Sydney Morning Herald (37)

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On Sunday, the 27th June, information was brought into Beechworth that the Kelly gang had proceeded to a house at Sebastopol , and Byrne had shot Aaron Sherritt and killed him. It seems that on the night previous, about 8 o'clock , the gang went to a hut at Sebastopol , about seven miles from Beechworth, on the Eldorado Road . There were in the hut at the time four constables, besides Sherritt and his wife. A German, Antonio Weders, a resident of the place, was brought by the gang to the house, and was compelled by the outlaws to call out "Aaron." Sherritt recognized the voice and opened the door, when Byrne fired, and hit him in the eye and chest. Sherritt died instantaneously. Byrne, after he fired the shot, said, “You will not blow now what you will do with us any more." The gang then surrounded the hut, and called upon the police to surrender. Eight shots were fired, the gang getting behind the trees. The police, on being challenged, refused to surrender, and said they would rather die than surrender. The gang kept the police prisoners for some time, and threatened to burn the house down and roast them alive. When Sherritt was shot the doors of the hut were closed, and as a bright fire was burning inside, the police were placed at a disadvantage. It seems that from the position the outlaws took up, the police were unable to fire a shot. There is no doubt the shooting of Sherritt was intended to intimidate others, who might be supposed to give information to the police as to the whereabouts of the outlaws.

It is evident that, after the murder of Sherritt, the Kelly gang made across country towards their old haunts. They expected, apparently, that the four policemen whom they left in the hut at Sebastopol would give much earlier information than they did, and that a special train would be sent from Melbourne with a police force on Sunday morning. This train they resolved to wreck at Glenrowan, which place is on the direct line from Beechworth to the Kelly haunts., Had the train been wrecked, the outlaws, after witnessing the destruction, could easily have reached their fastnesses, and been once more secure. This desperate plot was defeated by a man who stopped the train and gave the information on which Superintendent Hare promptly acted. In compliance with the request of the police on the spot, a 12-pounder cannon was sent to the scene off action by a special train. The gun was to be manned by a contingent of the Artillery Corps.

The bushrangers proceeded to Glenrowan station, about seven miles north of Benalla. This little township consists of about half-a-dozen houses, and two of these are hotels—one Jones' " Glenrowan," being about 200 yards from the railway station on the west side of the line. The bushrangers first went to Mr Stainstreet, the station-master, at 3 on Sunday morning, and burst in the door. The station-master asked ""What is this for? who are you?" The answer was, “I am Ned Kelly." This ruffian then demanded that the station-master should pull up the rails. The station-master said he knew nothing about that business, that was only known to platelayers. Ned Kelly then went to Reardon's house, a platelayer, the master's household being kept in custody by Hart. Tools were obtained for wresting the rails up, and that work was effected. Ned Kelly said, "There is a special train coming," and inquired about the signal, and warned the official that he must give no signal of " danger." Where the rails had been taken up was a most dangerous place, and if the scheme intended had succeeded, it would probably have eventuated in the maiming or killing of all in the train.


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