Ovens and Murray Advertiser (8)
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The End Hotel Burnt continued
As to Byrne’s body it was found in the entrance to the bar-room, which was on the east side of the house, and there was time to remove it from the building, but not before the right side was slightly scorched. This body likewise presented a dreadful appearance. It looked as if it had been ill-nourished. The thin face was black with smoke, and the arms were bent at right angles at the elbows, the stiffened joints below the elbow standing erect. The body was quite stiff, and its appearance and the position in which it was found corroborated the statement that Byrne died early yesterday morning. He is said to have received the fatal wound, which was in the groin, while drinking a glass of whisky at the bar. He had a ring on his right hand which had belonged to Constable Scanlan, who was murdered by the gang on the Wombat Ranges . The body was dressed in a blue sac coat, tweed striped trousers, Crimean shirt, and very ill-fitting boots. Like Ned Kelly, Byrne wore a bushy beard.
In the outhouse or kitchen immediately behind the main building the old man, Martin Cherry, who was one of the prisoners of the gang, and who was so severely wounded that he could not leave the house when the other prisoners left, was found still living, but in articulo mortis from a wound in the groin. He was promptly removed to a short distance from the burning hotel and laid on the ground, when Father Gibney administered to him the last sacrament. Cherry was insensible, and barely alive. He had evidently suffered much during the day, and death released him from his sufferings within half an hour from the time when he was removed from the hotel. It was fortunate that he was not burned alive. Cherry, who was unmarried, was an old resident of the district and was employed as a platelayer, and resided about a mile from Glenrowan. He was born at Limerick , Ireland , and was 60 years old. He is said by all who knew him to have been a quiet, harmless old man, and much regret is expressed at his death. He seems to have been shot by the attacking force, of course unintentionally.
While the house was burning some explosions were heard inside. These were alarming at first, but it was soon ascertained that they were cartridges burning. Several gun barrels were found in the debris, and also the burnt carcase of a dog which had been shot during the mêlée. All that was left standing of the hotel was the lamp-post and the sign-board bearing the following device, which, in view of the carnage that had just been perpetrated within the walls of the hostelry, read strangely—
THE GLENROWAN INN
In a small yard at the rear of the buildings four of the outlaws horses, which had been purposely fired at early in the day, were found and were killed at once, to put them out of their agony. They were poor scrubbers. Two of them were shod. The police captured Byrne’s horse, a fine animal.
About the same time that Mrs Skillion appeared on the scene, Kate Kelly and another of her sisters were also noticed, as were likewise Wild Wright and his brother Tom, and Dick Hart, brother of one of the dead outlaws. Mrs Skillion seemed to appreciate the position most keenly, her younger sisters appearing at times rather unconcerned. Dick Hart, who was Steve Hart’s senior, walked about very coolly.
INTERVIEW WITH NED KELLY
After the house had been burned, Ned Kelly’s three sisters and Tom Wright were allowed an interview with him. Tom Wright as well as the sisters kissed the wounded man, and a brief conversation ensued, Ned Kelly having to a certain extent recovered from the exhaustion consequent on his wounds. At times his eyes were quite bright, and, although he was of course excessively weak, his remarkably powerful physique enabled him to talk rather freely. During the interview he stated:—“I was at last surrounded by the police, and only had a revolver, with which I fired four shots. But it was no good. I had half a mind to shoot myself. I loaded my rifle, but could not hold it after I was wounded. I had plenty of ammunition, but it was no good to me. I got shot in the arm, and told Byrne and Dan so. I could have got off, but when I saw them all pounding away, I told Dan I would see it over, and wait until morning.”
“What on earth induced you to go to the hotel?” inquired a spectator.
“We could not do it anywhere else,” replied Kelly, eyeing the spectators who were strangers to him suspiciously. “I would,” he continued, “have fought them in the train, or else upset it if I had the chance. I didn’t care a —— who was in it, but I knew on Sunday morning there would be no usual passengers. I first tackled the line, and could not pull it up, and then came to Glenrowan station.”
“Since the Jerilderie affair,” remarked a spectator, “we thought you had gone to Queensland .”
“It would not do for everyone to think the same way,” was Kelly’s reply. “If I were once right again,” he continued, “I would go to the barracks, and shoot every one of the —— traps, and not give one a chance.”
Mrs Skillion (to her brother).—“It’s a wonder you did not get behind a tree.”
Ned Kelly —“I had a chance at several policemen during the night, but declined to fire. My arm was broken the first fire. I got away into the bush, and found my mare, and could have rushed away, but wanted to see the thing out, and remained in the bush.”
A sad scene ensued when Wild Wright led Mrs Skillion to the horrible object which was all that remained of her brother Dan. She bent over it, raised a dirge-like cry, and wept bitterly. Dick Hart applied for the body of his brother, but was told he could not have it until after the post-mortem examination. The inquest on the bodies will be held at Benalla.
Michael Reardon, aged 18 years, was shot through the shoulder, but it is apparently only a flesh wound. The boy Jones was dangerously shot in the thigh. Both have been sent to the Wangaratta Hospital .
A cannon was brought up as far as Seymour , but as the burning of Jones’s Hotel had proved successful, it was countermanded.
THE ATTEMPT ON THE TRAIN
According to Ned Kelly, the gang after shooting Sherritt at Sebastopol, rode openly through the streets of Beechworth, and then came on to Glenrowan for the purpose of wrecking any special police train which might be sent after them, in the hope of destroying the blacktrackers. They descended on Glenrowan at about three o’clock on Sunday morning, and rousing up all the inhabitants of the township bailed them up. Feeling unable to lift the rails themselves, they compelled the line-repairers of the district and others to do so. The spot selected was on the first turning after reaching Glenrowan, at a culvert and on an incline. One rail was raised on each side, and the sleepers were removed. The diabolical object in view was the destruction of the special train. Having performed this fiendish piece of work Kelly returned to the township, and, bailing all the people up, kept them prisoners in the station-masters house and Jones’s hotel. By 3 o’clock on Monday morning they gathered all their captives into the hotel, and the number of those unfortunate people amounted to at one time to 47, as already stated. The police then arrived, and the prisoners escaped at intervals during the night.
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