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Proceedings of the Commission

Report of the commissioners appointed to enquire into and report upon the circumstances connected with the sufferings and death of Robert O'Hara Burke and William John Wills.
Melbourne: John Ferres, Government Printer.
Parliamentary papers, No 97, 1861-2. 1862.

Monday 18th November 1861.
Members present:
The Honorable Sir T S Pratt, KCB., in the Chair.
The Honorable the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly [Sir Francis Murphy MP].
The Honorable the Acting President of the Legislative Council [Matthew Hervey MLC].
The Honorable J F Sullivan, M.P.

Commission read.

The Commissioners deliberated, and agreed to the following preliminary resolutions:

1. That the mode of exploration will not form any part of the enquiry.
2. That the Commissioners will meet three times in each week; to take effect after the next meeting.
3. That the representatives of the Press be admitted to the meetings of the Commissioners on application.

The Commissioners deliberated.

Resolved (upon the motion of the Honorable Mr Sullivan);

That a permanent secretary be appointed, at a salary of £10.10s. per week, and that the Acting Secretary do communicate this resolution to the Government.

Resolved (upon the motion of the Honorable Sir Francis Murphy):

That Mr Dumas do act as Secretary until the appointment of a permanent Secretary.

Ordered:

That the Acting Secretary do communicate with the Government, requesting that authority may be given for payment of travelling and other expenses of witnesses required to attend before the Commissioners.

The Commissioners deliberated.

Resolved (upon the motion of the Honorable Matthew Hervey):

That the Chairman of the Exploration Committee be invited to attend on as early a day as possible, to be named by himself; or, in the event of his being unable to be present, that he be requested to send the Secretary to the Committee with the instructions issued to the exploring party, and all other documents relating to the subject matter of this enquiry.

Adjourned to a day to be fixed by Sir William Stawell.

Friday 22nd November 1861.
Members present:
The Honorable Sir T S Pratt, KCB., in the Chair.
The Honorable the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly [Sir Francis Murphy MP].
The Honorable the Acting President of the Legislative Council [Matthew Hervey MLC].
The Honorable J F Sullivan, MP.
E P S Sturt, Esq., PM.

The correspondence on the subject of the appointment of a permanent secretary was laid on the table by the Acting Secretary.

The Commissioners retired to deliberate.

Ordered:

That the Acting Secretary convey to the Chief Secretary, the wish of the Commissioners that Mr Haverfield, who has been offered the appointment, should be confirmed in the office.

A communication from Sir William Stawell, in reference to his attendance before the Commission, was also laid on the table.

Sir William Stawell to be informed that it was not decided whether his attendance would be required.

Dr Macadam handed in the instructions issued to the leader of the expedition, together with all correspondence and other papers relating to the expedition.

Adjourned to Wednesday, 27th November.

Wednesday 27th November 1861.
Members present:
The Honorable Sir T S Pratt, KCB., in the Chair.
The Honorable the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly [Sir Francis Murphy MP].
The Honorable the Acting President of the Legislative Council [Matthew Hervey MLC].
The Honorable J F Sullivan, MP.
E P S Sturt, Esq., PM.

A letter from the Chief Secretary was read; informing the Commissioners that the appointment of Mr Haverfield, as Secretary would be confirmed.

A vote of thanks was accorded to the Acting Secretary who retired.

Ordered:

That the Secretary write to the Chief Secretary on the subject of Mr Wright's attendance as a witness; to Dr Beckler, requesting his attendance; to the Crown Lands Office, Adelaide, with regard to the attendance of Mr Hodgkinson ; and to other persons requiring their presence as witnesses.

Adjourned to following day at twelve o'clock.

Thursday 28th November 1861.
Members present:
The Honorable Sir T S Pratt, KCB., in the Chair.
The Honorable the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly [Sir Francis Murphy MP].
The Honorable the Acting President of the Legislative Council [Matthew Hervey MLC].
The Honorable J F Sullivan, MP.
E P S Sturt, Esq., PM.

A telegram from M. Wright, respecting his attendance and expenses, laid on the table by Dr Macadam.

A letter from Dr Beckler, with reference to certain accusations in the newspapers against Mr Brahe, was handed in by Dr Macadam, and read.

Ordered:

The telegram from Mr Wright to be forwarded to the Chief Secretary, with. a request that the assistance of the Government be accorded in securing the attendance of Mr Wright.

