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Terence Kately (1848–1928)

from Daily News

Terence Kately, one of the few remaining links with the wild bushranging days in New England, has passed away in Sydney. Kately, better known to New Englanders as 'Edward Keightly,' commenced a chequered career on Moonbi, an area embracing the watershed of the Peel River, and including what is now Tamworth. This property was held by the late Mr. John Gill. Kately remained many years on the station, and during his boundary riding trips came into frequent and close touch with the notorious Fred. Ward, otherwise 'Thunderbolt.' Kately was as much in the confidence of Thunderbolt as any other man, and on more than one occasion kept watch while the bushranger rested for a couple of days.

It is recalled that Thunderbolt once visited the Uralla races, and Kately was the only man who recognised him. He warned him to clear out, but the bushranger only laughed. It was found later that Thunderbolt was out to steal the racehorse Brolga, owned by Mr. Taylor, of Terrible Vale. Brolga had won a race that day. However, Mr. Taylor was informed of the scheme, and the horse was taken home by a devious route. The police approached Kately on one occasion and offered a substantial reward for information respecting the bushranger, but he flatly declined to betray his friend. Thunderbolt was subsequently surprised by the police at Uralla, and was fatally wounded while endeavoring to cross a swamp on horseback. In those days police protection was so inadequate and cattle ''duffers' and horse stealers so numerous and dangerous that pastoralists were obliged to comply with their demands to a certain extent, or run the risk of ruin at their hands.

Kately subsequently entered the employ of Ashton's circus, and trained 'Black Bess' for the star turn of Dick Turpin's Ride to York. 'Black Bess' was really a horse, as a suitable mare could not be found for the part. On leaving the circus Kately came to Armidale and purchased a butchering business. Later he disposed of this, and took over the Railway Hotel, and subsequently the St. Kilda Hotel. He promoted several private race meetings, and always had a couple of horses in training. Old hands still regard him as one of the best horse men and bushmen in New England. Kately also occupied a seat on the Municipal Council, but of late years has been a pensioner. He was obsessed with the idea that he would be buried a pauper, and many years ago left a sum of money with a friend to pay his burial expenses. The trust was fulfilled last week.

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Citation details

'Kately, Terence (1848–1928)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 14 April 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Keightly, Edward



March, 1928 (aged ~ 80)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia