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5 corrections, most recently by djbcjk - Show corrections



The Cape Town correspondent of the  

"London Daily Express" contributed to that journal on September 8 a long story of how he met in Pretoria two men, al-

leged to be Dan Kelly and Steve Hart, who   were burned to death in the Glenrowan   Hotel in 1880. The correspondent so far does not appear to have had a visit from Ned Kelly, who was executed in Melbourne Gaol shortly afterwards. His story is :—

One night, when Pretorians, under mar- tial law regulations, had long retired to rest, I was aroused by a knock at the door. On opening it my acquaintance, now ner- vous and excited, walked in. "I have brought them," he whispered mysteriously.   "What's that?" I asked. "The boys." "What boys?" "Dan and Steve."Oh!   you mean the Kellys? Show them in," I said flippantly.

He scowled reprovingly.


He went out, and quickly returned with     a deputation of two men of middle age, athletic, keen-eyed, sunburnt, firm-featured,       typical Australian bushmen, who evidently   knew what roughing it meant. There was no necessity for introductions. It was quite true I had met or nodded to them a score   of times before that night. I did not know them, however, as "Dan Kelly and "Steve Hart." They sat down, and made them-  

selves at home.

"Now, which is Dan Kelly?" I asked.     "Here," said the darker-complexioned of     the two, " but you must not say that name again." "And don't say mine, either," said       Steve Hart. "What! Are you afraid?" "Well, we don't want it known," said   Kelly. Then he added earnestly, "You promise never to mention this?" "But why     did you come to me?" "Well, he"—point-     ing to the acquaintance—"persuaded us.   Now you promise that, or by——" His voice was husky, and I interrupted, "You needn't fear, for, in the first place, I have   only your word for it and, in the second place, I have no ambition to court the anger     of the Kellys." "Well, that's all right."          

A bottle was opened, pipes were filled,   and long after midnight Dan Kelly, who had listened enthusiastically to stories of Ben Hall, Frank Gardiner, Gilbert, Burke, Vane, O'Meally, and other earlier Aus-   tralian bushrangers, combed his bushy hair    

with his fingers, and said:—"I don't mind        

you using this if it's worth while, but not   before, say, three weeks, and we're safe away. Steve and me and Ned and Joe Byrne was in that hotel all right. Ned got away, and we wus to follow him, but Joe was drunk, and we couldn't pull him    


"When we wusn't watching, Joe walked         outside and wus shot. After that two drunken coves was shot dead through the     window. They wanted to have a go at the     police, so we gave them rifles, revolvers, and   powder and shot. The firing where they   fell wus too hot for Steve and me to reach them, so our rifles and revolvers wus found       by their remains. This wus why they thought we wus dead. I'm sorry these coves   didn't take my tip, and go out with a flag,   but they had the drink and the devil in them. I think Joe's recklessness maddened  


"Well, me and Steve planned an escape. We wus in a trap and had to get out of   it. We had with us, as we often had, traps' (police) uniforms and troopers' caps, and   we put them on. We looked policemen in     disguise all right, I tell you. The next question was how to leave the pub. quietly. A few trees, bushes, and logs at the back decided us. We crawled a few yards and then blazed away at the shanty just like the   traps. We retreated slow from tree to tree and bush to bush, pretending to take cover.  

Yes, cover from Steve and me!  

"Soon we wus among the scatterd traps, who, no doubt, reckoned we wus cowards.       But we banged away at the blooming pub, more than any of them. The traps came   from 100 miles around, and only some     know'd each other. So how could they tell       us from themselves? We worked back into the timber, and got away. Soon afterwards       we saw the pub, blazing. Then we thanked   our stars we wus not burnt alive. Well, we   got to a shepherd's hut, and we stayed

there days.  

"The shepherd brought us the Melbourne papers, with pages about our terrible end— burnt-up bodies and all that sort of stuff.   We heard of Ned's capture, and we wus   both for taking to the bush again ; but the    

shepherd made us promise to leave Aus-      

            tralia. He found us clothes and money.   We got to Sydney, and shipped to the Ar-

gentine. We've had a fairly good time       since, and ain't been interfered with. We   don't want to interfere with anybody    


"A few years ago we crossed to South Africa. The war broke out, and, not having         work, we went to the front. We had some narrer escapes, but nothing like the narrer       escape from that pub. We're off in an hour   or so, but we don't want the world to know     where. You can say what I told you, but wait three weeks or a month. Now, listen! If you give Steve and me away, this little thing in the hands of a friend of mine will blow you out"—and he put the   point of his revolver almost into my eye. I     looked at him sharply, and the awful glare  

in his eyes convinced me he meant it.

Six weeks later I was surprised to en-   counter Dan Kelly and Steve Hart in Ad- derley-street, Cape Town,    

Dan Kelly said:—"Well, you kept y'r               promise. We haven't heard nothing. You    

may write what you like after to-morrow."    

I did not inquire their destination, and they did not volunteer the information.