Bushranger Ned Kelly once passed through Shepparton but was nice enough to spare the bank.KAREN PARKER December 6, 2012 10:15am
Shepparton amateur historian John Gribben on a balcony of the Commonwealth Bank, the site of where Rowe's Drapery Store used to be.
Ask anyone with ancestors in Kelly country and they will have a story about when the Kelly gang came through.
Ned Kelly, the 19th century bushranger, holds a strong place in the Australian story and Shepparton is part of the story.
He did not hold up our bank or stage a shootout here, but there are numerous stories about when Ned came to town.
The story intrigued people then and it still does now.
Shepparton Heritage Centre secretary Peter Ford is certain the Kelly gang did come to town.
He said in response to earlier Kelly gang robberies, the Victorian Garrison Artillery was sent to Shepparton in 1879 to guard Shepparton banks.
Troopers were stationed at A. F. Rowe’s Drapery Store, now the site of the Commonwealth Bank, on the corner of Wyndham and High Sts.
Mr Ford said a hole cut in the side of Rowe’s store was used as a lookout by the Artillery.
He referred to a 1938 Shepparton centenary issue of The News, which quoted long-time local Mrs A. Scott.
‘‘Ned Kelly came to Shepparton. He pulled up in a dray at Rowe’s, got his groceries, and went off,’’ Mrs Scott was reported as saying.
Local history enthusiast John Gribben yesterday told how the Kellys came to town after the Jerilderie bank robbery. He said according to folklore they tacked a notice up addressed to John White, manager of the Bank of Victoria, now the site of Bullion Bar.
‘‘John White, the Kellys won’t harm you,’’ the notice said.
Apparently, Mr White had once helped Kelly over a cheque transaction and this favour was not forgotten by the infamous outlaw.
There are many more stories surrounding the Kelly gang in our area.
Contemporary newspapers reported the whole district was in a state of alarm, but also intrigued.
False alarms were a regular occurrence.
One was reported by The News on May 22 1879.
Local policeman Sergeant Harding rode with a group of concerned citizens ‘‘with high hopes and wildly pulsating hearts’’ to the location where the Kelly gang was thought to be camped.
On arrival, the men were ordered to ‘‘throw up their arms and surrender in the name of Her Majesty’’.
But the men were not the Kelly gang and gave satisfactory explanations.
The News report continued: ‘‘While the police may regard the affair as a ludicrous mistake to have made, it has, however, called forth an exhibition of tact and bravery.’’
Mr Ford and Mr Gribben told local stories of the Kelly gang passing through the area.
Mr Ford recounted a story of the Kelly gang visiting a local farmhouse where the wife was baking a cake.
She was so afraid of being robbed she placed her jewellery in the cake mix.
Mr Gribben’s stories were of the Kelly gang camping on the Goulburn River at Arcadia, Ned visiting his aunt at Ardmona after the Jerilderie robbery and the Ryan relatives at Dookie supplying horses to the gang.
It seems every town in Kelly country wants to be part of the Kelly folklore.
Shepparton definitely has a place in that folklore.
Shepparton’s Declo Bisimwa firmly believes education is the key to a better life.
Beautiful weather greeted Tungamah residents for the 18th running of the Tungamah Lions Ten Thousand on Sunday.
When Keith and Marion Grumley and their growing family moved to Tatura on January 18, 1968, little did they know that it would be the start of a long and lasting connection to the town.
Garners Boxing Gym in Echuca is encouraging young people to get active with weekly boxing/cardio classes.
Rochester Rotary Club has celebrated its 50th birthday in style.
Sorting future of Campaspe pools
A theatre production with a difference is coming to Seymour.
Local athletes will go head-to-head with some of the best competitors from around the world in swimming and athletics in December.
District residents and visitors will be able to enjoy some of the region’s most beautiful private gardens on Sunday.
The 116th annual Cobram Show went off with a bang at the weekend, drawing in crowds from far and wide for two days of fun.
Tomorrow is a Total Fire Ban day in Deniliquin, meaning no fires can be lit in the open and all fire permits are suspended.
Fifty new full-time jobs will be created at Tatura with a multimillion-dollar expansion of the abattoirs expected to be announced today.
Remembering Australian political giant Gough Whitlam who once called on Benalla police to stop then Treasurer Frank Crean on his journey up the Hume to phone the PM.
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