The Complete Inner History of the KellyGang and their Pursuers (29)
THE POLICE IN PURSUIT
Supt CH Nicolson was instructed by Captain Standish on Monday, October 28, to proceed to Benalla, as news had come through of the shooting of Sergeant Kennedy and Constables Lonigan and Scanlan. He said he found the people at Benalla, and, in fact, all along the line, in a state of great excitement. Next day, Tuesday, 29/10/1878, he despatched Supt Sadleir to Mansfield, the scene of the tragedy.
As they had no idea that Joe Byrne and Steve Hart had joined the Kellys, the police concluded that the two men reported by McIntyre as being with Ned and Dan Kelly were William King and Charles Brown.
On 2nd November the police received a report that the Kellys had been seen three days before (31/10/78) between Barnawartha and the Murray River. Detective Kennedy, with a part of police, searched this locality, and were afterwards joined by Supt CH Nicolson, who remained searching that district until the 5th November. On this date the Kellys were “at home” on Eleven-Mile Creek.
On the 4th November the police received a report that the Kellys had passed under the bridge at Wangaratta, and a party of police, under Inspector Brooks Smith, went in pursuit. He secured the services of a local blackfellow to track the Kellys. This tracker followed the outlaws’ tracks towards the Warby Ranges, and when nearing the foot of the ranges the party came upon a horse that had evidently knocked up—it was Sergeant Kennedy’s pack-horse. As the police crowded around this horse a report of a rifle or gun was heard as coming from the top of the ranges. The blacktracker said the Kellys were “up thar; you go catchem Kelly.” But Inspector Brooks Smith decided to return to Wangaratta with the pack-horse, and when reporting this incident the inspector stated that, as the blacktracker was too frightened to proceed, they (the police) had no option but to retreat with the “prize” pack-horse, and report at Wangaratta. The police were very angry with this blacktracker for the cowardice he displayed in refusing to go forward and capture the Kellys. If he would go on, they felt sure of capturing the outlaws, although further tracking was unnecessary, as the Kellys already made their presence known by discharging a rifle. By the time this report was sent to headquarters, the outlaws were resting in Frank Harty’s crop.
This document gives you the text of this book about the KellyGang. The text has been retyped from a copy of the original. We have taken care to reproduce this document but areas of the original text may been damaged. We also apologise for any typographical errors. JJ Kenneally was one of the first authors to tell this story from the KellyGang's point of view
See previous Chapter / next Chapter ... The Complete Inner History of the Kelly Gang and their Pursuers ... Index