The Argus at KellyGang 13/12/1878

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The record contained in our issue of yesterday of the outrage at Euroa was well calculated to cause humiliation and shame to be felt from one end of the land to the other. The existence in our midst of a gang of cold blooded murderers, such as the slayers of Sergeant-

KENNEDY and Constables SCANLAN and LONIGAN, was bad enough in itself, but it is still more deplorable to find that these men can obtain local sympathy and support, and that, instead of their being in full flight from the scene of their crimes, they can haunt the spot and can assume the aggressive. A few weeks ago, and the man would have been laughed at who ventured to predict that a party of police would be butchered in Victoria that an Outlawry Act would be in force that the criminals would descend upon a station and occupy it for a day and a night, would imprison thirty persons there; would cut the railway telegraph wires: would march into a country town on a main line of railway; would plunder a bank in broad daylight, and would depart taking with them not only all the money on the premises, but the men, women, and children belonging to the establishment. The story would have been deemed too wild for fiction; and yet it has been realised. And for all that the public is aware, the gang may be as far off capture as ever.

The question naturally arises, who is to blame for this unhappy and dangerous scandal? While recognising that it is easy to sit in the armchair and to criticise, it may still be questioned whether society has been served as intelligently by its official protectors as it had a night to expect it would be. How the condition of things which we now know exists about Greta could have been allowed to grow up savours of the incomprehensible. We have a whole clan scattered about convenient fastnesses, and living principally by horse and cattle stealing, terrorsing the neighbourhood, and making a boast of their depredations, and no systematic and continued effort is made lo root the offenders out.

At one time the gallant and ill fated Sergeant KENNEDAY was given charge of a station in the ranges, and with two or three men under him he did good work there. As we are informed by old residents, he made the district too unpleasant and too unsafe for the desperado who was considered to be the head of the clan at that date, and then, just as his labours were commencing to bear fruit, the parity was withdrawn and the station was abandoned. Yet we are convinced that any Government would have yielded to proper and vigorous representations, and would have sanctioned the employment of a sufficient force about the ranges until the nest was broken up and the ranges had become as safe and as orderly as any other portion of Victoria. And we are sure the Government would have recognised the impropriety of bringing an experienced bush officer down to Melbourne to conduct cases in the City Police Court, and sending up to Mansfield an officer who has spent all his life in the city, because the arrangement fitted in with office routine; and yet this was the state of affairs which preceded the outrages.


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