6 / 7/1881
... part of the KellyGang story
Full text of article
THE POLICE COMMISSION
Tuesday, July 5.
Present - Messrs Longmore (chairman), Gibb, Anderson , Hall, Graves , and Dixon .
A communication was received from the Chief Secretary, forwarding a memo from Superintendent Sadleir requesting that he should be re-employed, on the grounds that he was only a witness at the inquiry, and that as his presence at the board had been dispensed with, there was no reason why he should not resume duty.
The Commission decided that Mr Sadleir could not be regarded as a mere witness and that he was before them as one of the principal officers responsible for the proceedings in connexion with the Kelly business.
They then called in Superintendent Chomley, acting commissioner of police and reminding him that some little time ago he had stated that there was no immediate necessity for re-appointing to duty the officers relieved for the inquiry, they asked him if he had any reason for now changing his opinion. They also pointed out that to the police estimates the Chief Secretary had appended a memo to the effect that as soon as the officers of the force arrived at the usual period for retirement, they should retire on superannuation allowance until their number was reduced to 16, and that at the present time there were 16 officers apart from the three relieved from duty for the inquiry.
Mr Chomley replied that he did not consider that 16 officers would be sufficient, but he was of opinion that he would still be able to carry on the department without any additional officers until the conclusion of the inquiry.
The Secretary, (Mr. Williams) was accordingly instructed to reply to the Chief Secretary that the commission saw no reason to alter the determination they arrived at on the 24th of March, when they decided to apply that the officers concerned in the Kelly business should have leave of absence.
The progress report of the board having been finally adopted, the document was signed, and ordered to be forwarded to the Governor through the Chief Secretary.
The report runs as follows: -
“To His Excellency the Most Honourable
George Augustus Constantine, Marquis of Normandy , &c.
“May it please Your Excellency:-
"A Royal Commission was appointed on March 7, 1881 , under letters patent, by your Excellency —
"1. To inquire into the circumstances preceding and attending the Kelly outbreak.
" 2. As to the efficiency of the police to deal with such possible occurrences.
" 3. To inquire into the action of the police authorities during the period the Kelly gang were at large.
" 4. The efficiency of the means employed for their capture; and
" 5. Generally to inquire into and report upon the present state and organisation of the police force.
" Subsequently a memo, dated 10th May, 1881, from the Hon. Graham Berry, chief secretary of the colony, was received by your commissioners, as follows: -
" 'The Chief Secretary will be glad if the Police Commission will submit separately and at their earliest convenience such of their recommendations as have reference to Mr. Inspector O'Connor and the black trackers under him, as in the projected reorganisation of the police arrangements for the North- Eastern district, it may be found necessary that Mr. O'Connor should be reappointed.
" The commission, in pursuance of the powers thus assigned to them, have held 38 meetings, and examined over 40 witnesses. It was felt that, apart from the courtesy due to the Queensland Government, who had so promptly responded to the application of the Victorian police authorities for the temporary service of native trackers to assist in the pursuit of the outlaws, it was due to Mr. O'Connor that he should be afforded every facility for the production and examination of witnesses and, consequently, the evidence taken on this branch of the inquiry was more than ordinarily voluminous. Your commissioners have now the honour to present the following progress report, viz.: -
" That the evidence before the commission is not of such a character as to warrant your commissioners in recommending the hon. the Chief Secretary to appoint Mr. Stan- hope O'Connor to the position of an inspector of police in the Victorian service.
"2. Your commissioners are of opinion that the Government should make provision for the permanent employment of black trackers as an auxiliary branch of the police service , care being taken that they shall be trained to habits of subordination, and made amenable to the general discipline of the force.
"Your commissioners would recommend — " That as far as practicable, a thorough system of police patrol shall be established throughout the colony, more especially in the North-Eastern district.
"2. That immediate steps be taken by the Government to arm the mounted police of the colony with the regulation pattern Martini- Henry carbine, that the entire force shall be instructed in the use of the weapon by means of regular drill and periodical target practice, and that a reasonable quantity of ammunition shall be served out to each man for such practice.
The board then adjourned until to-day, at 11 o'clock .
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 on the National Library of Australia's system. We have taken care to reproduce this document but areas of the original text may been damaged. We also apologise for any typographical errors.