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7 corrections, most recently by RonnieLand - Show corrections

HOW THE KELLY GANG MURDERED THE CONSTABLES.

 

A series of articles entitled "Some  

paper on the Kelly Gang, by Mr. H. H. Nihil." has been appearing in the Gympie Times. From the last one we take the following account of how the constables went after the gang were mur- dered :—Just then they heard the tramp of the absent constables, and almost immediately after they came in sight; Kelly cried out " Hush, lads, here they are" and ordered McIntyre to sit down on one of the logs, at the same time placing himself behind it. McIntyre said" For God's sake don't   shoot the men, I will get them to sur- render." As Kennedy unsuspiciously advanced into the clearing, with Scan- lan a couple of horses' length in the rear, McIntyre went forward telling him quietly they were surrounded by Kelly and his party, and advising him to surrender; while to a sign from Ned Kelly the police were covered by the guns of the outlaws, with the com- mand " Bail up, throw up your hands." Kennedy apparently thinking it a joke smilingly placed his hand on his revol- ver case, whereupon shots were in- stantly fired by some of the bushran- gers; both Kennedy and Scanlan   hurriedly dismounted, and the latter struck for a tree, trying at the same time to unsling the Spencer rifle which hung at his back, but before he could gain the shelter, he fell from a bullet

which struck him in the side under the

right arm, the blood spurting freely from the wound. After several fruit- less attempts to draw his revolver, Kennedy cried out "All right boys, don't shoot." He was, however, either misunderstood by the gang, or enraged by the resistance they had met with, they took no notice of his words for they again fired. By this time Ken- nedy had managed to extract his re-

volver from the case and at once

opened fire on his attackers, whereupon McIntyre seeing no chance of mercy, jumped on Kennedy's horse and gal- loped off. It is said that one of Kennedy's bullets passed through Ned Kelly's whiskers and another through his sleeve. Kennedy's ammunition getting short, he commenced retreating at a rapid pace, closely followed by the Kellys; after running about thirty   yards and seeing all lost but honor, he as a last resource darted behind a tree, and as soon as Ned Kelly came within pistol shoot, he discharged the sole re- maining bullet in his revolver from the cover of the tree. Kelly avoided the bullet by dropping quickly on his knees,

and almost returned the fire from his

gun with fatal effect, the ball entering Kennedy's right side causing him to fall mortally wounded close to the tree,  

where his body was eventually found by the search party from Mansfield. Hart and Byrne then came up, but on seeing Kennedy down, and in custody of their mate they hurried off after McIntyre who, as we have stated, had fled from the scene of action. Ned Kelly tried to relieve his victim, altering his position from time to time, whilst Dan  

fetched some water from the creek to

cool his lips. The sufferer's thoughts

and words were all on his wife and family, and to such an extent was Ned Kelly at last touched, that he cried out excitedly with a genuine impulse of remorse " Kennedy, I am sorry I shot you for you are a brave man; here, take my gun and shoot me;" the wounded man nobly replied " No, I forgive you from my heart and I pray that God stay forgive you too." At   Kennedy's request he was propped up, And being handed a note-book and pencil from his pocket, he proceeded to write cheifly advice as to his wife's future proceedings, until he could write no longer when he delivered the papers into Ned Kelly's charge, with an earnest request that he would have them forwarded to his wife, which Kelly faithfully promised to do. By this time it wat getting late in the evening, and the gang deemed it advisable to leave the place. Kelly, it it said, out 0f a feeling of compassion for his victim, and wishing to spare him the agony of a lingering death in the bush, seized a moment when he thought the sergeant was in a wandering fit, and was about to put a speedy termination to his suffering, when Kennedy, notic- ing his action, cried out "Let me alone for God's sake, let me live if I can for the sake of my family, surely you have shed enough blood;" without allowing himself time for reflection, Kelly placed the muzzle of his gun to his victim's left breast, and fired the shot which closed the brave man's career. The gang then took from the body a valu- able gold watch and a small sum of money, and left the fatal spot. Just after McIntyre got on Kennedy's horse the animal made a plunge which caused his rider to lose one stirrup, and whilst leaning to recover it the bushrangers cheered thinking he was wounded; he, however, started off at full gallop down the creek, urging his horse to full speed; during the ride his clothes were reduced to tatters, and he was covered with cuts and bruises caused by the branches of the trees which impeded his way; at last his horse being about   knocked up stumbled and fell, throw- ing his rider heavily on the ground; shortly recovering himself, McIntyre got up and continued his flight on foot, after a weary tramp reaching the head of a gully called Holland's Creek, which flows into the Broken River; here he   hid himself in a large wombat hole, having looked carelully round and listened attentively for sounds of his pursuers. Having satisfied himself that they were not on his track, he

