First Undercover Police in NSW

Photo published in Sydney newspapers at the behest of police in 1933 to show that detectives didn’t need to look like typical burly coppers.  

Frank Gardiner – bushranger

Frank Gardiner, born in 1830 Scotland and shipped out to Australia as a child with his parents, made an illustrious career out of horse thievery and highway robbery. On 15 June 1862, Gardiner along with Ben Hall, John Gilbert and associates held up a gold escort travelling from Forbes to Bathurst. They stole over £14,000 […]

Australia’s Largest Prison Breakout

On this day …….. 5th of August 1944 The Cowra breakout occurred on 5 August 1944, when at least 1,104 Japanese prisoners of war attempted to escape from a prisoner of war camp near Cowra, in New South Wales, Australia. It was the largest prison escape of World War II, as well as one of […]

Captain Thunderbolt – Frederick Ward Bushranger

Despite dubbing himself with a title more fitting for a comic book hero than an Australian bushranger, ‘Captain Thunderbolt’ Frederick Ward recruited children for armed holdups and shootouts with police. Originally a drover from Paterson River, New South Wales, Ward was charged with horse thievery and sent to Cockatoo Island, Sydney harbour in August 1856 […]

Blind Horse Save Miners

On this day …….. 31st of July 1902 On this day in 1902 an explosion occurred at Mount Kemble mine in New South Wales killing 96 miners. Unable to find there way out in the aftermath, three miners had the idea to unhitching a pit pony (blind horse used underground) from a skip and grabbing […]

Mad Dog – Daniel Morgan

Some Australian bushrangers made their name from martyrdom, others from pure madness. In the case of ‘Mad Dog’ Daniel Morgan, the source of his infamy was definitely the latter. In June of 1864, Morgan shot a bush worker near Albury, New South Wales. He asked another worker to ride for help, then, suspecting the man […]

Explosive Tobacco

On this day …….. 28th of July 1921 On the 28th of July 1921 an employee at the railway station at Bundarra, New South Wales, placed a few loose bullets in his pocket after he had used his riffle. He kept tobacco in the same pocket and later put some into his pipe, unaware that […]

Kate Kelly’s Bed

After the bushranger Ned Kelly’s sister Kate drowned at Forbes NSW in 1898, historians grabbed her most treasured possession – her bed. Kate is said to have enjoyed sleeping and now visitors to a museum at Mount Victoria in NSW can stand at the foot of the bed and dream of those wild bushranger days…….. […]

Centenarian’s Death

On this day …….. 18th of July 1931 Within a few days of his 101st birthday, Mr. Philip Thorley has died at Stanley, near Beechworth, in North East Victoria. He was born at Richmond, New South Wales, on July the 18th, 1830. His descendants include great and great-great grandchildren, which number more than 150.  

Queensland First State to Abolish the Death Penalty

On this day …….. 3rd of July 1922 From the time the First Fleet arrived in Australia in 1788, capital punishment was a common form of punishment for both major and minor crimes. The first convict to be hanged in the new colony of New South Wales was seventeen year old Thomas Barrett. Less than […]

Victoria Separates from New South Wales

On this day …….. 1st of July 1851 When James Cook became the first European to sight and map the eastern coastline of Australia, he claimed the eastern half of the continent for England under the name of New South Wales. After the arrival of the First Fleet, England sought to secure its claim on […]

Australia’s Northern Territory Granted Self-Government

On this day …….. 1st of July 1978 The Northern Territory is a federal territory of Australia, bordered by the states of Western Australia, Queensland and South Australia. From 1825 to 1863, the Northern Territory was part of New South Wales. In 1863, as a result of the successful 1862 expedition of John McDouall Stuart […]