These are 19 of some 721 pages from the 1881 Royal Commission. 
  
Pages 1 to 14 are in regard to Captain F.C. Standish who was in charge of the Kelly man hunt.

Pages 522, 523, 524, and 525 regard Constable Thomas McIntyre, his sworn evidence to the RC.
Notes in red are added to highlight certain points of suspicion that could have lead to the fatal shooting
of the three policemen at StringyBark Creek in the Wombat Ranges north of Mansfield in Oct 1878.

It may be considered that if the
」100 reward monies for each of the Kellys had not been offered, or available to the police
party for Kelly's arrest, the police party may not have split up the way they went. It would appear the evident here provided, that two officers had certain knowledge the other two did not have, and that Sgnt Kennedy or Const Scanlan had been tipped off where the Kellys where camped. This unshared critical knowledge placed the whole police party in jeopardy from the start.
In terms of today, no police officer is allowed to share any rewards offered as a result of this 1881 Royal Commission.

For the full 721 pages see this link
http://www.ironicon.com.au/the-royal-commission-kelly-outbreak.html

 
Also Included far below is the 'Second Progress reports' and summaries. 

 

ROYAL COMMISSION

ON THE

POLICE FORCE OF

VICTORIA

1881 

 First published 1881
Facsimile Reprint 1968 
National Library of Australia
Registry Number Aus 68-1548

Registry in Australia

For transmission by post as a book

Printed and bound at

The Griffin Press, Adelaide

1881. 
VICTORIA.

覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧
 

POLICE COMMISSION.

 

覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE

TAKEN BEFORE 

ROYAL COMMISSION ON THE POLICE FORCE OF VICTORIA, 

TOGETHER WITH 

APPENDICES.

覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧

PRESENTED TO BOTH HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT BY HIS EXCELLENCY担 COMMAND. 

覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧  

By Authority

JOHN FERRES, GOVERNMENT PRINTER, MELBOURNE

No. 31. 

MINUTES OF EVIDENCE

TAKEN BEFORE ROYAL COMMISSION ON THE POLICE FORCE OF VICTORIA, 

覧覧 

WEDNESDAY, 23rd MARCH 1881. 

Present: 

                         Hon. F. LONGMORE, M.L.A., in the Chair;

J. H. Graves, Esq., M.L.A.,

W. Anderson, Esq., M.L.A.,

G. R.. Fincham, Esq., M.L.A.,

James Gibb, Esq., M.L.A.,

G. W. Hall, Esq., M.L.A.,

E J. Dixon, Esq., J.P.

 

Captain F. C. Standish sworn and examined.

 

The Witness.I think it would shorten proceedings if I read an exhaustive statement, and was afterwards examined on that.

The Chairman.The Commission specially adjourned from its last sitting in order to proceed to-day, and it will be necessary to go on with your examination now.

The Witness.悠 am perfectly prepared to give any evidence I may be required, at once.

1. By the Commission.How long have you been in charge of the force?I was appointed Chief Commissioner of Police on the 1st September 1858.

2. Coming directly to the business that this Commission was appointed for, have you formed any idea in your own mind of what led up to the Kelly outrages?For several years before the Kelly outbreak there is no doubt that the North-Eastern district was a receptacle for horse stealers and cattle stealers, and that they gave the police force a great deal of trouble. No outrages were committed in those days, but a wholesale system of cattle duffing was carried on extensively. This appears to have culminated in the disturbance at Greta, when Constable Fitzpatrick went out to serve a warrant on Dan Kelly for horse stealing. He arrived there, found Dan Kelly, and, in my opinion, foolishly allowed him to stay and have his dinner. In the meantime Ned Kelly, Williamson, commonly called 釘ricky, and his brother-in-law Skillion arrived, with two or three others of their confederates and friends. A disturbance immediately took place between these men and Constable Fitzpatrick, which resulted in Ned Kelly firing at him, and shooting him through the wrist.

3. Shooting Constable Fitzpatrick?Yes, shooting him through the wrist. Fitzpatrick fainted, and lay there in a semi-comatose state for some time while they cut the ball out of his wrist; it had been under the skin, and they allowed him to go. He rode off, and labored under the idea that he was pursued by two of the outlaws, which I have ascertained was not the case. Some months after this occurred, I had a conversation, a long conversation, with Williamson, in Pentridge, and he entirely corroborated every word of Fitzpatrick痴 evidence and he gave me some considerable information, and volunteered to assist me in every kind of way. After this outrage had been committed, steps were taken by Superintendent Sadleir to apprehend the Kellys葉he two Kellys and the two others, who were then not known by name, and those efforts having proved fruitless for a good many months, it was ultimately determined, with my approval, to start two search parties, well armed, in pursuit of the Kellys. One started from Mansfield, under the charge of Sergeant Kennedy, and the other from Wangaratta, under the charge of Sergeant Steele or some other sub-officer of the police.

4. Was it possibly Senior-Constable Strachan?悠 think it was.

5. Was Williamson in prison at the time he gave you that information?幽e was in Pentridge, with a sentence of six years for that offence.

6. For being present at the shooting?雄es; I think it was a very severe punishment myself. A reward of 」100 was also offered for the apprehension of the Kellys. Late on the night of Sunday the 27th October, I received a telegram from Mansfield, announcing to me that Constables Scanlan and Lonigan had been shot dead, near Mansfield, by bushrangers. After communicating with the Chief Secretary early the next morning, I took early steps to send up reinforcements and special arms. We had a few Spencer repeating rifles in store, and Mr. Berry asked me not to stint me any expenditure in arming the police properly. I may state that the regulation weapon of the mounted police has only been a revolver for years. I saw a considerable number of the men off by the 4.30 train the following day. I ordered Superintendent Nicolson up to take charge of the special service men in the North-Eastern district.

7 Was that the first time he was sent there?幽e was inspecting superintendent, and had to visit the country districts from time to time. I gave him authority to take any steps he thought proper, and to incur any expenditure he thought necessary.

8. What date was that?悠mmediately after I received the news. I also obtained authority from the Chief Secretary to purchase a number of breech-loading double-barrelled guns, to be sent up to the district as soon as possible.

9. Then you consider that the original cause of this difficulty was the lawlessness of the district?悠 do.

POLICE                                                                                            A

Captain F. C.

Standish

23rd March 1881
 

 

 
































#6  Several months after the Fitzpatrick incident Bricky Williamson was in gaol for 6 years for being present when Fitzpatrick claimed the Kellys had attempted to murder him.

Capt Standish considered the punishment too severe.

A reward of 」100 was offered Police Cheif Secretary Mr Berry says to spare no expense. They have a few Spencer rifles in store.











 

 

 

 

2

Captain F. C. Standish,

continued,

23rd March 1881.

10. In cattle stealing and horse stealing?雄es.

11. And that the Kellys had been engaged in that for a length of time?友or years. Before proceeding further, I wish to point out to the Commission the very great difficulties which beset the police in various directions. The Kellys, as is well known, had an enormous number of sympathizers in the district, and after their outrages there is not the slightest doubt that a great many respectable men were in dread of their lives, and were intimidated by a fear of the consequences from giving any information whatsoever to the police. Not only their lives and those of their families were in danger, but their cattle, and sheep, and horses, and property were liable to be stolen or destroyed; in addition to which there is not the slightest doubt that there was an enormous number of tradesmen in the district who were so benefited by the large increase of the police, and by the consequent expenditure, that they were only too glad that this unpleasant business was protracted for so many months. I may also state that a great many of the local papers never lost an opportunity of attacking the police in the most unjustifiable manner and on every possible occasion; and remarks of that kind, as I think any sensible man must be aware, were not only calculated to do the police a great deal of harm, but to prevent their receiving material assistance from anybody. On the 6th November 1878 I proceeded to Benalla to confer with Mr. Nicolson. I arrived there about eight o団lock, had supper with Mr. Nicolson at one of the hotels at Benalla and, whilst we were talking over matters afterwards, we received an urgent despatch from Superintendent Sadleir, who was up at Beechworth, saying that they had received information from a person in Beechworth that the Kellys had been at Sebastopol, and believed they were there now. I immediately ordered a special train, and proceeded, with Mr. Nicolson, nine mounted constables, and one black tracker, to Beechworth, which we reached soon after three o団lock in the morning. We started at four o団lock a.m. with these men and an additional body of men from Beechworth from the railway station, and made at once to the house of the Sherritt family, where it was stated the outlaws had been. We arrived there very early in the morning, scattered our men all round, keeping them in the bush, and sent a party of seven or eight men, under Mr. Nicolson, to search the house. Soon after we had searched the house we heard a shot fired. It was subsequently ascertained that it was a gun that went off by accident. We all rushed to the place, and found no traces of the outlaws there. We then rode on to Mrs. Byrne痴 house at Sebastopol, the mother of Joe Byrne, and Mr. Nicolson and I interviewed her; but I need not say we got nothing out of her.

12. She gave no information?湧one whatever.

13. Did you form the opinion at that time that the information might have been incorrect that Mr. Sadleir got?悠 believe the information was correct, but we were a day or two after the fair; so after conferring with Mr. Sadleir and Mr. Nicolson, we decided it was no use carrying on matters further, and we returned to Beechworth.

14. As there have been reports made in which the officers have to some extent given different versions of the matter, and in some instances have contradicted one another, I am going to ask you now if you had perfect confidence in the officers who had charge of the district?雄ou mean Mr. Sadleir?

15. Superintendents Sadleir, Nicolson, and Hare?悠 had at the time perfect confidence in Mr. Nicolson, although I have not now. I found very good occasion to doubt him before I left the police force.

16. What tended to shake your confidence in him as an officer of police?悠 have ample proof here of his procrastination and inefficiency.

17. Could you give the Commission some idea of that proof?悠 have the papers here, but I think it would be better to continue my recital.

18. You desire to continue your narrative for the present, till the Kellys were taken?雄es, I think it would be better.

19. Very well?輸bout a fortnight before the Euroa bank was stuck up, in December 1878, I received information from Mr. Nicolson that a bank would be probable stuck up in the North-Eastern district.

20. A bank?雄es. I at once issued instructions to Mr. Hare, who had several stations on the line of railway, to warn him to take the necessary steps to protect the banks in his part of the district. Inspector Green also received similar information from a prisoner in Pentridge. No provision was made whatever to protect the banks at Euroa and Violet Town.

21. Whose district was that?誘nder Mr. Nicolson, the North-Eastern district; and as both those townships were close to the Strathbogie ranges, it was almost sure that one of those would be selected as the bank to be stuck up. On the 10th December, shortly after I returned from a public dinner at the Town Hall, I received information that the Euroa bank had been stuck up.

22. What is the date on which you warned them to protect the banks?悠mmediately after I had received the information, a week or ten days before the bank was stuck up.

23. That warning was simply conveyed to Superintendent Hare and Inspector Green, believing that Superintendent Nicolson, having given the information, would take the necessary steps himself?雄es, it was his duty to do so. At 11 p.m. on the night of the 10th, I received information that the Euroa bank had been stuck up. I rushed down to the telegraph office, and was there most of the night telegraphing.

24. At what hour?輸 little before 12 o団lock; and I was at the office on and off nearly the whole of the night telegraphing. Communication was interrupted with Benalla, and I had to telegraph through Deniliquin and Albury; and having heard that Mr. Nicolson had gone to Albury, I sent a telegraph to him there, which, I believe, was the first intimation he had of it. The ensuing day I had to remain in town to see the manager of the National Bank, and to arrange other matters in connection with the pursuit of the Kellys. I started the following morning, the 12th, by the 6.10 a.m. train, and arrived at Euroa about 10 o団lock.

25. You started by the first train?雄es, the early train. I there saw Mr. Nicolson, found him very much knocked up in appearance, and his eyes bad, and so I instructed him to return to Melbourne to take temporary charge of the Police Department, my office, in my absence, informing him that I should remain at Benalla some time. He was very much knocked up physically; he had had very hard work; that was on the 12th December.

26. That is two days after the robbery?裕he  robbery  was  on  the  evening  of  the  10th, and I came by  the  early  train  on  the  12th.    Mr.  Hare came up, by my instructions, by the evening train;  I proceeded to Benalla by the evening train, and the next day had a long conference with Mr. Wyatt the police magistrate. Mr.  Wyatt  informed  me  that  he  was  returning  from  Seymour,  or  some  town   on   the   line   of   railway,


 

3

the night the bank was stuck up, and that as the train approached Faithfull痴 Creek, near Euroa, they pulled up and saw the telegraph lines on both sides of the railway had been smashed up a couple of hundred yards.

27. They stopped the train to see that?雄es; and Mr. Wyatt informed me that he got out and picked out a bundle of broken telegraph wires, and took them up with him. On arriving at the Benalla railway station Mr. Wyatt met Mr. Nicolson and Mr. Sadleir.

28. Was that on the evening of the 10th?雄es, on the evening of the bank robbery. Mr. Nicolson and Mr. Sadleir were then starting on some strange evidence; they had heard from a friend of the outlaws that the outlaws were going to cross the Murray, and Mr. Wyatt at once informed Mr. Nicolson of what he had seen of the smashing up of the telegraph line, and told him that there was no doubt that the outlaws must have been about there.

29. Where?輸t Faithfull痴 Creek, or Euroa, or somewhere in that vicinity. Mr. Nicolson pooh-poohed this information.

30. Are you giving this as your information, or what he told you?邑hat he told me; and I hope the Board will examine him. Mr. Wyatt informed me he pooh-poohed this information, and not only started away himself, but took Mr. Sadleir with him. On their arrival at Albury, Mr. Nicolson received information which, I believe, was my telegram傭ut I am not quite certain on that葉hat the Euroa bank had been robbed.

31. Will you fix the dates?裕hat is on the 12th.

32. You said the bank was robbed on the 10th?雄es.

33. You have given evidence that you were at a dinner party that night?雄es.

34. And after that you received a message to say the bank was robbed, and you went up on the 12th?雄es.

35. You are now giving evidence that Mr. Nicolson received a telegram at Albury悠 ask you to fix the date; did you telegraph that night or on the 12th?悠 was in the telegraph office all that night.

36. Was it on that occasion you telegraphed to Mr. Nicolson?雄es, it was on that night, the night of the 10th, I telegraphed to Mr. Nicolson, and the information was also sent to Benalla by this roundabout way, because of the break in the wires, and a party of men immediately started.

37. Sent by you?雄es; and I arrived there some time during the night.

38. Whom was that party in charge of?裕here was no officer there. I think Senior-Constable Johnson was in charge. They arrived there some time during the night, and they received a telegram from Mr. Nicolson, telling them not to leave Euroa until he got there.

39. That would be on the 11th?雄es, the morning Mr. Nicolson reached Euroa, on the morning of Tuesday; and after some hours delay he started off with a party of police, and returned the next day without any result.

40. You were not there yourself?裕his statement can be confirmed by Mr. Wyatt, Mr. Sadleir, and Constable Johnson.

41. Between the Saturday night that Mr. Wyatt gave you the information and the time of your seeing Mr. Nicolson, this information was supplied by some one else?唯y Mr. Wyatt. I am given to understand that, though Mr. Nicolson was aware that it was intended to stick up the bank, he never gave information to the local bankers that such a thing was meditated. It seems to me that it would have been very advisable if Mr. Nicolson, when in charge, had instructed the telegraph masters to give notice where the lines were intercepted, whereby a splendid chance of capturing the outlaws at Faithfull痴 Creek was lost.

42. Would he know himself at this time where the interruption had taken place?裕hat I cannot tell you. I proceeded to Benalla on the evening of the 12th, and remained in charge of the operations there for a period of upwards of six months. The Government then decided to send parties of the paid artillery to the various townships of any importance in the North-Eastern district, where there was any apprehension of the outlaws sticking up a bank.

43. Was that on your recommendation?湧o, it was against my recommendation. After I had taken charge and direction of affairs in the North-Eastern district I at once sent search parties in the various portions of the district where there were some grounds for believing that the outlaws might be lying, and where we received information of the possibility of their being found. I never heard a rumor of the outlaws being likely to be at any place without at once taking steps to send out police either to find them or to ascertain the truth of those reports. I need not say I was most ably seconded by Mr. Hare, who not only never spared himself in any kind of way, but was most indefatigable in the pursuit of the outlaws. Not only was he most active and energetic, but he was so popular with the men under him that they would have done anything in the world for him. I fact, he treated the men under him like friends, not like dogs遥ou can easily understand.

44. May I draw your attention to this? Was there another officer of equal standing in the police at Benalla at the time?柚r. Sadleir.

45. Was Mr. Sadleir of equal rank in the service with Mr. Hare?裕hey are both superintendents.

46. Was Mr. Sadleir stationed at Benalla?雄es, permanently.

47. Was his conduct different from Mr Nicolson痴?悠  have  made  no reflection on him; but he was in charge of the district.    He  was  not in charge of the special operations; that I had to deal with.    In addition to these search parties,  which were not sent out on what is called a  bootless  errand,  Mr.  Hare  and a certain body of very efficient men formed a camp in the ranges, near Sebastopol, not very far from Mrs. Byrne痴 house, and where they remained hidden without the slightest information being furnished of the outlaws or their friends.    During  the  night  they came down and camped in a sequestered place, close to Mrs. Byrne痴  house,  and  by  the route it was quite certain the outlaws would have taken had they come there.    I went there one evening myself to see Mr. Hare and confer with him, and spent the night watching with the rest of the party.    There  is  another  very  great  disadvantage  under  which we labored, viz., that the moves of the police in Benalla, Wangaratta, Mansfield, and Beechworth were closely watched by the numerous  friends  and  sympathizers  of  the  outlaws預t  Benalla  especially; and  I  may  state  that  if  I had determined, without consulting anybody, in the middle of any night to come down to the barracks by myself and to start a party of police, which  I  could have done in half an hour, I firmly believe that before the men had left the barracks some of those spies  would  have  been  galloping  off  to  the  outlaws.    I  must  say  the

Captain F. C. Standish,

continued,

23rd March 1881.


 

4

Captain F. C. Standish,

continued,

23rd March 1881.

officers and men, whilst I was there, were most zealous and most active, and they went through no end of hardships without a murmur or a complaint; and whatever the outside public may say, I can fearlessly assert that, as a body of men, those who were serving under me there were everything that could be desired. Some days before the 10th of February 1879 I received intimation that it was probable that the outlaws would go and stick up a bank in New South Wales, probably Albury. I gave immediate information of this to the New South Wales police as well as to the Inspector-General, and I took every step in my power to enable the police on the borders of the Murray to give every assistance to the New South Wales police. About this time it was mooted by the press generally, and I believe by some of the Ministers, that it would be very desirable to have black trackers down from Queensland. I confess I was opposed to it, being convinced that, though in a large uninhabited district, where there is a scant population and little or no traffic, the services of the black trackers, which are chiefly utilized in pursuing and dispersing the native blacks, are of use, it would be very little use in a district where there is a large traffic on all the roads, and where the movements of the outlaws were known to be wonderfully rapid. It is a well-known fact that they often used to ride 50, 60, and 70 miles between night and morning; and knowing, as they did, every corner and nook of the district, and having their numerous sympathizers, who would very soon obliterate their tracks, I thought, as I said before, the black trackers would be little or no use, which certainly was proved. However, I had to communicate to the Queensland police, and the result was that Mr. O辰onnor and six black trackers, and a senior constable of the Queensland police, were sent by steamer to Sydney, and from Sydney to Albury, where I met them on the 6th of March. I remained the following day at Albury with Mr. O辰onnor, and we proceeded to Benalla on the 8th of March. Though we had no information, still we thought it necessary to obtain some indication of the way in which they could work in our district; so on Tuesday the 11th March a party started for the ranges the black trackers under Mr. O辰onnor, and several mounted constables under Superintendent Sadleir. Mr. O辰onnor was anxious that only a couple of men should go with him; but as we had no knowledge of their skill in tracking, and knowing that, under the peculiar circumstances of the rapidity of the outlaws movements, the trackers would not be of much use, I would not consent to him going out alone, but sent Mr. Sadleir with him. No doubt trackers can be utilized in following the traces of men on foot, but for this kind of work they are really perfectly useless, because their movements are so slow. I see in the printed documents which were sent to me a letter from Mr. O辰onnor. I can merely say it is full of misrepresentations, and I have not the slightest intention of taking notice of it.

48. Was it the latter of the 7th September 1880 or the one of the 12th August 1880 you refer to?悠t was the 7th September letter I refer to.

49. That, you say, is full of misstatements?友ull of misrepresentations.

50. And not worthy of notice?雄es. I should only remark that Mr. O辰onnor states that, during the whole sixteen months he was here, he was treated by me with the greatest discourtesy. To that I give the lie direct. For several months when he first came庸or three or four months we lived together, and we were always on the best of terms; but when I found out things about him, which I do not wish to state before the Commission, I ceased my intimacy, with him. In fact, if I were to state things that I can prove by direct evidence, it would show you how utterly unreliable a man he is.

51. He was in the service of the Victorian police at that time?雄es.

52. Was he a part of the police force of Victoria?幽e was sworn in when he arrived. With reference to a part of that letter which refers to the expedition to the Warby ranges I must refer you to Mr. Hare痴 evidence, as he can give more satisfactory evidence on that point. About the end of June, after having been upwards of six months at Benalla, finding that all the business in my office was being frightfully muddled, and that things were going wrong both in Melbourne and the country districts, I obtained the authority of the Chief Secretary for my return to Melbourne.

53. In June 1879?雄es.

54. Was that Mr. Ramsay?湧o, Mr. Berry, Chief Secretary at the time; and Mr. Nicolson, being next in seniority, I had to send him up, though I confess I had but little faith in his energy.

55. Was that immediately after your return?雄es, immediately after my return; and I instructed Mr. Hare to resume charge of his district, which also required a deal of supervision.

56. What date was that?涌n the 26th of June.

57. Did you send Mr. Nicolson up?悠 sent him up immediately. Shortly after my return I had several interviews with the Chief Secretary, who was not unnaturally dissatisfied at the continuous heavy expenditure of the police in pursuit of the Kellys. I may here state that the great bulk of the expenditure was caused by the new travelling allowances for the police, which were amended and approved by the Government. I should think considerably more than half the expenditure was travelling allowances to members of the police force away from their district, and it must be borne in mind that many of them were married men separated from their wives and families. Mr. Berry instructed me to do all I could to reduce the expenditure. I conferred with Mr. Nicolson, and made reductions wherever I possibly could; and with the view of making a large permanent reduction in the expenditure, I permanently transferred to the North-Eastern district all the members of the police force who had been sent there. Of course this was only a temporary force, but it was absolutely necessary to cut down the expenditure. From time to time I used to meet Mr. Nicolson at Benalla and used to write to him, but both on paper and verbally he was always most absurdly reticent. During the eleven months he was there he hardly ever sent out a search party except just before he was recalled. I left the direction of affairs in his hands, save and except when I was acting under the instructions of the Minister. Mr. Nicolson, it seems, employed a great many agents, some of whom were, to my knowledge, in the habit of communicating with and meeting the outlaws. Mr. Nicolson frequently received reliable information as to the whereabouts of the outlaws, but he took no steps whatever to act on the information, which I believe would clearly, in more than one instance, have led to the capture of the outlaws. Mr. Nicolson used to say to me on every possible occasion, 的 have the outlaws surrounded by my spies, and have my hands upon them. It is not a chase of months or weeks, but of days and hours. That was his favorite utterance to me on every possible occasion, and from information which I have received from time to time, I believe there is no doubt whatever that nearly the whole time Mr. Nicolson was in charge the outlaws were hanging about Greta and Glenrowan.

58. How far is that from Benalla?裕hey are about five miles apart.


 

5

59. As you stated that during the whole time that the outlaws were in the neighbourhood of Greta and Glenrowan, you had better say how far those are from Benalla?宥lenrowan is about twenty-five miles by rail, I think. Oh! No, it is a little more than half way to Wangaratta.

60. What is the distance?悠 cannot say exactly.

61. How far is Greta?宥reta is about ten miles, I think, from Benalla; and Glenrowan, I think, is about fourteen or fifteen miles. Whilst Mr. Nicolson was at Benalla, the following little incident occurred. 覧 was riding through the bush.

62. Who was he?幽e is a connection of the Kellys. He was riding through the bush, ten or twelve miles from Benalla, and he saw the four outlaws on horseback together with Tom Lloyd.

63. Who is Tom Lloyd?裕om Lloyd is a cousin of the Kellys. He did not go near them, but rode straight home to his own place as hard as he could go. When he got home, and went inside his house about dusk, he saw Tom Lloyd go and look at his horse in the paddock, and then take his place at the sliprails. He looked out several times during the night and saw Lloyd still there. Next day 覧 caught his horse, and while riding along the road, near Wangaratta, he met Mr. Sadleir, who was eight miles from Oxley, or somewhere in that direction.

64. What was the day?悠 have not got the date, but Mr. Sadleir and Mr. Hare will be able to give it. 覧 told Mr. Sadleir what he had seen on the previous day, and described the spot to him. Mr. Sadleir rode in as fast as he could to Wangaratta, and telegraphed to Mr. Nicolson that he had some important information, and to get everything ready for an early start, and he (Mr. Sadleir) would be at Benalla by the last train. On his arriving at Benalla he gave all the information to Mr. Nicolson. It was arranged that the black trackers and a party of men were to start away at one o団lock the next morning. Mr. Nicolson, Mr. Sadleir, and Mr. O辰onnor were to accompany the party. Mr. Nicolson telegraphed to me to come up to Benalla by the early train next morning. At one o団lock in the morning the men were all ready, with their horses saddled. Senior-Constable Irwin was in charge of the men. Mr. Nicolson turned up, and gave orders for the saddles to be taken off the horses, and for the men to go back to their quarters. Shortly after this Mr. Sadleir arrived at the barrack yard, and found all the saddles off the horses, and, upon asking the reason of this, was told that Mr. Nicolson had given the orders. Mr. Sadleir then went to the office, and found Mr. Nicolson and Mr. O辰onnor there. He asked him if any further news had been obtained to cause the change of plans. Mr. Nicolson replied, 哲o; but I have been thinking about the matter all night, and have decided not to disturb the outlaws just now. A telegram was sent to me at that hour not to come up to Benalla. There is no doubt that though Mr. Sadleir did not know of the exact spot, he could easily have obtained information from 覧.

