“Criminals and their activities do have a place in history and literature, and it is perhaps desirable that people know something about the life and influence of men such as Ned Kelly, John Wren and Squizzy Taylor.Ned's final portrait However, in Australia, the focus on bushrangers and others of their ilk has contributed to a dearth of research  and literature about the police.”


“The Peoples Force- A History of the Victoria Police”- Robert Haldane    



The Kellys in general, and Ned in particular get a fair go on other pages within this web site so this time we look on the other side of the fence.Ned In Chains In this section, we will look briefly at each of the more well known police officers involved in Neds life and perhaps see some of them as more human and individual than they have perhaps been portrayed elsewhere. (No particular order)



CHIEF COMMISSIONER STANDISH- Frederick Charles Standish followed Charles McMahon as Chief Commissioner in 1858. Prior to his appointment, he was known as “gentleman, soldier and inveterate gambler”. Kelly expert Ian Jones refers to him as a “Lion of the city”. He was 34 years old at the time, the bachelor son of Charles Standish of Standish Hall, Wigan, Lancashire and served for nine years in the Royal Artillery. He was on the staff of the lord lieutenant of Ireland, retiring with the rank of captain. He fled England for Victoria to escape very heavy gambling debts in 1852.

 He had no police experience. His qualifications for Commissioner were his military career and a time in the civil service. Whilst in the role, his greatest pastime was “the pursuit of pleasure.” His private life was so notorious, it contributed substantially to the inefficient hunt for the Kelly Gang.




“He was too much a man of pleasure to devote himself seriously to the work of his office, and his love of pleasure led him to form intimacies with some officers of like mind, and to think less of others  who were much more worthy of regard. From the first, this mistake led to trouble, and lowered the tone and character of the service.”

                                                                                                       JOHN SADLEIR



He was also a man with considerable administrative acumen, and when he applied himself, he proved a capable leader. Superintendent Sadleir described him as “a strange mixture of weakness and of strength.” He had his favourites in the force and this in particular riled many others who were perhaps more deserving of the chiefs attention. As the Kelly pursuit dragged on, he lost interest accordingly. He retired after Ned was captured and was suceeded by Superintendent Charles Hope Nicolson as Acting Chief Commissioner. He died not long after, before the commission report was published with little personal wealth and no base apart from the elitist Melbourne club. He is buried in Melbourne General cemetery. (Refer Graves section.)



SUPERINTENDENT FRANCIS AUGUSTUS HARE- Like his boss, Frank Hare was a clubman, an ambitious, egotistical South African from British army stock with an unfortunately high pitched voice. Physically, he was very tall, heavily bearded and certainly made an impression. Whereas his counterpart, Nicolson, favoured the spy system, Mr. Hare preferred a good search party for action against the Kelly Gang and was always charging off into the bush with his hand picked men. Unfortunately, as he was no bushman, he would return often bedraggled with a broken spirit, hence the change in leadership from Hare to Nicolson mid point in the hunt. The Royal Commission of 1881 recommended that Hare be allowed to retire. He became a police magistrate and later an author, with the publication of “The Last of the Bushrangers”. It was his account of the Kelly Outbreak and naturally, he came across as a hero. He had a good insight into the gang though and said “They could fly before us”. He is buried in Melbourne General Cemetery.



SUPERINTENDENT CHARLES HOPE NICOLSON- He was a tough, patient scot and had a strong dislike for Standish and Hare. The rivalry with Hare intensified after they were both present @ the capture of Bushranger Harry Power and both claimed leadership role. Throughout the Kelly outbreak they never saw eye to eye. After Standish retired he became Acting Chief Commissioner. Before Ned was outlawed, during his formative years, Nicolson offered him friendship, only to later become a formidable enemy. After the outbreak was over, Nicolsons pride finally got the better of him and he called for an enquiry into the police and his dismissal from the leadership of the hunt.



“First we have Captain Standish accusing Superintendent Nicolson of being a ‘twaddler without energy’, discourteous, insolent and ungentlemanly, and we find that Mr. Nicolson has been endeavouring to undermine Captain Standish in political quarters. Then we are presented with a picture of Superintendent Hare sulking like Achilles in his tent because he had not got his promotion over the Power affair…..”



