The Argus at KellyGang 9/5/1879

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MANSFIELD, Thursday.

Mr Panton, P M , accompanied by Mr C A Smyth, Crown prosecutor, arrived here last night, under instructions to investigate the alleged attempt to murder Mr Edward Monk, saw mills proprietor, of Wombat hill   Mr Panton desired to see the scene of the outrage and also Monks property, before hearing evidence. A large party, consisting of Mr Panton, Mr Smyth, Sub-inspector Toohey, Mr Monk, black trackers, and others, accordingly started this morning to the Wombat. An exhilarating ride over nine miles of beautiful country brought them to the Broken River, crossing which they ascended the range on a winding rutty track until they arrived at a   point near the scene of the attack, about 12 miles from Mansfield and two from Monk's. Here was pointed out a large peppermint tree as the one behind which the man concealed himself. The track was at this place rather sleep, and the bush around was pretty thick Mr Monk was requested to take up the position he occupied when the shots were fired. He was also directed to put the injured saddle   on his horse and to strap on his valise as on the night of the outrage. A packet of nails and a bottle of oil were placed in each end of the valise. Mr Monk then described the occurrence. He said the night was very dark. He was cantering up and when about three lengths of a horse from the tree the man suddenly spring out and called on him to bail up. He pulled up at once in a deep rut on the left side of the track. They then fired at each other simultaneously. The man stood near the tree on a slight elevation. He (Mr Monk) felt the stinging effect of his assailant's powder on his bridle hand. The fellow fired a second shot and thereupon his (Mr Monk's) horse kicked and shied to the right, sprang through some scrub, over a large log, into a bridle path, up which and through brush-wood it galloped until it turned again into the main track. The bullet mark on the saddle is under and behind the valise, and it seems difficult to understand how it had entered if discharged by a man in front with out passing through the valise. Mr Monk, however, will have an opportunity of explaining this at the inquiry. Sub inspector Toohey said Mr Monk made a different statement to him - that he said he pulled up in the middle of the road , that the man ran from behind the tree round the end of a log which lay at its foot to the track, where he held up both his hands and called out Sub- inspector Pewtress also remarked that there was a slight variation in Mr Monk's statement from what he said at first. The places where the packet of nails and bottle of oil, which fell from Mr Monk's valise, were found were next noted. Mr Monk's explanation of the loss of these articles is that, when he was galloping through the carob one of his valise straps must have been pulled off by the branches. The company then proceeded to the mill, and   found it in a sequestered valley in the hart of the range Mr Panton inspected the buildings. They consist of a wooden dwelling-house, of four rooms, back kitchen, and outhouses, and separate new outhouses in course of construction. To the east of these, on the Wombat Creek, stands the mill, and above it the dam. These are connected with a long wooden water race Mr Monk also owns 152 acres of land in the neighbourhood, a good part of which has been cleared and grassed. The only trees within sight of the mill are peppermints, which are not suitable for saw millers. But   Mr Monk said there were plenty of bluegums and messmate within two miles of the place. He had some 5000ft of such timber lying out on an adjacent hill. After having lunch the company returned to the town, but arrived at too late an hour for commencing the inquiry, which will be opened to morrow morning.

'Monks story;' previous / next





The stretch of country lying between Benalla and Mansfield is much better grassed than in the direction of the Major plains, more rain having apparently fallen in the former locality Samaria and Swanpool seemed to be particularly favoured, and farming operations are consequently now well advanced in those districts I noticed, also, that in one or two places I passed through, on the other side of Benalla, lambing had commenced, though the sheep were not in very good order, and unless more rain carne did not appear to be able to stand the winter. A few heavy showers fell at different places throughout the district, but other por tions were unvisited by the rain. The weather was consequently cold, and snow fell in small quantity on the Mount Bulla ranges. From Mansfield to Alexandra, and, indeed, all through the latter locality, farmers and graziers are still fervently wishing for more rain, as grass and water are still very scarce, and the frosts, which have already commenced, are nipping off the tender herbage which sprung up after the last rain, and this will make it very severe on stock during the ensuing winter.

Other parts of the colony, however, are far worse off. In the course of the 400 miles I travelled through the North Eastern and Goulburn Valley districts the same deplorable state of affairs existed, rust in crops and the long continued droughts having brought it about, and it will take many long years be fore squatters and farmers will recover the blow which has fallen so fearfully heavily on them this season.  

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