Royal Commission report day 51 page 17

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The Royal Commission evidence for 8/9/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 51)

Const Michael Twomey giving evidence

17401 By the Commission. —What are you?— Constable .

17402 Do you remember Sergeant Steele passing through Wangaratta in the beginning of September 1878?— Yes, on the night of the 3rd November 1878 .

17403 Did he make any statement to you with reference to the Kellys?— On the arrival of the special train at Wangaratta I called Sergeant Steele out of the van, where he was in company with other mounted men. I told him I had reliable information that the Kelly gang had passed—that is, four young men riding four horses, two pack-horses in front with two heavy packs on each horse, and four others running bare-back in front of them; but the informant could not state whether the four horses running in front belonged to the party, as there had been horses running on the common there.

17404 You informed him about that?— Yes, I gave the information as I received it.

17405 What did he do on that?— He referred me to Inspector Smith, who was in charge at Wangaratta, and Sergeant Steele said he was instructed to proceed to Beechworth.

17406 Did you inform Mr. Smith on that occasion?— Yes. And previous to that I went into the van, seeing Constable James and about fourteen constables in the van at the time, and I informed James and the party of men before I went to Mr. Brooke Smith, after telling Sergeant Steele on the platform when he was inclined to take no steps, thinking they would take some steps.

17407 What time was that?— About a quarter past twelve on the morning of the 4th November 1878 , a little after midnight —no, a quarter to one.

17408 What time did you inform Mr. Brooke Smith ?— About two o'clock on the morning of the 4th.

17409 Where did you inform him.?— He was in bed.

17410 Did he seem fully to realize the information you gave him?— He instructed me to go and get Constable Hayes, who was at the police-station, to go in company with me and see the party who actually saw those men and horses pass the morning previous—that was Mrs. Delaney and her sons.

17411 Upon that you went?— Yes.

17412 What time did you return?— About a quarter to six in the morning.

17413 Did you see him after you returned?— Yes.

17414 At what time?— About a quarter to six . I went to him directly after I returned.

17415 What information did you give him then?— Mrs. Delaney was rather reticent in giving information. I had been stationed there previously, and could rely upon what she said; so I told her I would never divulge her name. She then stated that about four o'clock yesterday morning-that is on the 3rd, Sunday—she heard horses galloping and chains rattling, coming towards the house. She said, “We had horses running on the flat, and we thought some one wanted to ‘plant’ them. I got up to the window to see who they were, and saw four young men riding four horses, two horses with two packs on each horse in front, and four other horses.” I think she said “running in front of them bare-back,” and could not say whether they belonged to them or not. The horses seemed exhausted, and the men were forcing the horses from the township before daylight as well as they could, but they did not seem to get away very well from the town.

17416 When you reported this to Mr. Brooke Smith , what did he do after that?— I also stated that I traced the horses down the creek where she stated before I returned.

17417 Which way were the horses going?— In the direction of the Warby Ranges . They came underneath the One-mile railway bridge. The creek was bank high. They broke the bank the other side getting over going towards Yarrawonga, at the back of the Wangaratta Hospital . The son also stated he heard them pass over the wooden bridge, which was the shortest way to the Warby Ranges . He stopped outside the house, and he heard the horses galloping over this bridge.

17418 When you came back with all this information to Mr. Inspector Smith , what did he do next?— He said something about sending a telegram about half-past eight, about the office being open then.

17419 What men were there in Wangaratta at that time?— Three foot men and three mounted men, besides Mr. Smith .

17420 Did anything occur with reference to that on the 4th?— Constable Walsh, who was the senior constable on the station, told me and Constable Hayes to go down there after breakfast, about halfpast nine, and to see if we could ascertain any more. We went down, and learned and told him there was nothing more reliable than that they passed there; that they believed that no other persons would have passed there and evade the railway crossing who cared for their lives, for the railway crossing was quite convenient.....

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