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  • PeggyAeschlimann 27 May 2015 at 19:53
    Describes Anne Bon's introduction to Harry Power in Pentridge, and how she managed to get his early release.

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Power the Bushranger.   We give the following rather interesting particulars of Power, the bushranger, sup- plied to "Life" by Mrs Bon, of Wappan   station, Bonnie Doon, a lady ever prominent in works of generosity and kindness:—It   seems to me unjust to bracket together two such men as Morgan and Power. Morgan was a cruel, bloodthirsty man, Power one who possessed some fine traits of character. I first made the acquaintance of Power, the bushranger, in a hospital ward of the Pentridge prison, when I was agreeably surprised to find him such a respectable-look- ing and respectful old man. On my next visit I was shown into a room with a flagged floor, and a few forms for the use of visitors. I noticed one of the four walls consisted of iron bars, like a gridiron from floor to ceiling behind which was the outer wall, with a narrow space between, having a door at one end. Presently the door opened and the prisoner entered, accompanied by an armed attendant. I felt most uncomfortable, having to speak to the prisoner through those iron bars as if he were a beast of prey. On relating my novel experience at the office of the Chief Secretary (Sir Graham Berry) I had ever after the honor of being supplied with a "special" order. This entitled me to be more respectfully received. I was shown into a nice, large, carpeted and well-furnished room, called the library, in which were many good books. The prisoner was escorted thither—by an armed attend- ant, as before—a wise precaution, for a few years before, a Christian minister in the discharge of his duties, alone with a prisoner in his cell, was fallen upon and cruelly murdered. Power looked bright and happy, for he felt he was no longer treated as a savage beast, but as a man. He entered the room with some degree of pride, shook hands most cordially, and accepted my offer of a chair. We talked on various subjects, amongst others that of books, when he asked me if I would be good enough to get for him "From   Log Cabin to White House." He was fond of reading, and, when I first met him had as his companion one of the beautiful works of Grace Aguilar. He had permission to write me once in three months, the letters being read and initialled before leaving the   prison. At Christmas I was allowed to send him cakes, sweets, etc., for which he was grateful, and which he unselfishly shared with some of his fellow prisoners. The box was handed him unopened which gave him infinite pleasure, as he remarked, when telling me afterwards, "It shows they have   confidence both in you and me." Amongst the many good traits in his character was that of gratitude, which is not very common. In one of his letters he sent me a finger ring, which he had manufactured from horse hair, and with a gold thread worked in the words, "H.P. to Mrs Bon," which I value   much, seeing it was all the poor fellow had to give. As time went on, he began to get dis- contented, being under the impression that he was unjustly treated. He believed he had a good cause, never having had a black mark attached to his name, and asked me to help him in his extremity. I replied, "If   you promise me you will never have any- thing to do with publicans and public houses, I will do what I can to assist you." He promised faithfully; and subsequent events   prove how, by the grace of God, he was enabled to keep his promise. I asked him to send me his request in writing, which I handed to the then Minister of Justice (the Hon. Robert Stirling Anderson) who was a personal friend of mine. He carefully went through the documents relating to Power's case, with the result that his sentence was shortened, and he regained his long-wished for liberty. There was, in those days, no Prison Brigade of that wonderful organisation, the Salvation Army, to take him by the hand and try to raise him in the social scale; but   Satan had his agent there, in the shape of the publican, to offer him the right hand of welcome, with a comfortable home, and twenty-five shillings a week, just to sit in the bar—and it may be added, to act as a "decoy duck." This was a strong tempta- tion to one in Power's unenviable position, to which many would have yielded; but Power remembered the promise made to me, and God helped him to keep it. As he told me he knew Sir William Clarke I advised him to ask for employment, and I would give him an outfit. He was success- ful in obtaining suitable work, in looking after paddocks near Donnybrook, and killing rabbits, where he had a house to himself. Ere long another temptation presented itself. A public house stood empty on the old Syd- ney road, which he was advised to rent, as it would just suit him in his old age. Again he remembered his promise, and wrote to me for advice. I replied, "Will be passing Donnybrook on such a morning; meet the   train." There he was on the platform, eager to hear my verdict. "Power, you have   not forgotten your promise to me when in prison," which settled the matter at once. After leaving Sir William Clarke, he made his home with his sister, going to New   South Wales for the shearing, which en-   abled him to live during the remainder of the year. When rioters were burning down   woolsheds etc., Power was armed with a rifle by his employer, and promoted to the confidential position of night watchman which appointment speaks for itself. Power never shed blood, nor did he ever outrage women or children. He robbed the   rich and gave to the poor. There was very ...

I do not attempt to vindicate his conduct who, as a bushranger, was the terror of the country, who was also a tutor of Ned Kelly, who followed the same calling, and ultimately expiated his crimes on the scaffold. Power, by the grace of God, became a changed man and a law-abiding citizen. While I was working for Power in the world, prayers   were daily ascending on his behalf from the cloister, and he always said it was owing to the prayers of the Nuns of the Good Shepherd that he became a changed man. For myself, allow me to say that in the time of my deepest sorrow I received much sympathy from friends, but none was more genuine than that of poor Harry Power, the ex-bushranger.