... part of the KellyGang story
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THE MONK INQUIRY
[BY ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH]
(FBOM OUR OWN REPORTER)
The inquiry into the alleged shooting at Mr Edward Monk on the night of Saturday, 20th ult, at Wombat, was resumed to-day by Mr Panton, PM, in the Mansfield Court house. Mr C A Smyth appeared for the Government, Mr O'Leary for Mr Monk and Superintendent Sadlier was present on behalf of the police.
Mr Monk's examination was continued by Mr Smyth. He was not, he said, present when the bullet was taken out of the saddle. He intended sending to the police first. The bullet was taken out or fell out when one of his men was examining the saddle. It was handed to him by Jebb. Witness did not interfere with the saddle at all. Did not think it necessary at the time to order his men not to interfere with it until the police came. On the following Tuesday was with Mr Toohey in the bush. Mr Toohey shot two kangaroos and fired two shots at others. He was on foot and witness was sitting on his mare close by. The first two shots were fired about 50 yards away from witness, and the third only 15ft or 20ft, the bullet passing within 10ft of the mare's head. At the fourth shot Toohey was 30 yards away. The mare did not bolt at any of the shots.
Witness had no complaint against the police. A letter complaining of the police, which appeared in the Herald of the 5th of May, was signed by witness. He only signed for a portion of it, however. making the person to whom he gave the information scratch out a part which referred to Constable Potter. The letter was not a true statement of what he said. The person referred to said he was a reporter for a Melbourne paper. The letter was written by this person in the Exchange Hotel from information he had gathered from different sources. He pressed witness to sign it, saying the police were working against him, and the publication of such a statement would do him good. After considering, for half an hour witness said,
"Well, its true and complied. Never had a conversation with any person about the Government buying his property. A large number of persons asked him if it was true, and he only replied that he knew nothing of the matter. Of the 132 acres of land he held, 112 were a selection for which he had paid two years rent, and about 20 acres of which were enclosed with a dead wood fence. The trees on the whole selection were all rung.
Re examined by Mr O'Leary. - Since the Lynch letter he had been spoken to by so many persons about his case that he could not possibly recollect every conversation he had had on the subject. Witness was not giving evidence hostile to the police, but was present at the invitation of Captain Standish. His expenses were not paid.
Mr Smyth said all the witnesses would have their expenses paid by the Government.
Witness continued -Mr Jas Tomkins was president of the shire council, and it wais in that capacity he convened the public meeting to sympathise with witness.
To Mr Panton - When his dam was washed away, he had plenty of work in hand, having to cut 50,000ft or 60,000ft of timber for the Mansfield yards. The embankment had been enlarged a short time previously, and was considered to be without any defect.
To Mr O'Leary - He handed the last two threatening letters to Mr Hill, editor of the Mansfield Guardian for publication, with instructions to forward them to the police. The first three letters were published with out his permission, and to his great annoyance. Latterly he had been afraid of his life more on account of the conviction of Lynch than on account of his services to the police in connexion with the Kellys. He was not now demanding a single shilling from the police. On the night the party was going out to search for Kennedy's body witness promised. Mr Pewtress that he would go with them on the following morning. When they were ready to start, Mr Pewtress asked if he was not coming. Witness replied that his wife was very ill, and that if he went it would break her heart.
He and others tried to obtain his wife's consent but she would not hear of his going. It was his sole reason for declining to accompany the party. The effect of the threatening letters upon his wife and family was to throw them into a state of fear every time he left home, and into a state of alarm every time he was late in returning home. His wife had suffered severely in her health. He sent in a written request on one occasion that the constables stationed at his place should remain all day at his house instead of patrolling the bush. He was at that time afraid of harm being done to his wife and family during his absence on business. Eventually he saw that the police were no protection to himself when they did not follow him on his journeyings, and that his own men, if armed would be a sufficient protection for his home. These were the chief reasons for his request that the constables should he withdrawn. When witness said the man stood 3ft above him when he fired, he made a rough guess. He forgot to state on the previous day that he had spoken to Messrs Kitchen and Mr Kelson on the Sunday after the encounter. He told them that the man stood on an elevation. He also mentioned that circumstance to Mr Hageman, the shire secretary.
