BUSHRANGERS near Mt Marrow and Walloon!

A STORY ABOUT BUSHRANGERS – ROSEWOOD SCRUB SCRIBLER, AUGUST 2013  

I came across a story in the Moreton Border News about bushrangers in the Mount Marrow area recently.  One can imagine that in the mid 1900’s when travellers tried to go from one place to another they were very vulnerable towards the possibility of being ambushed, robbed and even worse, killed. Even the more secure means of travelling, the Cobb & Co Coaches were easy targets for unscrupulous people roaming the countryside or, as in the next story, even your own cattle and horses were not safe from being stolen. According to a resident of the Mount Marrow area, Mr Wallace Rea, and being a great grandson of one of the first settlers in that region, Captain John Nicol Rea, the area had to deal with bushrangers.

 Captain Rea who came to the area in in the early 1860’s from Sydney by Bullock wagon. He finally settled in Mt Marrow, then called Mt Rea. At some stage he discovered that he had lost two of his bullocks and a number of his horses were missing too. His first thoughts were that Aboriginals had taken them for food as there was an Aboriginal tribe living in the area. When questioned they denied even knowing the existence of the animals.  Another possibility was that the animals had been ‘rustled’. This was a practice only done by ‘white settlers’. There were however no white settlers in the direct area. His next thought was gearing towards the ‘bushrangers’. These bushrangers had a ‘hideout’ nearby; actually the hideout adjoined his property which is now known as Perry’s Knob.

 These bushrangers were known as Irishmen and one as the ‘wild Scotsman’. The story goes that they would ride out of the scrub and tree covered hills to rob and plunder as they willed or to run off stock and steal anything that would yield them a ‘pound or two or a few bob’.  They also seemed to have held up the Cobb & Co Stage Coach several times between Walloon and Rosewood and thereby harassing the driver and passengers. It seems that if the passengers did not have any valuables, the ‘wild Scotsman’ would shoot them through both palms.  When Captain Rea went to look for his bullocks and horses, he set off towards the camp of the bushrangers as he thought that they were the only ones who could have them. When he finally found the bushrangers they denied any knowledge of it.  As he saw no evidence of it he assumed that they spoke the truth and went home. Going through the outskirts of his property on his way home he discovered a newly dug well.  As he had not dug this well and it was on his property, he got off his horse to investigate and found hanging in the well one side of his bullocks. He knew it was one of his bullocks as it still had the hide on with his brand.  

 Looking a bit further he also found his pure Clydesdale horses with their throats and fetlocks cut. Captain Rea was furious and rode back to the camp of the bushrangers, something that they certainly would not have expected, and gave them a flogging with his bullock whip.  Captain Rea was known for being very skilled with the bullock whip and it was said that he could flick a fly of his lead bullock’s ear without drawing blood while driving his team.  Nobody knows if the attendance of Captain in the bushrangers’ camp was enough to drive them out as they must have understood that if Captain Rea could find it, it would not take long before the law would also be able to find them.



A famous Australian Bushranger – Ned Kelly

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