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Police Band at North Terrace
Barracks c1910.


   President Geoff Rawson.


The tours of the museum continue for 2009 with Campbelltown Probus Club 11/2/09, Reynella Probus Club 16/2/09, McLaren Vale Probus Club 18/2/09 .

   Comments from visitors were very favourable with phone calls of thanks and appreciation for the efforts of our volunteers.  My thanks to the regular volunteers who were involved.

   Police Anzac Day will be held at the Academy on Sunday the 19th April 2009 and Police Foundation Day will be held on Tuesday the 28th April 2009.  The subject of this year’s Foundation Day will be the mystery disappearance of the Lady Dennison in which 9 prisoners were to be transported from Port Adelaide to Van Diemen’s Land accompanied by Sgt Richard Ward, Constables William Freebody and Robert Hill.  The ship left in 1850 and was never seen or heard of again.  It is suspected that the prisoners overpowered the crew and the police officers, murdering them and  scuttling the ship.  We will advise you of the final arrangements in our next issue.

  Shirley Hayward is doing well and in good spirits. She will soon be moving to luxurious accommodation at Trott Park where a new facility has been built.  She is looking forward to the move and visitors will be more than welcome.  Shirley has indicated a desire to continue with her volunteer work at Thebarton and we hope to see her in action again soon.

At our 6
March meeting, John White formally introduced Assistant Commissioner Tony Harrison APM who spoke to an enthusiastic audience of approximately 40 members about  Organised Crime Groups and Motor cycle gangs.  Tony, in his role as A/C Crime, spoke at length on various issues, providing up to date information on what action SAPOL is taking to protect the community and combat the         Organised Crime problem.

 At the completion of his talk questions came thick and fast and I had to call a halt to proceedings in order to get through the raffle.


I presented him with a certificate of appreciation and a book and the audience responded with applause. The meeting closed with Tony answering further questions during supper. We will try to get Tony back for another talk in the future. 

Thanks to Jan Gregson and Glenda Cameron who ran the raffle which raised $78.00  Our supply of prizes for future raffles is sadly depleted & any donations would be greatly appreciated.

Our next meeting  on Friday the 3rd April 2009  will feature Speaker Ray Buttery with his story of when war came to Australia. 

This promises to be a very interesting evening & I look forward to seeing you there.







 On Friday the 13th February 2009 a large gathering attended the funeral of Eddie Trotter.

Eddie was born in Gawler on August 10th 1919 & passed away at Salisbury Private Nursing Home on February 7th 2009 in his 90th year. His daughter Betty Gill spoke of her father with a summary of his life.  His father was a Tinsmith and Bell hanger and he used to cycle 8 miles to and from school.  He joined the police force at 17yrs of age in 1936 and lived in the Barracks until he was 21yrs of age. He retired in 1980 after 44 years service.

He drove a Police Ambulance in his early years, was the 1st Chairman of the Police Credit Union serving 20 years on the Committee.  He was a member of the Historical Society & provided several stories of his early life in both the Port Dock and Thebarton Barracks: historically very important glimpses of life in those days.

Eddie was heavily involved in the establishment of the Police Club and knocked on doors around the city to gain support for a licence.  The Police Club is the only one of its type left in Australia

He was a Life member of the Chevrolet Veteran and Vintage Car Club and a Life Member of Probus and the Masonic Lodge. 

I have fond memories of Senior Sergeant Eddie Trotter whilst I was stationed at Port Adelaide and was a very new patrol vixen (Sgt) whilst Eddie was the Mitre patrol. His experience was      invaluable as was his wonderful sense of humour. Many young  probationary Constables were brought before him where he would say in a loud voice “Are you a member of the Credit Union” and if they said no he would reply “why not” handing you an application form already filled in only requiring  a signature.

He will be sadly missed. 


   Geoff Rawson.



by Life Member Jim Sykes.

