I thought this would be easy. I could do a brief summary and then link to a web page. Of course that required finding a suitable web page. So then I thought I’d just do a short post with the little that I already knew, and that would do. But first, it wouldn’t hurt to have a quick run through the newspapers. And then I had to read through and “correct” each article, and then read through them again once I’d copied them to check for errors, weird formatting. So it’s gone a bit long, but as I’ve had to read everything 2 or 3 times, I can assure you, it’s interesting. With footnotes too.
So, to NSW in the 1860s.
I was undecided on whether to include Ellen. She married John McGuire, and lived “happily ever after”. But it felt unbalanced to leave her out, and she does appear in various narratives as Maguire’s wife or Mrs McGuire.
This is his account of their marriage:
Shortly afterwards I fell out with the old place fell out with the second Mrs. Walsh. I did so purposely (for a blind), and took up my quarter on the adjoining run, Mr. Hull’s Pinnacle Station. From there I need to secretly visit Wheogo. I was courting the eldest stepdaughter. A distant relative came into the swim, and used to arrange matters for me.
How to manage the marriage was the next question. Gathering up some of my stock, I took them over to Bathurst, and made a handsome deal. I then bought the necessary wedding wardrobe for both my affianced and myself. Returning to the Pinnacle, I got a spare horse, and a black boy to load it. We made for Wheogo, and near the house I camped that night, in a pine scrub. I’ll never forget that night. We were nearly eaten with mosquitoes. My distant relative joined me in the scrub, and we put our heads together to concoct plans, for an elopement. Later on he returned from the house, and reported all was in readiness for an exit on the following morning.
At daybreak the young lady joined me, and we got away safely. I left the black boy at the Pinnacle. We lovers rode 60 miles that day, and were accommodated for the night at Bindo, a station then owned by a mutual friend. Next day we reached Carcoar, another 50 odd miles, and, on the third day, Bathurst. We were married by Dean Grant, and the wedding breakfast was spread at Anson’s hotel.
There was a great to do over the affair. Before the honeymoon was over, the stepmother, who had sat out on a search immediately she had missed the daughter, managed to find us, and there was a big scone, which I will not attempt to describe.
It was six months ere the storm blew over. In the meantime I had still been living at the Pinnacle. But afterwards things came out all right again. I took my bride back to Wheogo. Mr. Walsh restored me to the management of the station, and, as the books say, we lived happily afterwards. 1
The second sister, Bridget, married one of her father’s stockmen. It’s her absence that matters, so isn’t there much written about her as such, because she’s not there to write about.
In about one year after, he was married to Miss Bridget Walsh-—two children were born to him by this marriage ; the youngest, Henry, is still living, and about six years old. It was not far from twelve months after the birth of this child, and while he was yet in arms, that his wife eloped with a Mr. James Taylor, with whom she has continued to live since. They reside somewhere on the Fish River.2
Her departure is given as one of the reasons her husband took to the road, e.g.:
A peaceful man he was until
Arrested by Sir Fred.
His home burned down, his wife cleared out,
His cattle perished all;
“They’ll not take me a second time,’
Says valiant Ben Hall. 3
Whether the “arrested by Sir Fred” refers to Ben being arrested (IIRC) on suspicion of being involved with Frank Gardiner or being arrested on suspicious on being involved in Eugowra gold escort robbery (which is when “His home burned down & his cattle perished all”) you can decide for yourself. She actually left him just before all that.
Going back to McGuire’s story:
Some years after his father left the district, Ben got a billet as stockman; and, falling in love with Mr. Walsh’s second daughter, Bridget (I had married the eldest myself) they were soon united. This was in ’58. Shortly afterwards he took up the Cubbine Bin station, adjoining me. The young couple jogged along very happily for a few years, till a sneak of a fellow named Jim Taylor, a married man himself, who had a place about 25 miles from Ben’s, near the Humbug Creek, came along, and upset the happy home.
He was a pretended friend of Ben’s, but, as the after events showed, his visits wore more on account of Ben’s wife, who was a fine-looking woman.
I had suspected his little game myself, and had dropped hints to Ben, who cautioned his wife, in very threatening language, what would happen if ever he discovered anything between her and Taylor.
Later on Ben actually came across some of Taylor’s letters, and there was such a row that the latter kept at a civil distance.
