INSIDE THIS ISSUE
Blast From the Past
Volunteers in Action
Next Month's Meeting
MOTOR CYCLE VAULTING 1979.
Senior Constable Deke Sekula at Police Academy jumping over 17 motorcycles.
March has been another busy and interesting month for our volunteers. A full report is included on pages 11 & 12 of this issue. As a result of the many hours spent by former President John White in sorting and identifying the patch collection, combined with the woodworking skills of Kevin Beare who constructed the display boards, the Badge Room is almost complete. Highlighting an impressive exhibit of a portion of the John White collection of police caps in display cabinets, with his patch collection on the walls.
A project to preserve our important uniforms is now under way thanks to Tony Kaukas and a grant, part of which provided for this undertaking. The shelving was erected on Thursday. Archive boxes specifically designed for this purpose now need to be folded and selected uniforms will be properly prepared, placed in the boxes and retained in the shelving. Once this is completed the current uniform area will be cleared for office space and the remaining uniforms moved to another position on the first floor.
A preservation survey is currently being conducted and will be completed in the next few weeks. When the report is completed Tony will be able to apply for further grants to have some of this work professionally done.
On Friday the 3rd April our monthly meeting featured Ray Buttery JP as the guest speaker. Ray is the past chairman of Darwin Defenders 1942-45 and gave a very entertaining and interesting insight into the War in Australia and in particular the bombing of Darwin. Many members present could relate to these events. Ray spoke without referring to any notes and related dates and events from his memory, including some of the difficult and impossible situations presented to our serviceman who were left with very little protection. On one occasion, when it was feared the invasion was imminent, the few soldiers were spread over a wide area and issued with 5 bullets to defend a possible beach-head.
Police Anzac Day on 19th April at 1030hrs & Foundation Day 28th April at 1030hrs will both be held at the Academy this year. Further information on these events in this issue. I hope to see many members at the Academy.
Our next meeting on Friday the 1st May 2009 will feature “Angel Flights” and promises to be another very interesting evening.
TRAILED & MURDERED.
Natives Kill Tracker.
by Peter Skehan
This article is reprinted with the kind permission of The Western Australia Police Historical Society.
This story begins in October 1035 when Police Tracker George, having been employed at Laverton for some two years, requested a two-week break to go bush to a Corroboree. Constable John Gravestock, the Officer in Charge at Laverton, granted his request on the understanding that he recruited a replacement. George had previously recruited an Aboriginal names Pannican, to replace him at Laverton in March 1935, when he was required for a lengthy expedition to the Warburton and Rawlinson Ranges with Detective Sergeant Lewis and Constable Waters. This was to investigate allegations that Europeans had murdered Aboriginals in the area. As a result Pannican replaced George as a Police Tracker in Laverton and was prominent in this enquiry.
On December 4th, 1935 Mrs. Schenk of the Mount Margaret Mission, Morgans, reported that the natives at the Mission had been ‘wailing’ for the last three days, and that she had been told it was for George who had been killed. Constable John Callaghan, who later served in the CIB, mad enquiries, but the Aborigines at the Mission refused to give any information other than to say that George was dead. Only when the police located George’s woman, Molly, who was then at Laverton, were they able to confirm his death. Molly claimed she had been told that George had been killed by Toby Charlie and Teddy somewhere near Cosmo Newberry, because they believed, “he listen at the native camp and then go and tell Police”.
WITNESSES TO THE CRIME:
Constables Gravestock & Munroe (Mount Morgans) made a patrol to the Clay Pans south of Cosmo Newberry in an endeavour to locate George’s body but without success. They then learned that groups of Natives had hurriedly moved through Cosmo Newberry and a group of 30 was found at Mount Shenton, which was 83 miles north east of Laverton. However, enquiries showed they had not been involved. Returning to Laverton the Police Party obtained further supplies and set our north of Laverton on enquiries. They searched a number of camps before finally raiding a camp at Limestone Well 112 miles north of Laverton at 3.30 am and taking into custody Bungarra, Noogarlie and Murding. These Natives confirmed that they were present when Toby Charlie and Teddy had killed Police Tracker George at Bullrush Soak (about 44 miles north-east from Laverton) in October 1935.
