The Argus at KellyGang 31/10/1878 (2)
ATROCIOUS MURDERS BY BUSHRANGERS
(FROM OUR SPECIAL REPORTER)
MANSFIELD , Wednesday.
Up to the present time the search for Sergeant Kennedy has been confined to the immediate vicinity of the camp on Stringybark Creek, and no progress beyond it can be made until to-morrow, if then. The fact that so little has been done from this centre of operations cannot be attributed to the lukewarmness of the townspeople, for they have twice turned out with alacrity. Something might have been done on Monday, when they were all on the ground at daylight, but there were only two firearms for about a dozen men, and they were quite unprepared to meet the well-equipped marauders had they been still in the neighbourhood. The helpless condition of the police-station at Mansfield has already been pointed out, and what people here cannot understand is that up to to-day no re info rcements have arrived from town.
Last night the watch-house, with its two dangerous prisoners, was in charge of one man armed simply with a double-barrelled gun.. Had any of Wild Wright’s or Kelly’s friends been disposed to make a rescue they could have done so at no great risk. Though Wright may be disposed to carry news to the ranges, it is not his game to do so. He has come here to shear at a station near Mansfield , and for some time past has been honestly employed, but the character he bears is not a whit better than that of any of the others. The brotherhood of Wrights, Kellys, and Quins have all recently had representatives in Pentridge. Wright and Kelly were there together, and had a fight in the prison—a fact which is now publicly circulated in order to show that Wright is not likely to act the part of a bush telegraph for Kelly on the present occasion.
The relief party out on Sunday thought their work done when they found the bodies, and then hastened back to the township. Yesterday’s expedition consisted in all of 18 persons. They lost a good deal of time on the way out, through having a bad guide, and were only three hours on the ground. They made a complete circuit of the camp, and saw not only the tracks taken by the Kellys on horseback across the creek for the King River, but the route by which they stole upon the camp on foot on Saturday. They had not time, however, to follow the horse tracks any distance; and all returned to Mr Monk’s sawmill, 14 miles from Mansfield, at nightfall. The seven police and Mr Collopy, a most active volunteer, stayed there for the night. The wish was to get the party to camp out and start afresh early this morning, but almost all preferred to return to town. They were really very scantily equipped with anything but overcoats, and only a few had provisions. The police had orders to stay at the sawmills until some one went out to them to-day. It would have been very little use for them to have gone out by themselves, for none of them knew the country, and the parties resident in the ranges, from prudential reasons, refused to act as guides for the police alone. What renders pursuit difficult is that only one or two persons are acquainted with the ranges beyond the Wombat-hill. As they live far out of the township, and thus at any moment be dropped upon by individuals anxious for revenge, they are obliged to act with extreme caution, and only associate themselves with relief parties.
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