The Royal Commission Appendix 3
“I have the honor to inform you that I deem it my duty to give you a full report of all the circumstances from the commencement of the time I was directed to proceed to Benalla up to the period of the Kelly gang being surrounded by the police at Glenrowan on the 27th June.
“You may remember, on the 30th April last, when visiting the depot, you informed me that I was to proceed to Benalla to relieve Mr Nicolson, and to take charge of the whole of the proceedings in connection with the capture of the Kellys. I protested in the strongest manner possible at the injustice of my being sent up there again. I pointed out that there were three officers senior to me—viz., Mr. Winch, Mr. Chomley, and Mr. Chambers—none of whom had been called upon to undertake the hardships that I had to undergo during the seven months that I was with you in that district. I also pointed out that the responsibility should be thrown on the senior officers. I stated that a promise was made to me when I was sent for previous to the capture of Power, the bushranger; that Mr. Nicolson and Mr. Montford had reaped the benefit of that capture; and that I, who was directed to organize the whole affair, am still in the same position as I was then, notwithstanding the promise made by the Chief Secretary, Sir James McCulloch. Ten years having elapsed since then, and my position in the police force being still the same, I did not see any advantage to be gained by being told off on this special duty. Your reply to this was, ‘It's no use saying anything about it; you'll have to go.’ I then requested that I might be allowed to see the Hon. the Chief Secretary on the subject, as I wished to enter my protest to him against being sent up to Benalla. You agreed to make an appointment for me, and at two o'clock that day I saw Mr. Ramsay in his office. I then pointed out to him the disadvantage to me of sending me up there. Mr. Ramsay replied, ‘Mr. Hare, this Kelly business has been discussed by the Cabinet; and it is their unanimous decision that you should be sent up to take charge of affairs. I give you carte blanche to do whatever you think proper, and I leave you entirely untrammelled. The Government have such entire confidence in you that they will hear you out in whatever you deem it advisable to do.’ I replied, ‘Very well, Mr. Ramsay; when do you wish me to go?’ He said, ‘As soon as possible.’ I told him that I would leave in two or three days' time. On Monday the 3rd May I received a note from you informing me that the Hon. The Chief Secretary, at the earnest request of Mr. Nicolson, had consented to allow him to remain at Benalla for one month longer, and that my orders for transfer were cancelled for the present.
“ I received orders from you at the end of May that I was to proceed at once to Benalla to relieve Mr. Nicolson. I accordingly, on the 2nd June, went up there. I arrived at Benalla at about 11 o’clock that day. I saw Messrs. Nicolson, Sadleir, and O'Connor in the office. After some conversation on general subjects, Mr. Nicolson produced a letter he had received from you, directing him to give me all the information he had obtained concerning the Kelly gang during his stay at Benalla. He showed me the state of his financial account with one of his agents, and said there was nothing owing to any of the others. He opened a drawer and showed me a number of papers and the correspondence which had taken place during his stay at Benalla, and said, ‘You can get all the information from these papers.’ … He gave me no verbal information whatever, but said, ‘Mr. Sadleir can tell you all I know concerning the movements of the outlaws.’ He left the office, and I never spoke to him again, and he went to Melbourne by the evening train. The principal agent employed by Mr. Nicolson I had appointed to meet me that evening. He was one who was considered the best man they had. After talking with him a few minutes, he positively refused to work for me or have anything to do with me, although he had accompanied the police from Beechworth the previous day for the purpose of having an interview with me.
“That evening I telegraphed to Detective Ward to come down to Benalla the next morning by train. He did so, and, after some conversation, he informed me that on the previous evening the senior-constable in charge of Beechworth had received a telegram from Mr. Nicolson to pay off all the agents he had employed.
“I at once endeavored to obtain a copy of this telegram in the office, but there was no record kept of it, nor did the clerks know anything about it, so I presume it must have been sent from the railway telegraph office, as Mr. Sadleir knew nothing whatever about it. ...
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