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AUSTRALIAN SONGS

Brave Ben Hall

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

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.

See also the songs  John Gilbert Ben Hall
Dunn, Gilbert & Ben Hall Ballad of Ben Hall's Gang

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Come all Australian sons with me
For a hero has been slain
And cowardly butchered in his sleep
Upon the Lachlan Plain.

Pray do not stay your seemly grief
But let a teardrop fall
For many hearts shall always mourn
The fate of bold Ben Hall

No brand of Cain e'er stamped his brow,
No widow's curse did fall'
When tales are read the squatters dread
The name of bold Ben Hall.

The records of this hero bold
Through Europe have been heard,
And formed a conversation
Between many an Earl and Lord.

Ever since the good old days
Of Dick Turpin and Duval,
Knights of the road were outlaws bold,
And so was bold Ben Hall.

He never robbed a needy man,
His records best will show,
Staunch and loyal to his mates,
And manly to the foe.

Until he left his trusty mates,
The cause I ne'er could hear,
The bloodhounds of the law heard this
And after him did steer.

They found his place of ambush,
And cautiously they crept,
And savagely they murdered him
While the victim slept.

Yes, savagely they murdered him,
The cowardly blue-coat imps,
Who were laid onto where he slept
By informing peeler's pimps.

No more he'll mount his gallant steed,
Nor range the mountains high,
The widow's friend in poverty
Bold Ben Hall, goodbye.

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