Royal Commission report 20/7/1881

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Story of the KellyGang - the Royal Commission 20/7/1881

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Summary of the evidence on day 37 of the hearings
Question number Date Witness
12995 - 13118 20/7/1881 Const Alexander
13119 - 13153 20/7/1881 Anton Wicks
13154 - 13214 20/7/1881 Mrs Sherritt, Snr
13215 - 13335 20/7/1881 Mrs Sherritt, Jnr
13336 - 13373 20/7/1881 William H Foster PM
13374 - 13456 20/7/1881 Mrs Ellen Barry
13457 - 13489 20/7/1881 Patrick Allen
13490 - 13508 20/7/1881 Enoch Downes
13509 - 13767 20/7/1881 Sconst Mullane
13768 - 13782 20/7/1881 Mrs. Sherritt, Snr
13783 - 13796 21/7/1881 Mrs Barry continued her evidence
13797 - 13813 21/7/1881 Mrs Sherritt, Jnr continued her evidence
13938 - 13953 21/7/1881 SConst Mullane's other evidence
Appendix Title
20 Minutes of Proceedings at Meetings Held by the Royal Commission


Summary of the evidence on day 37 of the hearings

20/7/1881 Const Alexander's evidence - some brief highlights

20/7/1881 Anton Wicks' evidence - some brief highlights

Anton Wicks (Weekes) was a miner, market gardener and he worked on the roads sometimes.

He was present at Sherritt's place for about 3 hours from the time Aaron opened the door to him. What was Mrs Sherritt and Mrs Barry doing and did Joe Byrne or Dan Kelly have armour on.


20/7/1881 Mrs Sherritt, senior's evidence -

some brief highlights


20/7/1881 Mrs Sherritt, junior's evidence -

some brief highlights


20/7/1881 William H Foster PM's evidence -

some brief highlights

Com Standish had a policy that involved arresting sympathizers. These people where brought before the court in Beechworth and they were kept in Gaol on remand. They came before me to extend the time they spent in custody.

As far as the sympathizers were concerned, during the time they were there, there was scarcely any evidence taken at all. It was merely sufficient to justify a remand in the first case, and then that was repeated from time to time for three or four months.

The Royal Commission asked me, "Do you know if there were very strong feelings of hostility evoked towards the Government by the sympathizers being brought up in the way they were-that is, among that class?" Foster replied, "There must have been some feeling of the sort, but to what extent it prevailed I do not know. I know the sympathizers themselves were very indignant at their detention; one of them threatened me in this court." There was not any reference to rebelion in North Eastern Victoria

Mr Foster conducted the inquest int Aaron Sherritt's death. He went out and saw the body lying still on the floor the next day. "One of the constables stooped down and pointed to the left eye of the corpse. In part he described what he saw as follows:

"That is where he got his death wound." As a matter of fact I learned at the inquest that he received two shots; one entered just above the collar bone and passed backwards through his body, the other went in just above the navel and broke two ribs and went through the kidney. I took that to be the second shot, and he fell back then. As a matter of fact he had no wound in the head at all, but it looked just as if that was where he had been shot, as it was covered with blood."

On the morning of the siege I heard a loud rap on the door. I jumped to the conclusion that the house had taken fire, and ran down stairs just as I was, and there met, in my own room, Mullane and Ward, who told me of the KellyGang being at Glenrowan.

I finally was asked to give Sup sadleir a reference.


20/7/1881 Mrs Ellen Barry' evidence -

some brief highlights

Mrs Barry was Mrs Sherritt's mother. She spent most evenings with her daughter; with the police.

The night that Aaron Sherritt was shot she was inside the house. I told the Royal Commission what happened when Antone Weekes arrived and Joe Byrne shot Aaron Sherritt. How did he fall?

Where were the people at the time?

Who put who under the bed?

Mrs Barry also provided details of conversations with Joe Byrne.

Did you ever hear of a quarrel between Mrs. Byrne and Aaron Sherritt, about a horse.

Const Alexander had some concerns about Mrs Barry's evidence.

There were problems in Aaron Sherritt's familt and religion was also an issue with some people; his wife was a Roman Catholic.

20/7/1881 Patrick Allen's evidence - some brief highlights

He was a storekeeper in Beechworth who on a good many occasions took supplies for the police cave party as far as Mrs. Sherritt's house. Later he took supplies for the police in Aaron Sherritt's house.He had good relations with Det Ward.

He commented on possibility of an other up raising in the area.


20/7/1881 Enoch Downes 's

evidence - some brief highlights

Downes had to investigate a case of default for absence from school by one of Mrs Byrne's children. He asked her about the reason of her boy's non-attendance at school, and cautioned her in case of any further default. Patrick Byrne put his horse in the garden. Downes went inside and waited till Mrs Byrne made a cup of tea. He stayed about a couple of hours while the horse was feeding and they had a chat.

The Royal Commission wanted to know whether Downes thought an other out break was likely.

20/7/1881 Sconst Mullane's evidence - some brief highlights

SCont Mullane was stationed at Beechworth. He went out on a nmber of search parties.

He thought that Aaron Sherritt was a bad character. In 1876 in connection with Detective Ward he had Aaron and Joe Byrne convicted and sentenced to six months imprisonment for having meat in their possession for which they could not account. The brand from the hide of the beast, and that prevented the police from bringing the more serious charge of cattle-stealing.

Mullane was out with search party into the Warby Ranges and other areas. He also saw the problem with Insp Brooke Smith.

The cave party watching Mrs Byrne's place started in December 1879 and Mullane was present when the orders were issued to the party. There were special instructions for one of the members of the KellyGang. He never visited the cave party.

Was the cave party known to the KellyGang.


20/7/1881 Mrs. Sherritt, senior continued her evidence -

some brief highlights

Mrs Sherritt was sure that the police cave party watching Mrs Byrne's was not known to the KellyGang.

Mrs Sherritt had a discussion with Mrs Byrne. Aaron had been killed by her son; what did they discuss?


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