Adjourned to Thursday next at twelve o'clock.

Thursday 5th December 1861
Members present:
The Honorable Sir T S Pratt, KCB., in the Chair.
The Honorable the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly [Sir Francis Murphy MP].
The Honorable the Acting President of the Legislative Council [Matthew Hervey MLC].
The Honorable J. F. Sullivan, M.P.

Ordered:

That the attendance of His Honor Sir William Stawell, and R Nash, Esq., be requested at the next meeting of the Commission in order to give evidence.

Adjourned to Tuesday, the 10th December.

Tuesday 10th December 1861.
Members present:
The Honorable Sir T S Pratt, KCB., in the Chair.
The Honorable the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly [Sir Francis Murphy MP].
The Honorable the Acting President of the Legislative Council [Matthew Hervey MLC].
The Honorable J F Sullivan, MP.
E P S Sturt, Esq., PM.

A communication received from His Honor Sir W F Stawell, stating his inability to attend that day.

A telegram from the Crown Lands Office, Adelaide, received, stating that Mr Hodgkinson was absent with Mr McKinlay; that he was not likely to return for some months, and that he could not be communicated with except at great expense.

Dr Macadam handed in Mr Burke's last despatch, contained in a note book intrusted to Mr King for His Honor Sir W F Stawell.

Resolved:

That Mr Wright receive for his expenses and compensation for loss of employment, as well as payment of passage to and from Adelaide, the earn of one hundred pounds (£100).

Ordered:

That the Secretary forward the above resolution to the Chief Secretary, and convey to him the wish of the Commissioners that Mr Wright be paid as soon as possible.

Adjourned to Thursday, the 12th December.

Thursday 12th December 1861.
Members present;
The Honorable Sir T S Pratt, KCB., in the Chair.
The Honorable the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly [Sir Francis Murphy MP].
The Honorable the Acting President of the Legislative Council [Matthew Hervey MLC].
The Honorable J F Sullivan, MP.
E P S Sturt, Esq., PM.

Letter received from A W Howitt, Esq., with reference to the good conduct of Mr Brahe, while second in command of Mr Howitt's party. - Read.

Adjourned sine die.

Monday 30th December 1861.
Members present:
The Honorable the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly [Sir Francis Murphy MP].
The Honorable J F Sullivan, MP.

The Acting Secretary of the Exploration Committee, who was present, was requested to assist Mr King, in obtaining payment of his salary.

Adjourned sine die.

Friday 17th January 1862.
Members present:
The Honorable Sir T S Pratt, KCB., in the Chair.
The Honorable the Acting President of the Legislative Council [Matthew Hervey MLC].

A portion of the printed evidence laid on the table.

The claims of Dr Beckler and of Messrs Brahe and Smith for payment of expenses as witnesses were considered.
Dr Beckler's claim was admitted.
The consideration of the others postponed.

Adjourned.

Monday 27th January 1862.
Members present:
The Honorable Sir T S Pratt, KCB., in the Chair.
The Honorable the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly [Sir Francis Murphy MP].
The Honorable the Acting President of the Legislative Council [Matthew Hervey MLC].
The Honorable J F Sullivan, MP.
E P S Sturt, Esq., PM.

The concluding part of the printed evidence laid on the table.
Evidence discussed.
Report considered.

The claims of Mr Brahe and John Smith for payment of expenses as witnesses further considered.
The Secretary was ordered to communicate to the claimants the decision of the Commissioners that their claims were too high.

Adjourned to Wednesday, 29th January.

Wednesday 29th January 1862.
Members present:
The Honorable Sir T S Pratt, KCB., in the Chair.
The Honorable the Acting President of the Legislative Council [Matthew Hervey MLC].
The Honorable J F Sullivan, MP.
E P S Sturt, Esq., PM.

Report further considered

Adjourned to Friday, 31st January.

Friday 31st January 1862.
Members present:
The Honorable Sir T S Pratt, KCB., in the Chair.
The Honorable the Acting President of the Legislative Council [Matthew Hervey MLC].
E P S Sturt, Esq., PM.

The Secretary brought up draft of Report.
Report adopted and ordered to be printed.

William Brahe's reduced claim for expenses allowed.

Adjourned sine die.

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