Didn't have a picture of captain Thunderbolt so here's Ned kelleys hat instead.

Didn’t have a picture of Captain Thunderbolt so here’s Ned Kelley’s hat instead.

Near Thunderbolt’s Cave


Near Thunderbolt’s Cave

On the New England plateau

At the top of the rise

The trees fell away,

And stretching away

to the edge of my vision,

The towns and plains

of New England lay.


Did the Captain himself

ever sit on this Height

And let his thoughts drift

And dream?

Or was his mind nervous

For each sound and movement,

And anxious of what they

would mean?


‘Cos he was chased by the troopers

For as long as he rode

And a Bounty

they placed on his head,

But he never surrendered

And when finally cornered

They were forced

to take him back dead.


The Captain killed no-one

No prison could hold him

And his horse

could outrun them all.

Yet I’m sure he found time,

to smoke his pipe, dream,

and silently watch

the leaves fall.


Authors note; Who’d have ever thunk the old Reverend would have a touch of “bush poetry” about him. Possibly living in Armidale and poking around the dusty local museum at the time had something to do with it.

Captain Thunderbolt was the local Robin Hood character, or perhaps more along the lines of the “Gentleman Highwayman” type. Though a bit of a “flash” lad he apparently never killed anyone. He also shacked up with a local coloured girl which probably helped enormously when he was busy eluding the police through the then heavily forested area. The “Cave” was reputedly one of his hidey holes.

Anyway, final historical fact, this poem’s from the Archives and is the first poem I was ever paid for! (Those old poetry mags like “Border Issue” etc., gave you nothing but the glory of seeing your name in print.Yes, little has changed.) But good old People magazine gave me $15 for this back in November 1980. I used the money to go see a Fellini Film Festival. Ah! Zee deeleecious irony!

bush view

***technical difficulties spider


and for those in the geographical proximity to Brisbane..

HandbillforMay2013 correctedwith frame



The Reverend Hellfire is a practising Performance Poet and an ordained Minister of the Church of Spiritual Humanists AND the Church of the Universe.

So what’s your excuse?




~ by reverendhellfire on May 19, 2013.


  1. Nice one! You wrote it so long ago, and you had it published, and even got some money! Miraculous! Well done.

  2. Knew a mess cook once (‘Atlantic Fleet’ US Navy), much like your Captain “Near Thunderbolt’s Cave”. Fact or fiction, such fellows make the world more interesting…

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