I wrote yesterday about my characters in my new novel, Magick, finding their family history stretched to Australia, in the early days of settlement there. As part of the story I recreated a newspaper report (including the words ‘would of’ which I found in a real 19th century newspaper report) which gives them a clue about what happened to their ancestor, Isaac Magick in the imaginary town of New Merrington:
Our Town finds itself in a state of great alarm, on account of the vast numbers of bush rangers now roaming about here in our neighbourhood; on Sunday evening last, 12th instant, a medical gentleman, Dr Salmon, returning to New Merrington was set upon by three armed men. One of them he knew as Isaak Magick, who was one of six men who had just last month made good their escape from the stone masons gang. Dr Salmon observed that Magick had a fowling piece presented to his person; from this it is thought he may have regretted his hasty bid for freedom as the gentleman knew of Magick to have previously been of good character. The two armed bush rangers searched the doctor’s person roughly, this fellow declaring his intent to shoot him and took from him case of Instruments, and his watch; he remonstrated with them saying it was a gift from his late father and at this Magick interceded on the folly of keeping those articles, as the items were of no service to them, and the watch being very peculiar in design, would lead to their detection should they endeavour to sell it. Magick received a blow for his trouble but the articles were returned. Dr Salmon made good his journey to New Easthope where he later fell in with Constable Stone and his men who it appears met with the same fellows, about a dozen miles from the town and attacked them. These desperadoes fired on Constable Stone but Magick with great courage and great exertion interspersed his body between them, sustaining a wound to his shoulder but undoubtedly saving the life of the brave officer. The two bush rangers succeeded in making their escape leaving behind them the fowling piece. Great praise is due to the Constable and his men and others who composed the party who proceeded in pursuit of these robbers, for their promptitude and exertions on this occasion.
These dastardly and violent bush rangers are daily getting additions from the escapes from the stone masons and the iron gang; no less than five more men made their escape on Friday last, in open day, and in the face of the sentry in charge. Others were seen in the neighbourhood last Sunday, all armed with muskets, pistols, &c.. The mounted police and the constables are doing their best, yet not one of these runaways has as yet been captured. There are reports that a bushranger shot about twenty-eight miles from here, at one of Mr. Watkins’ stations, had thirty-six rounds of ball cartridge, and other accoutrements necessary for the carrying out on a large scale this system of lawless depredation and plunder. His fellow robbers evaded the best efforts of the constables and their men; note is made of the great deficiency of fire arms, in the constabulary department and no doubt but one or more of these parties would of been captured had the constables been properly armed on that occasion. Three men have been apprehended but have not yet had an examination