As a result of questioning these Aboriginals it was discovered that Teddy and Toby Charlie were with another largegroup camped about five miles away. The Police Officers had been using motor transport, but due to the nature of the country, neither a car nor horses could be used, so they were forced to proceed on foot. When they came upon the group, who were North Country Natives, they hurriedly retreated through the rocky “Breakaways”. Teddy was sighted and was seen to be armed with spears and rifle, but the Police Party lost him and the others in the rugged country. They had no option other than return to Laverton with the three witnesses, arriving at 9pm on December 10th.
DISCOVERY OF THE BODY AND CRIME SCENE:
The following day they drove out towards Bullrush Soak with the witnesses, who pointed out where the murder had taken place and where George’s remains were. They were in a shallow grave, naked, resting on some gum branches and the top of the grave was covered by timber and branches. There was a wound in the chest on the left side, which had been plugged with a piece of cloth which was saturated with blood. Constable Gravestock also located and identified some articles of George’s blood stained clothing nearby, and at the murder scene recovered a .44 cartridge. After photographing the area and taking various exhibits, they walked back to their vehicle which could not traverse the track to the soak. The following day (December 12) Constable Gravestock took Doctor Myles to the scene. He examined the remains and confirmed the severe wound to the chest. He also removed the head of a spear from the back of the pelvis. The spearhead fitted the broken sections of spear
found at the murder scene some 70 yards away from the grave. The body reburied in the original grave as it was not practical to remove it.
At 6 pm that same day an Inquest was opened in the Laverton Court House, after the Coroner for the area Mr. McGinn R.M. appointed Mr. Harold Buck, J.P. Deputy Coroner. The hearing beganthat evening and continued for two more days with evidence given by a number of witnesses, including several Aborigines. This statement from Murding, who could not speak English, was dictated through an interpreter, the Police Tracker Pannican:
Murding States: I am a Bush Native or Warburton Ranges, I came to Laverton last winter time, I cannot speak white mans language. I stay at Laverton about two moons, I then go train to Mission, Morgans, and stay one moon. I then come back from Mission to Laverton and stay one moon. About two months ago I go to Claypans, Cosmo Newbury with native Roger George (Police Tracker) Moouna, old Margee, Ucomeberri, old Nunaree, Tyboola, Nullaboona, Poogebain, Paracoota and Chickundi. We all got ride to Claypans with Jack Brennan in a runabout car. We all had drink of water at Claypans and go on to creek at Bulrush. We were all looking to make a camp at Bulrush Creek and sit down. Whilst we were sitting down just before sundown a number of natives who had followed us from Laverton the same day surrounded us. There was natives Teddy, Toby Charlie, Charlie Tundra, Skipper Willie, Walleye Billy, Bingarri, Tommy Narloodi, Cargoorli, Tom Terry Terry, George Mungadee, Pingarri, Tundianna, Orgarbi and Sammy. All men no woman. They round us up. Roger was asleep, women were around a fire. I was lying down and was sick. Tracker George was sitting down resting on his elbow.
I look up and saw Toby Charlie throw spear at Tracker George from the back, it hit him in right hip and broke in two pieces. George tried to get up and native Teddy Shot him from the front in left chest with rifle not shotgun. Teddy was hiding behind a tree and when Toby Charlie spear George he came out and shot George. George was surrounded by all the natives who came with Teddy and Toby Charlie and then we were rounded up too and cannot get away. George drop straight down without speaking when shot by Teddy. This was same day we left Laverton. As soon as natives that surrounded George found that Teddy had killed him they all go away in direction of Erlistoun. The natives that were with George and myself when Teddy shot him then bury George a little way from where he was killed. I carried George to where he was buried and dig grave and help bury him. There was plenty of blood from where bullet hit chest of George and little blood from spear get in. Nullaboona, Chickundi’s woman cut George’s boots off with knife and took him shirt and trousers off before he was taken away to be buried. She also put old dress over wound in George’s to stop blood, whilst I carried him to place where he was buried. I got blood all over my trousers whilst I carry George to grave and left them near the grave. Nullaboona burn George’s clothing and belongings near the grave, after George’s body was buried. As soon as this was done all our party left for Cosmo Newbury, but I only go little way then make to Erlistown with native Colin.
