INSIDE THIS ISSUE
Blast From the Past
Volunteers in Action
Next Month's Meeting
PRESENTATION OF KINGS MEDAL
“Observer” May 15th 1930.
Our congratulations to our Patron Mr Mal Hyde Commissioner of Police on being awarded the Order of Australia medal in June.
On Friday the 20th June I represented the Society at the Adelaide town Hall for Peter Alexander’s retirement celebration. Peter traveled to the venue in the Chrysler Royal escorted by our two BSA motorcycles thanks to Kevin Johnson, Ernie McLeod and Mark Dollman. Peter was delighted with the gesture by the historical society and expressed his thanks to those concerned. Dorothy Pyatt and Bill Rojas were also at our table. The police band commenced proceedings with a wonderful performance followed by a series of speeches with many war stories about Peter, who made a wonderful closing speech greeted by a standing ovation. Our congratulations to Peter for a wonderful career, not only as an outstanding President of the Police Association, but also as a police officer with a total of 42 years service. $10,000 was raised and a cheque was presented to the Neil Sache Foundation.
On Friday the 27th I attended the Convention Center, in company with Elees Pick and Dorothy Pyattt, for the retiring members dinner. Once again the Police Band commenced proceedings and speeches followed with a wonderful meal. The retirees were in a jovial mood as they received their presentations. Our congratulations to the Association for a very successful evening.
On Sunday 20th July we are hosting the Tea Tree Gully Historical Society for a tour of the museum and Devonshire tea. Also on Sunday the 27th July we are hosting the Cadillac Owners Club and the Singer car club for a tour of the museum and Devonshire tea. These are very worthwhile events for the society but we are wearing out our regular volunteers. If any members are interested in assisting please contact the society with your contact details and I will forward information to you.
On Wednesday the 20th August, through a mistake on my part, I have somehow managed to book 3 groups on the same day at the same time and numbers could total 100people for the day. All starting at 10am. We will need lots of assistance on the day with scones tea and coffee etc and tour guides so once again if you can assist please contact the society.
On Friday the 4th July 42 members attended for the 271st meeting of the society. Retired WPC Pauline Follett (nee Russ) was welcomed back to the Society and new member Ian Radford with Sgt Al Buckler our speaker for the evening. Al’s speech was entitled “Volunteers in Policing and it was a very thought provoking talk which brought many questions from members present. Al explained that he believes there are some 20,000 volunteers involved with the Police Department in some way or another and although policy is still to be finalized, he discussed the possibility of a data base for volunteers with contact details, identification tags and a form similar to position description outlining the jobs or requirements for volunteers. There will be more discussion on this subject in future. Al was presented with a certificate of appreciation and book with applause from members. The raffle raised $78.00 and supper was enjoyed by those present. Next month will feature Christine Howard who will talk about Electronic banking and credit cards. Hope to see you there.
EXTRACT FROM THE REGISTER.
Some weeks ago, Andy Dunn, Secretary of the Police Association, approached me with the news that the relatives of Constable Budgen had forwarded his King’s Medal for Bravery to the association and it was suggested its rightful place should be with the Society. I duly collected the medal complete with its case and wrote a letter to the relative of Constable Budgen expressing our gratitude.
THE MURDER OF CONSTABLE HOLMAN
BY PRESIDENT GEOFF RAWSON
A King’s medal for bravery was also issued to Constable King who was also involved in the apprehension of John Stanley McGrath for the murder of Constable Holman on 23rd February 1939.
The Register for Monday February 25th ran with the headline “Fatally Shot in Night Affray in City Street”
Constable Holman was off duty when he was about the leave the City Watch House when he was sent with Constable Budgen to a house near the Crown and Anchor Hotel where a number of men were said to be creating a disturbance. When they got there all was quiet but they noticed a motor cycle and sidecar standing in the roadway.
