Ned Kelly's Last Days: Setting the Record Straight on the Death of an Outlaw

By Alex C. Castles; Jennifer Castles | Go to book overview

19
ONE FOR NED

Barely eleven hours before Ned was to appear in the Beechworth court on Friday 6 August, the governor of the local gaol, Henry Williams, set up vigil at the railway station. This was the second night in a row he had had to meet the last branch line train from Melbourne. The night before he was there to take delivery of an urgent letter about the tenuous state of Ned’s representation. Kelly’s lack of legal counsel had been a niggling preoccupation for the last three days. Williams found himself embroiled in a series of complex manoeuvres involving Maggie Skillion, two lawyers, the new colonial government and the prisoner who had been placed in his care on Sunday afternoon.

On this night he was relieved to see the blazing headlamp of the locomotive appear in the distance, but there were still no guarantees that Ned would have a lawyer when the court hearing was called at 10 am. It was not to be a trial, though some newspapers had proclaimed it to be that. Ned’s guilt or innocence on serious charges could only be determined in a full-blown trial before a senior judge and jury, but still these preliminary proceedings were an important part of the process. A local magistrate had been called upon to determine whether there was a reasonable case to prove the bushranger’s guilt on the charges made against him, a necessary preliminary to any further action. This, however, would be the only

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Ned Kelly's Last Days: Setting the Record Straight on the Death of an Outlaw
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • About the Authors i
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents viii
  • Foreword xi
  • Killing Ned xiii
  • 1 - Call to Arms 1
  • 2 - Powers That Be 11
  • 3 - An Uneasy Alliance 19
  • 4 - Wild Animals 25
  • 5 - Stringybark 32
  • 6 - A Long Shadow 39
  • 7 - Benalla Interlude 49
  • 8 - Grisly Diversion 57
  • 9 - Buried Evidence 65
  • 10 - Matters of Faith 71
  • 11 - Words as Weapons 80
  • 12 - Outlaw No More 89
  • 13 - Prosecution Case 96
  • 14 - Family Loyalties 106
  • 15 - Homecoming 114
  • 16 - His Own Worst Enemy 121
  • 17 - Kitchen Court 129
  • 18 - Fallen 135
  • 19 - One for Ned 141
  • 20 - Tough Assignment 148
  • 21 - Preliminary Hearing 154
  • 22 - Lost Cause? 161
  • 23 - Sabbath Confession 167
  • 24 - Fear No Foe 171
  • 25 - Judge … 177
  • 26 - … and Jury 185
  • 27 - Wages of Sin 195
  • 28 - The Final Battle 201
  • 29 - No Earthly Mercy 207
  • 30 - Last Rites 215
  • Afterword 223
  • Epilogue 229
  • Sources and Bibliography 243
  • Acknowledgements 249
  • Illustration Credits 251
  • Index 253
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