POLICE HISTORICAL SOCIETY INC.
“DID YOU KNOW?”
by Jim Sykes
In 1848In 1857
- Foot Constable Prewitt was located at about 12 midnight asleep on duty in a conveyance of gunpowder which was upturned by ‘some parties’ and he was imprisoned in there. The incident made ‘great talk’ around Port Adelaide for some time.
- The Chief Magistrate of Van Diemen’s Land advised that four notorious bushrangers had absconded from a prisoner gang and murdered a Constable since escaping in the American Whaler “Barclay” bound for Kangaroo Island. Warrants were issued and a reward of £100 was offered. Two Constables embarked on the “Scout” and captured three escapees and the fourth died. The reward was distributed to the constables who captured them.
- A lamp was affixed to a post on the right bank of the River Torrens. Mounted police were required to clean and light the lamp nightly.
- An account for carrying prisoners was returned to Burra Burra Police Station as it ought to have been certified by the committing Magistrate. In any case prisoners Eade and Porter had plenty of money to pay for their own carriage to Adelaide.In 1858
- Corporal Warren of Guichen Bay Police reported that the Bark “Sultana” of 588 tons from Hong Kong arrived in a leaking condition after having struck “Donsbie” Reef. Captain Garnet in charge as Captain William Yapper who owned the cargo, died during the passage. Garnet set sail again but the vessel became a complete wreck about 1 mile off shore.In 1859
- Sergeant Henry J.S. Eyre sent a detailed statement of repairs required at the Franklin Harbour Police Station and a new room. Such work could not be done in under £20 to £25. The Government voted £6 for repairs to the station.
- Foot Constable Newland of Willunga was charged with assault on a barman by drawing his sword and threatening his life. He was fined 10/- by the Magistrate.
- The application for a police officer to be appointed bailiff of the Melrose and Port Augusta Local Courts was rejected by Commissioner Hamilton on the grounds that bailiff work does not place police in good standing with the public.
- Willunga Trooper Shaw requested repairs to the station and the walls whitewashed. He was advised to do the whitewashing himself.In 1860
- As a result of a complaint, a woman was requested to remove her perambulator from the footpath of North Terrace under the 31st clause of the Police Act.
- Port Adelaide Constable John Head was dismissed from the service due to drunkenness. A memorial presented to the Commissioner by the business people in the district in an effort to reverse the decision was not successful.In 1861
- Sergeant Sullivan of Port Adelaide reported that Constable John Woods had deserted from the Water Police and was believed bound for Melbourne on the steamer “Omeo”.
- A resident in Angas Street Adelaide complained that he narrowly escaped injury from a shot fired by police at stray dogs.
- Constable Spinks took a woman who was under the influence of drink to the Adelaide Gaol. Mr. McGill the Turnkey, took particulars of the woman and she handed over money from her pocket. Spinks took the money and said he would look after it with other property he had of the prisoner. He also endeavoured to persuade McGill to give the prisoner a bottle of wine. Spinks was eventually dismissed from the service due to his indiscretion.
- Trooper Irwin of Clare advised that due to the poor condition of the cell, a prisoner knocked a hole in the wall and escaped.
- Corporal Ewens of Port Lincoln advised that his bedroom was above the cells which has a wooden ceiling. There have been six prisoners in the cells for several weeks and he has been unable to occupy the room due to the stench.
- Trooper Howe of Angaston was the subject of a complaint to the Commissioner of Police because his fowls and ducks were causing damage to a neighbours crop of barley.In 1862
- Request from North Adelaide Police that an additional room be provided as men at the station were required to sleep in one of the cells.
- The Sergeant in charge of Clare again reports on the poor condition of the station and that the roof emits rain to the extent he is required to continually change the position of his bed to avoid being drenched.
- Wallaroo police sought accommodation in Kadina as the 12’ X 10’ tent used by 8 police members was not satisfactory and during the wet weather they were unable to keep their clothes dry.In 1863
- Trooper Besley of Overland Corner reported on the dilapidated condition of the Police Station, pointing out that the thatch was quite rotten and leaking, the windows in a poor condition with many panes broken, no locks or bolts on the doors and the floor had sunken by 9 inches.
- In 1884
- Trooper O’Connor of Naracoorte arrested an armed robber named Walsh. The citizens of the district collected £30-4-0 and presented it to the Trooper for the efficient manner in which he performed his duty.
- Franklin Harbour police reported on the conduct of natives in the area and advised that one native was charged with setting alight the room of the Stipendiary Magistrate who had sentenced him to a month in gaol with hard labour. The Commissioner queried as to whether that Magistrate should deal with the new charge.
- Plans were made to fence the Telegraph Station at Mount Barker and when work was about to commence it was found that it would stop access to the police station and hay loft.
- The Chief Secretary [Minister for Police] enquired if the application of James Egan to enter the police force had been considered. Commissioner Warburton replied that he has the responsibility of selecting applications for entry to the Force. The Chief Secretary disagreed. Much correspondence flowed between the two and the matter did not appear to have been resolved.
- Inspector Hamilton described the quarters supplied to police at Kapunda as “One Trooper and two Constables were lodging in a small tent - the Corporal was lodged in a miserable shed nearby - two Troopers who had recently arrived were quartered in a public house - there was no lockup and prisoners were chained to the iron bedsteads of the Troopers.”
- Police were stationed on board the “Castle of Eden” a ship calling at Adelaide with single girls to ensure no bad characters were allowed on board when the public were engaged in selecting young women as servants.
- The wall of the Cheraroo Police Station collapsed and damaged crockery and ornaments of Trooper Gerhardy who made a claim for £31-17-0. Commissioner Warburton was adverse to payment of the damage as he considered Gerhardy had in his possession property beyond that required of his rank. Gerhardy claimed he had entertained the Governor and Magistrates, used the room for Court and as his station is also the Post Office, all the settlers in the district visited the premises. He was compensated £11-12-6.
