SConst John Kelly

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Side of Authority
This page contains content from police and those who supported authority.

Importance of SConst John Kelly, (1925)

I was a good bushmen. Took command at Glenrowan after Hare had been shot. No relation to Ned Kelly Links to the KellyGang below, Early Years , Fitzpatrick Incident , Murders at Stringy Bark Creek , Sebastopol Cavalcade , Euroa Robbery , Jerilderie Robbery , Autum 1879 , Hare replaced by Nicolson , Spring 1879 Early 1880 , Death of Aaron Sherritt , Glenrowan Siege , Ned Kelly's Trial , Reward Board , Royal Commission , Early service , Later service, Family ,

Links to the KellyGang

Murders at String Bark Creek in the Wombat Rangers 26/10/1878 Photograph On 24/10/1878 I met Sgt Kennedy in Mansfield and he told me he was going out after the KellyGang. He asked me for an extra rifle that was being carried by Const Horwood. I was incharge of the police station at Woods Point at the time and Horwood and I were providing the escort for the gold down to Benalla. (JJK)

During the night of 27/10/78, while on leave in Melbourne, I got the news of the murders. The police in Melbourne had no official information from Benalla until about 10am. I immediately volunteered to return and with a number of other police caught a train for Benalla at 3pm and arrived there at 8pm. (RC7979)

On 28/10/1878 SConst James, Consts Connor, Meehan, and Bray and I went out from Benalla on a search party to King River, through Greta. We were going to Moyhu, but it got very dark and commenced to thunder and lighten about four miles on the Boggy Creek. We had to camp there, and it was raining all night. No, we had no tents. The rest of the men had a small blue blanket each-I had none. (RC7980) (See also (RC17651))(Const James Bray died soon after at Trentham)

The next morning, (about 30/10/1878) I went up to John Lewis's place. We dried ourselves, and he got us some breakfast; and then we started towards Redcamp, on the Redcamp run. From there we went to Hedi. We stopped at Hedi police station that night. There were no police there, they were away; at least the constable that was stationed there was away. We started up the King River on the following morning, and near Bungamara station I met the outlaws' uncle, Jack Quinn, George Johnson, and a man of the name of Thomas, alias Galloping Jack. We had a conversation with them' and they told us they were looking for cattle. We stopped at Bungamara station that night, and met Sergeant Steele and some constables with him.

We started next day in the Wombat, and arrived about ten o'clock that night at Mansfield. We stopped all the next day, and on Sunday 3/11/1878 (RC7983) (Argus5/11/78)

. Sebastopol Cavalcade 7/11/1878 I got to Sebastopol. That was the first time I saw Aaron Sherritt.(RC7988)

Super Sadlier sent me to Whorouly after the Sebastopol Cavalcade. Const Ryan was sent from Greta to meet me there. (RC8009)

We watched the Whorouly Bridge for 3 weeks.(RC8020)

From Hedi I sent Ass Com Nicolson a letter that had in some way or other fallen into my hands. It revealed, a plan on the part of some persons on the River Murray to help the KellyGang to escape into New South Wales. (RC482) See text of the letter(CHC)

Euroa Robbery 10/12/1878 I led a search party from Woods Point after the robbery. We did not find anything. (RC1262) Autum 1879 In mid April I went out from Wangaratta to help Sup Hare and his party in a search of the Warby Ranges (RC1291)

On 10/5/1879 I was sent to take charge at Hedi. (RC8005) Nicolson replaced by Hare 2/6/1880 When I was with Const Gascoigne, looking for the man travelling with the cart, I heard about the mould-boards, when we were round Greta.(RC9640)

I found Tom Lloyd 20/5/1880 after he had passed though Glenrowan with a party of friends and traveled towards Yarrawonga. (RC778)

. Glenrowan Siege 28/6/1880 I was in Benalla at the time when Aaron Sherritt was shot (RC8025)

Sup. Hare sent for me that Sunday afternoon, and said I was to bring down a horse with me to the telegraph office. (RC8028)

I then went off to see Mr Stevens, the station master at Benalla to organise the special train to take us off to Beechworth. (RC8030)

I was concerned that the KellyGang would be waiting for us. They had good information about our movements (RC8038)

Special train leaves Benalla to go to Beechworth - follow up on death of Aaron Sherritt

We left Benalla at about 1.30am (RC8030)

I was on the top step with the guard, and he had a lamp and this cleaning wadding that they have, and I kept the window clear watching the pilot engine. (RC8038)

Arrive at Glenrowan

I arrived by train at Glenrowan at about 2.30 am with Sup Hare's party. I heard from McFie Curnow's news.

I jumped out, and Mr. Hare put his head out of the window and said, "What is up? " and I told him, and he jumped out with his gun and he went up with the guard and walked up to the pilot engine. Mr. Hare turned round and told me to take half the men to go on the engine; he would go on the pilot engine and let me go on the other. I had Consts Canny and Arthur with me, and I placed them upon the engine; the three of us, but the engines then were detached. (RC8047)

Begining of the siege

Sup Hare gave the order "Come on boys' and at that we headed off for Jones's Inn. I was one of the first with Hare, Const Gascoigne and Rawlins. (RC11570) (Argus21/7/80) (JJK)

The KellyGang fired the first shot. Sup and the police were rushing straight for. (RC8083)

Did I shoot Ned Kelly (Age1/7/80)

After Sup Hare was wounded he ordered me to surround the Inn before he left to get his hand bandaged, he then came back and ordered the police to stop firing before he left again. (Argus29/6/80) (Argus29/6/80) (RC8090) see also (RC7774.7372) (RC10411)

I had a problem with ammunition. I went down to Mrs Stanistreet's house where Mr Rawlins had an ammunition point. (RC8106) See also (RC10331)

I had an overcoat on me, and a sling for the gun. I threw off the overcoat and the sling. I had a wideawake hat, and I stuck it in my pocket. I went up then to Mr. O'Connor in the drain, inside the railway fence. There is one rail-a top rail, about four by one and four or five wires; I could not say how many. (RC8124)

From O'Connor I went under the culvert that lead from the drain and came out on the Benalla side and first I met Const Arthur then Gascoigne and Phillips.(RC8136)

After Neil McHugh left the Inn with Mrs Jones's son I saw Const Phillips. (RC11317)

We crept on our faces and hands for about 400 yards, and reached a tree 50 yards from the house. We got at the back of this tree, which was in the scrub. There we found a six barrelled revolving rifle, covered with blood, and a skull cap. We kept a look out, and every time we fancied we saw anyone in the hotel we fired. We shot four horses which were saddled and tried up at the back door, with a view to prevent escape on them. (Argus29/6/80)

After Mr. Hare had left I returned to the platform at the railway station quickly, carrying Ned Kelly's rifle and wearing his skull cap. I had found the rifle in the bush at the Wangaratta side of the hotel. The ground was stained with blood. I was concerned that the KellyGang had got away.(Argus5/7/80) (RC10318) (RC10039)

I took charge of the police until Sup Sadleir arrived (DailyTelegraph29/6/80) (JJK)

Arrival of Sup Sadleir and police from Benalla

I met Sgt Whelan and Sup Sadleir when they arrived. (RC5974) See also (RC9407)

Capture of Ned Kelly

I fired away at Ned Kelly after he had fired at Const Arthur. (RC14018)

I was behind Ned Kelly at the time (RC10345)

See also Mr Dowsett's description of my role in the capture of Ned Kelly. (RC10916) He said that I took Ned Kelly's off his head (RC10932) (Argus8/7/80) (SMH2/7/80)