We were informed that two Truth newspaper reporters were at Marree earlier that morning and that these men interviewed the Sister in charge of the Marree Hospital and also spoke for some time with Nita Smith.

To further question Alamba Jack, Hoppy Mick, and Jimmy Booth, the services on Mr. Burzacott, an aboriginal native employed by the                Commonwealth Railways at Marree was used as an interpreter mainly in our questioning of Alamba Jack.  However, little information which would  assist was obtained, Alamba Jack denying that he had killed the child and that he thought the child had died because of lack of milk.  This being contrary to the observations of Nancy McLean when  interviewed at Anna Creek who stated that when the child was brought to her when he was sick, she noticed that his head lolled about and that there were marks on his throat.  She also said that the child was well-developed and appeared to be well fed.  Burzacott was then told the full story and left in the police station office at Marree with Alamba Jack to find out as much as he could whilst we were not present.

Further information was obtained by Burzacott when Alamba Jack informed him that the child would have to die, also the parents and Nita Smith’s parents   because she had broken the tribal rule, however he would not identify which of those people would be killed and by whom.

WPC Pyatt then informed us that she had been in touch with Inspector Armitage at Port Augusta and we were instructed that no information was to be given to the Press.

Because of the fact that further inquiries depended on the result of a post-mortem examination to be made on the body of Dennis Smith, nothing could be done at that time. The body was brought to Port  Augusta by the Detectives and Dorothy Pyatt and then sent to Adelaide for a detailed examination by pathologist, Dr. Dwyer. The Pathologist in his report failed to ascertain the cause of death but  reported that there were no signs of death by violence.  The contents of the stomach was sent to the Government Analyst who reported that there was nothing found in the specimens to indicate the cause of death.

The three aborigines brought down from Anna Creek for viewing by Nita Smith were taken back the following morning by Constable Jacobs on his way to Oodnadatta.

The question of cannibalism was spoken of by Nancy McLean who believed that this happened in the area some time ago but she had no further   details of that incident.

Detective Lehman observed that the aborigines in the area were very primitive and filled with superstition and it was very difficult to obtain any information from them as to why this child's death should have been brought about by tribal rights, if such in fact was done.  He agreed that the only     reason put forward to explain such a possibility was given by Nita Smith and her husband and by Nancy McLean of Anna Creek station, a white woman. Nita Smith had married Andy against tribal law and he went on to say that this would as a result bring about the death of Nita and her family and her mother and father and that they would be liquidated by other members of the tribe.  He said that there was no real evidence to suggest that what is undoubtedly a very ancient tribal custom, was carried out to the letter by these people.

Nita Smith was sent to Port Augusta to wait the birth of her child in a nearby Mission. After the birth, the police at Port Augusta, Marree  and   Oodnadatta   together with Dick Nunn and Nancy McLean never heard of or saw Nita again. The same applied to her husband Andy Smith who   police never saw at any time during the entire    investigation.       

The two Reporters who were at Marree called at the police station asking for some information  regarding tribal customs and they were the told to contact Nancy McLean or her brother who was at William Creek as they were regarded as experts in this field.  The reporters, who had their own car at Marree    intimated that they might drive to Anna Creek or William Creek regarding this matter.

On Saturday, November 24th, 1956 the Adelaide Truth newspaper published  front page story  headlines:



The existence of a small sect of cannibals, who devour aboriginal children as part of a weird tribal ritual, has been uncovered by police investigations in Australia’s “Dead Heart” this week.

(This was followed by a series of claims most of which could only be described as farcical,  inventive, untrue and sometimes rather comical. There appeared to be a desperate attempt by the reporters to justify their trip to Marree after  receiving little  information from the police.)

Constable Jim Sykes, of Marree, 400 miles north of Adelaide, told Truth: “We have positive evidence of this sect of cannibals. Amazing as it may seem, these cannibals have a definite place in native tribal laws. Members of the sect we have interviewed are strikingly thin. Although we have established the existence of cannibalism, our investigations have been hampered by the silence of the natives.”

