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Muckleston Family History Group

researching all references to the surnames Muckleston, Mucklestone, Muckelston and Mackleston please get in touch via the contact us page with any additional information or to correct any errors.

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The following is an extract sent to me by Neil Priddy from a book called Macquire Country.


Some bushrangers roaming the County of Cumberland were better dressed men than their victims. They stole money, food and clothing from settlers' homes or from travellers. So bad had the situation become by 1826 that Governor Darling placed a detachment of troops at Windsor 'to aid the Civil Power in putting down the bushrangers'. As soon as possible after an offence had been committed the military and local constables were to combine in giving chase.

The most notorious of the early bushrangers was John Donohoe. He arrived in 1825 and at one time was assigned to work on Major West's farm near Windsor. Donohoe, aided by two confederates, committed robberies on the Windsor Road in 1827, for which he and they received the death sentence. Donohoe escaped from custody and became 'the most celebrated bushranger in Australia'. He committed depredations in the Windsor, Penrith and Liverpool areas until his death in 1830. Donohoe 'whose name had been the terror of the settler' was joined by Walmsley and later by Webber, who had deserted from a road gang. Probably some crimes were attributed to the trio that they did not commit, but there were sufficient misdeeds by these outlaws for an intense campaign to be mounted to capture them.


Late in the afternoon of 1 September 1830, a party of soldiers and constables saw the three men in the distance near Bringelly. They split into two groups and one group got to within one hundred yards of them before the bushrangers became aware of their presence. Immediately they took cover behind trees, as did the pursuers. Donohoe, only five feet four inches tall, challenged the police to charge in a spirit of bravado and hurled insulting epithets at them. As dusk was approaching one of them fired and knocked bark off the tree that sheltered Webber. Donohoe put part of his head around a tree and returned the fire. As he did a soldier, John Mucklestone, fired his carbine and Donohoe fell. The other two then ran and managed to escape concealed by the approaching darkness. The leader of the bushrangers had a ball in his left temple and one in the neck, for Mucklestone had loaded his gun with a carbine ball and a pistol ball. 'In less than a minute the vaunting bravo was in eternity.'



A few months later Walmsley was captured on the road west of Parramatta. Webber managed to get away, but not for long. Eleven days later he was caught at Minchinbury Farm on the Western Road. It was written of Webber and Walmsley that they were 'distinguished from the generality of bushrangers in that neither attempted violence to the person they robbed'.


Webber was eventually hanged but Walmsley gave information which led to the conviction of others who raided the bushrangers or received their stolen goods. For this he was pardoned and sent to Van Diemen's Land as 'feeling was so strong that his life would have been endangered if released here'. The Donohoe gang was thus dispersed - one shot, one executed and one exiled. But their exploits lived on.

Expression of exaggerated glorification of the deeds of these outlaws was give in a balled called 'Bold Jack Donohoe'. This song became very popular in a community of which half was the product of the convict system. Natural sympathy lay with the outlaw; the law enforcer was resented. However, this song was considered by the Governor to have an evil influence so the singing of it 'was prohibited in any public house'. Despite the ban the song, in slightly varying versions, survived as 'The Wild Colonial Boy'.


For those that are interested here follows that ballad........


One of several versions of 'Bold Jack Donohue'


Come all you gallant bushrangers who gallop o'er the plains
Refuse to live in slavery, or wear the convict chains.
Attention pay to what I say, and value if I do
For I will relate the matchless tale of bold Jack Donohue.

Come all you sons of liberty and everyone besides
I'll sing to you a story that will fill you with surprise
Concerning of a bold bushranger, Jack Donohue was his name
And he scorned to humble to the crown, bound down with iron chain.

Now Donohue was taken all for a notorious crime
And sentenced to be hanged upon the gallows tree so high
But when they to him to Bathurst Gaol, he left them in a stew
For when they came to call the roll, they missed Jack Donohue.

Now when Donohue made his escape, to the bush he went straight way.
The squatters they were all afraid to travel by night and by day
And every day in the newspapers, they brought out something new,
Concerning that bold bushranger they called Jack Donohue.

Now one day as he was riding the mountainside alone
Not thinking that the pains of death would overtake him soon.
When all he spied the horse police well on they came up into view
And in double quick time they did advance to take Jack Donohue.

"Oh Donohue, Donohue, throw down your carbine.
Or do you intend to fight us all and will you not resign?"
"Surrender to such cowardly dogs is a thing that I never would do,
For this day I'll fight with all my might", cried Bold Jack Donohue

Now the sergeant and the corporal, their men they did divide
Some fired at him from behind and some from every side.
The sergeant and the corporal, they both fired at him, too.
And a rifle bullet pierced the heart of Bold Jack Donohue.

Now nine rounds he fired and nine men down before that fated ball
Which pierced his heart and made him smart and caused him for to fall
And as he closed his mournful eyes, he bid the world adieu,
Saying "Convicts all, pray for the soul of Bold Jack Donohue."


Thanks to Colin Broughton we think we are closer to identifying which family member this John was. Colin found the following copy of a ship doctor's medical log which describes treating a John Muckleston in 1827 aged 25 giving his year of birth as 1802. It also mentioned that he was a private with the 39th Regiment.


Neil Priddy then investigated and confirmed that the 39th Regiment (Dorsetshire's) were in Australia at the time of Jack's death.


A search of the records for the 39th Regiment's activities may therefore give us more answers.


I currently have one family member born in 1802 who could be this soldier. A John Muckleston the son of Richard Muckleston, a labourer, and his wife Elizabeth (nee Jones) was baptised on 8th March 1802 in Llanymynech on the Shropshire / Welsh border. It is likely that he is the John who married Mary Richards on 12th August 1833 in Oswestry. Potentially he had left the army at this time and returned home and met and married Mary. John and Mary had at least two children, a daughter Elizabeth, and a son Joseph. His mother died in 1837 and his father in 1847. John registered his father's death and made his mark and was therefore clearly not educated. Something took the family to Wolverhampton and John's son Joseph married there in 1861with John himself dying there in 1862 at the age of 60. I bet he had some interesting stories to tell his children and grandchildren.


Private John Muckleston's medical records on board ship 1827.












and from Neil Priddy re the 39th





Further information from Colin Broughton who located John on the censuses:


We can see John in our census section, 1841 he is living in Llanymynech with a child who has been transcribed as Josiah and Jonah which could well be his son Joseph. Daughter Elizabeth could well be the 6 year old living with Thomas and Jane. John had an older brother called Thomas and they may have taken his daughter to help him out after his wife Mary died in 1838 leaving him with two infants to care for.


Colin located the following 1851 census entry showing that by now he had clearly moved to Wolverhampton and was working as a Labourer - Tram Way Cleaner- I guess it wasn't that far if you had travelled to the other side of the world:






At his daughters marriage in 1854 he is shown as a labourer.




and likewise at his son Joseph's marriage in 1861.






In 1861 he is still a labourer living in Sedgley. Sadly less than twelve months later he had died. Colin did well to find this one as his name had been transcribed as John Minckleston ( 3rd line down).