Writers at Stanton - Mike Munro
20-Aug-2019 • 1pm
The Last Bushrangers - Mike Munro
Australia's last bushrangers - the Kenniff brothers - were Queensland's equivalent of the Kelly gang. Graduating from petty crime, horse stealing and cattle duffing, they moved on to murder. It was a ghoulish, violent crime - a police constable and station manager butchered, incinerated, and their remains stuffed into saddle bags. After a massive manhunt, young Jim Kenniff and his brother Patrick were caught, charged and convicted. One brother hanged, another spent twelve years in jail. But were they tried justly? And did the right man swing?
Mike Munro investigates the story of these last bushrangers - the circumstances around the murders, the sensational trials, the public support, the controversial evidence of Aboriginal tracker Sam Johnson, and the brothers' grim fates. It is a story set against the backdrop of Federation and debates over capital punishment. And, importantly, it's a story that is personal. If not for his grandfather illegally changing his name to distance himself from his notorious cousins, this major figure in Australian television would be known to us as Mike Kenniff.