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Constable Scanlan
Constable Scanlan

Photographs supplied by Kent Watson

Marble headstone over the grave of Mounted Constable Michael Scanlan killed in the gun battle with the Kelly Gang at Stringybark Creek in 1878.

The policemen, Sergeant Michael Kennedy, Constable Thomas Lonigan, and Constable Michael Scanlan were searching the forest for the Kelly brothers. They were wanted for the attempted murder of another policeman, Constable Fitzpatrick.

The next day Kennedy and Scanlan went to search the nearby forest, while Lonigan and Constable Thomas McIntyre stayed at the campsite. The Kellys heard noises from the police camp and went to investigate. Ned Kelly decided to try and capture the policemen and take their guns, horses and food. He called on the two policemen to give themselves up. McIntyre raised his hands, but Lonigan hid behind a log and attempted to shoot his gun. Ned Kelly shot him in the head.
The bushrangers then waited for Kennedy and Scanlan to return. When they rode into the camp, McIntyre warned them that the Kelly brothers were there, and to give themselves up. Scanlan reached for his gun and was shot dead immediately. Kennedy jumped off his horse, and while shooting at the Kellys ran into the bush. Ned Kelly chased after him, shooting him twice. As Kennedy lay on the ground, Kelly walked up to him and shot him again in the chest and killed him. During the shooting, McIntrye was able to get onto Kennedy's horse and escaped. He reached Mansfield the next day to report the deaths.

Ned Kelly and his gang were made outlaws after the murders and a large reward was offered for their capture- either dead or alive. The three murdered policeman were taken to Mansfield and buried in the cemetery and a large memorial was built in the town. 

According to the Benalla Standard, "some hitch is likely to arise regarding the erection of a tombstone in the Mansfield cemetery over the graves of sergeant Kennedy and constables Lonegan and Scanlon, who were murdered by the Kelly gang."  A number of gentlemen, with the assistance of the Government grant, have secured about £200, with which it was intended to erect a suitable tombstone over the graves of the unfortunate policemen. On account of two of the deceased being Roman Catholics and the third a Protestant, it was decided that the bodies should first be laid together, and in order to effect this the consent was obtained from Mrs. Kennedy and the relatives of the other two for the necessary removal, so that the three bodies shall be placed side by side in the ground over which the tombstone is to be erected. To this step Father O'Reilly, the priest residing at Mansfield, has objected, and he refuses to sanction either the removal of the bodies from the Roman Catholic ground or the interment of the Protestant body in the Roman Catholic ground. We consider the Roman Catholic bishop should be appealed to in this ease for permission to sanction the request asked. It seems hard that these brave fellows, who lived, fought, and died together, should have their ashes separated under such circumstances by the mandate of one parson. If the request is not complied with, we would suggest that the three bodies be exhumed and placed under the large monument about to be erected in the cross streets of Mansfield by the Murdered Police Memorial Fund Committee. 
Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate (NSW),
7 January 1880.

 

Location

Address:Highett Street, Cemetery, Mansfield, 3722
State:VIC
Area:AUS
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -37.065556
Long: 146.086389
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Details

Monument Type:Grave
Monument Theme:People
Sub-Theme:Crime
Actual Event STart Date:26-October-1878
Actual Event End Date:26-October-1878

Dedication

Approx. Monument Dedication Date:1880
Front Inscription

        ERECTED
                by
the Parliament of Victoria
              to the
          Memory of 

   Mounted Constable
   Michael Scanlan
Native of Kerry, Ireland
    Aged 35 Years
          who
In the execution of duty
was murdered by armed criminals
in the Wombat Ranges near Mansfield
on the 26th October, 1878.

Source: MA,VMR
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