History News Reports Superintendent Hare The Sympathisers


South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 – 1900), Monday 5 July 1880, page 5



[From the Argus of July 1.]

Further intelligence of an exciting nature reached town yesterday with regard to the state of affairs in the district in which the Kelly gang has for too long a time been harboured.

The meagre items of news that became disseminated during the early part of the day were made the foundation of some sensational narratives with regard to the proceedings of sympathizers with the Kellys. It transpired that there had been a scene of disorder at Greta. Hart and some other friends of the outlaws indulged in some wild threat, stating their determination to prevent an inquest being held. An official report received during the morning reported that fifty armed men had joined Hart and his friends. The Chief Commissioner of Police (Captain Standish), who had returned to Melbourne, sent a body of armed police to the district by the earliest train, and another detachment was sent from Wangaratta, but consequent on the great excitement prevailing in the district the police were very guarded in their movements. A good deal of excitement and some uneasiness were created in the city yesterday by the rumours that were in circulation leading to a fear that there would be serious troubles at Greta, but latest accounts go to show that although many of the Kelly sympathizers were in an excited state, principally through getting intoxicated at the wake at the funeral of Dan Kelly and Byrne, there was not much ground for alarm. The magisterial enquiry on the bodies of Hart and Dan Kelly was not held. Mr. Bickerton, J.P., of Wangaratta, was prepared to start for Greta, but a conveyance could not be procured in the town. After some delay Superintendent Sadlier telegraphed to the police to get a Magistrate’s certificate authorizing the burial of the bodies This was obtained from Mr. Tone, J.P., and sent out to Greta, and the funeral proceeded.


The injuries sustained by Superintendent Hare in the last conflict with the Kellys have not proved so dangerous as was anticipated at the time of his return to his residence. Dr.Charles Ryan has been in attendance upon him, and under that gentleman’s treatment Mr. Hare has greatly improved. No dangerous symptoms have been observable, and there is every prospect of the injured arm healing much better than was at first anticipated. Superintendent Hare was yesterday sufficiently well to leave town, and proceeded by the evening train to Sunbury, where he will be the guest of the Hon. W. J. Clarke for a time.


Benalla, June 30

There was a prospect this morning of some difficulty arising in connection with the magisterial enquiries proposed to be held on the charred remains of Dan Kelly and Hart. The remains were handed over to the friends on the Monday night, and were taken on Monday night to Mrs. Skillion’s hut at Seven-mile Creek. The authorities subsequently thought that, after all, it might be better to go through the usual formalities, and communicated with the Magistrates of Wangaratta on the subject. The Magistrates there, however, replied that they could not get a trap to take them to Greta, and altogether seemed disinclined to undertake the duty. No one could have gone to the Seven-mile Creek without a strong body of police, and even then the visit would not have been unattended with danger. Indeed, one of the Kelly sympathizers told the police that the remains would be interred at a certain hour on Wednesday whether enquiries were held or not, and reports came from Greta that all the Kelly sympathizers there had made themselves intoxicated at the wake, and were bouncing about armed, and threatening to attack the police. These reports were to some extent corroborated by the well-known fact that when the friends of the gang left Glenrowan they took a large quantity of spirits with them. Superintendent Sadlier, however, suggested that a Magistrate should come down as far as Glenrowan, and, after taking what evidence was obtainable there, give an order for interment. Senior-constable Kelly, with four troopers, accordingly proceeded to Glenrowan by the forenoon train, and two or three policemen were directed to come down from Wangaratta. Their orders were to accompany the Magistrate to Mrs. Skillion’s hut, if it was necessary to go there, and if that had really had to be done a disturbance, and probably more bloodshed, would have been the result. At the last moment, however, it was decided that as the game was not worth the candle, a Magistrate’s order for interment would suffice, and the police were therefore recalled.


Beechworth, June 30.

The only topic of conversation here, apart from the political situation, which has, however, assumed a somewhat insignificant position in comparison with the extermination of the Kelly gang, is the conduct of the police who were in the hut in which Aaron Sherritt was shot on Saturday last. The inquest, it was supposed, would lead to a thorough investigation of the whole matter, and that all the facts would come to light. The result of the enquiry is not, how-ever, regarded as satisfactory, and the general opinion is strongly against the police, who, it is thought, might have done something to capture the outlaws at Sebastopol. Mrs. Barry and Mrs. Sherritt, however, in conversation express their opinion that nothing more could have been done, and further say that if the police had fired out of the house they must have been killed. Mrs. Barry thinks that Ned Kelly and Steve Hart were in the vicinity of the house at the time, and they were surprised that the place was not fired into. There is very little doubt but that the gang were not then wearing their armour, but they may have had their breastplates on. Byrne and Dan Kelly were only aware that two policemen were in the house, and they knew that one of them was Constable Duross. They found out that the police were in Sherritt’s place by a very trivial occurrence. A few days ago one of the Byrnes was seen going into the bush with a parcel, and he was closely followed by Detective Ward, who has been on the tracks of the outlaws for some time past, and the police were also seen to go into Sherritt’s house. Tonight a new phase of the case has been opened up, and it is more than probable that a man (whose name must at present be withheld) will be arrested for aiding and abetting the gang. It is stated that the police in the house were led to believe that the gang were still around the house long after they had gone by one of their companions, who made a disturbance outside the house during the night by talking aloud to imaginary persons and so giving rise to the belief that several persons were near the house. This matter is now being investigated. Beyond these facts there is nothing new.

By AJFPhelan56

I am a 30-something father, writer and artist residing in Melbourne, Australia. Currently writing novels and screenplays on top of running the popular bushranger site A Guide to Australian Bushranging.

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