History Notes - Thunderbolt roamed the area

24th August 2022

History Notes

I wonder how many local residents saw the photo of our silo bathed in fog on channel 7 a couple of weeks ago? It was a lovely photo, worthy of exhibition as the weather photo for that evening.  To our local photographer, well done.

While on the comments, I must comment on the lovely wattle trees that have been in bloom for several weeks.  The specimens on the northern end of the “mad mile” (south of Tarpoly Creek) have been wonderful.

As we admire the wattle, we should remember Thunderbolt’s Rock which was nearby until the Manilla Shire Council of the day blew it up about 80 years ago.

The coaches used to pass this rock on their way south, to and from Barraba, and Thunderbolt used the rock as cover while he waited to rob the passengers on the coach.  In all his career he never hurt anyone and there are stories of horses being taken and then retuned as “not being fast enough”!

Thunderbolt was quite often in the Barraba district and on one occasion he visited “Ironbark Station” inviting himself to dinner and after dinner enjoyed a musical evening with the family around the piano before taking his departure – riding off into the night, taking with him one of the Spencer boys’ horses.  The horse was left at Woodsreef when it was deemed to not suit Thunderbolt.

Thunderbolt was not the only bushranger to drop in for some entertainment at Ironbark, three men rode up and demanded a meal one evening in 1873.  They enjoyed William Spencer’s home brew until they fell asleep, and the family tied them up leaving one of the sons in charge while the police were summoned from Barraba.  All three men later faced court in Tamworth.

While on the bushranger subject there was the case of the mailman delivering the mail to the isolated stations up in the mountains to the west of Barraba.  He was riding along the river approaching the next station when he was held up at gun point, forced to hand over the mail bag, and remove some of his clothing and boots.  The bushranger then left the scene with the clothing, and the mail, while the mailman had to get to the next station with few clothes and no mail.

The visiting days to the museum have been altered slightly and there are now some phone numbers visitors can use if the museum is closed.  The main street book is proceeding with more information coming forth.  The other two books ordered at the markets have been printed, one delivered but we do not have a phone number for the other person.

News for August 2022