Mad Dog Morgan
Australia Crest

Daniel Morgan was born illegitimate in 1833 of poor Irish parents in Sydney and later brought up in the area around Campbelltown and Appin.

In 1853 he went off to the Gold Rush in NSW and Victoria in search of his fortune. Disappointment followed and he took to a life of crime. He was caught two weeks after his first robbery of 4 shepherds at Castlemaine by an Aboriginal policeman under Mounted Sergeant Leonard Cahill and sentenced to 12 years hard labour in Melbourne, spending time in the prison hulks at anchor in Port Phillip Bay.

Death of Dan Morgan
Death of Dan Morgan

He was paroled in 1860 but absconded to become a horse thief, being wounded in the arm during an unsuccessful crime at Whitfield, Victoria.

By 1863 he had become a serious criminal and even held up and wounded Wagga magistrate, Henry Baylis. The Government then placed a 200 reward for the apprehension of Morgan. Morgan returned his loot on discovering the identity of his victim.

In January, 1864, the reward on Morgan's head was raised to 500.

On April 2nd, 1864, Morgan held up the Tumbarumba mail coach.

In June, 1864 he shot stockman John McLean and police sergeant McGinnerty at Round Hill. McGinnerty was killed instantly and McLean died a few days later.

The search was on. On 28th August, 1864, Morgan fired 6 shots into a tent containing pursuing troopers. Sergeant Smythe was hit and died some days later in Albury.

On 8th March, 1865, the Colonial Secretary proclaimed a reward of 1,100 for the apprehension of Daniel Morgan and for information leading to his capture.

On March 30th Morgan robbed the Albury mail near Kyamba.

On April 11th, 1865, he was shot dead, with a bullet in the back, fired by John Wendlan, at Peechelba station, near Wangaratta. Morgan did not die straight away but his spine was shattered. When he finally died his head was cut off and tobacco pouches were made from his scrotum.

Ben Hall was shot dead near Forbes just over 3 weeks later.

Morgan was an inspiration to Ned Kelly.

There is conjecture as to him being called Mad Dog or just plain Mad Dan.

The film Mad Dog starred Dennis Hopper with David Gulpilil as Billy, Jack Thompson as Mainwaring and Frank Thring as Cobham.

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