made arrangements for the tack and horse to be brought down when needed. No-one has seen Kirwan.”
Dawson thought quickly. “There should be no excuse for the men of this District to attend the proceedings. You will be giving evidence so Constable Ford will assist me. Now, let us go and avail ourselves of the hospitality of Boloco Station.”
That evening they were treated to roast lamb, followed by fine pale imported ale. The owner of the Station, was not happy about the changed plan but put the annoyance behind as he toasted Queen Victoria, the Governor of the colony and the coming prosperity. They traded stories of the early days, Brown telling stories of heavy snowfall at his other holding at Mowenbah – on the high rise closer towards the Alps. Dawson restricted his contribution to a brief reflection about his youngest son, Percy, who was just starting to speak. He withdrew with apologies at the first opportunity and walked with his pipe to speak with the tracker in his party.
He found him a little way from the buildings, looking into the bush. “What is it, John?” The tracker was tense, hardly moving. “Someone was out there, watching you”, he said softly. They waited a little longer before John shook his head, “Gone now.” “Right-oh, I want to know who it was. Leave it now until morning.”
But in the morning, John found no tracks, “Swept clean”, he said.
After a ride up the mountain to a post-mortem in Mowembah the next morning they returned down to lunch at Boloco Station. After the meal, the dining room was cleared and the clerk arranged chairs for the magistrate, the police officer assisting and the witnesses. A number of local farmers had returned to the Station to hear the proceedings, including a young journalist from the Monaro.
Mid-morning and the sun was already hot. The land beyond the refuge of the station was baked white.
Everyone crowded into the large room.
“All rise”, said the Clerk.
Dawson sat down, nodded to the clerk and said: “This Court is now in session. A couple of you good folk may not have been in court before. I will give you one warning. If you speak, without being asked to, by me, I will have you taken outside and hung.” Suddenly there was silence, as everyone in the room stopped breathing.
Dawson continued: “All witnesses, except Barnes and Davidson, leave the room and move out of earshot of this building. You are not to talk with each other.” Senior Constable Bryan stood uneasily and looked at Dawson for a moment, then, motioning to the other witnesses, started to leave the room.
Dawson held the silence, so all could hear the urgent whisper from one of the men, as they left the house yard “I thought you said we could stay and listen?” There was a muffled sharp response.
Dawson waited for a moment and nodded to the clerk and then turned to Constable Ford. “Right, Constable, please call your first witness.”
Constable Ford stood and motioned a tall thin Irishman into the witness chair.
The clerk carried a copy of the Bible to Barnes. “Put your hand on the Bible, Mr Barnes. Repeat this oath after me.” Barnes looked like all his hells had suddenly caught up with him. The oath was repeated three times, before he got it right.
Ford asked: “State your name and occupation to the court.”
”Richard Barnes, your worshipful. To be sure, sir. From back down the road on the Snowy River. I run a.. a rest house. At Buckley’s Crossing”.
Dawson’s eyed burnt him, and Barnes stuttered, “An inn, some call it.”
“An unlicensed inn”, Dawson corrected.
After much stuttering and foot shuffling Barnes finally answered Constable Ford’s questions. His evidence to the court was summarised in writing by the Clerk. Dawson then read the evidence given aloud.
Dawson looked at him and asked whether there was anything else. Barnes shook his head, and they countersigned the deposition. Dawson told him to sit with the others in the room and not to breathe while the tracker brought Brown in to the witness chair.
Ford next called the station owner. He was sworn in and asked him to state his name and occupation.
“Police Magistrate, my name is Thomas Brown, I am a farmer and the owner of Boloco station and Mowenbah station. "
After his evidence was given, Dawson read his deposition aloud.
Dawson and Brown countersigned the deposition and Dawson addressed Brown, “Mr Brown, I am sure you are a very busy man. I would understand if you retired to attend to your business, elsewhere.” He added, “Please do not discuss your evidence with the other witnesses.”
The next witness sworn was a
In short order
Ford turned to Davidson, and said, we will hear your evidence now Doctor, if you please.
Finally Ford called
Dawson signed the deposition and adjourned the court for ten minutes. He asked Davidson to walk with him.
“So what do you think, having listened to all of that?” Dawson asked the doctor.
The doctor smiles and said, “Straight forward. He was intoxicated, his horse shied and the poor beggar fell and cracked his skull. Hard to believe he had so little money and no weapon.”
“And what of the lies and inconsistencies”? Dawson pressed.
“People forget. Memories are never perfect. These people seem decent hard working souls. They did not ask for this criminal to come into their lives and waste their time. But then, this is not my decision to make.” Davidson smiled.
“Could he have been killed any other way than a fall?” Dawson asked.
“Any hard blow to the head would have done it.”
“A glancing shot from a pistol shot?”
“Maybe, from a distance. But pistols are never accurate, why would someone take that chance”?
“A blow from a club or a killing boomerang”? Dawson persisted.
“Yes, but there is no evidence that happened.”
Dawson pondered for a while. “I am not so sure of this. I don’t like it one bit. A successful and trusted bushranger - here without a penny or his two revolvers. I know of this man, it suits the interests of too many people that he die here, now. If there was any suggestion that he was shot down in cold blood by our police officers here - like poor Kirwan - we would have problems with the Irish right through the southern districts.” He sighed.
“Better finish this off.”
Dawson returned to the court and delivered a verdict of accidental death. The pieces didn’t fit. But any other verdict, even an open verdict, would have alerted those complicit in the death to his suspicions.
While the Police Magistrate was content to play a long game, others were not.
The returning party met a young mail rider seventeen miles out of Cooma and he gave Dawson an urgent message from the Registrar at the Ulludulla Court. In return the rider was given three copies of the depositions. One was addressed to the Attorney General. One to the Chief of Police. One to the Registrar-General.
The packages travelled across the Monaro plain past Cooma, to Queanbeyan. Then across country through the Molonglo river valley to Foxlow and then onto Count Rossi’s station at the top of the mountains. The next day, down into the Braidwood valley and the risk of capture by the bushrangers. Then north east down the wool road to the port of Ulladulla.
While the mail rider was being fed, the Registrar of the Ulladulla Court put aside a certificate of birth he was completing and quietly opened one of the packages. He read it quickly, smiled, and resealed the package.
In the morning, on the tide, the packages were placed on the coastal steamer and dispatched to Sydney.