All men in the house denied any knowledge of the motorcycle and they officers decided to send it to the City Watch House. Constable Holman and Budgen rode the machine and as Holman started it two men in the lane called upon the officers to stop. One of the men then drew a revolver and constable Holman called out “Don’t Shoot. I’m a police constable, however before he had finished the sentence the man fired and shot him in the stomach. He fired two more shots at Constable King who was on bicycle patrol with Constable Tilka then ran towards Rundle Street.
Constable Holman tried to pursue but only reached the verandah of the Hotel Grenfell before collapsing where he was attended to by Maids from the Hotel. Holman was taken to Adelaide Hospital but did not regain consciousness and died shortly after midnight.
Constable King fired three shots at the suspect. Two of them hit him and brought him to the ground. The second suspect was chased by King, Tilka and Budgen. It was Budgen who captured this suspect.
Holman was only 23yrs of age and lived with his parents at Richmond. He was to be married the following week. He was an all round sportsman excelling at football, cricket and tennis and was regarded as one of the best athletes in the force and was to have played football with West Torrens in the coming season.
The assailant John Stanley McGrath (23yrs) was arrested and charged with murder. The second suspect Albert Matthews (24yrs) was arrested and charged with murder and attempted murder.
GRENFELL STREET, AT HINDMARSH SQUARE, WHERE CONSTABLE HOLMAN WAS SHOT.
THE EMPTY CARTRIDGE CASE (ON RIGHT) SHOWS WHERE THE SHOOTING OCCURRED. IT WAS PICKED UP BY A REGISTER NEWS-PICTORIAL PHOTOGRAPHER, & IS BELIEVED TO HAVE BEEN EJECTED FROM THE AUTOMATIC PISTOL USED BY HOLMAN’S ASSALIANT. AFTER HE HAD BEEN SHOT CONSTABLE HOLMAN RAN AFTER HIS ASSAILANT ABOUT 40 YARDS BEFORE COLLAPSING ON THE SPOT MARKED BY THE MOTOR CAR ON THE EXTREME RIGHT.
McGrath was tried and convicted of murder on the 11th July 1929 and was sentenced to death by Justice Napier. The jury made a strong recommendation for mercy. On the 26th July 1929 the Register reported “Murderer will not hang”. “Jury’s Mercy Plea Upheld”
McGrath was sentenced to life with hard labour.
I quote from the article “After the meeting yesterday the Premier (Mr. Butler) said;- Mr. Justice Napier formed the impression from the evidence at the trial (which in view of their recommendation to mercy, he believes to have been shared by the jury) that the prisoner shot at the constable without realizing that he was a police constable, and under the mistaken impression that he was some other person. This aspect of the case was submitted for the consideration of His Excellency and his advisors.”
It is difficult to understand this decision given that Holman was probably in uniform at the time. He had helped to arrest James Henderson who was charged with drunkenness prior to the incident later in the evening, and that Henderson had torn Holman’s uniform and broke his whistle chain.
George Skinner made a statement in which he stated that McGrath and another man knocked on his front door and said “where is Lofty? and he replied “He’s not in” to which McGrath said “you are Lofty” and fired a number of shots into the house. Five shells were collected and handed to detectives investigating Holman’s murder. When interviewed by detectives the question “did you fire a shot at Constable Holman?” he replied “yes but I did not know he was a policeman, I thought he was some of Lofty’s mob.” Police said “who is Lofty?” he replied “He is the bastard I have been gunning for, I thought it was some of his mob pinching my bike.” A number of witnesses claimed that they heard the police officer stating his identity just prior to the shot.
Charges against the other offender Matthews were dismissed.
Earnest Budgen and Clement John King were presented with the King’s Medal on the 12th May 1930 at the Torrens Parade Ground. The Citation was for conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty. This was a public event with officers instructed to wear ceremonial swords, gloves decorations and medals. There were 5 Commissioned Officers, 10 NCOs and 120 Constables present together with many local officials.
