BUSHRANGER TRAILS AROUND NORTH-EAST VICTORIA AND THE SOUTHERN RIVERINA
Following in the bushrangers' footsteps
Gundagai → *
* The orange helmet represents where the Kelly Gang roamed. * Morven north of Albury-Wodonga is where 'Mad Dog' Morgan murdered a station hand and * Peechelba north of Wangaratta is where he was killed. * 'Captain Moonlite' is buried in Gundagai Cemetery. The Kelly Gang met their demise at Glenrowan.
* Note: We have not included distance or duration as we believe you will want to deviate along the way.
NORTH East Victoria and the Southern Riverina Region of New South Wales did not have many bushrangers, but the ones that did operate in the area became part of Australian folklore.
The three most famous were Ned Kelly - and indeed the whole Kelly Gang - Dan 'Mad Dog' Morgan, and Harry Power, who terrorised the countryside between 1854 and 1880.
Morgan was on the run from 1854 to 1865, Power between 1858 and 1870, and Kelly and his cohorts from 1869 to 1880.
The paths each bushranger took zig-zag across the region, but they are easy to follow.
Dan 'Mad Dog' Morgan
Dan Morgan (real name John Fuller) Morgan’s criminal record began in 1854 when he was sentenced to 12 year’s hard labour for highway robbery in Castlemaine, Victoria.
In 1864 Morgan called at the Round Hill Station at Morven near Culcairn in the Southern Riverina.
There he shot and wounded John Heriot and Sam Watson and sent a young station hand named John McLean to fetch a doctor who lived at Walla Walla Station.
Fearing McLean would return with troopers, he rode after him and shot him in the back. A historic marker on the Culcairn to Holbrook Road indicates McLean’s grave site.
Morgan then ventured to the Tumbarumba region where he murdered Sergeant David Maginnity, then at Pleasant Hills near Henty he shot Sergeant Thomas Smyth who later died of his wounds in Albury.
With one thousand pounds on his head, Morgan returned to Victoria and on April 8, 1865, he held up the McPherson family at Peechelba Station.
After a tip-off, police were waiting for Morgan as he rode from the property.
He was shot once in the back by John Windlaw and Morgan died later that day.
Morgan is buried in the Wangaratta Cemetery.
To follow in Morgan’s footsteps, start at Morven, follow the road to Culcairn, then the Olympic Highway to Albury-Wodonga, the Hume Freeway to Wangaratta and then north along the Wangaratta-Yarrawonga Road to Peechelba.
Harry 'Ned's master' Power
Harry Power (real name Henry Johnson, escaped from Melbourne’s Pentridge Prison in 1869 and turned to highway robbery and became known as a bushranger.
He operated mainly in the North East of Victoria and had a youthful assistant – one Ned Kelly.
Power though mainly operated alone and had a 500 pound reward on his head. He watched for police from a lookout high above the King Valley near Whitfield.
He was captured there in 1870.
The Powers Lookout State Reserve is accessed off the Mansfield-Whitfield Road between Tolmie and Whitfield.
From the car park there’s a challenging 10-minute walk to the lookout.
Ned, Dan, Joe, Steve - The Kelly Gang
The story of Ned Kelly and his gang – Joe Byrne, Dan Kelly and Steve Hart – is known (almost) by all and it would be too long winded to repeat it here.
From the shooting of three policeman at Stringybark Creek in the Wombat Ranges north of Mansfield, to the siege at Glenrowan two years later, the public followed the gang’s every footstep, some seeing them as a modern day Robin Hood and his Merry Men, the majority nothing but a band of thugs and murderers.
Following by car in their footsteps is relatively easy as the gang were known to use well-travelled roads.
After moving to North East Victoria from Ned’s birthplace of Beveridge, the Kelly’s settled at Greta where the remains of the homestead can still be seen today.
Our Bushranger touring route does not include the gang's visit to Euroa in 1878 where they robbed the town's National Bank of 2000 pounds, or of the foray the gang made into NSW, and in particular to Jerilderie, where they held up the town’s bank there and also relieved it of 2000 pounds.
Our Kelly touring route starts at Stringybark Creek which is accessed via the Tatong-Tolmie Road, either from Mansfield or Benalla.
The road to the site is unsealed but there is toilet and camping facilities and you can walk around the shoot-out area and visit the Kelly Tree.
Ned Kelly visited Beechworth on more than one occasion and he was committed to stand trial in the Beechworth Gaol which is one of the town’s tourist attractions.
The remains of the homestead (chimney stack and collapsed barn) are located on the Kelly Gap Road between Glenrowan West and Greta West.
Kelly’s remains were exhumed and buried in an unmarked grave at Greta Cemetery in 2013.
The site of Kelly’s Last Stand is located just off the Hume Freeway at Glenrowan and is one of Australia’s most popular tourist attractions.
The Glenrowan Heritage Precinct was included in the National Heritage list in 2005.
It is an eight-hectare site that includes the original railway platform, the siege site and the location of Anne Jones’s Glenrowan Inn.
A six-metre-high statue which stands guard over the township portrays Ned Kelly in his metal armour.
He only wore it once and it was at the shootout with police that it failed him, as even though his head and upper body was protected, he was shot in the legs and groin which brought him to ground.
The hotel was burnt to the ground with Dan Kelly and Steve Hart still inside.
The Glenrowan Tourist Centre includes an interactive, theatrical production of the siege.
You can pick up a siege site walking guide from the centre and discover for yourself the actual spots where each person was during the shoot-out.
Two other so-called bushrangers who roamed the Ovens region was a man named Meakin, and John 'Billy the Puntman' Hyde.
Little is known of either.
Andrew George Scott, also known as Captain Moonlite, roamed through Victoria and the Southern Riverina.
Scott and his gang held up the Wantabadgery sheep station near Wagga in 1879, but two gang members and a trooper were killed in a shootout.
Scott and three others were found guilty of murder and Scott and one of his accomplices were hanged on January 20, 1880.
He is buried at the Gundagai cemetery.