Royal Commission report day 11 page 3

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The Royal Commission evidence for 12/4/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 11)

Superintendent Sadleir giving evidence

2011 Had you any information of the wires being intact from two o'clock up to the time of your starting to Albury?— I cannot say; I will find out. I may say that Mr. Nicolson was very tired at this time, and lay down and fell asleep, I think almost immediately on getting into the train. I was a little uneasy myself, I confess, on the road, but once the train started we had no chance of getting back. When at Albury about midnight , we got word of the Euroa bank robbery. I started, by Mr. Nicolson's direction, across to Wodonga, and got ready a special train. I think it was about half-past two when we started, and got to Wangaratta very early in the morning. I got out at Wangaratta, leaving Mr. Nicolson to go on. This was in the morning of the 11th December 1878 . I got together a party of police and struck across from Wangaratta by Glenrowan, under the Warby ranges to near Lake Rowan . I had one or two trackers with us, and we expected to get any tracks the Kellys might have made on the way from Euroa to some of their old haunts. We did find a track which was quite fresh during the previous night or very early that morning, but the trackers just led us perhaps twenty or thirty yards, and would not or could not follow it any further. I went in with some of the constables into the scrub ahead of where the tracks were stopped, in case there was any ambush there, but there was no use trying to work the tracker; we could get him to go no further. It was our purpose to get to a farm house near Lake Rowan , to a friend of the Kellys, and to watch it during the night. The constable who was leading us could not find it with any certainty.

2012 What was the impression on your mind with reference to the conduct of the black tracker at that time—you said he would not or could not follow the track?— We could not make them out. The tracks were plain before us, and yet he would not follow or could not.

2013 The question is, what was your impression?— That is it; we could not make out how the man could not follow out the tracks that were seen by us

2014 That he did not wish to?— Yes, that is it, judging by knowledge gained since.

2015 Those were not Queensland men?— No, Coranderrk or any man we could pick up. On the morning of the 12th we searched this place that we went towards on the previous day, first examining all round for any tracks that might be suspicious.

2016 That was the place you could not find the previous day?— Yes; we found it in the morning at daybreak, but discovered nothing at all. Up to this time I cannot call to mind any rumor of any bank being threatened by the outlaws, or anything at all to that effect.

2017 That is prior to your interview with Mr. Wyatt?— Yes, from the time of the murders up to this time I am speaking of.

2018 Up to the 11th or 12th of October?— Yes.

2019 You want to say that as far as you are concerned that information referred to by Mr. Hare. Did not reach you?— Yes.

2020 You had no knowledge of it in your district?— No.

2021 Have you read this portion of Captain Standish's evidence (question 19)— “About a fortnight before the Euroa bank was stuck up, in December 1878, I received information from Mr. Nicolson that a bank would be probably stuck up in the North-Eastern district”; you gave Captain Standish no information of that?— No; I never heard of that before till I saw the evidence.

2022 Did you receive any orders from Captain Standish to take steps before the 10th November to protect banks in your district?— No; I asked for more police to carry on the work, and he (Captain Standish) refused them. As early as November 4th I had a telegram from him to say, “Now surely you have enough,” and a letter on that or the following, day to the same effect.

2023 If you notice below there the 23rd question in Captain Standish's evidence— “That warning was simply conveyed to Superintendent Hare and Inspector Green, believing that Superintendent Nicolson having given the information, would take the necessary steps himself?— Yes.” You knew nothing whatever about that?— I knew nothing whatever about that information, and I am quite sure from Captain Standish's conversation afterwards that that evidence is in error. There were over forty banks in the district, and it would have taken us so extra men to put on; and after the Euroa bank was robbed there were over 100 men employed extra to the men employed searching for the Kellys.

2024 Did the banks contribute anything, to your knowledge, towards the expenses?— Not a penny that I am aware of. Some of them provided a room here and there. Captain Standish arrived at Benalla on the 12th December, that is two days after the bank robbery, and Mr. Hare on the following day. Even then there were rumors of the Kellys being seen in various different parts of the country, and this gave us no end of trouble.

2025 Before you leave that, did you ever find out whom that information came from that you went to Albury on?— Yes, I know all about that, that is before the Commission. There was a considerable increase to the police at this time, and also I think some forty artillery men. At every bank in the small towns two or three constables were placed on guard; there were three detectives sent up, the best men they could find, and search parties were started from time to time. Now I may speak particularly of my own share in the evidence. Early in December or January I provided a couple of private agents, men whom I knew.....

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