Trooper John NICHOL


Trooper John NICHOL

Horse Accident

Ben Bullen

19 March, 1853



Trooper John Nichol of Ben Bullen died on 19 March 1853. An inquest into his death found the cause of death to be “by a fall from his horse whilst in the execution of his duty.” He had been in pursuit of the robber of the Mudgee mail and was found by Mr. Walton, innkeeper of Running Stream, about one mile north of Crown Ridge. His death was reported in the Maitland Mercury of Wednesday 13 April, 1853 as follows:

MELANCHOLY ACCIDENT.- On Saturday, the 19th March a report having reached trooper John Nichol, of the mounted patrol stationed at Ben Bullen, Mudgee Road, that the Mudgee mail had been again stopped and robbed on Cherry-tree Hill, he (Nichol), with his usual zeal, started immediately for the spot where the robbery was reported to have been committed, and when about one mile north of Crown Ridge, on descending a steep and rugged hill was thrown from his horse, falling on his head and fracturing his skull in a shocking manner. The first person who found deceased was a Mr. Walton, innkeeper of Running Stream, who had started in company with Nichol, but owing to his horse being jaded could not keep in sight of him. Descending from the hill alluded to, Walton first picked up a carbine, and immediately afterwards found Nichol lying on the ground with his face downwards, and on turning him over he found the vital spark had fled. According to Walton’s statement it could not have been more than ten or fifteen minutes from the time he had quitted company with deceased, and he was a lifeless corpse. Thomas Cadell, Esq., J.P., was quickly on the spot, and ordered the body to be removed to the barracks.

An inquest was held on Monday before Thomas Brown, Esq., coroner, and a highly respectable jury, and after adjourning to the Ben Bullen Inn and hearing the evidence, a verdict to the following effect was returned: That the deceased John Nichol had been killed by a fall from his horse whilst in the execution of his duty. Deceased was a very active officer, and highly respected by the inhabitants of the district. He has left a widow to deplore her sudden bereavement, for whom, we are glad to find, a subscription has been set on foot. It is a strange fact, and worthy of notice, that we are allowed two mounted troopers for this road, but since the detestable new gold regulations have come in vogue, one is taken away to assist at Sofala in collecting licenses; we are therefore trusting to one, or at least were, when the sad accident occurred. Hence the occasion of this man’s death and another mail robbery.- Correspondent of Bell’s Life.

At the time of his death the trooper was stationed at Ben Bullen and appears to have been attached to the Mounted Road Patrol.

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