The Argus at KellyGang 18/12/1878 (2)

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BENALLA, Tuesday Evening

The day has been remarkably quiet, for there has been neither the arrival nor departure of a search party to break the monotony. There has been also an absence of rumours relative to the whereabouts of the gang, and as these are generally flying about in numbers, their absence is the more remarkable. A person who arrived by the early up train this morning made a statement to the effect that Byrne, one of the gang was playing billiards in a public room in Wangaratta last evening, but that as soon as he noticed that some persons left the room for the purpose of giving information to the police, he decamped, and was seen no more. The informant was unable to explain why the persons in the room did not secure him at once, instead of going to fetch the police. Of course, the whole story is looked upon as a fabrication. I was shown a photograph of Stephen Hart to day, which has been taken since he carne out of gaol in June last. In appearance he is a mere youth, slight of build, smooth of face, and with nothing bad looking in his countenance, and from his looks no one would anticipate that he would ever take part in such a bloodthirsty proceeding, as the murder of the three troopers.

It was stated here this afternoon that a horseman stuck up some men who were engaged in harvesting, operations at the Broken Creek, about 12 miles from here. It was said that he rode up to the man in charge of the reaping machine and ordered him to bail up. He then rounded up four or five men who were in the paddock, and as soon as he had got them all together, he galloped away without robbing them or doing them any harm. This is another of the idle rumours that are promulgated, or if it occurred it must have been some half- drunken bushman having a lark. There is an impression gaining ground that the gang will not be seen in this district for some time to come, but leaving the police busily engaged in searching the ranges about here, they will cross over into Gipps Land and make a descent upon some of the small townships.

The idea of amateur search parties going out in pursuit is not looked on at all favourubly. Unless the men are thorough bushmen, and have some knowledge of the country in this district, they had far better remain at home. They have no idea of the difficulties they would have to contend with in scouring these ranges and would, in all probability, be lost in the bush before they had been out 24 hours. All the search parties that go out have attached to them, or are under the command of, a trooper or non commissioned officer, who knows the country well. From indications that have been met with by some of the search parties, it is believed that the four men of the gang do not travel all together but, fixing upon a point of rendezvous, they divide into two parties, so as to move through the bush with the less likelihood of attracting attention. Some of the troopers have been supplied with the new Martini Henry rife.


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