Thunderbolt’s gun found

YOU don’t ever really own anything, you just hold onto it until you die, an old man once told McCrossins Mill museum director Kent Mayo.
Nanjing Night Net

The museum has received a Tranter revolver that once belonged to notorious bush ranger Captain Thunderbolt.

Mr Mayo said he couldn’t understand for a long time why the larrikin was so revered.

“When I first came here I couldn’t understand why all people ever talked about was Thunderbolt because he was a criminal,” he said.

“Once I got involved with this museum I learned that people see a different side to him.

“He had a pretty dry sense of humour, he was a larrikin but there was something likeable about him.”

Captain Thunderbolt was the longest roaming bush ranger in Australia.

“He had a part-Aboriginal girlfriend called Mary Anne Bugg who was educated and taught Fred Ward to read,” Mr Mayo said.

“She taught him a few manners, not that he ever had many, when you’re sticking a gun in people’s face it’s fair to say you don’t care much for civility.”

Around 15 years ago Mr Mayo began to hunt for artefacts belonging to Captain Thunderbolt.

“There’s always people who come in here and claim they own one of Thunderbolt’s revolvers, half of NSW reckons they’re related to Fred Ward the bush ranger, every second person,” Mr Mayo said.

“We never dismiss these fanciful stories, sometimesI get a bit bloody impatient butI know that’s not the way to go,” he said.

The newest addition to the exhibition came to the museum by an elderly man who’s family had treasured the revolver for years.

Legend has it the revolver was involved in a shoot out on Kerra Station between Captain Thunderbolt and local police.

“We call it synchronicity when things turn up, I went to the museum in Bingara to ask them about it and they were a bit cagey, I gave up in the end,” Mr Mayo said.

“Then just two weeks ago this really elderly chap came in here and sure enough it was the revolver.”

Thunderbolt…Life and Legend is currently on exhibition at McCrossins Mill.

A HIDDEN GEM: Director of McCrossins Mill Museum Kent Mayo holds the revolver that was used in a shoot out by Captain Thunderbolt.

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