The following is an account of the life and career of Andrew George Scott that appeared in print shortly after his capture at McGlede’s farm. It is accurate to what was publicly confirmed or at least believed at the time. Despite the many inconsistencies in the case of the Mount Egerton bank robbery, it was generally accepted that he was guilty of the crime. Scott would always protest his innocence, even long after any hope of having his name cleared in the matter had passed.
The following sketch of the career of this desperado, taken from the Melbourne Argus, will be read with interest at the present time:—
His real name is Andrew George Scott, and he is now 37 years of age. He was born in the north of Ireland, was of respectable parentage, and was brought up as a civil engineer. When yet a youth he emigrated to New Zealand, and joining the volunteers there he fought against the Maories. In an engagement he received a charge of shot in both legs. The slugs were extracted, but they left their marks. Subsequently he came to Victoria, and having entered the Church of England was stationed as a lay reader at Bacchus Marsh. Whilst administering to the spiritual wants of the district he became acquainted with the manager of the Egerton Bank and also with, the schoolmaster of that township. He used to visit the bank manager very frequently, and was on the most friendly and intimate terms with him. He also associated with the schoolmaster. One night a man with a mask on his face and armed called at the bank and bailed up the manager. The manager recognised the voice to be that of his friend Scott, but this discovery did not have any deterrent effect on the robber. Gagging his friend, Scott marched him into the schoolhouse, which was close at hand, and made him write and pin upon a desk the following line : —
“Captain Moonlite has stuck me up and robbed the bank.”
He then took him out side, tied him up in his gagged state to a tree, and having obtained possession of the bank key, he ransacked the coffers and stole up wards of £2,000 in notes, coin, and cake gold. He had a horse ready close by, and immediately galloped to a neighbouring township, seven miles distant. This journey was accomplished in half an hour, and on his arrival he asked several of his friends what o’clock it was. It was afterwards seen that he did this on purpose to prove an alibi, for he argued that as he was in this township half an hour after the robbery, he could not have been the robber.
So successful was he in throwing suspicion off himself, that the bank manager and the school master were arrested as the criminals, and he (Scott) was used by the local police as a witness against them. At the trial the jury could not agree on the manager’s case, and he was discharged. The school master was admitted to bail, but was bound over to surrender when called upon. In the meantime Scott had gone to Sydney, and lived there for a brief period in very grand style. When his funds became about exhausted he purchased a yacht, and engaged a crew with the intention of trying his fortunes in Fiji, or in the South Seas generally. It was, however, discovered that he had passed a valueless cheque for about £150, and before he had got beyond Sydney Heads he was arrested. A charge of false pretences was established, and he was sentenced to eighteen months’ imprisonment. During his incarceration at Sydney it transpired that he had sold the exact amount of cake gold which had been stolen-from the Egerton Bank to the Sydney Mint. When his sentence expired he was therefore brought back in custody to Victoria, and a police court investigation having taken place he was committed to stand his trial for the Egerton Bank robbery. Pending the trial he was lodged in the Ballarat gaol.
On the night before the day fixed for his trial he cut a hole through the wall of his cell into another occupied by a prisoner named Dermoodie. He made Dermoodie join him, and together they managed to take off the lock of the cell door. They got out into the corridor just as a warder was approaching. Springing upon the warder they choked and gagged him, and tied him up. They then relieved him of his keys, and liberated four other prisoners. All six of them reached the outer yard without any alarm having been raised. The wall being very high they were at a loss as to how they could scale it. Scott’s genius, however, was equal to the occasion. A blanket was brought from a cell and torn into strips, which were then tied together so as to form, a rope. Scott then placed himself at the wall, a second man climbed up and stood on his shoulders, a third did the same and stood on the shoulders of the second, and so on until Scott bore the weight of all five. They succeeded in doing this by means of their blanket rope, to which they had previously attached a heavy stone, throwing then the weighted end over the wall. The last man easily managed to seat himself on the top, and he then pulled up the one next him. The others scrambled up in turn by means of the rope. The descent on the other side was conducted in the same way, the order of the operation being: simply reversed. The six men thus all escaped.. Three hundred pounds, or £50 each, was offered for their recapture, and all but two were eventually arrested.
