The Ovens and Murray Advertiser 13/2/1879 (2)

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Four men, upon whose heads a price is laid, can defy the whole police force of Victoria; can calmly walk into a township and compel the inhabitants to do their bidding; can by means of friends put the authorities on a wrong scent at any time, and can cause a reign of terrorism which never before existed even in the days of Morgan, the Clarkes, and Gardiner. A great deal of ridicule has been attempted to be thrown on what is now popularly known as the Kelly scare; but it is no exaggeration to say that in the North-Eastern district, in country places, men are fearful of telling what they know, so wide-spred and potent is the dread of the murderers and the sympathy shown them.

We meet Kelly sympathisers daily, and these men are exercising a demoralizing influence upon society, which not only tends yo hamper the authorities, but also is creating a state of feeling which it will be almost impossible to suppress. Onr thing is certain - there is something rotten in our police organisation which needs looking into, if ever the Kellys are to be caught, and it is to be hoped that this latest outrage will have the effect of something being done.

The great topic of conversation to-day is Ned Kelly’s letter. There is fresh information, and a rumour afloat that they stuck. Hillson’s store, Tocumwal, and remained some time enjoying themselves. They made Hillson get on the counter, and dance a jig to the music of a flute played by Hart. They then seized the punt, and crossed the river into Victoria. The rumour must be taken curn grano.

The police assert they were quite right when some time since they despatched a number of troopers from Wangaratta up the Omeo track, and that the gang having been disloged from the Strathbogie Ranges retreating in the direction of Yackandandah. The police were sent from Wangaratta too close up all passes, but were too late, the gang having got past. They travelled in the direction of Yackandandah, Koetong, Gudgewa, and Corryong, finally crossing the Murray in the neighbourhood of Towong, and then making westward, passing north of Albury, and finally passing Urana into Jerilderie. The inspector of the Bank of New South Wales states that every preparation was made in all the border town banks.


The above gentlemen having reached Melbourne yesterday afternoon, gave the following information:- Mr Living, the teller of the bank, states that about 10 minutes past 12 on Monday afternoon he was sitting at his desk in the bank, when he heard footsteps approaching him from the direction of the back door. He at first took no notice, thinking it was the manager, Mt Tarleton. The footsteps continued approaching him when he turned round on his other side and noticed a man approaching from the back door. He immediately accosted the fellow, who had his revolver already leveled at him, and on asking the intruder who he was, and what right he had to enter the bank by the back way, he answered that he was Kelly, and ordered Mr Living to stand up. The man, who afterwards turned out to be Byrne, ordered him to deliver up what firearms he had. Living replied that he had none. Young Mackie, who was standing in front of the bank, then entered in, when Byrne ordered him (Living) to jump over the counter, which he did. He then told him to come with him into Cox’s Hotel, and remarked that they had all the police stuck up.

They went into the hotel, where they met Ned Kelly, who asked for Mr Tarleton, when he was told that he was in his room. They went back to the bank, but could not find the manager in his room. Ned Kelly said to Mr Living, “You had better go and find him.” Living then searched, and found the manager in his bath. Mr Living was at first a little alarmed at not finding the manager in his room, and at first thought he had got some clue that the bushrangers were in the place, and had cleared out. On finding the manager in his bath, he said to him, “We are stuck up: the Kellys are here, and the police are also stuck up.” Byrne then brought Hart, and left him in charge of the manager.

After Living had got out of the bathroom Ned Kelly came out and took him into the bank, and asked him what money they had in the bank. Living replied there was between £600 and £700, when Kelly said, “You must have £10,000 in the bank.” Living then handed him the teller’s cash, amounting to £691. Mr Elliot, the schoolmaster, then went into the bank, and as soon as Kelly saw him he ordered him to jump over the counter. Mr Elliot replied that he could not, but Kelly made him. They then tried to put the money in a bag, but not having one sufficiently large, Ned Kelly went and brought a bag, and they put the money into it. Kelly asked if they had any more money, and was answered “No.” Kelly then obtained the teller’s revolver, and again requested more money. He then went to the safe and caught hold of the treasure drawer, and requested to know what was in it, and was told by Living that it contained nothing of any value. Kelly insisted on it being opened, and one of the keys was given to him; but he could not open it, owing to the manager having the second key, which was required to open it. Byrne then wanted to break it open with a sledge hammer, but Kelly brought the manger from the Royal Hotel, and demanded the Key, which was given to him and the drawer was opened, when the sum of £1,450 was taken out by Kelly and placed in the bag. Kelly then took down a large deed box and asked what it contained, and was told that the contents consisted of a few documents which were of no use. He replied that he would burn the contents, but Mr Tarleton argued with him, and Kelly took one document and put it into the bag, and then expressed his intention of burning all the books in the office. He, however, left the rest of the papers, and said that he would come back and see if there were any deeds for town allotments. The whole of the party then went into the Royal Hotel.

Daniel Kelly was in the bar, and Ned Kelly took two of the party to the back of the hotel, where he made a fire and burned three or four of the bank books. In the meantime Mr Rankin and Mr Gill the bank door open went in and were immediately followed by Kelly who ordered them to bail up. Both gentlemen at once made off – Mr Rankin running into the hotel and Mr Gill in some other direction. Ned Kelly ran after Rankin, and caught him in the hotel. Kelly caught him by the collar, and asked him why he ran away, at the same time telling him to go into the passage, and that he intended to shoot him. He took Mr Rankin into the passage and after straightening him against the wall leveled his revolver at him. Several persons called out to Kelly not to fire, and he did not. He then called Hart by the name of Revenge, and told him to shoot the first man that attempted any resistance, and told Rankin that if he attempted to move he would be the first shot.

Kelly then asked for Gill, and took Richards and Living with him to look for Gill. The policeman had his revolver with him, but Kelly had previously drawn the cartridges. They went up to Gill’s hause, and saw Mrs Gill. Kelly said to her – “I have a statement here which contains a little act of my life, and I want it published by Mr Gill. Will you take it?” She refused to do so. Mr Living then took the paper, and promised to have it published. The party next went to McDougall’s Hotel, where Kelly took a blood mare out of the stable, and remarked that he would return it in three weeks. The party then went to the telegraph office, and met Byrne, who had cut the wires. Ned Kelly then broke the insulators at the office with his revolver. After this he took the postmaster and his assistant to the Royal Hotel, and left the party there. Kelly returned to the bank and obtained a saddle and a pair of riding trousers belonging to Mr Tarleton, and also a watch and a gold chain. The saddle was put on the mare, and Dan Kelly mounted it and rode away, but returned in five minutes.

Dan Kelly and Hart then both kept guard at the hotel. Ned Kelly informed the postmaster, Mr Jefferson, that if he attempted to mend the wires before next day, or offered any resistance, he would be shot. He also told Mr Jefferson that he intended to take him a few miles in the bush, and then liberate him. He informed those present that he intended sticking up the Urana coach that night, and would shot anyone who attempted to give warnings. Byrne still rode in the direction of the Murray with the money, and in the meantime Mr Tarleton had succeeded in dispatching a messenger to Urana to warn the bank manager there. The remaining part of the gang then rode in the direction of the police camp, and the party were liberated, and Mr Living started for Deniliquin.


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