Bushrangers were people in Australia who decided to live an outlaw life and took up robbery for a living, seeking refuge in the vast outback to evade the authorities.  Sometimes they murdered people robbing banks, merchants, and even stagecoaches. This was not the case with a bushranger named Ben Hall, as he did his raids kind of differently from the other bushrangers during their time. Since Australia was founded by the British Empire as a penal colony it should be surprising that a certain romanticism has grown around the story of Ben Hill, the Gentleman Bushranger of the outback.

It Runs In The Blood

Benjamin Hall was born in May 1937 in the Hunter Region of New South Wales in Maitland. His parents met each other as convicts before they settled and had children. When Ben grew up, he worked and helped his father on his farm on the Pages River near Murrurundi. In the 1950s, his father was charged with horse-stealing, although he was not detained as the witness did not show up for the trial.

Once old enough, Ben found his way to leave by working as a stockman(cattleman) on the Boyd Station for Mr. Hamilton and then for Mr. John Walsh of Wheogo. In 1858, he married Mr. Walsh’s daughter named Bridie Walsh. They settled on a farm that they purchased in Sandy Creek. It was a great beginning of their married life, but it did not last long as Bridie had a love affair with another stockman named John Taylor and decided to live with him, taking their two-year-old son with her. All these happened when Ben was away. Unbeknownst to her, he was already doing some bushranging behind the scene. In 1861, a warrant was officially issued for his arrest. It stated:

“It has been decreed by His Excellency the Governor in Council, that anyone who shall, or
shall be reasonably suspected to have harboured, fed, or in any way assisted bushrangers, the Police may without further notice, pull down, burn, or otherwise destroy their houses, out-houses, or other buildings.