A Short Summary

There are gaps in the detail. A more comprehensive life story to follow.

Martin Cash – Bushranger

  • 1808 – 1877
  • born in Ireland, wealthy, literate
  • Convicted: 7 years transportation: shot at a man who was flirting with Cash’s girlfriend
  • 1828 – arrived Sydney
  • On assignment in the Hunter Valley in NSW
  • 1837 – Avoided a cattle theft charge by coming to VDL
  • Caught for a minor offence in Hobart:
  • 2 more years added to sentence
  • then 4 years hard labour: Port Arthur
  • Escaped Port Arthur and caught: added 18 months
  • Escaped again, made his way to Hobart and his lover Bessie
  • They travelled to north of VDL, almost made it across Bass Strait
  • Caught and sentenced to 10 years at Port Arthur
  • 1842 – Cash & two others escaped Port Arthur work party
  • Reached the Neck
  • tied their clothes to their heads and swam across at dusk
  • First recorded swim across Eagle Hawk Neck – full of sharks
  • All three of them lost their clothes
  • Now naked, no weapons and no food
  • Had to rob a work gang hut and lived in shabby clothing
  • Started a 2-year bushranging adventure
  • robberies from mail coaches, homes, inns, reputation built
  • 1843 Cash: heard Bessie in Hobart was now with another fellow
  • Cash swore to kill them both, went to Hobart
  • Spotted in Hobart by a Constable, there was a shoot out
  • The constable died, Cash was tried for murder
  • Found guilty, sentenced to hang, last minute reprieve
  • Transported to Norfolk Island for life
  • Became a trusted convict there: later a constable
  • 1854 – married aged 46, got his ticket of leave; Daughter – Monique
  • 1856 – was overseer at Botanic Gardens in Hobart
  • 1860 – travelled to NZ & opened several brothels
  • wrote his memoir = best seller
  • 1863 – gained his freedom
  • 1877 – died in Glenorchy
  • The only Australian bushranger to die of old age in his own bed
1843 Martin Cash wanted poster. Image: TAHO
Categories: People