Scott and Dermoodie stuck together, and the former obtained arms. As they, were travelling together through the bush Scott, intimated that it was his intention to stick up a bank. Dermoodie declined to take part, saying they might have to take life, and their case was bad enough already. Scott thereupon turned upon him in a passion, called him a mean coward, and gave him five minutes to live. So convinced was Dermoodie that his time had come that he fell on his knees and pleaded with tears in his eyes for mercy. Scott relented, but kicked him away contemptuously. Shortly afterwards the police authorities received information that Scott was lurking about some diggings in the vicinity of Sandhurst. Detectives Brown and Alexander and Sergeant (now Sub-Inspector) Drought set out at once to effect his capture. They arrived at the place at about 2 o’clock, in the morning, and soon learned that the desperado was asleep in a hut. The hut was in charge of a boy who was working in the neighborhood. This lad was hunted up and questioned. He frankly told them that there was a man asleep in his hut, and that he was fully armed. The hut was cautiously approached. Going round to the door Detective Brown could see through a chink a man lying on a stretcher, sleeping soundly. By his hand stood a gun, and on a table lay a revolver and bowie-knife. These things were easily recognised through a log being alight in the fireplace. How to enter without disturbing, or alarming the sleeper was, however, a question difficult to be solved. The door was made of heavy timber ; it covered the whole end of the hut, and rested on heavy side-posts. An iron chain was passed through two holes in the centre, and through the loop of this chain in the inside was passed a ponderous bar, which was turned round so that its ends had a firm grasp of the door-posts. Detective Brown endeavored to push the bar aside by inserting a knife through a chink, but failed to more it far enough. He then gave this attempt up, and resolved on using the boy as a snare for the ruffian. The lad, after much persuasion — for be was in mortal fear of being shot— consented to act as desired on Brown saying that he would simply have to speak from behind his back. The two then took up their positions at the door, and in accordance with his instructions the boy called out — ‘Please, Sir, will you give me out my billy-can? ‘ A grunt from within was the only answer, and the request was repeated. Scott then demanded “What do you want it for?’ The lad promptly answered, ‘For tea; it is now our tea time.” “What o’clock is it?” inquired Scott, and the boy still speaking as he had been previously directed, said “Just 12 o’clock — our tea time.” There was a pause for a minute, and the detective feared that the scoundrel had discovered the truth and was preparing to fight. He, however, exercised patience,and by-and-by the bar was removed. The door was then slightly opened, and a hand held out with a billy-can. Brown at once seized the man’s wrist with a firm grasp, whilst with his other hand he thrust a revolver into his face, and said, “If you move, you are a dead man.” The other officers came promptly forward, and the fellow was secured. He denied at first that he was Scott, but Brown settled his identity by pulling up his trousers and showing’ the shot-marks in his legs. For escaping from legal custody the desperado was sentenced to twelve months’ imprisonment in irons. He was also convicted and sentenced to ten years for the Egerton Bank robbery. His conduct in Pentridge has been already adverted to in previous reports. He was discharged in March last, and has now, we hope, committed his final outrage on humanity.
[Source: South Australian Chronicle and Weekly Mail (Adelaide, SA : 1868 – 1881), Saturday 29 November 1879, page 22]
Few figures in history reach the notoriety and cultural impact of the Kelly Gang. As so much is easily available on the subject already, here is an easily digestible summary of the so-called Kelly Outbreak. For more detailed information, there is a swathe of articles available on A Guide to Australian Bushranging that examine elements of the history in more depth.
The story of the Kelly Gang begins on 15 April, 1878. Constable Alexander Fitzpatrick was sent by Sergeant Whelan at Benalla to take charge of the police station at Greta. Greta was well-known to police in the district as members of the Kelly, Quinn and Lloyd families(all related) had selections there. These families were under particularly strict scrutiny by the police due to their recidivism and suspected involvement in crimes such as stock theft. In fact, Constable Fitzpatrick had heard there was a warrant out for the arrest of Dan Kelly, the seventeen year-old son of the notorious Ellen Kelly, for his suspected involvement in horse stealing. He made it known to Whelan that he intended to arrest Dan en route to Greta police station. Despite popular understanding, Fitzpatrick was not required by law to carry a copy of a warrant with him.
When Fitzpatrick arrived at the Kelly selection, Dan was not at home so he spoke with Ellen Kelly (who was nursing a newborn), then rode to their neighbour, William “Brickey” Williamson, and questioned him about whether he had a permit for the logs he was splitting. He lingered until dusk and returned to the Kelly selection in case Dan had returned rather than riding to Greta to take charge of the station as ordered. Dan Kelly answered the door and Fitzpatrick made his intentions known. Dan agreed to go quietly with Fitzpatrick on condition that he could finish his dinner first as he had been riding all day. He denied having stolen any horses and it would later be revealed that he had been in gaol when the animals in question were stolen, corroborating his assertions. What happened next is not known for sure due to conflicting evidence. What seems to have been the case, according to popular understanding, is that Fitzpatrick possibly made an unwanted sexual advance on fifteen year-old Kate Kelly and a fight broke out. Fitzpatrick claimed that Ellen Kelly hit him in the head with a coal shovel and Ned Kelly entered the house and shot him in the wrist, accompanied by Brickey Williamson and Ellen Kelly’s son-in-law Bill Skillion who were both brandishing revolvers. Ned Kelly would claim he was never there and Ellen would indicate that Fitzpatrick was drunk and had fought with Ned and Dan. Another version of the story states that Fitzpatrick injured his arm on a door latch and claimed it was a bullet wound, cutting himself to make it look like he had removed a bullet. Regardless, Fitzpatrick returned to Benalla and lodged a report. The following day Ellen Kelly, Brickey Williamson and Bill Skillion were arrested and charged with aiding an attempted murder. Ned and Dan Kelly had gone into hiding at Dan Kelly’s hut in the bush, and a £100 reward was posted for the capture of Ned Kelly for attempted murder.
