The Argus at KellyGang 31/12/1878
The feeling of dissatisfaction with regard to the organisation of the police force is shared in by the Government, and the subject has been under discussion in the Cabinet of late. Action is to be taken at the earliest opportunity, but so far no definite scheme of reform has been sketched out.
White powder at Benalla
It was stated some days ago that a quantity of powder had been found “planted” near the North-eastern railway line, at Benalla. Detective Wilson, of the Railway department, has reported that the powder was found by three lads named William Headland, John Bain, and Henry Airey, in three different places on the Benalla common and that between the common and the railway reserve there is a paddock belonging to a private gentleman. The powder would, doubtless, have been found before had it not been that there were some dead horses lying there, which deterred people from visiting the spot. Detective Wilson is of opinion that there is no connexion whatever between the powder and the Kelly gang of bushrangers. He has an idea as to the reason of the “plant,” but it is not deemed advisable at present to give publicity thereto.
It was stated recently in a telegram from Euroa that a party of four men, fully armed and equipped, supposed to be schoolmasters from Ballarat, had arrived there by train, and at once struck into the bush in pursuit of the Kelly gang of ruffians. The Ballarat Courier remarks in explanation that “although hailing from this neighbourhood, they are not schoolmasters, but four miners, all unmarried, the leader of whom, when a young man, was member of a Californian vigilance committee in ’49. Their ostensible object is to spend the holidays in prospecting that portion of the country, and they hope to strike a patch should they fall in with the outlaws. From a letter received on Saturday from one of the ‘prospectors,’ we learn that on Thursday last, when some distance from Benalla in the ranges, they met a suspicious-looking individual carrying a bag, and followed him for about a mile, under the impression that he was planting provisions for the Kelly gang. On being observed, however, the fellow retraced his tracks. The writer also states that the population thereabouts openly express sympathy with the outlaws, but that this feeling is affected by many who, from their isolated position, fear to do otherwise.”
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