The Argus at KellyGang 17/12/1878
THE MANSFIELD MURDERERS
The Kellys and their two mates have not yet been met with by the police. The search for them in the Broadford district was conducted yesterday, but without success. There is no reason to doubt the truthfulness of the charcoal burner who reported having seen them there; but as no corroboration of his statement can be obtained, it is considered that his judgment must have been at fault, and that he had mistaken other men for the murderers. A further search, however, has been ordered.
As there is still some misunderstanding as to whom will receive the rewards offered by the Government, Mr Nicolson, the Assistant commissioner of police, desires us to state distinctly that the police will not be entitled to any part of them, as in pursuing the gang they are only performing their duty; but that the money will belong to any person or persons who give information which will lead to the capture of the murderers, even although the informant or informants are not present thereat. Seeing, however, that there is now no police reward fund, the Government may be reasonably expected to deal liberally with members of the force who may take part in the capture.
It may be mentioned that the guard duty at the Treasury and Government House was resumed by the garrison corps yesterday so that the city police are consequently relieved from that extra call upon their presently limited numbers.
Mr. Nicolson's eyes are not suffering from blight, as was at first reported. The inflammation his doctors say, is caused by some eyelashes growing inwards and producing irritation, this being the result of the low physical condition to which he has been reduced by his late arduous duties. Under medical treatment they are now gradually improving and he hopes to be shortly able to return to the bush. He and his party, he states, traced the gang to the Strathbogie Ranges, and on the day before the Euroa outrage, he learned that the miscreants had been compelled by their approach to take again to flight. It was impossible to tell in what direction they had gone, but it was supposed that they would most probably make another attempt to cross the Murray, and escape into New South Wales. He therefore started at once by train via Benalla to intercept them, and hearing, after he had gone, of their reappearance at Euroa, he was back at that place by 4 o'clock on the morning after the robbery. With regard to the statement that there is a feeling of dissatisfaction amongst the members of the police force at the way in which they are officered, he denies that anything but the most friendly relations exist between the officers and the men, and says that they are all anxious to meet the outlaws. The courage of the men was never called to question and the testimony from all quarters has been that they are always eager to meet with the murderers and their comrades. They have certainly, been disappointed and disheartened at the non success of their expeditions, but they have become again reinspired by the recent energetic steps which have been taken by the department and the Government.
The Government continues to receive offers from private persons to start on expeditions at a small remuneration, in search of the murderers. The latest offer has been received through the Minister of Education from the state school teachers of Ballarat a number of them being members of the Prince of Wales Light Horse, who desire to spend their three weeks' holiday in pursuit of the gang, only asking, in return, to be supplied with arms and provisions. Major Smith has undertaken to lay their proposal before the Chief Secretary. We would here warn private individuals who wish to take part in the pursuit that, unless they are well acquainted with the Strathbogie Ranges and adjoining country, they would, most probably, get lost in the bush, and if so, the search for them would occasion nearly as much trouble as the search for the Kellys.
It has been stated that the widow of Sergeant Kennedy is in comfortable circumstances. It is true that her husband left her some small means, but as she has not yet taken out administration to his Will, she would have been seriously inconvenienced for want of money, had it not been for the assistance of friends. The widow of Constable Lonigan was in most impoverished circumstances, and but for the kindness of friends, and especially of Mr McDonald, the ex-president of the Shire of Benalla, would have found herself in a very awkward position. It is, therefore, satisfactory to learn that, by the prompt action taken by the Chief Secretary upon the statement made in these columns on the matter, the wants of the bereaved widows and their families have now been relieved.
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