The State Library has been given an extraordinary letter that gives an eyewitness account of the aftermath of the 1880 Glenrowan siege, where bushranger Ned Kelly was captured by police. Written by a local bank manager called Donald Sutherland, the letter contains little-known details of the dramatic day, including a touching account of Ned’s sisters crying over his injuries:
‘Poor Ned I was really sorry for him. To see him lying pierced by bullets and still showing no signs of pain. His 3 sisters were there also, Mrs Skillion [a.k.a Skilling], Kate Kelly and a younger one. Kate was sitting at his head with her arms round his neck while the others were crying in a mournful strain at the state of one who but the night before was the terror of the whole Colony.’
Parting of Ned Kelly and his cousin, Miss Lloyd, at Benalla railway station, APW10/07/80/33
Auntie Maggie [Ned Kelly’s sister, Maggie Skilling], H2003.25/6
This old picture of the ‘eighties looks impressive. It portrays
Kate Kelly, sister of Ned and Dan …, H23557
To discover more details, you can read the original letter and a transcript online. The letter will be on display in the State Library’s Changing Face of Victoria exhibition from Monday 14 October 2013, alongside Ned’s armour and his Jerilderie letter.