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Photographs supplied by Chris McLaughlin

The memorial over grave was erected in memory of the convict Thomas Boyd (1798 -1885) who was a member of the Hume and Hovell expedition.

Transported to the Australian Penal Colony of New South Wales at 22, Thomas Boyd, a young Irish ploughman, led an interesting life until his death in 1885 at 86 years of age. Through Hamilton Hume, Thomas was given a place in the `Hume & Hovell Expedition` to Port Philip bay in 1824 as one of Hovell`s men. It was said that next to Hume himself, Thomas Boyd was the most valuable member of the expedition. Thomas has a claim to fame of being accepted as the first European to swim accross the Murray River onto Victorian soil which occurred when he swam the Murray with a piece of rope between his teeth which was then used to transport the gear over the River. Thomas was reknowned for being a very good swimmer. All this at the age of 26. Following the expedition, he returned later to settle in Gilmore, near Tumut.

The delightful district of Tumut gained a place in the history of Australian exploration 100 years ago. It was on the afternoon of November 2nd, 1824, that the explorers Hamilton Hume and Captain Hovell, on their way to Port Phillip, reached the banks of a river, which they called Tumut in accordance with the name given the district by the aborigines. The anniversary of that event was celebrated last week. On their way south, Thomas Boyd, who had been engaged by Hume and Hovell to assist them, swam the Tumut and eventually the whole party crossed over and camped. It was at this point that the leaders had a dispute regarding the future route.  Hume insisted upon a westerly move, while Hovell chose the easterly direction. The latter started in that direction, taking Boyd with him. Boyd however, objected to going very far declaring that they would find themselves stopped by the mountain range. They therefore turned back, and rejoined Hume. They went on to the Murray, where Boyd stripped off and crossed the swollen stream.  He thus had the honour of being the first white man to cross the Murray.  Boyd was also the first white man to cross the Yarra at Port Phillip and to drink its waters. When the expedition terminated he demonstrated his faith in the Tumut district by returning there to settle down.  He look up land in the Gilmore Valley, three miles from the town on the road to Batlow. Here he reared a family of 10 children, and died in August 1885 at the age of 87 years. His remains were interred in the Tumut General Cemetery, close to where the railway station now stands.

Realising that the centenary of Tumut was approaching. The good folk of that town and district some time ago got together and decided to fittingly celebrate the occasion. Mr. Alexander Davis, of Gilmore, proposed that the grave of Boyd (of whom he had been a neighbour) should be fittingly marked by a monument bearing a suitable inscription. He collected donations for the purpose, with the result that a very creditable job was made of it. The inscription reads:-
" Erected by the residents of Tumut and district in grateful memory of Thomas Boyd. who was one of a party led by Hume and Hovell. who explored this district and through to Port Phillip in 1824, and blazed the track we could follow, afterwards settling in Gilmore Valley, where he reared a large family. Born. Dublin, March. 1798:  died Gilmore. August.1885. Aged 87 years.'' The ceremony of unveiling the monument was carried out on Monday of last week, when there was a gathering at the cemetery.  Boyd had frequently taken his children down to the river and shown them the exact spot where he had his first swim in the stream. He explained that be wanted them to be able to definitely show the spot to people years later, as he was sure it would be of historic interest. It may be mentioned that the spot referred to is within sight of the monument which covers Boyd's remains.

Sydney Mail (NSW), 12 November 1924.


Address:Snowy Mountains Highway, Tumut Pioneer Cemetery, Tumut, 2720
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -35.296907
Long: 148.203611
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Grave
Monument Theme:People


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Monday 3rd November, 1924
Front Inscription

The Residents Of
Tumut And District
    In Grateful Memory
       — Of —
Who Was One Of
A Party Led By

Hume And Hovell
Who Explored This
District And Through
To Port Phillip
In 1824, And Blazed
The Track That We
   Could Follow

Afterwards Settling In
Gilmore Valley, Where He
Reared A Large Family. 

Born. Dublin, March. 1798:  
Died Gilmore, August.1885. 
Aged 87 Years.

Source: MA
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