65. Have you no general idea of the date at which this occurred?悠 have not; but I have a perfect recollection of it, but I cannot fix the date. Mr. Hare will be able to fix it.

66. And the official records will show it?雄es.

67. Was it in the early part or the latter part of the search?悠t was the early part of last year, 1880. I have ample proof of still further acts of gross neglect on the part of Mr. Nicolson. About the 25th of May last 覧, one of the 覧 family, was at Mrs. Byrne痴 house, and, just before she left, Joe Byrne and Dan Kelly came to the house, and subsequently Ned Kelly and Steve Hart, and sat down to tea. 覧 walked home a distance of about three miles.

68. While they were having tea?湧o, after having had tea there. She informed her mother, Mrs. 覧, who went into Beechworth next morning and told Detective Ward what her daughter had seen, and no notice was taken of it at all.

69. That would be on the 26th?雄es, the morning of the 26th, about a week before Mr. Nicolson was removed from Benalla.

70. Can you fix the dates?柚uch of this information did not come under my cognizance at the time. The witnesses can prove the dates. The persons referred to can prove the dates.

71. You gave evidence of what occurred on the 25th and 26th of March, before the outlaws were captured, and you see Mr. Nicolson was in charge on the 25th of May, but Mr. Hare succeeded him early in June, therefore it is most important that you should fix the dates, because you see Mr. Hare succeeded him a couple of days after?輸bout a week before Mr. Nicolson was removed from Benalla, Mrs. 覧 got up early to look for cows, and when passing an unoccupied house, about six or seven miles from Beechworth, she saw Joe Byrne getting on his horse. She said, 展hat are you doing here, Joe? and his reply was, 鏑ooking for Hare, to shoot him. She had some further conversation with him, and he rode away, and Mrs. 覧 made her way into Beechworth and informed Detective Ward, who telegraphed the fact to Benalla. The result was that that night Mr. Nicolson, Mr. Sadleir, and Mr. O辰onnor went to Beechworth without the trackers, saw Mrs. 覧, who stated what she had seen, and decided it was no use going after him, and they returned to Benalla next day. Towards the end of April 1880, I had some conversation with the then Chief Secretary, Mr. Ramsay, on the Kelly business. He asked me my opinion how things were going on. I said I thought that nothing was being done now, and that, beyond employing unreliable spies, I did not see what good Mr. Nicolson would ever effect. Mr. Ramsay told me he intended to consult his colleagues on the subject, and a few days afterwards sent for me and informed me that the Cabinet had unanimously decided that Mr. Nicolson should be removed from his position, and that Mr. Hare should be sent in his place, as they were of opinion that Mr. Hare was the most able and efficient man for that duty. I was requested to communicate the decision of the Government to Mr. Nicolson.

72. What position did Mr. Nicolson occupy at that time?幽e was in charge. I sent him after I returned to my duties.

73. Was he next in charge to yourself in the force?雄es.

74. You said he was removed by the opinion of the Cabinet; the question asked you is this, what position did Mr. Nicolson occupy in the police force?幽e was Inspecting Superintendent of Police with the honorary title of Assistant Commissioner. It was a title conferred on him by request of Mr. John Thomas Smith, without my being consulted.

75. You gave in evidence that, in conversation with Mr. Ramsay, he said he would lay it before his Cabinet, and that they unanimously arranged to remove Mr. Nicolson from his position?友rom charge of the district.

Captain F. C. Standish,

continued,

23rd March 1881.


 

6

Captain F. C. Standish,

continued,

23rd March 1881.

76. You said from his position, and I then asked you what you meant by the position?裕hey unanimously decided to remove him from the charge of the Kelly operations. I at once communicated the decision of the Government to Mr. Nicolson, and got in reply a request that I would arrange with the Chief Secretary that Mr. Nicolson should have an interview with him. I met Mr. Ramsay at Government House that day, and I told him, and asked him if he would accede to it. Mr. Ramsay said he did not see any necessity for seeing him, but if Mr. Nicolson wished it he would see him, but he would only see him in my presence. I communicated this to Mr. Nicolson, and he came down, and we had fixed a certain hour next day悠 think 10.30 a.m.葉o see Mr. Ramsay, and I told him of this. I also told him that Mr. Ramsay only wanted to see him in my presence. I went to my office, as I always did, at nine o団lock, and had occasion a few minutes afterwards to go and see Mr. Odgers, the Under Secretary, when I saw Mr. Nicolson trying to force his way into the Chief Secretary痴 office. I am not certain whether Mr. Ramsay was in or not. We went and saw Mr. Ramsay in the course of the morning, and Mr. Nicolson spoke for about three-quarters of an hour the most incoherent nonsense I ever heard in my life. Mr. Ramsay decided that he was not to remain there; but, at Mr. Nicolson痴 request, and with my concurrence, he was allowed to remain there another month. Mr. Nicolson came down to my office afterwards, when I asked him, 展hen are you going back? He said, 的 am going back by the next train葉he afternoon train. He not only did not do that, but he remained in Melbourne, and went to Sir James McCulloch to ask him to go and see Mr. Ramsay, and intercede on his behalf. Sir James McCulloch went there, but after a few moments conversation with Mr. Ramsay he withdrew his request. Shortly afterwards Mr. Nicolson forced his way into Mr. Ramsay痴 private business office, and, as Mr. Ramsay told me, spoke of me in a very nasty way, and abused me, whereupon Mr. Ramsay said, 溺r. Nicolson, supposing you were head of a department, and one of your subordinate officers came to me and abused you behind your back, what would you think? That day a telegram marked 天ery urgent was sent to Mr. Nicolson; it was addressed to the detective office.

77. How long was this after the 26th of June?裕his  was  early  in  May.    The following day a telegram  marked 砥rgent was addressed to Mr. Nicolson at the  detective  office.    I  thought  he  had returned, so  it  was brought  to  me.    I opened it, and I found by that he could not possibly have returned, so on chance I went down to the railway station to see if he was going off by the afternoon train that day.    I waited there for a few minutes, and just as the train was starting in  tumbled  Mr.  Nicolson.    I only had time to hand him the telegram and to give  him  a  bit  of  my  mind.    In  fact  I  may  say  that  on  that  occasion, and subsequently when he was relieved, he behaved to me in a most discourteous, insolent, and ungentlemanly manner; and if  I  had  not  been  a  man  who is  gifted  with  not  a  very  bad  temper,  I  should  not  only have  given  him  a  bit  of  my  mind  but  I  would have  suspended  him  from  duty; but  I  had  no  animosity against anybody in  the  department.    Though  I had a great contempt for the man, I  had  no  ill-feeling against  him.    On  Sunday the 27th of June 1880  I left my residence about a quarter past two.    A  few minutes after I had left a telegram arrived from Mr. Hare.    I did not return to my abode till half-past four, when I found this  telegram.    It  was  announcing  the murder of Sherritt by  some  of  the  outlaws.    Mr. Hare requested me to communicate with Mr. O辰onnor, who had come down to  Melbourne  on his way back to Queensland with the trackers, and to request him and urge upon him the propriety of assisting the department by returning at once to Beechworth.    On the receipt of this telegram I at once sent a letter out to Mr. O辰onnor, who, I heard, was staying at Essendon; sent him it by a hansom, and immediately wrote a letter to Mr. Ramsay to inform him of this.    In  my  letter I said I had written to Mr. O辰onnor; that I was not certain whether he would consent to go or not, but that if he did I should either send them up by the early morning train or by a special train if necessary.    Shortly  after Mr. Ramsay received this letter. In the meantime I had been down at the telegraph office to communicate  with  Mr. Hare,  and  I  returned  to  the club and I found Mr. Ramsay just arrived, and I talked the matter over with him; and I had not seen Mr. O辰onnor, and was not certain whether he would go back; but he took me up to Mr.  Gillies  place,  which was near Mr. Ramsay痴, and got for me an order for a special train. I returned to the club with this in my pocket, and just about this time Mr. O辰onnor turned up.    I  told  him, and  asked  him  if  he was willing to go up; said it was a matter of great urgency; and  he, in a rather haw-haw way, said he did not see any objection, and said he would go; and I asked when he would be ready to go, and he said he would go this evening.    I  told  him I had an order for a special train and I would get it at once.    He  asked  me  to get the train to meet him at Essendon, as his black trackers were at the late John Thomas Smith痴 place. I went down to the station and ordered the special train, and he left about half-past nine or ten; I do not know the time exactly.    About twenty minutes to six the following morning, Monday the 28th of June, I was asleep in bed when I was knocked up.    A telegram was handed to me, saying that Superintendent Hare and his party would join Mr. O辰onnor at Benalla. Had encountered the outlaws at Glenrowan; that Superintendent Hare in the early part of the encounter had been shot through the wrist by the first shot. It was too late. I could not have possibly caught the early train, so I communicated at once with Mr. Ramsay, and got an order for a special train to take me up about nine o団lock. An hour before I was going to start I got a telegram announcing that Ned Kelly had been taken alive. A few minutes afterwards I went down to the railway station, and there I heard that Joe Byrne had been shot dead. I started by special train, and got to Benalla about two o団lock. There was an encumbrance on the line, and the special train could not go on. I went to the hotel at Benalla to see Superintendent Hare. I sat with him a short time, and then went back to the railway station, and was detained there till four o団lock. Just before the train left a telegram came down to say that the whole thing was over; the house had been burned, and the charred remains of Steve Hart and Dan Kelly had been found in the house.    I went on the special train, and when I got there everything was over. I instructed Mr. Sadleir not to hand over the charred remains of the outlaws. It is just possible he may have misunderstood me, but I certainly did say that to him; but it seems that possibly there was a misapprehension. He allowed the friends of the outlaws to take away those two charred stumps, as you may call them. I saw Ned Kelly lying severely wounded, and the body of Byrne. I ordered Ned Kelly to be brought down to Benalla at once, where he was put in the lock-up and attended to. Byrne痴 body was also brought down, and photographed there the next morning without my knowledge.  An inquest was held on Byrne and I instructed him to be buried straight off in the Benalla cemetery.  After inviting medical opinion, I found it was perfectly safe and advisable to send Ned  Kelly  down  to  Melbourne.   Having  ascertained  that


 

7

there was no risk in having Ned Kelly sent down to the Melbourne gaol, I ordered him to be taken down in a special carriage by the afternoon train, I think it was. I stayed at Benalla that day, and had an interview with Mr. Curnow, the schoolmaster, to whom certainly we are indebted for saving the lives of all the police, and for putting us on the track of the Kellys. I returned to Melbourne the following day.

78. Is that all?裕hat concludes my evidence. Of course, I am ready to answer any questions that may be put to me.

79. By the Chairman.悠 intend to ask you a few questions upon your report of the 15th March 1880; and after that I will ask Inspector Nicolson and Mr. O辰onnor whether they have anything to say, or any questions to ask you. In your report of the 5th of July, you say欄It is asserted and implied that the long-continued efforts of the police force to trace and capture the outlaws have been characterised by supiness and apathy; that the police have been, in many cases, influenced by a desire to avoid rather than meet the offenders, while in connection with the recent outbreak, which led to the destruction of the gang, it is asserted that I have been guilty of most culpable procrastination; that the police officers have shown a want of generalship, and the conduct of the members of the force has been, according to some, characterised by an inconceivable disregard of human life, and, according to others, by an absence of that courage and dash which every good constable should possess. I have long felt the injustice of these reflections, and I think the time has now arrived when I can properly ask to have it ascertained whether they are deserved or not. Now I think that, in the evidence that you have now given before the Commission, you have asserted that there was both supineness and apathy on the part of Mr. Nicolson?佑ertainly.

80. You must have been aware of that at the time you wrote this葉his is the 5th of July 1880, after the Kellys were caught?雄es.

81. What was the period at which you lost confidence in Mr. Nicolson?優uring his last stay in Benalla. He remained there eleven months; and, as I have stated in the evidence, he kept saying he had his hand upon those outlaws.

82. That was before 1880?雄es, that was the early part of last year.

83. During his last stay at Benalla you lost confidence in him?幽e was doing nothing.

84. We want to know the time you began to lose confidence in him?悠 cannot say the particular date; but if a man stays eleven months without ever doing anything, and always saying he is going to catch them immediately揺as his eye upon them悠 cannot believe him.

85. That was before June 1879, where you spoke of his being most insolent to you, and but for your good temper you would have thought of suspending him?裕hat was in June 1880.

86. We have it in your evidence here that, on the 11th December, Mr. Nicolson went down and returned on the 12th; and you are given to understand that Mr. Nicolson did not warn the bankers that an effort was to be made to stick up a bank?裕hat is so.

87. You say he did not warn the railway telegraph people, and so a splendid chance was lost to capture the Kellys?雄es.

88. Had you confidence in him then. Can you fix about the time. Were these the things that were leading up to the want of confidence in him?邑ell it rather shook my faith in him. I may say this letter of 5th July was written after that. I wanted an investigation into the matter, but that the Honourable Mr. Service, who was then Prime Minister, in the election at Maldon made a speech strongly reflecting on me, and the remarks were most unfair and uncalled for.

89. Have you got that speech?悠 do not know for what purpose he turned round, and, pointing to his colleague (Mr. Ramsay), said the fact is it was Mr. Ramsay that caught the Kellys. I think it was a most unjustifiable proceeding on the part of Mr. Service, and most uncalled for.

90. On the 5th July 1880 had you confidence in Mr. Nicolson?悠 did not refer to Mr. Nicolson in the letter at all.

91. Had you lost confidence in Mr. Nicolson on that date?悠 had, and long before.

92. How long?裕hree or four months before.

93. What is the date of that?友ifteenth of March 1880.

94. I refer to all these things you made reference to庸irst, supineness and apathy; and, secondly, that they desired rather to avoid than meet the Kellys. 典hat I have been guilty of most culpable procrastination; that the police officers have shown a want of generalship. In what way do you desire to qualify that, or can you qualify it?雄ou know the police are constantly attacked in newspapers. Not that it ever affected me in the least, and, being a public servant, it never affects me.

95. You say, there, 的 have been charged with being guilty of most culpable procrastination?裕hat is Mr. Service痴 statement.

96. 典hat the police officers have shown a want of generalship. Do you believe 鍍hat the police officers have shown a want of generalship, all or any, and, if so, particularise the ones, if you do say they showed a want of generalship. Do you believe they did or not?湧one of those who were actively engaged in the pursuit of the Kellys did.

97. Do you say Superintendent Hare showed generalship, and it would be a false charge saying he showed a want of generalship?悠t would be. We could not have had a better officer.

98. Do you say Mr. Sadleir showed want of generalship, you being Chief Commissioner of Police at that time?幽e never was at the head of affairs.

99. You do not say he showed want of generalship?湧o.

100. Do you think Mr. Nicolson showed want of generalship?悠 do.

101. What were you in the service until you left it?悠 was Chief Commissioner of Police.

102. What was Mr. Nicolson?悠nspecting Superintendent of Police with the honorary title of 鄭ssistant Commissioner.

103. Is that honorary title of 鄭ssistant Commissioner recognised either by the police law or the regulations?裕here is no such title in the regulations.

104. What, by the regulations, are the duties of an inspecting superintendent, which Mr. Nicolson was?幽is duties are, by my instruction as head of the department, to visit the districts, and to visit all stations, and to make a special report on them, and otherwise to be employed on such duties as the head of the department might direct him to perform.

Captain F. C. Standish,

continued,

23rd March 1881.


 

8

Captain F. C. Standish,

continued,

23rd March 1881.

105. I understand you to say that he was to act, under your instructions, certain duties. Are these his duties:欄It is the duty of the inspecting superintendent to proceed from time to time, in accordance with such instructions as he may receive from the Chief Commissioner, to the several districts, for the purpose of minutely inspecting the force, and reporting on the state in which he finds it, or for the purpose of investigating and reporting on any charge of misconduct against the police, or any other matter which the Chief Commissioner of Police may wish to have enquired into?裕hose are his duties.

106. Who is the next officer after Mr. Nicolson?祐uperintendent Winch is the senior superintendent, who is in charge of the City police.

107. Who is the next officer?柚r. Chomley.

108. The next?悠 cannot remember all.

109. Is it not Mr. Hare?湧o.

110. Is it Mr. Chambers?悠 really cannot tell you. He is one of the five first.

111. The Commission wish to know how the districts are situated. Now in whose district is Melbourne and the suburbs?柚r. Winch痴, the superintendent of the City police.

112. And outside the city of Melbourne whose district comes in?柚any of the suburbs are in the metropolitan police.

113. From North Melbourne, in that district called the North-Eastern, what superintendent is in charge of the portion between the Melbourne district north-easterly towards the North-Eastern district?裕hat is what is called the Bourke district. Mr. Hare is in charge.

114. Then Mr. Hare joins onto the Benalla district?雄es, and the North-Eastern district.

115. Who is the officer in charge of the North-Eastern district?柚r. Sadleir.

116. Was he there at the time of the murders?雄es.

117. Is he there now?雄es.

118. Who are his inspectors?祐ub-Inspector Baber at Benalla, Sub-Inspector Pewtress at Mansfield.

119. Taking the North-Eastern line, and commencing at Melbourne, what station does Mr. Hare痴 district stop at?輸venel.

120. What is the next station?勇uroa.

121. Is that the station the bank was robbed at. Do you mean us to understand that the banks along the line were notified up to the boundary of Mr. Hare痴 district?悠 was informed that some of the banks in the North-Eastern district were likely to be stuck up.

122. I understand you to say that the banks in the district in which Mr. Nicolson was were not so informed. Is that correct?悠 believe they were not.

123. And then at Avenel Mr. Hare痴 district terminates?雄es.

124. And Mr. Sadleir痴 commences?雄es.

125. Mr. Nicolson took charge of Mr. Sadleir痴 district, under your instructions, after the murders?幽e had charge of the Kelly pursuit party.

126. In that district?悠n that district.

127. Those are the two districts in which all these matters occurred?雄es.

128. Did anything in connection with the Kellys that you have told the Board of in your evidence occur out of the North-Eastern district謡ere Euroa, Mansfield, Greta, and Glenrowan in the North-Eastern district?雄es.

129. Would Wodonga be in it?雄es.

130. Did you mean to say in your evidence that Mr. Nicolson went to Albury or Wodonga?輸lbury.

131. That is out of the colony?雄es.

132. In the sub-districts where the inspectors are you mentioned Mr. Pewtress, where does his district go to?友rom the Broken River north to Wood痴 Point south.

133. Where is Mr. Baber痴 district?幽e has no sub-district, he is stationed at Benalla.

134. Was there an officer at Beechworth at the time?柚r. Brook Smith.

135. And all those outrages have been committed in the North-Eastern district葉he murder of Sherritt, the Glenrowan affair, the murders at Wombat, and the robbery at the Bank, have all occurred in the North-Eastern district?雄es.

136. What was the strength of the district at the time of the murders, the number of the men?悠 really cannot tell.

137. How many men was it increased by?邑ell I think about a hundred or a little over; a hundred and twenty men at one time.

138. Do you know the distance from the Wombat where the murders were committed, known as Stringybark Creek, to the place where the murderers were brought to justice, burnt, and shot?宥lenrowan悠 can put my finger on the map, but cannot tell the distance.

139. Is it under 30 miles?悠 should think about 30 miles.

140. How far is it from Greta, the residence of the Kellys, to the bank at Euroa?悠 can spot them on the map, but I have not noticed the distance exactly.

141. On the report you made certain recommendations. 的 have therefore the honor to request that an enquiry may be instituted by the Government, and before that you say 鍍he conduct of the members of the force has been, according to some, characterised by an inconceivable disregard of human life, and according to others, by an absence of that courage and dash which every good constable should possess. Now is it your opinion there is the least want of courage or dash in the constables or sergeants of police?悠 do not think so.

142. Do you believe there was supineness or apathy in these men as a body or in individual cases of constables shirking their duty, or in bringing the murderers to justice?悠 believe all the police employed in the North-Eastern district were most anxious to catch the outlaws and would have endangered their lives to catch them.

143. That is your evidence as the head of the department, and after being six months with them?雄es, I do not say that in the force every man is a hero; there may be some perhaps who have not much courage, but as a body I cannot speak too highly of the men under me for the six months I was at Benalla.


 

                                                                                         9

144. You were in constant daily communication with the sergeants, constables, and men at Benalla?悠 was.

145. Did you ever see the slightest reluctance at any time or period of the day or night to go out at once to perform their duty?湧o, on the contrary, a laudable anxiety.

146. According to that, you approve of the conduct of those police who allowed the men to escape after the shooting of Sherritt, was that courageous conduct?柚y firm belief is that if they had left the house every one would have been shot dead.

147. You ask that 鍍he enquiry may be full and impartial, and open to receive the evidence of all persons, whether members of the force or not, who may have information on the subject to communicate迫of course, that the country expect傭ut you say 鍍hat the proceedings should not be open to the press, for though the full details of what the police have been doing should be known to the Government, it would be obviously contrary to public policy that they should be published for general information. I suppose you are aware that all the members on this Board are more or less identified with the public, Members of Parliament, or otherwise; that they receive no remuneration; that they have been severely criticised on this Board; and do you think it would be fair to them that the press should not be present?柚y only objection to the press being present has been entirely laid aside by the remark made by the Chairman on the first meeting of the Board, which was to the effect that those portions of the evidence which may bring certain men into positions of annoyance and danger may not be reported by the press.

148. Your number two recommendation you consider unnecessary now, provided what the Chairman said is carried out?佑ertainly; I have not the remotest objection to it; the only thing is, I hope the Commission will be good enough to exercise a certain amount of discretion to prevent the names of people being admitted into these proceedings to whom the consequences may be serious, or even fatal.

149. Then you wind up your report with this remark欄They report of the gentlemen making the enquiry should, I think, be all that should find its way into the hands of the public. Now, provided that the names of the parties who would suffer in their persons or their property by giving information or evidence here are protected by the discretion of the Chairman, do you consider it at all desirable that the public should not have the fullest information upon it?悠 think not. Might I be allowed to suggest that some names I mentioned to-day should not appear upon the records.

The Witness mentioned the names of several people named in his evidence which he wished to be left blank.

The Chairman requested the shorthand writer to comply with Captain Standish痴 request.

150. Did you approve of the burning of Mrs. Jones痴 hotel, while the outlaws were there?悠 was not there.

151. From what you have since, do you approve of it?裕here is one matter to be considered, whether the outlaws were burnt alive.

152. I mean, taking the evidence as we have it, from what we suppose, whether they were dead or alive, would that action meet with your approval?悠f I had been in charge of the operations, I should not have had the house burnt down.

153. Who was in charge at that time?柚r. Sadleir.

154. I suppose, after all, there is a certain amount of latitude allowed to men of the force who are in danger?雄es.

155. What was the nature of those instructions communicated to the police officers in the North-Eastern District regarding their actions, should they receive any intelligence of the outlaws. Were there any special instructions?勇very member of the police force was, if he heard any information, to communicate at once with the officer in charge of the district; but if there were good grounds for believing they were in a certain place, and he could get a few men to go with him, he could go at once; but that in urgent cases覧

156. They had liberty to take action at once?雄es, if they had a sufficient body of men to warrant their going out, but if one man heard the outlaws were a few miles off, of course he could not go himself.

157. I ask the question, because it was stated they were limited by certain regulations, and complaints have been made about red-tapeism, that they had good information, but that they could not act upon it without first communicating with the Police Department, and great delay, in consequence, ensued?悠f the officer at Mansfield had information, it was his duty to telegraph it at once to the head of the district, and if he had sufficient men, to proceed at once. If he has only one man he could not go out himself.

158. What number would you consider it prudent for any man to start with?友our men.

159. Then any petty officer in charge of any three men would be justified, as soon as he had telegraphed the news to his superior officer, in starting at once in pursuit?雄es.

160. Was there any instance of such a thing, where men receiving such information, did not proceed?悠 cannot bear in mind any case of that kind.

161. No similar case occurring at Mansfield?湧o; because you know there were no end of reports and rumors flying about, a great many false reports circulated, and if we had sent the police after every shadowy report of that kind, we should have worn the whole of them out to no purpose.

162. I mean from the officer in charge?悠f the officer in charge, or the senior sub-officer in charge saw his way to catch the outlaws, it was his duty to do so.

163. Mr. Hare in his official report says, 的 also told them that at each of these towns I would have a full party of men stationed, so that, if any information was received about the Kellys, they would be in a position to go in pursuit at once; and all I wished them to do was to communicate by telegraph with me previous to their starting off, so that I might know in which direction they had gone. The question is this, if Mr. Hare gave that instruction in June when he resumed the command, is it within your knowledge that that was not the rule prior to his assuming command. It has been stated in the public press and elsewhere that there was a regulation in force, presumably through you as the permanent and responsible head of the department that, if the Kellys were heard of by the police, under no circumstances were they to go after them unless they had communicated with the head of the department; and the question I ask is, as Mr. Hare in his official report gives certain instructions, therefore it looks like a different instruction from those previously acted on, was it or not?悠 do not know what regulations Mr. Nicolson may have issued when in charge of the Kelly operations; I can say I never issued any.

POLICE.                                                                                        B

Captain F. C. Standish,

continued,

23rd March 1881.


 

                                                                        10

Captain F. C. Standish,

continued,

23rd March 1881.

164. If there were regulations of that sort, they were not in accordance with your instructions as the responsible head of the department?佑ertainly not.

