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JOHN FULLER (alias "Dan Morgan")
"Over the border to rifle and plunder
Over the border went Morgan the bold
Over the border a terrible plunder
For over the border bold Morgan lies cold."
This was the song of the 1860's, after this most bloodthirsty of villains met his well deserved fate. Following a long line of vicious crimes, committed in the Colony of the New South Wales, where a price of £1000 was put on his head, he left for the neighbouring Colony of Victoria, in his own words "going to take the flashness out of the Victorian Police".
But who was this thief, robber, arsonist, and killer, the heavy drinker who possessed a violent temper and often brutally tortured and wounded his victims, who killed two civilians and a police officer in cold blood?
John Fuller was the illegitimate son of George Fuller and Mary Owen (called "the Gipsy Woman"), born in Campbelltown (NSW.) in 1830. When he was about two years old, he was adopted by John Roberts, better known as "Jack the Welshman", who looked after him till he was seventeen, and found him a job as a stockman. However, this was not appreciated by his charge, who obviously wanted something more exciting, and therefore left Campbelltown for Victoria to try his luck at the Castlemaine goldfields. In 1854 he was back in New South Wales, this time under the name of "John Smith", who in no time became a suspected horse thief and robber with the reputation of a heavy drinker and having a violent temper. The inevitable happened - he was caught and subsequently sentenced to twelve years imprisonment for robbery under arms. He served only six years and on receiving a ticket-of-leave, headed back to New South Wales. From then on he led a wretched life of vicious crimes, using different nick-names like "John Smith", "Sydney Native", "Dan the Breaker", "Down the River Jack:", "Bill the Native", but mostly "Dan Morgan", "Jack Morgan" or simply "Morgan". On 5th April, 1865, with the police hard on his heels, he crossed the Murray into north-east Victoria. He held up several carriers near Winton, burned down barns and a granary at the Evans' property near Whitfield, and on 8th April held up the McPherson family at Peechelba Station, terrorising the eight women and four unarmed men through the night till the early hours of the morning. Luckily a brave young woman - Alice Keenan the nursemaid, managed to slip away to Mr Rutherfords, a co-owner of the property who lived a quarter of a mile away and informed him of the situation.
On Sunday morning the 9th April at 8.30 am., Morgan was leaving the homestead for the stables to select a horse for himself. By then, the property was surrounded by the police and civilians. It was John Wendlan, a station employee, who couldn't hold back any longer and fired his single barrel gun. Morgan, who was struck in the back, fell mortally wounded. So he didn't take the flashness out of the Victorians, but found his own death amongst them, and now lies buried in the Wangaratta cemetery.
"Over the border not long did he plunder
Swift is the justice as slow she is here
Bold are the men over the border - no wonder
When even the women know nothing of fear."
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