Royal Commission report day 33 page 10

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The Royal Commission evidence for 28/6/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 33)

[[../../people/peH_J/johnstonCPC.html|SConst Charles Johnston]] 'giving evidence'

12463 You said going towards Glenrowan–that would be towards Greta?— Yes, going in the direction of Greta.

12464 Were they the same tracks you had before?— They were the same I believe. There appeared to be only the four horses then.

12465 What occurred then?— We got to Glenrowan, and from the enquires we made we found that on the previous Friday night that three men had been seen near the railway station when the train came in.

12466 Was that on the Monday you ascertained that?— Yes, Monday was the 11th.

12467 Did you track those four horses to Glenrowan?— Not all the way, but we picked up the tracks in several places. It was very rough in some pieces and boggy in others. As I said when the train came in there were three men seen near the Sydney road, and some person came out of the train and went in the direction of where the horsemen were standing. We followed the tracks from where they had seen this person, and we found them going up on to the ranges again in the direction of a place called Hell's Hole back on to the Warby Ranges again, but on the opposite side of the range to that where we found the tracks coming. This was the north side they were going up again.

12468 How far is Glenrowan from the place you first saw the tracks on the 8th November–how many miles?— I could not say round the range.

12469 How far from Bryan 's to Wangaratta?— Well, I would say it must be close on 40 miles.

12470 How far is it from Wangaratta to Glenrowan?—15 miles.

12471 That would be 55 miles?— It would be by the direct route.

12472 The tracks were much longer than that?— Yes.

12473 Will you proceed with your narrative?— I said the tracks were going in the direction of the Warby Ranges again.

12474 Did you find their footsteps?— The tracks of the four horses were going on to the ranges. From enquiries we made–that would be on the Monday–we found that a chestnut horse had come down from the side of the range down on to the railway, and was caught by some man and taken on to the range.

12475 What horse was that?— I do not know. I would infer from the description of the horse that it was the chestnut horse taken from the police, because he had white legs and white face. From the description of the horse, I was satisfied it was the horse taken from the police. Night came on, and Mr. Smith and I consulted what was best to do, and we agreed to go into Wangaratta.

12476 How far were you from there then?— About 11 miles. We went in, and Mr. Smith saw Mr. Nicolson, and it was then agreed on that a large party be taken out in the morning to follow those tracks up. Sergeant Steele and his men came out; Mr. Sadleir came from Benalla, and we all met where we lost the tracks on the morning of the 12th. They joined Mr. Smith there, and Mr. Nicolson and his men.

12477 You took the tracks on the morning of Tuesday the 12th. Did Mr. Nicolson, Mr. Sadleir, and Mr. Brook Smith accompany the party of police then in pursuit of the tracks?— Yes, all of them. We went then north–almost directly north–the tracks were going for some few miles, and the tracks led into some thick scrub. The trackers were very slow, and did not appear to like to go into the scrub at all, the two trackers we had. There was then some conversation between the officers which I did not hear.

12478 Do you know of your own knowledge, on the Monday night or the Tuesday morning, when you were at Wangaratta, whether Mr. Nicolson and Mr. Sadleir were informed that you had obtained information, when at Glenrowan on the Monday, that the party supposed to be those you were tracking had passed through on the previous Friday?— I do not know that they were informed that they had passed through, but I told Mr. Sadleir myself of the information we had gained when I met him, but I did not tell Mr. Nicolson myself. I presumed Mr. Smith told him. We turned back then, and Sergeant Steele and his men left us and went away. Where he went to I do not know. We turned back the same line as we had gone, just came straight back to where we hand met them from Benalla and Wangaratta. I remained back with Nicolson, Mr. Sadleir, and Mr. Smith, with the men that we had with us, all with the exception of Dixon . He went on with Sergeant Steele

12479 Did you not follow those tracks any further?— No.

12480 Was there any reason assigned why?— I did not hear of any. We sat down and had lunch, and after lunch Mr. Sadleir and Mr. Nicolson were riding in front towards Glenrowan.

12481 You sat down and had lunch–where did you take lunch?— On the side of the range.....

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