Chief Secretary

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Side of Authority
This page contains content from police and those who supported authority.

Chief Secretary

... one of the things of the KellyGang story

Importance of the Chief Secretary

The Chief Secretary was the Colony of Victoria's minister for police. The position regulated many other aspects of local life and this made this position a powerful one within the Government Links to the KellyGang , Early Years , Harry Power, Fitzpatrick Incident , Murders at Stringy Bark Creek , Sebastopol Cavalcade , Euroa Robbery, Jerrilderie Robbery , Standish replaced by Nicolson , Hare replaced by Nicolson , Second Cave Party , Death of Aaron Sherritt , Glenrowan Siege , Ned Kelly's Trial , Ned Kelly's execution , Reward Board , Royal Commission , After the Royal Commission report,

Role of the Chief Secretary in the story of the KellyGang

Sir James McCullock was the Chief Secretary at the time of Harry Power's arrest. See also (RC16238)

In mid 1872 Mr Duffy was the Chief Secretary. He got involved in a dispute between newspaper men. (Argus11/6/72)

Mr Berry was the Chief Secretary at the time of the Murders at Stringy Bark Creek in the Wombat Ranges and Ned Kelly's execution

Sir Bryan O'Loghlen, was the Acting Chief Secretary in mid 1879.

Mr Ramsay was Chief Secretary in 1880 the time when Nicolson left North Eastern Victoria

Most of these men went on to become Prime Minister Victoria

Links to the KellyGang

Harry Power Com Standish told Sup Hare that Sir James McCulloch had decided that I was to be sent up to take charge of the Power business. (RC1586) Fitzpatrick Incident 15/04/1878 After this outrage the Chief Secretary approved the first reward against the KellyGang.

Murders at Stringy Bark Creek in the Wombat Ranges 26/10/1878 Com Standish saw the Chief Secretary on the morning of 28/10/1878 and Berry approved that additional police be sent to the Kelly Country and that they should be armed with better weapons (RC6)

... a place on the water

Euroa Robbery 10/12/1878 Mr Berry ordered Standish up to take chage of the hunt for the KellyGang. Com Standish wanted to return some time before he did leave, and Sir Bryan O'Loghlen advised him to remain. (RC1342)

I ordered the increase in the amount of the reward. (Argus14/12/78)

On 14/12/78 Ass Com Nicolson had a long interview with Mr Berry. (Argus16/12/78) (SMH19/12/78)

'Jerrilderie Robbery 10/2/1879 Sir Bryan O'Loghlen, was the Acting Chief Secretary in mid 1879. Com Standish came down from Benalla during the hunt for the KellyGang and spent time in Melbourne. '

Ass Com Nicolson reported to Sir Bryan while he was running the office in Melbourne but all KellyGang matters were reported directly to Sir Bryan by Standish. (RC607) (RC700)

Standish went to down to Melbourne several times, but never stayed long. As he told Insp O'Connor he was always hunted out of Melbourne by Sir Bryan O'Loghlen and sent back to the Kelly country. (RC1105)

Standish and Hare replaced by Nicolson 6/7/1879 Standish wanted to get back to police headquarters in Melbourne and on 26/6/1879 he eventually managed to convince the Chief Secretary (RC52)

Chief Secretary, who was not unnaturally dissatisfied at the continuous heavy expenditure of the police in pursuit of the KellyGang. According to Standish most of the increase was the new travelling for the police officers hunting the KellyGang. (RC57) (RC15981)

Read ...

Nicolson replaced by Hare 2/6/1880 In late April 1880 Standish went to see Mr Ramsay, the Chief Secretary about Nicolson and soon after the Cabinet agreed to remove Nicolson. Standish told him of the decision and demanded an interview with Mr Ramsay. The Chief Secretary would only see him in my presence. The meeting took place in Melbourne on 26/4/1880. Nicolson tried to get past Mr Odgers, the Under Secretary, and Standish, but eventually a proper meeting was held with Mr Ramsay. In the end Mr. Ramsay agreed that Nicolson be allowed to remain there another month only. (RC71) (RC927) (RC16308)(see also RC 2nd report XIII)

On 19/5/1880 Nicolson wrote to Com Standish about his recent meeting with Hon Ramsay, the Chief Secretary, see text (RC915)

Another meeting was held 21/5/1880 between Ass Com Nicolson and Mr Ramsay (RC940)

