Royal Commission report day 2 page 5
The Royal Commission evidence for 24/3/1881
(see also introduction to day 2 )
Assistant Commissioner Nicholson giving evidence
382 Under whose directions did those fifty men appear?- When they made their appearance at daylight I saw them, and they fell in under Captain Standish; but I did not know who summoned them.
383 Cannot you tell, from information since, as to under whose directions those men came on; surely officer ordered them?- Well, Mr. Sadleir did, I believe, give orders in some instances; but I do not believe he did in all cases.
384 Who did in other cases?- I cannot say; the men sometimes came voluntarily.
385 Was Captain Standish at the head of those men?- No.
386 Were the body of men under anybody as they came in?- They came trooping in.
387 You admit you were the responsible officer there-That you arrived at this spot with Captain Standish, and you do not attach any blame to him since he was not aware of this being done?- Yes.
388 You arrived there and met the fifty men, and you found this condition of things you disapprove of. Did you remonstrate with the officer under you for this mistake?- Not at that time and at once; Captain Standish and Mr. Sadleir were very much engaged talking; I could not hear what they were saying; I could not hear what they said, there was such a confounded noise. I saw the men riding together, and I devoted myself to knocking the men into some order. I went to the various sub-officers and asked "Where are your men ?" and I said, "Keep them together;" and that is how I occupied myself. (JJK)
389 You desire us to understand that you were interfered with and men brought there without your knowledge who should not have been?- No, I merely mention that as an instance. I am coming to something more important. I have been attacked about this, and I was going on to tell what I saw. We then came to a hut, called Sherritt's, and as related by Captain Standish, the hut was empty. I would not mention such a thing as I am going to mention except that insinuations have been made that I had almost avoided meeting with the Kellys-it was insinuated yesterday. I knew nothing about what was going. I was riding by myself with two or three men near me, when Mr. Sadleir came up and said to me, "Now Mr Nicolson, this is the house of the Sherritts;" you will do this and you will do that, and the outlaws are said to be here. This hut was backed by a large paddock. I turned to Mr. Sadleir and said, "You send some men into that paddock, and see the men do not escape by the back;" and I said to two or three men about me, "You - (mentioning their names) come along with me;" and I galloped with those men to the hut at full speed. I found the cavalcade was so noisy-we were expecting to get these men asleep-and I called to the men to come with me, and I galloped to the front.
390 You singled out a few others to go with you?- Yes.
391 Where did this information come from?- Mr. Sadleir got some-
392 You knew nothing about the object of your ride that morning until just when you came a sight of the hut?- No, excepting that the Kellys were about; but I was told nothing about where we were going to or were likely to find them.
393 You did not know where you were going, and what was the object of the ride that morning, until you were told that was Sherritt's hut?- Yes.
394 Were you then acting under the control or under the orders of Captain Standish, or Mr Sadleir? Captain Standish says as follows:- "At 4am. we started from Beechworth, and made at once to the house of the Sherritt family, where, it was said, the outlaws had been. Arrived there very early in the morning, scattered our men around in the bush and sent a party of seven or eight men, under Mr. Nicolson, to search the house." Were you under his control, or were you not?- I received no instructions from Captain Standish.
395 Did he send you with eight men to search Sherritt' house?- No.
396 Then he is incorrect ?- That may be his impression, but it is not the case.....
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