While the brothers were hiding in the Wombat Ranges Ellen Kelly, Brickey Williamson and Bill Skillion were sentenced. Ellen Kelly received three years hard labour, the two men were given six years each. Days later a search party was sent from Mansfield to find the Kelly brothers. Word soon reached the bushrangers that they were being hunted and they tracked the police as they ventured into the bush from Mansfield on 25 October, 1878. Despite the fact they had constructed a fortified hut with huge logs for walls and an armoured door made of sheet metal to protect them in an ambush, they remained on edge. The Mansfield police party consisted of Sergeant Michael Kennedy and Constables Thomas McIntyre, Michael Scanlan (of Mooroopna) and Thomas Lonigan (of Violet Town). They set up camp on the banks of Stringybark Creek, less than a mile from Dan Kelly’s hut. The following day Kennedy and Scanlan headed off to scout for the brothers, leaving McIntyre and Lonigan to tend the camp. McIntyre shot some parrots with a shotgun Kennedy had left him for the task of hunting something for supper. He returned to camp and began cooking bread. Unknown to them, the sound of McIntyre shooting had been heard and Ned Kelly decided to bail up the police. He and Dan were joined by Joe Byrne, a young man from the Woolshed Valley who had recently been involved in stock theft with Ned, and Steve Hart, a jockey from Wangaratta. Ned claimed his intention was to rob the police of their food and weapons.
In the afternoon of 26 October, 1878, the Kelly Gang emerged from the bush and ordered McIntyre and Lonigan to bail up. McIntyre did as instructed but Lonigan ran and was shot by Ned with a quartered bullet. A piece of shrapnel pierced Lonigan’s eye and entered his brain, killing him. Ned insisted that Lonigan had gotten behind a log and was about to shoot him. McIntyre would refute this, stating that there was not enough time for Lonigan to have done so. The bushrangers raided the camp, gathering what they could. Dan Kelly insisted McIntyre be handcuffed but Ned refused. He ordered McIntyre to tell the other police to surrender when they returned or be shot. Joe Byrne drank tea and smoked with McIntyre as they waited. When Kennedy and Scanlan returned the gang hid and McIntyre attempted to get the police to surrender. Very suddenly shots were fired. Ned shot Scanlan in the back as his horse tried to run away. Kennedy jumped out of the saddle and began shooting with his pistol. McIntyre escaped on Kennedy’s horse and rode into the bush. Kennedy attempted to follow McIntyre and shot Dan Kelly in the shoulder. Ned pursued Kennedy and they fired at each other in a running gunfight. Kennedy was wounded and fell a considerable distance from the camp. Ned finished him off by shooting him in the chest at close range. He would claim it was a mercy killing. The bushrangers then looted from the corpses and took everything they needed from the camp before burning the tent. Constable McIntyre, meanwhile, had been badly injured as he escaped and hid in a wombat hole overnight. The following day he walked to a farm and raised the alarm.
Almost immediately parliament passed the Felons Apprehension Act, which gave them the power to declare people “outlaws”. This was based on the legislation of the same name passed in New South Wales in response to bushrangers such as Ben Hall and Dan Morgan. It meant that the outlaws were not protected by the law and could be murdered without provocation and the killer would not only be exempt from any repercussions, they would receive the reward money. Ned Kelly, Dan Kelly and their two accomplices (Joe Byrne and Steve Hart had not yet been identified) were officially declared outlaws in the colony of Victoria. £1000 was put on Ned’s capture, another £1000 was offered for the others. The assistant commissioner of police, Charles Hope Nicolson, was assigned to lead the hunt for the gang.
On 9 December, 1878, the Kelly Gang re-emerged. They stuck up Younghusband’s Station at Faithfull’s Creek and imprisoned the staff in a storeroom. That evening a hawker arrived to camp at the station and he was bailed up as well. The outlaws took new outfits from the hawkers wagon and spruced themselves up with perfume. Later, Ned held a Q&A session in the shed where he answered all the questions his prisoners had about his life and crimes. The next morning, Dan guarded the prisoners while the other gang members destroyed the telegraph lines. A hunting party was also captured and added to the prisoners in the shed.