(The only part of those statements which was true was the matter of being hampered by the silence of the natives. The rest of it is pure rubbish probably invented by frustration rather than by good  journalism.)

Police at Oodnadatta and Port Augusta also  supported Const. Sykes’s statements. These  amazing disclosures came after a week of  investigations into one of the most sensational   stories of black witchcraft ever known in outback Australia.

(What a load of absolute utter rubbish! The reporters then went on with their “story” and I quote some parts of it.)

Her husband and parents have been placed in  protective custody. This is garbage as we never found her husband or his parents.

Photo. “In her hands, Nita Smith is holding the “death shoes” made of emu feathers, worn by the witch doctors at the corroboree”.


(Again not correct. She is carrying something faked to dramatise the picture. Kurdaitcha shoes are sacred and would not ever have been given to a woman.)

Truth reporters, who accompanied police on a 1,000 mile round trip in Australia’s “Centre” etc. etc.

(This is false. Reporters did not travel with police on any occasion whatsoever and as far as we know they did not go north of Marree.)

“A police patrol later found Nita’s cousin, 14 year old Bruce Strangways lying in a coma on a  sun-baked desert near Anna Creek, suffering a strange sleepy condition.”   

(Inventive, fanciful, and has the makings of a good story but was simply not true.)

“Mr. Ern Dunne of Marree told Truth there were different varieties of bone-pointing”.

(Possibly true.)

Conclusions.  Mr. Dunne and many other  inhabitants of Marree at the time were very good at spinning tales. Once they found out what the     reporters wanted to hear and that they were very generous with the drinks, they virtually fell over each other to tell them a yarn or two. Some  possibly true but most were simply to get  free beer.


To the two Truth reporters, I have to say. “You were duped time and time again by local experts looking for free beer. I thought all good reporters checked the veracity of their source before going to print. However, I think it could all be summed up by saying, “Why spoil a good story by telling the Truth.”

As a matter of general interest, the following  excerpts were taken from an article appearing in the Adelaide Chronicle on the 10th of October 1935. Penned by Redgum.



Rites And Ceremonies

The aborigines of this State were never, it seems, numerous in proportion to the vast area they roamed over, and after white settlement they gradually      dwindled away until most of the tribes became wholly extinct, while the rest were reduced to mere handfuls.

They were never remarkable for warlike characteristics, though cunning and treacherous, and their  savage intelligence was not of a high order.  They were swiftly decimated by internal squabbles,   barbarous customs, disease, and the irresistible march of  civilization.

Some of the aboriginal inhabitants of South Australia have been charged with cannibalism and infanticide, and conclusive proofs that those horrible customs were followed, has been recorded.

The best known tribes were the Narrinyeri's and the Dieri's already mentioned, and the Port  Lincoln’s, the Encounter Bay’s, the Adelaide’s, and the Woolnah’s (Northern Territory), all speaking  different dialects.                               

The language was musical, abounding in vowels, and liquids, and several vocabularies of the best known dialects were published in the early days.

With the remarkable exception of the boomerang, the blacks displayed very little intelligence in the construction on their weapons of defence, which were otherwise limited to throwing sticks, spears and shields of bark.  They showed some cleverness, however, in making nets, or baskets of grass fibre.  But their accomplishments were few as compared with those of other races of savages.

Tribal Government

Such government as prevailed among the tribes of this State was neither patriarchal nor feudal, neither aristocratic nor monarchial.  It could, perhaps, have been called democratic, for it contains an elective element, and there was no ruling caste.  Properly speaking, the tribe had neither a chief nor a king.  Such popular designations as "King Billy" in the early days owed their origin to the white man's humour.  The old men have always been the natural leaders of the Australian blacks.

