Royal Commission report day 17 page 15
The Royal Commission evidence for 10/5/1881
(see also introduction to day 17)
'Constable Alfred John Faulkiner' giving evidence
5167 What was the object of that special train?— It was to distribute the search parties round towards Beechworth.
5169 You started from Beechworth?— Yes, and searched the ranges into Yackandandah on the 4th; and on the 5th searched the ranges into the Gap; and on the 6th Mr. Sadleir met a large party of police at the Gap. I am not quite certain of the date.
5171 You were at the Sebastopol business?— Yes.
5173 Who was the officer then in charge over you?— Mr. Sadleir thought this one party was too large, and divided them into two, placing so many under Flood and so many under Steele. Flood's party went to the Gap and Steele's party went on to Myrtleford. A despatch was sent from Beechworth ordering the two parties to return to Beechworth. The despatch reached us about two a.m. in the morning, but it was in the middle of the night.
5174 Will you describe the Sebastopol business. Captain Standish's evidence at page 2 is:— “I arrived there about eight o'clock, had supper with Mr. Nicolson at one of the hotels at Benalla, and, whilst we were talking over matters afterwards, we received an urgent despatch from Superintendent Sadleir, who was up at Beechworth, saying that they had received information from a person in Beechworth that the Kellys had been at Sehastopol, and believed they were there now. I immediately ordered a special train, and proceeded, with Mr. Nicolson, nine mounted constables, and one black-tracker, to Beechworth.” Were you one of that number?— No.
5175 Where did you meet this party?— We met them in Beechworth that day, late that morning, in clear daylight.
5176 Where did you go then—how many were there altogether?— About 40, I should think, by a rough guess.
5177 Did you march in open order?— In open order.
5178 Make a great noise?— Well, of course, 40 horses would make a noise.
5179 Were you told to load your arms?— No; we never knew what information we were going on.
5180 Were your arms loaded?— Yes.
5181 What were they?— I am not certain—the Martini-Henry or the gun.
5182 Had you revolvers?— Yes.
5183 Swords?— No.
5184 You were one of the party of 40 from Beechworth to Sebastopol ?— Yes. We travelled on the main road for some little distance, and then turned off to the right. I suppose Sherritt's is about six miles from Beechworth; and when we came within view of the place the party halted, and Mr. Nicolson picked out five or six—some of the men who knew Kelly.
5185 Were you near enough to the three officers to hear who gave the orders?— Yes, I was in front. I understood it to be Mr. Nicolson, on account of going with the men.
5186 What officer was in charge in your opinion?— I think it rested between Mr. Nicolson and Captain Standish.
5187 A sort of divided responsibility?— Yes.
5188 When you came in front of the hut, and the men were selected, what was done?— They rushed the house with Mr. Nicolson, and through some accident a shot went off against the door. As soon as the men in the distance heard this shot (I was one), we all rushed the house, and after some delay there, finding the outlaws were not there, we went on to Mrs. Byrne's' a distance of three miles.
5189 What was the opinion?— That they were not there..........
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