The methods of the gang were, in the main, of the same character as those pursued at Euroa or Jerilderie; but in this case there was no bank to be robbed, and they suited their conduct to the particular end in view. This was the destruction of the railway line at a point some distance on the Wangaratta side of Glenrowan, where a sharp curve would hide the torn up rails from the view of the engine-driver of a train coming from Melbourne until the locomotive was upon them. Just there the line ran upon a steep embankment, and an accident would have disastrous consequences, which the Kellys intended to aggravate by pouring in a hot fire upon the struggling survivors. It was a cold blooded and well laid scheme, showing in its conception an accurate forecast of the probable movements of the police. The day being Sunday no ordinary trains would be passing along the line for many hours, and Ned Kelly felt sure that on the news of Sherritt’s murder being wired to Melbourne a police special would be immediately sent up. He even seems to have calculated on Mr Hare asking for the return of the black trackers, for they were the men on whom he specially wanted to wreak his vengeance for the hunted life his gang had led so long.
Very early on Sunday morning Hart and Kelly called at the house of the Glenrowan stationmaster, for the purpose of getting him or others to tear up the rails. Mr Stannistreet, the stationmaster, professed that he knew nothing of such things; therefore, leaving Hart to keep guard over Mr Stanistreet, his family, and other prisoners whom they had collected, Ned Kelly obtained the services of some plate layers, whom he forced to do the work. One of them, a man named Reardon, begged to be let off the task, but Ned Kelly, saying he soon expected a train with police and those --- blacks, threatened to tickle him up with a revolver if he did not do it, and do it quickly. Kelly wanted four rails’ lengths of the line broken, but Reardon assured him that one length was as good as twenty, for he had some faint hope that if only one rail were taken the engine might leap it and go safely on.
When the line was broken Kelly drove the railway men to join the other prisoners at the railway station, later on transferring them all to Mrs Jones’s hotel. This hotel, which stood among trees about two hundred yards from the railway platform, and facing it, was a weatherboard building, with a verandah in front into which opened the bar, and for the rest consisted of several small rooms with a passage running through from the front to the back.
Before the prisoners arrived it seems that several of the Kelly sympathisers were in the place, which for some time previously had been with them a popular house of call. During Sunday the prisoners, whose number was added to from time to time until it totalled sixtytwo, made themselves as comfortable as they could and many of them spent a merry time. No one appears to have noticed at what hour Dan Kelly and Byrne arrived from Beechworth, and nothing was said of Sherritts’ murder, but the four outlaws were in the hotel together throughout the day. Mrs Jones, the proprietress of the establishment, seemed to rather relish having such a full house, and was in every way anxious to please her outlawed visitors. Though it was Sunday the bar was not kept closed, and a good feal of liquor was consumed, but the outlaws, on the whole, were temperate. Hart in the morning drank too much, but the effects wore off, and later on in the day he kept sober, while, when Dan Kelly poured out a stiff nobbler of brandy, someone heard a warning, ‘Steady, old man!’ from Joe Byrne.
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