The Age 31/10/78
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MURDER OF TWO CONSTABLES
THE MANSFIELD TRADGEDY
Mansfield 27th October
Another day has passed without any clue having been obtained to the where abouts of the murderous ruffians whose horrible deeds are now engaging the attention of all the Australian colonies, neither is there any intelligence of Sergeant Kennedy, whose fate still remains a mystery, although there is a strong reason to fear that he has also fallen a victim to the assassins. Recognising the absolute necessity for the capture of the murderers under any circumstances, whether dead or alive, and taking into consideration the fact that they are receiving assistance from several wretches of a nature akin to themselves in the neighbourhood in which they are hiding, the Government determined upon taking further measures to facilitate their being brought to justice.
During yesterday morning a special meeting of the Executive Council was held for the consideration of the matter. The amount of the reward, to the insufficiency of which we yesterday drew attention, was discussed, and it was unanimously resolved to increase it to ₤500 for each man. The Cabinet also resolved to take the necessary steps to have the murderers outlawed, and no act being in existence under which such a proclamation could be made, it was decided to at once introduce a special bill, and pass it through all its stages, in order that it might become law immediately. In accordance with that decision the Attorney-General had the bill drafted, and it was subsequently introduced by him into the Legislative Assembly, passed through all its stages, and ordered to be sent to the Legislative Council, by which House it will probably be passed to-day. The bill, which is modelled upon a similar enactment recently passed in New South Wales, provides that after information has been laid against any person for any capital offence, a judge may cause the accused to be summoned, and if the person so summoned does not surrender a proclamation may be issued by the Governor, with the advice of the Executive Council, and the accused person may be apprehended either dead or alive by any one. As soon as the bill is passed by the Council the necessary steps will at once be taken and the murderers will be brought under its provisions. During the afternoon a supplement to the Government Gazette was issued, authorising the payment of the increased reward of ₤500 for each ruffian, and the men whenever seen can after outlawry, be shot down without compunction or any option being given to them as to surrender.
During yesterday various rumors were current with regard to Sergeant Kennedy, all of which were to the effect that he had been discovered and in some cases it was stated that although found alive he died shortly afterwards. No official confirmation of these statements in any degree has been received. Yesterday afternoon information was given to the police department to the effect that four men answering the description of the murderers had been seen in the vicinity of Malmsbury, but no further communication came to hand, and it is very doubtful wether they could have travelled as far in the time. The two Wrights, who were arrested on Tuesday, were yesterday dealt with by the local authorities, the dumb brother being discharged and the other remanded without bail for seven days. The reward which is now offered will probably be sufficient to tempt the cupidity of some of those who are harbouring the miscreants, and in the course of a few days they may be brought to justice. The following was received yesterday from our Mansfield correspondent:-
By Electric Telegraph .
Mansfield 30 th October
The search party returned about midnight after a fruitless journey. The description given by them of the country is frightful, as it consists of deep gullies filled with long grass and scrub and immense fallen trees, and closed in by steeply timbered hill. There is every chance for men to conceal themselves within even a few yards of their pursuers. The party left five constables at Monks hut for the night. The two brothers Wild and Dummy Wright, brothers in law of the Kellys, were brought up at the police court thios morning, charged with using threatening language towards members of the search party. The dumb brother was discharged, but the elder brother, known as Wild Wright, was remanded for seven days , and bail refused. Four more troopers arrived at one o’clock from Melbourne , but they have no knowledge of the country. It has been suggested here that the Government should offer a free pardon to one of the Kelly’s mates if he will give information leading to the capture of the rest of the gang. Another party will be organised at four o’clock to accompany the police who have just arrived from Melbourne , and to meet the police left at Monk’s hut. The news has been received with much satisfaction that the reward has been increased by the Government to ₤500 for each man. The new search party will include storekeepers, clerks, councillors, clergymen, wardsmen, contractors, labourers, &c., and will be headed by Mr James Tomkins, president of the shire council. All business has been entirely suspended. A reward has been offered for the recovery of Sergeant Kennedy, alive or dead. The last party took with them sufficient provisions to last for a week. The widow of Constable Lanigan arrived here last night, but was too late to see the body of her husband, it having been previously interred. Great sympathy is felt for Mrs Kennedy, who is almost distracted on account of the uncertainty of her husband’s fate
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