The Royal Commission evidence for 2/6/1881
(see also introduction to day 25)
Const Charles Gascoigne giving evidence
9633 Look over this list of agents and see if you know them. Note any there whose information you think would be reliable. The real names are on the left?—[ The witness read the list.]–There are so many different people in the district of the same name that I know that it would be hard to tell.
9634 Do you think the men bearing those names would give any reliable information?— I think so
9635 As a rule you consider the agents were misleading the police?— I do.
9636 They were simply taking all the money they could from them?— Some of them might give a little information if it was very safe–if they thought they could get away after they gave it.
9637 Then in that case the system of private spies would be very little use for capturing the gang?— If they could get the right men.
9638 I speak of the class of men, from your own knowledge, if your impression be correct, there would be no probability of the gang being captured from information supplied by people of that description?
9639 You do not know the one that is represented as the “diseased stock”?— No, I do not.
9640 Are you aware he gave information that armour was being made?— I was not. I knew nothing about the armour. I knew only of the stolen mould-boards. When I was with Senior-Constable Kelly, looking for the man travelling with the cart, I heard about the mould-boards, when we were round Greta.
9641 What would, in your opinion, be the best means to be used to secure or capture a gang of outlaws in the same country–men of the same character–have you formed any idea?— Yes. The best way would be for mounted police to go out with very little provisions, and no incumbrance, just a 'possum rug–something to sleep in–not to take a lot of packing on horses; no pack-horse at all, unless it is, a long journey, four or five men; and let them camp out, just the same as shearers, or any others; just take a saddle-bag with one or two days' provisions.
9642 Somewhat similar to what shearers and bushmen used to do in the old days, knocking about for work?— Just the same.
9643 Without uniform?— Yes.
9644 And get provisions where they could?— Yes.
9645 Take firearms, or not?— They must take a rifle with them, because the revolvers are no good.
9646 The rifle would show what they were?— They could manage to plant that in the swag, those short carbines, in the 'possum rug. I think the rug would cover the whole of those.
9647 You would have the rifle-carbine ready for emergency?— Yes.
9648 You would carry the revolvers?— Yes; and the rifle would be only in case of a long shot.
9649 How soon could you get it out of the rug?— Half a minute, or less, you could draw it out.
9651 The difficulty is not so much in the nature of the country as the class of people that live there?— Yes. If a party of police went out as they used to go, they would be starting through the town; there would always be some one watching, and the spies go from Benalla to the other party, and so on, carry it on, and the outlaws know in what direction the police have gone; and the party of police with the pack-horses could be traced all over the country.
9652 A search party like that would be a laughing stock to the outlaws?— It would be a laughing stock to the outlaws.
9653 Could a body of bushrangers remain in the ranges for a long time without the police getting at them?— They can get out of the ranges into other ranges, and the men with pack-horses could not get as quickly as they could.
9654 They could not stay in the ranges without coming for food?— No; not more than a fortnight.
9655 From your conversation with the police, did they seem to express any doubt of the likelihood of capturing the gang in the way in which they were proceeding?— Some did, but some were inexperienced men to the bush.....
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.