Beacon 15th October 2015

short note by bob ant

This week we are off on an adventure to Moruya on Wednesday evening. I will send out a bus time table for everyone tonight when numbers are known, let Anthony know today please (Monday 12th Oct).
Last week our guest speaker was author Peter Smith. This night could not have been possible without the enthusiasm of Laurelle to organise, publicise and find such an interesting speaker. Thank you Laurelle.

Yesterday I was able to get Radar out onto the water to look at oyster farming in the inlet. My thanks to Charles for explaining the process to Radar.

Our thoughts are with Michael and Donna as they take their last visit to Michael’s sister in WA.

On the 12th of November we are meeting at the Kinema for End Polio fundraiser and the premiere of the new James Bond Movie, a great movie and should be a great night, thank you to Chris for organising it and for John and Janette for their support.

Have a great week



The Clarke Gang – Murderous Thugs or Larrikins?

Peter Smith on the Clarke Gang

The Clarke gang was arguably one of the most troublesome of all the bush ranging gangs, yet most people haven’t heard of them.

Why? Author Peter Smith has dealt expertly with this and many other interesting issues in his new book, The Clarke Gang – Outlawed, Outcast and Forgotten.

Peter Smith holding a gun owned by a member of the Clarke Gang
Peter Smith holding a gun owned by a member of the Clarke Gang

Peter summarised some of the key points at last Thursday night’s meeting.

With roots in the unrest caused by the colonial system, the bushrangers initially had a lot of community support as they were seen to be active against the system.  Plus, the “bad guys” were better horsemen and better at bush survival, and often embarrassed the authorities who were trying to catch them, all of which went down well with the locals.

In addition, the police force didn’t exist as such – instead there were disparate systems, eg the town constables were under the control of the magistrates. Eventually the police force as we know it today was created – the NSW police force, with a mandate to wage war against the villains.

One of the worst acts by the bushrangers against the police was near Braidwood when four policemen were murdered.  This, together with other changes saw the bushrangers lose some of their community support.  In 1855 the Felons Act came into being, at which point bushrangers lost all rights, they could be shot on sight, giving them the same status as mad dogs.  Rewards were posted; four and five thousand pounds – a significant amount of money in those times.

So they became outcasts.

The Clark Gang, when they were finally caught, had a one day trial, and were then hanged.

“You young men have now received the last sentence of the law.

“You will pass from the world as felons, convicts, bushrangers and I very much fear, murderers.”.

Someone organised a petition protesting against their execution but it only raised eighty-five signatures, and so ended the lives of the members of the Clarke Gang

A highlight of the talk was when Peter reached into his bag and produced a revolver, number 170, owned by Pat O’Connell, a member of the gang.  He waved it about much to the consternation of those sitting close!

An interesting speaker, Peter kept the large audience of Rotarians and visitors hanging on his every word.

News from the North

Ted Bladwell sends his regards. These days Ted lives where the weather is a bit warmer, but offered the opinion that he regrets leaving. Ted has a stack of old newsletters – please send them, Ted! If any other members or ex-members have copies, please send them to Frank so he can plug the gaps.

News from Overseas

via John Rungen

Rotary and “ONE”, an international advocacy organization, joined other partners in downtown Chicago on 24 September to demonstrate a commitment to ending extreme poverty and inequality and to promoting action on climate change on the eve of the United Nations launch of its Sustainable Development Goals.

Their ambitious goals constitute a road map for finding solutions to the world’s most pressing problems, and dovetail with Rotary members’ work to create positive change in their communities and around the world. As dusk fell over Chicago, participants in the Under One Sky event held up blue lights transforming the plaza where they were gathered into a field of fireflies to #LightTheWay to a more just world.

“This is a great opportunity for people to network and join an event where we are all focused on creating a better world” said Cheryl McIntyre, president of the Rotary Club of Chicago.