STATES and TERRITORIES

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Once Again Meningie: Bushranger Astride an Ostrich

Children asked us to stop once again in the town of Meningie, on the same playground, where they played at the beginning of our journey. We readily agreed, mindful of the fact that across the road from this site was a little nice coffee shop, and we were dreaming of a cup of coffee for a long time. Alas, the coffee shop was closed, and in a small cafe just down the street the coffee machine was cleaned just before our visit. So instead of a cup of coffee, we had to walk along the lake shore.

Lake Albert foreshore. Meningie, South Australia
Lake Albert foreshore. Meningie, South Australia
We noticed a strange sculpture - an ostrich with a saddle. Our girls (senior and junior) immediately sat astride it. On the board attached to the sculpture, we read an interesting and unusual story about the Australian bushranger John Francis Peggotty. John was born prematurely in 1864, and, when he grew up, he remained in stature of a seven year old child.  In Ireland, he robbed the houses, easily penetrating the house through the chimney.

An ostrich with a saddle. Australian bushranger John Francis Peggotty Memorial
An ostrich with a saddle. Australian bushranger John Francis Peggotty Memorial
After a relatively short prison sentence, John moved to Australia, where after a while he returned to his previous criminal activities. He began to rob travellers in the area of the Coorong.

All the crimes he committed ... riding atop an ostrich! The ostrich was the ideal means of transportation on the sand dunes of Coorong, even the rider on the horse could not catch him. John was credited with more than a dozen hold-ups and murder of several travellers.

Lake Albert Jetty. Meningie, South Australia
Lake Albert Jetty. Meningie, South Australia
His eccentric criminal career was ended by fisherman Henry Carmichael, whose aimed shots killed an ostrich and fatally wounded John. However, the  body of bushranger was never found, as well as gold and jewellery worth at least 1 million dollars. Perhaps these treasures still hidden safely somewhere on the banks of the Coorong ... (You can read more here.)

Impressed by this story, we continued on our way, and a few hours later we were at home, to the delight of our cat.

1 comment:

  1. Children must be happy with the time they spent there as they might be wanting to refresh their memories of the journey start. By the way best of luck for next one.

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