Captain Moonlight's Victim. Bushranging Tragedy Revived

Singleton Argus

29 July 1911

A frail old woman, shabbily dressed, has for years been a well-known figure on a seat in the Carlton Gardens. Here she industriously plied a crochet needle and worked fantastic designs. As each piece was completed she hawked it about the city for sale. It was her only means of eking out an existence. She lived in poor lodgings.

But the struggle is over, for she died suddenly on Saturday (says the Melbourne "Herald"). Very few knew who this plucky old woman was to whom fate had proved so unkind. Her name was Marion Bowen, and she was the widow of Edward Mortyn Webb Bowen, a man whose name occupies a place among others in the honor list of the New South Wales police force.

He died in the service of his country at the hands of a notorious gang of bushrangers headed by A. G. Scott, alias Captain Moonlight. At 3 o'clock on Sunday, November 16, 1879, when the country was terrorised by the exploits of the Kelly gang, Moonlight, who had got together five desperadoes, stuck up the Wantabadgery Inn and police station.

They were encountered by four of the Wagga Wagga police on the following morning, but succeeded in escaping. Assistance was obtained from Gundagai, and a posse of police, under the command of Senior-sergeant Carroll and Sergeant Cassin, went in pursuit. The bushrangers declined to surrender, and shooting began. Constable Bowen was severely injured in the neck by a bullet, and died a few days later. Two of the bushrangers, James Nesbit and August Warnecke, were shot dead. Graham Bennett, a member of the gang, was wounded and captured.

On seeing the uselessness of continuing the fight, Moonlight, Thomas Rogan, and Thomas Williams threw down their weapons and surrendered. They were tried on the charge of murder of the constable, and Moonlight was executed in the Darlinghurst Gaol. The others were imprisoned.

The plucky conduct of Constable Bowen was promptly recognised, and he was immediately promoted to the rank of senior constable, and a special allowance of 75 a year for 10 years was granted from the police fund to his widow.

At the expiration of that time the case was reconsidered, and Mrs Bowen accepted a lump sum. She went into business, but the venture proved unsuccessful. For several years past she supported herself by her needle. Ill-health fell upon her, and she collapsed and died on Saturday from heart and kidney disease.