Eldest son of the Inspector General of the New South Wales Police Force, Captain John McLerie, the superintendent died at Albury as a result of too many cold, wet nights spent in the bush carrying out his police duties.
The Sydney Morning Herald of 28 November, 1864 listed the death notice, with the cause of death given as “rheumatism caused by the effects of exposure“.
At the time of his death the superintendent was aged about 26 years, and was the Superintendent in Charge of the Murray District (Albury).
John Aitcheson McLerie may have been associated with Sub-Inspector John MORROW.
New South Wales Police Force
New South Wales Detective Force
Regd. # ????
Stations: ?, Gundagai
Service: From 5 May 1862 to 16 November 1864 = 2+ years Service
Born: ? ? 1832
Died on: Wednesday 16 November 1864
Cause: Shot – Murdered
Event location: Jugiong
Funeral date: Saturday 19 November 1864
Buried at: Gundagai Cemetery
( GPS: Lat: -35.051389
Long: 148.111944 )
Memorial location: Old Hume Highway (Riverside Drive) , Jugiong Memorial Park, Jugiong, 2726
On 16 November, 1864Sergeant Parry ( Gundagai ), Sub Inspector O’Neill ( Gundagai ) and Constable Roche ( Yass Police ) formed the mounted police escort for the Gundagai mail coach on its journey to Yass. Roche was seated beside the coach driver, Gundagai Police Magistrate Mr Rose was inside the coach and Parry and O’Neill followed on horseback. Shortly before 3pm as the coach approached the township of Jugiong, the escort was attacked by bushrangers Hall, Dunn and Gilbert. Sub Inspector O’Neill closed with Dunn and Hall and when he had emptied his rifle he hurled the weapon at Hall, striking him on the head. He then drew his revolver and fired at Dunn. Meanwhile, Parry and Gilbert fired on each other, with the bushranger calling on the sergeant to surrender. Parry continued to fight until he was fatally shot in the head.
The Australian News for Home Readers dated ( Monday ) 19 December, 1864 carried the results of an inquest into the sergeant’s violent death, informing its readers that “An inquest was held before Mr Rose, at Jugiong, on the body of the brave sergeant of police, when the jury returned the following verdict: ‘That on the 16th day of November, in the year of our Lord 1864, at a spot about four miles to the south of Jugiong ( the Black Springs ), in the colony of New South Wales, the deceased Edmund Parry did die from the effects of a gunshot wound, at that time and in that place wickedly, maliciously, and feloniously inflicted upon him by one John Gilbert, and that two other certain persons, named Benjamin Hall and John Dunn, were then and there unlawfully aiding and abetting the said John Gilbert in so feloniously destroying the life of the said Edmund Parry.”
The murderer Gilbert and accomplice Hall would later be shot dead by police in separate incidents, while Dunn (who would murder Constable Samuel Nelson at Collector less than two months after this incident) was destined to be hanged for his crimes.
The sergeant was born in 1832 and joined the New South Wales Police Force on 5 May, 1862. At the time of his death he was stationed at Gundagai.
Sgt Parry is buried at the Gundagai cemetery.
Senior Constable Wes Leseberg (NSW Police) portrays Sgt Edmund Parry in this upcoming Australian movie. Opening in December 2016.
first-look trailer for upcoming Australian bushranger film The Legend Of Ben Hall, out December 1, 2016. Start practising your pistol-twirling now…
Yesterday, took a detour to Jugiong and checked out the memorial there to Sgt Edmund Parry. A very fitting tribute to a brave man.
* GPS Co-ords 34 49 25S/148 19 35E.
Can I also say that the Police Station and residence at Jugiong were immaculate. Not something you see often these days but a pristine NSW Flag flying (not a tattered mess hanging from the flag pole that we see so often) and the yard and surrounds a credit to the OIC who no doubt works the majority of the time in Cootamundra or Tumut or Young or all three.