But that was not for long. The rascal watched his opportunity. That opportunity came when Ben and I and most of the stockmen went away for several days to gather wild horses.
Our rations getting short before the job was finished, I rode home to procure more, and it was on reaching my home that my wife informed me that she had missed her sister, and believed that Taylor and she had eloped. Together we went over to Ben’s house and searched the place. The side saddle was gone, and everything seemed to confirm the opinion expressed by my wife and only too strongly suspected by myself.
There had been two children, but the first had died. The remaining child (a boy) was two years old. She had taken him with her. I rode back to the camp and broke the news to Ben, who was cut up terribly, for he had been fond of his wife, and his little boy was the sunshine of his home.
For three or four days Ben raced about, but could not get a clue as to the direction taken by the pair. He abandoned the search in despair. And from that out his life was a reckless one. Often he told me he would give the world to come across Taylor, and put a bullet through his wicked carcase.
And what happeens to afterwards? According to Frank Clune:
At the time of Ben Hall’s death, 5 May 1865, his lawful wedded wife Bridget (nee Walsh) was living with James Taylor at Lake Cowal, having gone back there from Forbes. With them also was Ben’s son Harry aged six years. It was legally impossible for Taylor to marry Bridget, as Taylor’s wife Emma (nee Dower), whom he had married at Yass in 1849, was still alive. Bridget bore two sons to Taylor -John, born 1 January 1869, and James, born 14 April 1871. In March 1876 Taylor’s wife, Emma, died at Wheeo, near Crookwell, “from acutely drinking spirits”. As soon as Taylor heard the news, he married Bridget Hall, at Forbes, on 1 June 1876, thus legitimatizing their offspring. Thirteen months later, on 21 July 1877, Jim Taylor died at Cadalgulee, near Forbes, “from the effects of drink” aged forty six years. At this time the twice widowed Bridget was thirty seven years of age. She lived on the Darling River, near Bourke, for a great many years and died at Cobargo, aged eighty three years, in 1923. 4
The youngest sister married John Brown. For all that’s been written about Mrs Brown, not much has been said about her in books.
I did find this, in a newspaper at the time everyone was talking about her:
Catherine Welsh, the wife of one Brown, a native of the colony, was born of humble but respectable parents, and is now nineteen years of age. Some years ago she came to Yass to be educated, and was a scholar at Mrs. Staniforth’s school, remaining at one of the most respectable hotels in the town during that time. She left for home, and subsequently contracted marriage with Brown. Her late career is well known. We have been told that her father still lives, but that her mother died some eighteen months ago. 5
She does feature in some songs, particularly The Bloody Fields of Wheogo 6. I’ll copy the relevant verses here:
And seated there is a wanton fair that in amorous sadness pines.
For her lord is gone, and she sits alone, alone in a desolate home,
But it was not her lord that she then deplor’d, for she loved to see him roam ;
The joy of her heart is a Ranger smart, who, lion-like, roves in the night,
And with supper all spread, and a four-post bed, she waits by the flickering light.
Equipp’d for fight, in trappings bright, came a band of warriors there,
By gallant Sir Fred, right gallantly led, the Ranger to seize in a snare.
They spread o’er the ground, and the house they surround, nine men with revolver and gun,
“A reward’s on his head,” cried the gallant Sir Fred., ” and
we’re nine to the Bushranger’s one !”
Still gleam’d the light through the shades of night, and still the pale moon shone,
But no Ranger came to cheer the dame as she sat by the light alone ;
The warriors bold were freezing with cold, and thought it was time to start,
When the echoing beat of a horse’s feet sent the blood in a rush, to the heart !
Sir Fred fires and the gun misfires, he says (the ballad has him missing), and the ‘ranger calmly rides away. Another version of the story has their quarry already occupying the four-post bed when they arrive, but the “waiting outside” version was Pottinger’s official story. Whatever happened, the happy couple decided it was getting a bit hot and ran off to Queensland. (Was she encouraged by her older sister’s example?)
