The Argus at KellyGang 29/6/1880

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Melbourne was a scene of unexampled excitement yesterday, in consequence of the receipt of the news that the Kelly gang had been surrounded at Glenrowan. Business appeared to be suspended, and the streets about the newspaper officers were blocked by excited crowds, eager for the latest intelligence from the scene of action. The first extraordinary was issued from The Argus office at 11 o’clock, and successive editions appeared up to half past 5 o’clock, when we published a final issue, giving details of the destruction of the gang supplied by our reporters, who were present at the scene. Full particulars appear to-day in our news columns of a tragedy which has no parallel in Victorian annals. It seems that the gang resolved upon an effort to wreck the special train which they suspected would be sent to Beechworth upon the news of the murder they had committed there being received. On Sunday morning they descended upon Glenrowan, a little township between Benalla and Wangaratta, and at the foot of the ranges where the Kellys have had their haunts. They imprisoned the residents here, and compelled two platelayers to tear the line up beyond Glenrowan, and threatened to blow out the brains of the station master if he ventured to signal the special. The train, however, did not proceed beyond Glenrowan. Superintendent Hare and his men at once laid siege to the hotel in which the gang were, and in which they had confined a large number of civilians. Byrne, Hart, and Daniel Kelly kept within the hotel, but Edward Kelly got out, and while returning to it was brought to the ground and secured. The murderers had provided themselves with armour out of ploughs, and weighing about 97lb. Per man. This armour was a success, for Edward Kelly was shot at in vain until the protection was suspected and his assailants fired low, when he fell at once, and was captured wounded, but alive. The civilians who were captured were allowed by the Kelly gang to leave the hotel about 10 o’clock in the morning, and the fight was then maintained for several hours between the police and Hart and Dan Kelly, Byrne having been killed early in the morning. About 3 o'clock the building was set on fire by the besieging force, and the dead bodies of Byrne, Dan Kelly and Hart were found in it. Of the gang Ned Kelly is the only one alive, and he is in custody. The only other dead so far is that of Martin Cherry, a plate layer, who was one of the civilians captured by the gang, and who was wounded before they left the hotel. There are five wounded, viz, Superintendent Hare, a girl and boy named Jones, a boy named Reardon, and Ned Kelly. Edward Kelly is now at Benalla, and is doing well. Superintendent Hare has been congratulated on behalf of the Government for his exertions, and has been requested to thank his men.




The news in reference to the capture of the Kelly gang caused the greatest excitement throughout the city, and for some time nothing else was talked about. The news papers published second and third editions, and all the fresh news was eagerly seized upon by the public. Great satiafaction is expressed at the capture. The excitement about the Kelly's was intense during the early part of the evening, and the news paper offices were bsieged by crowds of people awaiting the latest news. The telegrams giving the particulars of the closing scene created a great sensation.




Considerable interest is taken in the news of the capture of Ned Kelly, and the encounter between the police and the gang.

On Saturday, October 26, 1878 , Sergeant KENNEDY and two police constables were murdered in cold blood by a gang of four men who took the name of their leader, EDWARD KELLY, a well-known thief; since then the gang have plundered and murdered at pleasure, defying justice with success until their career was closed yesterday by a tragic catastrophe. The KENNEDY murder, with which the KELLYS commenced their career, is not easily surpassed as a cold-blooded and gratuitous atrocity, and yet the last effort of the gang has claims to be considered the most diabolical of any. The gang ascertained that aid was being given to the police by a young man who had once known them, and who had taken unto himself a wife and had built a house, and was gaining an honest living by work upon the land. On Saturday night last they decoyed AARON SHERRITT outside his hut, and shot down the unfortunate, unarmed, and helpless man thus taken by surprise as though he were a dog. Four policemen were in the hut and some women also, and the outlaws endeavoured to burn the place down. Failing in this they took to horse to return to their haunts, but they had planned to perpetrate a further and more wicked mischief on their way. They anticipated that a special train would be despatched from Melbourne to the scene of the outrage, and they determined to rip up the rails and wreck the train, and thus take thirty or forty lives at a blow. Their motive in committing this crime was as senseless as was their object in the murder of the KENNEDY party, for it was simply to get rid for a time of the black trackers, in whose place a dozen avenging parties would have inevitably have started up. The treacherous slaying of the unhappy man SHERRITT can be understood. No doubt the outrage would strike terror into the hearts of all who might be disposed to assist the officers of justice, and it was to the interest of the gang to establish a terrorism in the district, but the wrecking of the train was purely gratuitous. If the gang had not made the effort they would have been back in their old hiding-places in the Strathbogie Ranges long before the police could have been on their tracks, and thus they might have eluded pursuit as successfully as ever. But the exploit of wrecking a train and killing some of the trackers, and riding triumphantly away, would have told well with the criminal classes who sympathise with thieves and cut-throats, and the gang determined upon making the effort. They set the trap, and they fell into it. They could not leave because they had to watch the officials in order to prevent the train being signalled. They had to watch and wait, to keep guard over the stationmaster, and scrutinise his face with an intention of “blowing out his brains” if he showed a disposition to warn his fellow-officers that they were hurrying to destruction. But the train did not blindly dash into the pit dug for it. Superintendent HARE knew better than that. He anticipated a trick of the kind, and arranged that a pilot-engine should run in front of the special, and that a watch should be kept from it on the track, and that precaution would have saved the force even if the alarm had not been given. But the alarm was given. A platelayer stopped the special outside of Glenrowan, and instead of seeing the train wrecked, the gang found the police upon them. A frightful tragedy had been averted, and justice had at last come to her own.


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