The exploits of the bushrangers have fascinated generations ever since Ben Hall’s gang made three raids on Canowindra during 1863. On each occasion they visited Robinson’s Inn (on the site where the Royal Hotel now stands).
They took everyone who entered the town hostage and entertained them with food, wine and song. Bessie Robinson and her sister (Frances) played the piano and sang to entertain the crowd.
The bushrangers were able to do this because of the mighty Belubula River being in flood and the police only able to look on from the other side of the river. They say that on each occasion that Ben Hall paid for his stay in Canowindra with the money taken from his robbery of the local bank.
Ben Hall, John O’Meally and John Gilbert had been members of Frank Gardiner’s Gang and were responsible for the holdup at Escort Rock – more than half of the gold from this robbery was recovered by the police in the weeks after the robbery.