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  • ID: I2030
  • Name: Michael CLOGHER
  • Sex: M
  • Birth: 1810 in Roscommon, Ireland
  • Burial: 22 JUN 1912 Nymboida, NSW
  • Death: 21 JUN 1912 in Benevolent Asylum Grafton, NSW of Senility
  • Note:
    From Irish National Archives
    AGE: 0 SEX: M ALIAS:

    PLACE OF TRIAL: Co Roscommon TRIAL DATE: 04/07/1837

    CRIME DESCRIPTION: Sheep stealing
    SENTENCE: Transported for life, commuted 7 years
    SHIP: The Diamond

    AGE: 0 SEX: M ALIAS:
    PLACE OF TRIAL: County Roscommon TRIAL DATE: 04/07/1837

    CRIME DESCRIPTION: Sheep stealing
    SENTENCE: Transported for life, commuted to Australia 7 years
    SHIP:T he Diamond

    COMMENTS: Other defendant; Michael Clogher.
    Michael was sentenced on July 4th, 1837 His sister, Winifred was transported on the ship "The Diamond" in Nov 1837

    Life of Michael Clogher(step father of William James Sinclair)
    Information Source: Ref No 1912/5872 NSW Death Reg Michael Clogher came from Rosscommon in Ireland.

    Michael was sent to Australia for 7 years for stealing sheep, together with his sister Winifred and their grandfather. A friend Thomas Dowlan was also transported for the same crime. The Grandfather's sentence was commuted to 1 years Hard labour to be served in Ireland, because of his advanced age (89 years old).

    Michael after his parole was employed as a special military policeman and it was while visiting Victoria Barracks he met Elizabeth Sinclair who he had previously met in Ireland and was now working there following the death of her husband. Their friendship grew and when he was transferred to the New England area she and her son William accompanied him although there does not appear to be any record of their marriage. Mickey, as he was called, was an excellent tracker & was greatly feared by the aboriginal people. There are many stories of his harsh treatment of them, particularly with the Meldrum Massacre, where the farmers wife, 2 of his workers & 3 of his four children were killed by the local tribe, while the landowner was away. The only child to live had hidden under a bed & was not found by the Aborigines. As a result of their murder he is said to have rounded up over 200 members of the tribe and drove them to their death over a cliff on the property This cliff can be seen by looking to the south from the main road just to the east of the present homestead.(see alternative story below)

    The often untold part of the story was that the farmer had been lacing the flour he had been giving to the tribe with strychnine, causing the death of many tribal members & they were just retaliating. The Aboriginal men would not normally kill women & children but with death of their own wives & children they had no hesitation in killing them. He is buried on the Cartmill property" Sunnyside" at Nymboida on the North Western side of the Nymboida River near the main bridge.

    Taken from "The Don Dorrigo Gazette" September 10, 1926
    Settlement in the 50's Trouble with the Blacks - Bora Rings on Dorrigo
    Early Dorrigo memoirs of Mr WJ. Sinclair, the districts oldest resident, by 'Old Hand

    "While the great majority of Dorrigo's original settlers hailed from the south and north, there is not a shadow of a doubt but that the penetration of this plateau commenced from the west. All the plain country bordering on the scrub was in occupation many years before even the first cedar tree was felled.

    "The country between Meldrum and Emery's and Perrett's, at Tyringham, was also held under lease. This run was called Bostobrick Station which encompassed all the forest and plain country east of Perrett's Pinch and which also took in Bald Hills near North Dorrigo and the Little Murray River valley after Meldrum and Emery took their departure. Bostobrick station was acquired from James Aikens by
    Michael Clogher in 1857 and on the 5th November of that year Clogher and his family took over.

    Mr William Sinclair has informed me that he has a clear recollection of moving down to the new home on the banks of the Nymboida River. That name, by the way, was given the river years later. The homestead was about a mile and a half below where the bridge now spans the stream and was on a natural clearing.

    "In later years when the Robertson Act came into operation this lease, which totaled about 48,000 acres, was revoked and thrown open to selection. The lot of the grazier in Mr Clogher's day was not a bed of roses. Although only a nominal rent had to be paid for the land. it was difficult sometimes to make ends meet, for losses in cattle were sometimes heavy. The blacks were the chief offenders as far as Clogher was concerned, and he was never smart enough to catch them, although on one occasion he was very close upon their heels. That was on the flat at Bora Creek. "Clogher hadn't been up the Murray valley for about 18 months, and as he had a number of stock up there he decided to see how they were getting on. Accompanied by young Sinclair and a man named Hines, who was working for him, Clogher left early one Morning, but not a hoof was to be seen in the valley. The party then turned up Bora Creek and presently came to a camp of the blacks.

