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Edward Kelly gives statement of his murders of Sergeant Kennedy and others and makes other threats

VPRS 4966 Consignment P0 Unit 1 Item 3 Record 1 Document: Euroa letter

14/12/1880

Overview

Some of the hostages held at Younghusband’s station by the Kelly Gang during their robbery of the National Bank in Euroa on 9 December 1878 reported witnessing Joe Byrne, one of the Gang’s members, at work on a long letter.

The letter seems to have been prompted by the reports of Mr Donald Cameron MLA’s criticisms of the progress of the police hunt for the gang in Parliament on 14 November of that year. After the robbery, two copies of the letter were posted, one to Cameron, the other to Superintendent John Sadleir, the man in charge of the police in the north-east district. The note on this copy of the letter indicates that it was believed that at least one of the letters was posted in Glenrowan, a few days after the Euroa robbery. Cameron received his copy three days later on 17 December.

Meanwhile, Chief Commissioner Standish had seen Sadleir’s copy of the letter and had sent a telegram advising against releasing it to the press for publishing. Reporters were allowed to read the letter and the papers on 18 December contained more or less full summaries of its content.

The copy of the letter reproduced below seems to have been made afterwards from Cameron’s copy of the letter. Comparison with one of the two letters known to be written by Byrne reveals the handwriting is not a close match, so it is not an original.

There are two sets of annotations. One, in pencil, on the first page of the letter proper, seems to be an instruction where to file the letter – in the 1880 volume of correspondence of the Chief Secretary’s Department. The second set of annotations in red ink indicate the etter was registered with this corespondence on 1 November 1884, a considerable time after Kelly’s death. Why the letter was registered in 1880 rather than in 1878 when the original was written is not clear, but it is obvious that the letter was no routine matter.

 

Transcribed text Image
80/T12640Date Dec 14th
Reg. Nov. 1/84Edward Kelly
Glenrowan
Gives statement of his murders of Sergts. Kennedy & others & makes other threats.

[End of page 1]

VPRS 4966 Consignment P0 Unit 1 Item 3 Record 1 Document: Euroa letter


Edward Kelly
Posted at Glenrowan
Date Dec. 14.

[T12640 2]

Register in 1880

Dear Sir,
Take no offence if I take the opportunity of writing a few lines to you wherein I wish to state a few remarks concerning the case of Trooper Fitzpatrick against Mrs. Kelly W. Skillion & W. Williamson and to state the facts of the case to you. It seems impossible for me to get any justice without I make a statement to some one that will take notice of it as it is no use in me complaining about anything that the Police may choose to say or swear against me and the public in their ignorance and blindness will undoubtedly back them up to their utmost. No doubt I am now placed in very peculiar circumstances and you might blame me for it but if you knew how I have been wronged and persecuted you would say I cannot be blamed
In April last an information was (which must have come under your notice) sworn against me for shooting trooper Fitzpatrick which was false and my mother with an infant baby and Brother was taken for aiding and abetting and attempting

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VPRS 4966 Consignment P0 Unit 1 Item 3 Record 1 Document: Euroa letter


[T12640 3]

to murder him a charge of sir they are as purely innocent as the child unborn. During my stay on the King River I ran in a wild bull which I gave to Lydicher who afterwards sold him to Carr & he killed him for beef. Sometime afterwards I was told I was blamed for stealing this bull from Whitty I asked Whitty on Moyhu racecourse why he blamed me for stealing his bull he said he had found his bull and he never blamed me for stealing him. He said it was Farrell who told him that I stole the bull. Sometime afterwards I heard again I was blamed for stealing a mob of calves from Whitty and Farrell which I never had anything to do with and along with this and other talk I began to think they wanted something to talk about. Whitty and Burns not being satisfied with all the picked land on King River and Boggy Creek and the run of their stock on the certificate found free and no one interfering with them Paid heavy rent for all the open ground so as a poor man could not keep any stock and impounded every beast they could catch even off government roads if a poor man happened to leave his horse or bit of a poddy calf outside his paddock it would be impounded. I have known over 60 head

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VPRS 4966 Consignment P0 Unit 1 Item 3 Record 1 Document: Euroa letter

[T12640 4]of horses to be in one day impounded by Whitty and Burns all belonging to poor men of the district they would never have to leave their harvest or ploughing and go to Oxley and then perhaps not have money enough to release them & have to give a bill of sale or borrow the money which is no easy matter & along with all this sort of work Farrell the Policeman stole a horse from George King and had him in Whitty and Jeffrey’s paddock until he left the force and this was the cause of me and my stepfather George King stealing Whitty’s horses and selling them to Baumgarten and those other men the pick of them was sold and Howlong and the rest was sold to Baumgarten who was a perfect stranger to me and I believe and honest man. No man had anything to do with the horses but me and George King William Cooke who was convicted for Whitty’s horses had nothing to do with them nor was he ever in my company at Peterson the German’s at Howlong. The brand was altered by me and George King and the horses were sold as straight. Any man requiring horses would have bought them the same as those men and would have been potted the same and I consider Whitty ought to do something towards the release of those innocent men otherwise there will be a collision between me & him as I can to his

