The Kelly Gang was expected in Mount Gambier!


The following telegram was sent to Superintendent Palmer, dated 26th February 1879.

It reads as follows:-

Re: four armed men. Keep officers of adjoining districts fully informed of what is known of the party. Byrne has friends at Mount Gambier & some of outlaws may try to make their way in that direction

Signed C H Nicholson, A C Police

In the early months of 1879, the Border Watch printed several articles regarding a visit by Ned Kelly to Mount Gambier, which caused a lot of excitement.

The idea of the Kelly’s visiting this locality was generally pooh-poohed but, on 25th December 1878, it was stated that a person very like Edward Kelly was reported to have been seen at the Muntham sale.

The police thought that Mount Gambier was one of the last places the Kelly gang were likely to visit. They were, however, quite prepared to tackle them should they come.

Apparently the banks in the district were put on alert and managers were requested to keep their powder dry and place themselves in readiness to give the bushrangers a warm reception. The banks had also taken extra precautions to prevent a surprise attack and a good deal of gold held in the South East had been sent to Adelaide.

On 1st March 1879 the Millicent Correspondent states: – “The Kelly’s are coming! And from what one can judge they are expected, as the Millicent police force were supplied with brand new Martini-Henry rifles and cartridges, and it was to be hoped the “boys in blue” would distinguish themselves should the Kelly gang visit.”

But, I believe the closest Mount Gambier got to a visit from the infamous Ned Kelly and his gang was a collection of waxworks which opened on 5th March 1879 in the Institute Hall comprising of 70 life size figures including the Kelly’s. Thus the Kelly’s came! But, one is left wondering who Byrne’s friends were in Mount Gambier?

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