The True Story of the KellyGang of Bushrangers Chapter 6 page 2
On the Saturday evening, with young Lloyd standing sentry by their hut, they had spent a few hours in sleep, and had made a start in the small hours of Sunday morning, across uninhabited country, to Greta. There they spent most of the day, no doubt, discussing future plans with their relatives and friends. On Monday evening on horseback they passed through the townships of Oxley and Everton, making north for New South Wales ; and at a public house, known as Moon’s Pioneer Hotel, on the Ovens River, some twenty miles from Greta, they had purchased grog, some tins of sardines and other provisions. On October 30 they were seen by the farmer Margery near the banks of the Murray, nearly thirty miles from Everton, and they appear to have made strenuous attempts to cross the river into New South Wales. At Bungowunnah wharf, on the Victorian side, they found a punt, of which they had hoped to avail themselves, sunk in the stream, and there was no possibility of swimming the river. The Murray, which is at times the mere brown thread, is liable to floods, and when they come the low lying banks on either side become one vast lagoon, with islands peeping out here and there. The men appear to had ventured deep into the lagoons in the hope of reaching the main stream, but were forced to abandon the attempt, for the river was higher than it had been for many years, and accordingly they turned their horses’ heads southward towards their native haunts.
On November 3 they were seen in the neighbourhood of the Murray, and on the same day near Wangaratta, a township more than forty miles distant. They passed through Wangaratta during the night, and were seen next day crossing under the railway line at a place known as the One Mile Bridge, after which they disappeared in the Warby Ranges, low densely wooded mountains close to Wangaratta, with which the Kellys and Hart were all well acquainted.
This occasion seems to have offered an excellent chance of capturing the Kellys, for Sergeant Steele to whom the information was brought, with a description of the tracks, was convinced that they were actually made by the Kellys, partly from the fact that the One Mile Creek was running bank high beneath the railway bridge, and that no one without intimate knowledge of the place could possibly have piloted the way along a narrow ledge of ground beneath, while that ledge he knew was known to Steve Hart. After the heavy rain the tracks were easy to follow. The bushrangers’ horses must have been almost done after their hard riding since the previous Saturday, and Sergeant Steele considered that by an active pursuit the men might have been captured in the Warby Ranges. Nothing, however, was done. Mr Brooke Smith who was in charge of a large party of police at Wangaratta took no action, and Sergeant Steele was under orders to proceed to a place called Rats’ Castle, in the granite hills near Beechworth, where the bushrangers had friends and were likely to make their appearance.
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