The Complete Inner History of the KellyGang and their Pursuers (8)
The cousin was arrested, and as there was no evidence to commit, he was discharged. This discharge also cleared Dan Kelly.
Because he was the elder, and because, perhaps, he was possessed of more initiative and determination, Ned Kelly assumed the leadership, and in several instances asserted himself and evinced his mastery. On one occasion the two brothers quarrelled, and Dan, determined to clear out, went over to his cousin's homestead for a couple of days. Ned followed him and became reconciled, reminding Dan that their only hope of maintaining their freedom was by sticking together. He also reminded Dan of the past injuries they had experienced at the hands of the authorities, and prevailed upon Dan to return home. There were three occasions on which Dan differed from Ned in the carrying'out of their plan of campaign, and subsequent events proved that in each case Dan was right. The first difference occurred at the battle of Stringybark Creek, when Dan wanted to handcuff Mclntyre. The second was Dan's objection to the Glenrowan program, and the third was when Dan suggested that Constable Bracken should be handcuffed to the sofa in Mrs. Jones' Hotel. While their mother had great pride in Ned's ability to lead, she always maintained that Danny was a better general than Ned.
Steve Hart was born at Wangaratta in the year 1860, and, after leaving school at an early age, worked on his parents' farm on the Three-mile Creek. He became an expert bushman and an accomplished horseman. He fell in with the suggestion to join the Kelly youths when they were seeking alluvial gold on the Stringybark and Kelly's Creeks. He, too, had experienced a period of police persecution, and doubtless found in the Kellys friends in need. He appears to have been possessed of considerable courage and resource, and during the period of his outlawry frequently rode about in feminine attire. So successful was this disguise that he was taken to be one of the Kelly sisters, and the police attributed many of his daring exploits to Kate Kelly. Steve Hart was never prominent as the Kelly brothers were, but he was at all times a faithful follower and courageous ally.
Joe Byrne was a native of Beechworth, and of the members of the gang appears to have had the least provocation for defiance of the law. While still in his 'teens he was intimately associated with Aaron Sherritt, with whom he was convicted of having meat in his possession suspected to have been stolen. Joe Byrne's voluntary association with the Kellys appears to have been the result of that hero worship which creates so strong an impression upon some natures.
Like Ned Kelly, he was an expert marksman, a good horseman, and a first-class bushman. He had a good knowledge of alluvial digging, and readily accepted Ned Kelly's invitation to join the two Kellys and Steve Hart in their mining venture on the Stringybark and Kelly's Creeks, where they worked with some success from the end of April to the 26th October, 1878, when their mining activities were suddenly terminated by the fatal fight with the police. Byrne was described as a handsome youth, who possessed no mean educational ability. He was Ned Kelly's right-hand man, and was always consulted by the leader on all questions of strategy. During the period of his outlawry he frequently visited his mother's home, which was continuously watched by the police.
The fact that the police never intercepted him was due either to the cleverness of Joe Byrne or to the incompetence and insincerity of the police. With his revolver he rarely, if ever, missed a two-shilling piece thrown in the air.
Such were the youths who comprised the famous Kelly Gang, and such was their fame in police circles that almost every crime committed in the North-Eastern district of Victoria was attributed to their activities. There can be very little doubt that the contemptuous disrespect which the Kellys and their friends held for the authorities was considerably increased by the many crimes and misdemeanours that were thus wrongfully attributed to them. Undoubtedly, also, such groundless charges tended to increase the sympathy and practical assistance of their friends and neighbours for those who, they considered, were denied what they termed "equal justice."
This document gives you the text of this book about the KellyGang. The text has been retyped from a copy of the original. We have taken care to reproduce this document but areas of the original text may been damaged. We also apologise for any typographical errors. JJ Kenneally was one of the first authors to tell this story from the KellyGang's point of view
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