INFAMOUS CHARACTER: Thunderbolt is one of the most reognisable names amongst Australia's bushrangers. This is his statue in Uralla.
Some years ago on a visit to the McCrossin’s
in Uralla I was fascinated to see
that my great grandfather John Goode was one of those signing the document
congratulating Constable Walker on his actions in shooting bushranger Captain
Thunderbolt in Kentucky Creek in May 1870. Mill Museum
Growing up in Armidale, the name Constable Walker was a familiar one, if overshadowed by the more famous Thunderbolt. However, I actually knew very little about
. He was there as a necessary figure in
a much bigger drama. Walker
Alexander Binnie Walker was born in 1847, joining the police force as a teenager. After training in
early in 1867 to the Northern Police District where he served first at Grafton
and then briefly at Armidale before being posted to Uralla in October 1867. Walker
Uralla was, to use
’s own phrase, then it its roaring
days. For four days a week Walker
guarded the mail from Uralla to Bendemeer. The coach travelled past that rock
now called Thunderbolt’s Rock south of Uralla. Walker
In 1869, Walker and boss Senior Constable Mulhal were involved in the search for Charles Rutherford. Rurtherford and another man, Frank “Dr” Pearson had been bushranging and had been involved at a shooting at the Shearer’s
Inn at Engonia where
Constable McCabe had been shot and killed.
Pearson, a fascinating rogue who claimed to be the model for Boldrewood’s Captain Starlight character, deserves a column in his own right. For the moment, the two men split up after the shooting, with Rutherford coming up though the Liverpool Plains onto the
England to Innes Taylor’s property Terrible Vale.
Mulhall and Walker pursued
Rutherford for four days without sighting him. Soon after
Walker could have been shot, for Rutherford
watched him while
changed horses at the pub at Carlyle’s Gully. Three days later, Walker Rutherford was shot by the publican while trying to hold
up the pub at Pine Ridge.
The fight that took place at Kentucky Creek has been variously described.
Private and official tributes flowed to
, including a
Government reward of 300 pounds. On 1 June Walker was promoted to Senior Constable in
charge at Glen Innes and then in August Sergeant. Walker
Note to readers: This post appeared as a column in the Armidale Express Extra on 18 March 2015. I am repeating the columns here with a lag because they are not on line outside subscription. You can see all the Belshaw World and History Revisited columns by clicking here for 2009, here for 2010, here for 2011, here for 2012, here for 2013, here for 2014, here for 2015.