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[T12640 5]

satisfaction prove I took J Welshe’s black mare and the rest of the horses which I will prove to him in the next issue and after those horses had been found and the row being over them I wrote a letter to Mr. Swannall of Lake Rowan to advertise my horses for sale as I was intend to sell out. I sold them afterwards at Benalla and the rest in New South Wales & left Victoria as I wished to see certain parts of the country and very shortly afterwards there was a warrant for me and as I since hear the Police sergeant Steel, Straughan & Fitzpatrick and others searched the Steven Mile & every other place in the district for me and a man named Newman who had escaped from the Wangaratta Police for months before the 15th of April. Therefore it was impossible for me to be in Victoria as every schoolboy knows me and on the 15th April Fitzpatrick came to the Steven Mile and had some conversation with Wiliamson who was splitting on the hill seeing my brother and another man he rode down and had some conversation with this man whom he swore was William Skillion this man was not called in Beechworth as he could have proved Fitzpatricks falsehood as Skillion and another man was away after horses at this time which can be proved by eight or nine

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VPRS 4966 Consignment P0 Unit 1 Item 3 Record 1 Document: Euroa letter


[T12640 6]

witnesses the man who the trooper swore was Skillion can prove Williamson’s innocence besides other important evidence which can be brought on the prisoners behalf. The trooper after speaking to this man rode to the house and Dan came out he asked Dan to go to Greta with him. Dan asked him what for and he said he had a warrant for him for stealing Whitty’s horses. They both went inside Dan was having something to eat the trooper was impatient & Mrs. Kelly asked him what he wanted Dan for and he said he had a warrant for him. Dan said produce your warrant & he said he had none it was only a telegram from Chiltern. Mrs. Kelly said he need not go unless he liked without a warrant. She told the trooper he had no business on her premises without some authority besides his own word. He pulled out his revolver and said he would blow her brains out if she interfered in the arrest Mrs. Kelly said if Ned was here he would ram the revolver down his throat. To frighten the trooper Dan said Ned is coming now, the trooper looked around to see if it was true Dan dropped the knife and fork which showed he had no murderous intention clapped Keenan’s hug on him took his revolver and threw him and part of the door

[End of page 6]

VPRS 4966 Consignment P0 Unit 1 Item 3 Record 1 Document: Euroa letter

[T12640 7]outside and kept him there until Skillion and Ryan came with horses which Dan sold that night the trooper left and invented some scheme to say he got shot which any man can see it is impossible for him to have been shot. He told Dan to clear out that Sergeant Steel or Detective Brown would be there before morning as Straughan was over the Murray trying to get up a case against Dan and the Lloyds as the Germans over the Murray would swear to any one, and they will tag you guilty or not. Next day Skillion, Williamson and Mrs. Kelly with an infant were taken and thrown into prison and were six months awaiting trial and no bail allowed, and was convicted on the evidence of the meanest man that ever the sun shone on I have been told by Police that he is hardly ever sober also between him and his father they sold his sister to a chinaman but he seems a strapping & rather genteel looking young man & more fit to be a starcher to a laundry than a trooper, but to a keen observer he has the wrong appearance to have anything like a clear conscience or a manly heart The deceit is too plain to be seen in the white cabbage-hearted looking face. I heard nothing of this transaction until very close on the trial I being then over 400 miles from

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VPRS 4966 Consignment P0 Unit 1 Item 3 Record 1 Document: Euroa letter


[T12640 8]

Greta. I heard I was outlawed and £100 pound reward for me in Victoria and also hundreds of charges of horsestealing was against me besides shooting a trooper. I came into Victoria and enquired after my brother and found him working with another man on Bullock Creek. Heard how the Police used to be blowing that they would shoot me first & then cry surrender. How they used to come to the house when there was no one there but women and Superintendent Smith used to say see all the men I have out today I will have as many more tomorrow and blow him into pieces as small as paper that is in our guns and they used to repeatedly rush into the house revolver in hand upset milk dishes empty the flour out on the ground break tins of eggs and even throw the meat out of the cask on to the floor and dirty & destroy all the provisions which can be proved and shove the girls in front of them into the rooms like dogs & abuse and insult them. Detective Ward & Constable Hayes took out their revolvers and threatened to shoot the girls and children whilst Mrs. Skillion was absent, the oldest being with her. The greatest murderers and ruffians would not be guilty of such an action. This sort of cruelty & disgraceful conduct to my brothers and sisters who had no protection

