The Melbourne Daily Telegragh (6)
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Senior-Constable Kelly states -"When we started from the platform we ran down towards the railway-gates, learning that the gang were in Jones's public house. We had not time to scatter, but made at once for the front of the house, a few of the men going round to the back. As we approached, the gang stepped out on the verandah, and opened fire on us. Mr Hare who was close beside myself, Mr. Rawlings , a volunteer, of Benalla, and two or three constables, fired. Mr. Hare was one of the first to receive a wound – in the left wrist. He said, ' Kelly , for God’s sake surround the house, and don't let them escape. And he immediately fired two shots with his right hand. He then handed his gun to Mr. Rawlings , and retired, saying, ' Kelly , place the men under cover.' I immediately placed the men around the house. Mr, O'Connor and his trackers took up a position in front, and I went around to the further part of the premises, taking Constable Arthur with me. We crept on our face and hands for about 400 yards, and got about fifty yards of the house. At the back of a tree in the scrub I found a six barrelled revolving rifle, covered with blood, and a padded skull cap. We kept on watch, and every time any indication was made of issuing from the place, we fired upon those who came out. We shot four horses, which were saddled and tied up to the back-door to prevent escape by that means. When we left the train, Constable Bracken, who had just escaped from the hotel, told us the gang were all in Jones's, and he jumped on one of our horses, which was saddled, and rode up the road to Wangaratta for additional assistance. At half-past 6 o'clock he returned in company Sergeant Steele and eight men, who at once doubled the guard around the house. We continued firing upon the house till about 8 o'clock , when Ned Kelly made his appearance under the brow of the hill, 150 yards from the hotel, and deliberately fired a revolver at me. He was heavily armoured, and our men kept up a steady fire upon him from ambush, Sergeant Steel being at one side of him, and myself and Railway Guard Dowsett on the other side. By degrees we closed in on him, keeping up a steady fire from ten rifles. Finding we could not have any effect on his body, we picked his head, arms and legs. He walked boldly forward, as if to defy us, some of our men retiring behind trees and logs as he came; and in about ten minutes he fell beside a fallen tree at which we were posted. We at once rushed forward, and caught him. I caught him by the head, and as Steel grasped his hand, in which he held a revolver, he fired it off, but it did no damage. We took his armour off, and and on taking him to the railway station, and searching him, he only had threepence, a silver geneva watch, and a lot of ammunition with him. I asked him to tell me, where Sergeant Kennedy ’s watch was, so that I might get it for Mrs Kennedy , when he said, “I can’t tell you, I would not like to tell you about it.” He said “I had to shoot Sergeant Kennedy and Scanlon for my own safety, and I can’t tell you any more.” We then gave him over to Mr. Sadlier , and the medical gentleman.
Arthur Loftus Mantin Steele, sergeant of police, stationed at Wangaratta, said: I arrived at Glenrowan station between 5 and 6 o’clock with five men, and on approaching the hotel I was challenged by the police, who were in ambush, when I called out “Police,” and passed on to the opposite side, where I placed my men. I crawled up to the nearest shelter at the back and heard a woman screaming. She came out carrying a child, and I told her to go right on, and she would not be molested. A man then came at the backdoor as if in pursuit of her, and I called upon him to surrender, saying “Throw up your hands, or I will fire.” He did not do so, but stooped down and ran into the stable. I was about twenty-five or thirty yards away, and I fired at him, and he at once turned round and ran quickly back. I think he must have been injured, and he cried out, seemed to stagger as he went back. I was was charged slugs. There was some very hot firing at this time, and it was quite dangerous to uncover, as the bullets whistle past me in every direction. From the sound of the shots upon the man I was convinced that he wore armour. Just as it was breaking day I suddenly saw Ned Kelly stalking round behind me behind some bushes. He came from the hill, and was making for the house quite deliberately. He looked at first like a black-fellow; his head was covered over and he was heavily clothed. On seeing me he fired, and the police, placed behind all the trees, fired upon him in return. I could see the bullets battering about his head and chest, and from this I concluded that he was also wearing armour. I made a run for him, and when within about ten to twenty yards he turned round deliberately aimed at me with a revolver. I shot at his legs and he staggered, but as he still aimed at me. I fired a second shot at his legs about the knees. I was in the open, and as he came up to me I got behind a fallen tree to which he rushed, and then fell, saying, “I’m done. I’m done.” I ran up to him, as also did Senior-constable Kelly and as we approached he tried to point the revolver at me again. I dodged, and he could not turn round fast enough. I got up to him, and seized hold of his arm, and turned the point of the revolver away. It went off in my hand, but I do not know whether he pulled the trigger or not. Senior-constable Kelly also caught him, and a number of people ran up at once. We secured him, and took off his armour, and carried him to the station. We only found one revolver with him. Just as I seized him, the rush of people knocked Kelly and I over, and I received a rather awkward thrust, and his armour injured my side.
BURNING THE CONDEMNED HOTEL
At 3 o’clock, as there was no prospect of getting the outlaws from the hotel, which was now well riddled with bullets, Senior-constable Johnson, of Violet Town, led the forlorn hope, and went boldly up to the hut, and, under over of a continuous fire from the scouts, lighted the Benalla side of the building. The fire gradually increased and gained upon the matchwood construction, and in five minutes the place was one mass of flame.
