Spotlight: Further Outrages by the Kelly Gang

[The following is a report from just after the Kelly Gang raided the bank at Euroa. It describes in a fair amount of detail the events at Younghusband’s Station and Euroa, while missing some of the details and getting a few spellings wrong – as was typical of reporting at the time. It provides an interesting insight into how the bank robbery caught the public’s imagination after the outrage over the tragedy at Stringbark Creek. It is also worth noting that while Joe Byrne’s identity had been known for some time, it was only because of one of the servants in the bank recognising Steve Hart that the identity of the fourth gang member was finally revealed. This report also references the Egerton bank robbery, which some may remember is the well publicised robbery allegedly performed by Andrew Scott aka Captain Moonlite.]

FURTHER OUTRAGES BY THE KELLY GANG

By Electric Telegraph


[FROM OUR OWN REPORTER.]

Euroa, 11th December.


The greatest excitement has prevailed here in consequence of the perpetration by the brothers Edward and Daniel Kelly, and two men named Steve Hart and Byrne, of one of the most daring and skilfully planned bank robberies that has occurred since the Egerton gold robbery, and the sticking up of Mr. Younghusband’s station at Faithfull’s Creek, at the foot of the Strathbogie Ranges, about four miles from here, in the direction of Violet Town. The particulars I have been able to glean are as follows : — On Monday last, about half past twelve in the day, a man arrived at the Faithfull’s Creek station and asked one of the station hands named Fitzgerald, who was having his dinner in the kitchen, whether the manager, Mr, Macauley, was at home. He was told by Fitzgerald that the manager was not in, and was asked if he wanted anything particular, and whether he, Fitzgerald, could do anything for him. The stranger said it was no matter, and going from the kitchen made signals to some persons outside, and then two other men out of three, who were a little distance away, came up, leading with them four very fine saddle horses, three bays and one grey. The man who had arrived first; then went into the dwelling house where Fitzgerald’s wife was engaged in some household duties, and said to her, ‘Don’t be afraid ; I am Ned Kelly ; we won’t do you any harm ; you must give us refreshments and food for our horses.’ Mrs. Fitzgerald was naturally greatly surprised, and much alarmed. She called her husband, and said, ‘Here’s Mr. Kelly, and they want food for their horses and refreshment.’ Fitzgerald, seeing that the stranger had a revolver, and that resistance was useless, said, ‘No matter who they are, if they want refreshment and food for their horses, of course they can have it.’ Edward Kelly, for there is not the slightest doubt it was he, then asked how many men there were about the station, and threatened Fitzgerald if he did not tell him the truth. Fitzgerald told him there were only three or four hands. Kelly then informed Fitzgerald that it was his intention to lock him and a lad who was also present in the store room. This purpose Kelly and his mates immediately carried into effect. Three other men shortly afterwards came in to their dinners, and as they arrived they were bailed up and placed in the storeroom along with the others.

Shortly after this Mr. Macauley, the manager of the station, arrived home. As he was crossing a little wooden bridge over a creek near the homestead he noticed that the place appeared unusually quiet for the time of day, it being customary for the men engaged about the station to be working about. He had no suspicions, however, of anything being wrong, and rode straight on to the buildings. When he got to the storeroom Fitzgerald, who was allowed to put his head out of the door, told him the Kellys were there. Mr. Macauley would not believe him at first, but Edward Kelly came out of the building and said, ‘I am Ned Kelly ; you will have to bail up,’ Mr. Macauley, in reply, said it was no use their sticking up the station, as there were no horses on it better than those they had with them. Kelly said they did not want to take anything from the station ; all they wanted being a rest and food for their horses, and to have a sleep themselves. Mr. Macauley then, seeing that all the men were armed, gave in. At first he could not believe that it was really the Kellys who had paid him such an unwelcome visit ; but afterwards he saw Daniel Kelly, and immediately recognised him from the portraits that have been published in the Illustrated News, and the photographs that have been circulated throughout the country. One of the other men was afterwards recognised as one Steve Hart, well known as an associate of the Kellys, and who is probably identical with one of the two unknown men who took part in the Mansfield murders. The other man, Byrne, is supposed to make up the fourth of the party who slew Constables Scanlan and Lonigan and Sergeant Kennedy. Both these men are said to answer to the descriptions published.

