The Last of the Bushrangers Chapter 6 page 3
The Last of the Bushrangers by Sup Hare
“Gentleman Mr Edward Kelly”
The one on horseback, who, I afterwards learned, was Ned Kelly, cried out, 'Surrender, or you will be shot.' As both men looked like mounted policemen in plain clothes, and held up handcuffs and accused us of stealing the trap we were driving, we at first thought they were troopers, and Mr. Dudley called out, 'What right have you to arrest us?’ and appeared as if he was not going to take any notice of their summons. Ned Kelly then rode close up to him, shouted in a violent manner, at the same time presenting a revolver at his head, and said, ‘I'll shoot you dead on the spot if you give me any cheek.' Fearing Kelly was going to carry out his threat, I interposed and asked Dudley to surrender quietly, as it was no use resisting, and said to Kelly, 'You would not shoot an old man!' Kelly replied, 'I won't harm the old man if he surrenders quietly.' A tall young man (Byrne) told us to drive up to the homestead. As we approached the gate leading to the station, one of the station hands opened it, and said in a laughing manner, pointing to Ned Kelly and addressing us, 'Gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to Mr. Edward Kelly.' This was the first intimation who our captors were, and the information was by no means a pleasant one, and did not tend to re-assure us; in fact we were all greatly frightened, and for myself I may say my heart was in my mouth. When we got to the store-room we found Dan Kelly and Hart there guarding the place, in which the manager Mr. Macauley and about twenty others had been imprisoned for twenty six hours.
"The store room was a wooden building about twenty yards away from the house; it only had one door and window, near each other, and was easily guarded. Our party of four were put into the room with the others, and, there being no ventilation, we soon found the atmosphere very hot and close. In the meantime the gang had thrown everything out of our cart, they took possession of a ride and double-barrelled gun, eighty bullets, and some powder and caps.
“Our imprisonment lasted eight hours, during which time, however, several of us were permitted to go out occasionally to get some fresh air, but we were never allowed out of sight. Only the men were put in confinement, the women being allowed to walk about, and they were in no way molested, but from some remarks I heard dropped by Dan Kelly (who appeared the greatest ruffian of the lot and a thorough type of a larrikin), he did not desire to leave them alone; he said something about having a lark with the women, but was apparently restrained by his brother. During the time we were in the store-room four trains passed, two each way, and when any of these were heard approaching, we were kept close and told not to make any noise."
This statement of Mr. McDougal, almost verbatim as related, was given by him to the reporter of the Melbourne Argus on the evening of the day after the occurrence.
The start for Euroa
The next step taken by the gang, after capturing these men, and openly stating their intention of robbing the bank at Euroa, was, about half past two o'clock, to destroy the telegraph line, leaving their prisoners guarded by Joe Byrne. They got tomahawks, and cut down one of the telegraph posts, tearing away all the wire for a considerable length; so that it could not be repaired by the usual quantity of wire carried by a line repairer; they cut down the posts on both sides of the line, and scattered the wire in every direction. Whilst doing this, a further capture of four men who were working on the line as gangers, and who saw them cutting down the wires, was made. These men walked towards the bushrangers to ask them what they meant by cutting down the wires, when Ned Kelly called on them to "bail up." They did so, when told who their captors were, without making any resistance, and were at once marched up to the store room, into which they were put with the rest of the prisoners.
At half past three o'clock Ned and Dan Kelly, with Steve Hart, started for Euroa, all dressed in new clothes stolen from Gloster the hawker's cart. They plainly stated they were going to rob the National Bank, but before leaving they got a cheque on this bank signed by the manager Mr. Macauley for a small amount, about three pounds. Ned Kelly drove Gloster's cart, with a hood over it. Dan Kelly took McDougal's, and Hart rode one of the horses. They turned their own horses into the paddock before leaving. Joe Byrne, left in charge of the prisoners, was heavily armed, having two revolvers in his belt, a double-barrelled gun in his hand, and two rifles placed within easy reach. He marched round the building whilst all the prisoners were locked in, and was evidently most watchful.
Whilst the three were away from the station a train stopped in front of the door; a man, who proved to be a line repairer, named Watts, jumped down from the train, coming from the north; he had been sent to repair the line, and he evidently saw that it had not been injured by, accident. He walked towards the station for assistance, and to ascertain who had caused the break in the line, when he was suddenly pulled up by Byrne and ordered to approach him, and he also was put into the store-room, having been first searched for firearms. Byrne asked him several questions as to the movements of the police and their numbers at the adjoining townships. Nothing else of note transpired during the absence of Ned and his companions from the station.
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