THE CLOSING SCENES
[By Electric Telegraph]
(From Our Own Correspondent)
The Glenrowan hotel continued burning until late in the evening, when as the fire abated the bodies of Dan Kelly and Steve Hart could be plainly discernable amidst the dames, roasting and shrivelling up in a horrible manner. It took some time before they were recovered, and then the remains presented such a sickening and revolting appearance almost to turn one’s held with horror. The limbs bodies were swelled and twisted out of all shape, the leg of one had been broken, and a foot burned off, while there was hardly a semblance of fingers on either. The features were pecfectly unrecognisable, and it was only by the difference in the shape of their heads that the friends of either were able to identify the. The bodies were taken out of the fire, laid on a sheet of bark, and brought to the railway station, where, in the broad daylight, they lay exposed to the view of the public for a long time, in all their horrid blackness and ghastliness.
Mrs Skillion and the younger sisters of the Kellys went to look on all that was left of their brother Dan . It was a heartrending sight, and one never to be affected from the memory, when they knelt down amongst the crowd on the platform and gave vent to their grief in bitter wails and tears.
Byrne was quite stiff when taken out, and had apparently been dead for some time. He was dressed in dark striped trousers, dark striped shirt, and blue sac coat. On one of the fingers of his right hand he wore the topaz ring which was taken from Constable Scanlan after he had been shot by the gang, and on the fourth finger of his left hand was also another gold ring, with a large white seal in it. In one pocket a Roman Catholic prayer book was found, together with some cartridges, and in another a small brown paper parcel, labelled “poison,” and several bullets.
Immense crowds came from Benalla, Beechworth, and even Wodonga, to view the scene, and the police had great difficulty in keeping the people from rushing the room where Ned Kelly lay wounded.
Father Gibney, of Perth, Western Australia, who is on a visit to the district, was most attentive in administering religious consolation to the outlaw, and the latter appeared to listen with great attention to all that was said, although his replies were often characteristically curt and unsatisfactory. “My son,” said Father Gibney , as he leant over him, say, “Oh Jesus, have mercy on me, and pray for forgiveness.” The outlaw turned, and gazing him straight in the face, said, “It’s not now I’m beginning to say that; I’ve done it long before to-day.” and this was all he deigned to reply. Further attempts proved useless to extract any information from him relative to what had become of Sergeant Kennedy ’s watch. When interrogated, he replied that he had given the watch away, but refused point blank to disclose the name of the person he gave it to. From the position in which the bodies of Hart and Dan Kelly were found, and their closeness in the fire, it is assumed by some that they shot each other after being wounded. At any rate they were diverted of their helmets and breast plates, which weighed nearly 100lbs. each ( Ned Kelly ’s being 120lb.), while in the case of Byrne his helmet was attached to him when dragged out of the burning building. Apropos of this it would appear that the outlaws had been dead some time before the house was set on fire, as Father Gibney, who courageously, and amidst the cheers of the crowd, rushed up to the blazing house and got inside, informs me that when he caught up the nearest man to him (Byrne), and attempted to carry him out, he saw the other bodies lying together further in the room. Several brave and determined attempts were made by the police and bystanders – who, regardless of the chance of being shot down, crowded around the building – to try and save the inmates from the front of the house, while the back was rushed by an eager throng of officers and men, who, revolver in hand, determined to conquer or die, dashed into the building in order to discover if any of the outlaws still lived. The terrible flames, however, and the thick volumes of smoke drove them back, and in a few moments nothing could be seen of what was once the inside of the hotel. When the flames abated, the bodies of the outlaws, together with a dog, which had also been burn to death, were dragged out of the fire, and in the detached kitchen the unfortunate Platelayer Cherry was found in a dying condition, and breathed his last very shortly after being brought out of the building.
It should be mentioned that previous to the building being fired, repeated overtures were made to Inspector Sadleir by the men under his command to storm the building, but unwilling to run the chance of the loss of life, Mr Sadlier refused, trusting to capture the outlaws by some less risky method.
After lying on the railway platform till the train came in, the bodies of Hart and Dan Kelly were laid on a stretcher, covered with a cloth, and placed in the train. Byrne’s was similarly treated, and then Ned Kelly was carried on a stretcher, and placed also in the same carriage. Some hot words passed between Wild Wright and the police, but the former did not leave himself open to being taken in charge, though more than one of the police would have been glad of the chance to look him up. A special train conveyed the police black tracks and others, together with Ned Kelly and the bodies of his mates to Benalla and here an here an immense crowd of men, women, and children had assembled on the platform, all eager and anxious to catch a glimpse of the man whose name, for the last two years, has been a terror in the North eastern District. The police sustained great difficulty in keeping back the crowd, and it was after exertions they were enabled to get Kelly removed to the railway station, and from thence through the township to the barracks, as the notorious outlaw passed up the street, it was followed by a crowd of people, and escorted by a strong detachment of police at the Barracks, where he at present lies in rather a critical position. If allowed by the Doctor in attendance , he will be removed to-morrow to Melbourne . No one is allowed to see him, though many of his friends and relations are in the town to-night. It is a most fortunate circumstance that not one of the police were killed in the encounter, though a great matter for regret that such a valuable officer as Superintendent Hare should have been shot through the arm, so as to completely invalid him. I am glad to say that Mr Hare feels much better than he did through the day, and that his medical attendant expects to pull him through all right very shortly. This evening, Mr Hare received complimentary telegrams from the Hon’s Service, Ramsey, and Francis, congratulating him on the success which had attended the attack on the Kelly gang, and Captain Standish also, who arrived by the special this evening, received a congratulatory message from His Excellency the Governor.
An inquest will be held to-morrow, of which I will send you full particulars, and also of any other stirring event.
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