Royal Commission report day 24 page 14

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The Royal Commission evidence for 1/6/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 24)

Const James Dwyer giving evidence

9481 Where did you find Mr. Sadleir then?— He was in the trench.

9482 Where you had left him with Mr.O'Connor?— Yes. Mr. Sadleir asked, “Are you sure?” and I said, “Yes, sir, for there is his blood on my hand and trousers” –that was his left hand laid on mine and the thigh of my trousers. Mr. Sadleir asked who was the first man caught him. “Sergeant Steele was,” I answered, and described then how he was captured, and what I did from the time I left him. I then went up to the station to see if there was ammunition there, to bring it to the men who had not much. Approaching the railway station where the train was, I saw Mr. Rawlins and one of the reporters of the press leaning on the carriage window, talking to Mrs. O'Connor and her sister, Miss Smith, and I heard Mrs. O'Connor express– “Oh, if I had seen any man who could tell me how he is” (meaning Mr. O'Connor) “for I have not seen or heard of him since he left my side.” I, hearing the remark, said, “Here you are, I have just left him in the trench.” I saw she was crying, and looked very pitifully, and, to cheer her, I said, “There is no occasion for you to fret or make yourself miserable, he is all right,” and I commenced to laugh to cheer her up. She said, “My poor fellow, will you have a drink of brandy?” I was dreadfully fatigued and hungry at the time, and had nothing to eat since Sunday evening, and been out all the time. She called the sister, and said, “Give him a good nip.” I answered, “Yes, please, I feel the want of it very much.” The sister said, “Oh, give him a good nip,” and she poured out the brandy with some milk, and also gave me the bottle of brandy to take round to the men. I took the bottle of brandy back and the sweet cake to Mr. O'Connor, who divided the cake, and shared it with us alike. After drinking one nip of brandy, Mr. O'Connor sent me round the lines with the rest of it, and I gave the men as I met them a nip of this brandy. When giving it to Sergeant Whelan, a bullet went into a tree a foot from my side. I passed on, and gave to all the men that would take it. Some were teetotallers, and would not take it, and some of the men said, “For God's sake, Dwyer, bring us something to eat; we are starving.” I went round to tell Mr. Sadleir this, and to send for some provisions. He was then giving orders about the safety of Ned Kelly at the station, when I told him about it. Ned Kelly on seeing me, on my entering the door, said, “Oh, here is the – whom I fired my last shot at.” He was then on a stretcher. He said, “What’s your name?” I said, “My name is Dwyer.” He said, “Where are you from?” I said, “That is no matter to you.” I saw him looking wistfully at the bottle in my hand, and looking down I saw I had about a nobbler in it, and I said, “Will you have a drink of brandy?” and he said, “Yes, please, if you will give it to me.” I said, “Why would I not?” he said, “Put the glass to my lips, I cannot–my hands are tied.” I put it to his lips, and some of the brandy fell on his big beard, and he put his hand up to suck the brandy in this way–[indicating his meaning]–and looking up at me, he said, “Give me a bit of bread, I am very hungry.” Mr. Sadleir, hearing his remark, said, “You shall have every care and attention, Ned. Go, Dwyer, and see if you can get a bit of bread for him.” I went and got some scone cakes from Mrs. McDonald's, and Mr. Sadleir seeing from his sucking his beard that he would like more brandy, told me to fetch a bottle of brandy. Mr. Sadleir gave him the brandy, and I gave him the bread. Ned Kelly, looking up, said, “Thanks, Mr. Sadleir, this is more kindness than I ever thought to get.” Mr. Sadleir replied, “You shall have every care and attention, Ned; do not irritate yourself; keep yourself quiet,” settling Ned Kelly's head on the pillow, and some one putting cotton round his sore leg and arm. Mr. Sadleir said to Ned Kelly then, “Ned, the fate of the other two men is certain, do you think if you sent a message up to them, they would surrender?”

9483 There were three men?— Byrne was shot.

9484 Was it known to every one then?— Only from what Ned Kelly said that Byrne was shot when he was taken.

9485 How could he know?— He saw him drop.

9486 How do you know about that?— Ned Kelly said, when he saw his best friend dead, he had no more faith in them; he left the house.

9487 Did you hear him say that?— I believe I did hear Ned Kelly say that at the time. He told Mr. Sadleir they were cowards, and would not surrender.

9488 Mr. Sadleir said that “the fate of the two men is certain, do you think, if you send a message up, they will surrender”?— Ned Kelly said, “No, they are too cowardly,” and this is the time I know he said about losing his best friend.

9489 How long had Kelly been at the station when this conversation was heard by you?— It would not be above fifteen minutes.....

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