|Side of Authority
This page contains content from police and those who supported authority.
Importance of Superintendent Francis Augustus Hare
With Nicolson, I was the commander of the police chasing the KellyGang; the first time was with Standish after the Euroa robbery for about 6 months and the second started about a month before the Glenrowan siege. I was shot by the KellyGang at Glenrowan. I was described by the Commissioner as being active and energetic. I also believe that I was popular with the men because I treated the them like friends, not like dogs. Despite this all of this the Royal Commission decided that I should be retired because of my problems with Nicolson.
Links to the KellyGang below
Early Years , Harry Power , Fitzpatrick Incident , Murders at Stringy Bark Creek , Sebastopol Cavalcade , Euroa Robbery , in command , Jerilderie Robbery , First Cave Party , Hare replaced by Nicolson , Hare , Nicolson replaced by Hare , Death of Aaron Sherritt , Glenrowan Siege , Reward Board , Ned Kelly's Trial , Royal Commission , Early service , Later service , Family ,
Links to the KellyGang
Early Years I set out my early life in my book (FH1)
I was born in South Africa on 4/10/1830
I was offered a position at Williamstown near Melbourne in 1860.
Arrest of Harry Power
I was instrumental in the arrest of Harry Power but never really had that acknowledged by my superior officers like Assistant Commissioner Nicolson. (See my description of the arrest of Harry Power) see also (RC15906) (RC16270) See also (Argus22/2/82)
. Fitzpatrick Incident 15/04/1878 I was not involved in this incident.
At this time I ranked 4th amongst the Superintendents behind Messrs Winch, Chomley and Chambers. (RC628) Murders at String Bark Creek in the Wombat Ranges 26/10/1878 The morning after the intelligence reached Melbourne that Sergeant Kennedy's party had been shot, Captain Standish came to me to the depot, and ordered me to get ready as many mounted men as possible from the depot and Bourke district men, and to pick out the best men I had.(RC1238)
I was ordered to pick out the best men in the district; also to get ready all the available arms out of the store, and select as many horses as I could get out of the paddocks that were fit for work. I sent several mounted men that day to Benalla. From the time Kennedy was shot up to the time of the Euroa bank robbery my time was fully taken up sending supplies of horses to the North-Eastern District. (RC1241)
. Sebastopol Cavalcade 7/11/1878 I was in Melbourne at the time of the Sebastopol cavalcade.
On the 26/11/1878 Captain Standish sent for me, and told me that Mr. Nicolson had informed him that he had obtained reliable information that the KellyGang intended sticking up a bank in some part of the district, and that Mr. Nicolson had requested Captain Standish to tell me to take the necessary precautions at the stations in my district. (RC1242)
On the 30/11/1878 I informed Sergeant Purcell, at Seymour, that the Kellys contemplated sticking up one of the Seymour banks, and that three men would be sent up there for duty, and that I wished their duty to be kept quiet. (RC1243)
Euroa Robbery 10/12/1878 Before
I was in charge of the Bourke District which covered the area from Melbourne to the start of the North Eastern Victoria region at the time of the robbery. I tried to protect the banks in the area. (RC1246)
In Command of the hunt for the KellyGang
I, Standish, took over Nicolson as the officer incharge of the hunt for the KellyGang within a few days of the Euroa robbery-on 13/12/1878. (Argus13/12/78) (Argus13/11/78) (Argus14/12/78) (RC 26) (CHC)
I left Melbourne by the train between two and three o'clock. I met Captain Standish and Mr. Nicolson at Euroa. and there was a number of police there.
Captain Standish wanted me to go out that night with a party of police in search of the KellyGang.
I told him I knew nothing of the circumstances of the bank robbery, except what I had seen in the papers, and I thought it unfair, without making some enquiries myself, to be thrust into such a position; and as two days had elapsed since the robbery, in all probability the outlaws would be 100 miles away by that time.
