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Gilbert, John (Johnny) (1842–1865)

John Gilbert, sketch from description of Gilbert, 1863

John Gilbert, sketch from description of Gilbert, 1863

National Library of Australia, nla.pic-an6163945

On Thursday night a horse was stolen out of a paddock at Murrumburrah, of which no particulars could be ascertained till about eleven o'clock on Friday morning, when a man named Forlonge, who was travelling with sheep, stated that he had been visited by Gilbert and Dunn, who rounded up his horses and took a favourite animal, leaving in its stead the one taken from Murrumburrah. On Friday night the bushrangers camped at Rieley's hill, two miles from Binalong, someone having seen them there apparently fast asleep. When the police received their information they went to a farmer's hut, in which a man named Kelly resided, who is the grandfather of Dunn. The police watched all night, but they saw no indication of the bushrangers, and left in the morning, being hopeless of success. Fresh news, however, reached them between eight and nine o'clock on Saturday morning, which induced a fresh start to Kelly's. When the party arrived there, they watched for about an hour, when Kelly come out of the hut and walked up and down in front of the door; and afterwards his wife came out. A little while after Kelly's youngest son, Thomas, made his appearance, and was beckoned by Constable Hales, who inquired whether there was any one besides his parents in the hut, to which the boy replied that no strangers had been in the house during the night. Hales, however, proceeded to the house, and burst open the door, when he was saluted by a volley from the two bushrangers. The fire was returned, and the police withdrew for a short distance, when almost immediately after Gilbert and Dunn were observed running through a paddock adjoining the hut. Constable Bright started in pursuit, and was followed by the three other troopers. Several shots were then exchanged on both sides, when the bushrangers again retreated, and Hales and Bright fired together, and Gilbert fell. The pursuit after Dunn was continued, but although several shots were fired at him none took effect; and he has since been heard of at Bogolong, ten miles from Binalong, having stuck up Mr. Jullian's station yesterday, and whence he took a horse, saddle, and briddle.

The inquest on Gilbert's body was held yesterday at Binalong. The evidence of Constables Hales, Bright, and King was taken as to the shooting of Gilbert; the body was identified by Messrs. Hewitt and Barnes and Constable Bright—the latter knew him for five years, and Hewitt knew him when a storekeeper at the Wombat. Barnes, who was stuck up by Hall and Gilbert, and kept two days in camp, had a good knowledge of Gilbert, and was able immediately to identify him. Dr. Campbell, from Yass, made a post-mortem examination of the body, and found that a single bullet had entered the left part of the back, gone through the centre of the heart, and passed out through the left side, fracturing one rib. Dr. Campbell stated that death must have been immediate, After Gilbert was shot, Constable King received a bullet in the ankle from Dunn's revolver. The revolver rifle taken from Mr. Davis has been recovered, Gilbert had possession of it, and he made several attempts to use it, but the rifle missed fire three times; three chambers were loaded, and one had been discharged. The following is the verdict:—"That the said John Gilbert came to his death by a gunshot wound inflicted on Saturday, 18th May, 1865, near Binalong, in the said colony, by one of the constables in the police force of New South Wales, in the execution of their duty; and that they were justified in inflicting said wound which caused him death. The jury desire further to express their approval of the conduct of the constables, and in their opinion they are deserving of great credit for the gallant manner in which they effected the capture of Gilbert."

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'Gilbert, John (Johnny) (1842–1865)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/gilbert-john-johnny-3609/text24378, accessed 24 November 2017.

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John Gilbert, sketch from description of Gilbert, 1863

John Gilbert, sketch from description of Gilbert, 1863

National Library of Australia, nla.pic-an6163945