The Argus (19)
The Argus continued with its reports of the KellyGang and Glenrowan.
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That Mr RAMSAY deserves great praise for the energy which he has thrown into the administration of the police in connexion with the Kelly search is evident from the narrative which we published yesterday. And one of his acts most to be commended is the despatch of Superintendent CHOMLEY to Brisbane to organise a party of black trackers. Lieutenant O’CONNOR and his men have been a success, and we are the more pleased to record this fact because it was upon our suggestion that their services were obtained. The unpleasantness which it said to have arisen between the Victorian police and the Queensland force is a matter for regret, but it will not prevent our Government thanking the Queensland Ministry for its ready sympathy, and Lieutenant O’CONNOR and his men for their valuable assistance and their conspicuous gallantry at Glenrowan on Monday. But the important fact to bear in mind is that the trackers paralysed the gang. Since their arrival there has only been this last and decisive outbreak, and their destruction was the object aimed at in the Glenrowan episode. Prevention is better than cure, and therefore Mr RAMSAY will do well to allow Superintendent CHOMLEY to proceed with his mission. We could not expect to keep Lieutenant O’CONNOR and his men permanently amongst us, and the proper course is clearly to organise a force of our own for service in the district during the next few years. For we have to face the fact that the Greta district will have to be exceptionally treated for some time to come.
The Kelly gang has been disposed of, but the condition of society which rendered the Kelly gang a possibility remains. The country in question, it is unhappily notorious, swarms with sympathisers and with kindred spirits. The fact that blacksmiths could be found to secretly fashion armour for the men speaks for itself, and in a hundred other ways the residents in and about Greta have aided and abetted thieves and murderers. It is a matter of necessity, therefore, that the district should be kept under surveillance, and that the evildoers should be made aware that crime is not only wicked, but is unprofitable ― that retribution will be swift as well as sure. It would be satisfactory if a number of the lawless spirits could be transferred to more open and more honest parts of the colony, and certainly such men as the armour-forgers ought to be brought to justice; and we shall hope to hear of a reward being offered for their discovery. But after the active sympathisers have been punished ― and we trust no exertion will be spared to bring them to justice ― a firm hand rather than a harsh will be required. Crime must be energetically repressed, so that the men who live by crime may be gradually pressed out of the district. And great care must be taken with regard to selection in the locality.
The district ought in fact to be placed under a special board, on which the police should be efficiently represented, in order that they might exercise a veto on the applications of persons of whose loyalty they are not assured. And under any circumstances settlement should not be allowed except within reach of telegraph and police stations and the schoolhouse and the church, so that adults may be restrained from vice and the young may be instructed on virtue. Settlement should proceed from chosen centres, and not be allowed in isolated spots. The violence and lawlessness which we have had to deplore are symptoms of a disorder, and without proper treatment the disease cannot be expected to disappear.
The tragic encounter with the Kelly gang at Glenrowan was again the leading topic yesterday. The surviving outlaw, Ned Kelly, was brought to town from Benalla by the afternoon train, and crowds assembled both at the Spencer-street and North Melbourne stations to await his arrival. He was taken out at the latter station and conveyed to the Melbourne gaol. The reports of Dr Charles Ryan, who accompanied him on the journey, and Dr Shields, the medical officer of the gaol, are to the effect that, though rather severely wounded, Kelly will, in all probability recover from his injuries The wound of Superintendent Hare, who returned to Melbourne yesterday, is severe, and may cause permanent stiffness of the wrist, but Mr Hare, on the whole, is doing very well. It is with regret that we record another death arising out of the fray – that of the young lad, son of Mrs Jones, who kept the hotel in which the busbrangers met their fate. It is also reported that the boy Reardon, son of the platelayer, is in a dangerous condition. A magisterial inquiry was held at Benalla on the remains of Byrne yesterday, when the finding was that the deceased had been shot by the police m the execution of their duty.
An inquest will be held at Benalla to-day on the bodies of Dan Kelly and Hart, and an inquest will also be held at Wangaratta on the body of the boy Jones.
The number of The Australasian Sketcher which will be issued towards the end of the week, will be one of very special interest. It will contain a number of authentic views of the desperate fight at Glenrowan, which resulted in the annihilation of the Kelly gang. As Mr T Carrington, the special artist of the Sketcher was present throughout the whole of the encounter between the police and the bushrangers, the engravings will present thoroughly accurate and faithful views of the most striking incidents of this eventful and tragic contest.
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