ushranger who led a notorious gang in the 1860s in NSW.
Ben was born near Tamworth in 1837 to convict parents and became a stockman, running a lease near Wheogo.
In 1862, Ben Hall was wrongly arrested for being an accomplice in a holdup near Forbes and languished in gaol for a month before the charges were dropped. Whilst in detention, his wife ran off with a former policeman, his home was vandalised and his cattle either strayed or were stolen. Hall's life had been turned upside down and he wanted revenge.
Hall joined the gang of bushranger Frank Gardiner and took part in the infamous Eugowra Rocks robbery. When the gang separated, Hall assumed leadership of the remaining bushrangers.
|Ben Hall - National Library of Australia|
For 3 years the Hall gang audaciously plundered a large area around Forbes, Canowindra, Bathurst, Goulburn, Yass and Carcoar, often humiliating local police by stealing their uniforms. When police inspector Sir Frederick Pottinger gave chase, the gang divested him of his horse.
Besides the stealing, Ben wanted to embarrass police as much as possible for the wrongs he felt they had done him.
The authorities called on Hall to surrender or be branded an outlaw. Hall's reply was "They'll never hang Ben Hall". Thus he became the first bushranger to be outlawed.
A week later he was dead, aged all of 27 years.
Ben Hall was shot dead by police on the morning of 6th May, 1865, after former friend Mick Connolly informed police of his whereabouts at Billabong Creek, near Forbes, NSW. When shot, Ben appealed to black-tracker Billy Dargin to finish him off but another hail of bullets fired by the police soon did the job. Later, 36 bullet wounds were found in his body.
Mick had been tempted by the thousand pounds reward, a lot of money in those days.
A popular television series Ben Hall was made by the ABC in 1975.
Some of the exploits of Ben Hall can be read in Rolf Boldrewood's Robbery Under Arms (1888).