165. At the time you took charge of the Benalla district you stated you organized search parties?邑e had search parties.

166. How many did those search parties generally consist of?湧o fixed number, it differed.

167. From six to覧?湧ine or ten.

168. In the event of those search parties being sent out, if they obtained what they believed to be reliable information, were they allowed to proceed without waiting for any orders or instructions from you?佑ertainly.

169. Those parties were not instructed to go a certain distance, and then if they had obtained no information to return at certain fixed periods?湧o, they had instructions to act according to the best of their judgement generally.

170. Was there no limitation as to the time they were to return?邑hen they were to return?

171. Were they under the charge of officers?祐ome were, and some under sub-officers.

172. There was always some recognised head to each party?雄es.

173. In asking about the districts, I neglected one station, I recollect now謡as there not an officer at Kilmore, the nearest station to Euroa, in the Bourke district?雄es, Mr. Baber was stationed there.

174. The Chairman (to Mr. Nicolson).優o you desire to ask any questions?悠 do.

The Witness.輸m I to submit to be cross-examined by anyone who is called here?

The Chairman (to Mr. Nicolson).輸ny question you ask now must arise out of the evidence just given.

175. By Mr. Nicolson.涌f course you know the difference between what is evidence, and what are mere statements?悠 know what is the difference between what is speaking the truth and telling a lie.

175a. That is not my question; you are aware of the difference between the two覧

176. By the Commission.裕he question asked is, do you know the difference between direct evidence and hearsay evidence?勇verything I have stated is not exactly from my own knowledge, but I know it is true.

177. You stated about Mr. Wyatt?柚r. Wyatt told me it.

178. By Mr. Nicolson.悠s not a great portion of your evidence mere hearsay, and not what came within your own knowledge?悠 know it is true.

179. That is not an answer to my question?悠 have no other answer.

179a. Is there not a considerable portion of the statements you have given just now hearsay?祐ome of it, but I know it to be true.

180. You were asked about the cause of the lawlessness at Beechworth, and you spoke of the wholesale system of cattle-stealing there; are you not aware that there are other causes of lawlessness in the North-Eastern District?裕hat was the principal crime of the district.

181. Are you aware whether there was any other reason for the Kelly gang taking the field?悠 believe these outrages would never have happened if it had not been for the shooting of Constable Fitzpatrick, and the consequent anger and indignation of the Kellys at their mother having received that severe sentence, and at their associates having received the sentence of six years.

182. Were you aware before this man Fitzpatrick was sent there that he was a man of bad character?悠 was not; he was strongly recommended to me by Mr. C. A. Smyth.

183. Had you not occasion to remove him from Schnapper Point up to the North-Eastern District?湧o; the incidents that came to my knowledge afterwards occurred at Schnapper Point, but I never had information of them till after he was sent to Benalla.

184. Are you not aware that for some years, a considerable number of years back, the Beechworth district has been unfortunate through various circumstances, in the officers stationed there, officers dying, and through frequent changes of officers, peculiarly so?悠 do not know what you are talking about.

185. Are you not aware that for some years, a considerable number of years back, the Beechworth district has been unfortunate in the officers stationed there, officers dying, and through frequent changes of officers, peculiarly so?裕here were one or two; Mr. Barkley, in charge, died. What has that to do with this case?

186. By the Commission.邑as it more so than any other district?悠 am not aware of it. At one time it was necessary to remove one or two men from a certain part of the district, but there was not a general removal of all hands.

187. By Mr. Nicolson.邑ere there not officers removed from time to time?祐o they are in any district; state whom you refer to.

188. I refer to a series of officers?裕hen speak out; none of your mysterious hints about officers.

189. Are you not aware悠 have a delicacy in mentioning the officers, because many of them are dead, but I will furnish a list of them遥ou know Whom I refer to?悠 do not know, that is utterly untrue. I do not know whom you refer to; mention the name, then I will admit it. Why not speak out like a man, instead of hemming and hawing and hesitating?

190. Who was the superintendent of the district previous to Mr. Sadleir?柚r. Barkley, of the Beechworth district. You know all these things. Why cannot you mention them yourself?

191. I am examining you. I cannot?雄ou are talking nonsense.

192. Who was there before Mr. Barkley?悠 cannot remember.

193. Was there not a Mr. Wilson?幽e was there after. I do not believe it was immediately before Mr. Barkley.

194. Was there not a Mr. Purcell there?幽e was, but not in charge of the district.

195. By the Commission.邑as he superintendent?湧o.

196. By Mr. Nicolson.邑as there not one superintendent there for twelve months悠 mean Mr. Chomley?幽e was there.

197. Do you remember my making an inspection of that district in 1878?悠 remember you made an inspection of the district some time before this happened, but I must say I did not attach much importance to any of your reports. They were all merely twaddle.

198. Do you remember my reporting Greta station to you?雄es.


 

                                                                                              11

199. What did I recommend?悠 cannot remember. I have not seen the papers.

200. Do you remember my reporting the men and recommending their removal?湧o.

201. Did I recommend Thorn痴 removal?雄es.

202. Do you remember the establishment of the Glenmore station?雄es.

203. Do you remember the proposal to abolish Glenmore?悠t was of very little use that station.

204. I am not asking that. Do you not recollect it being recommended to break it up?雄es.

205. Do you remember my protesting against it?湧o.

206. Do you remember Mr. Montfort protesting against it?湧o.

207. The station was broken up?裕he station was broken up.

208. Was I communicated with or consulted with about the breaking of it up?悠 cannot remember.

209. Are you aware that at the time I went up to inspect that district the Glenmore station was abolished?悠 cannot tell.

210. Do you remember my reporting to you the occasion of that visit that there was a system of horse and cattle stealing carried on uninterruptedly in that district by men from the Greta district?悠 was perfectly well aware of that before your report.

211. Why was no step taken to put a stop to it?悠 decline to answer that.

212. Did I not recommend that the arrangement should be made through the Inspector-General and with the police of New South Wales for the police of one district to communicate with the other, establishing a system of communication?悠 do not remember your ever doing it.

212a. It was done覧

By the Chairman.悠n writing?

Mr. Nicolson.悠n writing.

213. By Mr. Nicolson.優o you remember the arrest and conviction of the Baumgartens?雄es.

214. Were you made aware who it was that brought the horses to Baumgarten on which they were committed葉hat they were reported to the police?悠 was made aware of that.

215. Who was it?悠 decline to answer.

216. Why?唯ecause I won稚.

217. By the Commission.雄ou decline answering that question. Of course the Commission thoroughly understand the grounds on which that would be reasonably objected to in your mind. Do you think it would be injurious to the safety of that person of his family by your giving that information?悠 decline to answer the question unless ordered by the Commission. Allow me to observe that I have been asked a lot of questions which have nothing to do with the object of the Commission. I do not know whether it is intended on the part of Mr. Nicolson to annoy me or worry me.

The Chairman instructed Mr. Nicolson to confine himself to cross-examining the witness on evidence having relation to himself, Mr. Nicolson.

218. By Mr. Nicolson.優id you consult me in the abolition of the Glenmore station?悠 would be guided by the opinion of the officers of the district rather than the inspecting superintendent.

219. You say that, about a fortnight before the Euroa bank was stuck up, you received information from me that the bank was to be stuck up?悠 did.

220. In what form did you receive such information from me about the bank being about to be stuck up?悠 cannot recollect; it may have been a letter, or it may have been a telegram.

221. When I was sent up to the North-Eastern District the officer there was Mr. Sadleir?雄es.

222. You are aware that Mr. Sadleir was convalescent, after severe rheumatic fever?幽e was all right when I was there.

223. And that he was unable to go out of camp葉o go out with search parties?悠 was not aware of that.

224. Are you not aware that I had no officer at my disposal there excepting Mr. Sadleir?裕here was only you and Mr. Sadleir there, the officer in charge of Mansfield.

225. If Mr. Sadleir was recovering from fever, and was only convalescent, was he fit to go out on duty?裕wo months after he was in capital health.

226. That was two months after. Are you not aware that I had to go out on search parties myself?悠 know I went out a great deal.

227. Had I any leaders to take charge of parties of men in that district to go out on search when I went up on the 28th October 1878?雄ou had several sub-officers in the district祐ergeant Steele, and that kind of men.

228. By the Commission.邑as not there Mr. Brook Smith at Beechworth; was there not Mr. Pewtress at Mansfield?雄es.

229. And the superintendent of the district, Mr. Sadleir, at Beechworth?雄es.

230. By Mr. Nicolson.悠 spoke of the men to go out as leaders. What is the quality of a leader to go out; is he not only a man in a proper state of health, fit to take charge of men, but a person particularly with a knowledge of the district?雄es.

230a. Who, when I went up there, were fit in that way?裕here were lots of men who knew the country.

231. Were they senior-constables or non-commissioned officers who also knew the country?悠 do not know what you are driving at.

232. Who were fit when I went up there?祐ergeant Steele.

233. Who else?裕here were other good men.

234. There was Senior-Constable James?雄es, he was a good man.

235. By the Commission.邑as Strachan fit?幽e was a blathering fellow.

236. Was Senior-Constable Kelly?幽e was a good man in some ways.

237. Was Whelan, of Benalla?幽e was foot, not mounted. He was a most excellent sub-officer.

238. Was there a man in Beechworth fit to take charge?柚r. Brook Smith was in charge.

239. By Mr. Nicolson.邑as there not an entire absence of men fit to be leaders?邑e sent up a lot of men immediately after the outrage. There were a number of very excellent men sent up immediately after the murder of Scanlan.

240. You say I was out a great deal on search parties?雄es.

241. Did not that necessitate Mr. Sadleir staying at home?悠 suppose so.

Captain F. C. Standish,

continued,

23rd March 1881.


 

12

Captain F. C. Standish,

continued,

23rd March 1881.

242. Was not the result of that that I was compelled to go out instead of remaining at home at head-quarters, managing the business. Did it not cause me to leave the office, so that I went out and left another officer to carry on the business and correspondence?裕he correspondence of the office was carried on by the officer in charge.

243. With whom had you correspondence?悠 had correspondence with you.

244. Was it not mostly with Mr. Sadleir?悠 do not think so.

245. If the circumstances of the case compelled me to go out into the bush, and go into the Kelly country, and so on, whose duty was it then to carry on the correspondence?裕he officer in charge.

246. Would you expect that I would do both at once at the same time?涌f course if you were in the bush you cannot be in the office.

247. You made the remark here, you never omitted to take steps to do everything. When you were up there Mr. Hare was very indefatigable, and so on, and popular with the men, whom he treated like friends, not like dogs. What officer did you refer to that treated them like dogs?悠 merely stated that Mr. Hare treated the men like friends, not like dogs.

248. By the Commission.裕he clear inference left on my mind was that, if Superintendent Hare had not treated the men like dogs, some other officer had?悠 did not say so.

249. The clear inference from the statement and your manner was that someone else did

250. By Mr. Nicolson邑hen you came up to Euroa, on hearing of the robbery there, on the 11th, you stated you found me ill, and sent me to town?雄es.

251. Are you sure it was not the day after?悠 could not say whether it was that day or the day after.

252. You stated that you despatched a party away out to the Strathbogie ranges on that occasion?悠 never made such a statement.

253. You stated you despatched a party from Euroa in pursuit in the ranges when questioned just now in your evidence?悠 never made such a statement.

254. Did I come down to town, or was I sent down?雄ou were relieved by me.

255. To get medical attendance?輸s I was going to stay up permanently at the time.

256. Did you, at any of your visits previous to the Euroa sticking up, make remarks about my remissness?悠 never made any statement about you. The first two months you were there, you were very active rushing about the country, morning and night擁n fact, rushing about too much I thought.

257. You say you came down to town, and you found things in a mess in your office?雄es, very muddly.

258. Did you ever express anything of that kind to me?悠 did not see the use of it.

259. You did not?湧o.

260. Can you give any instance of what you mean by 鍍hings being muddled in the office?輸ll the matters which are generally disposed of in five minutes you used to keep over five days.

261. Did you find that?雄es.

262. Did you find any files in your office, left behind there, that were not kept behind for a purpose?悠 cannot recollect that.

263. Was it on all occasions when you came to town遥ou came several times?裕hree times I came.

264. On those occasions did you find anything wrong in the office?悠 did not do any business in the office.

265. Did you not find everything in order in the office?悠 never did any business in the office.

266. When you returned?裕here were a great many things held over.

267. Were they not files held over for you as the head of the department, as I, as your locum tenens, did not feel justified in dealing with them myself?悠 always heard that you were most procrastinating, and delayed matters most frightfully when you had charge of the office葉hat is your nature, to be a procrastinator.

268. You say, when I succeeded you in July, I employed spies and agents?雄es, you told me yourself.

269. You said I must have known they were sympathizers with the Kellys. What class of people do you suppose you could obtain the information from people who knew anything about the Kellys excepting that class?勇xactly; but you must not allow yourself to be made a fool of.

270. How was I?悠 heard that some of the men whom you employed used to take your money and laugh at you behind your back and tell the Kellys.

271. You were told that?雄es, by three or four people.

272. Is it fair to make a statement of that kind without evidence. Do you remember the first visit you made to Benalla after I took charge?雄es.

273. Do you remember an agent, whom I obtained, coming and meeting me with you privately?雄es.

274. Do you recollect that man receiving a considerable sum of money, from 」25 to 」30?友rom whom?

275. Do you recollect his receiving money?湧o, not from me.

276. Do you recollect his receiving some, said to be for the purchase of a horse妖o you remember giving that man an order to any telegraph master, on a slip of paper, in writing, to all telegraph masters欄Permit the bearer to send any messages to me, F.C.S.?迫Yes.

277. Do you remember giving a sum of money on that occasion?湧o.

278. Did you give the money or I?悠 had no money with me.

279. Did the man not receive a sum of money from you that night?湧ot to my knowledge. I do not remember giving the money.

280. You did?悠t is possible I may have; I do not remember it. I am not at all guided by your statements.

281. Do you recollect that that document you gave in that order to the telegraph office was, instead of writing to the telegraph masters, to allow him to send any information to Mr. Nicolson, that you told him to send it to you in Melbourne?優o not get excited; I have some recollection of giving an order to send telegrams.


 

                                                                                          13

282. To send the information to you in Melbourne?悠 do not recollect that.

283. You speak from hearsay?悠 speak of many things I heard from your own mouth.

284. You received a report on the subject where information was given by 覧, that he had seen a man on horseback, and so on?雄ou telegraphed me to come up, and telegraphed me not to come up.

285. Did I not send a report to you?悠 do not remember. The report will be in your office.

286. By the Commission.輸s a matter of fact, evidence was given by the party named, and the result of that was that it was decided by the police to take action on that evidence, and when the horses were saddled when Mr. Sadleir came back, and without his being consulted, he found the pursuit was abandoned?雄es.

287. Was there a subsequent explanation, of why that took place, to you?悠 do not remember. I remember his telegraphing me not to come up. Mr. Nicolson can produce the papers.

288. You do not know that there was?悠 do not remember.

289. By Mr. Nicolson.悠 can put a different complexion on that when I make my statement. As to insubordination at the railway station, do you recollect sending me a note requesting me to come down to town, that you wished a conversation with me about various matters?雄es.

290. To come down on Thursday?雄es.

291. I had to come down on Friday night, so as to come to your office on Saturday morning?雄es.

292. When I came to your office on Saturday, what did you say?邑hich interview?

293. The first interview, did you first say, 溺r. Nicolson, I have to say the Government have decided to relieve you, and to send up some one in your stead on Monday morning?雄es, I think I wrote to you on the subject.

294. Where was the conversation you wrote me we were to have together?悠n my office.

295. Was that the first thing you addressed me?悠f my memory serves me, I think I wrote you.

296. You wrote me, but not telling me I was to be superseded?夕The witness looked for the letter.] I thought I had written to him to tell him he was superseded, but it seems I wrote him to come down. This is the letter欄26th April 1880. Confidential. My dear Nicolson, I should be glad to see you down here on Thursday to have a chat with you. Please come down by the evening train, and come to my office the following day as early as convenient. I had a long interview with 覧 this morning. He is of opinion that the outlaws are at present between the 11-mile and the scene of the murders on the Wombat ranges. I did not gain much intelligence. He spoke very frankly to me on various matters.

297. Had we any conversation about that on that occasion?湧ot on that occasion you came down. Our whole conversation was about your removal.

298. By the Commission.悠t was in consequence of that letter Mr. Nicolson came to town. Was the occasion you told him they had decided to remove him?悠 think it was.

Cross-examined by Mr. O辰onnor.

299. Do not you remember saying to Mr. Sadleir that although he was superintendent he was to be under me for that party?佑ertainly not.

300. Do you remember some time about May 1879 receiving a letter informing you that four persons answering the description of the Kellys were in a hut near Benalla?悠 remember receiving certain information about the outlaws from a certain source.

301. I will bring it to your recollection遥ou were dining at Mr. O鱈eary痴?悠 remember receiving that letter.

302. By the Commission (to Mr. O辰onnor).悠s that what you refer to in your printed letter?裕here were two occurrences夕examining the paper]?雄es, that is.

303. By Mr. O辰onnor (to the witness).邑hen you retired from Mr. O鱈eary痴 you then went to the hotel, did you not?雄es.

304. To interview Mr. Hare?雄es.

305. When I joined you some two hours afterwards, and asked you what the contents of the letter were, did you tell me?湧o.

306. To whom did you communicate the contents of that letter?悠t is no business of yours.

307. The Commission are asking you擁t is for their information?柚r. Chairman, do you wish me to answer that.

308. What were the contents of that letter悠 want to show that that letter should have been communicated to me?(The witness made an impatient gesture).

309. You may sniff, but that will not alter it at all?悠 have not the slightest objection to answer the question to the Chairman of the Commission. I communicated to Mr. Hare.

310. You consider the information contained in that letter was very important?裕he information was discussed by Mr. Hare and myself, and we determined to adopt a certain course.

311. That is not my question妖id you consider it important?悠 did.

312. That is what you ought to have answered first?邑ill you conduct yourself like a gentleman?

The Chairman interposed, and requested both Captain Standish and Mr. O辰onnor to restrain their feelings.

The Witness.幽e is so insolent in his manner.

313. By Mr. O辰onnor.邑hy did you not inform me, or order myself and the boys to pick up the tracks?唯ecause if we had had you and your numerous baggage, horses, and trackers, we should have been known some hours before we got there.

314. How many men accompanied Mr. Hare in that party?祐even or eight.

315. By the Commission.雄ou took immediate action in the matter?雄es.

316. By Mr. O辰onnor.邑hy were we sent for and our services not made use of?裕hey were sent for against my recommendation.

317. Do you ever remember saying to me that you would endeavor to get the Kellys without my valuable assistance?悠 never said any such thing.

318. From the outset you were jealous of my trackers finding the outlaws?裕hat is absolutely untrue.

319. What was the result of Mr. Hare痴 visit to this hut?雄ou had better ask Mr. Hare.

320. Is your memory so bad?幽e went with a party of men and ransacked the hut.

Captain F. C. Standish,

continued,

23rd March 1881.


 

                                                             14

Captain F. C. Standish,

continued,

23rd March 1881.

321. Did Mr. Hare meet a man coming from the hut?

The Chairman (to Mr. O辰onnor).雄ou had better for the present confine your questions to any personal matters you wish dealt with at this sitting. The witness stated he had heard things about you he would not like to mention.

Mr. O辰onnor.幽e made some reflections about my private character, but I do not care a fig about it from a man of his private character, but I should like him to state what he alluded to.

322. The Chairman.佑aptain Standish referred to your letter in which you said you had been treated in an ungentlemanly, ungenerous, and discourteous manner by him throughout the whole sixteen months you were under his command, and he said he gave that the lie direct, and further that he found out things that made him keep out of your company; do you desire to say anything about that?佑aptain Standish痴 knowledge of my private character is very limited, and all I can say is that if he has so low an estimate of my character I care very little about it, considering the character of the man who judges. He said I was not a fit and proper person; I say that of him.

323. By Mr. O辰onnor (to the witness).優id you allude to my private character?湧o; I said things came to my knowledge that shook my faith in you.

Mr. O辰onnor.有et him say it.

324. By the Commission (to the witness).悠 think, in fair play to Mr. O辰onnor, you ought now to state what you refer to?雄ou (Mr. O辰onnor) told several people that you were engaged to be married to a certain lady, and I remember asking what day, and you said on the anniversary of your birthday, the 10th of February, and I found that you were married all the time.

Mr. O辰onnor.悠 give that the lie direct. I say that is a falsehood, and I am ready to prove it. On one occasion when I dined with Captain Standish, he said, 的 noticed you were making love to a certain young lady; and I said, 典hat is nonsense, it is only fun; and I thought nothing more about it until I received a letter congratulating me. I immediately wrote back and said there was not a word of truth in it.

The Witness.悠 was driven to say this, and Mr. O辰onnor was married a few days after he came to Benalla.

Mr. O辰onnor.唯ut everything was quite correct.

Captain Standish.柚ay I ask for all that to be withdrawn. I request, as a particular favor, you allow the whole of that to be expunged from the evidence.

Mr. O辰onnor.悠 am sorry for my loss of temper, and will be glad if this matter be not reported.

The Chairman observed that as the earlier statements of Captain Standish痴 had already been printed in the Herald newspaper he did not see how the latter remarks could be withdrawn.

The witness withdrew.

Adjourned till Eleven o団lock to-morrow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 


 

 

 

 


 

 

 













 


 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The following pages 522, 523, 524, 525  Thomas McIntyre

522

F. A. Winch,

continued,

2nd August 1881

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 







 


 

______________________________________________ 

 

 

T. McIntyre,

2nd August 1881.

 

Thomas McIntyre sworn and examined.










14324- McIntyre had no previous knowledge of the Kellys

 










































 

14310. What is the severest record known to the service to prevent a man痴 promotion謡ould cowardice be?佑ertainly; that ought to result in the man痴 immediate dismissal.

14311. Should that be considered any bar to his promotion?雄es, certainly, cowardice.

The public were re-admitted.

14312. You have expressed your opinion that the police force ought to be governed by a chief commissioner and two assistant commissioners?雄es.

14313. And that they ought in all matters of policy to consult together before anything was settled?雄es.

14314. Have you any idea in your own mind as to what ought to be done now to make the police more efficient. You say they ought to consult, and you think the superintendent in each district ought to have charge of that district, and carry out all matters connected with it?雄es.

14315. Can you inform the Commission of anything that you think would assist in bringing the police into a better state of organization?悠 think the organization as it is would be perfectly effective if it were properly carried out, but there seems to have been an interference with officers having charge of districts, from time, which of course is detrimental, and rather against the officer having charge. I think in the event of any particular crime being committed in any district, information having been received in Melbourne which would lead to the detection of the criminals, that that information should be supplied to the officer in charge of that particular district, for him to work out the problem if the information would assist him to arrest the criminals, without the assistance of other officers sent up for the purpose. An officer in the district, knowing the country and everything, having received information which might have been got in Melbourne, should be better able to work it out than a stranger being sent up there.

14316. Then if an officer seemed to fail in his duty, your position would necessitate his removal from that district?雄es, precisely, if he failed after getting the information; if he then failed in doing what was requisite it would be time to see what should next be done, either supersede him or do something else.

14317. You think the present organization of the police is sufficient for all practical purposes?悠 think so; if properly carried out it could scarcely be improved upon.

14318. Some people in speaking upon the question have said otherwise?悠 qualified this as to the organization, because I may have something to say afterwards about the detective department as a part of the police force.

The witness withdrew.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Thomas McIntyre sworn and examined.

14319. By the Commission.邑hat are you?柚ounted trooper.

14320. Were you at the Wombat Ranges at the time that Kennedy, Scanlan, and Lonigan were shot?悠 was.

14321. You were one of the four?雄es, I was.

14322. I see that you have retired from the force, on account of ill health?雄es.

14323. The papers have been sent down to us, asking us to look over the matter and to report as to the special circumstances of your case?雄es.夕The papers were read.]

The Chairman stated that, after due deliberation, the Commission had decided that it did not come within the scope of their enquiry to deal specially with this one case as requested.

14324. Before you went out that time to search for the Kellys in the Wombat Ranges, had you any knowledge of any circumstances that led to that outbreak in the district, or did you just go out without any previous knowledge of the Kellys?悠 had no previous knowledge of the Kellys except through the medium of the Police Gazette and the newspapers.

14325. Then you are not in a position to give the Commission any information as to what led to the outbreak?湧o.

14326. Had you been stationed in the district long?悠 was there twelve months, but the criminals came from a different district, and the crime was not committed in the police district in which I was.

14327. Then you have nothing to tender as to whether the withdrawal of the police protection from some parts, or the interference of the police unnecessarily, had anything to do with it?湧o, that is altogether beyond my knowledge.

14328. You were present at the time when your comrades were shot?悠 was.

14329. What time of the day was it?輸bout five o団lock in the afternoon.

14330. If the reports are to be relied upon, it is stated the police were scattered all round about; some of you were away?雄es, that is true.

14331. And some of you were shooting at parrots?雄es.

14332. You were the only one in the camp?悠 and Lonigan were in the camp; the other two were out on patrol.

14333. Were there any regulations bearing you out?湧o.

14334. What were your instructions when you were sent out?裕he instructions I learned from Sergeant Kennedy were that we were to meet a party of police at Hedi, and after a consultation we were to search the bush.

14335. In the meantime you did not anticipate any danger when you were out?湧o.

14336. You were just travelling through the country in the usual way?雄es.

14337. In fact the attack upon you was a complete surprise?輸 complete surprise.

14338. You never knew of your own knowledge that any policeman was charged with any wrong towards the Kellys?湧o, I did not.

14339. You and Lonigan were left at the camp ?雄es.

14340. Whilst Kennedy and Constable Scanlan went away?雄es.

14341. Can you inform the Commission what led to the separation of the party, or what object Kennedy and Scanlan had in separating from the party on this occasion?邑ell, Sergeant Kennedy told me he would patrol that day, and he told me to do the cooking during his absence, and Lonigan to mind the horses, and he and Scanlan would patrol the neighboring country about.


