LAWLESS – The Real Bushrangers: Captain Moonlite

LAWLESS – The Real Bushrangers

Captain Moonlite

Download & Print PDF – STUDY GUIDE

1 hour

Tuesday 31 October 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.

Andrew George Scott (A.K.A. Captain Moonlite) was a preacher, a conman and a gentleman – certainly not your average bushranger. After an 11-year life of crime Moonlite’s career ends in a violent gun battle that results in the death of two of his gang and a NSW policeman. The event seals his fate, sending him on a one-way trip to the gallows. But should Moonlite have swung for this crime? Controversial primary evidence raises questions as to whether he actually red the fatal shot, and if he didn’t do it, then who did?

The LAWLESS team undertakes the first full archaeological investigation of the site of Moonlite’s last stand to un- earth remaining evidence of the gunfight still buried in the ground and piece together the puzzle of this event. Using forensic ballistics and pathology the team determine which gun could have been the murder weapon. With new evidence and insights the LAWLESS team complete a digital reconstruction of the event to determine almost 140 years after the gun fight, just who was the likely killer. In one final twist, a secret from Moonlite’s private life is exposed to reveal another dimension to this complex and enigmatic character. Fascinating and with an incredible human story, this investigation forever changes our view of the iconic Australian ‘bloodthirsty bushranger’.



Prior to viewing this episode, students should brainstorm their existing knowledge, ideas and questions about Captain Moonlite.


ACTIVITY – The Scientific Method – Profile and Timeline of Captain Moonlite

As a class, brainstorm your existing knowledge, ideas and questions about Captain Moonlite.

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

  • Family background and early life
  • Initial run-ins with the law
  • Siege at Wantabadgery and subsequent trial
  • Legacy within Australian history and folklore


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

In this episode, we see reenactments of the events at the Wantabadgery Siege. Using these scenes, as well as your own research, create a digital or hardcopy timeline of the events that took place over these days. Include relevant images. Suggested tools for creating a digital timeline include: or http://timeglider. com/


Further Activities – Download & Print PDF – STUDY GUIDE



“Did Captain Moonlite fire the fatal shot that killed Constable Webb-Bowen? And if he didn’t, who did?” asks Mike Munro in the introduction to the second episode of LAWLESS, “Captain Moonlite.” Of course, that’s a two- part question, which somewhat tips its hand to the fascinating twists and turns in this episode’s investigation.

Researchers often begin investigations by establishing a ‘null hypothesis’ – a commonly held view that they’ll attempt to disprove. The ‘alternative hypothesis’ is, as its name suggests, the inverse of this null hypothesis.

  • Suggest a null hypothesis for the LAWLESS team in this episode.
  • What would the corresponding alternative hypothesis be for your null hypothesis?Scientific inquiry will often divide one core question – or hypothesis – up into constituent questions with tighter focus. That’s particularly true in a group investigation, where different members may choose to explore questions that play into their area of expertise.

At [00:07:02], Mike Munro asks his team of experts “So, for each of you, what are the key questions here?”

  • How does each expert – historian Dr Kiera Lindsey, archeologist Adam Ford and forensic pathologist Professor Roger Byard – respond to Munro’s question?
  • Does this align with how you’d expect them to answer, given their background?
  • What do you think is the key question that needs to be answered to address your hypothesis?


DISCUSSION ACTIVITY – Focus on the Descendants

We meet Narelle Muldoon, whose great great Aunt Marion was Constable Webb-Bowen’s wife and then widow after he died from a bullet wound inflicted during the gun fight at Wantabadgery against Captain Moonlite. Narelle has researched the story of her relative and learned about the devastating impact Webb Bowen’s death had on widow Marion. Struggling with alcoholism, left penniless and destitute – Narelle feels it is important to remember that there’s not just victims of the police officers but the families that are left behind after these tragedies.

  • As a class, discuss Narelle’s comments regarding the need to remember the impact of crime on the wider family.
  • How do you think we can best help families follow- ing tragedies? Research the Victims of Crime support groups in your State/Territory. What services do they provide?

Discuss as a class.

Further discussion topics – Download & Print PDF – STUDY GUIDE



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