The Ben Hall Sites - Escort Rock | NSW Environment & Heritage

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The Ben Hall Sites - Escort Rock

Item details

Name of item: The Ben Hall Sites - Escort Rock
Other name/s: Eugowra Rock
Type of item: Landscape
Group/Collection: Landscape - Natural
Category: Geological site or area
Location: Lat: -33.4031005079 Long: 148.4116833930
Primary address: Escort Way, Eugowra, NSW 2806
Parish: Goimbla
County: Ashburnham
Local govt. area: Cabonne
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Cowra
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
PART LOT159 DP750159

Boundary:

Situated 200m east of Escort Way.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Escort WayEugowraCabonneGoimblaAshburnhamPrimary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
 Private 

Statement of significance:

Escort Rock contributes to the State significance of the Ben Hall Sites as the site of the first crime Hall can be positively linked to. The activities of Hall and his gang had significant impact on the movement of people, money and gold through regional New South Wales between 1862 and 1865. The Escort Rock robbery was the first of many road side hold-ups and it was the increasing frequency of such hold-ups which lead to the wide-spread expansion of police forces into rural areas and increased security for mail coaches and gold escorts.

Escort Rock is associated with the bushranger Frank Gardiner, who lead the robbery on 15 June 1862. Halls association with Gardiner played an important role in Hall becoming a notorious bushranger.

Escort Rock contributes to the State significance of the Ben Hall Sites as a site recognised by the public to be associated with Ben Hall. Hall is one of the best known bushrangers who operated in New South Wales and forms a significant element to the construction of Australian identity. The Escort Rock site is well marked and is a popular tourist destination.

Escort Rock is of State significance as being representative of the type of places used by bushrangers to hold up coaches and travellers. Escort rock is an example of the type of place Ben Hall and his gang used for road side hold ups and which helped define these criminal activities as "bushranging" due to the men appearing out of the bush on horse back and then escaping into the bush with the proceeds of the robbery. Escort Rock is an identifiable location of a highway robbery. The majority of roadside robberies took place at locations without relocatable landmarks.

Aesthetically Escort Rock is of local significance as an impressive landmark on the Old Coach Road from Eugowra to Orange. This road is no longer used for traffic, a new road being built 200m away.
Date significance updated: 03 Jul 09
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.

Description

Construction years: 1862-1862
Physical description: Escort Rock is located approximately four kilometres north east of Eugowra on the Escort Way. The site is located 200 metres to the east of the Escort Way on the site of the old road. A large boulder has been marked "Escort Rock" and is set to the side of what was once the coach road from Eugowra to Orange. The original coach road wound around the base of the boulder strewn hillside and then after a sharp bend curved back towards the existing road. The evidence of the original road is the only physical evidence to show where the robbery took place.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Good. The original old coach road is visible.
Date condition updated:03 Jul 09
Modifications and dates: There is a picnic area next to the highway that has been constructed for tourists to stop and see the site. There is also a plaque which commemorates a re-enactment which took place on the centenery of the hold up by the Gardiner gang.
Current use: Tourist site
Former use: Coach Road

History

Historical notes: The robbery of the gold escort at Escort Rock was one of the better known robberies by Frank Gardiner's gang, which included Ben Hall at this time.
The Eugowra Gold Escort carried gold and money from the goldfields to Sydney every week. On 15th June 1862 the covered mail coach drawn by four horses was carrying 14,000 pounds worth of gold and money. Guarding this shipment were four police and a driver. Gardiner's gang stopped two drays and ordered the drivers to position the drays across the road to block the passage of the Gold Escort. The coach arrived in the late afternoon at the blockade and Gardiner ordered his gang to open fire. The guard fled leaving the coach to the bushrangers. Gardiner, Hall and the other members of the gang Dan Charters, John Gilbert, Henry Manns, John O'Meally, John Bow and Alex Fordyce retired to a camp on Mount Wheogo. The gang broke up but were later tracked down by police who recovered the gold.
Ben Hall and Dan Charters were arrested while mustering on Hall's property on 27 July 1862. Hall was freed on 23 August 1862 with a bail of 500 pounds and two sureties of 250 pounds each.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Convict-Activities relating to incarceration, transport, reform, accommodation and working during the convict period in NSW (1788-1850) - does not include activities associated with the conviction of persons in NSW that are unrelated to the imperial 'convict system': use the theme of Law & Order for such activities Demonstrating convicts' experiences and activities-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services Banking-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Communication-Activities relating to the creation and conveyance of information Communicating by mail-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Transport-Activities associated with the moving of people and goods from one place to another, and systems for the provision of such movements Building and maintaining public roads-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Utilities-Activities associated with the provision of services, especially on a communal basis Roadways to Inland Settlements-
7. Governing-Governing Law and order-Activities associated with maintaining, promoting and implementing criminal and civil law and legal processes Scenes of criminal activities-
7. Governing-Governing Law and order-Activities associated with maintaining, promoting and implementing criminal and civil law and legal processes Engaging in bushranging and banditry-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Frank Gardiner, bushranger-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Ben Hall, bushranger-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The activities of Hall and his gang had significant impact on the movement of people, money and gold through regional New South Wales between 1862 and 1865. Escort Rock became one of many road side hold-ups. The increasing frequency of hold-ups lead to the wide-spread expansion of police forces into rural areas and increased security for mail coaches and gold escorts. Aboriginal people with their skill at tracking and their intimate knowledge of the bush were employed in order to help the police match the local knowledge of the bushrangers.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Escort Rock contributes to the State significance of the Ben Hall Sites as the first major crime Ben Hall participated in. Hall went on to have a bushranging career that lasted until 1865.

Escort Rock is associated with the bushranger Frank Gardiner, who lead the robbery. Halls association with Gardiner played an important role in Hall becoming the notorious bushranger he was to destined become.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Aesthetically Escort Rock is of local significance as an impressive landmark on the road from Eugowra to Orange.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Escort Rock contributes to the State significance of the Ben Hall Sites as a site recognised by the public to be associated with Ben Hall. Hall is one of the best known bushrangers who operated in New South Wales and forms a significant element to the construction of Australian identity. The Escort Rock site is well marked and is a popular tourist destination.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The original old coach road is partially visible and archaeological research would reveal more about its original route.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
Escort Rock is unusual as an easily recognisable and well documented place where a road side hold up by bushrangers took place.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
Escort Rock is of State significance as being representative of the type of places used by bushrangers to hold up coaches and travellers. Escort rock is an example of the type of place Ben Hall and his gang used for road side hold ups and which helped define these criminal activities as "bushranging" due to the men appearing out of the bush on horse back and then escapinging into the bush with the proceeds of the robbery.
Escort Rock is an identifiable location of a highway robbery. The majority of robberies took place at locations without relocatable landmarks.
Integrity/Intactness: The integrity of the rock, coach road, and surrounding area is high, mainly due to the new road being built 200m away from the original road.
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register - Element 0182708 Oct 10 1195076

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Central West Pilot Program SHRP2001 Heritage Office SHRP  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenEdgar. F. Penzig1985The Sandy Creek Bushranger: A Definitive History Of Ben Hall, His Gang And Associates
WrittenPeter C. Smith1985Tracking Down the Bushrangers

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5052218
File number: H03/00307


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