Not your usual suspects

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Australian Bushrangers

Not your usual Suspects

The Bushrangers on this page are the lesser known Bushrangers, the ones that we might not of heard of.

William and Sarah Webb

Convict name : William Webb
Convicted at: Chatham Court Martial
Sentence term: 14 years
Ship: Mangles
Departure date: 29th March, 1820
Arrival date: 7th August, 1820
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 193 other convicts

William Webb was a [1]convict who arrived in New South Wales on the Mangels in 1820. Sarah Webb is considered the first female Bushranger. In July 1826 Sarah and her husband William Webb were [2] indicted for feloniously stealing in the dwelling house, and putting in bodily fear the person of Catherine Cotterel.If found guilty it would cost them their lives.As it was a capital charge.

Sarah was dressed as a man when they went to the home of Robert Cotteral, they had visited fortnight earlier to ask for provisions. When they came back Mrs Cotterel was threatened with a gun by Sarah Webb. They stole clothing and other property and then disappeared into the bush. A search party with a Aboriginal tracker found them 3 miles away.William took full blame and said his wife was under his control.They were found guilty. Both William and Sarah Webb received Crown mercy. William was transported to Norfolk Island for life.

William Roberts aka Jack the Rammer, Billy the Rammer

Convict Name: William Roberts
Trial Place: Stafford Quarter Session
Trial Date: 4 January 1832
Sentence: 7 years
Arrival Details
Ship: Heroine
Arrival Year: 1833
Travelled with 256 other convicts

William Roberts was a bushranger in the Monaro District near Cooma in New South Wales during the end of 1834.He was sentenced to seven years for stealing a bucket and transported to New South Wales. He arrived in Australia in September 1833, and escaped from his first convict assignment the following year. In Goulburn Jail he met another convict Joseph Keys and they both escaped.

Roberts and Keys headed for the Monaro District, where they met up with Edward Boyd, and began bushranging. In December 1834, they robbed Joseph Catterall,at his station during which they wounded the station overseer Charles Shepherd, who then killed William Roberts.In January 1835, Edward Boyd was killed and Joseph Keys was captured and pleaded guilty.

George Jones

Crime: - Burglery
Convicted at: Middlesex Gaol Delivery
Sentence term: Life
Ship: Andromeda
Departure date: 13th November, 1832
Arrival date: 11th March, 1833
Place of arrival New South Wales
Passenger manifest Travelled with 185 other convicts

George Jones was a [3]convict bushranger known for escaping from Port Arthur, Van Diemen's Land with Martin Cash and Lawrence Kavenagh. On 26 December 1842 Martin Cash, George Jones and Lawrence Kavenagh escaped from a work party. They began a seven month spree of bushranging, robbing mail coaches, homesteads and inns. After Cash and Kavenagh were caught Jones remained at large, recruiting other outlaws, James Platt and Frederick Moore, and continuing to rob settlers and travellers for another six months. Jones and Platt were put on trial for armed robbery, found guilty and sentenced to death. Jones was hanged with James Platt on 30 April 1844.

John O'Meally

John O'Meally [4]was an Australian bushranger. He was one of Frank Gardiner's gang who robbed the gold escort coach at Eugowra. That was Australia's biggest gold robbery.O'Meally was shot and killed while trying to rob Goimbla station near Eugowra, on 19 November 1863. This became known as the Battle of Goimbla. The Campbell family had a gun fight with the Ben Hall gang for over two hours.

Robert Cotterell aka Bluecap

Robert Cottereil[5] turned to bushranging in 1867, he joined convict Jerry Duce, who adopted the nickname White Chief. Over the following year others joined the gang of bushrangers Scotch Jock, Jack the Devil, and King. Bluecap was the leader of the gang. The gang comitted raids, robbing stations and travellers in a large area. The gang were known as the most formidable gang in New South Wales. In October 1867, after the gang split up Bluecap teamed up with a bushranger named Doolan to form another gang. Bluecap attempted to rob three plain clothed policemen. He was shot and captured. Put on trial in Wagga Wagga on 20 April 1868, Cottrell was convicted of armed robbery and sentenced to ten years hard labour. Cotterell served 6 and half years before being released in 1874.

John Bow

John Bow, was born at Penrith in New South Wales in 1843, his father owned a small farm. He left home at the age of 14 years in1857, and began working as a stockman at Boorowa near the Lambing Flat goldfields. This is where he became friends with bushrangers, Frank Gardiner, Johnny Gilbert and Henry Mann. In June 1862, Gardiner planned the robbery of the Forbes Gold Escort. Ben Hall planned the robbery. No one was injured in the hold up and the gang divided up the loot of 14,000 pounds worth of gold and bank notes.

Other gang members Henry Fordice and Henry Mann were sentenced. Mann became the first person to be hanged for a crime in which no person was killed. John Bow was sentenced to be hanged but three days date before the due date his sentence was committed to penal servitude for life. In 1874, after twelve years in goal he was given a special pardon and was released.

