DAY 6: 28 December – The Way Home.1.
After thanking our hosts for a wonderful Xmas we said our farewells and began our journey back to Adelaide. We had decided to visit two towns on the journey home, both heavily associated with the ‘Gold Rush’ as well as Ned Kelly (1854-1880) – Glenrowan and Bendigo.
Glenrowan is a small town about 184 kilometres north-east of Melbourne and was established in the late 1860s. Today it is mostly famous for being the place where Ned Kelly and his gang had their last stand on 28 June 1880. They had intended to derail a police train from Melbourne and had arranged with some sympathizers to rip up the tracks.
However, due to a series of events this did not happen. Ned and his gang bailed up and kept hostage 40 people, including women and children, in the Glenrowan Inn. It wasn’t all doom and gloom, however, as there are reports of Ned and his companions entertaining the ensemble with singing and dancing, albeit Ned keeping two pistols in his hands whilst he danced and sang. The police had been alerted and descended upon Glenrowan. Ned and his companions were trapped. The final shoot-out would have been horrific. Ned managed to get out of the hotel, then doning his infamous armour confronted the police. He was, however, eventually gunned down. There is a bit of controversy about his actual capture. Orders were to take him alive if possible; it would seem, however, that one officer wanted to kill him. This officer, however, was prevented from doing so by other policemen who were present at Ned’s final capture.
We wandered around this small town looking at the historic sites. We also luckily avoided a local who bailed up a family at the coffee shop we stopped at and then proceeded to tell them his life history – colourful though it was we quickly left and continued our sightseeing. This little visit to Glenrowan was also remarkable for the number of non-white families who were also here, including a couple of large Indian families, some of the children and young adults with very broad Australian accents – well – broader than mine let us say. This was also a step back into a personal history for me and my sister as the last time I was here was as a child with my parents and sisters. Like Beechworth there were a couple of flash-back moments, even though the place has changed somewhat in accordance to historical significance and tourism.