County Westmeath, Ireland
|Death: ||Oct. 26, 1878|
Police Sergeant Michael Kennedy was 36 years old when he died.
In September 1877 a drunk Ned Kelly was arrested for riding over a footpath and locked-up for the night. The next day, while he was escorted by four policemen, he escaped and ran, taking refuge in a shoemakers shop. The police and the shop owner tried to handcuff him but failed. During the struggle Ned's trousers were almost ripped off. Trying to get Ned to submit,
Constable Lonigan, who Ned was to later shoot dead, "black-balled" him (grabbed and squeezed his testicles). During the struggle, a miller walked in, and on seeing the atrocious behaviour of the police said "You should be ashamed of themselves". The miller then tried to pacify the situation and induced Kelly to put on the handcuffs.
Ned Kelly said about the incident "It was in the course of this attempted arrest Fitzpatrick endeavoured to catch hold of me by the foot, and in the struggle he tore the sole and heel of my boot clean off. With one well-directed blow, I sent him sprawling against the wall, and the staggering blow I then gave him partly accounts to me for his subsequent conduct towards my family and myself."
Legend has it that Ned told Lonigan "If I ever shoot a man, Lonigan, it'll be you!".
In October 1877, Gustav and William Baumgarten were arrested for supplying stolen horses to Kelly and were sentenced in 1878. William served time in Pentridge Prison, Melbourne.
Following Red Kelly's death, Ned's mother, Ellen, married a Californian named George King, by whom she had three children. He, Ned and Dan became involved in cattle rustling.
On 15 April 1878 Constable Strachan, the officer in charge of the Greta police station, learned that Kelly was at a certain shearing shed and went to apprehend him. As lawlessness was rampant at Greta, it was recognised the police station could not be left without protection and Constable Alexander Fitzpatrick was ordered there for relief duty. He was instructed to proceed directly to Greta but instead rode to the hotel at Winton, where he spent considerable time. On resuming his journey he remembered that a couple of days previously he had seen in The Police Gazette an arrest warrant for Dan Kelly for horse stealing. He went to the Kelly house to arrest him. This violated the police policy that at least two constables participate in visits to the Kelly homestead. Finding Dan not at home, he remained with Mrs. Kelly and other family members, in conversation, for about an hour. Upon hearing someone chopping wood he went to ensure that the chopping was licensed. The man proved to be William "Bricky" Williamson, a neighbour, who said that he only needed a licence if he was chopping on Crown land. Fitzpatrick then observed two horsemen making towards the house he had just left. The men proved to be the teenager Dan Kelly and his brother-in-law, Skillion. Fitzpatrick returned to the house and made the arrest. Dan asked to be allowed to have dinner before leaving. The constable consented, and took a seat near his prisoner.
In an interview Ned Kelly said that Mrs Kelly asked Fitzpatrick if he had a warrant and Fitzpatrick said that he had only a telegram. Mrs Kelly then said Dan need not go. Fitzpatrick then said, pulling out a revolver, "I will blow your brains out if you interfere." Mrs Kelly then said, "You would not be so handy with that popgun of yours if Ned were here." Dan then said, trying to trick Fitzpatrick "Here he (Ned) is coming along." While he was pretending to look out of the window for Ned, Dan cornered Fitzpatrick, took the revolver and claimed that he had released Fitzpatrick unharmed. Kelly denied that Fitzpatrick ever tried to take liberties with his sister.
Fitzpatrick rode to Benalla where he claimed that he had been attacked by Ned, Dan, Ellen, their associate Bricky Williamson and Ned's brother-in-law, Bill Skillion. Fitzpatrick claimed that all except Ellen had been armed with revolvers and that Ned had shot him in the left wrist and that Ellen had hit him on the helmet with a coal shovel. Williamson and Skillion were arrested for their part in the affair. Ned and Dan were nowhere to be found, but Ellen was taken into custody along with her baby, Alice. She was still in prison at the time of Ned's execution. (Ellen would outlive her most famous son by several decades and died on 27 March 1923.)
Ned Kelly asserted that he was not present and that Fitzpatrick's wounds were self-inflicted. Upon what Kelly claimed was Fitzpatrick's false evidence, his mother, Skillian and Williamson were convicted. A reward of £100 was offered for Kelly's arrest. Kelly claimed that this injustice exasperated him, and led to his taking to the bush.
