Mad Dan Morgan
The Infamous Dan Morgan

There are plenty of stories about bushrangers in many parts of Australia.  Lockhart Shire is no exception. The area around the Shire was a favourite haunt of bushrangers who were active in the 1860's. Discover the stories of 'Mad Dog Morgan' (Dan Morgan) 'Blue Cap' (Robert Cotterill) and others who were active in the area.

Dan Morgan

One of the more infamous characters from the history of  Lockhart Shire and the surrounding districts was Dan Morgan, one of the most unpleasant bushrangers of Australia's past.

Born in Sydney in 1833, Morgan joined the gold rush in 1853. He turned to a life of petty crime, graduating to robbery, which earned him a 12 year sentence of hard labour. Following his release in 1860 as a more hardened criminal, he was to become a legend of the worst kind.

Morgan was an excellent bushman, and this enabled him to evade the police. His hideouts at Galore Hill and further south at Walla Walla provided far reaching view of the surrounding districts.

Even in his own time Morgan was known as "the most bloodthirsty of all highway robbers". He was shot near Wangaratta in 1865.

The Blue Cap Gang

The main local bushranger talent in the district was the Blue Cap Gang, headed by Robert Cottrell. Their targets included stations such as Barellan, Berembed and Berry Jerry. One of the endearing traits of the Blue Cap gang  was to get their captives to do odd things like play their favourite tunes on the piano, or play draughts, a welcome change from the usual fare of violence associated with bushrangers and their gangs at the time.

The gang's exploits across the region made it into newspapers as far away as The Argus (Melbourne), The Townsville Daily Bulletin (Queensland) and The Cornwall Chronicle (Tasmania).

Robert Cottrell was tried at Wagga Court on 20 April 1868. Cottrell only served six of his ten year sentence, and was set free because "His sentence was only light as he had never actually shot or wounded anyone and had no prior convictions".