THE KELLY BUSH- RANGERS.
CAPTURE OF NED KELLY. DAN, KELLY, STEVE HART, AND BYRNE SHOT DEAD. INNOCENT PEOPLE KILLED AND HOTEL BURNT DOWN. [By Telegraph.] [From our own Correspondent.] Melbourne, June 28.
After a career of crime unprecedented in colonial annals the Kelly gang of bushrangers whose murderous and burglarious deeds created almost a reign of terror, have been conquered
by the representatives of the law. Three of the offenders have been killed, and the prin- cipal, the notorious Ned Kelly, has been cap- tured, and doubtless before many weeks have passed will have paid the last penalty of the law. The first event which attracted general attention throughout the colonies to this daring bushranging gang was the Stringybark Creek murder in 1878. In the month of October of that year Sergeant Ken- nedy, and Constables Scanlon, Lanigan, and McIntyre, of the Victorian police, were out with a warrant for the arrest of Edward Kelly for horsestealing, and he was also wanted for wounding a policeman. The party were camped at Stringybark Creek, about 30 miles fram Mansfield on the morning of October 26, 1878. Lanigan and McIntyre were in camp when Kelly and his gang came up, and on the first-mentioned showing signs of resistance he was shot, McIntyre surrendering. Later Ser- geant Kennedy and Scanlon returned, both were bailed up, and attempting to use their weapons were fired at, Scanlan being shot dead and Kennedy wounded. McIntyre during the firing jumped on a horse and escaped. Kennedy's body was subsequently discovered with three bullet wounds in it. A reward of £200 was offered for each of the bushrangers, and strong detachments of police were sent to the district. On December 8 of the same year the Kelly gang stock up the Faithful Creek Station, near Euroa, and on the following day they stuck up the National Bank at Euroa under circumstances of extraordinary audacity. The reward for their capture was increased to £2,500, and stronger detachments of police were sent to the district. On February 10, 1879, the gang stuck up the Bank of New South Wales at Jerilderie, carrying away about £2,000. The audacity of the bushrangers, and the success with which they carried out their exploits roused public indignation in Victoria and New South Wales to an intense pitch. The bushrangers were outlawed, and rewards were offered by the New South Wales and Victorian Governments col- lectively amounting to £7,000, which with the reward offered by the banks increased the price on the heads of the outlaws to £8,000. The police were stimulated to increased exer- tions to capture the desperadoes, black trackers from Queensland were introduced, and every effort was made to rid the country of the out- laws. The task, however, seemed impossible to perform, the gang had sympathisers in different parts of the country, and as time went on their capture was looked apon almost as hopeless. As the year grew older without any further crime being committed, and as the police found it impossible to capture the out- laws, the pursuit was slackened and the police were gradually withdrawn. Indeed there was a general impression that the gang, or at least its principal members, had left the colony, and had departed to "fresh woods and pastures new." That this impression was not shared by some of the police authorities in Victoria is evident from the fact that to a cer- tain extent a surveillance of the district has been maintained. It was thought by many that the announcement of the withdrawal of the police was intended to draw out the Kellys. Whatever may be the fact respecting this it seems clear that the New South Wales Govern- ment looked upon the further pursuit, so far as their police were concerned, as unnecessary; as their reward was withdrawn, and the Victorian Government followed suit, although it is under- stood that the period within which the reward of the Victorian Government may be claimed has not yet expired. For some time past nothing had been heard of the Kellys, but there were watch parties in the suspected district, and one of those stationed at Sebas- tapol receired an unpleasant reminder on Saturday evening that the bushrangers were still at large. On that evening a settler named Aaron Skerritt was shot dead by Byrne, and several shots were fired at the hut then occupied by the watch party. The bushrangers proceeded to Glenrowan, which is situated right in the heart of the gold mining country. There are a few runs in the district, but the principal industry is mining. The Eldorado Station is between Beechworth and Chiltern, and is surrounded by mountain ranges very difficult of passage, and well-known in former times as the retreat of the cattle duffers, by whom the district was infested. This part of the country was rendered specially notorious by the roguery of a cattle duffer named Gidley. He made an immense amount of money by stealing the cattle of the squatters, but was finally arrested and sent to the Melbourne Gaol, where he died. The ranges in the neighborhood formed most convenient hiding places for the cattle duffers, and they were largely made use of for that pur- pose. The Eldorado Creek takes its rise in these hills and runs towards Chiltern. At different places along its course the creek is known by other names, such as the Sebastopol and the Woolshed. 