The Ovens and Murray Advertiser 11/1/79
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P OLICE .—Last evening Captain Standish, Chief Commissioner of Police, and Superintendent Sadleir, arrived in Beechworth. In all probability they will be present when the eighteen Kelly confederates are brought up before Mr WH Foster, PM, this (Saturday) afternoon.
ABOUT THE KELLYS
That a mere cut throat, vulgar ruffian like Ned Kelly should pit himself against Captain Standish and the whole police force of the colony of Victoria for a number of months is surely derogatory in the highest degree. Can it be wondered at that every criminal class in the community becomes more formidable year by year, when we see a mere cattle duffer, like Kelly, bloom and ripen before our very eyes into one of the most formidable criminals ever known in the penal colonies of Australia? Kelly at this moment holds the lives of thousands in his hands during the holiday excursions, and we maintain that such an admission would be a disgrace to even Spain or Italy. The threats which the murderous fiend in human form made to capsize a passenger train has no parallel in the annals of crime. But there is nothing to prevent him. From Captain Standish downwards not one man in the force has ever yet willingly placed himself within the grasp of Kelly, nor are the police, in our opinion, likely to do so, unless they consider the odds to be two to one in their favour. We therefore conclude that the capture of the gang by direct means need not be reckoned on. A feasible plan of capture, however, we mean to suggest ere we conclude. It cannot have escaped notice that there exists a widespread sympathy with the Kellys, and this we think, can be easily dissipated. Ned Kelly himself is an experienced criminal of the worst type. Nearly ten years ago he served a term in Pentridge, when his present associates were only boys ten years of age. We know, from our own knowledge, the real character of the Kelly shanty, which may be best illustrated by a few incidents within our knowledge. A gentleman once packing between Benalla and Jamieson, riding a horse worth £40, and having eight pack horses in front of him, stopped at the shanty, and went inside. In less than ten minutes he found that his saddle horse had disappeared. Assuming an air of indifference he loitered about the shanty all the afternoon, and shouted freely. Towards sundown he noticed that the Kellys, Wright, and Gun, the son in law, disappeared. Making up to one of the Kelly girls, he suddenly said, “If you tell me where my horse is, I shall give you £10.” She said “done,” and jumping on horseback, within twenty minutes she returned at a gallop with his horse, and said, “Hurry off at once before they return.” The statement of Kennett and Rogers is equally true. Teaming in the same direction, in company with others, they unyoked and camped close to Kellys. After tea Kennet and Rogers went up to the shanty for a nobbler, and found Isaiah Wright and Ned Kelly playing cards, and joined them. Wright asked if any one could change a pound note, in order to see who had money, but when Rogers drew out his bag and produced the change, Wright said he could not find the note. Soon afterwards it was proposed to change partners, and Wright went over and sat alongside Rogers . When play was over he discovered that some one had taken his purse. A general row ensued. Wright seized the poker, and even then, ten years ago, Ned Kelly ran into the bedroom and presented a revolver at the teamsters, but old Mrs Kelly, her daughter, and Gun threw themselves between the combatants, and there was no bloodshed. From those sketches can our readers realise the character of the Kelly shanty. It was at once a groggery and a gambling hell. Can they fail to see that to hocus? a man, rob him, and if obstreperous, knock him on the head and shove him underground must of necessity have been a matter of no uncommon occurrence. Ned Kelly must take his sympathisers to be terrible flats when he fancies they are ignorant of these facts. To coolly and deliberately commit three murders in succession shows Ned to be no novice at the trade. They were in all probability not the last of twenty he has had a hand in. He wishes us to believe that he is an innocent, interesting, poor suffering creature, who wished Constable Kennedy to shoot him in order to drown remorse; and his next act is to rob a poor hawker of his last £10 note, although he had just received a peace offering from the manager of the bank at Euroa of £2000. Ned prefers knocking it down amongst the harlots, in whose sweet society he is now basking, and where he will remain till cleared out. Ned would be an honoured guest in any of the Stephen street slums. Having said so much regarding the “enforced outlaw,” who prefers thieving to earning an honest living in a country where mutton is 3d a pound, and land is selling at £1 per acre, we would respectfully take the liberty of pointing out to Sir Bryan O’Loghlen the following plan:—Ned Kelly is the gang; get him and you get at the root. The others are mere nobodies, who by themselves would come to grief in twenty four hours. Well, then, let us offer a free pardon; a free passage out of the country, and where with all to begin life to any one, or two or three of the gang who will capture Ned Kelly, or give such information or assistance as will lead to his capture. Let this inducement be communicated to old Mrs Byrne or to any of Hart or Byrne’s relations, who will, for the sake of the youths, soon find opportunities of acquainting them with it. Let the proclamation have every publicity by means of calico handbills all over the district. Ned Kelly is now playing the role of Frank Gardiner. Everyone knows that Gardner led the Dunns and Gilbert fraternity to the gallows. He was the schoolmaster of youth, like Kelly, but by superior cunning he kept himself out of danger. A bank has been robbed of more than all the reward we have offered. It should be immediately doubled. Had Kelly doubled his gang the escort and £10,000 would have easily fallen into his hands; but that sum would have given him a thousand allies day and night working for his interests. It was a common practice in both the penal colonies of Tasmania and New South Wales to offer a free pardon and a free passage to any prisoner of the Crown who lent valuable assistance in the capture of bushrangers; so that there is the best precedent for the adoption of our suggestion.—Williamstown Advertiser.
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