The Last of the Bushrangers Chapter 12 page 3
The Last of the Bushrangers by Sup Hare
Then all was silent again, and after the lapse of about a quarter of an hour Superintendent Hare approached the station and stated that he had been wounded in the wrist. The wound was a very bad one, and was bleeding very much. There was no doctor present, but the representatives of the press succeeded in stopping the rapid loss of blood. During the trying ordeal, Mrs O'Connor and Miss Smith remained unwilling witnesses of the terrible scene. They retained their seats in the railway carriage, and the courage which they displayed, notwithstanding that the bullets from the outlaws whistled past the train, surely ought to have had a good effect on the men who were facing death in the execution of their duty. Seeing the wound, the ladies implored Mr Hare not to return to the fight, but he did so. His reappearance in the trenches was the signal for renewed firing, and the valley was soon filled with smoke. Mr Hare then became faint from loss of blood, and was compelled to leave the field. He went back to Benalla on an engine in order to have his injury attended to, and to send more men to the front.
A long and tedious interval followed, during which time Mr Stanistreet, the station master, suddenly left the hotel, where he had been kept prisoner with the other residents of Glenrowan. He walked boldly away, and had a narrow escape of being shot by the police, but he saved himself by proclaiming he was the station-master. He reported that the gang were still in the house, and that the shots of the police had struck the daughter of Mrs Jones, a girl fourteen years of age, on the head, whilst the son, John Jones, a boy of nine years, was wounded in the hip. Very soon after this, painful, hysterical screams of terror were heard from Mrs Jones and a Mrs Reardon, both of whom were walking about the place, disregarding the danger to be feared from the volleys which the police, at short intervals, poured into the hotel Mrs Jones's grief occasionally took the form of vindictiveness towards the police, whom she called murderers. The police frequently called upon the women to come away, but they hesitated, and Mrs Reardon and her son were afraid to accompany Mr Reardon to the station. The poor woman was carrying a baby only a few months old in her arms, and she eventually ran to the station, where she received every kindness from the persons there assembled. She was then in a very terrified condition, and told the following story, which serves to show the manner in which the gang took possession of Glenrowan.
Arrival of More Police
She said: "My husband is a plate layer, employed on the railway, and we live about a mile from the station, on the Benalla side. At three o'clock on Sunday morning we were all in bed. We wore aroused by Ned Kelly, who knocked at the door, and told my husband, when he opened it, to surrender. He advised us to dress, and I did so. They had also made a prisoner of Sullivan, another plate layer, and Kelly brought us to the station, where I was kept for some hours. Kelly took my husband and Sullivan down the line, in order to tear up the line and destroy the train with the police. He was afterwards taken to the hotel. There are a lot of innocent people in there now, and they are frightened to come out for fear the police will kill them. Amongst the people who are in there are:— James and Michael Reardon, my husband and son, Catherine and William Rennison, John and Patrick Delaney (who are here coursing), W S Cooke (a labourer), Martin Sherry (a plate-layer), John Larkins (a farmer), Edward Reynolds (the brother of the postmaster), Robert Gibbons, the brothers Mcauliffe, and other strangers I do not know."
When the poor woman had completed her story, the firing of the police became very brisk, and it was replied to by the desperadoes in the hotel. Senior constable Kelly at that juncture found a rifle stained with blood lying on the side of the hill, and this led to the supposition that one of the gang had been wounded, and had escaped through the forest towards Morgan's Lookout. Just then nine police with Superintendent Sadleir and Dr Hutchinson came from Benalla. Almost immediately after, seven policemen under Sergeant Steele arrived on horseback from Wangaratta. The alarm had been given there by Trooper Bracken, who caught a horse and rode the ten miles in a surprisingly short space of time. The conduct of Bracken, and the promptitude of the Wangaratta police, is to be highly commended. Just before their arrival a heavy volley was poured into the hotel by the police.
According to the statement of sonic of the prisoners, afterwards made, that volley proved fatal to Joe Byrne, who was standing close to young Delaney, drinking a nobbler of whisky at the bar, when he was shot in the groin. He was then carried to the back of the building, where he gradually sank and died a painful death. This fact at the time was unknown to the police.
The morning broke beautiful and clear. The police were disposed all round the hotel, when they were beset by a danger from the rear. Ned Kelly was the cause. It appears he was the man who shot Mr Hare, and he himself was wounded in the arm by the fire which was returned. He could not without danger get into the hotel, so he sprang upon his horse, and during the excitement which followed, he got away towards Morgan's Lookout, but it was not the intention of the bold ruffian to desert his comrades, and he returned to fight his way to them. [This is quite wrong. Kelly being wounded, tried to escape on foot, but being shot in the foot was unable to walk. No man left the hotel on horseback, but, to make a hero of himself, he told this story.]
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