‘Dan Kelly was the youngest of “Red” Kelly’s three sons. All accounts of him show that he was of a quieter and less forceful nature than his brother Ned, although the general public have been led, through the vicious misrepresentation by the police, to regard him as a treacherous and bloodthirsty scoundrel. This misrepresentation was … Continue reading Not a Bloodthirsty Scoundrel
‘Joe Byrne was physically the finest, and morally the least objectionable member of the gang, and he carried the brains of the entire party. Tall, straight, good looking, fairly well educated, and certainly clever, he might have had an honourable and successful career but for the bias towards crime, or the fascination of adventure, that … Continue reading The Finest of the Four
“My men are in rags and must be fed.” On the 2nd of November 1878, a week after the tragedy at Stringybark Creek, the Kelly Gang, soaking wet and thoroughly exhausted, called at the Victoria Hotel in Everton. According to Mary Vandenberg, she had just closed up for the night and was going to bed … Continue reading A Plate of Stew
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 … Continue reading A Hut in the Ranges
During the harsh winter of 1879, as desperate for money as they were for warmth and shelter, the Kelly Gang turned their attention toward another robbery. Their bank of choice on this occasion was the Oxley bank. However, after careful planning by Joe and scouting of the bank by trusted sympathisers, the plan was discarded, … Continue reading The Planned Robbery of the Oxley Bank
Q1 Anita Condon – I love reading your writing, research and posts. What made you start on this journey? A – Thank you Anita, I appreciate your support and I’m glad that the question you posed allows me explain how An Outlaw’s Journal came about. For a number of years, I had toyed with the … Continue reading Questions and Answers (June 2020)
Making sure the coast is clear and there are no police about, the Gang spur their horses across the Murray River, halfway between Mulwala and Tocumwal. Joe is riding a chestnut he has secured for the ride up to Jerilderie, allowing Music to have a well earned rest at Sebastopol. While the mare swims across, the murky river water laps at his calves, offering cool relief from the hot summer sun above. Once into New South Wales, the four outlaws ride north along the boundaries of Barooga and Berrigan stations, making camp in a scrubby forest where they will spend their time finalising plans for the robbery ahead.
'We have received from an anonymous correspondent who is evidently a sympathiser with, and a near associate of the Kellys and their companions, a long but rambling statement of the case as it is put by the outlaws. The document, which contains sixteen pages, came by post simply addressed to "The editor of the Herald newspaper, Melbourne." It is evidently written by an illiterate person, the orthography being defective, the calligraphy in some portions almost undecipherable, and the composition rambling and sometimes unintelligible. Sufficient can be gathered, however, to show that there is a very bitter feeling of animosity among the sympathisers of the outlaws against the police, and reasons are stated why they should exist. An inquiry is anxiously demanded, and as the statements made are of a serious character, and the demand for an inquiry apparently a justifiable one, we give some particulars from the citation of our anonymous correspondent, who, for aught we know, may be one of the gang.
Dear Sir, You think yourself to be very high and mighty for the work you are doing in hunting for the Kelly Gang. But I must inform you that your days are truly numbered unless you stop bothering yourself about Beechworth and the surrounding districts. The Kellys are informed of your every move and you cannot visit Sebastopol without someone watching. You are a brave cove, I’ll grant you that, for it is only foolishness to believe your life will continue to be spared. The great boasting you have done at the Hibernian Hotel about being the only cove to ever gaol Joe Byrne has made it to the ears of the outlaws and as you can well imagine, they are itching to get their hands on you. I must warn you Detective, you and your great chum Mullane are now wanted men. A reward of £8000 has been issued for your apprehension and delivery up into the ranges. I trust you fully consider the peril you gentlemen now find yourselves in. There is great mischief to come, so prepare yourself for your latter end.
Darkness folds around Joe, memories flickering, painfully, to the surface, while he waits for the train that Ned promises will come… I pour another glass full of whiskey and reach into my pocket, the small packet of opium powder ruffles beneath my fingers. I think this is my third dose, but I cannot be sure. Nothing will be strong enough to blur the vision of Aaron, lying dead at my feet. I have long been haunted by the blood that was spilled at Stringybark Creek, but nothing could have prepared me for the blood that leeched out of Aaron. Christ. The way it spurted between his fingers in a wild arc of crimson, as he clutched at his throat and staggered backwards. But I aimed again and pulled the trigger, the shot shredded through his shirt and skin, instantly shattering his ribs, which exploded out from underneath his favourite cotton shirt. Aaron gargled and spluttered, falling backwards, he smashed his head against an old potato box. Then came the screaming and wailing of Belle, piercing my ears worse than the blast of the bloody shotgun. I looked down at what I had caused, my eyesight blurred, the bashing of Dan’s fist on the door seemed a hundred miles away.