The Complete Inner History of the KellyGang and their Pursuers (25)

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The plan of the outlaws was to obtain a cheque for a minor sum from Mr McCauley, and arrive at the bank at 3 p.m. , just about closing time. This they secured, and, leaving a guard over the station prisoners, they proceeded to Euroa. Ned Kelly drove the shooting party’s cart, Steve Hart, and Beecroft, drove the hawker's wagon and Dan Kelly rode on horseback.

They reached the bank a few minutes before three o'clock . Hart drove the hawker's waggon into the yard of the bank. This was not noticed by passers, because the hawker himself used frequently to drive in there. Leaving the waggon, Hart entered the bank from the back. As he was coming in he met the housemaid, Miss Maggie Shaw, with, whom he had been, at school in Wangaratta. She said “Hello Steve!" He replied, "Mum's the word." This meeting was subsequently cited and established Hart's complicity in the adventure. Ned Kelly left the spring cart on the street outside the bank. He entered the bank just on the stroke of three o'clock , and, holding Mr McCauley's cheque in his hand, carefully closed the bank door. Dan Kelly kept guard outside. Ned Kelly observed the entry of Steve Hart into the bank, and he then withdrew the cheque he was presenting, and presented his revolver at the astonished official. The bank officials were commanded to throw up their hands, and, being completely taken by surprise, promptly complied.

The bank revolvers having been secured, Ned Kelly asked Mr Scott, the manager, if there were any women on the premises. Mr Scott informed him that there were only Mrs Scott and the housemaid Ned Kelly inquired if Mrs Scott was in a delicate state of health - he did not want to give her a fright if she was - and, receiving a negative reply, he then requested that Mrs Scott be asked to come in. Mrs Scott was called in, and introduced to Ned Kelly', who assured her solemnly that her husband's life was in her hands. If she gave an alarm her husband would be shot, but otherwise no harm would befall him. The manager and the clerks were then required to hand over all the cash in the bank, and Ned Kelly put the money into a sugar bag. Subsequently Mr Scott produced some whisky, and they drank to the success of their daring venture. Ned Kelly then requested Mr Scott that, as he now had no money in the bank, and as it was after banking hours, he and his family should come out to Faithful's Creek, and have tea with them, the Kellys. He told Mr Scott to put his horse in the buggy and accompany him and his mates to Faithful's Creek. It was quite a procession which then set out from Euroa to the station, Dan Kelly, with, Beecroft, driving the hawker's waggon, then Mrs Scott and family in the manager's buggy, Ned Kelly with Mr Scott and Miss Shaw in the spring cart, and Steve Hart on horseback following in the rear.

As Steve Hart was about to mount upon the horse the local policeman passed him. Steve said, "Good day." but the constable only grunted, and Steve felt somewhat annoyed.

Arrived safely at Faithful Creek Station, tea was served. The prisoners appeared to regard the Kellys with amazement and admiration on account of their success in robbing the bank and bringing the manager and staff with them to join the party. So impressed was Mrs Scott with the quiet and manly bearing of Ned Kelly that she remarked during the meal: "Surely, Mr. Kelly, you don't say that you are the man who has been outlawed?" To this Ned Kelly replied that he was outlawed on account of the perjured evidence of Constable Fitzpatrick, who was responsible for his mother being awarded three years in gaol on a charge of which she was entirely innocent, adding, for the information of his listeners, an outline of the persecution to which, he said, he and his family had been subjected by the authorities. It is worthy of note that wherever Ned Kelly explained to the public how his people had been persecuted by the police he made very many friends.

Before bidding farewell, the outlaws gave an exhibition of horsemanship, which entertained and surprised their prisoners, and, after a strict injunction not to leave the station for three hours, the Kellys, with the £2000 they had secured, left Faithful Creek, and making their way across the hilly country arrived in Greta Ranges long before daylight next morning, December 11, 1878 . They came to their "Post Office," a marked tree stump, and placing upon it a projecting stick, thus indicated to their friends that they had returned from Euroa, and were camped a couple of hundred yards away in the direction towards which the stick pointed. Early on the same morning Mrs Skillion arrived at the "Post Office," and taking the direction thus indicated, found the outlawys once more “at home”. The prisoners, at Faithful’s Creek, were so favourably impressed with Ned Kelly and his companions that they remained five hours before attempting to leave the station.

From his temporary sanctuary Ned Kelly, three days later, issued the following letter to a member of the Legislative Assembly (Mr Cameron):-

December 14.

Dear Sir,-Take no offence if I take the opportunity of writing a few lines to you wherein I wish to state a few remarks concerning the case of Trooper Fitzpatrick against Mrs Kelly, W Skillion and W Williamson, and to state the facts of the case to you. It seems to me impossible to get any justice without I make a statement to someone that will take notice of it, as it is no use me complaining about anything that the police may choose to say or swear against me, and the public, in their ignorance and blindness, will undoubtedly back them up to their utmost.

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This document gives you the text of this book about the KellyGang. The text has been retyped from a copy of the original. We have taken care to reproduce this document but areas of the original text may been damaged. We also apologise for any typographical errors. JJ Kenneally was one of the first authors to tell this story from the KellyGang's point of view

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