Cookson, 14 09 1911 1

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14 September 1911

(full text transcription)



"Of course," said Mr Grovenor, "you know the trouble the police had to find any trace of the Kellys after they took possession of the town of Jerilderie. Everybody but the police knew where they were quite well. For three weeks of the time Ned Kelly was in Melbourne amusing himself, whilst the three others were lying low in the ranges. They suffered no hardship there because the money they got from the bank at Jerilderie was put into circulation promptly and freely, and the whole country was friendly to them. Ned also had no needs of cash to have a good time in the capital. His idea of a good time, it seems, was to enjoy the discomfiture of the police at their non success at catching himself and his associates. It may have been a foolish risk to take, but it must be remembered that Ned Kelly was a man of good appearance, well built, and not at all ill-looking. When dressed in good tailor-made clothes, he looked the gentleman all over. And it was in this disguise that he managed to fool all the police with whom he came in contact in the city and to enjoy a real good time in satirically criticising their futile efforts to capture those notorious outlaws the Kellys. Not once during the three weeks of his stay in the city was his identity even suspected."


Mr Grovenor had lots of stories to tell about Kate Kelly and her active sympathy for the "boys" as she called them. She had frequent encounters with the police, in the course of which, when wit and resource were the weapons used, she was invariably victorious. Once, as she was riding home from Euroa, just after the outlaws had taken possession of that place, she met a body of police on the road. Of course, Kate was full of information that evening - it was after dark - that would have vastly interested the police, but she was not communicative. None of the officers knew her, and the man in charge asked her if she were not afraid to be riding alone like that at night in a country infested by outlaws. "Afraid of what?" she asked. "Why," said the officer, "of the Kellys catching you." The girl laughed merrily. "The Kellys?" No, I'm not scared. I'm not a policeman. "If you were a Kelly, do you know what I'd do to you?" Quickly withdrawing her hand from under her riding skirt she levelled a nasty-looking revolver at the officer, and said, "This is what I keep for the Kellys, or for anyone else who interferes with me." Then laughing merrily, she sent her horse ahead and disappeared in the darkness.


"I remember," said Mr Governor, "about six years ago Jim Kelly showing me a police trooper's iniform that he had found at the old homestead, I think, and that had certainly come from the police barracksin Jerilderie when the outlaws took possesstion of that place, beginning, as usual, with the police station. 'Bill,' said Jim, 'what shall I do with this thing?' I though it out for a while and I didn't see that any good could be gained by keeping it, so I said, 'It's no use to you or anyone else; make a bonfire of it.' And he did. Oh, yes, he could have sold it. I dearsay, to a waxworks or something of that sort. It was an interesting sort of relic, but Jim isn't that sort of fellow at all.

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