Timeline: 1865 - First gang
This Timeline documents all the information discovered for Frederick Ward and his accomplices Thomas Hogan, McIntosh and John Thompson who bushranged in early 1865. Many of the referenced newspapers are now accessible online (see Online Newspapers).
Copyright Carol Baxter 2011
Early 1865: Around Christmas 1864 or early in the New Year 1865, ‘The Bull’ joined Thunderbolt (for further information, see Thomas Hogan)
Jan 1865: ‘Mcintosh’ (sometimes called ‘William McKay/Mackay’ perhaps incorrectly) joined Thunderbolt (for further information, see McIntosh)
5 Jan 1865: Thunderbolt & another (later referred to, apparently by Mary Ann Bugg, as ‘William Mackay’ but the description resembles that of Thomas ‘The Bull’ Hogan) robbed hawker George Davies on the Culgoa River (near Weilmoringle) and stole cheques and goods worth some £150; 8 Jan: Sergeant Cleary and a blacktracker met Davies at Orr’s station on the Birrie/Ballandool River, and they followed sightings across the Queensland border to the Curriwillinghi police station then back across the border to Thunderbolt’s camp near Thomas Moffitt’s Bunna Bunna station between the Culgoa and Birrie Rivers near Brenda; at the camp they found stolen goods as well as Mary Ann and two children; late Jan: warrant issued by Bourke Bench for the robbers
2 Feb 1865: Thunderbolt and two others (almost certainly The Bull and McIntosh) robbed Jeremiah Barr, dealer of Maitland, at Bokhara River and stole cheques and orders valued at £15
circa Feb 1865: Thunderbolt joined by John Massey Thompson (for further information, see John Thompson)
16 Mar 1865: Thunderbolt and his three gang members bailed up Mogil Mogil station, north of Collarenebri, and stole £7
17 Mar 1865: Thunderbolt & gang robbed Arnold, Esq., of Rocky Creek between the Narran and Barwon Rivers
20 Mar 1865: Thunderbolt & gang entered and searched William Earl’s Squatter’s Arms pub at Collarenebri; also bailed up Peter Gather returning from the Collarenebri races around the same time
21 Mar 1865: Thunderbolt & gang robbed dray of William Lawson, dealer, at Mogil Mogil and stole 12 brown shirts, 13 pairs of trousers (10 moleskin), 2 dozen pairs of spurs, 4 bridles, 4 pairs of riveted hobbles, 2 dozen pocket knives, 2 loaded whips, 5 revolvers, belts, pouches, &c., then headed west towards the Narran River pursued by Magistrate Hugh Bryden and volunteers, but their pursuers were forced to turn back for lack of water
26 Mar 1865: Thunderbolt & gang bailed up station of Messrs Alexander Macleay, James Little & William Beaumont at Talawanta on the Birree River about 100 miles north-east from Bourke and stole 4 saddles, 6 saddle straps, 1 bridle, 1 pair saddle bags, 2 double-barrelled guns, 5 boxes percussion caps, 3 red blankets, 5 pairs trousers, 2 pairs wellington boots, 2 tweed coats, 3 water cans, and bay mare; 27 Mar: message reached police station at Bourke: 28 Mar: Sergeant Cleary, Constable Byrne, a blacktracker and the messenger set out for Talawanta, arriving the following evening; 30 Mar: the police accompanied by Mr Beaumont follow Thunderbolt’s gang to Narran Lake; 1 Apr: found Thunderbolt’s camp near the lake inhabited by Mary Ann, two children and stolen goods; 2 Apr: arrested Mary Ann for having stolen property in her possession but on the journey back to Bourke she feigned labour and was dropped off at George Forrester’s Wilby Wilby station on the Narran River
4 Apr 1865: Thunderbolt’s gang bailed up Wilby Wilby station and rescued Mary Ann and her children, returning twice more during the same night, the first time to rob the inhabitants and the two hawkers who were spending the night, stealing around £10 from the residents and about £20 in cash and goods from Thomas Sullivan and the other hawker, the second visit for an unknown reason
5-18 Apr 1865: Thunderbolt & gang headed down to the Tamworth district taking pregnant Mary Ann and the children with them; and left them in the district (probably in the vicinity of the Borah Ranges); Fred employed a part-Aboriginal woman to assist Mary Ann during her confinement (delivery of baby) before he and his gang headed north-west again.
