Royal Commission report day 45 page 16

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The Royal Commission evidence for 10/8/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 45)

[[../../people/peD_G/gravesMLA.html|The Honorable J. H. Graves, M.L.A.,]] giving evidence

15542 You spoke several times about the Strathbogie Ranges ?— Yes.

15543 What grounds had you for saying the outlaws were ever there except supposition and rumour?— I do not believe that the outlaws made use of the Strathbogie Ranges . I never said any such thing. I think the outlaws did not remain in the Strathbogie Ranges . I think they remained in the immediate neighborhood of Glenmore, Moyhu and Greta , nearly the whole time they were out, and that they got their supplies from the Bright road, and from Chinamen and the people there up towards Mount Typo at the back of Glenmore. They did not use the Strathbogie Ranges at all except passing through them, but I think they were in the habit of visiting their aunt and grandmother in the Strathbogie Ranges . The Strathbogie Ranges are places where they could not remain concealed, and there are splitters there, and there is not back country where they could escape to—they would want a place where they could get back.

15544 Have you any knowledge of how the Kelly gang approached Euroa, or where they left it to?— I have an idea.

15545 Have you any information?— Yes, I think they came from Mr. Begg's station, having been there the day before, and Byrne was in the town of Euroa for two days before the bank robbery with Gould, the hawker, and I think the rest were camped by Begg's station, and that the police were aware they were there. I think the police are in full possession of the fact that the Kellys were in the neighborhood of Euroa two days before, and that Byrne was in the town. I know that one gentleman in the town, at the taking of the outlaws at Glenrowan, recognized Byrne as having been to his hotel two days before the robbery of the bank—that was Mr. De Boos . This is matter of opinion for which you have asked me.

15546 You said you asked Wallace about the statements in that letter?— Yes.

15547 Because you knew he knew so much about the Kellys?— I believed he knew thoroughly about them.

15548 Those were statements about the police—how could you expect him to give information about the police?— I said I asked different parties in my district as to parts of it that they would be likely to know about. I recollect speaking to Wallace, and the only thing I recollect speaking to him about was if Detective Ward was a capable man, and was it likely that Sherritt was selling the police. That was principally what I knew he would know, from being a schoolfellow of Byrne's and knowing his private character.

15549 By Mr. Sadleir— I took charge of this North-Eastern district—the Kelly country—in July 1878?— Yes. When I first went to the district there was no officer stationed at Benalla; the officers in charge of the district were Messrs. Barclay and Reid .

15550 Then I had nothing to do with the removal of Constable Flood?— No, the person responsible for that is Captain Standish himself.

15551 I am in no way responsible?— No, nor were you in charge of the district until after you took it—about the time of the murders.

15552 That was long after the Fitzpatrick affair?— Yes, long after. I think you must have only taken charge of what is now called the Kelly country a very short time prior to the murders. The gentleman in charge of this, and responsible, was Captain Standish allowing the men to be changed, and that was done under the direction of Messrs. Brook Smith , Barclay , and Reid .

15553 I was responsible for the selection of the four men who went out?— Yes.

15554 Could I have selected better men?— No. I should say that Kennedy and Lonigan and the others knew the country well, whereas the Wangaratta party, under Sergeant Steele, that went up the Fifteen-mile Creek, would have been utterly useless about Mansfield . The great secret of making men amenable to justice is having policemen that know the country, otherwise they are perfectly useless. For a series of years from Power's time they had a regular well-beaten track from Mansfield to cross, which was only used by themselves. A week hardly elapsed that I did not find in my paddocks either one of my horses ridden, or one of theirs left there and one of mine taken. They had always relays of horses at those back country places, as you are not allowed to impound horses if they belong to neighbors, and there they would remain till they would come for them. They were always on the beaten track backwards and forwards to Mansfield .

15555 By the Commission— Do you think that there would be much information of value got by the Commission visiting Mansfield?— Well there are people there who are no sympathizers with the Kellys, but still who are reluctant to let their names be made public. There was one very remarkable fact showing how they can give evidence if they choose. After the murders of the police, the whole circumstances, and the details relating to Kennedy appeared in an up-country journal, supplied to the press by private information, not by the police, and the man who gave that can give information still. I refer to the newspaper published by Mr. Hall , a member of this commission.

Mr. Hall — The party I got that information from was altogether separate from the police, and I was bound at that time to secrecy; never to divulge the names.....

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