The Government Needs to do something

The Chief Secretary, Mr Ramsay, held several interviews with Captain Standish, the chief commissioner. Mr Ramsay pointed out the length of time that had elapsed since the first outbreak had occurred, and intimated that unless a more effectual search for the outlaws took place it would be his duty to see that there was an immediate reorganisation of the police force. Various changes were made and movements adopted which were confidentially communicated to the press, but which it was not thought advisable in the interests of justice to make public. Among other recommendations that were adopted was the determination to withdraw the reward offered for information unless the Kellys were captured within a certain time, and there is no doubt that from what has since transpired this resolution has operated with good effect. When Superintendent Hare went to take charge of the Beechworth district he received orders from Mr Ramsay that the departmental routine must be set aside altogether, and that he was at liberty to pick his men and to make whatever arrangements he thought proper without interference from Melbourne, and that his expences were not to be questioned by the department. In this way a great amount of enery has been latterly thrown into the search, and gradually the gaang became aware that they were closely followed. (Argus29/6/80 )

Standish believed that the decision to remove Nicolson was a Government decision and that he had nothing to do with it. (RC15775)

I attended the opening of the memorial for the murdered police at Mansfield (Argus 27/4/80)

Chomley had been sent to Queensland to recruit trackers (Argus29/6/80)

Death of Aaron Sherritt 26/6/1880 Late on the afternoon of 27/6/1880 Standish met Ramsay at the Melbourne Club and discussed a request from Sup Hare that Insp O'Connor and the Queensland trackers be requested to return to Beechworth. Standish requested from Ramsay approval for a special train to take the trackers up. (TheArgus29/6/80) (RC77) (FH)

Glenrowan Siege 28/6/1880

The Chief Secretary was involved in arranging the response to the death of Aaron Sherritt. And Ramsay was keen to give comments to the press about the capture of the KellyGang. (Argus29/6/80) (Argus8/7/80) (Argus29/6/80) (JJK)

See the relevant telegrams (Argus12/12/1931)

He also recommended the use of a cannon, that the site at Glenrowan be lit by electricity, and that Dr Ryan be sent up. (Age29/6/80) (Argus29/6/80) (FH) (CHC)

After Sup Hare was shot another special train was requested for the morning of the siege. (RC16250)

Letters were written to the Queensland government to thank them for the trackers. (Argus29/6/80)

Praise for Mr Ramsay (Argus30/6/80)

Mr Ramsay saw Mr Curnow in Melbourne soon after the siege. (Age1/7/80)

On 2/7/1880 the Chief Secretary Mr Ramsay and his Under Secretary Mr Odgers went to see Ned Kelly in the Melbourne Gaol. (Argus3/7/80) (MDtel3/7/1880)

Ned Kelly's Trial I had a view as to whether Ned Kelly could recieve visitors in gaol during his committal (Argus7/8/80) (Argus9/8/80) (Argus10/8/80) (Argus12/8/80)

I exchanged telegrams with Mr Gaunson . They wanted to see Ned Kelly. (Herald8/8/1880) (SMH10/8/80)

The Executive Council reviewed the decision to execute Ned Kelly (Argus2/11/80)

A part of our history ...

Ned Kelly's Execution On Monday 2/11/1880 Willian Gaunson went to see the Chief Secretary Mr Berry to ask the Government to give Ned Kelly a reprieve. Mr Berry said that it was a matter for the meeting of the Executive Council on Friday, they would set a date for the execution. The Executive Council met on the Wednesday afternoon Reward Board Robert Ramsey gave evidence before the Police Reward Board (RC16308) Royal Commission Berry announced that there would be a Royal Commission (Argus26/11/80)

The Chief Secretary's role in the forming of the report of the Commission (Argus22/2/82)

Mr Ramsay came to defence the reputation of Sup Hare (Argus8/12/80)

The Royal Commission report was tabled in Parliament. (Argus16/11/81)

After the Royal Commission report was tabled Ass Com Nicolson, Supts Hare and Sadleir , Det Ward and Const Armstrong me their response to the Royal Commission. (Argus7/11/81) (Argus16/12/81)

Mr Grant the Chief Secretary (Argus23/2/82)

Mr Gaunson corresponded with the Chief Secretary about Supt Winch's case (Argus11/11/82)

The Chief Secretary agreed with the recommendation of the Royal Commission and called upon Inspector Larner to retire. (Argus18/12/82) See also Supt Winch - cases heard at same time