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AUSTRALIAN SONGS

The Ballad Of
Ben Hall's Gang

traditional Australian song
composer unknown

This song tells the story of bushranger Ben Hall and his outlaw gang. They killed 2 policemen, stole over 20 racehorses, and robbed 21 towns.

In 1865 the authorities decided to pass legislation to stop the worst of the bushrangers: Ben Hall, Johnny Gilbert, and John Dunn. NSW Parliament passed The Felons Apprehension Act.

It essentially declared that those men were outlaws and could be killed by anyone anytime without warning.

At dawn on 5 May 1865, eight policemen, heavily armed with Colt rifles and double-barrelled shotguns, lie in wait for Ben Hall. The police had been tipped off by Ben's friend Michael Conoley and had set a trap for Ben. Coneley received a substantial reward for betraying his friend Ben Hall.

He was alone and fled without firing a shot. Ben Hall was shot in the back 30 times. He was buried 2 days later in Forbes Cemetery.

Note: A variety of sources list Ben Hall's birth date as 9 May 1837 and as 29 April 1837. We are not sure which one is correct.

A memorial called "Ben Hall's Wall" is located in Breeza, south of Gunnedah, New South Wales.

See also
John Gilbert
Dunn, Gilbert and Ben Hall
Ballad of Ben Hall's Gang
Ben Hall
Brave Ben Hall

Come all ye wild colonials And listen to my tale;
A story of bushrangers' deeds I will to you unveil.
'Tis of those gallant heroes, Game fighters one and all;
And we'll sit and sing, Long Live the King,
Dunn,Gilbert, and Ben Hall.

Ben Hall he was a squatter bloke Who owned a thousand head;
A peaceful man he was until Arrested by Sir Fred.
His home burned down, his wife cleared out,
His cattle perished all;
"They'll not take me a second time,'
Says valiant Ben Hall.

John Gilbert was a flash cove, And John O'Meally too;
With Ben and Bourke and Johnny Vane
They all were comrades true.
They rode into Canowindra And gave a public ball.
'Roll up, roll up, and have a spree,'
Says Gilbert and Ben Hall.

They took possession of the town, Including the public-houses,
And treated all the cockatoos And shouted for their spouses.
They danced with all the pretty girls And held a carnival.
'We don't hurt them who don't hurt us,'
Says Gilbert and Ben Hall.

They made a raid on Bathurst, The pace was getting hot;
But Johnny Vane surrendered After Micky Burke was shot,
O'Meally at Goimbla Did like a hero fall;
'The game is getting lively,'
Says John Gilbert and Ben Hall.

Then Gilbert took a holiday, Ben Hall got new recruits;
The Old Man and Dunleavy Shared in the plunder's fruits.
Dunleavy he surrendered And they jagged the Old Man tall -
So Johnny Gilbert came again
To help his mate Ben Hall.

John Dunn he was a jockey bloke, A-riding all the winners,
Until he joined Hall's gang to rob The publicans and sinners;
And many a time the Royal Mail Bailed up at John Dunn's call.
A thousand pounds is on their heads
Dunn, Gilbert, and Ben Hall.

'Next week we'll visit Goulburn And clean the banks out there;
So if you see the troopers, Just tell them to beware;
Some day to Sydney city We mean to pay a call,
And we'll take the whole damn country,'
Says Dunn, Gilbert, and Ben Hall.

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