Royal Commission report day 31 page 9

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The Royal Commission evidence for 16/6/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 31)

[[../../people/peN_P/nicolsonPAC.html|'Charles Hope Nicolson]] ' giving evidence

12021 I go on to say, “This put us—Mr. Nicolson, Mr. Sadleir, and myself—on our guard that unless good reliable information came to us, we, I mean the party, should not go out”?— That is certainly correct; I can say that myself.

12022 In reference to this series of communications to the Queensland Government, do you not; remember me telling you that I knew there were a series of communication?— Yes.

12023 And complaining to you; mentioning my complaint to you, that I thought the private communications in reference to taking the men from under my charge was a very improper proceeding?— You complained of the attempts to take the men from under your charge. That is the complaint I showed to you in the first instanced when I came up there.

12024 But latterly, again, did I not state that I considered it very wrong of Captain Standish making communications at the time, just before the time of taking over Moses?— Yes.

12025 Will you inform the Commission about the fact of Moses' transfer from the Queensland police to the Victorian police?— There is a communication on the subject which speaks for itself; which I would rather have produced.

12026 There was a conversation I had with you when you presented that telegram to me, as a matter of courtesy. I said I would do nothing of the kind—did I say that “I will not hand over the men”?— I remember you making some objection to handing over the men.

12027 I said Captain Standish ought to have communicated with me?— Yes; but you did hand over the men.

12028 After you represented to me it would be advisable to do so, and I listened to you advice?— Yes. I think you considered that the man was not to be handed over until you left the colony. You were going away.

12029 During your stay at Benalla, did I ever inform you that Captain Standish and Mr. Hare had, on several occasions, wished me to join the Victorian force?— Yes; that Captain Standish and Mr. Hare had several times spoken of your joining the Victorian force–not in my presence–but you told me of this previous to my coming up there in July. I may state this also, that I was requested by Captain Standish to come up before he left. About the month of March I was requested by Captain Standish to come up and see him at Benalla about some business, and bring up some documents with me, which were referred to in my evidence, for his signature, and some other things. When I arrived he told me of the arrival of Queensland trackers; that they had been despatched that morning, Mr. O'Connor and Mr. Sadleir with the party. I had never seen Mr. O'Connor at this time, and he said he wished he had more officers of the same kind in the force. He said that to me on that day.

12030 By the Commission— Meaning by that smart young officers?— Yes.

12031 That is what you understood?— Yes.

12032 By Mr. O'Connor— Do you remember upon my senior-constable leaving the colony handing me a Victorian constable in his place?— I do, and I might mention the circumstances. You left your senior-constable at McIvor. You came up with Constable Kirkham in charge of your men. You related the circumstances under which you had left your senior-constable behind, and you requested that Constable Kirkham would replace him at the time for the present, and he was accordingly handed over to you. Kirkham was one of the party sent out to Lancefield.

12033 Is it possible that Constable Kirkham could have misunderstood the instructions?— No, not at all. I should tell you further about his instruction. Sergeant Whelan, part of whose duty it was to oversee everything on the station, on one occasion mentioned to me, and I have no doubt be did to Mr. Sadleir–I am not sure–some fault he had to find with Constable Kirkham. I do not know what it was; I think it was for being out too late at night, or something of that kind, and Constable Kirkham was disposed to repudiate Sergeant Whelan's supervision over him. Kirkham was sent for by me, or I went and saw him and spoke to him, and led him to understand that although he was detailed for the charge of your men and under your orders, that still he was also with an understanding with you that he was also under Sergeant Whelan's supervision–that it was the latter's duty to see that he performed his duty, and if not, to report him.

12034 Did not Kirkham get all his orders from me?— All his orders. He was not interfered with at all; he was left entirely as your sub-officer.

12035 Then it would be untrue for him to say that he never looked upon me as his superior officer?— It was untrue decidedly. It must be known to every constable at the station.

12036 By the Commission— In fact, was it to supply the same position of the old man?— Yes, exactly.

12037 By Mr. O'Connor— I make a statement here. Question 1112, I refer to the last day on which you were at Benalla:— “Mr. Nicolson, a short time after lunch, asked me to dinner at 7 o'clock to meet Mr. Hare, and I accepted his invitation; but about 5.50 p.m. Mr. Nicolson ran up to me, and told me he had to go to town by the six train, and therefore would have to put off the dinner; but he was going to write a note to Mr. Hare explaining his apparent rudeness.” Is that correct?— That is quite correct.....

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