White man's role was, of course, very often an insolvable riddle to the aborigines.  Their own  administration of justice, in cases of suspected    criminals, was sometimes, at least, orderly and methodical. Mr. Taplin, speaking of Narrinyeri, said, "and they actually have an institution which is extremely like a trial by jury, and have had it from time immemorial."  This they call the Tendi.  The number of the Tendi is not fixed; it appears to be regulated by the size of the clan, but always consists of experienced and elderly men.  All offenders are brought to the Tendi for trial.  In the case of the slaying of a person of one clan, the fellow clansmen of the murdered man would send to the friends of the murderer, and invite them to bring him to trial before the united Tendies.  If, after full inquiry, he is found to have committed the crime, he will be punished according to the degree of guilt."

                  Jim Sykes


   With deep regret we mourn  the recent passing of the following

esteemed Society members 


John Gordon

Passed away 4th November, 2008

Sincere Condolences to Jessie & family


Doug White

Passed away 2nd February, 2009

Deepest Sympathy  to Joan & Family


Eddie Trotter

Passed away 9th February, 2009

Will be sadly missed by his family & friends.



Full throttle ahead at a blistering 30 mph (50 km/h)! .. That’s the way it was for South Australia’s first motor cyclists back in 1922.

And Mr. Clem McGrath 80, believed to be the only survivor of that hardy band, recalled today: “We had two Harley Davidson motorcycles with sidecars.  “We were taken out and given a half-hour lesson on how to ride them and then they put us out on the road. “The idea was that experience added up to being the best teacher.” Mr. McGrath, a   resident at Lourdes Valley Men’s Home, Cross Road, Myrtle Bank, was one of the first four motorcycle patrolmen.


The speed limit was 20 mph (30 km/h) back then” a still sprightly Mr. McGrath said.  “We’d let a driver get to about 5 mph over the limit and then we’d pick him up.  The fines were about 2 or 3 and they never used to cancel      licences.  The bikes were capable of about 50 mph (80 km/h), but the roads wouldn’t allow it.  They were absolutely shocking and would just about jolt your liver out of place if you went too fast.”


Mr. McGrath said the patrols had to operate with a sidecar as the courts said it was not safe for an officer to operate at speed while checking a speedometer.  “One night we were tailing a car, but we took a bend too quickly” he said  “We ended up in somebody’s front garden and knocked down their gas meter. A horse and dray had to come from the police barracks to take the smashed bike.  I got a ride home in the sidecar of the other bike.  The other chap was on the way home after dropping me off when the front wheel of his bike got stuck in a tram track.  He broke the front forks of the bike and with the two bikes gone the whole section was out of action.” 

Mr. McGrath gave up the motor cycle section after three years.  But he went on to complete 38 years in the Police Force, retiring in 1953 as a Detective Sergeant.  And what does an old speed cop think of today’s drivers? “Terrible” he said in matter of fact fashion. “The cars go too fast and the young fellows drive them just that way.  I’d rather walk” 



Obviously the Hue & Cry is not on it’s own when it comes to gremlins sabotaging the proof reader


This is allegedly a misprinted calling card, it is believed that that they were printed and sent out before the error was sighted and they were recalled for replacement.

(could not fine anyone present instead of could not find anyone present)

Maybe a Freudian slip?

This was located in 2007 when the old TARCOOLA Police Station was being emptied and the  contents were being moved as it was being sold.  The paperwork (blank forms and   pamphlets were all burnt but some of these were saved for the obvious reason!


Below is a current 2008 calling card. 



Friday 3rd April at 8.00 pm

SPEAKER:   Ray Buttery 

SUBJECT:    “When War came to Australia”  

 Mr. Buttery has made a careful study of the history of those events between 1942 and 1945 and his talk is reported to be both an informative and highly interesting account of a dramatic chapter in Australia’s history

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With the Homicide Squad.

In 1955, I was detailed to investigate a disturbance at a boarding house in Angas Street.  I went there,  together with Detective Zeunert.  On arrival we were told that a man living there was suffering a mental disorder and, armed with a blade razor was threatening anyone who approached him.

