INSIDE THIS ISSUE
Blast From the Past
Volunteers in Action
Next Month's Meeting
Visit of King and Queen of Thailand. September 1962
Inspection of motorcycle escort.
The King shaking hands with the late Sergeant Stan Lockwood.
On Sunday the 26 we hosted a very successful tour of the Museum with members of the Riley and Early Ford V8 Club and my thanks goes to all the volunteers who assisted and made the day so successful. See story and photos on Pages 11 & 12.
New equipment has now been purchased to digitise large format photographs in the form of an A3 scanner and Kate Woodcock has been busy working out how to use this rather large machine. We have also taken possession of a digital camera for photographing the very large photographs which cannot fit on the scanner. The camera will be permanently mounted on a copying stand (yet to be purchased) and will be also used for photographing artefacts.
Kevin Beare, Max Griffiths and John White have almost finished the full renovation of the Badge Room, which is now resplendent with patches from the John White collection on the walls, cap and hat collections displayed with some international uniforms. The boys still have lots of work planned for the museum and are looking for new volunteers to assist in this area. The uniform collection is currently being sorted thanks to Bethany, Helen and Dave. We have a need for more volunteers in other areas and if you would like to be more involved please feel free to join our Thursday group for a cuppa and a talk to our group to see where you can assist.
The family of long time member and former police officer Audrey Chomel have advised us that Audrey’s health has not been good & currently she has a severely broken ankle as a result of a fall on the 15th May. She has been in the Royal Adelaide Hospital & is now in respite/rehabilitation care. Audrey we all wish you well & trust that you will be up and about soon.
In late July we had a minor disaster - with flooding in the document storage area resulting in about an inch of water over the floor. Some documents were damaged. On checking upstairs I found a new swimming pool adjacent to the library, which was found to have been created by builders not clearing up, causing rubble to block a drain. Contractors have fixed the problem and Bob Boscence and Bob Ward mopped up the mess downstairs. The tiles in that area lifted and we discovered that they are asbestos backed. Carpet has been hastily laid over the area as a temporary measure whilst arrangements are made to remove all the tiles in the area. This will necessitate the onerous task of removal of all documents and shelving at some period in the future.
On Friday 7th about 44 members attended our monthly meeting and were treated to a wonderful talk by Don Thorpe who sailed Lake Eyre in 1978.
In his younger days during the war years, Don was a “Boy Scout Police Observer” at the Glenelg Police Station, probably when my father Don Rawson was working there.
He generously presented his armband from that period to the society and, as a result, another piece of the historical jigsaw is now in our possession. No one present was aware of this armband and we were very interested in its background.
Don presented his talk with slides of his historic visit to the lake on the rare occasion of it being full when his club was the first to have raced around the lake in 16ft Hartley Trailer boats.. His knowledge of the area was amazing and very informative and he was presented with a certificate of appreciation and a book and applause from the members.
The raffle departed from the norm and consisted of envelopes and a lucky number inside which was managed by Kate Woodcock and raised $50.00.
Next month we will have the usual raffle and Assistant Commissioner Tony Harrison will be back to continue his talk relating to organized crime. We will also be drawing our major raffle prizes. I hope to see you there.
Movement in time, though not considered a practical proposition, can nevertheless be undertaken. The future can be visited by guesses as to the possible trends of the present, based on experience from the past, but never with strict accuracy. This is an uncertainty that makes life worth living.
The past, however, has existed. With records from this, it is possible to travel with reasonable accuracy into the past, though there is much scope for surprise and speculations as to the actions taken by various persons, their motivations, ideals etc., which have formed the present in which we live.
We, as members of the South Australian Police Force, enjoy many of the benefits which our predecessors did not have. This was due to the efforts of the South Australian Police Association, and it is my intention in this series of articles, to show just what the Association has done for the Police Force and its members since it was formed.
If these should bring a greater appreciation of the Association, or serve as a tribute to those members who served the Association faithfully and loyally, and at times with personal or material sacrifice, then I shall not have wasted my time in writing them.
