Royal Commission report day 25 page 6

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Story of the KellyGang - the Royal Commission Report

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The Royal Commission evidence for 2/6/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 25)

[[../../people/peD_G/gascoignePmc.html|Const Charles Gascoigne]] giving evidence

9674 You had better read that?—[The witness read the same, which is as follows:

Glenrowan Police Station, North-Eastern District, May 13th, 1881 . Mounted-Constable P. C. Gascoigne, No. 3056, begs to report, for the information of the Police Commission, relative to the capture of the Kelly gang of outlaws, on the 28th June 1880, as follows:–I left Benalla with a party of constables, consisting of Senior-Constable Kelly, constables Barry, Canny, Arthur, Phillips and Kirkham, under the command of Superintendent Hare; Inspector O'Connor and the black trackers were with as. When the train arrived within one and a half miles of the Glenrowan railway station the pilot engine, which was about 200 yards ahead, stopped; a few minutes after Superintendent Hare came to the guard van, told the men to get out, as the rails had been taken up about half a mile from the station. At the request of Superintendent Hare, Constable Barry, Phillips, and myself accompanied him to the pilot, which we mounted; the pilot then put back to the other train, and we then together proceeded on to the Glenrowan station. When we reached the station Superintendent Hare, accompanied by Constable Barry, Phillips, myself, and a Mr. Rawlings, proceeded to the gate-house, the residence of the station master; and in answer to Superintendent Hare's enquiry as to where the station master was, the station master's wife said (weeping) that the Kellys had taken him away; and in reply to a question where, she pointed in the direction of Mrs. Jones's hotel. She also told Superintendent Hare that Steve Hart, the outlaw, had only left her house two or three minutes. We then went back to the station to get out the horses; when about eight or nine were got out by Constable Canny, which I was holding, one of the trackers saw a man on horseback, about 100 yards away, on the hotel side. Constable Barry and two trackers were put on guard to watch. Before all the horses were got out I noticed some excitement at the other end of the platform; most of the men rushed there; I then heard someone say, “They are at mother Jones's.” Superintendent Hare called out, “Let the horses go,” which I did; he started for the hotel, followed by the men. When about 60 yards from the hotel, Constable Barry asked Superintendent Hare what was the matter; he then said, “Come along, boys.” When we got within about 20 yards of the hotel, one of the police said, “Look out.” I then saw the flash of a rifle. The man who fired the first shot was standing about 10 yards from the corner of the hotel. The report of his rifle had not died away when I saw a row of flashes come from under the verandah of the hotel; the police quickly returned the fire. A man then came out from under the verandah, when Superintendent Hare called to him and advised him not to be foolhardy' and told him that he wished to speak a few words to him. In reply, the man said, “I don't want to speak to you,” and at the same time fired at Superintendent Hare, and then returned to the verandah. The moon at this time was shining from the back of the hotel, and full on the police, the outlaws being in the dark shade, under the verandah. The police now took cover, some behind the railway fence, others behind trees, &c., as near the hotel as they could find it. Shots were freely exchanged on both sides. I managed to get behind a small sapling post, about 30 yards from the end of the hotel. I had not been there many minutes when shots were fired from two trees above me, and two men were firing over me from behind. I called to the men behind to cease firing in that direction, which they did. At this time a woman came out of the hotel at the back —

9675 About what time was that?— About ten minutes past three o'clock .

9676 Was that before or after Mr. Hare was shot?— After. I was standing close to him, but I did not know when he was shot; it was ten minutes after the first volley was fired he said he was shot

9675 About what time was that?— About ten minutes past three o'clock .

9676 Was that before or after Mr. Hare was shot?— After. I was standing close to him, but I did not know when he was shot; it was ten minutes after the first volley was fired he said he was shot

9677 Did you hear him say he was shot?— Yes, ten minutes after the first fire. “A woman came out of the hotel at the back, and a girl was with her holding a candle. A man then came out and, putting his hand on the woman's shoulder, tried to pacify her. I heard her say something about her son being shot. Two men were firing from a position above me in the direction of the woman and girl; I called on them to stop firing, but they kept on. I then said, “You are cowardly black wretches (believing at the time they were trackers) to be firing on women.” I also called upon the police to stop firing into the hotel. Superintendent Hare then gave the order to cease firing. About this time a man made his appearance in front of the hotel, and walked towards the railway fence, and fired a shot in that direction, at some one; three shots were fired at the man in return, who I believe to have been Edward Kelly, the outlaw, by his appearance. He then fired at three men who were standing on the closed road, about 50 or 60 yards from him, at the Benalla end of the hotel. I think one of the men was Superintendent Hare. I don't think these men could see the outlaw, as the night was very frosty and clouds of smoke hung between them and the man who fired. After he, the outlaw, had fired the shot, he was standing face on to me; I fired at him, and he returned the shot quickly; we had three or four shots at each other, and after my last shot he turned sharply round and called out, “You b––cocktails, you can't hurt me, I am in iron.” Two of the outlaw's shots struck the post behind which I was taking shelter. Superintendent Hare now called out, 'O'Connor, place your boys round the house, and for God's sake don't let them escape.' I now left my post and went to the two men above me, who I thought were trackers, but I found they were police constables; they told me not to stop there, as there was not sufficient shelter for me. Shots at this time were coming from the passage between the hotel and kitchen; I left these two constables and went to a tree above them, could see the outlaws' horses, in the yard, at the rear of the hotel. Was at the tree about a quarter of an hour, when Constable Kirkham said that he would go for ammunition, and promised to come back again, but did not. About ten minutes after his departure I heard footsteps behind me, and saw a man about 15 yards away, coming towards me. I called on him to throw up his hands, which he did not do; repeated the order, when he enquired if I was a policeman; I said, yes; he then went away. Soon after, I saw a match struck about 100 yards from me; I saw two other men with him; Constable Phillips was stationed at a tree about 10 yards from me; he left his post to stop a man who was making his escape from the hotel; when about the railway crossing, Phillips called on me to come and assist him; I did not then go; he called again, and said that one of the outlaws was escaping. I at once went down to his assistance, overtook the man on the railway line, and stopped him, asked his name; he said that his name was Neil McHugh; he had on his back a wounded boy. I asked him the boy's name, he said that he was Mrs. Jones's son; the boy was bleeding at the time from the mouth. I then asked McHugh who was in the hotel; he said, “There are 30 of them, and they have armour on–....

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