Royal Commission day 1 report page 9
The Royal Commission evidence for 23/3/1881
61 How far is Greta?- Greta is about ten miles, I think, from Benalla, and Glenrowan, I think is about fourteen or fifteen miles. Whilst Mr. Nicolson was at Benalla, the following little incident occurred. - was riding through the bush.
62 Who was he?- He is a connection of the Kellys. He was riding through the bush, ten or twelve miles from Benalla, and he saw the four outlaws on horseback together with Tom Lloyd.
63 Who is Tom Lloyd?- Tom Lloyd is a cousin of the Kellys. He did not go near them but rode straight home to his own place as hard as he could go. When he got home, and went inside his house about dusk, he saw Tom Lloyd go and took at his horse in the paddock, and then take his place at the slip rails. He looked out several times during the night and saw Lloyd still there. Next day - caught his horse, and while riding along the road, near Wangaratta, he met Mr. Sadleir, who was eight miles from Oxley, or somewhere in that direction.
64 What was the day?- I have not got the date, but Mr. Sadleir and Mr. Hare will be able to give it. - told Mr. Sadleir what he had seen on the previous day, and described the spot to him. Mr. Sadleir rode in as fast as he could to Wangaratta and telegraphed to Mr. Nicolson that he had some important information, and to get everything ready for an early start and he (Mr. Sadleir) would be at Benalla by the last train. On his arriving at Benalla he gave all the information to Mr. Nicolson. It was arranged that the black trackers and a party of men were to start away at one o'clock the next morning. Mr. Nicolson, Mr. Sadleir, and Mr. O'Connor were to accompany the party. Mr. Nicolson telegraphed to me to come up to Benalla by the early train next morning. At one o'clock in the morning the men were all ready, with their horses saddled. Senior Constable Irwin was in charge of the men. Mr. Nicolson turned up; and gave orders for the saddles to be taken off the horses, and for the men to go back to their quarters. Shortly after this Mr. Sadleir arrived at the barrack yard, and found all the saddles off the horses, and, upon asking the reason of this, was told that Mr. Nicolson had given the orders. Mr. Sadleir then went to the office, and found Mr. Nicolson and Mr. O'Connor there. He asked him if any further news had been obtained to cause the change of plans. Mr. Nicolson replied, "No: but I have been thinking about the matter all night and have decided not to disturb the outlaws just now." A telegram was sent to me at that hour not to come up to Benalla. There is no doubt that though Mr. Sadleir did not know of the exact spot, he could easily have obtained information from -.
65 Have you no general idea of the date at which this occurred?- I have not; but I have a perfect recollection of it but I cannot fix the date. Mr. Hare will be able to fix it.
66 And the official records will show it?- Yes.
67 Was it in the early part or the latter part of the search?- It was the early part of last year 1880 I have ample proof of still further acts of gross neglect on the part of Mr. Nicolson. About the 25th of May last -, one of the -family, was at Mrs. Byrne's house, and, just before she left, Joe Byrne and Dan Kelly came to the house, and subsequently Ned Kelly and Steve Hart and sat down to tea. - walked home a distance of about three miles.
68 While they were having tea?- No after having had tea there. She informed her mother Mrs. , who went into Beechworth next morning and told Detective Ward her daughter had seen and no notice was taken of it at all.
69 That would be on the 26th?- Yes, the morning of the 26th about a week before Mr. Nicolson was removed from Benalla.
70 Can you fix the dates?- Much of this information did not come under my cognisance at the time. The witnesses can prove the dates. The person; referred to can prove the dates.
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