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.
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 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.
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.