THE POLICE MURDERS
The report of Superintendent Nicolson that the gang of bushrangers were believed to be lurking in the ranges of “Rats’ Castle,” near Indigo Creek, was acted on promptly, and if the ruffians are really concealed in that quarter, the probability is that by this time they are surrounded by a cordon of police. A special train was run from Broadford to Chiltern yesterday morning with reinforcements for Superintendent Nicolson, consisting of mounted constables called in from outlying districts. The railway gates at Tarrawinga were not opened, and the train dashed through them, happily without any serious result. No information as to the operations of the police can be obtained from official sources. The following telegram is from our Chiltern correspondent:—
“Chiltern, Monday, 9.30 p.m.
“There is nothing definite to report up to the present time concerning the bushrangers. There are several parties out in the direction of “Rats’ Castle,” where the gang are believed to be secreted. This place is situated between the Indigo Creek and Yackandandah, and is a most inaccessible place. It is confidently believed that the miscreants are on this side of the border, as the River Murray is running very high at the present time, and is almost impossible to be crossed.”
Yesterday afternoon an application was made to his Honour the Chief Justice by Mr. Gurner, the Crown solicitor, under the Felons Apprehension Act recently passed, for an order requiring Edward and Daniel Kelly and their two associates to surrender themselves. The application was based upon an affidavit sworn by Captain F. C. Standish, the chief commissioner of police, which was as follows:— “On the 1st November, 1878, information made on oath was sworn by W. A. Mainwaring before Fredk. Call Esq., a police magistrate in and for the colony of Victoria, and a justice of the peace in and for the said colony, that Edward Kelly, of Greta, in the said colony, on the 26th October, 1878, at Stringybark Creek, near Mansfield, in the northern bailiwick of the said colony, in company with one Daniel Kelly and two other men whose names are unknown to the said Wm. Mainwaring, did feloniously and with malice aforethought kill and murder one Michael Scanlan. 2. A warrant was, on the 1st November, thereupon duly issued by the said Fredk. Call, as such police magistrate and justice of the police as aforesaid, for the apprehension of the said Edward Kelly, charging him with the offence as aforesaid, which is a felony punishable by law with death. 3. The said Edward Kelly, so charged as aforesaid, and the beforenamed Daniel Kelly, and two men, whose names are unknown, are mounted, armed, and associated together; and they did, on the said 26th October, at Stringybark Creek, resist and kill the said Michael Scanlan and Michael Kennedy, and Thos. Lonigan, officers of justice. 4. The said Edward Kelly so charged as aforesaid is at present at large, and will probably resist every attempt made by ordinary legal means to apprehend him. 5. The Attorney-General has directed an application in chambers on his behalf to be made to one of the judges of the Supreme Court, in pursuance of the Felons Apprehension Act 1878, for the issue of a Bench warrant, under the hand and seal of the said judge, for the apprehension of the said Edward Kelly, and in order to his answering and taking his trial for the aforesaid offence of which he so stands accused.” There was a similar affidavit made by Captain Standish as to Daniel Kelly, and the two other men whose names are unknown, and the order was asked to be issued against each of them. His Honour made the order against each of the accused, directing them to surrender at Mansfield on the 12th inst., for the purpose of taking their trial for the offences alleged against them. The summons reciting the order requiring them to surrender was directed to be published in The Argus and The Australasian and the other metropolitan daily and weekly newspapers, and the newspapers at Beechworth, Chiltern, Benalla, Wangaratta, Jamieson, Mansfield, and Wahgunyah, and in the Government Gazette.
By the provisions of the act, if the accused fail to appear, or if, having been arrested, they escape, an affidavit is made to that effect, a judge of the Court may then enter a declaration on the records of the Supreme Court that any of them is an outlaw, and on such declaration being approved by the Government in Council, the offenders can be shot down by any one going to arrest them without any other summons. The following is a copy of the order directing Edward Kelly to surrender; the orders against the others being in similar terms:—
“To Edward Kelly, of Greta, in the colony of Victoria.
