Late of ?
New South Wales Police Force
Regd. # ????
Rank: Senior Sergeant – Death
Stations: ?, Lambing Flat, Albury – Death
Service: From 8 February 1858 to 4 September 1864 = 6+ years Service
Awards: No find on It’s An Honour
Born: ? ? 1830
Died on: 29 September 1864 in the Imperial Hotel, Albury
Age: 33 – 34
Cause: Shot – Murdered
Event location: Doodle Cooma Swamp
Event date: 4 September 1864
Funeral date: ? ? ?
Funeral location: ?
Buried at: Albury Cemetery, 460 Buckingham St, North Albury, NSW
Memorial located at: Memorial stone and plaque are located 2 kms west of Henty on Pleasant Hills Rd ( the Lockhart Rd )
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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.
Senior Sergeant Thomas Smyth to get a proper gravesite after he was murdered by bushranger ‘Mad Dog’ Dan Morgan in 1864.
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 story Restitution for murdered police officer after outcry over his unmarked grave | Photos first appeared on The Daily Advertiser.