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Blast From the Past
John Ronald White
Tales from a policeman's Wife.
Volunteers in Action
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Our Vice Patron, Life member, Past President and Foundation member of the Society Deputy Commissioner John White APM will be retiring from SAPOL and our congratulations for a well deserved retirement after 43 years of dedicated service.   When life has settled down we hope to see him as a regular volunteer at Thebarton with the Thursday Group.   John has provided wonderful support to the Historical Society over the many years as well as his dedication to SAPOL.  John & Pauline have some wonderful holidays planned. John there will be just a few jobs waiting for you here when you return.  Please see the attached invitation to John’s Retirement Dinner on Saturday 31st March.


On Wednesday the 21st February Dorothy Pyatt, Elees Pick & I attended the Australian New Zealand Forensic Science Society meeting at the German Club where Tony Elliott, from Elliott Funeral Services, provided a talk about the mystery of the Somerton Beach body which was found on 1st December 1948.  Our plaster cast of the mystery man was provided and we were thrilled to meet Paul Lawson who made the cast so many years ago.  Dorothy was guest of honour and also addressed the meeting as she has also made a study of this case.  Other guests were Barry Cox (founder member of the Forensic Science Branch) Gerry Feltus who was involved in a cold case investigation in the 1990s and Ken Brown (dentist) who provided dental information about the man.  Sadly the mystery was not solved but we gained much more information than we originally had on the subject. Incidentally, Tony Elliott will be our guest speaker at our September Meeting.


Our new committee is off and flying after our first meeting for the year with plenty of work to be done in regard to Foundation Day, Open Day, museum security, printing of Hue and Cry, Occupation Health and Safety, 50th Anniversary of the Underwater Recovery Squad, 25th Anniversary Blue Light Disco, Police and Fire Games just to mention a few.  We are currently examining a proposal to out source the printing of our magazine to improve the quality and lighten the workload on volunteers. 


Our meeting on Friday the 2nd March featured Mr Chris. Smyth.


Geoff Rawson



John Ronald White

Tribute to a very distinguished Career


THE NEWS 17/9/1935.

600 Mile Police Chase. Trip leads to Whyalla.

 Bridge Smashed by Flood. Comrade aided.

A man in search of whom detectives in two police cars had travelled nearly 600 miles on Sunday and yesterday, was arrested at 9.30 pm yesterday near Willunga.

Last night the police car ran through flood waters several times. Four miles from Willunga the car crossed a light bridge over a creek which shortly afterwards was washed away.
 The first stage of the search was a 254 mile journey to Whyalla. Detectives Curtis and R.L. Leane left at 6.10  on Sunday, but at Whyalla they found that the man they sought had left a few days before.
The visit of the police car however, was a boost to Mounted Constable Ryan. A few minutes before the car returned from Whyalla at noon, Constable Ryan received an urgent call from his wife, who was in Adelaide, telling him that his two children were seriously ill.

He was given a seat in the car, which reached Adelaide at 8.10 pm.
The trip to Willunga last night was made by Detective Sergeant Walters and Detectives Francis and Maddaford. They left at 3.30 p.m. but were delayed by floods at Noarlunga, where the car passed through water two feet deep.
Following the washing away of the bridge four miles from Willunga, the car returned by another route.


Thefts at Broken Hill alleged.
Arrest at Willunga.

Allegations that he was concerned in two Broken Hill robberies in which goods worth from £500 to £600 were stolen, were made by the Police Prosecutor [Mr. W.C. Miller] in the Adelaide Police Court today against Ronald Dallas Stevens, of no fixed place of abode.
Stevens was charged before Mr. H. M. Muirhead, P.M., with having had in his possession on or about May 25 a handbag reasonably suspected of having been part of the proceeds of the Broken Hill robberies.
“I oppose bail,” Mr. Miller added, “Stevens is a bird of passage. We believe that he disposed of goods worth £500 to £600 for £40. We have been in touch with the Broken Hill Police and it is possible that he will have to face a very serious charge in Broken Hill”. Bail was allowed in a personal bond of £150, with two sureties of £75 each.


In 1966, we were stationed at the Two Wells Police Station.  My husband, Holger, was the second man in this two man station.  The O.I.C. home was directly behind the office & our home was next door with a long driveway leading to the Garage (formerly stables) separating the properties.

My life as a Policeman’s wife was fairly mundane & the only time I became involved in Police work was usually when the Office had closed & the phone was switched through to the house.  Occasionally, someone would knock on the door to enquire about something or, on a very rare occasion, I would have to cook meals for a prisoner.  To stop myself from going completely mad, I played Bridge at the local Institute, Pennant Lawn Bowls in the Summer, Golf in the Winter & joined the local Red Cross & Church Group.

This tale begins on a balmy Summer’s night.  Holger & I had retired for the evening; when at about 11 pm, there was an urgent knock on the door.  The “Policeman” next to me did not stir, so the dutiful “Policeman’s Wife” answered the door to find a very agitated man in his 30’s who informed me that a very distressed young woman was running up & down the street.  I quickly grabbed a torch & went with the man to try & locate her.  We found her just down the road & she was very distressed, indeed.  Whilst I was trying to get some sense out of her, the man, obviously not wanting to get involved, disappeared into the night.

I took the woman into my home & sat her down.  She was absolutely distraught & kept saying that she could not remember what had happened to her.  On studying her, my first impression was that she had been attacked & possibly even raped.  Her hair was covered in dirt & dry grass & her clothing was dirty & dishevelled. She had grazed all over her arms & legs & her shoes were missing.

