The True Story of the KellyGang of Bushrangers Chapter 20 page 4

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Before Ned Kelly was taken, Superintendent Sadlier had arrived from Benalla, and from his coming there was more semblance of order and decency in the proceedings. Firing upon the building still continued, but the order was given to fire high, which it was supposed would prevent the outlaws leaving the house or standing up unharmed to shoot, while sparing any non-combatants who might be lying on the floor; but of course it rendered escape very dangerous to the unfortunate prisoners still confined. Nevertheless, at intervals a few left the building, and at ten o’clock, when Mr Sadlier ordered a complete cessation of firing for ten minutes and called upon those remaining to come out, with the exception of a man named Cherry, who lay mortally wounded in a detached building, they all did so. From the escapees’ report, it appeared that Joe Byrne was dead, shot in the groin, and that Dan Kelly and Steve Hart were still alive. Repeated appeals were made to them to surrender, but without effect, and numbers of the police begged Mr Sadlier to let them rush the building. This request Mr Sadlier constantly refused, at this stage perhaps with reason, as life would probably have been lost, and now there was no longer good cause to refrain from pouring volleys into the hotel and shooting the outlaws without danger to police and private citizens.

During the fight, if so it can be called, the press representatives were every few minutes sending away sensational bulletins to their respective journals in Melbourne , where the excitement caused by the affair at Glenrowan was intense. Police officers and public grew somewhat hysterical. The day was passing, and though shots came seldom, if ever, from the building, it was feared the outlaws might yet escape if they remained uncaptured when darkness came on. Mr Sadlier was induced to telegraph to Melbourne for a cannon, and with a force of artillerymen a 12 pounder Armstrong gun actually started by train for Glenrowan. The Government astronomer was asked if he could send up an electric light plant in case the siege should continue until night. It would be scarcely practicable in the time, he said, whereupon the Chief Secretary, Mr Ramsay, wired to Mr Sadlier suggesting the building of huge bonfires to light up the scene, and also recommending the construction of a great wooden shield, under cover of which the police might approach the hotel in safety.

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