The True Story of the KellyGang of Bushrangers Chapter 3 page 3 (2)

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The remainder of the Kelly family at the time when serious trouble began, consisted of the old lady, née Quinn. Dan, the second outlaw, Jim, and four sisters, Mrs Gunn, Mrs Skillion, Kate, and Grace. Ned, the eldest of the family, was born 1854; Dan in 1861, but though so much younger than his brother, he had been mixed up with several of the former’s horse and cattle stealing exploits, and had an unenviable reputation as being a vicious, cunning little sneak, in addition to a law breaker. James Kelly, Ned’s other brother, who took no part in their more serious crimes, was arrested with Dan, when the latter was only ten years old, for illegally using horses—a step in the apprenticeship to regular stealing; but both boys were discharged on account of their youth. Later on, in conjunct-tion with a man named Williamson, he received four years imprisonment for cattle stealing. Other members of what were known to the police as the ‘Kelly mob’, were John Lloyd, married to the sister of Mrs Quinn, and his sons, Tom and Paddy Lloyd, who lived near their relatives, the Kellys, and were also continually in collision with the police, Lloyd senior, some years before the Kelly outbreak, being imprisoned for four years for maliciously killing a neighbour’s horse. Steve Hart, a third member of the gang who murdered the constables, and Joe Byrne, the fourth, had also both been known as cattle or horse stealers, but enjoyed by no means so evil a notoriety as the Kellys. At the time of the murder in the Wombat Ranges, near Mansfield, it was not known that they were the Kellys’ partners in the outrage, and for some time afterwards suspicion rested on other men.

Hart, who was only eighteen years old, was born near Wangaratta, and there his family resided close by the Warby Ranges, with the intricacies of which Hart was well acquainted. Joe Byrne, three years older that Hart, a fine, handsome young man, apparently with many good qualities, had been at school in Beechworth, near which, at a place called Woolshed he resided, and he was as much at home in the mountains of his locality as were the Kellys with the interminable ranges behind Greta, and Hart with the Warby Ranges. The fact that between them the bushrangers were so intimately acquainted with an immense tract of country, covering thousands of square miles, with sympathisers and hiding places in every part of it, was one of the factors which enabled them so long to baffle the police.

Another factor was the frequent removal of constables from their stations just as they were beginning to win the confidence of the people and know the district. But for the injudicious removal from Greta of Senior Constable Flood, who had prosecuted at one time or another the whole of the Kelly mob, and who could find his way through the bush almost as well as the Kellys themselves, the Kelly murders might never have been committed, for Flood was feared as well as hated by the law breakers, and during his term at Greta he had some of the Kelly family nearly always in gaol. At any rate, if he, and more men such as he, had been in the Kelly district when the murders did take place, the career of the outlaws would probably have been much shorter than it eventually proved to be.

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