In the afternoon of 10 December, Ned, Dan and Steve rode to Euroa to rob the bank. Dan guarded the back door as Steve went into the manager’s homestead via the kitchen. Here he was recognised by one of the servants who had been a schoolmate of his. He locked her in the drawing room with the rest of the manager’s family before heading into the bank. Meanwhile, Ned had tried to get in the front door with a dodgy cheque he had made the superintendent of Younghusband’s Station write out. When the bank clerk tried to tell him they were closed, he burst in and bailed the staff up and ordered them to give him all the money. Once the till was emptied he ordered them to open the safe but they needed the manager’s key. Ned and Steve bailed up the manager, Robert Scott, and after much hassle, including sending Scott’s wife to get the key from the study, the safe was emptied too. The outlaws then took the staff and the Scotts with them back to the station where Joe had been guarding the prisoners, and had even captured the linesman sent to repair the broken telegraph wires. The gang stayed until night time and then left, ordering the prisoners to wait until they were gone before leaving themselves. The gang escaped with over £1500 on gold and money. In response the reward was raised to £4000 and Assistant Commissioner Nicolson was replaced by Superintendent Francis Augustus Hare.
With all four gang members now officially named, it was harder for them to move around, so they got Joe Byrne’s best friend Aaron Sherritt to keep the police distracted by giving them false information. In early 1879 he informed Superintendent Hare that the Kelly Gang would be going to Goulburn. The police immediately headed for Goulburn, but the outlaws were actually heading for Jerilderie, further west. They split up and Ned and Joe went to the Woolpack Inn to get information about Jerilderie. They soon rejoined Dan and Steve and headed into the town.
At midnight on 7 February, 1879, the Kelly Gang woke the Jerilderie police up and captured them. They locked the police in their own lock-up cell and planned their next heist. The next day Ned and Joe disguised themselves as police reinforcements and went through the town with one of the constables. They made note of where everything was. Later, Joe and Dan traced the telegraph lines and got their horses shod. The next day Dan guarded the wife of the town’s Sergeant as she decorated the town hall for mass. The gang then began to round the townsfolk up and imprisoned them in the Royal Hotel. Joe went into the bank via the back door and bailed up the staff. Ned and Steve soon appeared. They robbed the till, but again had to get the manager’s key for the safe. Steve was sent to find the manager and caught him having a bath. Eventually the safe was opened and emptied. Ned began destroying records of the bank’s debtors and the bank staff were added to the prisoners in the hotel. Ned and Joe had written a letter that was to be published in the local newspaper, but the local news editor had run out of town once he realised the Kelly Gang were robbing the bank. Ned gave the letter to one of the bankers to be passed onto the press. The gang soon headed off with £2000 pounds of stolen money and gold. This caused the New South Wales government to contribute another £4000 to the reward.
For months the gang seemed to disappear. During this time Aaron Sherritt kept the police distracted by hosting watch parties at the Byrne selection every night. Sub-Inspector Stanhope O’Connor was sent from Queensland with a party of native police. The native police were feared for their incredible tracking abilities and their discipline. During the latter months of 1879, Superintendent Hare took ill and was replaced by Assistant Commissioner Nicolson. Nicolson stopped the watch parties and relied on a syndicate of police informants to keep track of the Kelly Gang. Unfortunately a lot of information the police received was either outdated, false or cases of mistaken identity. The media criticised the police for their apparent ineptitude.
At this time the outlaws had begun to collect steel plates, mostly plough mouldboards, in order to craft bulletproof armour. Ned Kelly would claim his original intention was to wear the armour during bank robberies as the banks were now all guarded by armed soldiers. Each gang member had their own suit, but mystery still surrounds who made the armour. Many believe it was made by blacksmiths or by the gang themselves.
The gang had also been very reliant on their sympathisers for fresh horses, food, shelter and information. The proceeds from the bank robberies had all gone to their supporters. The most prominent sympathisers were Tom Lloyd, Wild Wright, Paddy Byrne, Ettie Hart and the Kelly sisters. Aaron Sherritt was a sympathiser too, but many of the gang’s other supporters thought he was working for the police and had told the gang to murder him. Sherritt’s family had actually been working as police informants, his brother Jack Sherritt in particular, but Aaron had remained a supporter of his closest friend. Nevertheless, the rumours were persistent and Joe Byrne and Dan Kelly frequently tested the Sherritts by giving them useless information to see if it reached the police. When Superintendent Hare returned as head of the pursuit, he re-employed Aaron to take watch parties to spy on Mrs. Byrne. When the threats against Aaron became worrisome, Detective Michael Ward, one of the heads of the hunt based in Beechworth, had arranged for Aaron to be guarded day and night by police. Meanwhile, Ned Kelly had decided to escalate the conflict with the police and take out as many of them in a single go as possible. He planned to lure them out on a special train and derail it. A commotion at Aaron Sherritt’s hut would cause the police, who were based in Benalla, to go by train to Beechworth and resume the hunt with a fresh trail. In order to get to Beechworth they had to pass through Glenrowan, where the train line would be broken on a treacherous bend, causing the train to fly off the tracks. The intention seems to have been to murder the police on board in order to force the government to stop pursuing the gang out of fear.