The second progress report of commission acknowledged Nicolsons difficulties with Standish but he was retired and appointed as a police magistrate. Nicolson lays at rest in St. Kilda cemetery.






SUPERINTENDENT JOHN SADLEIR- Sadleir was born in Ireland in 1833 and came to Australia in 1852. Once settled, he joined the Police Force and had a good reputation for his work under difficult conditions- both metropolitan and rural. He found the Ballarat police to be “corrupt beyond measure.”

During the outbreak, he was always the man in the middle. He was the officer in charge of the North Eastern District and theoretically attended to regional matters only. However, he frequently joined search parties and put up with the strange behaviour of Hare and Standish.

He was excluded from Kelly information by both Standish and Nicolson and was often unaware what stage the hunt was at. This handsome and dignified Irishman was in his forties @ the time of the Kelly outbreak. His conduct @ the siege of Glenrowan was criticized by the commission despite, or perhaps because of showing compassion to the Kelly family after Dan and Steves death. He was found guilty of errors of judgement and demoted to the bottom of the list of Superintendents. Of the heirachy, he was the only one who showed decency , moderation and judgement. He was certainly an undeserving victim of the Royal Commission. Retiring from the force in 1896, he wrote his memoirs entitled “Recollections of a Victorian Police Officer”, dying in Melbourne in 1919. Sadleir, the forces “Mother Grundy” was buried in Brighton cemetery.



“I have spoken of evil friendships, but his devotion to Frank Hare was of another kind- it was like the love of Jonathan for David. It was almost pathetic to see, during the months Captain Standish spent at Benalla in the Kelly time, how restless and uneasy he became were Hare out of his company. I have seen Standish on the top rail of a fence watching anxiously for Hares return from a short ride of a mile or so.”



“If I accept a friendship with Robert O ‘Hara Burke, and later with C.H. Nicolson-the latter an example of men who love their work- during the ensuing forty years or so I had to play a lone hand, sometimes against very adverse influences. Not that I have any grounds for personal complaint, since my advancement in the service was quite as rapid as I had any right to expect. It is true, nevertheless, that during those forty years I learned as much from my juniors in the service as I did from any of my seniors, so few there were of these seniors really interested in their work.”


                                                 John Sadleir (1913)







SUB- INSPECTOR O’CONNOR-  Stanhope O’Connor was a young man from Queensland, a stand-out amongst the graying beards of the Victoria Police. Fiery and severe looking, he was an unlikely figure to be in charge of the black troopers whose presence in the North East so worried Ned Kelly. The Royal Commission recommended against him joining the Victorian Police.



SERGEANT ARTHUR LOFTUS MAULE STEELE- If the information flow and communication was poor amongst the officers, it was almost non existent when it came to the sub officers. Dressed to kill Sergeant Steele of Wangaratta found himself looking to the newspapers for updates and search party information. Steele, an Englishman, has been described as “an unprincipled paltry policeman”. His first major participation in the Kelly saga took the form of arresting Ellen Kelly/King and co. following Constable Fitzpatricks visit to Eleven Mile Creek. He missed a good chance of capturing the gang just after Stringybark creek in 1878 by procrastinating, yet he was sure the sighting was genuine. His lack of enthusiasm at this point was seized upon by Royal Commission three years later. He brought the iron clad Ned Kelly down with a blast to the unprotected legs yet his murderous behaviour in general @ Glenrowan was not mentioned by commissioners. After his retirement, Steele lived in Faithful St, Wangaratta, grew prize winning Geraniums and died in his sleep in 1914. The Steele family plot is in the Wangaratta cemetery. His engraved ceremonial sword is on display @ Ned:The Exhibition.



INSPECTOR BROOKE-SMITH- In the Police Force of the day, even incompetent men like Alex Brooke-Smith were all liable for automatic promotion. He earned a reputation for laziness and was prone to take sick leave. In his defence, although the commission labelled him as an incompetent, it must be remembered that he, and many like him, had no bush experience at all- hardly the type needed to chase four bush boys in what amounted to their own back-yard. With Brooke-Smith though, the problems ran deeper. He was in the habit of posting a sentry outside his door whilst he slept for fear the Kellys would get at him (!) The commission retired him because of the bungled incident early in the hunt when the gang were at their most vulnerable and could have been caught. He lays in Melbourne General cemetery.



DETECTIVE MICK WARD- Detective Ward was first brought into the Kelly story to search for Ned and Dan after the Fitzpatrick incident.he was no James Bond He did not believe Fitzpatricks story of being shot by Ned and could find no evidence they were still in Victoria. (They were.) He also noted that the police seemed to be afraid of the Kellys. Ward was an immoral, devious man who had a liking for young girls. He was a key figure in the Woolshed police watch parties and even when they became laughable in terms of secrecy, he had them maintained simply so his storekeeper friend in Beechworth, Paddy Allen, could continue supplying them @ a lucrative rate of 20 pounds a month. He was probably taking a cut from the supply costs. The men in the watch party under him were “persuaded” to change their reports so Ward would come out smelling better for Nicolsons benefit. Joe Byrne himself went to enormous lengths to shatter the crooked Detectives nerve but he appeared unflappable, often appearing in the Woolshed Valley alone armed only with a small pocket revolver.


It appears Mr. Ward went to great lengths to set Aaron Sherritt up as bait to get the gang to come out of hiding and therefore pin-point their positions for the police finally. By Wards spreading of mis-information, the plan worked a treat. “Unable to prevent Ward manipulating him into a dangerous position, he (Sherritt) watched his reputation as police spy and traitor gather strength…” Throughout the time Michael Ward was involved in the dubious watch parties for the Kellys, he never trusted Aaron but largely kept it to himself, biding his time.



“Another night, as the police watched from positions carefully chosen by Aaron, Joe visited the homestead, picked up some clothing and left. Informed of this by Jack Sherritt, Ward protested that it couldn’t have happened, knowing in his heart that it had. By now, Detective Ward had devised a way to exploit Aaron Sherritts precarious double-agent role. If Aaron was only pretending to help the police, Ward would make him look like a real traitor and encourage the gang to kill him. To do this, they would have to break cover. It was a ruthless, amoral plan- in every way worthy of Detective Mick Ward.”


                  “Ned Kelly- A Short Life”- Ian Jones (1995)



During the commission hearings, Ward was found guilty of mis-leading his superiors and reduced one grade. In later years, he became a sought after private Detective.



SERGEANT JAMES WHELAN- This Benalla officer first appeared in the Kelly saga when he arrested Ned for assault and robbery against Ah Fook, a Chinese digger. He had considerable experience in the region,” was bearded, pale skinned, with calm , penetrating eyes and the lofty brow of a scholar- a man who combined machine- like efficiency with high intelligence.” Whelan was involved in the “Bootmakers shop” fracas with Ned in 1877 in Benalla. Some time later, Alex Fitzpatrick disobeyed a specific order by Whelan and a general order from Nicolson, when he called on the Kelly homestead and precipitated the outbreak. In 1881, after the gang were destroyed, Whelan , before the commission, refused to answer in public as to the possibility of a new outbreak, pleading his answer would “interfere with the public interest.”



“…Sergeant Whelan would keep a careful eye on Ned Kelly and his relations, eventually to become ‘a perfect encyclopedia of useful knowledge’ about them. An officer commented, ‘His diligence, his fidelity, his wisdom in council… were amazing.’ Young Ned had made a formidable enemy.”


                                “Ned Kelly- A Short Life”- Ian Jones








CONSTABLE GASCOIGNE- Constable Gascoigne was a rarity among police during the Kelly outbreak in that he was one of the handful who were native-born and had come from the North-Easts rural communities. Unlike many of his counter parts, he was a first class bushman and therefore, if used correctly, a danger to the Kelly Gang. He was a dedicated and honest man who knew his region well and “discounted the nature of the country as an obstacle to catching the gang.”


“Unaware that Gascoigne was a native-born North Easterner with some knowledge of the Kellys, Sherritt had prattled on with utter nonsense about the country and the gang.”