NB. While the female informant reported on 22 Mar 1866 that Thunderbolt had employed her ten months before (that is, around May 1865), the only time he could have done so was in mid-April before the Manilla mail-robbery or in June/July after his return from Queensland; as the police had tried to take Mary Ann into custody, he wouldn’t have left his heavily pregnant wife alone in the Warrego district while the gang headed south to the Tamworth district, so logic suggests that their journey south was intended to quietly settle her there with a midwife before heading north-west again, committing the Manilla robbery on the return journey
19 Apr 1865: Thunderbolt, Macintosh and Thompson robbed Warialda-Tamworth mailman (Martin Hurley) about four miles from Manilla, taking the mailman’s horse for their mate (presumably ‘The Bull’) who was reportedly in the bush with an exhausted horse; also bailed up buggy driven by Mr Ross of Myall Creek
19/20 Apr 1865: Thunderbolt’s gang rode towards Barraba and that night stole two of the best horses from Messrs Lloyd’s station near Manilla; same night went to Barraba and stole two of Mr Sinclair’s horses, leaving the Warialda mailman’s horse and one stolen from Lloyd’s; the following morning they visited Mr Cheeseborough’s Tareela station about 12 miles from Barraba, and asked for the ‘entire’ horse, Glendower but were forced to take another; they then headed in the direction of Mr Lethbridge’s station (presumably Currangandi in the Gwydir district which is adjacent to the Rocky Creek run)
24 Apr 1865: Thunderbolt’s gang robbed Hugh Munro’s Boggy Creek Inn (30 miles north-west of Narrabri on road parallel to Newell Highway) of around £50 in goods, then headed north, sticking-up traveller Mr Baldwin before arriving at William Walford’s Sportsman’s Arms at Millie; the police arrived at the inn and in the ensuing shoot-out, Thompson was wounded and arrested while the remaining gang members escaped
24 Apr 1865: Police search: Constable Dalton, volunteers and other police parties, including a Queensland force, followed Thunderbolt’s remaining gang members but stopped when rain obliterated their tracks; 5 May: fine weather allowed the search to resume; mid-May: gang reported to be somewhere around Cookeran Lake between the Narran and Barwon Rivers; 20 May: report that police had traced them as far as the Narran and were still in pursuit; 27 May: report that police had pursued them into Queensland and, having alerted the Queensland police, were returning to their stations; early Jun: Riverina Herald complains of the Warrego district being besieged by criminal refugees from NSW including Thunderbolt while other reports mention that he stole horses and rations from Rutherford’s Warrego station, and also stuck up Mr Furlong’s station, Thurelgoonab, near Queensland border.
NB. Gang seemingly split up in May. McIntosh disappears. For further information about the activities of Fred’s other accomplices in the aftermath, see John Thompson and Thomas Hogan.
Mid-1865: For his efforts in apprehending Thompson and chasing Thunderbolt’s gang, Constable Dalton was promoted to Senior Constable. Rewards were also paid: the three constables were each given £7.10 and the blacktracker £2.10 from the £25 award offered by the government; the three constables also received a portion of the £64 raised by the residents of the Tamworth district
 NSW Police Gazette 1865 pp.46 & 48; The Empire 24 Jan 1865 p.3, 31 Jan p.3, 2 May p.5; Sydney Morning Herald 7 Feb 1865 p.4. Re Thomas Moffitt: Bailliere’s NSW Gazetteer p.100; Hanson Pastoral Possessions p.412; Brisbane Courier 19 Jan 1864 p.2; NSW Government Gazette 1865 p.2624; Sydney Morning Herald 7 Feb 1870 p.2.