On 26 June, 1880, Dan Kelly and Joe Byrne bailed up a German neighbour of Aaron Sherritt named Anton Wick. They took him to Sherritt’s hut and used Wick to lure Aaron to the back door. When Aaron opened the door Joe murdered him, shooting him twice with a shotgun. Aaron died instantly. The four police constables that had been assigned to protect Aaron cowered and hid in the bedroom. Joe and Dan tried to force the police out of the bedroom for two hours before giving up and riding off to join Ned and Steve at Glenrowan.
At Glenrowan, Ned and Steve bailed up a team of quarrymen and some plate-layers to pull up a section of the train track. Ned also captured Ann Jones, proprietor of The Glenrowan Inn, and her daughter Jane. The prisoners were taken to the gatehouse where Joe and Dan arrived at around five in the morning. At daybreak the prisoners were split into two groups: women and children were kept in the gatehouse to be guarded by Steve, everyone else was taken to The Glenrowan Inn. Throughout the day more prisoners were captured as Ned waited for the police. To keep the prisoners occupied there were sporting games held at the inn, card games were played inside, drinks flowed freely and there was even a dance in the bar room. Still, there was no sign of police. As it was a Sunday, no civilian trains would be running and Ned expected the police to arrive as soon as they heard the news of what had happened at Aaron’s hut. What Ned had not discovered was that the news of Aaron’s murder did not reach the police in Benalla until after lunchtime. The police took a long time to make any arrangements but as dusk approached, arrangements were made for a special police train to be sent to Beechworth.
That evening Ned decided to bail up the local policeman, Constable Bracken. Thomas Curnow, the schoolteacher, had been trying to convince Ned he was on his side all day and Ned finally agreed to let Curnow take his sick wife home when they went to capture Bracken. As soon as he got home, Curnow gathered materials to help him stop the train. He took a candle and a red scarf and rode off to the train line. Back at the inn there was more dancing and after midnight Dan Kelly told everyone to head home. However, Ann Jones stopped them from leaving so Ned could give a speech. As Ned was talking the police train finally arrived and stopped at the station. Curnow had used the lit candle behind the red scarf as a danger signal and warned the train about the damaged line. The Kelly Gang donned their armour and prepared for battle. Constable Bracken escaped and ran to the train station where he informed Superintendent Hare that the gang were in The Glenrowan Inn. The police headed to the inn and a battle commenced.
In the initial exchange Superintendent Hare’s wrist was smashed by a shot, Joe Byrne was shot in the calf, and Ned Kelly was shot in the foot and his left elbow was smashed. As the battle continued, the prisoners tried to escape. Jane Jones led a group of women and children to safety after she had been hit in the head by a police bullet and her little brother had also been mortally wounded by police fire. Over the next few hours, Ned escaped into the bush, most of the women and children escaped even though the police continued to try and shoot them, and Joe Byrne was killed by a police bullet to the groin. Police reinforcements continued to arrive throughout the early hours of the morning and just before sunrise Ned Kelly reappeared behind the police lines.
Ned fought the police for almost half an hour before Sergeant Steele blasted his unprotected knee. He was captured alive but badly wounded. Dan and Steve remained in the inn. At ten o’clock the rest of the prisoners were let out. By this time people from all around had descended upon Glenrowan to watch the siege. At three in the afternoon the police decided to burn the inn down to flush Dan and Steve out. They had previously ordered a cannon to be sent from Melbourne to blown the inn up but it had not yet arrived. As the inn was set on fire a Catholic priest, Matthew Gibney, ran inside to rescue anyone that was still in there. Joe Byrne’s corpse was dragged out and the dead bodies of Dan and Steve were found in the bedroom but could not be retrieved before the fire took hold. Another civilian shot by police, Martin Cherry, was rescued from the fire but only lived long enough to be given the last rites. After the fire had stopped, Dan’s and Steve’s bodies were retrieved. They were charred beyond recognition. The onlookers crowded around to get a good look at the dead bodies and to grab any souvenirs they could. Photographers captured images of many of the scenes.
Ned Kelly was taken to Benalla, where Joe Byrne’s corpse was strung up against a door of the police lock-up to be photographed. Ned was then sent to Melbourne Gaol to be treated for his wounds but was not expected to survive. Meanwhile, Dan and Steve were buried in unmarked graves to prevent the police taking the bodies away from the families. Months after Glenrowan there were still bullets and bits of shot being removed from Ned’s hands, feet and limbs. When he was deemed fit, he was sent to Beechworth for a committal hearing. Authorities were worried that having a trial in Beechworth would mean there was a strong likelihood of there being sympathisers in the jury so in order to have the best chance at convicting him, he was transferred back to Melbourne for his murder trial.
