The Complete Inner History of the KellyGang and their Pursuers (61)

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Anton Weekes

On July 20, 1881, Anton Weekes on oath said: “I remember going up to Sherritt’s door and asking the way the night Aaron Sherritt was shot.  (RC13120)

I was stuck up by Byrne and Dan Kelly.  They asked me my name.  Then they put handcuffs on me and made me go up to Sherritt’s door, and ask him to show me my way.  I was there about six o’clock and I left the place about nine o’clock.  I then went home.  I live a quarter of a mile from Sherritt’s.  After Sherritt was shot I stood an hour or two with the people outside.  Byrne was with me, and Dan Kelly was at the front door.  I did not hear any conversation with Mrs Sherritt or Mrs Barry.  They came out and went in again.  I had no chance of escaping.

“At about nine o’clock Byrne took the handcuffs off me and left me standing.  I stayed there by myself for fifteen or twenty minutes, and then I went round home through the bush.  I was so frightened I ran directly home and stayed at home.  I did not see any others there, only Joe Byrne and Dan Kelly.  I heard Byrne call out, ‘Dan, stand and watch the window.’  That is how I knew it was Dan.  They were on horseback when they stuck me up, and Byrne was leading another horse.  I do not think they had armour on, not Byrne—I think Kelly might: he looked very stout.  He had nothing on his head (no armour).  I could see his face.  I did not see them try to set the house on fire.  Byrne always called out for two men to come out, and said, ‘Mind, I will set the house on fire if you do not come out.’ But he never began to do it while I was there.  Byrne did not say there were police in the house; always two men he wanted out. 

I knew Byrne since he was a child.  He was a neighbour of mine half a mile away.  I heard Byrne and Mrs Sherritt talking and crying, I heard Byrne ask who was there, and she said, ‘A man in there looking for work’, and he said always, ‘Bring the man out,’ and he sent Mrs Sherritt in to bring the man out.  I did not know that there were police in the house, and never heard it.  I did not hear anyone say there were policemen about there till after the murder.”

The four constables in the bedroom had more confidence in the chivalry of the Kellys than in their own courage.  These “heroes” put Mrs Sherritt between them and the wall under the bed.  She would stop a bullet if one came through, but they were very confident that the Kellys would not fire a shot through the wall while there were women inside.  It is perfectly clear that no attempt had been made to set fire to the house.  Next day, Sunday, the four constables remained inside until six o’clock on Sunday evening.  If the order were reversed and two outlaws were in the bedroom and four constables outside, what a different state of affairs would have prevailed! The four constables would, undoubtedly, have been captured.  Later, at Glenrowan, there were fifty police to Dan Kelly and Steve Hart, and then the police were not confident of success.

Supt Hare agreed with Joe Byrne that Aaron Sherritt was better dead than alive.  He (Supt Hare) wrote as follows:—“It was doubtless a most fortunate occurrence that Aaron was shot by the outlaws; it was impossible to have reclaimed him, and the Government of the colony would not have assisted him in any way, and he would have gone back to his old course of life, and probably become a bushranger himself.”

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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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