On the wharf, alert to the cargo, the Colonial Secretary for the Colony of New South Wales, Henry Parkes took charge of all three packages. As he travelled by coach to the Governor’s residence, he opened the Attorney-General's package. With the papers he found an unexpected inclusion - an incomplete certificate of birth from Ulladulla.
Fifteen years have passed.
Kate stands here in the cold pale moonlight. Tears well in her eyes and the old farm house shimmers.
She has been summoned here.
Light spills out of the windows. Shadows move around the house. Her heart jumps. And then the windows dim. Just a trick of the light. Stock are moving through the old yards.
She stares at the deserted farmhouse, and remembers. A tear starts to fall.
As the tear falls, the farm windows light again. This time a bonfire burns in front of the house and the sound of the fiddle and whistle fills the night air with the final bars of a local version of ‘Kelly from Killanne’. The sounds of laughter and the smells of a bush feast.
‘Katie’, he says softly, that man with the broken lip. The one she nursed back to health after a trooper shot him. The one whose face she touched, as he lay sleeping.
She does not move.
The fiddle commands silence with the first few bars of ‘The Rising of the Moon’. One of the men, Gavin starts, ‘And come tell me Sean O'Farrell, tell me why you hurry so’.
She remembers the promises he made with a smile on his face as the gathering at the farm shout their appreciation and sparks from the bonfire and the chimneys fly high into the night sky.
‘Yes! Gold – fairy dust and rings, enough for a good life, a respectable life, far from this wretched place. A life with a cottage and a garden’, he said. Gavin continues, ‘Husha buachaill hush and listen and his cheeks were all a glow’.
‘Gold enough for a fine hat and two changes of clothes a day. Two pairs of shoes. And cows in the field, chooks in the barn and a man to split wood.’ In the background, ‘I bare orders from the captain get you ready quick and soon’.
‘And gold enough for children.’ Back at the farm, mugs are beating the tables in tune with Gavin ‘For the pikes must be together by the rising of the moon’.
She stares at the light streaming from the farm. Shadows flickering in the cold pale moonlight.
Loudly now, the gathering joins in the chorus, ‘By the rising of the moon, by the rising of the moon. For the pikes must be together by the rising of the moon.’
She tells the farm, ‘We need nae gold, Jemmy.’
‘Katie’, he says softly, ‘come quick’. She takes his cold hand and they walk together to the brook, her moon shadow ahead of her.
Gavin continues, his voice fading into a quiet murmur as she moves towards the mountains, ‘And come tell me Sean O'Farrell where the gath'rin is to be, At the old spot by the river quite well known to you and me’.
Jemmy’s voice is now clear, slewed a little with hard liquor. ‘I have talked to them – I have done my part. I am going back south – along the cart track – all the way to Gippsland where we push the squatter’s fat cattle.’
‘There is a man there, who will set me up.’
‘There is a place down there – good pastures and safe.’
‘I will build us a stone house and strong fences. A place for you to practice cooking and grow hens. Enough milk for home and poddies.’
‘And I will sew you fine dresses and plant an orchard.’
She smiles at this remembrance, ‘And I will cook apple cake and serve it with clotted cream.’
‘And lots of gold’, he added.
Her heart quickened. ‘Just straw flowers is enough for me’, she says.
‘Fairy dust and rings’, he adds, ‘and a man to split wood, to two to quarry stone and a butcher. And a fine hat and two changes of clothing a day, and fine silver on the table.’
‘Fine silver on the table’, she repeated, feeling him close.
And the sounds of the creek filled the night, as the fiddle paused back at the farm as the boys retired to the men’s room and a baby was quieted by the suck
The fall of the brook, the frogs in the side pools, the sounds of an owl calling, kangaroos grazing near and the slap of stock moving through the bush.
A stone curlew cries a warning.
‘When will you go?’
‘I am ready now’.
‘When will I see you next?’
‘I will send word and a cart when the troubles end here.’
‘Oh Jemmy, don’t leave me now’, she sobs.
He presses a gold sovereign into her small hand.
She trembles and shakes her head wildly.
‘I don’t want this gold’, she cries, but he holds her hand shut.
‘I will send word and a cart when the troubles end here’, he repeats.
Her tear hits the ground, and the creek dries. He fades into drought.
And here she stands, in the pale moonlight, in front of the old farm house, with the gold sovereign in her hand.
The farm house is dark, cold and dank. The thatched roof has fallen. The sheets on the beds a decayed ruin, and the fireplace cold.
In the mountains beyond, a warrigal cries for his mate.
And then, suddenly, he is there beside her.
'I told you I would come back for you.'
She sinks to the ground.
Lucy was a cracker of a horse rider, better than most of the blokes in the Jerrabatgully.
The Hurley girls, Lucy and Caroline, had proved they could steal the two horses tethered outside the Majors Creek police station a couple of times. They would be up the bridle path in full gallop towards Braidwood before the police stumbled out of the shack.
But that was a lifetime ago, and now she was eighteen. She wore three rings on each hand and she could feel what was happening inside her. Her life was changing.
She finished the climb into the foothills to the west of the Shoalhaven River, dismounted and set up camp. She took off the mare's bridle and saddle, cleared the old camp fire of debris and started a new fire with a flint. From her bags she brought a bottle of water and eggs.
When the fire started to burn, she fired some green pick, to put smoke into the air, above the tea tree and open forest of the range. Satisfied, she turned to boil the water with a bag of fresh tea. A bag the boys had liberated from the Foxlow store.
She felt them coming before she heard them, and smiled.
Tom came into the clearing with a rush, jumping off and rolling her onto the ground with a flurry off kisses. Bruce came up more cautiously, his horse sweating and lame: “Give it a rest, Tom”, he said, and brought the horses together.
Lucy sat up and pushed Tom back onto the ground, her face blushing.
“I have some tea for you both, then eggs and scones and butter and meat.”
“You will melt my heart with your butter”, Tom said catching his rifle from Bruce and setting it up a little way from the fire. “But, I could really eat a horse”, and with her eyes locked in his, pretended to monster her unbridled horse. The mare ignored him, she had seen it all before.
“Only one mug for you, Bruce”, she said as he poured the tea from the billy. As Tom went to the fire and sat back on his heels, she went to her bags and took out her butchers knife to cut the mutton.
She felt them coming before she heard them.
She looked quickly over to the horses, standing quietly. Bruce handing her love a single cup of hot tea. For one moment, everything was so perfect and so wrong.
Bruce sang out: “Look out Tom, here comes the police!”
Three mounted police crashed into the clearing. The tea dropped onto the ground, soaking into the ground.
