The Last of the Bushrangers Chapter 7 page 2

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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)


Jerilderie is a town about sixty miles from the Murray river on the New South Wales side of the border. It had a population at that time of about 300 inhabitants; there were three or four hotels, one bank, a police station with two mounted constables named Devine and Richards, and a telegraph station. The police station is situated some little distance outside the township.

Turning the Tables

About midnight on Saturday the 9th of February, Ned Kelly, Joe Byrne, Steve Hart, and Dan Kelly surrounded the police station, which was all in darkness, the constables having retired to their beds, when they were awoke by some one calling out— " Constable Devine, there is a drunken man at Davidson's hotel in the township who has committed a murder. Get up at once all of you." Constable Richards, who was up first, came outside, followed immediately afterwards by Devine, both being undressed and unarmed. Ned Kelly began to tell these men there was a great row in the township, and after conversing with them for some time, to make sure there were no other constables inside, he suddenly presented two revolvers at Devine's head, Joe Byrne doing the same to Constable Richards. The outlaws immediately procured the keys of the lock up, took the two policemen and lodged them in their own watch-house, and locked the door. Having secured the constables, they attended to their horses, which had been left outside the station; they put them in the police stables, fed them well, and left them secure for the night. Whilst this was going on Ned Kelly went into the police station, secured all the arms belonging to the police, made the constable's wife and family go into one room, and placed Steve Hart as sentry over them, telling them if they gave the slightest alarm, that the two constables who were in the lock-up would be the first persons to be shot, and they themselves would also suffer the same death. The outlaws then made themselves as comfortable as they could, leaving one of their number on sentry until daylight on Sunday morning.

During all that day Mrs Devine was allowed to go about the station as usual, so as not to raise any suspicion that anything unusual was going on. Ned Kelly ascertained from her, that it was her custom to clean out the church and prepare the place for service, and Joe Byrne was sent to this place of worship with Mrs Devine, whilst she carried out her usual duties there. This took about half an hour, and they both returned to the station. No one called at the station during the day; had they done so, they would have been pounced upon and secured in the lock-up so as to prevent an alarm being given. The people attended service as usual, but no one came near the station.

Dan Kelly and Steve Hart had dressed themselves up in the police uniform, and walked about the station in a most conspicuous manner, and without attracting any attention. In the afternoon Joe Byrne dressed himself in police uniform, and with Steve Hart also in that dress, took Constable Richards out of the lockup to accompany them round the town, in order that they might be made aware of the positions of hotels, bank, &c They ordered the constable, in case any one came up and spoke to him, to introduce them as new constables about to be stationed there. Their walk lasted about an hour, and they again returned to the police barracks. Nothing of any note took place during the evening and Sunday night. Monday morning Joe Byrne, in uniform, took two of their horses to be shod by the police farrier in the township; he waited until they were shod, and then took them back to the police station.

At The Royal Hotel

About eleven o'clock, after locking up the policeman's wife and children with Constable Devine, the, took out Constable Richards. Ned Kelly and Dan Kelly dressed in uniform, and walked to the township, followed by Hart and Byrne on horseback. They first went to the Royal Hotel, owned by a Mr Cox, when Constable Richards introduced Ned Kelly to Mr Cox as Ned Kelly, who told the landlord he wanted to secure some rooms in the hotel, and that he also intended robbing the bank, but he did not want to injure any one. Ned Kelly placed the other three in certain position, and gave each of them their instructions. Hart was placed inside the large dining room, which was used as a room of detention, and every person who came near the hotel throughout the day was placed in this room, and all prisoners captured were taken over and kept in safety in this apartment. Byrne went to the back part of the establishment and collected all the servants, and made prisoners of them.

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