Cookson, 02 09 1911 2

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2 September 1911

(full text transcription)

WANTED TO GET DRUNK "After this time all the gang were quite sober. Byrne had had a few drinks. He came up and snatched a bottle of brandy out of the bar. I cried because I had very little goods and could not afford to lose it. So I tried to get it back. I implored Ned Kelly not to let them, but he did nothing to stop them. They were all eager to get drunk. And they got pretty drunk. They started preparing to go away, putting their iron clothes on. But they got wandering all over the house, and some of them couldn't get their iron hats over their heads.

"It was the liquor that caught them-nothing else. They stayed there drinking and going on with foolishness when they could have been away easily.

"They had o lot of people shut up in the hotel. But they let Curnow, the school teacher, go. It was Curnow that held the red handkerchief up and stopped the train. The police said afterwards that Kelly would not have let Curnow go but for the fact that he was mates with them before. That'll tell you the kind of things the police were.

"It was a terrible day. And when the police came and started firing bullets into the house-it was full of people-it was awful. Brave police! They lay in the gullies, and behind the trees, and shot bullets at the house, knowing that it was full of people. My poor innocent little children suffered most. My little boy was shot."

A paroxysm of coughing and weeping convulsed the invalid for a few minutes. It was with cheeks wet with tears that she continued.

"My brave little girl was shot, too-shot with a big rifle bullet that had gone through half the house first, or it would have killed her. The bullets were coming all through the house, tearing through the walls, smashing everything, and - . . . . Oh, my poor innocent children! I shall never forget them.

"My poor little boy was mortally hurt. But no one had mercy. The police kept on shooting, and no one knew who would be the next to fall. The bullets were doing the outlaws no harm at all. They were only hurting us. The police might have rushed the place easily and captured them- if they had been men enough. But they were not men. They lay there in safety and kept firing at the house.

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the previous day / next day . . . BW Cookson in the Sydney Sun index

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