Goring had taken so many men in his day that he was got over-confident-like. He thought Starlight would give in at the last moment or miss him in the rush...
Two of the other troopers fired point blank at Starlight as Goring rode at him, and both shots told. He never moved, but just lifted his rifle as the other came up at the gallop. Goring threw up his arms and rolled off his horse a dying man....
...Sir Ferdinand was on his knees beside Starlight, talking to him, and the other saying a word now and then, quite composed and quiet-like.
“Close thing, Morringer, wasn’t it ?” I heard him say. “You were too quick for us ; another day and we’d been out of reach.”
“True enough. Horses all dead beat : couldn’t raise a remount for love or money.”
... He smiled, just like his old self.
“Poor Aileen !” he says, quite faint. His head fell back. Starlight was dead.
Two hundred kilometres west of Melbourne lies an uninviting region sensibly called the Stony Rises, a rippling in the ancient lava flow producing sharply undulating ground strewn with rocks. Seemingly endless Irish style stone walls appear to have hardly diminished the rock proliferation around which tough ferny bracken grows providing the perfect environment for the largest population of venomous snakes this side of the Amazon Basin.
To this inhospitable land came a man who seemed its equal. One Rolf Boldrewood set up as the local squatter and took great pride in riding out at the head of his men, ‘dispersing’ the indigenous blacks—such dispersal apparently being the kind that send the entire local tribal group directly into the Dreamtime.
That such a monster could write a great book is a fact that the literary world finds it tactful to ignore but there is no doubt that Robbery Under Arms is one of the finest Australian novels. It tells in intense detail how the Marsden brothers follow the footsteps of their father and end up riding with the colourful bushranger Captain Starlight. Cattle duffing, bank raids and untiring pursuit by Sergeant Goring and his troopers is the stuff of it and it is far more authentic than any Western. It was made into a brilliant movie by one of those visiting Pommie production groups with Peter Finch outstanding as Starlight, and a very youthful David McCallum typically eye-catching as the junior Marsden.
10. Lives of Crime