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First Hand Accounts History The Police

Senior-Constable Kelly’s Statement

South Australian Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1858 – 1889), Saturday 3 July 1880, page 6


When we started from the platform we ran down towards the railway gates, hearing that the gang were in Jones’s public-house. The men at that time had not sufficient time to scatter, and all made towards the hotel. As we approached some one came out on the verandah and fired on us. Mr. Superintendent Hare, with Mr. Rawlings, a volunteer from Benalla, was close to me. Mr. Hare said, “I am shot in the wrist,” but he continued to fire. We sought cover, and Hare said to me, ‘”For God’s sake surround the house, and don’t let them escape.” He then fired again, and gave the gun to Rawlings. He then left, saying, “Kelly, place the men under cover,” and I placed the men around the house. Mr. O’Connor and his backers got up a position in front of the hotel. I then went round towards the back of the premises. Constable Arthur was with me, and we crawled about 400 yards. In this way we got to within about 50 yards from the house, at the back of a tree. In the scrub I found a revolving rifle covered with blood and a padded skullcap. We kept in watch and fired upon any one who attempted to leave the hut. There were four horses saddled and tied up to the back door. These we shot in order to prevent the sudden escape of the gang. When we left the station we met Constable Bracken, who told us that the gang were at Jones’s. He, I believe, jumped on one of our horses and rode off to Benalla to get further assistance, and at half-past 6 o’clock he returned with the Wangaratta police, Sergeant Steele being at their head. We continued to fire, and at about 8 o’clock, so far as I can remember, Ned Kelly made his appearance under the brow of the hill, 300 yards from the hut. He deliberately fired at me. I returned the fire, and my men closed around him. Sergeant Steele being on one side of him, myself on the other, and Dowsett, the railway guard, on the other. About ten rifles were brought to bear on him, and we hit him several times. His heavy armor, however, protected him, and he walked boldly to and fro. Near a fallen tree he fell, and we rushed forward. I caught him by the head as Steele grasped his hand, in which he still held his revolver. He fired it, but did no damage. His armor was taken off, and he was carried to the railway station, when he was searched, but only 3d. was found on him, a silver Geneva watch, and a lot of ammunition. I asked him to tell me where Sergeant Kennedy’s watch was, and he said,”I cannot tell you; I would not like to tell you about it,” He also said, “I had to shoot Sergeant Kennedy and Scanlan for my own safety. I cannot tell you any more.” We then gave him over to the medical gentleman and Mr. Sadleir.

By AJFPhelan56

I am a 30-something father, writer and artist residing in Melbourne, Australia. Currently writing novels and screenplays on top of running the popular bushranger site A Guide to Australian Bushranging.

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