The Ovens and Murray
... part of the KellyGang story
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Mr Cheshire continued
For his prompt and thoughtful action, we may take upon our selves to thank him, on behalf of ourselves and also our numerous readers. To give an idea of the business transacted in the Beechworth telegraph office on Sunday afternoon and Monday, we may here mention that no fewer than three hundred telegrams—sixty of which were from Glenrowan alone—several of them containing over a thousand words, passed through; and we can testify to the efficient manner in which Mr Alex Thomson, the chief operator, and the staff under him performed, their arduous task.
A magisterial enquiry on the body of Byrne was conducted by Captain Standish and Mr R McBean, JP’s, in the Benalla Court-house on Tuesday. The matter having been kept secret, but few persons were present. The following evidence was adduced:—Thos McIntyre, police constable, stationed at Melbourne , stated that he was one of the party who went out in search of the outlaws from Mansfield in October, 1878. On the 25th of the same month they encountered the Kellys and Hart and Byrne. He indentified the body as being that of the outlaw Joseph Byrne, who was one of the gang that shot Contables Kennedy, Scanlon, and Lonigan on that date. Louis Pyatzer, a contractor, who was one of those present at the capture of the gang on Monday last, stated that he was compelled by them to enter and remain in Mrs Jones’s Hotel at Glenrowan. He identified the body as being that of Joseph Byrne, the outlaw who was one of the gang. Byrne assisted the Kellys in resisting the police. Edward Canny, police constable, stationed at Benalla, said that he had known Joseph Byrne at the Woolshed and other places for over eight years. The body now in possession of the police was that of Byrne, the outlaw, who was one of the Kelly gang of bushrangers.
Inspector Sadleir produced the proclamation issued in the “Government Gazette” in October and December last, offering £4000 for the capture of the gang of outlaws, consisting of Edward Kelly, Daniel Kelly, Joseph Byrne, and Stephen Hart—the two latter were at first stated to be men by the name of King and Brown, but were afterwards known to be Hart and Byrne. He also produced the proclamation issued in the New South Wales “Government Gazette,” offering a similar reward for the capture of the gang. He stated that the rewards were to be withdrawn at the end of the present month, but as the gang had been captured before that time the reward was still in force. This concluded the evidence taken in the matter and a verdict of justifiable homicide was returned as follows:—“The outlaw Joseph Byrne, whose body was before the court and in the possession of the police, was shot by them whilst in the execution of their duty.” The body was subsequently handed over to the friends of the outlaw, who were waiting in Benalla to receive it, and they conveyed it to Greta. They intend to bury it with the bodies of Hart and Dan Kelly in the Wangaratta cemetery, after the magisterial inquiry upon the latter has been held.
Ned Kelly was forwarded to Melbourne by the first train on Tuesday morning, and taken out at the North Melbourne station platform, to prevent interference by the crowd that assembled at Spencer-street. However, the news got wind that Kelly was coming, and over 200 persons assembled to catch a glimpse of the notorious outlaw, who was lifted out on a stretcher, placed in a waggonette and driven to the Melbourne Gaol, to which he had been admitted on a remand warrant returnable on the 5th July; but it is considered doubtful whether he will have sufficiently recovered to then take his trial for the many heinous crimes laid to his charge. Dr Shiels, the gaol doctor, who attended the prisoner late on Tuesday night, has furnished the following report as to his patient’s condition:—The prisoner Kelly was rather feverish on admission to the gaol hospital, the temperature being 102deg., and the pulse quick. Kelly is a tall, muscular, well-formed young man, in good condition, and has evidently not suffered in health from his late mode of life. The principal injuries are:—
Firstly—A severe bullet wound near the left elbow, there are two openings, one above the other below the joint, the two apertures having probably been caused by the bullet traversing the arm when bent.
Secondly—The right hand has been injured near the root of the thumb. From this I removed a large slug-shot. These, however, seem not to be of a dangerous nature.
Fourthly—The right foot has received a severe injury. The track of the ball here is marked by two openings, one on the top of the ball of the great toe, and the other on the sole of the foot, and the bone is damaged. The last wound and the one near the elbow-joint, are those of the greatest importance. There is, however, no immediate danger. At the same time, it is very necessary that Kelly should be kept perfectly quiet, and free from all avoidable causes of excitement.
On the news being broken to Mrs Kelly, the mother of the outlaws, who is at present undergoing a sentence of three years for striking over the head and wounding with a shovel Constable Fitzpatrick (whom Ned now admits having shot in the wrist at the same time) at Greta over two years ago. The poor woman was much affected after hearing of the fate of her sons, which staggered her for the moment. She told the governor of the gaol (Mr Castieau)—who imparted the news that Ned was in the gaol hospital, and promised her permission to see him as soon as he was sufficiently strong—that on Sunday night she dreamt that there had been a fight between her sons and the police.
We had on Tuesday an opportunity of inspecting the “coat of mail” and head-piece—which had evidently been forged by some bush blacksmith out of the mould-boards of ploughs—worn by Ned Kelly during the encounter with the police; and, although clumsy affairs, answered, to a certain extent, the purpose to which they were put, as was evidenced by the impression made by the police bullets upon them. They were on view at the Beechworth police office, and during the day crowds of people assembled to see what were to them objects of great interest, and which we described in our last issue. Mr W H Foster, PM, has written to the Chief commissioner of Police, requesting that it may be placed among the curiosities in the Burke Museum , Beechworth.
The Government have, we learn by telegram from our Melbourne correspondent on Wednesday evening appointed a board to consider and decide the apportioning of the reward for the apprehension of the outlaws, of which we certainly think Mr Curnow and Constable Bracken deserve the lion’s share.
Superintendent Hare speaks highly of the courageous manner in which the men under his command underwent their “baptism of fire”; and the black-trackers, under Lieutenant O’Connor, also fought gallantly.
INQUEST ON YOUNG JONES
A magisterial enquiry was held before Mr Alex Tone, JP, at the Wangaratta Hospital , on the body of a boy named John Jones, who was accidentally shot by the police in an encounter with the Kelly gang at Glenrowan. The following evidence was taken:
Ann Jones deposed: I am a publican residing at Glenrowan: I have seen the body now in the dead-house, and identify it as that of my son, John Jones, aged thirteen years. Between two and three o’clock on the morning of the 28th inst., I was in my hotel at Glenrowan with deceased and a great number of other people, having been bailed up by the Kelly gang. There were a number of shots fired into the house from the outside. When I went into the kitchen the deceased was in another room in company with others. The firing becoming so incessant, and my daughter having been wounded in the forehead, I rushed to the room where I had left the deceased, who, on seeing me, called out “Oh, mother, pull my leg. I am shot.” I then took him out to the kitchen and placed him in the corner near the fireplace. Then went outside the house and begged of the bushrangers to let me leave the premises, as my boy was shot; but they would not permit me to leave. The three men that I spoke to were Joe Byrne, Dan Kelly and Stephen Hart. I again ran out, and screamed to the police that my boy was shot. My daughter, Jane Jones, told Dan Kelly that she was wounded, and asked permission for her mother to take the deceased, herself, and the other children away, which was granted. Brought my son (the deceased) to the Wangaratta Hospital by the 11am train.
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