Harry Power

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Harry Power, probably in Pentridge, 1870

Harry Power (1819–1891) was an Australian Bushranger, who at one time had Ned Kelly also a famous bushranger served as his accomplice while a teenager.[1]

Early life[edit]

Henry Johnson, also known as Harry Power, was born in Waterford, Ireland on 18 May 1819 and grew up in Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire, England. When he was sixteen years of age his father had him apprenticed to the saddlery trade. Later on he joined the peasants in their conflicts with the British troops. It was during this time that he received the sabre wounds on his face, which are described in the Victorian police records as, "Scar over right eyebrow, scars on right cheek."[2]

He was convicted at Salford, Lancashire on 31 August 1840. He was sentenced to transportation for 7 years in Australia for stealing a bridle and saddle, under the name of Henry Johnston, and adhered to that name until he became a ticket-of-leave man.[3]

He was freed in 1848 and moved to Sydney. By now he was calling himself Harry Power.[citation needed]

Power, was engaged driving cattle all over this colony and New South Wales, and afterwards with Captain Denman's party in exploring and cutting a track across the ranges. In a few years he became a splendid bushman, knowing almost every mile of the country. During all this time he appears to have been getting an honest living, even when he kept a horse yard at Geelong, which is ostensibly a respectable calling. One incident changed his whole career. He was riding one of his own horses, near Sandhurst, when he was bailed up by two drunken German troopers. "I was going along quietly," says Power, "when down came the two troopers, hooting and shouting. I saw they were drunk, and pulled on one side, but they stopped me. 'Whose horse is that?' says one. 'It's mine,' says I. 'Are you going to shout?' says the other. 'No,' says I, for I didn't like the Germans. 'I believe you stole that horse,' says the first.' 'You're a liar,' says I. ' You'll have to come along with us,' says the other. 'I won't do it,' says I, getting riled. On that one of them drew his hanger, and said he'd make me. 'You can't,' says I. He charged at me, and I'd only just time to draw my revolver, or he'd have cut me down. I shot him, and then the other fellow rode up and fired at me, and the powder singed my coat. I shot him, and then rode off. Now, if I had been sensible, I'd have ridden off to the nearest police station and given myself up. But I was frightened, and rode across the colony, thinking to go and stay in New South Wales till the row was over. At the Murray I was stopped. I did not deny my name or resist. They arrested and brought me down to Melbourne, and I got 10 years. The men were not hurt much, and it was proved they stopped me without cause, or I'd have got more."[4]

After his release in 1885, Power worked as a tour guide on the former Prison Hulk Success when it became a museum ship

He was released after serving six years, but was again jailed in 1864 for horse stealing.[citation needed]

Escaping from Pentridge Prison in 1869, the 50-year-old Power turned to highway robbery and became known as a Bushranger. He was highly successful and a reward of £500 was offered for his capture (a large sum of money at that time). There were claims that during these robberies Power had a youthful assistant who took care of the horses. Suspicion fell on the then 16-year-old Ned Kelly. Power himself was captured on 5 June 1870.[5] One of Kelly's relatives betrayed him to the police. He was arrested while on their land. [6]

Later life[edit]

Power was not released from prison until 9 February 1885, aged 66. For a while he worked as a tour guide for the old Prison Hulk Success, on which he had once served a sentence, and was by then a museum. In November 1891 Harry Power was fishing, and fell in and drowned in the Murray River at Swan Hill, Victoria.[7]

Legacy[edit]

View from Power's Lookout.

Power's Lookout Reserve near Whitfield, Victoria is named after Harry Power.[8]


References[edit]

  1. ^ "A Bushranger's Confessions.". The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843 - 1893) (NSW: National Library of Australia). 17 March 1877. p. 11. Retrieved 14 April 2012. 
  2. ^ "LIFE OF BUSHRANGER POWER.". Western Mail (Perth, WA : 1885 - 1954) (Perth, WA: National Library of Australia). 5 February 1910. p. 50. Retrieved 14 April 2012. 
  3. ^ "LIFE OF BUSHRANGER POWER.". Western Mail (Perth, WA : 1885 - 1954) (Perth, WA: National Library of Australia). 19 February 1910. p. 14. Retrieved 10 April 2012. 
  4. ^ "POWER, THE BUSHRANGER.". Gippsland Times (Vic. : 1861 - 1954) (Vic.: National Library of Australia). 12 March 1877. p. 4 Edition: Morning. Retrieved 14 April 2012. 
  5. ^ "CAPTURE OF POWER, THE BUSHRANGER.". The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956) (Melbourne, Vic.: National Library of Australia). 6 June 1870. p. 5. Retrieved 10 April 2012. 
  6. ^ "GENERAL NEWS.". The Inquirer & Commercial News (Perth, WA : 1855 - 1901) (Perth, WA: National Library of Australia). 4 December 1891. p. 3. Retrieved 10 April 2012. 
  7. ^ "SUPPOSED DEATH OF THE BUSHRANGER POWER.". The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1931) (Adelaide, SA: National Library of Australia). 9 November 1891. p. 5. Retrieved 10 April 2012. 
  8. ^ "Parks Victoria: Power's Lookout Reserve". Parks Victoria. Retrieved 20 November 2009. 

Convict records: http://www.convictrecords.com.au/convicts/johnson/henry/59304

External links[edit]