bushrangerThunderbolt - Fred Ward's grave

Frederick Wordsworth Ward began his bushranging career on 22nd December 1863 when he robbed a toll-bar operator at Rutherford west of Maitland, NSW. Fred hammered on the tollkeeper's door who said, "By God, I thought it must have been a thunderbolt" and Fred pointed a pistol at his head and said "I am the thunder and this my bolt". Afterwards he informed his victim his name was ‘Captain Thunderbolt’.

Over six and a half years Thunderbolt and his gang robbed mailmen, travellers, inns, stores and stations across much of northern New South Wales from the Hunter to the Queensland boarder. Thunderbolt is credited with committing up to 200 crimes including.....
- 25 mail coach robberies
- 16 hotels and stores
- 16 stations and residence
- 6 hawkers
- 1 tollbar gate
- 80 thefts of horses
- 1 escape from lawful custody
- numerous firing on police in their line of duty.

It is surprising that during so many hold ups not one person was killed, although he shot at police and was once wounded himself.

On 25th May 1870 Captain Thunderbolt was shot and killed near Uralla by Constable Walker. The police were alerted to Thunderbolt's presence outside Uralla. Two constables took up the chase and Constable Alexander Binning Walker caught up with Thunderbolt at Kentucky Creek. Following an exchange of words, Walker and Thunderbolt met in the middle of the creek. Thunderbolt's own pistol empty and he was shot as he attempted to pull Walker from his mount.

Thunderbolt's body was put on public display following an autopsy. Locks of his hair and photos of his body were sold. Few people attended the burial and there was not a clergyman present.