FEARSOME bushranger Dan "Mad Dog" Morgan had strong links to Walbundrie and later to a 1976 feature film that bears his name. US movie star Dennis Hopper visited Walbundrie in 1974 to bring the murderous Morgan to life in a scene shot in the township's long-abandoned courthouse for the Phillippe Mora film Mad Dog Morgan. The weatherboard courthouse and nearby police lock-up stand almost forgotten, paint peeling, just a block from the town's main street on a property owned by Rex Seidel, 71, who remembers the day Hollywood came to town. "It was all done inside the courthouse -- I watched it all from outside," he said. Dennis Hopper often described filming Mad Dog Morgan, alongside Australian actors Jack Thompson and Frank Thring, as one of his "great life experiences". Morgan was variously feared and idolised by residents of Walbundrie and the nearby townships of Walla, Morven and Culcairn. In 1863, after serving a term in Beechworth Prison, he travelled north to Walbundrie, then called Piney Range, where he would "sally forth to a public house in the Piney Ranges where he was regarded as a hero", according to Victorian detective of the times, Henry Manwaring. That hotel was the Piney Range Hotel which later moved to the location of the present Walbundrie Hotel. Morgan, who murdered four people, also held up the Walbundry Station homestead and stole a champion racehorse. Walbundrie sits on the Billabong Creek, discovered in 1836 by the explorer Major Thomas Mitchell whose reports of the lush lands to the south triggered the migration of NSW stock owners to take up squatting runs in the unexplored lands of Victoria and the Riverina. Aime and Charles Huon, who with their brother Paul claimed vast tracts of land around Albury-Wodonga in the 1830s, were the original occupants of the Piney Water Hole and Walbundery runs. By 1866 Piney Range had three hotels and in 1869, when the settlement's first post office opened, the name was changed to Walbundrie. Ned Kelly, en route to Greta from Jerilderie where he and his gang robbed a bank, camped on the Gibbons property by the Billabong Creek in 1879 just half a kilometre from the Walbundrie police station. Barry Gibbons, who lives on the property Inverness with his wife, Jean, said their land was once part of Walbundrie Station. "There was a big shearing shed there, I think there were 80 stands, and part of it was still there when I was a kid," he said. Mr Gibbons and his wife are both Walbundrie Hall committee members. "One of the great things on the social side has been the Walbundrie Hall; we've had anything up to eight balls a year," he said.