^^I'd say that the horses were likely in very good shape, depending on where they were found, as horses usually were needed for work as well as transportation which would have kept them very fit. Plus, the men would not have been as conscientious about resting them, rating them, etc. as we would today; they were stolen and they would have assumed they could steal more when they got to their destination.
Sounds lke a very interesting project you're working on!
This is actually a very small piece of what I am writing. The story though is brilliant, it's one of those story's that you couldn't even make up a better one.
Joe Byrne was a childhood friend of Aaron Sherritt. Aaron Sherritt decided to take on the role of working for both sides, the kelly gang and the police. The only issue was he didn't tell anyone that he was working for both sides.
Superintendent Hare had complete faith that Aaron was working for the police as Aaron had made a deal that if he helped catch the gang then Joe Byrne would escape the gallows.
Over a period of time though the trust in Aaron from the gangs perspective began to erode. The gang had a plan to destroy a lot of police in the district by lifting the rails and sending the police special train down a huge gully killing everyone on board. Those who survived would be shot by the gang as they had the protection of hand made armour, which is now an Australian icon in itself.
The issue though was how to get the police special train to come.
By this stage the gang had lost all faith in Aaron Sherritt so it was decided that if they killed him, it would send the police special train to beechworth ( a town further up the line then were the gang lifted the rails) and then they could wipe out the police, and more importantly the aboriginal black trackers which the gang feared because of their ability to track through the bush.
SO Joe Byrne, Ned Kelly's right hand went to beechworth with Ned Kelly's younger brother Dan Kelly and shot Aaron dead in his house.
Dan and Joe then made a 40 mile journey on horse back with a pack horse carrying two suits of Armour, which weighed in at 97 pounds per suit of Armour.
So that is where my question comes from, how fast could you cover 40 miles on horse back with a pack horse.
The members of the Kelly gang were Ned Kelly, Joe Byrne, Dan Kelly and Steve Hart. Even to this day the reward on their heads is higher then any other Australian criminal in history.
They were outlawed for attempt murder of a police officer who came to arrest Dan Kelly and Steve on the charge of horse theft. The four men then came across a police camp where 3 policemen were shot dead.
The gang also robbed two banks, and then had their final showdown with police at a small Victorian Country town called Glenrowan. The master plan didn't go to plan, and Joe Byrne, Dan Kelly and Steve Hart were all killed at the siege of Glenrowan.
Ned Kelly was captured and despite being shot 28 times, lived to go to trial, and was later hung on the 11th of November 1880.
The police thought that would be the end of it, but just like Billy the Kid, he was thrown into legend. Over 750 books, comics and magazines have be written on the gang, 3 of these works were even written why the gang was on the run.
This is the most written about subject in Australia.
I own and have read a lot of these books, but I personally believe that a lot of works do not have fact, they use hearsay information, so I am breaking it open and writing a book about the Glenrowan siege for the point of view of fact, if I can't support it with evidence then it doesn't go in the book, or it does clearly labeling it as unsupported.
Well that is it in a nut shell. I could seriously talk for hours on this subject :)
Cheers Luke, and again thanks for your help!