Henry Johnson, also known as Harry Power, was born in Waterford, Ireland on 18 May 1819 and grew up in Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire, England. When he was sixteen years of age his father had him apprenticed to the saddler trade. Later on he joined the peasants in their conflicts with the British troops. It was during this time that he received the sabre wounds on his face, which are described in the Victorian police records as, "Scar over right eyebrow, scars on right cheek."
He was convicted at Salford, Lancashire on 31 August 1840, and was sentenced to transportation for 7 years to Australia for stealing a bridle and saddle, under the name of Henry Johnson, and adhered to that name until he became a ticket-of-leave man.
Power, was engaged driving cattle all over this colony and New South Wales, and afterwards with Captain Denman's party in exploring and cutting a track across the ranges. In a few years he became a splendid bushman, knowing almost every mile of the country. During all this time he appears to have been getting an honest living, even when he kept a horse yard at Geelong, which is ostensibly a respectable calling. One incident changed his whole career. He was riding one of his own horses, near Sandhurst, when he was bailed up by two drunken German troopers. "I was going along quietly", says Power, "when down came the two troopers, hooting and shouting. I saw they were drunk, and pulled on one side, but they stopped me. 'Whose horse is that?' says one. 'It's mine,' says I. 'Are you going to shout?' says the other. 'No,' says I, for I didn't like the Germans. 'I believe you stole that horse,' says the first.' 'You're a liar,' says I. ' You'll have to come along with us,' says the other. 'I won't do it,' says I, getting riled. On that one of them drew his hanger, and said he'd make me. 'You can't,' says I. He charged at me, and I'd only just time to draw my revolver, or he'd have cut me down. I shot him, and then the other fellow rode up and fired at me, and the powder singed my coat. I shot him, and then rode off. Now, if I had been sensible, I'd have ridden off to the nearest police station and given myself up. But I was frightened, and rode across the colony, thinking to go and stay in New South Wales till the row was over. At the Murray I was stopped. I did not deny my name or resist. They arrested and brought me down to Melbourne, and I got 10 years. The men were not hurt much, and it was proved they stopped me without cause, or I'd have got more."
He was released after serving six years, **http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/power-henry-harry-4412 states he escaped (not released) in a rubbish cart. http://ergo.slv.vic.gov.au/explore-history/rebels-outlaws/bushrangers/harry-power http://www.ironoutlaw.com/kelly-country/#jim_kelly stated he was released on parole, but was again jailed in 1864 for horse stealing.
Escaping from Pentridge Prison in 1869, the 50-year-old Power turned to highway robbery and became known as a Bushranger. A reward of £500 was offered for his capture (a large sum of money at that time). There were claims that during these robberies Power had a youthful assistant who took care of the horses. Suspicion fell on the then 16-year-old Ned Kelly. Power himself was captured on 5 June 1870. Ned's uncle betrayed him to the police. He was arrested while on their land.
Power was not released from prison until 9 February 1885, aged 66. For a while he worked as a tour guide for the old Prison Hulk Success, on which he had once served a sentence, and was by then a museum. In November 1891 Harry Power was fishing, and fell in and drowned in the Murray River at Swan Hill, Victoria.
Power's relationship with Kelly is depicted in the 1980 miniseries The Last Outlaw, where he was played by Gerard Kennedy. The relationship is also depicted in Peter Carey's Booker Prize winning novel True History of the Kelly Gang. In the upcoming film adaptation of the novel, Power will be portrayed by Russell Crowe, along side George MacKay as Kelly.
- "A Bushranger's Confessions". The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser. NSW. 17 March 1877. p. 11. Retrieved 14 April 2012 – via National Library of Australia.
- "LIFE OF BUSH RANGER POWER". Western Mail. Perth. 5 February 1910. p. 50. Retrieved 14 April 2012 – via National Library of Australia.
- "LIFE OF BUSHRANGER POWER". Western Mail. Perth. 19 February 1910. p. 14. Retrieved 10 April 2012 – via National Library of Australia.
- "POWER, THE BUSHRANGER". Gippsland Times. Vic. 12 March 1877. p. 4 Edition: Morning. Retrieved 14 April 2012 – via National Library of Australia.
- "CAPTURE OF POWER, THE BUSHRANGER". The Argus. Melbourne. 6 June 1870. p. 5. Retrieved 10 April 2012 – via National Library of Australia.
- "GENERAL NEWS". The Inquirer & Commercial News. Perth. 4 December 1891. p. 3. Retrieved 10 April 2012 – via National Library of Australia.
- "SUPPOSED DEATH OF THE BUSHRANGER POWER". The Advertiser. Adelaide. 9 November 1891. p. 5. Retrieved 10 April 2012 – via National Library of Australia.
- "Parks Victoria: Power's Lookout Reserve". Parks Victoria. Archived from the original on 26 February 2011. Retrieved 20 November 2009.
Convict records: http://www.convictrecords.com.au/convicts/johnson/henry/59304
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