THE SOUTH AUSTRALIAN
By F.A.J. King
RAISING THE STANDARD
Since the Romans marched behind their eagles, the Christians raised the Cross, and nations developed national flags, these symbols have always been a rallying point for concerted action. Raising the standard has been a call to arms throughout the ages. Whether it is done symbolically or in fact, the meaning is the same. It is a call for unification and common action.
On December 7, 1911, one such standard was raised by the members of the South Australian Police Force, when a group of them met at the Co-operative Hall, Angas Street, in order to form the South Australian Police Association. Police Associations had already been formed in some States and overseas. These had benefited their members to a great extent by bringing in better conditions.
The first President elected was Sergeant Beare, of the City Watchhouse; The Secretary was F.C. Trestrail. Ten days after the inaugural meeting, 114 members of the Police Force had become members. This would be about a quarter of the total Police strength in this State at that time.
Conditions of Police employment in South Australia at the time were vastly different from the present. For one thing, there were no regulation rest days during the year. Annual leave was 21 days, to be taken when given. Sick leave was 16 days per year, and was not cumulative—e.g. if a man was sick for more than 16 days he was allowed to take his annual leave. When his leave finished his pay stopped. How conditions were changed to reach the standard of today is the subject of these articles.
On the formation of the Association, it was decided at an executive meeting to officially inform Mr. W.H. Raymond, Police Commissioner, that the Association had been formed, submitting a copy of the constitution and rules for his approval. A month later, no reply having been received regarding the receipt of the rules by the Commissioner, it was decided to seek the approval of the Chief Secretary , Mr. F.G. Wallace.
The original rules were later returned to the Association, signed by the Chief Secretary, and were given to the resident for safe keeping. At the meeting Secretary Trestrail resigned from his position, no reasons given. A letter of thanks was sent to him for his services to the Association.
A most important event in the life of the Association was a change of Government. The new Government would not recognise the Association (The Verran Labour Government having been defeated).
At the Annual General Meeting on January 9, 1912, a discussion arose regarding an application for Sundays off a regulation days. A letter was sent to the Commissioner by M.C. Downing, the new Secretary, which read as follows:
“At a meeting of the South Australian Police Association a resolution was unanimously carried that the executive make representation to the Commissioner of Police with a view to getting a Sunday off duty granted to all constables where two or more are stationed. The executive committee, after much consideration, respectfully suggests that a system now in vogue in Western Australia may be adopted in the South Australian Police Force. Viz, that each man be allowed one Sunday in every fourth of duty, in addition to their twenty-one days recreation leave, and in further support the executive committee respectfully begs to remind you that for several years half the morning watch were allowed off duty on Sunday, and at an interview granted to the committee by the late Chief Secretary F.S. Wallace, he assured the committee the Sunday off duty would be restored to them. The executive committee begs to add that the granting of the Sunday off duty was discontinued owing to the Police Force being short handed, the strength of the metropolitan Police on city foot duty being only 89, whereas now it is 126 , a very substantial increase. The committee therefore respectfully hopes that you will give this important matter your earnest consideration, and that you may be pleased to grant their request. “
A month later, no reply having been received to the letter, a reminder was drafted and sent by the Secretary, requesting a reply. This communication was also ignored.
On March 4 a third letter was sent to the Commissioner, asking him if it were true that since the letter was sent to him asking for Sunday off, “four men were taken off the morning and afternoon watch, thereby increasing the number on night duty. Was this action taken on account of the Association’s request? If so, we respectfully request that you may be please to investigate this matter as early as possible?.”
A reply was received to this letter. Unfortunately, a copy has not survived the years. However, the Association’s reply gives some idea as to it’s contents.
“The executive of the Police Association has directed me to assure you that they have no desire whatever to interfere with the discipline and administration of the Service, but to state that their anxiety is to uphold discipline and bring under your notice all matters that may lead to the betterment of the Force”
The rest of letter dealt with the matter as already set out in the first letter, but the concession was not to be granted at this time, and as the Association was pressing for a pension scheme, further negotiation was left in abeyance.
