Illustrations of people and a horse playing instruments and dancing
Illustration from 'Captain Thunderbolt's Recital'

Captain Thunderbolt’s Recital by Jane Jolly and Liz Duthie

This is one of the unexpected stories of Fred Ward aka Captain Thunderbolt, who was known as the ‘gentleman bushranger’.

In Captain Thunderbolt’s Recital, author Jane Jolly has written a humorous tale of one of the bushranger’s most famous robberies in Tenterfield, New England Tablelands, 1868. Thunderbolt holds up Wirth’s German brass band. He takes their money and asks them to perform for him, promising to pay the money back. Sure enough, when the men return home, a postal order is waiting for them, with the exact amount he stole.

Illustrations by Liz Duthie perfectly realise the text, bringing to life the quirky band members and an impish Captain Thunderbolt. There is also additional information at the end of the book for children, including pictures and information about Captain Thunderbolt and other bushrangers of the period, as well as the original Wirth’s brass band.

Captain Thunderbolt’s Recital will be released in July 2023.

About the author 

Jane Jolly is a primary school teacher in Adelaide. She has written many award-winning picture books, including Tea and Sugar Christmas and Radio Rescue for NLA Publishing, One Step at a Time and Papa Sky. Her books have been previous winners of the ABIA Small Publisher Children’s Book of the Year award, shortlisted for the CBCA Eve Pownall Award for Information Books and Notables in the CBCA Picture Book and Younger Readers categories.

About the illustrator 

Liz Duthie is an internationally published children’s book illustrator and visual artist based in Castlemaine, Victoria. Her first non-fiction children’s book, Wombat by Christopher Cheng, won the CBCA Eve Pownall Award in 2022. Liz’s hand-drawn style expresses humour, emotion and movement, using traditional mediums.

Additional Information 

The cover of the book 'Captain Thunderbolt's Recital'.

Images for media use are available for download via Dropbox.


Mirelle O'Mara, Media Liaison, National Library of Australia

M: 0401 226 697