To Mr Smyth - When he spoke to Messrs Kitchen, Kelson and Hageman about the man having stood on an elevation, he did not say what the height of that elevation was. He would not now say whether the elevation was 1ft, 2ft or 3ft high. He showed the second threatening letter he received to several persons before handing it to the police.
James Tomkin’s president of the shire of Mansfield, stated that he was a partner of Mr Dundas, in the butchering business. He had no lien or security over Mr Monk's property. Entered into partnership with Mr Dundas only in July last. He ordered the issue of the placards by which the meeting was convened to sympathise with Monk. He called the meeting because he believed Monk hand been shot at, and that was still his belief. Several of the respectable and influential ratepayers desired him to convene the meeting. Went out with the party who started to search for Sergeant Kennedy. They stopped at Monk's house on the Wednesday, and camped there for the night. Monk said next morning that he was quite willing, to accompany the party in their search if his wife would only consent. Mr Pewtress asked witness as a favour to use his influence with Mr Monk. He saw Monk and then went to his wife, whom he found crying in bed and asked if she would allow her husband to accompany the party. Mrs Monk said, "No; if he is shot, I will have nobody to look after myself and family." The party then started without Monk, who, however seemed anxious to go, and disappointed at having to stay behind. Had known Monk for 12 or 14 years and had always found him straight- forward. Sold him the mare he rode. She was very quiet but would shy at anything, although she was reared as a pet. She was in fact the worst mare for shying he ever knew.
Mr Smyth - Some 17 civilians went out with the police to search for Kennedy and they all did the work as good citizens, and not for payment. The manly and honourable conduct of Mr Monk, mentioned in the bill calling the meeting to sympathise with Monk, was the guiding of the police on the Sunday night to the scene of the murders. His conduct had been honourable all through the Kelly baseness.
To Mr O'Leary - Five or six bushmen refused to go with the search party. Others might have done what Monk did had they been asked.
J Hageman, secretary of the shire council said he had been residing in Mansfield for 15 years. Had known Monk for nine years. On Wednesday week last was communicated with verbally by Mr Kitchen with regard to the calling of a public meeting to sympathise with Mr Monk. Was directed by the presi dent of the shire (Mr Kitchen) to draw out the bill convening the meeting and did so The persons who attended the meeting were the most respectable and influential residents of Mansfield, and resolutions in favour of Monk were carried unanimously affirming that a diabolical attempt had been made on his life, that he was cruelly wronged by the reports which were circulated charging him with imposition, and that his case deserved the assistance of the Government. (The resolutions were put in and marked as exhibits.) Never heard any body saying anything against Monk's honourable character except the police. The police said he was mercenary in the way he charged them for their board. Constables Love and Neville had made that accusation. They complained that he charged them 20s per week, and only gave them salt meat to live on. Thought he heard Love make the complaint at the public table at Kelson's Hotel. The constables said 12s per week was enough. Witness considered 20s was not an over charge. What witness heard the police say left the impression on his mind that they had a down on Monk on account of his grasping nature.
To Mr Smyth -Could not say positively that Love was one of the complainants. Was positive, however, that Neville complained, but could not give the date. The matter had been table talk amongst the constables at the hotel for several months. Mr Kitchen, one of the gentlemen who proposed and seconded resolutions at the meeting, was the leading citizen of the township, and had been a shire councillor for many years.
Mr O'Leary said that this was all the evidence he intended to call in the meantime.
