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[Page 207]


The expedition under the command of Lt. Col. Watson, which was despatched to occupy the Island of Bougainville, returned by the "Meklong" at 3-15 p.m.  The vessel proceeded direct to Kieta after leaving Rabaul on 7th inst., and Lieut. Holmes went ashore under flag of truce on arrival and demanded surrender of the Island. The Resident Commissioner (Herr Doellinger) readily acceded to the demand, and the garrison was immediately posted, Union Jack hoisted with due ceremony, and Proclamation issued. The "Meklong" left "Kieta" same day with German Government Officials on board. The Government Steamer "Buka" was sunk in the Harbour by the Germans about 3 weeks proir to the arrival of the "Meklong". The whereabouts of Government money to the extent of 11,000 marks were disclosed by Herr Doellinger, and the majority of this has been recovered and paid into the treasury in Rabaul. Postage stamps were destroyed by German Officials. On the return journey the "Meklong" landed cargo at Tinputz and Soraken. Copy of Lieut Homes' diary attached, indicating names of German Officials brought to Rabaul.

Wireless message was received from Major Martin as follows:-
"Paper here a/d Col. Holmes, Rabaul, marked "secret", initialled "W.B." on left hand corner. Shall I open?"
This message was numbered 2600 of 7th Decr.

Reply was prepared for despatch as follows:-
"Forward "secret" letter here first opportunity."

A further wireless message was also received from Major Martin as follows:-
"Am I to act with Bracegirdle; have no instructions."
to which a reply was forwarded:-
"Re co-operation with Bracegirdle; presumably now too late. Unaware nature operations, therefore cannot direct."

A message was received from Navy Board stating that "Una" left Sydney Decr. 3rd. for Frederick Wilhelmshafen, due Rabaul December. This was the first intimation received of any diversion of the "Una" or "Eastern", or alteration in date of departure from Sydney, since receipt of message of 23rd November, which stated "Eastern" escorted by "Una" were due at Rabaul on 5th December.

Additional wireless messages were received as follows:-
"Administrator: Mr. C. Workman, Administrator, Nauru, left Newcastle 30th Novr. by Steamer (full) (?) transport for Nauru - Secty. Defence W.7832."

"Administrator: "Encounter" sailed for --------- (?) to-day" Navy Bd. 1830 - 10th Decr."

"Administrator: In continuance my telegram w 7689 of 4th Decr.; please report value of notes on issue, as shown by Government records - Secty. Defence W7801"

To this latter message a reply was prepared for dispatch:
"Paper money received this year from Berlin by German Govt. 100,000 marks. Note in Treasury today 15,000M





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