THE KELLY GANG. Why They Went Wrong. By W. G. M. ENOUGH, and more than enough, has been written about the exploits of the Kelly gang, but insufficient attention has been given to the fact that the stream of their life was poisoned at the fountain-head. At the fag-end of the 18th century Ned Kelly's great-grandfather took part in the Irish rebellion and fought at Vinegar Hill and elsewhere. When a semblance of peace had been restored Patrick Kelly moved from County Wexford to Tip- perary. There his eldest son, John Kelly (Ned's father) was constantly engaged in faction fights, and shared with two other men in an attempted murder. All three were sentenced to death, but John Kelly saved his life by turning in former. He was sentenced to 10 years' deportation to Van Dieman's Land. Hav- ing served his term he settled at Beve- ridge, Victoria, a small township 25 miles from Melbourne on the old Sydney-road. He soon became notorious, as a cattle- thief, and his house was a rendezvous where criminals of all kinds hatched their plots. Notwithstanding the evil atmosphere that surrounded them in their youth, the Kelly boys were at one time on the verge of carving out a useful career. At Eleven- mile Creek (where the Kellys settled soon after the father's death), a man named John Hart had a quartz-crushing machine, the first of its kind in the colony. He employed young Ned and his brother Dan to drive the horses which carted the quartz to the crusher, and regarded the lads as industrious and pro- mising workers. First Steps in Crime. But in the nearby township of Yea was a pound, in which stray cattle were kept until sold by auction. And the pound- keeper happened to be an unscrupulous fellow who encouraged his stock-riders to lay hands on all the cattle they could find, whether roaming or not, for disposal to cattle-duffers. He induced the Kelly boys to leave their jobs with Hart and steal fat beasts from the squatters' runs. The strain of lawlessness in their blood told against them, and soon they were confirmed criminals, cruel, remorseless and desperate—the terror of the whole countryside. The two-years' reign of the Kelly bushrangers had begun. Among the many predisposing causes of this extraordinary episode, unique in the annals of adventure, was the un- checked concentration of a large class of criminals in the North-Eastern district of Victoria, nearly all of whom were related to the Kellys by ties of either consan- guinity or marriage. James Quin, maternal grandfather of Ned and Dan, arrived in Victoria from Ireland in 1839, with his wife and six children. In 1845, after working as a woodcarter in Mel- bourne, he settled at Wallan Wallan, in the Kilmore district, where he rented a small farm, and in a few years was able to purchase the freehold of 700 acres. In 1863, his children having increased to 10, he took up the Glenmore run in a remote part of the northern district. This move from Wallan Wallan was necessary because the police had become too officious; old Quin was extremely annoyed with them for refusing to let him do his cattle-stealing in peace. By dint of constant practice he had become very adept in that occupation. One of his five unruly daughters, Ellen, married John Kelly, the father of the outlaws. James Quin, the third son, became an object of interest to the police in 1856, and from then until 1879 (when he was gaoled under the Felons Apprehension Act as a Kelly sympathiser), he was ar- rested 16 times and convicted of 10 crimes. The Mother of the Brood. John Kelly was survived by his wife and seven offspring, Ned and Dan, James, Mrs. Gunn, Mrs. Skillion, Kate and Grace. The widow had all the bad points of her bog-trotting ancestors; and her house was a thieves' kitchen. Among her inti- mates was Power, the bushranger, who gave Ned lessons in lawlessness and was with him when he stuck up and robbed a farmer in March, 1870. In the following year Ned was gaoled for receiving a stolen horse. He was just 17. Dan, at 15, had "done time" for house-breaking, with his cousins, the Lloyds, and Jim, at 15, had been sentenced for horse-stealing. Ned took to the bush in 1878, after shoot- ing Constable Fitzpatrick. Dan went with him. The third member of the band was Joe Byrne. In 1876, along with Aaron Sher- ritt (who was to figure so prominently in the Kelly campaign), Byrne had been sentenced for possession of stolen meat. Steve Hart, the fourth outlaw, had been from his boyhood days the associate of desperadoes, and in 1877 was sentenced for horse-stealing. On his release he returned to his birthplace, Three-mile Creek, near Wangaratta, and for a time seemed disposed to lead a more reputable life. One day, however, while out tim- ber cutting, he suddenly threw down his axe, exclaiming to his mate "A short life and a merry onel" He rode off, stating that he was going to New South Wales. Nothing more was heard of him until the murders of the police in the Wombat Ranges, when it was reported that he had been seen near Greta; but it was not until the Euroa bank robbery that it was definitely known that he had thrown in his lot with the Kellys. He shared in their deeds of blood and daring right up to the last; he was with them when Nemesis finally overtook them at Glenrowan, where they held a force of nearly 50 police at bay for 14 hours. A Word in Excuse. With all their faults, the Kellys were brave. "Try to put yourselves in their place," writes W. H. Lang (in "The Romance of Australia"). "They were reared in a wild country far from schools and towns. The talk which they heard all round them daily was their educa- tion. and it taught them that the only disgrace in crime was to be found out. They spent their lives upon horseback, and they loved a good horse. . . . The bush was an open book to them, and had been so since babyhood. They could track like blackfellows. Above all, they had been taught since infancy to look on the police as deadly foes. . . . I can- not but be sorry for these poor boys. They were only boys. They knew no better. And what soldiers were lost in them!"