A true-life Wild West story set in Australia, involving murder, gun battles, a huge posse and the largest manhunt in Australian history.

When Jimmy Governor, known as a hard worker who played a good game of cricket, married Ethel Page in 1898 he was challenging a code. For Ethel Page was a white women and Jimmy Governor's skin was black. Two and a half years later, the cost of that challenge was nine murders and three judicial executions.

Jimmy and Joe Governor were the last proclaimed outlaws in New South Wales. With their friend Jack Underwood they killed five people at Breelong on 20 July 1900. In the following days they killed another three adults and a child and went on an armed rampage. They committed at least one robbery on most days of the rampage, laid false trails for their pursuers, and contrived close encounters from which they retired with guns blazing or simply vanished.

It took three months, a manhunt involving 2000 civilians and police, and a 3000 km chase through rugged country on the Queensland border, to stop them.

What prompted such violence, such thirst for revenge? Who were the Governors and their pursuers? And what really happened during the largest manhunt in Australian history?



Laurie Moore

Of the party of eight who ran Jimmy Governor to ground in October 1900, six were Laurie Moore's forebears. Laurie and his wife Dianne have spent the last decade tracking down the story of the Governor outbreak, travelling the country where the drama was played out, talking to locals, sifting the written evidence, meeting the descendants of the Governors and their pursuers. Laurie grew up in Kyogle, taught science in high schools and earth sciences at Macquarie University, and is currently a water resources consultant. Researching and writing Australian history continues to be his special interest.

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Stephan Williams

Stephan Williams has been a weigh-bridge operator, social worker, IT researcher, golf-course groundsman and film researcher, among other occupations. His primary interest has always been to travel the neglected byways of history, writing about the 'footnote characters' of colonial Australia,. Among his many publications are studies of convicts and folk song, bushrangers and poetry.

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