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Edmund Parry (1832–1864)

from South Australian Advertiser

On Tuesday afternoon the mail from Gundagai reached the hill at Deep Creek, about four or five miles on the Yass side of Jugiong, between 4 and 5 o'clock. Mr. Sheahan, of Jugiong, the mail contactor, and Mr. Bradbury, of Queanbeyan, were passengers by the coach, and had alighted to walk up he hill. They were some distance in advance of the coach. Mr. Sheahan was in the act of pointing out the spot where the mail was stuck-up a few weeks before, when three horsemen appeared on the top of the hill, and spreading out—one on each aide, the third in the centre of the road—they galloped towards the coach. On coming near it was noticed that each had a revolver in his hand, and the order was given by Ben Hall to "Bail up." Hall pointed and told them to "walk up there; we have got a little township there." After going up the hill for some distance, they were ordered to turn off to the left, and approached a spot where twelve teams were stock up, as well as a number of horsemen. The mail was then stopped. Mr. Sheahan was asked if he had any money; he replied that he had not, and they might search him if they liked. Hall declined to search, remarking that Mr. Sheahan was not a "bad sort of fellow." Bradbury was then searched; although he handed them a cheque for one pound, stating that that was all he had, yet they examined his pockets, and asked him if he had not a watch. They got nothing from him but the cheque, and subsequently, on his telling them it was all he had to carry him on the road, the cheque was returned. Hall and his companions then took out the mail bags, six in number, and cut them all open. Before proceeding to examine the letters they asked Mr. Sheahan and Mr. Bradbury if they would have some wine. They answered "Yes," when Hall called to one of the teamsters to "fetch over port wine." The wine was brought, in a quart pot, and a portion of it drunk by those present. The examination of the mail-bags meanwhile proceeded, the three bushrangers sitting down on the ground with the bags before them. The letters were speedily ransacked of any bank-notes they contained, Mr. Bradbury remarking to them that they sorted the letters much quicker than was generally done in Sydney. Mr. Sheahan asked if he would be allowed to sit down, and Hall told him he could do so. Mr. Sheahan availed himself of an empty mail-bag close beside him, and noticing a large number of whole and half cheques, remarked that they were of no use to them, and asked permission to gather them up. The bushrangers consented, and Mr. Sheahan was enabled to bring on to the Yass Post Office his coat pocket as full of cheques as it would hold, as well as three bank drafts. The coach and passengers were kept an hour before they were permitted to depart, Mr. Sheahan and Mr. Bradbury gathering up the remains of the letters and placing them in a mail bag. On the bushrangers completing their work, the driver of the coach pushed on as fast as possible to Yass, and reached here only half an hour behind time. The matter was instantly reported to Sub-Inspector Brennan, who, with a couple of mounted men, took the road within half an hour.

