Ovens & Murray Advertiser (12)

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There was on Thursday last published in the "Argus" the detailed statement of a man, who gave a great number of particulars, as to his having been in the Kelly country, partly as a prospector, and partly as a private detective. Although "Argus" reporter who "interviewed" this person was in full possession of the fact that the police paid no attention to his statements, he, and the "Argus," adopted his whole story. His history, such as it was, of his wanderings in the district; of his various sojourns at the houses of settlers; of his chance companions, on one occasion, supplying four armed men in the bush with provisions, while he himself was under suspicion of being a police spy; and his subsequently seeing four mounted men in the locality at such a distance, that, being so guarded in pledging himself to any definite opinion, he would not pronounce to be the Kelly gang - all these things would, we should have thought, presented his narrative to any observant man as being a romance. In fact, the informant turns out to be a lunatic, at large, from one of the asylums, meandering through the country on a bond of parole, who has invented a steamship which can accomplish the trip to England in five days, and an overcoat, as light as silk, costing one guinea, which can resist not only a Kelly bullet, but a cannon ball. The "Age" as a matter of course, with twenty four hours light thrown upon the subject and jealous of the presumed first knowledge of its contemporary, calls upon the "Argus" and ridicules it for having been so mercilessly taken in. But the "Age" forgets that it sent a reporter to this district, who, according to his own account, performed a journey which, being calculated by "Her Scalper," of the "Herald," amounted to some 280 miles in twenty four hours; while it was known here that the reporter in question during that eventful day was never more than five and twenty miles from Mr Kett's at Wangaratta. Nor did the "Herald" in this Kelly matter escape public criticism. The special reporter of that journal made the girl Kate Kelly a prominent subject for his own admiration and public remark. This young person is, as far as we know, entitled to every man's respect as she is certainly to every true man's sympathy. No one worth any kind of consideration would blame her even for assisting her brothers, cold blooded ruffians as they are; but to elevate her into the position of a heroine is false sentiment, and will be all the worse for herself presently. Non of the metropolitan journals - not even excepting the "Argus" - which published that most absurd account of the night attack on John Sherritt's hut at Sheep Station Creek, as if it were the storming of the Redan - are free from blame in this matter. If they were not so carried away by their desire to provide occasional sensations for their readers - genuine, if possible, but sensations any way - they might know that when the local journals were silent there was very little that should be recorded. When we give any information respecting the Kellys, we shall do so with authority when they are either arrested or shot. In the meantime, as there seems to be an impression in some quarters, which should not exist, to the effect that the Kelly gang are no longer in this district we have no hesitation in pledging ourselves to the assertion that they are here, and that they have been more or less routinely assisted by every one in the ? neighbourhood to their haunts; in many cases through terror, but in many cases, through an actual, though mistaken sympathy.

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