Parry, Edmund (1832–1864)
from South Australian Advertiser
On Tuesday afternoon the mail from Gundagai reached the hill at Deep Creek, about four or five miles on the Yass side of Jugiong, between 4 and 5 o’clock. Mr. Sheahan, of Jugiong, the mail contractor, and Mr. Bradbury, of Queanbeyan, were passengers by the coach, and had alighted to walk up he hill. They were some distance in advance of the coach. Mr. Sheahan was in the act of pointing out the spot where the mail was stuck-up a few weeks before, when three horsemen appeared on the top of the hill, and spreading out—one on each aide, the third in the centre of the road—they galloped towards the coach. On coming near it was noticed that each had a revolver in his hand, and the order was given by Ben Hall to “Bail up.” Hall pointed and told them to “walk up there; we have got a little township there.” After going up the hill for some distance, they were ordered to turn off to the left, and approached a spot where twelve teams were stock up, as well as a number of horsemen. The mail was then stopped. Mr. Sheahan was asked if he had any money; he replied that he had not, and they might search him if they liked. Hall declined to search, remarking that Mr. Sheahan was not a “bad sort of fellow.” Bradbury was then searched; although he handed them a cheque for one pound, stating that that was all he had, yet they examined his pockets, and asked him if he had not a watch. They got nothing from him but the cheque, and subsequently, on his telling them it was all he had to carry him on the road, the cheque was returned. Hall and his companions then took out the mail bags, six in number, and cut them all open. Before proceeding to examine the letters they asked Mr. Sheahan and Mr. Bradbury if they would have some wine. They answered “Yes,” when Hall called to one of the teamsters to “fetch over port wine.” The wine was brought, in a quart pot, and a portion of it drunk by those present. The examination of the mail-bags meanwhile proceeded, the three bushrangers sitting down on the ground with the bags before them. The letters were speedily ransacked of any bank-notes they contained, Mr. Bradbury remarking to them that they sorted the letters much quicker than was generally done in Sydney. Mr. Sheahan asked if he would be allowed to sit down, and Hall told him he could do so. Mr. Sheahan availed himself of an empty mail-bag close beside him, and noticing a large number of whole and half cheques, remarked that they were of no use to them, and asked permission to gather them up. The bushrangers consented, and Mr. Sheahan was enabled to bring on to the Yass Post Office his coat pocket as full of cheques as it would hold, as well as three bank drafts. The coach and passengers were kept an hour before they were permitted to depart, Mr. Sheahan and Mr. Bradbury gathering up the remains of the letters and placing them in a mail bag. On the bushrangers completing their work, the driver of the coach pushed on as fast as possible to Yass, and reached here only half an hour behind time. The matter was instantly reported to Sub-Inspector Brennan, who, with a couple of mounted men, took the road within half an hour.
It was fully expected in town that the mail on Wednesday would also be robbed, and the spot where it was expected to take place was mentioned to the police before they left Yass. The anticipation was realised, and even the locality surmised as the scene of the outrage proved to be the spot selected. The mail is due in Yass at eleven a.m., and as it is generally very punctual to the time, and not having arrived at a quarter to twelve, it began to be thought very likely that it had been stopped. A few minutes before twelve it was heard approaching, and much anxiety was felt to learn what had occurred to cause its detention. It was then ascertained that on the mail leaving Gundagai, Constable Roche, of the Yass police, who had gone as guard of the mail the previous day to Gundagai, and Mr. Rose, police magistrate of Gundagai, were its occupants. It was escorted by Sub-Inspector O’Neill, and Sergeant Edmund Parry, of the Gundagai police. On reaching within about four miles of Jugiong, at a place known as the Black Springs, Hall and his companions appeared from behind some rocks. The moment they were noticed a signal was made from the coach to the Sub-Inspector and Sergeant to ride up, which they at once did; and one of the bushrangers remarking that “the bobbies” were with the coach, Gilbert said “There are only two of them; come on, let us rush them.” They then darted towards the coach, and on getting near the police called out “Come on you —— wretches; we will fight you like men.” A deadly encounter followed, in which poor Parry, who acted very bravely throughout, was shot through the shoulder and dropped dead. Before, however, narrating what transpired in the encounter with the police, we may state that Hall, Gilbert, and Dunn took up their position on the road early