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Royal Commission report day 29 page 3

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The Royal Commission evidence for 14/6/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 29)

[[../../people/peN_P/oconnorPinsp.html|Insp Stanhope O'Connor]] 'giving evidence'

11471 Have you received those?— I received papers—not the ones that I wanted, and I sent another telegram which I cannot find a copy of—it was when the Commission a short time ago referred me to the fact; I have not got those papers. I then sent at once a very strong telegram requesting the papers and mentioning the ones I wanted, and I have never received an answer to that. Mr. Barron, theActing Commissioner, has got into a trouble over there, and I do not know what to do; I have not been able to get any reply.

11472 Have you written any letters since the 30th of March last?— No.

11473 What we require bears on a portion of your complaint which you state is borne out by this telegram that the correspondence had not been supplied, but on the 30th you stated you had received that —it will be fully a fortnight before you can receive those?— I then sent on and said the copies will be in the office that will answer the same purpose, but now it is found they are not. All I can say is I have not got it, and that was what the Commissioner of Police told me at Brisbane .

11474 Can you inform the Commission of the date of the first order directing your return to Queensland?— The first positive order to return, I believe, I got from Captain Standish through Mr. Hare —it was a memo.

11475 That is the one you mentioned in your evidence?— Yes, I believe that was the first positive order I received.

11476 What was the date of that?— About the 24th of June 1880 —I think I came down on the 25th, the next day.

11477 Have you any idea what representations led to that order being sent?— I can only tell what the Commissioner in Brisbane told me in Brisbane, and what he told me here again on his way to England .

11478 On the 3rd of May came this telegram to the Commissioner of Police, Queensland— “Re Mr. Palmer's telegram to our Chief Secretary desiring return of native police to Queensland, would you object to two of them being discharged if they consent to join our police? Moses was in our employ, but joined Queensland police on death of Sambo. It would be a great convenience to us to have two left. 3rd May 1880 , from Captain Standish to the Commissioner of Police, Queensland .” On the 19th May this letter is written to Mr. Nicolson by Captain Standish— “Memo. As Mr. Nicolson is aware, the Queensland Government not only refuse the black trackers to be employed save under the supervision of their officer, but have intimated to the Honorable the Chief Secretary their desire that they should be sent back to Brisbane as soon as possible. On receipt of this intimation I telegraphed to the Commissioner of Police at Brisbane to ask him if he had any objection to Moses and one of the other trackers being left behind with the view of their being permanently attached to our force. I attach copy of Mr. Seymour's rely. Mr. Nicolson will therefore be good enough to see Moses, and ask him if he is willing to join our police. I have obtained the authority of the Government to engage the services of four other trackers, and I am on the look-out for them both here and in N.S.Wales. Their pay will be 5s. a day, which will be handed to the officer in charge of the station where they stay, who will provide with food, clothing, and necessaries, giving them the balance of their pay in small amounts from time to time. I shall be glad to receive an early reply”?— It was that letter that I considered put the finishing touch upon the discourtesy I had received up to that time.

11479 Was not your return ordered before that telegram was sent?— No, not to my knowledge.

11480 What we want is this, some communications that you lay considerable stress upon, that Captain Standish has acted unfairly by you?— Yes; I consider that letter does it.

11481 That letter appears to me to have emanated from the Queensland Government?— No.

11482 Prior to that there must have been some decision by the Queensland Government to with draw the trackers previous to that; there must be some correspondence on that?— What my Commissioner told me was that Captain Standish had repeatedly tried to get the services of my men, and dispense with me. That was the cause of it, and I kept on writing to my Commissioner that I did not think we had any justice shown us; and I suppose the Queensland Government, before this letter was written, ordered our return through the Commissioner, which never reached me. Then they wrote and asked for the men with-out consulting me or anything else, and then eventually sent that letter to Mr. Nicolson; and I consider, in a disciplined force, that is a most disgraceful course to adopt, actually to go behind me and induce one of my men to leave, and my Government thought so also. There is some mystery connected with it.

11483 There is, because we are left in this position, that prior to that there must have been some communication with the Queensland Government?— Certainly, I admit that.

11484 We are left in this position of doubt, whether that communication came from you or any one else?— I have told you I did write to my Commissioner....

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