A Daily Photo Blog about Life in Northern New South Wales, Australia.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Captain Thunderbolt: A Grave and an Industry


The Old Uralla Cemetery was established in the late 1850's and is very well maintained perhaps due to it being the resting place of the notorious bushranger Fred Ward AKA Captain Thunderbolt. His name has recently been in the news as many commentators compared this 19th century criminal to a recently captured 21st century criminal Malcolm Naden. If you want to read about either man click on their names for the Wikipedia link.


Fred Ward's inscription reads, "Erected by New England Residents To Mark Where Lies Thunderbolt (Fred Ward) Died May 25th 1870 Aged 36 Years". There is controversy if it is even Thunderbolt in the grave with one local resident claiming it is his brother Harry buried at Uralla.


The controversy doesn't stop there. A large bronze statue of the bushranger was unveiled in 1988 with some locals complaining that the money should've been spent on something else rather than a statue of a criminal.
Yes he does strike a 'heroic' pose but I don't think it glorifies bushrangers. Australians have always had a fascination with these lawbreakers from the 19th century. When Thunderbolt rode around Uralla it was gold mining that the town thrived on, today the gold is spent by tourists/travellers passing through on the busy New England Highway between Sydney and Brisbane.
Whenever you drive past there are usually tourists taking a snap, myself included, and after you have done that you can have a beer at the Thunderbolts Inn, have a pie at the Thunderbolt Pie Shop, buy a spring at the Thunderbolt Trailer Centre and in October attend the Thunderbolt Festival. Sadly you can't fill up your car at Thunderbolts Garage before driving out to Thunderbolts Rock anymore, it closed down!

11 comments:

  1. I used to drive through Uralla when I travelled to New England Uni! But in those days I did not have the interest in cemeteries that I have now! Pity! Would love to see this! Great photos!

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  2. Great post!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

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  3. Cool post, it is interesting that have a statue of a criminal. Great shots!

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  4. A great post indeed! Reminds me of our own questionable heroes here in the western part of the US! Love your photos and the background you've shared with us! Hope your week is going well!

    Sylvia

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  5. It is weird the way we celebrate convicts and bushrangers but we do and Thunderbolt is what I remember Uralla for.

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  6. I agree with Joan. We are a weird mob! Tall poppies we cut down, but law-breakers we raise up on a pedestal. I guess each small town, in its own way, needs a marketing ploy to ensure the tourists - and the grey nomads - include their town on their itinerary. The tourist dollar is very important. Hence, the explosion of 'big' things. I do like the pose struck by the horseman, Mark.

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  7. THere will be no memorials to the most honest man in town for sure..why does human nature wish to perpetuate the Bad and completely forget the good? Its a striking statue for sure!!

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  8. The bad boys have far more interesting tales than the good. I guess that is why they are remembered.

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  9. Hmmm, I guess we have a love/hate relationship with bushrangers. The "Robin Hood" element must appeal to some of us whereas the crimes committed are what is uppermost in other people's minds...
    Interesting post.

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  10. at least his grave is caged.. ?

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