The Royal Commission evidence for 3/5/1881
(see also introduction to day 14)
Detective Ward giving evidence
3121 Did you hear at this time that the Kellys were mining at some diggings near where the murders were committed?— Not at this time. I heard on the first occasion, on the 7th May, information that they were at the old diggings place, and we made a search there.
3122 Then, if you had gone higher up on that date, you would come to those other places?— I believe we should. The information was good, but we did not find the place. Mr. Secretan and the Chief Commissioner agreed to this, and I believe Mr. Sadleir made arrangements for two parties of police to start and make this search.
3123 Did you inform Mr. Secretan, at that time, you knew Ned Kelly was travelling about armed?— I did not know he was travelling about armed then.
3125 Did you think, and the constables you were acting with at that time think, that if you did come on the Kellys they would be likely to fight?— I thought they would fight, but I never had the remotest idea they would shoot. I knew Ned Kelly would fight. I had a fight with him once before. I would not leave Melbourne with a small revolver if I thought they would shoot. I knew Ned Kelly would fight.
3126 You did not know they were so well armed?— I never gave it a thought that they would be. About the 20th—I think on the 21st—of October, I received a letter from Mr. Secretan, stating that the Chief Commissioner had sanctioned the suggestion, and that Mr. Sadleir was instructed, and that a body of police would start about a certain time. Instead of my going to Mansfield , as suggested to me by Mr. Secretan, I went to the head of the King myself.
3127 Was that by instructions?— Oh no, on my own motion; I had no body just my own idea.
3128 Whom had you with you?— A secret service man with me, that is the only one; he was in one part of the country.
3129 He did not go to the head of the King?— No, nobody went with me there; I was by myself alone.
3130 Armed?— Armed with a small pocket Webley revolver.
3131 Mounted?— I always had a horse.
3132 Still travelling in disguise?— Yes.
3133 Your object in going there was not really to catch them by yourself but to obtain such information as would lead to their capture, with the assistance of others?— My object in going to the head of the King was to be present at about Power's Look-out, as I was of opinion, if my information was correct, that these men, the Kellys, would make for that place. On the 26th October I went and got up on the top of Power's Look-out; from that I went along the Dividing Range in the direction of, and along the Fifteen mile Creek, about ten miles from Glenmore, and there was no person with me; I was expecting to meet the police, and I was undecided which side of the ranges I would take to return back, whether the right hand branch of the King or the back of the Fifteen-mile Creek. I turned to the right, into the Fifteenmile Creek, and went back near Glenmore. I met Senior-Constable Strahan, Constable Shoebridge, Constable Thom, and another, I do not remember his name now. I asked them had they any good news— did they see or hear anything of the Kellys.
3134 This was one of the search parties?— This was one of the search parties, the party that started from Greta. They said, “No; we are very hungry, we have had nothing to eat for the day.” I said, “Come on to the station and I will get you rations. Where is the other party—did they start?” Strahan replied they had. “Sergeant Kennedy started from Mansfield on the same day that we did; he had three constables with him; he is to meet us down at the head of the King.” “Has he not arrived yet?” I said. He said, “I saw nothing of him, you are the first I have seen.” “Well,” Strahan said, “we will go to the Hedi station to-morrow; from there I will make to Eldorado, for I think I will get the two Kellys. I am certain,” he said, “that they will be somewhere about Byrnes'.” That was Saturday the 26th. On Sunday the 27th I went to Jack Daniels' hut, up the King River, about nine miles higher up than Glenmore
3135 Was Jack Daniels there?— No, that is an empty hut. I returned on the same evening, got on the top of Power's Look-out, expecting every moment to see Kennedy. On Tuesday the 29th, when I found he did not come to Glenmore, I left to go to Moyhu, to get my letters.
3136 Are there any relatives of the Kellys up in that country—Moyhu?— Yes, Moyhu, and higher up.
3137 Whereabouts?— Jack Quinn, an uncle.
3138 Where is he?— He lives about four miles above the Hedi station, close to where I was.
3140 Do they keep cattle?— They keep cattle, very few cattle, but a lot of horses—a stock of horses; they go round the ranges, take all the unbranded horses they can get, and brand them and pluck them; they have been repeatedly in trouble about it. They have the run of the country there—they are uncles of Ned and Dan Kelly; and that was part of my reason to be at that point where the Fifteen-mile Creek and the right-hand branch of the King, where they would be when they run across the Black Range into their uncle’s place.
3141 There they could get horses day and night?— Yes.....
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