I managed to wake the sleeping “Policeman” to see if he could get any sense out of her, whilst I mad a cup of tea.  After tea & a biscuit, she calmed down & started to recall the events of the evening. No, she had not been attacked or raped.  It transpired that she & her husband were returning to Adelaide from a caravanning  holiday. She had felt tired & decided to sleep in the caravan on the way home.  When the car slowed down to go through Two Wells, she thought it had stopped, so opened the door & stepped out, falling heavily & rolling down the grass verge.  She had become completely disoriented, not knowing what had happened, where she was &, where was her husband?

Holger obtained a description of the car & caravan & phoned Adelaide to be on the look out for it.  The Adelaide Police managed to catch up with the husband near their home at Port Adelaide.  He was most perplexed when he was pulled over, & even more so to find that his wife was at Two Wells. He drove back immediately, with a Police escort, to pick her up.

All is well that ends well.

It was by now 3 am – “Policeman” husband fell asleep immediately.  “Policeman’s Wife” who, along with the victim, had consumed copious amounts of tea, was wide awake.

What an exciting night!!


Historical Notes taken from letters written by William Charles Miller to his fiancé Eleanor May Ewens (who incidentally was a policeman’s daughter)

Wallaroo SA 8th August, 1909 

Expresses disappointment over a letter he had received  ….”You are quite right not to take such a serious step until you are sure that you really love the man” ,,,,  I wonder how long they will leave me in Wallaroo.  I would not be surprised to get a shift any day.  I am always dreaming about going a long sea voyage perhaps they will give me the next vacancy in the Territory.  I had a letter from C. Noblet & he was telling me about the lovely scenery he saw on his way up. However, I suppose it wont make much difference to me where I am as I have no settled home even if I went to Adelaide I would have to get board and lodgings so I might as well be away in the Territory where I will have a chance of making money  ….”

Wallaroo, SA 29th August, 1909    …

I might tell you that I have abandoned the Tailem Bend scheme before your letter arrived, from enquiries made I learned there was not enough in it for two.  Dear Nell I will put my position plainly to you, if I continue in the Foot Police in all  probability if I was to get married they would shift me to Adelaide.  There we do eight hours on street duty every 24 hours eight months out of 12 is night duty.  The first duty us from  6 am to 2 pm for 2 weeks, next 10 pm to 6 am 2 weeks, next 8 pm to 4 am 4 weeks, next 2 pm to 10pm 2 weeks, and then we go the round again starting at 6 am, and so on all the year through.  Now Nell do you think that is a nice prospect to get married on, to be away from ones own fireside 2/3rd of the year.  Of course I am not allowing the chance of getting a station because there are very few places where footmen are stationed in the country and one had to crawl generally to get them. The only chance that I can see to satisfy you and myself is to go to the Territory for five years and then I will get a Station like any other Mounted man..  Then I would have the permanent cheque and would not be out all night.   Tell me what you think when you write if you would be satisfied to marry a man whose company of an evening you would only have 2 weeks out of ten.  In think it is only right for me to show you the dark side of the question.  No doubt you will be worried but if it worries you any more than it has worried me this last few months then I am sorry for you.  Many a sleepless night I have had thinking and trying to devise some scheme to help me out of the difficulty.

As far as land is concerned you told me one day that you would not marry a farmer or perhaps I might have had a go at trying for a block on the West Coast when they open up land for allotment.  There is one thing which I can assure you on that is whatever work I am engaged in if God gives me my usual health and strength my wife would never have to go short of a home or any of the necessaries of life ……


30th March, 2007 at 8.00 pm
Speaker is Mick O'Connell
Subject is The Fall of the Victim
(an historical account of the deterioration of victims in Western Society)

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        Robert (Bob) Dale

  We mourn the recent passing of our late member.
Our Sincere condolences to his wife Shirley and his family.


During the Month we had visits from two Probus Groups—

On Monday the 5th February 27 Members from the Blackwood combined Probus, and on Monday 12th February 40 members from the Beefacres Probus.   Both groups toured the Museum, Mounted Area & the Vehicle Shed, & enjoyed Videos &  Devonshire Morning Tea in the Meeting Room; raising more than $300.00 for the two days. Thanks  to Geoff Rawson, Kevin Beare, Bob Boscence, Holger Kruse, Helen Ward  & Elees Pick for their assistance. 

We now have quite a number of tours  booked throughout the year & if you are able to assist, either as a  Museum Tour Guide or with the morning & afternoon teas, please let us know.

Rex Greig, Kevin Johnson, Bob Boscence & Dennis Irrgang  attended  the 

Freemason’s Motorcycle Show & Shine on Sunday 28th February.  140 Motor Cycles were involved including our own BSA, Suzuki outfit,  Honda & BMW Solos.  The event, held at the Birdwood Motor Museum, raised $1,500 for Men's Health (Prostate) Research.


Also the  Chrysler Royal was involved in the recent Tour Down Under but because of mechanical problems was not  available for the whole tour, those who did get a chance to be involved obviously enjoyed this event.

Allan Peters & Holger Kruse  took part in the recent Centenary Celebrations of The Unley Council.  They also played ‘supporting roles’ in the ABC Production of “Wire Through The Heart” to be aired on Channel 2 on Sunday 1st April, 2007.  For those requiring autographs Allan & Holger will be in barracks on Thursday 5th April.

Allan has also been very busy organising a reprint of “Colonial Blue” & copies are now available from the Society.  The manuscript is currently being proof read for a new publication “Police Troopers of the Outback” to be published soon. We will keep you informed. 

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The “HUE & CRY” is  Published by the
South Australian
  Police Historical Society Inc.,
Thebarton Police Barracks
C/- G.P.O. Box 1539 
Adelaide 5001
S.A. 5083



Elees Pick

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