I was speaking to one ot Molong's oldest identities daring a recent visit on the prevalence of sheep stealing in different parts of tbe colony.
'Sheep stealing,' replied the ancient one SOTTO VOCE, 'Why they don't know how to steal sheep now.' Just let me ask some of the old hands if they remember Bill Denny, Bob Lamb and Long Dick stealing a whole flock of sheep from Frank Lord's Barrawong Station. Took them into the hills and had them almost shorn when they were found. A couple of days and they would have had all the wool off, but the fates were against them.
Long Dick turned Queen's evidence, and the other two got a stretch of seven years each to Van Dieman's Land, which was looked upon as the worst place for a prisoner in Australia at that time.
Old Frank, 'the poet,' who had served a term in most of the prison grounds, on leaving Van Dieman's Land, when on board his steamer bade farewell to the prison—
Free man's heaven, convict's hell,
Land of floggers fare thee well !
And in another couplet he says,
They yoked us up like horses
To plough Van Dieman's Land.
So if there is any truth in Frank 'the poet's' picture of this Siberia of the Southern Hemisphere, Denny and Lamb probably never lived to see the end of their seven years.
'And,' remarked the old timer,' many of to day will remember when a flock of sheep were taken out of Furlong's paddooks on the Little River and sold in Orange, when the principals escaped, though one of them afterwards surrendered himself into the hands of justice.'
Yes, my friend, even sheep stealing was carried out in a large wholesale manner, in ' the bad old days,' as my old friend and schoolmate ' The Flaneur' has it.