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VPRS 4966 Consignment P0 Unit 1 Item 3 Record 1 Document: Euroa letter


[T12640 9]

coupled with the conviction of my mother and those innocent men certainly made my blood boil as I don’t think there is a man born could have the patience to suffer what I did. They were not satisfied with frightening & insulting my sisters night and day and destroying their provisions and lagging my mother with an infant baby and those innocent men but should follow me and my brother who was innocent of having anything to do with any stolen horses into the wild where he had been quietly digging and doing well neither molesting or interfering with any one. And I was not there long & on the 25th of October I came on the tracks of Police horses between tabletop & the bogs I crossed them and went to Emu Swamp and returning home I came on more Police tracks making for our camp. I told my mates & me and my brother went out next morning and found Police camped at the Shingle hut with long firearms and we came to the conclusion our doom was sealed unless we could take their firearms, as we had nothing but a gun and a rifle, if they came on us at our work or camp we had no chance only to die like dogs as we thought the country was woven with police & we might have a chance of fighting them if we had firearms as it generally

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VPRS 4966 Consignment P0 Unit 1 Item 3 Record 1 Document: Euroa letter

[T12640 10]takes 40 to one. We approached the spring as close as we could get to the camp. The intervening space being clear we saw two men at the logs they got up & one took a double barrel fowling piece and one drove the horses down and hobbled them against the tent and we thought there was more men in the tent those being on sentry. We could have shot those men without speaking but not wishing to take life we waited McIntyre laid the gun against the stump and Lonigan sat on the log I advanced my brother Dan Keeping McIntyre covered I called on them to throw up their hands McIntyre obeyed and never attempted to reach for his gun or revolver. Lonigan ran to a bettery of logs and put his head up to take aim at me when I shot him or he would have shot me as I knew well I asked who was in the tent McIntyre replied no one. I approached the camp and took possession of their revolvers and fowling piece which I loaded with bullets instead of shot I told McIntyre I did not want to shoot him or anyone that would surrender I explained Fitzpatrick’s falsehood which no policeman can be ignorant of. He said he knew Fitzpatrick had wronged us but he could not help it. He said he intended to leave the force on account

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[T12640 11]

of his bad health his life was insured the other two men who had no firearms came up when they heard the shot fired, and went back to our camp for fear the police might call there in our absence and surprise us on our arrival. My brother went back to the spring and I stopped at the logs with McIntyre, Kennedy & Scanlan came up, McInyre said he would get them to surrender if I spared their lives as well as his, I said I did not know either him Scanlan or Kennedy and had nothing against them and would not shoot any of them if they gave up their firearms and promise to leave the force as it was the meanest billet in the world They are worse than cold blooded murderers or hangmen. He said he was sure they would never follow me anymore. I gave him my word that I would give them a chance McIntyre went up to Kennedy Scanlan being behind with a rifle & revolver I called on them to throw up their hands Scanlan slewed his horse around to gallop away but turned again, and as quick as thought fired at me with the rifle and was in the act of firing again when I shot him. Kennedy alighted on the offside of his horse and got behind a tree and opened hot fire McIntyre got on Kennedy’s horse and galloped away. I could have shot him if I

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[T12640 12]

choose as he was right against me but rather than break my word I let him go. My brother advanced from the spring Kennedy fired at him and ran as he found neither of us was dead. I followed him he got behind another tree and fired at me again. I shot him in the arm-pit as he was behind the tree he dropped his revolver and ran again and slewed round and I fired with the gun again and shot him through the right chest as I did not know he had dropped his revolver, and was turning to surrender, he could not live or I would have let him go. Had they been my own brothers I could not help shooting them, or else lie down and let them shoot me which they would have done had their bullets been directed as they intended them. But as for handcuffing Kennedy to a tree or cutting his ear off, of brutally treating any of them, is a cruel falsehood. If Kennedy’s ear was cut off it has been done since. I put his cloak over him and left him a honourable as I could and if they were my own brothers I could not be more sorry for them with the exception of Lonigan, I did not begrudge him what bit of lead he got as he was the flashest and meanest man that I had any account against for him Fitzpatrick Sergeant Whelan Constable O’Day & King the bootmaker

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VPRS 4966 Consignment P0 Unit 1 Item 3 Record 1 Document: Euroa letter

