Illustrated Australian News at KellyGang 12/4/1879
THE QUEENSLAND NATIVE POLICE
Edward Kelly and his confederates, who murdered three constables at the Wombat Ranges in October last, and who subsequently stuck up and plundered the Euroa and Jeril- derie banks, have not yet been arrested. No-thing but the barest rumors of them has reached the police since their excursion into New South Wales. There have been several scares and false alarms in the North-eastern and North-western district of the colony, but the police have not succeeded in getting on their tracks.
The government of New South Wales, following the example of the Victorian government, has passed an act through Parliament declaring the gang outlaws, and authorising any person to shoot them down without warning. They have also offered a reward of £4000, which with £4000 offered by this colony, places £8000 on the heads of these out- laws, whether they be taken dead or alive.
The fame of the Queensland Native Police induced the two governments to negotiate with the Police department of Brisbane in order to secure the services of their Native Police as trackers immediately the Kellys are next heard of. A detachment of this able body of men arrived in Sydney from Queensland several weeks ago under the command of Mr. Inspector Stanhope O'Connor. They came overland from Sydney to Benalla, where they have taken up their head- quarters.
Owing to no tracks of the Kellys being discovered since the Jerilderie affair, the native police have not been able to commence operations. It has been reported that the gang remained in New South Wales a week after that robbery, and then parted company, and returned one by one to their old haunts in the Strathbogie Ranges and King River district. They have certainly been very quiet and do not seem disposed to repeat any more such daring theatrical performances. They have boasted that they do not care for the Victorian or New South Wales police, and that they are determined to war with them to the knife. This is for the simple reason that they know the country so well that they manage to elude the search of the ordinary mounted troopers.
They have, however, every reason to be afraid of the Queensland blackfellow. From reliable information which we have received, we can state as a fact that the Kellys are in mortal dread of them, and that they will not venture into any open country where any of their tracks could be followed, for it is said of these Native Police that so keen is their faculty of seeing and pursuing on a given trail, once they are set upon it, that they never lose it no matter how intricate or involved it may be. They have been known in Queensland to pursue a flying criminal hundreds of miles and ultimately come up to him and arrest him. They travel on horseback, look and follow the trail at full gallop when it is pretty clear, and when it is indistinct they get off their horses and trace it at a walking pace, noting the footsteps or horseshoe marks by the slightest depression in the soil, a broken twig, or a bent piece of grass. The Kellys will have to fight for their lives once the black- fellows get on their tracks, for they carry carbines, and can shoot with precision and fight with the desperation of demons when their blood is up. Since their arrival in Victoria one of their number has died of a cold which he caught on the way from Queensland, and from which he could not be cured. The men are very fond of their commander, Mr. Inspector O'Connor, whom they implicitly obey and respect.
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