Royal Commission report day 17 page 20

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The Royal Commission evidence for 10/5/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 17)

'Constable Alfred John Faulkiner' giving evidence

5285 Knew you were confined in the cave and watching at night?— Yes.

5286 How did they obtain that information?— The provisions were sent to old Sherritt's place, and we had to take them from there to the cave. I went to Sherritt's place, and took them from there to the cave.

5287 At the time you were introduced as being from New South Wales, did Mrs. Sherritt know you were there doing duty on the search party?— Oh, yes.

5288 Then, as far as the possibility of keeping this secret was concerned, it was known to others besides the police actively engaged?— It was.

5289 What did you do after you left the cave party—did you send any communication to anyone stating you were in the cave party, and it was generally known you were in this cave party, to any private person or anyone in the force?— No.

5290 No communication whatever?— No.

5291 You kept that secret?— Yes, until such time as the cave party was about to be broken up and we were called upon for reports. On April 2nd I furnished a report to Senior-Constable Mullane, which is as follows:— “North-Eastern District, Beechworth, 2nd April 1880. Report of Constable Faulkiner, relative to special duty in the bush. —I respectfully report, for the information of the Superintendent, that this day I was called on for a report by Senior-Constable Mullane relative to the special duty in the bush near Beechworth. As I am at a loss to know what to report about, as I am under the impression that the Superintendent is well aware of the duty I have been engaged in, and how it was carried out; and as I am returning to Benalla this evening, I will be most willing to answer any questions put to me by either the Assistant-Commissioner of Police or the Superintendent.” On this Senior-Constable Mullane made the following memo.:— “I have called on Constable Faulkiner for a report whether it has come to his knowledge that the outlaws' friends are aware of the party of police camped in the Strathbogie ranges.” On this I made a second report— “I respectfully report, for the information of the Assistant-Commissioner of Police, that it would be impossible to say that this secret duty has been carried out unknown to the outlaws' friends, as persons who are well aware of this party of police camped in the bush are continually visiting Mrs. Byrne's place, and sleeping there; and, from what has come under my notice, this duty must be well-known to the outlaws' friends.” That is on the 2nd April.

5292 This is the reply by Constable Mullane to the Acting Chief Commissioner of Police from Beechworth, dated 5th May 1881 :— “No reports were received by me that existence of cave party was known at depot, or that any person gave information of the party. Reports were submitted by cave party that they believed Mrs. Byrne knew the police were there. These reports were given to Detective Ward, and returned to the constables who wrote them.” Are you pretty well done with the cave party now?— Unless you have any questions to ask. My reason for keeping a copy of this report w as because my first report was not forwarded to the Superintendent or Mr. Nicolson, as it should have been. Had this been done, Mr. Nicolson would not have been surprised at Captain Standish's ordering the cave party to be discontinued.

The witness withdrew

Adjourned to to morrow at Eleven o'clock

[~[[See report of Proceedings 10/5/81]|6000]~]

see next day

11/5/1881 ....

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