Chapter 172737075

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Chapter NumberXIII
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article172737075
Full Date1895-12-07
Page Number3
Corrections0
Word Count3202
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld. : 1872 - 1947)
Trove TitleBarumba Station; Or, Amy River's Sacrifice. A True and Eventful Narrative of the Early Days in New South Wales
article text

MRDMBA STATION ; or, Amy River's Sacrifice.

A True and Eyentful NarratiYd \ of this ' EARLY DAYS III NEW SOOTH WALES.

BY CAPTAIN LAC IE. ;

oopyeiam resanvbd. CHAPTER XIII, i

Halpiu's efforts in the direction of Salvage would have proved almost use less had it not been for the opportune arrival of Cosgrove, who, in the strong " light, ventured across, and being chal lenged was able to convince the party

he was a friend. The old cook set them to work on the store-room, and a good many useful articles of food and clothing were obtained. These were conveyed to an outhouse used occa sionally for curing beef and pork. The place was large enough to hold the party, and when the flames were burnt out a strong watch was set and the re mainder of the worn-out men sought solace in sleep. At daylight all were astir, and Cosgrove told the major everything that had occurred on the previous day, not even forgetting the .poison incident much as it was against himself. " They are, in. a manner, wild beasts; but I wouldn't care to do anything like that, Cosgrove," was the major's com ment on the affair ; but lie was speedily silenced by the Scotsman's retort. " I don't think the families of those two poor fellows, whose bodies lie in the stable, would think I attempted to do wrong. When they hear what has occurred' they will lament I did not succeed. It was only done to save honest lives." "Perhaps you are right, Cosgrove, Certainly you are looking at it in the light you do ; but we'll let the subject drop. I am in a dilemma how to pro ceed now. I was sent down here to make for the coast and see what the meaning of the wreck was — or, at least, what vessel it was. The fools who re ported it did not take the trouble to make full .enquiries. They said the sea was too rough to approach closely and all that. I will first hold the en quiry on the body of Moncton. You buried him where yonder mound is, I believe," the officer said, pointing to the small heap of earth which marked the last resting-place of the manager of Barumba Station. "Yes, sir, poor James Monclon's body is there, but I hope his spirit is aloft. The coast is only ten miles from here, and. I daresay we could make the trip across and back in a couple of days, ' If you leave two men with me I'll have everything right by the time you return, and then we can take up the chase after these murderers, I have a couple of fellows in the bush yonder. They were too afraid to venture out last night, so I thought it would be best to let them stop out till this morning. Jl'll go and bring them across," answere'd Cosgroye as he left Ilalpin and went for his late comrades. The enquiry into the deaths ofMonc- ton and the two constables did not last long. It was a foregone conclusion, and when verdicts of wilful murder had been returned - against Lynch, Laurie, Thomas and Gibson, two more mounds were added to the one under which the late manager slept in the embrace of death. As it was imperatiye the major should carry out the instructions on which he and the party had been $ent> he left in the forenoon with five of the men, leaving two to supplement -the limited force with Cosgrove. It is needless to recapitulate what the officer found. . The remains of those lost in the Penelope, which had not disap peared, were collected and buried, and, after finding out the name of the ves sel, there was no difficulty in ascertain ing how it had been driven ashore, as the path of the tornado'was well defined. On the afternoon of the second, day . Major Halpin returned- to the ruined homestead of Barumba Station and found Cosgrove and his comrades had not been idle, as they had thrown up a rough structure from the material about under which they could live with more ' comfort than in the curing-house. That evening Halpin, Flood, and the old cook had a long and serious talk as to the best -course to pursue, and it was finally agreed the bushrangers should (be followed. " It is no use in' my going back to Braidwood like this. It means a jour ney of two hundred miles and would simply result in me being sent back to the district with instructions to " hunt down these men. You ought to know a good deal about the hills, Cosgrove, and you are a thoroughly good bush- man, Flood, so we ought to have a fair chance of success. At any rate, it is our duty to try, and try I will. We'll go away in the morning and all hands with us. -. There is little to protect here just now, and eleven men will have a better chance of success than nine. If those two employees are too cowardly to fight they will be. useful enough to carry food. Pack horses would be of little or no use in the ranges, I know, and we must get over the ground as quickly as possible, Of course .you'll make one, Cosgrove," remarked Halpin. " That I will, sir. I'm determined to see tne end of them ! What if Laurie did spare my life ? I don't see they bad any right to take it, and, besides, I'm a supporter of the law and James Moncton's avenger. Of course I'll go, sir, and show you likely places to find them," returned the old man, with vehemence. The major could scarcely refrain from laughing at the logic of Cosgrove, but he managed to do so as he fully recognised the late manager's friend

