"It's no use blaming anyone now.... It is not that I fear death. I fear it as little as to drink a cup of tea. On the evidence that has been given, no juryman could have given any other verdict. That is my opinion. But, as I say, if I'd examined the witnesses, I'd had shown matters in a different light... For my own part, I don't care one straw about my life, nor the result of the trial; and I know very well from the stories I've been told, of how I am spoken of- that the public at large execrate my name... But I don't mind, for I am the last that carries public favour or dreads the public frown. Let the hand of the law strike me down if it will; but I ask my story be heard and considered."
(Ned Kelly 1880)
This is Ned's Story
Although Australia has never had a revolution, there have been a few attempts. At the Eureka Massacre in 1854, some miners built a makeshift fence, raised a flag and prepared for battle. The battle lasted 15 minutes. In 1880, another attempt at a revolution may have been at hand. For over a year, an outlaw by the name of Ned Kelly had been waging a public relations war and supplying sympathisers with arms. The preparatory work was to have culminated in the derailing of a police train. Then the Kelly gang, clad in iron suits, planned to spray the police with bullets, and so begin the armed struggle. At the time, the police were little more than a corrupt mercenary force for the ruling classes, and they were hated by the majority of the population.
Unfortunately for the plan, an unexpected act of police cowardice set off a chain of events that resulted in the train never been derailed, and sympathisers never picking up arms. Kelly's first strike thus become his Last Stand. Curiously, history has never recorded Ned's Last Stand as a revolutionary act. Instead, it was recorded as the final act of a desperate man wanting to get his mother out of prison. It was a recording of history that seemed to suit all concerned. It suited the authorities who didn't want the public to get any copy cat ideas, and wanted Kelly to be seen as a criminal, not a soldier. It probably suited Kelly as well. With his battle plans in ruins, he was probably more concerned with telling the story of his past, rather than the story of his failed revolution.
Ironically, the failure of the Last Stand to bring about armed resistance immortalised Kelly in a way that could never have been achieved had it been successful. Instead of dying a hero's death as a soldier in an iron suit, Kelly got a trial where his unmasked face resonated with the community. It was a face of controversy, moral confusion, and emotional complexity. Such was the intrigue that it inspired, 60,000 Victorians signed a petition demanding that Ned be spared the gallows.
After his death, Ned's story and his image continued to inspire. It inspired poets, writers, politicians, and painters. As a consequence, Ned Kelly, in a unique kind of way, won his personal revolution, and had his story considered.
A divided community
In the late 19th Century, Australia was socially divided between Squatters and Selectors. Squatters used their wealth, eminence, connections and other advantages to enlist the law and the police to their benefit. This caused a sense of injustice among the poor Selectors.
Ned Kelly was the son of an Irish Convict, a breeding that had him offside with the authorities from the moment he was born. At aged 12, his father died and he became the family's breadwinner. A defiant youth, at aged 15 he sent the wife of a local dignitary a pair of calf's testicles accompanied by an indecent note. For the insult, he was sentenced to six months hard labour. A few weeks after his release he was convicted of receiving a stolen mare and spent another three years in prison. After his release, he was again arrested; this time for the petty crime of riding across a footpath.
Despite the authorities trying to break them, the entire Kelly family remained defiant. In turn, this provoked Superintendent Nicholson to state in an official report:
"The Kelly gang must be rooted out of the neighbourhood and sent to Pentridge gaol, even on a paltry sentence. This would be a good way of taking the flashiness out of them".
In April 1878, a warrant was issued for the arrest of Ned's brother Dan Kelly on a charge of horse theft. Constable Fitzpatrick, a man of dubious character with an eye for Ned's sister Kate, went to the Kelly homestead, drunk and without the warrant. There he found Dan with Mrs Kelly, Kate Kelly, as well as Will Skillion and a neighbouring selector named Williamson. Fitzpatrick made a drunken grope at Kate which provoked Dan to come to his sister's aid. In the ensuing scuffle, the trooper's gun went off.
A bitter Fitzpatrick left the homestead, and the following day reported to his superiors that Dan Kelly had resisted arrest, and that Ned had burst into the room and shot him in the wrist. Twenty officers were despatched to arrest Ned and all those who had been at the homestead. Although Dan went bush, the others remained and were taken into custody. Ned had said that he had been 400 miles from the homestead at the time. When word reached him that he was wanted for attempted murder he joined Dan in the bush.
At a subsequent trial, Judge Redmond Barry sentenced Skillion and Williamson to six years each, and Mrs Kelly to three years "for assisting in the attempted murder of a police officer". Barry at the time also remarked that, "had Ned been present I would have sentenced him to twenty one years". Considering that the Judge had believed the implausible story of a drunken police officer who had acted outside orders and whose story had been disputed by four other people, it seems that Ned was right to lack faith in the justice system.
The killing of police officers
Because Ned Kelly had been declared an outlaw, he was deprived of all his civil liberties and could be shot on sight. For six months Ned and Dan tried to preserve their lives by hiding in the Wombat Ranges. They cleared the ground and built a slab hut near the banks of a creek, and spent their time panning for alluvial gold. Here they were joined by two old friends: Steve Hart, a part-time jockey from Wangaratta, and Joe Byrne, son of a gold prospector from Beechworth.
In late October 1878, Sergeant Kennedy, with Constables Lonigan, Scanlon and McIntyre, rode out from Mansfield to find the gang. On the 25th they made camp at Stringybark Creek, unaware that they were only a mile from the Kelly's camp. Ned spotted the police camp and hurried back to raise the alarm believing, quite rightly, that he and Dan would be shot on sight. Not only were the police well armed, they had also bought along a pack horse fitted with heavy leather straps. The sole purpose of these straps was to lash the bodies of Ned and Dan for their return to Mansfield.
The next day, Kennedy and Scanlon rode out on patrol, leaving Lonigan and McIntyre in the camp. The two troopers were relaxing by the campfire when Ned, Joe, Steve and Dan emerged silently from the bush. They challenged the troopers and ordered them to bail. Lonigan went for his gun and was shot. McIntyre surrendered. When Kennedy and Scanlon returned, they too were ordered to bail but again went for their guns. In the ensuing gun battle, both were killed. McIntyre escaped by running off into the bush and scurrying down a wombat hole.
The public relations battle
After the death of the officers, the police were given emergency powers to enter premises, search and arrest, without a warrant, anyone who was suspected of helping the gang. Innocent people were arrested and held for weeks on remand. Public sympathy for the police vanished and resentment set in - even among those who previously had faith in the law.
Ned decided that funds must be raised to help sympathisers who needed bail money. On December 10 1878, the Kelly gang invaded a station property near Euroa, 27 miles west of Benalla. Twenty-two people at the sheep-station were rounded up and locked in a storeroom. Then, leaving Joe Byrne to guard the prisoners, Ned, Dan and Steve Hart drove into Euroa in a hawker's cart. At 4 pm Ned Kelly entered the bank with a drawn gun, and Dan came in from the rear. Ten minutes later they were out on the street again, richer by £2000 in notes and gold. Two months later, Ned Kelly and his men crossed the border into NSW and struck again. In both robberies, they did not fire a single shot.
The first strike that became the last stand
After the robberies, little was heard of the gang and it was suspected that they had left the country. If they had kept the money from the bank robberies they would have had enough money to do so.
Ned announced he was still in town when, on Saturday June 26, Dan and Joe travelled to the home of Aaron Sherritt (Joe Byrne's old friend turned police informer.) Joe shot and killed Sherritt on his doorstep, presuming the troopers inside would immediately raise the alarm, which in turn would bring the police rushing by train from Benalla. Meanwhile at Glenrowan, Ned had derailed the track, armed his sympathisers and taken hostages in the Glenrowan Inn. There he waited patiently for the train carrying the police officers to be derailed.
Unfortunately for Ned's plan, the troopers entrusted to guard Sherrit hid under the bed rather than raise the alarm. They stayed there until Sunday afternoon, by which time the telegraph offices were closed. Consequently, the train in question did not get under way until Sunday evening. In the delay, the gang started drinking, singing and befriending their hostages. A school teacher named Thomas Curnow won Ned's trust and was allowed to go free. But Curnow was not Kelly's friend and headed straight for the railway where he prevented the derailment by waving down the train. Realising that the plan had not gone as expected, Ned's sympathisers lost their nerve and did not bear arms. However, rather than abort, the gang retreated to the hotel, determined that they would fight. Police surrounded the hotel and shots were fired back and forth. As the sun rose, Ned burst from the hotel and clad in his armour, was able to escape into the tree line. Realising that his mates had not made it out with him, he turned back into the line of fire. Bullets rang against his armour as he walked slowly towards the police until his legs were shot out from beneath him. In all, his body suffered 28 separate bullet wounds.
