Last modified on 20 November 2015, at 11:05

The Argus at KellyGang 21/9/1881

(full text transcription)

POLICE COMMISSION

Tuesday, Sept. 20

Present - Messrs Longmore (chairman), Fincham, Anderson , Levey, and Hall.

Regarding the statement of John Sherritt, that Mrs C H Nicolson, whilst on a visit to Beechworth, endeavoured to get signatures to a document reflecting on his character, the following letter was received from that lady -

‘ Kew , Sept 13,1881

“Gentlemen - In reply to the secretary's letter of the 10th inst, I will state that I went to Beechworth on a visit, and while there naturally made some Inquiries about the character of Sherritt, who was doing all he could to injure my husband, but beyond a few Inquiries I did nothing else. I never got up a petition, or asked any person to sign one. I never saw Mr Dodd, or authorised any person to see him either on behalf of Mr Nicolson or myself - I have the honour to be, gentlemen, yours, &c,

"L. NlCOLSON"

The following statutory declarations on the same subject were also read -

“I, Matthew Dodd, of Beechworth . . . . tanner and currier, do solemnly and sincerely declare that, referring to on extract from John Sherritt s letter dated September 3, 1881 , John Sherritt called on me on the day mentioned, and asked me to sign a petition in favour of his son. I told him that I heard there was a counter petition being got up against his son, and I stated I would not sign either. I may also state that no person called on me to sign the other . . . .

(Signed) "Matthew Dodd"  

" I, John Sherritt, farmer, of Sheep Station Creek, Beechworth do solemnly and sincerely declare that on Thursday, the 11th of August, 1881,I called on Mr M Dodd, JP, and requested him to sign a character in favour of my son. He told me that he had been asked by a man to sign a counter petition. In answer to questions from me, he said the man that asked him lived outside the town, and that he was not a Government servant. I also asked HA Crawford to sign a character for my son, and he told me that be did not like to interfere in it. During the day I saw him again, and he drew my attention to Mr Nicolson's son, who was then passing, and said, ' He and his mother have come up from Melbourne , and Mrs Nicolson asked me to sign a paper against your son. ‘He said he found no fault with the Sherritt family, and he would not sign for her. And I make this solemn declaration, &c. - (Signed) JOHN SHERRITT.

A letter was also received from John Sherritt, jun., in which he said -

“I beg to state that I have been informed that Mr Crawford told Mr Hare that what I stated to the commission was perfectly true. If so, by referring to Mr Hare, my statement can be corroborated. I request that the chairman will cause this to be inquired into."

Thomas Curnow , formerly schoolmaster at Glenrowan, was then recalled. His examination amounted substantially to a repetition of his former evidence as to the proceedings of the outlaws at Glenrowan, and his own action in warning and stopping the special train. Some persons had said he was favourable to the outlaws, others that he was in the employ of the police. Both statements were entirely without foundation. Was always of opinion that Mrs Jones was favourable to the police, but when her hotel was stuck up the Kellys were masters of the situation, and a desire to please them was evinced by all their prisoners.

Thomas Meehan , an ex-constable who had frequently importuned the commission for permission to give evidence, was next called, but it was soon found that he had nothing to say of any importance.

Patrick Quinn , farmer, seven miles beyond Greta (married to Mrs Kelly's sister) next tendered himself for examination. The Kelly affair, he said, had its origin in horsestealing. Instead of being mixed up in the horsestealing, as some had said, he was always assisting people to recover their horses, and he was the first to give information on the subject to the police. After the shooting of Fitzpatrick he saw Ned and Dan Kelly, and advised them to give themselves up. He also saw them several times after the police murders. About a week before the Euroa bank robbery, and on a Saturday, Mrs Skillian called at his place and asked his wife if she could give her some rations for the gang. His wife told him of these on the Sunday. Mrs Skillian returned on the Monday, and he saw her part with a man at the end of a neighbouring lane. On the following day witness rode into Benalla, and gave information to Messrs Nicolson and Sadleir, and offered to join the police in the pursuit of the gang. Mr Nicolson, however, said Mrs Skillian might have only been misleading him, and made an excuse about having just returned from a long ride and of being exhausted. He also asked if it would do to start on Thursday, and witness replied that the gang would not wait his leisure. Saw the gang again on the 28th September, 1879 , and riding into Wangaratta, gave information to the police. As no action was taken by the police, he then made up his mind to give them no further information.

To Mr Nicolson - It was either on the Monday or Tuesday before the Euroa robbery that I gave you information about Mrs Skillian calling at my place for rations. I said I believed the gang were about 56 miles up the King River , and offered to go with the police there.

continued

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