Interrogation of Frederick Ward at Cockatoo Island
On 8 May 1857, a government Board of Inquiry was held at Cockatoo Island to examine John Garbutt's claims that he had seen long-lost explorer Ludwig Leichhardt at a mixed white/Aboriginal race camp in the interior, west of the Darling Downs (Queensland). Garbutt claimed that Leichhardt was being held hostage and had initially reported that his brother, James, and uncle, Frederick Ward (later bushranger Captain Thunderbolt) had also visited the inland camp. Although Garbutt decared soon afterwards that James and Fred had not, in fact, visited the camp, all three were interrogated by the Board on that day (for more detailed information and source-references, go to April 1857 in the Timeline).
The followng is a transcript of Fred's interrogation. This is an extremely important Thunderbolt document because it is the only occasion on which we actually hear Fred's voice directly. A scribe wrote down every question and answer at the time of the interrogation so this is a verbatim transcript of the questions he was asked and the answers he provided. Although other historical documents repeat statements made by Fred and conversations involving him, all are "hearsay" – that is, another person at a later time was repeating what they recollected Fred saying. So read this interrogation and "listen" to his voice. It is very interesting.
Legislative Assembly Tabled Papers: Statement of John Garbutt regarding Ludwig Leichhardt, 1857 [NSWPA LA TP 1857/409]