Fred Lowry

Thomas Frederick ‘Fred’ Lowry was born in 1836 near Fish River about 30 miles from Bathurst. He was well known in the district as a stockman and a fine horseman. His description was: height 6’2”, raw boned and of awkward build, very long arms, long light coloured hair, small beard, small head, small and angular features, walks with an awkward gait.

A warrant was issued for his arrest in 1862 for horse stealing, so he took to the bush. He became a full-time bushranger and horse thief, operating in the Abercrombie Ranges, west of Goulburn.

On New Years Day 1863 Fred and John Foley held up the crowd at a race meeting on the Brisbane Valley, near the head of the Fish River. A young man named Foran rushed Lowry who shot him in the chest, but despite his injury Foran wrestled Lowry and held him until other people apprehended him.

Lowry was taken to Bathurst and held pending the charges against him. With this offence carrying a penalty of Capital Punishment, Lowry escaped with several other prisoners on 13th February.

He went over to the Weddin Mountains area near Grenfell and became involved with Mickey Burke, Patsy Daley, John Gilbert, Ben Hall, John O’Mealley and John Vane. Up until August 1863 they bailed up travellers and robbed stores between the Lambing Flat goldfields and Cootamundra. It is believed that in June he and Gilbert were responsible for fatally shooting a miner named McBride on the diggings and stealing his valuables.

Later on 13th July 1863 Fred Lowry with Foley and Larry Cummins held up and robbed the Mudgee Mail Coach on “Big Hill”, west of the Blue Mountains. They took £5,700 in old bank notes from Mr Henry Kater, the manager of the Mudgee branch of the Joint Stock Bank. Mr Kater was left to wonder how they had known he was carrying such a large amount of money.

Foley was arrested early in August and he was tried at Bathurst and received fifteen years hard labour. He was later transferred to Darlinghurst Gaol for the remainder of his sentence.

On 29th August Senior Sergeant Stephenson was informed that Lowry was at the “Limerick Races Hotel” on Crooksvale Creek, which was about 50 miles from Goulburn. With three troopers he set out for the hotel where Lowry and Cummins had themselves locked in a room. Stephenson called on them to surrender and then tried to force the door. At the same time Lowry fired through the door then flung the door open, standing there with a gun in each hand. Stephenson and Lowry fired a couple of shots at each other with Lowry being hit in the throat. Lowry dropped his revolvers and the Sergeant grabbed him and held the struggling Lowry until one of the troopers could help him. Lowry was then pulled out into the yard and handcuffed. Stephenson returned to the room where he found Cummins hiding under the bed. Cummins surrendered quietly with no resistance.

When Lowry was examined it was found that he was bleeding internally. Lowry rallied long enough to ask one of the troopers to pray for him and to ‘Tell ‘em I died game’. Lowry died at 7.00 am on 30th August 1863 at the age of 27. He had £150 of the stolen Mudgee Mail money in his pockets when he died.