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Parramatta & District Historical Group » Blogs » Did Parramatta have Bushrangers?

  • Did Parramatta have Bushrangers?

    Posted by Trevor Patrick May 28, 2014 - 1,141 views - 0 comments - 1 like - #sydney  #Melbourne  #parramatta  #NewSouthWales  #Hambledon 

    A letter from England arrived at Hambledon Cottage asking the question – did Parramatta have bushrangers?  The research team of Parramatta and District Historical Society which meets every Tuesday in the Coach House has swung into action to provide details. Every week the Society receives requests to supply the family history of distant relatives, or perhaps details of business houses which served the community in the 19th and 20th century.


    Research team


    Peter Richards, founder of TripTide, meets Parramatta history researchers


    Hambledon Cottage


    Nearly every woman arriving in the settlement of New South Wales in the 19th century lived for a time in the sandstone buildings of the Female Factory at Parramatta. The buildings offered security, a place to give birth, shelter and employment. One lady, Elizabeth Somers, delivered a son in 1836 who was destined to write a chapter in the story of bushrangers.


    Female Factory 1818 building


    Sandstone buildings 19th century


    Ben Hall who was described as “a rather tall, robust looking man with a fine, frank-looking face and who walked with a limp” led a gang of men whose reign of crime began in 1863. A bank was robbed at Carcoar in July and also the home of gold warden and police magistrate, Henry Keightley, 48 kilometres from Bathurst, in October. The area where the Hall Gang operated was around 200 kilometres west of Parramatta. The following year the gang moved their operations south along the main road linking Sydney and Melbourne. On January 26, 1865 the hotel at Collector, a village near Lake George, was held up and the local policeman was shot dead. Vigorous police and civilian efforts either captured or killed the bushrangers, Ben Hall falling to a bullet on May 19, 1865. Between 1862 and 1867, twenty men were shot dead or died from wounds inflicted by bushrangers, and 23 bushrangers were killed or hanged in the same period.


    Ben Hall, a legend in his own brief lifetime and a hero of many bush ballads


    Ben Hall, said to have been betrayed for the reward on his head, is ambushed and killed by police.