The True Story of the KellyGang of Bushrangers Chapter 13 page 8

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While Kelly was engaged in search for a publisher, Joe Byrne had taken command of the telegraph office. He bailed up the operator and ordered men to sever the wires and cut down eight posts, after which he amused himself by overhauling all the messages which had gone through the telegraph office that day, and when Kelly arrived the two broke a number of insulators with their revolvers. Mr Jefferson, the telegraph master, was told that if he repaired the line before next day he would be visited later on and shot by the gang.

After Ned Kelly had taken a blood mare from the stables of McDougall, an hotelkeeper, and the outlaws had completed their business in the town, the leader made a speech to the prisoners, trying to appeal to their sympathies by an account of his wrongs and a garbled account of the Wombat murders, also telling them that the next move of the gang would be to rob the bank of Urana, another New South Wales town. He then took Constable Richards back to the police station and locked him up, after which he returned to the hotel and gave the prisoners leave to depart, first ‘shouting’ a number of them to drinks in the bar. Before this, towards evening, he had sent Byrne away leading a pack horse, with the money in a bag strapped to the saddle. He himself was next to leave, and led with him one of the police horses. Dan Kelly and Steve Hart departed last, and, before they took leave of the town they galloped up and down the streets, flourishing revolvers and singing songs in praise of their gang. It was well for the towns people that no mischief happened to them after Ned Kelly and Byrne had gone, for the other two scoundrels seemed to take pleasure in cruelty for its own sake, and had shown a most unpleasant anxiety to shoot someone or other all through the day. It time, however, they too relieved the town of their presence and the inhabitants were able to breathe freely. It is to the credit of the telegraph master, Mr Jefferson, that undeterred by the Kellys’ threats he immediately set to work to repair the line, and by nine o’clock that night Mr Hare in Benalla received a wire telling him of the robbery at Jerilderie.

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