On This Day …

15th June, 1862

Once again our bush rangers are in the news. It was a lazy Sunday in Forbes. Men and women drifted off to church, or those not so inclined probably imbibed several pints down at the local pub. Around midday, the Gold Escort left for its journey to Bathurst.

Around 3:30pm, the coach had to slow down to navigate a steep gully, five miles north of Eugowra. It was here that Frank Gardiner and his gang of disgruntled cattlemen waited in ambush behind a rock the aborigines called ‘Coonbong’, or dead man (now called Escort Rock).

At the shout of ‘bail up’ the driver and the troopers jumped down and ran for the bush. So it was that Frank Gardiner managed to make the largest gold robbery of Australia’s history. The gang made off with 2700 ounces in gold, valued in the millions today.

Sydney Empire news article, 24th June 1862.

The police only ever managed to recover half the gold. Frank Gardiner escaped to Queensland and eventually moved to San Fransisco. It is rumoured that two Californians came to Wheogo (Gardiner’s former property) in 1912, and posed as prospectors, were in fact, Gardiner’s sons, returning for the rest of their father’s gold. They left with their specimen bags full, so who knows?

If you were held up by a bush ranger, do you think you’d run like the men in this story, or stand your ground and fight for your property?


Published in: on 15th June, 2012 at 10:00 am  Comments (4)  
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