CASH, Martin (1810-1877)

CASH, Martin (1810-1877)
was born at Enniscorthy, Wexford, Ireland, in 1810. His father was in comfortable circumstances but was indolent, the boy's education was neglected, and he fell into dissipated habits. When 17 years of age he became jealous of a young girl he had been courting, and shot at and wounded a young man who was with her. He was sentenced to seven years transportation and arrived at Sydney in February 1828. He worked as an assigned servant for several years in New South Wales and went to Hobart in 1837. He travelled across Tasmania, fell into the hands of the police for stealing, and eventually was sentenced to four years at Port Arthur. He succeeded in escaping but was recaptured and sentenced to 18 months in irons. Escaping again with two companions, Kavanagh and Jones, clothing and fire-arms were stolen, and several months of depredation in the bush followed. All attempts to capture the gang failed. Cash made a visit to Hobart, was recognized and captured, but not before he had shot a constable who was trying to arrest him. Sentenced to death he was reprieved though both of his companions were afterwards executed. Having been sent to Norfolk Island his good conduct as a prisoner led to the remission of his sentence and appointment as a constable. He returned to Hobart and was placed in charge of the government gardens. He afterwards went to New Zealand for four years and, having saved some money, returned to Tasmania and bought a small farm near Hobart. In 1870 appeared The Adventures of Martin Cash, comprising a faithful account of his exploits while a bushranger under arms in Tasmania in company with Kavanagh and Jones in the year 1843. Edited by James Lester Burke. Later editions were issued under the title Martin Cash The Bushranger of Van Diemen's Land in 1843-4. He is stated in his later life to have had the goodwill of all, and he died on his farm on 26 August 1877.
It is difficult to understand why Cash escaped execution, but he was less brutal and callous than most bushrangers of his period, and this seems to have acted in his favour. His memoir, which was probably written by Burke, has made him better known than other desperadoes of his time.
Martin Cash, The Bushranger of Van Diemen's Land in 1843-4, fourth impression; The Mercury, Hobart, 28 August 1877.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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