Nerrigundah – Gold, bushrangers, robbery and a shoot out remembered 150 years later

A gold rush, bushrangers, miners, armed hold ups and Chinese joss houses – everything was happening  in the bustling 1860s gold rush settlement of Nerrigundah. The population at that time was approximately 1200 people – extremely difficult to imagine now!

Saturday’s ceremony and presentation in the now very sleepy and empty Nerrigundah marked the 150th anniversary of the Clarke Gang’s raid on the town on 9 April, 1866, and the shooting of Trooper Miles O’Grady that followed .

The occasion was marked by two events.  The NSW Police held a Flag Ceremony at the memorial to Trooper O’Grady . The other  event was a presentation by author and historian Peter C. Smith followed by a presentation combining audio and visual elements of the celebration that was held at Nerrigundah in 1966 to mark the  to mark the centenary of the event.

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The Nerrigundah monument to Trooper Miles O’Grady. New retention walls have been built around the monument by the Eurobodalla Shire Council


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Two mounted police, dressed as colonial troopers, approach the monument before the ceremony
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Is the dog , part of the police’s Dog Squad staring suspiciously at Annie Fitzgerald (far right), a MDHS member?

NSW Police, led by Acting Commander Far South Coast Southern Region Kevin McNeil,  conducted a flag bearing ceremony honouring Constable Miles O’Grady at the Monument erected in his honour at the top of Gulph Street. The Police party  included two Mounted Police dressed as colonial troopers and a member of the Dog Squad.

The Police party including the Mounted Police and the member of the Dog Squad
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Acting Commander Far South Coast Southern Region Kevin McNeil
The Acting Commander relating the bravery of Trooper Miles O’Grady
Members of the Moruya & District HS ( middle row, standing L-R) Huon Hassall, Fran Hassall, Rob Lees, unknown, James Henningham, Maureen Keating, Jenny Gerrey, Brian Harris)
Pipers concluding the ceremony
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The police party in front of the monument
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The crowd dispersing following the ceremony

The second session of the day, for Moruya and Narooma Historical Society members and friends and locals and invited guests, was a combined presentation  hosted by Narooma and Moruya Historical Societies

The presentation started with a talk by Peter Smith on the Nerrigundah raid by the Clarke gang of bushrangers. Peter is the author of The Clarke Gang: Outlawed, Outcast and Forgotten and is also president of the Braidwood Historical Society.

A personal highlight for me was listening to the voices of past Nerrigundah residents – including the last serving policeman, the last headmaster at Nerrigundah and the interviewer, a radio announcer from 2BA (Bega). The information they provided was wonderful and their accents provided a glimpse into an Australia long gone.

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Laurelle Pacey of the Narooma Historical Society introduced the second event in the Nerrigundah Agricultural Bureau Hall


Peter Smith sharing his extensive knowledge of the Clarke Gang

Rob Lees, president of the Moruya and District Historical Society, then introduced the presentation High Noon at Nerrigundah, a presentation using materials captured during the 1966 reenactment.

Rob Lees of the Moruya&District Historical Society
An introductory slide
The presentation certainly was a ‘Story of Bushranging Days’
Were you in this crowd at the 1966 reenactment?
The presentation was held in the Nerrigundah Agricultural Bureau Hall
Part of the 1966 reenactment
A sketch of the the main buildings involved n the 1866 raid. Note the number of buildings.
Mrs Richards, a former long-time Nerrigundah resident. was interviewed for the centenary event in 1966. The recording of her interview was played at Saturday’s presentation.
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MDHS members Janene Love and Wendy Simes were two of the day’s organisers.
One of the ‘locals’ came to the presentation to see what the fuss was all about
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A much quieter Nerrigundah as Peter Smith is filmed at the monument
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Peace descends on Nerrigundah following the events!

2 responses to “Nerrigundah – Gold, bushrangers, robbery and a shoot out remembered 150 years later”

  1. David Foster Avatar
    David Foster

    Hi Brian We were at the 1966 remembrance. I am fairly sure there was a reenactment. I was 4 at the time and went out with mum and dad. Regards

    Sent from my iPhone

    1. mdhsociety Avatar

      Yes, David. There was a reenactment. Unfortunately the post you saw was a very early draft – I clicked on Publish instead of Preview! Have a look again and you may see familiar scenes in the presentation (and a much more complete post)

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