Spotlight: Letter from John Sherritt

One of the unfortunate things about Aaron Sherritt’s murder being part of a greater plan at Glenrowan is that it is always overshadowed by the events at the Glenrowan Inn. In the wake of the tragedy John Sherritt, father of the victim, took time to write to Superintendent Hare who was at that time recovering from the grievous wound in his wrist sustained in the battle. The letter expresses a belief that the Byrnes, not satisfied with Aaron having been killed, were intent on continuing a campaign of intimidation against the Sherritts, prompting Aaron’s brothers Jack (who had previously been another target of the gang’s suspicions of infidelity) and Willie to go into hiding under police protection. John Sherritt also takes the opportunity to attempt to get Superintendent Hare to put in a good word to Captain Standish in order to have Jack and Willie enlisted in the police force.

Jack Sherritt sporting the cocked hat and chinstrap under the nose – the emblem of the Greta Mob.

Sheepstation Creek

July 1st 1880

Mr. Hare

Dear Sir

You have heard of the murder of my Dear Son Aaron it Seems the mother or the Son Patsy is not satisfied yet On Monday last Aaron’s burial took place on the night – Tuesday night their was five or six signals given about five or six perches of my house those signals is whistles after a little while, came a foot step close to the door went out and seen the man running a way could not tell who it was but I have come to the Conclusion it must be the murders Brother Coming to see if my son John was about these signals is the same that the murder had when in the ranges it was about eight aclock at night when this took place. the reason of this is on the day of Aaron’s funeral it was Commonly ….. reported in Beechworth that it was my son John that shot Burns at Glenrowan but my son John is stooping with the Police in Beechworth and is a fraid to Come home also his Brother William is going up to stop with the Police until we hear from you On the Saturday night that Joe Burns murdered Aaron Burns says to Aaron’s mother inlaw to send out Johny Sherritt he want him Mrs. Barry said he was not here Send me out William Sherritt She Said William was not their my son William was just half an hour …… left to come home when the murder took place my son – William was working down on the Woolshed he sleps in Aaron’s house at night ecept on a Saturday night when he would Come home to see his mother

I have reported those signals to Detective Ward and also to the Police Magistrate on this day the two young lads want to leave the ovens district and made up their mind to join the police John is 21 years William going in to 20 years and if you would be so very kind as to Speak of it to the Chief Commissioner to take them on you – / will be the means to keep them from being murdered the two lads will have to stop at the Police Camp until the hear from you Detective Ward was say it would be better for Johny to go to New Zealand and join the Police their but their mother will not let them go their, when the learn their drill the could be sent to gelong where my Brother George was Stationed about Seventeen years ago he was Stationed under Sergent Glass when those boys leaves me I will have none to help me I have seven Daughters and one Son the son nineteen months old we give all the information that we could get about the Kelly Gang to Detective Ward and after all I have lost my Dear Son that I will never forget and it will be the means of shortening my wifes days

Dear Sir I hope you are not seirously – wounded, thank god that the murders is at an end my wife says that you will do what you can to protect her two boys the are at the Police Camp in Beechworth until the hear from you

I remain Yours



John Sherritt


Leave a Reply