10 a.m. The following telegram has been received from Glenrowan :— On the arrival of the special train at Glen- rowan about 8 o'clock this morning it was found that the Kellys had all Glenrowan stuck up, and that the railway line was torn up. Owing to the courage of Constable Bracken the lives of the party were saved. The bush- rangers got into Jones's Hotel with about forty men and women, and firing at once commenced, and has continued at intervals since then. At 7 o'clock this morning Ned Kelly was seen in the timber at the rear of the hotel, where he fought for half an hour, and was then shot down and brought in evidently mortally wounded. When Ned Kelly was first shot, he could have escaped, but he stuck to his comrades and fought to the last. The hotel in which Hart, Dan Kelly, and Byrne are entrenched is completely sur- rounded, but they still hold out. Superinten- dent Hare was shot in the wrist at the outset by Kelly, who was but a few yards distant when he shot at him. It is stated that a boy in the hut was shot dead. There are fifty police now on the scene, and the firing is incessant. 1.45 p.m. The gang have shot Jones, the landlord of the hotel. The inhabitants who were shut up in the hotel, have escaped. Ned Kelly has been shot by Sergeant Steele, but is not mortally wounded. Superintendent Hare's wound is not serious. 8 p.m. It is difficult to give a consecutive account of the proceedings connected with the capture of the Kellys, the telegrams received being so frag- mentary. It seems that after shooting Skerritt near Beechworth the outlaws rode in the direc- tion of Glenrowan, which is situated to the north-west of Greta. They arrived there on Sunday afternoon, and at once commenced to stick up the township. The local police were helpless for a time. Many of the inhabi- tants sought refuge in the bush, and others were driven into Jones's Hotel, which was a blue- stope building. During the night Constable Bracken made for the railway line, and found the rails torn up. He observed a special train, with Superintendant Hare and the police ap- proaching, and having signalled to it the train
pulled up. He informed Superintendent Hare of the doings of the Kellys, and asked for assis- tance. The superintendent and several constables got out and made for the hotel, which they found in full possession of the outlaws. Firing commenced at once. Ned Kelly was seen near the hotel. Amongst the number who fired on him was Sergeant Steele, who shot him mortally. He was picked up and brought in, when it was found that he was covered with armour under his clothes. The people in the hotel who made their escape state that Byrne was shot dead in- side ; that Hart, and Jones, the landlord, were shot dead ; also a line repairer and two chil- dren. A cannon and a company of the perma- nent artillery were sent up by a special train at 2 o'clock. The besieging party finally decided to burn down the hotel, and for this purpose a heavy fire was kept up few some minutes to cover the design of Constable Johnstone, who advanced to the building and set fire to the weatherboards on the northern side, when it became known that Martin Sherry, an innocent man, was inside the build- ing. The flames rapidly caught hold of the timbers. In the midst of the fire a Catholic priest, Father Kierney, electrified the spectators by advancing to the building and penetrating the flames to save Sherry. Mrs. Skillion and Kate Kelly appeared on the scene at this juncture. The former endeavored to make way to her brothers, declaring she would rather see them burned than shot by the police. The priest, on entering the building, found Dan Kelly, Hart, and Byrne lying dead, shot. Sherry was carried out alive, but died soon afterwards. In a short time the whole place was consumed. A telegram sent at 4 o'clock states that Ned Kelly is still alive but very weak. Dr. Nicholson and other gentlemen who saw him state that he will surrive. Ned Kelly, with the remains of Byrne and Sherry, will be taken to Benalla to-night. There never was such excitement witnessed in Melbourne. The Kellys after shooting Skerritt on Saturday night rode in the direction of their old haunts. They expected that the police would leave the hut and give immediate information, and that a special train from Melbourne would be dis- patched on Sunday. Accordingly they took up the rails at Glenrowan with the view of wreck- ing the train. This arrangement was defeated by Constable Bracken, who warned the approach- ing train of the danger. A man named Rawlins, connected with a newspaper at Benalla, was shot and wounded. A boy and girl, the children of Mrs. Jones, aged respectively twelve and four- teen, were shot, but were not seriously wounded. A black tracker had a narrow escape, a ball graz- ing his forehead. The following statement has been made by Superintendent