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Captain Melville

Join this Vicfix campaign to trace the life and death of the original dandy highwayman

Vicfix is improving the searchability of digitised newspaper articles and making the hidden details of Victoria's rich history available for everyone.

About Captain Melville

Captain Melville was the archetype of the cultured gentleman criminal, a womaniser who showed consideration to those he robbed, who entertained his captives with piano and song, and gave his hold-up victims £10 for travelling expenses. In 1853 the seasoned Scottish ex-convict was sentenced to 32 years' hard labour by Judge Redmond Barry for offences including highway robbery, horse stealing and assault.

Melville's incarceration in convict hulks led to increasingly bizarre behaviour, including his attempt to bite off a sergeant's nose. Finally, with eight accomplices, he stole a boat and took as hostage Constable Owens, who was subsequently murdered – but not by Melville. Melville's exploits and subsequent demise by suicide excited immense interest in the press of the day, including discussions about the pros and cons of the prison hulk incarceration that finally brought Melville undone.

Contribute to this Vicfix campaign – it's easy!

  • Choose an article listed below and click through to correct it on Trove (see our How-to guide).
  • Add our tag 'vicfix-done' once the whole article is fixed.
  • Share what you've fixed with friends and family.
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Correct articles from one of our other Vicfix correction campaigns.

The old Hobson's Bay convict hulks, Alfred Martin Ebsworth, 1885

Captain Melville

This Vicfix campaign is temporarily unavailable. We apologise for any incovenience - please return later to fix or browse this correction campaign.