Bushranger Captain Moonlite hanged

Bushranger Captain Moonlite hanged

Captain Moonlite was born in Ireland as Andrew George Scott in 1842 and is best remembered as a lay preacher turned bushranger. Scott moved first to New Zealand with his family in 1861, and then went to Australia several years later. He found work as a lay preacher and made friends with several people in Edgerton near Ballarat including a bank employee called L.J. Bruun.

Scott is believed to have kick-started his criminal pursuits by robbing Bruun of gold from the bank safe one May day in 1869. Although he managed to escape with the crime initially, and spent a few months living off his ill-gotten gains, the long arm of the law soon caught up with him when he was arrested for fraud. Investigations also revealed he was behind the robbery of Bruun and Scott was sent to jail.

Upon his release in 1879, Scott soon returned to a life of crime after failing to find work in the draught stricken New South Wales. His bushranging days were however now numbered. When he took hold of the Wantabadgery Station with a band of fellow bushrangers and held over 30 people hostage, that was the beginning of the end for Captain Moonlite. A shootout with police at Wantabadgery resulted in the deaths of two members of his gang (including a dear friend of Scotts, James Nesbitt) and a trooper.

Scott surrendered to the police, was found guilty and hung to death on his father’s birthday on 20 January 1880 at the Darlinghurst Court. His dying wish of sharing a grave with Nesbitt however lay unfulfilled for over a century. His remains were finally exhumed from the Rookwood cemetery in Sydney and buried at the Gundagai cemetery near Nesbitt only in 1995.