Royal Commission report Appendix 12

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The Royal Commission Appendix 12

(full text transcription)

[[../../people/peN_P/nicolsonPAC.html|Nicolson’s report]]

Police Department (Chief Commissioner’s Office)

Melbourne ,

26th September 1881 .


1 With reference to Superintendent Hare's affidavit, of 16th September instant, in which he denies that my agent, “Diseased Stock,” came into Benalla on Thursday the 24th June 1881, preceding the murder of Aaron Sherritt, and warned him that the outlaws had gone out, or were going out, to do something at once, I beg to enclose my affidavit on the subject; and further, simply to refer you to Mr. Hare's own evidence, No. 1518, viz.:— “Well, this looks rather black for me, that these men are going to commit some outrage at once.”

2 This warning was what I was waiting for when I was superseded. It came from one whom Superintendent Hare describes as “this most respectable and reliable man;” yet he took no steps to communicate it by telegram or post to the police around him; otherwise Sherritt's life might have been saved, and the destruction of the outlaws accomplished in a more satisfactory manner. I have further to request your attention to 1516, as compared with 1518, by which it is apparent Superintendent Hare is alluding to two different interviews with “Diseased Stock,” which he relates to the Commission as one interview.

Mr. Hare's other affidavits are, I consider, beneath my notice. Such documents can be produced ad infinitum.

I have to apologise for replying to the one within referred to, but it seems necessary, in self defence.

I have the honor to be, Sir,

Your most obedt. servt.,


To the Chairman of the Royal Commission on Police

I, CHARLES HOPE NICOLSON, Assistant Commissioner of Police, make oath and say:

That referring to Mr. Superintendent Hare's affidavit, of sixteenth day of September One thousand eight hundred and eighty-one, as will be seen on reference to answer numbered 1518, wherein Mr. Hare says, speaking of the agent known as Diseased Stock:—

“He was not a supporter; he was, I think, one of the most respectable and reliable men that had ever been engaged in that capacity during the Kelly search. He was a little too sanguine, and after he left the office, I said to Mr. Sadleir, ‘Well, this looks rather black for me, that these men are going to commit some outrage at once.’ He said, ‘Oh, that man has been giving us some information for months. Besides,’ he says, ‘he is the most sanguine and tantalizing man I ever saw.”

That there was in the office at Benalla a telegram for striking off several copies of documents, and it was my invariable custom, whenever there was any expected movement of the Kellys, to use this machine and telegraph to circulate notice to all the police stations in the district, warning them to be on the alert; and I say that if this course had been pursued by Mr. Hare, on the receipt of the above-mentioned information, the police would have been put on their guard, and the catastrophe at Sherritt's hut avoided.


Given at Melbourne , in the colony of Victoria , this twenty-second day of September One thousand eight hundred and eighty-one, before me,


A Commissioner of the Supreme Court of the Colony of Victoria for taking Affidavits.


Police Department, E. Melbourne ,

Superintendent's Office, Sept. 26th 1881.

I do myself the honor to inform you that I this day received from Mr. Nicolson a copy of a declaration that he had forwarded to the Commission respecting a declaration made by me on the 16 th September, and handed in to the Commission at their last meeting.

I would point out to the Chairman that the paragraph quoted from my evidence refers to what took place at my first interview with the man known as “the diseased stock agent,” a few days after my arrival at Benalla, in June 1880, and not the visit on the Thursday prior to Aaron Sherritt's murder.

See evidence, page 90, question 1516.

I would respectfully draw the attention of the Commission to the fact of Mr. Nicolson disobeying the positive instructions laid down by the Commission, viz., that each officer was to attend to the evidence concerning his own case, and not endeavor to pick holes in the conduct of other officers. I think I might here observe that Mr. Nicolson has adopted a not uncommon course in such cases, that, when there is no defence, to set to work and abuse the opposite side.

I have the honor to be, Sir, your obedient servant,

FRANCIS HARE, Superintendent of Police.

The Honorable Francis Longmore

Chairman Royal Commission.

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