upload image

Bushrangers burn Bartholomew Reardon’s corn ricks

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: 9 Mar 1815 [unknown]
Location: Pittwater, Van Diemens Landmap
This page has been accessed 41 times.

In 1815 when bushrangers set Bartholomew Reardon’s corn ricks on fire, Susan Nash was just ten years old.

The story begins on 9 March 1815 when James Hannaway arrived to the constable at Pittwater, John Bingham, and requested Bingham to ferry Hannaway’s cartload of tea flour and sugar and other goods, hauled by two bullocks, across to Robert Nash’s house on the other side of Pittwater in his boat. As it was late Bingham stayed at the Nash’s house for the night and thus became the harbinger of bad news to Adolarious William Henry Humphrey, Esquire [1].

Nathaniel Ayers was staying the night with his brother in law Bartholomew Reardon. About the hour of one in the morning Nathaniel had gone outside, when he discovered one of the corn stacks on fire. Nathaniel, Bartholomew and the servants could not get to the fire before it caught the roof of the stacks and on to the barn. They noticed a bright light at Mr Humphrey’s house about a mile way and sent a man off to warn the household. There had been no fire in the stubble or grass anywhere in the neighbourhood: the stacks had been maliciously set afire.

Bartholomew Reardon lost the whole of the crop grown on about seventy seven acres: 65 acres of wheat; 10 of barley; 2 of pease; except for fifty bushels of threshed wheat for the consumption of his family, and forty or fifty sheaves. His barn was almost completed in construction and just the barn was loss to him of four or five hundred pounds sterling.

Constable John Bingham heard all this when one of Bartholomew’s men came on horseback to the Nash residence at two in the morning of the 10th to warn Robert to look to his wheat stacks as Reardon’s and Humphrey’s were totally burnt. He told them that the dogs had been barking on the previous night at the Reardon premises and believed they had prevented the bushrangers from burning the wheat stacks on that night.

Bingham and Robert Nash went up the rise to see the stacks all on fire, but they did not go to Humphrey’s house so they could not be sure that it wasn’t burned as well.

Bingham took his boat and re-crossed Pittwater then travelled on to Hobart Town to inform Adolarious William Henry Humphrey Esquire. They then made their depositions to one of His Majesty's Justices of the Peace, James Gordon, on 10 March 1815.

John Broughton, John Huxley and George Ashton, Constables, received orders to go to Pittwater early on Saturday morning 11 March to investigate. They arrived on Saturday evening to Bartholomew Reardon's house and Broughton learned that a paper was found near Humphrey’s burnt stacks by Bellett, the boy of John Birchall a district constable at Pittwater. The paper had the words “For in justes and we begin the next is … for you all.” The dots represent a bushranger’s sketch of a musket pointed at a man's head.

Huxley and Broughton traced horse hoof prints into and out of Humphrey’s farm. Huxley recognised them as of two horses stolen from his place at Kangaroo Point and belonging to James Gordon, Esquire and William Maum, Storekeeper. [1]



  • Login to edit this profile and add images.
  • Private Messages: Send a private message to the Profile Manager. (Best when privacy is an issue.)
  • Public Comments: Login to post. (Best for messages specifically directed to those editing this profile. Limit 20 per day.)

Leave a message for others who see this profile.
There are no comments yet.
Login to post a comment.