Ben Hall – Timeline

TIMELINE OF EVENTS


 

29 April 1865

Party of 6 police and 2 black-trackers leave Forbes to travel to Billabong Creek where they have information that Hall and gang were headed.  Party consists of Sub-Inspector James Davidson, Sergeant James Condell, Constable Thomas Hipkiss, Constable John Caban, Constable John Bohan and Constable Edward Buckley, trackers Billy Dargin and Charley Edwards.

The police establish a camp on Billabong Creek to await the gangs arrival

Sub Inspector Davidson (Far Left)

 


 

3-4 May 1865

Hall also arrives at Billabong Creek camping

Portrait of Ben Hall.

 

3 May 1865

Informant contacts the police to tell them that Gilbert and Dunn [bushrangers] had arrived, but had been spooked by the appearance of three stockmen.  Thinking they were police Gilbert and Dunn had left their camp.  Davidson went to the camp site and found two horses and two ponchos

 

4 May 1865

Informant meets police again to say Hall has arrived by himself but the other two have not returned.  Davidson, who had originally wanted to take all 3, determines to arrest Hall anyway as he is the ringleader.

The informer took the police to the place where Hall was camped, in the scrub on the edge of a large plain.  The police removed their shoes and coats so they would make no noise.  They approached through thick pine scrub and arrived where they saw horses and a poncho.  Davidson knew they were Hall’s but could not locate his swag in the thick brush.  While watching they saw a man in a poncho approach and take the horse approx. 100 yards and hobbled them. Billy Dargin then told Davidson he heard the man making a bed in dry leaves in the scrub and they determined to attack him there if he was Hall.  This was at 1.30am but they could not approach due to the horses snorting as they did. They then determined to wait till morning.


 

5 May 1865

6.30am police see a man with a bridle in his hand approx. 150 yards away approaching the horses. Davidson, Condell and Dargin broke cover and began to run towards the man

Painting -‘ Death of Ben Hall’ by Patrick Marony painted in 1894. This artwork reflects the romanticised image of Ben Hall, sprawled in an almost balletic pose being shot at by police, gun belt falling off him.

 

Evidence as given by Sub-Inspector Davidson to the inquest over Halls Body regarding the shooting of Ben Hall and the items found on his body:

“…I identified the man as Ben Hall. I several times called on him to stand. After running about 100 yards, I got within 40yards of Hall, and fired at him. I shot with a double-barrelled gun. Hall, after my firing, jumped a little, and looked back, and from his movements I have reason to believe that I hit him. Sergeant Connell, and Dargan (the tracker) fired immediately afterwards. They were running a little to the left of me, and not far away. From the manner of Hall I have reason to believe that Condell and Dargan’s shots took effect. From that time he ran more slowly towards a few saplings. The police who were stationed beyond him immediately ran towards him, and fired. I noticed trooper Hipkiss firing at Hall with a rifle, and immediately afterwards the belt holding his revolver fell off him. At this time he held himself up by a sapling; and upon receiving Hipkiss’ fire he gradually fell backwards. Several other shots were fired afterwards. There were about 30 shots fired in all. Hall then cried out, ‘I am wounded; shoot me dead.’ I then went up to the body, and noticed that life was extinct. I also observed that the bullet fired by Hipkiss passed through his body. I searched the body. There were £74 in notes in two chamois leather bags, one in his trousers pocket, the other in his coat breast pocket, three gold chains and a gold watch, a portrait of a female, three revolvers, and a number of bullets in his pockets, and a gold ring keeper on his finger. Along with his saddle was a quantity of wearing apparel. There were also two single blankets. I knew the body to be that of Ben Hall. His clothing I observed to be perforated with bullets. We caught the horses, and fixed the body of deceased on the saddle, and in this manner brought him to Forbes …

 

Taken and sworn at the Police Barracks, Forbes, this sixth day of May, 1865, before William Farrand P.M.

(Signed)  J.H. Davidson

Photo of the two pieces of a leather belt, supposedly worn by Ben Hall when he died. According to police records, Ben Hall had a bullet wound right through his left side. This same shot allegedly took off Ben Hall’s gun belt.

It is worth noting that in Davidson’s evidence to the Inquiry he does not mention Hall having a gun in his hand but in the Police Report of 12 May 1865 he states Hall held a revolver in his right hand.

Map drawn by Sub Inspector Davidson after the ambush and death of Ben Hall. It describes in incredible detail, the locations and movements of the police contingent and Bell Hall in his last hours.