State Library of Victoria > La Trobe Journal

No 5 April 1970


Re Daniel Morgan Bushranger

The front page of this manuscript in the La Trobe Library runs: Original Manuscript / Describing Later Outrages, Pursuit and Death of / Daniel Morgan / Bushranger (1830–1865) / Written in 1865 by / William Henry Manwaring / (1825–1905) / Member Victorian Detective Police / (1857–1880) / When stationed at Beechworth, Victoria / After being engaged in the pursuit of, / And present with the Police party / At the Death of Morgan / At Peechelba Station / April 9th 1865.
Manwaring was a London policeman who served in the Crimean War and joined the Victorian Police when he migrated in 1857. His vivid account of Morgan is a welltold story and valuable for the atmosphere of the period, and fills out details of a bushranger about whom not very much is on record.
The manuscript has been lightly punctuated and its sentence-structure clarified.
The Bushranger is an indigenous growth peculiar to Australia where he suddenly assumes notoriety and power and becomes the ruler of large districts. Paralysing resistance by the audacity of his crimes, plunder is his recreation and too often murder is committed with equal levity. He intercepts the mails, robs travellers and homesteads and confiscates the whole stock in trade of hawkers’ carts. He chooses the best horses for his own use, outwits the police in tactics and disdains the irregular efforts of the posse comitatus to effect his capture.
Ordinary criminals come & go every day. The bushranger comes once in an age. Nature requires time to produce her Titans and these monsters reappear after the lapse of years. The most terrible have usually been isolated in their movements having no other companions than those whom they compel to obtain information for them by threats or reward. His run usually abuts a mountain range or the crooked bend of a river or a scrubby bush impenetrable to anything but wild cattle and horses, from whence he sallies forth upon the more settled country committing depredations with a daring audacity and often continuing at large in the bush for years invulnerable to the vigilance of the law.
The most recent specimen of this class was Daniel Morgan the bushranger of New
South Wales who was shot dead at Peechelba Station in Victoria on the 9th April (1865) last, thus ending a career as diabolical as any recorded in the dark catalogue of crime since the first settlement of Botany Bay and exemplifying that remarkable feature in Colonial life — the power which one desperate outlaw exercises unchallenged over a large section of the community.
The haunt of this Bushranger was the Billibong country an extensive pastoral district in the Southern part of New South Wales adjacent to the Murray river, the boundary of that colony and Victoria.
For some years previous to the advent of Morgan in 1862 Society in the Billibong was almost purely arcadian, abounding in flocks and herds, and excepting the occasional loss of a few head of cattle or some horses crime was unknown. In that year Morgan came over from Victoria where he had suffered rather a heavy sentence for highway robbery and had found it difficult to live there after his discharge from the hulks, as when he recommenced depredations on the King river in that colony the squatters hunted him away with volleys of duck shot.
So he settled down in the Billibong and took possession of the land and from that period till a few days before his death when he ventured into Victoria Morgan the bushranger was the supreme and acknowledged ruler of the scattered society of those grassy plains. By his atrocious murders, and his impunity from capture he diffused a panic through people's minds. Submission was universal and hindered the success of any attempt which those otherwise fearless horsemen made to pursue and take him. He ranged over a tract of country fully a hundred miles square, from Wagga to Mulwala and Albury back to Urana on the Billibong there was not a station he had not robbed and he almost monopolized the cross country mails until their frequent stoppage caused nothing of value to be transmitted. Parties of mounted troopers assisted by black trackers scoured the country in vain, only about thrice would they get near and on those occasions he escaped by the superior fleetness of his horse. He has been known to watch the Police for days unseen by them.