“Whereas, on the fourth day of November, one thousand eight hundred and seventy-eight, a Bench warrant was issued, in pursurance of the Felons Apprehension Act 1878, under my hand and seal, in order to your answering and taking your trial for that on the twenty-sixth day of October, one thousand eight hundred and seventy-eight, at Stringybark Creek, near Mansfield, in the northern bailiwick of the said colony, you did, in company with Daniel Kelly, and two other men whose names are unknown, feloniously and of malice aforethought kill and murder one Michael Scanlan.
“And whereas, in pursuance of the Felons Apprehension Act 1878, I did on the fourth day of November, one thousand eight hundred and seventy-eight, order a summons to be inserted in the Government Gazette requiring you, the said Edward Kelly, to surrender yourself on or before the twelfth day of November, one thousand eight hundred and seventy-eight, at Mansfield, in the said colony of Victoria, to abide your trial for the before-mentioned crime of which you, the said Edward Kelly, stand accused.
“These are, therefore, to will and require you, the said Edward Kelly, to surrender yourself on or before the twelfth day of November, one thousand eight hundred and seventy-eight, at Mansfield, in the said colony of Victoria, to abide your trial for the before-mentioned crime of which you so stand accused, and hereof you are not to fail at your peril.
“Given under my hand and seal, at Melbourne, this fourth day of November, in the years of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and seventy-eight.
“WILLIAM F. STAWELL, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Colony of Victoria.”
THE PURSUIT OF THE KELLYS
(BY OUR SPECIAL REPORTER.)
Benalla, Monday Afternoon.
Scarcely any particulars have reached here by telegraph relative to the men seen at Barnawartha on Wednesday beyond the few lines transmitted to Melbourne last night. The party had five horses, and one of them bore a bell brand—the brand of the pack-horse which was taken out from Mansfield by Sergeant Kennedy. Another horse had the ordinary broad-arrow upon it. Ready co-operation is afforded to the police by the Railway department and the Telegraph-office. The message received from Superintendent Nicolson, at Chiltern on Sunday, rendered it necessary to despatch some extra men forthwith, and by 11 p.m. a special train was placed at the disposal of Superintendent Sadleir. Six or seven of the men who arrived at 9 p.m. from Mansfield, were sent off by this train, under the command of Sergeant Steele. They had a good rest at Mansfield, after their three days of hard bushwork; and though they and their horses had just come off a forty-mile journey, yet they were prepared to start again, in a little more than an hour. They would get a short rest in the train before they took the road again. From the telegraph office the police authorities received invaluable aid, and the wires are available each night until a late hour. The stationmaster (Mr. Sax) appears to do all the work himself, and he deserves to be honourably mentioned for the courtesy he has afforded to the press, and the close attention he has given, long after ordinary closing time, to the transmission of special messages.
