The Argus at KellyGang 16/8/1879

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Three men diggers at Dry Creek, have been brought in, charged with sheep stealing, from Wilson's station. They were caught in the act of skinning one of the sheep at their hut. They were brought up and reminded until Wednesday next.


At midday yesterday the surprising news leached town that the Commercial Bank at Lancefield bad been stuck up by two armed men, and robbed of a large sum of money. Not unnaturally, the outrage was at once credited to the Kelly gang who were sup- posed to have once more broken forth from their stronghold in the North eastern district, crossed the Dividing Range between Kilmore and Macedon and come down suddenly upon the poorly protected township of Lancefield. The first descriptions received of the two men led not only the general public but the police to believe that the bank had been robbed by Edward Kelly and Stephen Hart, but later accounts sent off, when the townspeople had had time to cool down a little, threw doubts on the correctness of the first surmise and it now seems pretty certain that the outrage was committed by totally different persons, who are at present unidentified. On the receipt of some afternoon telegrams suspicion next fell on Captain Moonlite and his mate Nesbitt, but it was ascertained that both men were seen in Swanston street in the forenoon, so they could not have had a hand in the affair.

It appeared that the bank was entered soon after the opening hour of 10 o'clock, when the accountant was alone in the office, that one of the two men bailed him up with a revolver, and the other then gagged him, took £750 out of the till, also £110 out of the unlocked safe, but fortunately overlooked a much larger sum. After these operations were over, a customer named Musty entered the bank, was bailed up, and shut into the manager's room. The men made no attempt to search him, which was rather lucky, but cleared out quickly afterwards, walked slowly out of the township, and took the road for Woodend, after receiving directions from a boy they met some distance out. They were followed up later in the day by the local constable (Manny), but could not be traced a greater distance than six miles.

At midday news of the affair reached the metropolitan police, and the chief commissioner not only made arrangements for sending off a body of mounted men, under Superintendent Hare, from Melbourne, by special train but telegraphed to the stations surrounding Lancefield, in order to enable them, if possible, to intercept the marauders. At about half past 2 o'clock a special train with Superintendent Hare's party left Spencer street for Lancefield road station, and proceeded thence on horseback to the township, distant from the railway about 14 miles, reaching it at 4 o'clock. Another party, under Superintendent Sadlier and Inspector O'Connor, left Benalla with trackers for Kilmore, at half past 2 o'clock. Particulars of the circumstances under which the robbery was conducted will be found detailed below by our special reporter, who went up in the same train as the police from Melbourne. These particulars show that the robbers hardly acted with the coolness and audacity which characterised the operations of the Kellys, and they may be looked upon for the present as two scoundrels who have been tempted to enter upon a dangerous enterprise by the success which attended the performances of the North eastern desperadoes.


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