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”

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”

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”