Ambush at Stringybark Creek
"I said to Kennedy, 'Oh Sergeant... I think you had better surrender for we are surrounded'. His face immediately assumed a serious look. I turned round to look at Kelly, who was in the act of changing his rifle... his mates just now broke cover and advanced"
- Thomas McIntyre
Arriving at Stringybark Creek on Friday October 25 1878, the police camped in a small clearing in the midst of thick bushland. The following morning, Sergeant Kennedy with Constable Scanlan left to scout for the Kelly brothers, leaving McIntyre and Lonigan at the camp.
Around noon, Lonigan heard a strange noise near the creek. McIntyre, thinking it might be something they could shoot for food, took the rifle to look. When he returned to the camp he observed that Lonigan appeared anxious and was now insistent on carrying his revolver. McIntyre did not share Lonigan’s sense of unease about the unexplained noise and left his gun in the tent.
At 5 pm, as McIntyre and Lonigan stood around their large campfire they were ambushed by the Kelly Gang. McIntyre, being unarmed at the time immediately surrendered. Lonigan, however, started to run and as he did, reached for his revolver. McIntyre watched as Ned Kelly pointed his rifle at Lonigan and shot him in the head.
The Gang then searched McIntyre and held him at gun point for several hours. Eventually Kennedy and Scanlan were heard returning to camp. As the gang concealed themselves, McIntyre pleaded with Ned Kelly not to shoot.
As Kennedy and Scanlan got closer, McIntyre stepped towards Kennedy and was about to ask them to
surrender when Ned Kelly sang out ’Bail up, hold up your hands’.
In the split seconds that followed, McIntyre witnessed Ned Kelly murder Constable Scanlan and fire several shots in Kennedy’s direction. During the gunfire, Kennedy’s horse bolted towards McIntyre and having no weapon to defend himself he grabbed the horse and made his escape: assuming Kennedy’s fate was sealed.