The Argus at KellyGang 4/11/1878

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Constable McIntyre is now in the police hospital at the Richmond depot, having been sent there on Saturday in consequence of the impaired state of his health. The terrible scene which he witnessed, his own jeopardy and narrow escape, occasioned a great shock to his nervous system, the effects of which he is now realising; and when in his race for life he fell from horseback he sustained such injuries and bruises to his back as would be alone sufficient to throw him off duty for a time. He was and still is most anxious to be after the murderers of his comrades, but it is doubtful if he will be allowed to return to the bush until all danger of his being assassinated is over. Being the only eye-witness of the slaughter, it is thought that the bushrangers or their friends might attempt to destroy him, and it is stated that his life has actually been threatened. He says, however, that he has no fear on that account, and that the only threat he knows of was made when he was arresting “Wild” Wright, who muttered to him, “You have escaped once, but you won’t next time.”

A contemporary on Saturday represented McIntyre as saying that on the Friday evening before the murders he fired several shots at kangaroos, and it was this foolish conduct which had probably attracted Kelly and his mates. McIntyre desires us to contradict this, and to say that he never made any statement to that effect. The facts were that on Friday evening Sergeant Kennedy said he had seen several kangaroos in the bush, and asked McIntyre to shoot them. McIntyre found that the game had disappeared, and returned to the camp without firing a shot.

The firing at the parrots on the following morning took place under these circumstances:— During the absence of Sergeant Kennedy and Constable Scanlan Constable Lonigan said he had heard a strange noise in the direction of the creek. McIntyre determined to ascertain the cause of the noise, and taking a fowling piece and some cartridges with him he proceeded to examine the locality. He reconnoitered the creek for some distance, but could find no trace of any one, and concluding that the noise had been occasioned by a wombat, he returned. On his way back some parrots attracted his attention, and he fired at them twice.

McIntyre also gives us the following particulars, which will further explain some points in the tragedy. When Kennedy and Scanlan left the camp it was with the view of reconnoitring and determining their exact position. There had been a difference of opinion as to what creek it was they had encamped at, some of them thinking that it was Holland ’s Creek, and others that it was one of the sources of the King River. It was their intention, having ascertained their position, to strike eastward, and form their next camp on the King River. They believed that they were fully 20 miles from the Kellys, as they had information that they were to be found in the ranges near Greta.

Between their tent and the creek and a little to the left were two fallen trees, one lying over the other at right angles. In the angle facing the tent McIntyre, on Saturday afternoon, kindled a large fire to make the night cheerful. After he had prepared tea at a small fire at a stump of a tree nearer the tent, he was standing in front of the large fire whilst Lonigan stood in the opposite angle of the fallen trees.

The four miscreants suddenly emerged from tall grass on the right of the camp, and advanced in skirmishing order. Edward Kelly was the man on the extreme right of the line, and consequently nearest to the policeman. The events which followed and the shooting of Lonigan need not be again described, but as some persons ask why McIntyre, on seeing Lonigan fall, did not spring forward to seize his revolver, and make a fight, it may be well to point out that the fire and fallen trees intervened between him and Lonigan, and that in addition to this the desperadoes advanced upon him immediately with levelled guns, and would have shot him on the spot if he had stirred.

Ned Kelly appropriated all the firearms about the camp before he would allow McIntyre to lower his hands. He inquired particularly as to how the fowling-piece was loaded, and on finding that it only contained round shot he picked them out, and replaced them with bullets. This weapon he then exchanged with one of his accomplices for a single-barrelled rifle. Kelly had thus two rifles, one of his mates a double-barrelled fowling-piece, loaded with bullets, and the other two one gun each, besides revolvers. When they appropriated the tea which had been prepared, they asked McIntyre if it was poisoned, and it was probably for the purpose of satisfying their minds on that point that they required McIntyre to drink the beverage with them.


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