As an interesting aside in the Register dated 31st August 1929 the following article appeared:-
₤250 FOR MURDERED CONSTABLE’S MOTHER.
Late P.C. Holman Helped to Support Her Mrs. Eliza Holman, mother of Constable John McLennan Holman, who was shot dead on the night of February 23, was granted ₤250 compensation in the Local Court yesterday. She said that her son used to pay between ₤2 and ₤3 a week into the family fund for housekeeping expenses. His money was a great help to her and her husband.
The court decided that ₤20 of the ₤250 should be applied to attentions to Constable Holman’s grave. ₤131/2/8d should go to pay off the amount owing on Mrs. Holman’s home and that she should receive the balance of ₤298/17/4d.
The ₤250 was paid into Court.
(we apologise for the quality of some of the ‘photos in this article many are from copies of 1929 press cuttings.)
Michael & Kyung Fielding. Bob Peters - Ian Radford.
We Welcome you …….
Friday lst August, 2008 at 8.00 pm .
SPEAKER: Christine Howard
SUBJECT: Electronic Banking & Credit Cards
Christine is a member of the Commonwealth Bank Retail Banking Service and her subject will be the safe & sensible use of credit cards & electronic banking. She will explain the best ways to use bank & credit cards and ways you can protect yourself against fraud & identity theft. How to use your card and how not to use it.
On 14th April, 1959, Detective Terry Timothy and I were on night shift patrol from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. as part of what was known at the time as ‘Major Crime Patrol of the Greater Metropolitan Area’ At about 3 a.m. we received a radio message instructing us to proceed immediately to the site of the Myponga Dam which was under construction. We were informed that there had been an explosion in a building used for sleeping accommodation, but that it was not known what damage had been done or whether anyone had been injured.
It was a very cold night, and there was no made road from the highway to the site, which was between Myponga and Normanville. We, therefore, had to find our way along a track through an adjoining property.
As we approached the construction campsite, which was adjacent to the present spillway, we found that the area was well illuminated with electric lighting and that there was a hive of activity, even though it was about 4 a.m. and bitterly cold.
We were taken to the sleeping quarters, which were typical of building provided at construction sites at that time. This particular building was constructed of timber, corrugated iron and asbestos, and was divided into small rooms, each fitted out to provide accommodation for two men, but at that time most of the rooms were being used as single units.
We were shown one room which had been extensively damaged; damage to the floor and roof was particularly bad. The occupant was an English migrant, who was employed as a tractor driver to work on road maintenance at the site.
He explained that he had been asleep in the room when an explosion from under the floor has blasted him upwards from his bed with such force that he literally hit the ceiling before falling back to the floor. He said that he had not been injured because he had been wrapped in eight blankets to keep out the cold, and that this had protected him. On inspection of the building it was found that an explosive had been placed on one of the hardwood bearers which supported the building. Detonation of the explosive had severed the 6” x 4” (15cm x 10 cm) bearer as though it had been sliced through by a huge knife. It was clear that the consequences of the explosion could have been even more serious than they were, because the building was only three feet, i.e. about one metre, from the edge of the embankment of the dam which dropped away very steeply.
The victim was interrogated at length. As expected, he did not know who was responsible for the explosion, but he did mention that he had had a disagreement with the road foreman some months earlier. However, he believed that the matter had been resolved.
Everyone employed at the site was questioned, but no-one was able to assist with the enquiry.
At that stage the only person whose name had been given to us by anyone questioned was that of the road foreman, Jimmy M. He was, therefore, taken to the Normanville Police Station for questioning. His cabin was several units away from that of the victim.
He was 39 years of age, and was an experienced road foreman, having been employed for many years in the Kimberley Region of Western Australia and in the
. He was not a big man, but certainly was tough and rugged individual. He was considered to be an excellent foreman. However, he had a drinking problem, and often consumed a flagon of wine at night, but surprisingly this did not affect his work. Northern Territory
I interviewed him for several hours, but to no avail. He maintained that he knew nothing about the explosion.