sat down and wrote in his pocket- book a memorandum, of which the

following is said to be a copy :—"Ned and Dan Kelly and two others stuck us up while we were unarmed. Lonigan and Scanlan are shot. I am hiding in a wombat hole until dark; the Lord have mercy on me. Scanlan was shot while trying to get his gun out." McIntyre stated in Mansfield that he had made this memorandum with the intention of leaving it in the hole, so that there should be some record in case of his being discovered and shot by the Kellys. In the excitement of the moment he stated in his notes that they were unarmed when the Kellys came up, whilst the fact was that he alone was unarmed at the time of the attack. McIntyre remained in con- cealment till dark, when, following a bright star which he observed in the west, he set out for Mansfield; after travelling two or three miles he lost the run of the star, and had to fall back on a pocket compass, which he fortunately had wilh him ; he had but three matches, the second of which he succeeded in lighting; the country through which he was travelling was of the roughest description; he at length arrived at a place he knew called Bridge's Creek, where he lay down overcome with fatigue, weariness, and excitement; after resting awhile he felt somewhat refreshed, and started again on his journey. After a hard struggle he reached John McColl's place, distant one mile from Mansfield,

at about 3 o'clock in the afternoon. Here his wants were attended to, and a buggy provided by a neighbouring farmer, in which he was driven to the police camp at the township, where he reported all he knew of the dreadful occurrence to Sub-Inspector Pewtress, who, without a moment's delay, pro- ceeded to organise a party to find the murdered constables, and search after Sergeant Kennedy, whose fate was at that time the subject of doubt to all but

the outlaws.

A party of fourteen or fifteen was soon got together, including McIntyre and two of the police. The party which started about 6 o'clock in the afternoon would have consisted of many more, had they been able to provide themselves with fire-arms; even those who did start were but poorly supplied. The search party reached the scene of the terrible murder about 2 o'clock on the fol- lowing morning (Monday), and, finding the corpses of constable Loni- gan and Scanlan, they had them con- veyed by means of pack-horses to the Wombat Saw-mills, a distance of about seven miles, where they were met by Mr. Thomas McMullen, from Mans- field, with a four-horse dray, on which the remains were conveyed to the township. On the following morning Dr. Reynolds made a post-mortem examination of the bodies before Mr. H. H. Kitchener, the conclusion ar- rived at being that the constables came to their death by gun-shot wounds inflicted by the bushrangers; after the enquiry the fuueral took place, and was largely attended by the residents of the district. No trace had yet been discovered of Kennedy, and the same day as the funeral another party was started, which also returned unsuccessful; at four o'clock on the following Wednesday another party started, headed by Mr. James Tom- kins, president of the Mansfield shire, and sub-Inspector Pewtress, accom- panied by several residents, and on the following morning the body of the unfortunate sergeant was found by Mr. H. G. Sparrow, and was forwarded to the township in the same way as the other bodies. Kennedy's remains were interred in the Mansfield ceme- tery the same afternoon, the burial service being very impressively read by the Reverend Father Scanlan, in the presence of about two hundred persons. Subsequently to these frightful murders, the Mansfield and Benalla districts were swarming with police and artillerymen from Mel- bourne, in numbers almost sufficient to surround the Wombat ranges, not-

withstanding which the Kelly gang passed unobserved through this cordon and stuck up the Faithful Creek station, as well as the bank at Euroa, from which they took over £2,000. We next hear of them at Jerilderie where they stuck up the police-station, dressed themselves in the police uni- form, paraded the streets, and, at their leisure, stuck up the bank from which they abstracted nearly £3,000. After this raid, they re-crossed the Murray, and, it is supposed, concealed them- selves in their mountain fastnesses where they probably still remain, and where we will leave them to be captured or shot by the police, although I fear many more lives will be lost before this desirable end is affected.

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