Cookson, 07 09 1911 2

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7 September 1911

(full text transcription)



"It got inky dark, commenced to rain, and our leaders played up and got tangled up in the pole, broke a swingle bar, and things generally went wrong, so we did not get to Jerilderie till 10pm, where we found the whole town waiting for us at the post-office. I took charge of the office immediately, and remained there five months before returning to Deniliquin. The Kellys were not caught then. The incidents of the sticking-up we learnt to be as follows:-

"The town was thinly populated in that part. The courthouse stood on the opposite side of the street. Sergeant George Devine, a married man with a family, was in charge, with Constable Richards for assistant. On Saturday night, February 8, after retiring, and all lights out, a man knocked at his door, telling him there was a row at Davidson's Hotel, two miles out on the Urana-road, and he was wanted there. Devine had previously boasted that if he met the Kellys they would remember it. He opened the door in his nightdress, unarmed and was at once ordered by armed men to hold up his hands and surrender, which he did. They then got the key of the cell and locked him in. Later on they got Constable Richards unawares when he returned from town duty, disarmed him, and locked him in the cell also. Ned Kelly was very wroth with Devine on account of what he had heard of his boasting, and spoke of shooting him. Mrs Devine, on her knees, begged of him not to do so, and he apparently acceded to her request, saying he would have done so but for her.

"The armed men, Ned and Dan Kelly, Byrne, and Hart, kept guard in turn all night. Next day (Sunday) happened to be visiting Sunday for Father Kiely to say mass as usual in the courthouse. Mrs Devine was accustomed to prepare the altar for the service, and on this occasion did so, but Dan Kelly accompanied her to see that she left no communication for the priest. After the arrangements were completed he searched under the candlesticks and vases, &c., to assure himself, then the whole party watched from the police station the congregation assembling and dispersing. It was customary for Father Kiely to cross over and see the Devines after mass. It was thought strange that he omitted to do so on this occasion, although there appeared to be an extra reason for doing so, as none of the Devines attended. There was much conjecture as to what might have happened had he done so. It was also remarked that none of the townspeople visited the barracks during Sunday. All this favored the bushrangers.

"On Monday morning the two Kellys dressed themselves in police uniform and took Constable Richards for a walk down the town. People who met them thought they were policemen on a visit, so that no suspicion of the personnel of the visitors was entertained. After escorting Constable Richards to his quarters Ned Kelly and Byrne returned to town, and entering the Bank of New South Wales they covered the teller, Mr Lyving, demanding the keys of the safe. Lyving referred them to the manager, Mr Tarieton, who was then having a bath. One of the outlaws waited on Mr Tarieton in the bathroom, and, under threats, obtained possession of the keys."

The account of how the robbers took possession of the bank by main force of arms is now ancient history.

Of whom Ex-Superintendent Hare, in his somewhat one-sided history of the outlaws says:- "Kate Kelly, no doubt, was a loyal sister to her brothers, and must have sacrificed a good deal for them, day and night she was always on the alert, and assisting them in every possible way." There must have been merit to compel that acknowledgment from Mr Hare.

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