Seventh child of William & Hannah, John Henry (Jack) Barron was born on 12 July 1875 in Burrier, New South Wales, his father, William, was 31 and his mother, Hannah, was 29. He lived in Nowra and Burrier till he had problems with the law. He had to face trial on perjury, so he skipped away to North Queensland where he became a stagecoach driver of great renown. It was said he was a well-set-up man with a fiery temper, enormous strength and great horsemanship.
He married Stella Boney in St Lawrence, Queensland. They had three children during their marriage – Topsy Francis, Stanley and Percy. He was ultimately shot at point blank range by a drink crazed man at Bowen River Hotel. He died in 1922 in Bowen, Queensland, at the age of 47.
Thirty-six miles from Bowen (North Queensland), where the rail line to the mining fields at Collinsville completes its climb up the range and commences to drop down the Pelican Creek watershed to the township 20 miles away, lies the little-known and seldom-noticed grave of Jack Barron, one-time ace coach-driver on the famous old Bowen Downs mail road. One of the first rail services in North and Central Queensland extends from Bowen on the coast to Bowen Downs Station, away towards where Aramac lies today. It has long since been superseded, and the where old road practically fallen into disuse.
Good horseman and grand driver, a powerful, well-set-up man, as long as a horse could be hitched up in his team, Barron would drive it. With recklessness combined with an understanding of horses, fiery temper, and his enormous strength, it was seldom he didn’t get through. Mail nights at the Bowen River Hotel – sixth change out from Bowen — were something to be remembered. Here, three teams came swinging in every Wednesday afternoon, to drop their passengers, change mails, and stay the night before starting at daybreak for the return journey. But one night, an altercation in the bar culminated in a drink-crazed man shooting Barron at point-blank range where he stood.
The body was being removed for conveyance to Bowen, but, on being met by the police from that centre, was buried where the rail line now runs. Two crossed ironbark sticks, weather beaten and rough, tied on the railway fence serves to mark the resting place of this wonderful old driver. Each day the trains of coal and passengers go by; yet the few who notice this rough cross seldom connect it with a grave, and probably none of those who do have any knowledge of the identity of the man whose monument it is.
This ballad was written about him: Dargans Grey – Tale of Jack Barron
Interesting note: The Barron family that I have researched so far appear to be very athelitic and most are very good horseman including my father, for example James Barron (Jack’s brother) excelled at athletics, boxing and great in a saddle including an infamous ride down a mountain side (Man from Snowy River like) where they ended up naming the mountain after him “Mount Barron” in NSW.