Tom jumped up, and crashed through the fire to seize his rifle. Ashes and burning embers spun into the dry brush.
“Surrender Tom Connell!” the leading police officer cried as levelled a rifle at Tom.
Tom ducked into the cover of a tree as two shots spun by him, and then ran for the closest horse, Lucy’s unbridled mare.
As Tom sprang on the horse the leading policeman reloaded and spun around to take chase. Tom encouraged the mare to a gallop, holding her mane tightly and leaning onto her neck, directing her through the open forest up a steep incline and towards freedom.
Lucy, on foot, jumped in front of the police horse.
She recognized the officer and screamed out at him. "Woodland, Woodland, you blasted wretch, don't shoot him!"
Woodland pushed his horse towards her, and with knife still in hand she ran at the horse shaking her dress. Woodward’s horse shied and swerved back down the hill.
Lucy turned to the other policemen and ran at them, shouting.
Smoke was rising as the fire got into the tea tree.
Woodward turned and came up the hill a second time. Tom had made some distance up a steep incline. But he was still within range. Woodland took aim and shot at Tom a second time.
Tom fell from his horse into the bushes.
Woodland slowed – he turned his horse around looking for the others. The hill side was alight.
He shook his head. Lucy had put the other police horses to flight. Bruce must have taken the opportunity to mount and quietly disappear down the hill.
Leaving his mounted colleagues to deal with Lucy, Woodland rode up the steep incline to where he had shot Tom. But, on reaching the spot and searching about he could see nothing of him.
The other mounted police joined him. "Where is Connoll?" they asked. Woodland tuned to them and snarled, “What did you do with the girl?”
They looked at each other. Smoke and fire was moving up the slope towards them.
Mick prospered. He built a store, a hotel (the Traveller's Rest at Stoney Creek), a post office and a black smithy in the
"and we cannot imagine a more agreeable place for a day's gipsying ; — we recommend our friends to pay a visit. The best accommodation and a hearty welcome will be met with at the Traveller's Home at Stoney Creek, the jolly landlord of which hostelrie appears to think that he cannot do enough for the comfort of guests."
“The Welsh landlord?” Distaste in her mouth. There were plenty of ugly stories about the rich erratic member of the British aristocracy, despised in the colonies for his treatment of the poor.
Tracker Thomas. Sir Watkin Wynne was older than the others -
"They're crack shots. They got you in a second and I think they've hit Sir Watkin. There's only Lenihan, Egan and myself. It's not enough. If I patch you up d'you think you can ride for help?"Walsh nodded.
The outlaws started to fire at us from the farm house. Under cover of bush, I went looking for
There they were met by Sub Inspector Stephenson, 8 Troopers and Tracker Thomas from Major’s Creek.
Stephenson the reward money was split between all police officers present. I received 300 pounds, Walsh 130 pounds and
The first time we rode down to Foxlow Station it was like a knife through fresh butter. We crossed the purple mountains along the cart track near Count Rossi’s holding.
It was the middle of summer and stinking hot during the day. But evenings in the mountains are cool. Mist hangs onto the hills at night, and a sweet dewy breeze blows gently in the early morning.
The first time we rode down to Foxlow Station the fields were gold with the fragrance of new-cut meadow hay. We caught superintendent Vallance napping. We held him up and took all the station money and six packs of groceries and drapery. We helped ourselves to station spirits and gave all a drink in honour of the day.
When we got back to the Jingera a couple of days after Christmas we hosted a meal and dance at one of the high farms. A bullock was killed for the occasion. We invited the locals, including some of the police and magistrates on that side of the range, to come and share the harvest. John O’Connell and Lucy Hurley danced a jig that night and we all sang and danced till morning light. Our generosity was not shared by some – Braidwood police came a couple of days later, like back in the old country, searching the farms for the stolen loot.
They arrested Lucy and some of the local farmers and treated the women roughly, but the magistrates in Braidwood let all bar one of the O’Connells go.
We rode down to Foxlow Station a couple of times after that. We took horses and cattle when we wanted, and drove them up into the Tinderry bad-lands to the south east. But not before we bailed up the superintendent and liberated his gold and cash, tea from China, fine hats, drapery, flour and butter.
Despite the Braidwood police, we would still hold a party a couple of days afterwards, but we were less free with our invitations. Still, it would bring out a fiddle and an Irish song. We would sit around the rough-hewn seats of the cotter and listen to stories or songs. Stories or songs of some romance or some exploit here or back home in the green country – sometimes about us. There would be smiles on the drawn faces of the scratch farmers on that side of the range. The gold would light up the eyes of the local girls and the children would stand rapt, faces stuffed with sugar and cake.
But it got harder and harder each time we came down to Foxlow.
The last time we rode down to Foxlow Station it was raining. We had word the police were there guarding the station in numbers. So we camped in an old hut, high in hills near the Yandyguinula Creek, courtesy of the old woman who lived there, and we watched the station and waited for an opportunity. We brought her real grub – a break from her scant meals of thistle and plover eggs.
The police did not know we were nearby. The bush had been cleared to 1,000 yards of the station buildings, and the police stayed close to the station. We could see there were three police, none of whom appeared to be on guard. One spent a lot of time in one of the huts courting one of the station girls. Another played cards with off-duty hands in the hut next door. The third in the barrack, cooking or getting wood and water. But they kept their repeater rifles close by, and the one in the barracks was colonial born and a fair shot.
We had some friends down in the station. They sent word of what was in the store, and when patrols would be undertaken. They told us of a heated argument between the three police – the colonial took on the others about their regimental sham and carousing. He loudly argued that they should be out chasing us instead. But the police stayed put, and the risks of riding down into the station with them there, even courting or card-playing or cooking, were too high.
So we tried to draw them out. We stole the station owner’s fat horse and some of the police mounts. We got one of the station hands to report the theft, expecting them to race out and off in pursuit. But all they did was move the remaining horses closer and feed them. They were now on the look-out, and a couple more police, including a senior constable, arrived.
So we went back to the old hut, in the rain, blankets still over our heads. We waited but, for days, the police stayed put. News from the station was grim. The police did not trust station hands anymore. The colonial policeman was reposted. The police maintained their regimental sham.
We took what cattle and horses we could manage and headed back to the Tinderry fastness. There was no gold and cash, tea from China, fine hats, drapery, flour and butter the last time we rode down to Foxlow.
Jinden lies at the extreme South of the Shoalhaven River valley, two days ride from the old administrative capital of Braidwood (South Eastern Australia).
