Moonlite: The Tragic Love Story of Captain Moonlite and the Bloody End of the Bushrangers
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They cut his thick beard from his face a few days ago and now the rope will have to do its work around the stubble on his neck. It's early on the morning of 20 January 1880 as Andrew George Scott, one of Australia's last genuine bushrangers, is led to the gallows. Nosey Bob, the ...Sydney hangman, has been told Scott's weight and height. He's also measured the drop and checked the rope a dozen times. A man can't be too sure these days. He's botched a few hangings over the years, has Bob, his victims writhing and squirming for ages at the end of the rope. This one he needs to get right. Can't have the tabloids and the public saying he stuffed up when it came to stretching the neck of Captain Moonlite. Scott, the self-declared Captain Moonlite, is a shadow of the man who, along with his gang, had held up the Wantabadgery station, 30 miles out of Gundagai, just a few months earlier. He is gaunt and lean and there is fear in his eyes. Around one of his fingers he wears a ring woven from the hair of the true love of his life, James Nesbitt, a young man he had met in prison a few years earlier. The business at Wantabadgery where Moonlite's gang had held up to 40 people hostage ended with a shootout with the police - a bad one - and Nesbitt had been gunned down during the firefight. No-one could quite believe what happened next. That was the end of Moonlite. He fell to his knees and cradled Nesbitt in his arms, weeping inconsolably and kissing him passionately. In prison Moonlite has penned a letter that will not be found for more than a century. My dying wish is to be buried beside my beloved James Nesbitt, the man with whom I was united by every tie which could bind human friendship, he writes. We were one in hopes, in heart and soul and this unity lasted until he died in my arms. The story of Captain Moonlite is largely unknown in Australia. Yet it is one of the most incredible tales to emerge out of the 19th century when a young and largely lawless nation was held to ransom by hundreds of outlaws. The execution of Moonlite and, later that year, Ned Kelly, marked the end of their reign; an era as colourful and dangerous as the American Wild West was coming to an end. Andrew Scott was an Irishman who, in just 38 years, had lived a full life; a soldier during the Maori wars in New Zealand, a lay preacher, a fraudster, a public figure who lectured on the evils of crime and, in all probability, the first openly gay bushranger. Badlands is a book filled with rich characters set against the backdrop of a country struggling to come to terms with its colonial convict past and its desire to be recognised as a nation in its own right.
||29 Sep 2020
999 In-stock at publisher; ships 7-14 working days