The Royal Commission evidence for 11/5/1881
(see also introduction to day 18)
Constable Alfred John Faulkiner giving evidence
5522 Are those girls in the habit of being constantly in Beechworth; are they doing business there?— One was at a dressmaking establishment there.
5523 Then if it became known to her, are not the probabilities that it would be generally well l known about the party?— Yes; in fact she is a claimant for the reward.
5524 What age were the other three?— I suppose one would be about 18, and another 16, and another 12, and there are some boys between.
5525 Was the one about 12 attending State school?— Yes, at Sheep-station, I believe.
5526 Supposing that the girl became acquainted with the fact of the cave party and the police in the district, do you think a thing of the kind could then remain unknown?— No. I doubt if the secret of the cave party lasted for five or six weeks; that was the longest it could last. Any secret duty like that it would be impossible to keep it secret longer than that; that is my opinion.
5527 There is a mention made here in Constable Ward's report, when he sends in the reports of the cave party, with reference to constables Cox and Faulkiner, that they were away from here on the date of his sending it in; where were you upon the 3rd of April?— In Benalla.
5528 Where was Cox?— I think he was at Rutherglen.
5529 Then that statement, “away from here,” would be true?— Yes.
5531 Can you inform the Commission as to whether, to your knowledge, Cox shared your opinion of the cave party being known?— To the best of my belief be did.
5532 Can you state, in your opinion, was there a single man of your party who did not share in that opinion—you were constantly thrown together—did you read?— We mostly slept, and one kept watch.
5533 You constantly, during the day, talked of your special duty?— Yes.
5534 Do you think the idea that your presence there was not known was held by any one of the party?— They did not like to express themselves of the opinion that it was known—that was my own opinion.
5535 Did you hear them express the opinion that the cave party was known?— I did, some of them.
5536 Where were you on the 2nd of April?— I was in Beechworth.
5537 And you came away upon the evening of the 2nd?— Yes.
5539 Did you have any conversation with Mullane besides the order upon the fact about your views upon that point?— When I handed him my second report he read it as relative to my first and the memo., and I insisted upon it being sent; he seemed rather surprised; that is all he said.
5540 Did he intimate a single word about the cave party being known .?— No.
5541 Cross-question you?— Never said a word about it.
5542 What time did you leave the cave?— The morning of the 2nd of April.
5543 And then made your report?— Yes.
5545 Where No. 2?— Beechworth barracks.
5547 When would that third report reach Beechworth?— I suppose on the morning of the 4th.
5548 Then if he did not get your final report, which is not here, and if those reports were in the possession of his officers on the 3rd, he could not have been in possession of yours?— No.
5549 But he would have had Nos. 1 and 2 if they were to be sent?— Yes.
5550 Did you see Mr. Nicolson when you came to Benalla?— No; I remember seeing him prior to the cave party being broken up.....
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