Cookson, 29 08 1911 3

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29 August 1911

(full text transcription)

LIVING DOWN THE FAMILY DISGRACE "You want to find Jim Kelly? Well, you're just in luck. It's seldom that he's around here for more than a day or two in months, but he's about somewhere now. Joe'll know. Here, Joe; Jim Kelly's around here somewhere. I saw him. Just get around and find out what he's about."

It was the landlord of the Glenrowan Hotel who was talking. And it was to the pressman from the Sydney "Sun" that he spoke. So Joe, being handy man at the hotel, and not given to questioning orders, set out on his quest. He was away some time. But he returned with news. His clothing was soaked and his boots coxed water - for the rain still fell steadily, and with the evident purpose of keeping up all day.

Joe reported that the eldest male survivor of the famous Kelly family was drafting sheep in one of the back paddocks, and that we could see him there in half an hour or so we decided to wait.

Certainly there is nothing to attract one out of doors - no sound but the swish and patter of rain. The air is full of moisture. The lofty heights on the further side of the railway, the famous Morgan's Look-out amongst them - are invisible - they have not been seen for days, the people say. Clouds envelop them and roll heavily along their steep wooded slopes. Down to the foothills are banks of watery mist. The old battleground - on which once stood Jones's Hotel, the scene of the final catastrophe to the Kellys - is for the most part under water. So are the streets. And still it rains.

There is no prospect of it ceasing, so we presently go in quest of Mr James Kelly, braving the elements. In the bush one must not take any notice of "just a rain," because it is considered effeminate to do so. Rain is sent for the good of man. It is falling now, veritable dew from Heaven, upon a land parched with long drought. And rain, in such circumstances, one cannot have too much of, and should not strive to avoid - even though it soaks through all one's clothing and runs down chillingly into ones boots.

"Good fellow, Jim Kelly," remarks Joe, as we swish-swash through a partially submerged paddock. "People round here have a lot of respect for him. The way he looks after his mother and his sisters children is more than most men would do. And I'll say this for him - there's not a man more trusted in all the country than what he is. Mind that barbed wire - there's a wider panel a bit ahead - that's right - it isn't there now. But - you'll find Jim all right - all right - and all white, too. That's him, over at the bottom of that paddock - tall man with the black whiskers."

Then Joe lifts up a voice of no weak calibre, and sends a shout or two hurtling through the mist of wetness. And out, towards us, from the mist, comes striding Jim himself.

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