Peter C Smith is author of The Clarke Gang, the comprehensive history of a strangely little known gang of bushrangers who operated in the 1860s around the lonely Braidwood area in New South Wales, and murdered as many as seven people. Coming from a family of bush criminals, Thomas and John Clarke went on a killing spree supported by their many family and friends in the region between modern-day Canberra and the coast.
Premier Henry Parkes was so frustrated by the failure of the local police to catch the gang that he formed a small group of special constables in Sydney, led by an officer from the Darlinghurst prison. The four constables were murdered soon after their arrival on the Clarke’s home ground.
The brothers were eventually captured, in 1867, and hanged in Darlinghurst.