Aaron Sherritt, Andrew Goerge Scott, Australia, Ben Hall, Bill Skillion, Bushranger, C.C. Rawlins, Captain Moonlight, Captain Thunderbolt, Captain Waldo, Constable Fitzpatrick, Constable Hall, Constable Lonigan, Constable Scanlon, Dan Kelly, Dan Morgan, Frank Gardiner, Frederick Wordsworth Ward, Glenrowan, Glenrowan Hotel, Harry Power, Inn, Joe Byrne, John Fuller, John Jones, Johnny Gilbert, Kate Kelly, Martin Cash, Martin Cherry, Matha Jones, McBean, Mrs. Jones, Ned Kelly, Sergeant Michael Kennedy, Steve Har, The National Archives of Australia, The Victoria Institute of Forensic Medicine
Following the killings of Kennedy, Scanlan and Lonigan we decided that bank robberies would not only be exciting but also profitable.
Euroa in Victoria and Jerilderie in New South Wales were selected for our visits. The strategy was to take hostages and rob the bank safes. The hostages gave us a little cover and in addition we also found that some of the hostages had quite a bit of money on them.
It was early in December of 1878. My gang and I invited ourselves into the home of Mr. Younghusband. It was at Gooram Gooram Gong Wool station on Faithful’s Creek.
We and our horses were hungry. We told the people that we wanted nothing more than that.
I don’t know why they didn’t believe us. Someone started a fuss and before you knew it we had to tie up a few of them. We decided to stay for a day or so while we worked out our plan.
Joe Byrne seemed the most capable to keep an eye on our hostages. He was a little off-center and that seemed to keep the prisoners in line. They were not too sure what he would do next.
My brother Dan and Steve Hart cut the telegraph wires. The telegraph operators were sure to know the lines were broken and would be sending out repairmen. So I followed behind them and chopped down the telegraph poles.
While we were in the middle of our work a few railway fellows saw our efforts and attempted to stop us. They joined the hostages at Younghusband’s homestead. Joe Byrne informed them that they had made a good choice seeing as they only had two; and the second one was rather permanent.
My brother Dan, Steve Hart and I took advantage of a traveling salesman. He had a nice wagon that would serve as a cover for what we had to do next. So we commandeered it and headed for the bank.
Steven Hart cuts a nice figure, doesn’t he?
That is a nice rendering of me also; but they made brother Dan look a little meaner than he really was. Those people from the illustrated papers sure had some imaginations.
By the time we reached the bank they were closing. I had a heck of a time getting the teller to open the door. He finally agreed to open up so I, as the make believe travelling salesman, could cash a check.
We tied up both tellers and the manager. You should have heard the names Mr. Scott, the manager, called the poor teller that opened the door. Sometimes I just don’t understand people. He was very mean to the teller but very nice to us.
Mr. Scott was released so that he could tell us where all the money was. He tried to talk us into accepting 700 pounds in paper but I knew he had more stashed away someplace. I threatened to shoot the teller. Once he realized that were serious he coughed up more paper and gold. We ended up with 1900 pounds of paper notes and 300 pounds worth of gold.
It was a profitable day.
It was only then that we realized we had more than three hostages on our hands. Mr. Scott’s wife, children and servants were all in the house next to the bank. We put Mrs. Scott and her troop in Mr. Scott’s carriage. The tellers and Mr. Scott went in the travelling salesman’s wagon with the gang and I.
We took them all to meet their fellow hostages at the Younghusband’s place.
Remember me telling you about the police picking on my family and friends? Well in January of 1879 the police arrested a bunch of them. Called them “sympathisers.” I thought we had laws against it but they held them for 90 days.
It was the best thing that ever happened. The government was accused of abuse by the same local ink merchants that had been printing bad stuff about me. Apparently they had changed their tune.
There were so many people disgusted about the government that I had no place finding homesteads to hide out on. Sympathy for us Irish-Australians being under the thumb of the English-Australian elite was growing.
Now that is all I have to say about bushranger banking in Euroa.
Jerilderie was quite different..
It was a nice February evening. Well – – – it was more like midnight. We had a great plan to avoid police intervention with our new bushranger banking system.
My brother Dan, Steve Hart and Joe Byrne decided to have a little fun at the Jerilderie police barracks. There were only two constables on duty that night; George Devine and Henry Richards.
Steve shouted, “Devine, there’s a drunken man at Davidson’s Hotel. He shot someone.”
Richards and Devine were at the front door in nothing flat.
Devine opened the door. I told him there was a big fight at the hotel. Devine looked like he may have recognized me. I pointed my two revolvers at him. Steve, Dan and Joe jumped on Devine and Richards. We locked them in the jail cell.
I don’t know why this always happened to us. There was a woman and children present. We put Mrs. Devine and children in the main room. I felt bad that we had wakened her. She was still in her night clothes. We made her round up all the guns and ammunition and bring it to us. We had a nice gathering and attempted a conversation in the main room. Mrs. Devine and the children weren’t too talkative being all tied and bound like that.
Joe and Steve put the horses in a stable. Each of them then went to different doors of the hotel and placed the two hotel accountants under surveillance of their pistols. By that time I was at the hotel bar keeping that area covered.
We determined who the bank manager was and I fetched him to the bank. He was a smart man and immediately opened the safes for us. We tied him up with the others.
We had about 2,000 pounds of the banks money.
It was time to do a little celebrating so we hit a few hotels and had some drinks. We treated everyone like we wanted to be treated. So we only took a few things from the patrons and let them keep their watches. I got a new saddle and the boys took the horses of the two constables.
We didn’t need any police reinforcements or other interlopers showing up so we raided the telegraph office also. By time we had the two telegraph operators locked up with the two constables the jail cell was full.
My boys must have been talking to the family while I was away. I learned later that someone had said that I came with the explicit intentions of shooting Constable Devine. They had poor Mrs. Devine in tears. She asked them, on her behalf, to talk to me so that I wouldn’t shoot him.
I never really planned to but I had given it some thought.
We left the Constables and the Devine family to head for the bush. We knew that they would eventually free themselves before they starved.
We were always nice that way.
Someone also blabbed that we were going to hit the town of Urana to rob the coach line and the bank. Once the constables were free from the jail cell they attempted to commandeer a coach in Jerilderie. They wanted the driver to take them to Urana.
He wouldn’t do it.
New South Wales and Victoria put their funds together and offered 8,000 pounds as a reward for my gang. We must have scared the hell out of them. I want to show you the new reward notice.
I’m really proud about that. It is really quite official. It has a lot of “whereas” and “above-named” type of words that give it a nice tone. I knew they would write about me.
That ends our new form of bushranger banking In Jerilderie and Euroa.
Next time we meet I will tell you about that damned Aaron Sherritt.