At the Benalla Police Court, on 17 May 1878, William Williamson, alias "Brickey", William Skillion, and Ellen Kelly while on remand, were charged with aiding and abetting murder. Ellen Kelly, Skillion and Williamson appeared on 9 October 1878 before Judge Redmond Barry charged with attempted murder. Despite Fitzpatrick's doctor reporting a strong smell of alcohol on the constable and his inability to confirm the wrist wound was caused by a bullet, Fitzpatrick's evidence was accepted by the police and the Judge. They were all convicted. Skillion and Williamson both received sentences of six years and Ellen three years. Barry stated that if Ned were present he would 'give him 15 years'.
Fitzpatrick's legacy is coloured by the fact that he was later dismissed from the force for drunkenness and perjury and that after the trial Dr. Nicholson told Fitzpatrick that his wound was never caused by a bullet.
Just before Kelly was taken away from Benalla after the Glenrowan shootout, senior-constable Kelly had a short interview with him in his cell. The senior-constable said, " Look here, Ned, now that it is all over, I want to ask you one question before you go, and that is, did you shoot constable Fitzpatrick at Greta when he went to arrest your brother?" Kelly replied, " Yes, I did. I shot him in the wrist, and the statements which have been made that Fitzpatrick inflicted the wound himself are quite false.
Dan and Ned Kelly doubted they could convince the police of their story. Instead they went into hiding, where they were later joined by friends Joe Byrne and Steve Hart.
The police heard privately that the Kellys were in the Wombat Ranges at the head of the King River. On Friday 25 October 1878, two parties of police were secretly despatched, one from Greta, consisting of five men, with Sergeant Steele in command, and one of four from Mansfield, with the intention of executing a pincer movement.
Sergeant Kennedy from the Mansfield party, in civilian dress, set off to search for the Kellys, accompanied by Constables McIntyre,
Lonigan, and Scanlan. The police set up a camp on an disused diggings near two miners huts at Stringybark Creek in a heavily timbered area.
About six a.m. on Saturday, Kennedy and Scanlan went down the creek to explore, and they stayed away nearly all day. It was McIntyre's duty to cook, and he attended closely to camp duty. During the morning a noise was heard, and McIntyre went out to have a look, but found nothing. He fired two shots out of his gun at a pair of parrots. This gunshot, he subsequently learned, was heard by Kelly, who must have been on the lookout for the police. At about 5 p.m., McIntyre was at the fire making tea, with Lonigan by him, when they were suddenly surprised with the cry, "Bail up; throw up your arms."
They looked up, and saw four armed men on foot. Three carried guns, and Ned Kelly two rifles. Two of the men they did not know, but the fourth was the younger Kelly. They had approached up the rises and long grass or rushes had provided them with excellent cover until they got close. McIntyre had left his revolver at the tent door, and was unarmed. He therefore held up his hands as directed, and faced them. Lonigan started for shelter behind a tree, and at the same time put his hand upon his revolver. Before he had moved two paces, Edward Kelly shot him in the temple. He fell at once, and as he laid on the ground said, "Oh Christ, I am shot." He died in a few seconds. Kelly had McIntyre searched, and when they found he was unarmed, they let him drop his hands. They got possession of Lonigan and McIntyre's revolvers. Kelly remarked, "What a pity; what made the fool run?" The men helped themselves to articles from the tent. Kelly talked to McIntyre, and expressed his wonder that the police should have been so foolhardy as to look for him in the ranges. He made inquiries about four men, and said he would roast each of them alive if he caught them. Steele and Flood were two of the four. He asked McIntyre what he fired at and said they must have been fools not to suppose he was ready for them. It was evident that he knew the exact state of the camp, the number of men, and the description of the horses. He asked where the other two were, and said he would put a hole through McIntyre if he told a lie. McIntyre told him and hoped they would not be shot in cold blood. Kelly replied "No, I am not a coward. I'll shoot no man if he holds up his hands."
