Royal Commission report day 14 page 8

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The Royal Commission evidence for 3/5/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 14)

Detective Ward giving evidence

3142 They never could want a horse?— No, never want a horse there. On Tuesday the 29th I started for Moyhu from Glenrowan. When about four miles from Glenmore, a young lady overtook me on horseback.

3143 Do you mean Glenmore station?— Lewis's station. I was stopping there.

3144 How far is Glenmore from Glenrowan?— Forty-five miles, I think. The lady overtook me, and handed me a small note from Senior-Constable Strahan, informing me of the death and the shooting of the police, and requesting me to return to Glenmore at once, the party that I met on the Saturday previous.

3145 What date was that?— That was on Tuesday the 29th I got the letter.

3146 How did she know you?— I was staying at their place—it was the daughter at the place.

3147 How did they get the information?— Senior-Constable Strahan crossed over there.

3148 Where did he get it from?— He got the information from the police from Wangaratta. He requested me to return to Glenmore. I said, “No” to myself—he was not present— “I am not going to return as long as there are three police shot, and me only with a little revolver; they are well armed; I am not well armed. I will make my way to head-quarters for proper arms and accoutrements.” When I got to Mr. Isard's, I met the police there. I there met Constable Arthur and Constable Thom and this constable—I do not remember his name. They gave me further particulars of the murders of the police. On the following morning, the 30th, I arrived in Wangaratta. I there saw Mr. Nicolson, the Assistant Chief Commissioner, and made arrangements to return back to Mount Blowhard to interview some people that we were of opinion would give information, and could if they only pleased to do so. I remained there for two or three days. I was hemmed in by the floods; I got up, but could not return owing to the floods. On the morning of the 4th November, arrived in Oxley.

3149 Still by yourself?— By myself all the time. I received information in Oxley that, on the night of Sunday the 27th October, there were four horsemen seen riding through Oxley, near the Oxley square, going in the direction of the Pioneer Bridge . They had two pack-horses with them; they were going pretty quickly. The person who gave me the information said it was about two o'clock , and on the following morning he examined the foot-prints, and he believed them to be police horses' foot-prints from the marks of the shoes. I then proceeded to the Pioneer Bridge Hotel, kept by a man named Moon. He was absent in Melbourne at the races at the time, but I was there informed by a young man that, on the morning of the 27th, or the morning of the 28th, I think, that one man called there and purchased a bottle of brandy. The other men stood with their horses near the Pioneer Bridge , and crossed over the bridge, going in the direction of Everton. From other enquiries I made, I found that the same four men called at Everton, and purchased several boxes of sardines, and some horse-feed, and crossed under the railway in the Blind Bridge, between Everton and Beechworth, going in the direction of Sebastopol that would be. I proceeded to Wangaratta the same day.

3150 Did you believe those were the Kellys?— Yes, I believed that those were the Kellys.

3151 How far would Sebastopol be from where they were seen on the morning of the 28th?— They would run across there from the ranges in about six or seven miles.

3152 How far would that be from Mrs. Skillian's place?— From fifteen to nineteen miles. Her place is about ten miles from the King Bridge . Then I proceeded to Wangaratta. I was just in time to catch the train. Finding that Mr. Nicolson was up in Wodonga, on the Murray Flats, I put my horse into the horse-box and went to Wodonga. I went from there. Mr. Nicolson was out with the party, and went across to Albury. I returned to Wodonga. Finding he was not at home, I telegraphed to Beechworth and Wangaratta to have the bridges guarded that night. The place was flooded. I received information that the police had them surrounded on the Murray . The Murray was at high flow.

3153 The outlaws could not have got across except by punt, boat, or those bridges?— They could not.

3154 You must have telegraphed on November 4th?— Yes, on that night.

3155 Your information about Sebastopol ?— No; later information arrived that they were on the Murray . The direction I mentioned was in the direction of the Murray .

3156 What information had you of their being seen—had you any information of their being actually seen at any particular place between the 28th October and 4th November?— On that evening, when I arrived at Albury, I found it was common report thereabout that the police had them surrounded on the Murray. Then I believed my information was good.

3157 Do you know from your knowledge whether they were seen after the 28th?— Only when they were seen on the Murray.

3158 When?— On the 4th, I heard.

3159 Were they seen on the 4th—were they seen by anyone after the 25th of October, with any certainty?— There was a certainty between the 28th and 4th that they were seen by the men when they called for rations. Mr. Nicolson will know about that.

3160 Of your own knowledge can you say?— I did not know myself.

3161 The 28th October was the last you knew anything about?— Yes, but I did not receive this information till the 4th.

3162 You have had information since where they were seen. Were they seen by anyone from the 28th October to the 9th or 10th November by anybody?— Yes, I believe they called at Sherritt's place going across.

3163 When?— Just after the murders.

3164 Between the 28th October and the 4th November?— Yes.

3165 When you say Sherritt's place, do you mean the house where he was shot, or his mother's house?— His mother's house.

3166 What date would that be?— On the 28th or 29th; they were no distance from that.

3167 After the 29th had you any positive information?— No, I had none, because I was in a different part of the country at the time.

The Chairman . —As we cannot take the whole of your evidence to-day, it is thought better to break off your evidence at this point, in order to call the next witness, who has to leave Melbourne immediately.

The witness withdrew.....

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