THE POLICE MEMORIAL AT MANSFIELD
The heavy rain which set in yesterday morning still continue.
At the Police Court this morning before Messrs. Kitchen, Tomkins, and Shaw, J.P.’s, Edward Monk, late of the Wombat, who, it will be remembered, caused much sensation by declaring that he had been shot at by some of the Kelly gang, and whose saddle was pierced with a bullet, but about which Mr. Panton, P.M., reported unfavourably, summoned Sub-inspector Toohey for illegally detaining the saddle referred to. Mr. O’Leary, barrister, appeared for Monk. Mr. Toohey who had to come from Emerald-hill, was present. Inspector Sadlier and Sub-inspector Pewtress were also present. The case created great excitement, and the court-house was crowded. After a very patient hearing, the Bench ordered the saddle to be restored, and awarded Monk 26s. costs. Mr. O’Leary applied for 15 guineas.
(FROM OUR OWN REPORTER)
The memorial erected to the memory of the three police officers shot by the Kelly gang in the Wombat Ranges in October, 1878, was unveiled yesterday morning at Mansfield, by Captain Standish, the chief commissioner of police. It has been erected by public subscription at a cost of £850, and it now stands in the centre of the junction of High and Highett-streets. It consists of a marble base, which supports a pillar of the same material, surmounted by an urn. On the base and each side of the pillar are two other urns. The memorial is erected on a concrete foundation, and is approached by four blue-stone steps, above which are two slabs also of blue-stone, upon which the monument rests. Around the whole a neat iron railing is to be placed, but this is not yet in position. The monument as a whole is elegant and tasteful, and will long remain an object of deep interest to the inhabitants, the melancholy death of those which it is intended to honour being one of lasting regret to the district. Its height is 25ft., and it was supplied by Mr. J. Hanson, of Melbourne. On two tablets on the marble base are the following inscriptions:―
“To the memory of three brave men who lost their lives while endeavouring to capture a band of armed criminals in the Wombat Ranges, near Mansfield, 26th October, 1878.”
“In memoriam of Michael Kennedy, born at Westmeath, Ireland, aged 36 years; Thomas Lonigan, born at Sligo, Ireland, aged 34 years; Michael Scanlan, born at Kerry, Ireland, aged 35 years.”
Beneath these tablets, and on the four lower portions of the base, is inscribed the following:―
“This monument erected by subscription from the inhabitants of Victoria and New South Wales, A.D. 1880.”
Other inscriptions give the dates when the deceased men joined the police force, viz., Kennedy, on the 19th August, 1864; Lonigan, on 4th July, 1874; and Scanlan, 22nd December, 1874.
The rain, which fell heavily during Wednesday, continued yesterday morning, but fortunately stopped for a few minutes while the ceremony of unveiling was proceeding. The number of persons present was consequently small, amongst them being the Hon. R. Ramsay (Chief Secretary), and Messrs. Gaunson, Zox, Graves, and Hunt, M.L.A.’s. The ceremony, which was performed by Captain Standish, was made as brief as possible, owing to the weather. He placed on of the urns in position, and having withdrawn the cloth which enveloped the base, he addressed the company present.
Captain STANDISH, who was evidently much affected, said,―Allow me, on behalf of the members of the police force, to express my cordial thanks to the residents of the Mansfield district for the generous sympathy which prompted them to erect this handsome memorial in honour of the brave men who were murdered in the Wombat Ranges by the gang of outlaws unfortunately still at large. Of the many combined causes which have prevented the capture of these cowardly assassins this is not the occasion to speak. I will merely express a hope that the day is not far distant when justice will be satisfied. (Applause.) This public testimony to the worth of the men who fell victims to these leaders of the rising criminal class cannot but have a beneficial influence on those whose duty has to be carried out at considerable personal hazard. In some localities it may be said that a constable “carries his life in his hand,” and to men so placed this enduring evidence of respect and sympathy from the worthy and reputable portion of society gives moral support of deep significance and value. I am aware that many here present were well acquainted with the late Sergeant Kennedy, and fully recognised his efficiency whilst stationed in this district. For my part I can say that in the Police department there was not a better or truer man, nor a more trustworthy and energetic member of the force than Sergeant Kennedy, and it was with sincere sorrow that I received the announcement of his sad and untimely fate. It is well-known that in his encounter with the outlaws he behaved most gallantly, and fought to the bitter end against overpowering odds. Constables Scanlan and Lonigan were also good and deserving men. The brutal and revolting manner in which they were shot down naturally sent a thrill of horror through the whole community. It is therefore all the more surprising that the perpetrators of this fearful crime have met with so much strange sympathy and material assistance from many persons in the district. It must, of course, be satisfactory to our fellow-colonists to know that the Legislature has made substantial provision for the widows and orphans of the brave fellows―(Applause)―who lost their lives in the discharge of their duty. I sincerely hope that the mellowing hand of time will soothe the great affliction which has befallen Mrs. Kennedy and Mrs. Lonigan. I must not omit gratefully to acknowledge the warm-hearted sympathy of the New South Wales police in subscribing so liberally to the memorial inaugurated this day. It is a proof, if need be, of the cordial feeling which, I trust, will always exist between the police of the two colonies. Once more let me convey to the residents of the Mansfield district my warmest appreciation of their generosity and sympathy.
The monument and surrounding company were then photographed, and the proceedings terminated.