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The REPORT of the VICTORIAN POLICE COMMISSION.  

The second progress report of the Police Commission was on Tuesday presented to his Excellency the Governor.   The document, which is voluminous, deals exclusively with the circumstances antecedent to and attending upon the pursuit and extermination of the Kelly gang.   In the introduction it is stated that the commissioners from the date of their appointment in March, 1881, to the present time have held 66 meetings aud examined 62 witnesses, besides visiting the various centres of population   in the disturbed districts respecting the scenes of the   outrages, and taking evidence upon the spot in relation to the more exciting incidents. The following are the findings

of the commission :-

"1. That immediately prior to the Kelly outbreak, and for   sometime previously, the administration of the police in the North-Eastern district was not satisfactory , either as   regards the numbers and distribution of the constabulary, or the manner in which they were armed and mounted, and that a grave error was committed in abolishing the police station at Glenmore, and in reducing the number of men stationed at Stanley, Yackandandah, Tallangatta, Eldorado,      

and Beechworth.    

"2. That the conduct of Captain Standish as chief com- missioner of police as disclosed in the evidence brought before the commissioners was not characterised either by good judgment or by that zeal for the interests of the   public service which should have distinguished an offficer in     his position. The commission attribute much of the bad           feeling which existed amongst the officers to the want of impartiality, temper, tact and judgment evinced by the chief commissioner in dealing with his subordinates, and   they cannot refrain from remarking that many of the     charges made by Captain Standish in his evidence before   them were not sustained in his late examination, and were   disproved by the evidence of other wilnesses.    

"3. That Mr. Nicolson, assistant commissioner, has shown   himself in many respects a capable and zealous officer   throughout his career in the force, but he laboured under great difficulties through undue interference on the part of     Captain Standish, and the jealousy occasioned by that officer's favouritism towards Superintendent Hare. The want of unanimity existing between those officers was fre- quently the means of preventing concerted action on im- portant occasions, and the interests of the colony greatly suffered thereby. In view of these facts the com-     mission do not think that the force would be benefited by reinstating Mr Nicolson in the office of acting chief commissioner of police. Further, your       commissioners recommend that, in consequence of his im-   paired constitution, caused by hardships endured in the late Kelly pursuit, Mr. Nicolson be allowed to retire on his superannuation allowance, as though he had attained the age of 55 years.

"4. That the charge made by Superintendent Hare in his   official report, dated 2nd July, 1880 –viz., that 'Mr. Nicol-

son gave me (Hare) no verbal information whatsoever when at Benalla ' – has been disproved by the evidence.  

"5. That Superintendent Hare's services in the police force have been praiseworthy and creditable, but nothing special has been shown in his actions that would warrant the commission in recommending his retention in the force,   more especially when the fact is so patent that the       'strained relations' between himself and Mr. Nicolson have had such a damaging influence on the effectiveness of     the service. This feeling is not likely to be mitigated after what has transpired in the evidence taken before the com-   mission ; and we would therefore recommend that Superin-   tendent Hare be allowed to retire from the force, as though     he had attained tbo age of 55 years, and that, owing to the wound he sustained at Glenrowan, he receive an additional   allowance of £100 per annum, under clause 29 of the Police Statute (No 476).

"6. That the evidence discloses that Superintendent Sadleir was guilty of several errors of judgment while assisting in the pursuit of the Kelly gang ; that his con- duct of operations against the outlaws at Glenrowan was   not judicious or calculated to raise the police force in the estimation of the public. That the commission are further of opinion that the treatment of senior-constables Kelly     and Johnson by Superintendent Sadleir was harsh and un-   merited. Your commissioners, therefore, recommend that   Superintendent Sadleir be placed at the bottom of the list of

superintendents.

" 7. That a most favourable opportunity of capturing the outlaws at a very early period of their career of crime – namely, on the 4th November, 1878 – was lost owing to the indolence and incompetence of Inspector Brook Smith.   Your commissioners consider that Inspector Brook Smith committed a serious blunder in not having started in pursuit of the outlaws immediately upon receiving in- formation of the gang having been seen passing under the     bridge at Wangaratta, and also in not having properly followed up the tracks of the outlaws in the Warby Ranges, a proceeding which would have warranted your commissioners in recommending his dismissal from the force. Your commissioners, however, having in view his former services, recommend that Inspector Brook Smith be called on to retire on a pension of £100 per annum.

"8. That in the opinion of the commission, Detective Ward, while he rendered active and efficient service during     the pursuit of the gang, was guilty of misleading his superior officers upon several occasions, more especially   in connection with Mr. Nicolson's cave party, Mr. Hare's hut party, and the telegram forwarded to senior-constable   Mullane by Mr Nicolson when the latter was superseded on the 2nd of June, 1880. The commission therefore, recom- mend that Detective Ward be censured and reduced one  

grade.

