Royal Commission report day 29 page 4

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The Royal Commission evidence for 14/6/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 29)

[[../../people/peN_P/oconnorPinsp.html|Insp Stanhope O'Connor]] 'giving evidence'

11485 Have you a copy of that?— No. I have been moving about so much since I came here that, l upon my word, I cannot find half my papers. The purport of the letter was that I was complaining that Captain Standish, as far as I could see, was jealous of us so far, and would not let us go out if we got anything good. That was my communication.

11486 Independent of other considerations, there are those matters you complain of in this letter; in your evidence you stated that Captain Standish and yourself were on the best of terms for a very long time?— No, privately.

11487 I thought you said officially also?— For the first two months we were privately and officially, but after that we were not privately.

11488 You complained in one case, I think, during the two months?— No, I did not complain till the end of the two months; that was the first symptom I considered of his showing me discourtesy.

11489 You ought to write to the Acting Chief Commissioner of Police in Queensland, or to the clerk in charge of the papers, and ask him if copies of all the correspondence that has been forwarded from Victoria by Captain Standish have been sent?— I have done that; I have wired.

11490 But in the position in which you are placed, I think you ought to go into the reasons, and by letter?— It would take such a long time.

11491 In fairness to the Commission, you ought to give us every opportunity of judging between the parties?——I have wired three or four times.

11492 There was plenty of time to write?— When the Commission spoke of it before, I said that the copies must be in this office, and there is no use sending.

11493 You told us just now that you had sent a long telegram since the 30th March?— Yes

11494 But there had been some difficulties with the then Commissioner of Police. I think you ought still to write?— Certainly, I will write.

11495 You took a note in your diary of the dates, I suppose?— I could only generally, because I never saw any of this correspondence; that is what I complain of. I was told by my Commissioner of Police about it. I do not know what dates they are.

11496 Was it at your suggestion, as to the expediency of recalling your men, that this letter was sent from Queensland ?— Certainly.

11497 Was that by letter or telegram?— By letter.

11498 What date, about?— Sometime in the beginning of May or the last week in April.

11499 Have you a copy of the letter you wrote to the Queensland Government?— I have looked everywhere for my letters and cannot find them. I never thought it would be of any use at any time, through moving about at Brisbane and Sydney.

11500 A copy of that letter will be in the possession of the Queensland Government, the first letter you wrote asking them for your withdrawal?— No, I have made a mistake. I remember now that my communication to my Government, requesting our immediate withdrawal, was immediately after the boy Moses was taken from my command.

11501 Will you now make a note and ask the Queensland Government to furnish you with a copy of that letter you wrote, and all other letters written by yourself in reference to the withdrawal of yourself and the black trackers from this colony?—[The witness made a note of the same.]

11502 Were you under orders then from your Government, at the time of that letter of Captain Standish's to Mr. Nicolson, to take your men back?— No.

11503 Because up to that time you were, by instruction of your Government, absolutely under the control of Captain Standish?— Yes.

11504 You complained just now of the black tracker Moses being taken away from you without your being consulted?— Yes.

11505 He was no part of the body of men you originally started with?— Yes, he was.

11506 From Queensland ?— No, but he was one of my detachment when my boy died. This man was a good-for-nothing fellow, and he came to me and said, “I am a Queensland boy, and I would like very much to go back to Queensland with you.” I said I would ask Captain Standish, and he said, “He is no good to us, and you had better take him if you like,” and I saw the boy and asked him if he would enlist, and I asked Captain Standish and wrote to my Government telling them what I was doing, and I enlisted the boy. The boy was then under me. I taught him everything I could of the work there, and when he got of some use Captain Standish tries to get not him only, but another of my men.

11507 Did you enlist him under the Queensland Government as a trooper?— Yes, and he was to go back with us to Queensland with the same pay as my men. That was the inducement.

11508 Was he selected merely for the temporary service of the Victorian Government?— Yes.

11509 He understood he was engaged on behalf of the Queensland Government and not Victorian?— Yes.

11510 If Captain Standish said in his writing to your Government Moses was in our employment, but joined the Queensland police on the death of Sambo, which would be correct, your statement or Captain Standish's?— Both of them would be correct.

11511 Surely that answer does not look as if he was in the employment of the Government—it says a useless fellow?— They were all useless, the trackers they had here.....

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