It was fully expected in town that the mail on Wednesday would also be robbed, and the spot where it was expected to take place was mentioned to the police before they left Yass. The anticipation was realised, and even the locality surmised as the scene of the outrage proved to be the spot selected. The mail is due in Yass at eleven a.m., and as it is generally very punctual to the time, and not having arrived at a quarter to twelve, it began to be thought very likely that it had been stopped. A few minutes before twelve it was heard approaching, and much anxiety was felt to learn what had occurred to cause its detention. It was then ascertained that on the mail leaving Gundagai, Constable Roche, of the Yass police, who had gone as guard of the mail the previous day to Gundagai, and Mr. Rose, police magistrate of Gundagai, were its occupants. It was escorted by Sub-Inspector O'Neill, and Sergeant Edmund Parry, of the Gundagai police. On reaching within about four miles of Jugiong, at a place known as the Black Springs, Hall and his companions appeared from behind some rocks. The moment they were noticed a signal was made from the coach to the Sub-Inspector and Sergeant to ride up, which they at once did; and one of the bushrangers remarking that "the bobbies" were with the coach, Gilbert said "There are only two of them; come on, let us rush them." They then darted towards the coach, and on getting near the police called out "Come on you —— wretches; we will fight you like men." A deadly encounter followed, in which poor Parry, who acted very bravely throughout, was shot through the shoulder and dropped dead. Before, however, narrating what transpired in the encounter with the police, we may state that Hall, Gilbert, and Dunn took up their position on the road early in the day, and stuck up a large number of teams and two carts, the latter followed by 20 or 30 Chinamen. Amongst those detained were a son of Mr. Owen Ryan, of Derrengullen Creek; Mr. Hayes, wife, and young man, who were in a buggy; and others, to the number of 40 or 50. Some considerable time before the coach came up Constable McLaughlin, of the Gundagai police, approached, leading a pack horse. Gilbert rode up to him and ordered him to surrender, but he replied by a shot from his revolver, which was returned by Gilbert, who then turned his horse and rode off a short distance. Hall then took up his position and fired at the constable, who again discharged his revolver. Hall's horse stumbled, and Dunn rode up and fired at McLaughlin. The constable discharged the six barrels of his revolver in the encounter, and then surrendered, some nine or a dozen shots having previously been fired at him by the bushrangers. Dunn remarked that one of the constable's shots was a very good one, and they would "have it in for him" on that account." The constable was added to the mob of captives. The coach subsequently came in sight, and the affray commenced as stated above. Constable Roche, who was on the coach armed with two large pistols, a six barrel revolver, and a carbine, is stated to have slipped off the coach when the fight began, and to have darted into the bush, carrying his firearms along with him. He did not subsequently appear on the scene. Gilbert fought with Sergeant Parry, who refused to surrender, and discharged every barrel of his revolver before he fell; Hall and Dunn attacked Sub-Inspector O'Neill, who first discharged his carbine, and then several shots from a revolver. On Parry falling dead, the Sub-Inspector surrended. The bushrangers disarmed him, and took from him a ring and his watchchain, but we believe he was permitted to keep his watch on his informing them it had belonged to his father. The horse Mr. O'Neill rode was, however, taken, one of the bushrangers remarking it would make "a good pack-horse." It seems singular that the driver of the coach did not take advantage of the proceedings going on to put his horses to their mettle and save the mails. This, however, he did not do, for Hall and his mates on the termination of the fight ordered Mr. Rose to throw out the bags, which the bushrangers cut open in the usual manner, and appropriated all they desired. The mail was a very heavy one, and it is supposed they secured a large amount of money. From Constable McLaughlin they took £7105; from Mr. Rose a watch and chain. We have not heard what was taken from Mr. Hayes, but he was searched; the lady who accompanied him they did not molest. Gilbert is said to have turned over poor Parry's body, and to have remarked—"He's got it in the cobra (head); I am sorry for him, as he was a game fellow."

We may state that the bushrangers informed the police that they intended to rob the mail next day (Thursday), and told them to send as many police men as they liked, and they would fight them. On the mail reaching Yass on Wednesday night Sergeant Scully, who was in charge of the force in the absence of Sub-Inspector Brennan, at once despatched five mounted men, four of whom are connected with the Goulburn force, and had reached Yass the previous day, after eight days' unsuccessful search for the whereabouts of the bushrangers.

The coroner's jury returned the following verdict:—"That on the 16th day of November, in the year of our Lord, 1864, at a spot about four miles to the south of Jugiong, in the colony of New South Wales, the deceased Edmund Parry did die from the effects of a gunshot wound, at that time and in that place wickedly, maliciously, and feloniously inflicted upon him by one John Gilbert; and two other certain persons, named Benjamin Hall and John Dunn, were then and there unlawfully aiding and abetting the said John Gilbert in so feloniously destroying the life of the said Edmund Parry."

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Citation details

'Parry, Edmund (1832–1864)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 20 April 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]




15 November, 1864 (aged ~ 32)
Jugiong, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death