- Venus Bay police request a new stone building as the old Station building was propped up and likely to tumble down.In 1864.
- Wallaroo Police Trooper Curnow fell from his horse whilst drunk and had to be treated by a Doctor.
- A new Gaol was opened at Kadina next to police station. The area had previously been used as police stables and they now have to use the stables at the hotel. The Gaoler and wife were often drunk and abusing each other. Police accused of insulting Gaoler's wife.
- Clare police report that the closet at the new station is a “cesspit”, is inadequate and also faces the public street.
- Mount Wedge Trooper Provis reports water in the native well at the station is very low and not fit for human consumption. Mortar is falling out of the spaces between the logs of the cabin wall. Commissioner advised him to use his initiative and do the repairs and deepening of the well himself.
- Venus Bay Trooper Gerhardy dismissed from the service because of his drunkenness and bad language.
- When the specifications of the new Police Station at Venus Bay were released for tenders, it was found that it was situated at the wrong location.In 1865
- Port Adelaide Publicans complained of the necessity to place dead bodies in their hotels in order for an inquest to be held as there is a Port Casualty Hospital operating and that should be used. The local Magistrate declared that the Casualty Hospital was unsuitable as it comprised of only one room and people attend in that room for treatment. The Chief Secretary [Minister for Police] directed that the police cells were to be used. The police objected stating that bodies are often in a decomposed state. Eventually a “Dead House” [Morgue} was erected on Ocean Steamers Road near the Colac Hotel.
- Trooper Bartlett of Mount Gambier applied for the position as Bailiff and was advised that he would first have to resign from the Force.
- At Port Lincoln, four female natives, arrested for stealing flour from a shepherd's hut, were imprisoned and sent to Adelaide on the vessel “Lubra”.In 1872
- Trooper Komell of Penola was killed when the horse he was riding swerved and hit a tree.
- Due to drought conditions at Mount Serle the staff at this station have been living on euros and an occasional wallaby because they were unable to obtain any other form of meat.
- Angipena Police Station was closed due to the drought and lack of drinking water and the troopers moved to Blinman where they were accommodated in one of the mine houses. Later the proprietor of the North Star Inn offered his premises to the police as he was leaving the area for six months.
- Immigrants from Western Australia were required by statute to have a certificate in their possession setting out that they were not convicts.In 1886
- Trooper William Davis was taken by a crocodile in Darwin Harbour. At that time he was stationed at Palmerston, Northern Territory and was attached to the Water Police.In 1889
- An article appeared in the “Advertiser” about the breaking of the Sabbath in the West Park Lands. Foot Constables John Loughlin and Henry Gibbons advised that it was possibly a party of small boys with a bat and ball or adults lying about on the grass but no one had been seen playing games on Sundays.
- Mounted Constable W.G. Turner of Jamestown Police advised there were unvaccinated children in the area and the parents have been warned. Some claimed their children were not in a fit state of health to be vaccinated.
- Commissioner Peterswald complained that Constables were not appearing in uniform at the Police Band Concert. F.Cs. Thomas Kelly and D. O’Keefe advised they were not aware of the instruction to wear uniform. They thought it only applied to Band members performing or bayonet drill. In all 12 men were charged with failing to obey instructions and were reduced 10 places in seniority.
- Foot Constable Charles Thompson was deemed insubordinate for refusing to comply with a Magistrate's order to apply 6 strokes of the birch to boys at the City Watch House. Other police also refused but the parents of the children then carried out the punishmentIn 1890
- The Adelaide City Council complained to the Commissioner of Police about the nuisance caused by cyclists and roller skaters on the city streets and requested he take some action.
- Foot Constable Rattigan of Murray Bridge was accused of communicating matters to the Press which should have been kept perfectly quiet by the police. Rattigan denied he spoke to the Press but admitted he told a local Justice Mr. Jones. The remainder of the gang of criminals cleared out because of the article in the Register making it difficult for the Detectives to clear up the burglaries.In 1892
- Commissioner having difficulty with respect to finances. With late night arrests, prisoners were to be put before a Magistrate immediately. He also directed that Constables had to cease yarning and walking with people on their beats.In 1893
- The Town Clerk of Adelaide requested that police stop people striking Lucifer matches in the Theatre Royal during performances.
- Mounted Constable Holland requested a cell be built at Oodnadatta Police Station as it would be inhuman to chain prisoners to a log.In 1894
- The Hon. R.C. Barker wrote to the Commissioner requesting the names of the Constables who arrested the Hon. C.C. Kingston. The Commissioner complied.
- Mounted Constable Barrett requested a cell be built at the Innamincka Police Station as the only way of securing prisoners is to chain them to a post and that was undesirable.In 1897
- Because of financial restraints there was a tender called to perform the police work with traps [horse carriages]. There was a challenge to have the Force run by a Board and accusations that the Force was too large with too many Detectives. The rank of Lance Corporal and Corporal should also be abolished in an effort to save costs.
- Trooper Thomas Daer of Illamurka Station ordered his Trackers to whip three natives for cattle stealing to save the Government the expense of taking them to Port Augusta.In 1898
- A.L. Evans made an application to join the Police Force as a Detective. The Commissioner replied “I do not at present propose to employ ladies as Detectives and must therefore deny myself the pleasure of her services.”In 1899
- Eight men were retired and paid compensation as they were deemed to be incapable of performing their duties.
- The Government rejected a call from the Commissioner to provide funds for an increase in 5 more police to bring the numbers up to 135 mounted and 164 foot constables.
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