8 / 7/1880
... part of the KellyGang story
The Argus continued with its report of the KellyGang at Glenrowan
Glenrowan Seige -capture of Ned Kelly
He soon attracted the attention of the police himself by firing boldly at them as they were besieging the hotel. They immediately turned on their new assailant, and fired a succession of shots at him, but all with no effect. Kelly walked about receiving the fire of the police with the coolest indifference. He seemed completely bullet-proof, and at length it occurred to Sergeant Steele, who was firing at him, that the fellow was encased in mail and that his legs might possibly prove the only vulnerable parts. His impressions were correct, and directing his aim at the outlaw’s legs, brought him to the ground with the cry, “I am done―I am done.” Steele rushed up along with Senior-constable Kelly and others. The outlaw howled like a wild beast brought to bay, and swore at the police. He was first seized by Steele, and as that officer grappled with him he fired off another charge from his revolver. This shot was evidently intended for Steele, but from the smart way in which he secured the murderer the sergeant escaped. Kelly became gradually quiet, and it was soon found that he had been utterly disabled. He had been shot in the left foot, left leg, right hand, left arm, and twice in the region of the groin. But no bullet had penetrated his armour. Having been divested of his armour he was carried down to the railway station, and placed in a guard’s van. Subsequently he was removed to the stationmaster’s office, and his wounds were dressed there by Dr Nicholson, of Benalla.
An examination of the armour worn by Edward Kelly and by his three comrades showed it to have been of a most substantial character. It was made of iron a quarter of an inch thick, and consisted of a long breast-plate, shoulder-plates, back-guard, and helmet. The helmet resembled a nail-can without a crown, and with a long slit at the elevation of the eyes to look through. All these articles are believed to have been made by two men, one living near Greta, and the other near Oxley. The iron was procured by the larceny of ploughshares, and larcenies of this kind having been rather frequent of late in the Kelly district the police had begun to suspect that the gang were preparing for action. Ned Kelly’s armour alone weighed 97lb, and those who saw it ceased to wonder at the singular immunity from injury which the desperado enjoyed during the greater part of his encounter with the police.
THE SIEGE OF THE HOTEL
Having captured the leader of the gang, the police again turned their attention to the hotel. The siege having been continued for 12 hours without effect, it was determined that a decisive step should be taken. Superintendent Sadleir, who was in control of the police at the time, directed his men to set fire to the building. Prior to the execution of this order an extraordinary scene was witnessed. It is thus described in a narrative of an eyewitness that appeared in The Australasian, who, in speaking of the final warning that was given to the gang and all others within the inn, says:―“I don’t know who it was called out, but these were the words, ‘All those inside there had better surrender at once; we will give you 10 minutes to do so; after that time we shall fir volleys into the house.’ Instantly a white handkerchief was seen to wave from the doorway, and at the same moment some 25 persons rushed out towards the police line with their hands held high up above their heads.
They rushed towards us crying out in piteous accents “Don’t fire! For God’s sake, don’t shoot us; don’t, pray don’t!” They were here ordered to lie down, which they obeyed at once, all falling flat on their stomachs, with their hands still in the air. It was a remarkable scene, and the faces of the poor fellows were blanched with fear, and some of them looked as if they were out of their minds. The police passed them one by one, in case any of the outlaws should be amongst the crowd.”
At 10 minutes to 3 the final volley was fired into the hotel, and under its cover Senior-constable Johnson, of Violet Town, ran up to the house with a burning bundle of straw, and applied it to the floor. All eyes were for a time fixed on the building; the circle of besiegers closed in on it, and watched anxiously for the result of the senior-constable’s exploit. Meanwhile, Mrs Skillian, a sister of the Kellys, and one of their most active confederates, had arrived on the scene, and rushed to the hotel, with the intention, it is believed, of urging the outlaws to avert the terrible fate that was in store for them, but the police stopped her. The hotel was soon a mass of flames; still the gang made no signs either of surrendering or of attempting to escape.
While the house was burning a Roman Catholic priest, the Very Rev M Gibney, of Perth, Western Australia, walked up to the front door, and at great risk entered the building. In one of the rooms he saw two dead bodies lying side by side. They were those of Daniel Kelly and Stephen Hart.
This document gives you the text of the report about the KellyGang for this day. The text has been retyped from a microfiche copy of the original. We have taken care to reproduce this document but areas of the original text may been damaged. We also apologise for any typographical errors.