The Examination of Joe Byrne’s Body

Constable Phillips, the same man who overheard Joe telling Ned, “I think my leg is broke”, gives harrowing insight into the extent of the bullet wound in Joe’s calf.

“I examined Joe Byrne’s body at the watchhouse, Benalla, on the 29th June 1880, in the presence of Constable Falkiner and Dr. Nicholson, of Benalla, and found a bullet hole clean through the sinews of the calf of the right leg, and his boot when I pulled it off, was full of blood.”When reading this testimony, it is clear to see why Joe was forced to crawl on his hands and knees during much of the siege. Given the extent of his injury, and the fact the bullet would have shredded the nerves in his calf, Joe’s right leg would have been completely useless. There was no defiance or marching around the inn for Joe. Just blood, fear, pain and as Joe himself put it, “grief”.

From the Royal Commission.

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