Last modified on 20 November 2015, at 22:03

Sydney Morning Herald (50)

(full text transcription)
Execution of Ned Kelly

[BY TELEGRAPH]

(FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT)

MELBOURNE , THURSDAY

Kelly expiated his career of crime this morning on the gallows, in the Melbourne gaol. Up to a short period before his execution he entertained sanguine hopes of reprieve, and made frequent written appeals for clemency, but without avail. Yesterday the governor of the gaol informed him that there was no hope, and told him he must prepare for the worst. Kelly made a final appeal that his body should be given up to his relatives for burial, but this was also refused as against prison regulations. His three sisters paid him a farewell visit last night, and an affecting scene ensued. Kelly retired to his bed at half-past 1 o'clock this morning, and was restless for one hour, but then slept well until 5 o'clock , when he arose and engaged in prayer for 20 minutes. He then lay down again, and was visited shortly afterwards by the Rev Deans Donohy and O'Hea, who ministered spiritual consolation, and remained with him until the last. They would not allow him breakfast.

Just before 9 o'clock his irons were knocked off, and Kelly was conducted to the condemned cell. He walked jauntily from his former cell, and had to pass through the governor's garden, where he exclaimed, “Oh, what a pretty garden!" He had not been shaved. Kelly then remained in the cell in prayer with the priests. Precisely at 10 o'clock the governor of the gaol and sheriff went to the door, and the warder announced that the fatal moment had arrived. The priests, one bearing a tall crucifix and intoning prayers, preceded the prisoner, who exhibited some signs of faltering, but made great efforts to hold up. The gallows is situated opposite to the cell door, and the rope is adjusted to a beam in the gallery of the new wing of the gaol, the drop being seven feet and a half. Kelly, on coming out, exclaimed, " Ah, well! it's come to this at last." He gave one look at those present beneath, and then cast his eyes down and stepped on the fatal spot, where the noose was adjusted and the white cap was pulled over his face.

The bolt was drawn, and the prisoner fell with a heavy thud. Death was instantaneous, only a few twitchings, due to muscular action, being perceptible, and there was no struggling whatever. The body was cut down at half past 10 o'clock , and the face was found to be pale but not distorted. The formal inquest was held at 12 o'clock , and the remains are to be buried on Friday. An immense mob congregated outside, numbering about 6000 persons, but there was no disturbance. Mr Berry refused to publish the statements of Kelly, because they were merely a repetition of his defence. Kelly in these statements expressed no contrition, but justified the shooting of the policemen.


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