Bushrangers at Wantabadgery

With the Wagga Wagga concert behind her, Melba and George motored out of town to spend a couple of days with her friend Ethel Macdonald of Wantabagery Station, 37kms east of Wagga.

Ahead was her Albury concert before her return to Victoria and concerts in Melbourne and towns throughout   the state.

At Wantabadgery Melba and George could rest and soak up life on the historic station. Melba and her friend Ethel caught up on all the latest news and she met the four children. Melba and George also heard Falconer and Claude Macdonald’s first-hand taccount of the day when bushranger Captain Moonlight and his gang held them up and occupied their home for a weekend before help arrived.

During an evening in mid-November 1879, Captain Moonlite and his gang held up Wantabadgery Station and took a number of hostages. After eating and drinking, the gang moved to a nearby pub, The Australian Arms Hotel, and more hostages were taken.

Andrew George Scott, alias Captain Moonlight 1879.
Black and white sketch of Andrew George Scott, alias Captain Moonlite. David Syme & Co. 1879

At 4am, officers from Wagga Police arrived and gunfire was exchanged with the gang. Officers retreated and waited for reinforcements from Gundagai. On arrival of Gundagai Police, the officers attended nearby McGlede’s farm and found Captain Moonlite and his gang. Shots were exchanged and Senior Constable Webb-Bowen was shot in the neck. On Sunday 23 November 23, 1879, Senior Constable Webb-Bowen, known as Edward Bowen, died as a result of the gunshot wound.

On September 3, 2015 the Police and community unveiled the monument to Senior Constable Bowen which stands adjacent to the Wantabadgery MacDonald Memorial Hall at Wantabadgery. (Wagga Wagga & District Historical Society September 3, 2015. http://www.wwdhs.org.au/hero-of-wantabadgery-senior-constable-edward-webb-bowen-honoured/



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nellie melba museum

A journalist and historian, for many years I have studied Dame Nellie Melba and written articles, books, and given talks about her. I established the first website int he world dedicated to Melba and still maintain it today as a virtual museum.

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