Spotlight: The Bushranger Morgan (23/09/1864)

McIvor Times and Rodney Advertiser (Heathcote, Vic. : 1863 – 1918), Friday 23 September 1864, page 3


The following more detailed accounts of the shooting of Sergeant Smyth by Morgan is from a Gundagai paper:— 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 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, and 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 day light. Constable Baxter and the black fellow 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 muderous attack, which in cold-blooded treachery far surpasses the Lachlan escort robbery. — Age.

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