As the fascinating but tragic tale of the fate of the Duke of Athol attests entrepreneurial bushrangers and outright scoundrels abounded throughout the Upper Hunter Valley.
Fred Ward aka “Thunderbolt” was upfront and central in most discussions until his ultimate capture and demise at Uralla; if it was him? Also prevalent throughout the area was ‘Captain Starlight’ or Harry Readford. There was even a ‘lady bushranger’ Jessie Hickman resident near Emu Vale in the Widden Valley. Earlier Edward ‘Jewboy’ Davis and his gang had been active until their capture by Edward Denny Day at the battle of Doughboy Hollow (‘Ardglen’). Ben Hall actually attended school in Murrurundi. Family members still prevail in the area.
There are many others but the key to survival was the acquisition of the best horses. It was a risky business and the penalties for capture severe!