To-day a short talk was had with Constable Kelly, a member of the party who came across the ranges, via Mansfield, under Sergeant Steele. Though some of the information received from him may be now a little old, the narrative should nevertheless possess some interest, particularly where it touches on the movements of some suspected friends of the Kellys. The tracks of the party cannot be indicated very closely on the map, on account of the few known landmarks in the region drained by the King River; but the general direction can be shown. If the map be looked at, it will be seen that the King River runs pretty nearly due north from the ranges to Wangaratta, where it enters the Ovens. The best plan, therefore, will be to find Wangaratta, and then trace the river southwards to its source. Greta, the well-known hotbed of the Kellys, Lloyds, and sundry other folks of evil reputation, will be noticed between Moyhu, on the King, and Winton, on the North-Eastern Railway line. The Fifteen-mile Creek can be traced backwards, through Greta, in a direction parallel with the King River. This minor tributary of the Ovens rises near Wombat – hill, and close to the sources of the Holland River, which flows in a north-west direction to Benalla. Stringybark Creek, the scene of the murders, runs into Ryans Creek, which runs into the Holland, but is not shown on any map. If the King be followed up through Whitfield, a point will be reached where the river divides into two important branches, one of which comes down from the Wombat-hill on the west, and the other from the great dividing range on the south-east. A good deal of land has been taken up by selectors, but they have kept quite close to the river, and above Whitfield the selections simply form a chain along the course of the stream up to the point at which the two branches unite; settlement then abruptly terminates. Nearly the whole of the upper selections are in the hands of an intelligent body of Chinese, occupied in the cultivation of tobacco, the pea-nut, &c. They appear to thrive, and one of them keeps a small store. The junction of the two branches of the river is an important point, for “Quinns’ Paddock,” a notorious place in Power’s time, lies just above it. This paddock, part of an old pre-emption, stretched across the whole of the river flat from precipice to precipice, and completely blocked the entrance to the ravines in which Power lay concealed. The police when in pursuit of Power had to steal by Quinn’s place in the dead of night in order to escape notice, but they passed it boldly in daylight when they returned with their prisoner. The arms they carried prevented any display of hostility on the part of the Quinns. A police station was subsequently established close to Quinns’ settlement, and two constables were stationed there. The presence of the police proved very disagreeable, and when it was found that they could not be dislodged, even by burning down their stables when they were absent, the Quinns sold out, and their land fell into the hands of a respectable settler. It was not considered necessary to maintain the police station after the Quinns left, and the constables were therefore called in. The department has reason just now to regret that this important outpost was closed. A station is occupied at Hedi, however, 18 miles lower down the river, and two men are kept there.
On the way up the King, near Hedi, one of the police parties fell in with John Quinn, uncle of Edward Kelly, and a man named George Johnstone. They learned that Quinn had made a number of inquiries of the selectors, with a view to find out who the police supposed the two strange men of Kellys’ party to be. It should be remarked in parenthesis, that James Quinn, one of the occupants of the paddock in Power’s time, is at present in Pentridge. Quinn and Johnstone kept ahead of the police all the way up to Glenmore, at the junction of the two branches before alluded to, and then struck off to the left, in the direction of an apparently impassable range, which the police supposed would compel them to turn back and exhibit themselves ere long; but no more was seen of Quinn and his companion in that neighbourhood. They told some of the settlers that they were looking for horses, and others that they were gone up for a bull. Usually when Quinn has a mission of importance in hand which he does not wish to make public, he brings a bull down from the ranges. He now has a retreat somewhat deeper in the mountains than the one which he occupied at Glenmore. It is between the Rose River, a tributary of the Buffalo, and one of the eastern sources of the King. Strange to say, the very day after one party of police lost sight of Quinn at Glenmore he was met back near Hedi by another party. Quinn had found a bull, and his face was now directed down-stream towards Greta. He was accompanied not only by Johnston, but by a man named Thomas, who, if he was picked up in the same locality as the bull, must have travelled about 70 miles in two days, for he was seen on Monday in Beechworth. Thomas was not suitable company for an honest man, having been convicted not long ago of shooting with intent to wound. Quinn, of course, had no information to give the police about his nephew, but rode along, in the fashion of the Kellys and Lloyds, with his hat pulled down over his eyes. The quickness with which he had doubled back on Hedi showed how intimate his acquaintance with the ranges must be.