Born about 1830 in New South Wales of convict parents (all modern bushrangers come of a similar origin) he had led a wild and lawless life. His first attempts on the highway were made on the Victorian goldfields in the earlier years of their history and after a short career he was taken and condemned to twelve years hard labour on the roads. He was discharged from this sentence in 1860 on a Ticket of leave for the Ovens district situated in the north-eastern part of the Colony and containing some rich goldfields and likewise a deal of solitary country among the mountains and the heads of rivers. Here he settled and built a gunyah of saplings and branches of trees, occasionally breaking in horses for the neighbouring squatters and at the same time openly robbing their houses, always armed and threatening anybody with death who should molest him.
He was emerging from obscurity and would soon have attained something of the repute which he afterwards possessed in the Billibong when he ventured into Mount Typho, a cattle station situated near the King river and carried off some blankets and other stores. On the following day a hue and cry was made after him and he was driven from his lair carrying away in his back and arms portions of several volleys of small shot which were sent broadcast after him by his pursuers.
He left Victoria and crossed the Murray into New South Wales and chose the Billibons country as the scene of his future
exploits where he had many advantages. It is traversed by several important throughfares much used by travellers. The Homesteads of the squatters are numerous and rich. There are no townships only at long stages a licensed public house and except at Albury and Wagga there were no Police. Population is scattered and although there was little crime on those remote cattle and sheep stations, yet a large majority of the Stockriders and Shepherds were old convicts or their progeny, always ready to sympathise with the criminal and afford him shelter and concealment. Supported by this class Morgan for three years maintained a guerilla warfare upon Society and as he became known by his audacious robberies and his readiness to commit murder he carried intimidation everywhere and the squatter and the small farmer gladly preserved their properties and their lives by a criminal obsequousness to his wishes while many of their servants became his accessories and supplied him with information that enabled him to dodge the police and to waylay travellers.
He made his first public appearance at Mahonga Station from whence several horses were suddenly missed and one day Mr. Rand the proprietor found him camped in his paddock and told him to be off, to which order he replied that the station was as much his as Mr. Rand's and threatened to take his life. From that time he made frequent visits to Mahonga, usually taking with him a valuable horse, and being informed that the owner had communicated with the Police at Albury he came in search of that gentleman and would undoubtedly have taken his life had he not escaped privately, and for the rest of the bandit's reign he was continually hiding, fearing assassination.
His business at this time was horse-stealing which he openly practised, always armed with two revolvers and suffering no molestation from those he injured, nor from the Police. He was an expert horseman and bushman. He became an adept in the use of firearms and often exhibited his skill at the roadside inns where he stopped at length. In the month of June 1863 he commenced his real career as a highwayman by robbing mails and Stations. Having successively robbed Walla Walla Cookendina and Wallandool, all in the same month, on the 21st of August he committed his first known capital offence by shooting at and wounding, near Urana, Mr. Bayliss, Police Magistrate of Wagga Wagga, whom he had robbed on the previous day after a severe race and firing at the gentleman. When shot, Mr. Bayliss was camped with a party of police at night in search of the very man who shot him.
The New South Wales government then offered £200 for his apprehension and augmented their police force in the vicinity of his run but he continued at large and every day perpetrated some fresh act of violence.
He raised large supplies from the Hawkers who travel those parts with caravans loaded with a magazine of needful articles, and they disappeared, choosing safer parts to follow their business, and as his sanguinary character became known nobody ventured into the disturbed district unless urgent necessity compelled them. Had he continued he would have depopulated the Billibong and made those flourishing pastures a desert. All who could leave did so, trade was driven out, the cattle dealer coming to buy stock was sure to be waylaid and perhaps maimed if he carried no cash, but it is known that he forced some wealthy persons to give him cheques on their bankers which he found means to convert by the help of his Bush Telegraphs. This cognomen was applied to the half criminal class who gave him information and for a small portion of his
gains were ready to perform any work he required of them.