Mountains to the West, South and East form natural barriers to ordinary commerce - and although a road now climbs through the mountains at Snowball, it remains a quiet and lonely place.
Today it is a farming location. Passing through it, the ordinary visitor will not be aware of the terrible events of early 1867 that took the colony of New South Wales to the brink of civil war. Today the area is starting to thrive. But, in 1867, news from Jinden resonated around the world with the bitter cold wind of desolation.
Farmers here need to be adaptable. The climate changes a little different each season. Extremes of heat and cold and distance made it a difficult place for early settlers. After self-government was granted to New South Wales in the mid Nineteenth Century, poor Irish settlers took up a number of small farms here and in the gully to the North and West we now call Jerrabattgulla. These small blocks provided little real scope for sustainable farming and only a few succeeded - the scrub is full of failed attempts.
While difficult farming for the early settlers, it proved a safe refuge for for the Irish bushrangers, who were protected by the Irish locals and who were shown a number of bridle paths up out of the valley. Martin Brennan was a police officer involved in the search for the bushrangers. He described the area around Jinden in fairly positive terms:
"The JINDEN Station, situated near BIG BADJA, was at this time rented by NED SMITH; it was the favourite rendezvous for the bushrangers, as the surroundings were well watered, grassy and scrubby." (Big Badja is a high mountain to the immediate South.)
From here, the bushrangers under the Clarke brothers (accompanied by the Long Tailor) attacked gold settlements to the North and the large cattle stations to the West, with impunity. The Clarke brothers chose their targets with care - none of their allies, magistrates nor police, were at risk. However, by 1867, the area had been partly militarized, much like Ireland itself, with armed police stationed at most of the larger farmsteads. Still the bushrangers, with the active assistance of Irish settlers, had free range over the rest of the country.
As to the terrible events of early 1867, I will let Brennan continue the story, from his handwritten account of events:
“After setting out for JINDEN, the Detectives called at GALLAGHER’s Hotel, LONG FLAT, near MAJORS CREEK; they informed the proprieter they were en route to JINDEN, and asked directions; on getting them, they left, and scarcely had they done so, when JAMES GRIFFIN, who was shadowing them, called, and inquired where the Detectives were bound for? On being told, he too departed. They were seen by Serg’t BYRNE early next morning passing by the BALLALABA Station, well mounted, and carrying their rifles on their thighs, going towards STONY CREEK. When CARROLL and party reached CONNELL’s Hotel, they had refreshments, asked how far it was from JINDEN, and the number of houses they would have to pass before reaching it? Being informed, they left, and in a few minutes JAMES GRIFFIN rode up, ascertained what transpired, and went on in the same direction.
The Detectives next called at Mr AHEARN’s, where a Police Station was then established, known as KRAWARREE - made the usual inquiry, when Mr AHEARN pointed out the track, and told them JINDEN HOUSE was 8 miles distant. As soon as they had left, the ubiquitous GRIFFIN presented himself, ascertained particulars, and then cantered off through the bush towards JINDEN. The Detectives were hospitably received at JINDEN; their horses placed in the home paddock, and beds prepared for them in the dining room. After breakfast next morning, the Detectives had a long conversation with SMITH. When for some occult reason they left the Station on foot, though it was then well known the bushrangers were camped on a range four miles distant - followed a bridle track leading to GUINEA’s Selection (Portions 5 & 6, Parish of JINDEN). Soon after their departure from JINDEN, GRIFFIN partly disguised, and riding a gray horse, was seen coming from the direction of the GANG’s lair, to JINDEN HOUSE, where he procured spirits, and then rode off to the GANG’s quarter.
The Detectives called at Mr WATT’s Selection on the opposite side of the SHOALHAVEN and had dinner, produced their rifles, and revolvers and informed Mr WATT that “ they were looking for the bushrangers to make short work of them; that the Police for the most part were cowards, and afraid to encounter them; and that they, themselves, were specially selected by the Government to do that which the BRAIDWOOD Police were incompetent to do “. After two hours delay, the Detectives left, and made their way back towards JINDEN.
After proceeding two miles, GRIFFIN was seen riding on the range observing their movements. On a spot almost in sight of JINDEN HOUSE, the GANG decided on carrying out their diabolical scheme; here the outlaw CLARKE, his brother JOHN, and BILL SCOTT, ensconsced themselves behind gum trees, close to the track, and within about 30 yards of each other. While JAMES GRIFFIN held their horses about 150 yards away. The Detectives walked two together, that is McDONNELL and PHEGAN in front, with CARROLL and KENNAGH behind.”
All four detectives were murdered by the bushrangers shortly afterwards.
Like my parents, I grew up in small settlements in the outback – far from the towns and cities of white settlement. No books: just the sky and the land.
When I was young, kids from the local camps taught me to throw a boomerang and to track snakes and lizards through the desert sand and dry river beds, and told me their stories. Camp life was hard for the kids. They grew up quick. While their parents were some of the best stockmen and women in the district, the parents were plagued by drink, disease and despair.
It was not always that way. Before white settlement, the first people lived in distinct nations with unique languages and legal systems. The nations roughly encompassed river systems, bordered by mountainous country. Vestiges of the old laws remain, in the names of valleys, rivers, creeks and mountains.
Some areas were contested or the boundaries more permeable. Sometimes, in desperate times, nations raised raiding parties to enter other lands and take food or captives. Boundary areas from which incursions might come were carefully watched and raiding parties met with as much force as could be mustered.
In happier times, some travel between nations was permitted for trade, celebration or feasting. Inter-national agreements set terms and agreed timing for these occasions.
Within the inter-national agreements, travel was also permitted for limited legal reasons, allowing authorized hunters to track and recover or kill those running from justice. This task fell to Kadaitcha.
Kadaitcha were specialist lore holders of all the nations – particularly skilled in survival skills. Some moved between the nations, teaching and hunting.
Kadaitcha were not simply herbalists or hunters. They were part witch doctor, part assassin. They dispensed justice – with spears, boomerangs and deadly magic.
The camp kids knew frightening stories about the Kadaitcha. They become invisible when they put on their shoes made of kangaroo hide, with emu feathers glued together with blood. They can will a person to death or turn a person into a rock. A decade ago, around another camp fire, I was told how Mount Palerang was made stone by Kadaitcha – and all around her, the Monaro, the bodies of her victims. Frozen as hills as they fell, their naked bodies become visible as the mists burnt away.
