Sometimes, the worst things happen in the worst places. The broad, flat plain where the peninsula railways diverged was an unlikely place for a battle. It was hard to defend, and the three train lines – each of them leading to port facilities – made it very easy to bring up reinforcements for the attackers.
But this didn’t dismay “Mad” Dick Darlington and his men. Inspired by the example of the Kelly Gang, they had taken hostages in a hotel in the area, and challenged the police to dislodge them (they might have been inspired by the Kellys, but they had learned very little from Tinhead Ned’s defeat, and instead set out to replicate his mistakes precisely). Darlington and his men – both of them – were all killed by the police, and the incident didn’t even make the front page of the Argus.
But it did have some lasting effects: Darlington’s advice to his men – and unintended last words – gave their name to the area: “Backs ter the wall, boys! Backs ter the wall!”
Suburbs near Baxter: