THE FIGHT AT GLENROWAN.
Mr. T. E. Haynes, Jetty-road, Glenelg writes:— The article in your issue of the 23rd inst. on "An Adventurous Life: The Man
who Fought Ned Kelly," brought back old memories to me, as I happened to be a relieving passenger guard on the north- eastern line at that time. I am truly sorry to hear of my old comrade, Jesse Dowsett's mis- fortunes in his late years. I was running from the Melbourne end, and Jesse was a Wodonga guard. We used to change trains at Seymour, Longwood, and Euroa. Jesse's train arrived at Glen- rowan, the scene of the capture of the Kellys, the evening the tragedy took place, and Jesse was well in the fight. But there is some mistake about his being the guard of the train which was stopped by Curnow, the schoolmaster, where the line had been torn up, as that was a special from Melbourne, and if I remember aright, the guard was the late Frank Bell, and the driver the late Harry Alder. As to the pistol still in Dow- sett's possession, with which he is said to have shot Ned Kelly, here is another mistake. Jesse did not shoot Ned Kelly. That was done, I believe, by a police sergeant named Steele. But if my memory serves me aright, he became the possessor of Ned Kelly's own pistol, which Ned gave him as a souvenir to remind him of a little incident which happened while Kelly lay wounded on the ground. How- ever, these things happened a long time ago, and perhaps it is better to forget them. But they were stirring times on the N.E. line in those days. One occa- sion I am not likely to forget, I was guard of the 5.10 p.m. a mixed train to Seymour and returned on a goods train the same night. News had come through that the Kellys had stuck up Jerilderie and there was great excitement about it at Seymour. Naturally my head was full of the Kelly exploits. I remem- ber it was a fine moonlight night, very cold, and I was perched on my box seat wrapped in my big coat. We were go- ing up a heavy grade leading to Talla- rook station very slowly when suddenly the van door opposite me opened quickly. A rifle poked in, then a man's head with a hairy cap with ear lugs. I wished my box would swallow me up, when I heard an assuring laugh, and discovered that it was Burt Johnston, stationmaster, of Tal- larook, who, knowing we had to stop at his station for the staff, took advantage of our slow going to jump the rattler and ride home. During the couple of years the Kellys were out, the life of the N.E.L. railway men was a strenuous one. Jesse Dowsett in it, but as Ned Kelly said in his last stage, "Such is life."