The party of police started off next morning into the Strathbogie ranges under SConst Johnson; he was a fine plucky fellow. I did not know what their orders were, but I think Mr. Nicolson started them. I did not get up and see them start. I did not see anything of them again, but they remained away for six or seven days, and then reported themselves at Benalla without finding any trace of anything. (RC1254)
During this time Com Standish was apathetic. He would change the subject to something else; and Mr. Sadleir has remarked the same. He does not take a great interest when you speak to him; but when I have spoken to him he has always shown the utmost interest in the whole affair.(RC1327) (RC16162)
A few days before the Jerilderie robbery, about 4/2/1879, Aaron Sherritt came down to Benalla to see Mr Standish. He was not about the place and I saw him. Sherritt said to me 'I have some important information to give him, and I wish to speak to him privately.' This was my first meeting with Aaron and Mr Standish had not seen him since the Sebastopol Cavalcade in November 1878. He told me about a recent visit he had from Joe Byrne and Dan Kelly. They were going on a trip over the River Murray to Goulbourn in New South Wales and they wanted Sherritt to scout for them. He said Joe Byrne was riding a magnificent grey horse and Dan had a bay. I gave him £2 for coming down to give this information. After I got this information I issued telegrams to all officers including Const Mullane at Chiltern and started off police search parties to Gravel Plains on the River Murray. I gave Aaron £2 for his trouble and sent him on his way. We established a relationship immediately. If he walked down Collins street, everybody would have stared at him-his walk, his appearance, and everything else were remarkable. (RC1270)
After the Jerilderie robbery on about 15/2/1879 I went to Beechworth and Det Ward arranged for me to meet Aaron Sherritt. We found out that Dan Kelly came to Byrne's place to see what had happened to the other members of the KellyGang on Wednesday 12/2/1879. It seems that they had split up after Jerilderie and some of them had missed a meeting. Det Ward arranged for Arron Sherritt to meet me in Beechworth at about 7pm on the night of 15/2/1879. I was keen to follow up on this information. A search party fom near El Dorado was to go out under Const Strahan but they never came. I followed up personally with Det Ward and Aaron and we spent the night around Mrs Byrne's home. On the way we saw a fire that had been lit by the KellyGang on a far ridge. I gave a full account of this evening in my book.(RC1276)
early on 15/2/1879 I was involved in a remand hearing for the sympathisers in Beechworth.(Argus17/2/79)
. First Standing Search Party 20/2/1879-16/3/1879 I met the Deceased Stock Agent a couple of times after the sympathizers had been held on remand in Beechworth. Later I found him out myself. I received a letter informing me about the KellyGang from the Deceased Stock Agent on 20/5/1879.(RC1404)
I set up our first standing search party to watch Mrs Byrne's home for about 25 days. Our camp was about a mile from her home. Aaron Sherritt used to spend evenings at Mrs Byrne's courting her daughter and the he would come and spend time with us. (Hare). SConst Mays was my 2IC and he sets out how we conducted ourselves at the camp. It was very irksome work.(RC1279) (CHC)
It would take me a week to tell the half Aaron Sherritt said. All this time Aaron was faithful and true to me. I say he was a man of most wonderful endurance. He would go night after night without sleep in the coldest nights in winter. He would be under a tree without a particle of blanket of any sort in his shirt sleeves whilst my men were all lying wrapt up in furs in the middle of winter. This is an instance that occurred actually: I saw the man one night when the water was frozen on the creeks and I was frozen to death nearly. I came down and said, "Where is Aaron Sherritt?" and I saw a white thing lying under a tree, and there was Aaron without his coat. The men were covered up with all kinds of coats and furs, and waterproof coatings, and everything else, and this man was lying on the ground uncovered. I said, " You are mad, Aaron, lying there"; and he said, "I do not care about coats." (RC1281)
I stayed at that place five days after the camp was discovered, at the earnest request of Sherritt, who said to me, "It is no use going away; she has no means of communicating with the outlaws. I am the only one that can do that, and when they come I will get the news." I said, "I did not believe it." He said, "Believe it or not, but do not go, because she has discovered you." I stayed five days longer, and then I thought I was wasting my time there.
