Ben Hall Biography

Ben Hall was born in May 1837 near Maitland.  His birthplace has been variously stated as being either Murrurundi or Breeza; however such claims are incorrect.  The family moved up to the area that would become Murrurundi in about 1839 and his early years were spent helping with the family’s horses and cattle.

Towards the end of 1850 young Ben travelled to the Lachlan region with his father (also named Benjamin), his step-brother Thomas Wade, his elder brother William and sister Mary.  Ben worked on numerous properties south of the Lachlan and in 1856 married Bridget Walsh.  In 1858-9 he formed a partnership with his brother-in-law John McGuire and together they leased the Sandy Creek run of 10,000 acres.

In early 1862 Biddy left Ben for another man, James Taylor, taking their young son Harry.  Shortly after there followed a series of incidents involving the police, and Insp. Pottinger in particular, during which time Ben Hall was twice arrested for armed robbery. On each occasion he was eventually released as the police failed to find sufficient evidence to secure a conviction.

Ben Hall was subsequently involved in dozens armed robberies in company with other young men including Johnny Gilbert and John O’Meally.  Their activities attracted huge publicity in the colony and relentless police pressure ensured that there was a dwindling number of supporters who were available to provide refuge and supplies. All this culminated in a ₤1,000 reward being offered for the three surviving gang members – Hall, Gilbert and John Dunn.  Inevitably the lure of the money led to his eventual betrayal and death at the Billabong Creek in the autumn of 1865.