Last modified on 20 November 2015, at 21:59

Cookson, 03 09 1911 3

3 September 1911

(full text transcription)

THE KELLY HOMESTEAD TO-DAY

LOOPHOLES CAREFULLY PRESERVED

A DOOR OF HISTORIC RECORDS

The old Kelly homestead is just the same to day as it was when the gang were terrorising the whole country. It was too substantially built to fall to pieces easily. The walls and partitions are of thick slabs. The floors are of rough hardwood boards. The present proprietor, who is a farmer, doing pretty well, has added a new iron roof to the old building, but has not changed it in any other respect. He uses the place as a dwelling for his family. There are four apartments in it. He has built another cottage at the rear of the old building, and has considerably improved the property in other ways.

We found the tenant an obliging man, very willing to do the honours of his home. He displayed with something like proprietary pride the loopholes in the partition walls. Through these, he said, the Kellys, when at home during the period of their outlawry; which was more often than the police imagined; could watch anyone in the adjoining apartment and shoot them, if they so desired, without the risk of a shot in return.

"And there was not much chance of anyone getting here without them knowing it," continued the guide. "See those holes in the Doors!"

In the back door, about half way down, was a slit about 4in. long and 3/4in. wide. Looking through this from within, when the door was closed, the eye had a clear view of the whole of the country stretching away to the rear of the homestead, for miles. It would have been impossible for anyone to have approached the place on that side without being seen by a watcher within. The door at the other side was similarly provided with a "lookout."

"This back door used to be the Kelly's front door," said the new owner of the place. Look at it carefully."

It was worth looking at. There was scarcely an inch of space on the plain pine boards that did not bear a mark of some kind. Initials of members of the gang, or of their friends and relatives, cut, scratched, or stained in the wood, were all over his rude drawings the work of idle moments, were there in plenty. The initials of all the Kelly girls were prominent. And there were many other initials that could not easily be "placed." So as to speak and others that were almost obliterated by time and weather.

Altogether the old door was a queer historic record; with some chronological value, as well, because many of the scratches and cuts had dates accompanying them.

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