Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Hunter Valley Bushrangers

Thomas Hudson and Richard Snead

Thomas Hudson and Richard Snead absconded from Newcastle in 1827.

Government Notice -

The undermentioned prisoners having absented themselves from employment and some of them at large with false certificates, all constables and others are hereby required to use their utmost exertions in lodging them in safe custody.

Thomas Hudson per Minstrel, brick maker aged 23, Native place St. Albans, 5' 8in, hazel eyes, dark brown hair, dark complexion. Absconded from Government service at Newcastle. Charged with robbery.

Richard Snead (Sneyd) (Sneyll) per Mangles, labourer aged 36. Native place Shropshire. 5' 4 in. Blue eyes, flaxen hair, fair pale complexion. Absconded from Newcastle. Charged with robbery. [1]

Highway Robbery

Criminal Court {Extract}
Richard Sneyd and Thomas Hudson, were arraigned on a charge of highway robbery, committed at Newcastle -

Joseph Wilks examined; resides at Newcastle. About four o'clock in the afternoon of the 27th of June last, whilst proceeding on the road from Newcastle to Wallis' Plains, he suddenly received a blow from an unknown hand, which felled him to the ground, and caused him to be insensible for several minutes. On recovering himself, he found the prisoners Sneyd kneeling on his breast while another man whose features he could not distinguish, held him fast to the ground, and rifled his pockets of between two and three pounds in silver. Both men behaved with great violence towards him. After having accomplished their purposes they ran off. Witness on obtaining his release, got up and pursued the two men for nearly a mile through the bush; in the course of the pursuit, he came abreast of them and at one time was within five yards of both men who still continued running; they, however, outran him and making through a thick scrub got away. Swears the two men are the prisoners at the bar. Immediately on losing sight of the prisoners, the prosecutor hastened to the brick maker's gang on the settlement, where he recollected having seen the prisoners employed at work a short time before, and reported to the overseer, his having been robbed, at the same time requesting him to muster his gang; the overseer did so, and the two prisoners were then found to be absent.

By the court. The outrage occurred on the highroad at Newcastle; prisoners did not return the money they rifled from witness's pocket; they took and carried it away; was perfectly sober at the time; had frequent opportunity of noticing the prisoners' persons whilst pursuing them; had known the prisoners about three or four months before. The same evening of the robbery reported it to Mr. Muir the chief constable of the settlement, and at the same time described the persons of the prisoners as being the men who had robbed him; knows that the prisoners ran away from the gang, and took to the bush the same day. Three months after, they were apprehended by some constables, and taken before the Police Magistrate, before whom witness identified their persons. The prisoners heard the charge of robbery made against them, but said not a word in defence.

Mr. George Muir, chief constable at Newcastle. On the 7th of last June, prosecutor came to him, and reported that two men, whose persons he described and stated them to belong to the brick maker's gang (but did not mention their names), had robbed him the same afternoon. Prosecutor gave a minute description of the prisoners' persons; it was from this description that witness immediately concluded the men alleged to have committed the robbery, were the two prisoners at the bar; witness, inconsequence ordered his constables out, and went in company with them to the gang those men belonged to; on arriving there the two prisoners could not be found; they were then absent from their work, and never afterwards returned to it. About three months after, they were taken in the bush; during their examination on the present charge of robbery, they put no interrogatories to the prosecutor, nor did they offer any defence whatever.

John Greig, deposed, that he is overseer of the gang to which the prisoners were attached, in the early part of June last. On the 7th of that month, they left the gang without his permission, and had never since returned to it. The same day prosecutor reported to him, that two men whose person he described as being the prisoners at the bar had robbed him. This was the case for the prosecution. The prisoners called witnesses but failed to establish an alibi, the defence rather made against them, than otherwise; and his Honor could not see a shadow of doubt of their being the men whom the prosecutor had declared to have robbed him.[2]

The Jury found both prisoners guilty and they received a sentence of death. Thomas Hudson was posted as a runaway from Moreton Bay in 1833. He received a ticket of leave for the district of Berrima in 1842.


[1] Sydney Gazette 4 July 1827

[2] The Australian 14 November 1827