ON THE NED KELLY TOURING ROUTE
Harry Power, last of Australia’s infamous bushrangers, was captured at his hideout on 5 June 1870. Today it’s a popular spot to visit both for the superb view of the King Valley 300 metres or so below and for its part in Australian bushranger history (and its connection with Ned Kelly, in particular).
Transported in 1840 at the age of 21 for theft, Power served his seven-year sentence and then had no trouble with the law for 13 years. He had learned to ride very well as a boy, helping his father as gamekeeper to the Marquis of Waterford.
One day he was falsely accused of horse theft by a pair of drunken troopers, resulted in an exchange of gunshots, for which Power received a 10-year sentence. He had been released and gaoled again when he escaped from Pentridge Prison in 1869 when he was 50 years old and decided to become a bushranger.
Harry had met some of Ned’s uncles, Jack and Tom Lloyd, in gaol and went to see them while on the run after his escape. Thus he met the Quinns (Ellen’s parents) and made arrangements to build his base camp on the escarpment behind their property, which was surrounded by a loop of the King River like a moat. The way to Power’s Lookout lay across a small bridge which was just behind Quinns’ and a peacock tethered on their roof was always ready to shriek a warning of interlopers.
Power enjoyed storytelling and the attention it drew and it’s likely the Kelly boys hung on his every word as he regaled listeners with tales of his involvement in peasant uprisings against the British troops and Parliament back in Ireland (from which he bore sabre scars on his face).
Power’s lasting fame was guaranteed when he took on 14-year-old Ned Kelly as his ‘apprentice’. Together they carried out a string of robberies and holdups in which Ned learned the tricks of the trade, including bushcraft, as they moved from one crime scene to the next at bewildering speed.
After his release in 1885 Power led an honest life for the next six years and accidentally drowned while fishing in the Murray River at Swan Hill in 1891.
At the Lookout’s car park you’ll find interpretative signage, shelter and toilets.