One of the gang told McIntyre to take some tea and asked for tobacco. He gave them tobacco and had a smoke himself. Dan Kelly suggested that he should be handcuffed, but Ned pointed to his rifle and said, "I have got something better here. Don't you attempt to go; if you do I'll track you to Mansfield and shoot you at the police station." McIntyre asked whether he was to be shot. Kelly replied, "No, why should I want to shoot you? Could I not have done it half an hour ago if I had wanted?" He added, "At first I thought you were Constable Flood. If you had been, I would have roasted you in the fire." Kelly asked for news of the Sydney man, the murderer of Sergeant Wallings. McIntyre said the police had shot him. "I suppose you came out to shoot me?" "No," replied McIntyre, "we came to apprehend you." "What," asked Kelly, " brings you out here at all? It is a shame to see fine big strapping fellows like you in a lazy loafing billet like policemen." He told McIntyre if he was let go he must leave the police, and McIntyre said he would. The best thing McIntyre could do was to get his comrades to surrender, for if they escaped he would be shot. "If you attempt to let them know we are here, you will be shot at once.
McIntyre asked what they would do if he induced his comrades to surrender. Kelly said he would detain them all night, as he wanted a sleep, and let them go next morning without their arms or horses. McIntyre told Kelly that he would induce his comrades to surrender if he would keep his word, but he would rather be shot a thousand times than sell them. He added that one of the two was father of a large family. Kelly said, "You can depend on us." Kelly stated that Fitzpatrick, the man who tried to arrest his brother in April, was the cause of all this; that his (Kelly's) mother and the rest had been unjustly "lagged" at Beechworth. Kelly then caught sound of the approach of Kennedy and Scanlan, and the four men concealed themselves, some behind logs, and one in the tent. They made McIntyre sit on a log, and Kelly said, "Mind, I have a rifle for you if you give any alarm." Kennedy and Scanlan rode into the camp. McIntyre went forward, and said, "Sergeant, I think you had better dismount and surrender, as you are surrounded. Kelly at the same time called out, "Put up your hands." Kennedy appeared to think it was Lonigan who called out, and that a jest was intended, for he smiled and put his hand on his revolver case. He was instantly fired at, but not hit; and Kennedy then realised the hopelessness of his position, jumped off his horse, and said, "It's all right, stop it, stop it." Scanlan, who carried the Spencer rifle, jumped down and tried to make for a tree, but before he could unsling his rifle, he was shot down. A number of shots were fired.
McIntyre found that the men intended to shoot the whole of the party, so he jumped on Kennedy's horse, and dashed down the creek. As he rode off he heard Daniel Kelly call out, "Shoot that ******". Several shots were fired but none reached him. Apparently the rifles were empty and only the revolvers available, or he would have been hit. He galloped through the scrub for two miles, and then his horse became exhausted. It had evidently been wounded. He took off the saddle and bridle, and wounded from a severe fall during his escape and with his clothes in tatters, he concealed himself in a wombat hole until dark. At dark, he started on foot, and walked for an hour with his boots off to make no noise before collapsing from exhaustion at Bridge's Creek, After a rest, and using a bright star, and a small compass, he took a westerly course to strike the Benalla and Mansfield telegraph line and on Sunday afternoon at about 3pm after a journey of about 20 miles, he reached John McColl's place, about a mile from Mansfield. A neighbouring farmer's buggy took him to the police camp at the township, where be reported all he knew to Sub-Inspecter Pewtress.
Two hours or so after McIntyre reported the murder of the troopers, Sub-Inspector Pewtress set out for the camp, accompanied by McIntyre and seven or eight townspeople. They had only one revolver and one gun. They reached the camp with the assistance of a guide, at half-past 2 in the morning. There they found the bodies of Scanlan and Lonigan. They searched at daylight for the sergeant, but found no trace of him. The tent had been burnt and everything taken away or destroyed. The post-mortem, by Dr. Reynolds, showed that Lonigan had received seven wounds, one through the eyeball. Scanlan's body had four shot-marks with the fatal wound was caused by a rifle ball which went clean through the lungs. Scanlan was 33, Lonigan 37 years of age. Three additional shots had been fired into Lonigan's dead body before the men left the camp. The extra shots were fired so that all of the gang might be equally implicated.
During the search for Kennedy, on 29 October, two relatives of the Kellys known as "Dummy Wright" and "Wild Wright" were arrested in Mansfield. Wild Wright had to be threatened with a revolver before he consented to handcuffs. The two Wrights were brought to the police court and charged with using threatening language towards members of the search party. The older brother, Wild Wright, was remanded for seven days and the other released.
No trace had yet been discovered of Kennedy, and the same day as Scanlan and Lonigan's funeral, another search party was started, which also failed. At four o'clock on the following Wednesday another party started, headed by James Tomkins, president of the Mansfield shire, and Sub-Inspector Pewtress, accompanied by several residents, and on the following morning the body of the unfortunate sergeant was found by H. G. Sparrow.