 NSW Police Gazette 1865 p.106
 Maitland Mercury 18 Apr 1865 p.2 (from New England Telegraph 15 Apr)
 NSW Police Gazette 1865 pp.117-18
 NSW Police Gazette 1865 p.148; Maitland Mercury 18 Apr 1865 p.2 (from New England Telegraph 15 Apr)
 NSW Police Gazette 1865 p.148; Maitland Mercury 18 Apr 1865 p.2 (from New England Telegraph 15 Apr), 29 Apr p.2, 13 May p.3; Empire 16 May 1865 p.5
 NSW Police Gazette 1865 No.15 (12 Apr 1865) p.137, No.16 (19 Apr 1865) p.148; Maitland Mercury 29 Apr 1865 p.2; The Empire 2 May 1865 p.2. Re Macleay, Little & Co.’s station: Bailliere’s NSW Gazetteer, pp.38, 443-4, 654; NSW Government Gazette 1865 p.929, Hanson Pastoral Possessions, p.479, Maitland Mercury 24 Sep 1864 p.3. Re Forrester’s station: Bailliere’s NSW Gazetteer, p.607, Maitland Mercury 26 Jun1866 p.6
 NSW Police Gazette 1865 No. 17 (26 Apr 1865) p.156; Maitland Mercury 18 Apr 1865 p.2, 29 Apr 1865 p.2
 Maitland Mercury 29 Mar 1866 p.2
 Sydney Morning Herald 21 Apr 1865 p.4, 25 Apr p.4; Armidale Express 29 Apr 1865 p.3 (x2); The Empire 29 Apr 1865 p.2; Maitland Mercury 25 Apr 1865 p.2 & ME 29 Apr 1865 p.4 (from Tamworth Examiner 22 Apr 1865); Maitland Mercury 27 Apr 1865 p.4; Brisbane Courier 29 Apr 1865 p.6 (from Singleton Times); NSW Police Gazette 1865 No.17 (26 Apr 1865) p.156
 Maitland Mercury 27 Apr 1865 p.4, 28 Aug 1866 p.5; Armidale Express 29 Apr 1865 p.3; Sydney Morning Herald 3 May 1865 p.8 (from Tamworth Examiner 29 Apr); Maitland Ensign 26 Apr 1865, 3 May p.4; Singleton Times 29 Aug 1865 p.2; Re Lethridge’s run – Currangandi: Bailliere’s Gazetteer p.167; Hanson Pastoral Possessions p.335
 Sydney Morning Herald 29 Apr 1865 pp.6 & 7, 3 May p.8 (from Tamworth Examiner 29 Apr); Maitland Mercury 29 Apr 1865 p.4, 2 May p.3; ME 3 May 1865 p.3; Armidale Express 6 May 1865 p.2; NSW Police Gazette 1865 No. 18 (3 May 1865) p.169, No.20 (17 May 1865) p.185. Re inns/innkeepers: NSW Government Gazette 1865 p.2060, Maitland Mercury 12 Jan 1864 p.3, 20 Dec p.1, 18 Mar 1865 p.1
 Maitland Mercury 13 May 1865 p.3, 13 Jun p.3; Sydney Morning Herald 17 May 1865 p.5 (from Tamworth Examiner 13 May), 24 May p.4 (from Tamworth Examiner 20 May); Hobart Mercury 30 May 1865 p.3 (from Tamworth Examiner 27 May); Argus 27 Jun 1865 p.5 (from Riverina Herald 7 Jun); The Empire 16 May 1865 p.5, 9 Jun p.4; Armidale Express 13 May 1865 p.3
 NSW Police Gazette 1865 pp.169 & 401, Singleton Times 19 Aug 1865 p.3; Armidale Express 26 Aug 1865 p.4 & Sydney Morning Herald 23 Aug 1865 p.4 (from Tamworth Examiner 19 Aug 1865); CSIL: Inspector General of Police to Principal Under-Secretary, 21 Aug 1865 [SRNSW ref: 4/555 No.65/3821]