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Information needed please!

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  • Aaron sherritt
  • How long for joe byrne & dan kelly to ride from beechworth to glenrowan

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    01-01-2012, 03:58 AM
  #1
Foal
Information needed please!

Hi,

I am not someone that keeps horses, I love these animals but never been able to own one.

The reason I have signed up today though is to ask a question about horse's and horse speed.

I am a historian writing a book about the Kelly Gang (often referred to as Australia's version of Billy the Kid)

Anyway a small part of the story I am trying to clear up, and wondered if you could help me? I am open to any information people can provide as it will give me a direction to take my research in.

So here is the question:

On the night of 26th of June 1880 two members of the Kelly Gang killed a man thought to be a spy to police, and then rode 40miles on horse back to meet the other members of the gang.

The gang were known horse thieves, and there is evidence to support that they were riding fresh horses only stolen 2-3 wks prior to the shooting. The horses would of been the best kind of thoroughbreds you can get.

1) How fast could two riders cover 40miles over bush style terrain? There were parts that were thicker with trees, and lots of areas of open flats, not to mention the land has natural hills and valleys.

2) if these riders had a pack horse with them carrying at least 200-250 pounds of weight, how much would it slow them down?

3) does anyone know about the horse shoe? When it was invented, as you would assume a horse today with better technology could cover the ground faster? Or is that totally wrong?

If you can help me at all that would be fantastic. I know how fast other historians have said the pair covered the ground, but I disagree, and will leave that piece of information out of it, so that I get unbiased information.

If you would like to see some photos of the terrain I can provide those as I am a professional photographer and have taken many photos in the area.

A big thank you in advance to those who can help me with this research. If it is an issue I am happy to provide credit where credit is due in my book.

Hope you all had a great xmas and a great new year.

Cheers Luke
     
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    01-01-2012, 12:41 PM
  #2
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Historian    
Hi,

I am not someone that keeps horses, I love these animals but never been able to own one.

The reason I have signed up today though is to ask a question about horse's and horse speed.

I am a historian writing a book about the Kelly Gang (often referred to as Australia's version of Billy the Kid)

Anyway a small part of the story I am trying to clear up, and wondered if you could help me? I am open to any information people can provide as it will give me a direction to take my research in.

So here is the question:

On the night of 26th of June 1880 two members of the Kelly Gang killed a man thought to be a spy to police, and then rode 40miles on horse back to meet the other members of the gang.

The gang were known horse thieves, and there is evidence to support that they were riding fresh horses only stolen 2-3 wks prior to the shooting. The horses would of been the best kind of thoroughbreds you can get.

1) How fast could two riders cover 40miles over bush style terrain? There were parts that were thicker with trees, and lots of areas of open flats, not to mention the land has natural hills and valleys.

2) if these riders had a pack horse with them carrying at least 200-250 pounds of weight, how much would it slow them down?

3) does anyone know about the horse shoe? When it was invented, as you would assume a horse today with better technology could cover the ground faster? Or is that totally wrong?

If you can help me at all that would be fantastic. I know how fast other historians have said the pair covered the ground, but I disagree, and will leave that piece of information out of it, so that I get unbiased information.

If you would like to see some photos of the terrain I can provide those as I am a professional photographer and have taken many photos in the area.

A big thank you in advance to those who can help me with this research. If it is an issue I am happy to provide credit where credit is due in my book.

Hope you all had a great xmas and a great new year.

Cheers Luke

At a canter5 the horse can go approx 15 MPH. At a trot about about 10. Over rough or varied terrain there would be a mix of the two depending on how much good flatter terrain there is....also there would be places were a walk would be the only option and there the horse goes approx..3/4 MPH So at a trot only the horse would take 4 hours...at canter only about 2-2.5 hours.

I don't think the pack animals would make THAT much of a difference and if I had to make a rough guess I would say 3 hours for average.
At the best I would say about 2 1/2 hours would

Shoes have been in existence from as far back as Roman times so while they will protect the feet and help the horse if the ground were hard or rocky they shouldn't make significant difference in the time to complete a 40 mile trip ( assuming nothing was done before that time).

I am ruling out any major/significant work done to these horses before the 40 mile trip that would cause problems BEFORE the trip was started.
     
    01-01-2012, 01:51 PM
  #3
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Historian    
Hi,

I am not someone that keeps horses, I love these animals but never been able to own one.

The reason I have signed up today though is to ask a question about horse's and horse speed.

I am a historian writing a book about the Kelly Gang (often referred to as Australia's version of Billy the Kid)

Anyway a small part of the story I am trying to clear up, and wondered if you could help me? I am open to any information people can provide as it will give me a direction to take my research in.

So here is the question:

On the night of 26th of June 1880 two members of the Kelly Gang killed a man thought to be a spy to police, and then rode 40miles on horse back to meet the other members of the gang.

The gang were known horse thieves, and there is evidence to support that they were riding fresh horses only stolen 2-3 wks prior to the shooting. The horses would of been the best kind of thoroughbreds you can get.

1) How fast could two riders cover 40miles over bush style terrain? There were parts that were thicker with trees, and lots of areas of open flats, not to mention the land has natural hills and valleys.

2) if these riders had a pack horse with them carrying at least 200-250 pounds of weight, how much would it slow them down?

3) does anyone know about the horse shoe? When it was invented, as you would assume a horse today with better technology could cover the ground faster? Or is that totally wrong?

