REMOVAL OF KELLY TO BEECHWORTH
The question of bringing the criminal Edward Kelly before the City Police Court has during the past few days been under the consideration of the Crown Law officers, and it was ultimately decided that it would be necessary, in order to comply with the law, to remand the criminal to Beechworth, which is in the bailiwick in which the murders which he committed took place. Accordingly Mr. Call, P.M., on Saturday attended at the Melbourne Gaol, and an impromptu court was held in the kitchen attached to the gaol hospital. Kelly was brought forward, and Mr. C. A. Smyth, the Crown prosecutor, with whom was Mr. Gurner, Crown solicitor, formally applied for his remand to Beechworth. Kelly, who appeared to regard the whole matter with indifference, asked if the proceedings constituted a trial. He was informed that such was not the case, but that the intention was simply to remand him. He then said that when he was tried he should require ex-Constable Fitzpatrick and several others to be present, and concluded by remarking that he had no desire to life, but wished before he died to sift the affair to the bottom. Constable McIntyre, who escaped when his comrades were murdered at Mansfield, was then called, and, being sworn, identified Kelly as one of the men who had taken part in the murders. Mr. Call then remanded Kelly to appear at Beechworth on Friday next, the 6th inst. to answer the charge of wilful murder preferred against him. Prior to these proceedings a certificate had been given by Dr. Shields, medical officer of the gaol, that Kelly was in a fit state to travel. After the remand was granted, Kelly was removed to his cell, where he passed the night. Yesterday morning, shortly after 8 o’clock, he was aroused, and informed that he was going to be removed to Beechworth. His clothes having been destroyed at the time of his capture in removing them for surgical purposes, the Government supplied him with a serge suit, in which he dressed himself. At about half-past 8 o’clock, a wagonette quietly drove up to the gaol, and passed in through the large gates without exciting any attention, no person being visible in the vicinity. Kelly in a few minutes was brought from his cell, and, although limping considerably, he managed to enter the vehicle with comparative ease. Sergeant Steele and three troopers, who acted as Kelly’s guard, entered the wagonette, which was rapidly driven to the Newmarket Station, where a special train was awaiting his arrival. None but the police and the railway officials were present, and Kelly, having been deposited in the carriage, the train was at once despatched.
(BY ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH)
(FROM OUR OWN REPORTER.)
Beechworth, Sunday Evening.
Lest sympathisers of the Kelly gang might hear that Edward Kelly was being brought here, and make some effort to rescue the notorious prisoner, the arrangements for his removal to Beechworth were kept very secret. Mrs. Skillion and Tom Lloyd, thinking that he was sure to be taken before the Melbourne Police Court on Monday, went down to Melbourne on Friday night, and the news that Kelly is now in Beechworth will probably take them by surprise. At half-past 8 o’clock on Sunday morning Kelly was handed over to the custody of Sergeant Steele by the governor of the gaol, and Steele, accompanied by Constables McIntyre, Bracken, and Faulkner, took him in a cab to Newmarket railway station. The prisoner was very quiet all the way to the station, but when waiting on the platform there for a special train he became rather noisy. Three boys passing close to the station on racehorses were hailed by him. He shouted out that they ought to give their horses to him, and he would train them properly. It was evident that he desired to attract attention to himself, but the boys, after having a barney with him, passed on without doing him the honour of recognising who he was. The police then opened up a casual conversation with him about his gang, and one remarked that he was the only man in it. Ned replied that Byrne and Hart were plucky, trustworthy fellows. Sergeant Steele here interjected that Hart was a mere boy, and that none of them were so good shots as they had thought themselves to be. The prisoner thereupon flared up, rose from his seat, and offered to fight Sergeant Steele there and then. He was in the act of pulling of his coat when one of the constables―Mathieson, I think―interfered and pacified him. A special train for his conveyance to Beechworth started from Spencer-street railway station at half-past 9 o’clock. It consisted only of an engine, carriage, and guard’s van. Not a soul knew at the station what the mission of this train was. The only persons who left the station in it were Mr. Labertouche (secretary for railways), Mr. Anderson (the traffic manager), and three policemen, Constables Moore, Docharty, and Mathieson. Sergeant Steele’s party and the prisoner were picked up of course at Newmarket, and the train went bowling along with out stopping at any station, except Seymour and Benalla. The prisoner, it should be stated, was taken into the guard’s van, where seats had been provided in the form of platform chairs. His right leg being still unable to bear him, he sat most of the time; occasionally, however, he desired to look out at the window, and was allowed to do so. When passing Donnybrook he pointed out the spot where he first drew breath; and when he came in sight of the Strathbogie Ranges, he exclaimed, “There they are; shall I ever be there again?” He gazed intently at Glenrowan, said that a good man (Byrne) had fallen there, and pointed out the tree where he himself fell. There were no spectators at any of the intermediate stations except Wangaratta, and there only a very few were found on the platform. During the journey Kelly argued that he was illegally in custody, as he had never seen any warrant, and that he could never be hanged. Pointing to Constable Bracken, he said, “There is a man I did not have heart to shoot;” and the time passed in conversation of that kind. The train arrived at Beechworth at half-past 3 o’clock. Superintendent Sadleir now took charge, and saw Kelly safely lodged in gaol. Somehow it leaked out here that Kelly was coming, and about 100 awaited his arrival at the railway station. This crowd pressed forward on the guard’s van, but troopers were there who kept them back. Kelly had to be lifted out of the van, and carried to a cab which was in attendance. Just as he was near the cab, a trooper came within his reach, and he gave the horse a kick on its leg. Having been deposited in the cab, he was driven at once to the local gaol, and was safely lodged there.