Kadaitcha were not all bad. They make and trade aphrodisiacs and hallucinogens, compacts for healing physical wounds and diseases and mental anguish. They also could heal or hurt people, from afar, using a form of magic. Transference magic.
We don’t hear about aboriginal law men anymore. But the early governors of the colony of New South Wales knew them– and both Governors Brisbane and Darling actively sought to enlist them into the defense of the growing colony. Later they were an important part of the early Queensland Mounted Police. The names of these law men are noted in old colonial records – Wannamutta, Werannabe, Sir Watkin Wynne and Bilecla. Over the years the names have gradually faded from memory, in later colonial times, these men were referred to as black trackers.
Perhaps that is why we don’t hear about the Kadaitcha these days – we don’t believe in magic these days. So, the memory of the walkers has gradually faded – and some have started to wonder whether they ever existed. The book-learned scholars who no longer leave their city sinecures and who spend their days and nights undermining each other, say that they never existed at all.
But when you sit around a camp fire listening to the eucalyptus crackle and retelling the stories of the dreaming, they are as real as the flames warming your face.
Along the eastern coast of Australia are a series of protected bays. In the early days of the colony of New South Wales, small government settlements were established at the bays. Isolated by high mountain escarpments to the West and deep gorges along the coast, these settlements became important hubs of economic activity, particularly farming and forestry ventures. The settlers were dependent on travel by sea. Inland centres gradually forged bridle paths and bullock tracks to the coastal hubs - for mail, wool and, after the discovery of gold in the 1850s, mining.
The small protected harbor at Ulladulla was the location of early settlement – encompassing farmland, timber milling, fishing and ship building. The government provided basic infrastructure to support these activities – including the regulation of the port, provision of a post office, licensing of hotels and trading posts.
Core to government administration, the colony established a Court of Petty Sessions for Ulladulla in the late 1850s with the appointment of two part time magistrates, David Warden and William Hood.
In the early 1860s John Vallentine Wareham was appointed as Registrar of the Court – effectively the first full time legal administrator in the District (at that time the magistrates themselves were part time justices of the peace).
On his death in May 1912, the Sydney Morning Herald published a short obituary of Registrar Wareham:
“Mr. John Valentine Wareham, who died at Bona Vista, Waverley, last week, aged 80 years, was another of the old colonists who had exciting experiences in the goldfield days. With Mrs. Wareham, he came to Sydney in January, 1853, and qualified as a conveyancer. In 1853, with other young men, he walked to the Turon diggings, but the venture was not a success. On the return journey he tried to take a short cut over the ranges, but lost his way, and spent his first Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day in Australia in a vain endeavour to find a path that would lead him out of the rough mountainous country. It rained all the time. When found by a shepherd, Mr. Wareham was delirious, and was badly bitten by bulldog ants. In the early sixties he took up land in the Ulladulla district, and went through all the trials of floods and fires that were the lot of the early settlers. One of Clark's gang of bushrangers, known as "Long Jim the Tailor," was for a time in Mr. Wareham's employ. As the district became more settled Mr. Wareham held various Government positions, including those of Crown lands agent. Registrar of the District Court, Clerk of Petty Sessions, and Coroner, and was always helpful to new arrivals seeking advice. He left a widow, two sons, resident in Botany Bay, one daughter, 15 grandchildren, and five, great grandchildren.”
As Registrar, Mr Wareham’s duties extended to recording private sales of land and other large quasi-public undertakings, arranging for the sale of public land, recording births and deaths, licensing a range of activities (including hotels and other professional callings), conducting coronial inquests into deaths, managing the jail, fires and shipwrecks, assisting disputants settle cases and, where not possible, trying to refine the questions in issue for decision by a panel of the justices. When he was absent, his wife, Susanna Scott, discharged some of these functions in his name – including the management of the lock-up.
Initially, the court was located at the port of Ulladulla – operating as required from a room in Warden’s store. In 1862 a separate court house and lock-up were built in the town.
During that time, the port functioned by boats rowed out to incoming vessels from the beach. In 1859 a wooden jetty was built. In December 1865 a government subsidized stone pier (225 feet long and 24 feet wide) was constructed at a cost of 11,000 pounds – built on the line of a natural reef. (ref- ‘Nulladolla’ Local History MUHS (1988)).
In February 1860, John Booth sold the first 50 allotments of his private subdivision of a new, unnamed, town to the North West of Ulladulla inland from the coast, set in rolling hills. Within a short period of time, the post, trading enterprises and court relocated to the new township – which was named ‘Milton’ by the postmaster.
A flood in that month may give some indication of the problems faced by the initial settlement on the coast. Reports from the time talk of torrential rain and “fearful sea running into Ulladulla” which swept away buildings, fences and bridges.
At about this time, Registrar Wareham purchased his property of Danesbank on a commanding hill outside Milton. The property was a good source of stone – which eventually furnished his own homestead (a charming Victorian house of sandstone and cedar) and other public buildings. Danesbank homestead was built by the master mason James Poole - the stone mason responsible for the Ulladulla stone pier.
There are a large number of records about Registrar Wareham's activities. He registered all births and deaths in the district. His efforts to assist litigants resolve issues brought him to the attention of higher courts - without criticism.
During the period he was caught in the cross hairs of religious and class controversy. In her book about pioneers of the district, Joanne Erwin records that in 1870 the 'Walter Hood' sank in rough weather off the coast and fourteen men drowned. The ship was carrying flooring for St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney - and this flooring is still washed ashore in heavy weather. Wareham carried out the coronial inquest. Erwin records an oral report that:
"J.V. Wareham had wanted to bury Captain Latto in a separate grave as befitted his rank, but the surviving crew would not permit it, hinting that they blamed the captain for being drunk and causing the wreck and so had let him drown."
In 1873 a lighthouse was erected on the Ulladulla stone pier – but this was relocated to the headland in 1889.
In 1876 tragedy stuck the Wareham family, with the loss of three children. They left the district shortly afterwards.
Haunt to bushrangers in the 1860s, the Tinderry Ranges rise 700m above the Michelago valley. I travelled there to scope locations described by old timers and in old papers, in preparation to riding to some of the more remote locations.
The ranges themselves have been recently decimated by bushfire. Although there has been some regrowth, the range looks even more unforgiving than usual.
Bushrangers (the Clarke brothers and the Long Tailor) took cattle and horses from stations at the bottom of the ranges at Michelago and, to the North, at Foxlow, driving them up into isolated bush camps high in the Range.
