Kilmore Free Press at KellyGang 26/9/1878 (2)
THE MANSFIELD TRAGEDY
The intelligence from Mansfield, published Monday morning, that two mounted constables had been shot dead by bushrangers, whilst the fate of a third, who was missing, was unknown, caused extraordinary excitement in Melbourne. The telegrams which were received by Captain Standish ?? disjointed narrative of ?? but it was made ap-?? four desperadoes ap-?? them being brothers ?? to which these two ruffians ?? rendered themselves notorious in the month of April last, in consequence of their brutal conduct towards Constable Fitzpatrick, when he attempted to arrest Daniel Kelly, who is a youth only 17 years of age, at the house of his mother at Greta, on a charge of horsestealing. The officer was then attacked by the other members of the family and was shot in the wrist. They beat Fitzpatrick unmercifully, and then permitted him to depart, but pursued him afterwards, and he had to gallop for his life. The mother, Mrs Kelly, and two men, were subsequently convicted of the assault at the Beechworth sessions, but the two Kellys absconded and have been at large, although a reward of £100 has been offered by the Government for their apprehension. Edward Kelly is twenty-two years of age, and has more than once been convicted for horsestealing.
Last week intelligence was received at Mansfield that the Kellys were at work with a party of men at Stringy Bark Creek, in the Wombat Ranges. The country at this place, which is twenty miles distant from Mansfield, is covered by a thick scrub, and is not settled upon. During the week sub-Inspector Pewtress, who is in charge of the Mansfield district, despatched four constables to Stringy Bark Creek, to search for and arrest Edward Kelly. The party consisted of Sergeant Kennedy, and Constables Lonnigan, Scanlon, and M'Intyre. They started on Thursday night, and nothing was known of their movements on Friday, but on the following morning they were attacked by four armed men, of whom two were recognised as the brothers Kelly. The intention of the police to effect the capture of these two ruffians must have been known by the murderers, who were thus enabled to attack the constables at a disadvantage. The police had camped at the spot on the preceding night, and Constables Lonnigan and M'Intyre were left in charge of the camp in the morning, the other two officers being engaged in searching for Stringy Bark Creek.
The four men suddenly made their appearance and ordered Lonnigan and M'Intyre to deliver up their arms. M'Intyre was unarmed, but Lonnigan bravely attempted to draw his revolver from behind his back and was shot dead by the ruffianly band. Soon afterwards Kennedy and Scanlon approached the camp, no doubt unsuspecting and on their arrival were confronted by the four men. Scanlon, on being ordered to deliver up his arms, rushed for the shelter of a tree, attempting to draw his revolver as he ran, he, too, was shot dead. M'Intyre during that scene managed to escape and as he left Sergeant Kennedy was exchanging shots with the bushrangers. M'Intyre's horse evidently must have been injured in some way, as he had to abandon it and proceed on foot to Mansfield, where he communicated the startling intelligence of the terrible tragedy on Sunday evening. The cause of his delay is not satisfactorily explained, but it may fairly be presumed that after abandoning his horse he became afraid of being pursued by the murderers of his comrades, and remained in hiding all day on Saturday.
At Mansfield the greatest excitement was caused by the news, and parties of volunteers and all the available police at once set out for the scene of the tragedy. The following telegrams received yesterday by Captain Standish will best explain the action subsequently taken by sub-Inspector Pewtress and party:-
"Mansfield, 28th October:-Three volunteers just arrived from Stringy Bark Creek. They report that the company of pursuers, headed by Sub-inspector Pewtress, found the dead bodies of Constables Scanlon and Lonnigan. The police camp was burnt. The bodies of the officers were found to be rifled. Scanlon was shot through the throat whilst a bullet had pierced the brain of constable Lonnigan. The party searched the bush thoroughly for Sergeant Kennedy, but they obtained no trace of the missing officer. Horses hoofs were tracked by the volunteers leading in the direction of the River. The bodies of Scanlon and Lonnigan were packed by volunteers on horseback to Wombat whence conveyances will bring them to Benalla.-H. W. KITCHEN, J.P."
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