Captain Moonlite, born Andrew Scott, turned to bushranging in 1869, but not successfully. He was caught and sentenced to 10 years in Melbourne’s Pentridge Prison in 1872, where he met James Nesbitt, who was aged 19 at the time of his release (compared to Scott’s age of 37), and who was something of a career criminal. The two became close in jail, and lived together in Melbourne for several months following their release in 1879.
Thereafter the pair left Melbourne, embarking on a brief crime spree in the vicinity of Wagga Wagga, which led to them being besieged by the police. A gun battle took place, and James Nesbitt was shot. According to some sources it happened while he was attempting to act as a decoy so that Moonlite could escape.
As Nesbitt lay dying Captain Moonlite carried him back into the cover of a farmhouse, and “wept over him like a child…and kissed him passionately.”
Throughout the following trial for the murder of a policeman killed in the siege, Moonlite wore a ring made of Nesbitt’s hair. His letters from Darlinghurst Gaol, written during the trial during the final weeks of his life, were never sent, and were later discovered by historian Garry Wotherspoon. They speak volumes of Moonlite’s love for his dead companion.
"We were one in heart and soul, he died in my arms and I long to join him, where there shall be no more parting," Moonlite wrote in a letter to one friend. In another he said, "he died in my arms, his death has broken my heart." And in another letter, "when I think of my dearest Jim, I am nearly driven mad."