The Last of the Bushrangers Chapter 7 page 1

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Story of the KellyGang - the Sup Hare's book

The Last of the Bushrangers.

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The Last of the Bushrangers by Sup Hare

(full text transcription)


Very shortly before the Euroa Bank robbery, news came to hand that the outlaws were about to make an attempt to leave Victoria, and cross the Murray into New South Wales. The description of the place of crossing and other details were given in such a circumstantial manner, that it convinced both the inspecting superintendent and the officer in charge of the district that the Kellys were to cross the Murray on the night of the 9th December 1878. The inspecting superintendent went to Albury, and he had hardly arrived there when he received a telegram, stating that the bank at Euroa had been stuck up by the outlaws. He immediately took a special train to Euroa. Before the arrival of the inspecting superintendent a party of police were on the ground, and were waiting for daylight in order to find which direction the outlaws had taken. The police had some black trackers with them, but these were of little use, being Victorian blacks, whose sense of sight and sagacity had been destroyed by drink. All day long search was made, but no trace of the outlaws could be obtained. The police were sent in every direction, trying to find out some tidings of the outlaws? but without effect. Some of the men were so knocked up from want of sleep, and the heat, that it was thought many of them would have to go into hospital The inspecting superintendent was also exhausted with the hardships he had gone through, and was suffering from bad eyes to such an extent, that Captain Standish had to relieve him.

Useless Information

The day after the Bank robbery took place Captain Standish started for Euroa. When he got there he found the inspecting superintendent so ill that he telegraphed for me to come up and take his place; ordering me to report myself at Euroa that evening. I did so. On my arrival I heard the statements concerning the robbery, and endeavoured to obtain all the information about the outlaws I could possibly gather. The whole community were perfectly scared at what had taken place, and rumours were coming in from all quarters concerning persons being seen answering the descriptions of the outlaws.

When the bushrangers appeared at Euroa they were riding three bay horses and one grey. Every report that came to hand had to be inquired into and reported on, otherwise complaints were made that the police took no notice of information furnished to them. The most absurd statements were made, too ridiculous to be noticed. For instance, a squatter sent in word to Benalla that the Kelly gang were shooting parrots near his garden. The messenger who conveyed the information was told to go and inform the police as fast as his horse could carry him. The officer in charge of the district sent the messenger back, and told him to tell his master that he must be mad to send in such an absurd message. The officer sent a constable to inquire who the people were that were shooting birds, and found them to be a survey party. The squatter was under the impression that no inquiries were made concerning his report, and afterwards wished to bring a charge against the officer for not capturing the Kellys when he had sent word to him where they were to be found, and to this day he believes that if steps had been taken on that occasion the outlaws would then have been arrested.

On another occasion a message was wired one Sunday morning to Melbourne to the late Chief Justice, that the gang had been in Mrs Rowe's garden cutting cabbages, near Euroa, and similar reports were daily being made, all of which had to be inquired into. At the same time information would be sent in that the Kellys were to be found at the head of some of the rivers, in a country quite unoccupied, and that they were living on wild cattle, away from all their friends, some 150 miles from Benalla. From time to time reliable information was obtained that they were seen in different parts, and the spies and agents employed were hearing of them.

Aaron Sherritt

The first active step I took, after I had been round the district and had obtained all the information I could, was to go to Beechworth to meet a well known friend and bush telegraph of the gang, named Aaron Sherritt. He was a splendid man, tall, strong, hardy, but a most outrageous scoundrel. It was well known that he and Joe Byrne and Ned Kelly had been connected with each other in no end of horse stealing cases, and that after the murders he had befriended the gang before they went to the Murray , as before stated. He had supplied them with food, and guarded them against surprise. I had never seen Sherritt until that evening, and somehow or other I made a most wonderful impression upon him. I had some drink with him, and saw that my influence over him was very great. After being in his company a couple of hours, and undertaking to give him the £4000 reward that had been offered for the apprehension of the outlaws, I got him to promise he would show me where they were to be found. He told me Joe Byrne and Dan Kelly had called at his house two days before, and wanted him to accompany them to New South Wales, where they intended to rob another bank; but he was not certain which place it would be, he thought they were going to Goulbourn, at least they told him so. He said he declined going with them, and they pressed him very hard, but he refused; they told him they wanted him to do the scouting for them. We doubted the truth of this statement, but at once made inquiries, and found that Joe Byrne and Dan Kelly had been seen by others going in the direction of the Murray a couple of days before, and they had called for supplies at a shanty where Byrne was well known. This information was furnished to the police on the New South Wales side of the Murray, and they were told that Goulburn was the probable place they would make for, as the Kellys had a number of relations there. About a week after this, news was telegraphed that the outlaws had stuck up the township of Jerilderie, and robbed the bank, on the 11th February 1879.

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