 

523

14342. Did he specifically describe to you or your comrade the object of their leaving you on that occasion in the patrol they were about to make?湧o, I think not; but we understood he was going out on patrol to make himself acquainted with the surrounding country, for the purpose of pushing further into the country.

14343. Not to catch the Kellys?湧o.

14344. What was the special object of camping on this ground?裕hat I cannot say. I expected to go to Hedi station. I was surprised at our camping. I asked Kennedy, in a jocular manner, why he came there, and he said, 的f we meet the other party of police, we will find they are out of tucker and they will eat us out.

14345. Then, within your knowledge, are you aware what was the object of Sergeant Kennedy and Constable Scanlan in leaving you in charge of the camp and proceeding where they went to?邑ell, I think it would be no unusual circumstance, if four men went out, for two to go and look at the neighboring country, because we had a pack-horse and tent, and it was necessary to leave some men behind to watch the place.

14346. I mean what object did you suppose the Sergeant and Scanlan had in leaving you at the camp there and in going in the direction they did?邑ell, at that time I thought they were merely patrolling.

14347. For what object?友or the object of searching for the outlaws, or to make themselves acquainted with the unknown country, so that we could push forward the following day and know how to get back.

14348. Was there any previous information received, as far as you know, of the Kellys being in the neighborhood in which you were camped?湧one, to my knowledge.

14349. Did Sergeant Kennedy give you in starting any specific instructions as to the course you were to adopt in his absence?湧o.

14350. Did he give you any intimation whatever as to the object he had in view in going in the direction he did?悠 recollect the only words he said he was going on patrol with Constable Scanlan.

14351. Did he say how long he would be absent?幽e said possibly all night, because if they got lost they could not get home till morning.

14352. Did he take provisions?祐ome lunch for himself and Scanlan; sufficient for that day.

14353. He gave you no information whatever as to the object they had in view?湧one but what I have said.

14354. Did he caution you as to the necessity of being prepared for any sudden attack you would be liable to from the outlaws being in the neighborhood?湧o; I do not think he could have apprehended any attack himself.

14355. Is it your opinion that he had no knowledge or suspicion the outlaws were in the neighbor hood at that particular time?邑ell, from what has come to my knowledge since, I do not know what to believe; I do not know what to think.

14356. You were left at the camp, and there were no instructions as to the course you were to take in case of a sudden alarm?湧o.

14357. Do you mean to say you had no information given you as to the object your two comrades had in leaving you then?湧one, except what I have said, on patrol to get acquainted with the country; that is my supposition. I imagined at the time, and do so still, that that was their object.

14358. Had there been any conversation between the officer in command of the party and the men of which the party was composed, as to the course that was to be pursued, the spots that were to be visited, and the objects in visiting?湧o, there was no conversation with regard to that. We were all experienced men, and 1 suppose Sergeant Kennedy knew that.

14359. Was there no order or discipline of any kind in a party sent out for such a dangerous project as to capture dangerous men?裕here were no orders that I can remember.

14360. Were they known at the time to be men of murderous propensities?輸fter the attack on Fitzpatrick certainly, but we never expected an attack. We thought they might defend themselves if we attacked them.

14361. You went out, as far as you are concerned, under the impression that you were engaged on a dangerous project?雄es.

14362. Were you armed?雄es.

14363. With what?由evolvers.

14364. What were the others armed with?裕hey each had a revolver, and we had a Spencer repeating rifle and a double-barrelled fowling piece; but they were carried on the pack-horse.

14365. Each man when he joined this expedition was fully under the impression that the men he was in pursuit of were of so dangerous a type that they might require firearms in self-defence, to protect themselves?雄es, that was the impression. The impression was that it would be difficult to take them葉hat they would defend themselves; but not that they would attack us.

14366. That having been guilty of an attempted murder, they might be guilty of another murder?雄es.

14367. Under those circumstances did you not feel the importance individually, apart from any official instructions you might have received, of being constantly watchful against a sudden attack from men of that character?悠 did not anticipate that we were close to them, because they never, to our knowledge, came to Mansfield. We thought we would have to go twenty miles into the bush before we got to their haunts.

14368. When the party were selected, were they told the nature of the work, and the object?雄es, I was told it was in search of the Kellys.

14369. Had Sergeant Kennedy any knowledge that there were any camps of the Kellys in the immediate neighborhood?悠 do not know; I think not. Of course I cannot say what knowledge he had.

14370. Have you any recollection of having heard that the late camp of the Kellys was shown there previously to your starting?湧o; I know he was shown out to that place by a squatter.

14371. From what you know now, and from your memory of the whole proceedings, are you under the impression,  in  the  slightest  degree,  that  those two men, Sergeant Kennedy and Scanlan, were decoyed from the camp, with the view  of  subsequently  attacking  the  whole  party,  and  overcoming  and  murdering

T. McIntyre,

continued,

2nd August 1881



14344-  I was surprised at our camping. ( site)

Yet at # 14408 McIntyre said he and Sgnt Kennedy had been shown where to camp themselves by a Mr Tolmey
( Tomlie)


 

 









































14357
 no information given you as to the object your two comrades had in leaving you then? --None,

 

























.




























14371 - that those two men, Sergeant Kennedy and Scanlan, were decoyed from the camp,

Not sure what to make of this K & S being decoyed from the camp ?


 


 

524

T. McIntyre,

continued,

2nd August 1881.



14372- purposely decoyed


14373-that Sergeant Kennedy and Constable Scanlan knew they were in the neighbourhood and did not impart the information to me or Lonigan


14374 -to become an easy prey



14375-
Decoy would not be the proper word.
He might have been decoyed with previous knowledge,

14376- that their desire might be to catch the Kellys themselves without your being present?雄es, that is possible.
This would avoid Kennedy and Scanlan sharing the reward monies?

 

14379- He thinks it very strange they went to that neighbourhood
 

14380- Kennedy - he acted from knowledge? --I do;

14381 - McIntyre thought the murders not premeditated

































































 

 

the whole of them妖id you ever hear anything that would lead you to suppose that?悠 have no definite opinion on that subject, because there are some things that would lead me to believe so, and some not.

14372. Of your own knowledge, either before or subsequent to the event葉he murder of the police預re you now under the impression that those men were purposely decoyed for the purpose of the party being subsequently attacked and murdered?悠t is a matter I have no definite opinion upon. I will tell you my reasons.

14373. Have you ever heard from anyone that such was the intention?悠 have heard it publicly spoken of amongst the constables that Sergeant Kennedy and Constable Scanlan knew they were in the neighbourhood and did not impart the information to me or Lonigan葉o me they certainly did not impart it.

14374. Did you ever hear that those men were decoyed into the position葉hat they went for the especial object of leaving the two who were to camp to become an easy prey to the attack of those men?雄es, I have heard so.

14375. How does that coincide with the evidence that Kennedy and Scanlan went away of their own free will and told you nothing about it?Decoy would not be the proper word. He might have been decoyed with previous knowledge, obtained before he came to the ground. I would say he was induced, not decoyed.

14376. Might it be possible, as you say Kennedy and Scanlan took provisions with them, that their desire might be to catch the Kellys themselves without your being present?雄es, that is possible.

14377. Did that strike your mind?湧o, not at the time.

14378. You had confidence in one another when you were out?雄es, I had.

14379. You have no belief now that Kennedy went away for the purpose of getting any special advantage for himself to lead you to that belief?悠 think it is very strange they went to that neighbourhood instead of continuing the direct road to Hedi.

14380. You think it is possible, then, he acted from knowledge?悠 do; but against that, on the evening that we arrived there he asked me to fire a shot at some kangaroo near the camp, and I think, if he knew the Kellys were in the immediate vicinity, he would not have asked me to fire a shot.

14381. Do you think the Kellys premeditated the murder of the whole party?悠 do not think they did.

14382. Would it be an impulse on their part?悠 think they intended to take our horses and firearms, as Kelly himself said that was his intention, but I think he did not care much whether he shed blood or not曜ust allowed himself to be led by circumstances whether he would or not.

14383. He placed himself in a position to shoot you all from good cover?雄es.

14384. And he did not apparently attempt to take the horses?裕hey took the horses afterwards.

14385. I mean they were not acting like men who came to steal horses alone?湧o, they could not have stolen the horses without our knowledge.

14386. Had you seen Kelly before?湧o.

14387. You did not know who they were?悠 knew them from description and from family likenesses. The very first intimation we had from them was to 澱ail up, and we looked round, and they had their arms presented.

14388. Can you give any fresh information that has not been given to the public. I suppose you have read the evidence with reference to that?湧o, I cannot think of any that would be useful.

14389. I suppose what we have got is nearly all that can be got?雄es.

14390. By Mr. Sadleir.優id you know that Sergeant Kennedy had some instructions from me?雄es.

14391. Did he read them to you?雄es.

14392. Can you say when you first read them欄It seems to be certain that 鮮ed Kelly is in the neighborhood of Greta, or from thence to Connolly痴 and the bogs near the Wombat. I am very anxious to make some special efforts to have the matter set at rest, and his apprehension effected, if possible. I have consulted with the senior-constable in charge at Greta, and it appears that there is not much likelihood of him and the constable with him there doing much towards arresting Kelly, or even disturbing him from the neighborhood. It has been proposed to collect, for the purposes of a thorough search, what constables are in the district who know Kelly personally, sending say two of them to Mansfield to act with Sergeant Kennedy from that end, and the others to act with the Greta police, and to search simultaneously up and down the King River and neighboring places. I shall be glad to receive any suggestions that Sergeant Kennedy may have to offer on the subject, and whether he is of opinion that anything might be gained by his coming here for a day or so to consult with the sub-officer taking charge of the party starting from the Greta end葉hat is, supposing this expedition should be determined on. Did you hear of that?悠 did not.

14393. Did Sergeant Kennedy convoy to you any caution as to the matter being dealt with by every one concerned as confidential?雄es, he said it was confidential; that our departure was not to be made known; to go as quietly as possible.

14394. Did you exercise any precautions?雄es; started before daylight.

14395. Did you communicate your purpose to anyone?湧o, I did not.

14396. Are you aware whether it was communicated to anyone?悠 have not heard. I think it was not, to the best of my knowledge.

14397. Do you remember any conversations with Sergeant Kennedy on the subject. Did he ask your opinion anyhow, one way or the other, in view of this journey?幽e often spoke about the Kellys, even before that.

14398. In view of the instructions he had received to go out at some future time, did he consult and take your opinion?邑e spoke about the matter very freely; but I do not remember being asked for any opinion.

14399. This is his report夕reading the same, vide Question 1741 above]. Did Sergeant Kennedy ever speak to you in that strain?湧o; I certainly cannot remember that he did. He said he supposed them to be in that immediate neighborhood. He said he received instructions from you to go to Hedi and meet the other party of police, and hold a consultation as to the best way to scour the bush.

14400. You are not aware that Sergeant Kennedy, shortly before he went out, came to Benalla to meet the man in charge of the Greta party?雄es.


 

525

14401. Did he tell you any of the proceedings determined on by those men?涌nly what I have said that our two parties were to join at Hedi and have a consultation.

14402. You do not mean that the object was to meet there and go back?湧o.

14403. What was the object?悠t was thought, as far as I could understand, that there would be a consultation held and some plan adopted for a thorough search.

14404. When the two parties met?雄es.

14405. By the Commission.優id you think his conduct strange in leaving you where you were and going out into the ranges with Constable Scanlan without letting you know anything at all of what he was going to do?湧o, I did not think at the time it was strange. He told me he was going to patrol the country.

14406. You should give the exact meaning of the word patrolling擁s it looking over the country and so on?雄es, and searching for the Kellys.

14407. You understand then he was going to search for them?雄es, to search for them and make himself acquainted with the country. I did not know they were in that neighborhood, and I thought he did not at the time.

14408. Did you ever hear that a man named Tolmey showed where the Kelly camp was?No, he showed the place where we were to camp ourselves.

14409. By Mr. Sadleir.裕he country lying towards Greta from where you were, was that almost unknown to you?雄es; Kennedy and I had been over it before, but we followed a blazed line to Glenmore. The country to Greta we did not know.

14410. By the Commission.悠s it the mountainous country?雄es, rangey.

14411. Difficult to ride through?雄es.

14412. With regard to that watch of Sergeant Kennedy痴妖id you ever see that?雄es.

14413. Was there any inscription on it?裕hat I could not say擁t was not a presentation watch.

14414. You are sure of that?幽e told me so himself.

The witness withdrew.
________________________________________________________________________________________
 

James Wallace sworn and examined.

14415. By the Commission.邑hat are you?祐tate school teacher at Yea, formerly at the Hurdle Creek, Oxley, near the King River.

14416. You are aware that the pursuit of the Kellys was carried on very actively some time ago in the North-Eastern district?雄es.

14417. The Commission understand that you were in communication with the police upon some occasions?悠 was in communication with the police, but was never in their pay. I never asked for any pay nor received any. I declined the offer. I did receive some money, but only for actual expenses.

14418. How much did you get?悠 could not say.

14419. Would you be surprised if you heard?友rom 」70 to 」80, I daresay, altogether.

14420. You say you were not specially employed by the police?悠 was not employed; not receiving any remuneration whatever, and I was paid my actual expenses.

14421. What agreement did you make when you agreed to give them information?悠 will read an extract from my diary at the time I made the arrangement with Mr. Nicolson.

14422. Had you any arrangement with any one before Mr. Nicolson?湧o, none whatever.

14423. No other officer?湧o, none that I remember.

14424. What led to any communication that took place between you and the police?悠n December 1878, after the commission of the Mansfield murders by the Kelly gang, and seeing the difficulty the police had in capturing them;揺earing also that they would commit further outrages, and knowing I might be able to assist in the suppression of crime, I wrote a letter to Captain Standish offering my assistance to him. Of course I understood the offer to him that it was free, gratis, not with any intention of participating in the reward or receiving any remuneration for my services.

14425. What motive had you?祐imply in the interests of society, to suppress crime.

14426. What special qualification had you?悠 knew Byrne; he was an old schoolmate of mine, and I knew the country. I had my suspicions that Byrne was one of the gang, and I knew the places they would be likely to go to, and the ranges they would be likely to frequent, and the friends who would be most likely to assist them.

14427. Have you a copy of that letter to Captain Standish?湧o.

14428. The first letter you wrote to Captain Standish was of what nature?涌ffering my services.

14429. To do what?裕o assist them in capturing the outlaws.

14430. Were you acquainted with either of the Kellys?湧o; not at all.

14431. Having made the offer to Captain Standish in writing, what answer did you receive?悠 received a very courteous reply from Captain Standish declining my offered services. He would be very glad to hear anything, but he at present did not require anything further.

14432. Have you preserved that letter?湧o, I did not think it desirable to preserve any.

14433. Having declined that, what led you subsequently to offer any assistance to the police?涌n the 23rd July 1879, I was honored by a visit from the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mr. Nicolson. He said he called to have a few minutes conversation with me in reference to the outlaws. He remembered seeing a letter from me in December last.

14434. That is the letter you have already alluded to?雄es. He referred to the fact of my having been a schoolmate of Byrne痴, to my knowledge of the district generally, and asked me when I had seen Byrne last, and several other particulars. He wanted to know my impression as to the present whereabouts of the gang. I gave it as my opinion that they had gone into winter quarters; that is, that they were not travelling about, but were settled for the winter. I told the impressions and facts I had as regards their previous movements, life pursued, tactics observed, and mode of living, as far as I could learn from hints let drop by their friends.

14435. You say you told him the facts?湧o, I did not mean the facts exactly, but the impressions I formed葉hat would be a better word.

T. McIntyre,

continued,

2nd August 1881
























14408 - he showed the place where we were to camp  ourselves

14409 -  country towards Greta had been known to them but we followed a blazed line (of trees) to Glenmore.

This is contrary to what McIntyre said in his memoirs where he said they went straight north to Stringybark Creek from Bridge Creek.

The blazed line of trees to Glenmore was on Glenmore Station then owned by James Quinn, Ned Kelly's grandfather. Glenmore Station of 22 thousand acres was at the head of the King River western arm leading towards a place known as Toombullup. From here runs Ryan's Creek to the N West into which Stringybark Creek flows from south, but about 6 miles ( 10km) west.


_________________________________________________________

James Wallace,

2nd August 1881.























 


































 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 


 






 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 


1881
VICTORIA

POLICE COMMISSION  

SECOND PROGRESS REPORT  

OF THE

ROYAL COMMISSION OF ENQUIRY  

INTO THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF  

THE KELLY OUTBREAK

 

THE PRESENT STATE AND ORGANIZATION OF THE POLICE FORCE, ETC.

PRESENTED TO BOTH HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT BY HIS EXCELLENCY'S COMMAND

 

By Authority:

JOHN FERRES, GOVERNMENT PRINTER, MELBOURNE. 

 

To His Excellency the Most Honorable George Augustus Constantine, Marquis of Normanby, and Baron Mulgrave of Mulgrave, all in the County of York, in the Peerage of the United Kingdom; and Baron Mulgrave of New Ross, in the County of Wexford, in the Peerage of Ireland; a Member of Her Majesty's Most Honorable Privy Council; Knight Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George; Governor and Commander-in-Chief in and over the Colony of Victoria and its Dependencies, &c, &c, &c.

 

MAY IT PLEASE YOUR EXCELLENCY:-

 

Under date March 7th 1881, Letters Patent were issued by Your Excellency appointing a Royal Commission, whose powers were thus defined, viz.:-

1. To inquire into the circumstances preceding and attending the Kelly outbreak.

2. As to the efficiency of the police to deal with such possible occurrences.

3. To inquire into the action of the police authorities during the period the Kelly gang were at large.

4. The efficiency of the means employed for their capture; and

5. Generally to inquire into and report upon the present state and organization of the police force.

A memorandum, dated 10th May 1881, was subsequently received by your Commissioners from the Honorable Graham Berry, as follows:- 典he Chief Secretary will be glad if the Police Commission will submit separately and at their earliest convenience such of their recommendations as have reference to Mr. Inspector O'Connor and the black trackers under him, as, in the projected re-organization of the police arrangements for the North-Eastern district, it may be found necessary that Mr. O'Connor should be re-appointed.


 

In accordance with the powers thus assigned to them, your Commissioners have held 66 meetings, and examined 62 witnesses. In order also to verify, by personal observation, the evidence of witnesses, and glean information on the spot respecting the career of the outlaws, your Commissioners visited several centres of population in the district, including Benalla, Greta, Glenrowan, Beechworth, Sebastopol and Wangaratta.

Your Commissioners, having taken a large amount of evidence respecting, and carefully considered the case of, Inspector O'Connor, had the honour to submit to Your Excellency, on 6th July last, their First Progress Report, as follows:-

1. That the evidence before the Commission is not of such a character as to warrant your Commissioners in recommending the Honorable the Chief Secretary to appoint Mr. Stanhope O'Connor to the position of an inspector of police in the Victorian Service.

2. Your Commissioners are of opinion that the Government should make provision for the permanent employment of black trackers as an auxiliary branch of the police service; care being taken that they shall be trained to habits of subordination, and made amenable to the general discipline of the force.

 

添our Commissioners would also recommend:-

3. That, as far as practicable, a thorough system of police patrol shall be established throughout the colony, more especially in the North-Eastern District.

4. That immediate steps be taken by the Government to arm the mounted police of the colony with the Regulation Pattern Martini-Henry carbine; that the entire force shall be instructed in the use of the weapon by means of regular drill and periodical target practice; and that a reasonable quantity of ammunition shall be served out to each man for such practice.

 

Your Commissioners have now the honour to submit their Second Progress Report as follows:-

1. That immediately prior to the Kelly outbreak, and for some time previously, the administration of the police in the North-Eastern District was not satisfactory, either as regards the numbers and distribution of the constabulary, or the manner in which they were armed and mounted; and that a grave error was committed in abolishing the police station at Glenmore, and in reducing the number of men stationed at Stanley, Yackandandah, Tallangatta, Eldorado, and Beechworth.

2. That the conduct of Captain Standish, as Chief Commissioner of Police, as disclosed in the evidence brought before the Commissioners, was not characterized either by good judgment, or by that zeal for the interests of the public service which should have distinguished an officer in his position. The Commission attribute much of the bad feeling which existed amongst the officers to the want of impartiality, temper, tact, and judgment evinced by the Chief Commissioner in dealing with his subordinates, and they cannot refrain from remarking that many of the charges made by Captain Standish in his evidence before them were not sustained in his late examination, and were disproved by the evidence of other witnesses.

 

3. That Mr. Nicolson, Assistant Commissioner, has shown himself in many respects a capable and zealous officer throughout his career in the force, but he laboured under great difficulties through undue interference on the part of Captain Standish, and the jealousy occasioned by that officer's favouritism towards Superintendent Hare. The want of unanimity existing between these officers was frequently the means of preventing concerted action on important occasions, and the interests of the colony greatly suffered thereby. In view of these facts, the Commission do not think that the force would be benefited by re-instating Mr. Nicolson in the office of Acting Chief Commissioner of Police. Further, your Commissioners recommend that, in consequence of his impaired constitution, caused by hardships endured in the late Kelly pursuit, Mr. Nicolson be allowed to retire on his superannuation allowance, as though he had attained the age of 55 years.


 

4. That the charge made by Superintendent Hare in his official report, dated 2nd July 1880 -viz., that 溺r Nicolson, Assistant commissioner, gave me (Hare) no verbal information whatever when at Benalla- has been disproved by the evidence.

5. That Superintendent Hare's services in the police force have been praiseworthy and creditable, but nothing special has been shown in his actions that would warrant the Commission in recommending his retention in the force, more especially when the fact is so patent that the 都trained relations between himself and Mr. Nicolson have had such a damaging influence on the effectiveness of the service. This feeling is not likely to be mitigated after what has transpired in the evidence taken before the Commission; and we would therefore recommend that Superintendent Hare be allowed to retire from the force, as though he had attained the age of 55 years, and that, owing to the wound he sustained at Glenrowan, he receive an additional allowance of 100 pound per annum, under clause 29 of the Police Statute (No. 476).

6. That the evidence discloses that Superintendent Sadleir was guilty of several errors of judgement while assisting in the pursuit of the Kelly gang; that his conduct of operations against the outlaws at Glenrowan was not judicious or calculated to raise the police force in the estimation of the public. That the Commission are further of opinion that the treatment of Senior-Constable Kelly and Johnson, by Superintendent Sadleir, was harsh and unmerited. Your Commissioners therefore recommend that Superintendent Sadleir be placed at the bottom of the list of superintendents.

7. That a most favourable opportunity of capturing the outlaws at a very early period of their career of crime, namely, on the 4th November 1878, was lost, owing to the indolence and incompetence of Inspector Brook Smith. Your Commissioners consider that Inspector Brook Smith committed a serious blunder in not having started in pursuit of the outlaws immediately upon receiving information of the gang having been seen passing under the bridge at Wangaratta, and also in not having properly followed up the tracks of the outlaws in the Warby Ranges, a proceeding which would have warranted your Commissioners in recommending his dismissal from the force. Your Commissioners, however, having in view his former services, recommend that Inspector Brook Smith be called on to retire on a pension of 100 pound per annum.

8. That, in the opinion of the Commission, Detective Ward, while he rendered active and efficient service during the pursuit of the gang, was guilty of misleading his superior officers upon several occasions, more especially in connection with Mr. Nicolson's cave party, Mr. Hare's hut party, and the telegram forwarded to Senior-Constable Mullane by Mr. Nicolson when the latter was superseded on the 2nd of June 1880. The Commission therefore recommend that Detective Ward be censured and reduced one grade.

9. That in the opinion of your Commissioners the conduct of Sergeant Steele was highly censurable in neglecting to take action when, on his arrival at Wangaratta, on the 4th November 1878, he received reliable information that the outlaws had been observed on the previous morning passing under the One-mile bridge at Wangaratta. There was no reason why, as he had a large body of well-armed troopers under his command, and was then actually engaged in the search for the outlaws, he should not have gone immediately in pursuit. The tracks were plainly discernible; the men observed were undoubtable the outlaws, and had they been followed they would most probably have been overtaken in the Warby Ranges, in as much as their horses and themselves were exhausted by their journey to and from the Murray. Sergeant Steele had full power to act upon his own discretion, and there can be little doubt that, had he exhibited judgment and promptitude on that occasion, he would have been the means of capturing the gang, and preventing the loss of life and the enormous expenditure of money incurred subsequently in the extermination of the outlaws. Your Commissioners therefore recommend that Sergeant Steele be reduced to the ranks.

10. That the Constables who formed the hut party on the night of Aaron Sherritt's murder viz., Henry Armstrong, William Duross, Thomas Patrick Dowling, and Robert Alexander were guilty of disobedience of orders and gross cowardice, and that the three latter Constable Armstrong's resignation having been accepted be dismissed from the service.

11. That the entries made by Superintendent Sadleir in the record sheets of Senior-Constables Kelly and Johnson be cancelled, and the Commission recommend these members of the force to the favourable consideration of the Government for promotion.

12. That the Commission approve of the action taken by Constable Bracken when imprisoned by the Kelly gang in Mrs Jones's hotel, at Glenrowan, and recommend him for promotion in the service.

13. That in consequence of the reprehensible conduct of Mr. James Wallace, the State School teacher of Hurdle Creek, during the Kelly pursuit, and his alleged sympathy with the outlaws, together with the unsatisfactory character of his evidence before the Commission, your Commissioners think it very undesirable that Mr. Wallace should be retained in any department of the public service. We therefore recommend his immediate dismissal from the Education Department.

14. That the conduct of Mr. Thomas Curnow, State School teacher, in warning the special train from Benalla to Beechworth on the morning of the 28th of June 1880, whereby a terrible disaster, involving the probable loss of many lives, was averted, deserves the highest praise, and the Commission strongly recommends that his services receive special recognition on the part of the Government.

