Ben Hall to hit big screen

ON THE RUN: Ben Hall (centre, played by Jack Martin) and two of his gang members in The Legend of Ben Hall. Photo: CONTRIBUTED
ON THE RUN: Ben Hall (centre, played by Jack Martin) and two of his gang members in The Legend of Ben Hall. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

MORE than 150 years after he was ambushed and killed by police, the story of notorious bushranger Ben Hall will come back to life.

A feature-length film about NSW’s most notorious bushranger opens nation-wide in selected cinemas from December 1, portraying the last nine months of Hall’s life.

“I’ve always been fascinated with Australian history and the story of Ben Hall is a wonderful human story, as well as rousing crime drama set in Australia. Quite simply, it’s a great tale,” director/producer Matthew Holmes said.

"I’ve been working on a Ben Hall script since 2007, and we began production on The Legend of Ben Hall in 2014. We were in production for over a year in half.

“The film took about 11 weeks to film, most of it shot in regional Victoria in the Macedon Ranges district, with a small amount of filming done in regional NSW around Forbes and Jugiong.”

The plot of the film is intriguing.

After two years running from the law, Hall has gone into hiding.

He is soon drawn back into bushranging by the reappearance of his old friend, John Gilbert. 

Reforming the gang and taking on a new recruit John Dunn, the trio begin a spree of robberies and crimes across New South Wales.

After the killing of two policemen, the three become the most wanted men in colony.

When the Government moves to declare them outlaws that can shot on sight by any person who chooses, Ben Hall makes desperate plans to flee the colony. 

But with a such a large bounty on their heads, treachery abounds where they least expect it.

The name Ben Hall is synonymous with the Forbes region.

Born at Maitland to convict parents in 1837, he moved to the Lachlan River area with his father in about 1850.

In adult life he was a successful grazier with property south of Forbe but following the breakdown of his marriage he became associated with the infamous bushranger Frank Christie.

In April 1862, Hall was arrested for participating in the armed robbery of drays near Forbes.

Shortly afterwards Christie led a gang of eight men, including Hall, in robbing the gold escort coach near Eugowra, New South Wales, of banknotes and 2700 ounces of gold worth more than 14,000 pounds.

This started his descent into crime, and he was involved in more than 100 robberies and hold-ups in his time, mainly around the Forbes/Canowindra/Eugowra areas.

Rising actor Jack Martin will play the title role in the film.

"What drew me to the project initially was definitely the historical aspect,” he said.

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