Royal Commission report day 37 page 34
The Royal Commission evidence for 20/7/1881
(see also introduction to day 37)
SConst Patrick Mullane giving evidence
13663 That is the rooks; all the sides are very precipitous and steep—they are about what height?— They are very high.
13664 Are they nearly perpendicular?— There is only a little place that you can ride a horse, and then it takes a sure-footed mountain horse.
13667 Down the steepest part—you say you doubt it very much?— Yes; all would depend on his horse.
13668 You know what sort of horses the Kellys had, and the class of men they were?— Yes.
13669 What chance would our men have in pursuing them through rocky, stony, rangy country?— There are some of our men who, if they had good horses, are better horsemen than they were, I have no doubt of it. I have hunted kangaroo with them, and I never saw them stop at anything.
13670 Are you aware, after the cave was abandoned, that some handwriting was discovered—did you hear of that?— I heard something about some letter being picked up on the flat beyond where the cave was; but who told me about it I could not tell. I did not hear whose letter it was, but a letter belonging to some one of the police.
13671 Did you hear what man?— No; I would not be certain if it was not Ward who told me, or some one of the Sherritts.
13672 When the cave party were in existence, and the relief party were in here, I was very often coming up to Beechworth?— Yes.
13673 Was I in the habit of conversing with those men?— Yes, you were, sometimes in my presence, and at other times wherever you met them, in the yard.
13674 Had they an opportunity of telling me anything they wished to report to me—anything particular?— Yes.
13675 They had every encouragement?— They had every advantage as far as I was concerned, because I would leave any man free to speak of any matter; if it was a private matter I would leave him free to do so.
13676 Did you ever hear anything from Sherritt to lead you to suppose that Mrs. Byrne had discovered the cave party?— No, I heard nothing to lead me to believe the police were discovered in the cave or in Sherritt's house, and from the conversations I have had with Mrs. Byrne since, I am still more convinced that the presence of the police at either place was not known to her.
13679 Did you that afternoon receive a telegram?— I did.
13680 From whom?— From Mr. Nicolson .
13681 Is that the one I sent to the Commission?— Yes.
13682 That was giving you directions to do what?— I would wish to see the telegram; it was to send back Armstrong to the station; that there was no more money available for “ Tommy or his friends.” We used to call Sherritt Moses and Tommy and all names:— “Send Constable Armstrong back to his station; withdraw the watch party and send them to duty.” Armstrong was one of the men in charge
13684 You received an order to send him from Beechworth to Wahgunyah?— Yes.
13685 Then what else?— To withdraw the watch party that was in the house. I may state that the watch party had been withdrawn from the house the morning, or the morning before, I got this telegram. It was withdrawn by order, I was informed, of Mr. Nicolson ; that he told Sherritt to go back to the hut and tell the men to come back.
Mr. Nicolson . —I am glad that has come out, as I had forgotten it.
The Witness —When Mr. Nicolson came up with the party of black trackers, he came to Sebastopol from Everton, and after the tracks were looked into, Sherritt was with him, he sent Sherritt back to the hotel to tell the men to return to Beechworth.....
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