79a["State Steamship Service", The Western Mail (Perth, WA), Friday 06 June 1913, page 17]



Some little time ago a series of articles appeared in the "West Australian" adversely criticising the administrative methods of the State Steamship Department, controlled by the Colonial Secretary, and on his return from the Eastern States at the latter end of April, Mr. J. J. Holmes, who has had considerable dealings with the State Steamship Service, made, in the columns of this paper, certain specific charges against the management. As the outcome a Royal Commission was appointed by the Government to inquire into the charges. The Commission, which is comprised of Messrs. W. W. Alcock, Assistant Public Service Commissioner (chairman); E. A. Black (accountant in the Lands Department); G. W. Simpson (Comptroller of Government Stores); and Frank Nicholas, held its first sitting at the Fremantle Local Court on Wednesday.

79b["State Steamships", The West Australian, Tuesday 17 June 1913, page 7]




The Royal Commission appointed for the purpose of investigating the affairs of the State Steamship Service, and particularly the charges levelled against the management by Mr. J. J. Holmes, was resumed at the Fremantle Local Court yesterday afternoon. Mr. Sudholz, in continuing his evidence, proceeded to deal seriatum with the points raised by Mr. Holmes.


Mr. Holmes said that after the Port Lincoln shipment had fallen through the instructions had not been amended.

Mr. Sudholz replied that the instructions had already been issued when the Port Lin coln shipment fell through. The chairman, however, pointed out that this statement conflicted with the file produced by Mr. Sudholz.

At this stage Mr. Sudholz said that he would ask for an adjournment. He had, he said, a ship in port, and would like a little more time to prepare his case.

The Chairman: Have you applied to the department to make arrangements to let you off during the sitting of the Commission?--Mr. Sudholz: No.

The Chairman: Then I suggest that you do so. You have not got your facts together at all, and it is no use the Commission sitting here unless you have your case prepared.

Mr. Sudholz said that it required time for a layman like himself to put all his facts together. He had come there that day with the intention of first putting his side of the case, and then asking Mr. Holmes to quote one man who would have done better under the circumstances.

The Chairman: Mr. Holmes is not concerned as to what you or anyone else might have done, but with what you have done. His documents speak for themselves. He alleges that there were breaches of contract, and it is for you to answer those charges. So far you have ignored the main charges. It was decided to adjourn to 11.30 a.m. to-day, when evidence will be given by the officers of the Kwinana.

79c["The State Steamers", Daily News (Perth, WA), Tuesday 17 June 1913, page 7]




The Commission consisting of Messrs. W. W. Alcock, Assistant Public Service Commissioner, E. A. Black, G. W. Simpson, and Frank Nicholas, were to have continued their inquiry this morning in the Fremantle Courthouse into the management of the State Steamship Service, but on the members taking their seats, Mr. A. V. Hales, correspondence clerk in the office of the State Steamship Service, tendered an apology to the Commission, for the absence of the manager of the service (Mr. W. E. Sudholz). Mr. Hales said that Mr. Sudholz was too indisposed to remain in court, and had made a request that counsel be allowed to appear on his behalf, so that the evidence of two witnesses from the ship might be taken that morning.

Mr. Holmes pointed out that was no necessity for a Royal Commission. The files spoke for themselves, and the department could have investigated the charges by perusing the file which he had handed to the Commission. That would have proved his case. His one desire had been to put the State Steamship Service right. He objected to Mr. Sudholz being represented by counsel. He (Mr. Holmes) had made his charges without counsel. He regretted the inability of Mr. Sudholz to be present, and thought that all the time necessary to enable him to recover should be allowed.

The Chairman said a majority of the Commission was against counsel being engaged in the inquiry at this stage.

The Commission then adjourned sine die.

79d["State Steamships", The West Australian, Saturday 28 June 1913, page 11]




Owing to the temporary indisposition of Mr. Sudholz, the manager of the State S.S. Service, very little evidence was taken yesterday in connection with the Royal Commission appointed by the Government.


The Chairman explained that he considered Mr. Holmes was. justified in asking for documentary evidence on any point he had dealt with, but he did not think he should have access to the whole file. The point was that the Commission did not want to be burdened with files that were not material to the issue.

Mr. Holmes said that he would object to any mutilation of the files. He wanted the files put in, but he would undertake not to deal with any matters which might be found on the files, and which he had not referred to during the inquiry.

Mr. Sudholz at this stage left the Court owing to a temporary indisposition. On his return ten minutes later he stated that he had decided to waive all objections to the files being put in. He was prepared to produce anything that might assist the Commission, but he had no wish to prolong the inquiry by introducing irrelevant matter. Seeing that the management generally was concerned he thought that Captain Irvine might be able to give some valuable evidence, and he also suggested that his sub-manager should be called in regard to the question of overbooking. Having intimated that he was unfit to proceed, the chairman asked him on what grounds he asked to be excused. The Commission wanted further evidence, and unless he could show good cause the Commission would not see its way clear to grant the leave.

Mr. Sudholz replied that the chairman must see the reason of his request. Mr. Sudholz then abruptly left the Court.

Mr. Holmes: Is it necessary or desirable that I should proceed any further. I claim that I have proved everything I have said against the State S.S. Service. I don't desire to harass the department any further. My reputation has been at stake as well as Mr. Sudholz's, and the charges which I have made against the manager have been ridiculed by him and other people in higher authority. Unless the Commission desires further evidence I see no necessity to proceed further in order to prove my case. In the event of any further evidence being called I reserve the right, however, to cross-examiie witnesses. If I can be of assistance to the Commission during any subsequent proceedings I shall make it convenient to attend.

The Chairman remarked that so far as he was personally concerned, there did not appear to be any necessity for Mr. Holmes to proceed further with his evidence so far as the specific charges were concerned. The Court then adjourned to 2 p.m. On resuming, Mr. Hales, of the State S.S. office, produced a doctor's certificate stating that.he had been attending Mr. Sudholz since June 15. The certificate also stated that Mr. Sudholz was suffering from nervous breakdown, and that he was not in a fit state to undergo the ordeal of giving evidence. Mr. Sudholz had been ordered two weeks complete rest and change, the observation of which would be the quickest and most satisfactory course in the end. Mr. Hales explained that the certificate should have been produced earlier, but had been delayed, and Mr. Sudholz had decided, despite the doctor's Advice, to go on with the inquiry.

The Chairman stated that the inquiry would be adjourned sine die.