15. The Commission desire to record their approval of the conduct of Mr. C. H. Rawlings during the attack upon the outlaws, and consider that his services deserve some consideration at the hands of the Government.

16. The Commission desire also to express their approval of the assistance rendered to the police at Glenrowan by the members of the press present.

17. That your Commissioners desire to record their marked appreciation of the courtesy and promptitude displayed by the Queensland Government in forwarding a contingent of native trackers to Victoria to aid in the pursuit of the outlaws. We take this opportunity of expressing our approval of the services of the black trackers as a body, and deeply regret that any misunderstanding amongst the officers in command of operations in the North-Eastern district should have led to unpleasant complications. The Queensland contingent did good service, and Your Commissioners trust that the Victorian Government will not fail to accord them proper recognition. 

FRANCIS LONGMORE, Chairman;

WILLIAM ANDERSON,

JAMES GIBB,

GEORGE WILSON HALL,

GEORGE RANDALL FINCHAM,

EDWARD JOHN DIXON,

GEORGE COLLINS LEVEY,

 

JAMES WILLIAMS,

Secretary.

 

Your Commissioners, in lieu of the usual resume of the evidence, have the honor to submit to Your Excellency the following sketch of the antecedents, pursuit, and destruction of the Kelly gang of outlaws:-


 

1.-THE KELLY FAMILY

 

Among the many predisposing causes which operated to bring about the Kelly outbreak must be included the unchecked aggregation of a large class of criminals in the North-Eastern district of Victoria, all of whom, either by ties of consanguinity or sympathy, were identified with the outlaws. The origin and settlement in the colony of the Kelly family therefore deserves some passing notice at the hands of your Commissioners. James Quinn, the grandfather of Edward and Dan Kelly the outlaws, was a native of the county of Antrim, Ireland. With his wife and family, consisting of six children, he arrived in Victoria in 1839. He, in the first instance, resided in Pascoe Vale, and earned a subsistence by the cartage and sale of firewood in Melbourne. In 1845, he settled in Wallan Wallan, in the Kilmore district, where he rented a small farm, and was enabled in the course of a few years to purchase the freehold of 700 acres of land in that locality. In 1863, by which time his family had increased to ten children, four sons and six daughters, he realized the landed property which he possessed, and with the proceeds, amounting to about 2,000 pounds, took up the Glenmore run, situated in a remote part of the North-Eastern district. The precise object of this migration has not been ascertained; but it is believed that Quinn, having become notorious as a cattle stealer in the Kilmore district, was desirous of escaping from police surveillance; and, by removing back to the borders of settlement and civilization, to secure for himself and his associates a safer and more extended field of operations. The sons of old Quinn were named respectively - Patrick, John, James and William; the daughters were - Mary Anne; Catherine, married to John Lloyd; Ellen, married to John Kelly, the father of the outlaws; Jane, married to Tom Lloyd; Margaret, married to Pat Quin; and Grace. Numerous progeny was the result of the marriages contracted by the children of the elder Quinn, which accounts for the Kelly family being described as the most prolific in the district. James, the third son of old Quinn, became an object of interest to the police so far back as 1856; and from that date down to 1879, when he was incarcerated under the Felons Apprehension Act as a Kelly sympathizer, there were recorded against him no less than 16 arrests, and ten convictions for various offences, many of them of a serious nature, involving terms of imprisonment amounting to about nine years. John Quinn, though frequently before the courts, has escaped conviction, but when residing at Wallan he was regarded by the authorities as the organizer of many of the depredation's in which the members of his family were concerned. John Kelly, who married Ellen, the third daughter of the elder Quinn, and who was the father of the outlaws, was a convict, having been transported from Tipperary, Ireland, to Tasmania, in 1841, for an agrarian outrage, stated to have been shooting at a landlord with intent to murder. He worked as a bush carpenter for a time after arriving in Wallan , and subsequently turned his attention to gold digging, at which he was successful, and was enabled to purchase a small freehold at Beveridge. Here he became notorious as an expert cattle stealer, and his house was known as the rendezvous of thieves and suspected persons. In 1865, he was convicted of cattle stealing, and sentenced to six months' imprisonment in Kilmore gaol. He died shortly after his release. At his death he left seven children, namely Edward and Dan (the outlaws), James, Mrs. Gunn, Mrs. Skillion, Kate and Grace. Mrs. Kelly, upon the death of her husband, settled at the Eleven-mile Creek, near Greta, where, with the younger portion of her family, she at present resides. Her place was regarded for years as the resort of lawless and desperate characters, including Power, who is said to have given Ned Kelly his first lesson in bushranging. Edward Kelly, the leader of the outlaws, was born in 1854, at Wallan Wallan, and from an early age was regarded by the Police as an incorrigible thief. In company with Power the Bushranger he, on the 16th of March 1870, robbed Mr. McBean; and on the 25th of April stuck up Mr, John Murray of Lauriston. Kelly was arrested for the latter offence on the 4th of May following, but escaped conviction owing to want of identification. He was implicated in several outrages; and at Beechworth, in 1871, he received a sentence of three years for receiving a stolen horse. He led a wild and reckless life, and was always associated with the dangerous characters who infested the neighbourhood of Greta until the shooting of Constable Fitzpatrick, on the 15th of April 1878, when he took to the bush. Daniel Kelly was born in 1861, and from the age of
16 years was, with his elder brother Ned, a noted criminal. Joseph Byrne, the third outlaw, was born in 1857, and lived with his parents, who were Irish extraction and respectable antecedents, at the woolshed, about seven miles from Beechworth. When 16 years of age he was in trouble, and from the first appears to have developed vicious and cruel propensities. In 1876, along with Aaron Sherritt, who figures so prominently throughout the Kelly campaign, so to speak, and with whom he was on terms of the closest intimacy, he was arrested and sentenced to six months' imprisonment for having stolen meat in his possession; and he was also believed to have been connected with numerous cases of horse stealing in the North-Eastern district, which ultimately led to his joining the Kelly gang. Steve Hart, the fourth member of the gang, was born in 1860, and was the second son of Richard Hart, of Three-mile Creek, near Wangaratta. Stephen, at an early age, became the associate of disreputable persons, and carried on a system of stealing horses and planting them until such time as rewards were offered by the owners for there recovery. He received a sentence of imprisonment in July 1877, and subsequently was sent to gaol for ten months for horse stealing. On his release he returned to Wangaratta, and for a time appeared disposed to lead a more honest and reputable life. One day, however, while at work cutting timber, he suddenly threw down his axe, exclaiming to his mate, 鄭 short life and a merry one. He then rode off, stating that he was going to New South Wales. Nothing further was heard of him until the murders of the police at Wombat, when it was reported that a man answering to his description was seen near Greta; but it was not until the Euroa bank robbery that his identity was established as one of the accomplices of the murderers, Ned and Dan Kelly.

 

 

II.-THE KELLY COUNTRY

 

That portion of the North-Eastern district known as the Kelly country may be said to embrace the triangular tract lying between the points formed by the townships of Mansfield, Benalla, and Beechworth, together with the country lying to the west of the line of railway which extends to the Murray, including the vicinity of Lake Rowan, the Warby Ranges, and the neighbourhood of the Woolshed. This constitutes a large and diversified extent of territory, measuring about 1,600 square miles. It is in parts well suited for agricultural purposes, and settlement of late years there has been rapid and permanent; but in the main, especially to the north-east, it consists of mountain ranges with innumerable spurs, forming steep ravines and slopes so heavily timbered, covered with scrub, and encumbered with huge boulders, that for the greater part it is almost inaccessible. The country is intersected by numerous creeks and rivers; and recently bush tracks have been cut, and roads capable of vehicular traffic constructed; land has been taken up eagerly, and an intelligent, honest, and hard-working population is steadily settling on the soil. It was, however, evident from the first that the peculiar characteristics of the country afforded special facilities for the operations of such lawless characters as the Quinns, the Lloyds, and the Kellys, who, if pursued by the police, could seek refuge in the vastness of the mountains and defy all the attempts of the authorities to arrest them. The district lying to the north and north-west of Mansfield, in the vicinity of which Sergeant Kennedy and Constables Lonigan and Scanlan were murdered by the Kelly gang, is exceptionally wild and broken. Here the various branches of the Broken River, the King River, and some smaller streams take their rise, flowing in a northerly direction, while the principal ranges trend in lines nearly parallel with their courses. In this isolated and still sparsely-inhabited spot, not far from the junction of the right and left branches of the King River, and about 40 miles from Mansfield, Glenmore is situated. The homestead of the elder Quinn lay directly in the track - the only one existing in the early days - between Mansfield and the Murray. It was principally utilized by cattle stealers, who, owing to the rugged and inhospitable character of the country, were enabled to pass to and fro without risk of being intercepted by the police. The arrest of Power the bushranger pointed to the necessity for a police station at Glenmore. In 1870 one was accordingly erected, and two constables placed in charge, with the results highly satisfactory. The proximity of the police became intolerable to the criminals in the
neighbourhood, and various means were adopted unavailingly to induce the Government to withdraw them, until finally the Quinns sold out and left the district. The policy of abolishing the Glenmore police station has been frequently adverted to in the course of the evidence; and, with due regard to all the circumstances, it seems to your Commissioners to have been a grave error of judgment on the part of Captain Standish, the Chief Commissioner of Police, to have consented to its removal. In 1872 Superintendent Barclay strongly recommended the abolition of this station, on the grounds that the place was remote from settled population, that there was no crime in the neighbourhood, and that its maintenance was unnecessarily expensive. Acting upon the advice of his subordinate officers, and that of many respectable residents in the locality, the Chief Commissioner declined to accept Superintendent Barclay's suggestion. In 1875 the representations of this superintendent proved more successful. He directed Inspector Brook Smith to report on the subject. The views of the latter coincided with those of his superior officer, and, upon their recommendations, supported by the opinions of certain residents in the district, Captain Standish, in a memo. dated 17th November 1875, approved of the removal of the Glenmore station to the place recommended by Superintendent Barclay, viz., three miles above the Hedi station. The inadvisability of this step should have been apparent to Captain Standish at the time, inasmuch as he must have been aware of the state of the district. For many years anterior to the outbreak offences against the person were of frequent occurrence in the North-Eastern district. It was the scene of the exploits of many notorious criminals and bushrangers, and horse and cattle stealing was carried on systematically by gangs of thieves who acted in concert on both sides of the River Murray. Those engaged in the traffic were associated with the families of the Quinns, the Lloyds, and the Kellys, and constituted a 途ing that became a standing menace to the respectable and law-abiding people of the district. A return compiled from official documents shows the extent to which cattle stealing prevailed in the Kelly country for eight years prior to the outbreak. In 1871 the number of cases of cattle stealing reported was 101; 1872, 108; 1873, 97; 1874, 80; 1875, 93; 1876, 130; 1877, 132; and 1878, 101. It is true that a certain percentage of the animals missing, and reported as having been stolen, were subsequently found, but there seems every reason to conclude that in the majority of instances horses disappearing, if not permanently appropriated by the criminal classes, were freely taken and utilized as occasion served, and were then turned adrift into the bush, where they were sometimes recovered by the owner. The plan frequently adopted was to drive mobs of stolen cattle from Victoria across the Murray, where they were impounded by the New South Wales police. In due course they were disposed of, when the thieves attended the sale, and purchased the animals at a nominal price. Fortified against prosecution by possessing the sale note obtained from the poundkeeper, they retraced their steps to their homes, carrying with them the fruits of their criminal enterprise. Cattle stealers across the border pursued a similar system, driving the cattle lifted in New South Wales into Victoria, purchasing them when sold by the poundkeepers, effacing the brands, and taking them back to the districts from which they had been stolen. In 1877, Inspecting Superintendent Nicolson drew attention to the prevalence of this description of crime in the North-Eastern district, which drew forth a strong remonstrance from Captain Standish, addressed to the officers in charge of the North-Eastern district. Numerous witnesses, notably Captain Standish and the Hon. J. H. Graves, have deposed to the almost incredible extent to which for many years cattle stealing was carried on with impunity in the North-Eastern district; nevertheless, not only was the Glenmore station abolished, but the strength of many other police stations in the district was reduced. Further, excellent and experienced members of the force were removed from important centres and replaced by others wholly incompetent and unacquainted with the district.

 


 

III.-CAUSES OF THE OUTBREAK

 

In the opinion of your Commissioners, the abolition of the Glenmore station, the reduction of the numerical strength of the force in the district, and the substitution of inexperienced and inferior constables for those more competent, necessarily weakened that effective and complete police surveillance without which the criminal classes in all countries become more and more restive and defiant of the authorities. The incident, however, which seems to have more immediately precipitated the outbreak was the attempt of Constable Fitzpatrick to arrest Dan Kelly, at his mother's hut, on the 15th of April 1878. This constable appears to have borne a very indifferent character in the force from which he was ultimately discharged. Mr. Fosberry, the Inspector-General of Police, New South Wales, and Captain Standish express in strong terms their adverse opinions of Fitzpatrick, while the present Acting Commissioner of Police. Mr. Chomley, writes a valedictory memo. on his papers, describing him as a liar and larrikin. To this man was entrusted, in April 1878, the temporary charge of Greta, the very focus of crime in the district. He had been stationed at Benalla, and prior to starting for Greta he appears to have had an interview with Sergeant Whelan, the sub-officer in charge, relative to his duties. Whelan, in his evidence, is somewhat contradictory upon the point as to whether Fitzpatrick was justified in attempting to arrest Dan Kelly under the circumstances. In almost the one breath he states that the constable was wrong in going to the Kelly's hut, and then urges that it was his duty to act as he did. The arrest was attempted to be made in consequence of a Gazette notice to the effect that a warrant had been issued at Chiltern against Dan Kelly and Jack Lloyd, on a charge of suspected cattle stealing. Sergeant Lynch, at Chiltern, considered that the men alleged to have been seen driving certain horses through the township answered the description of those men, and warrants for their arrest were issued accordingly. Fitzpatrick's efforts to fulfil what he may have considered his duty proved disastrous. He was entrapped by accepting the invitation to accompany Dan Kelly into the hut, where he was attacked by several members of the family, and shot in the wrist by Ned Kelly. Warrants were in due course issued against Fitzpatrick's assailants; and those arrested, including Mrs. Kelly and a relative named Williamson, were sentenced to long terms of imprisonment for the offence of assault with intent to kill. The alleged severity of the punishment inflicted upon the mother of the outlaws has been subject of comment in the course of the inquiry, and Captain Standish considers that it formed one of the many causes which assisted to bring about the Kelly outrages. One point in this matter should not be overlooked. Jack Lloyd, who was implicated in the alleged case of horse stealing for which Fitzpatrick sought to arrest Dan Kelly, was subsequently taken into custody, and, the charge having been investigated, he was discharged. There can be little doubt that Constable Fitzpatrick's conduct, however justified by the rules of the service, was unfortunate in its results. It may also be mentioned that the charge of persecution of the family by the members of the police force has been frequently urged in extenuation of the crimes of the outlaws; but, after careful examination, your Commissioners have arrived at the conclusion that the police, in their dealings with the Kellys and their relations, were simply desirous of discharging their duty conscientiously; and that no evidence has been adduced to support the allegation that either the outlaws or their friends were subjected to persecution or unnecessary annoyance at the hands of the police.

 


 

IV.-THE WOMBAT MURDERS

 

In July 1878 a change was effected in the police arrangements of the country districts. Beechworth and Mansfield and a portion of Kilmore were combined, forming the North-Eastern district, and Superintendent Sadleir placed in charge, with his head quarters in Benalla. Mr Sadleir, upon taking charge, found warrants had been issued against Ned and Dan Kelly for the assault upon Constable Fitzpatrick in the previous April. He at once communicated with the Chief Commissioner, asking for the assistance of a detective to discover the whereabouts of the offenders, and Detective Ward, owing to his previous knowledge of that part of the country, was selected for the purpose. In a communication dated 17th October 1878, Inspector Secretan suggested to Superintendent Sadleir that an organized search should be made about Greta, the Fifteen-mile Creek, and from thence to Mansfield, as it was reported that one, if not the two Kellys had been seen there. This was all the information that Sergeant Kennedy and his party possessed when, on the afternoon of the 25th October, they started from Mansfield charged with the duty of arresting the Kellys. Although early in August an expedition to search the country between Mansfield and Greta had been proposed, various matters had interfered with the project being carried out. In reply to a communication from Superintendent Sadleir, in October, Sergeant Kennedy intimated that the only feasible plan of effecting the arrest was by establishing a depot at some distance beyond the Wombat, say near Stringy Bark Creek. This he pointed out, would enable the party to keep up a continuous search between that spot and the flat country towards the King River, the Fifteen-mile Creek, and Holland's Creek. He urged that, while the Mansfield men would be searching the ranges and creeks in that neighbourhood, the men forming the party to be despatched from Greta could co-operate on the flat country. Sergeant Kennedy's suggestion was approved of by his superior officer, and on 18th of October Superintendent Sadleir issued final orders to guide the search parties. Two parties of police were to start simultaneously - one, consisting of Sergeant Kennedy and Constables Lonigan, Scanlan, and McIntyre, from Mansfield, and the other, in charge of Senior-Constable Shoebridge, from Greta. The spot indicated by Sergeant Kennedy for the purpose of a camp was, therefore, of his own selection, and the arrangements generally left to himself. On reaching the site of the proposed depot, at Stringy Bark Creek, measures were adopted by Sergeant Kennedy for camping there for the night. It seems clear that Kennedy had no knowledge of the presence of the Kelly's in the locality. He took no precautionary measures against surprise. He seems to have acted with a singular disregard to possible contingencies. He not only divided his party, but allowed McIntyre to fire off his rifle at some birds, thus attracting the Kellys to the spot. The party was armed each with the regulation revolver, having beside a Spencer repeating rifle and a double shot gun. Considering that they anticipated meeting only the two Kellys, and that probably no more than a show of resistance would have been offered, those arms were considered sufficient for every purpose; but the absence of foresight, of proper discipline or precaution, enabled the gang to take the party in detail, and, consequently, at a disadvantage. There seems no reason to suppose that the murders were the result of premeditation; the men were shot down when, with an instinctive sense of duty, they endeavoured to repel the attack of their assailants. The cold-blooded despatch of the brave but ill-fated Kennedy when, wounded and hopeless of surviving, he pleaded to be allowed to live to bid farewell to his wife and children, is one of the darkest stains upon the career of the outlaws. It was cruel, wanton, and inhuman, and should of itself, apart from other crimes, brand the name of his murderer, the leader of the gang, with infamy.

 


 

V.-AFTER THE MURDERS

 

The action of the police immediately after the Wombat murders proved the utter unpreparedness of the authorities for so grave an emergency. The constables were found armed with revolvers that, under the circumstances were comparatively useless. A few rifles were scattered throughout the district, but such was the inadequacy of the armament available that upon the departure of Kennedy on his fatal expedition, the station at Mansfield was almost completely denuded of weapons. The parties who went out to search for the bodies of the murdered men were wretchedly equipped, and, before starting, the whole township had to be searched in order to obtain arms. The majority of the police were unacquainted with the use of the more modern description of rifle, and were, in many instances, notoriously bad bushman, and ignorant of the country in which they had to search for the outlaws. Some also were indifferent horsemen. As soon as information reached Melbourne of the Wombat murders. the Hon. Graham Berry, who was then Chief Secretary, gave the Chief Commissioner carte blanche, as regarded expense, to enable him to cope with the situation. Some Spencer repeating rifles that were in store were forwarded, and reinforcements were despatched to the scene of operations. Mr. Nicholson, the Assistant Commissioner of Police, who had done good service in the capture of bushrangers in the early days of the gold diggings, was specially selected to take charge of the pursuit. On arriving in Benalla, he found the township in a state of intense excitement, which was shared in more or less by the general community. At this time the mounted police in the North-Eastern district, which embraced an area of 11,000 square miles, numbered only about 50 mounted men, and the reinforcements came to hand slowly. Having visited the more important stations, Mr Nicolson proceeded to form search parties with whom to scour the country according as information was received as to the supposed whereabouts of the gang. The officers in the district at this time, in addition to Mr. Nicolson and Mr. Sadleir, were Inspector B. Smith and Sub-Inspector Pewtress. Mr. Smith, as subsequent events proved, was quite inefficient for the work, and Mr. Pewtress was wholly unsuited for bush duty. The police parties sent in pursuit in the first instance returned to Quarters without success, and no reliable information appears to have been obtainable as to the whereabouts of the gang. The Government, it must be said, exhibited a commendable zeal and promptitude in seconding the efforts of the police. The better to facilitate their object, the Felons Apprehension Act was passed through the legislature at one sitting. The measure was based upon one that in New South Wales was found very effectual in stamping out bushranging. Its provisions were directed against not only the outlaws, but also against all those who wilfully harboured, assisted, or otherwise sympathized with them; and, doubtless, had it been judiciously administered, the object aimed at would soon have been achieved.

 

 

VI.-THE SEBASTOPOL RAID

 

One of the earliest combined movements of the police in pursuit of the outlaws was not calculated to favourably impress the mind of the public as regards the capacity of the officers. The 鉄ebastopol charge as it has been designated, and which took place on the 7th November 1878, proved an utter fiasco, calculated simply to excite ridicule, and for this Superintendent Sadleir must be held directly responsible. On the 6th November, a splitter, in a state of intoxication, made his way from the Woolshed into Beechworth, where he was heard to boast that three days previously he had seen the gang in the bush near Sebastopol. This individual was conveyed to the lock-up, where he reiterated his statement to Superintendent Sadleir, and indicated where he believed the outlaws were secreted. Mr. Sadleir telegraphed to Mr. Nicolson, at Benalla, the information. Captain Standish happened to be with the Assistant Commissioner of Police at the time, and it was arranged that, taking with them a party of police, they should both proceed immediately by special train to Beechworth and accompany Superintendent Sadleir to the spot where he seemed sanguine of catching the Kellys. The Benalla contingent arrived at
Beechworth at 3 am., and were met by Mr. Sadleir, who communicated to Captain Standish the information he had obtained, and then all rode off, leaving the Assistant Commissioner behind, searching for a horse, which occupied some time. The cavalcade moved rapidly forward, and as it proceeded, its numbers were gradually increased by parties of troopers who were gathered from various directions, until the force present numbered, according to various computations, from 23 to 50. The noise of so large a body of horseman, clattering along a hard road in the early hours of the morning and in the clear atmosphere of the ranges, was described by one witness as 屠ust like thunder, and could have been heard a mile off. Indeed, everything was done as though it were desirable to give the gang - supposing that they were in the neighbourhood - timely warning of the approach of the police. What followed was perfectly in keeping with the haphazard organisation of the party. It was not until the party had arrived opposite the house of Sherritt, senior, that Mr Sadleir informed the Assistant Commissioner of the precise object of the expedition, whereupon arrangements were made for the attack. While Mr. Nicolson and Mr. Sadleir rushed the hut where the outlaws were supposed to be concealed, the Chief Commissioner took up a position at a distance, in charge of the reserve force. The hut was duly searched, but nothing to excite suspicion was discovered. A second hut adjacent was pounced upon after a similar fashion with a like result. The procession of horseman then moved on to Mrs. Byrne's house, but here again the police were doomed to disappointment. The entire proceedings of the day were little better than a travesty; and as indicating the extent to which discipline prevailed in the force, it may be mentioned, that not a single witness could positively state which of the officers present was actually in the command of the party.

 

 

VII.-INSPECTOR BROOK SMITH IN PURSUIT

 

The conduct of Inspector Brook Smith while in charge at this period cannot be too severely censured. The history of the expedition which started on the 6th November 1878 from Wangaratta to search the Warby Ranges discloses culpable negligence and incapacity on the part of Mr. Smith, who was the officer in command. In the first place, he failed to take the proper steps with a view to the verification of the rumour that, on the morning of the 3rd November, the gang had been observed riding under the One-mile Bridge, at Wangaratta, in the direction of the ranges. Two days were allowed to elapse before starting in pursuit. Then, when the unmistakable tracks of the outlaws were discovered and Kennedy's horse found, this officer deliberately disobeyed orders by returning with his party to quarters. The following morning, from sheer laziness, he kept his men waiting from 4 am. till 7. The next day they had to start without him. With no other apparent object than that of retarding the pursuit, he compelled his men to make unnecessary detours to follow up the tracks; he rode slowly, loitered in the rear, and altogether so conducted the affair that only one conclusion can be arrived at as regards his conduct, namely, that he was determined that his party should not overtake the outlaws. What renders his action all the more reprehensible is the fact that upon no occasion throughout the pursuit, from the murders at the Wombat to the final affray at Glenrowan, was there presented a more favourable prospect of capturing the gang. Sergeant Steele was most blameworthy in this matter. If, as has been frequently urged, the men and more particularly the sub-officers were allowed to act upon their own discretion, upon the receipt of reliable intelligence, then surely it was the clear duty of Sergeant Steele, when informed by Constable Tuomy of the gang's appearance, to have immediately gone in pursuit. When the circumstance was communicated to him, he at once and rightly surmised that the men seen crossing the creek were the gang, and that they were guided by Steve Hart. The tracks were plainly discernible; he had a large body of armed troopers under his command, and was then actually engaged in the search for the outlaws; it was only men flying for their lives that would have attempted the passage of the creek at the time; the murderers and their horses were completely exhausted, owing to the journey to and from the Murray; so that, had this sub-officer acted with vigour and judgment on the
occasion, he must have been instrumental in effecting the capture of the gang, and preventing tho loss of life and the large expenditure of money which was subsequently incurred in bringing about the extermination of the gang. It would be unjust to lay down as a general principal that an inferior officer may be punished for the laches of his superior, but the circumstances of this case are exceptional. No one better than Sergeant Steele the personal peculiarities and unsuitability of Mr. Brook Smith for the work, and to have referred his informant to that officer was simply an attempt to evade responsibility.

