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Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Kelly Reward Board Rejectees - The Denied Two Dozen [Sharon Hollingsworth]

In late 1880 the Kelly Reward Board placed advertisements in several Australian newspapers asking anyone who thought that they should receive part of the reward for the capture of Ned Kelly to reply in writing. They received 92 applications, of which 24 were rejected. We have always heard about the lucky few who received money from it but what about those whose claims were rejected? Why did they think they should receive part of these funds and why were they turned down? I have not found full on research into this in any books or websites, so I had to go to primary resources, the papers related to the Kelly Reward Board in the Public Records Office of Victoria.

 I was able to find most of the 24 claims filed by the ones who were rejected. There are also what I call rebuttals to them which are in the forms of letters and notes from people like Hare, Sadleir, Nicolson, etc. stating why they think this individual or group should not receive a reward. As usual, I had a slight bit of trouble reading some of the writing, but I got the gist of most of it. The ones rejected for the reward form Schedule A. Schedule B was the list of the "winners." Schedule C was the list of "Claimants recommended by the Board as worthy of Special Recognition for Services rendered during the period of the search for the outlaws." Some on Schedule A were also on Schedule C.

I will list the names as they were listed on Schedule A in the official Kelly Reward Board Report, then do the corrections of who they really were. I am not sure how some of the mistakes were made in these names to start with.

Antonie Wicks

The Reward Board lists him as Antonie Wicks, but we know him as Anton Wick. His claim states that "...through my having been made use of by the outlaws Dan Kelly and Joe Byrne to call out Aaron Sherritt on the night he was shot I was instrumental in their death and the capture of the outlaw Ned Kelly."

In the rebuttal notes to the claim is this "This applicant's claim appears to be of so outrageous a character that the Sect [Secretary] did not send it forward..."

Richard Rule

In his Kelly Reward claim he says that he had been asked to join the police as a private detective and that after Sherritt was shot he was "called upon on the 27th of June without a minutes notice to take the most dangerous post between the Woolshed and Greta when it was expected they [the outlaws] would go to my post.." He only had one other constable with him. Then he spoke of how his brother was in the police force and had spent ten days and nights searching for the Kellys and had gotten "a violent cold" and had died at age 28 as a result. He spoke of how the heavy expense of doctors and so forth fell to his aged and infirm parents and that his family had all been "under the ban of the Kelly sympathisers." He asked that the board members take all that in to consideration for granting him part of the reward.
There was some discussion at the Ned Kelly forum I was involved in into whether or not this Richard Rule is the same one that was the saw-miller who had employed Ned for a short time prior to the Kelly outbreak. We could not find solid evidence as the one identified as the saw-miller was supposedly listed as the only child of his parents. Perhaps full records were not always kept or perhaps records might have been lost or destroyed somewhere along the line.

The final result of Rule's plea to board met with rejection as he was said not to be at the capture.

George Stephens

In his claim for the reward money he told of how he had been employed at Younghusband's Faithfull Creek Station at the time that the Kellys took over the homestead immediately before the Euroa robbery. He tells of how he gave evidence against Ned at his trial. After the Euroa robbery, Stephens, who was a former policeman, was asked to help search for the gang and he related how he had been sent to Glenrowan to work at the railway goods shed ("for no extra pay") so as to keep an eye on the sympathisers. He also helped Bracken a few nights a week to watch Maggie's house. He says "this work was dangerous."
The rebuttal notes to this recommend for him to be taken back in the force.

Interestingly, Stephens was quoted in the Bendigo Advertiser of August 12, 1880 as saying "I left Younghusband's station to go in search of the Kellys. I did not go for the blood money. I went both to catch the Kellys and to get a portion of the reward."

I am wondering what fine line of distinction he draws between it being reward money and blood money?

Anne Sherritt

I could not find a claim form for Anne Sherritt. I take that this is Aaron's sister who was alleged to be quite an active Kelly sympathiser who would help supply the gang with needed supplies and not Aaron's mother who was also called Anne.

Needless to say, the claim was rejected.

Ellen Sherritt

She, of course, was Aaron Sherritt's widow. She states that she submits her claim for the capture of the Kellys "Inasmuch as my late husband was the imminent cause thereof. He was in the service of the government as a police constable at the time he met with his death. As his widow therefore I claim to be dealt with in the same manner as the widows of Sgt Kennedy and Constable Lonigan, through Mr. Zincke my attorney I submitted a general claims for compensation which I trust has come under your notice..."
In the Ovens and Murray Advertiser of April 26, 1881 she stated "'I do not desire any portion of the Kelly Capture Reward, although, as Aaron's widow, I consider myself as much entitled to it as some of those recommended to participate in it; but would rather receive a respectable annuity.'

She did not get the Reward but she did get government compensation as Aaron's widow even though he was not an officer or serving in any official capacity.