The most heinous of his offences was the robbery at the Roundhill station about forty miles from Albury. This occurred on the 19th July 1863. It was here he committed his first murder. Mr. Henty the owner was absent and the place was in charge of Mr. Watson the Superintendent. It was on a Sunday about noon Morgan rode up to the house with a revolver in each hand and more displayed in his belt. There were present Mr. and Mrs. Watson, a cattle dealer named McNeil, Mr. McLean the overseer and a youth named Heriot, the son of a neighboring Squatter. He marched them out to a small shed where they found eight or ten of the station hands already bailed up, one of them complacently holding Morgan's horse. He sent a servant girl for all the gin in the house and made those present drink six bottles, he himself scarcely tasting it. He then ransacked the house and carried away what cash and portable articles he wanted. When he was mounting his horse to go away Mr. Watson incautiously remarked, “Those stirrup irons you have stolen, Morgan”. The ruffian then coolly turned round in his saddle, took deliberate aim at Mr. Watson's head and fired. Seeing the deadly intention Mr. Watson involuntarily put up his hand through which the ball passed, turning it probably aside as it only graized his head. The wounded man ran behind the shed and hid himself. Morgan then went to the door of the shed firing right and left amongst the inmates, crying out with terrible imprecations, “Clear out of this all of you”. The first shot went through young Mr. Heriot's leg between the knee and ancle, shattering the bone in pieces, and then hit another man's leg behind, maiming him but not breaking the skin as its force was spent. The men then all ran away in different directions, the poor wounded young man among them dragging his broken leg after him for about thirty yards when he fell from pain and exhaustion. In the meantime Morgan galloped after another man, across the yard, with pistol cocked but the fugitive escaped through the kitchen. The Horse he rode stood fire well. Morgan then galloped back to young Heriot, dismounted, and put the revolver to his head (Mrs. Watson in the meantime was running screaming and terrified about the yard). Young Heriot said, “Don't kill me. Morgan, you have broken my leg” and Mr. Watson also seeing Morgan with a pistol to the boy's head came out of his hiding place and cried out, “For God's sake, Morgan, don't kill anyone”. The villian, who seemed to act with the inconsistency of drunkenness or of a murderer gone mad, then cried out, “Where are the d—–d wretches gone to?” and swore a fearful oath that he would blow the brains out of every man on the station if they did not come to Heriot's assistance. He himself knelt down, cut the boot off the wounded leg and carried the unfortunate youth to the gate next the house. Two men, then, frightened by his threats, came forward and he swore he would shoot them dead, if they did not carry him in, which they did and laid him on a bed, at this time also two men (one a half caste aboriginal) who had not before appeared on the scene but evidently “Morgan's men” came up and remained on the ground while young Heriot was carried to bed where Morgan cut off the other boot and sent a man to attend him. Seeing Morgan apparently relenting as if satiated with bloodshed Mr. McLean asked him if he might go for a Doctor. Morgan answered “yes” and then for a short time regaled himself and his mates; but apparently mistrusting McLean he followed him along the road, and overtook him five or six miles from the station
and without “Yea” or “Nay” coming close behind him fired at him. The ball entered the unfortunate man's back above the hip and came out close to the navel and he of course fell mortally wounded. After these dreadful atrocities the squatters and people were aroused to the danger in which they stood and a party of volunteers, chiefly squatters who knew every inch of the country, started in pursuit. This together with the greater activity of the Police made that part of the country too hot for him and he made for Tumberumba and here his second cold-blooded murder was committed. It occurred as follows: a Sergeant of the Police named McGinnerty (a man with a wife and family) was riding along the road on the 24th July in company with another Trooper, not having heard (having been in the bush) of the Roundhill affair, when they saw a man riding quietly ahead of them. Not for a moment imagining who it was, they rode up to the horseman as policemen will do, McGinnerty ahead of his companion. On coming alongside and before a word passed Morgan fired a revolver into McGinnerty's breast and the other trooper seeing him fall, bolted, or as he says his horse bolted. Morgan robbed the dead man of his arms, accoutrements and horse, and laid him out on the road side, placing his cap in the middle of the road. On Sunday the 3rd September last a party of mounted police in charge of Sergeant Smith of Albury were out in the bush in quest of Morgan and had camped for the night. About eleven o'clock as they were lying in their tent a ball was fired from outside and Smith was mortally wounded. The news of the perpetration of these horrors circulating through the length and breadth of Australia caused intense excitement. The