The Storeroom at Faithfull’s Creek

At 2.30 on the afternoon of the Euroa bank robbery, Joe stood outside the storeroom, watching as Ned, Dan and Steve headed off in the direction of the township. He was dressed in his new tweeds, with a double-barrelled shotgun clutched in his hand, a brace of revolvers in his belt and two rifles within easy reach, should the need for them arise. Joe patrolled the shed, where roughly thirty prisoners were locked, no doubt feeling nervous at the task before him. The sun was unrelenting in its heat and he sought shade under what little was offered by the overhanging roof of the shed. After an hour and a half had passed, Joe heard the huffing approach of a luggage train, which slowed beside the broken telegraph lined. He watched tensely as a man (Watt, the line repairer) jumped down to examine the mess of tangled wires, while the train gathered up speed and continued along the line. Joe leaned his shotgun against the storeroom and walked casually around the corner of an outbuilding, where he spotted Watt approaching the homestead. Joe turned back and quickly gathered up his gun. He bailed up Watt, who stood over six feet, and searched him for firearms. Taking him to the storeroom, Watt recalled Joe seemed ‘so nervous that he could scarcely fix the key in the lock.’

Previously, I have been questioned as to whether this situation would have made Joe nervous. My answer? Of course it would have. Firstly, Joe was on his own, left to guard 30 odd men. He saw a train slowing down, was it full of police? Joe didn’t know. All he knew was that a man had gotten off and was coming towards the homestead. He then had to bail up Watt and lock him in the storeroom. For those unaware, Joe was a nervous man by nature, a fact noted on several occasions. This aspect of his character does not take away anything. Rather, what it does show is that Joe was human, as they all were.

Image from The Last Outlaw miniseries.

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