Constable Thomas McIntyre

 McIntyre, in his claim says that he was instrumental in the destruction of the gang as he had provided vital information about them early in the hunt. He had arrived at Glenrowan with Standish and his contingent (those listed in the next entry) about 4 PM after the capture had taken place, so he was not able to claim the reward, though he was singled out by the Board for consideration under Schedule C (more on that later).

Sr.-Constable Patrick Walsh/Constable John Coghlan/Constable Robert Griffin/Constable Robert Bunker/Constable Thomas Waldron/Ex-Constable Perkin

Thomas Waldron was actually Thomas Walsh and Ex-Constable Perkin was William Perkins. It said that they arrived at Glenrowan about 4 PM on the 28th of June along with Captain Standish. "They found the Inn in flames and the outlaws destroyed or taken." They also say that they helped keep order and guarded Ned Kelly and were among the escorts when he left by train. All six were listed as being under the same claim (No. 7).

They were all rejected for the reward as not arriving in time to assist in the capture.

Constable J.W. Brown

He submitted a claim due to being on "special duty" in the NE of Victoria and guarding banks and other things that amounted to what he called "long arduous service."

In the rebuttal, Hare said what was usually his stock phrase " I know nothing of this man, he appears to have had nothing to do with the capture of the Kellys."

Constable W. Parker

While the Reward Board has the listing as W. Parker the claim is signed by Anthony Parker. He states that he was on special duty in the NE guarding banks during the day and watching bridges at night.
He says that "I was not at the capture of the outlaws at Glenrowan through no fault of mine..." That seemed to be a regular refrain with a few of them. I wonder if they colluded with one another or were they coached? I have also seen where Sadleir in some of his notations says some were not at the capture "through no fault of their own" before, too.

Constable J. Burton

Constable John Burton stated that he had helped to guard banks during the Kelly outbreak. He also said that "I am of [the] opinion that I am entitled to a portion of the reward although not present at Glenrowan it was my intention to have assisted at the destruction of the gang of outlaws if circumstances had permitted."

The rebuttal from Hare was that "he had nothing whatever to do with the capture of the gang nor did he undergo any hardship." Sadleir said this man's duties were confined to a part of the country where the outlaws were never known to appear.

Sr.-Constable Shahan

This is an interesting one. The Reward Board gives the name as Shahan, but the claim is signed by Sr. Constable Anthony Strahan (remember he is the one who allegedly made the threat about how he would shoot Ned down like a dog just after SBC). What is even weirder, is the fact that In The Ned Kelly Encyclopaedia there is an entry which states:

SHANAHAN, - He was a senior constable in the Victoria Police who was involved in the hunt for the Kelly  Gang in 1879-80. His application for a reward in 1881 was rejected by the Kelly Reward Board in 1881.

But, in that book the listing of the ones rejected for the reward he does not have Shanahan, he has Shahan. Corfield also has claimants who were stationmasters and postmasters being listed as "magistrates" probably because PM and SM had been used in some online reward listings.

Anyway, Strahan made a claim due to being on duty in Kelly country and enduring great hardships and becoming ill and have the expense of doctors, etc. He says he was "not offered an opportunity being present at Glenrowan" due to that illness. He made a point of saying that "some of those present at the capture never endured any hardship..."

He was rejected for not being at the capture.

Constable Hugh Stewart

He made a claim for part of the reward due to being on special duty in the North East from 1878  to 1880 on "long arduous duties" which included guarding banks.

Again, he was rejected for not being in on the capture.

Constable Skeham

The Reward Board lists his name as Skeham but the paperwork is signed Skehan. He makes his claim on the basis that in 1878 he was on special duty in the NE  in which he took "utmost care and vigilance." He said that during the last nine months of his time in the NE that he was selected to sleep at the Bank of Cashel. He says that "Though not present at the attack on Glenrowan through no fault of mine, but I attribute the cause as there being no telegraphic communications to my station although only 3 or 4 hours ride to Glenrowan."

He was another who was rejected for not being in on the capture.

Lawrence Kirwin

While the board spelled his name as Kirwin, it is actually Kirwan (or Kirwans). He was the police spy known as Renwick.
He claims that he was a guide and scout for the police and that he found the saddle taken by the gang from the police at SBC. He also said that he reported other information on the movements of the gang to the police.

He was denied a portion of the reward for not being at Glenrowan.

B.C. Williams

This was the code name used by Daniel Kennedy in correspondence with Nicolson. He was also known as Denny which was his police spy name. He says that he provided information to the police on the mould boards and gave other info.

He was denied a share in the reward for not being at Glenrowan for the capture.

Constable Falkiner

Alfred John Falkiner stated that he was always out on duty when anything of importance happened. That he traveled both night and day on search parties and was always selected for special or secret duty and that he usually got "the heaviest part of the duty." He mentioned about the cave parties and the deprivation and how he (and the others) "suffered other extreme hardships too numerous to mention." He said that he was out for 17 days and had covered 500 miles in his assignment to get intel and that due to his absence in this duty he did not reach Glenrowan until about 4 PM on the day Ned was captured.