Eighteen months had gone by since Frank Gardiner had vanished from the Lachlan district, eloping with Kate Brown to Queensland. He had reverted to his old name of Frank Christie. A transformation occurred in his character. Kitty had tamed him. The Prince of Highwaymen was now a respectable, law-abiding country storekeeper. He and Kitty, living together as Mr and Mrs Christie at Aphis Creek were partners with a Mr and Mrs Craig in ownership of a wayside public house and store on the road to the Peak Downs diggings. The Craigs managed the public house and the Christies managed the store adjacent to it. 7
And then? Well songs would have you believe….
When lives you take, a warning boys, a woman never trust,
She will turn round, I will be bound, Queen’s evidence, the first
He’s doing two-and-thirty years; he’s doomed to serve the Crown
And well may he say, he cursed the day he met with Mrs Brown. 8
She probably didn’t. There are various possibilities on how the police got on his trail, but one version puts it down to a letter Kate wrote to her sister (or sister’s partner).
6 December 1863.
No doubt you will he surprised to receive a letter from me, Kate Brown that was, now Mrs Christie. A friend is writing this for me. Frank told me not to write, but I want to know how things are on the Lachlan. How is my dear sister Bridget? Give her my love and say I am quite well. I hope my sister Helen and my brother Johnny and Step-Mar are all well, also old friends. Please don’t tell anybody you heard from me, only write me a few lines to Mrs Frank Christie, Aphis Creek. Frank and I are quite well. Hoping you are the same.
Kate Christie 9
And from there, a drunk Jim boasted to a friend, and it passed to an enterprising Detective McGlone who made a little trip to Queensland. And next…
Acting upon information received by the Sydney police authorities, detectives. M’Glone and Pye and mounted trooper Wells were despatched to Rockhampton per Balclutha, in the early part of last month, arriving here on the 11th ultimo.
Detained a fortnight by the floods, they started for Apis Creek, reaching that place on the 2nd instant, and pitching their tents 300 or 400 yards from a store kept by a man named Christie, whom they believed to be the object of their search, and whose person they wished to subject to scrutiny. Fearing recognition, M’Glone sent detective Pye and trooper Wells to the store for goods telling them to purchase a nobbler of brandy for their sick mate, who was at their tent. This they obtained, with some meat, and returned to the tent, seeing the woman who passed as his wife alleged to be Mrs. Brown but not seeing Christie.
After tea, M’Glone and Pye observed Christie sitting on the store step, and the former immediately recognised him. Both detectives went into the store, asked for oatmeal, and none being in stock, obtained sago for their mate, who they still feigned was sick. Christie was observed to manifest nervousness while getting the sago, but would not charge for it, and was thereupon invited to accompany them to the adjoining public house, which he did. A closer examination, while drinking together, satisfied the detectives, and they returned to the tent, but during the night went to M’Lennan’s station, one mile distant, and arranged with Lieut. Brown, N.M.P., to come and assist with his troopers.
On the following morning the party struck their tent, packed up, and M’Glone, Pye, and Wells, went towards the store. Lieut. Brown and troopers following about a hundred yards behind. On coming up, Christie was observed to be standing in front of the store, with two men who wore cutting shingles. Seeing the party he moved towards the store, and the detectives made up briskly to prevent his retreat. As they approached Christie was hailed by M’Glone, and on turning to address him, was rushed on by Pye, and with the assistance of the other two, easily secured, by being thrown on his back and handcuffed the prisoner offering no resistance, but demanding to know the charge on which he was arrested. Lieutenant Brown and troopers then coming up, all the men on the place were ordered to stand on pain of being shot, and were subsequently handcuffed, one of them having rushed up apparently to rescue the prisoner.
The store was then taken possession of, an inventory made, and the house searched. Among the articles found by the police was a journal, on the cover of which was inscribed in a good handwriting “J Evans Brown,” an incident of great importance, when it is remembered that the paramour of Gardiner was a Mrs. Brown, and that Mr. Brown is a quiet, respectable man, residing at the Pinnacle or Wheogo, between Forbes and Lambing Flat, and distant, about thirty miles from the former. Mrs. Christie was not at this time placed under arrest. 10
The purpose of this is not to recount his story, but to attempt to find out something about her. So to that purpose, I’m including (part of) two news stories where she is being questioned.
