Royal Commission report day 8 page 7
The Royal Commission evidence for 5/4/1881
(see also introduction to day 8)
Francis Augustus Hare giving evidence
1506 Where did the bullet enter?—[The witness showed his wrist.]—I was hit when running up, and carrying my gun in this position ready to fire, with the hammer on full cock, and my finger in this way. I generally carry my arm further advanced than most people do, and the bullet entered there—[describing the same by gesture]. In the middle of the second or third round—perhaps three or four—I heard, when we replied to the shots from the verandah, the shrieks of women and children inside—of persons inside. I cannot say women and children, perhaps the better word will be persons inside. As long as the firing continued on the verandah, I continued firing at those who were firing at us. I had but one thought, to keep firing as long as those men kept firing at us. In the middle of the firing a man called out, “Fire away, you; you can do us no harm.” That man was standing about, I should fancy, five or six yards from the other three. It was the man that fired at me, for, after firing at me, he retreated backwards into the verandah. One of the police (I afterwards found that his name was Gascoigne, who was in my party), called out, “That is Ned Kelly's voice” Suddenly the firing cessed, and I imagined that I saw the people going into the house. I am not quite certain of that; I imagine that; that is a fact not impressed on my mind.
1507 That is the firing into the verandah?— Yes. The firing ceased, and I imagined the persons had gone inside the house. I called out to Senior-constable Kelly, “Kelly, surround the house, and for God's sake take care those fellows do not escape.” I told my men previously that I had been shot in the wrist, and I said, “Kelly, be careful that those fellows do not escape; I am going to have my arm tied up.” I left the ground then where I had stood. I declare positively I never moved from the spot until the firing had ceased. I returned to the railway station, and on my way there I saw Mr. O'Connor coming up, running from the direction of the station towards Jones's hotel. He was in a crouching position with his head down, in that way—[describing the same]—and as I passed him I called out, “O'Connor, the beggars have shot me in the arm.” I do not remember that he made any reply to me. I got on to the platform, and I found the reporters there collected together. I said, “Will some of you gentlemen bind up my hand? I have been shot in the wrist.” I was bleeding most profusely. I felt it from the very first, from the moment I received the shot, that the blood was spurting from me as if out of a spout. One gentlemen, I think it was Mr. Carrington—I had never seen any of them before in my life—got a handkerchief and boned up my arm, assisted by some other gentleman. I felt no faintness whatever then; I felt as well as I do at the present moment; and I remember distinctly being as collected as I am at this present moment when I went on to that platform. I knew Mr. Melvin, of the Argus; he came up and patted me on the back, like that—[illustrating the same]—whilst my arm was being bandaged, and he said, “Well done, Hare, you have managed this affair as you have everything else you have undertaken.” I had once before seen him, and that was on the occasion of the Lancefield robbery. The other three gentlemen of the press I had never seen before in my life. I state this in consequence of a remark that was made when the next morning the papers came out in my favor. I never saw one of the reporters after I left the platform, to my recollection. I may have seen them when I was in bed, but I do not recollect ever seeing them. After my hand was bandaged, I started off with the intention of going round the sentries, and as I was passing a certain spot in front of the hotel, somewhere near where I had seen Mr. O'Connor running up, Senior-constable Kelly called out to me, “Mr. Hare, we are short of ammunition; please have some served out to us.” Mr. Rawlins, overhearing this, said to me, “I will take it round to them, if you like.” I said, “Yes, do if you please, you will find it in the guard's van.”
1508 Was that on your return?— Yes. I then proceeded to do as I intended to have done, that was to post the men, commencing from where I had left the ground before, and when I had got into the open space of ground I felt as if I was getting very weak, and I began to stagger. I might tell you here there is something wrong with my heart, the doctors told me at home, and I felt my heart throbbing tremendously. I determined then to go and sit quiet for a little while and keep my heart quiet, because I had been rushing about a good deal, backwards and forwards. I went up to a fence, I do not know where the fence is, but I know it has a top rail and several wires; that was to the rear of the railway station. I tried to get through this wire fence. I had my gun in my right hand, and I got half my body through, and then I found my hand hanging listlessly beside me, and when I lifted it up it dropped down and I could not get it through the wire fence. I drew back again, and I sat down then for I think about ten minutes behind a tree, and I had full command of the house at this time.
1509 In view?— Yes, in view under my rifle, so that if anything turned up I could have fired. I am giving this from my recollection, I have not been there since. Whilst I was lying there my hand was hanging listlessly beside me. I saw a stream of blood running down. It struck me that this could not last very long, that the blood was flowing so freely, and I thought I had better return to the platform. I had great difficulty in getting to the platform, and just as I got under the verandah of the station I called out to somebody, some of the people on the station, “Catch me, please,” and with that I dropped down on the top of a lot of bags or sacks; I remember dropping on something. I remained there; I do not know how long. whether I fainted or not I do not know, but at all events the next thing I remember was I was sitting in a railway carriage with the ladies that were there.....
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