Gascoigne was @ the Siege of Glenrowan and reported to an unbelieving Superintendent Sadleir the Kellys were in armour. His observations in the field helped a lot of authors arrive @ the conclusion of a “sympathiser army” presence. After the outbreak was over, he was stationed @ Glenrowan and believed the sight of a police uniform was enough to cause a shooting.



“The Kelly Gang had remained at large because of the complicated interplay of four basic factors. Police incompetence in command and methods aided the gang  but the lack of adequate bush training  for the police and the skilled use of the bush environment by the gang were also important elements enabling the gang to move freely throughout the region”.


“The Kelly Outbreak,1878-1880. The Geographical Dimension of Social Banditry”

 John McQuilton. (1979) Melbourne University Press.




CONSTABLE SLATER- Another rare one due to bush skills and familiarity with “Kelly Country”. He was transferred from the region due to his relatives being on friendly terms with the Quinns, in- laws of Kellys.




CONSTABLE ALEXANDER FITZPATRICK- The Kelly Outbreak officially began with the attempt by Trooper Fitzpatrick to arrest Dan Kelly for horse stealing @ Eleven Mile creek.Fitzpatrick This is despite the fact that he may have been a one-time friend of Ned. He was certainly a “weak and devious man” and went to the Kelly homestead that afternoon against orders and with a few alcoholic drinks under his belt. He arrived late afternoon and the following events remain shrouded in mystery. The result though was Ellen Kelly and two others receiving hefty prison sentences based primarily on Alexanders evidence and Ned and Dan going bush to Bullock Creek near Mansfield.  Fitzpatrick was dismissed from the force in 1881 .”I was not fit to be in the police force, as I had associated with the lowest persons of Lancefield, and could not be trusted out of sight and never did my duty”. In 1883, he was named in the ‘Police Gazette’ as the suspect for the theft of 51 pounds from a Korong Vale farmer. He was a womaniser and was actually forced into marrying his fiancee, Anna Savage after she made a complaint to Captain Standish about Alex’s ‘loose’ ways. Alexander Fitzpatrick died in May 1924, aged 67 of cardiac exhaustion. He rests in Box Hill cemetery in Middleborough Rd.


“ ‘Constable Fitzpatrick. I note you only gained your position in the force through the good recommendations of a senior crown prosecutor. Since that time, your record shows nothing to justify your appointment. You have already been censured over a certain fondness for drink and a pre-disposition to mix with the lowest orders of society. Your intimacy with the Kellys is particularly to be deplored’ “. 


    Nicolson to Fitzpatrick, “The Last Outlaw” mini-series- Ian Jones (1980)



CONSTABLE HUGH BRACKEN- Hugh Bracken, the only police presence in Glenrowan when the Kellys called in 1880 was born 12th July 1840 @ Drumgague, Ireland. At the age of 20, he decided to emigrate to Australia on the basis of a relatives recommendation, Richard Bracken, who arrived in Adelaide, South Australia in 1855. Hugh turned up in Melbourne in July 1861 and joined the Police force. His first posting, after the Richmond barracks was to the Ovens district, which had its headquarters @ Beechworth. He met his wife nearby, @ Tawonga-Amelia Fanny Ryder. Bracken resigned from the force after four and a half years service only to re-join in August 1867. He was a civilian for just seventeen months. He seemed of fickle nature and this was to occur once again.


“Hugh Bracken found himself chasing the Kelly gang a few days after he re-joined the Victoria Police on 2 November 1878. It is obvious that the murder of the three policemen on 26 October prompted him to rejoin. He was welcomed into the force

for though out of it from November 1873 he was given his old number 2228”.  


                               “The Brackens”- Bill Coffey (1990)


Bracken was present at the capture of Ned Kelly and prevented Sergeant Steele from killing the outlaw. “If you shoot Kelly I’ll shoot you”. He received the fifth highest amount of reward money for his part in the capture. Hugh Bracken was posted back to the Richmond depot “at his own request” following the siege as his continued presence there seemed dangerous. Life in the force became difficult and he was “found unfit for further service” in May 1883. He ended his own life with a gun in the Wallan area and lays in an unmarked grave. (Refer “Graves” section.)



