We had a bit of a lazy start getting some school work done before making our way deep into Kelly country. Ned Kelly knew this country like the back of his hand and following an incident at the Kelly home with Constable Fitzpatrick, Ned, his brother Dan and the two other members of the Kelly Gang, Steve Hart and Joe Byrne were hiding out in the hills near Stringybark Creek.
It his here that Ned sealed his fate to eventually hang at the gallows in Melbourne when he or member of the gang shot and killed 3 policemen. The massacre at Stringybark Creek as it is know divided option and the community as to whether, the Gang were defending their own lives or it was cold blooded murder. Either way 3 coppers were dead and families left grieving and Ned and the gang became Australias first and only outlaws, meaning they could now be shot on sight.
At the sight of the masacare there are memorials and signage telling the story and timeline of how thing evolved on that fateful day. You can then do a walk through the bush to the site where one of the police had tried to escape but was evently tracked down and shot. It’s a little gruesome and very moving as you can really sense how it may be have been for the coppers and the Kelly gang.
I feel conflicted because for sure its tragic that those policemen were shot and died but I also can understand how Ned and the gang may have felt they had no choice. It did indeed seem the police were hunting the Kelly gang and were intent on bringing them in dead or alive.
Just down the road is the Stringybark Creek campground and we’d thought to have lunch there but it was so great we decided to pull up for the day. With wood, a camp fire and loads of space to stay hitched up we were set. A real bush setting and the kids just love the space, nature and fire to play with.
The next morning it was pancakes on the fire before continuing our tour of Kelly country this time stopping at Harry Powers lookout. A stunning spot with sweeping views through the King Valley. Again plenty of signage to tell more of the story of Australias bush rangers history.
As we sat taking in the views I was listening to the bird calls of the bush but was struck at the variety of calls all playing in one steady stream. Unusual I thought, unless we are listen to a Lyrebird. We returned to the van for lunch and Ken went on a little explore to see if he could find the noises and the amazing Lyrebird. Success! They are quite reclusive and camouflage easily so he did really well. It was an awesome encounter, You can see the bird briefly at the end of the video.
From here we wound our way out of the forest and down to the valley floor and on to Beechworth.