The Royal Commission evidence for 18/5/1881
(see also introduction to day 22)
Senior-Constable John Kelly sworn and examined
7975 By the Commission— Where are you stationed?— At present stationed at Terang. If you produce the record-sheet I could tell you all the dates. I have been in the service twenty years in January last.— [ The record-sheet was handed to the Chairman by the Secretary.]
7976 What is your object in desiring to have the record-sheet here?— Just to show my previous service, what I have done.
7977 Just for the Commission to inspect it?— Yes, for the information of the Commission. I was stationed about nine years and a half at Ararat, and Beautort about five years, and there I was doing plain-clothes duty through the district. In October 1871 I was transferred to Melbourne to the detective office. I applied afterwards, after a month or so there, to go back to the general service; as I was a stranger in town and to all the criminal class, it would take me some time to learn and find them out. I was transferred then by Mr. Hare from the depot to Dandenong.
7978 What was the date of that?— I do not think that date is here. I was afterwards at Oakleigh for a short time. After about six or seven months at Oakleigh, Mr. Hare asked me would I come into the depot, to do plain-clothes duty for the district. I did. I have been engaged in two murder cases at Mornington, and I arrested Hastings, the second-last man that was hanged in Melbourne . In March 1877 I was transferred to Wood's Point to take charge of the Wood's Point station, and on the 23rd October 1878 I left Wood's Point, in charge of a gold escort, for Benalla. On the 24th I arrived at Mansfield , and the late Sergeant Kennedy met me at the coach. He told me in confidence he was going out after the Kellys. He asked me if I would let him have a rifle that Constable Horwood was going to take with him on the escort. I told him that as there was only the one rifle between us, it would be a very dangerous thing, but, after consideration, I said, “Get a second revolver and give it to Horwood,” and I said, “You can have the rife.” he said he had very good information. I also saw Constable Scanlan there that morning, who was afterwards shot by the outlaws. I arrived that evening at Benalla, and I got on the following day a week's leave to come to Melbourne . On Sunday night the 27th October 1878, about midnight, at the hotel, where I was staying—the Polo hotel, near the detective office—Detective Hayes was also staying there, and he was out on duty, he came in and he asked me, “Are you asleep, Kelly?” I said, “Is that you, Hayes?” And he said, “Kennedy, Scanlan, and Lonigan are shot.” So I said, “Come in and strike a match”; and I got up and sat upon the bed. I went next morning to the detective office. They had not any official report of it there. I also came to the Chief Commissioner's office. I believe it was between ten and eleven when the information came from Benalla.
7979 Had they heard at the Commissioner's office then?— They had not in the evening. I then threw up my leave, and I went down to meet the train at three o'clock . I met Constable Falkiner, Constable Strahan, and Constable Dakin at the train, and Captain Standish, and also Mr. Nicolson. He was going up in the same train. We arrived at Benalla about eight o'clock I think. The three constables with me had instructions to go on to Wangaratta. I came to Benalla, and Mr. Sadleir was absent at the time, I believe at Shepparton on some duty. There seemed to be no constable upon the station; the were all away that knew anything about the country.
7980 Did you understand that they had gone out on the search?— Yes, I understood they were out. Senior-Constable James was brought down from Beechworth. He was supposed to know the bush. We started the following afternoon—Senior-Constable James, me, Constable Connor of Seymour, Constable Meehan, and a constable that died lately in Mr. Hare's district.
7982 Who was the constable?—(To Mr. Hare.) —Do you remember who died lately in your district?
Mr. Hare — Where at?
The Witness — He was at the station, but he died out near Mr. Clarke's. I think he was a fine shooter and a good policeman.
Mr. Hare — Bray. He died up at Trentham.
7983 Had you any accommodation at all—tents?— No, we had no tents. I had no blankets. The rest of the men had a small blue blanket each—I had none. Next morning we noticed a light. I went towards it. I found it was a Mr. John Lewis's place. I told him we were police, and he got up and made a fire. We dried ourselves, and he got us some breakfast; and then we started towards Redcamp, on the Redcamp run. From there we went to Hedi. We stopped at Hedi police station that night. There were no police there, they were away; at least the constable that was stationed there was away. We started up the King River on the following morning, and near Bungamara station I met the outlaws' uncle, Jack Quinn, George Johnson, and a man of the name of Thomas, alias Galloping Jack. We had a conversation with them' and they told us they were looking for cattle. We stopped at Bungamara station that night, and met Sergeant Steele and some constables with him.....
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.