Royal Commission report day 3 page 9

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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

780 Between the Murray and Glenrowan?- Yes.

781 Did they arrest Lloyd at the hut?- No, they stopped him and made him stand, and they saw the man, but there was no charge against him; he chaffed them and they came away quite good humoredly. There was no ground for arresting him whatever. We could have arrested him at any time some time previous to that.

782 Was Lloyd one of the men ultimately arrested as a sympathizer?- Yes, it is the same man.

783 Who was in Beechworth Gaol as a sympathizer?- Yes. About this time, soon after this, I heard of Dan Kelly and Dick Hart calling at the place of a man near Chiltern, a well known house.

784 Do you mean the outlaw, Dan Kelly?- Yes.

785 And Hart?- Yes.

786 What was the name of the outlaw Hart?- Steve Hart.

787 You did not say Steve?- I meant Steve Hart. They were described to me as very much emaciated; in a very miserable state, and asking for food. My informant told me that Dan Kelly's face was remarkably broad, and he was so emaciated that you could put your fists on his cheek bones, but this information was not given to me until some considerable time after that; but that was the first time, after the movements of these men, that I heard any authentic information of the outlaws. I then heard of them

788 When is this, April and May?- This is within a few days after the 20th May. At this time I had received notice of being superseded.

789 When is that?- A few days after the 20th, during the month of May. I received notice I was to be superseded in April, and that I was to be granted a month more. The month's extension was given me, and all these important movements were occurring during the month of May. Then I received information of the outlaws having been seen up in the Sebastopol, both at Mrs. Byrne's, the mother of one of the outlaws, and at - , or - had seen Joe Byrne.

790 Will you fix the date for that?- Yes, on the 26th May.

791 Had you heard it on the 26th, or had she seen him on the 26th of May?- I was in Melbourne on the 26th, and I heard it on that day on my way up.

792 That had seen Joe Byrne?- No, the appearance of some of the outlaws at Mrs. Byrne's house.

793 On what day was he seen?- It was some days before that.

794 And on the 26th you got notice he had been seen?- Yes, I came up from Melbourne, on my way to Beechworth. On Saturday the 29th of May I saw personally.

795 Which -?- Old --. She told me that, about three days before, she had seen Joe Byrne, in the morning.

796 How far would --'s house be from Byrne's?- A considerable distance; this was a hut of --about a mile from the holding of the -.

797 Was this where you saw her?- No; I saw her in Beechworth. This was early in the morning, and this person said she was looking for her cows, and when she came to this hut she saw the outlaw Joe Byrne come out of a calf-pen, and his horse was near at hand, in an enclosure. Some conversation passed between them-I presume you will hear it again, perhaps-shall I repeat it all?

798 It will be as well to give the information?- She asked him what he was doing there, and his reply was- "Oh, we could go anywhere were it not for your sanguinary son there." That was the principal thing I recollect. There were some other words between them, but I do not recollect them.

799 Did you take any action on the information supplied by this woman?- Yes; I had the place examined where his horse was said to have been, and I had the horse tracked from there to Mrs. Byrne's house, then traced away again from the house for some distance, on to a road, amongst a lot of tracks, where it was indistinguishable, the track was lost. I hurried down to Benalla-this was on Saturday- from Beechworth, arranging before I went for a party to go to a certain hut-Aaron Sherritt's-commending a view of Mrs. Byrne's.

800 Did he live at that time with his mother?- I think the mother in law was living with him. I do not know whether she was there at that time. I do not know who was there, except that Aaron Sherritt lived there with his wife, and his mother in law lived with him before he went there. The men were to keep a look out in that neighborhood, to watch Mrs. Byrne's. ...

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