Lethbridge’s Pocket Map
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It is Easter Sunday, 1902 when a police party is sent out to arrest Patrick and James Kennif in what is the northern part of today’s Carnarvon National Park in Queensland. Although mystery still surrounds the exact events of the day, the account of the sole survivor of the attack – Aboriginal tracker Sam Johnson – is the key evidence for investigation. His story goes, that after a confrontation with the Kenniff brothers at Lethbridge’s Pocket and a dramatic horseback chase through the bush, Constable George Doyle and Albert Christian Dahlke (the manager of nearby Carnarvon Station) manage to capture James Kenniff and get him off his horse.
Whilst Sam Johnson fetches handcuffs from a nearby packhorse he hears five shots and suddenly finds himself being pursued by the Kenniffs. Johnson escapes, alerting police at Mitchell. Two days later a grim discovery is made – 125 kg of charred and mutilated remains of Doyle and Dahlke are found stuffed in police-horse packsaddles – the animals roaming aimlessly near where the men were last seen. The bodies of the two men were apparently cremated on a large, flat rock in a creek bed, nowadays known as the ‘incineration site’.
One of Queensland’s largest manhunts ended three months later when the brothers were arrested without a fight near Mitchell. They were put on trial in 1903. It was decided during the trial that Patrick Kenniff fired the fatal shots, whilst James was standing with Doyle and Dahlke. James was sentenced to life imprisonment and Patrick, proclaiming his innocence to the end, was hanged. James was released from jail in 1918 and died in 1940.
James never spoke of the crime again.
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Interactive Scene 2 – Who Killed Doyle & Dalhke?