Royal Commission report day 18 page 8

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The Royal Commission evidence for 11/5/1881

(full text transcription)

(see also introduction to day 18)

'Constable Alfred John Faulkiner' giving evidence

5463 And, therefore, if he was spoken to as you were, would that be the kind of report that Ward wanted you to write?— Well it would.

5464 Do you know whether it is probable that the Commission will get the original of Barry’s report from him with Mullane's memo. on the back of it?— I believe they will. Constable Barry was called, and he handed in two documents with Senior-Constable Mullane's endorsement on the back.

5465 To the Witness. —Were you in the habit of making reports the same as this every time you were out on a search party?— I never made one before.

5466 What was the reason you were called upon for this?— The cave party was about to be discontinued.

5467 It was not in reference to the secrecy only?— It might be on the part of the officers, but I could not say that. I thought it was merely because of the cave party being broken up

5468 “I have called on Constable Barry, 2710, for a report relative to how the special duty at Sebastopol was performed.” What was the character of the special duty; was one of the particular matters of the special duty positive secrecy?— It was to be kept secret.

5469 That was the special duty?— Yes.

5470 Was it a positive instruction for you to perform your duty with the utmost secrecy?— It was.

5471 Was there any other special instruction?— Nothing else that I am aware.

5472 Your special duty was to remain in the cave, and keep your position secret?— Yes.

5473 Was the energy of the police and the attention of those that attended them to be directed to that purpose to keep the secret, that any of your movements should not be known?— Yes.

5474 Would you say there was any other special duty referred to in that memo. of Mullane's but the secrecy—does that convey to you that meaning. You had better read the report and the memo. [The witness read the same.] Was the special duty there secrecy?— Yes. I would consider a man could make two reports on that memo.

5475 Was there a minute sent to you by Constable Mullane to report, or did the instructions come verbally?— Verbally, by Constable Barry.

5476 From Senior-Constable Mullane?— Yes.

5477 You have come now to the 3rd of June—where were you then?— I was in Benalla or the 3rd of June.

5478 Had you any further connection whatever with the cave party?— No; nothing more after that.

5479 Were you told off to go up the Murray then?— I was then in Benalla, up to the time Mr. Hare relieved Mr. Nicolson, some time in June 1880. On the 11th June Superintendent Hare sent for Constable Canny and me, and directed us to take a tour round the country, and see if we could not get some information of the outlaws. Mr. Hare said we could go where we pleased, giving us his private address, that when we found it convenient to send him a few lines, we could do so, and that we could go where we thought best. We came to the conclusion that it would be best not to carry firearms so as not to cause suspicion; and if anything urgent was to turn up, to come to the nearest telegraph office and speak to Superintendent Hare.

5480 Were you on horseback or on foot?— I am coming to that. Constable Canny left Benalla on the morning of the 12th June, and went to a station some distance out of Benalla, and got the use of two private horses. On the 16th or 17th I wrote to Mr. Hare from Cotton-tree, that we had been informed, on good authority, that the Kellys had been seen coming home frequently.

5481 Where is Cotton-tree?— Somewhere about fifteen or twenty miles beyond Bethanga, giving the names of the persons who had seen them, and the directions they were coming from. I stated that we had been informed that the gang were getting provisions from the Chinese store, and that we intended, on our return, to see if this statement was correct. That was the contents of the first letter. In the second letter I stated that we had received all the information we could, and intended to return and see if this information was correct.

Mr. Sadleir. — I would ask for those letters to go in as evidence.

The Chairman read the three letters referred to (dated respectively 16th, 22nd, and 23rd June). (Vide Appendix 15.)....

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