It’s Ben Hall of a Life for This Bush-Ranger

ben hall19th Century Australian bush-ranger Ben Hall was born on 9th May 1837. Operating mainly in New South Wales (NSW), he was known as part of Australian folklore as “Brave Ben Hall.

Ben carried out many brave raids, some of which were intended to taunt the police. Unlike many bush-rangers of the era, he was not responsible for any deaths, but was nevertheless shot dead by police on 5th May, 1865, who were acting under the Felons Apprehension Act (1865), which allowed known bush-rangers to be shot and killed rather than taken to trial.

The legality of his killing remains controversial. Ben Hall’s body was taken back to the town of Forbes, in NSW, where an official inquest was held followed by his burial at the local Forbes Cemetery on Sunday 7 May 1865.  A headstone was later  erected in the 1920s.

A number of folk songs recount Hall’s life and exploits. The most notable include:

  • Streets of Forbes, which has been recorded by numerous singers and groups; and
  • The Ballad of Ben Hall’s Gang, The Death of Ben Hall and The Ghost of Ben Hall.
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