Hare, in his extensive notation for this plays up what a great constable Falkiner was and said that "this applicant did as much work in the search for the Kellys as any man in the district and I shall be glad to hear that he has participated in the reward." Sadleir, on the other hand, said that "there was nothing in the work performed by this applicant that led in any way that I can recognise to the capture of the outlaws.."

His claim was rejected but he was listed under Schedule C for special consideration.

Mr. Lang, stationmaster

Henry  Laing was the stationmaster at Wangaratta. He put forward his claim on the ground of service rendered to the police during the whole Kelly hunt and especially on the dates of the siege.

Sadleir said that "the services had nothing to do with the capture as regards Mr Laing's proceedings on the 27th June" but added that his help was an advantage to the police and that "his conduct on the 27th seems to give him some claim on the reward."

He was rejected for the reward but was put on Schedule C for special consideration. 

Mr. Saxe, postmaster

Walter Henry Saxe was postmaster(and telegraph operator) at Benalla. In part of his claim he stated that "I would point out from the commencement to the finish of the Kelly outbreak I was personally in attendance on the police officers both Sundays and weekdays. I frequently had to remain in the office the greater portion of the night and on several occasions had to remain on duty all night and be generally on the alert. These in addition to my ordinary duties kept me completely tied to the office night and day."

At the top of the claim paper the Board Secretary had written "This applicant failed to forward his claim until nearly one month after the time appointing for receiving claims. Under any circumstances the Board could not entertain the claim of Mr Saxe."

However, his name appeared under Schedule C. 

Mr. Stephens, stationmaster

Clement Stephens was stationmaster at Benalla. He said that he is putting in for the reward because he was the means of conveying the news of Aaron's death to the police on Sunday, June 27, sooner by many hours that it might have reached them otherwise. He called attention to the fact of all the services he rendered during the hunt and that on the 27th he served purely voluntarily as he was not on regular duty that day.

Sadleir's reply: "As regards the claim I generally desire to say that nothing could exceed the courtesy and zeal of Mr Stephens at all times in affording such assistance from his department as the police required. Mr Stephens acted with promptness and judgement on Sunday the 27th of June in forwarding the information of Sherritt's murder to Mr Hare sooner by several hours that in might otherwise reach him thus enabling the police to gain several hours for preparation. His conduct on this day seems to give him some claim on the reward."

As listed above, five of the claimants - Mr. Laing - Mr. Stephens - Mr. Saxe - Constable McIntyre - and Constable Falkiner were listed under Schedule C which was for "Claimants recommended by the Board as worthy of Special Recognition for Services rendered during the period of the search for the outlaws."

In the preface to the Kelly Reward Board there is this:

"The Board regret that adherence to the terms of the Proclamation has compelled them to exclude from any share of the reward some meritorious claimants in the service of the Government, whose names will be found in Schedule C, and whom they desire strongly to recommend to the respective heads of the their departments as worthy of special recognition for the zeal displayed by them, at all times, in their several positions during the long period of the search for the outlaws."

I have read where McIntyre wished for his portion of the reward be added towards his pension. I saw a listing in a Victorian Legislative report that alluded to a 49 pound annual allowance for Constable McIntyre in addition to his pension due to being rendered unfit for duty due to the Kelly incident. I am not sure if that is down to Schedule C or not.
As for the others, in The Argus in 1883, two years after the Reward Board findings, there was a listing for "Additional Estimates submitted to the Assembly by the Treasurer" which included a 25 pound payment to Constable A. J. Falkiner, a 25 pound payment to Henry Laing, and a 50 pound payment to Clement Stevens, stationmaster. No mention was made of Mr. Saxe and I could not find subsequent info on if he ever received a portion of the special reward. I did find that in 1882 he was promoted to the head office in Melbourne, though.

Just imagine if  every policeman who had been assigned to the NE of Victoria and suffered discomfort in the Kelly hunt were to have submitted claims! There were other compensation type claims made after Glenrowan by both police and civilians, but they were not considered as being for the reward money. Those are not covered here, and may one day constitute a whole other blog post.

1 comment:

  1. (NOTE: My friend Joe D. emailed me and asked me to add his comments about this post since I have cut the comment feature off due to spam and abuse.)

    Excellent work Sharon,
    I've always wondered why the likes of Wicks, Saxe, B.C.W & Falkiner bothered applying for the Reward - even thou they felt they contributed in their own way. As Sadleir stated "there was nothing in the work performed by this applicant that led in any way that I can recognise to the capture of the outlaws.." on that note ... how was it that Hare received the largest share of the reward - he was only present but for a short time - perhaps the initial charge on the Inn was enough to pocket him £800.

    Keep up the great work Shaz, Look'n fwd to the next instalment.



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