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David Maginnity (1824–1864)

From the Wynyard Times "Extraordinary," June 27 ) 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.

Churchley then retraced his steps as best he could to Copabella for a fresh horse, with which he was supplied about noon and immediately started alone for Tumbarumba. In vain Churchley searched for his comrade at the place of encounter. He, however, proceeded on his course for a few miles, when he again came up with Morgan, who fired at him and sent a bullet through some part of his coat, and passed on.

Soon after, close to Glenroy Station, Churchley saw Morgan for the third time and fired at him, but the distance being great the ball fell harmless. At about sundown Churchley reached Mr Craven's, where he was furnished with a fresh horse to take him to Tumbarumba.

Constable Churchley with three volunteers, started early on Saturday to ascertain the fate of poor Maginnity, whose dead body was discovered by the mailman, that same morning, between nine and ten o'clock, six miles from Copabella on the Tumbarumba roadside. His pockets were turned inside out, and some papers and matches were scattered about the place where his corpse lay. He appeared to be shot close to the eye and in the ribs. Mr Craven dispatched a cart to convey the remains to his house.

Up to nine 'clock on Saturday night Churchley and party had not returned, but the down mailman met them within two miles of the place where the body was found.

The deceased was an active and efficient member of the force and was much respected by all who knew him. He had been stationed at Tumbarumba about three years, and leaves a wife and four young children to mourn their loss. He was a native of Belfast, Ireland, and was about forty years of age.

A magisterial inquiry was held on Tuesday, in the court house at Tumbarumba, which occupied four hours, during which time the place was crowded to excess, and numbers could not gain admittance.

Since the foregoing statement was penned, we have received a report of the magisterial inquiry, which in substance corresponds with the above particulars. The only additions we now desire to make are that both deceased and Churchley were armed with revolvers and their carbines, and that when Maginnity was shot at, Churchley fired two shots from his revolver at Morgan as the latter was galloping round to the road, he being then a hundred and fifty yards distant. Only one bullet wound could be found in the body of deceased, the bruise on the head being caused by falling from his horse.

The horse Maginnity rode, together with saddle, bridle, and firearms, has not yet been found, but the horse which Morgan rode is now in charge of the police.

Churchley positively swears to Morgan's identity.

The doctor, after making a post mortem examination, declared that such a wound would cause death in twenty minutes.

The deceased was in no other way maltreated, as at one time reported in Tumut.

Original publication

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Citation details

'Maginnity, David (1824–1864)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 21 April 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


Belfast, Antrim, Ireland


24 June, 1864 (aged ~ 40)
Tumbarumba, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death


Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.