Historical transparency is extremely important, particularly in this situation, as I had discovered much new information and debunked many long-accepted myths. My publisher and I had originally intended to publish the results of my research – in the form of annotated timelines and myth-debunking analyses – at the back of the book, but this plan had to be abandoned when we realised that the source-references would be larger than the text itself (anyone who has seen the size of the print-out can attest to that as it is 350 A4 pages and doesn’t even include everything on my website!). Some works of popular history omit source-referencing altogether but this idea was unacceptable to me – as my publisher well knew. So we decided to include a brief bibliography in the book and publish everything else on my Thunderbolt website. This has allowed me to not only document the source-references but to include photocopies of important material to substantiate my discoveries. This website material has also been printed out and deposited in relevant record offices – including the UNE’s Heritage Centre at Armidale. In fact, the bound copy of the back-up documentation was handed over during the launch of Captain Thunderbolt and his Lady at McCrossin’s Mill on 18 September 2011, just three weeks after the book was published.
Meanwhile there was the issue of all the new material I had discovered. I felt that it was important to make this material available to other researchers, so I contacted Bill Oates at the Heritage Centre and discussed handing over my copies so the Heritage Centre could photocopy them and make them available to the public. We decided not to worry about newspaper items as many had already been included in the files of Thunderbolt research deposited by Stephan Williams and Bob Cummins, others were now available online via Trove, and the local newspapers were available on microfilm at the Heritage Centre. The bound back-up documentation was handed to the Heritage Centre that same weekend.
This material has now been copied and is available to researchers. It includes copies of the pages from the judge’s transcript of Fred’s 1856 trial (extremely hard to read so my own transcript is included on this website), the Parliamentary papers resulting from the Board of Inquiry into the Leichhardt claims, the depositions relating to criminal activities committed by Fred and his accomplices, and many other sources. In particular there is a lot of material relating to Fred’s young accomplice, William Monckton, which may be of interest to Monckton descendants.
Now I have received all my material back, I will discuss some of it in future blog posts.