Spent this afternoon in the magic village of Majors Creek and, for a little while, Elrington's Pub - researching the Clark Brothers and the Long Tailor. In this place, an old mining town, the usual boundaries between the past and the present flicker.
A little way from the town - absolute solitude. The clouds came down to the mountains. I spent a little time talking to the locals about their town. Sounds a sweet place to live, or visit.
All around are signs of the rush. The hotel is glorious in its age: patterned tin ceilings, a sign advising that guns need to be left with the bar keep, and a sign advertising the arrival of dancing girls from Sydney, and locals reminiscing about how the internal structure has morphed over time.
Here is a different compass: Braidwood close to the north, Cooma further away to the South, the fertile Araluen valley close by and the coast just over to the East. And suddenly to hear those magic names spoken by people who use them every day: Jinden, Ballalaba, Krawaree, Mourya, Jillamtong, Nithdale and Jerrabat Gully. The accounts of the Clarke Brothers are still real here.
Now I need to find a stock horse to get me down to Jinden.
Majors Creek may look fairly flat, but it is poised on the edge of a precipitous fall into the Araluen Valley.
The road from Majors Creek to Araluen via Mount Araluen Is one of the more difficult public vehicular assents in Australia. Restricted to four wheel driving in fine weather, it is one drive many people only do once: precipitous cliffs, a single lane dirt road with a series of switch backs that require 3 point turns.
Nevertheless, the views are superb, and the climbing interesting.
Once the only inland exit from the Araluen Valley, this point of the road saw an unsuccessful attempt by Ben Hall and the Clarke gang to hold up an armed coach bringing gold out of the valley.
The vegetation at the top of the mountain is lush.
The point chosen by the gang for the ambush has command views of the road below.
The old bridle path has been replaced by a sealed road leading up into the Snowy Mountains (you can see a cut-away from the road about two thirds the way up) – but the bush remains as it was.
Here, in 1867, the bushranger the Long Tailor paused. He and his chestnut horse looked at the escarpment that would have taken him from the flats around Boloco Station up the escarpment to Mowembah. He intended to meet the Irishman Kirwan at the top – as part of his escape into Gippsland.
The coronial inquest found he died at the top of this rise, after a fall from his horse.
I think down of the flats it must be in a rain shadow - particularly when the mountains freeze over. A couple of miles further on and it almost felt like I was in the badlands...
He left Boloco Station at a gallop, possibly a bit inebriated, still suffering a wound from a police bullet, with stolen goods in hand.
You are probably right - here would have been a good safe place to rest for a moment and tie the goods around his waist. From here he could have seen any one following behind.
His approach could have been seen from above, and from the plains below. I spent a bit of time crashing through the bush near where he fell. The bush on the mountain has not been cleared - it remains as it was. If the accident happened today, visibility would have been 100 yards in all directions. So I still don't buy the evidence of the witnesses :) But they are all safe from me, being dead all these years...
Or at least that is what I thought until I came to the Boloco graveyard.
From the top of that rise you can see the Australian Alps - There are so many contrasts in such a short space.
In the mountains, everything is fast. Especially the down-hill skiers. Even wombats, normally slow and deliberate, crash, roll and tunnel through snow at a tremendous pace. Bandicoots move like greased lightning. They need to. Up here the weather can change in an instance: one moment clear sun, the next blizzard.
When I was young, my father was posted, from the smaller Nevertire Primary School in the western deserts to the Tumbarumba Primary School a stone’s throw from the Australian Alps. There, he and I learnt to ski together, driving through the treacherous mountain passes to the slopes at the old deserted gold mining towns. In the early days we trudged up the hills for a run. Later, skiers started bringing up petrol winches with a heavy knots or tyres we could hang onto.
Today these locations have been reborn as ski resorts. The trails into the mountains have been tamed - you can drive or catch a train or fly to the peaks. This year, the state government has announced that it is spending even more money connecting its great city, Sydney, to the snow fields. Of course, out in the bush, it was not announced this way. Instead, local politicians of all persuasions, have talked unconvincingly about the great steps being taken to improve rural infrastructure (one called it a “once in a generation outcome”). Rural folk have heard this all before, these schemes simply divert scare resources away from real rural priorities.
While I started out down-hill skiing, my passion is cross-country. Nothing beats being high in the mountains, the air crisp and new, with untouched snow ahead. And no politicians to be seen anywhere.
I like it up here in winter and, when the snow melts, spring. The little streams all come alive and the wildflowers are beautiful :)
One bright spring morning, me and a friend, (whose name I will not mention for reasons which will become clear) set off on an all-day cross country from the top of the mountains. After a couple of miles, about a quarter of the way along, I hit some ice and ended upside down, one ski snapped and my shoulder dislocated.
To his credit, my friend dug me out. And while I wasn't looking, he then wrenched my shoulder back into position. Obviously torn between the prospect of accompanying an injured friend back up to the top of the mountain or spending the rest of the day enjoying himself on the trails, he chose the latter. As he spend off, he said that, if I survived, he would offer a full apology.
It was about that time that a blizzard came up...
When I was three, an older friend and I climbed a tall haystack, and spent an afternoon trying to work out what a hill would be like. Neither of us had seen one, but she was four and had been to far-off Nyngan, and thought we might be able to see one from the top of the stack.
I was a little bit worried about the adventure, because she had unexpectedly kissed me the day before. But I really wanted to find out about hills, so I threw caution to the wind. I need not have worried, When we could not see a hill, we lay on top of the stack, hand in hand, and imagined what being on a hill would be like. She never kissed me again.
Sunset near Gilgandra - just like when I was three.
When Australia embraced the hydro-electricity after the Second World War, water from the Snowy River was diverted from the coast into inland rivers. The Snowy River was reduced to a barren rocky creek, and its surrounds dried out and died. At the coast, salt water moved into the mouth of the river, poisoning the fertile farm lands on the Victorian coast. Recently, protests from rural areas finally have been heard, and some of the flow of the Snowy River has been restored.
Back in January 1867, when the town was still called Buckleys Crossing, the river still ran deep and swift. A place beyond the law – a pathway for stolen cattle into the South. There was an inn and a punt took travellers across the river.
I sat by the river for a little while and thought about the Long Tailor, camped here, the night before his death. Risking coming into the hotel, speaking to the barkeep, seeking directions to the South – into Gippsland. Topping up his flask with hard liquor and telling the barkeeper he was called “Jemmy the Warrigal”.
