Importance of Mr Henry Betteley Jefferson
The post master and Telegraph operator at Jerilderie
Links to the KellyGang
After having lunch at the nearby Travellers Rest Hotel I returned to the Post and Telegraph Office to find Joe Byrne waiting for me. He was guarding my apprentice 14 year old James Ewan Rankin . Shortly after, Ned Kelly arrived. He smashed the insulators holding the telegraph wires with the butt of his pistol and took all my staff away from the Post Office and down the the Royal Hotel with the other prisoners. (JJK)
After all this intimidation I was warned by Ned Kelly to try and communicate with the outside world for at least a day. I was also told that they intended to take me out in the bush and dump me but the Kel lyGang did not follow up on that threat in the end.
Ned Kelly and Joe Byrne then escorted young Rankin and I across to the Royal Mail Hotel, and from there to the police barracks. We were locked up with SConst Devine and Const Richards. On our release I repaired the telegraph lines.
I was not prepared to bow to these fellows and managed to get a message out after they left town. It appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald and many other papers next morning. The message was
"The KellyGang stuck up the office here to-day at 9 o'clock, cut the office connections and cut down seven poles. My assistant and I were covered by revolvers and were marched to the lock up, which the gang had stuck up. We were there locked up together with two constables. We were released at 7 pm and told not to touch the wire till morning, but I have done so and fixed a wire along the fence. They stuck up the Bank of new South Wales. Have just heard (9pm) that they are in the township again"
Trooper Richards, the schoolmaster William Elliott, young Rankin and I barricaded ourselves in the post office with firearms in readiness. We were ready if the KellyGang returned to hold up the mail coach when it arrived later that evening.
In the event KellyGang went on their way south to re-cross the Murray River into Victoria.
On Tuesday morning Sir Henry Parkes (Colonial Secretary) and Mr Saul Samuel (PMG) instructing me to go to Albury for my safety. I objected but in the end I was sent to Deniliquin. Mr Peter Dunne replaced me for about 5 months.(BWC)
After this events in Jerilderie I married Sophie Gun, a river boat captains daughter and had several children through the 1880s. I continued in the Post Office finally reaching the posting of Post Master in Newcastle, at that time the second largest Post Office in the state.
I died in Ashfield NSW in 1926 where I had lived much of my retirement. (SMH11/3/1926)
wife Sophie Gun. children ?.... home ?..
What happened to the Jefferson's family