... part of the KellyGang story
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It was intended that Kate Kelly and her brother James Kelly were to have been again exhibited at the Apollo hall last night but through the well timed intervention of the police the disgraceful scene was not repeated. During the afternoon a notice was served upon the licensee of the Apollo hall informing him that as the exhibition, not having been consented to by the Chief Secretary, was a contravention of the act, steps would be taken to have the licence cancelled if it were repeated. He at once communicated with the Georgia Minstrels, to whom he had let the hall for a term, and ultimately it was arranged that no further exhibition should take place. Last night the Georgia Minstrels appeared in their usual entertainment.
THE KELLY HAUNTS
THE FORTIFIED HUT OF THE GANG
The following description of the fortified retreat of the Kelly gang is supplied by a trustworthy correspondent:-
Leaving Melbourne one day last week, I took a train to Longwood, and from thence coached it to Mansfield, the township which derived so much notoriety through the outbreak of the Kelly gang. Procuring a horse well used to rough country, and obtaining the services of a guide, who, I may state, was intimately connected with the Kellys and their friends, and had undertaken to conduct me to several of their haunts, I started early in the morning from Mansfield, and so as to avoid observation, made a slight detour before finally getting on the direct track to the Wombat-ranges. Thence we made our way across country to the scene of the police murders, which, I was informed, was near to the fortified hut of the outlaws. Traces of the murders are still visible; on every side are bullet-marked trees, and a few old posts of Walter Lynch’s hut can be noticed almost in the centre of the cleared space, which the Kellys and their confederates approached by creeping up under the shelter of the tufts of spear-grass. Whether Kennedy was aware of it or not, all the time he was retreating and dodging from tree to tree, firing as best he could, and sternly contesting every inch of ground, he was making in almost a direct line for the hut in which the Kellys and their mates had lived for many months before they committed the crime which caused their outlawry.
A ride of about half a mile from the spot where Kennedy’s body was found brought me and my companion to the stronghold of the Kellys, situated on a small rise situated in the midst of a basin, bounded on the east by Ryan’s Creek, on the west by a very high and steep mountain, forming part of the Wombat Ranges, on the north by a small creek flowing down from between the hills, and on the south by a medium sized ridge, which, however, is high enough to effectually conceal the hut from view in that direction. Reining in my horse on the crest of this ridge, and taking a glance at the scene which lay before me, I could not but be struck with wonderment that such a perfect settlement should have existed so long within half a dozen miles of selections without its existence being discovered. A farmer named Jebb lives within four, and another named Harrison within six miles of it, and yet neither - at least so they assert - were even aware that the Kellys were in the locality, although the latter must have lived on the spot many months, or they could never have got matters into such an improved state. The plateau contains altogether, I should say, about 70 acres, and this is fenced in on three sides (north, south, and east) by a sapling, dogleg, and brush fence, the west side requiring no fencing owing to the steepness of the hill which constitutes its boundary.
Immediately surrounding the hut some 20 acres have been cleared, the trees ringed, and the timber - principally swamp gum and peppermint - placed in heaps ready for burning. The ground has even been raked, so as to give every chance for the grass to grow, and the aspect of the whole place denotes that the Kellys had lived in this secluded retreat many a long day before the Wombat murders took place; and as a proof that someone knew of their existence, I may mention that on a large peppermint tree within a short distance from the hut the name of “J Martain” has been carved in the sapwood of the tree after the sheet of bark had been taken off to put on the roof of the hut. In the creek flowing to the north of the hut a considerable amount of gold-digging has been done, sluicing being the principle means employed, and from appearances gold has been got in payable quantities, and the workings are of such an extent that it would be utterly impossible for any four men to carry them on under a period of several months.
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