Royal Commission report day 25 page 15
Story of the KellyGang - the Royal Commission Report
The Royal Commission evidence for 2/6/1881
(see also introduction to day 25)
[[../../people/peC/chomleyPsup.html|Sup Hussey Malone Chomle]] [[../../people/peC/chomleyPsup.html|y]] giving evidence
9862 Wil1 you read the portion you refer to in that letter?— I will read the whole of it—[reading the same as follows:—]
“ Superintendent’s Office, Benalla, April 22/1881
My dear Chomley—
As I expected, from the disclosures before the Police Commission, a great ferment has arises amongst the Kelly sympathizer here. A respectable man who has been in our confidence all through the Kelly business called on me late last night, and informed me that the sympathizers are very busy trying to trace out who our agents are and that they are swearing vengeance against them and against the police. These threats are made of course out of the hearing of the police, and no private person can be induced to take proceedings. I have no reason to doubt my informant's statement, who adds also that the sympathizers are all armed, and that they are ripe for mischief. I may say that except for a chance bit of information of this sort we (the police) are entirely in the dark about their movements and intentions. It may be that better counsels will prevail, and that by the moderation I have been careful to observe the roughs will have less excuse for any outbreak. Still I think the outlook is serious. If an outbreak does occur I expect it will be infinitely worse than anything before. The effects so far of the Police Commission enquiry is to discourage the police and to add to the terror of persons who have been helping and would otherwise still help the police. My own position, too, is very uncomfortable. In all I have done I see nothing that I would not do again under the same circumstances, and I believe every person who acted with me is of the same mind. Still the few who disapprove or pretend to do so have been very noisy, and taking everything into consideration it would perhaps be better that I should have a change of districts. The change will be a serious loss and inconvenience to me, still I wish you to take the matter into serious consideration. Baber is aware of the information I have received, and he has informed the police in the neighbourhood to be on their guard.
Yours very truly,
“ H. M. Chomley, Esq., Acting C. C. Police.”
9864 Would you receive anything from those gentlemen and deal with it officially now that they have been relieved?— Yes, whether they have been relieved or not. If they give me important information I must act upon it, remembering their position.
9865 Are you not aware that they are in the hands of the Commission at present?— That would not prevent my taking advantage of any information from them. It would be no excuse to say that.
9866 Would you, on the recommendation of either of those officers, remove a constable in any of those districts?— I do not know that I should.
9867 In fact they are in the position now of superintendents of police?— They are in the position of civilians, and I would take notice of information from a civilian—a respectable man as I suppose Mr. Sadleir is.
9868 Were you aware at the date of that letter that Mr. Sadleir had given evidence before this Commission?— Yes.
9869 And you based your report on that?— Yes, to some extent; his information and experience must be just the same as ever, and there are others. Here is a report from Mounted-Constable Graham.
9870 Is that from Greta?— Yes; it is dated 26th April 1881 [The witness read the same as follows: ] “Report of Constable Graham, 2312, relative to sympathizers of late Kelly gang. —I beg to report for the information of the superintendent that a number of them were here yesterday, drinking, viz.: —Jack Quinn, Tom Lloyd, jun, Paddy McAuliffe, Tom McAuliffe, John McMonigal, and Jack Nolan; and from their manner I am led to believe that another outbreak among them is imminent. Jack Quinn is very anxious to find out who it was that got the sympathizers arrested in 1879. They all appear to have a great dislike to Pat Quinn, and speak of him as the black tracker. — ROBERT GRAHAM, Mtd. Const., 2312 The Supt. of Police, Benalla.”
This is a memorandum from Mr. Baber, who is in charge of the district—[reading the same]
“Police Department Superintendent’s Office, Benalla, 27th April 1881 Memo. — I beg to forward Senior-Constable Elliott's report of yesterday's date for the information of the Acting Chief Commissioner. Matters are looking serious, and the police are certainly unprepared for another outbreak. It is out of the question to know where to turn for private information. I have consulted with Superintendent Sadleir, who has sounded two persons who formerly acted as agents, but they have declined (as Mr. Sadleir informs me) on account of the disclosures which have been made. They will not act now under any circumstances; and they say it is hopeless to look for private agents again. It only remains to be considered what preparation the police can make, and additions which should be made to the strength.”
Then there is a report from Senior-Constable Elliott attached, in reference to the stealing of two pit saws from Acock's, dated 26th April 1881 He says—
And I have also very little doubt but that the saws were stolen for the purpose mentioned in Sergeant Steele's telegram of yesterday, more especially as Constable Graham informs me that the Kelly friends and sympathizers have been more than usual about Greta for the last two days.”
The telegram alluded to is here, dated 25th April 1881 —
“Stolen last night from Acock's, Seven-mile Creek, two large pit saws, supposed taken to construct armour out of. Would be well to send trackers at once to Acock's, near Glenrowan. Will have tracks, if any, preserved. —A. L. M. STEELE ....
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