William Phelan, called and examined by Mr Smyth, said he was a farm laborer living on the Woombat, a quarter of a mile on the Mansfield side? of Monk's place. Was in Mansfield or Saturday, the 26th ult. Saw Monk th?' about 2 o'clock in the afternoon, ? the street. Was asked by him if he was going home, and witness replied in the affirmative. Monk said that he would go home ? other, and witness said it might be too late. Monk looked at his watch, and said he would be going home in two hours, and that he would meet witness then about Kelson's Hotel. Witness did not attend there in two hours. Left the township in an hour or an hour and a half after seeing Monk, starting from the place of his employment, which was about a quarter of a mile from the township, going home by the beaten track and passing the place where he understood Monk to say he was shot at. He passed through the three, gates on the track, two of which were shut, whilst the one next the Broken River was open. He met three men on his way, viz., Jerry Fitzpatrick, Tom Rollins, and Billy Lamb. Met them about a quarter of a mile on the further side of the first gate. Saw no one else. About an hour or an hour and a half after his arrival at home, witness heard a horse galloping down the hill. The horse stumbled in the gully, and witness heard a voice like that of Monk calling. "Go on."
To Mr O'Leary - Monk made an appointment to meet him about Kelson's Hotel o the Saturday, to go home together, but witness failed to keep the appointment.
Augustus Speher farmer about nine miles from Mansfield, in the Wombat district, stated that he used the same trick from the township as Monk until within half a mile of the Broken River, where his road turned to the right. Was coming into Mansfield at 11am on Saturday, the 26th, with his wife and family in his dray, when Monk overtook him on the Mansfield side of the Broken River gate. He said, in reply to witness, "My children are well but my wife is very bad. I got another threaten- letter last night." He then took the letter from his pocket and handed it over to Speher. Asked if there would he any harm of his reading it. He replied "No for I intend to publish it." Mr Speher read it aloud and witness remarked that it was an awful letter, and one which, if he were in Monk's place, he would not show to his wife at all. Monk said, "We have made it a practice to open each others letters, lest I might be from home when a letter was received that required answering." He also said. "It is no use my staying any longer at the Wombat. I want to keep my wife, who is it present pining away to nothing. If I could sellout I should go to New Zealand. It is no use me staying any longer about here; I must go to some other colony." Witness remarked that he did not believe that the Kellys had anything to do with the letter and Monk expressed the same belief. It was said in the letter, "I see by the paper that your dam was let go." Witness therefore observed that it must have been some one about the place, and well acquainted with it, who was doing the mischief. Monk replied, "Yes, and they are trying to do me all the mischief they can. They are only trying to frighten me in those letters. I believe I am getting one every week now and getting used to them. It is for the sake of my wife and children that I will have to leave the Wombat. If a dog barks in the night the children gather round me and say. 'that is some one coming to shot you.' and that breaks my heart. It is hard lines when men can't ride without carrying firearms. Saving he was in a hurry, Monk rode away. Witness next saw him at 6pm outside the shop of Martin, the saddler, when he said he was going home in a minute. Followed him, and asked him to have a drink. They proceeded to the Exchange Hotel, and on their way they met witness's wife, mother in law and Mrs M'Coll and his brother in law, Mr M'Leod. All went into the hotel. Witness intended to shout but Monk said, "I'll1 shout, for I might never be able to shout for you again. One of the ladies said, "Nonsense, Mr Monk." He replied, "Well, if they carry out their threats they are going, to kill and play the devil with me." But he did not appear frightened. Witness did not regard Monk's remarks as a joke. Monk did not drink anything, but left the brandy he had ordered for himself standing on the table. He gave no reason for leaving it. Witness felt for him when he said he would never be able to shout for them again, and told him if he would ask witness's brother in law for the loan of his saddle horse, he (witness) would accompany him home as he had a lonely ride to travel. He replied, " I am much obliged to you, lest I am not afraid. If I was I would get the police. It would look cowardly to take any one with me."
The inquiry was at this stage further adjourned until Monday.
Various rumours as to the discovery of traces of the KellyGang have been current in town during the last few days. They cannot be traced to any authentic source
This document gives you the text of the report about the KellyGang for this day. The text has been retyped from a microfiche copy of the original. We have taken care to reproduce this document but areas of the original text may been damaged. We also apologise for any typographical errors.