Royal Commission report day 21 page 21

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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

7838 In your opinion, if you had to take command of the front of the building, would you have taken the position that I did—first of all, do you know my position?— I heard of it. I found empty cartridges there of a Snider rifle, and that showed where you were.

7839 By the Commission— Is the only knowledge you have of the position that Mr. O'Connor and the black trackers held by seeing Snider shells or cartridges in the position they were said to be in?— I heard them singing out.

7840 Who?— The boys.

7841 What do you call “boys”?— The black trackers; so I knew they were in that direction, and then finding the cartridges after I came to that conclusion.

7842 By Mr. O’Connor— You are aware they were in different portions of the field, and were not altogether with me?— Not all; there was one with me.

7843 You are not aware of your knowledge that the remainder were with me?— Not of my knowledge; simply hearing them and finding those empty cartridges.

7844 Was there a great quantity?— A good quantity.

7845 Taking for granted that that was the position I was in, do you consider it was a good position for commanding the front of the house to prevent the outlaws escaping?— It was not a good position to shoot; there were better positions than that.

7846 Where would the better place have been in front of the house?— There is another drain between that and the house, and I believe that would have been a better position and quite as deep.

7847 Is this an after consideration of yours, or at the time?— A few days afterwards I was round and came to that conclusion.

7848 Were you aware of all about Glenrowan at the time of that fight—all those drains?— You could not help seeing them, and you were more likely to have seen the one I speak of, because it was nearer towards the house, and going towards it, while the other was going away from it.

7849 You never heard I was in another position?— No, I did not. I heard some of the “boys” were under the culvert; I did not know what that meant.

7850 You said the tracker Hero was near you at that time; did he show any cowardice?— No, not any; he was as plucky and cool as any man could be.

7851 Did you see any of the others show cowardice?— I did.

7852 Which?— Jackey.

7853 When was that?— Just when he heard the Kellys were coming, when Bracken sung out that the Kellys were there, and he thought they were coming on to us constables. Constable Canny handed tracker Jackey his gun to keep for him, while Canny was taking the horses out of the trucks. When word was passed for us to go forward, Constable Canny came for his gun, and I heard him ask Jackey for his gun, and Jackey could not speak with fear.

7854 Why?— He was speechless with fear. That was the only instance I saw.

7855 Did the man refuse to go forward, or hide himself anywhere?— I could not say that. I did not wait to see.

7856 Because the man did not speak to you, that is your reason?— Yes, he could speak well enough; I feel quite certain he was really frightened.

7857 By the Commission— You did not notice where he got to afterwards?— No; he was singing out loud enough afterwards.

7858 What?— For the outlaws to come out.

7859 You said just now that the position Mr. O'Connor took up, in the cutting, was not the best one for firing from?— No, he could only hit the top of the verandah.

7860 What was it best for?— For safety; for his own safety, for himself.

7861 That would apply to all there?— Yes.

7862 By Mr. O'Connor— Was not the position behind the tree as safe?— Certainly it was, if he remained behind it.

7863 Do you infer from that, that I made no use of my position?— No, not that; but I was in a better position to fire and retreat, when required, and my shots would take better effect than yours possibly could.....

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