[Editor: This article, regarding the hanging of Ned Kelly, was published in the “Latest telegrams” section of The Express & Telegraph (Adelaide, SA), 11 November 1880.]
The execution of Ned Kelly.
This morning the last survivor of the notorious Kelly gang paid the penalty of his crimes on the scaffold. For nearly two years Edward Kelly and his associates, after their brutal murder at Mansfield of the constables sent in pursuit of them, managed to set the law at defiance. In looking back on the career of the gang it is impossible to find any one mitigating trait in the conduct of its members, and society is to be congratulated that no false sympathy has been allowed to interfere with the course of justice.
It is needless to recall the incidents of the drama of crime in which Edward Kelly and his followers were the actors. Suffice it to say that their career was a remarkable one. Theirs was no ordinary success; immense plunder, comparatively speaking, came into their possession, and they long and successfully evaded capture.
But as Sir Redmond Barry in delivering judgment said with trenchant force, when pointing out what a warning their career should be to thoughtless and inconsiderate young men who might be so foolish as to believe that it is brave of a man to sacrifice the lives of his fellow-creatures in order to carry out his own wild ideas — “A felon who has out himself off from all the decencies, all the affections, charities, and obligations of society, is as helpless and degraded as a wild beast of the field. He has nowhere to lay his head, he has no one to prepare for him the comforts of life, he suspects his friends, he dreads his enemies, he is in constant alarm lest his pursuers should reach him, and his only hope is that he may use his life in what he considers a glorious struggle for existence.”
These words depict with terrible accuracy the career of the Kelly gang, when its bare unvarnished facts are received without the glamour of mistaken sympathy or misconceived romance. Their ill-gotten gains were for the most part squandered in buying the silence of those who would otherwise have betrayed them. Like hunted beasts, they had to move from one hiding-place to another, ever in dread of pursuit or capture. Theirs is a miserable history with a wretched conclusion, and ought emphatically to prove to future generations that retribution must finally overtake even the most successful of felons.
It is to be hoped therefore that the raising of the black flag to-day at Melbourne Gaol will be the last episode in the chronicles of bushranging in Victoria.
The Express & Telegraph (Adelaide, SA), 11 November 1880, p. 2 (Second Edition)
Melbourne Gaol = a gaol (jail) in Melbourne, opened in 1845 (closed 1924, now a museum)
Redmond Barry = Sir Redmond Barry (1813-1880), judge; he was born in Ballyclough (County Cork, Ireland) in 1813, came to Australia in 1839, and died in East Melbourne in 1880
See: 1) Peter Ryan, “Barry, Sir Redmond (1813–1880)”, Australian Dictionary of Biography
2) “Redmond Barry”, Wikipedia
[Editor: The original text has been separated into paragraphs.]
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