On 10th December 1878, Ned Kelly, his brother Dan, and mate Steve Hart held up the National Bank in Euroa, a brick building which was being rented from the local blacksmith. After first creating a base for the robbery three kilometres away at the Faithfull’s Creek homestead, the boys rode into town to collect 2260 pounds in notes and gold from the Bank’s safe after first cutting the telegraph lines from Melbourne to Benalla to prevent anyone alerting the authorities. Euroa then had a population of no more than 300, with an unpretentious National Bank building on the main street. Ned, Dan and Steve then returned to Faithfull’s Creek to meet up with Joe Byrne, who had stayed behind to oversee the twenty-two ‘hostages’. Collecting Joe at the station homestead, they rode off again on fresh horses after entertaining the prisoners with an impromptu trick riding exhibition. While the original homestead is long gone, a palm from that period still remains. The Gang had just carried off, as their first exploit, the most perfectly planned and executed bank robbery in Australian bushranging history — without violence, and leaving no enemies behind them. The Gang brought back with them to Faithfull’s Creek homestead the bank staff which included the manager, his wife and seven children, mother-in-law, maid and nanny. Most were charmed by the polite, stylishly-dressed outlaws.
A hostile press was forced to hail the raid as a triumph, while the police careered around in futile pursuit. The Melbourne Herald noted that Sydney considered the affair ‘an awful disgrace to the Victorian police system’ while the Melbourne Age described the operation as ‘daring and skillfully planned’. An artilleryman, who was stationed in the town soon afterwards reported, ‘The people in the bank told me that with the exception of the robbers taking the money, they never offered the slightest insult to anyone. I also visited the Younghusband’s Station where Joe Byrne was sentry to over thirty persons while the others were in the bank, and was told everywhere that the outlaws were undoubtedly police-made criminals.’ While the old bank building was demolished in the 1970s, Euroa still offers a good stop over, regaining some of its charm since the Highway bypassed the township. On display at the Farmers Arms Hotel Museum, located in Kirkland Avenue, is Kelly Corner which is open to the public Wednesday and Sunday from 1pm to 4pm, or by appointment.
Link: Visit Euroa