The Argus at KellyGang 28/11/1879

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(full text transcription)

Captain Moonlite

A name familiar to English readers is that of the Riverina township of Wagga Wagga, the former residence of the Tichborne claimant. It comes before the public now associated with another event, for the district has been the scene of the last of the bushranging exploits of the past twelve months-exploits which, in their frequency have unhappily recalled the annals of the backwoods. In rapid succession we have had the exploits of the Kelly gang, of the Hathfield gang, the assaults on the Lancefield and the Moo banks, and now the Wagga Wagga outrage has to be recorded. The black list has a bright side, for it has to be stated that every one of the offenders, with the exception of the members of the Kelly gang, is now in custody, either undergoing punishment or awaiting condemnation. The stupefaction occasioned by the heavy blows struck by the Mansfield murderers has apparently passed away, and on the last occasion it is pleasing to have to relate that all the courage, all the skill, and all the heroism have been on the part of the civilians and the police.

The raid was made on a Riverina station named Wantabadgery, and the criminals were a gang of six men, under the leadership of a notorious Victorian criminal named SCOTT, alias "Moonlite," who commenced his career ten years back by robbing a bank at Egerton, and swearing the offence on to an innocent man. SCOTT was fired by the ambition to emulate the deeds of the KELLYS, and the police have been suspicious for some time, from his boasting, that he would take to the bush and to robbery under aims for a living. His first bush adventure was his last. His gang seized upon the Wanterbadjery station in order to supply themselves with arms and horses, and they held possession of the place for two days, conducting themselves in a brutal and outrageous manner.

A party of four constables who approached the place, upon the alarm being given were fired upon and repulsed, then horses being captured by a surprise; but the policemen obtained remounts, were joined by some comrades, and brought the gang to bay at a selector's hut, and a desperate fight ended in the death of two bushrangers, and the capture of the others, two of whom were wounded. Constable BOWEN also fell mortally injured on the field. These simple facts show the desperate character of the gang, and establish the fact that the police of New South Wales can exhibit the personal bravery of the typical Englishman. The force, distinguished as it always has been for pluck and resolution, has acquired new laurels. There was the great danger that the Kelly gang would be succeeded by equally brutal bands, as the notorious Gardiner gang was in the last bushranging episode of local history. While the KELLYS are at large enjoying their extraordinary immunity the mischief is sure to work , but we have to thank the police of New South Wales for reducing the danger to a minimum, by the capture of the successive imitators red-handed.

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