Royal Commission report day 16 page 1 (2)

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The Royal Commission evidence for 5/5/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 16)

Constable Thomas Patrick Dowling giving evidence

4370 Did he say then they were?— Yes.

4371 Not that they “may be”?— No.

4372 As a fact, that they were there?— Yes.

4373 Do you know what means he had of ascertaining that fact?— No.

4374 Was there any sign outside of where they made any preparations to fire the house?— Yes; there were some bushes gathered together, but they would not burn.

4375 Anything else?— There was also some wood under one of the windows.

4376 They could not have put that wood there without coming under the window?— They could not. It was a catch window.

4377 You did not attempt to open that window?— We could not open the bedroom window.

4378 Why?— It was fastened. I tried it myself and could not. It would have been useless in any case if I could.

4379 Was the place where the boughs and wood were where you heard the match struck?— Yes.

4380 That was by the bedroom?— Yes.

4381 Did you hear any voices there?— Yes.

4382 Whose?— Byrne and Kelly both, I think, also Mrs. Barry, I think.

4383 They must have left their positions at the front and back when they collected those bushes?— They must, at least one must be looking in while the other was bringing the bushes, but there were bushes there for us to light a fire ourselves?— We brought them down.

4384 At what time did they attempt to set fire to the place?— About ten o'clock at night.

4385 Was it not suggested you should make a rush while they were making preparations to set fire?— No, it was not. We were not aware that the others were not there. We were sure in fact the others were there. We did not believe they would leave the others while they were going to commit that deed.

4386 What time did the moon rise that night?— It was moonlight about twelve, I think, as near as I could guess.

4387 Did it suggest itself to you that you should go out as soon as the moon had risen?— No, Armstrong said it was better to remain.

4388 You were entirely under the direction of Armstrong?— Yes, we were supposed to obey him. We were under his orders.

4389 At what time in the evening were you in the habit of going to Byrne's house?— About eight or nine.

4390 This occurred about half-past six?— Yes.

4391 You were preparing to go out, I suppose?— No.

4392 What were you all doing at this time when the knock came?— I was dying on the floor, and I think Armstrong was on the bed, and Alexander on the bedroom floor.

4393 You had all your arms in the bedroom?— Yes, they were leaning against the wall.

4394 You placed them so as to easily find them at anytime?— Yes, we could easily find them.

4395 No difficulty in going to them in the night time to find them?— No; we always kept our revolvers on us—at least I did.

4396 And placed the gun so as to find it at any moment?— Yes.

4397 Would it be possible for the outlaws to come to Mrs. Byrne's hut without your seeing them?— They could have come at the back.

4398 And them?— We were there, we were all at the one side of the house.

4399 You had no spy?— Yes, Sherritt.

4400 Did he go to Mrs. Byrne's house?— He was with us.

4401 Was he inside the house to see?— Not that I am aware of.

4402 You had no one there to inform you?— No.

The Witness withdrew. .....

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