Sunday, April 11, 2010

Thunderbolt: Scourge of the Ranges

If you're interested in Robin Hood, Wild Bill Hickok, Ned Kelly, Jesse James, Billy the Kid, outlaws, stagecoach robberies & Colt 45s, this book's for you. I'm enjoying 'Thunderbolt: Scourge of the Ranges', about Captain Thunderbolt (Frederick Ward; died 1870), notorious Australian bushranger A few connections: (1) about 4 years ago I picked up a hitchhiker named Ward, who claimed to be Thunderbolt's great-nephew and I was convinced that he was, by his family knowledge; (2) one theory is that Thunderbolt wasn't shot (it was his brother the police killed) but died in a retirement home in Stanmore, Sydney, in 1926, when my Dad was aged one -- and I was born near Stanmore; (3) I knew another descendant of Thunderbolt, a woman for whose sexual appetites was known in Thunderbolt country as 'Thunderbreach'; (4) Thunderbolt was the only person ever to escape the brutally harsh colonial prison of Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour, where my in-laws lived in the prison governor's residence, about 125 years after Ward escaped by swimming with a box over his head. I stayed in that mansion quite a few nights. The old Cockatoo Island sandstone prison is fascinating, and when I stayed there one could still see the tiny, cold cells, the remains of an old well, and the iron bands used to hold convicts when they were flogged.

See also Highwaymen, outlaws, bushrangers, pirates, gangsters, etc in the Book of Days

Pictured: A photo I took of Thunderbolt's Rock one misty June, 2007, morning at Uralla, New South Wales, This was his hide-out.

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Anonymous G.James Hamilton said...

Thunderbolt's great-great nephew sent me the link to this blog. Thanks for the kind rap. Barry Sinclair of Uralla asked me to write the book to kick-start the long process of correcting our history books and getting the terrible truth out about officialdom's wanton destruction of a man and a legend.

It opened a proper can of worms which has taken me well beyond pressing the government to release records which prove my claims of extra-judicial assassination, falsification of coronial inquiry records and the most bizarre cover-up in our history.

I managed to get the Legislative Council to vote a Standing Order to force the government to hand over the records. It disobeyed Parliament and I'm trying to see what can be done about this government's abuse of our NSW Constitution.

Yes, I've gone well beyond that to find that we're no less tyranised today by the goose-step mentality of British colonialm autocracy, only this time we're doing it to ourselves. As Gough Whitlam found when he got into the driver's seat:'We're not free.' Mitterand found the same in France, and Eisenhower warned of it on leaving office.

We don't know just how unfree we are, and there's not a lot of curiosity about either. I've just learned of Evan Whitton's new book on the corruption of our legal and judicial system. What an eye opener. It explains what caused the Thunderbolt phenomenon in the 1860s, and why we're such a pathetic lot today. Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.

best wishes

G.James Hamilton
Hyland Park NSW

9:51 AM  
Blogger Pip Wilson said...

James, I met a bloke in Woolgoolga who was a Ward, and said he was Thunderbolt's great-great-nephew - maybe the same bloke. I wish you well in your efforts and hope you will keep me and my readers informed. I will post your message at . I confess I've been extra busy and although I bought your book a few days ago, I've only read a few pages, but it's at the top of my bedside pile. Good luck. - Pip

11:06 PM  
Blogger Pip Wilson said...

PS I have heard about Whitton's new book and can't wait to get my hands on a coffee. If you're around Bellingen way, please drop me a line.

11:14 PM  
Blogger Pip Wilson said...

LOL Did I say coffee? A freudian slide.

5:01 AM  

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