Royal Commission report day 37 page 2

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The Royal Commission evidence for 20/7/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 37)

Const Robert Alexander giving evidence

13020 Could you not at any time have got into the sitting room so as to put the fire out and the light –if you had made a rush, would they have been able to shoot you in the sitting room?— The log was burning, and the fire was a very large one; it would not have been possible to put it out at all, and there was a candle-light on the table, and one of the men was right opposite the front door, and one opposite the back.

13021 How is it you did not go out at all during the morning?— We heard voices on to daybreak almost; there were parties walking about; there must have been above a dozen or more, to my reckoning by the sound of the voices, and walking about. I was quite willing to go out if Armstrong and the others would have, but they would not. I told Armstrong that Mr. Hare would be wild if we did not get the men, and he said we would do very well as we were; and I thought, as he was in charge, I would be wrong in going against what he said.

13022 One of you got on a bag, and shut the front door–could you not have done that earlier in the night?— Armstrong shut both doors by pushing them to with his breech-loader.

13023 Would that not enable him to get outside the bedroom any time during the night?— The doors were put to and opened again about half.

13024 Would you have been in any better position if you had got into that other room?— Well, I do not think we could have been in a better position, because there was a window in each room. We would have been in the same position as in the bedroom.

13025 You did not fire any shot at all from the inside?— No; Armstrong said not, lest we should shoot some civilians. I got on a box behind the partition wall, and told him I could get a shot at the man at the back, and he said not to fire, for fear of hitting any civilians. We had breech-loading shot-guns, so it was no use trying to fire through; there were no rifles.

13026 Have you thought since how, if you were in the same position, you could have done better?— Yes, if the man in charge acted along with me, I would act better–I still am of that opinion.

13027 You think, if you had all acted together, you would all have rushed out?— I would have been willing to do anything, but the others would not work, and I did not like to go against the men in charge of me.

13028 What was the nature of the ground behind the house; was it an old diggings?— On the left it was diggers' holes, at the back it was scrubby, and at the right it was scrubby and diggers' holes; and there is a water-channel right before the door, perhaps two to three feet deep.

13029 Then any one outside had good cover?— Very good cover.

13030 If you had gone out in the dark–made a rush out–do not you think you would have had an equal chance with the outlaws?— Once we got outside the door we would have been right, and would have had as good a chance; but the other men were not willing to go out, Armstrong especially. I spoke to him several times during the night about it, and he always put me off, and said we could do nothing– the party was too small. I said Mr. Hare would be wild.

13031 Why did you think it advisable to send by a Chinaman instead of by yourselves?— It was Armstrong thought of that. He said, “Boys, do not separate, because they stopped so long at Euroa and Jerilderie, they will be bound not to give in to us yet.” He thought they were close handy. This is the statement I made myself of the whole case–[handing in a written paper].

13032 Then you consider it likely the Kellys must have known you were in the hut?— Yes, I think so, because Byrne's brother used to come round the back.

13033 Do you remember making any report upon the proceedings that occurred there?— I do.

13034 You were called upon?— Yes, I remember making some short report.

13035 Did you make one?— I did.

13036 Was it accepted?— I believe it was, for I had not it returned to me.

13037 Do you remember Mr. Hare coming out one time to the hut?— I do.

13038 Did he find you all in the hut, or were you watching?— No; Duross, I, and Mrs. Sherritt were in the hut; the others were out with Sherritt getting firewood.

13039 Was it suggested to you by any one that you should go away as fast as possible and report you were watching the hut–that is, Byrne's hut?— No; Detective Ward came into the hut and said, “Hare is outside, say they are gone down to watch Byrne's.” That meant the others, Armstrong and Dowling and Sherritt, I understood.....

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