The Argus at KellyGang 12/12/1878 (5)

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On reaching the station we found the two others of the gang (Dan Kelly and Stephen Hart) guarding the storeroom in which the manager, Mr Macauley, and about 20 others were imprisoned and where they had been with a few intervals outside allowed to them separately by the gang, for the last 26 hours. The storeroom is a wooden building about 20 yards away from the rest of the premises, and as it had only one window near the door, it was very easily guarded. Our party of four were put into the room with the others, and there being no means of ventilation we soon found the atmosphere oppressively hot and close. In the mean- time the gang had thrown every thing out of our cart, but there was nothing there of any value to them except some firearms and ammunition-viz,. a rifle and a double- barrelled gun, 80 bullets, two flasks of powder, and three boxes of caps.

Our imprisonment in the storeroom lasted for about eight hours, during which time, however, we were allowed several of us to go out occasionally to obtain a draught of fresh air and some water, but we were never allowed out of sight. The prisoners in the storeroom, I may mention, were all men, the female cook and some other women employed at the station being allowed to remain in the house. None of the women were molested, as far as I learnt, in any way, though from some remarks dropped by Dan Kelly (who appeared the greatest ruffian of the lot, and a thorough type of the 'larrikin'), he did not desire to leave them untroubled. He said something about 'having a lark with the women,' but apparently he was restrained by his brother. During the time we were in the storeroom four trains passed, two each way, and when any of these was heard approaching we were kept close, and told not to make any noise. Among the prisoners was a hawker who had arrived at the station with a spring cart full of goods on Monday night, intending to pass the night there.

He found himself bailed up however, on his appearance, and he was put into the store- room with the others. His arrival was regarded as a piece of specially good luck by the gang, as they were in want of new clothes, and his cart contained materials for providing them all with a new outfit, even to the boots. They had all on their new clothes when we got to the station, and we saw their old ones burning. At about half past 2 o'clock the gang- who openly stated their intention of robbing the Euroa bank-proceeded to destroy the telegraph communication, leaving us guarded by one of their number. They got tomahawks and cut down one of the telegraph posts, tearing away also the wire for a considerable length, so that it could not be repaired with the usual quantity of wire carried by a line repairer. While doing this they made a further capture of four men who were working on the line, and who saw them cutting the wires.

The men, on being told to surrender and learning that their captors were the Kelly gang, made no resistance whatever, and were at once marched up to the storeroom, into which they were put with the rest of us. The severance of the telegraph communication was apparently very soon learned at Euroa, or else the line had been cut before, as the up goods train which carne in sight not long afterwards let down a line repairer opposite the station. The gang concealed themselves, and we could see the man's movements from the window. He evidently soon saw that the line had not been injured by accident, and he was coming up to the station for assistance when he was suddenly pulled up by a summons to put his hands up, which he did with the most rapid obedience. He was then, having been searched, put in the storeroom with the others. We learned that his name was Watts, and several questions were put to him by the bushrangers as to the number of police at Euroa and Violet Town.

At half past three o'clock Ned and Dan Kelly and Stephen Hart started for Euroa for the purpose, as they expressly stated, of robbing the bank. They left their horses in the paddock and drove away in the two spring carts-ours and the hawker's. The tall unknown bushranger, 'Jack,' was left to guard us, which he did by patrolling round the building continually. He was very heavily armed, having two revolvers in his belt, a double barrelled gun in his hand, and two rifles placed within easy reach. While the Kellys were away, finding that there were some 15 or 16 axes stored in the building, I suggested that if parties of men commenced simultaneously assailing the four sides of the building with the axes we could soon get free, as it would be impossible for the one bushranger to look after all sides at once. The proposition, however, was condemned by the manager, and found no support indeed at all, as it was evident that at least one of us must be shot in the attempt, and each one appeared to think it likely that he would be the 'one.'

Besides it was generally urged we had nothing to gain by the attempt which would compensate for the great risk, as we were pretty sure of being released when the Kellys had returned from robbing the bank. The distance from the station to Euroa is under four miles, and we calculated that the rest of the gang could not be long in returning if they succeeded in their enterprise. This proved to be correct, as it was only about half past 5 o'clock when they made their reappearance with a large further addition to their list of captives. They brought with them Mr Scott, the bank manger, Mrs Scott, and seven children, two servants, the accountant of the bank and the clerk. The men were put with us in the storeroom, and Mrs Scott and the children and servants were sent in to the station house. Besides the spring carts, the bushrangers on their return had brought with them Mr Scott's buggy, in which Mrs Scott and some of the other prisoners were driven out. Tea was made by the servants soon afterwards, and was given to Mrs Scott (who was not apparently, very much frightened) and the children. Having had their tea, we soon saw, much to our relief, the gang making evident preparations for their departure. The spoil they had taken from the bank was packed up and distributed among the gang, with the firearms they had taken from us and Mr Scott. Two hours more elapsed, however, before we got rid of them.


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