The Argus at KellyGang2/11/1878 (2)

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This placed is removed by too many hours’ travel from Mansfield , and the coaches run too infrequently (every other day), for one to supply late information as to the matters in progress there. To-day the telegraph wire to Mansfield broke down, and communication was cut off. The stationmaster has taken steps to find out where the accident has occurred, and effect repairs. To the police, at present, it is of the utmost importance to keep all lines open. This morning a man came down the road, from Mansfield, with some particulars as the action of Thursday’s search party, of which he was one. Unfortunately he was not present in the camp when the deceased sergeant was found, and so could add little to the stock of information already published; but he had some conversation with the police who arrived at the saw-mills on Thursday from Greta.


They were the men who started from Wangaratta at the same time that Kennedy and his men left Mansfield . They followed up the Fifteen-mile Creek from Greta, and passed over some very rough ground, but saw no traces of Kelly and his comrades. The only token that they met with of the presence of men on the ranges was a freshly-shot native bear, which they picked up on Tuesday morning, at the head of the Fifteen-mile Creek. Unless Kelly had been trying the Spencer rifle upon it, one can hardly see why he should have fired at the animal. The troopers knew of the murder of the Mansfield police, for they had been followed up by men specially sent out by Superintendent Nicolson.


Both “Wild” Wright and the Dummy were set at liberty on Wednesday, but probably the fact the elder brother is at large has not yet been telegraphed. It is difficult to believe that the police would allow Isaiah to be bailed out after they had once resisted the application, and got him remanded for seven days; but a man who knows Wild Wright well, and came from Mansfield yesterday, states positively that he met the two brothers in the forenoon on the road to Greta. It appears that one or two warm friends of the unfortunate sergeant privately offered to reward Isaiah Wright handsomely if he would fetch Kennedy in alive, or give info rmation which would lead to his recovery. Though Wright declined to accept any offers of payment, he agreed to perform the duties proposed to him, and hence no doubt procured his liberty. The incarceration had done him a lot of good, for all his bravado had disappeared.


One of the most effective instruments for the capture of the bushrangers will be the new act, and it is fortunate that public opinion has been so actively stimulated as to get it passed promptly. Not only will the measure put some wholesome fears into the hearts of Kelly’s friends, but encourage reputable people resident in the ranges to give info rmation without fear, for they have now a guarantee from the Government that the pests will be thoroughly rooted out. There still exists on the part of many disinclination to avow the little assistance they have rendered to the police, and one person who was of Thursday’s party has specially requested that his name may not be mentioned. An excellent spirit pervades the police force, and men from all parts of the colony have volunteered for special service. One man on leave of absence has thrown up his leave in order to go out. It will not serve the public interest to mention the details of the plans already carried out, but a considerable number of separate parties are now out. It is the opinion of some people that the reward placed on Kelly’s head is still too small, but there are reasons why we should not owe the capture of this marauder entirely or chiefly to the treachery of his acquaintances. The interests of the district require that the police shall absolutely clear the horde out, so that for the future bad characters may not be encouraged to look upon the ranges as a safe retreat.

The reported appearance of Kelly and his party at Baumgarten’s, eight miles beyond Chiltern, has not yet been confirmed. It has been already ascertained that Christian is a trustworthy farmer, but the account was brought to Chiltern secondhand, and loafers are rather numerous everywhere. Nothing would afford the police greater relief than to hear positively that Kelly has taken to the open country. Should it be the real men who have appeared at Chiltern we shall soon hear of it. There is one reported fact which gives colour to the statement — namely, that four armed men, taken for police, were seen on the top of the range, about 20 miles from Mansfield, on Sunday. They were on the track which Kelly would be likely to follow if he wanted to make the Murray; but all reports of this sort, even when circumstantially related, have to be received with the greatest caution. For the next few days every party of strange horsemen will be taken for the Kellys.

At the time that Edward Kelly accompanied Power on the trip that that desperado took via Malmsbury to Little River and back, Superintendent Nicolson, who was then at Kyneton, saw Kelly, and was so taken with his appearance that he had a serious talk with the lad, and got him to listen favourably to a proposal to quit the bad company he was in and go to a station in New South Wales. Kelly had not then committed any offence, and seemed somewhat eager to go, but one of his relatives got hold of him, and took him back to Greta. The opportunity to save him from the career of crime upon which he subsequently entered was thus unhappily lost.


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