The Complete Inner History of the KellyGang and their Pursuers (37)

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Mr Bowman submitted that it was not the slightest use for Mr Furnell to use such an argument as that, and he hoped that His Worship would act according to the dictation of his science.

Mr Foster said: “I have felt it to be my duty to act independently, and to do that which, to my conscience, seems just and legal, and I do not feel justified in granting a further remand.  I therefore discharged the accused.”

All the sympathisers were then formally discharged.

It appears from the above statement that Mr W H Foster, PM, had not acted independently, and had not done that which seemed just and legal, from January 4 to April 22, during which period he deprived 20 law-abiding citizens of their liberty, and destroyed the confidence of at least 80 per cent of the population in the Judiciary.

Some idea of the effect on the public mind of the foolish and illegal action of the authorities in keeping Kelly sympathisers in gaol for three months may be gathered from the following incident, which took place near Lake Rowan:—

The eight-year-old son of a well-to-do Lake Rowan farmer was sent on an errand to Benalla, a distance of 16 miles. The boy was mounted on a very fine pony, and when 12 miles from his destination he met an elderly gentleman, who, accompanied by his wife, was driving a buggy towards Yarrawonga. The following dialogue took place:—

Elderly Gentleman: How far are you going, sonny?

Boy: To Benalla, Sir.

E.G.: That is a long way for a little boy like you to ride.

Boy: I have a first-class pony, and it will not take me long to get there.

E.G.: Are you afraid of the bushrangers?

Boy: The Kellys   They won’t hurt me.

E.G.: If Ned Kelly meets you he will take that fine pony from you.

Boy: If Ned Kelly wants my pony I’ll give it to him and walk to Benalla (12 miles).

To Jerilderie

The name of Jerilderie originated in quite a novel way.  Mr Gerald Wilson and his wife settled on the present site of the town, and the latter always referred to her loving husband as Jeril Dearie.  She called her husband by no other name, so that the carriers and others gave their home the name of Jerildearies.  When asked how far they were going to-day the invariable reply was, when going in that direction, “We’ll go as far as Jerildearies.” When the town sprang up it was called Jerilderie, a slight contraction of Jerildearie.

The New South Wales police had indulged a good deal of banter when referring to the inability of the Victorian police to capture the Kellys.  If the Kellys were in New South Wales, they said, they would soon have them in the prison cell.  This was the usual boast of the average policeman over the border.  The Kellys thought it a good thing just to show these gentlemen what they could not do with the Kellys. 

Plans were accordingly made for a visit to Jerilderie. The Murray River was guarded by the united efforts of the border police of the two colonies, and the Kellys did not disturb them.  They allowed the police to rest in peace.  They heard of a crossing at Burramine, where they could swim their horses across, but they had no idea where to find a suitable landing place on the opposite bank.  They sent their trusty providore to Burramine to discover the spot and report.  He went, and not wishing to attract attention by making inquiries, he urged his black cob into the river and swam across, but the strength of the current carried him down the river and he could not land.  He nearly got drowned.  After a great struggle he succeeded in getting back to the Victorian side.  He was defeated in his attempt to cross.

He then went up to Mr P Burke’s Hotel, which was close at hand.  He was wet through and told the publican that his name was Kain, and that he had sold a team of bullocks to a bullocky over the river, and wanted to go across to collect the cheque.  The publican saw the prospect of a few pounds being spent in his hotel out of the bullocky’s cheque, and being of a business turn of mind he said he would pull Mr Kain across, and the latter could swim the horse behind the boat.  Mr Kain was very grateful.  They both went down to the boat, which was secured to the root of a big gum-tree by a chain and padlock.  The publican pulled to a recognised landing place, and Mr Kain had no difficulty in getting his horse up the opposite bank.

Mr Bourke said that if Mr Kain would not be long away he would wait for him and pull him back again.  Mr Kain replied that he would not be absent for more than an hour.  “Then I’ll wait till you come back,” said Mr Bourke.  Mr Kain rode about a mile into New South Wales, then he dismounted and rested for some time.  When the hour was nearly up he mounted his horse and returned to the river and found his good friend the publican waiting for him.  Mr Kain was pulled back again.  He tied his horse up and assisted the publican to secure his boat to the root of the gum-tree.

They had a few drinks, and Mr Kain returned to Greta, and reported to Ned Kelly how to cross the Murray without disturbing the rest or hurting the feelings of the border police of the two colonies.

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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

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