 

 

 

VIII.-PROVISIONING THE OUTLAWS

 

A Pentridge inmate, named Williamson, who had been implicated in the assault upon Constable Fitzpatrick, and sentenced to a long term of imprisonment, imparted some very important information to the authorities shortly after the Wombat murders. His first communication was dated 30th October 1878. In this he gave certain particulars respecting the gang, their haunts, probable whereabouts, and their mode of obtaining supplies of provisions while hiding in the ranges. Attached to the statement was a rough pen-and-ink sketch, or plan, of the position and surroundings of Mrs. Kelly's hut at Eleven-mile Creek and its relation to a large hollow log, not far distant, which was likely to be used as a receptacle of food for the use of the outlaws. Search was made for the log, and it was found by Senior-Constable Flood without much difficulty. It was lying about 400 or 500 yards distant from the Kelly's hut, and in a spot suitable for secreting provisions. The suggestion made by Williamson - indeed the action that common sense would have dictated - was to watch the log, when discovered, and endeavour to cut off the outlaws' supplies, or possibly trace them to their lair. This course was not adopted. From the appearance of the hollow log, Senior-Constable Flood came to the conclusion that it could not have been utilized as indicated, and so the matter rested. About the same time a secret agent informed Mr. Sadleir that Mrs. Skillion, the sister of Ned and Dan Kelly, was in the habit of preparing large quantities of food which she conveyed into the bush at night, returning in the morning with her horse completely exhausted. She was not, however, interfered with. It was stated in evidence that attempts were made to follow her, but the difficulty of doing so without skilled trackers was thought insurmountable, and all efforts to trace her nightly expeditions to their source were relinquished. The evidence given by Superintendent Sadleir upon this point is unsatisfactory, and favours the hypothesis that the officers depended upon fortuitous circumstances rather than upon any defined plan of operations to bring about the capture of the outlaws.

 

IX.-THE EUROA BANK ROBBERY

 

The authorities received from the prisoner Williamson another  important statement, dated 15th November 1878, in which it was intimated that the kelly gang would probably attack one of the banks at Seymour. This information was communicated to Superintendent Hare on the 26th November, and that officer took immediate steps in his own district to guard against such an eventuality. On the 28th the document reached the hands of the officers in Benalla, and on the following day Mr. Nicolson telegraphed to the Chief Commissioner, suggesting that the police at Seymour should be reinforced. It seems clear that at this time rumours were current that one or other of the banks in the district would be robbed; and it has not been satisfactorily shown that Mr. Nicolson or Mr. Sadleir took any precautions to frustrate an attempt of that nature if made in the North-Eastern district. Indeed, their action indicates that they were either ignorant of the rumours or attached no importance to them, although the witness Patrick Quinn asserts, in the course of his evidence, that some  time prior to the robbery he informed the Assistant Commissioner not only as to the locality in which the Kellys were secreted, but that one of the banks at Bright, Avenel, or Euroa would probably be attacked. That the force at the command of the officers in charge of the district was inadequate to resist the threatened raid in every centre of population in the district was apparent. Nevertheless it has not
been satisfactorily proved, from the documents or the evidence submitted to your Commissioners, that Mr. Nicolson realized the danger and applied for reinforcements. There is a document, dated some eight or nine months later, written by Mr. Sadleir, in which he alleges that application had been made to  the Chief Commissioner for additional police prior to the attack upon Euroa, and Mr. Nicolson, in cross-examination, reiterates the statement, but beyond these mere assertions we have no proof that any special effort was made at this time to protect the banks in the North-Eastern district. Further, at a very critical juncture, and in the teeth of the most emphatic warning, both officers left head quarters at Benalla and proceeded to Albury on the 9th December 1878. The journey thither appears too have been the result of a ruse on the part of the sympathizers of the gang. The precise object of the officers in starting was simply to reconnoitre by daylight the crossing of the Murray, near Albury, where it was stated by a supposed reliable agent that the Kellys were expected to pass. Before starting an incident occurred which might have induced them to pause, if not to forego their intention. Mr. Wyatt, PM., arrived from Euroa by the evening train, bringing with him incontestable proofs that the telegraph wires in the vicinity of the township had been deliberately cut, and direct communication with Melbourne destroyed. Mr. Wyatt appears to have argued the matter out in his own mind, from all the circumstances which came under his notice, that the cutting of the wires was probably the work of the Kelly gang; and as soon as he observed Mr. Nicolson on the platform, at Benalla, he at once communicated to him his suspicions. Unfortunately Mr. Wyatt had warned the driver of the engine and others in the train by which he had arrived not to disclose any information they possessed on the subject, so that, when they were interrogated by Superintendent Sadleir as to whether there was anything wrong down the line, they returned a distinct negative. The warning of the police magistrate was disregarded. Turning to him, Mr. Nicolson said, 的t will not alter our plans, and, getting into the train, he and Mr. Sadleir took their departure for Albury. When passing Glenrowan station another incident occurred, which appears to have attracted the attention of Mr. Sadleir. When the train arrived at Glenrowan, Mr. Sadleir observed a suspected sympathizer and scout of the gang watching their movements; and, from this action and the expression of his face, it was evident that something unusual was stirring. This fact flashed through Mr. Sadleir's mind in the train on the journey to Albury, but he neglected to communicate with Sergeant Whelan, at Benalla, so as to place him on the Qui vive, as he might have done on arriving at Wangaratta or at any of the stations along the line. A strange and unfortunate fatality appears to have attached itself to every phase of this remarkable episode. There was, at the time of the robbery, virtually no police protection in Euroa. The constable, the only one stationed there, had been absent from the township during the day; and it was not until late in the evening, when doing duty at the railway station, he ascertained that the outrage had been committed, whereupon he leaped into the train and proceeded to Benalla. It seems also clear that for some days prior to the raid the outlaws were either in the township or secreted in its neighbourhood, and that their scouts gave them full information of its unprotected condition, so that they could push their audacity to any limits without fear of molestation. Mr. Nicolson was at Albury when, at midnight, he received intelligence of the robbery, and he took steps to return immediately by special train. En route he issued instructions to the several police stations, in order to ensure co-operation in the pursuit. Some stress has been laid upon the telegrams despatched to Sub-Inspector Pewtress, conveying instructions as to the course he should adopt; but - apart from the fact that if any doubt existed in the mind of Mr. Pewtress as to the propriety of acting upon the orders received he had full power to decide for himself what was best to be done - a careful scrutiny of the telegrams does not bear out the allegation that the Mansfield contingent were instructed to proceed in a direction the opposite to that in which there was a possibility of the gang with their plunder being encountered. The efforts made to follow up the tracks by Mr. Nicolson and his search party on the day following the robbery proved utterly futile, and they were compelled, from sheer exhaustion and inability to trace the outlaws, to return to quarters in the afternoon.

 


 

X.-CAPTAIN STANDISH AND SUPT. HARE IN CHARGE OF THE PURSUIT.

 

Mr. Nicolson was relieved from duty in the North-Eastern district, owing to the state of his health, immediately after the Euroa bank robbery, and Captain Standish and Superintendent Hare took charge of operations. One of their first acts was to enforce the provisions of the Felons Apprehension Act by arresting a large number of the more notorious sympathizers. By the orders of Captain Standish the responsible sub-officers and men in charge of stations who had for any length of time been in the Benalla district were collected. They were asked the names of the persons suspected. Those were taken down by Mr. Hare, and, without any effort to obtain information for the purposes of the prosecution, the necessary legal machinery was put in motion to make the arrests. In making these arrests no proper discretion was exercised. Several persons were taken into custody against whom no evidence could be obtained, while a number of persons known or suspected of being in close and intimate relations with the gang were allowed to remain at large. As a consequence, when the cases were called on, remand after remand was applied for and granted, until finally the magisterial bench at Beechworth discharged the prisoners. Those apparently arbitrary proceedings were not salutary in their effects. They did violence to people's ideas of the liberty of the subject; they irritated and estranged probably many who might have been of service to the police; they failed to allay apprehensions of further outrages on the part of the gang, or to prevent them from obtaining the requisite supplies; they crippled the usefulness of the officers, who had to be called away from active duty in connection with the pursuit to attend the petty sessions at Beechworth, when remands were applied for; and, what was of more significance, the failure of the prosecutions led the public to believe that the conduct of affairs was mismanaged. The original intention of the gang, after the Wombat murders, seems to have been to leave the colony, but this object having been frustrated, owing to the flooding of the Murray, they returned to the vicinity of their homes. Finding that the police were utterly at fault as to their whereabouts, and were receiving no reliable information as to their movements - that they were simply exhausting their energies in dragooning the district on purposeless expeditions - the gang gained confidence, and settled down in the ranges, varying their retreats, as occasion arose, between the neighbourhood of the King River, the Woolshed, near Sebastopol, and the Warby Ranges. The first detachment of the Garrison Artillery was forwarded from Melbourne to the North-Eastern district, 15th December 1878, and were distributed in the townships along the line of railways where another raid on the banks was possible. In January reinforcements of the artillery were sent to Beechworth, and in March following, it was deemed desirable to place a number in Shepparton. A considerable accession of strength was thus made to the available police at the disposal of Superintendent Hare, who appears to have attended to field work while Captain Standish transacted office business. The first cave party was formed at this time, and was taken command of by Superintendent Hare in person. It was maintained for a month, during which the party endured considerable hardships, having to remain concealed in the ranges in the neighbourhood of the Woolshed during the day, and watch the hut of Mrs. Byrne at night, on the chance of pouncing on one or other of the outlaws. At the end of 25 days the camp of the police was discovered by Mrs. Byrne, whereupon, without having accomplished anything, Superintendent Hare returned to Benalla. At this period Aaron Sherritt, no doubt in the hope of securing the reward offered for the capture of the outlaws, attached himself to Mr. Hare and his party, and great reliance appears to have been placed upon his fidelity. His acquaintance with the movements of the police in all parts of the district, communicated by bush telegraphs, demonstrated his knowledge of the operations of the sympathizers, and doubtless of the movements of the gang; but he did not enable the authorities to thwart the outlaws' raid upon Jerilderie on the 10th of February 1879. The daring with which this outrage was committed, and the impunity with which the gang were allowed to swoop down upon a township, to bail up the police, to rob one of the banks, and return to their haunts in Victoria, marked this episode as one of the most extraordinary in the whole career of the outlaws. Superintendent Hare
conducted many search parties with vigour, and in addition to watching Byrne's house, kept active supervision over the houses of others who were supposed to be sympathizers. He undertook expeditions to the Warby Ranges; he led search parties to Cleary's house, and to the Whorouly races respectively, on the strength of information supplied by agents, but without success. What Captain Standish accomplished by his personal supervision and direction of affairs in the district does not appear manifest. He was supposed to attend at the office during the day and act upon information received from scouts, but beyond having visited Mr. Hare and remained with him one night during the existence of the cave party, he seems to have contented himself with rusticating peacefully in Benalla. Evidence has been given by several witnesses that the Chief Commissioner was not an ardent worker in connection with the Kelly business. He has been described as apathetic, and as seeking refuge in a novel when his officers referred to matters relating to the pursuit. Mr. Hare states that the Chief Commissioner was always willing to converse with him upon the subject, but other officers declare that the apathy of the Chief Commissioner was the subject of frequent conversation. As a matter of fact, when in July 1879 Captain Standish and Superintendent Hare returned to Melbourne, owing, as the former alleges, to the business of the head office being in a 吐rightful muddle, the authorities were uncertain whether the outlaws were actually in the colony or had gone northward, in the direction of Queensland. An analysis of the list of appearances during the time Captain Standish and Superintendent Hare were in charge shows that the number reported was 53. Of these, 23 are stated to have been untrue or unreliable; in 5 instances the news was considered too stale; in four, no steps were taken; inquiries were simply instituted in several cases, and in 13 alone were active measures adopted, without any practical outcome.

 

XI.-THE QUEENSLAND TRACKERS

 

Early in December 1878 Mr. D. T. Seymour, the Queensland Commissioner, offered to place a number of native trackers at the service of the Victorian Government. The proposal did not meet with acceptance at the hands of Captain Standish. After the Jerilderie raid, however, the necessity for employing skilled trackers became obvious, and the Chief Commissioner's objections were overcome upon the representations of his officers. A telegram, dated 15th February 1879. was accordingly despatched to Mr. Seymour, at Brisbane, asking him to send down a party of eight trackers, under the command of a competent officer. The terms as regards remuneration and mode of working the contingent were soon arranged, and, on the 6th of March ensuing, Inspector O'Connor and his blacks arrived at Albury, where they were met by Captain Standish, who accompanied them the remainder of the journey to Benalla. Mr. O'Connor's instructions were that he was to obey the orders of Captain Standish, and co-operate with the members of the Victorian or New South Wales police, with whom he might be required to serve, while at the same time he was to communicate as opportunity arose with the Commissioner of Police in Brisbane. In fact, however Inspector O'Connor may have been regarded, he never held the position of an officer in the Victorian police. He stood in the relation of a volunteer, subject to the regulations and discipline of the force for the time being, simply holding the rank of an officer in a foreign service, his commission being recognized as a matter of courtesy by those with whom he was co-operating. In Mr. Seymour's memo., Inspector O'Connor was expressly informed that 塗e merely went as an assistant and that the conduct of affairs was  entirely in the hands of Captain Standish and his officers; and that, in obeying orders, he freed himself from responsibility for anything beyond his own acts. Mr O'Connor was not appointed to any particular position in the Victorian police; he was sworn in and remained exclusively in charge of the Queensland trackers. The arrangement was anomalous, and much of the difficulty and misunderstanding that afterwards arose might have been avoided had Mr. O'Connor been gazetted an officer in the Victorian police. For some months after the arrival of the Queensland trackers cordial relations appear to have subsisted between
Captain Standish and Inspector O'Connor. Then dissension arose, and much bitterness of feeling was engendered in consequence of a personal quarrel with one of the officers. On the 11th of March, a week after the arrival of the trackers, they were despatched with Mr. O'Connor in pursuit of the gang. As showing the friendly feeling entertained towards him at this period, it may be mentioned that he was placed in command of the party alluded to, although he was accompanied by Superintendent Sadleir, an officer of higher grade. Mr. O'Connor was desirous of going out with only a few Victorian troopers attached to his party, but the Chief Commissioner, for certain reasons, was averse to this arrangement, and sent a much larger number. This expedition, which was intended to test the powers of the trackers, resulted in demonstrating their usefulness to some extent; but, at the same time, it showed that, being natives of a warmer climate, they were not well adapted, even when supplied with suitable clothing and covering at night, to endure severe weather or the physical hardships incidental to carrying on operations in the ranges. They returned to quarters earlier than was expected, principally owing to this circumstance. Corporal Sambo, one of the contingent, died in a few days afterwards, having succumbed to the effects of congestion of the lungs. On the 16th of April following, Mr. O'Connor and his party again proceeded in pursuit, but on the fifth day out they were recalled by the Chief Commissioner for the purpose of placing the trackers at the disposal of Superintendent Hare, who was supposed to have obtained an important clue to the whereabouts of the gang in the Warby Ranges. This appears to have been the last occasion upon which, during the period Captain Standish remained in charge of the district, Inspector O'Connor went out in command of a party. This, together with the fact that the Chief Commissioner declined to work the trackers in accordance with the views of Mr. O'Connor, no doubts served to bring about the estrangement which arose between those officers. The Chief Commissioner at no time refrained from expressing his disparaging estimate of the value of the Queensland trackers. They had been engaged contrary to his wishes and his judgment. He believed them to be wholly unsuitable for tracking in broken and mountainous country, more especially as they required a considerable quantity of impedimenta, could work but slowly, and were therefore the more liable to attract observation. In a district like that in which the pursuit was conducted, and having to cope with men who frequently rode from 60 to 70 miles in one night, it was believed by Captain Standish that the trackers were utterly useless, and that their engagement was an idle expenditure of money. In withholding information from the officer in charge of the trackers, in connection with the search of Cleary's house, a slight was thereby implied; and, by making Superintendent Hare a party to the transaction, the Chief Commissioner adopted the most effectual means of sowing discord amongst the officers. He also deliberately informed Mr. O'Connor that he intended to catch the Kellys without his assistance; and, by his general demeanour, according to the evidence, displayed a want of kindly and generous feeling towards Mr. O'Connor, who as a stranger and a volunteer sent specially by the Government of a neighbouring colony to assist the Victorian police, was the more entitled to courtesy and consideration. While Captain Standish entertained this opinion of the trackers, it must be noticed that Mr. Hare, Mr. Sadleir and other competent authorities who had practical experience of the value of their work, bore favourable testimony to their abilities and usefulness.

 

 


 

XII.-MR. NICOLSON RESUMES CHARGE

OF THE PURSUIT

 

When, in July 1879, Mr. Nicolson resumed charge of the pursuit, the prospect of capturing the outlaws appeared more remote than ever. The alarm caused by the daring outrages of the gang had to some extent subsided, but a strong feeling of indignation prevailed throughout the country at the spectacle presented of four young men, three of them only about twenty years of age, defying all the resources and powers of the Government, and remaining in almost undisturbed tranquillity in what one of them described as their mountain home. As indicating the condition of the district and the influences at work to shield and assist the gang, it may be mentioned that not even the offer of 8,000 pounds for their capture, to any appreciable degree, facilitated the operations of the police. Weary of the delay in effecting the capture, and concerned at the enormous outlay incidental to the pursuit, pressure appears to have been brought to bear immediately on Mr. Nicolson taking charge to effect reductions. The Garrison Artillery were gradually withdrawn, while the strength of the police in the district was also considerably reduced, as will be seen from the following returns:-

    Number of Officers and Police stationed in the North-Eastern district and the extra expenditure incurred during the period Captain Standish and Superintendent Hare were in charge, and for the seven months after Mr. Nicolson resumed command.

 

UNDER CAPTAIN STANDISH &

UNDER MR. NICOLSON

SUPERINTENDENT HARE

 

 

Men

Extra Expense

 

Men

Extra

Dec. 1878

217

2,197

July 1879

156

1,049

Jan. 1879

201

1,748

Aug. 1879

153

1,057

Feb. 1879

213

1,856

Sept.1879

155

707

Mar. 1879

196

2,296

Oct. 1879

155

860

Apr. 1879

198

1,433

Nov. 1879

154

356

May  1879

191

1,342

Dec. 1879

155

497

June 1879

174

1,180

Jan. 1880

157

440

 

 

It must be borne in mind that these returns are irrespective of the Garrison Artillery, who were stationed in the district while Captain Standish remained in Benalla, and whose presence and co-operation were no doubt of great importance at that time. Prior to the Euroa bank robbery Mr. Nicolson appears to have lost faith in the utility of search parties exclusively; and his coadjutor, Superintendent Sadleir, emphatically pronounced the system to be mere 吐ooling. The Assistant Commissioner thus explains the position in which he was placed at this juncture, and the steps which he found it necessary to take. 的 set to and reorganized the men on this basis, and adopted the view that, with the materials at my command, my best course to adopt was to secure places from outrage where there was treasure, so that the outlaws would be baffled in any attempt to replenish their coffers. I stationed a small body of men at Wodonga, under Sergeant Harkin, another at Wangaratta, under Sergeant Steele, another at Bright, under Senior-Constable Shoebridge, and the same at Mansfield, under Sub-Inspectors Toohey and Pewtress. At each of these there was barely strength enough for a search party, but they could make up a fair party - seven or eight - by calling in men from neighbouring stations. The only place where a complete search party was kept was Benalla. I instructed the police throughout the district to arrange to get quietly from two to four townsmen of the right sort who would turn out and aid them in the case of an attack. Mr. Nicolson adds, that he had not carte blanche for expenditure as Captain Standish had. He had no money placed to his credit. He paid the accounts and all other expenses out of his own pocket, which were afterwards refunded. Large economies were also effected as regards the keep and hiring
of horses and the expenses attached to the use of buggies by those engaged by the police. At the same time systematic efforts were made throughout the district to induce the well-disposed portion of the population to aid the police by every means in their power, and to afford any information respecting the outlaws that might come to their knowledge. This in time began to bear good fruit. At first the intelligence gleaned would be about a month old, then it was reduced to a fortnight, in time about a week, and sometimes a day only would elapse, before the receipt of news of the appearance of the gang, or the doings of their sympathizers. In fact the Assistant Commissioner appears at this time to have relied almost solely upon secret agents for information, and a reference to the list of reported appearances shows that his plan of operations so far was producing some effect. It was not, however, until he had been six weeks in charge that he obtained positive and reliable information that the Kellys were in the district. Special stress has been laid upon several incidents which mark the administration of affairs by Mr. Nicolson, to which it is desirable notice should be directed. On the 27th September 1879, Superintendent Sadleir, while at Wangaratta, was informed by the agent known as Foote that on the previous night he had seen Ned Kelly and the other members of the gang in the bush. They were on foot, and of their identity there could not be any doubt. Mr. Nicolson, on being informed of this, at once telegraphed to Mr. Sadleir, from Benalla, instructing him to bring the man down. This order was not complied with, Mr. Sadleir explaining that he had left his informant drinking at a public house, and that he would himself be able to find the precise spot where the outlaws had been seen. Upon being questioned upon this point, Mr. Sadleir's knowledge was found to be vague; and Mr. Nicolson, under the circumstances, took no action. This was the occasion upon which the search party had assembled in the barrack yard at Benalla, with their horses saddled and ready to start, when at the last moment they were ordered back to quarters. In the following memo., dated 30th September 1879, Mr. Nicolson thus explains to the Chief Commissioner his reasons for adopting this course:-

 

The informant was ______; he stated he saw five men. From conversation with Superintendent Sadleir, upon his return from Wangaratta, it did not appear that 鍍he spot was indicated so that it could be found without difficulty, nor that 妬t could be taken up by the trackers at daybreak before the people were moving and had become conscious of the presence of the police among them. The subsequent examination of Mounted-Constable Ryan as to the locality and its approaches did not tend to remove the above impression. It appeared that the neighbourhood was settled, and that our party could hardly expect to pass Lloyd's house, even at midnight, without being discovered, and that the trackers might have to search over at least a quarter of a mile before finding the footprints; and considering the precaution said to have been taken by the men seen by ______ in sending a man to dog him home, it seemed likely that they had taken the other precaution of moving off, and, with the fifth man and other friends, each had taken separate directions, so that the trackers pursuing might find themselves running down one wrong man. Sub-Inspector O'Connor was of opinion that the chance of success was a bad one. Considering my other improving sources of information, I determined, upon this occasion, not to disturb the false sense of security into which the outlaws have been lulled. Although I decided upon the above course upon the merits of the report made to me, yet I may remind the Chief Commissioner that ______, the informant, was the man who tried to induce me to proceed with the Benalla police and meet him at the head of the King River on the day before the Euroa bank robbery.


