Sydney Sun, Cookson, 30 08 1911 2

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30 August 1911

(full text transcription)


"I'll tell you about the first time I got into trouble." He resumed, speaking with the deliberation of a man, who having chosen his words, does not need to repeat a thing. "Some lads ran away with a horse that they had found. I was down there (indicating the old Kelly homestead), on the road. A man said to me, "See whose horse that is." I said, "That's Mrs M'Cormack's." He said, "Take it back to her, but don't take anything if she offers you anything for it." I took the horse back and then went hunting with the boys. We were all young then. When M'Cormack came back he was told that his horse been ill-used; that it had been used to pull heavily-loaded waggons about. That was not true, as far as I know. I got into trouble for it. And I only saw the horse as the boys were playing with it.

"As to the other troubles:

"All the accounts that have been given by the police of what took place at the homestead when Fitzpatrick went there are untrue. They said Skillion and Williamson were there. That is not true. They were punished. But they were not there. They were nowhere near the place. Williamson, I may say, is now a farmer in a big way.

"Kate was sitting on a chair in the living room, with one of the children on her knee, when Fitzpatrick came. He was drunk. He had come from Benalla. He came after Dan. Dan had been out all day with horses, and had had no dinner. The old woman was at the fire getting the meal ready. The young trooper wanted to take Dan right away, though he admitted that he had no warrant. I said to Fitzpatrick, 'He's had no dinner. Let him have something to eat first. What do you want him for?" He replied, 'Never mind. He's wanted.' I said, 'Well you'll not take him without a warrant.'

"The trooper said that he would. He caught hold of Dan, and they started to wrestle.

"Now, remember, that this was all in our own house. The trooper had no right there. He had no legal authority. He was drunk, and he wanted Dan to go straight away with him without any dinner. A man's home is his castle. And Dan didn't want to go, till he had some food, anyway.

"There was a struggle, and Dan, who was a powerful lad for his age-he was then 17 - was too good for the trooper. In the struggle Fitzpatrick's belt came off. He said it was because I hit him. That was not true because I didn't. I never touched him. Dan was far too strong for him-that was all.

Fitzpatrick took his pistol and fired it off. He shot himself. No one else hurt him. But to say that Williamson and Skillion were there was all perjury. They were not. All the same, they were sentenced to long imprisonment-they and our mother, who had no part in the business at all. It shows what the police would do in those days. That was what started all our trouble. The trouble injustice of it all made us miserable and bitter.

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