During the interrogation I was repeatedly being called to the phone to answer questions from interested parties. The Minister of Works was particularly concerned, because the construction workers at the site were refusing to work until the offender had been identified.
Eventually, during a break in the interview, I said top Jimmy “It would appear that the person responsible for this is a cold blooded murderer”. This obviously stirred him, because he replied that he “had not intended to kill him”.
Jimmy then told me what he had done and why. He said that several months earlier he had reason to speak to the victim about the way he was driving the tractor, and told the man that if he did not heed his advice, he would assault him. The tractor driver reported this to the management of the construction company, and Jimmy was reprimanded. He said that this caused him great anxiety, and that because of this he determined to scare the driver from the site.
Jimmy occasionally used explosives in the construction of roads, and had some gelignite in his possession. He, therefore, decided to use it to give the man a fright, a harebrained scheme if ever there was one. He prepared for this by taking a small quantity of the gelignite and secreting it in stones of the dam wall behind the sleeping quarters. On the night of the explosion he placed five plugs of gelignite on the wooded bearer below where the victim was sleeping, and ignited it using a long fuse. He repeated that he did not intent to kill the victim.
Jimmy was arrested and charged. He was taken to the
Normanville Courtand was remanded in custody. He was subsequently convicted and sentenced to six years of imprisonment.
The defendant’s sister attended the court hearing, and had the opportunity to meet her. She was obviously a well educated and refined woman, and I was able to find out that Jimmy came from a well respected and successful family in
, but sadly that he had become an alcoholic at an early age, and then left home, becoming a drifter in outback areas. After some time the family lost touch with him. Western Australia
In March 1964, i.e. some five years later, I was a Commissioned Officer working as an instructor at the
, and one day was called to the phone. The caller asked if I was Detective Hopkins. I said that I was, and he then said “It’s Jimmy here. I’ve just got out and I want to wish you the best for the New Year”. I asked “Jimmy who?” and he replied “Jimmy M. I want to thank you for arresting me, as it gave me a chance to repair my life. As a result of drink I lost my wife and family. I have joined AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), and I have overcome the problem”. During the next twelve months I received a number of letters from Jimmy, and they were all well-written. Police Academy
After Jimmy’s release I was contacted by Mr. Ray Kidney, Secretary of the Prisoners Aid Society, who told me that Jimmy had been a model prisoner, and confirmed that he had joined AA, and he also informed me that Jimmy had persuaded a number of other prisoners to join too. In addition he had taken the opportunity to study and had passed the Intermediate and Leaving Examinations. He had also passed another examination to qualify for a higher grading as a road foreman.
In one of the last letters which I received from Jimmy, he asked whether I was willing to recommend him for an instructional course in flying, a course sponsored by “The Advertiser” Newspaper. At that time police officers were not permitted to give testimonials, and all I could do was to wish him well.
I often wondered what happened to Jimmy, and whether he remained a teetotaler. It was apparent that he was not unprincipled, because when I had mentioned at interview that the perpetrator must have been a cold-blooded murderer, he immediately responded that he had not intended to kill the man, implying that he was not that kind of person.
Jimmy was the best example of a reformed criminal that I became aware of during my time in the police service. I hope that he was given as much assistance in his later life as he was given in prison, so as to enable him to continue his reformed lifestyle.
In January 1959 Nicholas George Bannon, aged 10 years, a student at St. Peter’s College, - was lost in South Australia’s Wilpena Pound. Nicholas was a member of a party of eight, comprising his Father Charles, his Mother Joyce and his three brothers. The party was returning to camp in two groups after having explored the pound.
Nicholas disappeared while walking through a clearing - he was wearing only shorts and a light shirt, carrying nothing to eat or drink. Most of the area is 2,000 feet above sea level with the air becoming cold quickly after dark. It was a fear at the time that the boy would suffer from exposure.
