Constable

Thomas LONIGAN

YEAR OF DEATH

1878

JURISDICTION

Victoria

DETAILS OF DEATH

On 25 October 1878 Sergeant Michael Kennedy and Constables Robert Lonigan Michael Scanlan and Thomas McIntyre rode into the Wombat Ranges. They were searching for Ned and Dan Kelly. The Kelly’s were wanted for the attempted murder of Constable Alex Fitzpatrick at Eleven Mile Creek near Benalla on 15 April 1878. That evening the policemen established a camp near Stringbark Creek. The following day Kennedy and Scanlan set off to patrol the area whilst McIntyre and Lonigan remained behind. Towards evening the camp site was attacked by the Kellys together with their associates Steve Hart and Joe Byrne. Constable Lonigan was shot dead whilst Constable McIntyre was captured and held hostage. The outlaws then hid themselves around the camp and left McIntyre on view as a decoy. When Kennedy and Scanlan returned Ned Kelly called on them to “bail up” then almost immediately the attackers began firing at them and Scanlan was cut down. Kennedy was pursued through the bush in a running gun battle with initially four assailants behind him, two continued to pursue and kill Kennedy, the other two sent to chase McIntyre. In the confusion McIntyre was able to escape and raise the alarm. Over the next two years the Kelly gang as they became known remained at large. They only came out of hiding to make two much publicised raids one on the township of Euroa and the other at Jerilderie. Finally in June 1880 they received information that an associate Aaron Sherritt had betrayed them and a large contingent of police were travelling to Euroa by train to arrest them. The gang moved swiftly. They murdered Sherritt took over the township of Glenrowan and imprisoned the residents and wrecked the railway line in the near vicinity. They then settled down to wait planning to set upon the police party after their train ran off the rails at the point of sabotage. A local resident managed to allow the gang to release him. He warned the approaching police and averted a disaster. Soon after the gang were cornered in a local hotel. A siege developed and Dan Kelly Steve Hart and Joe Byrne were killed. Ned Kelly managed to escape and returned later in his famous “suit of armour” and attempted to shoot it out with police. Soon overpowered he faced trial at Melbourne for killing Lonigan. He was hanged at 10 a.m. on 11 November 1880.

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