Royal Commission report day 49 page 6

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Story of the KellyGang - the Royal Commission Report

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The Royal Commission evidence for 6/9/1881

(full text transcription)

(see introduction to day 49 )

Sup John Sadleir giving evidence

16698 What date is that?— That is the day after the Euroa bank robbery. We reached Kellys ' uncle's place at Lake Rowan , but without result, and on the 12th I returned to Benalla for further intelligence. The only other search parties I went out with were to Euroa and Muddy Creek, on some information by a water-police constable; which turned out to be mistaken; two trips with Mr. O'Connor and his trackers and some police, altogether lasting about three weeks, and one night watching at the Ovens crossing with Mr. Hare . I took some other trips, lasting only a day, to examine likely crossing-places on the railway line and elsewhere. Besides these trips, I made it my business in all my journeys in connection with my own ordinary duties to collect information wherever I went from the police and others. The duty of seeing that the bank guards were vigilant fell chiefly on me. Every officer who had charge of the Kelly operations has spoken of the assistance rendered by me. The next question is the information given by Foote , of having seen the Kellys on the previous evening, the 28th September 1879 . Mr. Nicolson 's evidence differs from mine about this matter in some important respects. He says that the informant was on his way to Benalla when I met him. My telegram to Mr. Nicolson written at the time shows that this was not so. I will ask the Commission to refer to that telegram, dated 28th September, and there is a sketch attached to the correspondence. I say there that he was on his way to inform Sergeant Steele at Wangaratta, where I met him.

16699 Was that the time the horses were returned to the stables?— Yes. That telegram is printed in the evidence already. It is true that Mr. Nicolson telegraphed back to bring the informant, but I could not get to speak with him again, and I could not tell whether he was or was not willing to come. Another point is, I did not profess to be able myself to lead the police to the locality; I had never been in that particular neighborhood. I trusted to some of the police at Benalla who knew the place well to be able to find the spot from the sketch taken from the informant's statement. There is another reason given by Mr. Nicolson and Mr. O'Connor for not going without the informant, namely, that the trackers could not distinguish between the tracks of the outlaws and those of the friends who were standing with them. If the informant himself was to point out the spot, he could not throw any light on the matter, for the men were all standing near together, both outlaws and friends, when the informant saw them. I do not say that this was a certain chance thrown away, nor do I say that Mr. Nicolson showed a mistaken judgment in the matter, I only wish to point out that the part I took in the affair did not in any way prevent success......

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