The Captain Thunderbolt Sites - Blanch's Royal Oak Inn | NSW Environment & Heritage

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The Captain Thunderbolt Sites - Blanch's Royal Oak Inn

Item details

Name of item: The Captain Thunderbolt Sites - Blanch's Royal Oak Inn
Type of item: Archaeological-Terrestrial
Group/Collection: Transport - Land
Category: Coach House/ Station
Location: Lat: -30.7015878399 Long: 151.4643405440
Primary address: New England Highway, Uralla, NSW 2354
Parish: Uralla
County: Sandon
Local govt. area: Uralla
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Armidale
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
PART LOT175 DP755846

Boundary:

The former site of Blanch's Royal Oak Inn is located approximately 7km south of the town of Uralla on the New England Highway, it lies 300m south of Thunderbolt's Rock. The site is located on an open paddock adjacent to a current residence. The SHR curtilage is within a fenced paddock which contains the archaeological remains of the Inn and landscape elements likely to be associated with it.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
New England HighwayUrallaUrallaUrallaSandonPrimary Address

Statement of significance:

The site of the former Blanch's Royal Oak Inn is significant for its associations with Captain Thunderbolt and the pivotal role it was to play in his death.

The story associated with the Inn illustrates Thunderbolt's practice of holding the occupants of the hotel hostage while robbing them. This habit of holding hostages and engaging in parties with those hostages is seen throughout Thunderbolt's career.

The events of the afternoon of May 25th 1870 represent two conflicting societal views of bushrangers at the time: the gentleman bushranger generally supported by the community (as evidenced by the fact that it has been reported the publican's wife raised the alarm that the police were coming); and the criminal to be brought to justice (as evidenced by the actions of the hawker Giovanni Cappisotti and the young drover Coghlan/Coughlan, who forced the fleeing Thunderbolt away from the road towards Kentucky Creek, who were actively involved with his capture).

Although no longer extant, the site of Blanch's Royal Oak Inn is representative of the type of place targeted by bushrangers in the latter half of the nineteenth century.
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.

Description

Physical description: There are few extant remains associated with Blanch's Royal Oak Inn. A flag stone associated with a doorway is found within the paddock. The remains of the cellar are also evident. Other archaeological and landscape remnants may provide evidence of the site's previous use.

Introduced tree species including roses are growing adjacent to the site and may be associated with the site's former use.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The archaeologcial potential of the site is considered high; the archaeologcial resource does not appear to have been greatly disturbed.
Current use: Pasture Land
Former use: Inn

History

Historical notes: John Blanch owned a number of properties near Uralla specifically to the south of the township. A Parish Map from 1865 shows that the lot in Church Gully was owned by John Blanch. Although it is not known when John Blanch established his inn, it was extant in 1870 and was the site of Thunderbolt's final robbery.

On the afternoon of the 25th May 1870 Thunderbolt, who had been in the area for the Uralla races the day before, made his way to Blanch's Inn on the main road. Arriving early in the afternoon he was met by the son of John Blanch who told him that his parents had not yet returned from the races. Riding the approximately 300m to Split Rock he waited for the Blanchs and after bailing them up and robbing them, he accompanied them back to the inn (Brouwer 2007; Baxter 2011).

Sometime after an Italian hawker Giovanni Cappisotti was robbed and held at the Inn by Thunderbolt. Cappisotti was robbed of a number of items including a jewel box, cash, a pair of lady's earrings, some rings, an Albert watch and chain and some gold (Brouwer 2007). These items were used to identify the man later shot by Constable Walker as the thief.

Other customers and travellers were robbed and 'invited' to remain for the festivities as they arrived. At some time during the afternoon Cappisotti asked for permission to leave. Thunderbolt gave the permission on the proviso that he travel south, away from Uralla and the police. Cappisotti agreed and headed south to Dorrington's Farm House. Borrowing a saddle he unhitched a horse and circled back around to Uralla; raising the alarm with the police at 4pm (SRNSW 1/2326.2 File 76/2239 No. 70/4440).

The Magisterial Inquiry into Thunderbolt's death was held at Blanch's Inn; in order to slow the decomposition of the body Thunderbolt's innards were removed and buried in the yard of the Inn.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services Innkeeping-
7. Governing-Governing Law and order-Activities associated with maintaining, promoting and implementing criminal and civil law and legal processes Living a life of crime-
7. Governing-Governing Law and order-Activities associated with maintaining, promoting and implementing criminal and civil law and legal processes Scenes of criminal activities-
7. Governing-Governing Law and order-Activities associated with maintaining, promoting and implementing criminal and civil law and legal processes Engaging in bushranging and banditry-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Going to the pub-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Captain Thunderbolt, Bushranger-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The site of Blanch's Royal Oak Inn contributes to the significance of The Captain Thunderbolt Sites as it demonstrates the type of place targeted by bushrangers in the latter half of the nineteenth century and was the site of his last robbery.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The site of the Royal Oak Inn contributes to the State significance of the Captain Thunderbolt Sites as the site of his last robbery which directly led to his death.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Does not fulfil this criterion.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Does not fulfil this criterion.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
Although the archaeological resources is not likely to be of State significance of itself, the remains are likely to be able to provide information on the use and functioning of a nineteenth century inn site.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
Does not fulfil this criterion.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
The site of Blanch's Inn contributes to the State significance of The Captain Thunderbolt Sites because it is representative of the type targeted by bushrangers in the latter half of the nineteenth century.

It represents Captain Thunderbolt's habit of engaging in parties with hostages which occurred throughout his career with specific instances reported in the press at Quirindi, Carroll and Millie.
Integrity/Intactness: Blanch's Royal Oak Inn is no longer extant. The intactness of the archaeological resource is unknown.
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register - Element 0188920 Jul 12 743407

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
ElectronicBaxter, C.2011Bushranger Frederick Ward (Captain Thunderbolt) and Mary Ann Bugg View detail
WrittenBrouwer, D.2007Captain Thunderbolt: Horsebreaker to Bushranger

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5061605
File number: 11/18297


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