CONSTABLE THOMAS LONIGAN- “If I ever shoot a man Lonigan, so help me God, you’ll be the first”. Although there is no evidence Ned Kelly ever uttered these now immortal words to Lonigan after the Benalla bootmakers brawl, Lonigan was the first to fall @ Stringybark creek. Constable Lonigan His last words are very well documented. “Oh Christ! I’m shot!”



“Lonigan clutches at his holster and dives behind a log. He appears from behind the log to fire. Ned Kelly shoots him through the eye.

Lonigan recoils, then sways upright, clutching his face. He drops his revolver and falls across the log. ‘Oh Christ. I’m shot’. They are his last words. He pitches to the ground, dying. Night is in the air; so is gunsmoke. Everyone is shocked.”


        “The Last Outlaw” magazine- Les Carlyon (1980)


Lonigan was born in Sligo, the most important town in north-west Ireland. Superintendent Sadleir included him in the police party with Kennedy, Scanlon and McIntyre because he could recognize Ned @ a glance. Oral history suggests he was very apprehensive when he left Violet Town to join the search party @ Mansfield. His ornate grave can be found in Mansfield cemetery.



CONSTABLE MICHAEL SCANLON- Scanlon, another Irishman, was born in the town of Fossa on the northern shore of the Lower Lake of Killarney. He was based in Mooroopna prior to his presence @ Stringbark creek in October 1878. He is reported to have said to an acquaintance, “I may never come back, and, if so, you can take my dog.” Modern historians are convinced the fatal shot fired @ Scanlon came not from Ned, but Joe Byrne. Byrne was wearing Scanlons ring when he was shot @ Glenrowan 2 years later. Michael Scanlon had once shared a reward with Sergeant Kennedy for arresting Wild Wright and was familiar with the Kellys and some of the extended group.



SERGEANT MICHAEL KENNEDY- Kennedy was 36 years old when he was murdered @ Stringybark creek that sombre day in October 1878. He was from Westmeath, Ireland, was married to a Mansfield girl, Bridget Mary Tobin and the father of three girls and two boys. He joined the police force in 1864 and was rapidly promoted. He was widely respected in the Mansfield district by both sides of the fence and was firm and efficient in the execution of his duties. One of his children, Michael John, married and the son, another Michael John Kennedy joined the police force in April 1972. He has a son Shane who may follow family tradition. The family still have the watch taken from the dying Sergeant by Ned Kelly.



CONSTABLE THOMAS NEWMAN McINTYRE- The one that got away. McIntyre was 32 @ the time of Stringybark creek battle. He was unmarried and came from Belfast, Ireland. Prior to joining police force, he had been a warder and a school teacher.in New South Wales. Ned Kelly would hang on his evidence. He is buried in Ballarat.



“ ‘Allow me, on behalf of the members of the police force, to express my cordial thanks to the residents of the Mansfield district  for the generous sympathy which prompted them to erect this handsome memorial in honour of the brave men who were murdered in the Wombat Ranges by the gang of outlaws unfortunately still at large. Of many combined causes which have prevented the capture of these cowardly assasins this is not the occasion to speak. I will merely express a hope that the day is not far distant when justice will be satisfied.




This public testimony to the worth of the men who fell victims to these leaders of the rising criminal class cannot but have a beneficial influence on those whose duties has to be carried out at a considerable personal hazard. In some localities it may be said that a constable ‘carries his life in his hand’; and to men so placed this enduring evidence of respect and sympathy from the worthy  and reputable portion of society gives moral support of deep significance and value.

 I am aware that many here present were well acquainted with the late Sergeant Kennedy, and fully recognize his efficiency whilst stationed in this district. For my part I can say that in the Police Department there was not a better or truer man, nor a more trustworthy or energetic member of the force than Sergeant Kennedy, and it is with sincere sorrow that I received the announcement of his sad and untimely fate. It is well known that in his encounter with the outlaws he behaved most gallantly, and fought to the bitter end against overpowering odds…….. ‘ ”


Eulogy from Captain Frederick Standish at the unveiling of Police Memorial in Mansfield, 22nd April 1880.