Officially, Ned's plan was to derail the train, take the police into the hills as captives, rob Benalla's banks and return newly laden with cash which could be then exchanged for Mrs Kelly. However this explanation holds no water considering Mrs Kelly was soon to be released and life on the run in the Australian bush was no life for an old woman. Furthermore, Ned and his gang were clad in iron suits. This would indicate that they were planning a pitched battle with the troopers. In the past, they had never even fired a shot in their robberies.
The more likely explanation is that Ned was trying to draw the community into his struggle. Considering the past actions of the police, Ned knew that if his sympathisers killed police officers after a train derailment, the police would respond even more heavy handily than before. A whole community would be pulled into the fight which in the long run would lead to the north-east of Victoria being declared a republic and Ned becoming a revolutionary hero.
The trial - condemnation becomes exhaltation
Rather than throw the book at Ned, the prosecution only put him on trial for murder of Constable Lonigan. There was no doubt that Ned had robbed banks, that he had instructed Joe Byrne to murder Aaron Sherrit and that he had taken hostages. However in the case of killing Lonigan, there was a strong argument that he had acted in self defence. Perhaps the authorities did not want it to prosecute Ned on the actions of his last stand for it may have emerged that Ned's last stand was a revolutionary struggle. This may have inspired copy cat movements, or encouraged the public to see Kelly as a soldier instead of a criminal.
Although the trial was intended to legitimise the authority's demonisation of Ned, it also gave him the opportunity to take off his mask and reveal his humanity to the public. Standing before the crowd, Kelly didn't ask for forgiveness or sympathy, he merely asked for his story to be heard:
"I have outlived that care that curries public favour or dreads the public frown...let the hand of law strike me down if it will, but I ask that my story be heard and considered."
"I do not pretend that I have led a blameless life, or that one fault justifies another, but the public in judging a case like mine should remember that the darkest life may now have a bright side."
"If my lips teach the public that men are made mad by bad treatment, and if the police are taught that they may exasperate to madness men they persecute and ill treat, my life will not be entirely thrown away."
The inquest - the war is won
Despite the justice system finding him guilty, the unmasked Kelly resonated with the community and 60,000 Victorians signed a petition demanding his life be spared. Tensions remained at fever pitch and sympathisers threatened the kind of revolt that Ned seems to have been planning. To defuse the powder keg, an inquest was held into the actions of the police. Nearly every officer involved in the Kelly case was subsequently dismissed or reduced in rank. As for Constable Fitzpatrick, the trooper who started the whole thing by groping Kate Kelly, he was dismissed as:
"not being fit to be in the police force; that he associated with the lowest persons in Lancefield; that he could not be trusted out of sight; and that he never did his duty".
Just like the Eureka Diggers three decades earlier, it seems Ned lost the battle but won the war. His actions led to police corruption coming under scrutiny, which ultimately freed his fellow Selectors from oppression. Of course at the time, it was unlikely that he was able to appreciate the immense change his actions were to have upon Australian society. Prior to mounting the scaffold, his final words were the somewhat cynical: "Such is life".
Activity 1- Ned Kelly Timeline
Purpose – To assess the important facts that shape an event
Look at the events below.
Answer the questions
Choose the 10 most important events and create a timeline of Ned’s life
1865 - Ned Kelly, aged 11, risked his life to save a drowning seven-year-old. The boy's parents gave Ned a green sash in recognition of his courage. Ned would later wear the green sash under his armour at his last stand.
Quenstion: Why do you think Ned held onto the sash and wore it at his last stand?
December 1866 - Ned’s father dies. At the age of 12, Ned takes a job and becomes the family’s bread winner.
October 1869 – Ned, aged 15, gets into an argument with a Mr and Mrs McCormack over the use of a horse. Ned is subsequently sentenced to three months jail for the assault of Mr McCormack and a further three months for obscene language towards women.
March 1871 – Ned, aged 16, gets into a brawl with Constable Hall outside a hotel. Ned is arrested, beaten and visits doctor to get 9 stiches in his scalp.
August 1871 – Ned is sentenced to three years jail for being in possession of a horse stolen by a man named Isaih Wright (Wright is only sentenced to 18 months for stealing the horse.)
February 1874 – Ned is released from prison. A boxing match is arranged between him and Isaih Wright to settle a feud between them.
1874 – 1877 – Ned works as a labourer in a variety of jobs
September 1877 – Ned is arrested for being drunk. He is fined four pounds and six shillings.
April 1878 – A warrant is issued for Dan Kelly on the charge of horse theft.
April 1878 – A drunk Constable Fitzpatrick visits the Kelly homestead to arrest Ned’s brother Dan, but does not have the warrant. There he makes a pass at Kate Kelly, Ned's sister. Friends of the Kellys come to Kate’s defence and Fitzpatrick receives an injury to his wrist. Fitzpatrick leaves, is treated by a doctor who notes that he had been drinking. Fitzpatrick informs his station that the Kelly family tried to murder him. Dan Kelly flees into the bush. An arrest warrant is also issued for Ned, despite the fact that Ned was not present at the homestead when Fitzpatrick visited. Ned also goes bush.
Question: Fitzpatrick turns up at the homestead drunk, without a warrant and sexually harasses a woman. What do his actions reveal about how police could act at the time? What do the actions of his fellow officers reveal about their attitudes to the abuse of power?
October 1878 – Ned’s mother is sentenced to 3 years hard labour for aiding and abetting the attempted murder of Constable Fitzpatrick. The two men who had been at the homestead are sentenced to six years each. The judge remarks that had Ned been arrested and brought to trial, he would have received 20 years.
Question: Seeing what happened to his family, and hearing the judge’s comments, was Kelly right in choosing to stay in the bush?
Question: Fitzpatrick's account was disputed by five other people. Furthermore, it was implausible. Why was it relied upon?
October 1878 - Sergeant Kennedy, with Constables Lonigan, Scanlon and McIntyre, ride out from Mansfield to search for Dan and Ned in the Wombat Ranges. Not only are the police well armed, not in uniform, they also bring along a pack horse fitted with heavy leather straps. The sole purpose of these straps is to lash the bodies of Ned and Dan for their return to Mansfield.
The police find the gang, but three are shot dead. McIntyre escapes.
Question: For almost three months, the Kelly gang had been alone in the bush and had made no threats against anyone. Were they justified in thinking the police were out to kill them?
December 1878 - the Kelly gang invade a station property near Euroa, 27 miles west of Benalla. Twenty-two people at the sheep-station are rounded up and locked in a storeroom. Then, leaving Joe Byrne to guard the prisoners, Ned, Dan and Steve Hart drive into Euroa in a hawker's cart. Ned Kelly enters the bank with a drawn gun, and Dan comes in from the rear. Ten minutes later they are out on the street again, richer by £2000 in notes and gold. No shots were fired.
Question: The Kelly gang hid in the bush and could not safely purchase anything in towns. What were they planning to do with the money?
January 1879 – 30 suspected Kelly sympathisers are arrested and held for up to 4 months without evidence against them.
Feb 1879 – Ned rides into Jerilderie and captures two police officers. Ned subsequently walks around town in their uniform. The next day he robs the bank of £2000. No shots were fired. He then gives an editor a letter to publish which states his side of the argument. Ned’s gang seems to disappear for the next 16 months.
Question: The Kelly gang have plenty of cash but few avenues to spend it in Victoria. Why did they not flee interstate or to another country?
April 1880 - Constable Fitzpatrick, the police officer who accused the Kelly family of trying to murder him, is dismissed for "not being fit to be in the police force; that he associated with the lowest persons in Lancefield; that he could not be trusted out of sight; and that he never did his duty".
Question: Constable Fitzpatrick was dismissed for being untrustworthy, but Ned's family and friends still remained locked up in jail based on the story that Fitzpatrick told. What does this say about justice of the time?
June 1880 - Dan and Joe travelled to the home of Aaron Sherritt (Joe Byrne's old friend turned police informer.) Joe shoots Sherritt on his doorstep, presuming the troopers inside will immediately raise the alarm, which in turn will bring the police rushing by train from Benalla. Meanwhile at Glenrowan, Ned has derailed the track, armed his sympathisers and taken hostages in the Glenrowan Inn. There he waits patiently for the train carrying the police officers to be derailed.
Unfortunately for Ned's plan, the troopers entrusted to guard Sherrit hide under the bed rather than raise the alarm. They stay there until Sunday afternoon, by which time the telegraph offices are closed. Consequently, the train in question does not get under way until Sunday evening. In the delay, the gang starts drinking, singing and befriending their hostages.
A school teacher named Thomas Curnow wins Ned's trust and is allowed to go free. Curnow heads straight for the railway where he prevents the derailment by waving down the train.
