The Royal Commission evidence for 10/8/1881
(see also introduction to day 45)
The Honorable J. H. Graves, M.L.A., giving evidence
15531 What was the nature of the conversation you had with this man Perkins—did he in is conversation talk of the circumstances which led up to the formation of this party and the subsequent action taken?— Quite the reverse. Whenever I saw Perkins , he said he never set eyes upon them in his life—which I knew to be a lie.
15532 Are you aware whether Perkins was intimately acquainted with Sergeant Kennedy?— Yes, he must have seen him, because Kennedy was removed after the appointment of another constable. Perkins was continually in Mansfield , and must have seen him every day. Besides Kennedy had been in the district for years.
15533 You are not aware whether there was any confidential communication between the two?— No, the private telegrams in the possession of the police would tell who gave the information about the Kellys.
15534 As a matter of fact, in your opinion, do you think the information which this man gave was the first that caused the formation of the party?— I cannot say that, I am only arguing from my knowledge of the country. I do not think men could have been digging there for so many months, living, and either buying meat, or killing some one else's meat, without Perkins knowing they were there.
15535 You know they got gold there?— There is an old diggings there, and as a matter of fact, they must have bought provisions there, and I believe the gold was sold in Mansfield , and I believe that the people knew they were there. They might not have known exactly whether it was the Kellys, but they knew people evading the law were there; and if you go to the place you will see marks on the trees showing that for months and months those men must have been practising shooting with bullets, and you will see the remains of slaughtered cattle there, and those things could not occur without people knowing.
15536 Perkins is available to be called?— Yes, he could speak for himself—he is there still. I have a series of other letters, but I do not think they are of any great consequence; I think I have substantiated my reasons for coming to the conclusions I did in many matters.
15537 By Mr. Nicolson.—In that original letter You have handed in, about which you refer to Wallace the schoolmaster, you say that Constable Mullane's name is mentioned?— No, I did not say that, I said that as soon as I got this letter, the statement made therein being so extraordinary, before I would communicate with Captain Standish, or bring the matter before Parliament, I went to my district for the purpose of ascertaining the facts. One was in page 3, it says, “At the proper time evidence will be brought forward to prove my statement true. At the present time there are men in the district who have been picked out for their smartness and activity, and they are not allowed outside barracks for fear of them hearing anything about the ‘murderers.’ ” After I got that letter I made enquiry as to whether that was the fact or not, as to the men being shut up in the barracks, and I wrote in pencil in the margin of the letter what I did not notice till just now, that I found that Phillips had been shut up in the barracks, and not employed. What I personally spoke to Wallace about was about Ward 's general conduct, and also about the probability of Aaron Sherritt being true or false. I think that is all I spoke to him about.
15538 Did Wallace write his replies to you?— I do not think so—he might have got this letter and written a reply—if he did, I have no recollection of it. I heard somebody say he did, but I have no recollection of it. I would not say he did not, because I cannot recollect at this time, if I sent that letter by post, but I know that I saw him about that time.
15539 Do you remember when you handed Captain Standish that letter on that occasion or subsequently, whether he asked you if you had seen Wallace, and you replied that you had not seen him for several months?— I do not recollect Captain Standish mentioning Wallace's name at all on that occasion. He might have done so.
15540 Here is Captain Standish 's letter dated May 5th, 1880 , “I saw Mr. Graves this morning. You are quite wrong in your surmises about the anonymous letter which I forwarded to you, as Mr. Graves assures me that Wallace had nothing to do with the writing of it, and that he (Mr. Graves) has neither seen nor held communication of any kind with Wallace for many months”?— That would simply be untrue, for I had seen him.
15541 “He did not however inform me who was the writer of the letter. I sent down some documents to meet you at the 2.55 train yesterday, but as you did not start by that train Mr. Moors had the letter posted to you”?— Can I see the copy of Captain Standish’s letter. [The same was handed to the witness.] I gave the letter to Captain Standish and he ordered it to be copied in the office “Strictly confidential.” The letter of which this is a copy was handed to me yesterday by Mr. Graves . It was signed by the name of O'Connor or Connor, but Mr. Graves told me he was positive it was written at the dictation of another man who resides at or near Violet Town , and whose handwriting he recognized.” (That was incorrect— I thought it was, but I was wrong.) “In the address of the envelope,” I still think it was in the handwriting of the man at Violet Town —the address, not the document itself— “Mr. Graves, however, declined to give up his name.” I have no recollection of saying to Captain Standish that I had not seen or heard of Wallace , because it would have been perfectly untrue. My belief is I sent to see him on another matter about that time.....
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.