The trial in the Supreme Court was quick and Ned Kelly was found guilty of murdering Constable Thomas Lonigan and sentenced to death by Sir Redmond Barry, the judge that had sentenced his mother to gaol in 1878. While he was held in Melbourne Gaol to await his execution, his sympathisers tried to get a reprieve. Petitions with tens of thousands of signatures were gathered and there were protests and riots in the streets of Melbourne. Kate Kelly met with prominent politicians to beg for mercy but the Executive Council were unmoved and the sentence was upheld. Ned dictated several letters from his cell in order to make his version of events heard. As he was unable to write due to his injuries another prisoner was made to write for him. On 11 November, 1880, Ned Kelly was hanged in Melbourne Gaol. Thousands of people gathered outside the prison and Ellen Kelly worked in the prison laundry within earshot of the gallows. After his execution, his body was taken to the dead house, his head was shaved and a cast made, then his body was removed to be dissected by university students. The remains were buried in the gaol.
The Kelly Gang was not prolific by a far stretch. They did fewer robberies than the Hall Gang; they murdered less people than Jimmy Governor; they were not at large as long as Captain Thunderbolt; and there were not as many members as The Ribbon Gang. But what distinguished the Kelly Gang was that there was a political element to their story that was unprecedented, and a sophistication to their operations that surpassed similar feats from the “golden era” of bushrangers. Most people believe bushranging ended with the Kelly Gang, but in fact bushranging continued well into the 1920s before it began to evaporate.
Certainly the armour is a powerful piece of iconography and it encapsulates a lot of what makes the Kelly story so unique. In almost 100 years of bushranging, starting with Black Caesar in 1788, nobody had thought to protect themselves from bullets. Ned Kelly mixed the best bits of old fashioned bushranging with a fresh, more methodical approach: to prevent being shot they made armour; because mail coaches were not lucrative targets they robbed banks; they destroyed telegraph lines to prevent information reaching the police quickly; to gain sympathy they gave speeches and wrote letters to the press and politicians; to prove they were not cold blooded murderers they performed intricate heists with no bloodshed. They were bushrangers that didn’t act like typical bushrangers and that made them a cut above the rest.
Because the Kelly Gang came from the selector class and so many people identified with them, they became representatives of people in a way not seen since Jack Donohoe became the hero of the convict class. They came to represent everything one group of people tried to suppress, at the same time as being everything the other group wanted to be, which struck a chord and captured the imagination. Even now, they capture that same spirit because a lot of the class conflict in the modern day is merely a mutation of what it was then and stems from the same things. People will always be able to find something in the Kelly Gang they either love or hate because they have transcended history and become part of the cultural tapestry.
Despite their infamy, the Kelly Gang were hardly prolific in any sense as far as bushrangers are concerned, but perhaps it’s a matter of quality over quantity. The second raid they undertook was one of the most audacious in history and definitely ranks with anything performed by the likes of Ben Hall or Dan Morgan. Yet, there are many conflicting accounts that vary in small details so creating an accurate and concise account is no small feat.
Since December 1878 the Kelly Gang had gone to ground and, despite the best efforts of the police, they had avoided capture easily. A change in police leadership saw Superintendent Hare take the reins from Superintendent Nicolson with no noticeable change in effect. The gang meanwhile were plotting. A morally dubious undertaking by the police saw scores of people arrested and imprisoned indefinitely on remand as suspected sympathisers. This no doubt put a strain on many of the poor farms in the region and would have infuriated Ned Kelly, who had already identified himself as a figurehead for the struggles of the smaller farmers against the oppressive influence of certain squatters and police.
The gang had a plan to ride across the border into New South Wales and rob a bank. The banks in Victoria had all been allocated guards since the Euroa robbery and the New South Wales police had bragged that the Kelly Gang wouldn’t last 24 hours in their colony. The gang were determined to prove them wrong. They used Joe Byrne’s best friend, Aaron Sherritt, to create a diversion by telling the police the gang were headed to Goulburn. The police fell for it and the gang were able to pass into the neighbouring colony unmolested while the police were distracted elsewhere.
On 7 February 1879 the Kelly Gang crossed the border into New South Wales. Splitting up, Dan and Steve going one way, Ned and Joe the other, they made their way into the Riverina. Ned and Joe stopped at the Woolpack Inn where they spoke and drank freely with Mary Jordan (aka Mary the Larrikin), a popular barmaid. The pair were able to glean some information about the township of Jerilderie, specifically about the police, and this helped to cement the game plan. What other shenanigans they got up to at the Woolpack Inn one can leave up to their imagination.
On the 8 February the gang moved into the township of Jerilderie. It was a town primarily concerned with agriculture and pastoral industry, flat and close to Billabong Creek. At midnight they approached the police station. Inside Senior Constable George Devine and Constable Henry Richards were just settling into bed. Mrs. Devine, who was pregnant at the time, had related to her husband that she had had a dream that the Kelly Gang were there but the annoyed husband dismissed it as rot. Suddenly there was a racket outside. “Devine, Richards, come out! There’s been a row at the hotel!”
