The Fight at the Fat Doe River

During the final months of his life in 1818, Michael Howe was pursued and almost captured by James McGill, nicknamed ‘big McGill’ and Musquito an aboriginal tracker from New South Wales, close to the Clyde, then called the Fat Doe River. After robbing a stockman’s hut of ammunition, clothing and food, Michael was tracked by Musquito and McGill, a man who Calder asserts “was a match for a wild beast.” The pair lurched at him and a violent struggle ensued with Michael fighting “like a fiend for life, hitting out left and right as hard as he could.” McGill was twice the size of Michael and never known to come off second best after a fight, but even with the assistance of Musquito, could not throw him to the ground. Somehow, Michael managed to break free from McGill’s vice like grip and was able to run into the bush, leaving “his dogs, knapsack and all that he had.”

From ‘Early Troubles of the Colonists’, by James Calder.

The Clyde River at Hamilton.

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