Realising that the plan has not gone as expected, Ned's sympathisers lose their nerve and do not bear arms. However, rather than abort, the gang retreat to the hotel, determined that they would fight. Police surround the hotel and shots are fired back and forth. As the sun rises, Ned bursts from the hotel and clad in his armour, is able to escape into the tree line. Realising that his mates had not made it out with him, he turns back into the line of fire. Bullets ring against his armour as he walks slowly towards the police until his legs are shot out from beneath him. In all, his body suffers 28 separate bullet wounds.
Rumours circulate that Ned had a speech that declared the North East of Victoria a republic. Rumours also circulate that sympathisers had been armed and that his shoot out was a revolutionary struggle.
Question: In his two bank robberies, Ned never fired a shot, yet he had a suit of armour made as if planning a conflict where guns would be fired. What was the intention of his shoot out with police?
October 1880 – Ned is found guilty of murder of Constable Lonigan and is sentenced to hanging. The court does not deal with the circumstances of his last stand and Ned is not allowed to speak in his defence.
Question: Why didn’t the court put him on trial for the attempted murder of ex-the Constable Fitzpatrick, the robbing of banks or the shoot-out where he tried to kill police officers?
Question: Knowing what you know about Fiztpatrick and the justice system of the time, do you think Kelly was acting in self-defence?
November 1880 – A mass protest results in 60,000 Victorians signing a petition demanding Ned’s life be spared.
Question: What does it say about the people’s experiences with the justice system that 60,000 people would sign a petition demanding the life of a convicted cop killer be spared?
November 1880 – Ned Kelly is executed.
Question: Soldiers, murderers and executioners all kill people. What do they all have in common and what defines them as different from each other?
February 1881 – Mrs Kelly is released from prison after the completion of her sentence for the attempted murder of the now ex-Constable Fitzpatrick.
1906 - The Story of the Kelly Gang, the world's first feature-length film, is released. The film is extraordinary popular; running for five weeks to full houses. It only costs 1,000 pounds to make but returns 26,000 pounds.
Question: What does it say about the people’s experiences with the justice system that a movie based on a convicted police killer would be so popular?
Activity 2 - The intent of the last stand
Activity purpose - Filling in the blanks of history to ascertain whether the last stand was intended to spark a revolution
Research as much as you can about the events leading up to Ned Kelly’s last stand and make an argument about its intent. Consider
Political attitudes in the rural Victoria after the Eureka Stockade
The type of response Kelly may have expected from killing police
The manufacture of armour
The failure of Kelly to flee the country after robbing banks
What kind of future Kelly could have hoped for as an outlaw in the bush
Activity 3 - Lyric analysis
Activity purpose – Myth Making
Read the words for the poem and song below
How do the authors position Kelly in Australian history?
How do you think the authors feel about the justice system of the time?
What do you think the cultural background of the authors might be?
Create a narrative poem of Ned's life (tell the story of his life in a the style of a traditional Australian poem)
Ned Kelly - J.S Manifold
Eighteen-hundred and seventy-eight
Was the year I rember so well.
They put my father in an early grave
And slung my mother in gaol
Now I don't know what's right or wrongs
But they hung Christ on nails.
Six kids at home and two still on the breast
They wouldn't even give us bail.
Poor Ned, you're better off dead.
At least you'll get some peace of mind.
You're out on the track, they're right on your back,
Boy, they're gonna hang you high.I did write a letter
And I sealed it with my hand
Tried to tell about Stringy Bog Creek
And tried to make them understand
I didn't want to shoot Kennedy
Or cause his blood to run
He alone could have saved his life
By throwing down his gun.
Well I'd rather die like Donahue
That bush-ranger so brave
Than be taken by the government
And forced to walk in chains
Well I'd rather fight with all my might
While I have eyes to see
Well I'd rather die ten thousand times
Than hang from a gallow's tree.
You know they took Ned Kelly
And they hung him in the Melbourne Gaol.
He fought so very bravely
Dressed in iron mail
And no man single handed
Can hope to break the bars.
There's a thousand like Ned Kelly
Who'll hoist the flag of stars.
