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Secret service money

VPRS 4965 Consignment P0 Unit 1 Item 21 Record 1 Document :Captain Standish to the Chief Secretary re: Secret service money



This confidential memorandum, addressed to CCP Standish, is in regards to the use of secret service monies. The term secret service refers to the employment of agents, usually of the same class as the outlaws, used by the police in order to draw information. These agents were paid for their services through police funds. Nicolson wrote of the need to continue using the agents, as the decision to cease funding would result in a loss of information and prolong the use of expensive search parties.


Transcribed text Image







The Honble The Chief Secretary





Police Department
MELBOURNE 14th Feby 1880
14th Feb1880
{N.E.} { Re Secret Service money 25/2/80}MemoI beg to forward Mr. Nicolson’s reply to the query in the latter portion of the Honble the Chief Secretary’s minutes.
From my recent interviews with Mr. Nicolson I am satisfied that this information will be kept within the narrowest limits, but that occasional disbursements of the kind are absolutely necessary I have no doubt.F C Standish
C. C. PoliceReturned to C. C. Police
[signature unreadable]

Forwarded for Mr. Nicolson’s information
F C Standish
23-2-80 C C Police

Noted & returned
25.2.80 C.H. Nicolson A. C. P.

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VPRS 4965 Consignment P0 Unit 1 Item 21 Record 1 Document :Captain Standish to the Chief Secretary re: Secret service money


[My objection to the secret service expenditure does not extend as to far as to forbid all such charges lent. I think funds use should be very carefully dealt with. Perhaps Mr Nicolson will state what real value the Police have …..service expenditure] (not readable)

The Honble.
The Chief


Police department
Melbourne, 10th Feby 1880

On the receipt of the Honble Chief Secretary’s verbal instructions to that effect, I at once directed Mr. Nicolson to discontinue any further expenditure in the way of secret service money to agents in the N. E. District.
Mr. Nicolson at once came down to Melbourne to see me on Saturday last in the hope of having an interview with Mr. Barry who however did not come to his office on that day.
Being unable to remain in Melbourne, Mr. Nicolson at my suggestion embodied his views in the attached report wh I now beg to submit for Mr. Barry’s perusal & consideration.
I cannot but think that a limited expenditure of that nature is very necessary; it is kept within reasonable bounds & if the Department was internaly debarred from employing agents to obtain information of the movements of the outlaws, greater difficulties would be thrown in our way.
I therefore beg to impose a hope that Mr. Nicolson may still be empowered to impart a moderate amount

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VPRS 4965 Consignment P0 Unit 1 Item 21 Record 1 Document :Captain Standish to the Chief Secretary re: Secret service money

amount in subsidiary men who can render the Department some service.

F C Standish
C. C. Police


Forwarded to Mr Nicolson who will be good enough to furnish the information asked for in the latter portion of the Honble. the Chief Secretary’s minutes.
F. C. Standish
C. C. Police

-Confidential – 10-2-’80
During the greater part of the last six months, I have been kept acquainted with the appearance of the Outlaws in various parts of this district. But up to this date too late to enable me to pursue them with hope of success – but in time to take precautions agt. them –
The above information has been corroborated from independent sources.
Certain of my informants have had personal interviews with the individual members of the Gang, but unexpectedly either preceding or subsequent to the dates of appointments made with them.
Without the means of employing those agents the police cannot cope with the outlaws, who are particularly many.
In all cases such as this, police always require what is better known as special detective assistance. But in this instance it is called secret service money because the persons employed are of the same class as the outlaws & friends, and they assist at the risk of their lives. The Chief Comm is well aware of this.

C. H. Nicolson
A. C. P.

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VPRS 4965 Consignment P0 Unit 1 Item 21 Record 1 Document :Captain Standish to the Chief Secretary re: Secret service money





To The Chief Commissioner of Police

Police Department
Melbourne, 7 February 1880Memo-
1. With reference to the information I have received that, no further expense for secret service is to be incurred in the North Eastern district.
2. I bet to point out that the above is simply impossible. – The use of search parties having been discontinued, secret agents must be employed to obtain information about the outlaws, upon which the police can act. If the employment of such agents is discontinued, the expensive and unsatisfactory practice of despatching search parties must be again resorted to. –
3. The use of both agents and search parties cannot be entirely dispensed with, but the employment of a suitable agent to obtain information upon which a party of Police can act, is much more likely to be successful, & costs little in comparison, with the sending out of police at random into the Mountain Country, to see what they can discover.
4. It appears to be necessary to mention the valuable results which have been produced by the police in the N. E. district since the Murders were committed by the Outlaws-
(1) The sympathy with which the Outlaws were regarded through their successful outrages

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VPRS 4965 Consignment P0 Unit 1 Item 21 Record 1 Document: Memo re: Secret Service money




outrages at Euroa, & Jerilderie N.S.W. has almost died out, excepting amongst their own class.
(2) The preparations made to resist them at every township not only by the Police, but by a few of the inhabitants, have reached the ears of the offenders, and the fact that though often threatening they have not yet attempted to repeat a raid anywhere, and also the fact that the outlaws are afraid to trust even their best friends beyond a limited extent and are mere skulkers among the mountains has restored the feeling of security to a great extent which was so rudely shaken among the citizens.
(3.) The entire extinction of wholesale Horse & Cattlestealing which prevailed between New South Wales and the N. E. district, to an extent unknown in any other part of this colony.
(4) The diminution of crime generally in the district –
(5) The disappearance of that insolence and defiance to constituted authority which characterized the Criminal Class in the N. E. dist. for some time after the Murders.
(6) Through the above the police have regained much of the confidence of the people there. It seems unnecessary to dilate upon the value of these results. But to relax in the steps being taken, for the captures of the four miserable though cunning & bloodthirsty fugitives would be to throw away all that has been gained, and to invite the criminal class to avenge and renew their attacks upon life and prosperity.
C. H. Nicolson

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VPRS 4965 Consignment P0 Unit 1 Item 21 Record 1 Document: Memo re: Secret Service money

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