Royal Commission report day 27 page 2

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The Royal Commission evidence for 8/6/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 27)

Mrs Margaret Reardon giving evidence

10552 And did the firing commence immediately?— The firing commenced in about fifteen minutes after that.

10553 Did you see what Constable Bracken did after he told you that?— No, I did not see him after that, for we were in the back room.

10554 Can you tell us the rooms situated?— There were three different rooms—the dining room, the bar room in the middle, and the little parlor, at the Benalla end.

10555 How many doors in the front?— Two—one from the bar and the other from the dining room.

10556 How many rooms were there behind?— Two? and a little narrow passage.

10557 Did the passage go right through the house?— Only from the bar to the back kitchen.

10558 It was only between the two back rooms?— Yes.

10559 And in coming through it you entered the bar coming to the front?— Yes.

10560 Do you remember the time the firing commenced?— Yes.

10561 Can you describe anything you saw then in the house?— I did not see anything in the house just then, for there were very dark window blinds, and they were all drawn down.

10562 Was there no light?— No.

10563 How many windows were there in the front?— There were three windows on the front— one in each room, and one in the bar.

10564 Was there a door going from the verandah into the dining room?— Yes.

10565 And one from the verandah into the bar?— Yes.

10566 No door from the verandah into the little parlor?— No; you entered that from the bar.

10567 Was there a skillion room at the back?— There were two.

10568 And then at the back of those a small yard?— Yes.

10569 And two or three steps up to the kitchen at the back?— There were no steps; it went straight on up a little incline to the kitchen at the back.

10570 Do you remember anything of what occurred when the firing commenced?— After there had been a few shots exchanged, I heard a scream in the front room—that was the time Mrs. Jones's boy got shot.

10571 Do you remember when the first volley was fired?— Yes.

10572 Do you remember where it was fired from?— I could not say that, but it was fired from the outside; the firing all commenced from the outside.

10573 Do you remember seeing the outlaws come into the house immediately after?— No; I did not see them, but I heard them come round the back and into the little passage, but I did not know how many came in.

10574 You were shut in the room?— Yes.

10575 Did you hear any talk of their surrendering?— No; I did not.

10576 Did you hear Ned Kelly ask any of them to come out?— I heard a voice in the yard say, “Come along boys, follow me”; but I did not know who it was said it.

10577 You did not know whether Ned Kelly went out or not?— I did not.

10578 Was it after the volleys you heard that?— Yes; after the first firing was over.

10579 You were then in the back room?— Yes.

10580 How many were with you?— Oh, the place was full of children and another woman and men.

10581 Did that room contain all the prisoners that were in the hotel.?— Oh no.

10582 Which other room were they in?— They were all over the front of the house; there were some in every room.

10583 Were there any in the bar, of your own knowledge?— I could not say; I could not see it.

10584 Did you hear the Kellys offering to allow the prisoners to go?— Yes; some time after the first volley was over Mrs. Jones's daughter came in with a lighted candle and said, “All women and children are to come out.” We accordingly did so. There were two other women, a good many children, and Mrs. Jones and her daughter and I all went out in a great group.

10585 Which door did you go out at?— At the back, round through the back yard.

10586 And went outside?— Yes.

10587 Did you get away at that time?— No. One of my children was not able to walk, and we had to wait to help her on.

10588 Had you to go back into the house again?— The others had got away while we were getting the child out.

10589 How old was she ?— Thirteen years.

10590 Why could not she go?— There were a great number of them lying under the bed, and when she came out she was cramped and could not walk. That lot got away, and three of my children with them. We got close to the gate‑house, when a voice called from under the bridge, “Who comes there ?” and we said “Women and children”; and a little higher up in the gutter or drain there came shots against us, and we had to run back to the house again—my husband, my two biggest boys, and two little ones, and myself.....

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