Sam Poo

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Sam Poo
Born 25 January 1838
Bathurst, New South Wales
Died 19 December 1865 (aged 26)
Bathurst, New South Wales
Cause of death Execution
Criminal penalty Death sentence
Conviction(s) Murder

Sam Poo was a Chinese bushranger in Australia who was active in the Coonabarabran region of New South Wales during 1865.

Poo was a Chinese emigrant to Australia during the Gold Rush, but instead of mining took to highway robbery on the road between Gulgong and Mudgee. A skilled and elusive bushman, he evaded capture from the authorities for several weeks. He often targeted solitary travellers on foot, both Chinese and Whites, and was also responsible for the rape of a settler's wife.[1]

On the 3 February 1865 the Senior Constable John Ward of the New South Wales Police Force was returning to Coonabarabran from a prisoner escort to Mudgee. Near the locality known as Barney's Reef he was informed that a Chinese man had been robbing passing travellers in the vicinity, and was nearby in the scrub. Following a short search, Senior Constable Ward located the offender's camp and approached him. When the offender saw the constable he dived into the bush. A long foot chase ensued, during which the pursued shot the Constable in the chest, mortally wounding him. The murderer was later identified as the Chinese bushranger Sam Poo.[2]

Two weeks after the incident Sam Poo was finally tracked down. When confronted by police troops he attempted to escape, but was shot in the thigh.[3] Continuing to fire from the ground, he was finally subdued, and taken to a prison hospital in Mudgee. When he recovered nine months later he was taken to Bathurst, where he was tried and hanged on 19 December 1865.[4]


  1. ^ "Gulgong's Golden History - Chinese Bushranger". Mudgee District Local History. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
  2. ^ "Honour Roll - Ward". National Police Memorial. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Telegraphic Messages - Bathurst". Sydney Morning Herald. 12 October 1865. Retrieved 7 July 2012.


  • Anonymous 'New South Wales News'. The Brisbane Courier, 30 December 1865, p. 5, column 5.
  • Noonan, Rodney. The Journal of Australian Studies. "Wild Cathay Boys: Chinese Bushrangers in Australian History and Literature."
  • Police Deaths in NSW at
  • Curious Clippings at South Australian Police Historical Society