 

The informant was Pat Quin, whose loyalty to the police Mr. Nicolson appears to have always doubted; but there seems every reason to believe that had Mr. Sadleir taken the precaution to bring with him the agent his statement would have been acted upon, and the officer in question have escaped the responsibility of the expedition being abandoned owing to his action. The tactics adopted at this time appear peculiar, and, perhaps, account to some extent for the apparent listlessness of the police. Mr. Nicolson was desirous, he alleges, of lulling the gang into what he terms a false sense of security. He was gradually forming round them a cordon, not of police but of secret spies, and was anxious not to allow them to know of the information he possessed, or of the precise nature of his plans, lest they should leave the district - where he felt assured they would ultimately be taken - and seek refuge in the inaccessible region near Tomgroggin, in New South Wales. The immediate object was not so much to effect the capture as to guard against any renewal of a raid upon the banks. The relative merits of the two systems adopted by the police in connection with operations against the Kelly gang, namely, that of search parties and of secret agents, have been frequently referred to in the course of the evidence. The name of Mr. Hare has been more particularly associated with the former, and that of Mr. Nicolson with the latter. As a matter of fact, however, both systems were employed conjointly as occasion arose, but, from instinct and peculiarity of temperament, Mr. Hare seems to have preferred the more active and military mode of prosecuting the pursuit; while Mr. Nicolson trusted principally to the effects likely to arise from having the outlaws surrounded with spies and informers. One of the most peculiar features of Mr. Nicolson's administration of affairs during the period of his second charge was the nature of his transactions with the Sherritt family. Jack, the youngest brother, appears to have acted faithfully to the police while engaged by them; and there seems no doubt that from time to time he gave them important and reliable information respecting his frequent intercourse with Dan Kelly and Joe Byrne. He was introduced to Mr. Nicolson by Detective Ward, at Wangaratta, on the 12th September 1879, and from the information which he then gave, and the letters which he subsequently brought from the outlaws, it was evident that he was in close communication with, and was implicitly trusted by them. They were in fact anxious to induce him to join them in an attempt to rob one of the banks in the district. Sherritt seems to have told everything very unreservedly to Mr. Nicolson, who nevertheless decided on each occasion to wait for a more favourable opportunity in the hope of capturing the entire gang at one blow. This policy of procrastination was more especially noticeable on the occasion of Sherritt's interview, when he informed Mr. Nicolson of Dan Kelly's visit to his place at Sebastopol on the 13th November 1879, leaving word that he would call again about eight o'clock. Both witnesses agree as to the facts, but there is a marked difference as to the precise hour at which the interview occurred, and upon this point the material value of Jack Sherritt's information hinges. According to his evidence, he left the Woolshed in time to interview Mr. Nicolson about half-past seven o'clock, and as the outlaws called at his place at eight, it has been urged that there was ample time for a party of police to have proceeded there, if not to encounter the gang direct, to have at least obtained such a clue to their whereabouts as would probably lead in the end to their capture. As against the evidence of Jack Sherritt, however, there must be taken, not only the denial of its accuracy, as given by Mr. Nicolson, but several other circumstances which deserve consideration in weighing the value of the testimony given pro and con. Jack Sherritt states that Dan Kelly called at dusk. According to the almanac, the sun, on the 13th November 1879, set at 6.45. The outlaw is said to have searched the house, looking for Jack; he remained, say ten minutes. Sherritt was working in a paddock, half a mile away. It must have taken his sister thirty minutes to have brought him the information. The distance into Beechworth was three or four miles through rough country, which took Senior-Constable Mullane three-quarters of an hour to ride. Ten minutes may be allowed for the recital of the intelligence to Mr. Nicolson. Supposing then that Dan Kelly called at Sherritt's at seven o'clock, these intervals bring up the hour to 8.35 pm. before Mr. Nicolson was in a position to order out a search party to go in pursuit. It would occupy say ten minutes getting a search party together, saddling the horses, and preparing to start, and, by going by the main road, the ground might be covered in about twenty-five minutes. It would, therefore, be after nine
o'clock before the men by any possibility could have reached the spot. But the probabilities are against the entire gang having called according to promise. It was well known and can be easily understood that they never kept an appointment punctually. Again, as comparing oath with oath, there is on the one side a young man not particular as to dates, who, at the time, according to his own admission, was greatly agitated, thinking that the outlaw had called to carry him off, and disposed to make the most of his case, when before the Commission, as against the Assistant Commissioner. On the other, there is a trained official, accustomed to accuracy in matters of detail, who wrote the circumstances of the interview at the time in his memorandum book, and who, some days afterwards, wrote a long letter to the Chief Commissioner, in which he elaborates the narrative, and distinctly declares that it was late when Sherritt called at the station. Again, as indicating that Sherritt may have been mistaken in this as in other points, he alludes to Mr. Nicolson looking up from the desk at the clock and making some remark about the hour. As a matter of fact there was no clock in the room where they were conversing; the only clock in the station was fixed in the verandah and could not be seen from the room. Early in December 1879 Mr. Nicolson organized the second cave party; the secret was revealed by Senior-Constable Johnson to Mr. Hare, at the depot, and the latter at once informed Captain Standish on the subject. The Chief Commissioner did not approve of those parties, and wrote to Mr. Nicolson to that effect, stating that the cave was known at the depot. The announcement caused surprise and pain to the Assistant Commissioner, who, however, refused to withdraw the men, believing that their presence in the hut, although known at the depot, remained a profound secret in the district. There is a reason to believe that, during the existence of the cave party, the outlaws frequently visited the Woolshed, and that being so it must be inferred either that the gang were in possession of the secret and carefully avoided Mrs. Byrne's house, or they visited the place, as has been asserted, unseen by the police, who were supposed to be on the watch. The testimony of the constables bears out the supposition that the men's presence in the cave was known for a considerable time before they were removed, and the conduct of Detective Ward favours the conclusion that he deliberately deceived Mr. Nicolson upon that point, by the manipulation of the reports sent in by several of the constables. In February 1880, a report was received by the police that a number of mould-boards of ploughs had been stolen from the neighbourhood of Greta and Oxley. It was not then known what the object of these depredation's was, but a search party and two trackers were sent out, and upon this occasion was discovered the footprints with the 斗arrikin heel, which, with other information, indicated that the Kelly gang were the thieves. The 電iseased stock letter, in which the object of the stolen mould-boards was communicated for the first time, was dated 20th May 1880, and this marks an epoch in the history of the pursuit. In that letter it was stated, 殿 break out may be expected, as feed is getting scarce. It was the receipt of this intelligence that gave Mr. Nicolson hope that the 澱eginning of end was approaching. The outlaws were evidently preparing for a raid, and it was only necessary to be prepared to receive them. Doubtless the consciousness of this served to embitter Mr. Nicolson's feelings when he found himself obliged to relinquish the pursuit and yield to another the post of honor when he daily anticipated the fruition and reward of his labours. About the months of May and April the police ascertained that the outlaws were reduced to great straits. Over a year had elapsed since their last - the Jerilderie - raid. Their funds were well-nigh exhausted. With their money, their friends and sympathizers began to fall off too; and more than one, it was stated, had significantly suggested that another bank should be robbed. The outlaws at this time were said to be usually in the vicinity of the Greta Swamp, from which they would move back to the ranges, get across the Ovens River towards  Sebastopol, and from thence to the Pilot Range, near Wodonga. They were obliged to travel on foot, and their immediate assistants were reduced to four. Intimation was also received that they were suffering such severe hardships in the ranges that they were obliged to obtain a tent to cover them at night; and the agent who gave all this valuable information led Mr. Nicolson to believe that, in a very short time, he would lead the police to the spot where they would have, to use the language of the Assistant Commissioner, 鍍heir hands on the throats of the outlaws without any trouble. Information of this character at the time must have appeared very general,
very indistinct, and its reliability very problematical, which may account for the fact that more practical measures were not adopted. When on one occasion, about this time, a search party was despatched to a hut near the Lloyd's house at Lake Rowan, on the strength of somewhat similar intelligence, the police by their efforts simply subjected themselves to badinage, as when the suspected hut was searched, only a well-known sympathizer was found there. It must be added that every precaution seems to have been taken to intercept the gang, should they attempt to pass any of the bridges, or crossings leading to or from their reputed haunts. Sealed orders, with special instructions were issued to every station; constant telegraphic communication was maintained throughout the district; the vigilance was apparently incessant, but was sought by the Assistant Commissioner to be of a masked, unostentatious, character, which it was believed would in time achieve success. An analysis of the list of appearances discloses that during Mr. Nicolson's second charge there were about sixty reports received by the police; of those, sixteen were considered stale or unreliable; inquiries were made as regards five; there is no record of action in reference to six; in several no action whatever; and in twenty six, action was taken mainly with a view to resisting attacks, the arranging of watch parties, or in endeavouring to induce the outlaws to suppose that the police were not on the alert. There were very few search parties despatched, and in every instance where action was taken of this nature the expeditions proved entirely fruitless.

 

XIII.-MR. NICOLSON'S RECALL

 

The Assistant Commissioner takes no pains to conceal the opinion that his removal in June 1880, although ostensibly the direct act of the Executive, was in reality the result of official intrigue. Whatever may have been the influences at work - whether, as Mr. Ramsay declared, the decision of the government meant no more than a desire for a change of bowlers, or, as has been insinuated, Captain Standish, for reasons of his own, was responsible for the move - of this there cannot be a doubt, that there was thereby revealed the existence of acrimonious feelings amongst the officers - of jealousy, distrust, and personal rivalry, of which nothing previously had been positively known, although perhaps suspected. There is no gainsaying the fact that the recall of Mr. Nicolson implied dissatisfaction, if not censure; but the fact of his having received a month's grace at a time when, according to his own account, he was in daily anticipation of capturing the Kellys, indicates some consideration for his feelings. Public servants are not always the best judges of the motives which actuate a Government in adopting a particular policy, and unfortunately private interests and individuals must often be sacrificed to public expediency. Mr. Nicolson evidently regarded his case as a hard one under the circumstances. He states that, for some time prior to his removal, he felt that there was mischief brewing. On the 22nd of April the Assistant Commissioner had an interview with the Chief Secretary, who was then returning from the ceremony at Mansfield of unveiling a monument erected to the memory of the victims of the Wombat tragedy. Mr. Ramsay expressed the greatest pleasure and confidence in Mr. Nicolson when informed of how things were going on. An anonymous letter, which has been frequently adverted to in evidence, was forwarded by the Chief Commissioner to Mr. Nicolson on the 26th April for his explanation, and in a week subsequently he received intimation that he was to be superseded. The so-called anonymous letter was signed 鼎onnor, evidently a fictitious name. It criticised unsparingly Mr. Nicolson's character and conduct throughout the pursuit, and from internal evidence it was clearly written or inspired by some member of the force. It had been forwarded in the first instance to the Honorable J. H. Graves, the member for the district, and by that gentleman placed in the hands of the Chief Commissioner. The witness Wallace, a State-school teacher, and an alleged sympathizer with the gang, was the putative writer of the document, but he denies the allegation, and subsequently, in a communication addressed to your Commission, he declares that it was the joint concoction of Jack Sherritt and the outlaws, in order to have Mr. Nicolson removed from the district. But Wallace's bona fides and veracity are open to grave
suspicion, and his flippancy of manner, when before your Commission, apart from the evidence respecting his equivocal relations with the  gang, mark his statements as wholly unreliable. The Assistant Commissioner, when informed of the intention to remove him, sought an interview with the Chief Secretary early in May, when, upon his urgent representations, he obtained a month's extension of his charge of the district. The scenes which occurred between Mr. Nicolson and Captain Standish at this period indicate exacerbation of feeling and defiance on the one hand, and of cold superciliousness on the other, utterly at variance with that esprit de corps which is so desirable amongst brother officers. During the last month Mr. Nicolson remained in command he strained every nerve to make the most of the limited time allowed him. His last effort was made on the strength of a report by a secret agent, that Joe Byrne had been seen in the ranges, to the rear of his mothers hut. Mr Nicolson organized and led a search party to the spot. It was upon this occasion that Aaron Sherritt accompanied the expedition as a guide during daylight - a proceeding that has induced many to attribute the murder of Aaron Sherritt to a want of discretion on the part of the Assistant Commissioner. The fact, however, should not be forgotten, that some time previously Byrne had seen Mrs. Sherritt at Sebastopol, and had threatened to shoot Aaron. At the end of the month, Mr. Nicolson in the interim having failed to effect the capture of the outlaws, Mr. Hare was sent up to supersede him. This latter officer remonstrated with Captain Standish for having selected him for the duty, and appealed to Mr. Ramsay with a view to some other officer being appointed to the post. The only reply that he received was that the Government had determined that he should take charge, and that there was left him no other alternative than to obey orders. The interview between Mr. Nicolson and Superintendent Hare on the 2nd of June 1880, when the latter took over charge, is variously described by the witnesses who were present. Superintendent Hare emphatically declares, and inserted a statement to the same effect in his official report after the affray at Glenrowan, that the interview lasted only ten minutes, and that Mr. Nicolson 堵ave him no verbal information whatever. Mr Sadleir speaks of a quarter of an hour or twenty minutes, but, in cross-examination, goes further. Mr. O'Connor thinks that the interview lasted much longer, while Mr. Nicolson insists that Superintendent Hare remained with him in the office nearly an hour; that during that time he gave him all the information he possessed, and, in conclusion, asked Mr. Sadleir if he thought he had omitted anything. Mr. Hare, in support of his allegation, produces his diary, and Mr. Nicolson relies, to a great extent, upon the corroborative fact that the train by which his successor arrived reached Benalla at ten minutes past eleven; that it took him about half-an-hour to reach the police station; and it is admitted upon all hands that the interview did not terminate until one o'clock, when the officers adjourned to their hotel for luncheon. A more serious charge than that levelled by Mr. Hare against Mr. Nicolson it would be difficult to define, amounting as it does to disloyalty to the service and the country, and meanness and treachery to brother officers; and if Mr. Hare at the time considered Mr. Nicolson guilty of such conduct, it was his duty to have at once reported the circumstance. He wrote, it appears, a private letter to Captain Standish informing him of his impressions, but such a course was not calculated to meet a case of such grave significance as Mr. Hare represents in his official report and evidence. The Assistant Commissioner indignantly repudiates the charge under which he had been allowed to labor for over twelve months, and appeals to his long service and the respect entertained towards him by his brother officers and men in refutation, urging that he would be even more criminal than the Kellys themselves if there were the least foundation for the charge. It must be mentioned that Mr. Hare was the first to leave the room in which the interview occurred; that he called again at the office in the afternoon without asking for further information; and that, if the interview were briefer than might have been expected under the circumstances, it was owing to Mr. Hare having asked Mr. Nicolson, in the course of conversation, to come to the last that had been heard of the outlaws. The telegram despatched by Mr. Nicolson to Senior-Constable Mullane prior to his leaving Benalla for Melbourne seems to have strengthened Mr. Hare's suspicion of mala fides on the part of the Assistant Commissioner; but, judging from the explanations made, and the tenor of the document itself, there does not seem sufficient grounds for preferring so grave a charge against Mr. Nicolson as having wilfully sought to coerce the agents, and obstruct the efforts of the officer by whom he had been superseded.


 

XIV. SUPERINTENDENT HARE SUPERSEDES

MR. NICOLSON.

 

Superintendent Hare having mastered the documents in the office which had a bearing upon the pursuit, and having also obtained every information and assistance from Superintendent Sadleir, preceded to make his own arrangements. Reliable residents and constables in charge of stations were interviewed; scouts were despatched; secret agents communicated with, and what has become known as the hut party organized. Four constables under the direction of Detective Ward were secreted in Aaron Sherritt's hut, at Sebastopol, with instructions to remain concealed during the day, and in the evening to proceed to Mrs. Byrne's place and watch it at night, as the cave parties had done previously. From the evidence it is clear that the constables acted very indiscreetly, situated as Aaron Sherritt's hut was, in close proximity to the main road and within view of numerous dwellings in the neighborhood. The first impression of your Commissioners when they visited the scene of the murder was its unsuitability for such a purpose. Again, the constables were known to have gone out to cut wood during the daytime and were, there is every reason to believe, seen by the gang and their sympathizers in the vicinity. Whatever suspicions there may have been engendered in the minds of the outlaws as regards Aaron Sherritt's treachery towards them previously, the fact of his harboring the police in his hut was sufficient to seal his doom. On the evening of the 26th of June 1880, while the police were in the hut, and as they were about to start on their nocturnal watch, a knock was heard at the door, and a neighbor named Anton Wicks, as though he had been bushed, inquired the way to his home. The door was opened by Aaron Sherritt. That moment a shot was fired; a second followed; Aaron stepped back, and fell dead without uttering a word. Three of the constables at the time were in an inner room divided off from the main apartment by a slight partition, which only reached from the floor to the lower edge of the roof, a door composed of flimsy material being in the centre. The front and back doors faced each other. There were two small windows in the hut, one giving light to the bedroom, the other to the kitchen. The hut in reality consisted of only one room with a portion partitioned off for the purposes of a bedroom. Constable Duross was at the fire in the outer room when the knock was heard; he at once sought refuge in the bedroom, where he and his companions remained throughout the night. The murder was perpetrated by Joe Byrne, assisted by Dan Kelly. The outlaws made several inquiries as to the men concealed in the bedroom, but the evidence upon the subject is contradictory and unsatisfactory. The names of the police present were Constables Armstrong (in charge), Duross, Dowling, and Alexander. Never was there a more conspicuous instance of arrant cowardice than was exhibited by those men on the night of the murder. Instead of attacking the outlaws, or at least making some effort out of sheer regard for their manhood, if not for their official responsibility, they sought the protection for themselves which they should have afforded to others. Two of them, Armstrong and Dowling, lay prostrate on the floor, with their bodies partly concealed beneath a bed, under which they had thrust the wife of the murdered man, with their feet resting against her, so that she could not possibly escape, in the hope that her presence would deter the outlaws from shooting them or attempting, as they had threatened, to set fire to the place. The conduct of those constables throughout the night was characterized by shameful poltroonery, which, in the army, would have been punished by summary expulsion from the service with every accompanying mark of contempt and degradation. It was not until the afternoon of the following day that the authorities in Benalla and Melbourne became aware of the outrage. As soon as information of the murder was received, prompt action was taken. The black trackers, who, with Mr. O'Connor, had been withdrawn from the district, preparatory to returning to Brisbane, were recalled, and despatched the same night by special train from Melbourne to Beechworth, the object being to utilize them in following the tracks of the outlaws from Sherritt's hut, at Sebastopol, to the ranges in the vicinity, where the murderers were supposed to be concealed.

 


 

XV.-GLENROWAN

 

The murder of Aaron Sherritt was designed as the prelude to the terrible tragedy by means of which the outlaws intended, as they had previously boasted, to astonish not only the Australian colonies but the whole world. It seems manifest that they had carefully thought out and matured their plan of operations. They proposed in the first place to shoot Aaron Sherritt. By this they rightly conjectured that they would, not only have wreaked their vengeance upon one who had betrayed them to the police, but would induce the authorities to despatch on the following day - Sunday - when there was no ordinary traffic on the line, a special train to Beechworth with the Queensland trackers and a large body of police. Next, it was determined to wreck this special train, and shoot any constable who might escape the effects of the disaster. Finally, the coast having been thus cleared, the gang were to proceed at once to Benalla or one of the townships in the district, rob one of the banks, and with the spoil retrace their steps to their previous haunts in the ranges. By one of those unforeseen accidents which often defeat the best laid schemes, execution of the latter portion of their program was frustrated, and their career suddenly brought to a close. The murder was perpetrated by only two of the gang, Joe Byrne and Dan Kelly. Their task accomplished, they rode with all speed across country to Glenrowan, where Ned Kelly and Steve Hart were occupied in preparing for the destruction of the train. The outlaws established themselves in Mrs. Jones's hotel, which stood in an oblique direction, about 400 yards south-west of the local railway station, and between the line and the Warby Ranges. Thither Ned Kelly and Hart conveyed the persons whom they had bailed up during the day, the intention being to keep them in duress until the special had passed. At an early hour on Sunday morning the rails were torn up by two men named Reardon and Sullivan, with a threat of being shot by Ned Kelly in case they refused to act as directed. The spot selected for the castrophe is about 1000 yards north of the Glenrowan station, at a point where the line, after passing through a deep cutting, suddenly makes a sharp curve. Here there is on one side, to the west, a high embankment, which shuts out the view ahead as the point is approached; and on the other a steep declivity, down which it was intended to precipitate the train. The members of the gang were somewhat abstemious during the day. Steve Hart was drunk in the morning, but he soon recovered, and he alone appears to have taken any liquor to excess. They established very friendly relations with their prisoners, of whom, towards evening, there were no less than 62. They joined in outdoor sports, got up a dance during the night, played cards, indulged in some vocal music, and otherwise amused themselves while awaiting the arrival of the train which was expected to pass Glenrowan about midnight. Mr. Curnow, the local State School teacher, who, with his wife and sister-in-law, had been bailed up early in the afternoon, contrived by a show of sympathy to ingratiate himself into the good graces of the gang; and, under Providence, to his tact, coolness, and bravery, must be attributed the rescue of the special train and its occupants from destruction. Constable Bracken, who was stationed in the locality, was taken prisoner and conveyed to the hotel late in the evening. He appears to have acted with prudence throughout the trying circumstances in which he was placed. Mr. Curnow was released about midnight, and immediately took steps to warn the approaching special train. He improvised a danger signal by placing a lighted match behind a scarlet mantle, and with this he set out along the line to meet the train. The special, containing Mr. O'Connor, his wife, and sister-in-law, five trackers, and several representatives of the press, arrived at Benalla at about half-past one o'clock. Here Superintendent Hare and a party of troopers joined them, and having procured a pilot engine to go in advance, a start was made for Beechworth at 2.10 am. On arriving within a mile and a half of Glenrowan, the pilot engine was observed to stop, and upon inquiry as to the cause, the information given by Mr. Curnow of the presence of the Kellys at Glenrowan, and of the rails having been torn up, was communicated to Superintendent Hare. After a consultation, it was decided to travel slowly and cautiously, and bring the train up to the Glenrowan station. Under ordinary circumstances, the special would have passed Glenrowan without stopping. When therefore the outlaws heard the whistle, and observed the train draw up at the station, they were at once convinced that Mr. Curnow had conveyed the warning to the police. The prisoners in the hotel having
been locked up, the outlaws at once prepared for the fight. They went into a room together and assisted each other to don the iron armour that they had brought with them, and thus equipped they awaited the attacks. Superintendent Hare ordered the horses to be taken out as soon as the train drew up at the station. He did not know the precise bearings of the locality, and supposed that the spot where the rails were torn up was about a mile from the station, and that it would be necessary to proceed there on horseback. A volunteer, Mr. Rawlings, undertook to act as guide. Mr. Hare and Mr. Rawlings, followed at a distance by three or four constables, went down the line to the station master's house to make inquiries. At this time everything was still; there was not a sound or a sign to indicate that the gang was so near. Mrs. Stanistreet, the wife of the station master, was found crying in great distress at the loss of her husband, who, she stated, had been taken away by the Kellys, at the same time pointing in the direction of the ranges behind Mrs. Jones's hotel. Thereupon Mr. Hare returned to the platform, and while engaged giving further instructions about the horses, Constable Bracken, in a state of excitement, appeared upon the scene and informed Mr. Hare that the outlaws were in Mrs. Jones's hotel, and had a large number of prisoners there bailed up. Thereupon Superintendent Hare told the men to let go the horses and to follow him. Without pausing, he rushed away, in the direction indicated, across the open space formed by the railway reserve, at the corner of which, directly opposite the hotel, is a large swing-gate with a wicket. He was closely followed by Constables Gascoigne, Phillips, and Canny, Inspector O'Connor and some of his black trackers bringing up the rear. On emerging from the wicket, Superintendent Hare and the constables mentioned found themselves on the roadway opposite the south-east corner of the hotel, which, although it was moonlight, stood in the shade, so that it was with difficulty objects could be discerned. When about fifteen paces from the hotel Superintendent Hare saw the figure of a man on the verandah. Then three men came round from the off side of the house and drew up. These were the outlaws, who, trusting to their armour, appeared to regard themselves as invulnerable. A shot was fired from the verandah, followed by a volley. The police at once returned the fire, and several volleys were exchanged, but in the very first Superintendent Hare received a bullet wound in the left wrist, which rendered his arm useless. The ball passed through the limb, shattering the bone and severing the artery. Mr. Hare with his one arm reloaded and fired. Several volleys having been exchanged, the outlaws retired within the house, when the shouts and screams of men, women, and children, imprisoned in the place, called forth the order from Superintendent Hare, and it is said from Mr. O'Connor also, to cease firing. Mr. Hare's wound appears to have become very painful, so, turning to Senior-Constable Kelly, who had reached the spot by making a detour round by the railway crossing, near the station master's house, he directed him to surround the house with the men and not allow the outlaws to escape. He then retired, going in the direction of the station. On his way thither he observed Mr. O'Connor, as he alleges, 途unning up a drain. He informed him of his accident, at the same time repeating the orders he had already given to Senior-Constable Kelly. Inspector O'Connor warmly resents the statement contained in Mr. Hare's official report that he saw him 途unning up a drain. Probably, it is the contemptuous form of expression employed to which Mr. O'Connor objects. As a matter of fact, there seems no reason to doubt the accuracy of Mr. Hare's description. Mr. O'Connor, it is clear, did not accompany Mr. Hare and the others who passed through the wicket or cross the fence surrounding the railway reserve. In the vicinity of the gate the ground is intersected by a number of watercourses, varying in depth from half a foot to seven feet. Those are in places spanned by small foot bridges, and all, more or less, in their sinuous windings communicate with each other. At the moment that the first volley was fired, Inspector O'Connor appears to have reached the culvert within the enclosure, in a direct line with the front of the hotel, or perhaps a little more towards the Wangaratta side of it, and about twenty-five yards distant from the house. Finding the danger of remaining in an exposed position, he at once sought shelter in a depression in the ground, in front of the bridge. To save himself from the bullets, which were flying about in every direction, it was requisite that he should assume a crouching attitude, and if, as Mr. O'Connor asserts, he remained in this position for nearly half an hour after the firing commenced, it was here he must have been observed by
Superintendent Hare on his way returning to the platform. Whatever may have been the length of time Mr. O'Connor remained in this spot, it is certain that the position, having been found insecure, owing to the woodwork in front of the culvert having been struck by several bullets, Mr. O'Connor rose, crossed the little bridge, descended into the watercourse, which increases in depth at the other side, proceeded along this until some 15 or 20 yards back he reached a half-moon shaped excavation in the bank, which served him for all the purposes of a rifle pit. Here he took up his position, along with two of his trackers, the distance from the hotel being between 40 and 50 yards. The accounts given are so conflicting, and based, seemingly, upon after occurrences, that it is difficult to pronounce decisively as to the precise point of time at which Superintendent Hare saw Mr. O'Connor on his way back to the station; but as nearly all the witnesses agree that Mr. Hare was not more than from five to ten minutes in the front, it seems probable that he must have sighted Mr. O'Connor in his first position as he describes and before the Queensland Inspector had sought the more secure shelter of the spot where he remained until Mr. Sadleir's arrival. Mr. Hare, on reaching the platform, had his arm bandaged by Mr. Carrington, one of the representatives of the press, and he then left the station with the intention of resuming his position at the front. Great loss of blood, and consequent physical exhaustion, prevented him from doing so. He states that he felt great pain, and as the blood continued dripping from his wrist he became faint. He was clearly apprehensive of bleeding to death, and in this extremity he is said to have called to Mr. Rawlings - 擢or God's sake, Rawlings, go and get me a horse, or anything that will carry me to Benalla, where I can have my wound dressed properly. He was observed sitting near a log not far from the fence by Constable Kirkham, but finding it necessary to return to the station, Superintendent Hare re-appeared there after an absence the second time from five to eight minutes, according to the evidence of the reporters. He fainted and fell down on reaching the platform. He was then lifted, placed in a railway carriage along with the ladies, who administered some sherry, under the influence of which he shortly revived. He then arranged to be sent to Benalla by one of the engines, and this was done. Here ends the first phase of the Glenrowan affray. Superintendent Hare, when he took his departure from the scene, appears to have been under the impression that he left Mr. O'Connor in charge of the attack. No doubt such was his intention, but Inspector O'Connor seems throughout the morning to have been animated by but one idea, namely, that by remaining in the deep cutting where he had sought shelter he was guarding the front of the premises, thereby cutting off all chance of escape for the outlaws from that quarter. A little reflection, however, would have led this officer to see that, if the outlaws did attempt an escape, they were not likely to select the front, where they would have had to run the gauntlet between the various parties of police stationed there. If an escape were attempted at all, it was more likely to have been by the rear of the hotel, where the ground was covered with timber and scrub, while the Warby ranges were only a short distance off. Therefore, instead of standing in the cutting, blazing away every time a flash was seen from the hotel, Mr. O'Connor might just as well have been on the platform along with the ladies, the reporters, and other non-combatants. Indeed the appearance of the ladies at such a juncture was somewhat incongruous. It was a mistake to have allowed them to accompany the party from Melbourne, and, as a fact, their presence seems to have had the reverse of an inspiriting influence upon the officer in charge of the Queensland contingent. He held his position until the arrival of Superintendent Sadleir and the reinforcements from Benalla. About the same time Sergeant Sleele arrived from Wangaratta with his contingent, having ridden down with the greater part of them, a few proceeding by train. Mr. Sadleir, on reaching the ground, sought Mr. O'Connor, and consulted with him. After the first volley some of the female prisoners in the hotel escaped; but at the time Sergeant Steele took up his position, close to the rear of the hotel, Mrs. Reardon and some members of her family endeavored to make their escape. Mrs. Reardon, who had a child in her arms covered with a shawl, states distinctly that Sergeant Steele deliberately fired at her, and produced, before the Commission, a shawl perforated apparently by a bullet. Steele denies the allegation; but admits having shot young Reardon who, it is asserted, neglected, when ordered, to put up his hands. The ball or pellet fired entered his breast, and lodged beneath the ribs, but did not cause death. Indeed, the firing
at this time, by all accounts, seems to have been indiscriminate, the blacks particularly being industrious in potting away at the premises. The prisoners, in a state of terror, arranged to hold out a white handkerchief, at which several shots were immediately fired, a proceeding highly reprehensible, as the most untutored savage is supposed to respect the signal of surrender. The order was given to fire high, but not before one of Mrs. Jones' children  and a man named Martin Cherry were wounded, the latter fatally. About seven o'clock, Ned Kelly, the leader of the gang, was captured. He had been wounded in the foot during the first brush with the police. He left the hotel by the back shortly after, and selected his own horse, which he led away into the bush at the rear. On the way he seems to have dropped his rifle and the skull cap that he wore inside his iron headpiece, not far from the house. He then seems to have endeavoured to disencumber himself of his armour, but, being unable to do so without assistance, he evidently made up his mind to break through the cordon of police, rejoin and die with his companions in the hotel. His capture was effected without much difficulty or danger, as he was wounded in several parts of the body, and was incapacitated from using his revolver with effect. As the tall figure of the outlaw, encased in iron, appeared in the indistinct light of the dawn, the police for a time were somewhat disconcerted. To some it seemed like an apparition; others thought it was a black man who had donned a nail-can for a joke, but as the shots fired from  Martini-Henry rifles, at short range, were found to have no effect, the sensation created seemed to have been akin to superstitious awe. One man described it as the 電evil, another as the 澱unyip. Ned Kelly advanced until within a stone's throw of the hotel, when, in the vernacular of the bush, he defied the police, and called on the other members of the gang to come out of the hotel and assist him. The lower portion of his body being unprotected by armour, the shots soon began to tell. The one that brought him to the ground was fired by Sergeant Steele, who then rushed forward, grappled the outlaw, when both fell to the ground. What followed precisely is confused and indistinct. However, it seems clear that Senior-Constable Kelly, Guard Dowsett, Constable Dwyer, and others, were early in at the capture of Ned Kelly, who, having been overpowered and divested of his armour, was conveyed to the railway station a prisoner, where he remained until the close of the fight. The male prisoners were allowed to escape at ten o'clock. They conveyed the intelligence that Joe Byrne had been shot dead early in the morning, while toasting prosperity to the gang at the bar of the hotel. The other outlaws, Dan Kelly and Steve Hart, had last been seen standing in the passage, both in armour, no doubt in their last extremity, considering as to what should be done. It has been asserted by various witnesses that spasmodic attempts at firing from the hotel were kept up till one o'clock that day; but viewed by the light of surrounding circumstances and subsequent information, it seems probable that there was little, if any, firing on the part of the survivors of the gang after the prisoners left at ten o'clock. In the forenoon, when the police were firing high and firing low, according as they were directed, Superintendent Sadleir appears to have evolved from his own inner consciousness - an idea which he was desirous at first of crediting the reporters and subsequently Dr. Nicolson with, namely, to blow down the hotel. He telegraphed in the forenoon to the Chief Secretary in Melbourne, asking him to send up to assist in the siege a big gun with the necessary ammunition and men to demolish the hut. A cannon and the requisite appliances were despatched by train, but owing to a stoppage on the line were detained, as Captain Standish was, until too late to be of any service. Superintendent Sadleir was seen several times during the day - once talking with Mr. O'Connor, the latter leaning against a tree reading a newspaper; again going round to some of the men, again talking to Ned Kelly, and on several occasions smoking his pipe at the railway station. He was pressed by several constables to allow them to rush the hotel, but he refused on the ground that not a single man should lose his life if he could help it in capturing the rest of the gang. The Superintendent was very probably influenced by humane motives in arriving at this decision, but a dispassionate observer could not fail to couple this inactivity with a want of capacity, if not courage, to deal with the difficulty. Of course, if an attack were made, as suggested, the officer in charge was in honor bound to take the lead, so that if there were danger in having recourse to such an expedient, the spectators could not be blamed if they thought more of Mr. Sadleir's discretion than any other quality that he displayed on that
very trying occasion. The spectators were clearly not impressed with a very elevated opinion of the police proceedings on that day. The Very Revd. Dean Gibney's evidence upon the point is conclusive. Towards four o'clock, that is, after a state of siege had been maintained by three outlaws against nearly fifty police for about fourteen hours, Superintendent Sadleir consented to allow the hotel to be fired. This was accomplished by Senior-Constable Johnson. The Rev. Father Gibney was the first to enter the burning building. He found the bodies of the three outlaws with life extinct, and judging from appearances, Steve Hart and Dan Kelly, having taken off their armour, committed suicide, knowing death to be inevitable. The body of Joe Byrne was taken out before it was reached by the flames. The unfortunate man Cherry, one of the men bailed up by the outlaws, and who was wounded early in the fight, was taken out also, and died in a few minutes. The place was then abandoned to the flames, and these having done their work the charred remains of Dan Kelly and Steve Hart, with the body of Joe Byrne, were subsequently recovered and handed over to relatives for internment, while Ned Kelly was conveyed to Melbourne, and, some months subsequently, tried, convicted of the Wombat murders, and executed.