I went back to Benalla, leaving my parties for, I think, a fortnight longer. By that time, I think, Mr. O'Connor had arrived with his Queensland men. They arrived on the 6/3/1879. After this I was nearly all my time out with search parties. I went out on information that the KellyGang had been seen in a certain part of the country, or that they were likely to frequent a certain locality, and upon that information I went to search the locality. I described how we moved about. The party watching Mrs Byrne's was broken up on 16/3/1879. (RC1285)
Whorouly Race meeting 3/1879
By this time I had good information from Aaron Sherritt that the KellyGang were likely to put in an appearance at the Whorouly races. This was confirmed by information from Det Ward. We went in disguise intent upon catching them. See also (FH)
Hear what I told the Royal Commission about my plan. " We arranged that I should take three of my best riders and pluckiest men, and go to the races myself. I selected three men unknown to the public in that part of the country, viz., Senior-Constable Johnson, Constable Lawless, and Constable Faulkiner. I told them what duty they would have to perform and the information that I had received, and directed them to ride singly, as if unknown to each other, on to the racecourse. Lawless I set up with an under-and-over table and dice, Johnson was got up as a bookmaker, and Falkner was to act the yokel and patronize the other two, the under-and-over place, and to make bets on the races. I myself drove down on to the course in a buggy and mixed among the people, and the ordinary police in uniform attended the races. I took all those precautions for the purpose of preventing anyone knowing." (RC1362)
This was Insp O'Connor's view of this matter "The man, Aaron Sherritt, was employed by Mr Hare, and Mr Hare firmly believed in him. On one occasion a letter was written and sent to Aaron Sherritt from Joe Byrne, asking him to, meet the writer at Whorouly races to ride his (Joe Byrne's) horse. It told Aaron where to meet the writer. Mr Hare and several men went to the races, but Captain Standish would not allow myself and party to go. Mr Hare returned, stating that Aaron Sherritt said he could not meet the outlaws." (RC1096 )
"As to the constables you took to Whorouly races, do you think that those men, taken in disguise, were able to throw dust in the eyes of sharp men like the splitters in that district?- I do, most decidedly; the way they came, the way they kept out of the crowd. I am as confident as I am sitting here they were not known to the public. The policemen on duty did not know it.' (RC16512)
In about the 2nd week in April I got some good information from Aaron Sherritt that the KellyGang were in the Warby Ranges. I took a search party with SConst Mays and Consts Canny, Lawless and Bellis and l believe that we came very close to them. (RC1290)
On 24/5/1879 we got good information that the KellyGang had been at Cleary's house. Captain Standish ordered me not to tell O'Connor about this and on the next day I took out a search party. We stated off in the direction of Wangaratta, leaving the place we were going to search entirely to our right. One of Insp O'Connor's tracker, Moses, came with me. When we got out of Benalla, about five miles, and got into a quiet spot, I told all the men to dismount. I never told them in the town what information I was going upon. I got them round me and said, "I will tell you now what information I am going on," and I read them the letter that had been received by Captain Standish, and gave them all the news that I had. They were all in great spirits, and thought it was capital information.
I did not know the country well there, nor did any of my men, so I telegraphed to Sergeant Steele at Wangaratta, on the Sunday, to send Const Dixon out who knew the country there, and tell him to meet me at a certain spot. Dixon met me at that spot. We went over the Warby Ranges to a camping place that I knew there, and when we got on the Wangaratta side of the Warby Ranges we turned up to the right to a camp that I had used before. see also (RC1290)
We stayed at the camping place that night, and fastened up the horses, and gave orders to the men to turn in after they had had something to eat. We made no fire or anything of the kind, and I said that I wanted to be called at one o'clock in the morning. At one o'clock we all saddled our horses, and away we went. Cleary has all the details of the search.(RC1285)
. Hare replaced by Nicolson 6/7/1879 I was very down hearted and in very bad health when I came in from my last search party. Com Standish left about the same time as I did.