Release of the civilians


Burning of Jones's Inn


The following the Glenrowan siege I made a statement to the press

My statement starts as follows-"When we started from the platform we ran down towards the railway-gates, hearing that the gang were in Jones's public house. The men at that time had not sufficient time to scatter, and all made towards the hotel. As we approached, some one came out on the verandah and fired on us. Mr Superintendent Hare, with Mr. Rawlings, a volunteer from Benalla, was close to me. Mr. Hare said, ....." ((FH)see also earlier versions in (Ager29/6/80) (DailyTelegraph29/6/80) (Argus 29/6/80)

Sgt Steele gave his account of my role in the capture of Ned Kelly

I had an interview with Ned Kelly in Benalla before he was taken down to Melbourne (Argus30/6/80) (Age11/8/80)

See also the Royal Commission's comment on my role (RC2nd reportXV).


Mr. Stanistreet, the stationmaster at Glenrowan, found an oil can containing 45lb, of blasting powder, concealed behind a log in the vicinity of M'Donnell's Hotel. He gave it to me. I arranged for the magazine waggon to be sent to bring it down to Benalla. Previous to this a quantity of fuse was found in swags carried by the pack horses left by the KellyGang at M’Donnell’s Hotel. (Argus3/7/80) (Herald3/7/1880 )

Sup Sadleir was asked to comment on his report about me.

Sadleir intended my move to Greta as 'temporary'- for four or five months." He also said that he made some sort of promise of promotion as far as he had power.

See Sadleir's letter of 18/9/1880. (RC15949)

Sup Sadleir told the Royal Commission "I wish to state that later circumstances have come to my knowledge showing that Senior-Constable Kelly-like myself, Sergeant Whelan, and other men, who were very anxious, and took a prominent part in the Kelly captures-was thoroughly exhausted after the business was over; and I think, if he had been as fresh as he was in the earlier stage of the proceedings, he would not have dreaded taking charge of Greta or any other station; and, in so far as my overlooking the trial and exhaustion he had undergone is concerned, I now admit that I possibly did do him an injustice. I have no hesitation in saying he is a first-class man, and one whom I would like to have serving with me anywhere." (RC15959) see also (Argus7/1/82)


Ned Kelly's trial

I was due to give evidence at Ned Kelly's committal hearing at Beechworth. (Age4/8/80) (Age6/8/80) (Age11/8/80) (Argus11/8/80) (Argus12/8/80) (Herald12/8/1880) (BWC)

I showed Ned Kelly's armour to the court at his trail. I gave evidence that Ned Kelly admitted to shooting Const Fitzpatrick when he was in the lock up at Benalla after the Glenrowan seige on !!MISSING. (Age 30/10/80) (Argus30/10/80) (JJK)

Kelly Reward Board Following the meetings of the Reward Board in December 1880 I recieved a reward of £377.11. 8 and I was recommened for a special reward Royal Commission I gave evidence to the Royal Commission on 18/5/1881 (RC7975) and 31/5/1881 (RC8796)

What did the press have to say about my evidence (Argus19/5/81) (Argus1/6/81)

Com Standish called me 'a good man in some ways' at the Royal Commission. When I consider what he said about others this is real praise (RC236)

The Royal Commission found that the treatment of Senior-Constable Kelly, by Superintendent Sadleir, was harsh and unmerited. And that the entries made by Superintendent Sadleir in the record sheets of Senior-Constable Kelly be cancelled, and the Commission recommend these members of the force to the favorable consideration of the Government for promotion. (RC2ndReport) (JJK) See also (Argus3/3/82)

Early Service I was stationed at Ararat for about 9 months, and Beaufort about five years. In 1871 I joined the detective force in Melbourne but only lasted a month before I was sent to Dandenong. Later I went to Oakleigh. After that I worked as a plain clothes policeman for Mr Hare. In 1877 I took charge of the police station at Woods Point. Later Service I was stationed at Terang in 1881

The government's final decision to my reward claim (Argus11/10/83)


wife ?... children ?.... home ?..

I married in 1880 (RC8503)


What happened to Const John Kelly's family KellyGang