The Argus (9)
... part of the KellyGang story
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ROBERT GIBBONS NARRATIVE
Robert Gibbons, farmer, living at present with Mr Reynolds states:- I came to the railway station with Mr. Reynolds’s brother at about 8 o'clock on Sunday night to bring Mr Reynolds’ little boy home. He had gone to Sunday school, and we could not understand what was detaining him. We called at the stationmaster’s house, and Mrs Stanistreet informed us that Mr Hart was inside, and that they had been stuck up since 3 o'clock that morning. We went in and saw Steve Hart. She who presented his fire-arms, and told us we had to remain there. We had been there about two hours, when Ned Kelly came. Hart then ordered us all to come outside. Ned told us that we would all have to go with him to the police station. We went, and he kept us there about two hours. He left us for a time, and returned after about an hour and a half with the constable. Byrne was in charge of us during Ned’s absence. Ned told Mr Reynolds brother and myself to return with him to Jones’s Hotel. We went with him , and he put us all in the sitting room. We remained there from 10 o’clock on Sunday night until 3 o’clock this (Monday) morning. During that time we went from one room to another, but were not allowed to go outside. Byrne was in charge of the back door, the front one was locked. Ned and Dan Kelly were walking about the house quite jolly. A little after three o'clock the train came. Hart was at the stationmaster’s house until about 3 o’clock . The bushrangers were drinking, and making themselves quite jolly. At about 3 on Monday morning Ned Kelly came into the sitting room, and told us we were not to whisper a word of anything that was said there, or seen about him. ‘If I hear of any one doing so,’ he said, ‘I will shoot you.' He went to the door of the room and said, 'Here she comes,' evidently thinking that the train was about to be wrecked. With that they seemed to me to be making preparations. The gang went out to the back for a few minutes, and on coming back they proclaimed that the first man who left the room in which we were would be shot. Two of the gang mounted their horses, and rode away. I saw them through the window. They returned in about 10 minutes. I saw two, one of them being Dan Kelly, go into a small room. They came out soon afterwards fully armed, and prepared for a fight. Then the other two did the same. Not long after that the police arrived, when the firing commenced. There must have been about 40 men, women, and children prisoners in the house at this time. There was a great shrieking of the women and children. Mrs Jones's eldest daughter (about 14) got shot in the side of the head, and the eldest boy shot in the thigh. We all lay down on the floor for safety, as the bullets were rattling on the house. We were packed so close that we had to lie on our sides, and lay in tat position until we came out at about 10 o’clock . Those next the door led the way, and we were prompted to leave by hearing the police, as we thought, giving the gang their last warning. We feared, in fact, that the firing would be commenced again heavier than ever. We did not see any of the gang when we left, as they were in the back room. We were not maltreated in any way.’
STATEMENT OF MRS REARDON
‘I am the wife of James Reardon, plate layer. We live in a house near Glenrowan railway station, on the opposite side of the line to Mrs Jones’s hotel. On Saturday night our family, consisting of my husband, myself, and our children – a boy 18, a girl seven, and a boy three years old – went to bed. At 3 o’clock on Sunday morning we were awaken by the dog barking. My husband asked how it was the dog had got out of the stable. I replied I had heard a horseman jump the fence. My husband got up, and opened the door, where he was met by Ned Kelly and another platelayer named Sullivan, whom Kelly had taken. We were bailed up, and taken to the stationmaster’s house, and kept there until Sunday evening. We were allowed to walk about, and foolishly walked to Jones’s Hotel. There we found a large number of prisoners, amongst whom were John Delaney, of Greta, with his brothers William and Patrick; WS Cook, Martin Cherry, platelayer; John Larkin, a farmer; William Mortimer, a farmer; Edward Reynolds, Robert Gibbons, a brother of the postmaster, two of the McAuliffes, and many others I don’t remember. I made several attempts to escape from the hotel. At daybreak this (Monday) morning I came out with my infant child, and got refuge in one of the railway carriages.’
SERGEANT STEELE'S STATEMENT
Sergeant Arthur Loftus Maule Steele, of Wangaratta, states:- ‘I arrived at Glenrowan with five men about 5 am . Others came down by train. I was challenged in the vicinity of the hotel by the police, and I informed them who we were. I scattered my men around the hotel. I went up to the nearest tree behind the back door. Heard no firing up to that time. A women and child came to the back door screaming. I told her to run on quick, and she would not be molested. A man then came to the back door, and I called upon him to throw up his hands or I would fire on him. I was only about 25 yards from the house. The man did not hold up his hands, but stooped and ran towards the stable. I fired at him, and he turned and ran back into the house. I am certain that the man must have been injured, as the screamed, and fell towards the door. I was firing with slugs. There was then, some hot firing, and bullets were whistling all round. From the ring of the slugs I at once recognised that the man wore mail. I then heard some men roaring out. It was then just breaking day. When I looked round I saw Ned Kelly stalking round behind me in the bush. He was marching down on the house quite deliberately, and from his rig out I supposed him at first to be a blackfellow; but seeing him present a revolver, and fire at the police, I knew he must be one of the gang. I could see the bullets flying about his head and chest, and concluded that he also had armour on. I then made a run for him, and got within 10 or 15 yards of him, when he turned round, and aimed at me with a revolver. I immediately shot at his legs, and he staggered. He still aimed at me, so I gave him a second barrel, also in the legs about the knees. I was at this time in the open. He fell on my second charge, and said, ‘I’m done, I’m done.’ I ran up to him then, and just as I got up he tried to get the revolver pointed on me again. I ran behind, and he could not twist round fast enough. I got up to him, seized hold of the revolver, turned it off from me, and he fired it off in my hand. Senior constable Kelly came up at this juncture, and caught hold of him, and in a few seconds there was quite a group of people around us. We disarmed and secured him. We only found one revolver on him. Having divested him of his armour, we carried him to the railway-station. Just after I had seized him the rush of the other people knocked Kelly and me over, and I received a rather awkward twist, and his armour injured my side.’
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