Hare:—The pilot engine was stopped half a mile from Glenrowan, and we were told that the line had been pulled up by the Kellys. The train and the pilot-engine went up to Glenrowan Station. I jumped out and went to the station-master's house. His wife told me that everybody ahd been driven into the bush by the Kellys. I ordered the men out of the train. Bracken rushed up, say- ing he had escaped from Jones's Hotel. I went towards Jones's, and when 50 or 60 yards dis- tant a shot was fired, which struck me on the left wrist. I surrounded the house with the police, and telegraphed to Dr. Nicholson at Wangaratta for assistance. Ned Kelly has three wounds, but Dr. Nichol- son does not consider any of them mortal. The police are very plucky. The armour the gang have got on is made of plough shares. Ned Kelly was armed with a breastplate of iron and a mask and a helmet. The police will not hesitate to demolish the building, as it is be- lieved that none but outlaws are inside. It is stated that the bushrangers held children up at the windows to prevent the firing. The 12-pounder sent up at 2 o'clock stopped at Wangaratta, as the party in charge heard that the affair was over. The stationmaster at Glenrowan states — I was awoke at 3 o'clock on Sunday morning by a knock at the door. I got out of bed, thinking that the gates wanted opening, the house being eighty yards distant. When I was half dressed I went to open the door. As I arrived at the door it was burst in. I asked, "Who are you?" The reply was, "I am Ned Kelly." I saw a man with an over- coat who walked to my bedroom. Mrs. Stani- street and the children were in bed at the time. Ned Kelly said, "You come with me to take up the rails." I completed dressing and followed him out on the line. I found seven or eight men near the gate leading to the line. Ned Kelly said, "Instruct those men how to raise the rails, as I expect a special train." I ob- jected, stating I did not understand how to do so ; that the only persons who understood the line were the repairers. Kelly went on alone to platelayer Riordan's house, a quarter of a mile distant. The other men were left in charge of Steve Hart. She latter struck me with his rifle and ordered me to produce tools. Ned Kelly, with Riordan and Sullivan, the line repairers, arrived, and the three went down the line in the direction of Wangaratta. I stood with Hart for two hours until Ned Kelly returned. Ned Kelly enquired how the train were stopped with the signalising lamp, and explained that a special train was approaching. Ned said, " You must give no signal," directing Hart to my face and shoot me it I stirred. After a time I was marched back to the house, and others were brought in, seventeen in all, and locked up. On Sunday we were allowed to go out, but were watched. The women were allowed to go to Jones's Hotel in the afternoon. We all went to Jones's Hotel later. The bushrangers watched in turn before the special arrived. I was ordered by Hart not to signal. I went into Jones's kitchen and found Mrs. Jones's two children there and a man named McKean. The train arrived soon afterwards, and firing commenced furiously. A ball grazed the temple of a child, but not seriously hurting it, and I went into the yard, where I saw the gang. They said, "If you go out you will be shot." I passed to my house as the firing was going on, but was not injured. The hotel was not set fire to till orders were received from the Chief Secretary. It was believed that none but the three bushrangers were inside. The Governor sent a letter con- gratulating Superintendent Hare. The latest telegram received by the police states that the contest is all over. Hart and Dan Kelly were burnt to ashes. The body of Byrne is at the railway station awaiting an inquest. Ned Kelly is wounded, and is lying in the next room. It is expected that he will recover. A detachment of police has been sent up to convey Ned Kelly to Melbourne. An inquest on the body of Aaron Skerritt, who was shot on Saturday night by Byrne, was commenced to-day before Mr. Foster. The father and brother of deceased gave general evidence. The mother of the deceased deposed to being in the hut with her daughter, the de- ceased, and four constables, on Saturday even- ing, when a knock came to the door and a Ger- man named Weeks asked Aaron to go out and show him the road. The police on hearing this knock disappeared inside the bedroom. The deceased opened the door. Byrne, who was standing outside with a gun, fired at Aaron, who stepped back. A second shot was fired, and he fell dead. Byrne called on her to make the police go out. Her daughter asked him why he shot Aaron, and he replied, "Because he would shoot me." A good deal of evidence to the same effect was given, showing that the police remained inside the bedroom, and would not come out although defied by Byrne. Several shots were fired at the house, which the outlaws threatened to burn down but for the women being inside. The enquiry was adjourned. The medical evidence showed that deceased died from a shot wound in the head and breast.