Cookson, 04 09 1911 1

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4 September 1911

(full text transcription)





Not long ago paragraphs appeared in the Sydney newspapers announcing that "Patrick Allen, an elderly man, attempted to board a moving train at Auburn, fell between the carriages, and was killed."

This was the Patrick Allen who, during the long search for the outlaws after the Wombat murders, supplied the police with stores and necessaries. To do him justice, he supplied the other side as well, upon occasions. It was a condition with him that all goods should be delivered where required, and it did not matter at what time of night, or in what queer place they had to be left, they were always there.

Allen was a storekeeper at Beechworth, in a big way of business during the Kelly trouble. His mangled remains were strangely enough identified at the Auburn station by ex-Constable Fitzpatrick, the trooper whose attempt to arrest Dan Kelly at the homestead was the primary cause of the Kellys becoming outlaws.

Amongst the strange places to which this enterprising tradesman had to carry his merchandise was the hut in which the police and Aaron Sherritt were watching Mrs Byrne's house. Meeting with "The Sun" representative in Melbourne a few weeks ago, he related many incidents illustrative of the way in which the 'watch' was maintained.

"Sherritt," he said, "was an extraordinary man. He could stand anything-endure any hardship. He thought nothing of sleeping out in the wet and cold, and letting beetles and things run all over him. One day Constable Jim Dickson was in the hut, and he said to Sherritt, "Didn't you say you could lick any man in the police force?" "I can lick you anyway," replied Sherritt. And he did! Dickson was wearing a white shirt, and got it covered with blood. He started running across the bridge to report Sherritt to Ward, who was in charge. He met Mrs Sherritt, who promptly reminded him of the strict orders Ward had given them all and said that if he didn't go back at once he'd be marked. So he went back.

"They used to play all sorts of pranks in that hut. One day-they had a case of porter that day-they held a mock court. They tried Sherritt and Dickson for the fight. Dickson was adjudged guilty, and the sentence of the court was that he should be tied to the bed firmly till all the liquor had been consumed.

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the previous day / next day . . . BW Cookson in the Sydney Sun index