Royal Commission report day 19 page 45

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The Royal Commission evidence for 13/5/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 19)

SConst Charles Johnston sworn and examined

7129 By the Commission— What are you?— A senior-constable of police.

7130 Where are you stationed?— I have been in charge of Violet Town station until last Tuesday, when I was relieved.

7131 How long have you been in the force?— Eighteen years on the 12th of the present month.

7132 Where were you stationed immediately before the taking of the Kellys at Glenrowan?— Immediately before at Violet Town .

7133 What time did you arrive on the scene that morning?— About half-past eleven, as near as I can recollect, in the forenoon.

7134 Then you were not there at the time the people were all got out?— I was not.

7135 Were you in the district during all the time the Kellys were at large?— Yes.

7136 And you were out with many search parties?— Yes. On the 28th October 1878 I received a telegram from Senior-Constable Maud, clerk in Mr. Sadleir's office, to proceed to Benalla at once, re the Kelly gang.

7137 Where were you stationed before?— At Tatura, in the Goulburn Valley .

7138 I may tell you at once, that it is not the intention of the Commission to go into the general question to-night; you may be under examination again; it is really the Glenrowan matter they are going to deal with now. You arrived at Glenrowan about half-past eleven?— Yes.

7139 Was there any firing at Mrs. Jones's hotel when you arrived?— There were no shots fired on my arrival

7140 For how long?— I dare say it would be about a quarter of an hour after I arrived.

7141 Were the shots that were fired fired by the police?— They were; and some by the outlaws from the hotel.

7142 How long did the firing continue from the hotel after your arrival, as far as you know?— I think there were about three shots fired at about a quarter to twelve, and about one o'clock there were two fired.

7143 Those were the last?— About one o'clock were the last from the hotel.

7144 Did the police continue shooting into the building?— At times they did. They would cease firing for a short time, and then again fire.

7145 And there was no reply?— No reply to them; not from a quarter to twelve till about one o'clock .

7146 That was the last?— That was the last shot I heard from the hotel.

7147 Did you know shortly after you arrived that there were only two of them living?— I was told on my arrival that there were only two of them living.

7148 Was there any proposal made at all to rush the hotel?— There was. I had proposed to Mr. Sadleir to rush it. I was told there were others. Armstrong and Dwyer also requested it.

7149 Was the front door of the hotel open at this time?— It was.

7150 During all the afternoon, when the police were firing in occasionally, as the case might be, did you receive any impression from no shots being fired back that it was possible the outlaws were dead?— I knew they were not dead, for about two o'clock I saw one of them come to the back door. I and Constable Wilson were on the north end of the hotel. We had a view of the back door, and one of them came to the back door.

7151 Could you see whether he had his armour on?— I could not, but I believe he had.

7152 Did you recognise which one that was?— I did not.

7153 Did you see his features?— No, we only saw the form of a man coming to the door, as if he was looking out.

7154 Was there no offer made to them to come out?— There were, several times; the police called on them to come out frequently.

7155 Did they say that their lives would be spared for the time if they came?— I did not hear the word used.....

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