The Age (10)

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Murder of Arron Sherritt – Authorities informed

On Saturday night, at six o'clock , the Chief Secretary was informed by telegram the murder at Sebastopol , and he at once communicated with Captain Standish, Chief Commissioner of Police, with whom he consulted. Seeing the gravity of the situation, and remembering how previously the gang had always managed to obtain a good start of the police after the commission of their outrages, it was decided to despatch a special train to Beechworth at once. The Minister of Railways was informed of that determination, and without delay a train was got in readiness. Superintendent Hare, who was at Benalla, was telegraphed to, and instructed to proceed to Beechworth, and the black trackers, under Lieutenant O'Connor, who were at Essendon, where they were staying previously to their return to Queensland, were also apprised of the fact that they were required. As their engagement to the Victorian Government had expired, Captain Standish telegraphed to the commissioner of Police at Brisbane , and requested that they might be allowed to remain, but that permission was refused. Mr Ramsay, however, would not allow the Government to be so curtly treated, and he communicated with Mr Palmer, Chief Secretary of Queensland , and at two o'clock on Sunday morning he obtained the required permit.

Train leaves Spencer St Station

In the meantime—at about a quarter to ten— the train left Spencer Street with the tracking party. At a later period of the day—about nine a.m. —when the news of the commencement of the fight at Glenrowan was received, the Commissioner and the Chief Secretary again consulted, and it was then arranged that a reinforcement of police should be despatched, and an ample supply of ammunition was ordered to be sent up with it. As it would be almost impossible for any firing to take place.

Dr Ryan Sent

Without some of the men being injured, it was considered necessary that an experienced surgeon should also be sent to the scene, and accordingly Dr Charles Ryan, who, it is well known, was attached to the medical staff at Plevna during the Russo Turkish war and the bombardment of that town, was requested to place his services at the disposal of the authorities. He consented, and at about ten o'clock another special, taking Captain Standish, Dr Ryan, Senior constable Walsh and five other constables, and a quantity of ammunition, left for Glenrowan. The circumstances of the wounding of Superintendent Hare, and the commencement of the attack; that Ned Kelly had been wounded and captured; that he had been discovered to be wearing a breastplate of iron, a mask, and helmet; that his wounds were not considered to be mortal, were all duly telegraphed.

Electic light

At twenty minutes to eleven a.m., it was officially intimated that the civilians had been liberated from the hotel; that Byrne had been shot; and that Dan Kelly and Hart maintained possession, and ware firing in reply to the incessant firing by the police. As there appeared to be every likelihood that, if the fight was continued, some of the police might be seriously injured, the Chief Secretary instructed Captain Standish, if possible, to blow the house up, but before doing so to see that none but members of the gang were in it. Colonel Anderson was summoned to a consultation with a view to steps being taken to effect that object, and the result was that at twenty minutes past two p.m. a third special, conveying that officer and a detachment of artillery, with a 12-pounder field-piece, left for Glenrowan, but as the termination of the conflict before the arrival of the train at Benalla rendered it unnecessary that it should proceed further, it was detained at that place. The Chief Secretary also advised by telegram that a wooden bullet proof shield should be constructed to be fitted on a dray or wagon, under cover of which the attacking party might approach the house and effect its ruin, always assuming that the gang were the sole occupants. It was also feared by Mr Ramsay that the fight would not be concluded before nightfall, and that if that was so, the outlaws might escape in the dark. He therefore consulted with Mr Ellery, the Government astronomer, and asked his advice as to the practicability of sending up an electric light apparatus, but that gentleman expressed the opinion that it would be of little utility adopting such a course, as it would take quite twenty-four hours after the apparatus arrived on the ground to get it fairly at work. To carry out the same idea, however, Mr Ramsay telegraphed suggesting that large bonfires should be burnt round the house so as to give the required light and prevent the bushrangers escaping. But all these precautions were not required to be put in practice, as before sundown the final scene in the tragedy had been enacted.


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