Royal Commission report day 37 page 4

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The Royal Commission evidence for 20/7/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 37)

Const Robert Alexander giving evidence

13058 What did Arthur understand him to mean by that?— That the Byrnes had seen him there, and they would lay the outlaws on to him.

13059 You may read your report;–[ The witness read as follows]–“I arrived in Wangaratta about 4th of November 1878; was one of Inspector. Smith's search party.”

13060 Were you out with Mr. Smith when he was out on the Warby Ranges ? — Yes, I was.

13061 Did you follow up tracks then?— We did. We came on some tracks of horses; we followed them up to a gully near Mr. Newcombe 's –the black boys them there, it coming on dark. We stopped at Mr. Newcombe 's that night, and the party came into Wangaratta the next day, and never went back to search for the tracks.

13062 Were you not with the party that went out the second time to get on that track?— I do not remember.

13063 Were you with the party that found the lost horse?— Yes; I started with the first party– about eleven of us altogether.

13064 How long did you follow those tracks up?— I think they were followed up for two or three days,

13065 Were you allowed to remain out on the track to commence early in the morning?— No; we always came into Wangaratta every evening.

13066 How far away were you?— It might be ten or twelve miles.

13067 Then you rode that distance, and back the next morning, to get to the same point?— Yes.

13068 Did you get out as early as you arranged?— No; he always woke us early, and kept us waiting for two or three hours. We would be up at four or fire, and Mr. Smith would not start till eight or nine in the morning.

13069 Was he called?— Yes, some man called him.Johnson was senior man in the party.

13070 Do you know whether Johnson called him or not?— I could not say for certain. We all clubbed together, and told him one day it was no use going with him; we said we had better go home. I think Johnson and Constable Couch were spokesmen.

13071 And you all led him to understand that he was not leading you after the Kellys, as he said?— We had to get up at four, or five, or six, and we would not start till eight or nine, waiting for him.

13072 Did you come close upon the tracks at any time–where you say the black boys lost it–did you come to the scrub where they were afraid to enter?— No; we came down to this gully, and the black boys got on their knees, and got their revolvers out. They would not go before us; we had always to go beside them–that was in the gully by Newcombe's. That was the last of the tracks.

13073 Did you continue to follow them yourselves?— The black boys lost them at the gully by the sheep tracks, and, as it came on evening, Mr. Smith said we had better stop at Newcombe's station, that was about half a mile from the gully.

13074 Did you go for the tracks next morning?— No, we went back to Wangaratta. I cannot remember the route exactly.

13075 Do you think you could have followed the tracks yourself?— A flock of sheep had passed over. I do not know what we could have done the next day, but in the evening we could see them for they were quite fresh, but the black boys were awfully frightened. I was told since that the Kellys were not a mile off at the time in fact, Newcombe told me himself that they were in the ranges at that time.

13076 Did he tell you that night?— No. Ned Kelly also told a party that he saw us there, and that he would have killed four of the party if each of the others would take two of us.

13077 What condition was the horse in that was picked up?— Its feet were very sore, all cut with stones, bleeding.

13078 All the appearance of being recently left behind?— Yes.

13079 What officers were with you when you left the tracks that night?— Inspector Brook Smith was in charge, Senior-Constable Johnston, and other constables.

13080 Were there any other officers with you?— No. Was Sergeant Steele at Wangaratta at that time?— I could not say.

13081 Was Sergeant Steele at Wangaratta at that time?— I could not say.....

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