Ovens & Murray Advertiser (17)
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Glenrowan, 4.35 pm
About 3 o’clock this morning the police and the blacktrackers encountered the Kelly gang at Glenrowan. The police having received information that the outlaws were at Jones’s hotel proceeded in the direction of that place, and were fired upon by the bushrangers, who were standing on the verandah of the hotel. At the first volley Superintendent Hare was wounded in the wrist, and retired disabled. At this time there were thirty persons in the hotel bailed up by the bushrangers. After incessant firing, which lasted for several hours, Ned Kelly, in attempting to escape, was severely wounded, and captured by Sergeant Steele, Senior constable Kelly and Constable Arthur, and was conveyed into a room at the railway-station. A special train which conveyed Superintendent Hare to Benalla brought up Superintendent Sadleir a doctor, who at once dressed the prisoner’s wounds, which appear to be fatal. When the bushranger was conveyed into the hotel, it was found that he was clothed in a complete suit of heavy mail, weighing 97 pounds, made up skilfully from ploughshares. Byrne is said to be dead, and the two remaining outlaws are still in the hut, and said to be dangerously wounded. A railway employee, who was unable to leave the house, was shot by the police. The firing is still being carried on, and the police, it is stated, intend soon closing on the place, with a view of capturing the gang. The rails between Glenrowan and Wangaratta were removed by the bushrangers in hope of killing the blacktrackers, who were on their way to Beechworth.
Hart and Dan Kelly were shot early in the day. This was discovered when Jones’s house was on fire. Byrne’s body has been removed. The platelayer who was wounded died on being removed from the hut.
Mrs Skillion went towards the hut; but was ordered back by the police.
All the bushrangers are now accounted for.
Byrne lies dead in one of the rooms at the railway-station.
Ned Kelly, who is in an adjoining room is badly wounded, but considered likely to recover.
The remains of Dan Kelly and Hart are now to be seen in the burning house with their armour still on. The police, as they would not surrender when called on, set fire to the place; but the men were so badly wounded that they could neither come out nor be rescued from the flames.
The body of Cherry, the platelayer, who was shot dead in the encounter also lies on the railway-station platform.
The whole of the bushrangers were in almost complete armour of bullet-proof iron, fitting back and front.
The charred bodies of Dan Kelly and Hart have been given over to their friends.
Byrne’s body has been sent to Benalla, with Ned Kelly, who is still alive, accompanied by the latter’s three sisters.
All the police engaged in the encounter did good service, and were greeted with cheers on their arrival at the railway station.
Ned Kelly is to be sent to Melbourne Gaol, where it is considered he will be safer than at Beechworth.
( BY OUR SPECIAL REPORTER)
I have just seen Ned Kelly put into the train, a special, for Benalla. He is very bad without any mortal wound, but in a weak state. Dr Nicholson, of Benalla, told me that, as far as he could see from his necessarily cursory examination, there was no internal haemorrhage, although it was possible Kelly might die of the shock to his system. He thought, however, that no opinion upon this subject could be expressed at present. Kelly looks anxious. His sister and some male and female members of his family were beside his bed during the latter portion of the evening. You must remember that I am sending you now scraps of intelligence just as I pick them up, as there can be no connected narrative at present. I saw Reardon, one of the platelayers who was in the house at the time the police attacked it. He says that after some hours’ firing, he heard a voice calling upon every “civilian” inside to run out, holding up their hands. They had all then been lying on the floor; and some of them had been shot, a daughter of Mrs Jones’s, the landlady; a son of Reardon’s; and a child. Reardon says that when he rushed out Byrne was then lying dead in the passage.
At the same time another platelayer, Cherry, whose dead body I afterwards saw on the railway platform, must have been already shot. As to Cherry, he was taken out of the house, just alive, by a Roman Catholic clergyman, the Vicar General of South Australia, who happened to be present at the time on a charitable tour; but died immediately afterwards. The rev gentleman also said he saw two other men in armour lying together in another room, that he shook them, and he thought they were both dead. This was after the two remaining bushrangers had been called upon several times to surrender; and the house was fired. Shooting was going on all the morning, and bullets flying in all directions, some of them going through the public house on the other side of the railway.
The police say they could sometimes, when one of the gang appeared, hear their bullets hit something, as if they were firing at a target. To count up the police casualties; Superintendent Hare has gone to town with some of the bones in his wrist broken by a bullet from Ned Kelly; and one of the blackfellows, all of whom behaved very well, has a bullet graze across his forehead which is very uncomfortable but not dangerous. Civilians, in fact, suffered most, Cherry dead; Reardon’s son’s shoulder badly smashed; Mrs Jones’ daughter much hurt, and looking very bad; and a boy hit, but not badly.
During the months that the Kellys have lain by they must have been preparing the armour in which they fought. It is a masterpiece of rough work, and no bullet could penetrate it at close shooting distance. It had breast-piece, back-piece and head-piece, and if they had been defending four sides of the house, and had the bedding covering their lower limbs against the slabs, they might have fought 50 police for 24 hours with all ordinary chances in their favour. Ned Kelly’s talents were of a first-rate order; but they were of a wrong order, and an ignorant order. For instance, he always calculated on this, and so did many of the sympathising public, that the police would never come to close quarters with them. That was a great mistake.
It is said that the police should not have fired the house. Suppose they had not, many more lives would certainly have been lost. In any fight, in any war, it is perfectly fair to approach, if you dare, and set fire to a defended position. And, also, were the police to give the Kellys more mercy than soldiers of opposing armies give to each other or than any man would give to outlaws, whose deeds placed them outside the position of the law?
During the time Ned Kelly was lying at the station-house everyone known to the police was admitted to the room. A great number of ladies took advantage of this permission; but it was not pleasant to see Kate Kelly and the rest of them inspected by these curious people. I believe that Ned Kelly’s spiritual welfare was attended to by the Roman Catholic clergyman already mentioned.
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