In the winter of 1879, the gang retreated into the Buffalo Ranges where they lived in a hut above the snowline. When interviewed after his capture, Ned told a reporter ‘they had been amongst snow’ and at times ‘had to clear several feet of snow off a hut they lived in to prevent it from falling in.’ Furthermore, a Chinese storekeeper from the Buckland River admitted that the gang ‘had frequently bought plenty of provisions…had come down off the ranges two at a time and tied their horses outside…had plenty of money and always paid.’ The storekeeper also asserted that he had been too frightened to tell the police as the Kellys had threatened to ‘shoot him and then burn him’. Due to Joe’s dependence on opium and subsequent reliance on the Chinese for supplies, the storekeeper’s admission has never been questioned, which I also do not doubt. These men were outlawed and they were desperate.
Image of Mt. Buffalo from Pinterest.