The Age (25)

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[By Our Own Reporter]

The excitement in Benalla consequent upon the capture of the Kelly gang had quite subsided on Saturday, and Inspector Montfort, who arrived in the district on Thursday, was left in charge by Superintendent Sadleir, who came on to Melbourne by the evening train. His visit to Melbourne is made very probably with the object of guiding, by his evidence, the distribution of the award by the authorities. He has already furnished an exhaustive report upon the subject, in which he has set forth the performance of the men who were under his charge. During Saturday afternoon the new black trackers from Queensland arrived and took up their quarters at Benalla. There are five of them in all, and they were engaged in Brisbane by Superintendent Chomley. They were in Birsbane when the news of the encounter with the Kelly gang was first made known, and at once started for Victoria . Their names and rank are given as follows:- Sergeant Jim Crow, Corporal ‘Billy the Nut,’ Constables Peter Walsh, Paddy Brown, and Monkey Brown. The two last named are brothers of Barney, one of Mr O’Connor’s black trackers. The new men are all superior in appearance to Mr O’Connor’s men, and are said to be fine trackers. They will remain in the service of the Victorian police, and will probably be stationed permanently in Benalla, where their presence should have a deterring effect upon the horse stealers of Greta and the surrounding ranges. Mr Superintendent Saldier’s report will not be made public untill it has been perused by Mr Ramsay.

To day Ned Kelly will be formally remanded by the City Bench for one week. Two more similar remands, it is thought, will be necessary after that date, and then it is anticipated he will be well enough to undergo his trial. Should these anticipations prove to be correct he will be transferred to Beechworth, and a writ of certerari will be applied for, under which he will be tried.

On Saturday communications were exchanged between the New South Wales and Victorian Governments on the subject of the appointment of the board to determine upon the distribution of the rewards. The constitution of this board will probably be made known during the current week.

In consequence of the comments made upon the conduct of the police, I give a resume of what came under my own observations during the progress of the fight at Glenrowan, which may be interesting. In the first place, the timely warning of Mr Curnow saved the special trainfrom destruction, but his sudden disappearance caused a doubt to be entertained as to the truth of his story. He had briefly explained that the rails had been torn up half a mile beyond the station, and that the gang were waiting there.

In order to get the horses out, it was deemed expedient to go on to the platform, and whist the men were taking the animals out Mr Hare, with a few only, walked towards Mrs Jones’s hotel. Their object, I think, was to obtain news and nothing further. They were approaching there when Bracken made his escape. He was, of course very much excited, and could only exclaim that the gang were in the house. Almost immediately the police were fired on and returned the fire. About sixty rounds were fired into the house during the next minute, and about a dozen shots were fired from the hotel. It was during this firing that the unfortunately a boy Jones was fatally injured, and his sister slightly wounded. This is borne out by the statements of Mr Gibbons, farmer, Mr Mortimer, and others who were in the house at the time. Until then police were absolutely ignorant of the fact that there a number of innocent people in the hotel; but after Mr Hare gave the order to stop firing they were made aware of the fact from the noise from within, and from information supplied by Bracken.

Although wounded by the first shot, Mr Hare did not retreat. With his injured hand he fired three shots at the man who had shot him, and then he called to Senior constable Kelly and asked him to place the men around the hotel. Nearly a quarter of an hour elapsed before the loss of bold warned him that it was necessary to the wound bound up. He came to the platform at the railway station, and he remained there for a few minutes during such time a handkerchief was hurriedly tied around the wound. He then walked back to the position in front of the house, but he was overcome with weakness from the loss of blood and had only strength sufficient to enable him to totter back to the station when he fainted. It was only when he recovered that he was prevailed upon to go to Benalla to a doctor and for assistance. Before leaving he seemed to be under the impression that he would be able to return to the fight after his wound had been dressed by a surgeon.

The duty of placing the men devolved upon Senior constable Kelly, and was executed by him.


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