Who is Daniel charters?

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An Australian bushranger

Daniel Charters "Flash Dan"
"Flash Dan" Charters was in many ways a fortunate individual and in many ways unfortunate. He was fortunate as he never went to gaol or was killed for his bushranging activities. He literally lived to tell the tale. He was unfortunate because through his experiments with bushranging he lost everything and he had been a wealthy young man.
Dan was born in 1837, one of a family of nine children. His parents, Daniel and Margaret Jane Chartres (nee Boyd), came from Co Antrim, Ireland to NSW in 1840. They were Presbyterians, assisted immigrants on the ship "Isabella", and lived briefly in Sydney where Dan attended school. By the mid 1850s the family held extensive landholdings around Carcoar, Kings Plains and Bogolong (near present day Grenfell) and a number of inns and shanties in the area. They also anglicised their French name to Charters. Dan was educated by private tutors but was not a remarkable student.
By1855 Dan had purchased his first block of land and by 1858 he owned 188 acres and also ran 500 head of cattle on his sister's Pinnacle station. These alone would have been worth 5000 pounds, or about 54 years wages for a working man, so Dan was wealthy in his own right, and a flash, fashionable dresser, hence his nickname.
In 1856 he met and became best friends with a young squatter named Ben Hall. In 1857 Hall's son, Henry was born at the home of Dan's parents. By 1860 the two friends had met up with the notorious bushranger, horse and cattle thief, Frank Gardiner. By 1862 they had joined Gardiner's gang. It is uncertain as to exactly which crimes Dan was involved in, the gang's activities included bailing up many travellers on the Lachlan to Lambing Flat (Young) Road and at the Bogolong Hotel.
On June 15, 1862 Dan was involved in bushraging when he joined Gardiner, Hall, John O'Mealley, John Gilbert, Alex Fordyce, Henry Manns and John Bow in the ambush of the Forbes to Orange Gold Escort at Coonbang Rocks near Eugowra. The gang wounded two of the four escorting troopers and escaped with over 14 500 pounds in gold and cash, the biggest robbery in the history of the colony.
A few days later a police party under Senior Sergeant Sanderson tracked the robbers to their hideout on the top of Mount Wheogo and in the ensuing pursuit recovered the stolen packhorse carrying most of the gold and money. Charters lost his share this way and received a small amount of cash by Gardiner as they fled.
Thomas Richards informed the police of the names of the gang involved in the robbery including Hall and Charters who were subsequently arrested. On August 6 Charters was released on bail and soon offered to provide evidence in return for a pardon. He gave police the names of the whole gang except Hall and O' Mealley, as he was affraid O'Mealley would kill him. Later in court he tried to minimise his role saying all he did was mind the horses. He was awarded 150 pounds of the reward money on July 1, 1863 and fearing for his safety left the Forbes area. In 1867 Dan Charters purchased 80 acres of land near Carcoar and in 1871 he married Emmaline Ada Boss at St Stephens Presbyterian Church, Bathurst. They had eight children between 1873 and 1888. By 1895 Charters was reported as a selector and drover and shearer at Sandy Creek. In 1908 he was living near Grenfell where he died on June 14, 1919 aged 62. he had seen the colony go from the gold rushes to the steam train, from bushranging to motor cars, electricity, aeroplanes, and telephones.
Profile produced by kind permission from information provided by Andrew Stackpool, June 2004.

When Gardiner's gang were caught, after the Eugowra Rocks Gold Escort robbery, Daniel (Flash Dan) Charters turned states evidence under the advice of one of his sisters, who owned shanties in the area.
Daniel had property and horses and was possibly the only one in the gang who could read and write. It was while going to check on his horses that he was captured.
My great grandfather, Daniel's son, told me that Daniel had been bullied into the Escort robbery and was friends with the O'Meally's and Halls but no friend of Gardiner.
Daniel told the Police his story leaving Hall and O'Mealley out of it all together, thus allowing Hall to start his own gang. Daniel Charters was given the job of breaking horses at the Bathurst Police Barracks for two years for his own protection against friends of the Gardiner Gang. I was told that he still managed to supply Ben Hall with good horses during this time. The closeness of the Charters and Hall families can be seen on the birth certificate of Ben Hall's son - he was born at Charters Farm and the midwife was Mrs Charters, Daniel's mother.
This profile provided by Wayne Charters, great great grandson of Daniel Charters, pers com 1 Sep 1998.
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