the legend of thunderbolt
There are several theories on the origin of the name Thunderbolt. One is that the sound of him pounding on the walls of the tollbars* resembled thunder, another that he rode like a thunderbolt. Whatever the origin,
the name stuck and Fred Ward apparently had no objection.
The name Thunderbolt was so feared that Fred Ward often faced little opposition from his victims. Some historians believe it was so useful to invoke this type of fear that several bushrangers may have adopted the name.
Two things that remained true throughout the career of Thunderbolt and support the theory that there was
only one Thunderbolt are:
• Thunderbolt always chose the best horses, and
• Thunderbolt didn’t kill anyone
Thunderbolt’s career as a bushranger began in February, 1865 and ended with his death in May, 1870.
He committed at least 62 offences during this time and up to 200 crimes have been attributed to him over
his entire life. In all of these crimes only the highest quality horses were stolen and no-one died at his hands.
* Tollbars were the collection points for tolls (money) on roads.
Ward’s first tollbar robbery was at Rutherford, Maitland.
Further information is available in the book Captain Thunderbolt - Horsebreaker to Bushranger which
you can buy from the Uralla Visitor Information Centre.
Copyright courtesy of: http://www.tocal.com/homestead/tbolt/ttbboartd4.htm