EXAMINATION OF CHRISTIE, ALIAS CLARK, ALIAS GARDINER
AT half-past two o’clock the prisoner Francis Christie, alias Clarke, alias Frank Gardiner, was brought down from the lock-up. He was manacled, and closely guarded by five Constables
By this time the Court House was densely thronged every available space being filled, and there was a large crowd outside on the verandah unable to obtain admission. Together with the prisoner Frank Gardiner, two other prisoners were placed in the dock, A. D. Craig, a publican at Apis Creek, charged with harbouring him, and Catherine Walsh, alias Brown, a woman, said to be Gardiner’s mistress and confederate?, also charged with concealing and assisting the bush-ranger.
Catherine Christie, alias Brown, was next charged with assisting and concealing the prisoner Francis Christie, alias Gardiner
Constable Canning and Detective M’Glone were the only two witnesses who gave evidence in this case. The latter proved having seen the prisoner in company with Gardiner at Apis Creek, where she was serving behind the counter in his store. The same woman was once before pointed out to him on the Lachlan, near Forbes, whilst Gardiner was in that district. He produced a portrait of her which he had had given him for the purpose of identifying her. Whilst she was at Forbes she went by the name of Mrs Brown. When arrested, at the ?????? she gave her m?????? ????? as Catherine W????? Witness was acquainted? with her sisters? and other relations of hers, who went by that name. He was perfectly certain that the prisoner was the same? Mrs Brown ???? ??? the ????? ?????e time ago at the same that Gardiner was reported to have left district. At Apis Creek he heard her refer? to the prisoner as her husband, and heard him (Christie) ???? her as his wife. She told witness? that Christie was her husband. He (witness) p????d that she might be remanded to Sydney for the purpose of identification.
By the Bench? He knew of no character? ? her in Sydney, nor of warrant having been issued for her apprehension; he ??? not arrest her at Apis Creek, but she accompanied Gardiner and the other prisoner down to Rockhampton : he arrested her that morning. [Unreadable] after a long deliberation ??? magistrate’s private room, decided to ??? prisoner from custody.
A couple of days later, Craig appears on a charge of “harbouring and assisting Frank Gardiner, alias Francis Christie, alias Clarke, the notorious New South Wales bushranger.” Catherine Christie is brought in as a witness. This is a bit long, but gives some of her story in her own words.
Catherine Christie, examined by Mr. Dick, said; I am the wife of Francis Christie. I was lawfully married to him.
Mr Dick: Where?
Mr Bellas objected to the question, and told the witness not to answer it.
After some argument, the Bench ruled that question was not relevant to the case. Examination continued–I have resided at Apis Creek about nine months; I came from New South Wales.
Mr Bellas also objected to the question and more strongly still to the next, as to what part of the Colony she came from. Another lengthy argument ensued. The Bench were of opinion that if Mr. Dick could show in any way by the question he was putting to the witness how she first became acquainted or connected with the prisoner Craig, they would let the examination proceed ; but they refused to hear anything new concerning Gardiner or Christie. The evidence must be confined to the prisoner now in the dock.
Mr Dick addressed the Bench in reply, stating that he had a chain of evidence which he intended to bring out link by link, which would show the witness’ connection with Gardiner in New South Wales, and trace her acquaintanceship with the prisoner Craig, until they met and resided together at Apis Creek. To do this he must question her as to her antecedents in order to prove the connection between the parties. The Bench declined to allow the examination.
Witness: (By Mr Dick) It is not quite twelve months now since I left Kew South Wales. I came from the Edward River.
Mr Dick: Where is that?
Witness: In New South Wales.
Mr Dick: What is the nearest point town?
Mr. Bellas objected to the question and no answer was given.
Mr. Dick: Is it in the Lachlan District?
Mr Bellas again objected.
The witness replied that she did not know where it was situate.
By Mr Dick: I never resided? on the Wheogo or Pinnacle.
Mr. Dick: Did you know a person there named Mrs ??????
Mr Bellas objected to the question.
Mr. Dick: When were you last in Sydney?
Witness: I never was in Sydney.
The Bench have interposed and refused to allow this style of cross-examination which might (tend to make)? the witness establish? herself.
By Mr. Dick: It was ??? ??? in June last that I came to Queensland; I came overland in company with my husband: we came from New South Wales direct to Apis Creek; no one but a servant was accompanied us; he did not start with us, but joined us on the road; He went with us to Apis Creek; he left Apis Creek some time afterwards; I don’t know whether he is there now or not.
