New South Wales


On the morning of 9 April 1866 Thomas Clarke and his gang of bushrangers appeared at Deep Creek near the Gulph Goldfields and spent the day robbing passing travellers. At nearby Nerrigundah 19 km west of Bodalla Constable Patrick Smythe was performing his duties alone. Sergeant Nelson Hitch was absent at Braidwood Court and Constable O’Grady was in bed seriously ill with ‘colonial fever’ (probably cholera). When Clarke learned of the police situation at Nerrigundah he led his gang into the township. Upon their arrival they held up Wallis’ Hotel and Pollock’s Store. Mrs Pollock (wife of the local gold buyer) however threw the keys to the safe into the street and the gang spent considerable time searching for them in the darkness. News of the events reached Constables Smythe and O’Grady at the police barracks and against the wishes of his colleague Miles O’Grady arose from his sick bed and dressed in his uniform. The two constables then set out to engage the bushrangers although O’Grady was very ill and was having difficulty walking. As they approached Wallis’ Hotel the police spotted the bushrangers and O’Grady fired killing bushranger William Fletcher. In the ensuing gun battle O’Grady was shot in the side and as both police fell back the gang ran to their horses and escaped. O’Grady was carried to the police barracks where he died a few hours later in great pain. The Constable was born in 1841 and joined the New South Wales Police Force on 15 June 1863. At the time of his death he was stationed at Nerrigundah.

Search Again

National Police Memorial Australia

  • The National Police Memorial is located in Kings Park on the northern shore of Lake Burley Griffin adjacent to Queen Elizabeth II Island and the National Carrillion. View in Google maps