Welcome to Castlemaine

The Wild Colonial Boy

Castlemaine is perhaps more famed for its association with The Wild Colonial Boy. Legend has it that jack Duggan, also known as “Bold Jack Donohoe” was born in Castlemaine in 1806. He was the subject of the famous ballad ‘The Wild Colonial Boy’. In 1824, aged 18, he was convicted of ‘intent to commit a felony’ (probably 'rebel sympathies or connections') and was sentenced to be transported for life to New South Wales.  In January 1825, along with 200 other convicts he arrived in Sydney Cove on board the convict ship Ann and Amelia. Donohoe was first assigned to work as a servant to a settler named John Pagan on a farm at Parramatta, being supervised during the day.  He managed to escape during the night and was later punished and made to work in chains for a road gang.  He was sent back to work on a pig farm belonging to Major West at Quakers Hill and again escaped to the bush with two convicts named Kilroy and Smith. On the 14th of December 1827 along with Kilroy and Smith, they were caught stealing a number of bullock-drays on the Sydney-Windsor road, they were found guilty and sentenced to death.  Kilroy and Smith were hanged at once but Donohoe managed to escape. Over the next few years he became one of Australia’s most celebrated bushrangers. He set up a new gang of Irish and English escaped convicts and robbed in ‘Robin Hood’ style taking only from the rich. During 1829 they became so notorious that a special patrol was formed to hunt them down, and a reward of £20 was offered for his capture and was later increased to £200. The gang were known for their stylish dress and were nicknamed "The Strippers", either because they made people take their clothes off, or because he stripped them of everything they possessed. On the 1st of September 1830, a group of soldiers and police caught Donohoe and his gang near Campbelltown. During the battle, Donohoe was shot in the head by Trooper Muggleston dying from the wound.  


The Wild Colonial Boy

There was a wild colonial boy, 
Jack Duggan was his name 
He was born and raised in Ireland, 
in a place called Castlemaine 
He was his father's only son, 
his mother's pride and joy 
And dearly did his parents love 
the wild colonial boy

At the early age of sixteen years, 
he left his native home 
And to Australia's sunny shore, 
he was inclined to roam 
He robbed the rich, he helped the poor, 
he shot James MacEvoy 
A terror to Australia was 
the wild colonial boy

One morning on the prairie, 
as Jack he rode along 
A-listening to the mocking bird, 
a-singing a cheerful song 
Up stepped a band of troopers: 
Kelly, Davis and Fitzroy 
They all set out to capture him, 
the wild colonial boy 
Surrender now, Jack Duggan, 
for you see we're three to one 
Surrender in the Queen's high name, 
you are a plundering son 
Jack drew two pistols from his belt, 
he proudly waved them high 
I'll fight, but not surrender, 
said the wild colonial boy.

He fired a shot at Kelly, 
which brought him to the ground 
And turning round to Davis, 
he received a fatal wound 
A bullet pierced his proud young heart, 
from the pistol of Fitzroy 
And that was how they captured him, 
the wild colonial boy