THE DESTRUCTION OF THE KELLY GANG (Australasian Sketcher)

Australasian Sketcher (Adelaide,SA : 1874 – 1885), Saturday 24 July 1880, page 3


THE DESTRUCTION OF THE KELLY GANG : SCENE AT THE WAKE AT GRETA ON THE BUSHRANGERS’ REMAINS.

WE give full particulars elsewhere of the excited proceedings which took place at Greta over the charred remains of the outlaws Hart and Dan Kelly after the fight at Glenrowan, when “one of the relatives of the Kellys held up his hand over the remains, and swore to Kate Kelly that he would avenge the slaughter of the gang.”

THE KELLY GANG : PORTRAIT OF AARON SHERRITT.

WE give a portrait of the unfortunate man, Aaron Sherritt, who was shot in cold blood by the bushranger Byrne, on the 27th of June, at the door of his own hut. The following is the account of the occurrence :— At about 6 o’clock in the evening the gang reached the spot. The hut was found to be occupied, as the Kellys had anticipated, by a small body of police, besides the object of their search. Keeping in the background, and at a safe distance from the hut themselves, the Kellys sent a man whom they had forced to accompany them and to assist in the execution of their designs, to the door of the hut. He knocked at the door. Sherritt opened it, and said, “Who is here?” The man replied, “I have lost my way. Can you put me on the right track for Sebastopol?” Mrs. Aaron Sherritt told her husband to go out and direct the man. He accordingly went out, and found that the man was Antonio Wicks, a digger, and that he was handcuffed. Joe Byrne stood behind Wicks, and the moment Sherritt stepped forward Byrne shot him through the eye. Sherritt staggered backwards, and then received another bullet in the chest. The murderer, prior to tiring, exclaimed, “You’ll not blow what you will do to us any more.” Sherritt died instantaneously. The gang promptly retired behind trees at a little distance from the hut, and called out to the police, ” Come out of that, you — dogs, and surrender.” The police declared that they would die before they would surrender, and the gang, threatening to burn the house and roast them inside, fired a volley at the hut, and subsequently endeavoured to set fire to it. The shots fired had no effect, and the police escaped injury. The outlaws remained in the immediate vicinity for some hours, and the police meanwhile acted entirely on the defensive, and made no attempt to fire at or rush out upon the gang. The reason given for their inactivity was that the night was dark, while there was a bright fire burning within the hut, so that while the bushrangers were out of sight the constables could not appear at the door or window without being seen and shot.

THE KELLY GANG : PORTRAITS OF BYRNE AND HART, THE BUSHRANGERS.

AT the first outbreak of the gang we gave the portraits of the two Kellys. We now give those of the two remaining members of the gang.

THE DESTRUCTION OF THE KELLY SANG : THE DANCE AT THE GLENROWAN INN BEFORE THE FIGHT.

THIS strange incident of the late bushranging adventure took place at the Glenrowan Inn just before the arrival of the police in the special train. Constable Bracken, who was one of the prisoners taken by the bushrangers to the hotel, and saw all the proceedings, gave the following account of this matter:— “Between 12 and 1 o’clock on Monday morning one of Mrs. Jones’s sons sang the Kelly song for the amusement of the gang, and his mother occasionally asked him to sing out louder. Most of the prisoners were then cleared from the front parlour, and the gang had a dance. They danced a set of quadrilles, and Mr. David Mortimer, brother-in-law of the schoolmaster, furnished the music with a concertina. Ned Kelly had the girl Jones for a partner, Dan had Mrs. Jones, and Byrne and Hart danced with male prisoners. Thinking they heard a noise outside, the gang broke away from the dance abruptly, and Dan went outside. It was at this time that I secured the key of the door. Doubling up my trousers at the feet, I placed the key in the fold, and when I heard the special arrive I raised my leg, picked out the key stealthily, unlocked the door, and I bounded away. When the train was heard stopping Kelly said, ‘You will see some play now, boys. We will shoot them all.'” How strangely this reads like a kind of rogues’ burlesque of the narrative of the ball at Brussels, on the night before Waterloo, commemorated in Byron’s well-known magnificent lines.

THE KELLY GANG : 1. SHERRITT’S HUT. 2. GROUND PLAN OF THE HUT. 8. NED KELLY’S GREY MARE. 4. BIRD’S-EYE VIEW OF GLENROWAN.

Our illustrations help to elucidate some of the details of this extraordinary affair. We give in another paragraph the account of the murder of Sherritt. We now show his hut, at the door of which he was shot, and also a plan of the interior, showing the position of the police at the time of the murder. A picture is given of the grey mare of Ned Kelly, to the strength and fastness of which the bushranger so much trusted. A bird’s-eye view of Glenrowan, the scene of the last fight with the bushrangers, enables the reader to form a distinct conception of the position of the outlaws and the besiegers.

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