The True Story of the KellyGang of Bushrangers Chapter 4 page 1

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On the 15th of April, 1878, six months prior to the Wombat murders, Constable Fitzpatrick, then stationed at Benalla, the headquarters of the North Eastern District Police, saddled his horse and rode quietly over to Greta, a distance of about fifteen miles. He was bound on a visit to the Kellys, since he had read in the ‘Police Gazette’ that Dan Kelly and John Lloyd, the members of the family who happened to be in trouble at the time, were wanted on a charge of horse stealing. The warrant was not in his possession, but that circumstance was of no consequence, and he hoped, perchance, to find Dan Kelly at home. The sergeant approved of Fitzpatrick’s expedition, but told him to be careful, as the Kellys were known to be dangerous characters, quite likely to resist an arrest, to which Fitzpatrick replied that he knew what he was doing, and everything would be right.

When he arrived at the Kelly residence, which was a new hut built at some distance from the old one, no one was at home except Mrs Kelly and some of the younger children. With them Fitzpatrick spent a few minutes talking, but did not mention the object of his visit, to which, though Mrs Kelly might have guessed it, since warrants were out against both her sons, she also made no reference. Fitzpatrick was on better terms with the Kelly family than constables were wont to be, for on one occasion, when he had arrested Ned Kelly for drunkenness, he did not press the charge, and this was accounted to him for righteousness. Accordingly, perhaps also being aware that a warrant for Dan’s arrest had yet been issued, Mrs Kelly remained talking to Fitzpatrick, till he, hearing the sound of someone cutting wood on a creek near the hut, rode away through the timber to see who the splitter might be, and whether he had a splitter’s license. The man, one Williamson, who lived with the Kellys, and who was splitting fence rails, explained that he needed no license, since he was not working on Crown lands, and Fitzpatrick, with apparently no police duty on hand, was riding away towards Greta when he saw two horsemen passing through a slip panel towards the Kellys’ old hut. He rode in their direction, and when he reached them, found Skillion, one of Mrs Kelly’s sons in law, with his own horse, leading the other from which the saddle and bridle had been taken, while the rider had disappeared. Asked to whom the unsaddled horse belonged, Skillion said he did not know, which, as the rider had been Skillion’s companion, Fitzpatrick naturally did not believe, and studying the horse attentively, he recognized it. ‘Why, that is Dan Kelly’s mare,’ he said.

Skillion admitted it, and when the constable asked where he had gone, supposed that he was up at the house, that is, the new hut. Accordingly Fitzpatrick rode back, and called to Dan, who, with his hat and coat off, and with a knife and fork in his hand, came out of the door.

‘Dan’, said Fitzpatrick, ‘I am going to arrest you on a charge of horse stealing.’

‘All right,’ was the answer, ‘but I’ve been riding all day, and I’m having something to eat. I suppose you will wait till then?’

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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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