Cookson, 13 09 1911 3

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13 September 1911

(full text transcription)



"Now." Said Mr Grovenor, "I can tell you something that puzzled the police all through their long chase, but which they have never discovered yet. That was the actual rendezvous of the outlaws at Glenrowan. It was not the old homestead where they used to meet and obtain supplies of ammunition and stores. They went there occasionally. They had been there, as a matter of fact, when the police were there. Their real rendezvous was eight miles away, in what was known as the Greta Swamp.

"Right in the middle of this swamp there was a small two-roomed weatherboard building. Never mind who it belonged to-that does not matter now. But the owner was a man who believed Kelly's story of what happened on the afternoon of Fitzpatrick's disastrous visit, and who keenly sympathised with them and with the other members of the family in the terrible position in which they became involved.

"It was to this hut that the outlaws used to repair whenever they wanted stores or ammunition, and it might be said here that their necessities in the way of ammunition were large. They fully recognised that in any encounter with the police their safety would depend upon their own marksmanship. They knew that the police were but indifferently armed, and that they were all very poor shots. The outlaws lost no opportunity of practising. Old residents of that district were not far out in saying that it was their custom to gallop at full speed on horseback to and from the homestead, and to practice with their firearms as they rode the trees by the wayside. Naturally they all became most accurate and fatal shots.

"The police had the idea that the boys used to get their provisions from a hollow log not far from their old home. They did use the log as a kind of bush refectory on some few occasions, but the lonely little hut in the middle of the swamp was their true rendezvous. It was there that they used to find the provisions left for them by their sisters-Kate and Maggie. These girls were possibly the bravest Australian women who over rode on horseback. They were afraid of nothing. The bush had no terrors for them by day or by night. They could find their way in daylight or darkness where experienced men would go astray. And they were brim full of enthusiasm throughout the whole of the trouble in which their brothers were involved, which enthusiasm was principally directed to ameliorating the wretched condition to which they had become reduced.

"I may say here," said the visitor, "that this hut was subsequently taken down and was re-erected in Glenrowan. The doors are the same as they were 32 years ago, and both of them are pierced with holes for observation and rifle practice upon any enemy.

"I don't know that there's any real objection to saying who owned that hut. It was a man named M'Aulife. He is dead now. No one ever lived in it whilst it was in the swamp. No one would ever think of living in such a place. But the Kellys used it continually, and had the police exercised ordinary intelligence they should have been able to have caught the four of them at their lonely rendezvous on at least one of a dozen occasions. This hut was eight miles from the Kelly homestead.

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