I saw Teddy and Toby Charlie and natives that surrounded George at King of Creation making north of Laverton. This was about four camps later. I did not know why Teddy and Toby Charlie want to kill Tracker George. Bungarra, Noogarlie and myself were captured by Police Party at Limestone Well and we promise to show Police place where Tracker George was killed and buried.
We show Police the place and they find George’s body. Bungarra was not there when George was killed. He joined them after. Noogarlie was with Teddy and Toby Charlie Party and he was watching George and let them know when George sit down so they could kill him. Noogarlie had had row with George at Lancefield, Noogarlie followed George’s party to Bulrush Creek and Toby Charlie and Teddy’s party were following Noogarlie.
X Murding Mark
X Pannacan (Interpreter) Mark
Having heard all the evidence, the Deputy Coroner delivered his verdict on December 14th, 1935:
“That George (Aboriginal Native) came to his death at Bull Rush Soak, 44 miles North East of Laverton on or about the 20th day of October 1935 from haemorrhage following a bullet wound inflicted by Teddy (Aboriginal) and a spear wound inflicted by Toby Charlie (Aboriginal) and find that Teddy (Aboriginal Native) and Toby Charlie (Aboriginal Native) did wilfully murder the said George (Aboriginal Native). George was described as being 35 years and as a Police Tracker at Laverton.
Warrants were issued for the arrest of Teddy and Toby Charlie on a charge of wilful murder. They were both believed to be about 35 years of age. It is of interest that Noogarlie stated to the Deputy Coroner that he had a row with George at Lancefield because George had helped Police take back a Native boy who had run away from hospital. Bungarra also gave evidence that about two moons previously he had been at King of Creation when Colin (another Aboriginal) told him that Teddy and Toby Charlie had killed George. George ghad been his mate so he spoke to them and they both admitted killing George, therefore, he (Bungarra) could spear them. He then speared Teddy below the knee, and then speared Toby Charlie just above the ankle.
TRACKING THE KILLERS:
Constable Gravestock reported on December 24th, 1935 that he had traveled over 900 miles with Police Tracker Pannican endeavouring to locate the wanted men. At 3.30 am on December 20th two Natives took them within 20n yards of Toby Charlie’s camp in Hootanui Breakways (about 100 miles from Laverton) At day-break they raided the camp which consisted of about 10 Natives and twenty dogs. Toby Charlie escaped through thick bush and rough country and despite following him for six hours, on foot, and with two horses (which were practically useless due to the rocky country) The Police Party lost his tracks. As they were out of water they had to abandon the search. Gravestock reported that he had raided every known Aboriginal camp in his District. At Mt. Shenton, just at daybreak he and Tracker Pannican had a narrow escape when a bush Native tried to shoot them with a double-barrel shotgun. He was above them in high rocks. Constable Gravestock responded by firing two shots at him. The native disappeared and when they went to the location there was no trace of him. At Hootanui camp, Gravestock and Native Motorcar also had a narrow escape when two bush Natives tried to spear them as they entered the camp in the dark. Gravestock reported that both the wanted men were keeping to the high Breakaways, Teddy was believed to be at Darda, towards Mount Darlot, whilst Toby Charlie was believed to be still in the Hootanui Breakaways.
