A Knapsack Full of Flour

According to Carlisle’s servant Patrick Flaherty, while he was cooking breakfast on the morning of the 24th of April 1815, Richard Collier, Richard McGwyre, Peter Septon, Hugh Burn and Peter Geary entered the hut and demanded Flaherty not to stir. With their muskets cocked, the outlaws searched through the room for items they stood in need of, while Michael, with pistol in one hand and cutlass in the other, stood outside the house with James Whitehead and gave directions.

Finding that their knapsacks were full of flour, and unable to hold much else, Michael directed them to remove some of the flour and replace it with tea and sugar. They then ordered Flaherty to tell them where his master was. On hearing the commotion, Carlisle, who had been sleeping, entered the kitchen wearing only his shirt and soon found himself surrounded by muskets. Blushing at his lack of trousers, which no doubt caused a snicker from the outlaws, Carlisle asked permission to put on his trousers, which they approved. He asked them what they had taken, and the outlaws told him they had only taken a little tea, sugar, his musket and what ammunition was in the place. Before the outlaws left, Flaherty spoke to Whitehead through the window, who asked him if there was not two or three parties of soldiers out, adding that if another party came out, they would then come and attack the town and see what they would do then.

Witness statement is from ‘Historical Records of Australia, series 3, volume 2.’

Illustration is by Aidan Phelan.

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