Governor George Arthur

(previous ... Governor Sorrell)

When Governor Sorrell left his office in 1824, bushranging became as troublesome as ever. Governor Arthur arrived in 1824 and found the colony fast relaspsing into its former unsettled state. He learnt that, shortly before, some 13 to 14 convicts had succeeded in escaping from the penal settlement in an open boat and had landed on a lonely part of the coast. They were joined by a great group of escaped convicts, under the leadership of notorious Matthew Brady (1799 – hung May 4, 1826) and a man known as Crawford, they formed a dangerous horde of robbers, which, for years kept the whole colony in terror.

Matthew Brady and his Gang

For awhile the bushrangers ran rampant without any resistance, until a party of about a dozen attacked the house of an old gentleman named Taylor, who had the courage to fight and defeat them. With his three sons, his carpenter and his servants he fired upon the advancing ruffians, whilst his daughter rapidly reloaded the muskets. The robbers retreated, leaving their leader, Crawford, and two others, who had been wounded, to be captured by Mr Taylor and sent to Hobart Town where they were executed. Brady then became chief leader of the band of evil bushrangers, and though his encounter with old man Taylor had taken away his spirit fighting, he still continued to plunder and annoy for a long time.

Pardons Offered

Deep in the woods, along the silent banks of the Shannon, the oulaws lived. It was a place where when soldiers tried to oenetrate the outlaws could easily escape to the rugged mountain sides and hide or defend themselves. Governor Arthur's task was not an easy one, for Brady could command a powerful force and he was not the only bushranger to contend with. Because of these bushrangers spreading fear into the community the countyr became unsettled and trade was paralyzed. Seeing no other course open to him, Governor Arthur offered a pardon and free passage home to those who surrendered. This proved effective with many submitting peacefully and leaving Brady virtually on him own. Brady , whilst wandering alone in a secluded valley was surprised by John Batman, the man who would later assist in the settlement of Victoria. Brady surrendered and was executed on the 4th of May 1826. Following this the bushrangers of Tasmania disappeared and the colonists once more breathed a great sigh of relief.

(continues ... Separation from New South Wales)


History of Australia