Drama for Stephen
To the Editor of THE SYDNEY GAZETTE, Port Macquarie, June 13th 1825
If the following particulars, relative to the acts of one of the most desperate gang of bushrangers that ever conspired to gather here, may be considered interesting, you are at liberty to give them publicity in your Paper.
The notorious Goff (possibly pronounced Goss), probably one of the most incorrigible characters that ever infested society, ran into the bush on Thursday the 2d instant. He was attached to one of the out-stations, and previous to his absconding had formed an arrangement with some prisoners at the Settlement, of sililiar habits to himself, to join in his lawless intentions. He ran from the tobacco plantations at the N.W. arm of the river, and proceded immediately to Rolland's Plains, where he was joined by two of the prisoners there; thence he returned to Prospect, with another of the gang belonging to that station, and broke into the dwelling of Mr. Scott, the Superintendent, who happened at the time to be in a defenceless state, having only his servant with him. They pillaged the house of all personal and public property, which they could convert to their purpose and indeed many articles which could be of no utility to them. This happened on Thursday morning, on the verge of day-light. The day previous, his consort, Captain Brown, another infamous character, attended with four respites from the Settlement, arrived near the scene of these transactions and way-laid one of the military and a Constable, between Prisoners' Gardens and the Plains, and succeeded in wresting the musketfrom the former; and afterwards tied them to a tree all night. Upon these events being reported to the Commandant, the measures he adopted for the apprehension of the felons was most judicious, prompt, and successful; indeed almost defied the possibility of their escape. On the Saturday morning following, Goff, with an augmented party of eight, again made a descent upon Prospect; fortunately, however, Mr. Scott had previously removed all the provisions, and every article useful to the bushrangers, from the premises, so that they returned much disappointed, except in obtaining a great booty of tobacco, and other trifling articles. Red Bank was the proposed rendezvous of the bushrangers; thither a civil officer, with two of the military, instantly proceded from Prospect, within an hour of the occurrence of the above attack. On the way they met Bob Barrett, and four other natives, whom Captain Gillman had dispatched to Red Bank, which they reached at 12 o'clock at night, and about 10 minutes before, Captain Brown had visited one of the huts, and called for two men who were to have joined them. In the morning, Bob (the meritorious and useful native constable), was put upon the track of the villians, and after transversing some distance he gave the party who accompanied him noticethat we were near; upon our coming within sight Brown (who stole the musket from one of the soldiers on the Wednesday preceeding), was walking in a thick brush with his arms folded, and the firelock resting against a tree; he moved a few paces, took it up, and ran. He was summoned to stop, but refused; the consequence was, that he was shot by one of the soldiers, and two of his companions taken (respites). The day following, Captain Gillman sent Mr Partridge, the superintendent, and four trusty constables, up to Red Bank. With this indefatigable officer, the party proceeded overland to Prospect in pursuit of the detestable Goff and his gang, who were to have joined Brown. During these transactions Captain Gillman proceeded up the North-west arm of the river, at night-time; secretly planted a party of soldiers at Prospect; and the day after scoured the forest, in the vicinity of the place, and the Prisoners' Gardens---at times accompanied by some military and occasionally alone.
On Wednesday Goff, and his gang, were attacked close to Prospect by one soldier and a constable, and two of them taken prisoners, and a third wounded. Mt Partridge, the superintendent, attended by the before-mentioned Barrett, was within a quarter of a mile of the place at the time of the above attack, when hearing two shots, instantly repaired to the scene, and by the assistance of the natives, who tracked the road the villains took, succeeded in coming up with them; two surrendered themselves. Goff, and another, fled; the latter being twice summonsed to stop, and continuing to refuse, was shot dead. Goff afterwrds gave himself up, as well also as the remainder of his gang, amounting to 22 in number.
In this affair, where two men's lives have been, I must say, lawfully taken, it is a duty incumbent upon me to state, in behalf of the Commandant, that the last orders he gave the military, relative to this affair, were, "not to shoot any of the bushrangers, provided they gave themselves up; but, should they persist in endeavouring to escape, or make any resistance, the not to hesitate in shooting them." The same day these orders were issued, he immediately hazarded his own life in saving six men that were overset on the bar. It is also worthy of remark, that so judicious have his measures been in confining the prisoners to this Setlement, that not more than six or eight have effected their escape since he has been in command. These, Mr. Editor, are facts, upon which you may place implicit reliance.
A PUBLIC SERVANT
(Published in 'The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser' of 30 June 1825)
Testimonial for Stephen
To the Editor of The Sydney Gazette,
I beg leave to acquaint you, for the information of settlers and others proceeding to Port Macquarie, that Mr. S. Partridge has, by permission of the Government, resigned his situation of Superintendent of Convicts, and intends to serve the public in a new character, but as faithfully as ever, being no other than mine host of the 'New Inn."
Mr. Partridge has received a free license up to next licensing day, and the use of the house in which he formerly resided for one year, after which he will be permitted to rent it of the Government.
There is little doubt of Mr. P.'s succeeding in his ne undertaking, as, during nearly a ten years' residence at Port Macquarie as Superintendent of Convicts, he had the good fortune to give satisfaction to every Commandant, and was by each strongly recommended to his successor as an active and zealous public officer; while at the same time he had, in an extraordinary degree, the good will of the prison population.
Mr. P. while in his Majesty's 46th regiment, was employed in the exploring party under Mr. Oxley at the Lachlan, and subsequently in that to the Macquarie, after which he obtained his discharge, and the situation of overseer of carpenters in the Lumber-yard, which he held two years. On the first formation of the penal settlement above mentioned, he was appointed by Governor Macquarie to the situation, which, after having so long filled with credit to himself, he has now resigned.
I believe it is generally understood that Major Innes is to have the situation of Police Magistrate. If this be so, and I can assert from personal knowledge that his arrival there will be hailed as an auspicious omen of the future prosperity of that settlement.
To the high estimation in which Major Innes was held as a Magistrate, ample testimony has been borne; as a private gentleman, his conciliating manners at once gain him the respect and esteem of all who are brought in contact with him; and, as a military officer, I can, without fear of contradiction testify, that he was not only highly respected and esteemed by his brother officers, but, what is more rare, beloved by the common soldiers.
I hope you will excuse the length of all this, and believe me when I assure that I have no interest whatever to serve by these remarks.
I have the honour to be, Sir,
Yours, most respectfully,
Sydney, August 26th, 1830
(Published in 'The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser' of 9 Sep 1830)