During these formative years, 1911 to 1912, the President Sgt. Beare, resigned from office, taking the responsibility again when pressed by members. A circular was also sent to all members showing what had been done to date by the Association. This action was taken as a result of an enquiry by country members as to whether the Association was still in existence.
NEXT MONTH: Police Pension
A Satisfying Result all Round
by Life Member Jim Sykes
Being the only local policeman in a small country town is not as easy as it sounds. For instance, in South Australia an officer stationed in the mid-North could have a district of about 100 square miles to cover and a population of about 500 to 1,000 people. In other towns the patrol area could cover several thousand square miles with a population of 2,000 or more.
Marree Police Station
In 1956 I was transferred from Port Pirie to Marree, a small town in the far north of South Australia at the head of the Birdsville Track. The town was also the point where the narrow gauge and standard gauge railway lines met. This meant that cattle coming down the Birdsville track would be placed on trucks at Marree for transhipping to the Adelaide markets. Coming down from Alice Springs and beyond, the cattle would be in trucks on the narrow gauge railway. Therefore it was necessary for those cattle to be unloaded from the narrow gauge into spelling yards where they had the opportunity to feed and rest from what was usually an arduous journey of about four or five days, in isolated cases without water or food. After recovering their strength they were reloaded into the standard gauge trucks and sent off to the Adelaide markets.
In most country areas local policemen took on what were called extraneous duties. Apart from the Roadmaster, the Stationmaster and the Postmaster who were employed by the Commonwealth Government, there were no other officials in the town except for several Justices of the Peace. The Roadmaster had the responsibility of rolling stock and the upkeep of all the tracks which included the maintenance crews stationed about 30 miles or so apart (Fettlers Camps), particularly along the narrow gauge Northern tracks, while the Stationmaster managed the movement of all trains, goods and passengers. The Postmaster looked after the reception and delivery of all postal articles. He was also responsible for manning the switchboard which controlled the telephone connections to the town. Only nine places were on the system and they were the Police Station, the District and Bush Nursing Hospital, the Railway Station, the General Store, Butcher Shop, the Marree Hotel, the School Headmaster and two private residences.
When I first arrived at my posting I was unaware that I was expected to represent many other government departments and several local organizations. On my first day I was told I had been appointed Secretary to the District and Bush Nursing Hospital which meant that I was the coordinator in relation to the Royal Flying Doctor Service which operated out of Broken Hill in New South Wales. This was the closest medical service to Marree at that time as there was no resident Doctor.
Royal Flying Doctor aircraft.
Later the Royal Flying Doctor Service operated out of Port Augusta and I retained that responsibility. State government departments’ representation was also loaded onto local policemen such as Clerk of the Local Court, the Local Court Bailiff, Clerk of the Police Court, Police Prosecutor, Court Orderly, Commissioner for taking affidavits in and for the Supreme Court of South Australia and the Coroner’s Constable. I was also expected to prepare documents for prosecution purposes, type any evidence and as the arresting officer, and give evidence relevant to the particular charge. In addition I was appointed Keeper of the Marree Commonage, Inspector of Stock, Health Inspector, Assistant Protector of Aborigines, Issuer of food vouchers, blankets, medical attention to the aboriginal inhabitants who numbered about 40 in the town and about 400 at the Finniss Springs Mission, and other outlying districts. I was also the Issuer of Gun Licenses, Collector of Dog Scalps and was expected to collect monies outstanding for other government departments.
As well as carrying out all my general duties relative to crime and minor traffic matters, I found a great deal of my work was checking the movement of cattle & the possibility of the thefts of stock from properties, cattle stations and mobs of cattle being driven on the hoof or being brought down from the North by trains. On the face of things this might seem to be a relatively easy job but when I looked at the size of the police district and found the area I was responsible for measured roughly 300 miles by 400 miles (120,000 square miles), my task and responsibility for policing the cattle industry was enormous.
I well remember the day a trainload of “store” cattle (weak and undernourished because of drought etc.) arrived from the North for transhipping to the southern markets where they were to be sold, not for slaughter but to be agisted on various properties and fattened up for the markets some time later.