I heard about Nicolson's cave party from a trooper while I was at the Richmond Depot (RC1615)
Com Standish thought that I was the best officer in the police force out and out, without exception, in addition he thought that I was a capital horseman, a good shot and bushman. (RC16059) (RC16121) (RC16291). (FH)
Nicolson gave me no information whatever concerning the Kelly armour, and it was only in conversation with different people-Mr. Sadleir especially-that I picked up that, and found that it was supposed that when the Kellys next appeared it would be in armour. (RC1596) (See also RC950) (RC2558) (Argus30/12/81) (Argus5/1/82) (CHC) (JJK)
Nicolson had dismissed all the agents. I discussed the matter with Sup Sadleir.(RC2913)
The Royal Commission made some conclusions about what actually happened at that meeting (RC2nd reportXIII)
I met Ward on 3/6/1880 and we walked along the road in the direction of Violet Town. He told me about the telegram that he had recieved from Ass Com Nicolson just before he left Benalla. I told him that I intend having a party of police in Benalla, and to give him two black trackers in Benalla, Beechworth and Wangaratta. These were the trackers recruited by Mr. Chomley. (RC3076) (RC13860)
I also gave new orders to say that police were able to start after the KellyGang whenever they got information. They had to telegraph where they would likely be found and what direction they were going. (RC163) (RC3056)
On the 11/6/1880 I sent for Consts Canny and Faulkiner, and directed them to take a tour round the country, and see if they could not get some information of the outlaws. I said they could go where they pleased, that when they found it convenient to send me a few lines, they could do so, and that they could go where they thought best. (RC5479)(RCApp15)
Ward and I went out to see the police at Aaron Sherritt's place. Consts Dowling, and Duross gave a different account as to what happened. Ward he queried my evidence to the Royal Commission. See also (RC4170) (RC13861)
Death of Aaron Sherritt 26/6/1880 I was in Benalla at the time . Glenrowan Siege 28/6/1880
Soon after that I saw SConst Kelly. I told me to go over and see Mr. Stevens, the railway station master, and see if we could get a special train. I did so, and Mr. Stevens said, "Yes," he would get one ready. I got instructions to get some provisions and get ready. I had everything ready, and gave instructions to the men that were to come. Mr. Hare gave me a list. There were Constable Barry, Canny, Gascoigne, Kirkham, Arthur, and Phillips. (Argus29/6/1880) (Age) (RC8030)
Special train leaves Benalla to go to Beechworth - follow up on death of Aaron Sherritt
Arrive at Glenrowan
As we were coming down towards Glenrowan I ordered my men, 'Do not fire, boys, unless you are fired on, and if anybody falls do not mind him, do not wait to pick him up.' (RC11341)
I arrived at Glenrowan with the 1st police party at about 2.35 am. We were on our way to investigate the death of Aaron Sherritt. The first we knew that the KellyGang was at Glenrowan was when Mr Curnow stopped the train. (MDTel29/6/80) (Argus5/7/80) (Argus6/7/80) (JJK)
When we got back to the railway platform we met Const Bracken who confirmed that the KellyGang were at Jones Inn. I took the lead, and charged right up to the hotel with some of my police. Mr. Carrington described me as a very tall figure. He said that he I could see me leave the platform, but the other police were muffled up. It was bitter cold night, and our coats were turned up with hats down over our faces, so the only way to distinguish was by height. (RC10033)
Begining of the siege
The KellyGang were on the verandah and we both opened fire at each other. Bullets were whizzing about the place. The first brush was exceedingly hot. I was shot by the first volley.
Const Gascoigne described what happened to me, 'When about 60 yards from the hotel, Const Barry asked Sup Hare what was the matter; he then said, "Come along, boys." When we got within about 20 yards of the hotel, one of the police said, "Look out." I then saw the flash of a rifle. The man who fired the first shot was standing about 10 yards" from the corner of the hotel. The report of his rifle had not died away when I saw a row of flashes come from under the verandah of the hotel; the police quickly returned the fire. A man then came out from under the verandah, when Sup Hare called to him and advised him not to be foolhardy' and told him that he wished to speak a few words to him. In reply, the man said, "I don't want to speak to you," and at the same time fired at Sup Hare, and then returned to the verandah.' (RC9674) See also (MDTel29/6/80) (OMA1/7/80) (RC7774.7380) (RC11581) (FH)
The police and the KellyGang blazed away at each other in the darkness furiously. It lasted for about a quarter of an hour.
Immediately after the first shot was fired I took up a position between that and the hotel a little to the Benalla side, a little to the right, almost straight to the front door. Near wicket-gate nearest to the hotel. (RC9689)
In a few minutes I returned to the railway station with a shattered wrist. The first shot fired by Ned Kelly had passed through my left wrist. I bled profusely from the wound, but, Mr Carrington, artist of The Sketcher, tied up the wound with his handkerchief, and checked the haemorrhage. I then set out again for the fray, and cheered my men on as well as I could, but I gradually became so weak from loss of blood and had to retire back to the platform again.(Argus 29/6/80) See also (RC8097) (RC11342) (RC10314) (JJK)
SConst Kelly described what happened. He took charge when I left the scene.
