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Re-live Australia’s most daring gold robbery

Re-live Australia’s most daring gold robbery

Frank Gardiner - Bush Ranger

Frank Gardiner - Bush Ranger

On June 15, 1862 one of the most daring acts of bushranging in Australia’s history took place near the village of Eugowra.

Ben Hall

Ben Hall

It was there that Frank Gardiner and his gang of bushrangers, which included the infamous Ben Hall, held up a gold coach making its way from Forbes to Sydney. In a violent shootout at a place which became known as at Escort Rock, the gang overwhelmed the four police escorts, leaving two wounded and made off with a staggering 2700 ounces of gold and bags filled cash. It was the largest gold robbery in Australia’s history and the majority of the stolen gold is still unaccounted for.

“It is an amazing story. It was a huge robbery for its time,” said Friends of the Orange Museum member, Phillip Schwebel, who is coordinating a guided bus tour to Eugowra for anyone interest in exploring the story and seeing just where it all took place.

Departing the Orange Regional Museum 9.30am Sunday 3 March, the bus tour will visit the scene of the robbery at Escort Rock, stop in Eugowra for lunch and explore the Eugowra Historical Museum and Bushranger Centre before returning at 3.30pm.

“It is about trying to bring to life the amazing history of this area,” said Phillip. “So, we are basically going to walk the trail of the coach up through to Escort Rock. Geoff Watson, who has done quite a lot of research in this area, is going to lead us through it. We’re going to try recreate how it might have happened and bring it to life: where people were standing, what shots were fired, what sort of guns they had, all about the gold and the money that was involved and what happened afterwards.”

The Friends of the Orange Museum are putting on the tour to coincide with the Museum’s display of the Campbell Epergne. The decorative silver serving dish was one of several items presented to Amelia and David Campbell by grateful citizens of the district, for their bravery in fighting off an attack on their property by bushranger Ben hall, Johnny Gilbert and John O’Meally.

The story of this brave couple during the attack on “Goimbla” in 1864 will be presented on the tour over lunch.

“Mrs Campbell was really considered quite the heroine at the time,” said Phillip.

The Campbell’s were also presented with a silver coffee urn and letter signed by residents of the Forbes district that are part of the collection at the National Museum of Australia.

Tickets for the bus tour are $45 for members and $50 for non-members. Tickets can be purchased from Collins Booksellers in Summer Street Orange or online at www.trybooking.com/BAMHY

Bookings close Monday 25 February 2019.

For more information you can call Phillip on 63691333.

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