Story: Gangs

Burgess gang death masks

Burgess gang death masks

The death masks of three of the four members of the murderous Burgess gang are seen on display at the Nelson Provincial Museum in March 1964. The gang was named after the ringleader, Richard Burgess, who had murdered others on the West Coast, and in Victoria, Australia. The men were hanged for murdering four travellers on the track over the Maungatapu Range near Nelson in 1866. The fourth member of the gang, Joseph Sullivan, who turned Queen’s evidence, spent seven years in Dunedin jail before being deported to England.

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Nelson Provincial Museum
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How to cite this page:

Greg Newbold and Rāwiri Taonui, 'Gangs - Why gangs?', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 12 December 2023)

Story by Greg Newbold and Rāwiri Taonui, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 2 Oct 2018, updated 1 Apr 2020 with assistance from Jarrod Gilbert