in the day, and stuck up a large number of teams and two carts, the latter followed by 20 or 30 Chinamen. Amongst those detained were a son of Mr. Owen Ryan, of Derrengullen Creek; Mr. Hayes, wife, and young man, who were in a buggy; and others, to the number of 40 or 50. Some considerable time before the coach came up Constable McLaughlin, of the Gundagai police, approached, leading a pack horse. Gilbert rode up to him and ordered him to surrender, but he replied by a shot from his revolver, which was returned by Gilbert, who then turned his horse and rode off a short distance. Hall then took up his position and fired at the constable, who again discharged his revolver. Hall’s horse stumbled, and Dunn rode up and fired at McLaughlin. The constable discharged the six barrels of his revolver in the encounter, and then surrendered, some nine or a dozen shots having previously been fired at him by the bushrangers. Dunn remarked that one of the constable’s shots was a very good one, and they would “have it in for him” on that account.” The constable was added to the mob of captives. The coach subsequently came in sight, and the affray commenced as stated above. Constable Roche, who was on the coach armed with two large pistols, a six barrel revolver, and a carbine, is stated to have slipped off the coach when the fight began, and to have darted into the bush, carrying his firearms along with him. He did not subsequently appear on the scene. Gilbert fought with Sergeant Parry, who refused to surrender, and discharged every barrel of his revolver before he fell; Hall and Dunn attacked Sub-Inspector O’Neill, who first discharged his carbine, and then several shots from a revolver. On Parry falling dead, the Sub-Inspector surrendered. The bushrangers disarmed him, and took from him a ring and his watchchain, but we believe he was permitted to keep his watch on his informing them it had belonged to his father. The horse Mr. O’Neill rode was, however, taken, one of the bushrangers remarking it would make “a good pack-horse.” It seems singular that the driver of the coach did not take advantage of the proceedings going on to put his horses to their mettle and save the mails. This, however, he did not do, for Hall and his mates on the termination of the fight ordered Mr. Rose to throw out the bags, which the bushrangers cut open in the usual manner, and appropriated all they desired. The mail was a very heavy one, and it is supposed they secured a large amount of money. From Constable McLaughlin they took £7105; from Mr. Rose a watch and chain. We have not heard what was taken from Mr. Hayes, but he was searched; the lady who accompanied him they did not molest. Gilbert is said to have turned over poor Parry’s body, and to have remarked—”He’s got it in the cobra (head) ; I am sorry for him, as he was a game fellow.”
We may state that the bushrangers informed the police that they intended to rob the mail next day (Thursday), and told them to send as many police men as they liked, and they would fight them. On the mail reaching Yass on Wednesday night Sergeant Scully, who was in charge of the force in the absence of Sub-Inspector Brennan, at once despatched five mounted men, four of whom are connected with the Goulburn force, and had reached Yass the previous day, after eight days’ unsuccessful search for the whereabouts of the bushrangers.
The coroner’s jury returned the following verdict:—”That on the 16th day of November, in the year of our Lord, 1864, at a spot about four miles to the south of Jugiong, in the colony of New South Wales, the deceased Edmund Parry did die from the effects of a gunshot wound, at that time and in that place wickedly, maliciously, and feloniously inflicted upon him by one John Gilbert; and two other certain persons, named Benjamin Hall and John Dunn, were then and there unlawfully aiding and abetting the said John Gilbert in so feloniously destroying the life of the said Edmund Parry.”
Sergeant O’Neill‘s report of the recent murderous affray with Hall and his gang: Gundagai. 17th November.
“Just returned from Jugiong with the remains of Sergeant Parry. Yesterday morning early I started with Constable O’Loughlin to Jugiong, with instructions to the police station there to be at readiness to relieve Sergeant Parry and myself, who would escort the down mail to Jugiong.
At 11 a.m. Sergeant Parry and I left here riding behind the coach. Constable Roach, from Yass, was with the driver on the box set. When we got within four and a half miles of Jugiong, we there found sixty or seventy people, including Constable McLoughlin, some carriers, a lot of Chinese, and others, stuck up by Mr. Hall, Gilbert, and John Dunn.
Sergeant Parry and myself charged the bushrangers, when a deadly encounter ensured.
Ben Hall and Dunn opened fire on me and Gilbert on Parry. We all fired simultaneously several times. I had one bullet pass through the upper part of my sleeve, and one in left side of coat, neither injuring me.
