Royal Commission report day 10 page 10

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The Royal Commission evidence for 7/4/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 10)

Sup John Sadleir giving evidence

1853 Were all those places in your district?— No, Kerang is a long way out of it.

1854 All except Kerang?— Yes; and there was a report in that they were going to South Australia somehow.

1855 Were those rumors or confidential communications?— No; those are through the police; there is no secret about them.

1856 Only general rumor?— Some of them were given in the most circumstantial manner. I cannot describe them without putting in a great many papers.

1857 It was quite impossible they could all have been reliable?— Yes; I remember also at Mount Look-out , Gippsland, it was reported they were there. It is information picked up by different police at those places.

1858 Did you act on any of this information?— We had this particular Beechworth business in hand at the time, and we had to see that through. After that, later information came in about that time that they were seen at Moon's Pioneer Hotel, but we did not get that till it was eight days old.

1859 Where is that?— Everton. To sum it up, it was after we searched where we could, we found from information that the course the Kellys had taken after the murders, which were committed on the 26th in the evening, was they stayed most of that night in the hut called Kelly's stronghold; that they started that morning. the Sunday morning, and that they had gone to Greta, and hung about there part of that day, Sunday; that they had got to Moon's on Monday night, and one of them, or their friends, got a bottle of grog there. I believe it was Joe Byrne himself got it. On the 30th October they were seen at Marjery's, on the Murray . They were seen on the 3rd November by our informant, the bark-stripper I spoke of, and that night or next morning at Wangaratta. On the morning of the 4th or 5th—I do not think it is quite clear which—they crossed through Wangaratta in the night, and went under the One-mile bridge, the railway, and went into the Warby Ranges; but all this information came in to us too late to be of any use.

1860 That hut is in the immediate vicinity of the scene of the murders?— Yes.

1861 Then they went down to their own place, Greta?— Yes.

1862 And then their course would take them to Mrs. Byrne's?— No, to Everton.

1863 And then they would come to the locality where the Kellys originally were?— Mr. Nicolson tracked them to Barnawartha, and from Barnawartha to Sherritt's, where we lose sight of them until this man's account.

1864 And then they came back to nearly their own place?— Yes, the Warby Ranges ; and there our horses were got. I think the marks of the saddle showed the horses had not been worked for, perhaps, a week.

1865 Can you state, with that information, why they did not cross into New South Wales—did they not attempt it?— They certainly attempted it. They went to the Bungowannah wharf, and found the punt sunk, and the river unapproachable. The back waters were out, and it was said they were under water—that was the rumor amongst the police; I do not know whether there is any authority for it. Amongst the rumors that came in was one—it is only a matter of curiosity, perhaps not worth mentioning—that the reports of the murders were received twenty miles away from the scene of the murders before McIntyre came in. I do not think the men—very respectable men—were mistaken, because I looked into the business as far as the press of business would permit. I asked an agent to look into it, and his report was that, on Saturday, the report was received at Strathbogie.

1866 Before the thing had taken place?— Yes; but, as far as I could make out, the report was really received on the Sunday, when McIntyre was making his way into Mansfield . It was an ordinary traveller brought the report, passing by the place, in the neighborhood. He said, “There are two or three police shot in the country,” indicating where they were shot. It is a proof, if anything, that some person was standing by, and saw it—some person besides the police and the Kellys.

1867 Would it be possible that the Kellys could have given that information?— It does not agree with our later information. The Kellys only went to their hut, and the young man Lloyd happened to arrive at the hut knowing they were there, and he kept guard till morning while they were having a few hours' sleep. They went straight away through that country to Greta.

1868 Do you recollect reading in the Mansfield paper at that time particulars about how Kennedy was shot, and all about the statement of his shooting?— There were a lot of details given at that time, very early.

1869 Appeared in the paper?— I remember seeing it.

1870 Have you endeavored to ascertain whether that statement in the paper about Kennedy's being shot, and all about it, was correct. Was that from the same source as the other?— No, I think that the details of their treatment of Kennedy came to my ears very early......

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