The True Story of the KellyGang of Bushrangers Chapter 13 page 4

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Nothing was heard or seen of the bushrangers till some five or six days later, when on the evening of February 10 a telegram arrived informing Captain Standish that they had been at Jerilderie, a town in New South Wales some sixty miles beyond the Victorian border. On this information police parties were immediately despatched to watch every crossing place in the hope of intercepting the Kellys on their return from New South Wales.

By this time all Australia was astonished by the news of an exploit more audacious in some respects than any the bushrangers had perpetrated before. Leaving Victoria on the day they talked with Sherritt, they probably met beyond the border; at any rate all four of them, riding quietly together, took their way, not towards Goulburn, but to Jerilderie, a township containing three or four hundred inhabitants, distant about sixty miles from the Murray. The country in its vicinity is not rough and mountainous like the bushranger’s native haunts, but a dead level plain, dotted sparsely here and there with clumps of timber. The outlaws, however, crossed over it unobserved, and late on the night on Saturday, March 8, they called at the police station which lies at some little distance from the township. The two constables, Richards and Devine, and the wife and family of Devine, who occupied the station, had all gone to bed. They were awakened by a loud knocking at the door and a call to the police to get up as a drunken man in the township had committed a murder at Davidson’s Hotel. Both constables, going to the door undressed and unarmed, listened for some time to the details of an imaginary disturbance which Ned Kelly poured into their ears while he waited to see if any other constables would come out of the barracks. Satisfied presently that there were no more police to deal with, the outlaws suddenly produced loaded revolvers and bailed up the two constables, who, seeing nothing but death before them if they resisted, gave in with the best grace they could. Entering the barracks and closing the door, the Kellys placed Devine and Richards in their own lock up for the night. Mrs Divine, in her nightdress, was made to show the outlaws over the premises in case other men might be concealed there, and after Ned Kelly had secured all the arms in the barracks she was, with her children, allowed to go to rest. Steve Hart was left in the house as sentry, and he let Mrs Devine know that on any attempt to escape, she and the imprisoned constables would be immediately shot. In the meantime the other bushrangers made their horses comfortable in the police stables, after which they went into the police station to take up their quarters for the night.

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