Sergeant Parry was less fortunate. He received two mortal wounds, one in his left side and another in the back of his head, and he died immediately.
Constable Roach, on witnessing the engagement, took his carbine, revolver, and two old pistols with him and bolted into a paddock of Pring’s, where he took shelter. Had he stood by usParry‘s life would have been spared, and Gilbert shot.
After emptying my revolver and rifle, I let the latter fly at Hall, striking him severely on the left side of his head. He and Dunn then had hold of my horse, and all was over—Parry shot, I a prisoner and Roach an absconder. The party having rifled the mail bags left.”
Sydney Morning Herald Saturday 19 November 1864 p6
GUNDAGAI. Friday, 8 p.m.
After Hall’s gang left the scene of the encounter with the mail escort, the dead body of sergeant Parry was taken on to Jugiong, where an inquest was held, Mr. Rose, district coroner, who was a passenger in the coach, was an eye-witness of the tragedy. A verdict of wilful murder was given against John Gilbert, Benjamin Hall, and John Dunn, and warrants issued for their apprehension.
The remains of Sergeant Parry was brought in a coffin to Gundagai yesterday, and buried to-day with every mark of respect and commisseration for the fate of so brave a man. All business was suspended during the day.
The encounter was witnessed by several persons, who were detained by the bushrangers, and who, as well as Mr. Rose, speak in the highest terms of the courage of sub-inspectors O’Neill and sergeant Parry.
Illustrated Sydney News Friday 16 December 1864 p5
MURDEROUS ENCOUNTER BETWEEN HALL’S GANG & THE
POLICE, AND DEATH OF SERGEANT PARRY.
IT has unhappily been our duty during the past few months to record a series of high-handed outrages and deeds of blood, which are rendering this Colony a bye-word throughout the civilised world. Our exchanges from every part of the globe contain annals of crime committed by the bushrangers of New South Wales, — crimes unparalleled save by the banditti of Italy, degrading to us as a people, the commission of which renders the Government of the Colony positively criminal for the apathetic and ineffectual efforts which they have made. The time for mincing our words has long since past. The position of affairs in the interior of New South Wales is a disgrace to any civilised community. Our legislators appear to be too much engrossed in party quarrels, and our Government in their own aggrandizement, to properly estimate the enormity of the crimes which are being daily committed in our southwestern districts, within a couple of hundred miles of the head-quarters of a police system which cost a colony containing some 350,000 inhabitants, during the past year £242,715 7s. 11d. What wonder will it be if we hear of the people whose lives and properties have been rendered insecure taking the law into their own hands, and, following the example of California, establishing Lynch Law. Much as such a system is to be deplored, we question if it would not be preferable to the present state of things.
During the past four months Morgan has murdered two police sergeants and and unoffending bushman. His immunity from arrest has probably rendered Hall and his gang from paying much regard to human life, for we find them following his example with all the recklessness which has marked Morgan’s career. The culminating act of Hall, Gilbert, and Co.’s villainous career has been that perpetrated on the 16th ultimo. On the morning of that day Hall, Gilbert, and Dunn took up their position on the road about four miles from Jugiong, and stopped all passers by. Among the number were several residents of Tumut, Mr. Johnstone, of Gundagai, about a dozen teamsters, and thirty Chinese. About noon Constable McLaughlin, going to Jugiong, was stopped by two bushrangers. Gilbert rode up and ordered him to surrender ; his reply was a shot from his revolver, which was returned by Gilbert, who then rode off a short distance. Hall then fired at the constable, who again returned it. Dunn also fired. Some of the shots cut McLaughlin’s bridle rein, and slightly wounded his horse. Having used the whole of his ammunition, and being hotly pressed, he galloped away hoping to be able to reload ; but Dunn being better mounted followed, and, firing at him, ordered him to surrender. Having no other alternative he did so, and was conducted to where the other persons were detained. On searching McLaughlin they took £7 10s. and his watch and chain, but returned the latter to him, as they admired his bravery in resisting three of them.
