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Powers Lookout

POWERS LOOKOUT

ON THE NED KELLY TOURING ROUTE

Harry Power, last of Australia’s infamous bushrangers, was captured at his hideout on 5 June 1870. Today it’s a popular spot to visit both for the superb view of the King Valley 300 metres or so below and for its part in Australian bushranger history (and its connection with Ned Kelly, in  particular). 

Transported in 1840 at the age of 21 for theft, Power served his seven-year sentence and then had no trouble with the law for 13 years. He had learned to ride very well as a boy, helping his father as gamekeeper to the Marquis of Waterford.

One day he was falsely accused of horse theft by a pair of drunken troopers, resulted in an exchange of gunshots, for which Power received a 10-year sentence. He had been released and gaoled again when he escaped from Pentridge Prison in 1869 when he was 50 years old and decided to become a bushranger.

Harry had met some of Ned’s uncles, Jack and Tom Lloyd, in gaol and went to see them while on the run after his escape. Thus he met the Quinns (Ellen’s parents) and made arrangements to build his base camp on the escarpment behind their property, which was surrounded by a loop of the King River like a moat. The way to Power’s Lookout lay across a small bridge which was just behind Quinns’ and a peacock tethered on their roof was always ready to shriek a warning of interlopers.

Power enjoyed storytelling and the attention it drew and it’s likely the Kelly boys hung on his every word as he regaled listeners with tales of his involvement in peasant uprisings against the British troops and Parliament back in Ireland (from which he bore sabre scars on his face).

Power’s lasting fame was guaranteed when he took on 14-year-old Ned Kelly as his ‘apprentice’. Together they carried out a string of robberies and holdups in which Ned learned the tricks of the trade, including bushcraft, as they moved from one crime scene to the next at bewildering speed.

After his release in 1885 Power led an honest life for the next six years and accidentally drowned while fishing in the Murray River at Swan Hill in 1891.

At the Lookout’s car park you’ll find interpretative signage, shelter and toilets.

powers lookout

Stringy Bark Creek and The Kelly Tree

ON THE NED KELLY TOURING ROUTE

The infamous shootout between police and the Kelly Gang took place at Stringybark Creek on 26 October 1878.

Four Mansfield policemen had ridden out with tents and supplies to search for the Kelly Gang. Ned and his brother surprised two of the police at their camp (McIntyre and Lonigan) and held them up. McIntyre surrendered but Lonigan fired at Ned so Ned fired back and shot and killed Lonigan. When the other two members of the group returned, McIntyre was supposed to tell them to surrender and Ned had promised not to harm them. However, Scanlan fired a shot and was shot in return. Kennedy took cover behind a tree and fired shots and was also killed by Ned. McIntyre escaped on horseback and Ned let him go, wishing to keep his promise.

It was these events, where Ned committed his first murder – which he claims were all in self defence – that sealed his fate when he ultimately stood trial. The gang was declared outlaws at the Mansfield Courthouse on November 15 1878 when they failed to appear and a reward of £800 for the Kelly gang (£200 each member) was posted in Victoria.

There’s a police memorial here (and another at Mansfield, where the policemen were stationed).

The natural bush setting at Stringybark Creek is largely undisturbed and can be reached by a well-graded dirt road from either Benalla or Mansfield. Drive carefully as logging trucks frequently use this road.

stringybark_ck_02_r

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