When the police exited the building they were greeted with the Kelly Gang brandishing revolvers. The gang had split up to cover the front and rear and they closed in on the shocked officers. The troopers were taken prisoner then locked in the cell behind the station usually reserved for drunks and freshly arrested criminals. Mrs. Devine and her children were kept in the sitting room. Mrs. Devine was then sent to gather the firearms in the house. She begged Ned not to harm the men. Ned stated that if they didn’t misbehave then they would be unharmed. While Dan and Steve stabled the horses Mrs. Devine prepared a supper. When she moved to shift a bath full of water Ned refused to allow her to and did it himself, recognising that she was pregnant and in no condition for heavy lifting. In the early hours the gang took turns to rest and guard the others.
The following morning the gang set about putting the rest of the plan into action. The police ate breakfast with the bushrangers and then Ned and Dan dressed in police uniforms. Mrs. Devine expressed that she was scheduled to decorate the courthouse for mass and Ned, realising that her absence could arouse suspicion, allowed her to go, but she was accompanied there and guarded closely. Shortly after her return she accepted a delivery from the butcher, watched closely by Steve Hart and Ned Kelly.
Ned and Steve dressed in police uniforms to patrol the town, escorting Constable Richards and learning the lay of the land. Everyone assumed these new constables were reinforcements against the Kelly Gang. Mrs. Devine was guarded in the house with her husband by Dan and Joe.
A photolithograph of the town’s layout was procured and Ned and Joe plotted their exact movements for the following day. It was a remarkably domestic scene with Mrs. Devine bustling about doing chores while the outlaws made plans. Dan sat attentively and bounced one of the children merrily on his knee. Joe wrote a joke on the back of the photolithograph:
Q. Why are the Kellys the greatest matchmakers in the country?
A. Because they brought loads of ladies to Younghusbands (station), Euroa, Victoria.
As the night wound on Joe rode back to the Woolpack Inn and stayed there having a grand old time with Mary the Larrikin, until midnight when he was so sozzled Mary had to help him onto his horse. Meanwhile Ned had read a portion of the letter he and Joe had been writing to Mrs. Devine but it had all gone in one ear and out the other, her continued anxiety over the welfare of her family too dominant in her mind to pay attention.
On Monday the 9th, the raid was put into action. The gang rode into town early and Dan and Joe, dressed as troopers, took their horses Rea’s blacksmith shop. They had the horses shod by blacksmith Andrew Nixon (all charged to the government account, naturally) and Joe left a loaf of bread. Next, Dan and Joe examined the telegraph wires that ran through town and noted them for later. Ned and Dan escorted Constable Richards through the streets with Joe and Steve riding behind on their horses. Ned and Dan ordered Richards to introduce them to Cox, the publican at the Royal Hotel. Ned informed Cox that his hotel was to be a prison for the day, but that if there was compliance there would be no bloodshed. Cox made the sensible choice to co-operate. Joe and Steve were placed in the front room, Dan on guard in the bar. As people entered the building they were bailed up.
Over the course of the day prisoners were rounded up and installed at the Royal Hotel where they were guarded by Dan Kelly, who remained in a police uniform. The gang had surmised that people are more likely to be compliant if you give them free booze. The hotel was connected to the bank by a walkway at the rear. It was not uncommon for drunks to go ambling in the back door of the bank, and with this in mind Joe began to pretend to be intoxicated as he wandered across the walkway into the bank. The bank staff were not alarmed by his intrusion but rethought their opinion when Byrne drew a pistol and stated “I’m a Kelly, bail up!”
Joe was soon joined by Ned and Steve. The till was emptied of just under £700 but Ned was not satisfied. “You must have at least £10,000!” he shouted. Edwin Living, the accountant, maintained that there was no more. Living was in his mid-twenties and spoke with a slight stammer. Just as Robert Scott had done at Euroa months earlier, Living was doing all he could to delay and misdirect the bushrangers. Not believing a word of it Ned located a locked treasure drawer. In order to open the treasure drawer the manager’s key was required. Joe suggested using a sledgehammer to get it open. Tarleton, the bank manager, had only just returned from a trip and was having a bath when Steve Hart burst in waving a revolver. The key was soon liberated. Steve was ordered to keep watch over the manager while he dressed and the cash was liberated, in all just over £2000. In the meantime, William Elliott the school teacher had wandered in and been bailed up by Joe Byrne. Ned told Elliot to return to the school and let the children go home as he was declaring a holiday in honour of the gang’s visit. Tarleton soon emerged freshly washed and dressed in a silk coat and smoking cap. The situation was one of great peril but no peril was too great to prevent him from indulging in selecting his finest haute couture for the occasion, it would seem.
