Royal Commission report day 51 page 18
The Royal Commission evidence for 8/9/1881
(see also introduction to day 51)
Const Michael Twomey giving evidence
17421 They could have crossed the railway at some other point without running the risk of going through the creek?— Yes, there was the railway crossing.
17422 That confirmed in your mind that those were some persons endeavoring to evade the public eye?— Yes.
17423 Were you aware whether any of the Kelly gang knew of that crossing the difficulty of getting along it?— I did not know at the time that Steve Hart was a member of the gang. If I had, I would have known he was a resident of the place, and would have known on that account.
17424 When you returned did you hear of anything further having taken place?— I made enquiries of a woman on the way to this bridge, and she told me she heard the dogs bark about half-past two in the morning; and I could see I was only making things worse by making any further enquiries, and as I could do nothing alone, I returned back, and stated there was nothing more connected, but that they had passed there.
17126 What did he say?— I cannot say whether he went to Mr. Smith or rot.
17127 What did Walsh say?— I cannot say what he said at the time.
17428 Did he agree with you it was likely to be the outlaws?— I could not say at what time.
17429 Were you in Wangaratta on the 5th?— I was.
17430 Was there any talk about the pursuit on the 5th?— There were no steps taken on the 5th.
17431 When were the first steps taken?— The party left about 12.30 p.m. on the 6th, under the command of Inspector Smith, about mid-day.
17434 You were with the party that got the tracks to follow them up?— No.
17436 And Mr. Brooke Smith took charge of that?— Yes.
17437 Who was the senior officer in charge at Wangaratta on the 4th?— Inspector Smith.
17438 Any constable would have to take orders from him during the time of his presence in Wangaratta?— Yes.
17439 Come back to the massage you brought from Senior-Constable Steele did he express a strong opinion that the outlaws?— To the best of my belief he did. I would not swear it.
17440 Senior-Constable Steele did not go to the spot?— No, he did not leave the train.
17441 After you had seen the tracks, was it your impression those were the outlaws?— It was.
17442 Did you express your surprise at no action being taken in pursuing them?— I did.
17443 To whom?— To my comrades on the station. In fact, I was disgusted after my night's work. I was wet to the skin, and no steps taken after that.
17445 He did not then indicate any action to be taken beyond that?— No.
17446 Can you tell us of your own memory where Mr. Smith was on the 3rd?— He came into Wangaratta on the 1st November 1878 .
17447 Was he there on the 2nd and 3rd, and until the 6th?— Yes, he was. On his arrival at Wangaratta, I informed him that there was information that the gang were on the Wodonga flats, so he asked me to go to the railway station to get a truck ready to convey the horses by the next train the nearest way to the flats. We boxed the horses and went by the next train as far as Chiltern. There was a telegram there awaiting him and it instructed Mr. Smith and his men to remain at Wangaratta, and that Sergeant Harkin and Constable Twomey were to proceed to the Wodonga and to assist Kennedy and his party there.
17448 You are quite certain on that point, that between the 1st and the 6th of the month the Inspector was in Wangaratta, and did not leave it on any special duty?— No; he did not go outside the precincts of the town except to Chiltern. He went on the 1st, and returned then after two hours and a half.
17449 With that exception, was he away from Wangaratta from the 1st to the 6th?— No.
17450 We have it in Sergeant Steele's evidence (question No. 8863)—“I sent up word by a constable to tell him that it was undoubtedly the outlaws, that Steve Hart had piloted them over the bridge; and I: added, ‘Start at four in the morning, and you are bound to catch them on-the Warby Ranges ” —did Steele send that message?— No; I think it would be a very strange thing for him to say such a thing. If he thought they were the gang, why did not he follow them?
17451 What did he say when you said they were the gang?— He referred me to Mr. Brooke Smith.
17452 Did he say anything about Steve Hart?— I do not remember his saying a word about those parties.
17453 By the Commission (to Mr. Brooke Smith)— Do you desire to put any questions to the witness?— No, I believe he is a perfectly straightforward man, and knows what he did.
The witness withdrew.
Adjourned to to-morrow at Eleven o'clock .
[~[[see report of proceedings 8/9/81]|6567]~]
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