The True Story of the KellyGang of Bushrangers Chapter 15 page 4

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While the Kelly sisters and cousins were most active in their assistance to the gang, and were supposed to be the chief mediums through whom news of police movements gathered by the numerous agents was communicated to the outlaws, Hart and Byrne also had brothers and sisters who spent much of their time riding about the country in the supposed interest of the outlaws. After the break up of the watch party near her mother’s house, Miss Byrne, probably suspecting Sherritt, broke off her engagement with him, and he informed Mr Hare that he was going to make love to Kate Kelly. She was well disposed towards him; but Mrs Skillion, who was keener sighted, strongly objected to her sister having anything to do with Sherritt, and on one occasion, on returning to her house and finding Kate and Aaron had gone out walking together, she rode away to the Oxley police station, distant about ten miles, and laid some charge against him. She had no difficulty in showing cause why Aaron should be arrested, and a constable immediately set out to the Kellys’ house to capture him. Sherritt, however, bolted when he saw the trooper coming, and though a couple of shots were fired after him succeeded in getting away to Beechworth where he reported the matter to Detective Ward, asking him to get Mr Hare to prevent the police interfering with him, and this was done.

Mrs Skillion appears to have shown great feminine ingenuity in worrying the police. For a long time her midnight expeditions had been known to them, and in the small hours one morning, seeing her leave the house with a large bundle strapped to the saddle, a party followed her stealthily on foot, and as they believed unobserved, for miles to a gap in the hills. Day was just breaking as they climbed the hill, and at the top they found Mrs Skillion, sitting on a log waiting for them. She saluted the police by putting her fingers expressively to her nose, and when they examined the pack upon her saddle they found it contained nothing more incriminating that an old tablecloth, evidently carried away into the bush for the express purpose of taking a rise out of the police.

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