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[Page 265]


The following wireless message has been received:-

"Administrator - Rabaul: Regarding request contained in your despatch, arrangements will be made for the relief of you and force under your command. Commander Pethebridge asked to act Administrator. Officers necessary for the administration who volunteer may remain - Legge."

This message was undated, and it is evident message mentioned in diary of 19th Decr. from Colonel Pethebridge to Minister for Defence had not been received in Australia prior to the despatch of the above-mentioned message. The message in question, not having been despatched from Rabaul W/T Station, a copy was sent by the "Matunga" for despatch from Frederick Wilhelmshafen, but up to time of departure the message had not been despatched from this vessel.  Colonel Pethebridge informed the Administrator that he had not received any message on the subject from Australia.

During the afternoon the Administrator and Colonel Pethebridge proceeded by Motor Car to the North Coast.

The "Matunga", which has been loading copra at Herbertshohe, and which was due to leave at 2-0 p.m. today, will not now leave until 9-0 a.m. to-morrow. Captain Twynam will return to Sydney by this vessel as Officer-in-charge of Guard.

Fresh cases of Malaria were admitted to Hospital to-day. All hospitals are fully taxed.

Current Status: