Royal Commission report day 50 page 7

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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

16890 Williamson 's report is dated the 16th; you received it on the 28th. It was posted to you that day, and you telegraphed a reply on the 29th?— Yes, that is what I mean, it was not sent to me till the 28th. It was this information, no doubt, that confused Captain Standish , and led to making the charge against me. Mr. Hare states that Captain Standish told him that I had received information as to an intended sticking up, and that Seymour bank was specially mentioned. This coupling of the two things gives color to my explanation of Captain Standish 's mistake. I considered, if I thought it connected with the Kellys at all, Mr. Wyatt's news of the cutting of the telegraph wires, as a ruse to draw us off more important information that we had received, and only a blind to take us off the scene of action.

16891 This paper of the 26th of November shows that information was in Mr. Hare's possession, and he had acted upon it on the 26th?— That information was sent to Mr. Hare at the depot before it was sent to me. I have now no doubt that it would have been wiser for one of us—either Mr. Sadleir or myself-to have remained at Benalla, although the men at Euroa could do nothing until daylight.

16892 What do you mean by saying, just previous to that, that you looked upon the cutting of the wires as a ruse?— That it was done by some of the sympathizers, with the view of distracting attention. After that was done in the dark, no pursuit could be instituted until daylight next morning. It has been stated that I ordered the men at Euroa to do nothing until my arrival there. I am not aware that there is any truth in that charge. It has also been affirmed that I allowed the men to go to sleep after only a few hours' work. The fact is, most of these men had only just come in from an expedition, and were worn out with fatigue. We were following the track, and thought it would lead to the fastness where they were concealed, and it led us back to this very spot, the old hut near where they committed the murders. The weather was excessively hot, the work was hopeless, the ground was so excessively dry. That was the year when there was a great drought and a great deal of rust through excessive heat in that country. This was the height of summer, and we were quite unable to make any headway at all. We simply, without the assistance of good trackers, could not do anything, and the same would occur again to-morrow under similar circumstances, unless we had skilled Queensland trackers, not such men as we had, or else that the police had exact information where to go to. I received the information that the Euroa bank had been robbed on the 10th December 1878 , as already stated. I left Benalla for Albury in company with Mr. Sadleir . When we arrived at Albury we received notice by telegram of the robbery of the Euroa bank, and immediately returned by express train from Wodonga. I was delayed a short time at Wangaratta, as I had to go to the hospital to try and get a black tracker there; but he was too ill to be of service, and I left him at the hospital. On arrival at Benalla I had to go on foot to the police station, a distance of about a mile, to see Sergeant Whelan who was in charge, and the clerk, Constable Maude . The only telegram I believe I sent on that occasion from Benalla to Mansfield was for two trackers to be sent by the Broken River , and Benalla to Euroa, to watch on that road.

16893 Did you sign any telegram?— I do not think I did, except the first one which I have no hesitation in admitting is mine.....

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