Royal Commission report day 20 page 14

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The Royal Commission evidence for 14/5/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 20)

James Reardon giving evidence

7746 Was it she that proposed the dancing?— I could not swear it, but, to the best of my belief, it was

7747 Who took the floor first?— Mrs. Jones and her daughter.

7748 Was there plenty of grog in the hotel?— Yes, in the bar, but nobody seemed to drink much. I dare say I might have three or four drinks myself from the time I was taken in custody until I got out.

7749 How did you people employ your time?— We passed our time very miserably, I assure you.

7750 Did you talk?— Not much; I was kept walking about the verandah.

7751 They allowed you to go out?— Yes, but they had a rifle under their arm, and I believe they had four or five revolvers each.

7752 You stated they went up and brought Bracken down a prisoner on the Sunday night?— Yes.

7753 Can you say they went there with their armour or not?— Yes, they had their armour on, and they brought the armour back in a bag, to the best of my belief. They had his firearms then, a double-barrelled gun, a revolver, and his horse.

7754 Was there a bag with them when they went?— Yes.

7755 Was the armour in it when they went?— I am not sure whether they had the armour in it, but they put it on when they went to Bracken's house.

7756 What time did it take to put this armour on when they heard the train was coming?— About twenty minutes, I suppose.

7757 Did Bracken go out and take the key, and go out at once?— He went out when he heard the police going towards the gate along the line.

7758 Did you expect the train to pass without stopping at Glenrowan?— I was afraid it would.

7759 Would it have done so?— Yes, because there was no one to signal it.

7760 If there was no signal at the station, it would go on?— Yes.

7761 Was there any conversation in the house about the train?— They fancied they heard the train whistle, and they listened, and we all heard the train whistle, but could not be sure; we thought it was a cock crowing. Then, after a bit, we heard it again, and then we heard the rattle of the train, so we were frightened the train would go through; but when the train stopped at the station here, one of the Kellys said, “This is Curnow's work.” I heard that, but I do not know which one of them said it.

7762 Did you expect to hear of a capsize when the train came?— He expected them from Benalla.

7763 Were you in when Curnow was liberated?— Yes, when they went for Mr. Bracken, they took Curnow with them, and let him out.

7764 Were there others let out?— Yes, some twenty-one were let go on the Sunday.

7765 Did Mr. Curnow know from you or anyone that the line had been taken up?— Yes, I told him in the morning at once that the line was broken; I said to him, “What a pity some one could not give warning to stop the train.”

7766 Did you tell him on the morning how a warning could be given?— I did, and told him where it was broken. I am under a mistake if I did not tell him that holding something red, with a light behind it, would do.

7767 Will you swear you did say that?— To the best of my belief I did. I told Bracken also that the railway line was broken.

7768 Then, it was from you that Mr. Curnow knew the line was broken?— Yes, I told him on the verandah, when he gave me his pipe to have a smoke.

7769 Was it not known to all the prisoners in the house that the line was broken?— Yes. I suppose the late prisoners did not know it, but those in the early part did; they were going to bail up a circus that day.

7770 Did you see the Kellys' horses?— Yes; three were left at Jones's stable. The four came down the back of McDonnell's paddock, and into the stable. Two boys were riding them.

7771 Were those boys the Kellys, or friends of theirs?— No, they were not the Kellys, because they were at the house at the time.

7772 Were they the Kellys or others?— Others; and there was one of the horses up here tied to the fence —the horse that used to carry the pack. I think I showed him to Constable Johnson when I came back.

7773 By Mr. Sadleir— Is it quite clear that two of Jones's children were shot before the police came from Beechworth and Wangaratta?— Yes.

7774 And the next that was shot was your son—by Sergeant Steele, you say?— Yes.

The witness withdrew

Adjourned to to‑morrow at Eleven o'clock

[~[[See report of Proceedings 14/5/81]|6070]~]

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17/5/1881 ....

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