“Fifty Christmas’s in goal"
(well there abouts)
How would you like that on your CV these days?
Well this was the case of New Zealand’s first Bushranger Henry Beresford Garrett, birth name Henry Rouse (some say gentleman bushranger)
Released from a Victorian jail as a ticket-to-leave man (meaning he could not leave Victoria) Garrett arrived in Dunedin in August 1861 aged 43. During the voyage he was sought by three others of criminal background being Anderson, Duncan and McLoughlin and later that month they robbed a Dunedin gunsmith of revolvers, rifles a hunting knife and a Chinese double sword.
On the 18 October 1861 they committed what the Otago Daily Times call of Garrett “the most notorious highwayman since Dick Turpin and Claude Duval”
Halfway Between Dunedin and Gabriel’s Gully at a place called Mount Maungatua they held up no less fifteen men over the course of the day, tied them first the robbed them. In total they had a haul of around 400 pounds plus jewellery etc. Ironically during the day Garrett cut tobacco, made hot tea and handed out several nobblers of gin to his prisoners.
Whilst the bushrangers had masks and scarfs to hide their identity these were displaced from time to time during the course of the day. Garratt was just under six foot one inch in height and ramrod straight. This was in an age where the average male height was only five foot five inches. This may have been an achilles heel in his criminal career.
The next day three of the gang rode to Dunedin and boarded the “City of Hobart” bound for Sydney. The one that stayed behind was John Anderson who was observed drinking at McKay’s Hotel at Taieri a few days later by one of the victims. He was arrested and sentenced to three years in prison.
Meanwhile Garrett and co arrived in Sydney and shortly after Duncan and McLoughlin were arrested for robbing a Sydney Bank.
Garrett left the Royal Hotel owing money and was socializing with a young woman when he was arrested for failing to pay this bill on 12 December. In his procession was a watch stolen at Maungatua. This information had been pasted on to the Australian authorities.
Inspector Healey brought the prisoner before the Magistrate the following day and testified that he knew Garrett as he had escorted him back from London to Australia some years before to face trial for robbery. Garrett was charged with being a ticket-to-leave man illegally at large from the Colony of Victoria.
On December 31 the Magistrate decided that Garrett was to be shipped back to Otago to stand trial for the Maungatua Robbery as Victoria did not want him.
Garrett appeared before the Dunedin Magistrate Court on the 17 January 1862 and was committed to the Supreme Court on 15 May and was subsequently found guilty of what the Judge said “was unprecedented in the history of the colony”. He was sentenced to eight years in Dunedin gaol.
So how did Garrett spend “Fifty Christmas’s in Goal”
To be continued: