Royal Commission report day 33 page 7

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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'

12375 Were you enabled then to form any opinion of the probable time they had passed those tracks up to that point?— I do not believe they were more than 48 hours in advance, that is at the time and from the appearance of the tracks, and from certain hairs that were on the fence, showing that they had taken the brush fence–white hairs, where the horses had scratched themselves crossing the fence. We knew there was one of the police horses had white legs, and there were some white hairs on this brush fence.

12376 One of which police horses?— One of the horses that were taken from the murdered police. There was a chestnut gelding, M 42, with white legs and face; that was the horse I supposed that had left the hair on this brush fence.

12377 Do you know whether that horse was shed or unshod?— I could not say, because all the horses had gone across, and he was the only horse that could have left white hairs.

12378 You last stated that it was coming on night, and Mr. Smith told you it was desirable to go into Wangaratta to get black trackers?— Yes, and to get provisions.

12379 Did the constables agree with that?— Yes, we all agreed that night to go.

12380 Did you go?— We did go.

12381 What time did you reach Wangaratta?— About nine o'clock at night.

12382 How far was that from Wangaratta?— About between nine and ten miles.

12383 Did you see any superior officer when you got to Wangaratta?— I did not.

12384 Was there any officer there?— Mr. Smith told me that Mr. Nicolson was there.

12385 Did you see him?— I did not see him that night.

12386 Where did you go to?— To Kitts' hotel, where we were putting up our horses

12387 Did you receive any instructions?— Mr. Smith came and told me to have the men ready at four in the morning, that he had received instructions from Mr. Nicolson to pick up the tracks and follow them.

12388 Did anything occur till that time?— No.

12389 Did you get up?— Yes; I got the horses together and men ready, and called on Mr. Smith. There were seven horses and men.

12390 What time did you call Mr. Smith?— About four o'clock . He was sleeping in one of the rooms at Kitts' hotel.

12391 Did he get up?— No. He said he would get up immediately. I waited for an hour and re-called him about five o'clock . He told me he would get up immediately.

12392 Did he?— Not till about seven o'clock .

12393 What did he do then?— He came out and told me to proceed out as far as Bryan's place– that is, Morgan's Gap–and that he would follow.

12394 Did you go?— I did. I arrived at Bryan 's about nine o’clock .

12395 Was your officer there before you?— No, I did not see him until night. I remained there until one o'clock , and then I suggested to the men the advisability of going on and picking up the tracks and fighting the outlaws, and they all agreed with me to go and we did go.

12396 You were delayed until that hour by your officer?— Yes.

12397 Did you pick up the tracks?— Yes; we took them up in the direction of the Wally Ranges , and to a point above Bryan 's house.

12398 Is that the orange grove?— Yes.

12399 Did the tracks you were then following correspond in every particular with the tracks you had been following the previous day?— Yes, exactly, and we followed them to the summit of the range immediately over the orange grove over Bryan's place, where they had evidently camped–where the horses had been camped for the night.

12400 What hour was it when you found the tracks there?— About four in the afternoon.

12401 What did you do then?— We searched about for about an hour, and different tracks were about where the horses had been grazing, and we picked up the pack-horse.

12402 You were then searching about for the tracks; the horses had been out–all loose?— Some of them had been loose, and we wanted to find out what direction they had gone.

12403 Where was Mr. Smith then?— I do not know.....

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