The Knitting Bushranger

(The following article was written by me for the May edition of The Hobart Magazine.) If you happened to have been walking along Murray Street in early 1817 you may have observed a rough sailor-looking fellow with a profusion of coarse hair sitting outside the gates of the old gaol, working with a pair ofContinue reading “The Knitting Bushranger”

The Indefatigable

Nine members of the Howe gang, including Michael himself, were transported on the Indefatigable in 1811. This ship was the first to make the direct voyage from England to Hobart, arriving in the Derwent on the 9th of October 1812. Also on board were members of the 73rd regiment, which included future Howe gang memberContinue reading “The Indefatigable”

Michael Howe’s Raid on Nonesuch

The following is taken from the memoirs of Alexander Laing, who at the time of Michael Howe’s raid on the residence of T.A. Lascelles was an assigned servant. On the 21st November 1816, a banditti of bushrangers headed by Michael Howe called at Nonesuch, the residence of T.A. Lascelles Esq., in the forenoon of thatContinue reading “Michael Howe’s Raid on Nonesuch”

The Murder of Peter Septon

On the evening of the 26th of August 1817, Tasmanian bushranger Peter Septon was killed by George Hillier, a recent addition to the gang. Two members of Michael Howe’s gang, Peter Septon and Richard Collier, were sleeping in a hut at the back of Gordon’s Plains (Evandale) when George Hiller decided he would murder theContinue reading “The Murder of Peter Septon”

York Castle

After deserting from the Royal Navy, Michael made his way home to Yorkshire and befriended a man named Benjamin Kay, possibly a deserter also. The two tried their hand at highway robbery and on the 4th of February 1811, attempted to rob William Jackson, a miller from Newhill. It was alleged that Michael stopped WilliamContinue reading “York Castle”


TASMANIAN HISTORY. EARLY TROUBLES OF THE COLONISTS Illustrated by a Sketch of the Career of Michael Howe, “The last and worst of the Bushrangers.” Written by J. E. Calder. Transcribed by Aidan Phelan. Introductory View of the State of the Country between 1813 and ’18. — I think that there are but few in theContinue reading “EARLY TROUBLES OF THE COLONISTS by J. E. Calder (Pt. 1)”

The Robbery of Captain Townson

In October 1814, J. McKenzie of the 46th Regiment, wrote the following dispatch concerning the robbery of Captain Townson by ‘Captain Michael Howe’ and his gang at George Town: “The bushrangers, or as they style themselves, ‘Gentlemen Foresters’, have robbed poor Captain Townson to the amount of £150 and surprised the party of my menContinue reading “The Robbery of Captain Townson”

A Few Sheep from Richard Dry

In late 1815, Michael Howe and his gang travelled down from their hideout in the Tiers and paid a visit to the property of Richard Dry at Quamby’s Plains, near Launceston. Being low on stores, the gang stole four of Richard’s sheep, which, with the aid of their kangaroo dogs, they drove back to theirContinue reading “A Few Sheep from Richard Dry”

The Real Michael Howe

For over two hundred years, the story of bushranger Michael Howe has been greatly distorted, with the facts buried beneath murky layers of falsehood and political disinformation. Since colonisation, Australia has been home to many bushrangers and convict bolters, with most experiencing a twisting of their story by newspapers and writers of the time; indeed,Continue reading “The Real Michael Howe”

Michael Howe and the Tallow Chandler’s Shop

In 1816, Michael Howe and his gang rounded up a number of horned cattle belonging to Stynes and Troy and took them to Murderer’s Plains, near Oatlands. The farmers had once been loyal to the gang and had shared in their plunder, but their loyalty had since wavered. Requiring more items to exchange for provisionsContinue reading “Michael Howe and the Tallow Chandler’s Shop”