[T12640 13]once tried to handcuff me at Benalla and when they could not Fitzpatrick tried to choke me. Lonigan caught me by the privates and would have killed me but was not able Mr. McInnes came up and I allowed him to put the handcuffs on when the Police were bested. This cannot be called wilful murder for I was compelled to shoot then in my own defence or lie down like a cur and die. Certainly their wives and children are to be pitied but those men came into the bush with the intention of shooting me down like a dog and yet they know and acknowledge I have been wronged. And is my mother and her infant baby and my poor little brothers and sisters not to be pitied more so who has got no alternative only to put up with the brutal and unmanly conduct of the Police who have never had any relations or a mother or must have forgot them. I was never convicted of horse stealing I was once arrested by Constable Hall and 14 more men in Greta and there was a subscription raised for Hall by persons who had too much money about Greta in honour of Hall arresting Wild Wright and Gunn. Wright and Gunn were potted & Hall could not pot me for horsestealing but with the subscription money he gave £20 to James Murdock who has presently been hung in Wagga Wagga

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[T12460 14]

and on Murdock’s evidence I was found guilty of receiving knowing to be stolen which I . Wright W. Ambrose J Ambrose & W Hatcher & W. Williamson and others can prove I was innocent of knowing the mare to be stolen & I was once accused of taking a hawker of the name of McCormacks horse to pull another hawker named Ben Gould out of a bog. Mr. Gould got up in the morning to feed his horses seen McCormack’s horse and knew he had strayed sent his man in with him about two miles to where McCormack was camped in Greta. Mr & Mrs McCormack came out and seen the waggon bogged and accused him of using the horse. I told Gould that was for his good nature Mrs McCormack turned on me and accused me for catching the horse for Gould as Gould knew he was wicked and could not catch him himself. Me and my uncle was cutting and branding calves and Ben Gould wrapped up a pair of testicles wrote a note and gave it to me to give Mrs. McCormack McCormack said he would fight me I was then 14 years of age, I was getting off my horse and Mrs McCormack hit the horse he jumped forwards and my fist came in collision with McCormack’s nose who swore he was standing 10 yards away from another man and the one hit knocked the two men down, however

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[T12640 15]

ridiculous the evidence may seem I received 3 months or 10£ fine for hitting him and 3 months for delivering the parcel and bound to the peace for 12 months. At the time I was taken by Hall and his 14 assistants, therefore I dare not strike any of them as Hall was a great cur, and as for Dan he never was tried for assaulting a woman Mr. Butler P.M. sentenced him to 3 months without the option of a fine and one months or two pounds fine for wilfully destroying property a sentence which there is no law to uphold and yet they had to do their sentence & their prosecution Mr. D. Goodman since got 4 years for perjury concerning the same property. The Minister of Justice should enquire into this respecting their sentence and he will find a wrong jurisdiction given by Butler P.M. on the 19th of October 1899 at Benalla, and these are the only charges was ever proved against either of us therefore we are falsely represented. The report of bullets having been fired into the bodies of the troopers after their death is false & the coroner should be consulted I have no intention of asking mercy for myself of any mortal man or apologising, but I wish to give timely warning that if my people do not get justice and those innocent released from prison

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VPRS 4966 Consignment P0 Unit 1 Item 3 Record 1 Document: Euroa letter

[T12640 16]and the Police wear their uniform I shall be force to seek revenge of everything of the human race for the future. I will not take innocent life if justice is given but as is the Police are afraid or ashamed to wear their uniform therefore every mans life is in danger as I was outlawed without any cause and cannot be no worse & have but once to die & if the Public do not see justice done I will seek revenge for the name and character which has been given to me and my relations while god gives me strength to pull a trigger. The witnesses which can prove Fitzpatrick’s falsehood can be found by advertising and if this is not done immediately horrible disasters shall follow. Fitzpatrick shall be the cause of greater slaughter to the rising generation than St. Patrick was to the snakes and frogs in Ireland. For had I robbed, plundered, ravished & murdered everything I met my character could not be painted blacker than it is at present but thank god my conscience is as clear as the snow in Peru and as I hear a picked jury amongst which was a discharged Sergeant of Police was empanelled on the trial and David Lindsay who gave evidence for the Crown is a shanty-keeper no license

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VPRS 4966 Consignment P0 Unit 1 Item 3 Record 1 Document: Euroa letter


[T12640 17]

& is liable to a heavy fine and keeps a book of information for the Police and his character needs no comment for he is capable of rendering Fitzpatrick any assistance he required for a conviction as he could be broke any time Fitzpatrick chose to inform on him. I am really astonished to see members of the Legislative Assembly led astray by such articles as the Police for while an outlaw reigns their pocket swells ‘Tis double pay and country girls. by concluding as I have no more paper unless I rob for it, if I get justice I will cry a go. For I need no lead or powder to revenge my cause, and if words be louder I will oppose your laws. With no offence (remember your railroads) and a sweet good bye from Edward Kelly a forced outlaw

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VPRS 4966 Consignment P0 Unit 1 Item 3 Record 1 Document: Euroa letter

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