The Royal Commission evidence for 2/6/1881
(see also introduction to day 25)
Const Charles Gascoigne giving evidence
9656 From your knowledge of the men of the district, more particularly the population, do you think there is a likelihood of another organized outbreak?— It is a very hard question, but I will answer it from my own knowledge. I have been stationed at Glenrowan of late, and from the conversation of some of them I believe there is a very bad feeling existing between some of them and the police.
9657 They would shoot the police if they got the chance?— Yes, if they got a chance in the dark
9658 Is that the police generally?— Yes; especially the men that were taken on at the time of the Kellys–any one they know they have got more of a “down” on; and the people about Glenrowan are just as frightened as when the Kellys were out to give any information.
9659 Then that district is not in a satisfactory position?— No.
9660 Do you think you were in danger of being shot any time there?— When I first went to Glenrowan, two days after the capture, about a week after, a man wrote to the police camp and told me the best thing I could do was to leave the place, that he would not give me reasons; but he heard I would most likely be shot, but he would not tell from whom; and he said, “You ought to know me.” He was an old school-mate of mine, a very respectable man; and I told him I did not care as long as they gave me a “show,” and it was not a cowardly attack. He told me I was very foolish not to go.
9661 Have you formed this impression that yourself and other constables engaged in the capture of those men at Glenrowan are subject to the attacks of these men secretly?— I believe they are in more danger than any other men–I do not know that–any constable. I think the uniform is enough to make them shoot a man. I think the men taken on specially who know these men there is most danger to.
9662 Such men as senior-constables Kelly and Johnson, yourself, Sergeant Steele, and several others who have been very prominent in the Glenrowan affair, for their personal safety, ought to be removed to some other district?— Well, no, I do not think so. I think a man that would go after the Kellys would be in just as much danger then as now. Of course, he knew the Kellys would shoot him cowardly then if they got the chance.
9663 Your impression applies to all the members of the force in uniform as to their danger through being in uniform?— Yes, in that district.
9664 Do you think there is any fear of any gang taking to the bush the same as the Kelly gang did?— I believe there is at present, from my own knowledge.
9665 Can you give the Commission any idea of what you base that opinion upon?— I base it on the information of some of the sympathizers themselves, talking to them.
9666 Do you think the police would have as much difficulty now, with all the knowledge they have got, in suppressing anything of that sort as they had before?— I believe they would.
9667 Do you think that the very strictest repressive measures would be necessary if they did break out?— It would. It wants experienced bushmen to go after them.
9668 You do not approve of men being sent from the Richmond depot without experience in the bush?— No. If they have not experience they have to trust to a leader, and if the leader was to go they would not know what to do.
9669 They must follow the leader?— They must follow the leader. And there were foot men and all sorts of men taken out in the pursuit, which caused dissatisfaction amongst some of the mounted men.
9670 You disapprove of the Melbourne men being sent up at all?— For search parties.
9671 They do for guards at the banks?— Yes.
9672 Good horsemen and good bushmen are best for that?— Yes. Some of the men in the parties could not ride a horse– could not ride it over a fence. In fact, it was not the men's fault; they were never allowed to jump their horses. Any person there can jump a fence, but if we jump a horse and hurt the horse’s legs we have to make great reports, and perhaps do not get out of it. You can never catch those men with the horses. You must have them trained to jump, and the men to ride them.
9673 Coming to Glenrowan, will you give as short an account as you can of it?— I have a written statement here of it, which I think will shorten it.....
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.