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Captain Thunderbolt Grave Inscription
Captain Thunderbolt Grave Inscription

Photographs supplied by Diane Watson

The tombstone was erected by citizens of New England to mark Captain Thunderbolt`s grave. 

Captain Thunderbolt (Fred Ward 1835 -1870) was an Australian bushranger renowned for escaping from Cockatoo Island with the help of his wife Mary Ann Bugg, and for committing over 200 crimes over six and a half years across the northern section of the state of New South Wales.

On 25 May 1870, it is alleged by some that Ward was shot and killed near Uralla by Constable Alexander Walker during a highway robbery. However, many Uralla locals claim that it was his uncle, William (Harry) Ward, who was killed at this time and not Fred Ward. It has been claimed that Fred Ward and his mother, Sarah, arrived in California late in 1870.

The last issue of the "Sydney Mail" published a photograph of Thunderbolt's grave, sent by "A.C.B.," who wrote: -  The slab in the accompanying photograph has taken the place of the wooden cross that used to mark the grave of Frederick Ward ("Thunderbolt") in Uralla cemetery. Ward terrorised the New England district for some years, and many escapades of his are chronicled in various bushranging histories. There is a biscuit tin near the grave, and many are the different ideas of the man of the road expressed on papers enclosed in it by visitors to the tomb. People from all over Australia and visitors from America and the old country are among those who have left memos in Thunderbolt's tin. These visitors express themselves in any scrap of paper handy, including old envelopes, leaves from pocket books, visiting cards, etc. One scrap reads : "Here lies Fred Ward, one of the best men who ever lived.'' Another says : "Would to God I had been near the day they murdered old Fred" (another bushranger, evidently.) There is some alleged poetry eulogising Thunderbolt. Another piece of paper says : "Here are supposed to lie the remains of Thunderbolt." Evidently this visitor shares the opinion of an old lady out Uralla way, who declares that Fred Ward still lives. Thunderbolt's tomb, though not an imposing affair, and shaded only by a stunted bush, seems to be the Mecca for a number of pilgrims, and it has been the subject of innumerable photographs.
Uralla Times and District Advocate (NSW), 3 May 1919. 


Address:John Street, Cemetery, Uralla, 2358
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -30.641944
Long: 151.492778
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Grave
Monument Theme:People
Monument Manufacturer:Callcott (Armidale, NSW)


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:Circa 1919
Front Inscription

Erected by New England residents to mark where lies Thunderbolt (Fred Ward)

Callcott Armidale

Died May 25 1870,

Aged 36 years.

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au