Royal Commission report day 42 page 9

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The Royal Commission evidence for 3/8/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 42)

Mr James Wallace giving evidence

14705 What were you at the time you were the correspondent of the police?— I was following my usual occupation of State school teacher.

14706 What salary had you at that time?— I could not say; about £200 a year.

14707 What are you doing now?— The same.

14708 At what salary?— About the same.

14709 You know what you are getting; what are you getting?— About £15 17s. 6d., including maintenance allowance.

14710 Do you mean to tell me you are still in the service of the State as a school teacher?— Yes.

14711 Were you aware that Sherritt was a paid agent of the police?— From his own statements.

14712 Not from Mr. Nicolson?— I cannot say. I knew that Mr. Nicolson had seen him. I knew that he was frequently in Benalla, but that was all.

14713 You knew he was recognized as a paid agent of the police at this time?— I believed so.

14714 And he was one of the men you swore this morning you relied on for obtaining information?— Yes, one of them.

14715 And you were at the same time endeavoring to damage the man's character?— For the simple reason that I believed he was playing double. While I could use very often information I obtained from the man, I had no confidence in him.

14716 And you were obtaining money for doing that?— I received no money except for my actual expenses.

14717 Was the position you assumed with the police known to the Education Department?— I believe it was, through Captain Standish .

14718 Did you of your own free will, before entering into any engagement with the police, communicate with the department of which you were an officer, and get their permission?— No, I do not think so. It did not interfere with my duties as teacher.

14719 You never had any written permission to act in the capacity you then assumed?— Never; because it was intended to be kept as private as possible.

14720 That would not have interfered with the effectiveness of the service you were going to render?— I think Captain Standish applied to the office; I never did directly.

14721 Were any of the Kelly gang at your school at any time?— Not that I know of.

14722 You were a schoolmate of Joe Byrne ?— For years, and playmate.

14723 Did you make any arrangement with Aaron Sherritt for Joe Byrne to betray the other three?— I did, at the request of Captain Standish . I used him as one of the means of communication.

14724 Did you ever have any communication with Joe Byrne on the subject?— Never.

14725 At no time?— At no time.

14726 You only saw him on the road as you speak of?— Only that.

14727 Were you writing a book about this time?— I was doing something in that line, but I abandoned that idea.

14728 What was the nature of the book?— That has nothing to do with the Commission. I decline to say.

14729 Was it any reference to the Kellys ?— It was simply a romance based on the country there, and it was in the interests of law and order.

14730 In connection with outrages of a similar character to the Kellys '?— The same.

14731 We have it in evidence that you were often at Sherritt's house?— Yes, I was.

14732 Asking for information, because you were writing a book?— I had to give some reason for wishing to know, and I conveyed that impression. I do not know that I actually told them.

14733 Were those outlaws and their associates the heroes of the tale?— They were not.....

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