Last modified on 20 November 2015, at 11:05

The Argus at KellyGang 20/8/1879 (4)

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Lancefield robbery

They camped for the night a short distance outside the town, and on the following morning, just after the bank had been opened, carried out their scheme. Bray described the manner in which the robbery was effected, and his statements on this head tally very closely with the accounts already published. Bray gives a most amusing account of the gagging of the accountant, Mr Morrison. He says that was the first occasion in his life on which he had attempted to gag a man, and certainly if his statement in respect to this maiden operation be as true as the remaining portion of his narrative appears to be, it was not a brilliant success. The gag, Bray states, fell out of Mr Morrison's mouth, and the former, not knowing how to fix it properly, "tied it up with a piece of cotton," Mr Morrison meantime shivering like an aspen leaf, and entreating him to "Take the money, oh, take the money." Bray had no weapon of any kind. All he had in his hand when he entered the bank, besides the pocket book, was a clay pipe. Lowe had a revolver, and, according to Bray, he would not have hesitated about using it if occasion had appeared to necessitate such a course. Bray had possession of the money, and it would appear they were not over particular in making the division.

This accounts for the difference between the respective amounts found on the prisoners, Bray having about £210 only, whilst Lowe had about £450. Bray states that in dividing the plunder, he merely counted the number of notes they had obtained without any regard to their value, and divided them equally, the gold and silver also being divided. It happened that Lowe's portion contained the majority of the £10 and £5 notes, and of course he got about double the sum that fell to Bray's share. Regarding the coppers, Bray says he believed there was about £8 worth in what they took, but in taking them he made a great mistake. He thought the bag contained sovereigns, but after carrying them about seven miles he discovered, to his intense disgust, the mistake he had made. He was not burdened with the coppers afterwards.

The account published in The Argus, relative to the tracking of the men from Lancefield to Leanne's Hotel, was quite correct according to Bray's narrative. The men, after leaving Lancefield, stopped a short distance outside the town, and stood for a little time watching the townspeople rushing about. They appear to have enjoyed this scene immensely, and apparently were troubled very little, if at all, by any apprehensions as to their being captured. The whole affair seems to have been carried out in a most careless haphazard manner, and it is difficult to realise that any sane men could have entered upon such a dangerous adventure in the way they did. Bray in his account refers to his visit to Lehane's Hotel, where they purchased brandy and bread and cheese-the remains possibly of this same bread and cheese were, by the way, brought up from the depths of Lowe's over coat pocket, together with the bank notes, at the lock up-and states that they reached Tooboorak, a place between Pyalong and Heathcote, at 12 o'clock on Friday night. They camped during the night and on Saturday morning they arrived at the outskirts of Heathcote. They stopped to have a drink at a public house about two miles outside the township.


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