Cookson, 08 09 1911 1
8 September 1911
EARLY HISTORY OF THE OUTLAWS
NED KELLYS LIFE WITH POWER
BOYHOOD OF THE BUSHRANGERS
It is so long ago that the "Ironclad bushrangers" went to their doom that not very many people remember much about the history of their exciting career. Wherefore it may be as well, at this stage, to explain somewhat of the early history of the members of the gang.
To begin with the principal- Ned Kelly-and his brother Dan. Ned was born at Wallan Wallan, in Victoria, in 1854. He first came into prominence as a finder of lost cattle for which rewards had been offered. But the police had, on account of the career of the father, had the whole family under a good deal of suspicion. The Kellys claim that the police never gave them a chance to live honestly, but persecuted them continually, though the father, John Kelly, had by honest work succeeded in winning for himself a snug farm of considerable area.
But Ned Kelly's earlier years were greatly influenced by his association with the bushranger Power. He was only 16 when he met this picturesque miscreant. And there is no room to doubt that his experiences with Power had much to do with Ned Kelly's subsequent choice of a life of outlawry. He assisted Power in several of his highway robberies, and on one occasion the pair of them were nearly caught. The position looked so desperate that the lad was for giving themselves up. Power was built of sterner stuff, and, compelling his companion to accompany him, was eventfully able to put a successful termination to a desperate and daring ride for liberty.
It is probable that it was from Power that Ned Kelly learnt the tricks of courtesy and forbearance that he subsequently practised frequently in the course of his own bushranging career. Because, whatever there is to be said against Power, it must be acknowledged that, having almost unlimited capacity for doing mischief, he behaved in many instances with the same kind of rude chivalry that has always been associated with picturesque robbers like Robin Hood. Power was a bold and clever man. He escaped from the Pentridge Stockade by hiding himself under a heap of rubbish in a cart. Then he took to the bush. All the arms he possessed consisted of a rude sort of assegai made by fastening a shear blade on a stick. This served his turn, for presenting it at the first traveller he met a gentleman well on in years, he persuaded him to hand over a serviceable revolver and ammunition that he was carrying, together with his valuables. The pistol proved an effective inducement for number of people to part with all sorts of things that Power wanted-arms, clothes, money, harness, and the like
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