Ned located a strongbox and while rummaging through it Ned came across the bank’s collection of mortgage papers, deeds and books. He decided that destroying the records of the bank’s debtors was a far more virtuous action than merely robbing the bank and announced his intention to burn the records. Edwin Living was permitted to rescue his life insurance policy. The documents were soon burned.
A trio of locals wandered into the bank at this time – the postmaster, his assistant and the newspaper editor – and caught the bushrangers in the act of robbing it. Two were seized but the third took off and kept running until he was out of town. It eventuated that this fleet-of-foot man was Gill, the newspaper editor, who Ned wanted to publish his letter. This letter was of huge significance to Ned. It was a 56 page document detailing much of his life, with emphasis on what he perceived to be injustices perpetrated against him and his family. It was his attempt to explain and justify his actions in killing three policemen and he wanted his message to be broadcast. With Gill missing the chance of Ned’s letter being published was effectively null. Edwin Living heard Ned’s grievance and offered to safe-keep the letter and forward it to Gill. Reluctantly Ned did so.
Joe rode to the telegraph office dressed as a trooper and ordered the postmaster to dismantle the Morse key. He then examined the telegrams that had been sent that day to see if there was anything concerning.
With the bank robbed, everyone was herded into the pub. When Joe attempted to direct the hotel’s cook, a Chinese man, into the bar he was met with insolence and gave him a whack to make him compliant. With a captive audience, Ned gave a speech detailing his life, crimes and tribulations. At the conclusion of the speech drinks were had and the gang performed riding tricks in the street shouting “Hurrah, for the good old days of Morgan and Ben Hall!”
Ned set a group of townsfolk to work hacking down the telegraph poles with axes. He declared that if anyone touched the wires before the following day he’d return from robbing the Urana bank and shoot them all down like dogs. It was Ned’s typical hyperbolic, overly violent bluffing style and it worked. Many of the men continued chopping down the poles long after the gang were gone.
As they left town, Joe and Dan paired up and headed off while Ned and Steve headed to the Traveller’s Rest Hotel. There Steve Hart stole a saddle to replace his own with then bailed up Reverend Gribble and took his watch. Gribble went to Ned and expressed his distaste for Steve’s behaviour. Ned responded to the reverend’s quibble by berating Steve and forcing him to return the watch. Steve complied and Ned berated him, though it was unclear whether he was more annoyed at the act of petty theft or the fact that the watch was far less valuable that what Steve had already taken that day. Ned had another drink, conspicuously placing his revolver on the counter and announcing that anyone looking for the reward could come and grab it and shoot him if they had the guts. Ned left with another of his famous threats, this time stating that if anyone were to raise an alarm then Jerilderie would be awash in its own blood.
Once the outlaws were gone Reverend Gribble attempted to form a posse to hunt them. He was met with a mix of apathy and strong rejection. Living and Tarleton mounted up and rode to Deniliquin to raise the alarm. By the time news had filtered out it was too late to catch up with he outlaws. They had performed one of the most successful bank heists in Australian history.
In the wake of the raid Sir Henry Parkes, premier of New South Wales, committed to doubling the already hefty reward to £8000. This was the largest reward offered to date for anyone foul of the law, equating to around $2 million AUD. The guards on the banks created a massive hurdle to any future robbery plans for the gang and they disappeared for the remainder of the year. They would re-emerge in a spectacular way midway through the following year when executing a masterplan in Glenrowan. Gill never published the letter.
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.
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.
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.
“FURTHER OUTRAGES BY THE KELLY GANG.” Leader (Melbourne, Vic. : 1862 – 1918) 14 December 1878: 21.v
Australia has produced some unique and often bizarre comedy – The Castle, Alvin Purple, Kenny – but few Australian comedy directors have the same stature as Yahoo Serious. Serious’ debut Young Einstein was a landmark comedy for its decidedly Aussie take on the rags-to-riches story of a Tasmanian apple farmer named Albert Einstein who invents bubbles in beer and rock ‘n’ roll. Serious followed up with a satirical look at gun culture using the cultural touchstone of Ned Kelly as a jumping off point.
Yahoo Serious’ Ned Kelly is a modern day bank robber who bails up ATMs and forcibly deposits the funds into the bank accounts of the poor. He’s obsessed with action movies but when he falls in love he’s prepared to chuck it all in. When Ned Kelly goes to Hollywood unscrupulous real estate agents swoop in to sell his traditional home to Japanese investors, but can a newly pacified Ned Kelly stop them before it’s too late?
On 8 April 2018 Reckless Kelly celebrated its 25th anniversary and its perhaps telling that many of the themes are still painfully relevant after all that time even if some of the jokes are a little cringe inducing now. With a soundtrack that included The Divinyls and Yothu Yindi and a cast that included the talents of Hugo Weaving and the incomparable Bob Mazza, Reckless Kelly is one of the most entertaining films to riff on the Kelly legend.