Wagga Wagga - Bushrangers & Heritage
Bushrangers were a common sight in the small town of Wagga Wagga during the 1800s. They raided properties, robbed storehouses and stirred up trouble for unsuspecting travelers. Let me introduce the most notorious of these bushrangers.
The most famous bushranger was Captain Thunderbolt, who stole and plundered through the region in his notorious career as an outlaw. In 1866, he robbed the National Bank of Wagga Wagga, and later hid out in nearby scrubland. His reign of terror came to an end when he was shot dead by police at Kentucky Creek near Uralla.
Captain Moonlite was the leader of the notorious Wagga Wagga bushrangers in Australia. A charismatic and intelligent man, Andrew George Scott, otherwise known as Captain Moonlite, was born in Ireland and moved to Australia with his family at a young age. He became an infamous figure for bush-ranging and his bold robberies of banks and homesteads across New South Wales. His gang, comprised of a small group of men from differing backgrounds, was often seen terrorizing small towns and villages. Eventually captured by police forces in 1879, Captain Moonlite became a symbol of Australian outback legend that continues to remain vivid in memory today.
James Kelly, the younger brother of Ned Kelly, is one of the most iconic bushrangers in Australia’s history. He was born and raised in Wagga Wagga and grew up with a passion for adventure which led him to become an infamous criminal. From 1876 to 1880, he was part of his brother's gang where he committed several robberies and abductions. After his brother's death, he was charged for his crimes and jailed for life when he was only 22 years old. He was later released & went on to lead a respectable life until his death in 1946.
Mad Dog Morgan
The notorious bushranger known as Mad Dog Morgan terrorized the Wagga Wagga region of Australia in the mid 19th century. He was a feared and loathed figure whose name still evokes dread to this day. Driven to a life of crime, Morgan was a scourge of the land, stealing from travellers and holding up farms and stores. His reign of terror culminated in a daring escape from prison, only to be finally tracked down and killed in 1865 by police.
The Gentleman Bushranger
The infamous bushranger Ben Hall, stormed through the small town and its surrounding regions, stealing from innocent citizens and wreaking havoc on his way. Ben Hall was undoubtedly one of the most notorious bushrangers of his time; he even earned himself the nickname 'The Gentleman Bushranger' due to his well-mannered behaviour.
It is clear that bushrangers were a major problem for Wagga Wagga in this era, and their presence meant that no one was safe. The legacy of these bushrangers lives on today, though their tales have become part of a colourful past that still fascinates locals and tourists alike.
30 Mar 2023