Royal Commission report 2/8/1881

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Story of the KellyGang - the Royal Commission 2/8/1881

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Summary of the evidence on day 41 of the hearings
Question number Date Witness
14193 - 14318 2/8/1881 Sup Winch
14319 - 14414 2/8/1881 Const McIntyre
14415 - 14515 2/8/1881 James Wallace
14516 - 14841 3/8/1881 Continuation of James Wallace's evidence
16312 - 16316 3//8/1881 Continuation of Sup Winch's evidence
Appendix Title
20 Minutes of Proceedings at Meetings Held by the Royal Commission

Summary of the evidence on day 41 of the hearings

2/8/1881 Sup Winch commenced his evidence - some brief highlights


2/8/1881 Const McIntyre commenced his evidence -

some brief highlights

Before you went out that time to search for the KellyGang in the Wombat Ranges, had you any knowledge of any circumstances that led to that outbreak in the district, or did you just go out without any previous knowledge of the KellyGang?

What happened when the KellyGang arrived?

Was the attack a complete surprise?

Why we camped at this spot on Stringy Bark Creek?

What weapons did we have?

'The impression was that it would be difficult to take them -that they would defend themselves; but not that they would attack us.'

Did you ever hear that those men were decoyed into the position?

McIntyre thought it very strange we went to the neighborhood of Stringy Bark Creek instead of continuing the direct road to Hedi.

Where did the KellyGang come from?

2/8/1881 James Wallace commenced his evidence - some brief highlights

James Wallace was a teacher. He stated his career at Hurdle Creek, near Oxley and the King River. Later he was employed at other schools in the area.

He was never a paid police informer but recieved expenses from the police.

In December 1878, after the commission of the Mansfield murders by the Kelly gang, and seeing the difficulty the police had in capturing them;-hearing also that they would commit further outrages, and knowing I might be able to assist in the suppression of crime, I wrote a letter to Captain Standish offering my assistance to him.

James Wallace had some communication with the KellyGang, mainly through Aaron Sherritt including dealing with Ned Kelly over my stolen saddle. He also had many conversations with Aaron Sherritt and knew that he was working for the police from early on.

In relation to Aaron Sherritt, Wallace explained that when he was young he used to dabble in mesmerism. Aaron Sherritt, being a schoolfellow, was often with him in those experiments, and he was a "subject". Sherritt had a great deal of confidence in Wallace, and Wallace had an influence over him. Sherritt would frequently come to Wallace's, and if Wallace wanted to get any information out of him he could do so.

In July 1879 Ass Com Nicolson came to see Wallace. Nicolson told Wallace that the country looked to him, as a teacher and as a respectable member of society, that he should render all the assistance he could to suppress murder and robbery, and he wish Wallace to take service with him; that it could be arranged that Wallace could have leave of absence, but Wallace declined to do so. Nicolson then asked Wallace if he would give the police any other aid he could by collecting information, and beating up the houses in the neighborhood which the outlaws were most likely to frequent. Wallace agreed to consider the proposal.

'There is a beautiful game of cross purposes being played on both sides that is worth the trouble of watching, if there were no other motive. I mean with reference to the game that was played on both sides, the resources they had to deceive each other, both the police and the outlaws. I had in my mind's eye the trial of Aaron Sherritt at Beechworth for stealing a horse of Mrs. Byrne's, which he admitted to me was a "got-up" case on the part of some members of the police on one side, and worked by the outlaws as well on the other.'

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