Royal Commission report day 19 page 13

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The Royal Commission evidence for 13/5/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 19)

Sgt Whelan giving evidence

6225 Did he inform you that any civilians offered to come up and give the news and leave him to do his duty there?— No.

6226 Did he say he had seen the bank manager before he came up?— He appeared to know nothing about it.

6227 Then if he did know more than that he would not have been doing his duty in not informing you?— No, he would not.

6228 You said Mr. Wyatt said in his evidence you turned pale; you are of a pallid complexion?—

6229 You did not feel pale on that occasion?— No.

6230 Did Mr. Wyatt directly or indirectly intimate to you, or did you in your mind gather from anything he said to you, that he believed that this was done by the Kellys—that this matter was something connected with them?— I would have thought so, but the fact of him telling me he went to Euroa. The wires were supposed to be cut at two o'clock and he was there making enquires, stopping next door to the bank in the hotel, and did not leave Euroa till seven o'clock .

6231 How do you know that?— He told me he got a horse Hart's, that he passed the bank— passed up under the windows of the bank after the court—that is when the bank was supposed to be closed

6232 Did he tell you this at the first interview?— Yes; and then the fact of the bank being closed; the wires cut at two o'clock in the day, and Mr. Wyatt being there, and also at Violet Town, and Mr Sadleir and Mr. Nicolson being gone up to Albury, as I thought, on some important matter (they did not tell me what it was), I thought very little about the wires then—nothing being done.

6233 Then the information he gave you would not have the effect of making you pallid?— No.

6234 You swear from nothing Mr. Wyatt said to you, did you believe there was anything of importance with reference to the Kellys?— I thought it might be in connection with the Kellys, but I thought it might be a trap. That was my opinion at the time.

6235 You were asked about the position of the black-trackers and Mr. O'Connor?— Yes.

6236 Mr. O'Connor in his evidence, “I then followed the drain or gully down until I came to the position, which I never left until I was superseded by Mr. Sadleir”—when Mr. Sadleir superseded him at this drain, had you any knowledge of the position of the drain or gully alluded to then?— I knew the drain, where it runs, but on account of it being dark when I passed, and then in the afternoon engaged in other work, I took not much notice, and have not been there since, so I cannot state positively the position more than the passing by at the time, and there was a good deal of excitement, and not much time to take notice of anything.

6237 Would you expect from Mr. O'Connor's position in the police force, according to your interpretation, that he would have taken a more active exercise of duty than he did on that occasion—did you think it remarkable his not coming more forward?-—Well, I could not say, because Mr.Sadleir of course took, when I got there, command, and I could not say what Mr. O'Connor did before I went there.

6238 Then Mr. O'Connor, in your opinion, in the discharge of his duty after Mr. Hare left, would not be according to the regulations in charge of the Victorian police?— I think the man next in rank belonging to the Force would. For instance, if anything happened to Mr. Sadleir I would assume command as a right.

6239 That is part of your duty as a right?— Yes.

6240 Then Mr. O'Connor would not be in charge of the white police?— No.

6241 Then after Mr. Sadleir came on the ground any action through Senior-constable Kelly's seniority would cease?— Yes.

6242 Then Mr. O'Connor's duty was to keep in charge of the black trackers?— Yes.

6243 Then if he kept charge of those men he would be honorably discharging his duty in your opinion?— Yes, if Mr. Sadleir did not order something else.

6244 Would he be bound to obey Mr. Sadleir?— I should think so, on account of receiving pay from the Victorian Government.

6245 Did he receive pay then?— Yes.

6246 How do you know?— He used to sign the pay-sheets.

6247 I refer to after the day he volunteered to come back from Essendon?— I know merely from his getting his pay at the office.....

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