The Complete Inner History of the KellyGang and their Pursuers (86)

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Judge Barry then passed the sentence of death, and concluded with the usual formula: “May the Lord have mercy on your soul.”

Ned Kelly: Yes, I will meet you there!

On the 3rd November the Executive Council met and dealt with the Ned Kelly’s case. It was decided that the law should take its course, and the date for Ned Kelly’s execution was fixed for Thursday, 11th November.

On Friday night, the 5th November, an immense public meeting was held in the Hippodrome. The interior was packed with 2,500 people, and another 6,000 persons were unable to gain admission. The meeting was very orderly, and was addressed by Mr David Gaunson and his brother, Mr Wm Gaunson. The chair was taken by Mr Hamilton, and a resolution was moved and seconded “That in the case of Ned Kelly, the prerogative of mercy should be exercised by the Governor-in-Council.” This motion was carried unanimously.

A petition signed by 32,000 adults was presented to the Governor at the meeting of Executive Council on the 8th November. While the petition was being considered by the Governor-in-Council an immense crowd assembled outside the Treasury Buildings. The prayer of the petitioners was refused, and the date of Ned Kelly’s execution was finally fixed for Thursday, 11th November, 1880.

At 10 o’clock on the morning of 11th November, Colonel Rede, the sheriff, came forward in official dress and demanded the body of Ned Kelly. An immense crowd had collected outside the gaol.

Ned walked calmly to execution, and when passing through the garden in the gaol yard he remarked on the extraordinary beauty of the flowers. He walked firmly after his spiritual advisers, Dean Doneghy and Dean O’Hea. He answered the priests, who recited the litany of the dying. The cap was drawn over his face, and, as the lever was drawn, Ned Kelly’s last words were, “Such is life.”

Death of Mr Justice Barry

On the 23rd November, Judge Barry died from congestion of the lungs and a carbuncle in the neck. He suffered great pain, but death was unexpected. He survived Ned Kelly by only twelve days, when he was called before that bigger court, where he was sure to get unadulterated justice.

Judge Barry’s unlawful, unjust, and maliciously threatened sentence of fifteen years on Ned Kelly at Beechworth in October, 1878, already referred to, was responsible for the deaths of ten persons. He was responsible for the shooting of the three policemen at the Stringybark Creek; he was consequently responsible for the shooting of Aaron Sherritt; he was further responsible for the shooting of Martin Cherry and Mrs Jones’ little son at Glenrowan; he was responsible for the deaths of the four bushrangers.

Ned Kelly’s challenge, therefore, to meet Judge Barry when they both would get unadulterated justice was very significant, seeing that Judge Barry was so promptly called to answer that challenge.

On 25th November, Mrs Ann Jones was charged with harbouring the Kellys and committed for trial.

The Bias of the Press

“The Age,” November 12th, 1880

“Under date 10th November, deceased (Ned Kelly) reiterated in a written statement the greater portion of his first statement. On the third page he says: -

‘I was determined to capture Superintendent Hare, O’Connor and the blacks for the purpose of an exchange of prisoners, and while I had them as hostages I would be safe, as no police would follow me.’

“At the end of the last document prisoner (Ned Kelly) requests that his mother may be released from gaol, and his body handed over to his friends for burial in consecrated ground. [Neither request will be granted.]”

Because Mr David Gaunson called public meetings for the express purpose of giving the public the actual facts relating to the case of Ned Kelly, and because he had the courage to address these public meetings and liberate the truth so carefully suppressed by the press of that day, the following comments appeared on the page 5 of “The Age” of 13th November, 1880: -

“Though the leaders of the Assembly appear to be disinclined to take any measures to purge the House of the disgrace arising from one of its prominent officers exhibiting an active sympathy with a notorious criminal, the constituents of Mr David Gaunson are not so compliant. A requisition is being signed in Ararat calling upon him to resign his seat. The press thorough the Colony is unanimous in its condemnation of his conduct.

The “Ballarat Star” writes:—

“It behoves the Assembly to take immediate steps to vindicate its own honor, which has been sadly besmirched owing to the behaviour of one of its principal officers. The retention of Mr David Gaunson in the position of Chairman of Committees is an insult, not only to every member of the Legislative Assembly, but an affront to every law-abiding elector in the Colony. Whatever may have been the motives that prompted Mr Gaunson to depart from the rules that regulate the profession of which he is a member, his conduct in the disreputable affair is equally reprehensible. He seems to have entirely forgotten—if, indeed, he ever realised the fact—that the position he occupies in the Legislative is one of honour, as well as of profit, and that decency of demeanour, both inside and outside the precincts of Parliament, is required on the part of the person who fills it.’

“The Geelong Times’ and ‘The Maryborough Standard’ write in similar strain.”

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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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