Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Trove Tuesday : 'Auld'ercation with bushrangers

The period between April and May of 1865 was not a good time to be a bushranger. On the 9 April 1865 -  'Mad Dan' Morgan was shot and then a few weeks later on the 5 May, Ben Hall was ambushed by eight well-armed policemen and shot whilst attempting to flee. This was enough enticement to check if individuals with the surname Auld, had any run-ins with bushrangers.

A small scuffle with the local ruffians

A quick search in Trove to see if any Aulds had altercations with bushrangers and found the following intriguing extract from the Launceston Examiner in 1862:

"There has been a severe conflict with three armed bushrangers, at the Denison Hotel, Talbragar. The landlord, Mr Kerr, and his servant, Auld, although both unarmed, resisted, and were both wounded. Seeing that a black boy had escaped through the window, and might be expected to have gone in search of assistance, the ruffians made off."
Source:  NEW SOUTH WALES. (1862, January 9). Launceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 - 1899), p. 2 Edition: MORNING.. Retrieved May 14, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article41450548

...leads to more information and to more questions

All relatively innocent enough on the surface, although both Mr Kerr and his servant, known by the name of Auld, do appear to have been wounded in the altercation. Being reported in the Launceston Examiner does raise a question though - the incident took place in Talbragar (on the outskirts of Dubbo, NSW) a long way away from Tasmania but obviously newsworthy enough to be printed in the Tasmanian paper. Back to Trove and we find the following more detailed report in The Sydney Morning Herald  in December 1861:

TALBRAGAR—DENISON TOWN. (1861, December 23). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved May 14, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13061490

This report gives a more graphic description of the incident and additional details about the wounds received..."Auld succeeded in turning the pistol of his antagonist, and the ball passed harmlessly between his legs; but the third ruffian, being at liberty, took aim, and fired at Auld's head, the ball entering his left cheek, passed through his mouth and right cheek". Unfortunately no additional details are given to help identify the servant Auld.

David Auld - Denison Hotel cook

Further investigations reveal several  reports written by the Herald's Correspondent and reproduced in several regional newspapers. The following report appeared in The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser on 21 December 1861.  Reproduced here as it is easier to read than the original from The Sydney Morning Herald on 17 December 1861 (see http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13055171):

CASSILIS. (1861, December 21). The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843 - 1893), p. 8 Supplement: Supplement to the 'Maitland Mercury'. Retrieved May 14, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18685690
This informative article not only tells us that his name is David Auld, but that he also is the cook at the Denison Hotel. Although the jubilation of finding the article is somewhat subdued when you take into consideration the grievous nature of his wounds.

Further research would need to be undertaken to see if the above David is the same David Auld mentioned in the Australian Aulds website.