Royal Commission report day 15 page 1

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The Royal Commission evidence for 4/5/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 15)


The Hon. F. LONGMORE, M.L.A., in the Chair;

J. H. Graves , Esq., M.L.A., J. Gibb, Esq., M.L.A.,

W. Anderson , Esq., M.L.A., G. W. Hall, Esq., M.L.A.,

G. R. Fincham, Esq., M.L.A., E. J. Dixon, Esq., J.P.

William B. Montfort giving evidence

The Chairman (to Mr. Nicolson) . —You had a question or two to ask Mr. Montfort, you said; you can do so now.

3490 By Mr. Nicolson. —I want to ask with reference to inspecting stations. He stated yesterday that stations were not visited by the officer in charge on inspection at night or early in the morning. Am I correct?

The Chairman . —There was one officer he excepted from that. He said it was not the usage of the service to inspect at night or at extra hours, and Mr. McCulloch was the man.

3491 By the Commission (to the witness). —Are you aware that stations are far apart, and must necessarily be examined at night in some instances?— I only speak of my own experience. Mr.Nicolson may have done so. I am only speaking of my own experience before I came to Melbourne .

3492 When an officer takes to visit two or three stations in one day, must he not necessarily start very early in the morning, and reach the first station before breakfast, or earlier than that?— I only speak of my own experience. I have known the inspecting superintendents—that is, those in the habit of inspecting my stations—if they arrived in the evening, or over night, they invariably inspected the next morning. That was my custom. I never kind a station inspected at night. I only speak from my own knowledge. I do not know what Mr. Nicolson's system or custom has been, because he was not inspecting stations. Of course I exclude the city, because the city watch-houses are inspected at night.

3493 You are speaking of the inspecting superintendents?— I have never known them to do so. They may have done so without my knowledge.

3494 By the Commission. —At such hours as twelve or one at night?— I have never known it to done.

3495 By Mr. Nicolson. —You spoke of one instance, where Power was arrested, when I used an expression to Mr. Hare or to you that I was the officer or leader of the party?— The expression was not that you were the leader or officer. The expression was, “I will go first here; I am the senior.”

3496 By the Commission—You said that occurred ten minutes before the capture?— Yes.

3497 That was the first overt act by which he claimed to be the senior?— That I noticed. The thought never struck me to enquire who was the leader; both were acting together in concert without any apparent priority on either side.

3498 By Mr. Nicolson. —Would two officers in such a case stand on ceremony?. No.

3499 Except when it came to a crisis, and then the senior officer would exercise the right if he chose?— That is the case. I am merely telling my feeling at the time.

3500 Do you remember when we reached the small plateau on which this man's mia-mia was erected, going up the hill, my making a sign to you or Mr. Hare to follow me to go round by the back?— No, I do not remember that.

3501 Do you not remember my waving my hand?— No.

3502 Did you not go to the back?— I did not take any one's direction at the time.

3503 Here was the mia-mia, there was the tree—[explaining]—about seven in the morning. We were coming up this hill. I ran towards the mouth of it and I signed to you to go round?— I do not remember your signing.

3504 Did you go round?— I did; but the reason was because you were at the other side.

3505 Did you and Mr. Hare go round to the back?— We did.

3506 A long time has elapsed—are you sure that what prompted you was not a sign by my beckoning with my hand?— I am quite positive it was not your beckoning that caused me to go round. You may have beckoned, but I did not notice it. My reason for going round was you were at one spot and there was a lot of hop scrub at the other side, and my idea was he would jump out and escape there.

3507 By the Commission. —What was the mia-mia?— Made with a blanket, bushman's fashion, and covered over with trees.

3508 Therefore if a man approached the apparent -entrance the man inside could escape at the side —Of course, if Mr. Nicolson went to the front he could jump down the declivity at the side and get into the hop scrub. Therefore I ran round the hill immediately alongside of me, and when I was getting in front Mr. Hare pushed me back, so that he got in front of me the other side.

3509 By Mr. Nicolson. —Where was I?— In front of the gunyah.

3510 Was not I inside?— No, my recollection of you was presenting your pistol at Power.....

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