Royal Commission Second Report Part XV ( page 24)

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The Royal Commission Second Report -cont

PROTEST A

(Mr Dixon’s Protest)

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, "But 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, Nagamble. See Questions Nos. 1244, 1245, and 1246.

4. After the Euroa bank robbery Mr. Hare was sent to the North-Eastern district with Captain Standish, and 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. Rarnsay 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 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, "That 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 beard there he thought the outlaws had taken to the Warby Ranges . On his return to the railway station, Constable Bracken made his appearance,

cont

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