About three o’clock the mail from Gundagai came in sight, escorted by Sub-Inspector O’Neil and Sergeant Parry on horseback, and Constable Roach, who was seated on the box with the driver. The bushrangers rode down the hill to meet the coach, and on being perceived by Mr. Rose, Police Magistrate at Gundagai, who was a passenger, that gentleman raised his handkerchief as a signal for the police to close up, and as they did so the bushrangers turned and rode off, but seeing there were only two policemen they drew their revolvers, and rode back to meet them, screaming like madmen. The first shot fired was the signal for Constable Roach to drop from his seat and bolt into the bush, leaving O’Neil and Parry to maintain the murderous contest ; the former being opposed to Hall and Dunn, and the latter to Gilbert — the two latter fired shot for shot. Parry was first wounded in the head, but refused to surrender, and, having fired every shot in his revolver, was in the act of unslinging his carbine when Gilbert again fired. The ball entered his back on the left side, passed through his body — and the brave fellow fell from his horse a corpse. O’Neil continued fighting until his ammunition was expended, when, seeing the uselesness of prolonging the contest, he surrendered, and was taken prisoner. Dunn and Gilbert then mounted guard on the road, while Hall ransacked the mail bags ; the latter asked O’Neil where the other constable had gone to, and, on hearing he had bolted, remarked, “You should dismiss the fellow at once ; he is a coward and wretch to leave you and your mate to fight ; but I will say this for you both, you are two game men.” Hall then addressed himself to Mr. Rose, asking his name. Mr. Rose gave it, and told them in a fearless manner that he was Police Magistrate of Gundagai, to which Hall replied, “You are as bad as the —— traps.” “That may be,” said Mr. Rose, I am what I am.” After disposing of all the booty the bushrangers decamped, taking the police horses and arms. The remains of Sergeant Parry were removed to Jugiong, where an inquest was held next day by Mr. Rose. The jury returned a verdict of wilful murder against John Gilbert, Benjamin Hall, and John Dunn, against whom warrants were issued.
Sergeant Parry was formerly a member of the detective force, and during his residence in this city was remarkable for his good conduct.
The Government have recently issued a proclamation offering £1,000 reward each for Hall, Gilbert, and Dunn, and we trust that some energetic colonist may speedily enrich himself, and rid the country of one of its plague spots.
In late September, 1864 the sergeant was camped in the bush with three troopers near Albury during a search for bushrangers, when two men, one of whom the bushranger Daniel Morgan, crept up and fired several shots into the police tent. One shot hit the sergeant, entering his shoulder and exiting through his back. Despite these wounds the sergeant was able to return fire, forcing the offenders to retreat and escape. Sergeant Smyth was soon treated by a doctor however he died of the effects of the wound within a couple of days. The vicious Morgan was shot to death by a farmhand in April, 1865.
The Empire newspaper dated 5 October, 1864 printed the following brief account of the incident.
DEATH OF SERGEANT SMYTH – It is with deep regret that we have to record the death of Senior-Sergeant Smyth, at Albury, on Thursday night, from the wound he received in the cowardly night attack a few weeks back at Doodle Cooma Swamp. It was at first hoped that the unwearied care of Dr Wilkinson would have brought him round; but haemorrhage having set in, little hopes were entertained of his recovery, and he gradually sank until he yielded up his brave spirit on Thursday night. He was a very deserving officer, possessed of more than average intelligence and shrewdness, which eminently fitted him for a police officer. His courage was unquestionable. Previous to his being stationed at Albury he was at Lambing Flat, on leaving which town be was presented with an address by the inhabitants, expressive of their appreciation of his valuable services in the repression of crime on that large goldfield.
The McIvor Times and Rodney Advertiser of 23 September, 1864 printed a detailed account of the incident.
“THE BUSHRANGER MORGAN.
A party of police, consisting of Senior Sergeant Smyth, Senior Constable Baxter, Constables Connor, and Maguire, and a blackfellow named Jimmy Reed, were camped on Sunday night at Dougal’s [sic] Swamp, near Keighran’s station. They had just got tea, and were lying in the tent yarning, as is usually done by persons camped out. They had no sentry on guard – that duty being delayed until they “turned in” for the night. Suddenly their discourse was cut short by a volley being fired into the tent amongst them. Sergeant Smyth immediately jumped to his feet, calling on his men to follow him – he firing two shots in the direction he fancied the volley came from. The men who rushed out of the tent immediately after him, scoured the bush in every direction, as well as the darkness would allow them, but failed to find any traces of the ruffians; but, from the tracks discovered at daylight next morning, they must have overrun the bushrangers in the dark.
