Royal Commission report day 37 page 11

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The Royal Commission evidence for 20/7/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 37)

'Mrs. Sherritt, senior, giving evidence'

13185 Then you did not know anything at all of their coming to the house that night?— No; only I heard they were going to do something. Oh, if I had only known it !

13186 Did you hear whether it was known the police were about the house?— I am sure I did not.

13187 Did you know the police were in your son's house?— I did, because my son knew he could tell me.

13188 Did any of the little ones know?— Not one of the little ones.

13189 Did Joseph Byrne lend you to believe that he knew there were police about?— No.

13190 Did you know where the outlaws were then?— They were round the district for months before they were taken.

13191 Did many people to your knowledge know whether they were about?— I do not know whether many knew, because I do not think they put confidence in many.

13192 It was generally known they were in the district?— I do not know that people knew, but Ward and my son and myself knew that they were in it.

13193 Did your son know it was Kelly that called at the beginning?— He called several times after that

13194 Was it reported to the police that Kelly was there?— Yes, by myself.

13195 Soon after?— Well, I forget now how soon, because the outlaws watched my place that time three days, that was what I was told.

13196 How long was that before your son was murdered?— It was the time of the warrant.

13197 Did you know anything about the party of police in the cave?— Yes, I knew it myself; but none of my small children knew anything about it.

13198 Did you know whether there was anybody else about knew that they were there?— No, I am sure there was no one knew except the police themselves.

13199 Was it not there that Mrs. Byrne saw your son?— Not in the cave. It never was discovered except through the police themselves. It could not be discovered without my knowing it.

13200 Were their tracks discovered?— Never that I heard of.

13201 By Mr. Nicolson — There was one of your daughters in the habit of going to Mrs. Byrne 's?— Yes.

13202 That was with the knowledge of Detective Ward?— Yes.

13203 Going regularly, frequently, under your direction and the sanction of the police?— Yes, but as to any one knowing anything about the cave, the cave never was discovered until after the police left it.

13204 Have you had conversations with Mrs. Byrne since, about the cave?— Nothing concerning the cave; but I know perfectly well the cave was never discovered.

13205 Do you know from Mrs. Byrne that she never knew?— All I know is that the cave was never discovered except through the police. It was discovered some weeks after the police had left it, and it was through some empty tins that rolled down the side of the hill, and during the time that the police provisions were in my place, I never was discovered sending the provisions. I used to go myself and carry to a certain place and leave it for my son, for fear he would be discovered, and I baked the bread; and sometimes, if they ran short of anything, I would send to Beechworth for it.

13206 Did you hear of any writing being discovered in the cave after the police left it?— No; all I know after the cave, after the police left, my husband and myself went in the moonlight, went in and cleared everything away; took the dray and brought in everything–bags–and some of the constables left their oil coats. We removed all traces.

13207 Did any person request you to do so?— Detective Ward; and then also, before my son’s murder, my daughter called at Mrs. Byrne's–one of my sons was working and I used to send him his provisions from home, and this girl used to go once a week, or sometimes oftener, on horseback, and on her way she would call at Byrne's, and this night she called on her way home, and who should come up but Joe Byrne, leading a horse, and Dan Kelly. Each of them was leading one and riding another. Mrs. Byrne then came out–there was a whistle–it is a very thick scrubby place, and after a little bit Ned Kelly and Hart on foot, from the back of the place like, and those two came up the front of the house like, so, and got their provisions. There was some bread and I think it was boiled bacon, and then Patsy Byrne went up the Woolshed and he brought down something in a bottle and gave it to them, and Patsy –Joe Byrne's brother–said, “Which way did you come?” and Joe says, “The way we always come. We came down the steepest part of Wall's Gully.” I came into Beechworth and told you that, Mr. Nicolson .

13208 That was on a Saturday morning?— I do not remember the date.

13209 By the Commission— How long was that before the murder of your son?— Not long; it might be a month or a little more.

13210 Did you know where they came from at that time?— No, but I had heard that they were supplied with provisions from a woman that lived near Chiltern that was an old sweetheart of Byrne's.

13211 They were supposed to be camped in the ranges?— That is what I heard.

13212 By Mr. Nicolson — What you told me on the Saturday was your meeting with Joe Byrne at Murphy's hut?— I went to bring over the horses to plough.

13213 How long did that occur before you saw me?— I could not tell you how long.

13214 Was it the same day you saw me?— No. I do not know. It was not the same day. There came a mounted man down with a letter, and I came up, but I cannot remember the day.

The witness withdrew. ....

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