Captain Thunderbolt-Bushranger
(Frederick Wordsworth Ward)

Captain Thunderbolt's Statue Uralla

Copyright © 2000 Barry Sinclair,

Many books and stories have been written about Thunderbolt, with much of the truth about those days, the best of these "on the net" is written by Gary Dean. Some writers, however, let their imagination run riot.  I do not wish to write here, about what has already been written & well documented, however many articles and stories in books and on the net have obvious and provable mistakes & should be read or listened to with caution. One should always be aware that "history" can change as new facts or new findings become known.

Report of Dr Oettle, Former Director of the Division of Forensic Medicine in the Department of Health of New South Wales - dated December 4th, 2003

As stated to you previously, Dr.Spasshatt has defined injuries clearly and refers to only two bullet wounds, the one on the front of the chest being the entry wound and that on the right side of the chest, being the exit. He mentions that both lungs were penetrated by the bullet, that the mouth contained blood which was consistent with blood rising from the lungs into the pharynx during the terminal attempts to breath. The blood flow to the rest of the body was diverted by that lost by the lungs injuries, to the chest cavities and the air passages.

I would expect him to loose both motor and cognative function within about ten seconds because of the blood being lost through the lung injuries and both lungs collapsing. This figure is bourne out both by my experience of similar circumstance and by others documented in the USA. On occasion life as evidenced by occasional deep breaths can extend for about 3 minutes depending on the severity of the injuries received, but, in any case, no motor function can be expected after about the shorter figure given above and this might be very much less depending on whether the great vessels at the base of the heart were involved in the injuries, let alone the heart. However, Dr. Spasshatt mentions only the lung injuries. Lung collapse together with the injuries would be more than enough to cause sudden death and rapid lack of motor function compounded by breathing in water if the account of the incident is correct. He also makes no mention of any head injury or any other gun shot injury.

I hope this answers your questions and I would be happy to hear from you should you wish to discuss it further.

Godfrey Oettle

The above letter from Dr. Godfrey Oettle is a proof of the inaccuracies in the book as written by Carol Baxter

Godfrey has agreed to go to court on my behalf if anyone legally disputes my research. He has never lost a case anywhere in the world over the years.

Cockatoo Island


The photo is the sight from the dock where the two Fred's hid while waiting for Mary Ann to rescue them and take them across the part of Parramatta River where she had been staying. You might also note that one of the streets on the point is called Louisa Rd. Mary Ann used the name "Louisa Mason" for the rescue of the two men.

In the introduction to one of the best books written on the life of Thunderbolt, Stephan William's "A Ghost called Thunderbolt." he quotes " Regarding Captain Thunderbolt only two things are not in dispute: the quality of the horses that he stole and rode, and the fact that he never killed or injured those whom he robbed or went in pursuit of him. Everything else is the subject of controversy".

I would like to add some of the family stories, and show some of the most recent research of original police and newspaper articles I have undertaken at the State Records at Kingswood in Western Sydney, the New South Wales State Library in Macquarie St, Sydney, at the Newling Research Centre of the UNE Armidale and at the Police Library in Sydney. I hope to be able to correct some of the myths and provable errors so often written in books and spoken about, in what is known as, " The Legend of Captain Thunderbolt."

Anyone claiming to have thoroughly researched "Thunderbolt" without having visited the Newling Heritage Centre at the southern end of Dangar St in Armidale and going through the totality of their research material, are wasting their time. They have by far the best collection of published and unpublished material available in reseach centres and library's in Australia at the present time. In May 2010 they received a copy of all of the records from the State Records at Kingswood in Western Sydney following our application through NSW Parliament for the records to be released to the public.

However currently, I have at least twice as much factual material in my own records at the present time, than is available at the Newling Heritage Centre, in Armidale. I can be contacted to review my records by appointment.

Follow this link for one of the better sites for students
researching articles on "The Australian Bushrangers".

The following are links to some of my research material on the life of Thunderbolt.

  • Barry Sinclair's personal credentials.
  • "The Legend of Captain Thunderbolt" by Arnold Goode, Uralla.
  • Michael Handley Thompson Ward-Thunderbolt's grandfather.
  • Thunderbolt's Birth and Parents.        
  • Fact sheet on the Death of Thunderbolt.        New information -22nd February, 2011
  • Inquest on the Death of Thunderbolt.
  • The life of Will Monckton.        New information -5th September, 2010
  • Sen. Constable John Mulhall.        New information -31st October, 2010
  • The story of the Thunderbolt Statue.
  • Answers to Uralla Historical Society Comments.        New information -1st November, 2010
  • 3 Thunderbolt Photos & story.
  • Significent Thunderbolt Dates.        New information -22nd February, 2011
  • Tocal version of Thunderbolt story.
  • Comments on Tocal's version of Thunderbolt story.        New information -4th February, 2011
  • McCrossin's Mill & Thunderbolt Gallery.
  • Comments on Pomroy's Paintings.        New information -30th January, 2011
  • Thunderbolt's Way
  • Graham Rodger - Singer/Songwriter "Thunderbolt Song".
  • Poems & Songs about Thunderbolt.        Updated -5th September, 2010
  • Captain Thunderbolt's Lady - Mary Ann Bugg.        
  • Review of Books on Thunderbolt's life.         Last updated on Thursday 14th April, 2011
  • Links to other stories on Bushrangers.         Last updated on Sunday 16th May, 2011
  • Links to other Australian Bushrangers Sites.
  • Captain Thunderbolt - ( Ward / Bugg) Family Tree.
  • This Rootsweb site currently contains 1520 family names updated Wednesday, 16th January, 2013.

    Back to Sinclair Family Home page

    If anyone has further facts or stories to add to this page please

    Email :

    or write to me at

    Barry Sinclair
    Unit 15, Valentine Cl
    Woodberry Village
    129 Lanhams Rd
    Winston Hills

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    Barry Sinclair's Personal Credentials|An alternative Thunderbolt Theory|Michael Ward|Thunderbolt's birth details|Thunderbolt's Death| Answers to the Uralla Historical Society|Inquest|The life of Will Monckton|Sen. Constable John Mulhall| Thunderbolt Statue|Significant Dates|3 Photos
    |Tocal version of Thunderbolt story|Comments on Tocal's version of Thunderbolt story.|McCrossin's Mill| Comments on Pomroy's Paintings.|Thunderbolts Way|Graham Rodger, Songwriter|Poems & Songs|Mary Ann Bugg|Bushranger Stories|Links to other Bushranger sites| Book Reviews| Ward Family Tree|

    Since September 5th, 2001

    Copyright © 2000 Barry Sinclair

    Last updated on Saturday, 13th June, 2015.

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