As I watched the cattle from each truck being unloaded down a race into the spelling yards, I noticed that many of the animals had serious leg injuries and were subsequently placed in a separate yard. I inspected each truck as it was emptied and usually found that were one or two head of cattle lying down being unable to stand or move. I then ordered the Train Drover to offload those animals. As it was impossible to lift a full grown bullock, they had to be dragged out using ropes and the brute strength of a number of men and sometimes a stockhorse.
Dragged out of trucks and shot.
It was my responsibility to destroy those animals by shooting them and I did so to about 30 head of cattle from that one trainload.
The Train Drover then had to arrange to have the carcasses taken to a place about three miles south of the town and there to set fire to them and maintain that fire until they were totally destroyed. This took about three days to do so and as the prevailing winds were not southerlies, the town avoided the stench of burning carcases.
View of the yards.
As I enforced the Protection of Cruelty to Animals Act provisions I had to ensure that there was no neglect on the part of the Train Drover or any of his men. This was a most difficult task and although I spent many hours investigating such matters I was never able to obtain sufficient evidence to prosecute anyone. It was a different matter when cattle were brought down the Birdsville Track from South Western Queensland in mobs between 2,000 and 3,000 head. This meant the cattle would walk up to 450 miles to get to Marree for transhipping to the Adelaide markets. It also meant that the drovers and the cattle were on the road for several months at a time as the cattle could only be moved about 20 miles a day. As they came south they passed through properties of various land owners and the drovers had to ensure that cattle belonging to others was not allowed to join the herd.
Pushing cattle up the race into the trucks.
The nearest police station to me to the North was Birdsville in Queensland and I kept regular contact with the police officer there. Communication between the two of us could not be made by telephone so it was common for us to talk over the Royal Flying Doctor “Bush Radio”. The only way I could get messages to and from Birdsville was to use the radio frequency commonly known as “The Galah Session”. This frequency was used by many men and women at most cattle stations throughout the area. It was their only way to communicate with their friends and also to send and receive telegrams. All voice transmissions could be heard by everyone else so there was no secrecy or privacy using this method of communication.
There were good drovers and bad drovers on the trains and also those coming down the Birdsville Track. One day my tracker Micky told me some stolen cattle were coming down the Birdsville Track with a drover named Bill Thomas. How this full blood aboriginal got this message I will never understand. There had been no movements up or down the Birdsville Track for several weeks and Micky did not have any form of communication except perhaps in that mysterious way the natives seem to communicate with each other often hundreds of miles apart. Mick advised me that Thomas was on his way down the track with 3,000 head of cattle and that he was picking up strays when traversing other people's property and now had about 35 head of stolen cattle mixed in his mob.
I knew this drover well and had had suspicions before but I was never able to catch him in the act or in possession of stolen cattle. I believe he had an arrangement with a Train Drover and there was also someone in Adelaide who sold the cattle in perhaps a felonious manner. This time I was determined to thwart him. I did not have a horse so I could not inspect the cattle which at this time were about 40 miles out. I spoke to George, a well respected local man who had once owned land and had done a lot of droving in his time, and sought his advice. He told me I would have to assemble about 20 men with horses to go through the herd while on the track. He also suggested it would be very difficult to inspect the cattle when they arrived at Marree and were being loaded into the trucks. I would need to know and understand every brand on the cattle Waybill to even think about making a full inspection. I asked him if he would assist me but he refused stating he was getting too old for that sort of work and that he probably could not find enough men to do the Job. He also reminded me that I would need to pay the men even if he could find enough. As I did not have access to any money for this purpose I left and went back to the station to have a good think about the problem.
That afternoon I returned to George and asked if he would be prepared to manage the stolen cattle if I could arrange for them to be taken out of the herd. He told me that if I could do that he would bring them into Marree, identify each brand and then have them trucked to Adelaide where they would be sold and the various owners would be paid for the cattle sold in their name. He added that he wished me luck because I would need it.
That afternoon I went to the local post office and sent a telegram to the police officer in charge of the Birdsville police station.
