5 / 3/1879
... part of the KellyGang story
Full text of article
Shepherd-than whom a more plucky man assuredly never stepped in shoe leather - was overseer on a station called Micalago at Maneroo, New South Wales, owned by a Mr Catterall who was resident. There were several men employed about the place among the hands being two men named John Ball and Thomas Pearson respectively. These two, as we shall see, were evidently "sympathisers" with villany, and as such played an important part in the fray we are about to describe. In December, 1834 it was known at Micalago that the bushrangers were in the neighbourhood, plundering and terrorising after the manner of their tribe. One day Shepherd and Ball were in conversation, and the talk turned upon the marauding ruffians who were about Ball said, “They will be here next;" whereupon the overseer replied, "If they come I will give give them a benefit." It is important to remember these few words, as their repetition afterwards showed clearly that treachery was at work. Not long afterwards, Shepherd was awakened in his tent, which was an open one, by hearing some one moving about. He at once jumped out of bed in the dark only to find himself confronting the muzzle of a gun held within a foot of his breast. The intruder said, "Keep your hands down, and come out of the tent." No sooner had he (Shepherd) complied with these directions than some one added, "Secure him, he is a dangerous character." Shepherd then found that the place had been "stuck up" by a gang whose leader rejoiced in the euphonious name and title of Jack the Rammer, the other members being called Boyd and Keys.
Directly he had left the tent Jack the Rammer accosted him with - "What a benefit you have given us," and at once the fact flashed across his mind that Ball had been in communication with the ruffians. At Shepherd's request they gave him his clothes, after first examining them for arms. They then led him away captive to the hut, where Mr and Mrs Catterall lodged. They made Mr Catterall get up and light a candle, and having placed Shepherd in one corner and the two Catteralls in another, they sent down to the men's hut, and brought up all the hands, preparatory to pillage. Having packed up everything valuable in the hut, the leader or captain helped himself to Shepherd's pocket book, containing papers and letters from England . In answer to a request to return the letters, this considerate gentleman said he would keep them, as they would do to light fires with. They also took his double-barrelled gun, but gave it up afterwards in return for a lesson in the use of the compass. They then cleared out...
The question then arose in Shepherd's mind-what was to be done? Prudence suggested, nothing. The bushrangers had taken away all they could get, and were not likely to return. Why incur any danger by molesting them when they had done their worst? Besides, what could be more rash and fool- hardy than to attempt aggressive measures when there was too much reason to believe that there were traitors in the camp?
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