    "The camp was full of newly-killed beef, a sight which so infuriated Clogher that he vowed there and then that if he could lay his hands on any of the dusky thieves he would make mince meat of them. But the wily darkies with the exception of an old decrepit looking lame lubra, had made himself scarce. No doubt the blacks had been apprised in good time by one of their number of the approach of the white men, for the camp was as silent as the grave. "Turning his attention to the apparently inoffensive old dame, Clogher started in her direction on his horse, but before he could reach her she hobbled across to the creek nearby and dived in. The white man jumped his horse in after her and when her head rose to the surface he grabbed her by the hair and pulled her out on the bank. The yells that pierced the welkin, according to Mr Sinclair, were sufficient to awaken half the bush life for miles around. The hapless gin no doubt thought that her last hour had come, especially when Clogher asked Hines to hand him a long bush knife which he was in the habit of carrying.

    "It was the white man's hope that the commotion would bring the other blacks to the scene, but probably they were then hidden in the scrub miles away. Either that, or else they had no regard for the old gin's life, she having outlived her usefulness. With a sigh of disgust Clogher put away the knife and turned on his heel to survey the remains of his stock. A good number had been killed, and there was nothing else to do but to make an entry of them on the wrong side of the ledger with previous losses.

    "A closer survey of the camp disclosed the fact that the darkies had had a nearer call than usual for many of their possessions were left behind. The three men left behind a singlebarrel gun, six tomahawks, and several blankets and possum rugs. The latter, with other paraphernalia, were put in a heap and burnt. The three whites then returned to Bostobrick.

    "Clogher , thinking that the darkies might return to their camp, decided to pay another visit next morning. Accordingly the three whites set out again, and they had only traveled little more than half the distance when one of the party saw three blacks in a swamp. That was in the farm. Clogher made after them, but the blacks were too nimble and made good their escape through the scrub.

    "Clogher in his haste did not pay much attention to the swamp and before he knew what had occurred his horse bogged up to the shoulders, and unseated its rider. One of the blacks had a gun, but did not attempt to use it. "The party of whites continued their ride to Bora Creek, making as much pace as possible. Just as they rode in they saw two of the darkies, encountered earlier in the day, on top of the ridge over-looking the camp. Clogher lifted his rifle to have a shot at one of them, but again the blacks were too slippery. Dogging behind the trunk of a friendly tree, they took to their heels and that was the last that was ever seen of them.

    "The blacks never camped on the run again after that, but their regard for Clogher's cattle was not disturbed by the several scares they had received. Frequently stock disappeared, and there was no doubt in the minds of the whites that the blacks were the culprits. "It was thought, Mr Sinclair informs me, that these troublesome Aboriginal came up from the Bellinger River Valley and that they were the agents in their nefarious employment of certain cedar getters down there. These cedar getters knew of the cattle runs on the Guy Fawkes and Dorrigo and as it was an almost impossible task to get beef up from Bellingen the only solution was to work in with the blacks who did not find it a difficult job to climb up and down the gorge.

    "It was apparent, at any rate, that the blacks did not, themselves, consume all the meat they killed. The inference, therefore, seems feasible, and if Clogher and others who suffered in a like manner, could have only secured prima facie evidence there would have been something doing in the Bellingen valley in the early days. "Close to the camp that was broken up by the three whites was a bora ring, where the blacks went through their ceremony of 'man making'. All that went on at these ceremonies was, of course, kept a profound secret and it was never Mr Sinclair's good fortune to witness any young stalwart going through his initiation. But it was plain that this bora ground had been in use in recent years, and it is probable that in this secluded spot, away from all prying eyes, many an Aboriginal 'received' his manhood.

    "About three-quarters of a mile away from the locality I am referring to (on Bora Creek on Mr Mahony's farm), on the main range, there was another ring. Between the two there was a path, and it is Mr Sinclair's belief that the ceremony through which the blacks went was divided - one portion taking place on one ring, an the second on the other. Mr Sinclair also remembers a corroboree ground on the old Bostobrick run. It was located between Perrett's Pinch and the homestead on the old road. When a lad Mr Sinclair witnessed several ceremonies there. One night the attention of himself and others at the homestead was attracted by a noise and on going across to the corroboree ground they saw a number of blacks in the ring. They looked hideous and vicious in decorations of pipeclay, and the row that they made with their feet as they hit the ground together could be heard at least three miles away.
    Those particular blacks, at that time, never caused any trouble.

    "Michael Clogher held Bostobrick run for about eight years, after which he sold the lease to the late Edward Edwards, father of Mr George Edwards, who was one of the earliest settlers on the Beilsdown, Dorrigo. The family came from the Inverell district, and as soon as the father settled down the sons left home to go cedar cutting in the Dorrigo scrub.

    Clogher, who had an eventful life, left the area for Nymboida after disposing of his interest. He never paid this district another visit.

    Father: Michael CLOGHER
    Mother: Mary DOYLE

    Marriage 1 Elizabeth HARVEY b: 1820 in Downpatrick, Ireland
    • Event: Partners in Possibly met in Roscommon, Ireland, where they both lived before coming to Australia.
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