Daniel “Mad Dog” Morgan is one of Australia’s most notorious bushrangers, once described as “the most bloodthirsty ruffian that ever took to the bush in Australia.”
Born in 1830 to parents Mary Owen and George Fuller, the future outlaw started stealing horses and cattle in his teenage years. As time went on, he became a notorious horse thief. Time in jail hardened Morgan and eventually he moved onto a career as a bushranger. There is no hint of the image of a “champion” or “gentleman” that accompanies the other famous bushrangers like Ned Kelly or Ben Hall.
In 1854 Morgan was captured in New South Wales and served a second jail term and was sentenced to hard labor. He served six years, the first two in irons. Upon his release, Morgan soon returned to crime, holding up travelers around Wagga and terrorizing the Riverina district of New South Wales. He shot anyone who stood against him, whether they were police officers or unarmed citizens.
In the neighboring state of Victoria, police had announced that if Morgan crossed the Murray river “into Victoria” he would be captured within 48 hours. The challenge was too great for Morgan to resist. He crossed the river in April 1865, and within two days had held up and robbed three properties, burned down haystacks and outbuildings, and held up coaches on the Benalla Road.
On April 8, Morgan held up his last property, Peechelba Station. He had the occupants prepare a meal and provide him with entertainment and stayed at the property overnight, but one of the staff escaped and raised the alarm. When Morgan left the house the next morning, he was greeted by about 40 armed police and volunteers. He was shot and died later that day.
After his death, Morgan’s head was removed from his body and sent to Melbourne University for scientific study. (It arrived in such poor condition that the shape of his skull could not be analyzed by hopeful phrenologists.) The rest of his body was buried in Wangaratta Cemetery, where a large boulder marks his burial site.
Know Before You Go
The cemetery is located at 233 Tone Rd, Wangaratta VIC 3677. The location of the grave is in the North East corner of the cemetery and is signposted from the entrance.