New South Wales government increased the reward for the apprehension of this sanguinary fiend to £1100. At the small townships bordering upon the Billibong regular garrisons of horse Police were formed and it is estimated that the cost of extra police and other expenses incidental to the attempts to capture Morgan amounted to £100 weekly. But he found a safe hiding place in the Lower Scrub of the Billibong, a labyrinth of tangled brushwood where he frequently retreated for weeks together. It is said that in this solitude he never lit a fire fearing to signify his retreat to the Police. While here, he constantly shifted his place of concealment as the frequent discovery of his abandoned gunyahs proved. He could live like an aboriginal upon opossums and roots and upon a paste mixed up of flour and water. He usually made for this retirement after the commission of the most frightful and uncalled for murders. He was of a solitary disposition and had no human sympathies, differing from the criminal class in that particular the members of which are intensely gregarious and would choose to undergo a long sentence in the hulks rather than be incarcerated alone in such a wilderness as the Lower Scrub. After this course of inaction he would sally forth to a public house in the Piney ranges where he was regarded as a hero. Here he would stay for some days enjoying the relaxation of unlimited drinking. No secret was made of his presence. Nobody betrayed him, and such was the zeal of his admirers that whenever the Police rushed the place their approach had been anticipated and the Bushranger had vanished.
He was distinguished by his immense black beard flowing to his breast. His hair hung over his shoulders in gipsy ringlets. His height was nearly six feet. He was stout and muscular but weak in the knees and walked awkwardly. When mounted on horseback he was unsurpassed as a rider. His head had no crown, the forehead
was small and angular, the nose was a demonstration, massive and straight but terminating in a peculiar hook which curved over the upper lip. This with his small clear blue eye gave him the appearance of a ferocious bird of prey and a theatrical property. Man could have made him up into the facsimile of an Eagle had he been caught first. The half-caste man who appeared at the Roundhill Station and was believed to be Morgan's mate was seen in his company again on one or two occasions but not after. It is said that he boasted at the Piney range of having shot this man and buried him in the Lower Scrub as he suspected him.
After the Roundhill affair Morgan ventured into Howlong, a small township on the Murray, and attended the races at that place. He was riding a spirited horse and taking part in the sports like any ordinary person. He was well known but nobody attempted to molest him. Towards the end of the day his horse became restive and attempted to throw him and this circumstance drew general attention towards him. He finished by calling at an adjacent hotel and refreshing himself and then riding away towards the Piney range. He was well armed and would have resisted any attack but that none was made is a proof of the apathy and fear that pervaded all classes.
When the reward for his capture was increased to the large amount of £1100 it tempted some adventurers to go alone and disguised into the Billibong country to watch for any chance that might turn up of getting him. These volunteers were disguised as shepherds or laborers but no good resulted from their endeavors and one of them was discovered and shot by Morgan. This man had taken employment as a shepherd on Wallandool Station and must have indiscreetly divulged his object in coming there for Morgan rode up to him one morning and after accusing him of coming there as a spy drew a revolver and shot him in the groin and left the poor wretch weltering in his blood. He was conveyed to Albury hospital where he still continues lingering hopelessly.
About the beginning of the present year he visited Dr. Mackay's station at Mulwala, and as he knew that the servants were armed and could be depended on he had to use a stratagem to get into the house which he approached about noonday, unseen by anyone, and set fire to the grass in several places which at that season of the year ignites and burns rapidly. The smoke brought all hands to the spot to extinguish the fire, when they were suddenly confronted by Morgan with a revolver in each hand and marched back to the house prisoners. He at once secured a valuable revolving rifle and damaged the other firearms in the place with water. He remained all night taking with him the rifle, young Mr. Mackay's watch and a fresh horse. He declared his intention of shooting Mr. Turner, the overseer, for having spoken about him to the Police, but this gentleman was fortunately away in Victoria on this occasion or he would certainly have been added as another victim to the monster's lust for blood. Turner kept away from Mulwala till the end of Morgan's career. His latest offence in New South Wales was the sticking up of the Albury to Sydney mail about the middle of March last on which occasion he cut open the letter bags and examined the contents which afforded him very little of value as that mode of transit was not much used from its uncertainty.
While Morgan devastated the Southern district the more central parts of New South Wales had for two or three years past been at the mercy of another gang of bushrangers. The outrages committed by these daring offenders had become so oppressive
that the ordinary powers of the Police utterly failed to check them and in March of this year a Bill termed the “Felons apprehension act” was made law in New South Wales which gave the Police extraordinary functions to last for one year only. By its provisions any known bush-ranger was declared an outlaw and was liable to be shot by any person. Any person harbouring or supporting such an outlaw was held guilty of felony to be punished by fifteen years’ hard labor on the roads. The Police were empowered to take any horse or vehicle when in pursuit of such criminals, and containing other stringent measures very necessary among a community that had proved more inclined to obstruct the Police than to assist them. The patrolling parties were augmented and formed anew, some prosecutions were made under the new act against parties for harbouring bushrangers and an increased energy was visible in the Police arrangements, yet Morgan remained untaken and in the fastnesses of the Lower scrub roamed a free man heedless of the net that was preparing for his capture. He was at the Piney range public house about the end of March and there openly avowed his intention of crossing into Victoria and begin a new career of murder and robbery. For some time past the Government of Victoria had been sensible of this danger and had prepared for it by bringing from other districts to the Murray some of their best Police officers and men. These were frequently exercised by long rides along the course of the river and were remounted on horses of tried capacity. But the sequel proved that it was easy for this desperado to cross the river and to get into the heart of Victoria unknown to the Police. To do this he acted with considerable foresight and laid his plans with supreme cunning. Eventually he crossed the Murray river at a wild mountainous region about fifty miles above Albury and on the night of the 2d April visited the training stables at Talangatta from whence he carried off a valuable racing mare. He done this unseen in the dead of the night. He had chosen the first quarter of the moon for his advent and had the advantage of light nights. He pursued his way unseen and it was not till the 5th inst when he was some way into Victoria that he publicly announced himself and then under circumstances that prove his motive to have been a desire to mislead the Police. On the morning of that day Mr. Mackinnon, a Squatter at Tawonga on the Little (Kiewa) river about 40 miles from the populous mining town of Beechworth, was out on his run when he saw a stranger riding into some scrub seemingly with a view to conceal himself, but perceiving he was seen he rode up to Mr. Mackinnon and to a boy who was near him, covered them with his revolver and drove them before him to the station where a cattle dealer named Brady was buying cattle. He asked who Brady was and on being informed pointed his revolver at him and told him to throw him his coat and waistcoat. This being done and no money obtained he called on Brady to show he had no belt under his shirt, which command was complied with. He then ordered all the station hands into the hut and took down two guns into which he poured water. Noticing some whispering between some of the men he threatened to put a hole in them if it was not stopped. A man known as Lankey Johnson came in to the station, and was ordered to bail up which Lankey demurred to saying “he would fight him first” and that “if he had a pistol Morgan would not be so cockey”. Morgan then said, “Come into the bush and I will lay down two revolvers 15 yards apart and let each take one of them up and fire”. Johnson said, “he was no shot but
would take him by the left hand and let each fire by the right”. This arrangement not suiting, Morgan told him who he was, when Johnson subsided into still life. He remained at Mackinnon's till late in the afternoon when he left taking nothing from the station, but pressing a boy (George Maddison) to accompany him as a guide and left going in the contrary direction to that he subsequently followed. Their way was over some ranges towards the Ovens river which he wished to cross during the night. He camped but did not sleep and kept his horse (The racer) tied up ready for instant service. He crossed the Ovens river at Wabonga when he dismissed his guide and continued his course southward, and on the following morning about an hour before daybreak he visited Mr. Evans’ station on the King river situated about 25 miles from the town of Wangaratta. The people of the station were aroused from sleep by observing one of the haystacks on fire, they all rushed out and a pistol was discharged among them, happily