Royal Commission report day 50 page 25

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Story of the KellyGang - the Royal Commission Report

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The Royal Commission evidence for 7/9/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 50)

[[../../people/peN_P/nicolsonPAC.html|Ass Com Charles Hope Nicolson]] giving evidence

17094 But those four men when I came up there were removed out of Aaron Sherritt's hut?— They ought to have been according to the orders.

17095 You say you were on the eve of capturing the Kellys when I relieved you?— Yes; not the slightest doubt.

17096 Were you ever before as near capturing the Kellys?— No.

17097 Do you remember the telegram Ward read here that the important time appeared to be near at hand, when you wrote to Ward to be cautious, that the important time appeared to be at hand in December 1879?— Yes.

17098 You thought the important moment then was near at hand?— I was very sanguine then, when we first began establishing the cave party.

17099 In August 1879 Mr.O'Connor writes to his Commissioner, “We expect to hear any moment about the outlaws”—had you surrounded them then?— I never said I “surrounded”; that was a fiction of your saying so. I never said I surrounded. I never said I had drawn a cordon round them.

17100 Can you remember how many agents you gave me over that day?— I mentioned about four or five.

17101 Stevens was one?— Yes.

17102 “Diseased stock” was two?— Yes.

17103 Who else?— “Renwick,” and there was Aaron Sherritt.

17104 You had discharged him?— I did not consider him discharged. It was merely the change that you would be responsible. I had never more than three or four agents at a time. I dropped them when I had done with them.

17105 Did you tell me when you relieved me?— Those were the men, and that the matter was going well at the time.

17106 Did you tell me when you relieved me that you had the outlaws very near you-that you could lay your hands upon them?— I did not use that expression.

17107 Did you give me to understand that you were nearly catching them, or that you knew exactly their movements, and everything concerning them?— I told you of hearing of them the previous week.

17108 That would not bring them nearer?— Would it not?

17109 You have heard that Jack Sherritt said, in November, they were within two miles of you?— I was hearing of them frequently then, but that was a different kind of tale altogether at that time.

17110 When you went up on the first and second occasion, had you not power to expend any money you chose upon agents?— No, I had not.

17111 Had you to apply to town before you employed an agent?— No.

17112 You employed any agent you thought fit?— I employed any agents I thought fit.

17113 You said in your evidence to-day that I had advantages that other officers had not—will you explain to the Commission what those advantages were at the depot?— There is every advantage, it is a pleasanter life, one of the most pleasant of lives. I do not know any position more enjoyable than in charge of the depot and the county of Bourke district.

17114 What advantages pecuniary or otherwise?— There were a great many advantages, such as go to make life more enjoyable. I do not suppose it was a place to make a fortune in.

17115 By the Commission. –It is a position that would be sought for by the officers?— Most certainly. It is the position next to the city officer; in fact there are many officers who would take it in preference to that.

17116 By Mr. Hare . –Had I not charge of the Kyneton district included in mine?— No doubt you had too large a district. but I believe you got stations added to your district in order to increase its importance, and to the detriment of the service, because you could not go to them all.

17117 By the Commission. –Was it at Mr. Hare 's instigation that those stations were added?— I know he was often very glad to take stations from others, without a murmur. Sandhurst , for instance. In fact, he was ready to take any station.

17118 By Mr. Hare . –Was not the Kyneton district broken up and put into the Bourke district?— A portion of it.

17119 Was not Kilmore added also?— Yes.

17120 Was not my district enlarged at the time that Mr. Sadleir complained of his being enlarged?— Yes

17121 Had I anything to do with the enlargement of my district?— I think you had. I think you wanted to make yours the largest in the colony, so as to make it appear you had more duty and your position more important than any other officer's. That is my candid opinion, as you have asked me.

17122 Was not all the south of the Yarra taken from me and given to Mr. Winch ?— Yes; I think so.

17123 You think I did all that for my own advantage, although increasing my travelling every month?— No; I say you could not do it; but you took a number of stations on you that you could not properly supervise.

17124 Did Mr. Sadleir take those on him?— No; I do not say so.

17125 Did I?— Yes, I think you did; there were several stations that you could have declined

17126 How could I, after Captain Standish told me to take them?— By mentioning it to Captain Standish and remonstrating.

17127 What station do you allude to?— Not any in particular. There were several in the Sandhurst district.

The witness withdrew.

Adjourned to to-morrow at Eleven o'clock .

[~[[see report of proceedings 7/9/81]|6553]~]

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8/9/1881 ....

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