The Execution of Richard McGwire

On the 7th of June 1815, Richard McGwire was hanged on Hunter Island for his involvement in the shootout with Dennis McCarty at New Norfolk and the subsequent deaths of Charles Carlisle and James O’Burne. In the days leading to the execution, Reverend Robert Knopwood paid three visits to the condemned man and recorded theContinue reading “The Execution of Richard McGwire”

The Currency of Kangaroo Hide

As money was scarce in Van Diemen’s Land during Michael Howe’s outlawry, the gang would often use the hide of the Eastern Grey (Forester) Kangaroo as currency, which they exchanged for ammunition and provisions. One such example of this comes from early 1815, when Richard Collyer informed George Nelson, a servant to Mr. Gunning, thatContinue reading “The Currency of Kangaroo Hide”

Richard Collyer

Richard Collyer was a member of Michael Howe’s gang who was born in Kent, England, in 1786. In July 1799 at the age of only 13, he was sentenced to death at the Maidstone Assizes for the crime of committing an “unnatural act” with 45-year-old Thomas Bowles. However, this sentence was later commuted to life,Continue reading “Richard Collyer”

Michael Howe at the Ovens

On the night of the 18th of August 1814, three men of the 73rd regiment, Corporal Fentrill, his son Private Fentrill and Private Merry were travelling from Port Dalrymple to Hobart Town when they decided to set up camp in a cave near Jericho, known as the “Ovens”. Under their charge were three crown prisonersContinue reading “Michael Howe at the Ovens”

The Capture of Hugh Burn and Richard McGwire

On the 1st of June 1815, two members of Michael Howe’s gang, Hugh Burn and Richard McGwire were captured at Kangaroo Point (Bellerive) and brought into Hobart Town. After having been attracted to a hut near Tea Tree Brush by the smoke that rose from its chimney, a party of the 46th Regiment spied HughContinue reading “The Capture of Hugh Burn and Richard McGwire”

A Body for the Gibbet

On the 20th of May 1815, the headless body of James Whitehead was gibbeted on Hunter Island near Hobart Town, after being brought down in a boat from New Norfolk the previous night. In his diary, Reverend Robert Knopwood wrote, “the man that was shot was Whitehead, a very desperate bushranger. He was hung upContinue reading “A Body for the Gibbet”

Reflections

Moving through the dense scrub that flanks the upper Shannon River, the narrowed eyes of Michael Howe spy the man he is looking for, standing with his back towards the flickering amber of a fire. Halting, the bushranger whistles sharply, causing the man to spin in his direction, his claw-like fingers grasped around a musket.Continue reading “Reflections”

The Hut at Abyssinia

In early 1815, James Whitehead was brought to Michael’s Abyssinia hut by Burrell, a sympathiser to the gang and servant to John Ingle, the man Michael had been first assigned to. James had given himself up when the pardon had been offered to the gang in 1814 and had been assigned to Mr Gunning. HeContinue reading “The Hut at Abyssinia”

The Love of a Good Book

During the Howe Gangs raids upon homesteads, books were often much sought after by the “gentlemen foresters”. One such book taken by the gang was ‘The History of Tom Jones’ volume 1 in early 1815. Furthermore, it happened to be the theft of a book which resulted in the transportation of gang member George JonesContinue reading “The Love of a Good Book”

James Whitehead: Fact vs Fiction

Unlike the way he is presented in ‘The Outlaw Michael Howe’, James was not ‘John’, he was not Scottish and nor was he a cruel madman. In fact, the real James was a Yorkshireman like Michael Howe and hailed from Preston in the East Riding of Yorkshire. James was described as being “a good lookingContinue reading “James Whitehead: Fact vs Fiction”