doing no injury, and Morgan tall, gaunt and shaggy came from the back of the kitchen and ordered them to “bail up”. He made all of them including the female servants who were only partially dressed to stand in the square opposite the house. He asked for Mr. Evan Evans and was told he was from home, he said he was very sorry as he particularly wished to see him and Mr. Bond of Degamers Station who he said had acted very cowardly to him some four years ago. (This was on the occasion of his being hunted from the King river.) He took off his coat and showed Mr. John Evans his arm. He said he had extracted the shot some few weeks after having been fired at by Messrs. Bond and Evans and mentioned that if he came across either of those gentlemen he would give them something they would not extract so easily. He showed a pair of pistols and mentioned that he took them from Sergeant McGinnerty whom he shot in New South Wales and that that country was getting too hot to hold him and that the detectives were walking about there in the garb of pedlars. He bade one of the servants go and milk the cow and get ready some tea for him, and also opened the stable door and let the horses loose and confessed if he thought Mr. Evan Evans was in the house he would at once set fire to it. On Mr. John Evans requesting to be allowed to proceed to the house for his coat, as he felt cold, the ruffian set fire to a second stack a short distance from the already burning one and placing him between them asked him if he felt warm enough now. After a while he ordered Mr. Evans to follow him into the bush where they came to a horse tied up, this was the racing mare which he had ridden from Talangatta and said he would leave her at Evans’ and take a fresh horse. After regaling himself with breakfast and brandy and water he left in the direction of Mr. Bond's. He took nothing but the horse, and it was clear that he visited Evans’ to gratify his revengeful nature. On this day 7th of April the news of his coming into Victoria spread through men's minds with an awful foreboding. Nothing could have awakened such intense horror as the intelligence that this wild beast had invaded the peaceful highways of Victoria. The arrival of a hostile army off the coast would have given some affliction but not to compare with that felt by the knowledge that this red handed assassin was at large amongst us. Mr. Mackinnon took no steps to inform the police of the visit he had received and the intelligence oozed out from Mr. Lankey Johnson who had returned to his home at Morse's creek diggings and by this indirect route it reached Beechworth the chief town of the district on the morning of the 7th. At this place a numerous body of mounted police
is maintained. These were told off into parties and started immediately in pursuit of the Bushranger and never left his track till he was shot at Peechelba. The Telegraph carried the news afar and before nine on that morning squads of troopers were moving on Morgan's track from all points. After leaving Evans’ Morgan made for the Melbourne road striking it near the Town of Benalla, he then turned up the road towards Wangaratta and called at a public house at Winton and ordered dinner and told the Landlord's daughter who he was, he then rode off up the road and soon after met a number of Teamsters returning from the Ovens. These he bailed up and robbed in succession, the majority of them having plenty of cash. He took from one man £50 and from another £20 and his watch and from others several smaller sums, realising nearly a hundred pounds in less than half an hour. He went on robbing all whom he met. He stuck up a poor Waggoner known as Italian Jack and asked him how much money he had in his possession. He answered a few shillings. Morgan took out a roll of notes and gave him a pound. He said he had heard the flash Victorian police had been blowing about what they would do with him, if they found him on the Victorian side and now he said he intended to stop some time in Victoria and give them a chance of getting the blood money. He rode up to another waggoner who had his wife with him and upon the poor woman learning that it was Morgan she burst into a fit of crying, the ruffian told her not to put herself out and handed her a £1 note. While he was at this waggon a road contractor passed him unnoticed having on his person about £500 with which he was going to pay the men on the road works. The Police from Wangaratta and Benalla had galloped off to the King river on the first intelligence and the bushranger had the Melbourne road all to himself until past midnight when the Beechworth party arrived by a circuitious route. At every public house on the road the Landlord and his servants were armed and waiting an attack. But nothing was heard of the outlaw till daylight when he rode up to a dairyman about two miles from the road and got some information about the direction