We walked to a room behind the main building, and as we approached the man appeared at a window and said that if we came near him he would slash us with the razor which he was holding.

We talked to him through the  window trying to  console him, and spoke with him for nearly an hour.

Eventually he agreed to unlock the door of his room, but as we entered he suddenly snatched the razor from the table.  I was able to grapple with him and to grasp his arm as we fell to the floor.  However, it was only with the help of my colleague that he was finally subdued.  It seem clear to us that he was mentally deranged, and that this     explained why he fought with a strength far greater than one would expect from a man of slight build, and considerably smaller than either of us.   The strength of those    being impelled by a frenzied mind is truly amazing.  It was no surprise to us that he was subsequently admitted to a mental institution for treatment.,

As mentioned previously it was the duty of detectives to visit hotels throughout the metropolitan area to discourage persons from       consorting with convicted criminals.  If anyone was found in the company of a criminal he would be warned that, if he continued to do so, he would be charged with a breach of the relevant Act.  A prosecution would usually follow, if over a period of six months a person was booked for consorting on seven or eight occasions.

In about 1958 I visited the Gilles Arms Hotel in Gilles Street, which was frequented by a criminal element.  It was a place which called for constant police attention.  I  entered a bar room through a back door, and was only just in the room when a missile passed under the brim of my hat, slightly grazing my forehead before   hitting the wall behind me.  On hitting the wall it dislodged a piece of plaster about the size of an egg, and then fell to the floor.  I saw it was a dart, and then turned and saw a group of habitual criminals standing near a dart board on the other side of the bar.  I had not seen which one of the group had thrown the dart and, of course, was not given  the name of the offender.

 This was one of the most dangerous incidents in my life, because a dart thrown with such force could have been fatal if it had entered an eye of penetrated the temple.


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In November, a patrol officer in San Antonio confiscated two live bombs and nonchalantly took them across town in his squad car to the drug  property room, having mistakenly       identified them as elaborate marijuana  bongs.

Two weeks later, police in Cedar Park (near Austin), responding to a check-cashing store's report of a "pipe bomb," sent only an animal  control officer to the scene because the 911    operator had instead  understood "python."


The month of February has seen tours, talks & outside visits back into full swing keeping volunteers busy.

On Wednesday 4th February President Geoff Rawson spoke on Police History to a very appreciative group from Glengowrie Neighbourhood Watch.

The following Wednesday 11th February  20 members of the Campbelltown Probus Club joined us for morning tea and      Museum Tour.

  On Monday 16th February, 14 members from the Ascot Park/Reynella combined Probus clubs also enjoyed morning tea and Museum visit.

  Probus Clubs were again to the fore on February 18th with 38 members from McLaren  Vale taking a morning Museum Tour.

  Tours and visits, including morning or afternoon tea are quite heavily booked for the rest of 2009.  Volunteers are urgently needed to assist with Museum Tours.  Any assistance with baking of scones, and preparation & serving of Devonshire teas would be greatly  appreciated.  All ingredients, together with a  foolproof scone recipe,  are supplied.  If you can assist please let us know.  Without assistance this very worthwhile  fund raiser may have to be discontinued . 

Once again the vehicle team have been flying the flag. On Sunday 15th February,  Kevin Johnson  Ernie McLeod & Dennis Irrgang  were  among the 1,000  motor cyclists who participated in the Masonic Lodge’s Men’s Prostate Cancer  Port to Port Motor  Cycle Run.  The run commenced at the Port  Adelaide Light House, toured the LeFevre Peninsula, Angle Vale and back to the Port. 

Ernie & Kevin also mounted a static display of the Chrysler Royal and BSA Solo Motor Cycle at All   Chrysler Day, held at the Lockleys Oval on Sunday 22nd February.

Our vehicles created a great deal of interest at both these events and we thank the boys for their  efforts on   behalf  of SAPOL and the Society.



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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


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