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By Kenneth Muir

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Despite vast sums on offer, very few people came forward. Few wanted to inform on men they saw as folk heroes. Rewards of £1000 were common. In today’s terms this is equivalent to around $150 000. It was a vast sum of money to those people in positions to inform as most were very poor. Progress also had a profound effect on bushranging. The use of cheques and other notes of exchange became common in the second half of the 19th century. Fewer people were carrying any more than the smallest amount of cash when they travelled.

He claimed to have committed more than 600 robberies in one year. The colonial government put up a £500 [about $75 000 today] reward for his arrest. Power took a short break in New South Wales until the hunt for him died down. He returned to his hideout in the hills near the King River in mid-1870. There, on 5 June, he was arrested by police. He had been betrayed for the £500 reward by James Quinn, whose family had protected Power. The court at Beechworth sentenced Power to 15 years hard labour and sent him back to Pentridge.

The most controversial was Tony Richardson’s British version starring Mick Jagger as Ned. In 1912 the Commonwealth government banned the making of films about bushrangers. Although it was an Australian film, Mad Dog Morgan (1976) starred the unpredictable American actor Dennis Hopper in the title role. In 1975 the ABC, BBC and 20th Century–Fox made the 13-part television series Ben Hall. British actor Jon Finch was imported to play the lead. 31 An end to bushranging BY THE TIME of Ned Kelly’s execution in 1880 the bushranging era was drawing to a close.

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