“They remained in the scrub about an hour, when they, after some consultation, deemed it better to return to the tent, which, considering that the night was dark, arid the surrounding scrub would completely shelter the attacking party, was, to say the least, attended with some danger. Baxter and Connor crawled on their hands and knees to the tent, and found Smyth lying on his back dangerously wounded, and fast bleeding to death. They took everything out of the tent and, having covered poor Smyth up in the few blankets they had, they managed to convey him to Keighran’s station, he still bleeding and suffering great pain, where they remained until daylight. Constable Baxter and the blackfellow then took up the track near the tent, and started to follow the ruffians up. The other two constables proceeded to the Ten Mile Creek, to give information and obtain medical aid for Smyth.
“Superintendent McLerie who was proceeding to Sydney on sick leave, happened to be at that place; and he immediately ordered his buggy to be taken off its springs, and the body to be used as a stretcher to convey Smyth to Ten Mile Creek. From the position of the bullet holes in the tent, there cannot have been less than five bushrangers. There are seven bullet holes in the tent; the bullets were picked up inside of it, some of them belonging to a large bore pistol. Constable Connor had a very narrow escape. He was lying down, leaning on his elbow, in the tent, when one of the balls went through the sleeve of his coat, inflicting a slight wound about two inches above the elbow joint. Superintendent McLerie has deemed it necessary to return to Albury for the present. Sub-inspector Morrow and a party of police have started from Albury in pursuit of the bushrangers; and Sub-inspector Zouch has left Wagga Wagga on similar duty.
“A strange incident occurred in connection with this cowardly attack. Shortly after the party were camped, two men came up and were admiring the site chosen for the camp, remarking that they could not have chosen better. They are well known as bush “telegraphs,” being the two men to whose house Sergeant Carroll traced Morgan some time back. Sergeant Smyth’s wound is a very dangerous one. The ball entered immediately above the nipple of the left breast, following the course of the ribs, and came out under the left shoulder-blade; so that, while the wound may not be considered mortal, yet fatal results may ensue from it. The people are greatly excited on this murderous attack, which in cold-blooded treachery far surpasses the Lachlan escort robbery.”
The Empire newspaper dated 5 October, 1864 printed the following brief account of the death of the sergeant.
“DEATH OF SERGEANT SMYTH
It is with deep regret that we have to record the death of Senior-Sergeant Smyth, at Albury, on Thursday night, from the wound he received in the cowardly night attack a few weeks back at Doodle Cooma Swamp. It was at first hoped that the unwearied care of Dr Wilkinson would have brought him round; but haemorrhage having set in, little hopes were entertained of his recovery, and he gradually sank until he yielded up his brave spirit on Thursday night. He was a very deserving officer, possessed of more than average intelligence and shrewdness, which eminently fitted him for a police officer. His courage was unquestionable. Previous to his being stationed at Albury he was at Lambing Flat, on leaving which town he was presented with an address by the inhabitants, expressive of their appreciation of his valuable services in the repression of crime on that large goldfield.”
In April 1865 the vicious and cowardly bushranger Morgan was shot to death by a farmhand in at Peechelba Station, near Wangaratta (Vic).
The sergeant was born in 1830 and joined the police force on 8 February, 1858. In 1862 he became a member of the newly-formed New South Wales Police Force. At the time of his death he was stationed at Albury.
It’s taken 153-years but moves are finally underway to give some restitution to Senior Sergeant Thomas Smyth, who was murdered by notorious bushranger ‘Mad Dog’ Dan Morgan in the hills near Henty in 1864.
Sergeant Smyth’s unmarked grave is now set to receive a memorial headstone to rectify what is believed to have been an administrative oversight lost in the 1951 transferral of Albury’s three cemeteries from church to council.
Police officers, both active and retired, had bemoaned as “a sad end and undignified burial” of Senior Sergeant Smyth after he was shot trying to recapture the bushranger, who had been terrorising the region.
