Australian Crimes
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True Australian crime stories
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Tuesday 30th November 1878:
Kellys Kill 3 Policemen
    Three policemen have been shot dead at Stringybark Creek in Victoria by the bushrangers known as the Kelly Gang. The only survivor from the police team which was hunting the gang is Constable McIntyre who escaped on horseback to give the details of the murders. Rewards were yesterday increased from 100 to 500 each for the two brothers, Ned and Dan Kelly, as panic spread in towns throughout the area.
    The Kellys have been on the run from police since April this year after Ned Kelly allegedly shot and wounded Constable Fitzpatrick when he tried to arrest Dan on a charge of horse-stealing. The two men, both in their early twenties, left their mother's hut on Eleven Mile Creek, near Benalla, and have been in hiding ever since. Recently they were joined by two otheryoung men, both with police records, by the name of Joe Byrne and Steve Hart.
    Police patrols have been looking for the outlaws since that time. The four unfortunates who encountered the Kelly Gang on 26th October were Seargent Kennedy and Constables McIntyre, Scanlon and Lonigan. The gang rode into the police camp on Stringybark Creek in the afternoon to find Kennedy and Scanlon away on patrol.
    Armed with shotguns, the Kellys ordered the police to bail up but when Lonigan drew his revolver, Ned Kelly shot him dead. McIntyre surrendered and the gang waited for the two remaining policemen to return. When they rode back to camp, Ned Kelly ordered them to surrender, whereupon firing broke out and both Kennedy and Scanlon were shot dead.
    The Kelly case has initiated the passing of new legislation. The Felons Apprehension Act, passed in the Victorian Parliament last week gives the police new powers in their search for criminals, the Kellys in particular. The Act upgrades their powers of entry, search and arrest without the need for a warrant. Residents are obliged to give police on patrol horses and food. Anyone guilty of harbouring or assisting criminals can be severely punished.
   It remains unclear as to why the other two men have joined the Kelly brothers. Steve Harrt is a jockey from Wangaratta and Joe Byrne is the son of a gold-digger from Beechworth. Both have served short sentences for minor offences. They met Ned Kelly In Gaol.
Wednesday 11th December 1878:
Kelly Gang Strikes Again
    A daring daylight robbery yesterday has netted the Kelly Gang 2,000 after they bailed up the National Bank at Euroa in Victoria. The crime has outraged members of government, who this morning increased the reward to 1,000 on each head and posted military police on all banks in the north-eastern district.
    The gang began their plan by raiding the Younghusband's Faithful Creek sheep station 27 miles west of Benalla on Monday. An employee names Fitzgerald was eating dinner in the station hut when a bushman came in smoking a pipe and asked whether the station manager McCauley was about. Fitzgerald answered no and the man went outside and gestured to two men leading horses.
    Fitzgerald's wife met him outside and asked who he was. The man replied: 'I am Ned Kelly, but don't be afraid; we will do you no harm, but you must get us some refreshment, and also food for our horses.'
    When she called her husband, Kelly drew his revolver and asked Fitzgerald about the number of employees on the station. As the men came in for dinner one by one they were bailed up and locked in the storeroom. When they were all accounted for, Kelly told them he did not intend to take anything except for food and rest.
    Yesterday, the station's telegraph wire was cut and Byrne stayed behind to guard the prisoners while Ned and Dan Kelly rode into Euroa on two carts. Steve Hart rode ahead on a horse.
   He ate a meal at the North-Eastern Hotel in Euroa without causing any suspicion. When the Kellys arrived in town, they surrounded the bank and took cash and firearms from the manager before returning to Youghusbands station for Joe Byrne.
   Noone was hurt in the raid.
Thursday 13th February 1879:
Kelly Gang Strikes Jerilderie
    In a bizarre twist to the long list of crimes committed by the Kelly Gang, the four outlaws crossed the border from Victoria to rob the Bank of NSW and held 60 people hostage while Ned Kelly unsuccessfully tried to get his autobiography printed in the local newspaper. The gang escaped with 2,141 after the daring robbery in which they locked up two local policemen. They committed the crime while wearing police uniforms. The latest spree has caused the government to increase the reward to 2,000 for each of the gang memebrs; Joe Byrne, Steve Hart, and Ned and Dan Kelly.
    Their latest crime illustrates the length to which the gang will go to laugh in the face of their pursuers. After cutting the town's telegraph lines, they threatened to shoot the telegraph operator if he tried to wire for help before yesterday. The gang captured Constables Devine and Richards on Saturday Night, locking up Mrs Devine and the children together in another room until Monday morning.
    At 11.00am that morning, the Kellys dressed as policemen and walked into town withy Constable Richards to the Royal Hotel. Constable Richards introduced Ned Kelly to the hotel landlord, Mr Cox, and Kelly announced he would be needing some rooms as he was going to
rob the bank next door. Kelly put his brother on guard at the hotel and, as people entered for a drink, they were locked in the dining room of the hotel.Meanwhile Ned bailed up the bank; on learning who he was, bank staff considered it useless to resist.
    After taking the money in notes and coin, the gang destroyed all the books and deeds. Following their day's work they returned to the hotel for a few drinks. Hart took a saddle, police weapons and two police horses. They wanted more horses, however the townspeople argued that the remaining animals belonged to women, Kelly did not take them.
   The gang held 60 people in the dining room of the Royal Hotel until yesterday and told them they would have shot Constable Devine except that his wife begged them for mercy. Ned was trying to find the editor of the town's newspaper so that his 8,300 word autobiography, a justification of his life of crime, could be printed.
   Witnesses said the plan was carried out with cool precision and many able-bodied men almost fainted when they learned with whom they were dealing. Some claimed that had there been twice as many police, the Kelly's plan would still have gone like clockwork. No one could tell the police in which direction they escaped.
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