Cookson, 16 09 1911 1

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16 September 1911

(full text transcription)



Mr A Beresford Turner furnishes the following account of his capture by the Kelly outlaws-

I arrived in Melbourne in 1880. I was possessed of but a small amount of cash, and having no settled income to draw from I determined to lose no time in endeavoring to obtain employment - the more so as the laying of the foundation of my future home depended upon my own exertions. I was glancing over the "Argus" one morning when my eye caught a paragraph giving the latest account of the outlaws - the Kelly gang. Having perused the item with all the excited eagerness of youth, I turned to a column containing the following advertisement:- Wanted for the Strathbogie Ranges, a strong, active young man as working overseer on a large station; new arrival preferred. Apply Hastie Cummings and Co., Bourke-street West."

"If I could only succeed in obtaining this position." I though, "It would suit me admittedly." I possessed the necessary qualifications of youth, strength, and activity, and, without any very critical scrutiny, one could see I was a new arrival. But, thought I, the Strathbogie, I am informed, is the special haunt of the Kelly gang. I am tall, and am told have a military appearance. The gang might take me for a trooper in disguise, and pot me at sight , but a soldier's son is not to be deterred from gaining a good position by the thought of a bushranger. So here goes.

I got the job.

I left Spencer-street station early on the following morning, and arrived at Longwood about midday. From thence I proceeded to Mansfield by coach, in which conveyance I was fortunate in securing a box seat. The team attached to the coach was a 'four-in-hand.'

The rattle of the coach and the fall of the iron-shod horses' feet mingled in merry union on sun-licked surface of the bush track. I would have given anything to have handled the ribbons that guided this lively team, but Cobb and Co.'s drivers are very jealous of their abilities, and rarely part with the reins. "Got a ticket for Mansfield?" said the driver, after an interval of silence. "Yes," replied I, "How far is it?" "

'Bout forty miles," was the reply , "Special?"

"Special what?" I asked. "Correspondent for the newspapers?"

"No," replied the driver. "Special trap - plain clothes - bobby?"

As false impressions in this conversation were likely to lead to serious results. I at once determined to remove them by stating that my destination was Mount Battery Station, and I was careful to inquire if I was understood. "Yes" I understand." Said the driver, adding, "Jackeroo? Two went up last week."

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