Royal Commission report day 19 page 14

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The Royal Commission evidence for 13/5/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 19)

Sgt Whelan giving evidence

6248 Did he receive pay to your knowledge after the time that he left Benalla—supposed to be for good—and the Glenrowan matter?— I cannot say. I mean previous to that, from the time he came to the colony.

6249 After Mr. O'Connor had left the Victorian service, and had gone to take the black trackers home, and was not amenable to any Victorian rule except public opinion, would he be responsible for anything except his own men?— I did not know he was relieved.

6250 If he was relieved, and was on his way back to Queensland, and volunteered with his black trackers, and of his own free will and accord came up to assist, would he be then answerable for any act of any Victorian police with him?— No, I think not.

6251 Would he be merely answerable for his own men?— I think so.

6252 Do you know anything about this drain at all?— I do not. I must candidly say I do not.

6253 Did you read the remarkable answer that Senior-Constable Kelly made at Beechworth, at the preliminary examination of Ned Kelly. When he stated that Mr. O'Connor had remained in a drain the whole time?— I may, but I do not remember it.

6254 Have you heard any constables commenting upon Mr. O'Connor on that occasion?— As I told you already, I have heard a good deal of talk, but nothing plain or sufficient for me to take notice of.

6255 It might have been mere rumour?— Yes.

6256 None about the firing; the back of the house is to the north?— North-west.

6257 The front to the railway station to south?— Yes.

6258 You call it the end now for the sake of explaining. I will call it the west, nearest Benalla. You were opposite the west window?— Yes.

6259 You swear that at or about one o'clock the last shot was fired from that window, which you recognized as from the outlaws?— Yes; there was no one else in the house.

6260 You were cross-examined closely as to that. If another constable says that the last shot was fired from the house at eleven, and it was the back window towards the stables, would not your evidence be as true as his?— We might both think we were telling the truth.

6261 That is not what I mean. There is the house, if you were opposite the window there where that is, and you swear that the last shot fired from the house from that window was at one o'clock , and the constable out here towards the stables swears eleven o'clock , is it not quite possible that it might be true. Could you see a shot fired there?— No.

6262 Therefore it might be true as to that other window?— Yes.

6263 If he swears eleven o'clock from that window, that might be true?— It might be.

6264 And if he swore that was the last shot, is it not quite possible that he would not know anything about the shot fired towards you?— He could not see that.

6265 So that both might be true?— I think so.

6266 It has been stated that there was a great quantity of ammunition uselessly expended there. One man, I think, said he charged his Spencer rifle three or four times; that would be three times seven, and another constable swore that he fired over 100 rounds of ammunition. Have you any idea of the quantity of ammunition expended on that occasion?— I could not say, because there was one of those small casks with Martini-Henry and carbine rifle ammunition—a good portion of that was used, together with a lot of loose ammunition.

6267 How much did a cask of that hold?— About 300 rounds.

6268 What weight?— I could not say, but there was not much of that used, but there was a good deal of loose ammunition.

6269 Do you know Constable Dowling?— Yes.

6270 What party did he come with?— From Beechworth I think.

6271 Do you know at what hour Mullane came with that party?— I cannot fix the hour; it was pretty early. I saw him before the Violet Town men.

6272 You said you could not tell the hour Kelly was captured, but you think about seven o'clock ?— It might be more.

6273 Was Dowling on the ground after that?— Not on the ground at that time.

6274 Mullane did not come on the ground till after the capture of Kelly?— I did not see him.

6275 You said the instructions were to fire high?— Yes.

6276 They commenced firing at what o'clock?— Immediately after we got there.

6277 And then the order was to fire high till the prisoners were let out?— Yes.....

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