Royal Commission report day 26 page 22

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The Royal Commission evidence for 7/6/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 26)

Mr John McWhirter giving evidence

10457 Did you know those men at the time or afterwards; you found out their names afterwards?— Some of the men I knew. I knew Phillps, I knew Arthur, I knew Senior Constable Kelly. I distinguished Guard Dowsett by his uniform, and I was told who Montiford and Healey were.

10458 At the time, as those things took place, you recognised those men?— Yes.

10459 It is not from after conversations and talks?— With reference to those two men, Montiford and Healey, I asked who they were afterwards, in order that I might frame my report concerning those who were engaged in the fight.

10460 By the Commission— That was, in consequence of something you had seen them do, you were anxious to know their names?— Yes, exactly.

10461 Do you consider Dowsett acted with great pluck on that occasion?— I do.

10462 By Mr. O'Connor— Where were you on the platform when the men rushed up to the house?— On the Benalla side of the station house.

10463 Not off the platform?— On the platform.

10464 Have you any idea of the distance from the platform to the hotel?— About 150 yards I should say; or perhaps 200 yards.

10465 After the first fire was there not a heavy smoke hanging about?— Yes.

10466 Was it possible for anybody to distinguish by sight any person after that volley?— The smoke gradually rose and cleared off the valley; it did not hang about long.

10467 Was not there heavy firing continually at the first?— Yes, until Mr. Hare gave the orders to cease.

10468 How do you know he gave the orders?— I heard his voice.

10469 Are you positively certain it was his voice?— I do not think I could mistake his voice, it is a peculiar voice.

10470 Were you acquainted with him before this?— No; but I had heard him speaking often prior to that.

10471 What was the first occasion you ever had any intercourse with Mr. Hare—when he came back wounded?— No, I had spoken to him at Benalla before that, and once at the time of the Lancefield robbery. Those were the only two occasions.

10472 By the Commission— After Mr. Hare gave the orders to cease firing, what time did the firing commence again?— I suppose there was an interval of about ten minutes or a quarter of an hour

10473 Was that after Mr Hare left?— About the time he left, I think. Oh, there was some firing when he went out the second time.

10474 That was after you had bandaged his arm?— Yes.

10475 Would that firing be at the outlaws appearing outside, or at the hotel only—have you any idea?— I did not know from my own knowledge; I believe it was in consequence of flashes from the hotel, and they returned the fire.

10476 By Mr. O'Connor— When Mr. Hare returned wounded to the platform, you state his arm was bound up and he returned to the fight ?— Yes.

10477 Of your own knowledge, did you see Mr. Hare go up into the fight?— I did.

10478 Where were you placed at that time?— The station.

10479 What part of the station?— The Benalla side.

10480 You remained at this Benalla side from the time of the first rush to the time Mr. Hare went back wounded?— No, I did not; I walked towards the drain, into the drain, and back again, and took up my position again on the Benalla side, because we could see from there what was going on better than from any other position.

10481 Could you see how far Mr. Hare went?— I could say he had plenty of time to go.

10482 Could you see, I ask?— Well, I am positive I saw him go as far as the drain, if not further.

10483 You say that Senior Constable Kelly took the men and stationed them here and there; did you accompany him?— No; several times I saw him and heard him speaking. I saw him going round with Phillips.

10484 Where did he get Phillips?— He was going down the Wangaratta side of the hotel.

10485 Where had Phillips been previously?— I do not know where. He came down to the place for ammunition.

10486 Did Kelly tell you he was going to place Phillips in a certain position?— No.....

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