Ben Hall

Category: Bushrangers


HALL, BENJAMIN (1837-1865), bushranger, is believed to have been born on 9 May 1837 at Maitland, New South Wales, son of Benjamin Hall and his wife Elizabeth; both parents were ex-convicts. He became a stockman and with John Macguire leased a run, Sandy Creek, near Wheogo.

Hall was arrested in April 1862 at a race meeting for armed robbery but was acquitted. By then his wife had left him taking their infant son Henry. In July he was detained for his share in the Eugowra gold escort robbery. He was not committed for trial. Escalating legal costs probably forced Hall and Macguire to quit the lease of Sandy Creek. On 14 March 1863 Hall's home was burnt down by Pottinger.

Embittered, Hall joined John Gilbert and became leader of a gang of bushrangers. Hall was probably the most efficient of the bushranger leaders. His men were well armed and superbly mounted, often on stolen race-horses which easily outpaced the police nags. Some of their holdups seem designed only to defy the police: on their daredevil raid on Bathurst in October 1863 they took little loot and at Canowindra they offered food, drink and festivity to all for three days, but drank little themselves and left the town empty-handed.

Hall with £1000 on his head decided to quit but was betrayed by an informer. On 5 May he was ambushed and shot by the police near Goobang Creek on the Lachlan plain. His body, riddled with gunshot wounds, was buried in the cemetery at Forbes. His funeral was 'rather numerously attended' for his reckless courage, courtesy to women, humour and hatred of informers had won him a sympathy not shared by his more bloodthirsty colleagues

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