The Complete Inner History of the KellyGang and their Pursuers (22)
"I went as far as Barjarg-a station-and saw two suspicious-looking men on the road, and I could not get past them, because I had no arms (fire arms) at all, and I was in uniform. I said to myself these men have euchred everything-they have shot the police-and what am I to do? I have no firearms, and I have been despatched on this message. Then I returned to Joe Allen's (a farmer, who lives about a mile back from Barjarg), going back towards Mansfield again. I went back with the object of getting firearms. Allen was not at home. Then I asked Mrs Allen how far was it back to Hickson's. I went to Mckson's and he was out, and there was nobody there at all. Hickson's place was about 100 yards off the road, and I said to myself I must do some- thing. I must use my head, as I have no firearms, and I took the mare I was riding back and took the saddle and bridle off her and took the boots off that pinched me. I took them off in the excitement of the moment, and made the best of my way to Broken River , my station (Dawes). I travelled all night, and got there the next day. I did not know the country at the time; I was a stranger. I let the horse go. Then I came on to Benalla, and gave information to Mr Sadleir after that. Mr. Nicolson was in Benalla at the time, and there were five of us despatched to catch the Kellys. Sub-Inspector Pewtress interviewed me and said, Meehan, I will never forget you as long as you are in my district for making such a fool of yourself as you did that night when you went out!"
After the fight on Stringybark Creek the morale of the Victorian police seems to have been somewhat shaken. In fact, it was considered very unwise of Supt C H Nicolson to have bragged of "taking the flashness out of the Kellys.
After the death of Kennedy, Ned Kelly covered the body with the victim’s cloak and rejoin his companions. Dan Kelly reported that McIntyre had got clear away, and felt somewhat annoyed at Ned for refusing his suggestion to handcuff him. Ned agreed that McIntyre's escape had been unfortunate. If they had held McIntyre they could have given attention to the burying of the three dead policemen, but now that McIntyre had escaped there would surely be an immediate hue and cry. The Kellys had to get away from the scene as soon as possible. They collected from the police camp everything that was of immediate use to them, and then set the camp on fire and destroyed what they did not want. The Kellys secured four police horses, viz., Kennedy's pack horse and the mounts of Scanlan, Lonigan and McIntyre, and the three weeks' rations which the police had brought with them. They then went back to their camp. and after throwing their tools down a shaft and covering them with stones and clay, they set out for the meeting place where they had previously arranged to meet their providore Tom Lloyd that (Saturday) night
That (Saturday) night ( 26/10/1878 ) the providore arrived with a supply of rations, and the proceeds of the sate of some gold - about £12 in cash. On his arrival the providore suspected that something had happened. He noticed a strange horse - a police horse. Then he saw the Spencer rifle, and, picking it up, said, "It's heavy." Ned replied, "Yes, and very deadly." He noticed that the food they were eating was not their usual diet, and he remarked, "You are living high." Ned replied that they had had an engagement with the police that day (Saturday), and that three of the police were dead.
Ned then explained how they had discovered the police camp, and the manner of the attack, with fatal results to the three policemen who showed fight, how McIntyre had surrendered, and afterwards escaped on Kennedy's horse.
Discussion regarding their future plans was renewed. It was decided to return at once to their home in Greta, and then make their way to hold up the bank at Howlong. As they were at war with the Government, and the police employed by the Government, it was absolutely necessary to raise enough money to conduct successfully their plan of campaign. There was Ned Kelly told them, no middle course for them. They would have to "go on" or "go under."
Rain fell in torrents, and long before they had covered half the journey they were all drenched to the skin. When, however, they were within a few miles of their own homestead, the providore was sent on ahead to see if the coast was clear at the house, and prepare the family for the return of the party. It was pitch dark when the providore rapped at the door and was invited to "Come in."
He got a change of clothes and put on a white shirt with a stiff front. While he was changing his clothes he hastily recounted the outline of the fight with the police on the Wombat Ranges .
The providore now hastened back to meet the Kellys, and report "Line clear." He had ridden back for some distance. when suddenly he was startled with, "Bail up! Throw up your arms!" But as he recognised it was Ned Kelly's voice, he quickly regained his composure, and said, "Surely you're not going to turn on your mate?" "Oh!" said Ned, "it's you? 1 didn't know you with that white shirt on. When you left us you looked different, and 1 thought you were one of the police." Continuing, Ned said, "You know, we can't take any risks now." The providore had met and passed Dan Kelly, Joe Byrne, and Steve Hart without seeing them, and neither of them saw the providore. Ned, who rode behind the others, was quick to detect the person with the changed appearance.
This document gives you the text of this book about the KellyGang. The text has been retyped from a copy of the original. We have taken care to reproduce this document but areas of the original text may been damaged. We also apologise for any typographical errors. JJ Kenneally was one of the first authors to tell this story from the KellyGang's point of view
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