Royal Commission report day 15 page 6
The Royal Commission evidence for 4/5/1881
(see also introduction to day 15)
Constable Duross giving evidence
3586 Is he the Ryan whose horses were found with the Kellys at Glenrowan, do you know?— No; I do not know that. Those two came into Violet Town about six o'clock one evening; their names were told to me by Constable Gascoigne, who was then in Violet Town with me.
3587 You did not know them personally of your own knowledge?— No.
3588 Had they any particular business in Violet Town at the time?— I followed them up the township. I saw them putting their horses in the stables of the hotel. I went in after them, where they were in the sitting room, and commenced reading the paper. They were sitting opposite me, and I do not think they knew me at this time, until the coachdriver, who was driving the coach between Shepparton and Violet Town , came in—he spoke to me and called me by name. I did not answer, did not want to make myself known to the men, and they commenced laughing; so the coachdriver said, “I have seen a party of your police down on the road to Shepparton, who are camped close to the road.” They were laughing over this. I sent a telegram to Mr. Sadleir in Benalla about the whole affair, and he returned one to me, told me to pay strict attention to them and watch which direction they went. I did so, and sent Gascoigne to watch them a certain distance out of the township, and he watched them and said they went in the direction of Benalla. I afterwards received a telegram from Benalla, saying they were seen there at the proper time. I was by myself at the time the Euroa bank was stuck up, and it was about twelve o'clock at night when I first received the intelligence from the railway porter—he came and knocked me up—I was in bed. I was very cautious in opening the door. He informed me that the Euroa bank had been stuck up, that Constable Anderson was proceeding from Euroa to Benalla on the engine and informed him so. I got out the back way with what arms I had and went to the bank in Violet Town , knocked the manager up, and informed him of the circumstance. I got a civilian along with me, and armed him in the bank, and stopped there the remainder of the night, up all night, as it was rumored they were coming towards Violet Town . I remained in the bank, and there were two or three men sent down to me from Benalla a day or two afterwards.
3589 Nothing further occurred?— No.
3590 Did you remain there till the capture of the Kellys?— No; I went to Mooroopna.
3591 You were sent down to Mooroopna?— Yes, and remained there till June 1880, when I was ordered to Beechworth by telegram, where I arrived on the 11th of June.
3592 Was Sherritt alive then?— He was. There was another constable sent from Shepparton, named Dowling, along with me. We were in Beechworth four or five days before we were ordered to Sebastopol, that is where Sherritt lived, to relieve two other men who were there at the time, as they were not satisfied with their position—Sherritt did not like them; they did not agree; and we were ordered in their place.
3594 Were you in the house on the night he was shot?— Yes, and when we were leaving Beechworth for Sherritt's, our Spencer rifles were taken from us, the only rifles we ever used in the district, the only ones I ever had practice with in the district; and we were told we should receive the rifles from the men when they were relieved—double-barrelled shot guns we had never seen before in our lives.
3596 Who ordered that change?— Senior-constable Mullane, at Beechworth; we asked him would we take our rifles, and he said, “No, get the guns from the men you relieve, and they will get yours and will look after them.”
3597 Did you travel that distance unarmed?— Except the revolvers. It was a distance of seven miles. We reached Sherritt's about one or two in the morning.
3598 What was the date of that when you reached Sherritt's?— I could not say the exact date, about five or six days after we went to Beechworth, about the 16th of June.
3599 You were there some time before Sherritt was shot?— About ten or eleven days before Sherritt was shot.
3601 Who are “we”?— Constable Armstrong in charge, Alexander, Dowling, and myself, and Sherritt along with us.
3602 By what means did you proceed?— We used to go different directions each night, on foot.
3603 At what time at night?— Different hours, because there was sometimes a lot of people knocking about the road, going backwards and forwards to a bit of a shanty there.....
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