BACK IN TIME: Millaquin mills and distillery, Bundaberg, circa 191495
BACK IN TIME: Millaquin mills and distillery, Bundaberg, circa 191495

PART 3: Razor and revolvers found as cops catch bandits

This is the third part of the NewsMail's flashback to a history article by Rod MacAlpine published in 1970.

See part 1

See part 2

Two crims had carried out a daring robbery on the Fairymead Sugar Company in 1914 and after their victims raised the alarm, the police were in pursuit.

Police spotted the culprits on the Burnett Traffic Bridge and apprehended them, but not before they tossed a great sum of money into the Burnett River.

A loaded revolver which clattered to the deck was picked up by Cnst Ferguson, who, rather appropriately, arrived at the scene on a bicycle.

Within 20 minutes of the hold-up the two were in the lock-up.

SUGAR INDUSTRY: A steam engine with wagons loaded with bags of sugar in Bundaberg around 1914.
SUGAR INDUSTRY: A steam engine with wagons loaded with bags of sugar in Bundaberg around 1914.

A subsequent search of the suspects, it is recorded, revealed one man had another loaded revolver, ammunition, pliers, a razor, a mask and other odds and ends including a piece of wiring from the disabled Fairymead car.

A second mask and ammunition were turned out from his companion's pockets and a bag with £177/18/- was found in his shirt.

Meanwhile, however, the major portion of the loot was at the bottom of the Burnett.

So Act Sgt Scanlon and Const Ferguson, watched by a steadily increasing crowd, set about dragging operations.

They tried all afternoon with no luck.

In fact, things weren't going too swimmingly at all until the brothers McStarvick, Joseph and Henry came along just before dusk and offered their services as a diving team.

In no time at all they hit pay dirt and from the bottom, under 8ft of water, they brought up the missing sugar bag containing all £1394/2/9. It was soaked but intact.

About this time, official diver George Pashley been making ready to move into the act, but his services were not needed - at least not until the following morning when he capped off the robbery operation by locating the second bag with its £177/12/10.

Act II opened the next day before Police Magistrate RB Hetherington.

Records from the time say the two culprits looked "well-dressed and respectable in appearance” and seemed to regard the whole affair as something of a joke.

The charge was stealing from Horace Edward Young with actual violence £1749/13/7 on Fairymead Rd on November 20, 1914, being armed and in company.

At the suggestion of violence, the two threw up their hands in horror. There had been no violence, they said.

In fact, "we walked around like a pair of lambs,” they said.

Nonetheless, they were prepared to plead guilty and no one objected to a remand.

So what happened next at the trial? Check out tomorrow's paper or this website to find out.



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