LAWLESS – The Real Bushrangers: Ben Hall

LAWLESS – The Real Bushrangers

Ben Hall

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1 hour

Tuesday 7 November at 8.30pm AEDT

LAWLESS – The Real Bushrangers can be linked directly to the following subject areas of the Australian National Curriculum:

  • Year 9 History, Year 9 and 10 Science
  • Relevant Content Descriptions for Year 9 History
  • Relevant Content Descriptions for Year 9 & 10 Science

LAWLESS – The Real Bushrangers blends science and history to deliver powerful documentaries that will have an impact and an enduring legacy. This series will change how Australians see their folk heroes, and themselves.
At the core of this series is a bold vision to investigate Australian colonial crimes and mysteries using modern day science and technology. Hosted by respected journalist Mike Munro (himself a descendant of bushrangers) we fol- low investigations into the past and deliver the findings in the present to living descendants of both bushrangers and those who fought against them.

Before Ned Kelly, it was Ben Hall who was the ‘rock star’ of Australian bushranging, leading a short but prolific 3-year crime spree across NSW in the wake of the gold rush. His criminal career comes to a bloody end when he is shot by police in a hail of bullets close to place known as Billabong Creek on the outskirts of Forbes. But Ben Hall’s death is shrouded in controversy. The official police account says that Hall was a dangerous criminal, lawfully killed while trying to escape, while the legend goes that Hall was shot in his sleep and the victim of a brutal police cover up.

Now for the first time, the LAWLESS team undertake an analysis of Hall’s bloody demise at the hand of authorities. At a time where our fledgling nation was striving for law and order, this investigation reveals the extraordinary measures enacted by authorities in NSW in an effort to become a civilised society. The death of Ben Hall exposes how justice was served in the times of the colonial era.


ACTIVITY – Profile and Timeline of Ben Hall

As a class, brainstorm your existing knowledge, ideas and questions about Ben Hall.

Using information from this episode, as well as your own research, students are to produce a hard copy or digital biography of Ben Hall. Information to include:

  • Family background and early life
  • Initial run-ins with the law
  • Actions as a bushranger
  • His death at Billabong Creek and the ndings of thecoronial inquest.
  • His representation in Australian history, art and folklore

If creating a digital biography, students can use tools such as glogster ( or padlet (

In this episode, we see reenactments of the events at Billabong Creek. Using these scenes, as well as your own research, create a digital or hardcopy timeline of the events that took place during Ben Hall’s final stand. Include relevant images. Suggested tools for creating a digital timeline include: or

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Activity: Focus on 1860’s Australia

In 1861 gold was discovered in the Lachlan region.

  • Research the impact of gold discovery in this region in terms of heightening the tension between British im- migrants and the convict class.
  • Historian Dr. Kiera Lindsey talks about Ben Hall’s status as a ‘native born’ son of two convicts. Although he
    was ‘brushed with the convict stain’, he became a land owner. Research the class con ict that existed during this time between British immigrants and the convict class. How did these factors perhaps contribute to Ben Hall becoming an outlaw?
  • What was Ben Hall’s role in the largest gold heist in colonial history? How did this influence his relationship with the police?


Activity: Focus on the Felons Apprehension Act

As we see in this episode, a controversial law, the Felons Apprehension Act, was enacted in 1865 speci cally to help end the exploits of Hall and his gang.

Read the following article: au/news/national/family-urges-new-ben-hall-in- quest/2007/03/30/1174761754719.html

Using information from the above, combined with your own research and information from the episode, answer the following questions:

  • What was the Felon’s Apprehension Act. What did it entail and why was it enacted?
  • How did the law relate directly to the death of Ben Hall?
  • How did the law impact the status of bushrangers inNSW?
  • Discuss as a class your views about the law. Do yousee it as a necessary/positive step or do you believe it was overly draconian?

Useful, interesting, challenging, materials can be found at the websites below.

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