Royal Commission report day 21 page 3

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The Royal Commission evidence for 17/5/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 21)

Const Barry giving evidence

7774.7324 They were attending the school?— They were going to the school.

7774.7325 Where the Byrnes were?— I do not know, I am sure.

7774.7326 Did you ever hear whether they were attending school with the Byrnes' children?— I heard it said so.

7774.7327 So the opinion you have formed is that it was very probable it was well known you were in the cave?— Those many people knew it.

7774.7328 You are quite certain that eight or nine people knew?— That many people knew it.

7774.7329 Did you hear of anybody else knowing it?— No, I did not.

7774.7330 Did the Barrys know it?— The younger Mrs. Sherritt knew it. She was in the cave.

7774.7331 Would not her mother know it then?— I could not say that.

7774.7332 Do you think Mrs. Barry, the mother-in-law, knew it?— It is very likely she would. Women are not likely to keep secrets.

7774.7333 Were you one of the party that was stationed in Sherritt's hut?— I spent one or two nights there only. I was suffering from rheumatism, caused by being so long in the cave, and could not do the work.

7774.7334 Were you there on the night when Aaron Sherritt was shot?— No.

7774.7335 Have you formed any opinion what should have been the duties on that occasion?— It was a very dangerous position. They had a very poor show indeed.

7774.7336 Why?— The house is surrounded by scrub, very close to it. There is the main road running in front, perhaps ten or twelve yards in front, and between the main road and the front door stands a big tree, and altogether the men inside had a very very bad show of coming out. It was not the question of coming out of the back door or the front door—it was a matter of coming out into the kitchen from the room.

7774.7337 How far was the tree from the house?— Perhaps six yards.

7774.7338 Were the surroundings of the hut such as would have made it very dangerous for the police to come out?— Yes, when it was a dark night.

7774.7339 You consider in the dark night, if the outlaws were outside, they would have a very great advantage over those inside?— Yes; they had a very great advantage over those men—they had all the advantage.

7774.7340 But even if you were there yourself, what would be your opinion as to your duties with regard to your officer. Would you have to obey his instructions and be guided by them. Suppose you; were with the party with a senior-constable in charge?— It would be our duty to act in accordance with his instructions.

7774.7341 Would you not consult?— If I did different to his instructions and did well, it would be all right, but if not, look out.

7774.7342 You would be dismissed?— I think so.

7774.7343 In that case the whole responsibility you would throw on the officer in charge?— I understand so.

7774.7344 Then, if the officer in charge is examined, and states that he instructed the others to take a certain course, and they did not obey him, that would not be his fault?— If he ordered them to do anything they are bound to obey.

7774.7345 Could they refuse under the circumstances?— I think not.

7774.7346 You would not disobey?— No.

7774.7347 Would it not be your duty to go out and do whatever he told you?— If he tells me, it is my duty.

7774.7348 Would you have done so?— I do not know whether I would or not. If the other two men refused, what is the good of two men rushing and the others remaining behind? But I am bound to obey orders.

7774.7349 Were you at Glenrowan on the day the Kellys were captured?— Yes.

7774.7350 What time did you go there?— I went with the first party, with Mr. Hare.....

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