Cookson, 11 09 1911 1
11 September 1911
M'INTYRE'S STORY OF THE WOMBAT TRAGEDY
A THRILLING NARRATIVE
"It was not until August, 1880, that Ned Kelly was sufficiently recovered from his wounds to stand his preliminary trial at the Beechworth Assizes. The court was crowded. Kelly was defended by Mr David Gaunson.
The principal witness was Constable M'Intyre, the man who escaped on Kennedy's horse whilst that officer was fighting the bushrangers at the police camp at the Wombat. This was his story:-
"On October 25, 1878, I was with Lonergan, Scanlon, and Sergeant Kennedy in the Wombat ranges. The country was very thickly timbered. On the morning of the 26th Kennedy and Scanlon went away at 6 o'clock to look for the outlaws. They left me and Lonergan at the camp. Each of us had a revolver and a double-barrel gun. I put in the morning baking bread. Lonergan looked after the horses. Towards 1 o'clock I heard a noise down at the creek below, and told Lonergan about it. He went down to the creek, but could not see anything. We both returned to the tent, and I fired a couple of shots at some parrots. About 4 o'clock in the afternoon we were near a big fire that we had made about 20 yards from the tent, when suddenly someone called out, "Bail up! Hold up your hands!" Ned Kelly and three others were covering us. Ned Kelly's gun was pointed straight at my chest. I had no weapon, and held up my arm. Lonergan started to run for a tree, pulling out his revolver as he did. When he was about four yards from me Kelly shot him. Then he drew his revolver, aimed it at me, and said, 'Keep your hands up!' He asked me if I had any firearms. I told him no. Lonergan up to this time had been writhing on the ground, but he then ceased to struggle. When he fell I heard him say, 'Oh, Christ, I am shot!' He only lived about two or three seconds. Kelly wanted to know where my revolver was. I told him in the tent. By his direction the other men kept their guns covering me whilst Kelly searched the tent. Having got the firearms, Ned Kelly said it was a great pity that Lonergan had tried to get away. One of the other men replied, 'Yes, he was really a very plucky man.' The outlaws were going to handcuff me, but I asked Ned Kelly what the use of it was when they were all armed and I was not. They made me sit down, but did not use the handcuffs. After a while Kelly asked me who the dead man was. I told him that was Lonergan. He said, 'Well, I am glad of it, because the - gave it to me in Benalla one day.' Dan Kelly laughed and said, 'He won't lock any more poor -s up.' Whilst they were waiting the outlaws made me drink some tea in order to show it was not poisoned. Ned Kelly took my gun that he had got from the tent, took the shot out of the cartridges, and replaced it with bullets,. Then he gave it to Byrne. At the same time he threatened to shoot Byrne if he did not do what he was told. We had a smoke for a while, and the outlaws then went and hid themselves in spear-grass round about the camp. It was about 5ft high.
"Ned Kelly had two guns a revolver. He hade me sit on a log, and asked me what we were doing there. I told him that we had come to apprehend himself and his brother. He asked me when I expected the other men back. I told him I did not think they would be home that night, and asked him what he intended doing with them. He said, 'I will shoot no man who will hold up his hands and surrender. There are some men in the force who, if ever I lay my hands on them, I will shoot, and one of them is Fitzpatrick.' Then Ned Kelly went on to say that what made him break out was that -Fitzpatrick. 'He was the cause of this,' he said. "The people who were lagged at Beechworth no more had revolvers than you have now-in fact, they were not there at all.' I said, 'You cannot blame us for what Fitzpatrick did to you.' Ned Kelly replied that he would not let another one go, adding. 'If I let you go now you will have to leave the force.' I told him that I would do so, adding that my health was very bad, and I had been thinking for some time of resigning. Then I said to him, 'If I make these other men surrender, what will you do with them?' Kelly replied, 'You had better do so; if they get away I will shoot you.'
"By this time it was nearly 6 o'clock. I told Kelly I would try and get them to surrender if he promised not to shoot them. He did promise. A minute afterwards Kennedy and Scanlon came in sight. The were riding. Kennedy was about 12 yards ahead. I stepped towards him and called out, 'Sergeant, you had better dismount and surrender!' At the same time Ned Kelly called out 'Bail up! Hold up your hand!' Kennedy, with a laugh, reached for the revolver which was in the case at his belt. Ned Kelly fired at him once, but missed. Kennedy then looked desperate and threw himself out of the saddle on the far side of the horse. Four shots were fired at him. Scanlan in the meantime had tried to get his rifle into play, but was shot by Kelly before he could do anything. When Scanlan fell I no longer expected any mercy myself, and, catching Kennedy's horse as it came past, I got on it, and rode away. I was in the bush all night. I got to Mansfield at 3 o'clock next afternoon. I helped the police to find the bodies. I did not see Kelly again until I saw him at Glenrowan on June 22."
See previous page / next page
|!||The text has been retyped from a microfiche copy of the original.
We have taken care to reproduce this document but areas of the original text may been damaged.
the previous day / next day . . . BW Cookson in the Sydney Sun index