Would prove a valuable aid in the | ranges, and, after all, the matter was- ; not a laughing one by any means. The i four men he desired to bring to justice : had placed themselves outside the pale of consideration by their atrocious acts, and while at large they were a menace to peaceful people. Before daylight preparations were made for the departure. As the ex pedition would probably remain away for a week or more it would be abso lutely necessary to take a good supply of rations, and Cosgrove, with the assist ance of his two men, and one of the constables were about at 2 a.m. prepar ing the food. At sunrise all was ready, and, after filling the ample wallets and securing the swags in a way which would offer the least resistance to the scrub and undergrowth, a start was made. Prior -to this the horses were hobbled and turned loose to get their oWn food, and the same course was followed in the case of half-a-dozen penned pigs. " Our best plan will be to go to the place where we had the fight. It may be possible to pick up some tracks and follow from there," spoke Flood to his chief, as they turned towards the west. This seemed good advice and it was followed, but very little success at tended the endeavors of the party to get on the trail. Three days had elapsed, and in that time the prints were rendered almost illegible. Once or twice signs were noticed which in dicated the outlaws had gone that way, and Cosgrove found on a small log traces of blood, as though a wounded animal had rested at the spot. This discovery gave rise to the hope that one or more of the outlaws might have been injured — perhaps fatally — in the fight, and, after all, their quest might not be so dangerous a one as they thought. This success was not fol lowed up, and, after a couple of hours' search, it was agreed to make for the ranges and trust to finding indications there which might lead them on the tracks. - - " I believe they are somewhere about tlje great peak yonder," observed Cos grove, pointing to the high mount near the base of which he had the strange tryst with the late manager. " I may as well tell you," he continued, " that Moncton was searching about there for a couple of weeks before he was mur dered. He had an idea a great cave or enclosed space existed in the vicinity, and that it was there the young fellows concealed cattle when they meant to get them off quietly. His notion was the man or men who bought them carried the stock inland, and it was al most useless to tell him they .went away by sea. On the very day the Penelope was lying in port he was over there, and I went and told him about the ship and how I had seen the men ' cutting out ' cattle. As we were leaving for the homestead he said a big discovery had been made by him that day of a secret place in the mountain which he would show me later on ; but, of 'course he was killed that night and could not do so." " Then let us go across to the peak and begin our search from its vicinity. The information you now give us is most important and likely to lead to" something. I suppose Moncton was not the man to say what he did unless he had good reason for it," answered the major. "Not he. James Moncton was a man of his word, and never told a lie so far as I know'. He meant more by what, he said than was conveyed in his words,- 1 could tell that, but, being so excited by what I had seen, was in na humor to question him. If we go along' this gully it will bring us almost to the spot we want to reach," returned the old man. Major Haplin had divided his force into two bodies, but strict 'instructions were given that not more than two hundred or two hundred and fifty yards should separate the two parties. He did so for the reason that in such a rugged, timber-covered district two bodies of men were more likely to hit on the fugitives than one. A signal . was arranged on, and after Cosgrove's communication a man was sent to Flood, who had charge of the second part, to bring him to the chief. The senior-constable was given the purport of the old cook's communication, and the objective .point being known they again separated and moved in the direction of the peak. It was almost sunset when the end of the valley into which the Grey Gorge flowed was reached, and in consequence of the rugged natnre of the country ahead it was decided to camp at the spot and both bodies were called to gether. The night promised to be fine and the camping arrangements were of the most primitive description. Select ing a spot at which reasonable shelter from attack could be obtained, the major told the men they must sleep like himself with their rugs wrapped round them, and, of course, a fire would not be permitted. The night passed quietly enough, and it was in striking contrast to the one on which the homestead had been des troyed by the outlaws and two of the constables met their doom. The stars shone out brilliantly and made the sur roundings quite visible. They were located almost under the Tremendous cliff which lifted itself skywards, and the solemn, almost eternal, silence which brooded on it seemed to the men a protest against the quest of blood they were on. Far below them, as it seemed, a hoarse murmur rose, and it would have sounded weird and sugges tive had not Cosgrove explained it was the noise made by the torrent which foamed at the bottom of the curious Grey Gorge. The cries of nocturnal birds and animals were the only other noises which disturbed the stillness, and to the watchers, who in turn mounted guard, the scene was impres sive beyond description. With the first glimpse of day all were astir, and it was arranged to make a start for the cliffs without delay. As there was no water at the camping-place a couple of the men were sent into the

