The True Story of the KellyGang of Bushrangers Chapter 2 page 1

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When M’Intyre reached the police station Sub inspector Pewtress was lying in bed, ill with cold and influenza. He had arrived in Mansfield from Melbourne, via Benalla, the headquarters of the district police, only the day before, and though he knew that Kennedy and other constables were absent from the town on special duty, he was not aware of its nature. The knowledge of what the police mission had been, and M’Intyre’s excited account of its disastrous ending, quickly roused the police officer, who forgot for the time that he was ill and left his bed to make immediate arrangements for a search, possibly a rescue party. Scanlon and Lonigan, M’Intyre was sure were dead, but it was possible that Kennedy might be alive. When the news spread through Mansfield it roused the people to a high pitch of horror and excitement, not unmixed with fear, and the wildest pictures were conjured up of the outlaws coming out of the bush to rob and burn the town. Absurd as these fears may seem, it was, after all, only the objectlessness of a murderous attack from the outlaws that made them so. There was scarcely a firearm of any kind in Mansfield, and a determined party of men armed with rifles and revolvers might have done almost as they chose. However, there was no difficulty in finding hardy volunteers ready to venture out into the bush to the scene of the tragedy. The Inspector spoke to some of the leading townspeople, among them Dr. Reynolds, the local medical practitioner, and a party of five volunteers was quickly organised. Two constables, Meehan and Allwood, were at the time on the station. The former Mr Pewtress despatched with a report from M’Intyre and his own notes thereon, to his superior officer, Superintendent Sadleir at Benalla, distant some forty miles from Mansfield. Inspector Pewtress had tried to telegraph, but was unable to get a message over the wires, and accordingly directed Meehan to ride without drawing rain to Broken River, about half way, and there procure a fresh horse to continue his journey. He should have reached his destination before midnight of that day, but, as showing the excited nervous state in which was endangered in weak heads by the Kelly outrage, it may be mentioned that Meehan, catching a glimpse of some stranger near the Broken River, immediately let his horse go and concealed himself, believing that he was pursued by the bushrangers. As a consequence of his powerful imagination he did not reach his destination until the evening of the following day.

Inspector Pewtress, believing that he had sent the news expeditiously, turned his attention to other affairs and acted with the utmost promptitude. In spite of his broken up condition, Constable M’Intyre pluckily insisted upon accompanying the search party. Constable Allwood was also included in it, and, under the leadership of Sub Inspector Pewtress, the police and five civilians set out about six o’clock from Mansfield as the sun was going down. The party were well mounted, for the smallest bush township is never deficient in horseflesh, but they were miserably armed—two rifles, which the constables had been able to borrow, being their only weapons. The township was left, by this draft upon its resources, almost defenceless.

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This document gives you the text of the report about the KellyGang for this day. 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. This document is subject to copyright.

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