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Side of KellyGang
This page contains content from people who supported the KellyGang.
The Story of the Kelly Gang 1906.jpg

What was a sympathizer

The police called people who supported the KellyGang sympathizers.

The sympathizers kept watch on the police and their coming and goings. They also did lots of other things to assist the KellyGang. see (RC16129)

Tom Lloyd scouted and fronted for the KellyGang in public. In a way he was the fifth member.

At the time of the hunt for the KellyGang after the Stringy Bark Creek Murders, Nicolson noted before the Royal Commission that, ' At that time we could get little or no assistance from the inhabitants, and the people were all though the country in such a state of terror. Civility was shown us in every town in the district, but no information given. The people seemed to be more afraid of the gang than confident in the police.' (RC361)

Following the Stringy Bark Creek murders on 26/10/1878 there was an initial public out cry against the KellyGang. The newspapers were full of wild suppositions. Soon people changed. The police reported that people were polite but they gave no information.

Sympathizers ran through Mansfield (Argus16/11/78)

Where we behind all the reported citings of the KellyGang. (Argus16/12/78)

The KellyGang were seen about that time at Kerang, near Echuca; that they were seen near Gaffney's Creek; that they were seen on the Strathbogie; that they were seen at Oxley, Myrtleford, Hedi; in Gippsland and it is impossible to say where not. (RC1852)

It is clear sympathizers assisted in looking after the captives at Faithfull's Creek Station and in planning for the Euroa robbery in December 1878. (RC554)

The Euroa bank was stuck up by the outlaws, and they went away riding three bay horses and one grey. For months after that the police used to get reports from every side of the district of three men on bay horses and one on grey. The sympathizers and the lads in the country did it on purpose. The police used to get one grey and three bays reported from Shepparton one day, Wodonga another, Strathbogie the day after. The police could not allow one single iota of evidence to drop without enquiring into it when the information came saying the men had been seen. (RC1342)

Mass arrests

In January 1879 Standish got all the responsible police in charge of different stations who had been a long time in Benalla-the detectives and officers-were all collected at Benalla. The different constables and officers and detectives all went into a room, and were asked the names of the persons in the district whom they considered to be sympathizers. Sup Hare merely listening and taking down names that fell from the mouths of the men. (RC1266) (RC2029) (Argus4/1/79) (Argus6/1/79) (Argus13/1/79) (OMA7/1/1879) (Argus20/1/79) (Argus24/1/79) (OMA24/1/1879) (Alexandra25/1/1879) (Argus3/2/79) (Argus10/2/79) (OMA13/2/1879) (Argus17/2/79) (OMA18/2/79) (Argus26/2/79) (OMA27/2/79) (OMA20/2/1879) (Argus5/3/79) (Argus12/3/79) (Argus13/3/79) (OMA13/3/79) (Argus14/4/79) (Argus17/4/79) (Argus22/4/79) (Argus23/4/79) (Alexandra26/4/1879)(JJK)

Following this about 20 sympathizers goaled for supporting the KellyGang. The were never brought to trial, but held in goal from week to week after being remanded by the Magistrates, including Mr Foster. Initially this approach was popular with people in Melbourne but it led to all sources of information for the police drying up. After about 3 months the sympathizers were let free.

Sup Hare had to go up, some five or six or seven times, to Beechworth every Friday afternoon, and remain there all Saturday-sometimes all Sunday, because he could not get away on Sunday-applying for a remand, and fighting for it.(RC1265)

Cases before the court held in the Gaol (OMA18/1/79)

Mr Wyatt remanded many of the cases. (RC2256)

Where we in Jerilderie, just to help the boys? (Argus14/2/79)

The press reported that we were seen in Benalla, big deal? (Argus16/10/79)

We were happy to help the boys, even if it ment carrying guns. (Argus10/8/80)

Some people think that the life of a sympathizer was romantic. Please spend a few moments reading about the selectors and how they lived. They were our sympathisers. (Argus27/4/80)

The Royal Commission made the following comment about these arrests:

"Several persons were taken into custody against whom no evidence could be obtained, while a number of persons known or suspected of being in close and intimate relations with the gang were allowed to remain at large. As a consequence, when the cases were called on, remand after remand was applied for and granted, until finally the magisterial bench at Beechworth discharged the prisoners. Those apparently arbitrary proceedings were not salutary in their effects. They did violence to people's ideas of the liberty of the subject; they irritated and estranged probably many who might have been of service to the police; they failed to allay apprehensions of further outrages on the part of the gang, or to prevent them from obtaining the requisite supplies; they crippled the usefulness of the officers, who had to be called away from active duty in connection with the pursuit to attend the petty sessions at Beechworth, when remands were applied for; and, what was of more significance, the failure of the prosecutions led the public to believe that the conduct of affairs was mismanaged" (RC2nd ReportX)

The problem with the law continued (Argus5/5/79)

At Jerilderie

Some sympathizers were in town to help the boys? (JJK)

At Glenrowan

SConst Kelly noted that the sympathizers were galloping about the place before the Glenrowan siege. (RC8043)

The attitude of the sympathisers to the outcome (Argus8/7/80)(MDTel1/7/80) (MDTel1/7/80)

Who was a sympathizer, some of the many

Brown, Charles

Burke, Edward of Black Range

Chandler (RC16317)

Cain Jack (Argus12/3/79)


Clancey, James

Delaney, Daniel,

Francis (OMA13/3/79)

Haney, Michael

Hart, John

Harty, Frank

King William

.Was there a feeling to continue the fight (Kilmore2/9/1880)

Lloyd, Jack Jnr

Lloyd, Tom Jun

Lloyd, Tom Sen

Loury, Allen



McElory, John

McMonigle, Jack

Miller, Robert

Nolan Daniel

Nolan, Jack [[../../people/peQ_R/quinnJackJnKf.html|Nolan Michael]]

Perkins, Henry

Quinn, Jack Jnr[[../../people/peQ_R/quinnJimmyKf.html|../../people/peQ_R/quinnJimmyKf.html]]

Quinn, Jimmy

Ryan, Joe

Stewart, John

Stewart, Walter,

Strickland, Richard,

Strickland, William,

Tanner William

[[../../people/peU_Z/woodsWilliamSy.html|Woods, William]]

Wright, Wild

The problem of the police had with sympathizers

The police saw the sympathizers as a problem. The moves of the police in Benalla, Wangaratta, Mansfield, and Beechworth were closely watched by the numerous friends and sympathizers of the outlaws. Hear what Com Standish to say the problem.

" ...The Kellys, as is well known had an enormous number of sympathisers in the district, and after their outrages there is not the slightest doubt that a great many respectable men were in dread of their lives, and were intimidated by a fear of the consequences from giving any information whatsoever to the police. Not only their lives and those of their families were in danger but their cattle, and sheep, and horses, and property were liable to be stolen or destroyed; in addition to which there is not the slightest doubt that there was an enormous number of tradesmen in the district who were so benefited by the large increase of the police, and by the consequent expenditure, that they were only too glad that this unpleasant business was protracted for so many months. I may also state that a great many of the local papers never lost an opportunity of attacking the police in the most unjustifiable manner and on every possible occasion; and remarks of that kind, as I think any sensible man must be aware, were not only calculated to do the police a great deal of harm, but to prevent their receiving material assistance from anybody...." (RC 11)

the sympathizers gave the KellyGang a great deal of information about the police movements, particularly when they had to turn up at the railway stations to catch trains. (FH) (FH)

What happened to the money. Problem at ned Kelly's committal hearing at Beechworth (Herald11/8/1880)

Const Robert Graham reported on 26th April 1881 relative to sympathizers of late KellyGang. -I beg to report for the information of the superintendent that a number of them were here in Greta yesterday, drinking, viz.: -Jack Quinn, Tom Lloyd, jun, Paddy McAuliffe, Tom McAuliffe, John McMonigal, and Jack Nolan; and from their manner I am led to believe that another outbreak among them is imminent. Jack Quinn is very anxious to find out who it was that got the sympathizers arrested in 1879. They all appear to have a great dislike to Pat Quinn, and speak of him as the black tracker."(RC9870)

see also (Argus16/12/78)

The sympathisers were a problem for the police (Argus26/5/81)