CLOSE SHAVE FOR KILLER:
On May 20th 1936 Constable Gravestock received a report from Mr. Peter McNee of Urarey Station, about 130 miles north of Laverton, that Teddy was with another Native named Larrikan and a Jack Polletti, who was trying to locate a mine in the Cue or Big Bell area. The Natives had told Polletti they knew where this ‘show’ was and had been given a lift in his motor truck. After the truck departed McNee’s station, he questioned his Natives. At first they denied knowing the name of the Native with Larrakin, but later admitted that it was Teddy who was concealed, covered over in the back of the truck. Gravestock sent a telegram to Constable Fanning at Cue which resulted in Fanning arresting Larrakin, but Teddy escaped again.
KILLERS ESCAPE JUSTICE:
The last reference that I could find regarding the wanted men was on August 26th, 1936 when Constable Gravestock reported that he believed both men had changed their names, and were in the back country between Wikluna and Wingarra, some 120 miles North of Laverton.
A check of the Police Gazettes for the next five years showed no evidence that they had been arrested, or that the papers dealing with the matter had been filed. Presumably these men were never located, moving away from where they were known, into very remote country to avoid capture.
TRACKERS PROVE VALUE:
The service and skills that Aboriginals provided to exploration and the development of the State should never be under estimated. There is a tendency to see their abilities to track individuals who were lost, or wanted by Police, as having greatest value. However, they were an integral part of early policing, especially in remote area. Their knowledge of the country, and the people in it, their ability to navigate, locate food and water in areas where Europeans would be unlikely to survive alone are of paramount importance. Their role as interpreters and advisers to the Police and ability to liaise between their people and Police, provided benefits to both groups,
but sometimes could cause friction when the Trackers were seen to be more on the side of the Police. Despite this, early Police Officers often had to place their lives in the hands of their Trackers and rarely was this trust
The above remarks are made from personal experience with Aboriginal Trackers in the Jigalong. Nullagine and Port Hedland areas in the 1950s and 1970s as well as discussions with older Police Officers who worked in our remote areas. In July of this year Panican’s unmarked grave at Boulder was suitably identified with a plaque honouring his service as an Aboriginal Police Tracker. This was instigated by retired Superintendent Bob Primrose who had used Pannican’s services whilst he was stationed at Gwalia as a Constable. Commissioner O’Callaghan attended this ceremony and paid tribute to him and to the work of other Police Trackers over the years. The plaque was provided by the WA Police and arrangements made for Pannican’s relatives to attend. Several spelling variation of Pannican’s name have been used over the years (correct spelling is Pannikin) and to avoid confusion I have used what appears to be the most common spelling or that used in official reports.
Frank Kovacs ………...
We Welcome you …….
FRIDAY 1ST MAY, 2009 AT 8.00 PM
SPEAKER WILL BE FROM THE ANGEL FLIGHT ORGANISATION
Angel Flight is a charity that co-ordinates non-emergency flights to help country people trying to deal with the triple trouble of bad health, poor finances and daunting distance. Geographically, Angel Flight serves the medically needy Australia wide with a network of pilots and aircraft in all states and territories, and growing as
the word spreads. All flights are free and may involve patients travelling to medical facilities anywhere in Australia.
Escorting prisoners, whatever the circumstances, is
often fraught with danger; many police officers have
been injured, and some killed, when engaged in this
duty. Naturally the danger is greatest when the
prisoner is an habitual or hardened criminal with a
record of involvement in serious crime. In these cases
prisoners may be desperate to escape another prison
sentence, having already served many before, and feel
that enough is enough; or, if facing a more severe
penalty, particularly before the abolition of the death
penalty and corporal punishment, they may have
thought that they had nothing to lose. Whatever the
reason, some will try to escape custody, and devise
possible means of doing so.
I am reminded that not long before I joined the
Homicide squad (in 1950), escorting was done using a
horse, or by way of public transport, or in some cases
by ship. Even during that time most people would
have been ignorant about how escorting of a prisoner
by using a horse was actually carried out.
Until the use of horses was abandoned in the 1940’s,
the prisoner was not tied or linked in any way to the
mounted police officer: he was obliged to walk alongside
the horse and on the right hand side of the officer.