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Source: The illustrated Australian news, December 27, 1878. (SLV: 1697231)

To return to the narrative, however, Mr. Macauley, seeing there was no help for his position, proposed that dinner should be partaken of, but the bushrangers refused to eat anything unless they saw the others partake of the food, being evidently frightened of being poisoned. The horses had in the meantime been put in the stable and attended to. Ultimately the men had dinner, and the party of outlaws also, the latter leaving two of their number to keep guard while the others took their food. It was then getting towards evening, and shortly before dark a man named Gloster, who keeps a store at Seymour, and also follows the trade of a hawker around the district, arrived at the station, and prepared to camp on its outskirts. He had unharnessed his horse and went to the kitchen to get some hot water for his tea. One of the women there told him he had better bail up, as the Kellys were there. Gloster treated the matter as a joke, and went on with what he was doing and was about to return to his cart. Daniel Kelly then raised his gun, and Edward Kelly called out to Gloster to stop, and Mr. Macauley, knowing him to be a man of considerable courage and determination, also endeavored to dissuade him from resisting, as he feared if he went to the waggon and got at his revolver, murder would be committed. Gloster, however, persisted in going to the waggon, and got up into it, but Edward Kelly followed him, and, putting his revolver up to Gloster’s cheek, ordered him to get down again. This he did very reluctantly, and was very surly and short in his language to the bushranger. Edward Kelly said he would like to shoot him, and that he was one man out of a hundred not to do so. Gloster having been thus secured was disposed of in a similar manner to the other men, and put into the store with the hands. The outlaws then commenced to ransack Gloster’s waggon, and quickly had its contents strewn over the ground, so that they might pick out such articles as they were most in need of, or as took their fancy at the moment. Each man then arrayed himself in a new rig out from head to foot, and even such luxuries as soaps and perfumery were not despised, – the bushrangers pouring bottles of the latter over themselves, and pocketing the former for future use. Having got tired of overhauling the unfortunate hawker’s stock-in-trade, the two Kellys and their mates composed themselves for the night. Two men were kept on guard while the others slept, all the station hands being kept in the storehouse except Fitzgerald and Mr. Macauley, who were allowed to move about the place, but only under strict surveillance, and on their promise that they would not attempt to escape.

In the course of the night the desperadoes conversed freely with their captives, and, indeed, appear to have taken them into their confidence to a certain extent. In speaking of the Mansfield murders, Edward Kelly said he was sorry Kennedy had been shot, and that it had never been their intention to kill him. He stated that Kennedy fired five shots at the bushrangers, one of which grazed Edward Kelly’s whiskers, and another his sleeve. The first time Kennedy was hit it was in the arm, and Kelly did not intend to fire at him again. Kennedy, however, when hit was partly behind a tree, and, being shot, threw his arm up as if to aim at Edward Kelly, whereupon the latter again fired, hitting him in the side, and be dropped. They also spoke of Constable McIntyre in a way the reverse of complimentary as to his courage. They said that when Kennedy arrived at the camp and jumped from his horse he dismounted on the wrong side, throwing his leg on the horse’s wither, and that McIntyre immediately mounted and rode off, leaving his companions to cope with the gang themselves. Edward Kelly is also stated to have said that had it not been for the police separating things would never have happened as they did. With respect to the shooting of Constable Fitzpatrick, he asserted that he was not concerned in that outrage at all, and could bring evidence which would prove beyond a doubt that he was fifteen miles away when it occurred. He also said that he and his party had no wish to harm any one who did not harm them. One of the most remarkable statements made by the outlaws, however, was that they had written a communication addressed to the Legislative Council, and containing a detailed account of the exploits of the gang and the causes of their being led into a career of crime. There may be some truth in this, as Mrs. Fitzgerald has been understood to say that a document was given to her by one of the Kellys, and that she posted it at his request.

