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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

The last bushrangers

‘Thomas and John Clarke – both so deeply stained in crime’, ran the newspapers’ unambiguous characterisation in June 1867.

Brothers Thomas and John Clarke were raised in an enterprising family that included a solid contingent of horse thieves, cattle rustlers, robbers and killers. The Southern Tablelands of New South Wales was the disreputable pair’s patch, as it was for their immediate and extended family. The clan was as dysfunctional as it was loyal – demonstrated by their willingness to break incarcerated members out of gaol as required. By 1866 the members of the Clarke family gang, led by Thomas, were declared outlaws. After spending some time on individual pursuits, John joined his brother and the pair wreaked havoc over the course of twelve months, with armed robbery their crime of choice. In April 1867, following a gunfight with the constabulary near Braidwood, the Clarkes were captured; they were sentenced to death in May and hanged at Darlinghurst gaol in June. The brothers’ demise saw the end of organised bushranging gangs in New South Wales.

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The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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