THE KELLY GANG
It has transpired since … to the Kelly gang. At … night Edward Kelly was … Castieau, the governor of the Melbourne Gaol, to be progressing favourably. In the afternoon he was interviewed by Mr. Ramsay, the Chief Secretary, who was accompanied by Mr. Odgers, the Under-secretary. Nothing of importance transpired, neither the outlaw nor the Chief Secretary speaking. Subsequently Kelly was seen by his mother, with whom he had a long conversation on matters of a private nature. During the forenoon he was visited by Mr. Cox, of Jerilderie, and the result of the interview appears below. Further than this nothing fresh has transpired beyond the items appearing in our telegrams from our special reporter.
NED KELLY INTERVIEWED
Yesterday morning, by virtue of an order from the Chief Secretary, Mr. Charles Cox, the publican of Jerilderie in whose hotel the prisoners were confined when the bank at that place was stuck up by the Kelly gang, had an interview with the surviving outlaw. In the course of conversation Kelly admitted that the murder of Aaron Sherritt was against his wishes, and also gave Mr. Cox other information of a valuable nature. At the time the bank was robbed by the gang at Jerilderie, a quantity of jewellery, photographs, and other articles which had been left at the bank for security by a Mrs. Maslam, were taken away by the gang. No trace of this property could subsequently be discovered, but Ned Kelly yesterday told Mr. Cox that he knew where it was, and promised to write to some of his friends with a view to its being restored. Mrs. Maslam greatly values these articles, as they are old family relics. With regard to Sergeant Kennedy’s watch, it appears that Ned Kelly does not exactly know in whose possession it now is, but he has promised that if he can ascertain, he will take steps to have it restored to Mrs. Kennedy.
THE MURDER OF CHERRY
(BY ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH)
(FROM OUR OWN REPORTER)
A number of the persons who were made prisoners by the Kelly gang at Glenrowan seem to doubt the statement that Ned Kelly shot the line-repairer Cherry. Most of the prisoners were, however, in the back rooms at the time, whilst others were too excited to note every incident. The police, moreover, are fully convinced of the truth of the statement, and furnished me with the names of the prisoners who they say made the disclosure, on condition that they should not be published at present. Ned Kelly stated that it was the intention of the gang, after destroying the black trackers and the police, to proceed to Benalla, and blow up the police camp and a bank. This was put down at first as mere “blow,” but a discovery has been made which shows that the outlaws were in real earnest. During Thursday, Mr. Stanistreet, the stationmaster at Glenrowan, found an oilcan containing 45lb. of blasting powder, concealed behind a log in the vicinity of McDonnell’s Hotel. The can was taken possession of by Senior-constable Kelly this morning, but still lies at Glenrowan until the magazine-waggon is sent to bring it down. Previous to this a quantity of fuse was found in swags carried by the pack-horses left by the gang at McDonnell’s Hotel.
‘Now that the burst of congratulation which followed the extirpation of the infamous Kelly gang is over, we may well give a little serious attention to a few of the circumstances which preceded and attended the event. The moral pointed by the police operations seems to us to be that the constabulary force requires reorganisation. We presume that an official inquiry will be at once ordered into the conduct of the four men who were secreted in SHERRITT’S house on Saturday night, while two of the outlaws were going at large and threatening violence within reach and hearing. We shall, therefore, say nothing concerning their conduct at present beyond expressing a most profound conviction that the community at large does not endorse the rider which eleven of the coroner’s jurymen desired to add to their verdict concerning the death of the murdered man. These easily-satisfied gentlemen considered that the constables had done their duty on the occasion ― an opinion with which, we fancy, very few will be found to concur. Then, again, the mode of attack on the Glenrowan publichouse appears to need investigation. We should not like to see the principle established that whenever a person’s house is taken possession of by outlaws or criminals of any sort, the innocent occupants must be prepared to take the chances of a bombardment. Whatever may have been the cause of Cherry’s death, there can be no reasonable doubt that Mrs. Jones’s little boy was shot―accidently, of course―by the police. Some people say that the constables should either have taken the risk of rushing the place, and arresting the outlaws, without promiscuous firing, or that they should have established a blockade. Without presuming to pronounce dogmatically on these points, or to underrate the difficulties and dangers by which the attacking force was confronted, we certainly think that some steps should be taken, if for no other purpose, to furnish rules for the future guidance of the police in similar circumstances. Speaking generally, we submit that events have shown a need of a totally different sort of mounted force for service in difficult country from that which we possess at present. In place of middle-aged, comfortable house holders, with wives and family ties to suggest caution, we ought to have a force of young, lithe, dare-devil bushmen―men who could endure anything and go anywhere, and who would be able to meet members of the Kelly fraternity on an equal footing, and to beat them with their own weapons. The Kelly country will require garrisoning like a district in a state of siege for years to come unless it is to be allowed to travel the rest of the way towards barbarism, and such a force as we have described, under active, intelligent, and daring officers, can alone do the duty effectually. These young men, as their blood began to cool, could be drafted to more “comfortable” districts in the plain country, and transferred to pedestrian corps and city quarters. Mr. RAMSAY seems to have GONE INTO THIS Kelly business energetically, and we do not doubt that he will carefully scan the lessons it is calculated to teach.
“Now that the Kelly gang have been brought to grief,” writes the North-Eastern Ensign, “we would advise an inquiry into the condition of this district so far as sympathy with crime is concerned. It is well known that not a few sympathisers have done their best, even in Benalla, to encourage and by practical means show their affection for lawlessness. Perhaps, as suggested to us, a quiet inquiry would guide the police to the discovery of the sympathisers with the criminals. It would relieve the district of a stigma to show that the friends of the outlaws were few and ignorant. As it is, we find strangers accepting the statement that all are equally responsible for aiding and supporting the gang.”