Royal Commission report day 40 page 1

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Story of the KellyGang - the Royal Commission Report

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The Royal Commission evidence for 28/7/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 40)


The Hon. F. LONGMORE , M.L.A., in the Chair;

G. W. Hall, Esq., M.L.A., W. Anderson , Esq., M.L.A.

The Chairman read the evidence of Mrs. Barry and Mrs. Sherritt, junior, taken privately at Beechworth .

The Chairman also read the following declaration made by Constable Alexander at the request of the Commission:— “I, Alexander, of Glenrowan, in the colony of Victoria , make oath and say

1st. That about ten minutes after the second shot was fired by the outlaws at Sherritt's hut I saw Constables Armstrong and Dowling partly under the bed, lying on their chests. Constable Duross was sitting at the end of the bedroom near the bed. I do not know who put the women under the bed.

2nd, Dan Kelly did not come into the sitting-room; had he done so, I must have seen him or heard his footsteps.

— ROBERT ALEXANDER , M.C. , 2755.”

[[../../people/peU_Z/wardPdet.html|Det Michael Edward Ward]] further examined

14103 By the Commission— You remember asking for a report from the constables who were in the cave, known as Mr. Nicolson's cave party?— I sent a telegram for that.

14104 That was from the whole eight that were there?— From the whole.

14105 What induced you to adopt that unusual practice?— On account of the time I had arrived and the time the train would start.

14106 No, I mean what induced you to adopt that unusual practice of asking constables on duty to send in a report?— They were not on that duty then; it was after the duty was over.

14107 I will put it another way. Is it usual when constables have been on duty to ask them to send in a report that is to be filed in the office?— No; if I had been at home, I would not have asked them for a report; I could take their names then and submit them myself.

14108 Then it was because they were there in your absence, performing a duty, that you asked them for a report?— Yes, knowing they were about to return to their stations on that day, and that I would not have an opportunity of seeing each of them, nor time to speak to them.

14109 I think we have it in evidence that you said it was for the purpose of getting a good entry on their record sheet?— Yes; all that was some time before the affair at Aaron Sherritt's hut.

14110 Were you led to understand by anything that occurred that it might possibly be known that the men were in the cave?— I was not. Had I been led to believe, or informed of anything of that, I should have immediately communicated with the officer, and had them withdrawn. I might state that I tested it in every way I could. Having asked Mr. Nicolson , I got a man from Benalla to come up, who was directed to proceed to Eldorado, Woolshed, Sebastopol , and Reed's Creek, and try and find out if any of the outlaws or their friends knew what the opinion of the people was. The man did not know that the notice were out.

14111 He went out to find out if they understood that there was any plan laid for their capture?— Yes.

14112 Without his knowing of the cave party at all?— Yes, without his knowing of the cave party at all; and after staying a few days at Mrs. Chappell's, who lives opposite Joe Byrne's mother's place, he ascertained from Mrs. Chappell that the Kellys were still in the country, that they were going to do something good, that Mrs. Byrne's people were in great joy—they were not one bit frightened of being caught—that the outlaws would astonish the world the next thing they would do.

14113 When you called upon Constable Barry for his report he gave you a certain report?— Which report would that refer to?

14114 April 2nd—there are three reports?— I was not at home when the two first reports or the memorandum that is on that was put on. I was in Benalla then.

14115 Did you tell Barry that report would do?— I went up to the room and I said, “This is not the report that I require; I simply want the names of the men and the time they were employed on this secret duty, and how they performed it, as Mr. Nicolson will put a favorable entry on your sheet.”

14116 Did Mr. Nicolson desire that report?— He did not ask for the report; he told me to submit the men's names, and I was not able to do so without calling upon them or seeing them, and I was frightened they would have left before I got back.

14117 Did you see Constable Barry's second report?— Yes; I saw the first and second.

14118 And told him those were not the reports required?— Yes; and also Barry said, “Why did not Mullane tell us that, instead of putting this memo. on? Had he told us what he wanted at first, we would have given him it.”

14119 Did you ever tell a superior officer that Barry reported that he believed it was known they were in the cave?— No.....

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