Royal Commission report day 9 page 6
The Royal Commission evidence for 6/4/1881
(see also introduction to day 9)
Francis Augustus Hare giving evidence
1615 And appeared as a charge against the time you were in command?— Yes, certainly. Again, he gave in his evidence the estimates of the cost of the three different periods. And then again, the period he was in charge was paid some time during the time I was in charge, but I incurred no expense whatever, beyond a few pounds for secret service money. Continuing the system that had been in vogue prior to my going there, I had employed, I think, one new agent two or three days before the Kellys were destroyed, and if there was any expense during my time it must hare been for special trains during the day of the capture of the Kellys—a good number were used on that occasion. Again, Mr. Nicolson says, “He was determined to prevent them making any raid and felt quite capable of doing so. Succeeded in that.” I now say I was most anxious that the outlaws should make a raid, because we knew they would go to townships where there were banks, and I looked upon a bank as a trap to catch the outlaws, either going in or coming away; it would give us au opportunity of finding out something about their whereabouts, which we were much in want of. Mr. Nicolson again says, “The principal and most active of these sympathizers told the outlaws they must get some more money, that they must go and ‘do a bank.’” Previous to my being removed, I suppose about three or four months after the Jerilderie robbery, every full moon we used to hear reports from the sympathizers. All their depredations were committed at full moon, because they had to ride through the night—generally two days after the full moon, and also generally about Saturday and Sunday and Monday—those were their lucky days. Then he says, “Soon after I heard of Dan Kelly and Steve Hart calling at a man's house near Chiltern. They were described to me as being in a very emaciated state and asking for food.” Now Bracken says, when he saw the outlaws at Glenrowan hotel, the night he was captured there, he said they were stout and well, and that Dan Kelly had grown into a stout man since he last saw him. Ned Kelly was described by the doctors in Melbourne as being in magnificent condition, and as one said, “Fit to run for the Melbourne Cup.” Again, Mr. Nicolson says, “When I reported this to Captain Standish he instructed me to remove the party at once. He told me the organization of the secret cave party was known in the Richmond Police Depot and was no secret at all.” I told Captain Standish that I had been told that the men were living in the cave, by a constable stationed sixty miles from Beechworth, and that this man who knew it had been conversing about it at the depot.
1616 How did he gain that information?— I did not ask him.
1617 By Mr. Nicolson. —Give the name of the constable?— I do not wish to give the name. He is in the position that he may be found fault with and something done to him. Of course, I will give the name if the Commission wish me to do so; but I ask for the name not to be divulged. The men were in the cave for five months, and I defy Mr. Nicolson to have parties of four men on and four off, under such circumstances, and not get it known to the police generally.
1618 By the Commission. —After the constable told you, you communicated that you had been told by him, to Captain Standish?— Yes. I said, “If Mr. Nicolson is under the impression that the cave affair is secret, he is mistaken. I heard it from the constable here, and it is talked about in the barracks;” and, on that, Captain Standish wrote to Mr. Nicolson, and told him it was known all about the barracks. I did not ask the constable where he got it or when. I may explain a little more. A short time ago a constable mentioned a fact to me regarding the occupation of this cave. He said to me, when we were removed from that cave, we were told to be careful what we said as to the public knowing that we were there. I and other constables sent in reports to Senior-Constable Mullane, at Beechworth, giving our opinions that it was known by the public that we were there. He said, “After I sent in my report, it was returned to me with a memo., saying that was not what they wanted. He was led to believe further (not through the memo.) that Mr. Nicolson would be much annoyed if such a report was sent, and they were ordered by the senior constable at Beechworth to send in other reports.” He said that Ward came to him and said, “ I beg of you and pray that you will not state in your report that the public knew, of your being at the cave some time ago, because if Mr. Nicolson hears that he will be awfully annoyed with me.” Now, I will give the names of the constables who sent in reports that were returned to them; one was Falkner and the other— no, I am at a loss, but Falkner can tell you the name.
1619 Detective Ward can give the full information about that?— No doubt he can. Falkner said to me, “Of course, if I am called upon to produce the document, I have the document in my possession, and can show it to the Commission with the minute upon it.” I did not look at it, but I said, if the Commission want it you will have to produce it.
1620 This has reference to the charge of interference with him made by Mr. Nicolson against Captain Standish?— Yes.
1621 Those constables will be able to prove that that information about the cave was known generally amongst the police?— Yes, and that Falkner told me he had a letter in his pocket which was returned to him by Mullane, and subsequently seen by Detective Ward.
1622 To Mr. Nicolson. —Will you hand in a list of the names of the eight men who were engaged in the cave?— I will do so.
The Witness . —I might throw a little further light on the subject. I wish to make one remark for that purpose; that is, that there were others besides those eight men engaged in the matter; there were men carrying food, and the whole of the Sherritt family, consisting of seven or eight daughters, —Sherritt himself and the whole family knew it, and they were in constant communication with Mrs. Byrne. They used to convey the provisions up to the cave, and with seven or eight girls, ranging from eighteen to six years old in constant communication with the Byrne family, how is it possible to know who it was divulged by? Again, Mr. Nicolson says, “I kept Sherritt on my own responsibility, paying him out of my own pocket, trusting that the Government would reimburse me.” I was in the same position as Mr. Nicolson; I paid for secret service out of my own pocket; but on the second occasion I went up I told the accountant in the pay-office that I had no money and could not afford it, and he then gave me a credit of £40......
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