"I understand Bill Thomas has a mob of cattle just outside of Marree. I believe that about 35 head of those cattle have been stolen or unlawfully obtained. Have you received any reports of cattle stolen in your area. If so please advise me accordingly as I propose going through the cattle as they are being loaded onto the trucks. This time Thomas is not going to get away with it.”
I advised George what I had done and that I was relying on the telegram being overheard by someone on the “Galah Session” who would hopefully tell Thomas what was going on. Thomas was due in Marree on the coming Friday and my friend and I eagerly waited for that day to come. Thomas did not arrive until the following Tuesday and it was then that I knew my plan had worked. I sent my tracker Micky up the Birdsville Track to find a place where Thomas would have the space and opportunity to "cut out" the stolen cattle. Micky came back and told me that he had followed cattle tracks through to Mundowdna Station where the fence had been cut and cattle pushed through. He also advised me that there were 38 head around a waterhole.
I spoke to George and arranged for him and Micky to go into Mundowdna station and bring the cattle to town. I walked over to the cattle transhipping yards and gave Thomas a thorough dressing down during which time I advised him that I was aware he was a cattle thief and “thanked” him for "cutting out" the cattle at near Well Creek. I told him I would see that the owners were paid for the cattle he had stolen. I also told him in no uncertain terms I did not want to see him around the town again adding that I intended to spread the word especially to all the cattle station owners about what he had done and he was a thief and should never be trusted with cattle again.
George and Micky duly brought the cattle into town and they were subsequently sent to Adelaide for sale for the benefit of their respective owners. George received a handsome bonus from the selling agents in Adelaide. Micky somehow received a new pair of riding boots and trousers and one morning when I arose I found a carton of beer at the back door of the police station.
This was a case of unorthodox policing which had the desired result. To my knowledge Bill Thomas never got another droving job.
James H. Sykes.
NEWS FROM THE VEHICLE SHED.
by Vehicle Co-ordinator Kevin Johnson
The following photos are of our current project which is restoring a 1973 Honda 750cc motor cycle. This Honda was one that was on loan from Honda to SAPOL in 1973 for assessment prior to Honda tendering for the contract to supply Honda Police bikes. It has on 8,000 on the speedo which would have been the mileage done by SAPOL traffic officers when testing the bike and writing assessment reports.
After it went back to Honda they gave it to the TAFE motor school where apprentices dismantled and reassembled the bike as part of their practical training. It then became outdated by new engine technology.
Tony Taddeo the manager at TAFE then contacted us and offered the bike to us. As is had been sitting around
some years it had a considerable mount of rust and a large dent in the tank.
Ross Edwards, Dennis Irrgang and Ernie McLeod stripped the bike down and Dennis painted the entire bike. We now have the task of putting the bike back together again. Many parts were missing from the bike. These parts may have been sampled by the apprentices as most parts are those that would be damaged if a bike was dropped to the roadway.
It is going to cost us about $450 to get the bike in roadworthy condition. We were fortunate to have Jamie of TOP COAT Motor Cycles at 146D Smart Road, ST AGNES paint the Honda petrol tank and Martin of UNDERGROUND DESIGNS at 146 D Smart Road, ST AGNES put the black line decals on the tank after Jamie painted it. Both Jamie and Martin donated their time and labour to carryout these tasks, which saved use about $400.
If all goes well we should have this Honda motor cycle on the road within the next 3 months.
HAVE YOU RETURNED YOUR LOTTERY BOOK
THE LOTTERY WILL BE DRAWN ON FRIDAY 4TH SEPTEMBER AND ALL BOOKS,
MUST BE RETURNED TO BE INCLUDED IN THE DRAW
FUNDS RAISED BY THIS LOTTERY WILL ASSIST WITH PROJECTS DESIGNED TO
ENHANCE OUR MUSEUM EXHIBITS.