Within 30 minutes of his disappearance one of the most extensive searches ever made in Australia was mounted, involving police, army and civilians. Billy Pepper, the black tracker and Johnny Cadell, who both had important roles in the film “Robbery Under Arms” also joined in the search.
Horsemen searched some of the areas treacherous slopes, but were unable to investigate every cranny.
A Tiger Moth, flown by the President of the Jamestown Aero Club (Mr. J.K. Lehmann) aided the ground searchers. A Civil Aviation Department Anson and a helicopter from Woomera also assisted, but were eventually withdrawn from the search because of turbulent flying conditions.
Volunteers rallied from all over Australia with stories of 400 loaves of bread being made into sandwiches, 80 gallons of pea soup. Up to 300 beds were made out of chairs, seats, borrowed mattresses and blankets. Hawker butcher Mr. K.M. Bishop answered the appeal made over the flying Doctor Radio for supplies for stew, opened his shop and by nightfall 30 gallons of hot steaming stew was waiting for 300 hungry searchers. Crates of cool drinks were sent in two trucks, donated by Crystal Cordial Ltd. Three Hawker COR agents donated petrol to fill the searchers’ jeeps and trucks. A Bus from Murray Valley Coaches Ltd., the owner of the Wilpena Chalet, it’s bodywork torn by the jagged rocks on the road, brought provision from Adelaide.
On the evening of the 3rd February, 7 days after Nicholas went missing, the search was called off, however, local residents vowed to return each weekend or when they had time.
A small contingent of about 25 volunteers conducted a last ditch search of the Wilpena Pound.
A ‘bone tired’ Inspector Sparrow, said “We don’t know any more than when we called off the search on Tuesday”. Detectives A. Palmer and M. Stanford, assisted by two constables, were remaining in the area to continue investigations.
A horsefloat carrying five police horses used in the search capsized about 25 miles north of Hawker, on the way back to Adelaide. The three passengers sustained only bruises.
Police Instructor, T. Dodd, was buried under a pile of gear, perilously close to kicking horses after the float capsized. He was pulled clear by Mr. E. Morey, a former policeman, who was a civilian employed at Police Barracks, Thebarton.
The horses, which received only minor cuts, were transferred to another vehicle and the horsefloat, after repairs at Hawker, also continued to Adelaide.
The Officers in charge of the case, Superintendent E.L. Bonython, Inspectors W.H. Sparrow and W.T. Blyth, Detectives A. Palmer, M. Stanford, Constable M. Peters and other assisting officers, volunteers and blacktrackers returned disconsolately to Wilpena Chalet, feeling no satisfaction. “You would not believe we didn’t find a thing after all this time”.
The father of the missing boy, Mr. Charles Bannon, expressed his deepest appreciation to all who helped, not only with the search but also with their sympathy and understanding.
Nicholas Bannon’s remains were finally found in September, 1961 on the heights of St. Marys Peak.. The skeleton was found on 3,900ft. Mountain, the highest peak in the Flinders Ranges, by three Victorian tourists, Lloyd Lobbe, (s serving Victorian Policeman) his brother Ian Lobbe, a primary school teacher and friend George Glover, who became a Magistrate in New Zealand. They were holidaying in the Pound, and came upon the remains of Nicholas whilst walking and climbing in the ranges.
Residents in the Wilpena Pound area believed at the time of the boy’s disappearance that it was his ambition to climb St. Mary’s Peak.
This disappearance was reported in the St Peter's College Headmaster's Speech Day speech and in the 1959 Magazine. Nicholas was the older brother of John a former South Australian Premier.
Our thanks goes to Society member, Chief Superintendent Fred Truemann for sending us the following photograph and information relating to this tragic incident.
At the time of this incident, because of the location, radio contact with Wilpena Pound was extremely difficult. Today, however, in view of the area’s popularity with tourists from all around the world, a South Australian-Government Radio Network Radio Tower has now been installed.
