Residents living at Bowen Place may not know the history behind its namesake.
While the name Edward Bowen may have disappeared into Australian folklore, it was immortalised on a street sign in Wagga.
Constable Bowen led police in the final showdown of Captain Moonlite, the notorious bushranger, at Wantabadgery more than a century ago.
The policeman was regarded as a hero, after he was killed in the 1879 shootout, but historian and author Paul Terry has since questioned the accuracy of his character.
The Daily Advertiser this week exhumed the tale in the Memory Lane series.
According to reports, Captain Moonlight and his gang had taken a number of residents hostage during a hold up at Wantabadgery Station one November evening.
After having their fill of food and drink, the gang turned their focus on a nearby pub, taking on more hostages.
The first gun battle ensued after the arrival of Wagga police at about 4am, but the overwhelmed officers soon retreated to await backup from Gundagai.
The fresh band of police officers then found Captain Moonlite and his gang at McGlede’s farm nearby.
Bowen took a bullet to the neck in the final shootout and died a few days later.
Regarded as a hero, the government made sure the senior constable’s family was taken care of and a public monument was erected.
Captain Moonlite was captured shortly after shooting Bowen and the conman-turned gunfighter trialled for murder.
The infamous bushranger, named Andrew George Scott, pleaded for the mercy of his accomplices, claiming he was solely responsible for Bowen’s death.
He was executed alongside one of four gang members the following year.
Captain Moonlight’s dying wish, to be buried next to his partner James Nesbitt – also killed during the Wantabadgery shoot-out – was ignored for more than a century. His remains were finally dug up in the mid-1990s and moved to lie next to Nesbitt in Gundagai.
A monument was erected at Wantabadgery in 2015 to commemorate Bowen’s heroic actions.
Interestingly, an alternate character was painted in Paul Terry’s work, In Search of Captain Moonlite, which claimed Bowen could have been “dangerously gung-ho” and “trigger-happy”.
Read more from the Memory Lane series:
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