The Ovens and Murray Advertiser 11/1/79 (2)

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The Ovens and Murray Advertiser

11/ 1/1879

... part of the KellyGang story

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Sir,—Any information relative to the Kellys will, no doubt, be acceptable to a newspaper, and much valuable information could be given; but the people are really afraid to open their mouths, so many friends and sympathisers have the Kellys, and so great is the reign of terrorism created thereby. There is, however, one thing “certain.” The police and detective arrangements are simply a farce! Every individual, public or private, in the towns of Benalla, Euroa, Violet Town and Wangaratta, stamp them as such. What is the good (they say) of a lot of men starting away with a show of something going to be done, first from one place and then from another, and never leaving the outskirts of the district? Never leaving the flats and the open country? Why, it is notorious that the Kelly mob is laughing at them. How is this known? it may be asked. The answer is, because many of those taken (and not yet taken) have openly said it, while it was well known they were in communication with the Kelly gang. One of the Clancys, just arrested, who was living in a wayside hotel three miles down the line from Wangaratta, was known to be always on the look out for information, and though suspected was not properly watched, or he would have been seen hovering about the stations when even troopers were passing to and fro on the line, in wild goose chases; and then, having heard all he could hear, would have been seen sneaking away on a fleet horse, tied away from the station and riding like grim death, to give Steve Hart the necessary information. Again, one of these showy raids of troopers, when they were going to do something big, “from information received,” was watched by the Kelly gang while they lay in ambush, and a consultation held among the Kellys as whether they will attack them or not. Dan Kelly said: “I will undertake to account for the right-hand lot,” and prepared his arms accordingly, telling the others to look to their men and be prepared. Ned Kelly, however, prevailed on them to desist, and they were allowed to pass scot free! Now sir, where did this occur? Where did the information come from; and why were the Kellys allowed to be in such close vicinity, and not be discovered? It is said they were in a gully when the troopers passed them; but, of course, under cover. If so (and it comes from such a source it could not be otherwise than true), then it is again asked, what were the hundreds of police doing, when in such close vicinity, the Kellys were able to be there, and show them such merciful contempt? Why, the Kelly sympathisers buy quarters of beef, hundred weights of salt meat, under the very nose of the camp, in open daylight, troopers passing the doors, in one of these townships - and which, it is well known (from the parties who purchase, being sympathisers and friends of the Kellys), that it (the beef, &c., will find its home in the hide hole of the murderers! Why, then, it is asked has justice been blind to these facts? Why not have followed secretly the quarters of beef, the hundred weights of salt meat, to the destination of the first purchasers, thence to the bush, where they certainly found their subsequent destination? It is further said to be a farce that a number of police and detectives could be surrounding the locality where it is now well known the Kellys have never left (excepting as a blind to return again), and not trace them through supplies, given by confederates. It results, therefore, in this, one of two things. Either the blacktracker was right in stating fear prevents the Kellys from being taken, or the uncertainty of the amount being available which the Government offered for Ned Kelly’s capture, and the gang at large. It is so simply an apparent fact (if apparent fact is not a bull) that fear rides so rampant throughout the entire districts named, that in every shop, house, or hotel, the information you gather is said to you, so to write, in whispers. Why? Because your next door neighbour, or your man on your right or your left, in shop or bar, is thought to be - believed to be - dreaded as being - a sympathiser! Why? Because directly, or indirectly, he supplies (fairly, honestly, by way of trade, rations as a grocer, as a butcher, as a baker, as a publican, as indeed a trader in each and every form you choose to put it; and he, or she, cannot help to that extent - being a sympathiser. Do not sir, for one moment, think that the writer doubts the bravery of our police force! Do not think that she doubts the ability of the detectives! She knows full well how soon a robbery is traced if once a reward large enough is offered. How readily the police will pounce upon her Bill when once he takes a drop too much? Bill squares it. She only now puts the facts of the case, as related to her while on a visit to her friends at New Year; so that troopers, detectives, and all interested in the capture of the Kellys, shall see the light in which their conduct is looked upon. If they have been enjoying an outing, it is time it had an end as the holidays are over! If the detectives want a reward, they will have the entire approbation of all right-thinking women, married women, especially, for their husbands’ sake, as soon as they have proved to the public a single instance of sharpness in tracing supplies to the Kelly gang. Yours, &c.,



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