The officer carried a baton and a sword: the former was
sheathed on his right hand side and the sword on his
left. Thus he could rest his right hand on the baton,
ready for use if necessary, and use the left to control the
horse. The hilt of the sword projected far enough from
the scabbard to be easily reached by the rider using his
right hand and crossing it over in front of his body.
The government in those days accepted responsibility
for providing horses for police use in escorting, but not
for prisoners. However, if the use of public transport
was practicable, then that could be used, provided that
the prisoner could pay for himself and the escort.
In 1955, I was directed to escor4t and Italian migrant,
Delorico Ricco, to Melbourne, which entailed a twelve
hour journey by train. He was an habitual criminal,
and the Australian Migration Board had decided that
he be sent back to Italy. Consequently an order had
been issued for his extradition to Melbourne, when he
would be deported.
When I took custody of him, I found that he was a
strong thick set man and that he had a very large and
heavy suitcase. After he had been secured to my left
wrist by handcuffs, we proceeded to the Adelaide
It soon became clear that he strongly objected to the
extradition and impending deportation, and I realised
that having to control him during the twelve hour trip
would be difficult, challenging and tiring. Even in the
best circumstances, constant vigilance was essential. To
make matters worse, it was an overnight journey, which
necessitated remaining alert for the whole night.
We travelled in a dog-box carriage, and no doubt, to
their considerable surprise, the compartment was shared
with other passengers. In addition to the other requirements
I had to accompany him to the adjacent toilet
whenever he asked to go. This was necessary in order to
ensure that he did not lock himself in and try to escape
through the window.
I managed to keep control of him during the journey,
but when we arrived at the Spencer Street Station in
Melbourne he refused to leave the carriage.
Eventually I moved him out onto the platform, but was not able to remove his suitcase. By this time all the other passengers had left and we were stranded. Fortunately I spotted a railway employee not far away and called him over. I asked him if there were any police on duty in the area, so he went off to find out. I was relieved when he returned soon after accompanied by two uniformed Victorian police officers. Who quickly solved my dilemma. They took the case and accompanied me to Police Headquarters, where I passed over custody of the prisoner and was finally free from the long and testing task. There was a surprising sequel. When the contents of his suitcase were examined and recorded, which was a customary requirement, two axes, complete with handles were discovered. Although the contents would have been noted and listed by the police in Adelaide, I was not informed that these axes were amongst the contents. It may be that he thought that they would be of use if he resumed his criminal lifestyle when he returned to his homeland. He had used axes before for breaking into premises, one of his nefarious activities.
In the late 1950’s, when the use of horses had been abandoned, aircraft came to be used for escorting, particularly for travel over long distances, and it became common to use this method for interstate extraditions. In these cases, it was a government requirement for insurance to be taken out to cover both escort and prisoner against accident.
There were two occasion when I had to escort and alleged murderer to another state by plane. Each told me that it was his first flight, and both were apprehensive. In fact, during each flight I saw that they were both quite fearful—the both became very distressed whenever the plane shuddered or lost altitude due to air turbulence. Thus this mirrored the fear experienced by the Sundown murderer, Raymond John Bailey and William Henry Feast (who killed Mrs. Eunice Gwynne) when they were extradited hack to Adelaide by plane. I confirmed that many criminals, who can be quite brazen when they feel that they are in control of a situation are cowards at heart. It is the same with most school bullies.
Fortunately for Deputy Elbert Austin the bite of the North American Iowa Speeder is not
poisonous - but they can be vicious when cornered.
He found that out when he pulled over Leslie Hebeler to give her a $54 traffic ticket.
She refused to sign the ticket and became belligerent, and when he tried to arrest her she sank
her incisors into his arm. That happened last June. The courts didn't support her claim of
harassment, however, and recently handed her a 60-day jail sentence and $1,000 fine, plus court
A motorist was unknowingly caught in an automated speed trap that measured his speed using
radar and photographed his car.
