The Royal Commission evidence for 3/5/1881
(see also introduction to day 14)
3168 By the Commission. —What are you?— Inspector of police.
3169 Did you occupy any position in the North-Eastern district formerly?— Yes.
3171 And remained how long?— Until 1867.
3172 What were you then?— Sergeant of police—superintendent's clerk.
3173 What station?— First at Benalla, then at Wangaratta.
3174 Did you know the police wants of the district intimately when you were up there?— Yes.
3175 The nature of crime in the district and the criminals—the district generally?— The lower part of what is now called the North-Eastern district; it was then the Benalla district.
3176 Did you know the Kelly country?— Yes.
3178 And their friends?— Yes.
3179 Have you any idea what led up to the break-out of the Kellys?— Only from hearsay.
3180 Yes; but would the district have been safer under any other conditions than that in which it was when the outbreak took place?— I think so, decidedly.
3181 Will you state your opinions?— I think from what I have heard—I do not know the strength of the various stations—but I heard the number and the strength of the police at the stations was reduced, and the number of stations was reduced, and that pressure thereby was taken off the criminal classes.
3182 You mean supervision?— Yes.
3183 Do you mean supervision or pressure?— Supervision in the same sense as pressure.
3185 Who was responsible for doing away with those?— That I cannot say of my own knowledge; of course I can form an opinion.
3186 What is your opinion. Were you the superintendent's clerk at Wangaratta when it was done away with?— No, sub-inspector of police at Melbourne. I opposed its being done away with every time it was hinted at.
3187 For what reason?— Because I think the station was one of the most important in the district.
3188 Why?— To keep down horse and cattle stealing, and the free passage of the criminal class, the Quinns and Kellys and their associates, backwards and forwards from Mansfield .
3190 When was the Glenmore station done away with—what year?— I cannot tell; I was in the station at Melbourne at the time.
3191 Was it before the shooting of Fitzpatrick?— Yes, decidedly.
3192 Years before?— Yes, I think so.
3194 You said you opposed it on all occasions?— Yes.
3195 What was the nature of the opposition you offered?— My advice.
3196 To whom?— Superintendent Barclay, who was in charge of the Ovens district.
3197 Was he in a position to accept or refuse your advice?— Decidedly he was; it was he who recommended its abolition.
3198 On what grounds?— I do not know. Ostensibly the ground was, as well as I can remember (the report is now in the Chief Commissioner's office), that it was not needed, that it was a loss of power having men where there was no population.
3199 His report would be forwarded to the Chief Commissioner of Police?— I saw it. I read it and reported on it, and my report is no doubt attached to it. It was in 1872, about the month of March or April.
3200 That it was abolished?— No; that I had to report on it.
3201 Were you the officer there?— Yes, sub-inspector of police.
3202 That was after Power's capture?— Yes. I was promoted after that.
3203 For the reason that Power was captured—was that one of the reasons given for abolishing it?— Oh, no. It was established in consequence of Power having established himself there. It was considered by Mr. Nicolson and Mr. Hare, who were there, and had to do with the capture of Power, advisable that a police station should be placed there for the express purpose of preventing what I have already stated, the free movement of criminals. It was abolished in direct opposition, I believe, to the officers who originally had established it. I had the station erected by direction of Messrs. Nicolson and Hare.....
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. This document is subject to coypright.