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”

A Memoir Lost

For Michael, writing his thoughts and dreams was important and was done within two books he kept close. The first was his ‘journal of dreams’, where he wrote down the flowers, vegetables and trees he wished to procure for the garden of his Shannon hut. He also recorded memories of his beloved sister Mary andContinue reading “A Memoir Lost”

Gentlemen Bushrangers

While some writers may wish to state otherwise, Michael and his gang were known to act gentlemanly and respectfully around the women and men whose company they found themselves in. As James Calder himself states, “none of these pillaging’s were attended with personal violence of any kind…Howe disliked unnecessary violence, and though he sometimes threatenedContinue reading “Gentlemen Bushrangers”

A Rascally Letter

On the 27th of November 1816, while John Yorke was riding from Port Dalrymple to Hobart Town, he found himself bailed up by Michael Howe and his gang at York Plains. Michael had a letter he wanted given to Lieutenant-Governor Davey, written in gang member Peter Septon’s hand, which in it saw Michael complaining ofContinue reading “A Rascally Letter”

The Solitary Outlaw

“Being now unaccompanied by anyone, his solitary life in the woods must have been wearisome and wretched beyond expression, and to add to the misery of his situation, he was now often chased for his life by the black natives, as was proved by a kind of journal he kept, that was found in hisContinue reading “The Solitary Outlaw”

A Sister Remembered

Being a transported convict, Michael had been torn away from his family and his home in Pontefract, Yorkshire. Within his journal and on the fly leaf of the gardening book he carried with him, Michael wrote of one family member in particular, his beloved sister Mary. Within the gardening book, he recorded her birthday inContinue reading “A Sister Remembered”

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 byContinue reading “The Fight at the Fat Doe River”

A Bloody Day in October 1818

Being desperately low of ammunition and supplies, Michael had appealed to Warburton for help, having been told by the hunter he could fetch all he needed from Worrell, a stockman for Edward Lord. Feeling uncertain at this plan, Michael requested Warburton to fetch the supplies for him, but of course, the hunter refused. It tookContinue reading “A Bloody Day in October 1818”

An Outlaw’s Code of Conduct

According to Thomas Seals, a free man who had been bailed up by Michael and his gang in 1816, he was told “If I would be a friend to them, they would reward me well…for they were fully determined to be like Turpin, to rob from the rich and give to the poor.” Further toContinue reading “An Outlaw’s Code of Conduct”

A Chance Encounter at Jericho

It was around Jericho that a party of soldiers came upon Michael Howe and Mary Cockerill. Shots were fired between Michael and the advancing soldiers and he was forced to abandon his knapsack, blunderbuss and beloved gardening book, in order to hasten his retreat into a thicket. It was said Mary fell behind as sheContinue reading “A Chance Encounter at Jericho”