Royal Commission report day 25 page 16

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Story of the KellyGang - the Royal Commission Report

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The Royal Commission evidence for 2/6/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 25)

[[../../people/peC/chomleyPsup.html|Sup Hussey Malone Chomle]] [[../../people/peC/chomleyPsup.html|y]] giving evidence

9871 Did you receive any others?— And then I saw this in the paper—the Bena1la Standard

The: leading article, dated 26th April 1881 —

“There is not the slightest doubt but what the formation of another gang of bushrangers is being meditated in the Greta district. We hare it from most reliable authority that the Kelly sympathizers have recently spoke openly to this effect, and the general actions of these persons infer that some secret work is occupying their attention. The sympathizers’ rendezvous—Mrs. Kelly's house—is seldom empty, and frequently it happens that the number of visitors to this domicile is very large. Many threats of revenge hare been made since the tragedy at Glenrowan, and grave fears are daily entertained of another outbreak.”

Those are the reports I received, and then I went up and saw Mr. Sadleir and Mr. Baber, and Sergeant Steele and Whelan.

9872 What was Whelan's statement?— To the effect that he did not think the men would come out voluntarily, unless there was some attempt to arrest one of them, and then he thought they would come out.

9873 Generally was he under fear of outbreak?— I do not think he was under fear of outbreak. Sergeant Whelan stated (I took notes at the time) he had heard it was intended to take the life of Skillian or Williamson, he did not know exactly which, who gave information to Captain Standish, which appeared by the evidence before the police enquiry. He said the newspapers which contained the evidence were eagerly looked for, with the view of finding out who had been giving information. He said they were great savages, but he hardly thought they would turn out unless cornered for horsestealing; that is my own impression too. He said they would not hesitate to take the life of one of the informants first, and perhaps of the police afterwards. He thought ——— would be the leader if a party were formed, and then he gave the names of the others who would probably be of the party.

9874 Is that all of Whelan's?— Yes, I just took a short note of it.

9875 What is Steele's statement?— That a man named told Constable Healey that the police would have hotter work than they ever had before with the last mob; and that a man named told a friend of his he believed another mob was getting ready to turn out about Greta. He said that he thought that the saws were taken for the purpose of making armour, and heard that a saw had been taken for the same purpose before, but had been found too light; those saws were pit saws. And then he said he thought, if there was a fresh outbreak, the names he gave me would be in it.

9876 That is the substance of the conversation you had with various officers?— Yes.

9877 And the other reports you have read are the only reports bearing on the North-Eastern district?— That is all, I think. I spoke to another gentleman up there in reference to this newspaper paragraph. I asked him had he good reason to put it in. He said the person who gave it was to be relied on for being truthful, and he knew that he had every reason to be correct.

9878 In consequence of those reports you recommend the appointment of an efficient superintendent, to proceed to the district at once?— Yes.

9879 In the second portion of your report you recommend that Mr. O'Connor should take charge of the black trackers ?— Yes.

9880 Will you point out, in any of those reports furnished to you, where Mr. O'Connor's name is mentioned?— It is not mentioned.

9881 Will you tell why you arrived at the conclusion to recommend Mr. O'Connor?— I cannot give more than in my report, that I was told I could not get information; and, in case of an outbreak, we must fall back on the black trackers, and we must make them as efficient as we could.

9882 It was merely from your own feeling in the matter you recommended that?— Yes.

9883 You went to Queensland ?— Yes.

9884 You engaged black trackers?— Yes, five.

9885 They are the ones, at Benalla now?— Yes.

9886 At the time you were in Queensland , did you attempt to make any arrangement for any officer who had any experience with the trackers, to come?— No.

9887 Why?— I carried out the instructions I received to go and get those men and bring them back.

9888 Did it suggest itself to your mind to make enquires as to that?— No.....

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