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12 corrections, most recently by jhempenstall - Show corrections

KELLY GANG AT EUROA.

INCIDENTS OF 1878.

Narrative by an Eye-witness.  

Mr. W. McCauley, who is living at Nan- neella, near Rochester, is able, despite his age of 77 years, to recount some of his ex- citing experiences of the "sticking up" by the Kelly Gang of bushrangers of the Gooram Gooram Gong Wool Station, at Faithful's Creek, on December 9, 1878. Mr. McCauley was manager of the station, the homestead of which is situated on Faithful's Creek, about seven miles from Euroa. The creek was named after a man named Faithful, who was murdered there by a tribe of blacks in 1839. Mr. McCauley first went to the station in 1870, when there were very few settlers, but he states that after the opening of the railway line from Melbourne to Wodonga in 1873, settlement   steadily increased.

Three Police Officers Shot.

On October 25, 1878, news was received at the station that the Kelly's had shot three policemen-Sergeant Kennedy, Con- stables Scanlon and Lonigan. There were employed on the station in the shearing season more than 70 men, and frequently when the men were returning from the outback parts of the station, the cry would be raised "the Kelly's are coming."

The presence of the gang in the district caused much excitement, and employees at the homestead were in constant dread.

Mr. McCauley tells the story that after shearing was completed on December 9, 1878, he was returning with sheep, and after crossing Faithful's Creek he met the groom and housekeeper at the homestead. The groom, George Stevens, said: "You will have to bail up, the Kelly's are here." As he was going towards the kitchen, a strange man, neatly dressed, approached him and said "Good day. It is warm." McCauley replied "You seem to be in charge here." The man replied, "It does not matter. I am a drover going up to New South Wales to lift some cattle for Mr. Macartney." Mr. McCauley remarked that "Mr. Macartney always sent a letter when he wanted cattle." "Tell me who you are," said Mr. McCauley. The man replied. "If you want to know, I am Ned Kelly." "Show me the other members of your gang and I will believe you," replied Mr. McCauley. The bushranger retorted, "You have the reputation of being a good athlete, and a good shot, and if you attempt to take me or get away, you will be shot, as I have plenty of men outside. If you do get away I will burn the homestead and shoot the horses." Mr. McCauley's answer was, "You need not be alarmed that I will try to take you, as I do not want blood   money," and Kelly replied, "I do not want to take anything or molest you." He then escorted Mr. McCauley to the kitchen, and pointed out his mates. In the kitchen Mr. McCauley, indicating a small man, exclaimed, "That is Dan Kelly." It trans- pired afterwards," said Mr. McCauley, ''that Dan wanted Ned's permission to shoot me because I had recognised him." Mr. McCauley then had his dinner, and while he was doing so four of the harvest hands returned. They were made prison- ers, and placed in the large storeroom, with a guard set over them.

Towards evening a hawker named Glos- ter came along with his waggon, and camped, as usual, on the station. When he went to the kitchen, a station hand said, "the Kelly's are here." Gloster re- plied, "I wish they were, it would be £2,000 in my pocket." Ned Kelly looked up. and said, "What is that you say." Gloster, without waiting to give an explanation, rushed towards the waggon, and Ned and Joe Byrne followed. Mr. McCauley was ? for the safety of Gloster, and he followed them. Gloster on reaching his waggon, was making a search for his re- volver, but he was "covered" by' the bush- rangers, and Mr. McCauley cried out, "Look out Gloster, you will be shot," at the same time appealing to Kelly not to shoot him. Gloster turned and said, "Who are you." Ned replied, "I am Ned Kelly,

son of Red Kelly, as good a blood as any in the land, and for two pins I would put a match to your waggon and burn it."

The station hands and Gloster were all placed in the storeroom, under guard. The time passed quietly until two o'clock in the morning, and at that hour the out- laws gave a peculiar whistle, and Steve Hart and Joe Byrne rushed from the build- ing. Mr. McCauley was surrounded by the bushrangers, and Ned Kelly said, "You are armed, we have found a lot of ammunition in the house." After this episode the out- laws retired to have a sleep. Nothing happened until the forenoon of next day, when four line repairers came along, and they were added to the prisoners in the storeroom. The outlaws then cut the tele- graph wires on the railway line. About this time a shooting party came along, and two of the outlaws intercepted them and placed them with the prisoners. Ned Kelly warned the captives that he would not permit conversation, evidently fearing that they might make an organised attack.

Sticking up the Bank.  

During the afternoon preparations were made for "sticking up" the bank at Euroa. Ned Kelly asked Mr. McCauley to write him a cheque, and said, "You are friendly with Mr. Bradley, the accountant of the National Bank at Euroa, and if I take your cheque he will let me in." Mr. McCauley demurred, and Kelly threatened to shoot him. He eventually obtained a cheque from Mr. McCauley's table, which was made out for a small amount. The mem- bers of the gang took the spring cart of the shooting party, and hawker Gloster's waggon and horses, and set out for the bank, leaving Byrne in charge of the prison- ers in the storeroom. As a precaution against any of the prisoners escaping from the store, John Carson, the assistant groom at the station, was liberated, and was placed on guard to assist Byrne, under the threat that if any of the prisoners attempted to get away, Carson would bo the first to be shot. Ned Kelly warned them that if they succeeded in capturing Byrne in the absence of the other mem- bers of the gang, he would return and burn the place, and shoot all the horses.

During the absence of the other mem- bers of the gang at Euroa, Mr. Wyatt, police magistrate, arrived on the train with a line repairer named Watt, and dis- covered the damage to the telegraph wires. Watt, on walking up to the homestead, was made prisoner.

After completing the bank robbery the members of the gang returned to the sta- tion with the prisoners they had taken at the bank. The women were placed in the house, and Mr. Scott, the bank man- ager, and members of his staff were locked in the store, which by this time contained a large number of prisoners. The nurse girl from the bank, who was a native of Wangaratta, recognised Steve Hart, who came from that town. McCauley remarked to Ned Kelly that the police might come along, which would mean a fight. Ned Kelly replied, "I wish they would, for there is plenty of cover here." In the evening tea was prepared, and the outlaws left the station after nine o'clock.

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