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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 Gallery’s Acknowledgement of Country, and information on culturally sensitive and restricted content and the use of historic language in the collection can be found here.

Scrapbook page featuring portraits of Fred Lowry and Frank Gardiner

c. 1863
an unknown artist and Freeman Brothers

albumen silver photographs on laid on paper with handwritten text (sheet: 22.7 cm x 18.2 cm, image: 5.0 cm x 8.5 cm, image: 7.5 cm x 5.5 cm)

Francis Gardiner (Christie) (1830-c. 1903), bushranger, came to New South Wales with his family as a child. At the age of 20, under the name Francis Christie, he was sentenced to five years' hard labour at Geelong for horse theft. Escaping from Pentridge, he returned to New South Wales. In early 1854, having stolen more horses, he was convicted as Francis Clarke and imprisoned on Cockatoo Island. Five years later he was given a ticket-of-leave for the Carcoar district, but broke parole and headed south. Following a stint as a butcher at Lambing Flat, he transformed himself into 'The Darkie', engaging in highway robbery on the Cowra Road. In July 1861 at a sly grog shop near Oberon he shot and wounded two policemen. Expanding with Johnny Piesley into the old Lachlan road and the Weddin Mountains, he formed a 'gang' with Johnny Gilbert, Ben Hall and others. On 15 June 1862 they held up the gold escort near Eugowra and bagged £14 000. Gardiner fled with his mistress to Queensland, but in early 1864 he was located by the New South Wales police and arrested. Tried for wounding Sergeant Middleton with intent to kill, he was acquitted by the jury but found guilty on two non-capital charges and given a cumulative sentence of 32 years' hard labour. In 1872, the high-profile orator WB Dalley, who had defended Gardiner, organized petitions to the governor to use his prerogative of mercy. Governor Robinson decided that Gardiner had been harshly sentenced and in 1874 released him, subject to his exile. A public controversy ensued, with petitions, counter-petitions and spirited debates in the Legislative Assembly. Ultimately, the decision led to the fall of Premier Henry Parkes's government. In 1875, by way of Hong Kong, Gardiner travelled to San Francisco, where he ran the Twilight Saloon. Although most reports were unreliable, the colonial press continued to note his activities, including his death in Colorado in about 1903.

Purchased 2008

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Freeman Brothers

Frank Gardiner (age 33 in 1863)

Frederick Lowry (age 27 in 1863)

Subject professions

Law and justice

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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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