FROM THE ARCHIVES March 6th
The Commissioner has received a report from the Senior Inspector of Mounted Police of a Police Trooper having been found asleep on his post as Night Guard at the Barracks.
As this offence has been committed by a man who has not been more than a month in the service,. The Commissioner will take no further notice of it than to remind the younger members of the Force that, next to cowardice in the field, and desertion to an enemy, “sleeping on a post” ranks as the greatest disgrace that can be incurred by a soldier.
Guards, and especially Night Guards, are very important parts of duty; trusting to the vigilance and attention of the Sentry the remainder are enabled to get the rest they need.
The trooper on duty is not to loiter about, or to amuse himself by whistling, singing, reading, eating and drinking or smoking—nor is he to remain under cover (except for a limited period during very bad weather), he should move about the barracks, the stables, and out-buildings, and satisfy himself that all is safe and quiet—he should be ready to give the alarm and arouse his comrades at any moment their services may be required; for the time being, he is charged with the custody and safety of the barracks and all belonging to them.
In many respects the duties of the Mounted Police correspond with those of a cavalry soldier, the duties of both are alike useful and honorable, but the Policeman enjoys a much larger share of individual authority and responsibility than the private soldier; and it is not compulsion, but honor and high principles which must prompt the Police to be ever alert and exact in the discharge of their various duties whether in b arracks or elsewhere.
This order is to be carefully read by every man before his takes his first tour of night duty at the barracks—ignorance must not be pleaded hereafter as an excuse for so dangerous a neglect of duty.
From the files of the Bunyip.
125 yeas ago.
AN EXCITING CHASE ...
The serenity which usually prevails in Salisbury on Christmas Day, was this year broken by a report to the effect a man named Griffiths, a farmer in the neighbourhood, had become insane and was running about in a perfectly nude state.
He was seen by two young men at a spot about two miles south of the township on the bank of a creek.
The matter was reported to the police in the township who, with several other resident, proceeded on horseback to capture the fugitive, and after a very exciting chase of about nine miles, this was effected in the vicinity of the Dry Creek Stockade.
In his mad career, the poor fellow had crossed stubble and fallow fields, and was consequently in a pitiable condition when caught.
The explanation he tendered was, that the world was coming to an end, and he was proceeding to Adelaide to apprise Dr. Patterson of the fact, and he had divested himself of his clothing in order to facilitate his progress!!
Renovations of the Badge Gallery are well underway, with Kevin Beare, Holger Kruse, Max Griffiths and Bob Boscence, tackling this onerous task with great gusto. Any offers of assistance would be greatly appreciated.
Museum Tours have, of necessity, been limited during the month with just one, on Wednesday 25th when 33 members of the Brighton National Seniors group joined Geoff & Eleees for morning tea and a tour.
However, President Geoff Rawson did speak to a Pioneer Group of some 100 people at Marion, who were very intrigued with his presentation on the Sundown Murders.
This very impressive diorama has now been installed in the Dorothy Pyatt Gallery. and we would suggest that you make time to check out this display. A tremendous amount of talent, patience and generosity has provided the Museum with a faithful miniature replica of the Old North Terrace Barracks.
On the 19th June, members Colin & Joyce Beames celebrated their Diamond Wedding Anniversary, 60 years of wedded bliss. Colin a former motor cycle officer, was a patient at the Eudunda Hospital, when he met former nurse Joyce. On the day, they celebrated this very special occasion with morning tea with the Thursday volunteers group.
On the same day, Owen Bevan & Geoff Rawson reminisced that this was the anniversary of the day that they walked into the class room above the meeting room to commence their Adult Training Course (81) in 1961.
The “HUE & CRY” is Published by the
South Australian Police Historical Society Inc.,
Thebarton Police Barracks
C/- G.P.O. Box 1539