Some notorious felons | State Library of New South Wales

Some notorious felons

With its convict beginnings, it is not surprising that New South Wales has produced a number of colourful and notorious villains whose exploits received widespread press coverage and who became household names at least in their own time.

John Dunn was born on 14 December 1846 near Yass, NSW, the eldest of nine children, to convict parents Michael and Margaret Dunn. In 1864 he joined Ben Hall's gang of bushrangers and embarked on a short but infamous career - raiding stations, inns, stores and mail coaches. In January 1865, Dunn shot dead Constable Samuel Nelson in the bungled robbery of Kimberley's Inn at Collector, near Goulburn. This was the crime for which he was hanged at Darlinghurst Gaol on 19 March 1866. He was just 19 years of age.

Recapture of John Dunn

Recapture of John Dunn, notorious bushranger at Dubbo, ca 1865, by Thomas Boston
Carte de visite. SPG / 125

Henry Louis Bertrand, known as the "Mad Dentist of Wynyard Square", was convicted of the murder of Henry Kinder, on 2 October 1865, in one of Sydney's most notorious homicide cases of the time.

In 1868 Henry James O'Farrell was hung for the assassination attempt on Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh.

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