Const W Duross

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Foot Const William Duross

Meet the people of the KellyGang story

Importance of Const Duross (2595)

I was Aaron Sherritt's place Links to the KellyGang below, Early Years , Murders at Stringy Bark Creek , Euroa Robbery , Jerilderie Robbery , Autum 1879 , Hare replaced by Nicolson , Spring 1879 Early 1880 , Nicolson replaced by Hare , At Aaron's home , Death of Aaron Sherritt , Glenrowan Seige , Ned Kelly's Trial , Reward Board , Royal Commission , Early service , Later service , Family ,

Links to the KellyGang

Early Years I joined the police in 1874 and spent most of my time in Melbourne on foot patrol

I had not been given any rifle practice before I was sent up and I had no real idea of bush life before I went off the Sherritt's. In Melbourne we used to do artillery drill with no ammunition, and blank cartridge with the big gun.

Photograph Murders at Stringy Bark Creek in the Wombat Ranges 26/10/1878 I arrived in North Eastern Victoria on 28/10/1879 and 2 days later I was sent to take charge of the police station at Violet Town. I stayed there for over 12 months. (RC3575) . Euroa Robbery 10/12/1878 While I was at Violet Town Tom Lloyd and one of the Ryan boys came to town some time before the Euroa robbery. See Tom Lloyd for my report on this matter(RC3588)

I was at Violet Town that day. See my discussion with Mr Lambell the butcher. He had been robbed. (Alexandra14/12/1878)

I was by myself at the time the Euroa bank was stuck up, and it was about twelve o'clock at night when I first received the intelligence from the railway porter-he came and knocked me up-I was in bed. I was very cautious in opening the door. He informed me that the Euroa bank had been stuck up, that Const Anderson was proceeding from Euroa to Benalla on the engine and informed him so. I got out the back way with what arms I had and went to the bank in Violet Town, knocked the manager up, and informed him of the circumstance. I got a civilian along with me, and armed him in the bank, and stopped there the remainder of the night, up all night, as it was rumored they were coming towards Violet Town. I remained in the bank, and there were two or three men sent down to me from Benalla a day or two afterwards.(RC3588)

. Autum 1879 I was stationed at Violet Town for some time in 1879. While there I was equipped with a Colt's revolver and the Spencer rifle but I never got much ammunition to pactice (RC4152) Hare replaced by Nicolson 6/7/1879 After my time at Violet Town I went to Mooroopna (RC3590) . At Aaron Sherritt's place I arrived at Aaron Sherritt's place to join Const Armstrong and the other officers on 16 June after arriving at Beechworth on 11/6/1880. (RC3591)

When we were leaving Beechworth for Sherritt's, our Spencer rifles were taken from us, the only rifles we ever used in the district, the only ones I ever had practice with in the district; and we were told we should receive the rifles from the men when they were relieved-double-barrelled shot guns we had never seen before in our lives. Const Armstrong was in charge.(RC3594)

We used to go down each night and watch Mrs Byrnes place. We used to leave Sherritt's place a different hours, because there was sometimes a lot of people knocking about the road, going backwards and forwards to a bit of a shanty there. I used to take the double-barrelled shot gun, with duck shot I think, and a revolver. (RC3603)

Sometimes we used to come back because of the dogs; and there was a flock of geese as bad as the dogs; we could not get there. We used to hide under the trees for 5 or 6 hours. Aaron Sherritt used to go a bit closer to the Byrne home.

We used to have to stop in Sherritt's house all day, and not be seen by any person. (RC3610)

19 June 1880

On the Saturday night previous to the murder Mr. Sup Hare and Det Ward came out to Sherritt's home. They arrived there between eight and nine at night. Det Ward burst in the back-door-shoved it in. I explained that on Saturday night it was the custom of the police not to go out till late because of the shanty a couple of miles down the road, and many people passing backwards and forwards. (RC13902)

Consts Dowling and Armstrong were out chopping wood at the back of the house. Mr. Hare accused two of the police of telling an untruth about this matter. I was accused of lying by one of my colleagues. (RC13940)

When Ward shoved in the door he asked where were the other men; I said, " Chopping wood at the back."

"No," he said "they are away watching Byrne's house-say that," he said on the moment.

Mr. Hare stepped in and said, "Where are the two men ?" and just to shield them, as Ward told us (Const Alexander and I had no reason to be frightened, because we should not have been out so early). See also (RC4170) (RC3772) but also see (RC13866)

Things got worse. I have seen Mr. Hare's evidence that Ward told him he could not trust us, and that we told an untruth. We had no reason whatever to be frightened of telling the truth. He then went on to set out his reasons.

He then contradicted the situation by saying that he, along with Alexander and Dowling, could state that Sherritt said on different occasions he was well satisfied with the four policemen, and if we were changed he would do nothing more for the Government.

