16a["The Presbyterian Mission", The Western Mail (Perth, WA), Saturday 18 May 1912, page 21-22]


Wednesday's Proceedings.


Foreign and Aborigines' Mission.

The Foreign and Aborigines' Committee's report was read by the convener, Rev. W. F. Turton. It stated, inter alia, that at a pro re nata meeting of the Assembly held on November 28, 1911, the committee were authorised (in view of the dangers and difficulties incident to the navigation of Walcott Inlet) to employ men and means to make further search for a suitable mission site, 250 being made available for the purpose. Steps were immediately taken to ascertain the suitability or otherwise of Cove Bay. On January 5 last the services of Constable Fletcher were enlisted as guide to the exploring party, including the missionary, Mr. R. H. Wilson. On February 21 the committee deemed it advisable to recall Mr. Wilson for purposes of consultation, and interviews with him took place in March. Meanwhile the committee felt that it was essential that the prosecution of a search for a site should be proceeded with, and to this end appointed Mr. R. W. Main as its representative to proceed to Broome and, with Constable Fletcher, explore the sites already agreed upon. Mr. Main sailed from Fremantle on March 12 on the Koombana, and went down with her. Almost at the same time Constable Fletcher was killed in Broome. The committee on April 4 asked the Rev. F. W. Rolland to take charge of the boat and mission property pending the arrival of the missionary, Mr. R. H. Wilson, who was instructed to obtain the help of Mr. Hadley, of Sunday Island, to carry on the work of exploration. On April 6 the Rev. Mr. Rolland reported that two men of good repute were anxious to engage the mission schooner to travel over country the Church wished to explore, offering to pay all expenses and carry the missionary with them. In pursuance of this arrangement Mr. R. H. Wilson left Fremantle by the s.s. Gorgon on April 23 to join the party.


AB notes:

05 jan 1912: fletcher engaged to guide exploring party, to choose site of new mission

when missionary Wilson was recalled (why?)

committee resolves to send R. W. Main to work with Fletcher, checking out some sites already agreed upon

16b["The Broome Murder", The Western Mail (Perth, WA), Saturday 11 May 1912, page 22]



Broome, May 7.

The inquest concerning the cause of death of Constable Fletcher on April 1 was concluded, yesterday. The jury returned a verdict of wilful murder against two of the men in custody and a verdict against two others of being accessories after the fact, and they were committed for trial. Against the fifth man, there was no evidence, and he was released from custody. Three of the four accused are employed by Mr. Patrick Percy, two on his schooner, and one on a lugger.

The following is the jury's verdict:--"We find, that on April 1, 1912, Bertram Henry Fletcher came to his death while engaged in a row with Thomas Bilehba, Cundido Colestrom, Eyjap Bin Tahir, and Omat Bin Akamat, and we return a verdict of wilful murder against the first two and of being accessories after the fact against the last We do not think that there is any evidence to implicate the fifth man, Hadji Said Bin Abbas, in the employ of the deceased for the Presbyterian Mission, whither the deceased was bound on the arrival of Mr. Main, lost on the Koombana, to establish headquarters for the mission at Cockburn Sound."