The Argus at KellyGang 18/6/1881 (2)
Mr Stanhope O'Connor further deposed - Stated in my report that a private quarrel occurred between Mr Hare and myself. It was made up, and did not affect our official relations. Captain Standish took Mr Hare's part, but when Mr Hare and I were again on friendly terms, amicable relations were not resumed between Captain Standish and myself. Captain Standish's communications to the Queensland Government adverse to me were influenced by the private quarrel. Previously, Captain Standish had pressed me frequently to enter the Victorian force. After the quarrel, Captain Standish's demeanour to me completely altered. Hare said that Captain Standish would not allow me to go out with only the trackers and two white men, and, at the same time, he said we were useless, because the parties we sent out in were so large. It was he who compelled the parties to be large. Could not trust the trackers to do the watch- ing at night, and that was why I wanted two white constables. He said I must take six or seven white men. He told Mr Sadleir he was not over me. He said a couple of trackers would be sufficient for any search party, and that would not allow my men to be worked without myself, which was not correct. I objected to a permanent separation of the trackers. Fancied he wanted them separated in order to show that my services were no longer necessary.
At Glenrowan I did not go through he wicket gate of the railway fence with Mr Hare towards the hotel at the first rush. Mr Hare had not passed through the gate when he was wounded. Was five yards from him, and will swear he never loaded his gun after he was wounded. Mr Hare under- valued my services very considerably in his report on the Glenrowan affair. Never heard it hinted, until very recently, that I was not an officer in the Victorian force. Considered I was officer in charge at Glenrowan after Mr Hare left until Mr Sadleir's arrival. After the first firing I gave several orders to the men. I challenged the women as they came out of the hotel. Senior-constable Kelly conferred with me. He eaid he would go to the rear, and I said I would remain in the front. Did not think anything more was to be done until daylight than guarding the front and rear. I agreed lately to accept a position in the Victorian force. Would not have accepted a position lower than that of a sub-inspector. Would not take any rank under that of inspector, and would not have taken that if it related to the trackers only. Stipulated it should be an ordinary inspectorship, and a permanent one. As to my position at Glenrowan being a safe one, a tracker was wounded alongside of me. The Police department have refused to pay the bill of the doctor who attended to that boy. The bill amounted to £4 4s. But Mr Hare's doctors' bill, which amounted to over £600, was paid.
The commission adjourned until 11 o'clock next morning.
Present - Messrs Longmore (chairman), Anderson, Graves, and Hall, MLA's
Superintendent Sadleir , recalled by Mr O'Connor said – Mr O'Connor always wished to work w ith small parties and never showed a want of courage. Once Captain Standish said Mr O'Connor was to be in charge of a party of which witness was one, but witness did not object, because he did not want to have a dispute with Captain Standish before Mr O'Connor, and because, after all, it was not in the power of hne permanent head of the department, of his own motion, to appoint a junior over a senior. Captain Standish sent Inspector Brook Smith away on a long trip once to keep him out of the Kelly business. Captain Standish showed a want of interest in his work, which was remarked by the officers. The trackers were likely to work better under an officer like Mr O'Connor, who understood them, than under one who did not understand them. The Victorian men did not understand how to handle the trackers. When armed resistance was to be expected, the trackers ought not to be separated.
At Glenrowan Mr O'Connor assisted witness and witness communicated with him. After the publication of the Governor's first letter on the Glenrowan affair, in which all the credit was given to Mr Hare, witness complained to Captain Standish that full information could not have been given to His Excellency, as his (witness's) and Mr O'Connor's services were not mentioned, and Mr Hare was really not present at the capture or destruction of the gang. Captain Standish said Mr Nicolson and witness were too — — jealous of Mr Hare. Afterwards the Governor wrote a second letter in which witness and Mr O'Connor's services were mentioned. Captain Standish's temper became infirm.
Mr O'Connor (to the Commission) -The trackers would become thoroughly demoralised if separated into parties of two or three. They ought not to be in parties of less than five or six. Witness had been eight years in the Queensland native police force. If two or three men, who were blood relations were together, they would get on right enough, but if six men were picked up promiscuously, they might not be in the slightest degree related, or might even be enemies, and then they would become demoralised, or per- haps commit murder. The blacks tracked by sight only. The best white tracker witness had seen was not equal to the worst tracker witness had ever had under him.
Nicolson , recalled and cross examined by Mr O'Connor, said – Recollected Mr O'Connor saying to him that Captain Standish seemed to object to his being sent out on any good information. Witness replied that it was a very unfair thing, and that he would give him every information he had. Mr O'Connor said that Captain Standish told him he would endeavour to catch the Kellys without hia valuable assistance. That was when they sent police to a hut where they could watch Byrne's house. Was informed, but not officially, that the black trackers did good work in connexion with the Lancefield bank robbery. Witness and Mr Sadleir certainly arrived at the conclusion that unless good information was received there was no use of the black trackers going out. Remembered Mr O'Connor objecting to hand over his trackers to the Victorian Government, but he explained that he was willing to help the Government as much as possible. Was also told by Mr O'Connor that Captain Standish and Mr Hare had spoken to him several times about joining the Victorian force. Captain Standish was then in the district, and had ample opportunity of seeing how the trackers worked, and he spoke to witness often in their praise. It was untrue on the part of Constable Kirkham to say he never looked on Mr O'Connor as a superior officer. During the time witness was at Benalla, there was no quarrelling amonst the officers. Mr O'Connor did his duties well, and so managed his men that they became quite favourites in the town. In consulta- tions Mr O'Connor showed a great deal of shrewdness and a thorough knowledge of his duties. Understood that Mr O'Connor was under Captain Standish, and also under wit- ness himself, and Mr Sadleir.
Mr O'Connor said he differed from the witness on this point. He held that he was only under Captain Standish, and when he heard that Mr Nicolson was ordered to the Kelly district, he said to himself, " Well, if Mr Nicolson is not a nice fellow I will obey only Captain Standish's orders, and then, if necessary, clear out."
Witness continued, – Looked upon Mr O'Connor as a Queensland officer attached to the Victorian force, and thought he had been placed in rather a false position.
This concluded Mr O'Connor's case, and the board adjourned until Tuesday.
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