Here the Bench again stopped Mr. Dick and requested him at once? to come to the point of his examination, as they objected to the questions he was putting to the witness, ?????? ?? they were totally irrelevant to the case.
The witness continued I first saw the prisoner Craig a few miles on the other side of Yamba ; Apis Creek was the first place at which we stopped when we came from New South Wales; I was only in Rockhampton one evening ; we passed through Rockhampton on our way to Apis Creek; the fist time I ever saw the prisoner was whilst proceeding from Rockhampton to Apis Creek; that was towards the latter end of June last; when we ???ed from Rockhampton I did not know where we were going; I did not know we were going to Apis Creek; at that time my husband had not made up his mind where he was going; we were travelling in a cart when we met Mr. Craig: I don’t know how many horses we had with us; we overtook Craig as he was driving a dray and two horses along the road; there was then a conversation between my husband and Craig and we travelled in company together all the way on to Apis Creek; the conversation was regarding opening a store and a public house ; I do not know what passed between them; they never ?? ???? to my knowledge ; the only reason why we travelled together was, we were all of us going the same road ; there was no house then built at Apis Creek, but one was being put up by Craig; I am aware that my husband had a half share in ????? ???; I think it was ???? for between them; I do know that the store alongside of the public house belonged to my husband.
Mr. Dick: Can you explain how it was that your husband did not take out the Licence in his own name.
Mr. Bellas said he remembered the licence being granted, which he had approved on behalf of Mr. Fitzsimmons?.
In reply to a question put by the Bench, Mr. Foran (the Chief Constable) said that the house was at the time duly inspected by the police and favourably reported on.
Examination continued : My husband and myself resided there when the house was finished, and lived as friends with the prisoner; I never on any ?????? ?????? that the prisoner had ever met or known my husband before; my husband never on any occasion left Apis Creek to come down to Rockhampton : Mr. Craig conducted the business of the inn, and my husband that of the store, and they assisted each other; I never heard Craig at any time ask my husband to go down to Rockhampton to get stores; Craig always went down, and in his absence my husband managed the business.
Mr. Dick: Now, Mrs. Craig, (sic?) will you swear that your name is Christie (Loud laughter.)
Mr. Bellas, (who did not hear the question) What! what! what’s that !
The Bench ruled that the question was unnecessary, as the witness had already sworn? to the fact, and again reminded Mr. Dick that he could not be allowed them to cross-examine his
Mr. Dick-to witness: How far is the Darling River from the Edward? (Much laughter.)
Again the Bench interrupted, and said that they thought it a most un-English fashion, and for an attorney, very wrong, thus to endeavour to make his own witness criminalise herself. They were there sitting to protect the witness, and see that the examination was conducted fairly and legally, and they could not allow such questions to be put. Supposing that the man Christie, now in custody, was actually Gardiner–which the Bench did not take upon themselves to determine, having the question to be decided by the proper authorities–Mr. Dick was putting questions to the witness directly tending to criminalise herself.
Mr Dick having replied, arguing that the course he was pursuing was the proper one.
Mr Bellas replied, ????ing it was contrary to all the practice of law courts.
The Bench finished the argument by ruling that each question could not be put, and that Mr Dick had no right to endeavour to knock down his own witness.
Mr Dick: But you see she is against me. (Laughter)
Mr Ballas: Then what did you call her for?
Examination proceeded. Craig kept the books at the store.
By Mr Bellas: It was very wet weather when we first met Craig at Yaamba, and he was stuck-up by the weather, and my husband lent him a horse.
(Mr Dick (mette sure) “Stuck-up indeed! Well he might say so in such company.)
I know that my husband paid Craig before the house was completed, for half a share in it: we stopped in our own cart in a tent until the house was completed, and we have continued to reside in the store it being our own house ever since. I know that this receipt (produced) is in Craig’s handwriting; it is signed by him, and it is a receipt for £81, for my husband’s share of the house ; the signature on it is “A. D. Craig”, being requested to read it out the witness took the document in her hand, and did so partly, when she said she could not make out the handwriting.
