Cookson, 18 09 1911 1
18 September 1911
CAPTURED BY THE BUSHRANGERS
JORNEY TO THE OUTLAWS STRONGHOLD
MR TURNER'S NARATIVE CONTINUED
I had often pictured to myself the actions of a man in the position I now occupied, and wondered what he would do or say. There was now no time to wonder. The picture had become a reality, and I was the man. Turning quickly in the direction of his voice, I saw a man had me covered with a rifle. The butt was pressed to his shoulder, the forefinger of his right hand was on the trigger, the right eye was on a level with the barrel, and the sight focussed on my head. I sprang to my feet and threw up my hands as ordered. Standing with my face towards the enemy I saw three men. The one who had covered me was tall, and appeared to possess a muscular and well-knit frame. His face was covered with a thick beard and moustache of a dark brown color; his features were regular, and indicated an appearance of keen anxiety; his age might have been anything between 20 and 30. The young fellow by his side could not have been more than 20 years of age, of medium height, a florid tan-marked complexion; hair that would be called carroty; a slight appearance of young hair on his face of a lighter hue than that of his head. He possessed what might have been termed a bullet head. The third man would be above the middle height, with dark curly hair, clean shaven except for a dark brown moustache, pale (almost sallow) complexion, and a pleasing and taking expression of countenance. Except for his rough bush arttire, his get-up was neat and tidy, and if one had met him in a city he would convey the impression that he had recently had a shave and brush-up.
Each man was armed with a rifle, which was carried at the ready. The man who had hailed me appeared to be the leader, and addressing him of the head, with an inclination towards my horse, said: "Catch that horse." He had already brought his rifle to the same position as the others, and making towards me said; "Keep your hands up"; and turning to the third man who had followed him said, pointing to me, "Go through him." I did not know what this order meant, but whatever I felt I assumed a manner of cool indifference, and was soon enlightened as to what "go through him" meant by the third man turning out the contents of all my pockets, and feeling me all over. They relieved me of my silver lever, which fortunately I had worn instead of my gold chronometer. They also took my pipe and tobacco.
On being deprived of the latter I said to the leader, "You might leave me a smoke."
The tall man appeared surprised at the request, and replied, "You won't want to smoke any more."
This was not very reassuring to me, but I had concluded in my own mind that if they whished to take my life they would have potted me at sight. However, I kept silent, thinking I would endeavor to maintain a bold but respectful front. By this time all three men were close to me, my horse, old Bismarck, being secured to a sapling. "Put down your hands," said the leader. "What's your name?"
I gave my name, and said: "And may I inquire by whom I am honored with this strange proceeding?" At this they seemed amused.
"Well," said the leader, "my name is Ned Kelly, this, pointing to the younger man, is my brother Dan and that is Mr Byrne. What do you think of us?"
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the previous day / next day . . . BW Cookson in the Sydney Sun index