The failure of the regular mounted NSW police to capture these members of the Clarke gang in the Braidwood area had serious ramifications. Back in Sydney, Henry Parkes was drawing plans to sack the police force and engage mercenaries to engage the threat he imagined.
Lucy was eventually arrested and detained but the police did take her to trial, believing that no jury of the day would have convicted her.
the notorious bushranger, Fred Lowry. The colonial police arrested him in Kiandra on suspicion of being Lowry. He was moved to Cooma and in the company of hardened criminals. At that time there was significant discontent in the ranks of the Irish in New South Wales. In Cooma, local Irish complained that the police killed them with impunity.
Eventually, the police released him when it transpired Lowry had died on 30 August 1863, after being shot by police at Crookwell. He continued to live in Cooma for several months. During this time, he attracted police attention on a couple of occasions - and they took a dim view of him.
Eventually he moved north to Braidwood, perhaps to try his hand at the Araluen gold field and avoid the Cooma police. There he quickly found himself in the local Braidwood prison for robbery, and he was shortly joined by Tom Clarke who had been involved in the more serious crime of robbery under arms.
was not called to give evidence.
The Long Tailor was wanted for robbery under arms with a substantial reward placed on him. He was a key member of a successful gang that had looted large amounts of gold and cash, had high powered weapons and were exceptional horsemen. He had helped the leader of the gang escape from prison. Yet the Long Tailor was found dead – apparently without any gold or real cash and no weapon, having been thrown from his horse. These circumstances seem inherently unlikely. it doesn't add up.
The Doctor examining the body did not find evidence of the serious wound inflicted on him two months earlier in Araluen (said by some to have been sufficient cause for him to flee the Braidwood district). The body was in a poor condition by the time he saw it - his examination may have been quite cursory - and is, perhaps, unreliable.
Thomas Kirwan, a grazier at Mowembah, was not called. Would Kirwan (whose dead brother had been previously implicated in criminality) have welcomed or feared a visit from the Long Tailor. Did the Long Tailor encounter him at or near Mowembah before his death - and, if so, how did he know the Long Tailor was on his way? Should he have been a suspect?
On his way from Boloco and Mowenbah on either the afternoon of the 7th or the morning of the 8th, Brown did not admit to seeing the body or the hobbled horse near the top of the rise, although he would have ridden close to both. He took no action on the report of the hobbled horse from White.
Further, when he attended the body on the afternoon of the 8th he found the stolen breastplate – even though the same was not apparent to Bryan until he lifted Jim’s body and removed his coat (ie, Brown had apparently searched the body and, if so, probably the other tack). In evidence, Brown claimed he did not know the Long Tailor. However, Brown's evidence that he didn't know the dead man was specifically contradicted by Bryan who said that Brown told him the name of the deceased.
A couple of obvious questions were never asked - perhaps deliberately. For example, Jim the Tailor brought grog and lodging from the Innkeeper - the Innkeeper would have noticed how whether he paid from a pouch or pocket, what denomination were used, how much was spent and what change and in what denominations the change was given. This information would have been enough to cast doubt on some of the subsequent evidence. Sometimes in criminal prosecutions, the failure to ask pertinent questions is far more telling than all the other dross otherwise elicited.
Another example of a question unasked of Bryan were questions about the identity of the unknown person who told him that the Long Tailor had been seen at Boloco on horseback, making in the direction of Gippsland. This unknown person had identified the Long Tailor and had undertaken a significant ride to Cooma to alert the authorities. The person did not accompany Bryan on the return trip (by which stage, the Long Tailor was already dead).
The evidence from Brown and his workers is "patterned" - a practice prosecutors of all ages keenly watch for. This suggests, however imperfect, an attempt to tell a pre-agreed story. These stories fall apart when evidence is probed indirectly - for example the times seemingly irrelevant events occurred. Patterned evidence is not evidence of wrong doing itself - but it throws doubt into the mix.
A staunch sceptic might start spinning webs from such intangible stuff.
One possible variant is that the death occurred a couple of days earlier to the Thursday. Again, this would require some collusion - but maybe this time the parties involved are reduced to Brown and the Innkeeper. While consistent with the state of the body, it does not explain why the killers chose a story designed to trigger the award of the reward - perhaps fear of retribution proved too strong a disincentive.
The Long Tailor may have been intoxicated - he had been been still suffering the effect of the earlier shooting. He may have driven the horse beyond its capacity; it may have shied at a thousand things at the top of the range. Even crack riders fall occasionally. Such a death raises other questions about theft from his body and packs after the death.
There is a passing similarity between the deaths of the Long Tailor and Bill Scott. They were both tall men and they both died violently from head wounds. Could they have been murdered by the same person - perhaps one of the Clarkes? Or could these deaths have been revenge killings by the local Aboriginal people, in the case of the Long Tailor, before he left their reach or by a authorised Aboriginal man - a Kadaitcha?
The mundane result of the Inquiry is not the cause of my perplexity.
, this Irish man, who practiced one of the most peaceful and creative professions and yet engaged in the most violent actions imaginable, gave himself a new name.
John Valentine Wareham: On his death in May 1912, the Sydney Morning Herald published a short obituary of the Registrar: “Mr. John Valentine Wareham, who died at Bona Vista, Waverley, last week, aged 80 years, was another of the old colonists who had exciting experiences in the goldfield days. With Mrs. Wareham, he came to Sydney in January, 1853, and qualified as a conveyancer. In 1853, with other young men, he walked to the Turon diggings, but the venture was not a success. On the return journey he tried to take a short cut over the ranges, but lost his way, and spent his first Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day in Australia in a vain endeavor to find a path that would lead him out of the rough mountainous country. It rained all the time. When found by a shepherd, Mr. Wareham was delirious, and was badly bitten by bulldog ants. In the early sixties he took up land in the Ulludulla district, and went through all the trials of floods and fires that were the lot of the early settlers. One of Clark's gang of bushrangers, known as "Long Jim the Tailor," was for a time in Mr. Wareham's employ. As the district became more settled Mr. Wareham held various Government positions, including those of Crown lands agent. Registrar of the District Court, Clerk of Petty Sessions, and Coroner, and was always helpful to new arrivals seeking advice. He left a widow, two sons, resident in Botany Bay, one daughter, 15 grandchildren, and five, great grand children.”
