After leaving the Inn Ned Kelly had been laying unconscious on the ground for many hours from loss of blood. When he recovered, rather than try and escape (he was already far enough away if he had wanted to) he decided to try and save his brother Dan Kelly and fellow gang member Steve Hart. Police (Snr Const Kelly & Const Arthur) found the revolving rifle and skull cap Ned had dropped when he collapsed in the bush. The cap (actually a quilted lining of sorts) was meant to protect his head when worn inside the helmet, from the blows of being hit by bullets, instead it was soaked in his blood. (Ned used it to catch the blood from his elbow wounds) Perhaps with assistance from his cousin and close mate Tom Lloyd getting him back on his feet, Ned headed off into the history books and almost certain death. (this episode is where the term ‘game as Ned Kelly’ had its origin)
With his oilskin coat over top of the armour and ‘nail can’ helmet on his head he appeared to the police to be ‘the bunyip’ or to one, a mad ‘blackfellow’. This image must have caused great fear through the ranks of police as Ned made his was toward the Inn.
Constable Arthur, the man who saved civilians from Steele’s stupidity (he was shooting at civilians), took careful aim at Ned’s helmet. He was one of the best marksmen in the force and despite hitting his target Ned continued to go forward. An almost comical exchange between the two men took place in this now very close proximity. Arthur said “get back you damned fool, you’ll get shot”, to which Ned replied “I could shoot you sonny”.
Now there were many police firing at this figure, he staggered slightly as shots bounced off his ‘Iron Mail’ (armour). Despite the enormous stress from his various wounds, loss of blood, and the weight of the armour, Ned continued on, banging on his breastplate in defiance with the butt of his revolver. He was fearless and goading police to shoot him.
Unexpectedly, Joe’s horse, Music, appeared from nowhere and came to Ned as if to try and save his life. Ned sent the horse away, surprising the watching police, who had expected him to mount and try to escape. Perhaps he was no longer capable of getting on the horse, (due to his injuries and a bolt falling out of his armour earlier) most likely he had just decided to continue on.
Ned was now almost within reach of his goal, the Glenrowan Inn. Unfortunately for Ned, Steele noticed his unprotected legs and fired into them, a second shot and Ned was done. He collapsed in great pain. According to Historian Keith McMenomy, Const. Arthur stated that Ned tripped and was already falling when Steele fired. Constable Phillips also stated this to the Royal Commission. Steele along with Snr. Const Kelly and railway guard Jesse Dowsett rushed the ‘notorious’ bushranger. It was not until the removal of his helmet that the police realised it was Ned Kelly.
Everyone wanted revenge, Sgt Steele grabbed Ned by the beard and throat and Const. Dwyer tried to kick Ned in the leg and on his second go learned how hard armour is against your shin.
Steele narrowly missed being shot by Ned’s revolver as it discharged whilst they were grappling to get it. (or perhaps Ned got off one final shot in defiance) Steele wanted desperately to shoot Ned, to avenge the deaths of his fellow officers at Stringy Bark Creek, fortunately Const. Bracken was present and said he would shoot Steele if he carried out his threat. For Ned the siege was over.