The night having been passed in this manner, the first thing done by the bushrangers on the following Tuesday morning was to break down one of the galvanised iron telegraph posts on the line of railway which runs within a few yards of the home station and out the wires, thereby preventing communication with Benalla, where a large body of police was known to be stationed. The bushrangers appeared to be very apprehensive of being observed by passing trains, as everyone that went by slackened speed, the driver’s attention being no doubt attracted by the broken telegraph wires. About half-past four p.m. the train for Melbourne passed and stopped, leaving a man who had been sent from Benalla to repair the damage, but as soon as the train that brought him had departed he was bailed up and speedily placed with the rest of the captives in the storeroom. Shortly after breakfast another incident occurred. It appears that two selectors named Casement and Tannant respectively, and two visitors named Dudley and McDougall, had been out shooting kangaroos, having a saddle horse and a springcart with them, and two carrying double-barrelled guns. To return to their home they had to pass the station, and while so doing, they were met by two of the bushrangers, one of whom told them to bail up, as he was Ned Kelly. Casement said to Kelly he had better mind himself, or the consequence might be bad. Kelly told Tannant to get down from his horse. Tannant dismounted and said to Casement ‘Let’s go and load the guns’ and he went to the cart and began to charge them. Kelly then ordered him off the cart, and throw his rifle down and put his fist up, saying, ‘Won’t you come and try it out with me? That’s the fist, of Ned Kelly ; it won’t be long before you feel the weight of it.’ Tannant then got off the cart and was ordered by Kelly to go and open the gate leading to the home station, Tannant at first refused, but Kelly forced him to comply by putting the barrel of his revolver in his mouth and saying, ‘Now, will you go?’ Tannant afterwards declared he could feel the cold iron between his jaws. Kelly and his mate then drove the men before them up to the huts, and they were consigned to captivity in the storeroom, along with the rest, They took the spring cart and horse with them also. This, with the hawker’s wagon, made two vehicles at the bushrangers’ disposal, to be  afterwards utilised in their raid upon the National Bank at Euroa.

On returning to the station, Edward Kelly went to Mr. Macauley and asked him to write him a cheque, but Mr. Macauley refused to do so. It would seem that Kelly’s reason for wanting the cheque was not so much for the sake of the money as for an excuse for going to the bank, for pointing to a drawer, he said to Mr. Macauley, there is a cheque in that drawer for £4. There was such a cheque drawn out and signed, and Mr. Macauley replied, ‘I can’t stop you from taking that, but I won’t sign a cheque.’ Kelly then took the cheque, and left the station with his brother Daniel and Steve Hart, Byrne staying behind to guard the prisoners in the storehouse, Mr, Macauley being put in along with the others. The bushrangers then appear to have gone direct to the township, taking, with them Gloster’s waggon and Casement’s spring-cart.

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Euroa, VIC (date unknown) Source: State Library of New South Wales; FL1715720; IE1715712

At about a quarter-past four in the afternoon Edward Kelly knocked at the door of the bank office, it being after bank hours, and on its being partly opened by Mr. Bradley, one of the clerks, Kelly said he wanted a cheque of Mr. Macauley’s for £4 cashed. Mr. Bradley said it was too late, whereupon Kelly said he wanted the money, and asked to see the manager, Mr. Scott. Mr. Bradley replied it would be no use his seeing him, as he had locked the cash up. Bradley was still holding the door partly open when Kelly pushed himself in and announced who he was. He and Steve Hart then rushed in and covered Mr. Bradley and Mr. Booth, the other clerk, with their revolvers, and, driving them before them, passed round the counter into the manager’s room, where Mr. Scott was sitting. They ordered Mr. Scott to tell the female inmates of the house who were there not to, make a row. Mr. Scott did so, and Mrs. Scott, With her mother, six children and two female servants came into the passage. The two clerks were also sent there, and saw Daniel Kelly at the back door. Edward Kelly then demanded from Mr. Scott what money was in the bank. Mr, Scott replied that he had not the entire care of it, there being duplicate keys, some of which were kept by Mr. Bradley. Kelly then put a pistol to Mr. Bradley’s head and asked him for the cash, and Mr. Bradley, after much hesitation, had to give up the keys of the safe drawers. Edward Kelly went out and got a gunny bag from the waggon, and, taking the money from the drawers, put it into it, mixing notes, gold and, silver indiscriminately. The clerks here cannot say, in Mr. Scott’s absence, what the actual amount was that was taken, but it is currently stated to have been between £1500 and £2000. Having secured the cash the robbers proceeded to the yard and got ready Mr. Scott’s horse and buggy. They allowed the bank officials to put the books away in the strong room, and then took Mr. and Mrs. Scott, their family and servants, and the two clerks, out by the back way, locked up the premises, and, putting them into the three vehicles, drove them rapidly off towards Mr. Younghusband’s station, Gloster’s waggon leading the way, with Edward Kelly driving, the buggy driven by Mr. Scott next, and the spring cart last.