With regard to the Glenrowan affair, Kelly now states that when the special train pulled up he went down to the schoolhouse to shoot Curnow, and not finding him returned to assist his mates, but that he never re-entered Jones’s Hotel. This, however, is untrue, as it is well-known that he was wounded in front of the hotel, and passed through it before escaping, and it just illustrates how untrustworthy his statements are.
I have had a run down to Sebastopol to see Aaron Sherritt’s hut. It stands on the Eldorado-road, about six miles from Beechworth. Two miles on this side there is a bridge over Reed’s Creek. On the right hand side is a rocky gorge, deep and picturesque, into which the creek plunges, and forms a striking water-fall. At this bridge Sherritt used to meet Detective Ward, and give him information about the gang. Their meeting always took place at night, and before conversing with each other they were accustomed to descend into the gorge and sit down by the cascade, which, of course, drowned their voices. The road, having crossed a range, descends into a long valley, which extends westwards. In this valley is the place called the Woolshed, and further on Sebastopol. It has been pretty well torn up by diggers, and the bulk of the population now are Chinamen. Sherritt’s hut, which stands on an elevation a few yards from the main road, is now tenantless, and presents a very deserted and dilapidated appearance. Just here the valley and the road takes a turn towards the south, and two miles more brings the traveller to Mrs. Byrne’s house, which the police who were stationed at Sherritt’s house were appointed to watch. Looking southward, Mrs. Byrne’s stands on the left-hand side of the gully. On each hand are high and steep rocky ranges, but just behind the house there is a gap and a track, which were utilised by the Kelly gang. The police had been watching the house for several months, and had a very hard time of it. They slept all day at Sherritt’s house. Always at 8 o’clock at night, they started to fulfil their peculiar mission. A creek runs through the centre of the valley, and this they had to wade every night. They then picked their way through the bush, and along the side of the left-hand range, towards Mrs. Byrne’s hut, approaching it as nearly as they could without risk of being seen. They often observed men, but could never make sure that they were any of the outlaws. Just before daybreak they returned to Sherritt’s house, where they were fed and sent to bed until the following night, and as their presence was never betrayed it seems never to have occurred to them that the outlaws could pay a visit at Sherritt’s house. It was known, however, that the gang had a cave in the range facing the hut, and another on the north side of a tall hill known as Sugar Loaf, which lies immediately to the rear of Sherritt’s place. It may be here explained that Sherritt had been for about eight months employed and paid by the police as a special constable. It has been already mentioned that formerly he was a great friend of the Kelly gang. He and Byrne were once arrested by Detective Ward for cattle-stealing, and on being convicted of having stolen cattle in their possession they were sent to prison. Through the services of the same detective his assistance, after a great deal of trouble, was secured by the police. Clothes and money were given to him, and he managed to maintain an apparent friendship with the gang for a considerable time, and to give the police valuable information. He told the police that the gang were about to take a run into New South Wales before the Jerilderie outrage occurred, and the police sent warrants over the Murray. He also stated once that two men were to be sent by the gang to inspect the banks at Chiltern and Wodonga. A watch was kept, and the information was also fully verified, for the two men he had named were kept under surveillance here, traced through the bush, and were seen to enter the banks referred to. When they called at the banks they pretended to be diggers, and inquired upon what terms the managers would purchase gold. Sherritt had a paddock in which horses and cattle stolen by his friends were concealed. When he turned in favour of the police horses were placed in this week. They were eventually observed there by a Kelly sympathiser. The gang then soon heard of it, and feeling themselves hard pushed they resolved upon murdering Sherritt as a traitor. After carrying out this black deed they rode down the gully past Mrs. Byrne’s house, through the gap above mentioned, crossed the railway line at Everton, and were seen at the bridge over the King River at about 12 o’clock the Saturday night. They then rode through the square of Oxley and on to Glenrowan via Greta.
Mrs. Sherritt has sent in a claim for compensation to the Government, She does not name any sum, but submits that she is entitled to a substantial compensation for the assistance her husband and she herself rendered to the police (for she had to cook all their meals), for the loss of her husband, and for the loss of her house, which is rendered valueless, as no one will live in it. Kelly has by some means heard that she has made this application, for in the train to-day he inquired if her compensation would be paid out of the reward fund. For some time before his death, Sherritt appeared to fully realise that his life was not worth much, and he sometimes remarked to his wife that some day she would hear of his being shot. On one occasion he was ordered down to Benalla for duty on a horsestealing case, and he told his wife when he was preparing to leave that she would certainly not see him again alive, that she would hear of him being shot by the gang, and that all he desired was that she should come down to Benalla and bury his remains quietly. Seeing that he was really afraid of his life, the officer in charge of the police at Benalla relieved him of his proposed new duty. Detective Ward and Sherritt indeed made things very warm for the gang in the Beechworth district, and the gang vowed vengeance against both. Ward was continually receiving letters from then in Joe Byrne’s hand writing threatening his life. On one occasion he was informed in this way that if they could lay hands on him they would place him in a hollow log and roast him alive. Another letter contained a large picture of a coffin, and a third a piece of crape. Ward, however, pursued the tenor of his way undaunted.