The Argus at KellyGang 8/6/1881

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(full text transcription)

The Police Board resumed their sittings yesterday, at the old Treasury building Mr T Carrington of the Sketcher. Mr J D Melvin of The Argus and Mr J M'Whirter of The Age, were examined as to what came under their notice at the capture of the Kelly gang and the investigation was then adjourned until to day.


The Police Board met again yesterday in the old Treasury building. Present - Messrs Longmore (chairman), Fincham, Graves , Hall, Dixon , Anderson , and GC Levey.

Jacob Wilson recalled, stated that he was engaged by Superintendent Hare to assist the police, and expressed a desire that Mr Hare should be examined on that point.

Thomas Carrington , artist, said he was present at the Glenrowan fight on behalf of The Sketcher. When the train drew up at the station Mr Hare gave an order to get the horses out. The police were in the middle of this work when a man came up in a very excited state, and pointing to Jones's Hotel said, "The Kellys are there; for God's sake surround them." Hare said, “Come on, boys," and there was a general rush towards the Glenrowan Hotel. Could not distinguish Mr O'Connor amongst the party, all were so muffled up. Mr Melvin, of The Argus, went after them to the ditch, he being the only one of the press who had firearms. In a minute or two the front of the hotel was lit up with flashes and then enveloped in smoke. In about seven or eight minutes a tall figure emerged from the smoke and approached the platform. This was Mr Hare wounded. Witness and the members of the press did the best they could to bind up his wrist, and then he returned towards the hotel again, disappearing once more in the darkness. In a few minutes more Mr Hare returned tottering to the platform. Whisky was given him, and he was sent by an engine to Benalla for surgical treatment. The members of the press walked about the platform, and were told to keep a look out for sympathisers, who were believed to be planted in M'Donnell's Hotel.

The next thing was the arrival of Senior-constable Kelly from the rear of the hotel with Ned Kelly's skullcap, which he had picked up with a rifle in the bush. There was a good deal of firing from a ditch in front of the house. For every shot fired from the hotel there were about half-a-dozen given in reply from the ditch. After the arrival of the reinforcements from Wangaratta and Benalla, and soon after daylight, saw a figure with something like a tall hat pulled over his head attacking the police in their rear. The police turned and fought this person, who, of course, was Ned Kelly. The outlaw was assailed by Senior- constable Kelly and Guard Dowsett in front. Dowsett was nearest to him when witness saw him first. Sergeant Steele came from the direction of the house, and fired at Ned's legs. Ned fell, and witness, with others, ran out. Saw the police taking the armour off, and one of them kicked the prisoner. Never saw Mr O'Connor after he left the platform in the first rush. During the day saw Mr Sadleir in the station with Ned Kelly, smoking.

During the afternoon the hotel was surrounded by about 50 police, and there were only two lads inside. It was commonly stated by the prisoners who escaped from the house that Byrne was shot, and that the two others were cowed. Received a letter afterwards from Superintendent Hare thanking witness for having bound up his wrist. Believed that had the house been rushed immediately after Hare was wounded the whole gang would have been captured. Wrote the letter which Mr Hare produced, and adhered to the statements made therein as to the want of officers after Mr Hare was wounded. The men had plenty of courage but there seemed to be a lack of supervision on the part of the officers.

To Mr O'Connor – Never saw you after you left the platform until now.

J Dalgarno Melvin , who was next examined, said he was a reporter on the staff of The Argus, and was present at Glenrowan. On the arrival of the special train there, Superintendent Hare, learning that the Kellys were in Jones's Hotel, called out to his men, "Come on, boys," and led the way himself. His own men, Mr O'Connor, and the black trackers followed. The representatives of the press remained on the platform, being for a minute or two in suspense as to where the outlaws really were. Their suspense was soon ended by a volley fired by the Kellys from the verandah of the hotel, to which the police replied very warmly. Witness then ran out after the police and got into a ditch. He could see nothing of the men there except the flashes of their rifles on his left, and around the front of the house. Thinking he saw the stump of a tree further on, and near the railway fence, he advanced to that point, but found that it was only a young gumtree or bush. This being no protection, and as even from here he was still unable to discern anything of the men on account of the darkness and smoke, he returned to the platform.

A few minutes after Mr Hare came to the platform with his wrist wounded. Mr Carrington bound the wound up, and Mr Hare returned to the fight. In about five minutes Mr Hare came back again to the platform staggering and fainting from loss of blood. As it was evident he required surgical treatment, it was decided that he should he taken on in the train to Benalla. He accordingly entered the carriage where the ladies were. He was so ill that the ladies asked for assistance, and Mr Rawlins volunteered to accompany them. The railway officials, however, explained that the train could not he taken down to Benalla fast enough, and that they might therefore have a collision with a special train which was expected from Benalla with reinforcements, and they therefore offered to run Mr Hare down on the engine in 10 minutes. This was how Mr Hare was taken, and the ladies were left.


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