#OTD in 1830 – The “Wild Colonial Boy” is shot dead in a gun battle with police at Cambelltown, Sydney.

On this date in 1830, The “Wild Colonial Boy” is shot dead in a gun battle with police at Cambelltown, Sydney. Contrary to the popular song, “The Wild Colonial Boy” was John Donohue, transported from Ireland in 1824. This version was outlawed as seditious, so the name in the song was changed to Jack Doolan. The Irish version is about a Jack Duggan, young emigrant who left the town of Castlemaine, Co Kerry, Ireland, for Australia in the early 19th century. According to the song, he spent his time “robbing from the rich to feed the poor”. In the song, Duggan is fatally wounded in an ambush when he is shot in the heart by Fitzroy.

‘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 McAvoy
A terror to Australia was the wild colonial boy

One morning on the prairie as Jack he rode along
A listening to the mockingbird a singing a cheerful song
Out 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 for you’re a plundering son”
Jack pulled two pistols from his belt and 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

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