Royal Commission report day 49 page 10
Story of the KellyGang - the Royal Commission Report
The Royal Commission evidence for 6/9/1881
(see introduction to day 49)
Sup John Sadleir giving evidence
16717 About what time would it take to get them up again, in case anything did occur?— The shortest time it could take would be four or five hours.
16718 A day or two?— Yes; but they are things that ought to be on the ground, that the men the ground should be occasionally exercised in the use of them, such as pitching a tent.
16719 They could have been kept as safely there as in the depot?— Certainly. When I found the Government ready to allow sufficient means to carry on the work, I was most anxious to return to the district, and told Mr. Berry in the presence of Mr. Chomley . If the officers who preceded me in that district had acted in the same resolute and independent manner, and forced the head of the department to face the difficulty of the situation, there would have been no Kelly outbreak. I think the Commission will support me in that, that if there was proper provision insisted on by the officers in charge there would have been no outlawry, and no murder of the police, and no Glenrowan to follow. I hope, after so many years of service, without a single slur being cast on my character, public or private, I can afford to feel unconcerned about the statements made by Mr. Winch . The Chairman tore up his evidence, after kindly allowing me to read it, but as it has been read by the Commission, I will say this only on the subject: If Mr. Winch can find one respectable person in or out of the police force to corroborate his statements, I am ready to resign my position forthwith. That is all I wish to say, except to answer any questions the Commission may wish to put to me.
16720 By Mr. Nicolson — In your main examination you disputed my being ignorant of what we were going to do when we came to Sherritt's hut in the Sebastopol matter. You alluded to your telegram to me as being sufficient to show that. Do you withdraw that now?— I do not exactly remember what I did say, so I had better look at that.
16721 “Very positive information that Kellys are concealed in range near here. My informant is not quite sober, and has been talking rather openly, but I am convinced his information is genuine; but it may be too late a day or two. I have but two constables here, and the hiding place is most difficult to approach. I have endeavored to communicate with Steele's party of thirteen men, six of which I can be sure of coming, but I think you should send all you can by special to reach here before day; mounted, and of course armed, and bring tracker. Reply.” I think you stated in your answer, “Is it a fact that Mr. Nicolson had received no information from you who, he says, was in charge of that particular party, until you arrived in sight of the first hut?— Well, in the first place, Mr. Nicolson had received a telegram. That is the foundation, and when explaining matters more fully on their arrival at the platform, I thought Mr. Nicolson was standing by—my impression was that he was standing by, and naturally would catch up what was said, and I took it for granted that he heard, as well as Captain Standish, what I said, which was simply an enlargement of the telegram I sent”?— The facts remain the same as they did then. I only say it was my impression when Captain Standish and I were speaking.
I6722 Is there anything in that telegram to show me anything about the Sherritts?— Certainly you could not learn from this telegram, without something further, what was going to be done, and I thought you had that explanation which it appears you had not.
16724 Will you relate to the Commission what took place on that occasion, and what testimony was given by Captain Standish on that subject?—
The Commission — What time was this?
Mr. Nicolson — Mr. Sadleir will give the date.
The witness — I think the correspondence on that subject ought all to be collected. I think there are letters from me.
16725 By the Commission— That was after the Glenrowan affair altogether?— Yes. Mr. Nicolson asked me latterly if I ever wrote to Captain Standish on the subject, and I said I thought not. Since I find by reference to old letters that there was some communication between me and Captain Standish on the subject. If the Commission has not the letter it must be a private letter, and I do not think I can remember what it was about, and I would not be prepared to answer the question without looking over some files.
16726 Will you tell the Commission what occurred at the interview I have mentioned?— I was with Captain Standish one day in my own office. Detective Ward was called in, and he was asked his opinion about the fitness of one or both of the Sherritts ( Jack Sherritt was one certainly) for the police force. Detective Ward , after some little hesitation at first, said that he did not think they should be taken on in the police force. He mentioned some matters, which were in my recollection not long ago, but I cannot call them to mind at this moment. Ward did mention about some sheep-killing business, which has been mentioned before the Commission. I thought he said it was Constable Falkiner Canny that saw Sherritt skinning the sheep, and he also mentioned about a saddle-cloth being, traceable in some way to his possession.
16727 That was Aaron Sherritt?— No, Jack Sherritt.
16728 With reference to the sheep?— That was in reference to Jack Sherritt, but Ward's principal objection was, on account of their criminal relations and connections, that they were not fit for the police force. I think that is a very serious objection to a man entering the police force.....
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