 

 

FRANCIS LONGMORE, Chairman;

WILLIAM ANDERSON,

JAMES GIBB,

GEORGE WILSON HALL,

GEORGE RANDALL FINCHAM,

GEORGE COLLINS LEVEY.

 

JAMES WILLIAMS,

Secretary.

 

 


 

PROTEST A

 

In signing the Second Progress Report of the Police Commission, I beg to enter my protest against the decision of a majority of the Commission in their finding in Clauses three and five.

1. Because, in my opinion, it is in direct contradiction of the evidence taken before the Commission in that portion of clause four in which it states, 釘ut nothing special has been shown in his action that would warrant the Commission in recommending his retention in the force.

2. It is proved in evidence that Mr. Hare, after the murders at the Wombat, was zealously engaged at the depot in Melbourne in selecting the best men and horses and sending them to the North-Eastern district.

3. When informed by Captain Standish that the outlaws intended sticking up one of the banks, he at once took steps to protect those in his district, viz., Seymour, Avenel, Nagambie. See Questions Nos. 1244, 1245, and 1246.

4. After the Euroa bank robbery M. Hare was sent to the North-Eastern district with Captain Standish, Mr. Nicolson, who had been up to that time in charge, returned to Melbourne. He remained there for about seven months, but no reliable information was obtained as to the whereabouts of the outlaws. During the greater part of that time he pursued the same system as that followed on previous occasions in this colony when the police were in search of bushrangers, by keeping search and watch parties continually scouring the country. With these parties he took his full share of the hardships endured, and by so doing ensured the confidence and support of the men under his charge. During this time he was twenty-five days and nights with his cave party watching Mrs. Byrne's house; the result of all this arduous work told on his constitution, and he broke down under it, and asked to be relieved from duty in that district. This was conceded, and he returned to Melbourne, being relieved by Mr. Nicolson.

5. In April 1880, he was informed by Captain Standish that he would have to again resume charge of the North-Eastern district. Against this he strongly protested, but was told by the Chief Commissioner of Police that he must go; he then requested an interview with Mr. Ramsay, the then Chief Secretary; at this interview he again protested, and asked that one of his senior officers should be appointed to undertake this special duty. His appeal was of no avail. Mr. Ramsay told him that the subject had been under the consideration of the Cabinet, that the Ministry had full confidence in his ability, and they thought him the best officer in the force to undertake the duty, and that he must go, and if he should succeed in the capture of the outlaws he would be duly rewarded. See Question 1434.

6. Mr. Hare went to Benalla on the 2nd June 1880, and from all the information then obtained, the police were as far off the capture of the outlaws as they were when Mr. Hare left the district eleven months before. After two or three days looking round and interviewing the officers and police stationed in the district, he took steps to stop supplies by friends and relations of the outlaws. See Question 1477.

7. He then visited the watch party that had been stationed by Mr. Nicolson at Aaron Sherritt's house, and found it far from satisfactory.

8. On the 27th June 1880 he received information of the murder of Aaron Sherritt. See Question 1500.

9. He at once sent a telegram to Captain Standish, asking that Mr. O'Connor and his black trackers might be sent back at once. See Question 1501.

10. Captain Standish replied that Mr. O'Connor would be sent by first train on the following day, Monday.

11. Mr. Hare was not content with this reply, being thoroughly determined that no chance should be thrown away in his endeavour to secure the capture of the outlaws. And as this was the first reliable information he had obtained of their whereabouts during the whole time he had been in charge of the district, he felt that no time should be lost. He therefore sent another telegram to Captain Standish, 典hat if Mr. O'Connor and his trackers did not come that night it would be no use their coming on the Monday. To this
he received reply that Mr. O'Connor and his men would be sent that night by special train. Mr. Hare then made all necessary arrangements for the police and horses to be ready to go on by the special coming from Melbourne, also providing for a pilot engine. And on the way up from Benalla he took every precaution against surprise from the outlaws, such as sending the pilot engine in front, stationing his men on the engine, and in every way acted as an active, intelligent, and determined officer. When the train was stopped by Mr. Curnow, he appears, if possible, to have taken extra care until their arrival at Glenrowan Station, when, from the statement made by Mr. Curnow to the man on the engine, he expected that the outlaws would be at some distance. He ordered the horses to be taken out of the train, and whilst this was being done a light was seen in the station master's house, to where he proceeded; and from what he heard there he thought the outlaws had taken to the Warby Ranges. On his return to the railway station, Constable Bracken made his appearance, having just escaped from Jones' Hotel, where he had been kept a prisoner by the gang. This was the first information Mr. Hare received that the outlaws were so near. I think his conduct at this time is worthy of all praise, for he at once started direct for the hotel, ordering his men to let the horses go and follow him. When within sixteen yards of the building, they were fired on by the outlaws; the firing was returned by the police, and kept up by them until the gang retired into the hotel. In the first fire he received the wound in his left wrist, but still he stood his ground, and fired several shots. From the evidence there can be no doubt in this first engagement both Ned Kelly and Joe Byrne were wounded.

12. The warder at the gaol says that Ned Kelly told him that Joe Byrne received a wound in the first engagement with the police, and this is corroborated in the declaration made by Constable Phillips, where he states, 的 heard a conversation between Ned Kelly and Joe Byrne, shortly after taking up my position around the hotel, in which both admitted being wounded. It is known that Ned Kelly had a bullet in his foot, another through his arm, and his thumb badly cut with shot when he was captured.

13. After the outlaw had retired into the hotel Mr. Hare found, from his disabled arm, that he would be compelled to return; he called on his men to cease firing, and ordered Senior-Constable Kelly and Mr. O'Connor to surround the building and not allow the outlaws to escape; he then returned to the railway platform, when his wound was bound up by the reporters. After this was done he again returned to the field and remained some time, but feeling that he was becoming faint from loss of blood, he was compelled to leave the scene of action, and on arrival at the station it was found necessary, to save him from bleeding to death, to at once send him back to Benalla to obtain surgical attendance. His conduct, on arrival at Benalla, shows clearly that his duty to the public service received his first attention. He first got the railway guard to go and inform Mr. Sadleir what had happened.

14. Then on his way to the telegraph station called on Dr. Nicholson and asked him to follow and dress his wound. He did not stop to have it done, but proceeded to the telegraph office, and telegraphed to Beechworth, Violet Town, Wangaratta, and Melbourne, informing the police what had taken place at Glenrowan and asked for reinforcements.

15. When Dr. Nicholson arrived at the telegraph station he found him in a low and fainting condition. After his wound was bound up and dressed he was conveyed to his hotel, suffering great pain.

16. He was laid up for months, his left hand maimed for life, and after he had sufficiently recovered he returned to his duty in Melbourne. He did not ask, at that time, for any special recognition for the arduous work he was called upon to perform, and the plucky and determined way in which he had acquitted himself at Glenrowan. He did not ask for any enquiry. He felt that by a fortunate circumstance the gang had come within his grasp. He took advantage of that, which resulted in the capture and destruction of the band of outlaws, who, for nearly two years, set the authorities at defiance; and, for this, it is recommended by the Commission that he should retire from the force.

17. I regret that my brother Commissioners should have made this recommendation, and thereby compelling me to enter this protest against their decision; but feel that I would be
doing violence to my conviction were I not to do all that lays in my power to protect a public officer and a gentleman from an act of great injustice, and the loss of a valuable servant to the public.

18. Believing also that if this portion of the Report of the Commission be acted on it will be attended by disastrous effects on the police force of this colony, for, in future, what officer or men in the force will run the risk of distinguishing themselves in the discharge of their duty if, by so doing, they are subject to be dismissed, or may have brought on themselves the bitter jealousy of some of their fellow officers?

19. I have no desire, in making this protest, to compare the conduct of Mr. Hare with that of any of the other officers in charge of the North-Eastern district during the Kelly outlawry; they have been dealt with in the Report of the Commission, in my opinion, without any more censure than they deserve; and I am, therefore, more at a loss to understand why Mr. Hare should have met with such treatment at their hands.

 

E. J. DIXON.

12th October 1881.

 

 

PROTEST B

 

We must decline signing clauses 3 and 5. We should have preferred that the motion recommending Mr. Nicolson's superannuation had not been accompanied by the statement that 鍍he want of unanimity existing between these officers, ie. Mr. Nicolson and Mr. Hare, was frequently the means of preventing concerted action on important occasions, and the interests of the colony greatly suffered thereby, inasmuch as we do not consider that the latter statement is borne out by the evidence, and a resolution to that effect was moved in the course of the deliberations on the report. Nor do we see anything in the evidence to warrant the recommendation that Mr. Hare should be superannuated.

 

 

JAMES GIBB.

GEORGE COLLINS LEVEY.

 

 

 


 

REPLY TO MR. DIXON'S PROTEST

 

1. We, the undersigned Commissioners, in submitting a reply to the statement put forward in the form of a protest by Mr. Dixon, cannot refrain from expressing our surprise and regret that the document in question should be found a mere paraphrase of portions of Superintendent Hare's official report, which has been the source of so much mischief, and which we have no hesitation in declaring to be, in its essential features, a mere tissue of egotism and misrepresentation.

2. Your Commissioners have no desire to question Mr. Hare's personal courage or determination; the decision arrived at respecting this officer, we contend, has been based upon much more important considerations, namely, those of public expediency and the interest of the service.

3. Before proceeding to traverse the allegations contained in the official report and reproduced in the protest, we feel it incumbent upon us to make some reference to Superintendent Hare's conduct in connection with the present demoralized state of the police force of the colony.

4. There seems every reason to believe that Superintendent Hare was throughout in direct collusion with Captain Standish in the petty and dishonorable persecution to which Mr. Nicolson was subjected for many years while endeavoring honestly to discharge his duties to the best of his ability. Superintendent Hare admits that the late Chief Commissioner consulted him upon everything; one of the witnesses declared that Superintendent Hare was regarded as the actual head of the force; under such circumstances, how can Superintendent Hare be exonerated from all responsibility for the strained relations that existed amongst the officers?

5. Captain Standish characterized Mr. Nicolson's reports as twaddle; Superintendent Hare described them as infernal bosh. This agreement of opinion is significant when upon examination those reports are found to deserve a very different appellation. Had Captain Standish acted properly upon one of those written in 1877, concerning the state of the North-Eastern district, the Kelly outbreak would probably have been prevented.

6. Superintendent Hare exhibited a spirit of insubordination to a superior officer in questioning Mr. Nicolson's dictum regarding Constable Redding, and in the Assistant Commissioner's presence coinciding with Captain Standish when the latter was informed that Constable Gorman was not a suitable man for a particular station. Further, as showing Superintendent Hare's regard for the rules of the service, and the respect due to a superior officer, it may be added that when in the course of the enquiry Mr. Nicolson forwarded, as a matter of courtesy, a communication to Mr. Hare, the reply received, after acknowledging the receipt of the document, was as follows:- 的 would suggest to Mr. Nicolson the advisability of his devoting his attentions to answering the serious charges preferred by the witnesses examined before the Commission against himself instead of attempting to find fault with my conduct. - Francis Hare, Supt., 26/9/81.

7. In the personal feuds and jealousies which have marked the relations of the police officers, Superintendent Hare appears to have adroitly sheltered himself behind the late Chief Commissioner. Further, it is notorious that many of the men have taken sides with the officers, and that a spirit of rivalry and dissension exists in the lower ranks of the force.

8. Superintendent Hare's position as officer of the depot gave him many advantages over his brother officers, which he was not slow to utilize.

9. Your Commissioners cannot too strongly deprecate the action by Superintendent Hare to override the decision of the political head of the department, in order to retain his position as officer of the depot and avoid being sent to Beechworth. With very questionable taste, and contrary to the regulations of the service, he applied personally to Sir George Bowen, the Governor of the colony, whom he met at a coursing meeting, to intercede for him and have the order for his removal cancelled. While Mr. Hare acknowledges to have thus enlisted the highest political influence on his own behalf, his charge against Mr. Nicolson of having employed similar means to obtain promotion utterly broke down, as the Assistant Commissioner appears to have depended solely for advancement upon his rights of seniority.


 

10. Superintendent Hare's conduct during the Kelly Pursuit was marked by anything but a generous or kindly feeling towards Mr. Nicolson. In paragraph 2 of the protest, Mr. Dixon states that after the Wombat murders Mr. Hare was zealously engaged at the depot in selecting the best men and horses to send to the North-Eastern district. As a matter of fact the reinforcements came to hand slowly, and the district, at the time of the Euroa Bank robbery, was unprepared to resist, at all points, the threatened raid, owing to the inadequacy of the police force placed at Mr Nicolson's disposal.

11. As regards warning the banks of Seymour, Avenel, and Nagambie, Superintendent Hare simply obeyed the instructions given him two days before Mr. Nicolson was apprised of the existence of the prisoner Williamson's communication, in which the information was conveyed regarding the intention of the outlaws to attack the bank at Seymour. Had there been proper concert between the officers at this period, the Euroa bank robbery might have been averted. Captain Standish, while he consulted Mr. Hare, neglected to inform Mr. Nicolson what arrangements had been made to protect Seymour, and made no effort to assist him in repelling any attack that might be made upon the banks in the North-Eastern district.

12. Mr. Dixon, in paragraph 4, states that during the seven months Captain Standish and Superintendent hare remained in charge of the pursuit no reliable information was obtained respecting the whereabouts of the outlaws. To our minds this fact proves that the officers mentioned were incapable of grappling with the difficulties of the situation, more particularly as they had with them double the number of men, and incurred double the extra expenditure, in prosecuting the pursuit, allowed Mr. Nicolson.

13. As regards Mr. Hare's health having broken down after his seven months' duty, it has been proved in evidence that he was not so incapacitated as to be prevented from attending a series of coursing matches held in the district prior to his return to the depot.

14. When Mr. Nicolson resumed charge in June 1879, sweeping reductions were insisted upon, despite his repeated protestations; and when he applied for additional men for ordinary duty to replace those who had been invalided, Superintendent Hare sent him up from the depot a number of men, described as cripples, who were utterly useless.

15. While Mr. Nicolson was in charge, Superintendent Hare, in a manner highly unbecoming an officer, extracted privately from one of the constables some information respecting the cave party, and immediately informed the Chief Commissioner, as a piece of current gossip, that all about the cave was known at the depot. Further, while Mr. Nicolson was endeavoring to improve the efficiency of his men by rifle practice, Mr. Hare interfered, and told Captain Standish that the men were simply wasting ammunition. Those points may appear insignificant, but to our minds they indicate a system of tale-bearing undignified and ungracious and calculated to materially obstruct operations against the outlaws.

16. Mr. Dixon's statement in Clause 6, that when Mr. Hare went to Benalla on 2nd June 1880 the police were as far off the capture of the Kelly gang as when he left the district eleven months previously, is a reiteration of Superintendent Hare's assertion, contained in his official report, and is not borne out by the evidence. The allegation also based upon question 1477 is to some extent misleading. There is nothing in the paragraph mentioned to show that the steps taken by Mr. Hare were calculated to prevent supplies being conveyed to the outlaws.

17. Clause 7 of the protest is calculated to convey a false impression. The hut party alluded to had not been stationed at Aaron Sherritt's place by the Assistant Commissioner. During the last week of Mr. Nicolson's command in the North-Eastern district, and while scouring the ranges in the vicinity of Mrs. Byrne's hut, he had placed some men temporarily in Sherritt's house, but withdrew them prior to Mr. Hare's arrival. The organization of the hut party properly speaking is due to Mr. Hare, and it proved a most disastrous failure.

18. We have not been slow to acknowledge Superintendent Hare's energy and promptitude upon receiving intelligence of Aaron Sherritt's murder, but the injudicious zeal of his friends provokes the criticism which he might otherwise be spared. Mr. Dixon gives him credit for extraordinary foresight in providing a pilot engine for the special which left Benalla for Beechworth on the night of the 27th of June, but a reference to Mr.Carrington's evidence shows


 

that, prior to the starting of the train, it was generally known, or at least currently reported at Benalla, that the rails had been taken up. Under such circumstances what was more natural than that a pilot engine should be procured?

19. Mr. Hare, as officer in command, should not have tolerated the presence of ladies in the special train when leaving Benalla, especially as he was aware of the report that the rails had been removed.

20. We consider that this officer cannot be complimented upon his discretion of generalship in the conduct of operations at Glenrowan for the short time that he remained upon the scene. He knew little, apparently, of the precise situation of Glenrowan, notwithstanding that he had been for eight months in command of the district. He was informed during the journey that the Kellys had torn up the line, taken possession of the place, and imprisoned all the people there; yet, on arrival, he seems to have had no correct idea of the peculiarity of the situation. The moment he was informed by Bracken of the presence of the outlaws at the hotel he dashed away, without waiting for some of his men to collect their arms. When he reached the hut he found his onslaught resisted by the gang. He was disabled in the wrist by the first volley, and after an absence of from five to ten minutes from the platform, he returned to have his wound dressed. He left the front without transferring the command to any one. The order to surround the house given to Senior-Constable Kelly and to Inspector O'Connor cannot be regarded as transferring the command. This neglect he might have rectified when he essayed to reach the front on the second occasion, but he failed to do so. Did he propose to rush the place, and at once overpower the outlaws? If that were his intention, he should not have been deterred by a mere wound in his wrist from doing so. If he had resolved merely to surround the gang and prevent their escape, then he ran unnecessary risk in exposing himself and his men to the fire of the outlaws. If, however, he simply trusted to the chapter of accidents, without any definite idea of what was best to be done, then his management of affairs displayed a decided lack of judgment and forethought. Comparisons may be odious, but it cannot fail to strike one as singular that, while Superintendent Hare felt himself obliged to leave his post and return to Benalla, under the impression that the wound in his wrist would prove fatal, the leader of the outlaws, with a rifle bullet lodged in his foot, and otherwise wounded in the extremities, was enabled to hold his ground, encumbered too by iron armour, until seven o'clock, when, in the effort to rejoin his companions, he fell overpowered by numbers.

21. Superintendent Hare's bill against the Government for surgical attendance amounted to 607 pounds, about 480 pound of which was paid to his relative, Dr. Chas. Ryan. While this officer was being petted and coddled on all sides, and a special surgeon despatched almost daily some thirty miles by train to attend him, the Government questioned the payment of four guineas for the treatment of one of the black trackers who had received a wound in the head at Glenrowan.

22. It is, however, chiefly in relation to Superintendent Hare's official report of the 2nd of June 1880 that we, the undersigned Commissioners, have been led to regard this officer's conduct with suspicion. The document was manifestly written with the design of crushing Mr. Nicolson once and for all; to deprive him of all credit for anything that he had done or suffered in the pursuit, and to brand him as disloyal to the service and his brother officers. The evidence, however, discloses that many of the charges contained in the report were unfounded, the insinuations unjustifiable, and the statements mere assumptions.

23. It must be borne in mind too that Mr. Hare's personal quarrel with Inspector O'Connor led up to the latter officer's unfortunate complications with Captain Standish; the favoritism exhibited towards him by the Chief Commissioner was the cause of jealousy and dissension amongst the officers. And it is only fair to conclude that Superintendent Hare has been for many years a disturbing element in the force, and that his withdrawl from the service has become a matter of public necessity.

24. We have no desire to act unkindly towards Superintendent Hare. We regret deeply that, in justice to ourselves and in explanation of our action, we should be compelled thus to refer to matters that otherwise had better be buried in oblivion. The services rendered, and the injury sustained by Superintendent Hare have not been lost sight of, and, while declaring his immediate retirement from the force as indispensibly necessary, the Commissioners have treated him, we consider, in connection with the recommendation submitted to Your Excellency, with the greatest possible liberality.

FRANCIS LONGMORE,

GEORGE WILSON HALL,

GEORGE RANDALL FINCHAM,

WILLIAM ANDERSON.