Senior Constable John McCabePrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Sandra Brown

The memorial, erected over the grave, commemorates Senior Constable John McCabe who died from wounds in November 1868 which he received while trying to arrest an armed bushranger.

On 6 October, 1868 Constable McCabe was searching an area near the Queensland border for bushrangers Frank Pearson (Captain Starlight) and Charles Rutherford. He was accompanied by Constable Hugh McManus of the Queensland Police Force. During their patrol the police stopped for supplies at Shearer’s Inn, Enngonia (about 100 kilometres from Bourke). While they were so engaged, two riders appeared and entered the inn. Almost immediately, Pearson yelled “Bail up!” with the obvious intention of robbing those present.

The two police, who had taken their weapons into the inn, turned and fired at the two offenders. Constable McCabe, who had dropped to one knee and fired, was shot in the chest, however he managed to fire several times, hitting Pearson in the wrist and right arm. The two bushrangers then ran from the inn and escaped. After rallying for almost a month, Constable McCabe died as a result of both his wound and the resultant infection. The Senior Constable was born in 1828 and joined the New South Wales Police Force on 23 February 1863. At the time of his death he was stationed at Biree (Brewarrina).

The Government, we are glad to hear, have determined to erect at Shearer's, on the Warrego, a monumental obelisk to commemorate the bravery of Senior-constable of John McCabe, who displayed great courage in attempting to capture the bushrangers Pearson and Rutherford. He shot Pearson, but he himself also received a wound in the encounter, which proved fatal. The upper portion of the obelisk is octagonal in form; it consists of white sandstone, and the height of it is about ten feet. The pedestal rests on three square beds, the upper one being moulded. The pedestal contains the following inscription :-" Erected by the Government of New South Wales in memory of John McCabe, senior-constable in the N. S. W. police, who died on the 1st November, 1868, from the effects of wounds received whilst courageously performing his duty in endeavouring to apprehend an armed bushranger." The capital of the pedestal is ornamented with an egg and dart beading, and with flowers of the honeysuckle. On the face of the capital is engraved a sprig of shamrock, and this, with the cross which surmounts the obelisk, is probably indicative nationality of the deceased and faith of the deceased. A wreath is hung upon the cross. It is shortly to be sent to Bourke -Dubbo Dispatch. 
Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW),
21 October 1869.



Address:Gorrell Avenue (Kidman Way), Bourke Historic Cemetery, Bourke, 2842
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -30.101753
Long: 145.936603
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Grave
Monument Theme:People
Actual Event Start Date:01-November-1868
Actual Event End Date:01-November-1868


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:1869
Front Inscription

By The Government
Of N. S. Wales
In Memory of
Senior Constable
In The N.S.W. Police
Who Died On The
1st of Novr 1868,
From The Effects Of
Wounds Received
Whilst Courageously
Performing His Duty In
Endeavouring To Apprehend
An Armed Bushranger.

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au