Ben Hall was a bushranger who avoided many police attempts to catch him. He became the leader of one of the more notorious bushranging gangs of the 1860s and arguably the most competent of all bushranger leaders.
It was gold that made bushranging such an attractive career choice.
Hall started work as a stockman. However, after twice being arrested on robbery charges, then released, he probably decided that if he was going to be charged with such offences, he might as well carry them out. So he became a bushranger.
He openly took to bushranging in 1863, though he was long suspected by the police of being an accomplice to Frank Gardiner. For more than two years Hall bailed up mail coaches, travellers, innkeepers, squatters and storekeepers in and about the Lachlan district.
The gangs Hall led were well organised, with good equipment and well-behaved men. They robbed wealthy travellers and were able to rely on the support of poorer people to hide them.
As a result, Hall's gangs were able to avoid capture by the police. In some ways Ben Hall was an Australian version of Robin Hood.
Ben Hall was very active along the Melbourne - Sydney road near Goulburn. On one occasion, he robbed 60 travellers in ne hold-up.
However, his days were numbered when a large reward was offered for his capture.
Someone gave his location to police, who ambushed him and at age 27, he was shot dead by a police party of eight led by sub-inspector James Henry Davidson on the 5th May 1865, in scrub on the Lachlan Plain about 20 kilometres northwest of Forbes..
(It happened at the spot you can see in the photo gallery, 50m from the road in the trees.)
Ben Hall is buried in the Forbes Cemetery.
The statue outside the Forbes Visitors Information Centre was commissioned by Ben Hall Third (great grandson of Ben Hall) and sculptured by Pamela Norman.
If you want to go and stand on the spot where Ben Hall was shot dead, here’s how to get there (it’s about 24 km of pleasant country driving)
From Forbes drive 6.8 km up Bogan Gate Rd and turn left at the signs that say YARRABANDAI, Gunning Gap & Ben Halls Place.
Then drive up there for 3.5 km and turn right at the signs that say Ben Halls Pl & Yarrangong.
Drive along for 7.75 km and turn right at the sign that says Ben Halls Rd.
Drive 6km up this road. The road turns to gravel but it is very well maintained, the Holden handled it beautifully.
At around the 6 km mark you will see the large Ben Hall sign. Park the car and wander through the turnstile gate (don’t forget to fasten the chain when you leave).
The clump of trees (about 50 metres from the road.) is where young Ben got shot up.
If you are from the city, you may wish to collect some of the rabbit, sheep & kangaroo poo to take back and show your friends and brag that you have been ‘bush’.
For more information and to view varied exhibits including relics and information from the bushranging days of Ben Hall do visit the Forbes & District Historical Museum in Cross Street - ph 6852 1653
At the Forbes Visitors Information Centre in the Old Railway Station in Union Street there is also a room dedicated to him.
In the cemetary, along with Ben Hall are the graves of Kate Foster, who was Ned Kelly's sister, and Rebecca Shield, a great grand-niece of Captain cook.