SENIOR-CONSTABLE JOHNSTON- Charles Johnston was an able, zealous policeman and a good tracker. He persuaded Brooke-Smith to have a second look at tracks in the early days of the hunt. The gang actually came close to capture that day thanks in part to Johnston. After finding Scanlons horse, taken by the Kellys @ Stringybark creek, he had to further endure Brooke-Smiths procrastination. Neds cousin, Tom Lloyd, joined the other sympathisers in gaol after he belted Johnston in a Benalla street one evening later in the outbreak. Charles Johnston was present during the latter stages of the Glenrowan siege and was responsible for lighting the fire that ultimately destroyed Anne Jones Inn. At around this time, he ran into armed men @ Glenrowan that were not the outlaws or police. “The phantom army was emerging”. Johnston was almost shot by Dick Hart, brother of outlaw Steve when he realized Johnston was going to set fire to the pub but was stopped by Tom Lloyd. “There has been enough killing”. Later, ”apparently proud of his handiwork”, Johnston pointed out the charred remains of Dan and Steve to Superintendent John Sadleir.



CONSTABLE DWYER- Appearing @ the Siege of Glenrowan in red shirt, watch chain and smoking cap, eccentric Dwyer lost his head somewhat @ Neds capture and went to kick Ned as he lay on the frosty ground. He missed however and caught the edge of the armour. Later, as the outlaw lay wounded in the railway station, he made ammends and offered Ned some brandy.



CONSTABLE ARTHUR- James Arthur had earned respect in the region over the years for his fairness and the way he handled difficult arrests. He was present @ Glenrowan and was with Senior-Constable Kelly when he found Ned Kellys silk skull cap and revolving rifle @ rear of the hotel. They were both covered in blood. Arthur heard a ringing sound but did not investigate. Ned was nearby, watching them. Arthur was dismissed from the force in 1882 for saying:



“ ‘ It was the fault of police treatment of the Kellys that made them what they were as whether they were guilty or not, the police were continually lagging them and accusing them of offences and he also asserted that members of the Police force had treated female members of the Kelly family badly and that he did not blame the Kellys for what they had done. ‘ ”   



CONSTABLES ARMSTRONG, ALEXANDER, DUROSS, DOWLING- These were the four men stationed in Aarons hut to “protect him”. If anything, it was the other way around. When Joe Byrne killed Aaron Sherritt as a prelude to the Glenrowan campaign, the four police dithered and eventually hid under the bed. Despite this, they received over 42 pounds each from the reward board. Constable Harry Armstrong was in charge at the time of this woeful display.



SERGEANT BABINGTON- James Babington was a “warm, fatherly man” who had an impact on Neds early years whilst he was a prisoner in Kyneton. He became almost a friend to Ned and the boy turned to him later in the face of trouble. During this time, Ned would have had “a glimpse of a justice system which could treat him with some dignity and fairness, even kindness”.



SENIOR-CONSTABLE HALL- Edward Hall, the first officer to take charge of the Greta police station, was an incredible 16 stone fellow who had a constant problem finding a horse strong enough to take the weight. Before the posting, he had been charged with assault and perjury which makes the Greta position a puzzle. It was “proved that Hall did not have the strongest regard for adherence to the truth”.



“For the Greta station Hare and Nicolson had hand-picked a policeman who had shown a propensity for violence, extraordinary vindictiveness and a readiness to lie. He would display the same traits in his latest posting.”


                                                                     “Ned Kelly- A Short Life”- Ian Jones (1995)


When Hall was 33 years old, he tried to arrest young Ned Kelly on suspicion that he was riding a stolen horse. He tried to shoot Ned and eventually beat him over the head with the revolver when it refused to fire. He later committed perjury (again) to “prove” the horse was stolen.




