The Royal Commission evidence for 4/8/1881
(see also introduction to day 53)
Patrick Quin giving evidence
17688 By the Commission— What is your occupation?— Farmer.
17690 You have expressed a desire several times to give evidence before the Commission?— Yes.
17691 If there is anything you desire to tell, just do so in your own way?— This affair of the Kellys commenced out of horse steading first. I am the first man that gave the information about those horses. I met a man who is now in Wangaratta named Cook, aliasLowry, and he thought to screen himself from me on the road and pulled a comforter on him so I did not know him, and I found out on the same evening who he was. A young fellow, Mark Whitty, had missed a horse a day or two after, and was looking for this horse when he met me, and asked me if I had seen anything of a bay cob of his; and I said I had seen it at the bottom of Fitzsimmons and Hughes's paddock. He said he could not find him; so I said, “If you do not get him in a day or two, let me know.” So his father was talking to me some time after, and told me his son could not find the horse, and I said, “There is a fellow called Billy Cook, who goes by the name of Lowry, about here, and I have heard he has taken it, and he is up about the Murray somewhere about Howlong.” I was in Wangaratta after that, talking to Inspector Brooke Smith, and told him there was a cove hanging about there, and that I heard he was going to take some horses, and had already taken one, and the sooner he was caught the better. After this, there were some horses belonging to James Whitty, Robert Jeffery, and John Farrell taken, and this man Jeffery came to me, and asked me to find out where the mare was taken he had lost. During the time this other horse was taken I saw those horses of Jeffery's and James Whitty's passing up to the waterhole with some horses of my own, so I made enquiries and found out that those horses were taken up to the Murray and that this man Cook was connected in the taking of them. Robert Jeffery met me in Greta, and he told me that he saw my horse in the street. Well, I went in to tell Constable Thom. I saw him after in a few days, and asked Thom if he had got those horses, and he said “No,” and I said, “It is strange that this man can be about and take people's horses—that such work could not be carried on”; and he said, “I sent my own boss, I cannot do as I like.” A second mob of horses was taken after this. There was a man called Isaiah Wright. I met him at a ploughing match at; Greta, and he asked to buy two colts from me, and I brought them up the same night, and some other horses were taken away. I heard in two days after that Wright had taken the horses, and that Pat Quin had known something about it. It appears there was a man in Smith's yard said that if Wright had taken the horses, and Pat Quin knew about it, he (Quin) would not allow it. And he said he did not believe Wright had anything to do with taking the horses.
17692 What does this lead up to?— It leads up to this that there are people who have mentioned my name that I had been connected with those fellows, but I had not been in any way. I did my best to stop this.
17693 Then you gave information to enable those people to get their horses again?— Yes; those men came to me themselves personally.
17694 Is there anything further in connection with the outbreak?— Then this affair of Fitzpatrick occurred, and I met Kelly on or about the road. I could not be positive whether it was a few days before or after; and I asked him if he had anything to do with the stolen horses, and he denied it; and I said I believed he had. He said, “No.” And I said the best thing he could do was to give himself up to the police, and he said, “No; if any man interferes with me I will shoot him.” I advised him to give himself up, and said, “If any one is advising you otherwise, it is for your bad and not for your good.”
17695 Were those horses recovered?— Whitty's and Jeffery's mare, and the second or third lot that was taken, I believe their throats were cut, and they were pitched into waterholes.
17696 You have no proof of that?— No, only my own belief.
17697 Is there anything further you want to say?— This Fitzpatrick affair. I believe myself, Fitzpatrick, from what I have heard and can make out, was shot by Ned Kelly. I met Ned Kelly after some time, in company with another man. There were three of them together—Ned, and Dan, and another. I did not know either Hart or Byrne. This was after the Fitzpatrick affair, before the murders.
17698 What were they doing then?— Crossing the road in front of me.
17699 Was it about that time you told them they ought to deliver themselves up?— No; that was after that.
17700 Did you know anything of their movements at the time the police were out after them, after they shot the constables?— I knew they were in the bush, and it would be a hard job to get them out.
17701 Did they appear any time where the people knew they were?— Unless they passed now and again. Oh, yes, I had seen them after.
17702 You saw them after the murders?— Yes.
17703 I suppose they passed to and fro very often?— Yes.
17704 You did not feel disposed to give any information to the police?— I did.
17705 Did they act upon it?— I gave information to Mr. Sadleir. But one thing I want to mention before that. About a week before the Euroa bank robbery, there was a woman came to my place who wanted out from my wife if she could get some rations for the Kellys. My wife told me on Sunday. This women came back on Monday, and I came on the following day to Mr. Nicolson and Mr. Sadleir, in Benalla, and I told them what I had seen. I had seen a man too at the same time meeting this woman at the corner of the lane, as she was leaving my place, and he had a pack on his horse. ....
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