In 1864, ‘Mad Dog’ Morgan had recently committed his second and third murders before he arrived in the Henty area. Widespread fear and an outcry from the press at the time saw the reward for Morgan’s capture raised to £1000, and parties of special police were sent to track and capture him.
On September 4, Senior Sergeant Smyth had set up camp with three troopers in the Henty hills, when Morgan and another man crept up and fired several shots into the police tent, hitting the sergeant in the shoulder and exiting through his back. Morgan later said he had been watching the camp for some time.
Despite his wounds, the sergeant ran out of the tent and returned fire, forcing the offenders to retreat. The wounded officer then collapsed. He was transferred to Kiamba and then Albury where doctors claimed he was recovering, before he hemorrhaged several times.
The Empire newspaper dated October 5, 1864 reported that “he yielded up his brave spirit on Thursday night. He was a very deserving officer, possessed of more than average intelligence and shrewdness, which eminently fitted him for a police officer. His courage was unquestionable”.
Senior Sergeant Smyth was buried in an unmarked grave in an Albury cemetery, however there is a memorial stone on Pleasant Hills Road just outside Henty.
NSW Police is hoping to rectify other unmarked police graves. Dan Morgan was holding hostages when he was shot dead in Victoria by a farmhand in April,1865.
This excerpt is from an Australian Government site about bushrangers:
“Daniel Morgan brought discredit to the popular ‘currency heroes’ by his mixture of violence, abuse and seemingly meaningless murders. Morgan claimed his innocence at his first conviction in 1854, at the diggings near Castlemaine, which he said was ‘framed‘ by a squatter. During his time at Pentridge Prison, he developed a violent dislike for police. Upon his release, he began a campaign against society at large and the police in particular.
Morgan once took issue with an overseer’s wife when the man was away on business, demanding money from her as he forced her against a blazing fire until she suffered severe burns to her legs. Morgan also tried to burn squatter Isaac Vincent by setting fire to his woolshed after he had tied Vincent to a nearby fence. After Morgan bailed up coaches, he would stampede the horses – sending them and their drivers to destruction.
Eventually he was shot and captured in 1865 after being outwitted by a nursemaid and station hand at Peelhelba Station near Wangaratta, owned by the McPhersons.”
The sergeant was returning to Tumbarumba from a patrol to Copabella with Constable Charles Churchley when they encountered another rider on the road. When the sergeant cantered up to the rider a shot was fired almost instantly. The sergeant’s horse then plunged into the bush, carrying its mortally wounded rider. The stranger was later identified as the bushranger Daniel Morgan. The sergeant’s body was recovered the following day. The Wynyard Times newspaper dated 27 June, 1864 carried the following account.
THE ENCOUNTER WITH MORGAN AND DEATH OF SERGEANT MAGINNITY.
It is our painful duty to record the death of Senior-sergeant David Maginnity, of Tumbarumba, who was, on Friday last, shot dead by the notorious bushranger Morgan. It appears that early on Thursday, Sergeant Maginnity, accompanied by constable Churchley, left Tumbarumba for Copabella, a distance of twenty miles. On their return next morning, they encountered Morgan within five miles of Copabella, at about half-past ten o’clock. At this time Churchley was a little in advance of Maginnity, when the latter, seeing Morgan, cantered up to Churchley, and hurriedly inquired of him who that was. Almost before receiving a reply, he rode smartly up to Morgan’s side, Churchley being about fifteen or twenty yards to the rear. Morgan instantly fired at Maginnity, whose horse thereupon rushed into the bush. At the same time, Morgan’s horse took the opposite direction, leaving Churchley on the road, but as his horse was completely knocked up he soon lost sight of both of them.
The vicious and violent Morgan, who also murdered Senior Sergeant Thomas Smyth near Albury three months after Sergeant Maginnity’s murder, was shot to death by a farmhand in April, 1865.
The sergeant was born in 1815 and joined the police force on 8 July, 1853. Previously a member of the Mounted Road Patrol, in 1862 he became a member of the newly-formed New South Wales Police Force. At the time of his death he was stationed at Tumbarumba.