Royal Commission report day 3 page 8

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The Royal Commission evidence for 25/3/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 3 )

Assistant Commissioner Nicholson giving evidence

763 How far are those places?- Greta Swamp was quite close, but the Glenrowan Swamp was some distance off. Glenrowan is about six miles from Greta Swamp.

764 They had settled down at Wilson's paddock-How far is that?- Oh, a long way; that is not far from Greta, a few miles from Greta, nearer Wangaratta, on the Greta road.

765 All those places were in the immediate vicinity of the Glenrowan Hotel?- Yes, vicinity-but not immediate vicinity. I had a man, an agent, by the Glenrowan Hotel, watching it; and he was reporting to me from time to time the people who frequented it-they were creating a disturbance at this place; this was in May.

766 Would you indicate what hotel?- Jones's hotel, where they were ultimately taken.

767 Were those communications by word of mouth?- Verbally, and I used to see him and note them regularly in my note book. None of the outlrawn s came to Jones's hotel; they were all sympathizers, and they were, no doubt, carousing about there for a purpose.

768 For the purpose of obtaining information?- They were there for the purpose of watching. I had a close watch at the same time from that down to Lake Rowan where there were some friends of the Kellys. The effect of those notices in the press drove them away from the neighborhood of Greta.

769 During the month of April or May?- The mouth of April. My informant stated that he knew perfectly well; he was never in personal communication with them, but, from his sources of information he knew perfectly well that they were in some gully between the Greta Swamp, Mrs. Skillian's, and Tom Lloyd's, or the Quarryhole. He thought they would probably be, and he would find out.

770 That was all in the immediate neighborhood of Glenrowan?- Yes, not immediate neighborhood.

771 What were the notices in the press?- The local press drew attention to various riotous conduct going on at this public house, and suggested that the police should take some steps about it.

772 You mentioned in your evidence notices in the press, have you got those extracts cut out and pasted in any paper?- No, I have not.

773 You did not take notes of them in your diary?- No, the outlaws had a tent about four feet high with them to cover them in bad weather, and, with a little vigilance and keeping perfectly quiet, my man said he would be able to bring us close to them, in fact, indicating in such a way that I anticipated, in a very short time, being able to go to this place at midnight, wait till daylight, and have our hands on their throats without any trouble. At this time I also found very suspicious movements taking place between Glenrowan and Lake Rowan by means of the watch I was keeping up.

774 On the part of the outlaws?- Their friends; there was no appearance of the outlaws themselves. A party of their friends, active sympathizers, crossed the line just at Glenrowan, on horseback, got up mounted and dressed and equipped as if they were starting for the shearing. They were closely watched in the neighborhood of one of their friends at Lake Rowan, and a change was observed to take place in this party. Four of the number (there were about six of the men) were stopped at Yarrawonga punt by the police and it was ascertained who those four were. They were acquaintances, and were apparently going shearing, and were equipped in what is termed a very "flash" style for shearers.

775 Were those same the four you mentioned just now, when you said the number of sympathizers was reduced to four? Three of them were; one, the principal man, was Tom Lloyd.

776 You are aware he was with them all through; during your evidence, you have mentioned young Tom Lloyd?- I think I have not mentioned young Tom Lloyd.. He was absent for some considerable time in New South Wales, and then made his appearance.

777 What relation was Tom Lloyd to them?- First cousin. He disappeared from among those starting to shear. The police watched them, by my orders, as closely as they could, without being discovered themselves. Then one of my agents, who was watching the relatives' house at Lake Rowan, observed a hut at some distance from the main house; he was watching it all night. At daylight he saw a man, one of the sons of the house, come out of the hut and leave the door open. He was a very sharp man, and in a minute he saw the door close, and he was able to discern it was not closed by wind or any natural swing, but it must have been pushed to. He came in and reported this to me, and I knew that the Kellys had visited this place. I had heard of them and, although I did not expect much from it, I considered it necessary to send a party to surprise this hut, which they did, and they found master Tom Lloyd.

778 What date was that?- About the 13th of May; the men under Senior Constable Kelly found Tom Lloyd on the 20th May. The party passed through on the 15th. Though my agent told me about Glenrowan and Greta, I was very watchful and very uneasy about that other country-about their being down in that other country-Lake Rowan, and from there north toward Murray river.

779 Going north?- Yes, north, towards the Murray. ...

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