Almanac Teams: A Real Bushrangers’ Australian Test Cricket Eleven


Bailed Up, oil on canvas by Tom Roberts, 1895. Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney. (Source: Wikimedia Commons.)



A Real Bushrangers’ Australian Test Cricket Eleven


As a companion piece to my past Footy Almanac post, ‘A Real Bushrangers’ Australian Rules Twenty’, about a football team made up of historical Australian bushrangers, here’s my ‘A Real Bushrangers’ Australian Test Cricket Eleven’, selected on the basis of what I know about the character and physical attributes of these bushrangers. Readers should imagine a couple of left-handers among the following group – this is a detail that I have not been able to discover about the individuals concerned.


My openers would be Fred ‘Captain Thunderbolt’ Ward, who I see as a hard-hitting and dependable type who could play a long innings (being Australia’s longest roaming bushranger ever), with Martin Cash as his flamboyant and determined partner. I hope one of them is a left-hander, too, so that the opposing bowlers would often have to change their line.


My choice for number three is Ben Hall, a romantic, dashing figure who’d certainly possess a wide array of stylish strokes. I can just picture him in Trumperesque full flight!


For number four, I’d have Matthew Brady, another stroke player – a handsome, gentlemanly bloke who’d be popular with female spectators, incidentally, and highly marketable in general. (Apparently, in 1826, the ladies of Hobart Town saw fit to fill his prison cell – he was about to be hanged – with wine, fruit, confectionery, cakes and flowers!)


At number five, I’d put Frank ‘Darkie’ Gardiner, who I view as an entertaining batsman and ‘golden arm’ medium pace bowler. As the one-time leader of a large band of highwaymen, he deserves the vice-captain position, and was a lucky man who wasn’t sentenced to death for his crimes and died in freedom in America.


Number six is Dan Kelly, gifted young batsmen, and future captain material. In the Kelly gang, he was perceived as the thinker of the group, so would be tactically sound in a leadership context.


My number seven, the all-rounder, would go – of course – to Edward ‘Ned’ Kelly, a quality fast-medium swing bowler and powerful batsman. He would be my captain, a leader by example.


Number eight is Jimmy Governor, who I see as a wily medium pacer who could swing it both ways, and useful lower order batsman.


At number nine, I’d put Frank ‘Captain Melville’ McCallum, as the quirky, gifted but sometimes erratic leg-spinner.


Number ten is reserved for Daniel ‘Mad Dog’ Morgan, my tearaway quick with a propensity to waywardness and the short-pitched delivery. He would be that particularly dangerous type of fast bowler who didn’t know where they were going himself.


At number eleven is the lanky Fred Lowry, a naggingly accurate quicky who’d get good bounce because of his height.


In fielding terms, I believe Gardiner and the Kellys would stand out, with Gardiner in the gully, and Ned and Dan at first and second slip. Maybe Hall would be the dynamite cover fielder.


Harry Power, an old stager of considerable experience – ‘the man who taught Ned Kelly’ – is my team coach.


Media Manager is Jack Bradshaw, who’d be in his element as a creative storyteller.



The Real Bushrangers’ Australian Test Cricket Eleven (in batting order)


Fred ‘Captain Thunderbolt’ Ward
Martin Cash
Ben Hall
Matthew Brady
Frank ‘Darkie’ Gardiner (vc)
Dan Kelly
Edward ‘Ned’ Kelly (c)
Jimmy Governor
Frank ‘Captain Melville’ McCallum
Daniel ‘Mad Dog’ Morgan
Fred Lowry


Coach: Harry Power
Media Manager: Jack Bradshaw




For more from Kevin, click HERE.



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Kevin Densley is a poet and writer-in-general. His fourth book-length poetry collection, Sacredly Profane, has just been published (late 2020) by Ginninderra Press. He is also the co-author of ten play collections for young people, as well as a multi Green Room Award nominated play, Last Chance Gas, which was published by Currency Press. Recent other writing includes screenplays for films with a tertiary education purpose.


  1. Powerful line-up Kevin. Hard to see them getting rolled.

    Be interesting to see the English equivalent – opening batsman Robin Hood??

  2. Kevin Densley says

    Cheers, Dips!

    Yes, like you, I’d started to envisage the English opposition to the bushrangers’ team – maybe Friar Tuck of Robin’s merry men would be a hard hitting lower order batsman, who’d trundle in bowl the occasional non-turning offie!

  3. Kevin Densley says

    Oh, and I should add who would be wicketkeeper for my bushrangers’ team – Fred ‘Captain Thunderbolt’ Ward. We need a durable type like him behind the stumps.

  4. Ned Kelly could easily be Keith Miller ” a quality fast-medium swing bowler and powerful batsman. He would be my captain, a leader by example.” A dashing figure on and off the field.

  5. Kevin Densley says

    I totally agree, Dan. In that context, he could bat considerably higher up in the order.

  6. Kevin Densley says

    Thanks Glen.

    I’ve read this piece of yours before and commented upon it.

    I suppose the main thing about your piece and my two pieces about bushranger teams is that your football team consisted of footballers with bushrangers’ surnames whereas my football and cricket teams took the concept a step further and imagined actual historical bushrangers in the teams selected.

  7. Les Everett says

    Moondyne Joe could’ve snuck into that line-up. And out too if he didn’t like it

  8. Kevin Densley says

    Fair enough, Les!

    Good to have a Western Australian based bushranger (and escapologist) nominated!

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