He later received in the mail a ticket for $40, and a photo of his car. Instead of payment, he sent
the police department a photograph of $40. Several days later, he received a letter from the police
department that contained another picture - of handcuffs.
March was a very hectic month for the Vehicle Team who not only participated in numerous outside events but also assisted with the many visits within the Barracks.
The Power Past Event was held on Sunday 8th March at Mount Barker Oval. Ernie McLeod, Max Griiffiths & Kevin Johnson participated, displaying the Chrysler Royal, Bedford Prison Van, Commodore Sedan and the Honda and Suzuki motor cycles on the trailer. Super salesman Max
made in excess of $290.00 from his stall a great effort!!
The event was well attended with great interest in our vehicles and of course the camera's were clicking. The local newspaper, "The Courier" took these photos and they were published in colour in their weekly paper. The people beside the Chrysler Royal are Angela Fleming and Trent Deacon of Echunga who were inspecting the vehicle when the Courier took their photo.
The following Sunday the 15th March Ernie & Kevin provided a display on the Semaphore foreshore as part of the Man Alive Promotion on Men’s Health awareness. Again the event was very well attended with both young and old extremely interested in our vehicles, and the Society’s activities
Also during the month we had a visit from some enthusiastic retirees. These men were highway patrol officers in the late 1950’s - 1960’s.
Riding BSA solo motor cycles as Traffic Patrol Officers. The photos were taken by Joe Rodriguez’ daughter.
Above L > R Joe Rodr iguez & Lindsay (Strawb.) Hackett)
Left: L—R Lindsay (Strawb.) Hackett, Joe Rodriguez & Bob Goldie Ernie McLeod & Joe Rodriguez
On the evening of Friday the 13th March our Chrysler Royal made a guest appearance at the Chrysler Royal Sporting Car Club of South Australia.
On Tuesday the 24th March the vehicle team joined the S.A. Police Traffic Training Unit in a static display at the Entertainment Centre. The weekend of the 28th & 29th March was again another busy one for the boys with Kevin Johnson, Ernie McLeod, Mark Dollman, Dennis Irrgang & Bob Boscence all up at the crack of dawn to attend the Mt. Barker Show. This was a very well attended event, opened by Rock Icon “Angry Anderson”, who was more than happy to pose for photographs with members of the team. Sales of memorabilia were such that almost all items sold out, raising in excess of $400.00 & that added to a generous donation from the Show Committee has certainly helped to boost our coffers.
Congratulations to all on a job well done!!
Museum Tours & outside speaking commitments were also to the fore throughout the month. Monday 2nd March President Geoff Rawson hosted a morning visit by 45 members of the Willunga Neighbourhood Watch Group. In the evening Geoff was guest speaker at the Brooklyn Park Neighbourhood Watch Meeting.
Wednesday 11th March was an exceptionally busy day with 15 members of the Somerton Breakaway Group together with a group of AAA Ladies, visiting us in the morning and a large group of students from Renmark High School toured the Museum in the afternoon. Our sincere thanks goes to all those volunteers who once again gave of their precious time to assist in promoting SAPOL & the Society.
South Australia Police
ANZAC Memorial Service
Sunday, 19 April 2009 10.30am
Strathfield Terrace, Taperoo
This service honours the 25 South Australian Police Officers who died whilst serving during World War I, World War II and United Nations Peacekeeping duties in Cyprus.
• The 30 minute service will be followed by fellowship and morning tea in the Academy Mess.
• Parking will be available in the Gym Car Park – Turn right immediately through main entrance.
• In case of Wet Weather, the ceremony will be held in the Academy Auditorium.
• For any further information, please contact the SAPOL Special Events Officer, Miss Geraldine White, Corporate Communication Branch, Telephone: 820 42229, during office hours
The “HUE & CRY” is Published by the
South Australian Police Historical Society Inc.,
Thebarton Police Barracks
C/- G.P.O. Box 1539