Bushranging in New South Wales. By Telegraph
South Australian Register
18 November 1879
Sydney, November 17.
Seven bushrangers stuck up an hotel and store at Wantabagery on Sunday. They had an encounter with the police, who were compelled to retreat under cover until they can be reinforced.
Sydney, November 17, 9.47 p.m.
Intelligence has just been received from Gundagai of a desperate conflict between the police and bushrangers. Two of the latter ware shot dead, one was wounded, and two surrendered. One man escaped. Constable Bowen was shot in the neck, and it is feared fatally.
Sydney, November 17, Midnight.
The fighting between the police and the bush rangers was desperate on both sides. Constable Bowen was shot in the neck, and two constables had their horses shot under them. Mr. Beveridge and two assistants intended joining the police, but were stuck up on the road by the bushrangers, who led them into ambuscade. Mr. Beveridge was compelled to shoot his valuable horse, and he and his men were court-martialled and allowed five minutes to live, but the arrival of the police saved them. Two rifles, six revolvers, and fifty rounds of ammunition were taken from the bushrangers.
Melbourne, November 17.
Wantabadgery Station, four (sic- more like forty Ed.) miles from Wagga Wagga, was stuck up yesterday morning. The mailboy arrived there at 9.30, and was met by a man, who said, "Ah, boy, just waiting for you," and took possession of the mailbag. The boy does not know what was done with the bag. Four police were sent out, and arrived it the orchard near the station late last night, when they were fired upon from the other side of the fence. The troopers dismounted and tied their horses to the fence, and advanced, still firing. In the meantime three men slipped round and took possession of the police horses. When the constables went for their horses they found them stolen. Seven armed men were seen on the road to Gundagai at 12 o'clock to-day.
Melbourne, November 17, 11 p.m.
The police obtained fresh horses at the station and went in pursuit. About 9. 30 on Sunday morning six men, fully armed, bailed up the Wantabadgery Station. The manager of the station. Mr. McDonald , was supplied with some food and sent to the roof of the house to keep watch. Prior to this he refused to assist the bushrangers, for which he received several kicks and was made to apologise on his knees. The mailboy arrived shortly after, when he was bailed up, but the men treated him kindly. Four of the Wagga police left at 8 p.m., with Constable Rowe in charge. They arrived at Wantabadgery Station at 4 this morning. The bushrangers came out of the house and were called upon to stand, but refused. The police then fired on them and dismounted. The constables made for the cover, manoeuvring and firing alternately, the bushrangers returning the fire. This lasted for two hours and a half, and the bushrangers tried by a semicircle to surround the constables. The constables then retired on foot to Beveridge's Station, two miles distant, leaving their horses behind them, as any attempt to regain them would have cost them their lives.
The Gundagai police then met the Wagga police - nine in all - and proceeded in the direction taken by the bushrangers. About two miles from Wantabadgery they came upon them and called to them to surrender, but they answered by firing, and a desperate engagement took place, the police gradually closing in. One bushranger was first shot, the others making for a hut, the police still closing on the bushrangers, who were fighting desparately. A second man was shot dead in the hut, and a third wounded in the arm. Two others surrendered, holding up their hands, and the sixth man escaped. Before the others rushed to the hut Constable Bowen was dangerously wounded in the neck.
The news was brought by Constable John, who was much exhausted and covered with blood. The leader of the gang said he was Captain Moonlight.