Matthew Gibney

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Importance of Matthew Gibney

Gibney was the first person to enter the Glenrowan Inn after it was set on fire. He discovered the bodies of Dan Kelly and Steve Hart

Links to at the KellyGang and the Glenrowan Siege

Arrival at Glenrowan

I was the Vicar General of the Catholic Church in Western Australia. My object in visiting Victoria has been collecting for the orphan institution which I was responsible for. I arrived in Glenrowan on a train from Melbourne to Albury between 12 noon and 1pm. I caught the train at Kilmore. (Argus29/6/80) (RC12290) (JJK)

When I came to Benalla I was told there that Ned Kelly was taken, that he was wounded, that the others were stuck up at Glenrowan. I enquired myself if there was any Catholic clergyman there, and I was told no. I then made up my mind I would stay to attend first to Kelly, and then to any others I might be called on to. (RC12294)

The police were still firing at Jones Inn when I arrived

On arrival I made my way into where Ned Kelly was lying. He was dying at the time. There seemed to be a great press of people about the windows and door, curiously trying to see him; but I think it was a Dr. Nicholson to whom I was very thankful for the manner in which he assisted me to get to Ned Kelly. I had a good discussion with him (RC12296)

Ned Kelly did not swear at me. (RC12346)

Before the Inn was set on fire

Shortly before the Inn was set on fire I met Ned Kelly's sisters. I stepped forward and asked her would she go to her brother and tell him there was a Catholic priest here who was anxious to come and see him.

I was then close down to the gate at the railway crossing. I started from there direct for the front of the house. I think I might be about half the distance between where I started from and the house when I was called to and stopped by Sup Sadleir.

I am not a very good judge of numbers that way, but I thought there could not be less than 500 or 600 people around the Inn. (RC12301)

The fire

When I went up to the burning Inn people clapped hands as if I was going on a stage.

I went in then on what I think was the room on the right hand side, and it was quite empty. It was the other end of the house the fire was set to, and then when I came inside I called out to the men that I was a Catholic priest, and came to offer them their life, and asked them for God's sake to speak to me.

I got no answer of course, but I thought to myself that they might be on their guard, watching to see whether I was what I said I was.

Then I found first the body of Byrne. There was a door leading out of this room towards the door. His body was lying there where he had fallen in a straggled kind of way he seemed to have fallen on his back, like on his hip. He must have died soon, because he was just in the same position as he fell; he was still lying, and his body quite stiff. Then found the bodies of Dan Kelly and Steve Hart. (RC12314) see also (Argus29/6/80) (DailyTelegraph29/6/80) (OMA1/7/80) (Argus8/7/80) (RC10408)

I walked out the back of the Inn, that was the nearest way then, and called out to the police that the men were all dead inside. (RC12321)

I then went and saw Cherry. He was in the back room. I attended to him as well as I could, administered the sacrament of my own church to him as far as I could.(RC12346)

Position of police, see (RC7264)

Sadlier reported on my behaviour ar the siege. (Argus20/7/80) (RC2880)

I gave an interview to the Argus (Argus 29/6/80) and to the other papers (SMH30/6/80) (Herald3/7/80)

I thought it strange that as I was the principal witness in finding the bodies of Dan Kelly and Steve Hart, that I had not been in any way consulted in the matter, that I had not been referred to at all as a witness. (RC12338)

After the events at Glenrowan I went on to Albury. (RC12340)


Rev Gibney's evidence before the Royal Commission

I gave evidence to the Royal Commission on 28/6/1881 (RC12290) and on 6/7/1881 (RC12769)

I was back in Victoria. (Argus24/6/81)

What did the press have to say about my evidence (Argus30/6/81) (Argus7/7/81)

After the Siege Later life I died in Perth in June 1925 .