Royal Commission report day 48 page 16

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The Royal Commission evidence for 1/9/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 48)

'Sup Francis Augustus Hare giving evidence'

16555 In one paragraph of your report, you say, when you took charge of your district, in 1880 no more was known of the outlaws or their movements than when you left Benalla twelve months before?— I remember saying that to Mr. Sadleir and Mr. O'Connor, “What more is known of the Kellys now than when I left twelve months ago?” and I got no answer.

16556 When you relieved me in June 1880, did you not learn all the information about “Diseased Stock”?— I did by letter.

16557 Did you not learn of that; was not that something more?— Nothing towards their capture. It was old and stale that they were to appear in armour.

16558 Did “Diseased Stock” come in and give you warning that they had gone out?— No; that there was likely to be an outbreak, and Mr. Sadleir said the man had said that, over and over again, for months.

16559 Did he not say he had learned in the beginning of the week that they were to go out within a week?— No; to break out shortly.

16560 Did you not say to Mr. Sadleir that it is very hard they should break out just now?— Yes. I said, “It is a very black look-out for me that this should take place directly I relieve Nicolson,” and he said, “Oh ! but that fellow has been giving the same information for months past.”

16561 Did you not also, in that correspondence with Ward, get some information about the breaking out?— Only that they were going to do something that would astonish the world, but they were always going to do that.

16562 Did not “Diseased Stock” warn you on the Thursday that they were to break out?— No, I do not think it.

16563 Did you send the warning round on that occasion to be on the alert? No, the men were all on the alert. Directly Aaron Sherritt was shot I said, “Look out, something is going to happen.”

16564 I asked why you took no notice under those circumstances if he told you the very day before Aaron was shot?— I say he did not tell me the day before he was shot. I do not think I saw that man a week before Aaron Sherritt was shot. I have only the recollection of seeing him once. I may have seen him twice—that once was about a week after Mr. Nicolson was relieved.

16565 Mr. Sadleir— I think there was another interview on the Thursday?— I think I have stated all about that in my evidence.

16566 By Mr. Nicolson to Mr. Sadleir— It is your impression that it was on the last Thursday before the murder?— That is my impression—surely there was an interview within a week previous to the murders.

16567 Mr. Hare— I got no information from that man that would cause me to circulate to the out-stations to be on the alert, because our men were always being told that, and I would not do that unless I got some positive information.

16568 By Mr. Nicolson— You say in the last paragraph of your report:— “I said also it was a general belief that the outlaws were afraid to show out because of the trackers, and in my opinion, if such was the case, the sooner Mr. O'Connor and men were removed the better, because, should the gang make a raid, there would be a probability of capturing them, but as long as they remained in the mountains we had little chance of finding them. Mr. Ramsay agreed with me in this opinion. I frequently expressed the same opinion to you in the last few months. The trackers were removed on the 25th June; the outlaws believing they had left for Queensland , showed out on the 26th”?— Yes, what about it?

16569 You say in your evidence that the trackers were frequently out?— No, I do not.

16570 You said you were told by Bracken that the outlaws, when they had the prisoners in, were speaking of “having the Inspector,” and did not know why there was such a down on you for the trackers, and they also spoke of destroying Mr. O'Connor and the trackers?— Yes.

16571 How do you account for the contradiction?— I merely stated facts, that I had brought a certain matter under the notice of the Chief Secretary, and those things turned out as I expected, that the outlaws did show directly the blacks were away from Benalla.

16572 Was it because the blacks had gone away?— No, I will not say that—there was only the coincidence.

16573 Are you not aware that the trap laid at Glenrowan for the police was laid also for the destruction of the black-trackers?— So it was said—I said that in my evidence.

16574 This was written on the 2nd July?— Yes, and every word of it is true.....

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