Kelly Gang (Kelly's Byrne and Hart)
(1)Come all you sons of liberty, the news is going round
That on the bold Ned Kelly's head they've set a thousand pound
For Steve Hart and Dan Kelly five hundred they will give
But if the sum was doubled, I'm sure the Kelly boys would live
It was in November Seventy Nine, the Kelly boys came down
After shooting sergeant Kennedy, they rode into Euroa town
To rob the bank of all its gold was their idea that day
Blood horses they was mounted on to make their getaway
Ned Kelly walked into the bank a pistol in his hand
Hand over all the money now ten thousand pound on demand
Likewise the ammunition the bold Ned Kelly said
And get on the go and dont be slow or I'll shoot youse through the head
An Afghan hawker they captured next as everybody knows
He come in handy to the gang by fitting them out with clothes
And of their worn out rags me boys they made a few bonfires
And then destroyed the telegraph by cutting down the wires
They raced into Jerilderie town about twelve o'clock at night
They caught the troopers in their beds and gave them a hell of a fright
They held them up at pistol point and I'm ashamed to tell
They marched them along in their nightshirts and they locked them in a cell
Next morning dressed in troopers clothes still owners of the ground
They took their horses to the forge and had them shod free all round
They led them back and mounted and their plans worked out so well
They strolled along the main street and stuck up the Royal Hotel
Their robbing over the mounted then and made a quick retreat
They swept awy with all their loot along down Morgan's old beat
And where they are now well I dont know if I did I wouldn't tell
So now until I hear from them I bid youse all fairwell
(2)It was in November, seventy-eight, when the Kelly Gang came down
Just after shooting Kennedy in famed Euroa town
Blood horses they were all upon, revolvers in their hand
They took the township by surprise, and gold was their demand
Ned Kelly walked into the bank, a cheque all in his hand
For to have it changed for money, now of Scott he did demand
And when that he refused him, he looking at him straight
Said, "See here, my name's Ned Kelly, and this here man's my mate"
They rode into Jerilderie town at twelve o'clock at night
Aroused the troopers from their beds and gave them an awful fright
They took them in their nightshirts, ashamed I am to tell
They covered them with revolvers and locked them in a cell
They next acquainted the women-folk that they were going to stay
And take possession of the camp until the following day
They fed their horses in the stalls, without the slightest fear
Then went to rest their weary limbs till daylight did appear
Next morning being Sunday morn, of course they must be good
They dressed themselves in troopers' clothes, and Ned he chopped some wood
Now no-one there suspected them, as troopers they did pass
And Dan, the most religious, took the troopers wife to Mass
They spent the day most pleasantly, had plenty of good cheer
With fried beef steak and onions, tomato sauce and beer
The ladies in attendance indulged in pleasant talk
And just to ease the troopers' minds, they took them for a walk
It was when they robbed Euroa bank you said they'd be run down
But now they've robbed another one that's in Jerilderie town
That's in Jerilderie town, my boys, and we're here to take their part
And shout again "Long may they reign - the Kellys, Byrne and Hart"
As high above the mountains so beautiful and grand
Our young Australian heroes in bold defiance stand
In bold defiance stand, my boys, the heroes of today
So let us stand together boys, and shout again, "Hurray" (3)
Oh Paddy dear, and did you hear the news that's going round?
On the head of old Ned Kelly they have placed a thousand pounds,
And on Steve Hart, Joe Byrne and Dan, two thousand more they give,
But if the price was double, boys, the Kelly gang would live.'
Tis hard to think such plucky hearts in crime should be employed,
Police, persecution, they've all been much annoyed,
Revenge is sweet and in the bush they can defy the law,
So sticking up and plundering you never saw before.'
Twas in November '78 when the Kelly gang came down,
Just after shooting Kennedy to claim Euroa town.
To rob the bank of all its gold was their idea that day,
Blood horses they were mounted on to make their getaway.
With pistols pointing at his nut the cashier stood amazed,
His stick he would have liked to cut, but was with funk half crazed.
The safe was quickly gutted then; the draws turned out as well,
The Kellys being quite polite like any noble swell.
They rode into Jerilderie town at 12 o'clock at night,
Aroused the troopers from their beds and gave them an awful fright.
They took them in their nightshirts, ashamed I am to tell,
They covered them with revolvers and then locked them in a cell.
The next day being Sunday morn, of course they must be good,
They dressed themselves in troopers' clothes, and many chopped some wood.
No one there suspected them as troopers they did pass,
And Dan, the most religious one, took a sergeant's wife to mass.
On Monday morning early still the masters of the ground,
They took their horses to a forge and had them shod all round,
Then back they came and mounted, their plans they laid so well,
In company with the troopers they stuck up the Royal Hotel.
The robbery o'er, they mounted then, to make a quick retreat,
They slipped away with all their loot by Morgan's ancient beat;
And where they've gone I do not know; if I did I would not tell,
So now until I hear from them, I'll bid you all farewell.