Ben Hall (original painting held at National Library of Australia)
Hall was born on 09 May 1837 at Wallis Plains the son of Ben and Eliza, both convict immigrants. The birth was registered in Maitland. Many biographies claim he was born at Breeza. This is incorrect. At the time of Ben's birth, his father, Ben Senior was an overseer on Samuel Clift's Doona (or Dono Range) Station which was near Caroona on the Liberty Range (NOT Breeza).
Ben had a short bushranging career of three years from 1862 to 1865 and died young at the age of only twenty-eight in a shoot-out with police at Billabong Creek near Forbes, NSW.
Ben grew up on the land to become a handsome lad, a flashy dresser and a fine horseman. He married Bridget Walsh and took up 7000 hectares at Sandy Creek in the Wheogo Ranges near Forbes. Though Hall was reputedly honest and hard working, he associated with thieves and all his sisters-in-law were married to bushrangers or their associates.
He was arrested in April 1862 for highway robbery but was found not guilty and released when one of his accusers changed his story during the trial. By 1863 he was regularly 'sticking up' travellers mail coaches on the roads between Bathurst, Young and Yass with his gang, which included John Dunn and Johnny Gilbert. Their exploits included occupying the town of Canowindra for three days, holding a police magistrate for ransom, serial robberies of all the stores and inns along Vale Road, and shoot outs with police during which Hall was wounded at least once, and both police and gang members were killed.
'On 29 April 1865, a police party led by Sub-Inspector James Davidson, with the aid of two black teackers (Billy Dargin and Charley) left Forbes. Information had been received from an informer, believed to have had close associations with the gang. On the night of 4 May the police party...found their man in the bush near Billabong Creek. A cold apprehensive night was spent in the bush and on the morning of 5 May 1865, Ben Hall died in a hail of bullets. Ben Hall was buried in Forbes Cemetery on Sunday 7 May 1865.' (Nixon 1991, p85)
Death of Ben Hall. Published in the Illustrated Australian News 25 May 1865
Last Updated 30.06.03 © 1998 Hazel K Orr, firstname.lastname@example.org