The Argus (24)

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[By Electric Telegraph]

(From Our Special Reporter)

Benalla, Wednesday Night

There was a prospect this morning of some difficulty arising in connection with the magisterial inquiries proposed to be held on the charred remains of Dan Kelly and Hart. The remains were handed over to the fiends on the Monday night, and were taken on Monday night to Mrs Skillion's hut at Seven mile Creek. The authorities subsequently thought that after all, it might be better to go through the usual formalities and communicated with the magistrates of Wangaratta on the subject. The magistrates there, however, replied that they could not get a trap to take them to Greta, and altogether seemed disinclined to undertake the duty. No one could have gone to the Seven Mile Creek without a strong body of police, and even then the visit would not have been unattended with danger. Indeed, one of the Kelly sympathisers told the police that the remains would be interred at a certain hour on Wednesday whether inquiries were held or not, and reports came from Greta that all the Kelly sympathisers there had made them selves intoxicated at the wake, and were bouncing about armed, and threatening to attack the police.

These reports were to some extent corroborated by the well known fact that when the fiends of the gang left Glenrowan they took a large quantity of spirits with them. Superintendent Sadeir, however, suggested that a magistrate should come down as far as Glenrowan, and after taking what evidence was obtainable there, give an order for interment. Senior constable Kelly, with four troopers, accordingly proceeded to Glenrowan by the forenoon train, and two or three policemen were directed to come down from Wangaratta. Their orders were to accompany the magistrate to Mrs Skillion's hut if it was necessary to go there, and it that had really had to be done a disturbance, and probably more bloodshed, would have been the result. At the last moment, however, it was decided that as the game was not worth the candle, a magistrate's order for internment would suffice, and the police were therefore recalled.

It is stated that Dick Hart openly dared the police McDonnell's Hotel, Glenrowan, to interfere in any way with the funerals of Dan Kelly and Steve Hart. The words attributed to him are, 'If you want the bodies back, you will have to fight for them.' From the statements of two men who came into Benalla from Greta to day, it appears that on the arrival of the bodies there was great excitement in the district. The remains were laid on a table in Mrs Skillion's hut, which was soon crowded. So great was the crush that Mrs Skillion lost her temper, and seizing a gun hustled the crowd out, and then allowed them to view the remains in couples. Many of the male sympathisers were armed and whilst in a drunken state professed to be anxious fro a brush with the police.

It is further acerred that one of the relatives of the Kellys held up his hand over the remains and swore to Kate Kelly that he would avenge the slaughter of the gang. His name has been given to the police. Lest any disturbance should take place in the district whilst the sympathisers are in their present state of intoxication and excitement, Senior constable Kelly, with four troopers, have been sent on again this evening to Glenrowan, and will remain there all night. Up to the present, however things are quiet. Ned Kelly's mare was found on the railway line a few miles from Glenrowan, saddled and bridled. The saddle resembled that of Byrne, and bears the name of the same Wangaratta manufacturer. The mare has been identified by Mr Ryan, farmer, of Major Plains, as one of two stolen from a paddock in his farm on the night of last Thursday week. It is a splendid upstanding mare, nearly 16 hands high, and a grand horse for crossing any kind of country, Ned Kelly was quite enthusiastic over the excellent qualities of the animal. The horse ridden by Byrne was the second of the two stolen from Ryan's farm. They were not stolen by the gang themselves, but by a sympathiser who was seen crossing the railway line near Glenrowan with them on the Thursday night in question. Both were unshod when stolen, but have since been shod, evidently in a hurry, for the shoes were fastened very tightly, and will have to be removed.

It is now quite evident that the Kellys were forced from their concealment by the activity of the police. Parties of police were sent to all their known haunts secretly, with orders to keep a close but silent look out for the gang. The vicinity of Byrne's house had become so hot for them that they felt obliged to strike out and terrify any who might be inclined to give information to the police by murdering Sherritt. Being then frightened of being tracked by Queensland black trackers, they took steps to destroy them by wrecking the special train, and they arranged at the same time to secure a party of police whom they had been informed were looking out for traces of them at Glenrowan.

They had received the latter information from some good authority, for there had been a party of police, consisting of Constables Wallace, Ryan and Barry, stationed secretly in the Glenrowan police camp for a week previous to the murder of Sherritt. Those three constables were concealed in the barracks all day, and every night they walked to the Seven Mile Creek and Greta, looking silently for the gang. Strangely enough, however, they had returned to Benalla last Saturday.

The names of the police party who first attacked the gang at Glenrowan, are:- Superintendent Hare, Senior constable Kelly, Constables Arthur, Kirkham, Barry, Canny, Gascoigne, and Phillips, together with Inspector O'Connor and his black trackers.

Cherry's body was buried to day in the Benalla cemetery. Byrne's friends asked for the body of that outlaw on Tuesday, but they did not receive it as was reported. It was interred quietly at night in the cemetery by two policemen and an undertaker.


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