By the Bench: Previous to our meeting with the prisoner on the other side of Yaamba I never saw him in my life; I do not know that my husband and Craig had ever before met, or seen each other; I have seen nothing, nor heard any conversation which would lead me to sup pose they had ever before been acquainted. 12
A couple of months later, a note at the end of news story about a different trial, in the Argus adds this:
It may be interesting to some of our readers to learn that Mrs. Brown, Gardiner’s late companion, was in Yass during the past quarter sessions. She is of slight build, low stature, and has a prepossessing appearance. 13
So the trials are over, and he’s safely locked up in to Darlinghurst Gaol. Then this story appears, regarding the NSW Legislative Assembly. (This version is from a Sydney correspondent in a Queensland newspaper.) Note how important respectability (or the appearance of) is to a woman in this time. 14
On Thursday the following interrogatory and reply occurred: “Mr. Cowper asked the Colonial Secretary, pursuant to notice, ‘If it is true that the Colonial Secretary has given a special authority for Mrs. Browne, the paramour of the notorious Gardiner, to have access to him in Darlinghurst Gaol; and, if so, whether he has any objection to lay a copy of such authority upon the table of the House?’
“Mr. Parkes, in answer, said that he should feel it incumbent upon him to state the whole facts of the case, relating to the circumstance which the hon. member had brought under the notice of the House. Soon after he (Mr. Parkes) was called to office, he visited Darlinghurst Gaol, and during his stay there, a number of prisoners intimated to the gaoler that they desired to make certain requests of him. Amongst these prisoners was a person whom he (Mr. Parkes) afterwards understood to be Francis Gardiner. His request was that Mrs. Browne might be allowed to see him once a month. He added that he should not make this request only that he had reason to believe that this woman was living as his wife. He (Mr. Parkes) told the whole of these prisoners that their cases would be considered, and that they would receive the decision through the Sheriff. Two or three days afterwards, in considering the whole of these cases, he had instructed the Sheriff as follows I relation to Gardiner:
“‘You will be pleased to inform the prisoner Francis Clarke, alias Christie, alias Gardiner, that permission cannot be granted, as desired, for him to be visited by Mrs. Browne, who is another man’s wife, and that this refusal does not arise from any disposition to deal with him harshly, but on account of the respect that must be paid to the law and the obligations of society.’
“Two or three days after this the name of Mrs. Hyams was announced to him (Mr. Parkes) by the messenger attached to the Colonial Secretary’s Office. As in other cases, he requested that this person might be shown into the office. A person of very respectable appearance came in, accompanied by another female, also respectably dressed. This person represented herself as the sister of the prisoner Gardiner, and made the request to him that Mrs. Browne–who she said was living in her house, and had been living in her house since the conviction of Gardiner—-should be allowed to see that prisoner. As this person had all the appearance of a respectable woman, and as he (Mr. Parkes) felt that commiseration for her which any one must feel for a respectable person having a relative in the position of Gardiner, he spoke calmly to her, and represented the impossibility of the Governor granting this petition. She at last pleaded strongly that this person should be allowed to see Gardiner once. He (Mr. Parkes) came to no decision, and these persons—-one of whom was understood to be Mrs. Browne, but to whom he never spoke–went away. He had, during this interview, entirely addressed his conversation to Gardiner’s sister—-Mrs. Hyams. He consulted with another member of the Government, and also made inquiries of the police as to the character of that person, Mrs. Hyams, and was assured by Captain M’Lerie, the Inspector-General, that she was a respectable married woman. He (Mr. Parkes) made further inquiries, which satisfied him that this person, Mrs. Browne, appeared to be permanently separated from her own husband, and that she had lived since the conviction of Gardiner in the house of this person, who was represented as a respectable married woman. On making these inquiries, he (Mr. Parkes) gave this special order to the principal gaoler, Darlinghurst:
“‘You will allow the bearer, Catherine Browne, to see Francis Gardiner (or Clarke), now under sentence in Darlinghurst prison. This order, however is available for this day only, and must not be held to alter or modify, in any respect, the instructions from this office on the 2nd instant.'”
A strange proceeding, this, altogether. No doubt Mr. Parkes acted from the best of motives ; but there is an air of the ludicrous over the whole affair-—the interview of the “respectable female” with the statesman—and the statesman’s delicacy to the feelings of Francis Gardiner, Esq. However, Mr. Parkes will become a little more reserved, when he is longer in power.
