The Last of the Bushrangers Chapter 6 page 5

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Story of the KellyGang - the Sup Hare's book

The Last of the Bushrangers.

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The Last of the Bushrangers by Sup Hare

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Mr Maculey Made responsibility

During the absence of the gang at Euroa Mr McDougal suggested to some of the prisoners to make an effort to escape, as there were fifteen or sixteen axes hanging up in the store, and, he added, "if each of us takes one, and commences chopping our way out, we can easily manage it." But the whole party declined to assist in their escape, for, said they, "some of us must be shot in the attempt." Besides, it was generally urged that they had nothing to gain by the attempt which would compensate for the great risk, and they were pretty sure to be released when the bushrangers returned from Euroa. Tea was got ready for the women and children, and Mrs Scott appeared almost to enjoy the situation in which she found herself. The Kellys had their tea also, and then, much to the relief of those in confinement, they saw evident signs of the gang departing. The money taken from the bank was distributed amongst the gang; so also the arms taken from the prisoners and bank officials. Ned Kelly came to the store room, and announced that they were about leaving, and warned his prisoners they were not to stir for three hours (it was then about half-past eight); he said, "If one of you leaves this spot within three hours I will shoot that man dead. You cannot any of you escape me in this country, I can track you anywhere, and I can assure you I will keep my word." He then called upon Mr Macauley to come to the front, and he said to him, "I will hold you responsible for the escape of any of these prisoners until the period I have named has expired. Mind! if you let one of them go, I will meet you some time or other, and then you may consider yourself a dead man!" Before leaving, Ned Kelly came to the door of the store-room, and asked Mr McDougal for his watch. He handed it to him and told him it was a keepsake from his dead mother. Kelly apparently whispered and said, "No, I will never take that from you," and returned it to him, taking, instead, a watch from Mr Macauley; and Byrne took Mr Scott's watch from him.

The outlaws then mounted their horses, which were all splendid animals; it was then half-past eight o'clock and quite dark. Hart and Dan Kelly began to ride about, and show off on their horses, and brag about what they were going to do when they met the police. It was noticed by some of the prisoners that, when the gang returned from Euroa with their prisoners, before they came to the house, signals passed between them and Byrne, who was on guard; this was evidently pre-arranged, so as to denote all was well. After the gang left, they rode off in the direction of the Strathbogie ranges, and nothing more was seen of them. The prisoners then began to discuss what had best be done; some were for starting off at once, others thought they would only be risking their lives, and it was feared the outlaws might have left one of their party to watch; so the majority decided it was safer to wait until the three hours were up.

Release of the Prisoners

The station hands during their confinement took the matter very easily; they were well fed, and passed away the time chiefly in playing cards, knowing nothing serious was likely to happen to them. Most of them looked upon the affair as a capital joke, which had cost them nothing but their confinement. At half past ten o'clock they all agreed it was time to get out, which they had no difficulty in doing. Mr and Mrs Scott and party returned at once to Euroa, which they reached at midnight ; the rest of the people stopped at the station that night, except Mr Casement and McDougal, who went to the house of the former who lived not far from Euroa.

It was noticed by all the prisoners, that during their imprisonment, although they were domineering in giving their orders, no attempt at violence or roughness was used towards any of them. Ned Kelly was the most communicative of the gang, and conversed freely with many of the prisoners during the day, asking questions as to the movements of the police, and talking of the kick-up which they had caused in the force. When Mr Scott got back to Euroa at midnight , the bank was just in the same state as when he had left it— the doors all locked, and the inhabitants of the township perfectly unconscious of what had happened in the midst of them during the afternoon. Some of my readers in England may possibly not be able to grasp the matter in its true light. A few remarks in explanation of the doings of the outlaws may therefore not be out of place.

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