The Alexandra and Yea Standard, Gobur, Thornton and Acheron Express at KellyGang 9/11/1878 (2)

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On Saturday the police got on the tracks of four or five horsemen. Margery had told them that they were mounted on remarkably good horses. The tracks were well defined for some distance, and at sundown they reached the place where the party had camped the previous day. The footprints were those of shod horses. Rain came on, and not only obliterated the tracks, but flooded the surface of the ground. They still kept on, but finally lost the tracks entirely at a reserve near Barnawatha. On entering the town-ship they learned that a party exactly like the men they were in search of had passed through a little in advance of them. They followed on, and made up to four men. One of them was remarkably like Kelly, and the other three young men. They took them into Chiltern on Sunday at 7 am, and Margery was confronted with them, but he was sure they were not the men he had seen. Mr Nicolson, though struck with the likeness, did not for a moment suppose he had got Kelly. It was satisfactorily shown that the men were shearers, so they were at once brought before a magistrate and discharged from custody. This pursuit of a false scent lost the police a day. The search was resumed on Monday, and soon fresh evidence of the presence of the Kelly party was met within the neighbourhood of the Murray. It was pretty evident that attempts had been made to cross and that the party had been baffled. Some information which the police don't care to disclose at present was obtained. It was not from Margery that they heard about the brands on the horses, but from a more trustworthy source. Up to yesterday the police felt that they were still upon strong indications. Some fresh parties of troopers will be sent out from here to-morrow.


Constable Strahan, and Showbridge's party have just returned from Wombat for provisions and further orders. They report finding no truce of Kelly's gang. They feel perfectly confident that they are hiding in the Upper King rangers, and they are anxious to return. The weather being very stormy is much against their search. The latest report is that one mate is Kelly's sister. The two Lloyds are in Mansfield, no doubt with the intention of showing that they are not the two unknown ones of the gang. Sub-Inspector Pewtress still complains, and with just cause, of the scarcity of rifles. The party that has just returned have only four, two borrowed ones and two belonging to the force.

A well-informed correspondent writes: "There is every reason to believe that the surmise of the officials of the penal department that Strickland, who was a prisoner at Pentridge, is one of the Kelly gang, is correct. A short time before his discharge he, with two others, made a savage attack on the well known Von Sanden in the messroom, and the assault might have terminated seriously had not some of the warders been present. For some time Strickland was employed as a wardsman, and subsequently in the stone-cutters' yard where his associates were the worst class of prisoners. So well aware were some of the warders of this man's proclivities that as soon as the report of the Mansfield affair was known, suspicion at once turned to Strickland especially as it was known that he was from that part of the country. During the time Kelly was at Pentridge there was nothing remarkable in his conduct beyond his desire to let the people know that he was Power's mate in bushranging.

The latter has always said that he had no confidence in Kelly's courage. On one occasion, says Power, when he was nearly surrounded by police at Mount Battery station, and there seemed but little, hope of escape, Kelly said that he would surrender, when Power said, 'If you attempt to do so I will shoot you on the spot.' Power said he would have stuck up the Seymour Bank if Kelly would have agreed to hold his horse close to the bank, which he refused to do. Power appears to have been informed about the recent tragedy, but he makes no comments. He has been in the prison hospital for the last two years, and is not likely to recover from a disease contracted during his bushranging career."


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