Harry Redford* , cattle thief and local Aramac hero was captured because he included in his stolen herd a famous white bull from the area. Aramac pay tribute to his escapade with little bulls located at
different sites around town.
Here’s the BIG white bull in the centre of town …
Then there’s Postabull at the Post Office …
Transportabull at the truck depot …
Philabull at the Service Station …
Trainabull at the Museum …
Bowlabull at the Bowling Club …
And Shopabull outside the general store …
We sat around the campfire thinking up other ‘bull’ names and where they belong …
Debatabull – outside council chambers
Lovabull – outside brothel
Edibull – outside cafe
Flammabull- at the fire station
Can you think of any others?
We decided that they were all adorabull 💕 and a quirky way to invite people to explore the little town of Aramac in Western Queensland.
*The following extract about Harry Redford is from one of my favourite Facebook pages and websites, Aussie Towns.
My Favourite Story about Rural Australia – Harry Redford and the Roma Jury
The history of Harry Redford is a tale of daring, chicanery and the outback’s admiration for a criminal bushman which the novelist Rolf Boldrewood used as the basis of his famous novel Robbery Under Arms.
Redford was born in the Hawkesbury River district of New South Wales in 1842. It is likely that his father was the convict, Thomas Redford, who had arrived in Australia in 1826.
By the time he was a teenager Redford was working as a drover and by 1870 he was in Central Western Queensland working on the vast Bowen Downs station which, at the time, covered 1.75 million acres. Today Muttaburra stands at one end of where this vast holding once stood.
At the time Bowen Downs was running about 70,000 cattle and Redford felt that the station owners wouldn’t even know if they were a thousand short on muster.
Redford knew that if he stole the cattle (all of which had been branded) that he couldn’t sell them in Queensland or New South Wales. So he devised a plan to drove the cattle down the Cooper Creek into South Australia.
To understand how daring this plan was it is worth remembering that Burke and Wills had died attempting to make a similar journey only nine years earlier.
Amazingly Redford was successful. He drove the cattle 1,300 km to the Blanche Water station in northern South Australia where he sold them for £5000. However the loss was noted and in February 1871 Redford was arrested and brought to Roma to be tried.
The charge was “that Redford, in March 1870, at Bowen Downs station, feloniously did steal 100 bullocks, 100 cows, 100 heifers, 100 steers, one white bull, the property of Morehead and Young.” The bull was important. It had been used to lead the cattle and it was to become vital to the prosecution case.
From the outset the trial had the elements of an entertainment rather than a serious investigation. Locals, captivated by Redford’s consummate bushcraft and daring, packed the courtroom. The white bull stood in a yard outside the courthouse. Forty-one of the forty-eight people called as possible jurors were dismissed because they were prejudiced. The white bull took part in a line up with twenty other bulls and was immediately identified by its owner.
The evidence against Redford was overwhelming. The defence offered no witnesses and complained that Redford had been gaoled without trial.
The jury retired for an hour and then delivered their verdict.
The court transcript reads as follows:
Judge: What is your verdict?
Foreman of the Jury: We find the prisoner ‘Not Guilty’.
Foreman of the Jury: Not guilty.
Judge: I thank God, gentlemen, that the verdict is yours, not mine!
It was an example of admiration of bushcraft overwhelming justice and on 5 April 1873 the Governor of Queensland ordered that the criminal jurisdiction of the District Court at Roma be withdrawn for two years.
After his acquittal Harry Redford headed into northern Australia. He worked as a drover on the Atherton Tableland and around the Gulf country.
In 1883 he moved the first herd of cattle from Queensland to the Brunette Downs station where he was appointed manager. For many years he managed the McArthur River station on the Gulf of Carpentaria and was known around Burketown as the model for Captain Starlight although he refused to acknowledge the obvious similarities.
(We) reflect on the wonderful perversity of the people of Roma who let a clearly guilty man go free simply because they were in awe of his bushcraft and his droving skills.