Some strong comments on that incident appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald. 15
This is all very well, excepting that the apologetic style of the memorandum does not seem to be required by the circumstances of the case. It was certainly not dignified for the COLONIAL SECRETARY to put a person of many aliases on his guard against the impression that he was wrongly dealt by because he had not permission to see another man’s wife with whom he had lived as her paramour. Indeed, silence might have been a proper answer to a demand which was immoral in its inception.
“We are not disposed to speak with harshness of this Mrs. BROWN, because we do not know what may have been the history of her married life. It is possible that the name she bears may be representative of some brute whose barbarous conduct disentitled him to her affection, and gave him no claim to sympathy when it was transferred to another. It may be that, in her attachment to GARDINER, there is a reality and strength which, if lawful and proper in itself, would give her a title to esteem. But there are some things over which the utmost complacency can only permit that a veil should be drawn. Persons in her station should not be allowed to obtrude that connection which the law has pronounced criminal. What has Mrs. BROWN to do with GARDINER in any sense that can be permitted by the Government ? And yet we see the COLONIAL SECRETARY, having formed this clear conception of what was right, permitted himself to be talked over. If we want a grand novel indeed, we may get one up by painting all these circumstances. It offers a remarkable scene : The COLONIAL SECRETARY sitting in his office meditating on “Young’s Night Thoughts,” or “Milton’s Address to the Sun,” when a knock comes on his door, a lady interesting in countenance, and nicely dressed, walks in and announces herself to be the companion of GARDINER the bushranger. Mr. PARKES, however, tells us that he did not speak with Mrs. BROWN, and that all his conversation was addressed to Mrs. HYAMS. There was extreme propriety in this reserve, for no one can tell what might have been the effect of that eloquence which had already moved him, had it been reinforced by a powerful appeal from Mrs. BROWN herself.
And what happened to her afterwards?
Tragic was the story of Frank Gardiner’s paramour. After Frank’s imprisonment under sentence of thirty two years, in July 1864, Kitty remained in Sydney for several months, trying by every means in her power to obtain his release in one way or another. She even bribed warders at Cockatoo Island to let him escape, but they took her money and did nothing. At last, when all her money had gone, the “bushranger’s bride” took a final tragic farewell of her ironed idol–tragic because hope was dead. She returned to the Lachlan and lived for a while with her sister Bridget, Jim Taylor’s paramour, at Lake Cowal. According to John McGuire’s written reminiscences, Kitty here met Dick Taylor, Jim’s brother–“a drunken quarrelsome blackguard”. She went with Dick Taylor to New Zealand and lived with him as his wife on the Hokitika gold diggings for a few months, leading a very unhappy life, always quarrelling”. One morning, date not ascertained, “Taylor ran out of the tent, crying out, ‘My wife has shot herself!'” But, adds McGuire, “that yarn I never believed”. Apparently a verdict of suicide was recorded. 16
1 From “Early colonial days : the biography of a reliable old native John McGuire” by W.H. Pinkstone. I’m not sure on the publication details. There are handwritten notes that say: “Written Circa 1901. WH Pinkstone was Editor Cootamundra Herald 1937.” (or maybe 1911) and “Also re published by WH Pinkstone in several country papers and by the McGuire family in the ‘Star’ Sydney.” It’s available online through the National Library, at least part of it.
2 Copies of “A biography of Ben Hall” written by a “Forbes correspondent” appeared in a various newspapers in May 1865. including The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser
3 From The Ballad of Ben Hall’s Gang. The rest of the song is here
4 Frank Clune’s Wild Colonial Boys. His books usually contain material not mentioned in other books, and at the end there are pages of sources, but no connections made between the two so it’s hard to verify what’s fact and what’s the author’s fancy. (A note in the back of this one was what put me onto McGuire’s biography though.)
5 Reprinted in various newspapers in March 1864, including here, from the Yass Courier
6 You can find various versions of it online. The one I copied from appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald, in 1862. Or you get a recorded version here. Actually that CD has all the songs I’ve mentioned in this post. (Funny that.)
7&9 Frank Clune’s Wild Colonial Boys.
8 Frank Gardiner (he is caught at last). Lyrics are available in various places
10 The Courier, 14 March 1864 Part of two rather long accounts, that I might put up some other time but much too long to include here.
16 Frank Clune’s Wild Colonial Boys