Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History

Hunter Valley Bushrangers

John Roach and Thomas Gregory

In 1848 a reward was offered for the apprehension of John Roach (alias Hugh Duggan, alias Henry Howard alias Henry Herbert) and Thomas Gregory who had committed several robberies in the New England district.......

l5 July 1848


Whereas it has been represented to the government that, on the 7th instant, at different periods of the day, three persons were stopped by two armed bushrangers (hereunder described), near Rockvale the station of James Landsborough, in the district of New England and robbed of the property below particularized; his Excellency the Governor directs it to be notified that a reward of twenty five pounds will be paid to any free person or persons who may give such information as shall lead to the apprehension of the depredators; and if the person giving such information be a prisoner of the crown, application will be made to her Majesty for the allowance to such prisoner of the crown of a conditional pardon.

Description of the bushrangers referred to in the above notice

John Roach, alias Dubbo; stated to be a dark complexioned, black whiskered man, about 5'10in in height; was dressed in a blue frock, moleskin trousers and cabbage tree hat.

Thomas Gregory;' a short stout man, light complexion and whiskers about 5/5inches in height; was dressed in a Guernsey frock and corduroy trousers.

Particulars of the property stolen
(1) A light bay colt, about four years old, branded DAY off side under man, No 15 near shoulder, near hind foot white' had on at the time of the robbery a colonial saddle, nearly new, covered with a sheepskin

(2) A light bay horse, rising four years old, bang tail, branded MP

(3) A new saddle, and a valise containing some clothes

Their spree began in the New England district on the 5th June when they robbed Mr. Dennis who was travelling to the Station of Edward Denny Day Esq of Aberfoil near Armidale. They stole his horse and another belonging to an employee of the station and being ridden by Day's groom.

Chief Constable Campbell pursued the bushrangers without success and they were soon reported to have committed another robbery on the Moonboy Ranges at Dangar's sheep station. They had arrived on horseback at the station before dark and were given permission to make some tea before they left the hut on the pretence of finding their horses. They soon returned to the overseer's hut with their firearms and stole guns, ammunition, spurs and money. They exchanged their horses (the ones they had stolen belonging to Mr. Day) for fresh ones belonging to Mr. Dangar and rode on their way.

Perhaps they parted company at this stage, as the next morning Henry Whiting of Australian Agricultural Company, Goonoo Goonoo station, was riding his horse into the Peel when he was forced to dismount after a man stepped from the bushes brandished a gun in his face. He was unhurt, however the bushranger made away with his horse in the direction of Currabubla. Whiting made his way back to Goonoo Goonoo and enlisted the assistance of company constable Hardy.

They set out in hot pursuit with fresh horses and had covered 17 miles when they caught up with their quarry, John Roach, near Doughboy Hollow. Knowing the robber was armed, wily constable Hardy was cautious. He manoeuvred himself to an advantageous position before covering the man with his rifle and revealing himself. Although he was well armed the bushranger obeyed Hardy's order to dismount and was then secured.

When searched two loaded pistols, seven rounds of ball, and cartridges were found on him. John Roach (alias Henry Herbert) was taken into Tamworth and charged with robbing Whiting of his horse, saddle and bridle; and after being identified by Mr. Dangar's superintendent Kelly as being responsible for the robbery at Moonboys was charged with that robbery as well. He was later sentenced to 10 years on the roads for assault with an additional twelve months in Sydney gaol for robbery.

Thomas Gregory was apprehended at Black Creek by Constable Kenny and Robert Miles. Although Mr. Clarke, a passenger on the Singleton Mail that Gregory and Roach were accused of robbing, stated that Gregory was not one of the robbers, he was nevertheless sentenced to 10 years hard labour on the roads.

Notes and Links

1). Henry Herbert / John Roach -

April 1846 - Hugh Duggan, alias Henry Howard, alias John Roach alias Henry Hobert, bond, illegally at large with fire-arms, uttering an altered check. Maitland Mercury 4 April 1846

July 1848 - John Roach alias Dubbo, dark complexioned, black whiskered about 5ft 10in notice for apprehension for robbery at New England. Maitland Mercury 5 July 1848

10th June 1848 - John Roach alias Dubbo apprehended at Doughboy Hollow on 10th June by Constable Hardy for the New England robbery. Gave his name as Henry Herbert. Maitland Mercury 8 July 1848

12 June 1848 - Committed for trial by Magistrate Isaac Haig at Tamworth for violently robbing Henry Whiting

19th June 1848 - Committed for trial by Magistrate Isaac Haig at Tamworth for having robbed Dangar's hut with Redman

6 July 1848 - Henry Herbert, Tailor from Dublin. Arrived per Mangles 1828. Admitted to Newcastle gaol from Tamworth. Sent for trial. Description 5ft 7in, brown hair hazel eyes. Crucifix and HH on left arm. Age 35.

6 July 1848 - Discharge from Newcastle gaol. Sentenced to 10 years on the roads after which 1 year in Sydney gaol, the first 14 days and last month in solitary confinement.