Cunnamulla Robber's Tree

Cunnamulla Robber's Tree

Is so called after the infamous Joseph Wells who held up the National Bank in 1880. Mr Murphy whose shop was adjoint to the bank attempted to restrain Wells however was wounded during the struggle. Well's ran into the attempted to mount his horse. (It is reputed Wells stole the horse the week prior to the robbery). He ran into the bush surrounding the town were eventually a dog traced Wells scent to the base of the tree. Well was captured and sent to Toowoomba to await trial. He was tried and sentenced to death for robbery under arms and shooting with intent.

The bank manager and storekeeper along with other prominent citizens petitioned against the severity of the sentence. A deputation of member of the Ministry met with the Governor to present a petition in favour of the commutation of the death sentence passed against Wells.

There were several reasons which compelled the Minister to do so; Wells was not yet 21yrs; he did not shoot the constable who captured him when he had the opportunity and wounding Mr Murphy was an accident. More importantly was the fact that Wells was not provided with counsel to defend him at his trial. When he pleaded guilty he was unaware of the consequences of his plea and the jury was unaware that the death sentence would be passed.

The petition was unsuccessful as 'it came very short of stating the facts and also misstating some of them'. Joseph Wells was executed on 22 March 1880 at Brisbane Goal. He is buried at Toowong Cemetery.

Information Paroo Shire Council Cunnamulla Visitor Information Centre