Murder of John Hume

The Sydney Monitor and Commercial Advertiser

24 January 1840

We have been favoured with the following alarming statement of outrage in the Argyle country, by a respectable inhabitant of Marulan, who had the intelligence from two of the servants of the late Mr. John Hume, (eye-witnesses of his tragical end,) and who arrived in town yesterday afternoon, having set off for Sydney immediately after the news reached him. As the mails, conveying official intelligence of the subjoined accounts, will not reach town before this evening, we hasten to lay the melancholy and alarming statement we have received before our readers.

On last Wednesday week, two armed bushrangers went into Grosvenor's public house, Golden Fleece, about thirty miles on this side of Yass, taking two aboriginal natives with them, by whom they pretended they had been robbed, and asked for the landlord.

When Mr. Grosvenor made his appearance, they pulled out pistols, "bailed up" the whole of the family, and proceeded to plunder the house. A boy of Grosvenor's got out at the back of the house, and alarmed the neighbours, who proceeded to Mr. G's assistance, and arrived at the house before the robbers had decamped. The house was fastened up, and the parties commenced firing through the doors and windows to effect an entrance, when the villians, in order to intimidate them, held up Mr. Grosvenor's children before the windows, to expose them to the effects of the shot.

They thus kept all assistance at bay - but having made rather too free with liquor in the house, about ten o'clock Mr. G. was enabled to free himself and get into the loft of his house, where he fired at one of the marauders who was standing in a corner. The men then called out that they would surrender, and were made prisoners, and marched into Yass.

On Monday night last, Mr. John Hume, brother of Mr. Hamilton Hume, who lives on the Yass Road, hearing sounds of fire-arms in the neighbourhood of Gunning, armed his servants and proceeded to the spot. Arriving at Mr. Cooper's residence, they encountered five armed bushrangers, who immediately presented their pieces at them. One of the ruffians asked Mr. Hume if he was Mr. Cooper? and he replying in the negative, was desired to lay down his arms.

He replied that he would not, upon which his interrogator said "then, my fine old fellow take that," at the same time firing the contents of his piece at Mr. Hume, who realed a few yards, and then fell. Two of the others then advanced, and discharged their pistols through the unfortunate gentleman's head. The servants, as may be supposed, made off.

Intelligence being brought to Mrs. Hume, she sent out a party, who returned with the dead body. This lamented gentleman, who was of an acknowledged benevolent disposition, has left an amiable, widow and six children to lament his loss.

When the report left Gunning, it was expected that these bandits would not leave that place, (there being no police at hand) until they had murdered Mr. Cooper, Mr. Grosvenor, and every one who assisted at the taking of their two confederates, captured at Grosvenor's house. The same party of five were heard of afterwards, as having gone to Mr. Grosvenor's again, who seeing their approach, fastened up his house, and prepared himself for a defence.

The last intelligence was, that they were threatening to fire into and burn Grosvenor's house, if he did not show himself. The station of Mr. Oaks, Weis, about thirty miles from Goulburn, on the Bathurst Road, has been also attacked by bushrangers, and his huts, wheat stacks, hay, and everything else on his establishment consumed by fire, and one of his servants shot dead.

The whole County of Argyle seems to be at, the present moment exposed to pillage and murder. Our informant adds that the universal enquiry is, what has become of the officer of the Mounted Police stationed at Goulburn? Report says he is on a pleasure-excursion elsewhere, and that there is no adequate force at hand to repair to these scenes of outrage.