Frank Gardiner

Category: Bushrangers

Frank Gardiner

Frank Gardiner (born c. 1829, Ross-shire Scotland; died c. 1904 in Colorado, USA) was a noted Australian bushranger of the 19th century. He either migrated from Scotland to Australia as a child with his parents in 1834,

His real name is thought to have been Francis Christie, though he often used one of several other aliases: "Frank Clarke or Christie"; "The Darkie"; "The Prince of Tobymen"; "General Gardiner"; and "King of the Road". His father, believed to have been Charles Christie had traveled out to Australia ahead of the rest of the family and Frank is thought to have been the product of an affair with a part aboriginal woman known as Anne Clarke, but photographs of Gardiner show that he was a full blooded white man. He supposedly took the name Gardiner after a man who lived for some years with his family and who had taught him how to ride and break-in horses.

n 1862 he bailed up the Lachlan Gold Escort near Eugowra with Ben Hall and Johnny Gilbert. This hold up is still considered to be the largest ever gold robbery in Australia's history. The total value of the 2,700 ounces of gold and bank-notes taken was estimated at £14,000 (approximately AUD$2.5 million in 2009 terms, but with the mailbags' money it would have doubled the amount stolen). Almost half of the gold was recovered by mounted police following a raid and shootout at one of the Gardiner hideouts in the Weddin Mountains near Forbes.

What happened to the remaining gold is still the subject of much speculation and rumour. Treasure hunters still visit the area and it is even rumoured that two Americans who were thought to be Gardiner's sons visited the Wheogo Station near the Weddins in 1911 claming to be miners.

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