On arriving at the station they found the other man, Byrne, pacing up and down in front of the storehouse with a rifle in each hand, and they saw all the people who were shut up inside looking through the windows, when they all alighted from the traps. The ladies were allowed to go into the kitchen, and Byrne unlocked the store and let the prisoners go as far as about the door, but they were not allowed to go further. The bushrangers appeared to be well armed, as four rifles were noticed lying in the waggon. Mr. Macauley was allowed to come out of the storeroom, and the horses were then taken to their stables by the station hands, the Kellys keeping guard over them. Ned Kelly took the money from Casement’s cart, and strapped the bag on to the front of his saddle. After that they had tea served in the kitchen. The bushrangers stopped about the premises until near nine o’clock, when they rode away. Before leaving they locked every one up except Mr. Macauley and the women, and told the former not to let any one out for three hours, saying that if they came back within that time and found he had done so he would have to be responsible for the consequences. Edward Kelly distributed a quantity of silver coin among the servants and other women about the station before he left. Mr. Macauley opened the store about a quarter of an hour after the gang had departed in order to let fresh air in and about 10.30 Messrs. Scott and Bradley, with Mrs. Scott and the younger children left the station in the buggy, while Mr. Booth and the elder children walked to the township along the railway line. The robbery was altogether a most audacious one, and at the same time was cleverly planned, for although it was committed in broad daylight, everything was so well managed that the residents of the township had not the slightest idea of what was being done. The outlaws wore to some extent favored by the position of the bank, it being the first house in the township coming from the direction of Faithfull’s Creek station.

The first intimation of the robbery was given when the captives returned from the station ; and Constable Anderson, the only officer stationed at Euroa, went by the night train to Benalla to give information. Superintendent Nicolson, with a body of police numbering about a dozen, in addition to black trackers, left Benalla at midnight on Tuesday by special train, and on arrival at Euroa they at once commenced search operations, which were continued during the day. About eleven o’clock to-night the police again made a start, but were, as usual, very reticent as to the direction they meant to take, as well as whether there were any good reasons to believe that a capture would be effected. All kinds of rumors are afloat as to the locality the Kellys have made for, some saying they have gone towards Murchison, while others maintain that they will be found in their old haunts in the ranges near the scene of the murders. In the meantime, great excitement and a general feeling of insecurity prevails all over the district. A special train left Benalla for Euroa at half-past twelve to-night, with extra police and black trackers. There is no further news to be obtained here.

Source:

“FURTHER OUTRAGES BY THE KELLY GANG.” Leader (Melbourne, Vic. : 1862 – 1918) 14 December 1878: 21.v

3 thoughts on “Spotlight: Further Outrages by the Kelly Gang

  1. Much is made of the fact that nobody was hurt and no shots were fired in this raid nor at the raid in Jerilderie. However as this account shows there was a great deal of brandishing of guns and threatening people, and given that it was only a few weeks earlier that the same gang had killed three policemen, the threats could not be said to be idle. As for forcing a loaded pistol into someones mouth – this is ultra-violent and sick if you ask me.

    “Tannant at first refused, but Kelly forced him to comply by putting the barrel of his revolver in his mouth and saying, ‘Now, will you go?’ Tannant afterwards declared he could feel the cold iron between his jaws.”

    Like

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