Sherritt was getting sick of the way the police were galloping round the country and the KellyGang laughing at him. (RC3771) see also (RC13861)

The Royal Commission was critical of our work during or time ar Aaron Sherritt's (RC2nd report XIV)

. Death of Aaron Sherritt 26/6/1880

On that fateful evening I was dressed in blue jacket like a bucther's smock and had a revolver. (RC3637)

On :that evening Aaron Sherritt and I, and Mrs. Sherritt and Sherritt's mother-in-law, were sitting in the kitchen having our tea about half-past six or a quarter to seven. The other three men were in the bedroom. (RC3631) (RC12139)

There was a knock came to the door, and I said, "You had better go to the door." Aaron motioned for me to go into the bedroom. There was a calico screen hanging down for a door. I went in. (RC3638)

When I went into the bedroom Sherritt opened the door, and there was some person the road, said they lost their way, and Sherritt was stepping outside and saying, "Do you see that sapling over there, at the back of the door"; and Mrs. Sherritt (the wife) said, "Go out and show him the way." Sherritt was stepping outside to do so when the first shot was fired; he staggered back, and the second was fired, and he fell then in the kitchen. (RC3649)

When Sherritt fell we heard the women running outside the door, and I heard one voice saying, "Oh, Joe, Joe ! what have you done, what did you shoot poor Aaron for?" Byrne said, "The will never put me away again." (RC3657) see also (RC13394)

Joe Byrne said, "Who is that man along in the room, the man that went in the room?"

Ms Sherritt said, "That is a man by the name of Duross."

He said, "What is he?"

She said, "He is looking for work about here."

He said, "Go and tell him to come out."

She came in and said, "Come out";

I said, "I will not".

At this time Const Armstrong was standing on one side of the partition, and Alexander on the other- both could see any one at the door if they were inside in the kitchen-and Const Dowling was watching the kitchen, I was watching the window, watching to see if we could have a chance of anything.

She came and said, "Come out, he wants you."

I said, "I will not."

She went out, and he said, "Go and bring him out or I will shoot you too."

Constable Armstrong, when he saw the figure coming so often, said he (Armstrong) was near shooting her on account of her running back and forwards. (RC3658)

A bit later Joe Byrne started whistling and threatened to burn the house down. there was quite a lot of discussion about this matter. Dan Kelly then fired a shot. (RC3666)

In response, Armstrong was kneeling at one side of the partition-one side of the bedroom-guarding the entrance into the kitchen; and Alexander and Dowling, were looking to the partition. There was a sack of flour there, and Const Dowling looked over off this to see; and it was the shot that was fired in.(RC3671)

The women were put under the bed, They were forced under the bed because there was very little room in the bedroom, and there was not much room for them to be knocking round in the room. See also (RC3721) (RC3763)

There were other shots fired into the room, and we heard conversation at the back of the house until about four o'clock or five o'clock in the morning. But about half an hour after the women came in we could not distinguish any voices who they were, but we could tell there was somebody there, and the dog was howling all night at the house. (RC3679)

See Mrs Barry's version (RC13427)

There is the scrub outside, and before we would leave the kitchen at all they could have shot us. It is my opinion we would not have left it alive; and if we did, it was dark outside and we could not see anything, and they had timber to protect them. (RC3733)

Const Armstrong went out, and Const Alexander went out and dragged Aaron Sherritt further over into the kitchen, covered him up and closed the doors. (RC3716)

Const Armstrong described what happened in the morning. See also (JJK)

Hear Mrs Sherritt's version of what happened (OMA27/4/81)

. Glenrowan Seige 28/6/80

Special train leaves Benalla to go to Beechworth - follow up on death of Aaron Sherritt

Arrival Glenrowan from Beechworth

I came to Glenrowan from Beechworth and arrived at about 9am. (RC2880)

Release of the civilians 10am


Burning of Jones's Inn



I was ordered down to Melbourne (MDTel3/7/1880)

Kelly Reward Board

Following the meetings of the Reward Board in December 1880 I recieved a reward of about £42

Royal Commission I gave evidence to the Royal Commission on 4/5/1881.

The press reported on my evidence (Argus5/5/81)

Det Ward had another go at me and what happened at Aaron Sherritt's at about the time I gave evidence before the Royal Commission. It would seem that he wanted to control the Mrs Sherritt and Mrs Barry's evidence against us to save himself. (RC12222)

The Royal Commission found in relation to me

10. That the constables who formed the hut party on the night of Aaron Sherritt's murder - viz., William Duross, etc - were guilty of disobedience of orders and gross cowardice, and be dismissed from the service. (RC2ndReport)

Early Service

I came to Australia from Ireland with my parents in 1858

Joined the Garrison Artillery from Mooroopna

I did my training in the police depot.

Later life

After the Royal Commission report came out I was sacked from the police. (Argus3/3/82)

After that I ran a hotel in Melbourne and did a few other things.

I died in 1887


I never married


What is happened to Const Duross's family