Royal Commission report day 43 page 3

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The Royal Commission evidence for 4/8/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 43)

[[../../people/peB/bolam.html|Mr Thomas Bolam]] giving evidence

15073 Then if during this time he wrote to the police that, through his having been away from his school so much, he would lose at least £10 in results, that would not be true, according to your statement in those half-time schools. He wrote to the police that, through his having assisted them, he would lose about £10 in results, from the children being backward in their education through his having spent so much time?— It is difficult for me to say what his results might have been.

15074 But in the half-time schools he had no results?— He was paid a special salary, not in accordance with results at all, so any statement to that effect would not be correct, because he was in receipt of a special salary, which was not interfered with by results.

15075 Could you inform us who conveyed the information to you that Wallace was a schoolfellow of Byrne's that led you to form your suspicions?— I could mention the name, but I think it is undesirable it should be mentioned; I should not like it to appear. It was in the course of private information in the office.

15076 Not through any of the police authorities?— Not through the police at all. I learned it quite casually from a member of Parliament, and then I followed it up.

15077 How long before this interview with Captain Standish did you receive the first intimation of Wallace's sympathy with the outlaws?— Only a very few days, because I at once set myself to work to look up reports, which I have referred to, and I looked up correspondence which is at present before the Commission, which confirmed me in my suspicions, and when I saw there was some ground for my suspicions, I at once thought it my duty to state to Captain Standish what I knew.

15078 Officially, the department, until the time you speak of, had received no information in writing of the suspicions about Wallace?— We have never received any information; the first was in the Argus report of the evidence given yesterday.

15079 As far as the opinion of the department towards this man was concerned, did they look upon him as a man with a good character?— He had always stood well with us.

15080 A man of good character?— A man of good character, and a zealous teacher.

15081 Here is a letter of his, February 17th 1880 — “The school inspector is to examine my pupils on Thursday. It will take all my time to prepare for it. As it is I shall lose from £5 to £10 in results through being so much engrossed in your affairs.” He was nominally working for nothing, for expenses only, but in reality almost every letter he has sent here made a demand for money, and he got about £80 from the police for his services. Do you know anything of his brother's relations with the outlaws?— I know nothing about the brother. I suppose you mean William Wallace . There are two brothers, one a pupil-teacher in the Eldorado school, and another holding the position of head teacher in the neighborhood. It was for one of those brothers he wished the position at Hurdle Creek to be kept.

15082 He was capable of being placed in that position.?— I cannot say he had a claim for so good an income, being a young teacher.

15083 Did it strike you the connection of the post office and the half-time school with his brother might serve almost as well as if he were there himself?— I saw that at once when he applied for the school, the Benalla East school. We were about to establish a school there, and I mention this as the ground of my suspicions. Mr. James Wallace strained every nerve to secure that appointment for himself, but in his correspondence he showed a very great anxiety for us to put his brother into his place at Hurdle Creek. I thought that was unusual, and that there must be some grounds for his showing this great anxiety, and my mind seemed to be satisfied that he was anxious to be in a position like Benalla, where he could get constant information and assist the outlaws still further, and at the same time he was able to communicate with them through Hurdle Creek and Bobinawarra schools. His letters applying for the Benalla East school were of such a character as to lead me to be very suspicious that he had some ulterior object in view.

15084 Had you been made acquainted at that time that he was and had been for a long time in communication with Mr. Nicolson, then acting in the North-Eastern District, and supposed to be assisting him in capturing the outlaws, would you not have rather acceded to his request than otherwise?— If I was certain he was assisting the police, I should have taken no steps to prevent him, but my private opinion was he was acting in a friendly relation with the outlaws.

15085 You were not made acquainted with the fact that for months previous he had been in constant communication with the officer in charge?— I was not aware of that.

15086 From what has since come under your observation, would you have acceded to his request if you had the same information then that you now have?— If I had I should certainly have taken the steps I did.

15087 You have arrived at the conclusion that Wallace, although ostensibly assisting the police, was not acting fairly by them?— I do not know whether I am justified in saying I have arrived at that conclusion, that is my private impression. I have heard all sorts of rumors, and I am quite satisfied in my own mind that he has been at heart ready at all times to assist the outlaws.....

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