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Frederick Wordsworth "Captain Thunderbolt" Ward
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Birth: May 16, 1833
Wilberforce
New South Wales, Australia
Death: May 25, 1870
Uralla
New South Wales, Australia

Also known as Captain Thunderbolt, he was one of Australia's best known Bush Rangers. His bush ranging career began in October 1863, but he was known to the law before that date. During his Bush Ranging career, he assumed his alias on December 21, 1863, and committed at least 62 offences as he roamed Eastern Australia from Southern Queensland to the Hunter Valley in New South Wales, from Stroud near the New South Wales Coast westward across the Liverpool Plains to Bourke and Mudgee and the last 2 years around Armidale and Uralla, in the New England Highlands of New South Wales. During his life time, he was credited with over 200 offences. He married a young lady of Aboriginal heritage, was very respected by the local native population, and initiated into her tribe. She passed away on November 17,1867 from pneumonia, possibly contributed to by some extent the birth of her fourth child, just months earlier. In regards to his bush ranging career, only 2 things are not in dispute:- the quality of the horses he stole and rode, and the fact that he never killed or injured those whom he robbed or went in pursuit of him. On May 28, 1870, he was chased, shot and killed at Kentucky Creek, just south of Uralla, New South Wales, by a Police Officer. As his body was buried in unhallowed ground at the edges of Uralla Cemetery, an extremely tall woman, dressed completely in black, wearing a black hat and veil, and walking with a manly gait, was observed at the funeral. As part of Australia's Bi-Centenary celebrations in 1988 a larger than life sized Bronze statue of him riding a stolen racer was unveiled in Uralla, New South Wales. The body was also exhumed from unhallowed ground and ceremoniously reburied inside the Cemetery. According to local residents, the aim was not to honour him,but to mark the place for tourists and historians to see where he had been killed and his criminal career brought to an end. Family history suggests that the body buried was not him, but that of his brother, and that the "tall woman attending the funeral was actually him.It is also suggested that 6 weeks after the funeral, he and his mother, went to Sydney and then by boat to San Francisco. They then moved on to Alberta Canada and later to Ottawa where he died in the early 1900's.Whether the body buried in the grave is him or his brother, two facts remain: He was considered a "gentleman" bush ranger, who always tipped his hat to ladies; and he hated the use of guns. Further evidence that the buried body might not be his, was revealed by an Aboriginal Elder who said that if the body had been his,who was held in such high regard by them, he would have been dug up and secretly buried in a sacred, hidden Aboriginal burial ground. No further trace of his brother, nor his mother could be found in any Australian records after the funeral.


 
 
Inscription:
Erected by
New England Residents
to mark where lies
Thunderbolt
(Fred Ward)
Died 25 May 1870
Aged 34 years.
 
Note: Grave and memorial maintained by the residents of Uralla and New England Highlands of New South Wales, Australia
 
Burial:
Uralla Cemetery
Uralla
New South Wales, Australia
 
Created by: Muriel Butler
Record added: Apr 11, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 35757503
Frederick Wordsworth Captain Thunderbolt Ward
Added by: graver
 
Frederick Wordsworth Captain Thunderbolt Ward
Added by: graver
 
Frederick Wordsworth Captain Thunderbolt Ward
Added by: Muriel Butler
 
 
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- Sharon
 Added: Feb. 24, 2014

- SerenityNow
 Added: Jul. 21, 2012

- Kathleen Fleury Bilbrey
 Added: Jun. 11, 2012
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