Royal Commission report day 47 page 2

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The Royal Commission evidence for 31/8/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 47)

F. C. Standish giving evidence

15972 You mean he never seemed to find out anything of the Kellys . Did you alter that system when you went up?— I did. After conferring with Mr. Hare and Mr. Sadleir , we came to the conclusion that sending parties galloping about the country who were known to everybody was a mistake, and, unless we had real information, that it would be foolish to send parties galloping about the country—that it had no object.

15973 Did you consider that Mr. Hare had reliable information the first time he was up, when he sent parties out?— Yes. Mr. Hare came the day after me.

15974 Did you always go upon reliable information then?— Well, I cannot positively say all the information we received was reliable.

15975 As far as you believed?— Yes.

15976 During the seven months you were there, did you ever come, as far as you understand, anywhere near the Kellys?— Well, I was never near the Kellys.

15977 Did the parties ever come near—had you any information that they did?— Well, we had information, but it generally turned out to be useless, and there is no doubt that the enormous number of sympathizers and friends they had in the district kept them informed of all the movements of the police.

15978 I want this point cleared up—because you condemn Mr. Nicolson unsparingly—were not both you and Mr. Hare there seven months?— Yes.

15979 Did you ever come within sight of the Kellys?— No.

15980 Nor did any party?— No.

15981 Had you not nearly double the number of constables and troopers up there the time you were there that Mr. Nicolson had?— The parties were not reduced for some time after Mr. Nicolson went there, and it was done by special direction of the Chief Secretary, Mr. Berry.

15982 Had you not sixty or seventy extra men in that district during the time you were there?— Yes. The newspapers said 300.

15983 And you and Mr. Hare were there for seven months?— A little more than six months.

15984 And you scoured the country the whole time with parties?— At first we did; then we found out the utter uselessness of doing so.

15985 And you never came near the Kellys, so far as you know?— So far as we knew, no. I have no doubt we were very near them at times.

15986 How do you condemn Mr. Nicolson for using that means, when you followed it exactly yourself?— I always immediately sent out when I had information.

15987 Do you say Mr. Nicolson had no information?— From the evidence taken before you, gentlemen, it appears that he had no end of information, which, if he had acted on, he would no doubt have caught the Kellys.

15988 That is not the point. You have condemned him for scouring the country uselessly?— That is not when he was there before me. I did not condemn him at the time; but after Christmas, when I was up there, I found it was perfectly useless to send parties out.

15989 At the time you were there, you and Mr. Hare had some seventy men?— Sixty or seventy men, besides the ordinary strength of the district.

15990 With those extra men you followed the same course, and you were not successful?— I was not successful.

15991 Do you consider now, in the light of later events, that you are justified in making this sweeping charge against Mr. Nicolson, when you could not do any better yourself with double the means?— I was always actively engaged.

15992 I want a distinct answer. You had double the means at your disposal, double the expenditure at your command. You had Mr. Hare to send at any time, and you had Mr. Sadleir to send at any time. Are you justified now in condemning Mr. Nicolson for not doing, with half the number of men, what you did not do with double?— There were some reductions made; but the way the expenditure was decreased was by transferring men who had been only temporarily relieved.

15993 That is no answer to my question; I want “Yes” or “No.” Do you think you are justified in specially condemning Mr. Nicolson, when you failed also, with double the means?— I did all I could I have said what I thought and believe, and I adhere to it.

15994 Do you consider you are justified or not?— I do.....

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