Mr Robert DAWSON: 1812 born at Brackley, Northamptonshire, England. 1838 arrived in New South Wales in 1838 under the care of Governor Gipps. 1839 arrived on the Monaro to take over the management of Jillamatong Station, which failed during drought 1847 – appointed clerk of the Court of Petty Sessions established at Cooma and discharged the functions of Registrar of Births Deaths & Marriages. 1857 10th August. - sworn in as Police Magistrate, becoming the first professional full time Magistrate for the district and discharging all the duties of the court until 1870. 1859 4th May. Appointed Registrar of the District Court. 1859 20th August. Appointed Clerk of the Peace for Cooma and Bombala. He had a number of children, one, Percy (born 1865), was a founding partner of one of the legal firms that became Blake Dawson (a significant Australian legal practice.
Jinden 1867: Sir Watkin was with the police party when the Clarkes were captured at Berry's hut at Jinden. He was on that occasion wounded severely in the arm by a bullet from one of the bushrangers, and his arm was amputated. In receipt of a Government pension thereafter.
Sir Watkin goes a hunting, Howard Stacey
When Bushrangers Rode 1906 Wellington Times
Fairfield 1867: Senior Constable stationed at Fairfield
Jinden 1867: Senior officer in charge of the police party when the Clarkes were captured at Berry's hut at Jinden. He kept fire on the outlaws for six and a half hours before the outlaws surrendered. Promoted to Sub-inspector following the capture.
The friends of this gentleman will regret to hear of his decease, which took place near Walgett last week. The deceased officer was at one time stationed in Grafton, and was in the service for about 28 years. He leaves a widow and eight children. He would have been entitled to a pension after 30 years’ service; but we understand his widow will receive a substantial allowance. The late Sub Inspector was much respected as an officer and citizen.
The heart of a small Australian town is often divided between its formal and informal institutions: churches, schools and shops. On sunset, a fierce rivalry emerges between hotels, or pubs as we call them down under.
There are still a fair few pubs - perhaps not so many as a hundred years ago when a Braidwood letter-writer complained that: "We shall soon have as many inns as we have inhabitants, and the publicans will be obliged to nobble with each other, or else do no business at all".
Above is a pic from one evening this weekend in Bungendore, at the Royal Hotel (which took over from the former Royal Terrace, reopened in its present pleasant location in 1880 as Macs Royal Hotel before settling into its present name in 1886). A block away from the Lake George Hotel, which is a block and a highway away from the Carrington Inn.
A little West is the old Lake George Hotel.
As the day ends, traffic slows and stops. Patrons, men and women, spill into the streets or gardens nearby. Kitchens prepare meals. Refreshment is sold from the tap. The sounds of laughter and live music can be heard.
Upstairs, cheap accommodation is available to restless travellers or workers from other towns, or those unwilling to walk or drive home (past, often entirely imagined, highway police who are just as likely to be sitting at a bar down the other end of town).
Patrons are a fickle crowd, often deserting one pub for another, without rhyme nor reason. So, there is a steady foot traffic between venues. Less frequently, a pub will get up and leave town of its own accord. Such is the fate of the small hamlet of Hoskinstown, where the old stone Victoria Hotel (run by a Mrs Walsh, and for that reason sometimes called Walsh's Victoria Hotel) got up one day one hundred years ago and walked off to Sydney town, leaving the town in the grip of two churches that glare at each other from different vantages (although, today, given falling attendances, it is more often a vacant stare).
Many years ago I spent some time studying the ancient law of Inns. Doesn’t matter what you call them – an Inn or a Terrace or a Hotel or a Motel or a Pub. They have a little chunk of old Roman law that still applies, just to them.
Inns are a fascinating subject – and I have now forgotten more than I ever knew. For a while I lectured on the subject, for fun rather than salary, at a local government training school. I enjoyed the quiet Friday afternoons after work, when student would become innkeep and teach me how to prepare different drinks and negotiate difficult customers.
Innkeepers got some bad press in Les Miserables – “as for the rest, all of them crooks… seldom do you see, an honest man like me”. Harsh words - but I am reminded of a perhaps over optimistic account of the pub operated by relative (and perhaps accomplice) to local bushrangers, Mick O'Connell in the Jerrabatgully:
"and we cannot imagine a more agreeable place for a day's gipsying ; — we recommend our friends to pay a visit. The best accommodation and a hearty welcome will be met with at the Traveller's Home at Stoney Creek, the jolly landlord of which hostelrie appears to think that he cannot do enough for the comfort of guests."
Perhaps for this reason, to this day, the common law and continental codes, impose a sharp regime on inns and their ilk. Civil lawyers like myself oft fall into the error of thinking that the law of contract or tort prevails everywhere – but when you cross the hearthstone of an Inn, you move back to an ancient legal regime of strict liability.
Some of the common law rules still attaching to Inns may seem quaint. If you are being pursued by wolves or rogues, an Innkeeper is obliged to give you shelter, at any time of day. In modern time, the rule has been invoked to hold an Innkeeper liable when he ignored a call for help or shut up early with rooms still vacant. An Innkeeper is obliged to take all comers, local or foreign, and offer succor. That out of date tub of long life milk (still, perhaps more welcome than kidney of a horse and liver of a cat) distinguishes Inn accommodation from rental accommodation partly from habit but also law. An Innkeeper must welcome and keep safe your horses, carriages and other goods. This liability is strict – and cannot be contracted away – although some jurisdictions allow an Innkeeper to reduce liability by providing a lock box or complying with some other requirement (remember that long list on the back of your last hotel room?). Some rules have waxed and waned and others are being quietly overlooked – like the rule that pre-payment of accommodation forestalled other inquiry (such as taking credit card details).
Thanks to all of you who have made suggestions (esp Indya for the concept art and Cam Sage for Irish localisation). Indigenous readers are advised that this story contains the names of First People who have died
Background research for this story is here:
Background research for this story is here:
The mystery of the Long Tailor - background
The Long Tailor - II - background
Imagining the Long Tailor - background, Indya
Majors Creek I - location (town)
Majors Creek II - location (Araluen Road)
Tinderry Range - location
Ulladulla - location, colonial justice
Kadaitcha - Aboriginal inter-national law
Yuin Trace - location
The desolation of Jinden - location
The law of Innkeepers - location
The Long Tailor - II - background
Imagining the Long Tailor - background, Indya
Majors Creek I - location (town)
Majors Creek II - location (Araluen Road)
Tinderry Range - locationUlladulla - location, colonial justice
Kadaitcha - Aboriginal inter-national law
Yuin Trace - location
The desolation of Jinden - location
The law of Innkeepers - location