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2 corrections, most recently by RonnieLand - Show corrections

HISTORY OF AUSTRALIAN   BUSHRANGING.       BY CHARLES WHITE. CHAPTER XIX.     THE KELLY GANG. The morning broke beautiful and clear. The police were disposed all round the hotel, when they were beset by a danger in the rear. Ned Kelly was the cause. It appears that he was the man who shot Mr. Hare, and he himself was wounded in the arm by the fire that was returned. He could not without danger get into the hotel, so he sprang upon his horse, and during the excitement which followed he got away towards Morgan's Look-out ; but it was not the intention of the bold ruffian to desert his comrades, and he returned to fight his way to them. It was nearly eight o'clock when his tall figure was seen close behind the line of police. At first it was thought he was a black- fellow. He carried a grey coat over his arm, and walked coolly and slowly among the police. His head, chest, back, and sides were all protected with heavy plates of quarter-inch iron. When within easy distance of Senior- Constable Kelly, who was watching him, he fired. The police then knew who he was, and Sergeant Steele, Senior-Con- stable Kelly, and Mr. Dowsett (a rail- way guard) fired on the ruffian. The contest became one which, from its re markable nature, almost baffles descrip- tion. Nine police joined in the conflict and fired point-blank at Kelly ; but although, in consequence of the way in which he staggered, it was apparent that many of the shots hit him, yet he always recovered himself, and, tapping his breast, laughed derisively at his op- ponents, as he coolly returned the fire, fighting only with a revolver. It ap- peared as if he was a fiend with a charmed life. For half an hour this strange contest was carried on, and then Sergeant Steele rapidly closed in on him, and   when within only about ten yards of him fired two shots into his legs, which brought the outlaw down. He was only wounded, and appeared still determined to carry on the desperate conflict, but Steele bravely rushed him and seized the hand in which he held his revolver, the only weapon with which he was armed. He fired one shot after this,   but without effect. When on the ground he roared with savage ferocity, cursing the police vehemently. He was stripped of his armour, and then became quite submissive. and was borne to the railway station by Sergeant Steele, Constable Dwyer, and two representa-   tives of the Melbourne press.   . . . . At the railway station Kelly appeared to be very weak from loss of blood, and some brandy was given him. He was examined in the guard's van by Dr. Nicholson and Dr. Hutchin- son, who found that he was suffering from two bullet wounds in the left arm, a bullet in the right foot near the right toe, and two wounds in the right leg, those inflicted by Sergeant Steele. The outlaw was quite composed, and in answer to inquiries he made the following statement :- 'What I inten-   ded to do, and in fact was just about doing, was to go down with some of my mates and meet the special train, and rake it with shot. The train, however, came before I expected, and I had to return to the hotel. I thought the train would go on, and in that account I had the rails pulled up, so that these —— blacktrackers might be settled. It does not much matter what brought me to Glenrowan. I do not know, or I do not say. It does not seem much any way. If I liked, I could have got away last night. I got into the bush with my grey mare, and laid there all night. I had a good chance, but I wanted to see the thing end. When the police fired the first round I got wounded in the foot. It was the left one. Shortly afterwards I was shot through the left arm. I was in the front of the house where I received these injuries. I don't care what people say about Sergeant Kennedy's death. I have made my statement as to it, and if they don't believe me I can't help it. At all events, I am satisfied Scanlan was not shot kneeling. That is not true, as he never got off his horse. At the com- mencement of the affair this morning I fired three or four shots from the front of Jones' hotel, but I do not know who I was firing at. I only fired when I saw flashes. I then cleared for the bush, but remained there, near the hotel all night. Two constables passed close by me talking, and I could have shot them before they had time to shout if I liked. I could have shot several con- stables at one time. I was a good dis- tance away, but I came back again. I have got a charge of duck-shot in my leg. Why don't the police use bullets instead of duck-shot ? One of the policemen that was firing at me was a splendid shot; I don't know his name. Perhaps I would have done better if I had cleared away on my grey mare. It was just like blows from a man's fist re- ceiving the bullets on my armour. I wanted to fire into the carriages, only the police started on us too quickly. I knew the police would come, and I ex- pected them.' The policeman, whom Ned Kelly described as ' a splendid shot,' was Constable James Arthur, and this is the account he gave of the encounter :— I was one of the party of police which arrived at Glenrowan with the special train, and was just behlind Superinten- dent Hare when he was shot; after that Hare asked Sergeant Kelly to place the men. He did so, and took me round to the north-western side of the hotel. We crawled under what shelter we could find. I paused behind a tree, about one hundred yards from the hotel. There was a bush close to the tree. I kneeled down to get a good look at the hotel, and in doing so I put my hand on a re- volving rifle, which was covered with blood. A skull cap was close beside it. I was startled, and could not speak to draw attention. Sergeant Kelly picked it up, and formed the opinion that one of the outlaws had passed that way just previously, and hearing a sound of ring- ing noise listened, but could not see or   hear anything. I have no doubt Ned Kelly was near. He told me afterwards he was. He said he could have shot