CONSTABLE ERNEST FLOOD- Mr. Flood was stationed @ Greta and in many ways, seemed a carbon copy of his thuggish predecessor.  At the time, Flood was 29 years old, tallish, with black hair and beard and large, hazel eyes. He was married with a seven month old son but this didn’t stop him taking up with Annie Gunn, Neds oldest sister.



“To Standish, Floods error was in associating with a ‘notorious woman’. Even though Annies major claim to notoriety seems to have been her association with Flood- a relationship that became a matter for gossip in the district after Flood ‘boasted’ of his conquest.”



Annie died soon after as a result of child birth (Floods) and he was transferred out of the district. Ned never did get a chance to avenge his sister.


SENIOR- CONSTABLE GEORGE DEVINE- S/C Devine was in charge of the police presence in Jerilderie, New South Wales @ the time of the Kelly raid. A day prior to the gangs visit, Devines wife had a premonition. ..”that the moon was like day; you could read a newspaper by it and the Kelly gang was here.”  Devine ended his days in Western Australia.



CONSTABLE HENRY RICHARDS- Probationary Constable Richards was the other N.S.W. policeman present @ Jerilderie in February 1879. Ned Kelly respected him.



SERGEANT MONTFORD- Montford took part in the capture of Harry Power, along with feuding Superintendents Hare and Nicolson. He later became Sub- Inspector, in charge of the North- East district after the destruction of the Kelly gang.



SUPERINTENDENT WILLIAM NICOLAS- Sometime in charge of Benalla district, often confused with Nicolson. Fades from the story early on. He was present with Sergeant Whelan when Ned was arrested on charges of highway robbery after his time with Harry Power.



CONSTABLE ROBERT GRAHAM- Robert Graham was stationed at Greta in 1880 and defused the continuing rebellion. Prior to his time in Kelly Country, he had been stationed at Camperdown and had been the first constable on the scene when the “Loch Ard” was wrecked. He was transferred to Benalla in 1879 to help pursue the Kellys, leaving his sweetheart, Mary Kirk behind until the gang were caught and she could come to the North- East and marry him. Senior- Constable Kelly refused the posting @ Greta due to its dangerous implications so Sadleir chose Graham. “An utterly dedicated police officer who had led an honest, unspectacular career.” He was, however, a good bushman, horseman and crackshot- qualities that would have been admired. He was to be stationed upstairs in O’Briens Hotel @ Greta, right in the heart of the unrest. He and three constables walked upstairs in bush clothes and came down in full uniform, a way of showing the law had returned to Kelly Country. Despite the unrest and friends of the Kellys out and about @ night and murmurings amongst themselves, Graham held firm as the day of Ned Kellys execution approached. The rebellion simmered in the back ground.  



“ ‘ Stolen last night from Acocks, Seven Mile Creek, two large pit saws supposed taken to construct armour of. Would be well to send trackers at once to Acocks, near Glenrowan. Will have tracks, if any, preserved.’ “


                                                         (A.L.M. Steele.)


“ Sergeant Steele, the man who had brought Ned Kelly down at Glenrowan, now knew that the threat was real; the ghost of the Kelly gang had substance. Men who still had Kelly guns were now arming themselves with Kelly armour…”


 “Ned Kelly- Man and Myth”(Papers from Wangaratta symposium, 1967, “ A New        View of Ned Kelly”- Ian Jones.) Cassell Aust. (1980)

Obviously, Graham faced an explosive situation. He slept with a revolver under his pillow but soon saw a solution. He got to know Ellen Kelly when she arrived home from gaol and with the help of Jim Kelly, they moved among the people, discussed their grievances and argued their case with his superiors. He came to be widely respected in the area. By the end of 1881, the Kelly outbreak was at last over and Robert Graham could marry his beloved Mary Kirk.  



“Four months later a Royal Commission investigated the Police Force of Victoria and its role in the Kelly outbreak.


The reforms which followed created a tradition of public accountability and self- examination which endures to this day.”



      Final words from “The Last Outlaw” mini-series, Ian Jones (1980)







“If my lips teach the public that men are made mad by bad treatment, and if the police are taught that may exasperate to madness men they persecute and ill treat, my life will not be entirely thrown away.”


                                                                                                       EDWARD KELLY


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