The King was found very difficult to cross below Glenmore on account of the flood. The police had to swim their horses over obliquely, and steer carefully to avoid boulders. Some distance up the ranges they came upon an empty hut, which appeared to have been recently occupied. They found flour, and also about a dozen gun-cartridges concealed in the roof. They brought away the cartridges, but left the other things undisturbed, as they had some reason to believe that the hut was provisional for the benefit of an out-station hand, and not the Kellys. The two parties of police by this time had become consolidated into one, and numbered 11. They ascended a very steep spur, and struck across to the Wombat. For two days it rained heavily, and they had to put up with the discomfort of saturated clothes. They could not venture to light a fire, except on low ground, where they made tea. On the high parts of the ranges almost perfect solitude prevailed. No birds were heard or seen; the crows and magpies had been left far behind. Wombats and wallaby were abundant in places, and the holes excavated by the former in the soft earth were noticed to be marvellously large. Very scanty supplies of grass could be obtained for the horses after they had left the neighbourhood of the friendly settlers. Many of the slopes were quite bare of herbage, and covered only with sharp loose stones, which told severely on the horses’ feet. In the gullies cattle tracks were numerous, and some wild cattle and a few wild horses were occasionally seen. The spur ascended from Glenmore was so steep that the horses could not go more than 10 or 12 yards without stopping to recover wind, but in this respect the country was not more difficult than that around Wood’s Point. No traces of the Kellys were met with between the King and the fatal camp. A few miles from the camp, in the direction of Mansfield, a call was made upon a selector named Perkins, who was reported to have supplied the Kellys with provisions for three or four months past. Perkins was working in a garden in front of a small bark hut. He had heard nothing of the Kellys. On the previous Sunday, when a member of the first search party called, and reported to Perkins’s daughter that two constables had been shot, the news appeared to cause no astonishment. The only remark was “Yes,” and no particulars were asked for. One of the constables saw Perkins give a peculiar grin as the dead bodies were carried past; Mrs. Perkins, however, came out, and said, “Excuse a woman’s curiosity, but how many were shot?” When Steele’s party of police reached Mansfield on Friday, they were able not only to get into good quarters, but to buy dry clothes. The breeches of some of them were so much injured with wet and wear that they tore into rags as they were pulled off. It is to be hoped that the Government will deal somewhat liberally with the police employed in searching for the Kellys, and not cut them down to the new regulation allowance of 1s. 6d. a day. Should a constable be out for more than eight hours during the day he is allowed, as above, 1s. 6d.―the price of three-quarters of one meal; and if out for a night also, he is allowed 3s. 6d. more, of which 2s. go to pay for a bed, and 1s. 6d. for tea or breakfast. This is very chilling encouragement for the police under ordinary circumstances; on special occasions, doubtless, some special provision will be made. The allowance granted to an officer is 7s. a day―a sum which compels him to exercise the strictest economy on the roadside, and carefully abstain from extra refreshments. Small as his allowance is―a commercial traveller would raise his eyebrows at the amount―yet it would nearly cover the authorised expenses of five constables.
Between Mansfield and Benalla on Sunday the police met the two Wrights. It had not taken the pair more than three days to go across country to Greta and back, if they went away at all. As Kennedy’s body was found the day after Wild Wright got his release there was no occasion for his special services.
No details have yet reached Benalla to enable us to determine whether the Kellys are still near the Murray, or have turned back to Greta. The ranges haunted by the Kellys are prolonged beyond the North-Eastern line. One obstacle they would meet with if they turned back immediately is the flooded state of the Ovens, which they would hardly be able to cross on horseback with safety between Bright and Wangaratta, or even lower down.
On Sunday Father Scanlan, at the Roman Catholic Church, called upon all right-minded people to help the police and maintain the authority of the law. He said that numerous friends had condoled with him on account of the death of Constable Scanlan, whom they had heard was his cousin. There was no relationship between them, but the manner in which the deceased trooper had conducted himself in the district would have made him (Father Scanlan) proud to call him a kinsman. The reverend gentleman is bestirring himself about the erection of a monument in the Mansfield Cemetery.
BY ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH
Benalla, Monday, 11 p.m.
No communication has been received from Mr. Nicolson since morning. Strahan’s party, who have been patrolling between the King River and Wombat-hill, since the day before the murders, have to-day, for the second time, reported themselves at Mansfield. They have been over a great deal of ground. They state that they have seen tracks of horses, which they propose to follow up; but it is probable that they have merely crossed the trail of Steele’s party, of whose presence on the ranges they could not have been aware. The men are stated to be in good health in spite of the bad weather, and ready to set out again on receipt of fresh instructions. The main body of the party have not come into Mansfield. The weather has improved since the afternoon.