Royal Commission Second Report ( page 25)

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The Royal Commission Second Report


having just escaped from Jones' Hotel, where he had been kept a prisoner by the gang. This was the first information Mr. Hare received that the outlaws were so near. I think his conduct at this time is worthy of all praise, for he at once started direct for the hotel, ordering his men to let the horses go and follow him. When within sixteen yards of the building, they were fired on by the outlaws; the firing was returned by the police, and kept up by them until the gang retired into the hotel. In the first fire he received the wound in his left wrist, but still he stood his ground, and fired several shots. From the evidence there can be no doubt in this first engagement both Ned Kelly and Joe Byrne were wounded.

12. The warder at the gaol says that Ned Kelly told him that Joe Byrne received a wound in the first engagement with the police, and this is corroborated in the declaration made by Constable Phillips, where he states, "I heard a conversation between Ned Kelly and Joe Byrne, shortly after taking up my position around the hotel, in which both admitted being wounded." It is known that Ned Kelly had a bullet in his foot, another through his arm, and his thumb badly cut with shot when he was captured.

13. After the outlaw had retired into the hotel Mr. Hare found, from his disabled arm, that he would be compelled to return; he called on his men to cease firing, and ordered Senior-Constable Kelly and Mr. O'Connor to surround the building and not allow the outlaws to escape; he then returned to the railway platform, when his wound was bound up by the reporters. After this was done he again returned to the field and remained some time, but feeling that he was becoming faint from loss of blood, he was compelled to leave the scene of action, and on arrival at the station it was found necessary, to save him from bleeding to death, to at once send him back to Benalla to obtain surgical attendance. His conduct, on arrival at Benalla, shows clearly that his duty to the public service received his first attention. He first got the railway guard to go and inform Mr. Sadleir what had happened.

14. Then on his way to the telegraph station called on Dr. Nicholson asked him to follow and dress his wound. He did not stop to have it done, but proceeded to the telegraph office, and telegraphed to Beechworth, Violet Town , Wangaratta, and Melbourne , informing the police what had taken place at Glenrowan and asked for reinforcements.

15. When Dr. Nicholson arrived at the telegraph station he found him in a low and fainting condition. After his wound was bound up and dressed he was conveyed to his hotel, suffering great pain.

16. He was laid up for months, his left hand maimed for life, and after he had sufficiently recovered he returned to his duty in Melbourne . He did not ask, at that time, for any special recognition for the arduous work he was called upon to perform, and the plucky and determined way in which he had acquitted himself at Glenrowan. He did not ask for any enquiry. He felt that by a fortunate circumstance the gang had come within his grasp. He took advantage of that, which resulted in the capture and destruction of the band of outlaws, who, for nearly two years, set the authorities at defiance; and, for this, it is recommended by the Commission that he should retire from the force.

17. I regret that my brother Commissioners should have made this recommendation, and thereby compelling me to enter this protest against their decision; but I feel that I would be doing violence to my conviction were 1 not to do all that lays in my power to protect a public officer and a gentleman from an act of great injustice, and the loss of a valuable servant to the public.

18. Believing also that if this portion of the Report of the Commission be acted on it will be attended by disastrous effects on the police force of this colony, for, in future, what officer or men in the force will run the risk of distinguishing themselves in the discharge of their duty if, by so doing, they are subject to be dismissed, or may have brought on themselves the bitter jealousy of some of their fellow officers?

19. I have no desire, in making this protest, to compare the conduct of Mr. Hare with that of any of the other officers in charge of the North-Eastern district during the Kelly outlawry; they have been dealt with in the Report of the Commission, in my opinion, without any more censure than they deserve; and I am, therefore, more at a loss to understand why Mr. Hare should have met with such treatment at their hands.


12th October 1881 .

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