Royal Commission report day 21 page 18

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The Royal Commission evidence for 17/5/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 21)

Const Barry giving evidence

7774.7741 Did you take those orders as coming from me?— I understood you were there, and I expected they came from you.

7774.7742 By the Commission. —Did you receive any orders to fire low, as the Kellys were supposed to be crouching in the chimney?— No.

7774.7743 Would you have taken any different steps to capture the two outlaws remaining in the hotel than were adopted on that day?— I could not think of any better.

7774.7744 Did it strike you there that day that some other course should be adopted different to your being placed in a position where you had to protect yourself against a portion of the fire of the police on the other side of the hotel?— Yes, I did.

7774.7745 Were any orders given to your knowledge that the police on one side were to fire while the others remained under cover?— I never heard of any.

7774.7746 Under ordinary circumstances, do you not think that the officer in charge ought to have made that a portion of his special duty?— Certainly I do.

7774.7747 Did you know there were a lot of civilians at this particular time in the house?— No,

7774.7748 When did you know they were there?— When they came out.

7774.7749 Did you not see Mr. McHugh bringing out the wounded child?— I heard him speaking to Gascoigne a little distance away —I heard him giving his name; and Gascoigne covered him with his rifle, and got his name,

7774.7750 With the wounded child?— Yes.

7774.7751 Was the order sent round to fire high because the civilians were in the house?— No; I never heard it said on that account.

7774.7752 You were not aware you were likely to shoot the civilians while you were firing in?— No; only those I wanted to shoot.

7774.7753 It was stated at Glenrowan that when the civilians came out they were fired at by police, and had to go back—did you see that?— No; I was not aware of that.

7774.7754 Do you know where Sergeant Steele was stationed?— Yes; that was the east end.

7774.7755 Immediately opposite from where you were standing?— Yes.

7774.7756 You did not see anything of the white handkerchief being held out the window?— No, I did not.

7774.7757 There was nothing to indicate to you that there were prisoners in the house?— Nothing whatever.

7774.7758 Until they came out?— Until they came out.

7774.7759 No word passed round to that effect?— No.

7774.7760 No screams from women?— That was when they were away.

7774.7761 Did you hear any shots fired while they were escaping?— Yes.

7774.7762 From whom?— From the police outside, if there were shots being fired then.

7774.7763 Did you hear any cries from the women at the time?— They were singing out all the time.

7774.7764 Calling out for mercy?— No, I could not say what they said. They were crying and screaming the greater part of the time, perhaps half an hour altogether or longer.

7774.7765 At what time?— As soon as the firing cessed; they escaped very soon after.

7774.7766 Besides bearing Constable Gascoigne saying women were present, and Mr. Hare's orders, you were perfectly sure from your own knowledge, that there were women there from their screeching?— Yes.

7774.7767 Did you communicate that to any men that came round; did you communicate that to Senior-Constable Kelly?— I am certain I did not, but he must have heard it better than I did.

7774.7768 The women you heard did not return to the house?— No, we heard their voices going away towards the railway platform. After they left I considered there was no one in the house to shoot but the outlaws.

7774.7769 Were you not covered by the tree from the shooting of your comrades?— Yes, when I remained behind it.

7774.7770 Did you make known to any of your superiors that you were in danger from the firing of your comrades?— There was none to make it known to.

7774.7771 Was not Senior-Constable Kelly near you?— No.

7774.7772 Was there anyone in higher rank than you are?— When they fired a shot we kept singing out, “Who fired that shot,” and telling them to shoot in a different direction. The shots were whistling in the timber by us.

7774.7773 Was it s fact the shots were endangering you—that the shots of the comrades were more dangerous than those of the outlaws?— Yes; and the particular time I allude to is immediately after the prisoners rushed out of the house. There was a long volley fired then, without any warning, I heard myself; and I was for some time myself in a very awkward position.

7774.7774 Could you not have removed from where you were?— No, not after the firing commenced, that particular volley.....

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