Royal Commission report day 1 page 3

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The Royal Commission evidence for 23/3/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 1 ) Captain Standish giving evidence

3 Shooting Constable Fitzpatrick?- Yes, shooting him through the wrist. Fitzpatrick fainted, and lay there in a semi comatose state for some time while they cut the ball out of his wrist; it had been under the skin, and they allowed him to go. He rode off, and laboured under the idea that be was pursued by two of the outlaws, which I have ascertained was not the case. Some months after this occurred, I had a conversation, a long conversation, with Williamson, in Pentridge, and he entirely corroborated every word of Fitzpatrick's evidence; and he gave me some considerable information, and volunteered to assist me in every kind of way. After this outrage had been committed, steps were taken by Superintendent Sadleir to apprehend the Kellys-the two Kellys and the two others, who were then not known by name, and those efforts having proved fruitless for a good many months, it was ultimately determined, with my approval, to start two search parties, well armed, in pursuit of the Kellys. One started from Mansfield, under the charge of Sergeant Kennedy, and the other from Wangaratta, under the charge of Sergeant Steele or some other sub officer of the police.

4 Was it possibly Senior Constable Strachan?- I think it was.

5 Was Williamson in prison at the time he gave you that information?- He was in Pentridge, with a sentence of six years for that offence.

6 For being present at the shooting?- Yes; I think it was a very severe punishment myself. A reward of £100 was also offered for the apprehension of the Kellys. Late on the night of Sunday the 27th October, I received a telegram from Mansfield, announcing to me that Constables Scanlan and Lonigan had been shot dead, near Mansfield, by bushrangers. After communicating with the Chief Secretary early the next morning, I took early steps to send up reinforcements and special arms. We had a few Spencer repeating rifles in store, and Mr.Berry asked me not to stint me any expenditure in arming the police properly. I may state that the regulation weapon of the mounted police has only been a revolver for years. I saw a considerable number of the men off by the 4.30 train the following day. I ordered Superintendent Nicolson up to take charge of the special service men in the North Eastern district.

7 Was that the first time he was sent there?- He was inspecting superintendent, and had to visit the country districts from time to time. I gave him authority to take any steps he thought proper, and to incur any expenditure he thought necessary.

8 What date was that?- Immediately after I received the news. I also obtained authority from the Chief Secretary to purchase a number of breech loading double barrelled guns, to be sent up to the district as soon as possible.

9 Then you consider that the original cause of this difficulty was the lawlessness of the district?- I do.

10 In cattle stealing and horse stealing?- Yes. ...

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