Mainly New South Wales
|Andrew Scott (Captain Moonlite)|
One hour before Andrew Scott was hung at Sydney's Darlinghurst gaol on January 20th., 1880, he
asked as his last request that he be laid to rest at Gundagai, near the graves of his friends and
cohorts James Nesbitt and Augustus Wernicke, who were killed in the shoot-out at Wantabadgery
between Wagga Wagga and Gundagai. It was not until 1995 his body was removed from Sydney's
Rookwood cemetery and re-interred at Gundagai, ironically, also within a few metres of Constable
Edward Mostyn Webb-Bowen, who was also killed in the seige.|
During the 1880's the Riverina area was suffering severe drought and there was little work. Scott, Nesbitt, Wernicke and three friends, Graham Bennett, Thomas Rogan and Frank Johns, survived by travelling from property to property seeking odd jobs and hand-outs. At Wantabadgery station they were twice refused shelter or work and they took to arms to get what they wanted. Over 3 days they spread terror around the area taking some 35 hostages until they were cornered at Wantabadgery and a police siege resulted in the deaths of Nesbitt, Wernicke and Constable Webb-Bowen.
'Captain Moonlite' as Scott became known, earned the respect and reluctant understanding of many in the hard times, and their prompt release of hostages and respect for women on their raids, earned him the nickname of "The Gentleman Bushranger". Scott admitted he had no intention of becoming a bushranger and they were driven to their misdeeds by misery and hunger.
Scott, Rogan, Johns and Bennett were first tried in Gundagai, and later at Sydney for the murder of Constable Webb-Bowen and, in an appeal to the court, Scott pleaded for leniency for his accomplices saying he had engineered the raids and was solely to blame for them following his bidding.
'Let those who stand beside me go free." He appealed.
All four were convicted and sentenced to death by hanging before an enthusiastic court of some 2,000 people.
After appeals, the sentences of Williams and Bennett were later commuted to 'life with hard labour'.
An ex lay preacher, Scott conducted his own defence.
His grave is in the Anglican section of the North Gundagai Cemetery.
|© Copyright Peter W. Wilkins|