Return to Benalla
I was taken to Benalla by the second special engine. (RC10314)
Back in Melbourne
On 30/6/80 I left the Spencer street station for Sunbury at twenty five minutes to four. My wife's family, Mr W J Clarke of Rupertswood has kindly agreed to look after me. The Victorian police have arranged that I will be visited each day by Dr Charles Ryan. (Age 1/7/80) (Argus5/7/80) (CHC)
On behalf of the Governor Captain Le Patourel wrote to me to congratulate me on the capture of the KellyGang soon after the siege at Glenrowan. See text of the letter I also recieved a letter from Mr Carrington and from many others. I did not issue any comment to the press or influence the versions of events that were reported in the press.(RC1602) (RC10078) See also (Argus1/7/80) My statement (Argus20/7/1880) (OMA24/7/1880)
One the press started to criticize me (Herald3/7/1880)
It took was over £600 in medical fees to fix my hand from being shot by Ned Kelly. (RC11865)
My health problems (Argus18/10/80)
Kelly Reward Board Following the meetings of the Reward Board in December 1880 I recieved a reward of £800
What did they think about this? (Argus22/4/81)
The Royal Commission found that my allegation concerning the events of 2/7/880 -Viz., that "Mr. Nicolson, Assistant Commissioner, gave me no verbal information whatever when at Benalla" - has been disproved by the evidence (RC2ndReport) and
"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 "strained 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 per annum, under clause 29 of the Police Statute (No. 476)" (RC2ndReport) (JJK)
Mr Dixon came to my defence and had a most spirited exchange with the majority members of the Royal Commission. (2ndReport) (App20)
My initial response to the report (Argus22/2/82)
There was support for me in the press (Argus28/10/81)
I gave the Chief Secretary my response to the Royal Commission. (Argus7/11/81)
See summary of my views. (Argus17/12/81)
A few of my friends came to my aid (Argus17/2/82)
Others continued the attack. (Argus20/2/82)
My parents were Captain Hare and Sallie Bird
I was born at Wynberg, Cape of Good Hope, South Africa and came to make my fortune on the gold fields in 1852. (FH)
I was stationed at Wangaratta 1854, at Buckland in 1855, Beechworth in 1856. I was junior officer at Talbot goldfield near Maryborough in 9/1858. I formed the police camp at Babylon and in 1860 was offered command at Williamstown
I got the following wonderful letter but nothing came of it
" Sir, Colonial Secretary's Office, Melbourne, 13th July 1855.
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 6th instant, transmitting one addressed to you by the inspector of police for the Ovens district, enclosing a communication from Dr. Mackay relative to the conduct of Lieutenant Hare, on the occasion of Dr. Mackay's house having been attempted to be broken into on the night of the 23rd ultimo. The letters referred to having been submitted to the Governor, I am commanded by His Excellency to convey to you his direction that Lieutenant Hare be promoted on the first vacancy occurring. You will also inform him that His Excellency has great pleasure in testifying the high sense he entertains of the gallant conduct evinced by him on the occasion alluded to; and I am to add that it will ever be His Excellency's desire to mark his appreciation of the services of such officers in the force as may render themselves conspicuous by their gallantry. I have the honor to be,
Sir, Your most obedient servant J. MOORE Acting Chief Secretary." There are a number of similar letters(RC1601)
See the details of my career. (RCApp6)
I was given a great farwell by my police friends (Argus24/1/83)
I wrote a book about my life called ' The Last of The Bushrangers an account of the capture of the Kelly Gang ' (Argus5/12/91)
After I left the police I was a police magistrate for a short time and then went to work for Sir William Clarke
My large family grew up in South Africa.
One of my uncles, Colonel Butterworth was Governor of Singapore in the 1850s (FH)
wife - Janet Snodgrass
My father was Kenneth Snodgrass (was acting Governor of New South Wales at one stage)
My brother Peter Snodgrass fought a duel with Redmond Barry.
My niece was Janet Lady Clarke.
My first husband was George Harper - police magistrate at Wangaratta. He died in 1856
I married Francis Hare in Sydney in 1867 '
I died in 1896, we had no children
home We lived in East Melbourne