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Kelly in the Guard's Van en route to Beechworth (from The Australasian Sketcher, 17 July 1880)

by The Australasian Sketcher (publisher), Tom Carrington and The Australasian Sketcher (publisher)

wood-engraving (sheet: 41.0 cm x 28.3 cm, image: 16.5 cm x 21.5 cm)

The 'siege of Glenrowan' on 28 June 1880 left Ned Kelly with bullet and shrapnel wounds to his right shinbone and foot, and his left elbow. He was taken to Benalla, then to the hospital at Melbourne Gaol, where he recuperated over the month of July. At 8.30am on Sunday 1 August he was removed from his cell and taken by wagonette to Newmarket Station to await a special train. According to contemporary newspaper reports,

'The train for his conveyance to Beechworth started from Spencer-street railway station at half-past 9 o’clock. It consisted only of an engine, carriage, and guard’s van. Not a soul knew at the station what the mission of this train was. The only persons who left the station in it were Mr. Labertouche (secretary for railways), Mr. Anderson (the traffic manager), and three policemen, Constables Moore, Docharty, and Mathieson.

Sergeant Steele’s party and the prisoner were picked up of course at Newmarket, and the train went bowling along with out stopping at any station, except Seymour and Benalla. The prisoner, it should be stated, was taken into the guard’s van, where seats had been provided in the form of platform chairs. His right leg being still unable to bear him, he sat most of the time; occasionally, however, he desired to look out at the window, and was allowed to do so. When passing Donnybrook he pointed out the spot where he first drew breath; and when he came in sight of the Strathbogie Ranges, he exclaimed, "There they are; shall I ever be there again?" He gazed intently at Glenrowan, said that a good man (Byrne) had fallen there, and pointed out the tree where he himself fell. There were no spectators at any of the intermediate stations except Wangaratta, and there only a very few were found on the platform.

During the journey Kelly argued that he was illegally in custody, as he had never seen any warrant, and that he could never be hanged. Pointing to Constable Bracken, he said, "There is a man I did not have the heart to shoot;" and the time passed in conversation of that kind. The train arrived at Beechworth at half-past 3 o’clock. Superintendent Sadleir now took charge, and saw Kelly safely lodged in gaol.'

At his committal trial in Beechworth, Kelly was charged with murdering constables Lonigan and Scanlan at Stringybark Creek on 26 October 1878. He was taken back to Melbourne, where he was tried on 28-29 October 1880. He was hanged in Melbourne Gaol on 11 November.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Purchased 2017
Accession number: 2017.107