of the various tracks. He went in the direction of Warby's Station where he arrived just before breakfast time, Mr. Warby was away from home, he talked familiarly to Mrs. Warby and three other ladies of the family and partook of breakfast and afterwards walked in the garden and helped himself to some grapes. The only man servant about the place was the groom whom he allowed to go about his usual work. This man had a loaded gun in one of the outhouses and as Morgan was walking about the yard examining the horses he was tempted to try to disable and capture him but fearing the consequences of a miss he did not make the attempt. The bushranger talked to the groom about the lay of the country and expressed his intention of resting for a few weeks in one of the adjacent grassy gullies, but before he left he asked the way to the Boughyards station where the racehorse Lochnagarr was kept. Some persons came riding past Warby's. He went out on foot and intercepted them saying “Come bail up, I'm Morgan”, at the same time pointing his revolvers at them. He made them return to the house and dismount, they were three neighboring farmers with three females belonging to their families. They had no money and after selecting the best horse they had he allowed them to depart. He left soon after, going in the direction of the Melbourne road saying that he intended to rob the Glenrowan hotel that day. But when he was out of sight of the house he doubled and made in the direction
of the Murray. The police were close behind him and on learning that he had left Warby's they made for the Boughyards imagining that would be his next place of call. The country about there is an open bush and little traversed. He did not call at the Boughyards and his pursuers concealed themselves to await his coming. They waited till four in the afternoon and then left for Peechelba 14 miles further towards the Murray. Their way lay through a dense and uninhabited bush almost trackless, their horses were very tired and a violent storm of rain with thunder and lightning came on and it soon got dark, when they lost their course and came to a bullock driver's hut at a place called Killawarra. The occupant was known as Jack the Fizzer, he was living there with his wife and children mates and bullocks, he had no other name or none that he used. The horses were sheltered in a ruined hut but a large family of pigs had first to be dislodged. No horse feed could be got and it was not deemed prudent to turn the animals into the paddock. So the troopers lay down before an immense fire and rested. It appeared probable that the object of their pursuit might come that way and the Fizzers gladly entered into an arrangement to assist in his capture. About two on the following morning a horse was heard galloping up to the hut and all hands rose quietly. The rider dismounted and came to the door singing out, “Now then within there all of you come outside”. The plan was for the Fizzer family to go outside pretending that nobody else was within, then as the bushranger walked in he would have been pounced upon by the Police. Jack went to the door and called out, “Who are ye?” The answer was an oath and, “I'm Morgan open the door or I will blow a hole through you”. The door was opened and the scene changed, for the pretended Morgan proved to be a well known resident of Wangaratta who had come to play a joke upon the Fizzer on his way out to Peechelba where he brought the news that Morgan had arrived on the previous evening and that a number of horsemen had gone from Wangaratta to try to take him. This person acted very foolishly and but for the caution exercised by the Police might have lost his life. After leaving Warby's Morgan lost himself and wandered about in the bush for some hours. About five in the afternoon he met a gentleman named Telford and made him accompany him and guide him to Peechelba. They overtook two working men whom he drove before him to the same place (they were all mounted) where they arrived about dusk. Peechelba is an extensive sheep station containing seventeen miles of frontage to the Ovens river. It is occupied by Messrs. Macpherson and Rutherford. All the Shepherds and other workmen are Scotch and their devotion to their masters resembles the clanship of the Highlands of Scotland. They are a steady class of men and much superior to the ordinary run of bush laborers. Mr. Macpherson resides with his family in a handsome brick edifice newly built in the home paddock. They had returned from Melbourne on that day and brought with them two young ladies on a visit. They had nearly finished tea when Morgan and his prisoners dismounted at the front door through which he entered and walked into the dining room presenting his revolvers and announcing himself. He had first turned his own and companions’ horses loose. He ordered the family consisting of about nine persons to range themselves on one side of the room. When they had done so a servant girl entered, she was ordered to join the rest but imagining that some practical joking was going on she refused to obey. He followed her into the passage to compel her
