Last modified on 20 November 2015, at 21:05

The Argus at KellyGang 30/10/1878 (2)

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see previous The Argus at KellyGang 30/10/1878





It was 9 o’clock this morning before the last of the search party left the township. There were seven mounted troopers, seven or eight townspeople, and Inspector Pewtress. Most of them were provisioned for three or four days. The police had four or five rifles (two of them excellent weapons, sent by a private individual) and revolvers. McIntyre stated yesterday that for an expedition against men like the Kellys revolvers were comparatively useless, and that the police ought to have breechloaders. The main object of the expedition is to find Kennedy, and from the character of the man, his coolness and tact, it is probable that he is still alive, only detained as prisoner. He had not been personally concerned in the pursuit of the Kellys, and so they had no special grievance against him. The scene of the murders lies in the ranges beyond the Wombat Peak , only 16 or 17 miles north-east of Mansfield as the crow flies. The country thence to the head of the King, 12 or 15 miles further on, is described as most difficult to cross. Dense wattle and bogwood scrub prevails everywhere. Not long ago some prospectors lost a horse near Stringy-bark Creek, but did not find the animal for three weeks; yet all the time it was in hobbles only a mile and a half from camp.

The belief generally entertained is that the Kellys can conceal themselves in the ranges for months. They have friends to supply them with food. They have just got eight days provisions from the police, abundance of ammunition, and 10 firearms. For all that, it would not do to let any band of marauders suppose that they can establish themselves in the ranges with impunity. The government have offered a reward of £200 a head for the men; but they must go a great deal higher than that, and send a first-class body of troopers to the ground.

It is pretty certain that intelligence of the departure of the police was carried across to Kelly’s head-quarters last Friday. He came upon the camp on Saturday forenoon, probably alone or with his brother, but did not care to attack the two constables until he had brought up the rest of his party. Hence the delay. They descended on the camp through clumps of saw-edged sword-grass between 6ft. and 7ft. high. The tent stood in the middle of about three acres of cleared ground, and commanded a good view of all approaches except the one through the sword-grass. No precautions were taken to prevent surprise, because the police never suspected that an attack would be attempted. Edward Kelly must have had full particulars communicated to him, for in his talk with McIntyre, he described each of the horses, asked who rode them, and who carried the rifle. There were four troopers’ horses and two pack-horses. The police carried their revolvers buttoned up in cases, and so could not get them out in time to fire.

On Monday, two friends of the Kellys came into the township from Benalla, viz, Isaiah (or Wild) Wright and his brother, a deaf and dumb man. Isaiah Wright underwent imprisonment about a year ago for horse-stealing. He stated in the hotel bars that he meant to go out and join Kelly, and somewhat in bravo style warned one or two persons to stay in the township to-day unless they wanted to get shot. He said he believed Kelly would torture Kennedy, and he was only sorry for Scanlan. Though a good many of Wright’s remarks only amounted to his customary bluster, yet the police thought it prudent to lock both brothers up. They were about the streets when the party started, and had their horses ready, so it was not improbable that one of them meant to ride straight off with news to Kelly. The arrest of "Wild" Wright was made so hurriedly that he had no time to resist.


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