Royal Commission report day 16 page 6

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The Royal Commission evidence for 5/5/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 16)

Constable Thomas Patrick Dowling giving evidence

4297 Are you a mounted trooper?— No, but I was doing mounted duty there.

4298 Were you in the artillery corps before joining the police?— Yes, I was.

4299 Was there no understanding between those four men that if the Kellys put in an appearance at Byrne's place what course they were to take?— No, I never received any orders.

4300 None at all?— No.

4301 Did you feel you would be fit to cope with four outlaws if they came there?— Yes, I felt that.

4302 Would you try it?— Yes, I would, I was always prepared, supposing they did come.

4303 Supposing they had put in an appearance, you would have surrounded the house and endeavored to take them?— Yes.

4304 Without sending to head quarters?— Without sending to head quarters.

4305 Have you had much experience in firearms?— Not a great deal, only what I had previous to going to the police force.

4306 How long before that had you had practice with firearms?— The last I had was in Mooroopna.

4307 How long was that before?— About three or four months.

4308 Did you fire a shot between that time and this night?— No.

4309 Were you accustomed to use a shot gun before you entered the police force?— Yes.

4310 How?— Shooting, up country.

4311 What sort of shooting?— Duck shooting or opossums, or anything.

4312 From your childhood?— Yes.

4313 When did you first fire a gun, what age?— About thirteen or fourteen.

4314 Are you a native of the colony?— Yes.

4315 Was there anything particular in this double-barrelled gun?— No, nothing particular.

4316 You just put in the cartridge?— Yes.

4317 A breech-loader?— Yes.

4318 What occurred in the morning?— Armstrong called in a Chinaman who was going along the road.

4319 About what time was that?— I could not say what time that was.

4320 How long before daylight, fix the time as near as

4321 After daylight?— About that. He wrote a letter, gave it to the Chinaman, and also some money, I do not know much it was, and told him if he delivered the letter at the Beechworth police station.

4322 Was the Chinaman on foot?— Yes. That he would received more money afterwards. The Chinamen said he would and left for Beechworth, but returned in about half an hour and said he would not go as he did not understand what it meant. Armstrong then asked him to take the letter to a schoolmaster

4323 Did he see Aaron Sherritt's body lying there?— Yes.

4324 Did he make any remark?— No, he did not make any remark. He seemed rather frightened.

4325 Where was the body then?— Lying covered in the kitchen.

4326 Did the Chinaman know there was a murdered man in the house?— Armstrong pointed out the body to him, I believe. He asked him if he would take the letter to a schoolmaster named Donoghue, who lived half a mile up the creek. The Chinaman did so, and the schoolmaster arrived in about half an hour's time.

4327 Had you any means of knowing the time—any clock?— No. Duross had a watch.

4328 Then you could know the time of day?— Yes; but I never asked him the time except on one occasion.

4329 At this time it would be about nine o'clock , judging by the time taken by the Chinaman and the schoolmaster?— About eight, I should think

4330 Did the schoolmaster go?— Armstrong asked him if he would take a letter. He said he would not take a letter, but would give the information without. He said he was afraid if he brought the letter with him he might be stuck up on the road, and if they found it in his possession they would be sure to shoot him.....

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