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The Bathurst Rebellion was a brief bushranging episode outside of Bathurst, New South Wales, involving a group of escaped convicts known as the ‘Ribbon Gang’, during September and October 1830. The insurgents were led by 25-year-old English convict-servant Ralph Entwistle and at its peak they numbered more than 80 men. Although the circumstances remain unresolved the men may have been motivated by an act of injustice inflicted on Entwistle the previous year when he was flogged by the local police magistrate for swimming naked at a ford on the Macquarie River when governor Lieutenant General Sir Ralph Darling and his entourage had passed by. Alternatively the real cause may have been a grievance at being deprived of adequate food and clothing by a local landowner.
The troubles began on 23 September when Entwistle and four others escaped from their assigned farm in Fitzgerald’s Valley, 20 km (12 mi) south of Bathurst, seizing firearms in the process. During the following days the escapees appeared at other farms, seizing more weapons, and being joined by more convicts. When the convict manager of one of the farms refused to join Entwistle he was shot and killed. Following an extensive manhunt by local volunteers, mounted police and British Army soldiers from the 39th Regiment of Foot, ten members of the gang–including Entwistle himself–were subsequently captured, but not before a series of shoot-outs during which a number of men on both sides were shot and wounded.
The rebels were subsequently tried and found guilty of murder before a Special Commission and a jury of military officers; they were publicly executed in Bathurst by hanging on 3 November.
- Coulthard-Clark 2001, pp. 6–8.