The Last of the Bushrangers Chapter 12 page 4

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The Last of the Bushrangers by Sup Hare

(full text transcription)

Ned Kelly Captured

It was nearly eight o'clock when his tall figure was seen close behind the line of police. At first it was thought he was a black fellow. He carried a grey coat over his arm, [he wore the coat over his armour], and walked coolly and slowly among the police. His head, chest, back, and sides were all protected with heavy plates of quarter inch iron. When within easy distance of Senior constable Kelly, who was watching him, he fired. The police then knew who he was, and Sergeant Steele, Senior constable Kelly, with Mr Dowsett (a railway guard), fired on the ruffian. The contest became one which, from its remarkable nature, almost baffies description. Nine police joined in the conflict and fired point blank at Kelly; but although, in consequence of the way in which he staggered, it was apparent that many of the shots hit him, yet he always recovered himself, and tapping his breast, laughed derisively at his opponents, as he coolly returned the fire, fighting only with a revolver. It appeared as if he was a fiend with a charmed life.

For half an hour this strange contest was carried on, and then Sergeant Steele rapidly closed in on him, and when within only about ten yards of him, fired two shots into his legs which brought the outlaw down. He was only wounded, and appeared still determined to carry on the desperate conflict, but Steele bravely rushed him and seized the hand in which he held his revolver, the only weapon with which he was armed. He fired one shot after this, but without effect. When on the ground he roared with savage ferocity, cursing the police vehemently. He was stripped of his armour, and then became quite submissive, and was borne to the railway station by Sergeant Steele, Constable Dwyer, and two representatives of the Melbourne press.

Great praise is due to Guard Dowsett for the plucky manner in which he assisted the police. He was armed with a revoker, and got very close to the outlaw. At the railway station Kelly appeared to be very weak from the loss of blood, and some brandy was given him. He was examined in the guard's van by Dr Nicholson and Dr Hutchinson, who found that he was suffering from two bullet wounds in the left arm, a bullet in the right foot near the right toe, and two wounds in the right leg, those inflicted by Sergeant Steele.

Ned Kelly’s Statement

The outlaw was quite composed, and in answer to inquiries he made the following statement:- "What I intended to do, and in fact was just about doing, was to go down with some of my mates and meet the special train and rake it with shot. The train, however, came before I expected, and I had to return to the hotel. I thought the train would go on, and on that account I had the rails pulled up, so that these —black trackers might be settled. It does not much matter what brought me to Glenrowan. I do not know, or I do not say. It does not seem much, any way. If I liked, I could have got away last night. I got into the bush with my grey mare, and laid there all night. I had a good chance, but I wanted to see the thing end.

"When the police fired the first round I got wounded in the foot. It was the left one. Shortly afterwards I was shot through the left arm. It was in the front of the house where I received these injuries. I don't care what people say about Sergeant Kennedy's death. I have made my statement as to it, and if they don't believe me I can't help it. At all events, I am satisfied Scanlan was not shot kneeling. That is not true. He never got off his horse. At the commencement of the affair this morning I fired three or four shots from the front of Jones's Hotel, but I do not know who I was firing at. I only fired when I saw flashes. I then cleared for the bush, but remained there near the hotel all night. Two constables passed close by me talking, and I could have shot them before I had time to shout, if I liked. I could have shot several constables at one time. I was a good distance away, but I came back again. I have got a charge of duck shot in my leg. Why don't the police use bullets instead of duck shot?

"One of the policemen that was firing at me was a splendid shot. I don't know his name. Perhaps I would have done better if I had cleared away on my grey mare. [He never had a chance.] It was just like blows from a man's fist receiving the bullets on my armour. I wanted to fire into the carriages, only the police started on us too quickly. I knew the police would come, and I expected them."

Inspector Sadleir here remarked, "You wanted then to kill the people in the train?" Kelly replied, “Yes; of course I did. God help them, they would have got shot all the same. Would they not have tried to kill me? "Every kindness was shown to Kelly by the police, and his two sisters were permitted to remain with him during the afternoon. He was also seen by Father Tierney, to whom it is understood he made a confession, but the reverend gentleman courteously declined to state the nature of it.

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