"9. That, in the opinion of your commissioners, the con-

duct of Sergeant Steele was highly censurable in neglecting    

to take action when, on his arrival at Wangaratta on the 4th   November, 1878, he received reliable information that the   outlaws had been observed on the previous morning passing         under the One-mile Bridge at Wangaratta. There was no   reason why, as he had a large body of well-armed troopers   under his command, and was then actually engaged in the search for the outlaws, he should not have     gone immediately in pursuit. The tracks were plainly dis-   cernible, the men observed were undoubtedly the outlaws, and had they been followed they would most probably have been overtaken in the Warby Ranges, inasmuch as their horses and themselves were exhausted by their journey to and from the Murray. Sergeant Steele had full power to act upon his own discretion, and there can be little doubt that, had he exhibited judgment and promptitude on that occasion, he would have been the means of capturing the gang, and preventing the loss of life and the enormous expenditure of money incurred subsequently in the extermination of the outlaws. Your commissioners therefore recommend that Sergeant Steele be reduced to the ranks.  

"10. That the constables who formed the hut party on the   night of Aaron Sherritt's murder – viz , Henry Armstrong, William Duross, Thomas Patrick Dowling, and Robert   Alexander – were guilty of disobedience of orders and gross cowardice, and that the three latter – Constable Armstrong's resignation having been accepted – be dismissed from the

service.

"11. That the entries made by Superintendent Sadleir in   the record sheets of senior-constables Kelly and Johnson be   cancelled, and the commission recommend these members of the force to the favourable consideration of the Government for promotion.

"12. That the commission approve of the action taken by     Constable Bracken when imprisoned by the Kelly gang in Mrs Jones's hotel at Glenrowan, and recommend him for

promotion in the service.

"13. That in consequence of the reprehensible conduct of     Mr. James Wallace, the State-school teacher of Hurdle Creek, during the Kelly pursuit, and his alleged sympathy   with the outlaws together with the unsatisfactory character of his evidence before the commission, your commissioners   think it very undesirable that Mr. Wallace should be re- tained in any department of the public service. We there-   fore recommend his immediate dismissal from the Education Department.

"14. That the conduct of Mr. Thomas Curnow, State- school teacher, in warning the special train from Benalla to Beechworth on the morning of the 28th of June, 1880, whereby a terrible disaster involving the probable loss of many lives, was averted, deserves the highest praise, and the commission strongly recommend that his services re- ceive special recognition on the part of the Government.

"15. The commission desire to record their approval of the conduct of Mr. C. H. Rawlings during the attack upon the outlaws, and consider that his services deserve some consideration at the hands of the Government.

"16. The commission desire also to express their approval of the assistance rendered to the police at Glenrowan by the members of the press present.

"17. That your commissioners desire to record their marked appreciation of the courtesy and promptitude displayed by   the Queensland Government in forwarding a contingent of     native trackers fo Victoria to aid in the pursuit of the out-   laws. We take this opportunity of expressing our approval of the services of the black trackers a body, and deeply regret that any misunderstanding amongst the officers in command of operations in the North-Eastern district should     have led to unpleasant complications. The Queensland contingent did good service, and your commissioners trust that the Victorian Government will not fail to accord them  

proper recognition.

"FRANCIS LONGMORE, Chairman    

"WILLIAM ANDERSON    

"JAS. GIBB, subject to Protest B   " GEO. WILSON HALL  

" GEORGE RANDALL FINCHAM          

" EDWARD JOHN DIXON, subject to Protest A " GEORGE C. LEVEY, subject to Protest B"      

Attached to the report are protests from Mr. Dixon and Mr. G. C. Levey and Mr. J. Gibb. Mr. Dixon's protest is on behalf of Mr. Hare, to which a very lengthy reply was given by a sub-committee appointed to prepare it on behalf of the Majority of the commission, which contains very severe reflections on the conduct of that officer during the last three           years. It is asserted that the late Governor – Sir George Bowen – was one of the persons whom Mr. Hare endeavoured to influence on his behalf. They say that for many years     he has been "a disturbing element" in the force, and that       his withdrawal has become a matter of public necessity.

THE PAW it or liir "WOULD-\. G 01 man statistical journal observes that tho consumption of papoi in tho vsoild is euoimoiiH Tho annual pioduction ot this article in tho United States is 207,000 tons in England, 180,000 ton» in Germany, 203,000 tons m 1 ranee, loi.OOO tons, Austiia, 97,200 tons, Italy, i0,000 tons Husma, 32,400 tons, Spam, 30,000 tons In tho United bluies about 111b of pupei aro annually consumed poi head of tbo total popuhtion In England tho consumption is about tbo Rame, in Geiniany it is about 101b per hoad, and in rrunco, 7*lb It is pretty genmalh agreed that the pro- duction ot books, propei ly so called, is on tho doeluiojill over tho svorld lhe mci eased consumption of paper is owing to tho devolonment of iiov.=nnnein ana macft/inna

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Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation
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