THE POLICE MURDERS
(BY ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH)
(FROM OUR SPECIAL REPORTER)
Benalla, Thursday, 1o P.M.
There has been absolutely nothing doing here to-day. None of the search parties that are out have sent in any information as to their movements. There is no doubt that the weather that prevailed during the past week has been very favourable to the Kelly gang. There has been a bright moon at night time, which they could utilise so as to travel rapidly among the fastnesses which they know so well, while at the same time the hot sun has made the ground so hard that their tracks can be followed with difficulty. It was different when rain prevailed, as then the tracks were more easily discernible, and it is believed that had not the hot dry weather set in the tracks which were lost in the Warby Ranges the other day might have been followed up until the party was traced. There are many people here who believe that these tracks were not those of the Kelly party, but that some of their friends have taken out in that direction the packhorse belonging to Sergeant Kennedy’s party with the sole object of misleading the troopers, and putting them on a false scent, so as to allow the gang to get away in the direction of the head of the Murray, and so cross into New South Wales at a point where it is probable that there is not a very strong force kept, and which might be more easily evaded than at some of the better known crossing-places.
A rumour was current here this evening to the effect that a party of four armed men had been seen in the vicinity of the Darling, but it could not be traced to any authentic source, nor could it be ascertained at which particular spot on the River Darling they had been seen. It is therefore more than probable that it is only another attempt of some of Kelly’s friends to mislead the authorities. This morning Superintendent Nicolson came down from Wangaratta, and has been in close consultation with Superintendent Sadleir during the day. A keen eye is kept by certain parties on the movements of the troopers, and it is rumoured that the men now in the police camp are to be despatched on a search expedition during the night. This only shows how every movement of the authorities is watched, and notice no doubt promptly despatched to the outlaws by their friends.
Some people who profess to know the Kellys are of opinion that if ever the gang of ruffians are brought to bay Ned Kelly will make a hard fight of it, and will not be taken alive, but that Dan Kelly will show the white feather directly Ned is shot down and will at once give in. Of the other two men but little is known, but on all hands it is agreed that Ned Kelly is the moving spirit of the band, and that if he were once disposed of the others would not hold out. Some men in uniform were seen to arrive by the train last night, and as several gun cases were seen with them the rumour at once gained ground that the Government had sent up some of the Victorian Artillery to assist the police in searching for the ruffians. It turned out, however, that the men in uniform were some of the volunteers on their way to Sydney to take part in the Intercolonial Match.