Cookson, 17 09 1911 1

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17 September 1911

(full text transcription)


"BAIL UP!" "This Wild Wright was a noted character in the district. True to his name, he was a wild, reckless man, and a daring horseman. He had been known to take a flying leap from the bank right into the deepest part of the river, and on raising the surface both horse and rider had swum to the opposite shore. He and his horse is black bobtailed were known far and wide. Wild Wright was a well-known friend of the bushrangers, and his movements were pretty closely watched by the police, but the result was not a success.

Among the station hands were two brothers who were born in the same part of the country. They could take a bee line to any part of it. In the scrub they were utterly regardless of any track or bridle path. I was brought into frequent contact with these two young stockman, and as they were decent, unassuming young men I became very partial to them, and the friendly feeling was mutual I had often expressed a wish to visit the spot where the first encounter between the police and the bushrangers had taken place though this spot was near to the boundary of the next station. So dense was the scrub, unless one know the district he could not find it. I had not given expression to my wish to anyone but the two brothers and my reason for choosing them was that I knew they could keep their own counsel. It took some time and a considerable amount of persuasion, but for a consideration they ultimately agreed to guide me. It was agreed that on a certain day they were to go over to the adjoining run designedly to round up stragglers. We were to meet at the Broken River crossing at daylight. They gave me strict instructions as to my dress and general get up. I was not to wear coat or vest. I was not to have anything strapped to my saddle, or carry anything in my hands. In my keen anxiety to achieve my object I readily agreed to the conditions imposed. I was well mounted, and at the meeting place at the appointed time. Our road lay through heavily-timbered country, blue and red gum, box, stringy bark, iron bark, wattle, messmate, and an occasional sheoak. The undergrowth was not thick, but increased as we proceeded. I noticed we were ascending what appeared to me to be a range. I had been told not to take my horse at a faster pace than a walk, unless instructed to do so. The guides had increased the distance between us. The only sounds we heard were those made by our horses as they trod the hard ground, the screeching of the parrots overhead, or the occasional thud of the kangaroo as he bounded away, conscious of his natural enemy - man. We had travelled about three miles from the end of the road when the guides suddenly wheeled to the left, right into the dense scrub. As there was not the slightest appearance of track or bridle path where they turned I began to feel uneasy, and paused to look around before following, but they signalled me to come on, and I did so. We struggled through the scrub for some distance, when those in advance came to another halt. On closing up to them the elder brother said, addressing me:- "Now, you follow as close as you can. Don't speak unless spoken to. If I hold up my hand thus, stop at once. If anyone hails you from right or left or from the rear come to a standstill. Now come on."

To me the position was novel, but not pleasant. My guides had known the Kellys from childhood, and were quite safe, though they might meet them at any moment.

Having negotiated some difficult country I was on the spot where two men were shot dead almost simultaneously, and the third, though the brave fellow emptied his six-shooter. Shared the same fate.

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