to return. She gave him a slap on the face. He said, “My young Lady I must take the flashness out of you I'm Mr. Morgan”, and showed her his revolvers. At the mention of his dreaded name the girl succumbed and took her seat beside the rest. None of the residents on Peechelba were aware that Morgan was in the country until they saw him on this evening. Mr. Rutherford and his family resided on the banks of the river about a quarter of a mile away, the men's hut and kitchen were near Mr. Rutherford's. Although these buildings were visible from Macpherson's Morgan did not appear to notice them and this over sight cost him his life, for soon after his arrival Mrs. Macpherson found means through the servants of communicating with Mr. Rutherford who instantly despatched a man on horseback to the police at Wangaratta 23 miles distant. In the meantime Morgan took tea and afterwards took a seat by the door of the room and requested Miss Macpherson to play him a tune on the piano, a request that was complied with and music was continued at intervals all the evening. He conversed freely upon his adventures and said he had been out in the bush five nights without sleep but he intended to reach the Piney range on the morrow and would then indulge himself. He spoke of the privation he endured and said he was often in the bush for weeks with very little to eat and without meeting a living soul. He said he did not come to take any money from them, all he wanted was a good horse to carry him into New South Wales. About midnight he allowed the ladies and younger branches of the family to retire, but kept the rest all night in the dining room, occasionally he dozed but always with a revolver in each hand. During the evening one of the workmen had ventured quietly into a small outhouse near the back door and brought away three guns. These were cleaned and loaded and placed in trusty hands. Mr. Rutherford and the men watching the house all night determined that the outlaw should not escape. About 2 on the following morning a reinforcement of police and volunteers, about six in all, arrived from Wangaratta, and formed a cordon around the house, but at daylight this arrangement had to be altered and the watchers concealed themselves behind a brush fence. About daylight the four troopers who had been benighted at Killawarra rode up and proposed to rush Morgan in the house. This proposal was objected to as its execution would have caused a deal of carnage among the family just then assembling in the dining room, so that it was deemed most prudent to wait for his coming out and then to attack him. The horses were put out of sight and the armed parties planted themselves and waited for the issue. Mr. Rutherford had sent for a horse and placed it in the stockyard among others; this particular horse was a very likely looking animal for Morgan to choose, but in reality it was a hard mouthed brute and at the sound of a gun would have gone furiously against trees and have thrown its rider. About eight in the morning, having washed and taken breakfast, Morgan left the house driving before him Mr. Macpherson, his son Mr. Telford and the two men he had brought with him on the previous night. He directed them towards the Stockyard where he intended to choose a horse. He never looked around but stalked along followed by the police and others who were edging round him, when a man employed on the Station named Wendlan* levelled his piece, fired, and Morgan the bushranger fell heavily forward and rolled over. As he
fell a cheer rent the air and from the ladies in the verandah a cry of joy at their deliverance. The shot fired by Wendlan was effective but premature as it prevented the Police from attempting to capture him alive which they were about to do. Upon his person was found nearly a hundred pounds in cash, the watch he had stolen from Dr. Mackay's station and another that he had taken from one of the Teamsters. He was removed to the Woolshed and laid on a mattrass, he refused to converse or to take any sustenance although he was able to do so, the ball had gone through under his left shoulder. A surgeon arrived from Wangaratta and he received what help could be given him but he died about two in the afternoon. The news of his fall was taken into Wangaratta by the Revd Mr. Robertson one of the volunteers, it was the Sabbath and that gentleman arrived in time to relate the particulars of the event to his congregation before he commenced the morning service.
Although the Telegraph was closed on that day the news of his fall ran through the country every where causing thanksgiving.
The Coroner's Jury returned a verdict of Justifiable Homicide.


Quinlan, in most accounts (Ed.).