‘The mia mia was searched, and in it were found a double barrelled gun, several pannikins, one of which was indented with the letters “W.H.” …….’
In The Argus of October 10th, 1910, appears an article by B.G under the title “A mystery of the fifties” The writer referring to the ship Madagascar, which never reached her destination, says that the vessel had a large quantity of gold on board, and goes on to relate a very interesting story:
“A woman when dying in New Zealand called a clergyman to her bedside and told him, years afterwards, how the ship had been robbed and scuttled off the coast of South America. She said that the captain and officers had been murdered by a mutinous crew and some of the passengers, that the ship was robbed and set fire to. Six of those on board escaped, but contracted fever and succumbed”
One of the passengers by this ill-fated ship, but assuredly not a mutineer, was Connell W McNamara, one of my fellow cadets at Ballarat. McNamara was a Dublin attorney. He had been placed by Superintendent Henry Foster in charge of the watch-house there. Many of the prisoners who passed through his hands never took the trouble to call for any valuables left in his care, and thus all such unconsidered trifles became part of Mc’s prerequisites and with his savings left him, as he informed me, with a tidy little nest-egg after a few months service. “There is many a slip between the cup and the lip”.
From: Recollections of a Victorian Police Officer. By John Sadleir. Penguin Books. 1973.
John Sadleir's work is well known for his recollections of the Kelly Gang. However his writing here was shown to be accurate in detail and telling. Two mysterious aspects did however appear. Firstly no records exist of a man with the intials W. H as having been involved in the escort robbery and yet Sadleir is clearly wanting the reader to identify this man as he knows who he is. Secondly the introduction of Connell McNamara does nothing but throw suspicion upon this man even though Sadleir tells us that he wouldn't be involved. Sadleir curiously throws in 'many a slip between the cup and the lip' as a way to indicate to us that the truth of the matters are known but that he is bound not to tell us.
The author of The Silent Moon identifies William Hayes or to be later known as Bully Hayes as the mystery man W.H. It is very likely that Bully Hayes is in Victoria at this time even though that has never been before stated. Other evidence on Bully's involvement can be seen in the newspaper article section of this site.