Kelly Country

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The Kelly Country in the KellyGang story


The following description of the Kelly Country comes from the report of the Royal Commission. It gives a good description of the country the KellyGang called home.

"That portion of the North-Eastern district known as the Kelly country may be said to embrace the triangular tract lying between the points formed by the townships of Mansfield, Benalla, and Beechworth, together with the country lying to the west of the line of railway which extends to the Murray, including the vicinity of Lake Rowan, the Warby Ranges, and the neighborbood of the Woolshed. This constitutes a large and diversified extent of territory, measuring about 1,600 square miles.

It is in parts well suited for agricultural purposes, and settlement of late years there has been rapid and permanent; but in the main, especially to the north-east, it consists of mountain ranges with innumerable spurs, forming steep ravines and slopes so heavily timbered, covered with scrub, and encumbered with huge boulders, that for the greater part it is almost inaccessible.

The country is intersected by numerous creeks and rivers; and recently bush tracks have been cut, and roads capable of vehicular traffic constructed; land has been taken up eagerly, and an intelligent, honest, and hard-working population is steadily settling on the soil. It was, however, evident from the first that the peculiar characteristics of the country afforded special facilities for the operations of such lawless characters as the Quins, the Lloyds, and the Kellys, who, if pursued by the police, could seek refuge in the fastnesses of the mountains and defy all the attempts of the authorities to arrest them.

The district tying to the north and north-west of Mansfield, in the vicinity of which Sergeant Kennedy and Constables Lonigan and Scanlan were murdered by the KellyGang, is exceptionally wild and broken. Here the various branches of the Broken River, the King River, and some smaller streams take their rise, flowing in a northerly direction, while the principal ranges trend in lines nearly parallel with their courses. In this isolated and still sparsely-inhabited spot, not far from the junction of the right and left branches of the King River, and about 40 miles from Mansfield, Glenmore is situated. The homestead of the elder Quin lay directly in the track - the only one existing in the early days - between Mansfield and the Murray. It was principally utilized by cattle stealers, who, owing to the rugged and inhospitable character of the country, were enabled to pass to and fro without risk of being intercepted by the police." (RC2nd reportStoryII)

Ass Com Nicolson had a wider view that went out almost to Omeo. (RC472)