Royal Commission report day 47 page 5

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The Royal Commission evidence for 31/8/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 47)

F. C. Standish giving evidence

16035 I have a letter here from Mr. Wallace, dated August 29th 1881, in which he gives his version of the interview, and refers to other matters.—[The letter was read to the witness].—Is that a correct statement?— Yes. I think I have made a mistake. I think that the communication that Byrne would not consent was made in writing, but I am not quite certain.

16036 As to the other statements in that letter, so far as you are concerned, are they true?— They are almost true. There are some few things that are not exactly correct. On the whole they are true.

16037 Now you say you paid some small sums?— Yes, not to any large amount.

16038 You were there up till when?— The end of June; but my disbursements for secret-service money were very small.

16039 There is an account here mentioned for 156 days. That would be the whole time you were there. The precise amount is £473 19s?— Yes.

16040 In your evidence (question No. 43) I find something on which I think the Commission will certainly require some information. I find that you are just as lavish in your praise of Mr. Hare as you were in blame of Mr. Nicolson : “I need not say I was most ably seconded by Mr. Hare , who not only never spared himself in any kind of way, but was most indefatigable in the pursuit of the outlaws. Not only was he most active and energetic, but he was so popular with the men under him that they would have done anything in the world for him. In fact, he treated the men under him like friends, not like dogs.” The Commission will require an explanation of that?— An explanation of what?

16041 As to one man “treating them like men” and another “like dogs.” You held a very responsible position, and a statement like that ought not to go to the public without full justification?— I do not want to say anything against Mr. Nicolson, but if you insist upon my speaking I must do so. Shortly after Mr. Nicolson took charge, on the occasion of my first visit to Benalla, I went to the office the following morning and had a long talk with him, and then we went to the stables, where all the horses were in rather a rough state, and I said, “I want to see this horse out” and said to a constable “Lead him out,” and it seemed that Mr. Nicolson had given orders that everybody taking a horse out of the stable was to stand in front of him and hold him with both hands. The language that Mr. Nicolson used to that man for not doing that was really positively disgraceful.

16042 What were the words?— I cannot remember the words, but it was most violent language.

16043 We have many statements about Mr. Nicolson in this evidence that are very vague, but they convey a very bad impression. We want to get evidence. I need not tell you that the impression left on my mind is that those statements were intended to leave a bad impression?— I assure you that I have uttered nothing but what I meant, and what I stick to and adhere to, and what I believe to be true.

16044 What did Mr. Nicolson say to that man?— I cannot remember the words, but it was the most violent language I ever heard.

16065 Is that the only instance?— There are many instances I could quote, but of things that occurred not in my presence.

16046 Do you remember who the constable was?— No, I forget that. It was one of the mounted constables on duty.

16047 It is very unsatisfactory to put a charge like that on the book?— I shall be glad for that to be erased if you wish.

16048 Was it his general demeanour?— I was very little with him, but I have heard so many things about him in that way that I know they are true.

16049 Where did you hear them?— From members of the force.

16050 Can you name anyone that can give evidence of that?— I should not like to name any man, because it might compromise his position.

16051 We have had evidence from plenty of members of the force, and no man's position would be compromised by giving the name?— I would rather not say anything about the constable. It might possibly do him harm

16052 Did you not consider, when you made that statement, the injury that it would possibly do Mr Nicolson?— A man very often says a thing on the spur of the moment.

16053 This was not said on the spur of the moment?— Where a man has to make a lengthened statement before a Commission and has not had time to prepare.

16054 There is a clear plan running through your evidence, and that plan is to elevate Mr. Hare and depress Mr. Nicolson . I ask any man to read that, and if he does not rise up from the reading of it with that impression I do not understand his mental power?— With all due deference, I stick to what 1 said. I have no occasion to change my opinion.....

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