both me and Kelly. I moved from that place to a log within eighty yards of the house, into which I commenced to fire. Sergeant Kelly left me there, and a bullet from the hut tore up the ground underneath my stomach. I conse- quently determined to go to another part of the log. It was very cold, and I filled my pipe to have a smoke. Just at day- break I was in the act of lighting my pipe, when I heard Ned Kelly coming behind me. His extraordinary appear- ance so startled me that I let the pipe drop out of my mouth, and gazed at the strange object for a minute, not knowing but that it was a madman who had conceived the idea of storming the hotel with a nail-can on his head. I then said to him, ' Go back you d—— fool, you will get shot.' The figure replied, 'I could shoot you sonny,' and at that   moment fired his revolver at me, but missed. He evidently was crippled, and did nt take proper aim. We were then only between twenty and thirty yards apart. I levelled my Martini rifle, and fired at his helmet, thinking I would knock it off. It only staggered him slightly. An opening in the hel- met looked like a huge month, and I fired at that and hit him again. He still came on. I fired a third shot at his body, and I heard it hum off him. I was completely astonished, and could not understand what the object I was firing at was. The men around me appeared astonished too. Someone said, 'He is a madman !' Dowsett, the   railway guard, said. ' He is the devil !'   Sergeant Kelly exclaimed, ' Look out, boys, he is the bunyip !' At once I   sought shelter, and tried to get round at the back. I did so because I found it   was no use firing at him in front. Be- fore I could succeed in doing so Ser- geant Steele ran up from behind and shot him. When I shot at him first a Sergeant Steele thought I had made a mistake, and called to me to stop firing. After he had been captured, Kelly shook his fist at me and swore.   Concerning the proceedings before   and during the siege of the hotel, further particulars are obtained from a very succinct account given by Mr. Mortimer, Curnow's brother-in-law. After describing how Constable Bracken   was arrested by Ned Kelly, he says : ' Byrne was with Kelly, and Curnow asked Ned if he would allow him to go   home with his wife. Kelly replied, 'Oh, yes, you may go home and have a sleep, but mind you dou't dream too loud.' Having given this warning to him, he   was permitted to go home. I do not   know how he he heard that the line had been torn up, but suppose he heard it at the hotel, and after he obtained his liberty he determined to warn the train of the danger. Reynolds, Bracken, and   myself were taken bac, to the hotel.   We all then heard that the line had been torn up. The whole of the mem- bers of the gang were very jolly, and   Ned told us that he had come there to   settle the black-trackers, and that he would be on the spot when the train ran   over the culvert, and would shoot all who were not killed. We knew that we could do nothing, and therefore did not   take any steps to warn those on the train of their danger. Every member   of the gang was then sober. They showed us their armour, and seemed to   think the police could do them no harm. At half-past two on Monday morning,   Ned Kelly said something to the effect that he did not think the special train   was coming, anil I then asked him if   we could go home. He said ' Yes,' and I thanked him. We could all then   have gone, with perhaps the exception   of Bracken, but we foolishly stopped   listening to the remarks of Kelly. Just   then, Dan Kelly, who had been stand-   ing outside, rushed in and said, ' Ned,   here comes the ——train.' Our op-   portunity of escape was gone. Ned   Kelly rushed out and commenced to     examine his firearms. He spoke to one of the gang, and then left on horseback.   Byrne locked the doors, and I believe   that Bracken then succeeded in stealing   the key. Ned Kelly returned in a few minutes, but remained outside. He asked some of the others to come out with him, but none of them did so.   Just then we heard the train stopped at   the station, and it became apparent that   the gang expected that they would have   to fight. Almost immediately the firing commenced, and we dropped on the floor. The bullets whizzed through the   weatherboards in all directions. Our   feelings at that time were indescribable. The poor women and children were screaming with terror, and every man in the house was saying his prayers. Poor little Johnny Jones was shot almost at once, and I put my fingers in my ears so as not to hear his screams of agony, and the lamentations of his mother and Mrs. Reardon, who had a baby in her arms. We could do nothing, and the bullets continued to whistle through the building. I do not think the police were right in acting as they did. We were frightened of them, and not of the bushrangers. It was Joe Byrne who cursed and swore at the police. He Sseemed perfectly reckless of his life. But the three of them got into an in- side room into which the bullets seldom penetrated. We frequently called to the police to stop firing, but we dared not go to the door, and I suppose they did not hear us. Miss Jones was slightly wounded by a bullet, and when Mrs, Jones and Mrs. Reardon with the children ran out, Reardon and his son attempted to follow, but as soon as the police saw the figures one of the men fired. Young Reardon was hit by a bullet in the shoulder, and he and his father ran back into the house. One of the men carried young Jones away, and succeeded in passing the police without being fired on. Dan Kelly told us that we had better remain in the house, be- cause the police would shoot us if we attempted to leave. Someone said to him. ' You had better go out and sur- render,' and he replied,' We will never surrender, but most likely we will leave directly.' I think they intended to do so, but shortly after 5 o'clock in the morning, Byrne was shot. He had just walked into the bar, and was drinking a glass of whisky, when a ball struck him in the groin. I heard him fall, and saw the blood spurting from him. I think he died very soon, (To be Continued.)

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