The Last of the Bushrangers Chapter 6 page 6

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The Last of the Bushrangers by Sup Hare

(full text transcription)


It was evident the gang knew perfectly well the ways and doings of the bank, the hour of closing, and who the occupants were. They wanted a base of operations, where they could confine any one who happened to see them, so that no information might be given concerning them. They selected Younghusband's station, which from its position was well adapted for their purpose. They wanted food for their horses, and rest for themselves, as they would probably have to ride day and night before they reached their mountain retreat. They knew the police would endeavour to follow their tracks, and they had to keep on the alert. But every pass and track in the mountains was known, and every hiding-place familiar to the gang. After an exploit of this kind they seldom rode together. Each man took his own line to the first of several appointed meeting places. If something occurred to prevent any one of them from putting in an appearance there, they made for the second, and so on until they met. When robbing the bank, they fixed on a time when they knew it would be closed, and they could remain inside without raising any suspicion. Fortune favoured them in a marvellous manner. The hawker, coming to Younghusband's, gave them an opportunity of dressing themselves so respectably, that no one meeting them would take them to be bushrangers; the carts also were of great use to them, and they could scarcely have carried out their plans without them. No doubt all the prisoners who were put into the store room will be looked upon as cowards, but it should be remembered that it was a well-known fact that, after the Wombat murders, the gang were only too anxious to shed blood, especially Dan Kelly, who was the most bloodthirsty of the lot, and on the least provocation would have done so, his brother frequently having to restrain him from shooting any one he met in the bush.

Tho prisoners were all taken by surprise. Although they may have had fire-arms near them, the moment they attempted to touch them they would have been shot dead on the spot. Besides, in the store-room the gang had several of their sympathizers who were put amongst the prisoners, so that they could give intelligence by signs to the outlaws, should a rush have been contemplated; the sympathizers were not known to the others in confinement. People in the bush, or on stations, seldom or never carry fire arms; they have no money about them to lose, and know the bushrangers will not harm them. They do not suspect every one they meet to be a bushranger, especially fine, good-looking, and well dressed men, as Ned Kelly and Joe Byrne were. There is no doubt the gang had great luck all that day. Their plans were well laid, and carried out splendidly. They never molested the working men or farmers, and in that way gained great sympathy amongst all classes of people, and information concerning the outlaws was withheld from the police. I have often spoken to respectable farmers, and pointed out to them that it was their duty to assist the police, and their reply was, "I want to stand aloof from everything connected with the Kellys; if they hear the police have been to my place, my stacks will be burnt down, my fences broken, and probably all my cattle and horses will be stolen." The only policeman in Euroa on the day of the robbery was absent from his station on some other duty, but had he been in barracks, he would probably not have heard of the matter until twelve o'clock at night. At daylight the police attempted to pick up the tracks of the outlaws. There were foot-prints of horses leading in every direction. The sympathizers who had been in confinement up to eleven o'clock that night, had mounted their horses, and kept riding round the station in every direction, together with the scouts who had been watching all day, one starting off in one direction and another in an opposite one, under the pretence of looking for the tracks of the offenders, whereas it was for the sole purpose of baffling the trackers when daylight came.

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