The Complete Inner History of the KellyGang and their Pursuers (40)

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While Ned was in the bank, the local newspaper proprietor, Mr Gill, and Mr Rankin came into the bank, and were called upon to bail up.  They did not wait to think, but ran out in great fear.  Rankin ran into the hotel, and was secured.  Gill ran in a different direction, and hid himself in a creek.  Rankin was threatened with the supreme penalty, and in order to show the other prisoners what they escaped by their ready compliance with “orders,” Rankin was stood apart from the others to be shot.

There was a general cry from the crowd not to shoot him, and with somewhat of a show of reluctance, Ned Kelly acceded to their request, and let the trembling Rankin off with a caution. 

Ned now inquired who the other fellow was who had got right away.  He was told that the runaway was Mr Gill, who ran the local newspaper.  Ned said he was sorry he got away, as he wanted him to publish a written statement which he (Ned Kelly) had prepared.  Ned said he would pay Gill for publishing this statement.  At this stage someone of the prisoners suggested to Constable Richards that a rush should be made on Steve Hart, who was guarding the prisoners, and overpower him.  The constable replied that that would be too risky, as they were also covered by Dan Kelly.

The constable knew that so long as they “went quietly” no one would be hurt.  A search was then made for Mr Gill, so as to place an order for printing Ned Kelly’s reply to police and press libels and misrepresentations.  He was accompanied by Mr Living.  They went to Mr Gill’s home, but he was not there.  Mrs Gill did not know where he was.  The bank teller then undertook to see Mr Gill, and get Ned Kelly’s side of the argument published.  Ned said he would pay for it.  Ned entrusted Mr Living with the manuscript, on the promise of the latter to hand it to Mr Gill.  Mr Living did not carry out his promise, but he handed the document to the police instead, and it was published in a very distorted and mutilated form after Ned Kelly had been executed.

In the meantime Joe Byrne attended at the post office, and compelled Mr Jefferson, the postmaster, to cut the telegraph wires and also to cut down six or seven telegraph poles.  Mr Jefferson and his assistant were then taken to join the company at Cox’s Hotel.  After leaving Mr Gill’s house Ned and the bank teller called at McDoughall’s Hotel.  Ned “shouted” for a crowd of about thirty people, and paid for the drinks.  He then took McDoughall’s race mare out of the stable.  McDoughall protested that he was a comparatively poor man, and could not afford to lose the mare.  Ned’s socialistic principles came to McDoughall’s rescue, and the mare was handed back to her owner.

Dan was in the bar of the hotel, when a flash-looking young man, carrying a bowie knife in his belt, entered.  He inquired of the barmaid when dinner would be on.  The girl nodded towards Dan Kelly.  The young man turned and looked at Dan and said, “What have you got to do with it, anyway?” Dan sat on the form, with his revolver in his right hand on his knee,.  He covered the revolver with his left hand, so that the newcomer did not see it.  Dan replied that he had a good deal “to do with it.” The flash man was becoming somewhat argumentative and defiant when Dan stood up, and covering this insolent fellow with his revolver, said, “You go in there, and don’t have so much to say.” The knife man promptly obeyed, and, as they say in Parliament, the incident closed.  Constable Richards was taken back to the lock-up, with the postmaster and his assistant, and lodged in the lock-up.  Mrs Devine was instructed not to let anyone out of the lock-up before 7 pm that day, Monday, February 11, 1879.

Ned Kelly made a speech to the prisoners at Cox’s Hotel before leaving.  He told them of the way in which he and his family had been persecuted by the police, and how he himself had been sentenced to fifteen years by Judge Barry before he was arrested or charged with the alleged offence.  He explained that any of his people who were arrested were treated in a prejudiced manner, and convicted without a trial.  When any of them were tried it was really formal, as nothing could alter the verdict given before the case came into the court.

It was arranged by the outlaws that they should divide on their way back from Jerilderie, and meet on the bank of the Murray at the crossing place opposite Bourke’s public-house, near Burramine.

Ned and Joe Byrne gave a splendid exhibition of horsemanship over stiff fences, and, then, waving a farewell to the crowd, left Jerilderie some time before Dan and Steve Hart.  The latter got into some disgrace in the eyes of the other members of the gang by taking a watch from the local parson.  Ned was angry with Steve, and ordered him to return the watch to the Rev Mr Gribble, from whom it had been taken.  Dan and Steve rode about the streets before leaving, and threatened the prisoners with pains and penalties if they left the hotel before the time stated.  The prisoners were told not to move for three hours.  Dan and Steve left at 4 pm.  The lock-up was to be opened at 7 pm.

The town was excited after the Kellys had left, and the wildest stories and rumours were in circulation.  It was alleged that several of the Kellys’ friends from Greta were in Jerilderie.  Every strange face was supposed to be one of the Kellys’ friends from Greta.  From whispered conversations it would appear that Greta had migrated to Jerilderie.  With this belief the townspeople were as circumspect in their words and actions, in reference to the Kellys, after the latter had departed as when the gang were in supreme command of the affairs of that town.

In addition to the £2300 taken from the bank, the Kellys also took the two police horses, revolvers and ammunition.  These horses had been bred by Mr John Evans, of Red Camp, near Moyhu, Victoria, and carried the breeder’s well-known brand.  Mr Evans lost these horses some time previously.  Of course, the New South Wales police department were not accused of stealing them.  The Kellys brought the horses back to Greta, and turned them out at the head of the King River.

Some months later the cousin of the Kellys found one of the horses and identified John Evans’ brand.  The horses also carried the New South Wales Government brand, but the brand was on the neck under the mane, and was not easily seen.  The Kellys’ cousin returned the horse to the breeder.

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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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