Recollections of a Victorian Police Officer Chapter XIX page 2
Recollections of a Victorian Police Officer by Sup John Sadleir
I reconnoitred the place a day or two before the time appointed, and then, with superintendent Francis Hare, who at this time had relieved Nicolson, arranged to collect a fairly strong party of police at Spink’s Crossing at sunset on the day indicated by Flood. The men were to approach the place in ones and twos, to avoid observation as much as possible, and there await Hare and me. When we reached the spot from another direction just at sunset, we were astonished to hear a tumult of voices from the river, and we immediately rushed forward, assuredly believing that some fight was on. As we hurried forward a Chinese, who had been concealed in some bushes overlooking the river, ran across our path, but we paid no heed to him in our eagerness to get to the scene of the tumult. There to our confusion we found several of our men, regardless of all caution, ducking and splashing each other in the water. By this time the Chinese could not be found, and, with diminished hopes, we settled down to watch throughout the night - a fruitless job, for the Kellys did not turn up. THE EUROA BANK STUCK UP
I just now made allusion to the robbery of the Euroa Bank, the story of which is told in a very spirited manner by Dr Fitchett in the October, 1909, number of Life. He describes how that about mid day on December 9th, 1879 (not on December 8th, as is erroneously stated) the Kellys stuck up Younghusband’s station, a place situated about three miles from Euroa. It was harvest time, and there were many workers on the place, besides several travellers who happened to call. All these men, to the number of about thirty, were shut into a storeroom from the afternoon of the 9th till late on the evening of the 10th. Of all these there was only one man, a hawker named Gloster, who made any show of resistance, if such it could be called. He refused to leave his cart, but against four armed men threatening his life he could do nothing single-handed; nor should it be expected, I think, that as long as these four desperadoes were there together any effective resistance could have been offered by the prisoners. But a time did come, on the afternoon of December 10th, when the prisoners, if there had been any sprinkling of enterprising men amongst them, could easily have asserted themselves.
At this time only one of the gang, Byrne, was on guard, the other three having gone to Euroa. Byrne was but a stripling compared to most of his prisoners, and was overloaded with weapons, carrying a rifle in each hand. Amongst those who came upon the scene at this time was one of the telegraph staff, a man over six feet high. Although he saw Byrne was so nervous that he could scarcely fix the key in the lock, yet he submitted without a word. This sort of pusillanimity on every side during the Kelly pursuit made the work of the police much more anxious and difficult than it need have been.
There was one man, however, amongst this crowd of timid prisoners who would have led a sortie, an exconstable named Stephens. He had noticed that Byrne sometimes stood with his back against a small window in their prison house, and Stephens searched amongst the tools that were about for a hay work, with which he hoped to reach Byrne through the window, but none could be found; then he took an axe, but the window opening was too narrow to allow an effective blow. When the other prisoners discovered what Stephens was after, they simply mobbed him and threatened to hand him over to the Kellys. The story of this exploit by the bushrangers closes with the return to Younghusband’s station of the remainder of the gang, bringing with them as prisoners the manager of the Euroa Bank and his family, together with some ₤1800 and an ingot of gold, the property of the bank. As the evening approached the Kellys took their departure, carrying the spoil with them.
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