Herald (24)

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The Herad continued with its report of the KellyGang.

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After sticking up that place they returned to their stronghold, and, seeing the great preparations that were being made by the police to arrest them, kept well under cover until last week. On hearing that Aaron Sherritt was engaged in giving information to the police, and knowing him to be a dangerous character, from the knowledge he possessed of their haunts, they determined to get rid of him at any cost. The black trackers were said to have left the district also, and as these people were always a thorn in the side of the gang, it was thought that the time had arrived for a fresh raid. Ned Kelly had always a grand scheme in his mind for the sticking up of the police quarters, and longed for the opportunity to carry it out. As soon as Sherritt was murdered, it was decided to proceed at once to Glenrowan, wreck the train containing the police and the black trackers, and then come straight into Benalla and stick up the banks there. Had they carried out this scheme of operations, the consequence would have been dreadful in the extreme. Cased in their bullet-proof armour they could have defied the efforts of the bank clerks to resist them, and indeed the police for that matter; and would in all probability have lorded it over Benalla for a day or two, committed the most dreadful crimes and retired once more into their impregnable mountain fastnesses.

However, the unexpected termination of their wrecking scheme cut short very quickly all their ideas of robbing the Benalla banks. And in this matter too much praise cannot be given to the principals engaged in stopping short the raid of the outlaws. Had the special train gone over the embankment and the passengers been destroyed, the scheme of the outlaws would have been carried out to the letter, and the most ruthless crimes committed. telegraph operators also should be favourably mentioned. Mr Cheshire’s prompt conduct and unflagging vigilance are to be praised, if not substantially recognised. Mr Gregan, who was sent up specially for duty, did his work with zeal and perseverance which was primarily instrumental in getting the news to town. Mr Saxe, the operator in charge at Benalla worked very hard, as did also the others connected with the department.

Amongst the police, the first batch which arrived from Benalla at 3:15 am on Monday morning at Glenrowan was composed of Superintendent Hare, Senior-constable Kelly, and Constables Barry, Canny, Arthur, Phillips, Gascoigne, and Kirkham. Sub-inspector O'Connor, with the native police, viz., Hero, Jimmy, Jack, Johnny and Barney came up in the same train. The second Benalla batch, which arrived at 5:10 am , was composed of Superintendent Sadleir, Sergeant Whelan, Constables Smyth, Milne, Wilson, Wallace, Graham, Kelly, Stillard, Riley, Hewitt, and two black trackers named Moses and Spider. The third batch, which came from Wangaratta at the same time, consisted of Sergeant Steele and Constables Montiford, Moore, Dixon, Dwyer, Walsh, Cawsey and Healey. The fourth batch, which came from Violet Town, was composed of Senior-Constable Johnson, and Constables Melham, Stowe and McDonald. The fifth batch, from Beechworth, consisted of Senior-constable Mullane and Constables Alexander, MacColl, Duross, Dowling, Armstrong, Glenny, Wickham, McHugh and Major.

Another person who also deserves the greatest credit in being instrumental in giving to headquarters the movements of the gang in the ranges is Constable Falkiner. In disguise and alone, wandered for months over the most inaccessible country, and constantly obtained news of the gang. There is no doubt, but that the members of the gang visited the various townships in the district at different times, some people even going as far as to state that Byrne visited Benalla itself.

Although the country is at present quiet, and no other acts of violence are feared for the time being, it is certain that before long fresh depredations will be committed, and perhaps within a month another gang will be loosened in the ranges. The capture of the Kellys will be a lesson that will long be remembered, but it is doubtful whether it will have a lasting effect.

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