Friday 4th September, 2009 at 8.00 pm
SPEAKER: Assistant Commissioner Tony Harrison APM
Mr. Harrison visited us for our March meeting earlier this year and gave us a most Informed and well presented address. Indeed, such was the enthusiasm and response that several members asked if we could invite him back for what could be described as a “second innings” and arrangements have been made accordingly. The Assistant Commissioner will continue on the themes he presented previously, with a major focus on organised crime and the many critical issues associated with this topic. If you missed out in March, make sure you make up for it this time ‘round. Those who listened with so much interest on that occasion, please join us for what is certain to be another really excellent evening.
90 Years Young.
(By Geoff Rawson)
On Sunday the 12th July 2009 Elees Pick and I attended the Birthday party for Clair Bottroff to celebrate his 90th Birthday. Clair’s was born on the 13th July, 1919.
It was a grand occasion shared with relatives and friends and we discovered his wonderful dry sense of humour as he recounted some of his adventures in the country and outback areas. Clair joined the police service as a Junior Constable on the 14th December 1936 and retired at the rank of Superintendent on 30th June 1980 with the ID number 248.
He served at Traffic Branch, Hindmarsh, Naracoorte, Stirling West, Tarcoola, Freeling, No 9 (City) Division, No 8 (Training) and was seconded to the Australian College Manley NSW. He also served at No 7 (Prosecution), No 3 (Metro Centre), No 1 Division, No 6 Division, C2 Darlington and O.C. Academy and Legal Section Academy Branch. He was awarded the National Medal on 14th December 1979 so he had a vast experience throughout the police service.
My contact service under Clair who was then Inspector Bottroff was at Thebarton Police Barracks, when he was in charge of training and I was in my Adult course. I acquired the ability to impersonate his rather distinctive voice but was caught out when I decided to lecture the class, unaware at the time that he was standing behind me. I was expecting the worst, but nothing was ever mentioned but I knew better than to try it again.
Clair at this stage was a very fit man and in full uniform would set an example doing push ups with the trainees and never seemed to break into a sweat. These are no doubt the leadership qualities which he would have impressed many a trainee who were fortunate to have him.
Clair is a valued member of the Police Historical Society and, although not as sprightly as he once was, he still visits our volunteers on the odd Thursday, often assisting with the posting of the Hue & Cry and enjoying a cuppa with us.
Old Port Depot - 14.12.1937 "E" Troop Members in Fatigue Dress 'Hamming It Up' on their first birthday having served 12 months at the depot.
Back Row L>R: 1.Joe Heading, 2.K.H.Lamshed, 3.R.E. Arney, 4. C.S. Griffen, 5.D.F. Metters, 6.D.J. Hansberry,
7. J.R.S. Jeffery, 8.R.V. Ewens.
Middle Row L>R: 1.M. Boughen, 2.Bren Davis, 3.W.H. Glasson,4.Larry Lorenzo,5.CLAIR BOTTROFF,
6.R.A. Finlayson, 7.Steve Timms, 8.L.P. Moroney, 9.R.E. Soar.
Front Row L>R: 1.G.R. Caudle, 2.E.H. Trotter, 3. Larry Forby, 4.R.R. Peters, 5.R.E. Gibbons, 6.R.E. Denley, 7.Henry Bertram.
On Sunday the 26th July 2009, we hosted the Riley Club of South Australia, the Early Ford V8 Club and several families who joined the group. Seventeen volunteers looked after the 43 visitors with Devonshire Tea and a 3 hour tour. The Parade Ground was decorated with magnificent Riley and Ford restored vehicles with their proud owners and it became a real social occasion with members of the two club examining each other vehicles and swapping stories.
The Volunteers, who’s attendance ensured a very successful day, were President Geoff Rawson, Kevin and Wendy Beare, Tony and Kate Woodcock, Bob Boscence, Max Griffiths, Ray Freak, Kevin Johnson, Ian Grose, Glen Mattingly, Dave and Gaye Aylett, Bob and Helen Ward, Ian Radcliff and Audrey Walker. More of our lottery tickets were sold and the visitors were so impressed that many are returning on Thursday to have another look with Kevin Beare.
The “HUE & CRY” is Published by the
South Australian Police Historical Society Inc.,
Thebarton Police Barracks
C/- G.P.O. Box 1539