If you can help me at all that would be fantastic. I know how fast other historians have said the pair covered the ground, but I disagree, and will leave that piece of information out of it, so that I get unbiased information.

If you would like to see some photos of the terrain I can provide those as I am a professional photographer and have taken many photos in the area.

A big thank you in advance to those who can help me with this research. If it is an issue I am happy to provide credit where credit is due in my book.

Hope you all had a great xmas and a great new year.

Cheers Luke
Welcome to the forums
     
    01-01-2012, 09:15 PM
  #4
Foal
Spyder,

Thanks for the reply. From what you are saying the information is consistent with what others had written. Although in some areas the terrain wouldn't be the same anymore, as the district is more settled then before, but I plan to re-trace the trip to a point and based upon the speeds you mention can come up with a more accurate time.

The horses are said to have been well rested before this plan was put in action. In part it is why the horses were stolen fresh of farmers properties.
Most historians believe that the two outlaws that shot the spy were in the area the day / night before so that they only had a short trip down to the spies house, meaning the horse had as much as 24hrs rest before the 40 mile trip.

I have the report of the horse's being stolen, and I can place them at the Siege of Glenrowan on the 26-28th of June 1880, outside of those two confirmed sightings there is no report of outlaw activity, so you would come to the conclusion that the horses were not ridden hard before that weekend in June. Police search parties where not conducted inside of that 3 wks either, so you can draw from all present information that the horses were as fresh as could be for the time.

Can't rule out though that in the 1800's horse's were used and ridden more then horse's today.

Thanks for your help, and thanks for the welcome country women :)
     
    01-01-2012, 09:58 PM
  #5
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Historian    
Spyder,


Can't rule out though that in the 1800's horse's were used and ridden more then horse's today.
^^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!
     
    01-02-2012, 12:00 AM
  #6
Green Broke
No way they made it in 2.5 hours.
Looking at last month endurance race results, I see the winning times for various 35 mile races come in around 3.5 to 5.5 hours. These rides are trails and roads. Some rugged but they are trails and not complete cross country.
Keep in mind these are conditioned endurance mounts specifically trained and conditioned for these events. I don't care how much saddle, or ranch work they did they wernt conditioned for 4 to 5 hours of continuous running.
Steeling random ranch horses then running them 40 miles over rough terrain while leading a pack horse ? I'd say the time would be a lot closer to 8 hours.
     
    01-02-2012, 12:20 AM
  #7
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ladytrails    
^^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!
     
    01-02-2012, 12:57 AM
  #8
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe4d    
Steeling random ranch horses then running them 40 miles over rough terrain while leading a pack horse ? I'd say the time would be a lot closer to 8 hours.

A horse can cover A LOT more ground than 5 miles in one hour. Pack horses or not.

A conditioned human can do a mile in 4 minutes so your figures are way off.
     
    01-02-2012, 01:23 AM
  #9
Foal
I would have to say it depends if you have established road they rode on or actual terrain without any means of a road.. we go back through the woods on a small trail, through woods and swamps..up and down hills packing and it takes a close 8 hours to travel 30 miles...mind you we aren't running, but traveling at a constant pace expect to stop and eat, pee, and retie the packs on the other horses..I doubt if they actually ran the horses for 40 miles.. look at race horses..they are beat at 2 miles if that..Sorry but they would over heat and still need to stop and rest a bit...especially if they didn't want the horse to overheat and drop dead..

I would research the comings and goings of the pony express riders. It would be more accurate to the distance the horse could go for the time period and conditions of the land..according to history a horse could only gallop for 10 miles before tiring...traveling at 25 miles per hour, no horses were actual ridden that long.. a pony express rider rode 80 miles a day with a total of 8 to 10 mounts to do this at this speed..average wieght on the horse would be 165 pounds...so figuring this it would take 4 hours and several mounts to accomplish this speed/time frame .. I bet they had extra mounts hidden along the trail.....

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    01-02-2012, 02:32 AM
  #10
Foal
There is eye witness accounts that can put the horses in Beechworth on the night of the shooting, and then police witness statements of those same horses being shot dead during the siege. I am confident that the gang used the same horse for the journey.

Most historians have said 2 1/2 hours to cover 40 miles, from what I have researched today it would seem more like 3 1/2 hrs, I can place the gang leaving the scene of the shooting at 8:30pm saturday 26th of June, they arrived in Glenrowan 40 miles away 'shortly after midnight' If this is true, I still need to confirm this info, it would mean the two riders did it in 3 1/2 hrs.

I know that they had packhorse's with the armour on that horse, plus rifles and extra ammo. They took the armour as they were unsure what police were in the area, and they thought it might be needed.

A lot of the terrain in that area is covered in rocks, the rocks are not massive like a rock climber would climb, but more like 2-3 meters wide, and maybe 1 meter in height. It is a sort of granite type rock. Probably they go a lot deeper underground.

I can also say that the gang didn't use roads. After 2 yrs of hiding the country was very divided. Being seen on a road by someone who was not friendly to the gang would of given the plan away, so they had to avoid roads. Or commonly used paths.

I have also collected the rainfall charts for the month of June 1880. It basically rained from the 20th of June, until the end of the month. Up until the saturday 25th june it rained about 10mm a day, with two of the days over 30mm. So the ground would of been soft. It was 105mm for the month.

Cheers Luke
     

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