Royal Commission report day 26 page 2

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The Royal Commission evidence for 7/6/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 26)

Mr Carrington giving evidence

10033 Did you see him the time Mr. Hare left the station?— I did not see him leave the station. Mr. Hare a very tall figure, and I could see him leave, but the others were muffled up. It was bitter cold night, and their coats were turned up, and their hats down over the faces, so the only way to distinguish was by height. We were walking about the station to keep our feet warm, and it was then I saw Mr. O'Connor. They disappeared towards the house, and we went to the edge of the station, the extreme end of the platform. Mr. Melvin, the reporter of the Argus, went towards the ditch with the police. He was the only reporter that had a firearm with him. The police had scarcely been gone a few seconds when we saw the front of the verandah of the hotel lit up with flashes of light replied to by shots from the police, and then in five or six minutes we saw a tall figure coming to us through the smoke. At this time, the white smoke helped to light up the scene against the dark background. We could see a tall dark figure coming through the smoke. This was Mr. Hare coming back, six or seven minutes after the flashes. He went back the second time, and it was not more than ten minutes after the flashes. He went back the second time, and it was not more than ten minutes altogether. He then came back, and blood was running down his fingers from the wound in his wrist, which was bleeding very freely, dripping as he came along; and we did the best we could for him, that is the four reporters left on the station. I was amongst them. I tied up his wrist, and then he went out again and disappeared. We saw him go out, he went again towards the Glenrowan hotel.

10034 Almost the same route?— Almost exactly the same route as he game, and he disappeared again into the uncertain light

10035 You could see almost to the small gate?— I could not say what distance. It is fifteen or twenty yards, I believe, to the first bridge, and he then came back again the same line. He was tottering then.

10036 How long after was that?— The first and second return only took from ten to twelve minutes altogether, the whole time. He came back, and from loss of blood he fainted, and we got him into a carriage. He was very sick, and asked for some brandy or whiskey, and there was none about; none of us had any, unfortunately; and we thought the best thing we could do was to get him away to Benalla, and we gave directions to one of the engine drivers to do so, but he started with the wrong engine, and went to Benalla without him. Everybody was in a most excited state on the station.

10037 Who was “everybody”?— There were four reporters on the platform, and two ladies in the carriage.

10038 Did the second engine start immediately after?— About fifteen or twenty minutes, and we sent him by that. Then we walked up and down the platform to keep ourselves warm, and now and then constable would come up and give us a little news—how they were getting on—what they were doing— whether they had seen anything. One constable that came up, I forget who it was, said, “here is a bad nest of them at the back, keep a look-out; there is a bad lot in that hotel over the road—keep a look-out.”

10039 That was McDonald's hotel?— Yes; and then the horses that had escaped into the paddock were galloping and very restive, as if somebody was coming from that end; and we were fearing; something, not knowing what it was. There was a great scare at the time. I cannot give the time it was exactly. The next thing was the fearful screaming of some woman, “They have killed my child”; and the next incident was Senior-Constable Kelly coming down the road by the side of the station with a skull cap in his hand, which he said he had found on the top of the ranges near a pool of blood, and he said, “By jingo I think that one of them has escaped.”

10040 Had he a rifle with him?— Yes. He showed us the skull cap. There was a desultory firing going on all this time, but most of the firing seemed to come from a little gap in the ditch in front of the hotel.

10041 Had you any knowledge of who was stationed in that ditch?— No I did not know, only I have heard lately that the trackers were there.

10042 Was there much firing from the hotel at that time?— Very little after the first volley; now and again a shot, but every time there was one shot from the hotel it was replied to by half a dozen at least from the ditch. The next incident was a woman coming up with a child in her arms. I do not know her name. We put her into a carriage. She was in a most excited state. We tried to get out of her some news, but she could give nothing connectedly. She said they were armed, or something about armour but she was too excited for us to get anything from her. She said they were all there.

10043 Do you know who that woman is now?— No, I do not. Just about break of day, standing at the right hand side of the station, that is the Beechworth end, we noticed the police standing behind trees turning towards the Beechworth direction, the steam was rising very heavily then off the ground; and we could see a tall figure that looked at first like a man with a black hat pulled over his face, and a white coat on, and he seemed to be drunk from the way he was staggering about. I thought it was someone trying to cause a diversion to allow the men to escape from the hotel at first. Then I saw the police firing at the figure. For some reason he put his foot on to a log every time he fired, then he would disappear into to the gully behind the trees. There was a man with a great coat on just in front of him, with a revolver. Afterwards we found it was Dowsett. He kept pegging away at him with his revolver. He had his back to the station.....

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