Royal Commission report day 21 page 7
The Royal Commission evidence for 17/5/1881
(see also introduction to day 21)
Const Barry giving evidence
7774.7427 Did you never receive any order from an officer as to firing?— I received an order from Mr. Hare before reaching Glenrowan, in the train, and another order from Senior-Constable Mullane when setting fire to the house
7774.7428 Was the same order given to everyone else that was given to you?— There were but three of us in the train, and the three heard it.
7774.7429 That applied to the rest as well as to yourself?— Yes.
7774.7430 You do not know whether there was a general order given to the remainder of the men?— Mr. Hare's party? We always understood each other. It was scarcely necessary to give the order.
7774.7431 Was there a different order under Mr. Sadleir?— I was not ever out with him.
7774.7432 Did you get an order from any other person as to firing?— No.
7774.7433 Who gave the order to fire high? — I presume it came from an officer.
7774.7434 Do you know it did?— No.
7774.7435 Then how do you account for there being any men who did not fire at all?— It meant if they were to fire at all they were to fire high.
Mr. Sadleir — That was the meaning no doubt.
The Witness — I did not fire myself when that order was given.
7774.7436 By the Commission— When the order came to fire high, did you consider that was an order for you to commence firing at once?— No; if we were firing all round at once, someone was bound to be shot.
7774.7437 If the order was not to fire until you were fired on, would you consider that a general order?— Yes, when I got it from an officer himself.
7774.7438 What did you understand by firing high—how high?— At least perhaps six feet; not lower than that.
7774.7439 What would be the object of that?— There was something said about some of them being up in the roof. I heard that said.
7774.7440 Were many shots fired at the roof?— The roof was riddled pretty well.
7774.7441 Did all the constables that had rifles fire, so far as you know?— So far as I know, they all did, one time or another.
7774.7442 The ones with shot guns?— Those were the only ones that did not.
7774.7443 Can you say who gave the order to fire high?— No.
7774.7444 Can you say from your own knowledge that it was an officer's order?— No.
7774.7445 Did you know what the meaning of that order to fire high was?— No.
7774.7446 Am I to infer you did not know whether it was to fire not to hurt the prisoners, or to fire high to hit the outlaws in the roof?— I thought it might be for our own safety, being all round the place, and also the outlaws perched on the roof.
7774.7447 If all the party round the house fired a volley at once, is there a probability that the men in front would hurt the men in the rear?— It is very likely they would, as they would be exposed in firing.
7774.7448 Do you know whether any of the Martini-Henry bullets went through the house from side to side?— I believe so.
7774.7449 Have you carried a short Martini-Henry during all the time you were on service there?— Not all the time.
7774.7450 Is it your opinion it is an effective weapon?— Yes.
7774.7451 You have seen the Spencer and Martini-Henry rifles?— Yes, and used them.
7774.7452 And a double-barrelled shot gun?— Yes.
7774.7453 In your opinion, which is the most effective weapon of that lot?— The Martini carbine.
7774.7454 Have you heard your brother constables who were out with search parties say that was the most efficient weapon?— They have expressed themselves in that way.
7774.7455 As effective as a long Martini-Henry, and the long is more inconvenient to carry; is that the reason?— The carbines were not up there very long, but I speak from my experience. It is more convenient to carry shall the long one.
7774.7456 Are you aware that there were a large number of those short carbines in the possession of the Government of this colony?— I am not aware. I have heard the Artillery Corps had them....
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