The Argus at KellyGang 20/12/1878 (2)

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No particular notice was taken of the absence of the other son, as it was thought he had gone to bed, none of the party having any idea that he had run away to Benalla to give the alarm. When Johnson’s party arrived at the place everything was in darkness, the family having all gone to bed. The troopers, not being aware of this, took all necessary precautions to secure the prisoners they expected to take, only to find the whole was a hoax. When the old people were awakened they were astonished to learn what had brought the troopers out, and soon explained the whole affair, much to the discomfiture of the frightened individual who had taken so much trouble to give a false alarm. Constable Johnson considered it was his duty to arrest Cunnington, and much to his surprise he was roused out of bed and brought into the Benalla lockup. Of course these stupid practical jokes must be put a stop to, and the young fellow will have to undergo a short incarceration for his lark.

There is a growing opinion in some quarters that the gang have separated into two parties, and that they are making for the Murray in two directions, with the view of crossing over into New South Wales. It is this, probably, that has given rise to the rumours that two men, answering the descriptions of Steve Hart and Jos. Byrne, were seen near Tarrawingee a few days since, while another similar report gives the locality as Howlong, which would place them across the River Murray. It is said that they were driving a light springcart, and were ostensibly travelling for the purpose of purchasing hides and skins. I fancy this information is just as good as many other rumours that have been flying about of late. In my opinion the whole gang are not far away from their old haunts, and this is strengthened by an ominous statement I heard to-day, to the effect that Mr Healey, of Strathbogie Station, has been missing for the last three days. I have been unable to ascertain whether this is true or not, but it is well known that the outlaws were near his place a day or two after the bank robbery, and that he rode into Euroa to give info rmation to the police of having seen their tracks in the ranges. The railway authorities appear to attach considerable importance to the statement in Ned Kelly’s letter, that some damage would yet be done to the railway line. It is not very likely that the gang will ever risk the danger of attacking a railway station, or take the trouble to damage the permanent way, as there is nothing to be gained by such a proceeding. However, several detectives have been placed at different stations along the line, while a great many of the railway employés carry arms, and may be seen utilising their spare time by practicing pistol shooting at the mark.


The following circular, inviting contributions for a monument in memory of the three brave men who lost their lives in the execution of their duty in the Wombat Ranges on October 26, has been issued by direction of the Memorial Fund Committee at Mansfield:―

Mansfield , Dec. 16, 1878 .

Sir,―In memory of the three brave fellows, Sergeant Michael Kennedy and Constables Michael Scanlan and Thomas Lonigan, who were so brutally murdered by the Kelly gang while in the execution of their duty in the Wombat Ranges, near Mansfield, on the 26 th October last, it has been thought meet to erect a monument in a suitable locality at Mansfield, and the gentleman named below have consented to act as a committee to carry out all matters in connexion with the movement, and to raise funds by voluntary contributions for that purpose.

With this object in view, and as the occasion is deemed to be of a national character, I am directed to enlist your practical sympathy and assistance in the matter, and respectfully request that all subscriptions contributed or obtained towards this object may be forwarded, addressed to the treasurer of the “Murdered Police Memorial Fund,” at Mansfield, on or before the 31 st of January next, as it is considered desirable that lists should close on that day.

The merit of the case of the present appeal to the public is doubtless sufficiently known and acknowledged to ensure ready and general support, but I am desired to direct special attention to the following particulars:―

1 No contributions are herein asked for in aid of the bereaved families of the unfortunate men, as the government have already promised adequately to provide for them.

2 That the deceased men died in the execution of their duty, and died bravely.

3 That the duty in the execution whereof Sergeant Kennedy and Constables Scanlon and Lonigan lost their lives was not of their own seeking, but that they were “specially directed” by their superiors to undertake it.

4 That they were all men of merit in the police force, and chosen for the duty on that account.

5 That this is no ordinary occasion, and requires that public sympathy should be shown in some substantial form to stimulate other members of the police force and of other branches of the public service in the performance of enerous and dangerous duties, by the knowledge that their efforts in the public service will not be unfeelingly ignored.

―I have the honour to be, Sir, your most obedient servant,

J.H.A Hageman, Secretary.

P.S.―All contributions received will be acknowledged through the press.

The following are the names of the committee:―

Henry H. Kitchen, JP, Mansfield , Chairman.

James H Graves, MLA for Delatite.

James Tomkins, Junior, JP, President Mansfield Shire Council.

James Shaw, JP, Mansfield.

Henry Pewtress, Sup-Inspector of Police, Mansfield.

George W Hall, Proprietor of Mansfield Guardian.

Treasurer―M L Ashe, Manager of Bank of New South Wales .

Secretary―J H A Hageman, Secretary Mansfield Shire Council.

Bankers ― Bank of New South Wales, Mansfield .


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