Royal Commission report day 26 page 9

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The Royal Commission evidence for 7/6/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 26)

Mr Melvin giving evidence

10182 From your own personal observation?— From my own personal observation. He kept advancing steadily. They had got within fifteen yards of Ned Kelly when Sergeant Steele came down from the hotel, and seemed to attack Kelly in the side and shoot him down.

10183 At that time both Kelly and Dowsett were advancing towards the outlaw?— Yes, advancing steadily.

10184 Did you see Constable Arthur?— I could not distinguish them individually.

10185 Did you see any member of the police running away apparently?— No, I did not. I saw one taking a half circuit round him, as if to get a better shot at him.

10186 You have heard how the outlaws were stationed in the house?— Yes.

10187 Have you anything to add to that of importance?— From what I heard from the prisoners, I concluded it was not an absolute certainty that Byrne was dead and the other two cowed.

10188 What conclusion did you come to from what you heard?— It seemed certain that the other two were alive, and that they were fightable was evident from the fact that they were still firing from the hotel.

10189 Any attempt to seize them would have been accompanied with danger?— Yes.

10190 What time did you see the last shot fired?— About one o'clock .

10191 That is as near as you can judge?— Yes.

10192 From what part?— From the gable end, between the back kitchen, as if they were firing from the passage.

10193 Then at that time you must have moved?— I was then writing out my report in McDonald's hotel and looking out occasionally.

10194 Could you from there say whether the shot was from the hotel or from the police at the Benalla end?— I could, and more easily than from the platform, because I could see the police shots from behind the hotel and the smoke rising from the shots at the hotel itself.

10195 You have heard Mr. Carrington's statement that he formed the impression from early morning to the afternoon that the police were all ready, and that the only thing they required was someone to give definite orders—did you form a similar impression?— No.

10196 What was your impression?— You refer to the afternoon?

10197 I refer to before daylight?— Well, after Mr. Hare was wounded and left, Senior-Constable Kelly seemed to do the principal part of the work—at all events he was continually going round the men and carrying ammunition, and visiting us on the platform and telling us how things were going on. He called up, I think, twice.

10198 He would have made a circuit of the house in the meantime?— Yes; we saw him do that.

10199 Who succeeded Senior-Constable Kelly in command?— Mr. Sadleir.

10200 What did he do to your knowledge?— When he arrived I saw him talking to Senior Constable Kelly and he was out on the field. By this time I was doing my own work.

10201 What time did you first see him on the field?— It was dark when he arrived, and I think he went out immediately after.

10202 When did you first see him on the field?— I think about seven o'clock .

10203 What was he then doing?— I saw him going up in the direction of the corner gate.

10204 Had you, prior to the capture of Kelly, seen Mr. Sadleir in any portion of the field, giving orders to any of the police?— No.

10205 When did you next see Mr. Sadleir after the capture of Kelly?— Immediately after the capture of Kelly he came to the station. He spent some time with Ned, interviewing him, as it were, and Mr. Sadleir's object seemed to be to ascertain, if possible, from Ned, some sign by which he could get the other outlaws to surrender.

10206 How long after that was it you saw him actively engaged giving orders to the constables surrounding the hotel?— He was walking about on the field and on the platform the whole morning, and always busy. I could not fix any definite time.

10207 Will you fix some point where he was giving instructions to any of the police?— I cannot tell. I did not see him give any instructions at all. I simply saw him with the police.....

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