The exact place at Germans Creek where this occurred was identified in 2006. On leaving the scene Ned stole Sergeant Kennedy's handwritten note for his wife and his gold fob watch. Asked later why he stole the watch, Ned replied, "What's the use of a watch to a dead man?" Kennedy's watch was returned to his kin many years later.
In response to these killings, the reward was raised to £500 and the Victorian parliament passed the Felons' Apprehension Act which outlawed the gang and made it possible for anyone to shoot them. There was no need for the outlaws to be arrested or for there to be a trial upon apprehension. The Act was based on the 1865 Act passed in New South Wales which declared Ben Hall and his gang outlaws.
Stringybark Creek is a small creek in the Wombat Ranges, Victoria, Australia. It is famous as the place where bushranger Ned Kelly, his brother Dan Kelly, and friends Joe Byrne and Steve Hart killed three policemen on 26 October 1878. The policemen, Sergeant Michael Kennedy, Constable Thomas Lonigan, and Constable Michael Scanlan were searching the forest for the Kelly brothers. They were wanted for the attempted murder of another policeman, Constable Fitzpatrick.
The creek is in the Toombullup State Forest, 50km from Benalla and 36km from Mansfield. The area has been developed for visitors and includes picnic area, camping, toilets and walking tracks. A memorial stone has been put in the picnic area, and a tree at the site of the shootings, the Kelly Tree, has a small copy of Ned Kelly's helmet attached to it.
A group of four policemen from Mansfield set out to search for the Kelly brothers who they thought were hiding in the bush near Mansfield. They set up camp at Stringbark Creek on 25 October 1878, not knowing that the Kellys were living in a small hut on Bullock Creek, less than 1km away. The next day Kennedy and Scanlan went to search the nearby forest, while Lonigan and Constable Thomas McIntyre stayed at the campsite. The Kellys heard noises from the police camp and went to investigate. Ned Kelly decided to try and capture the policemen and take their guns, horses and food. He called on the two policemen to give themselves up. McIntyre raised his hands, but Lonigan hid behind a log and attempted to shoot his gun. Ned Kelly shot him in the head.
The bushrangers then waited for Kennedy and Scanlan to return. When they rode into the camp, McIntyre warned them that the Kelly brothers were there, and to give themselves up. Scanlan reached for his gun and was shot dead immediately. Kennedy jumped off his horse, and while shooting at the Kellys ran into the bush. Ned Kelly chased after him, shooting him twice. As Kennedy lay on the ground, Kelly walked up to him and shot him again in the chest and killed him. During the shooting, McIntrye was able to get onto Kennedy's horse and escaped. He reached Mansfield the next day to report the deaths.
Ned Kelly, Dan Kelly, Joe Byrne and Steve Hart were made outlaws, and a large reward was offered for their capture, either dead or alive. The three murdered policemen were taken to Mansfield and buried in the cemetery. A large memorial was built in the main street of Mansfield.
In 1879, G. Wilson Hall printed a book in Mansfield called The Kelly Gang, Outlaws of the Wombat Ranges. It included a song called "Stringybark Creek" which is believed to have been written by Joe Byrne. It described in verse the story of what had happened. The first verse is:
A sergeant and three constables
Rode Out from Mansfield town,
Near the end of last October
For to hunt the Kellys down.
So they travelled to the Wombat
And they thought it quite a lark,
And they camped upon the borders
Of a creek called Stringbark.
The song has been recorded many times, including the Australian folk-rock band the Bushwackers on their 1979 album, Bushfire.
Bridget Mary Kennedy (1849 - 1924)*
the Parliament of Victoria.
NATIVE OF WESTMEATH, IRELAND.
AGED 36 YEARS.
IN THE EXECUTION OF DUTY,
WAS MURDERED BY ARMED CRIMINALS,
IN THE WOMBAT RANGES NEAR MANSFIELD
ON THE 26th OCTOBER, 1878
HE DIED IN THE SERVICE OF HIS COUNTRY.
OF WHICH HE WAS AN ORNAMENT.
HIGHLY RESPECTED BY ALL GOOD CITIZENS AND
A TERROR TO EVIL-DOERS.
BELOVED WIFE OF THE ABOVE
DIED 5th Nov. 1924, AGED 75 YEARS.
MAY THEIR SOULS REST IN PEACE.
Created by: graver
Record added: May 06, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 89671863