Centenary Of A Tasmanian
THE centenary of the bushrang
ing exploits of Martin Cash in Tasmania occurs this year. Born in Enniscorthy, Wexford, Ire- land, in 1810, he had an eventful career which ended in the anti- climax of rural retirement on a farm at Glenorchy.
Martin Cash's father ruined himself by spendthrift habits. Through his negligence and indifference the training of Martin and a younger son devolved upon an indulgent mother. Neglected education, expulsion by three different masters through mischievous tenden- cies, and a liberal supply of pocket money resulted in Martin falling into a life of dissipation.
When 18 years of age he became ac- quainted with a young woman who lived in an obscure part of Enniscorthy and earned a living by making straw hats and bonnets. She and her family borrowed money from him, until his mother upbraided him for his extrava- gance, which was rapidly draining her resources. Subsequently he became involved in an occurrence which chang- ed the whole course of his life.
Let Martin Cash tell the story in his own words: "It happened that, while drinking with companions, one of them informed me that a young man named Jessop, who lived in the neighbourhood, and whose parents were highly re- spectable, was then in company with my friend. Having previously heard
that he frequently visited at her mother's, I was stung to madness with jealousy. Resolving to have my re- venge, I returned home, caught up my gun, and proceded to the house where on looking through the window of the sitting room I saw young Jessop in com- pany with my Mary, having his arm around her waist. Not waiting for any further proof of her treachery, I stepped back a pace or two from. the window, and fired at my rival, who in- stantly fell on the floor.
"The report of my piece attracted a number of people and I was arrested shortly after and placed in gaol. My relatives offered any amount of bail, which was refused, and a few days after I was committed to take my trial at the assizes. I was visited daily by my mother, who appeared to be in bad health, owing, I have no doubt, to my past folly and misconduct.
"Jessop remained under the care of the doctors. The ball entered his breast and came out under the shoulder blade They entertained but slight hope of his recovery. My friends secured the ser- vices of the ablest counsel, but the case was too clear, and I was found guilty, the jury strongly recommending me to mercy. But that being an attri- bute that never entered into the compo- sition of Judge Pennefather, I was sen- tenced to seven years' transportation."
Notwithstanding Jessop's presenta-
tion of a petition to the Lord-Lieuten- ant of Ireland, signed by the leading men of the county, praying for a miti- gation of the sentence, the die was cast for Martin's forced exile. While lying in Cork Gaol awaiting transportation, word reached him of the death of his mother, causing him to lament bitterly that he was the cause of it.
A few days later 170 convicts, with Cash among them, embarked in the Marquis of Huntley for Botany Bay. and reached Sydney on February 10. 1828, when they were drafted to Hyde Park barracks, the depot from which they were selected as assigned servants. Cash was sent to Richmond, his master
being Mr G. Bowman, who leased an- other farm on the Hunter River, where Martin was transferred, and where he became a stockrider for nine years.
John Boodle, who had a station on Liverpool Plains, asked Cash to assist him and his brother to brand some cattle
which, unknown to Cash, had been stolen. While the branding was in progress two strangers came along, re- mained a few minutes, and departed. Upon Boodle informing him that the strangers knew the cattle were stolen, and that transportation to Norfolk Is- land was the penalty for this crime, Cash decided to leave for Van Diemen's Land. He sailed in the barque Francis Freeling for Hobart Town, and arrived on February 10, 1837.
In Van Diemen's Land Cash soon got into trouble again, and eventually came before John Price, of world-wide fame, and a magistrate at Hobart Town, who sentenced him to two years in ad- dition to his original seven years' sen- tence, and to four years' imprisonment with hard labour at Port Arthur.
Of his escape from there, with Kavan- agh and Jones, who became his con- federates in crime, by way of Eagle- hawk Neck, in December. 1842; the en- gagement at the Woolpack Inn, Gretna: the attack upon Capt. Clark at or near the Hunting Ground, Kempton; the night engagement at Saltpan Plains, near Tunbridge; the capture of Cash on August 29. 1843, and his trial in Sep- tember. 1843, when he was sentenced to death; the commutation of his sen tence to transportation for life in Octo- ber, 1843; his removal to Norfolk Is- land; and the restoration of his liberty eight years afterwards—all are told by him in the story of his life, published
During his bushranging career Cash was guilty only of one killing, the shooting of Const Peter Winstanley in Brisbane St., Hobart, near the old Commodore Inn, on the day of his capture. Winstanley died two days
After his liberation Cash purchased a farm at Glenorchy, resolved to pass thf remainder of his days in the "calm and tranquil enjoyment of rural retirement" —a resolve he faithfully kept. He died on August 26, 1877.