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Ned now decided to be an outlaw in earnest. To maintain supplies of
arms and food he needed money, so he decided to rob a bank. He chose a
bank at Euroa and decided that the right moment for a robbery would be
when the court was in session. He reasoned that few people would be in
the streets on a mid-summer afternoon, when most would either be at
home or in the courthouse. He had also found that there was only one
foot constable stationed at Euroa to protect the bank, post office,
railway station, two or three hotels, and all the stores. Despite
several warnings, the police had made no attempt to get more of their
men stationed at Euroa, though they knew the Kellys were at large.
Having completed their preparations, the four outlaws, mounted on
splendid horses, rode towards Euroa with every detail of the robbery
worked out in advance. The dismounted at Faithfull's Creek
sheep-station, four miles from Euroa. Ned and his mates went to the
kitchen door and spoke to Fitzgerald, a rouseabout, and his wife, the
housekeeper. His first words reckoned them. "I'm Ned Kelly," he said.
He had a revolver in his hand, but he did not point it at them.
"You'll have to bail up, but we wont hurt you if you do as you're
told. We would like to have some dinner." The outlaws sat at the table
enjoying a hearty meal. Mrs Fitzgerald was impressed with their polite
manners, and Ned won her mother sympathy at once by telling how badly
his own mother and sisters had been treated by the police.
For the rest of the day and night Ned and his gang held everyone
prisoner, capturing, but not hurting, the various men as they returned
to the homestead. A lantern was lit and kept burning all night, and
the sixteen prisoners lay on the floor, smoking or dozing. For several
hours Ned sat inside, too, talking in a friendly way and answering the
many questions they asked him about his encounters with the police.
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was an entertaining story teller and kept his audience enthralled. He
even told them that the gang intended to rob the bank the next day,
and the purpose in sticking up Faithfull's Creek was to give their
horses a good feed overnight, so that they would be fresh for a quick
get-away after the bank had been robbed.
Next day the outlaws took their horses out of the stables and turned
them out to graze in the house paddock. Then they harnessed a covered
wagon and a spring cart, helped themselves to a brand new outfit of
clothes from a hawker they were holding prisoner, collected some
ammunition, and set out for Euroa. They arrived at four o'clock. The
street was deserted, the town drowsy in the heat. Ned and Hart entered
the bank while Dan went round to the back door. "I'm Ned Kelly!" said
Ned. "I am an outlaw, and my orders must be obeyed. Make no noise.
Raise no alarm. Keep your hands up and stand against the wall." Hart
was soon joined by Dan, and they kept everyone covered at gun-point
while Ned filled a sugar-bag with gold and silver coins, bank notes
and about 31 ounces of unminted gold. The total haul was about £2000,
and the raid had only taken half an hour.
Their prisoners were then taken out to the covered wagon and driven
back to Faithfull's Creek. Here they were held captive with the other
members of the homestead. Supper was served to the outlaws and their
captives in the cool of the evening, then the brigands saddled their
horses and prepared to depart. Before doing so they entertained their
guests to an astonishing display of trick-riding in the house paddock.
At about half past eight, as the last flicker of twilight faded, the
outlaws rode away, with the money and gold safely strapped to their
horses. News of the bank robbery created intense excitement, and on
13th December 1878 the Government increased the reward to £1000 on
each of the outlaws. Now for the first time Stephen Hart and Joseph
Byrne were named as part of the Kelly Gang. After hiding for a few
weeks in one of their camps, the four popped up again in Jerilderie,
thirty miles north of the Murray River in New South Wales.
At about 10p.m., the bandits rode quietly into the township. A couple
of hundred of metres away from the police station three of them
tethered their horses and advanced on foot. Ned spurred his horse to a
gallop along the road. There was no light showing at the police
station. The occupants were all in bed. Dismounting, Ned knocked at
the front door and called out in a tone of great excitement. When Mr
Devine opened the door Ned said that he was Ned Kelly and under the
duress of having a revolver in each hand Devine put his hands up. From
the darkness the other three rushed forward with revolvers. All went
inside and the door was closed. Ned assured the policemen and their
families that they will not be hurt.
Dan then found some handcuffs and gleefully manacled the police, who
were put into the lock-up for the night. Next morning the outlaws
dressed themselves in police uniform - and none of the locals had any
idea what had happened. During the next few hours they took everyone
prisoner in the Royal hotel nearby and put them all in the dining room
under armed guard. Then they robbed the bank, and when they returned
to the Royal Hotel, Ned, a bearded young outlaw in police uniform,
told his captive audience the terrible story of his audience in words
of fierce sincerity and power, mixed with sarcasm and humour. Then the
Kelly Gang galloped away singing, "Hurrah for the good old days of
Morgan and Ben Hall!".