South Wangaratta and the Kelly Gang

Stephen Hart lived in South Wangaratta. His father, Richard Hart, had a farm near the Three Mile Creek.
In 1877 Stephen Hart was convicted of horse stealing and was imprisoned for twelve months in H.M.Prison Beechworth. It was during his prison days that Steve became friends with Dan Kelly. So Steve was invited to join the Kelly Gang in their fight against the police.
Stephen Harts philosophy of life was, "Here's to a short life and a merry one".
The Kelly Gang was made up of Dan Kelly, Steve Hart, Ned Kelly and Joe Byrne who was Neds best friend.

In October 1878 the Stringy Bark Creek murders resulted in the deaths of Constable Lonigan, Senior Constable Scanlon and Sergeant Kennedy. Constable McIntyre escaped.
The shock and indignation resulted in the Victorian Parliament pushing through legislation to outlaw the Kelly Gang and secure their apprehension dead or alive.

During the time the gang were hunted by the police, they had three areas in which they could hide, each offering them excellent views of imminent danger, thick scrub for cover and a network of supporters and family. These areas were, the hills beyond Greta (Kelly Country), the Pilot Ranges (well known to Joe Byrne) and the Warby Ranges, where the country to the west of Wangaratta was Hart territory.
The Kelly Gang was able to elude police because of their intricate knowledge of these areas with hiding places throughout and many sympathisers to assist them.

After Stringybark the gang retreated into the Pilot Ranges then made their way to Wangaratta, crossing under the railway line at the flooded One Mile Creek and making for the safety of the Warby Ranges.

In November 1878 Sergeant Kennedy's pack horse was found in the Warby Ranges and a few weeks later more police horses, from the Stingybark Creek incident, were found in the Warbys.

After raids/robberies in Euroa and Jerilderie, the gang seemed to disappear, with few sightings of them. There were only reports from sympathisers saying that the gang members were fit and well and attending social functions such as picnic races in their areas.

The last stand, June 26-28th 1880, was the siege at Glenrowan which saw the end of the Kelly Gang. In a drawn out and prolonged battle, Joe Byrne was shot dead, Ned Kelly was captured and subsequently executed in Melbourne on the 11th November 1880. The bodies of Steve Hart and Dan Kelly were found in the burnt out remains of the Glenrowan Inn.

Stephen Hart, aged 21 years, was buried in the Greta Cemetery on June 29th 1880, in the same grave as Dan Kelly. Joe Byrne is buried in the Benalla Cemetery in what was an unmarked grave is now with a headstone. On 13th January 2013 Ned Kelly's remains were returned to his relatives and he is now buried near family members in the Greta Cemetery, in a secret resting place.

Kelly Gang Police Report

11/12/1878 - Victoria Police Supplementary Report of Criminal Offence or Police Inquiry.
Wangaratta Station, N. Eastern District.
The following horses taken from Murdered Constables have been recovered near Warbys Ranges -
Chestnut Gelding M42, Brown Mare O9, Grey Gelding B87, Chestnut Gelding L43.

Stacks Image 680

View from Kelly Gang lookout in the Warby Ranges