James Dalton

Crime: -
Convicted [6]at: Cumberland Quarter Session
Sentence term: 7 years
Ship: Layton
Departure date: 26th August, 1835
Arrival date: 10th December, 1835
Place of arrival Van Diemen's Land
Passenger manifest Travelled with 270 other convicts

James Dalton was born about 1819, at Browness, near Carlisle. He was transported for Larceny at Cumberland in 1834. He arrived to Van Diemen's Land on 6 March 1835 on a sentence of seven years, he was flogged repeatedly, loaded with irons, and also put into solitary confinement. He was sent to Norfolk Island in 1846. He tried to escape as soon as he arrived. 3 years later on 14 August 1849, he raped a young girl named Mary Willis and spent another two years in chains.When Norfolk Island closed down he was sent back to Tasmania, he was involved in rescuing people during the 1852 floods at Ross, he received a four month reduction from his sentence of hard labour.

On 28 December 1852, he and five other convicts escaped from Port Arthur. Four of them drowned when trying to swim past Eaglehawk Neck, but Dalton and Andrew Kelly survived. The two began their bushranging career. They first robbed a Halfway House near Campbelltown and next day stuck up Simeon Lord's house, Bona Vista. During the robbery they shot and killed the watchhouse keeper and escaped on horses from the stables. Over the following weeks Dalton and Kelly made a number of raids. In one of the raids oConstable Buckmaster, made a rush at Dalton who shot and killed him. A 500 reward had been posted for their capture. After they were captured, on 26 April 1853, James Dalton and Andrew Kelly were hanged for the murder of Constable Buckmaster.

William Armstrong

William Armstrong was born in Ireland in 1836. He arrived to Port Phillip in 1851 aboard the ship "Saucy Susan".On the 5th January 1859, a Police Constable, William Green, set out to escort a goldbuyer, Cornelius Green, and a Miss Mutta from Omeo to Bairnsdale. Three men, George Chamberlain, William Armstrong and George Penny greeted Cornelius Green. The men seemed to know the Constable, but did not recognise them. They travelled on and a short time later reached the Inn, where they stopped for the night.

Next morning they set off. They hadn't travelled very far, when suddenly a shot rang out hitting Mr Green. The Constable fired, he was shot by another man on his left side. He was shot through both his arms several times. Green took off when he reached the Inn he raised the alarm and a rider headed off for the police camp at Livingstone Creek. Next morning they found the body of Cornelius Green, his head was riddled with bullets, his nose smashed off, a terrible gash on the left temple while one of his hands had almost been severed by a tomahawk. After a few weeks Chamberlain and Armstrong were found living in a shanty. The two men were found trying to hide up a tree and surrendered without a fight.As Armstrong was waiting for his trial he made a startling confession:

'About two years ago, Toake asked me to join him and a man named "Ballarat" Harry, saying that Harry had £400 with him, and that they would go away prospecting, kill Harry and divide his money. I agreed, but at the last moment refused. Toake then said: "If you do not "split", I will give you £100 on my return." Toake returned in about two weeks and gave me the money promised, and said he had tomahawked Harry while he slept, burned the body, broke up the bones and scattered them about and then set fire to the bush.'Originally, Toake had been charged with Ballarat Harry's death, but was acquitted due to lack of evidence. What eventually happened to Toake is unknown.William Armstrong was tried, and on 2 July 1859 following his conviction of murder, was hanged ten days later.

George Chamberlain

George Chamberlain was born in New South Wales in 1836, in the Camperdown area. By January 1859, he had already spent most of the time of a five year sentence in gaol for horse stealing and was out having received remission for good behaviour. On the 5th January George Chamberlain and his gang William Armstrong, George Penny and another man unknown, heard that Cornelius Green would be travelling from Omeo to Bairnsdale with a large quantity of gold. Next day the gang shot him and badly mutilated his body because the packhorse carrying the gold had bolted.

A few weeks later Chamberlain and his gang were arrested and sent to the Collingwood Stockade. On June 28th 1859, he was transferred to the Melbourne Gaol to await trial. He was tried with William Armstrong and [7] sentenced to death. On the 12th July, 1859 he was hanged.


  1. - William Roberts arrived on the Heroine (1833)
  2. R v Webb and Webb - Decisions of the Superior Courts of New South Wales, 1788-1899. Supreme Court of New South Wales Forbes C.J.,13 July 1825
  3. Convict records - George Jones
  4. Wikipedia - Bushranger John O'Meally
  5. Wikipedia - Robert Cotterell aka Bluecap
  6. Convict records - James Dalton
  7. The Cornwall Chronicle (Launceston, Tas. : 1835 - 1880) p.3; 23rd July, 1859 Article EXECUTION OF CHAMBEHLAIN AND ARMSTRONG.
  • The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 - 1842) p.2; 15th July,1826 Article Supreme Criminal Court. THURSDAY, JULY 13.William Webb, and Sarah Webb, his wife, were capitally indicted for a robbery
  • The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) p.6; 5th March, 1879 Article Bushranging
  • .Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1840 - 1845) p.4; 15th March,1844 Article VAN DIEMEN'S LAND. CAPTURE OF JONES THE BUSHRANGER, AND HIS ASSOCIATES.
  • The Courier (Hobart, Tas. : 1840 - 1859). p.4; 14th July, 1843 Article. REWARD of One Hundred Acres of Land, or One Hundred Sovereigns ! Police Department, 5th July, 1843.
  • Mudgee Guardian - Mudgee History | John Bow the bushranger made mayor?
  • Ned Kelly World - George Chamberlian
  • - A list of Australian Bushrangers

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