It is probably not surprising that the majority of the bushranging ballads portrayed the highwaymen as latter day Robin Hoods although there is no evidence that any of them ‘robbed from the rich and gave to the poor’. These words must have summed up the hearts of many bush folk who believed the police had persecuted the Kelly family.
Ye sons of Australia forget not your braves,
Bring the wild forest flowers to strew o’er your graves,
Of the four daring heroes whose race it is run,
And place on their tombs the wild laurels they’ve won.
On the banks of Euroa they made their first rush,
They cleared out at Coppies, then steered through the bush,
Black trackers and troopers soon did them pursue
But cast out their anchor when near them they drew.
The daring Kate Kelly how noble her mien
As she sat on her horse like an Amazon queen,
She rode through the forest revolver at hand’
Regardless of danger, who dare bid her stand.
May the angels protect this young heroine bold
And her name be recorded in letters of gold
Though her brothers were outlaws, she loved them most dear,
And hastened to tell them when danger was near.
But the great God of Mercy who scans all her ways
Commanded grim death to shorten their days,
Straightway to Glenrowan their course did he steer
To slay those bold outlaws and stop their career.
The daring Ned Kelly came forth from the inn,
To wreak his last vengeance he then did begin,
To slaughter the troopers straightway he did go,
And tore up the railway their train to o’erthrow.
But the great God of Mercy, to baulk his intent,
And stop the destruction, a messenger sent,
A person named Curnow, who seemed in great dread,
Cried out to the troopers, ‘There’s danger ahead!’
But Time hath its changes; how dreadful their fate,
They found out their error when it was too late.
The house was surrounded by troopers two-score,
And also expected a great many more.
The daring Ned Kelly, revolver in hand,
Came to the verandah, the troopers he scanned,
Said he ‘You cursed wretches, we do you defy,
We will not surrender, we conquer or die.’
Like the free sons of Ishmael, brought up in the wilds,
Amongst forests and mountains, and rocky defiles
These brave lawless fellows could not be controlled,
And fought ten to one, until dearth we are told.
Next day at Glenrowan, how dreadful the doom,
Of Hart and Dan Kelly shut up in a room,
A trooper named Johnson, set the house all aflame
To burn those bold outlaws, it was a great shame
The daring Kate Kelly came forth from the crowd
And on her poor brother she called out aloud,
‘Come forth my dear brother, and fight while you can’
But a ball had just taken the life of poor Dan.
Next morning our hero came forth from the bush
Encased in strong armour his way did he push.
To gain his bold comrades it was his desire –
The troopers espied him, and soon opened fire.
The bullets bound off him just like a stone wall,
His fiendish appearance soon did them appall.
His legs unprotected a trooper soon found,
And a shot well directed brought him to the ground.
Now he arose captured, and stripped off his mail,
Well guarded by troopers and taken to gaol.
Convicted for murder, it grieved him full sore,
His friends and relations his fate may deplore.
Now, all you young fellows take warning by me,
Beware of bushranging, and bad company,
For like many others you may feel the dart
Which pierced the two Kellys, Joe Byrne, and Steve Hart.