Ben Hall

By Sarah Graham

Early Life

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Ben Hall was born on the 9th of May 1837 in New South Wales. Later on in life he married a woman called Elizabeth.The couple were both were ex-convicts. He became a stockman with John Mcguire. His wife later on left him for another man and Ben then married Bridget Walsh. Sadly everything went down hill when he was arrested in April 1862 for an armed robbery. He was released but it was too late because his wife left him taking their baby son Henry with her. In his anger, he abandoned his property and joined Frank Gardiner's gang as a thief. Later on he was arrested for a highway robbery but then released after a witness changed his evidence.

The Big One

With Frank and the other young men of the gang, they carried out the Escort robbery at Eugawra Rocks on the 15th of June 1862. They acquired more than 14000 pounds in gold and cash. They were arrested but released again for lack of evidence.

The Start of a New Bushranger

Facing financial debt Ben Hall sold his property. He felt like he had nothing left to lose so joined a group of bushrangers with Gilbert, John, O'Meally and a couple of other men. Meanwhile his old partner, Frank, was selfish and took all the money from the last robbery and moved to Queensland.

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His Lifetime Career

Over the three years the Hall-Gilbert gang performed many robberies getting away with all of them. In 1863 they carried out so called "Raid On Bathurst" . They rode into town, visited a gun shop and jeweller, robbed patrons at the the Sportman's Arms and then at nightfall robbed many stores and inns on their way out of town.

A few days later they arrived in a town called Canwindra. There they joined a celebration at the Robinson's Hotel. They stayed there for three days and even the local constable joined the party. There was lots of drinking, feasting and merry-making. As a display of the five gang members' honesty and respect for the hotel manager, they insisted on paying him for the three day spree.

Next they robbed a mail coach and were chased by three policemen. The police officers were captured by Ben Hall and his gang. They stole their uniforms for use in other raids and tied the policemen to trees. Sub-Inspector Norton of the Lachlan District Police was lectured on how his policemen weren't trained enough because the bushrangers got the better of them.

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New Rules

Policemen and the Government became very serious about the bushranger problem after the killing of a police sergeant and Constable Nelson who was Collector. New laws allowed anyone who saw a bushranger to shoot them on sight without warning at anytime.

His End

By 1865, there was a 1000 pound reward for the the capture of each Hall-Gilbert gang member. This was such a large amount of money that one of the gang members was tempted to betray his colleagues. At the end of April that year they all decided to temporarily split up. They agreed to meet up a few days later at the Billabong Creek near Forbes. But this time eight policemen were watching and waiting. Ben Hall came out of the scrub and as he was gathering up his horses the policemen took fire. Ben was shot and killed with more than 30 bullets.

7th of May

Two days before his 28th birthday he was buried at Forbes Cemetery. The young man was very well known and had nearly 200 people attend his funeral. Today his grave is still given regular fresh flowers as he was known to play a brief but spectacular part in Australia's history.
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