Sunday, June 28, 2015

Woolshed Valley, the Benalla letters, and the Kelly Gang

Dry Diggings, Woolshed Creek, 1857, engraved by Frederick Grosse.  Courtesy of the State Library of Victoria.
I have known for some time that the Woolshed Valley had been a haunt of the Kelly Gang in the 1870s.  The Griffiths had departed for Melbourne by then, but I like to think they may have rubbed shoulders there with some of the characters who had a role to play in the great saga of the Kelly 'outbreak.'  Constable Fitzpatrick, for instance, may have been the man who ran foul of Kelly in later years.

As time goes on, more flourishes are added to the Kelly story. A few years ago a "fossicker" found another set of Kelly armour in an old abandoned forge in the Woolshed Valley.  Recently my friend Jenny Coates verified a couple of letters written by a Benalla bank teller, one of which refers to Ned Kelly's horse being seen at the local races.    Jenny's Blog Conversations with Grandma explains her part in the story, and she links to a more detailed news story based on her research, where the reference to the Woolshed Valley forge will also be found. 

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