gorge below to fill the cans. It was1 part of the plan not to allow, one mani. to leave the main body. Alone he might be pounced on and slaughtered without being able to give an alarm to. his comrades. -. I The place where the rivulet trickled' in the glen was about a hundred yards- from the camp, and the men had not , been absent more than three or four minutes when they returned with ai scared expression ar.d empty cans. | ' " What the deuce is the matter with- you fellows ?" asked Flood, in a bad temper, as they met him. ' _ I " There's a body down there, senior," answered one of the men, pointing to- the glen. A "A body ?" echoed Flood. "Yes, a man's body. It is lying in- the water, caught in a snag. We didn't wait to examine it," came the reply. | "Who on earth can it be?" mutJ tered the senior, going over to where the major was conversing with Cos grove and conveying the quite unex-. pected and unpleasant news. I "Get three or four of the -men and- come along. We may be able to identify it. Come on, Cosgrove," Hal-j pin said, with sudden interest. | The two men who had made the grim discoveiy led the way, accom panied by the major, Flood, Cosgrove,! and two of the constables, and when' . they got into the gloomy gorge/ shrouded as it was in a shadowy twilight caused by the overhead vegetation, it- was some moments before they couldi recognise the hideous-looking object which floated backwards and forwards in a small pool in the stream. It was a human body caught in the weeds and creepers, and as their eyes became more accustomed to the gloom it was' easier to notice each point. I The corpse was fearfully battered1 and disfigured, and from its appear ance had been two or three days in the water. None of the men could re-; cognise the remains for some minutes but at last Cosgrove said : I " I believe it is Ned Thomas, one of. the bushrangers. Yes, I'm sure of it.; There is the tattoo mark on the arm,' and the clothes left are such as he: usually wore. Thomas it is sure, enough," he concluded, with an air of decision. " This would account for the blood found on the log, then. He must have been fatally wounded, but his comrades got him away and when he died threw the body into the gorge in "the hope it would never again be found. You may depend that is what has hap pened. They couldn't all have es caped uninjured on that evening. Fully a dozen shots were fired, and some of them at close range. Ah, well, we know the end of one, and this dis covery is important as it shows we are on the right road. Let us take the body out of this and see if we can find the cause of death. Come here, Mike it won't bite you," Halpin said, con-j eluding with a vigorous admonition to) , the 'dilatory constable, who did not! relish the task before him. | With some little difficulty the bodyj of the luckless Thomas — for such it- was — got lifted and conveyed out of the glen where the light was strong enough to allow of a better examine-; tion. This did not result in making! the men any wiser as to the cause of death, for so bruised and mutilated were the remains it is probable a skilled) medical man would have been unable to accurately determine the immediate cause which ended the outlaw's life. I " We must give it up as a bad job ; we can't afford to waste time here any. longer. Jet the corpse lie where it is! as we have nothing to dig a grave with,"l at length spoke Halpin. | " Couldn't we lift it into that ledge of; rock, sir ?" asked Mike, who had all anj Irishman's horror of leaving a body he had touched unburied. j "Well, you may as well. It will not; take a minute and the remains will not be so much disturbed there. Yes, put ' it into the recess," consented the officer. _ i This was a small opening in a cliff large enough to hold the body which was at once placed in it, where twenty years later a few mouldering bones found by a shepherd revived the cir cumstance when the police were called to enquire into the cause of a human skeleton being deposited at such a spot. For some weeks the authorities thought they had got a clue to a bar barous murder, but full publicity being given resulted in the facts of Lynch's bushranging gang being reviewed with the story of Thomas's sepulture. j After a short repast it was agreed to explore- some of the gorges to the southward, as the fact af the body being found in that direction was presump tive proof the outlaws were not far away, or at least had gone to the south rather than 'to the north in which the pursuers had been heading. The first place examined was the chasm known as Grey Gorge, and out of which it almost seemed the corpse of the out law had been washed, as it was dis covered not more than ten yards from the mouth. j A glance into the weird depths sug gested Thomas might have fallen into the place at night time, and that theory would account lor the state of the body. It mattered little to the men whether he had or not so" long as hO was out of the way and had nAt to be reckoned with. After passing the adamantine plateau the party dipped into a deeper gulch than the one lately examined, and there the vegetation was denser than ever. It seemed as if fortune was in their favor as they struck a point at the bot tom where the ravine apparently ended in a wall of vegetation, yet under which a small, stream of crystal water ran. The keen eyes of Senior-constable Flood was attracted by this singular veil, and something in its appearance' seemed to indicate it had been tam pered with by man or beast. Going to the- wall of creepers he caught a portion and tore it apart, and the light breaking - in revealed the continuation ' of the gorge. f , (to be continued.)