FEMALE SEARCHERS, 1900.
City Watch House yard, (Metropolitan Police Station) 1900.
Female Searchers – used to search female offenders as no women police at this time.
What a busy month - with Police Anzac Day on Sunday 18th April, where Dorothy Pyatt laid a wreath on behalf of the society.
4 members attended the official handover of the William Fisk by the Commissioner Mr Hyde APM to the Glenelg Council on Friday 23rd.
The Victor Harbor Heritage weekend with the display of our Historic Police Vehicles on Sunday the 25th, Police Foundation Day at Penola on the 28th. On the 30th I was interviewed on Radio Station 101.5 University of Adelaide (Roundabout) outlining the Society and it’s activities.
A full story about Police Foundation Day will be found in this issue. However just prior to leaving for Penola on Tuesday the 27th my sleep was disturbed at 2.30am with a call from Police Security with a smoke alarm in the meeting room.
I dressed quickly and drove to Thebarton. On opening the door to the meeting room I discovered to my horror, the room was full of steam, and it was raining indoors from the condensation. The offender was the Hydrotherm water heater that had malfunctioned, boiling away, with water streaming from the bottom of the tank, which had burst, fortunately the water fell into the sink. I mopped up as well as I could until 4am and went home to grab about an hour’s sleep before heading off to Penola.
My thanks to Rob Thomson who came in on the Tuesday morning and rescued many of our photos and finished the mopping up. At this stage although the carpet, chairs, curtains were wet, they appeared to have dried out without any apparent damage.
The sound system and video projector have also been unaffected. The hydrotherm will be removed and replaced with a smaller model.
On a happier note approval has been given to have the entrance foyer, the ceiling of the ground floor of the museum and the new upstairs gallery repainted. This has caused a halt to setting up of the temporary museum; however, it will be worth it in the long run. A report is being completed regarding a major upgrade of our security system.
Tony Kaukas and Bob Boesence have been busy sorting artifacts for the museum, while Rex Greig continues on with the FJ holden. The seats have been sent off to the upholsterer for the next stage of work whilst all motor cycles are now reported to be working well thanks to the efforts of Peter Moller and his enthusiastic assistants.
Our May Meeting was again well attended with 40 members present. Our Guest Speaker Geoffrey Manning presented some interesting facts on the Star of Greece tragedy including some enlightening information on the bravery of M.C. Toohey.
The June 4th Meeting will take the form of a visit to the Historical Society of South Australia - full information, together with a mud map, is given under “Next Meeting”. I look forward to seeing you there.
PENOLA APRIL 2004
At 2pm on Wednesday the 28th April 2004
about 3-400people attended at Memorial Park, Church Street, Penola for the Police Foundation Day Ceremony, which recognised Police Aboriginal trackers, and in particular Warrianah (Alfred [Alf] Ryan).
It was a perfect day for the event with the police greys on one side of the unveiling stand and the Police Band on the other.
About 20 members made it to the event and we have Frank O’Connor to thank for driving some of our members to Penola in the Police Bus. Rex Grieg and Alan Hyson were prominent in their historic uniforms.
A contingent of Aboriginal Police officers, members of Alf Ryan’s family, with representatives from Port Augusta, Mt Gambier and Kingston were present. Community members also attended with local school children who, judging by their reaction, had obviously never seen the police greys in full ceremonial dress before.
Supt Terry Harbor of South East LSA was the M C for the occasion and did a great job. I presented the historical address and the Commissioner addressed the assembled guests after unveiling the main plaque with the Mayor of the Wattle Range Council Mr Ferguson, who also said a few words.
We all then travelled in convoy to the Penola Cemetery for the graveside ceremony conducted by the Archdeacon of Mt Gambier Mr. Brian Ashworth. Aboriginal police officers formed a
guard of honour as members Alf’s family
with the Commissioner, myself and Andy Dunn of the Police Association proceeded to the gravesite. It was a very moving ceremony with a blending of two cultures.
When the plaque was unveiled the family members were very moved, most in tears. The ladies from the Adnyamathana Women’s Choir sang an Aboriginal Lullaby and a very moving eulogy was read by Warrianha’s great niece, Denice Champion.
We all re-assembled at the Presbyterian hall for afternoon tea where I was able to make presentations on behalf of the society to Andy Dunn of the Police Association, Archdeacon Brian Ashworth and members of the Penola Historical Society. 12 printed copies of the plaque were also presented to Denice Champion to distribute to members of the family.
The executive has already moved to plan for 2005 and 2006 Foundation days which will be held in the Adelaide area. Preparation is already in hand for these events.
LAW WEEK – ELIZABETH WOOLCOCK RETRIAL
Did Elizabeth Woolcock kill her husband?
Did she deserve to die?
The theme for this year’s event is “Access to Justice – 1873 vs 2004” and will culminate in the staging of the Retrial of Elizabeth Woolcock, the first & only white woman to be hanged in South Australia, at the Adelaide Gaol on Saturday 22nd May, commencing at 3.00 p.m.
The Attorney General, Hon. Michael Atkinson, MP will open the proceedings & draw ticket numbers to determine the Jury members. Law students from Flinders University will re-enact the 1873 version of the trial & then portray a modern reconstruction presenting their own prosecution and defence cases. The Jury will be chosen from the audience present & will make their decision from the student’s presentations.
The 1873 re-enactment is scheduled to take place between 3.00 p.m. and 5.00 p.m. Then there will be a break of two hours when visitors can take a tour of the Gaol and have something to eat from a Barbecue provided by the volunteers of the Preservation Society. The modern 2004 reconstruction will be held from 7.00 p.m. to 9.00 p.m.
Tickets are available from the Gaol, 18 Gaol Road, Thebarton – Telephone 8231 4062
Visit the gaol where she died.
See her grave-site.
Witness the retrial.
Read the book that started it all,
Available now from . . .
SA Police Historical Society at
:- special members’ prices. -:
Elizabeth Lilian Woolcock
Elizabeth Lilian Woolcock with husband John & his son Thomas John Hanged for murder of her husband John 30/12/1873.
Elizabeth Lillian Woolcock had a miserable life. She was born in Burra in 1847 to a Cornish couple, John and Elizabeth Oliver.
♦ Her mother abandoned her when she was four.
♦ Her father died when she was nine.
♦ As a teenager she was viciously raped.
♦ At 18, Elizabeth discovered her mother was living in Moonta & decided to join her.
♦ Two years later, she met Thomas Woolcock, a widower with two children.
♦ Elizabeth had been keeping house for him for six weeks when her stepfather heard rumours they were having an affair
♦ In her own words: " I told him it was not true but he would not believe me but called me a liar and told me he would Crippel (sic) me if I went with him any more and I being very self willed I told him I had not been with the man but that I would go with him now if he asked me …"
♦Elizabeth married Woolcock "for my word's sake"
♦She soon found him to be a "street angel, home devil" who drank & abused her frequently.
♦I tried to do my duty to him and the children, but
the more I tried the worse he was. He was fond of
drink but he did not like to part with his money for
anything else & God only knows how he ill treated
♦.... I thought I would rather die than live so I tried to
put an end to myself in several different ways ...”
Attempts to hang & poison herself did not succeed.
♦Elizabeth tried running away, but Woolcock always
found her & brought her back.
♦In despair, she began lacing his food with doses of
♦After seven weeks, Woolcock died.
♦His death was attributed to gastric fever until a
cousin alerted a doctor.
♦An inquest was held & Elizabeth was arrested &
charged with murder.
♦After a trial lasting three days, the jury found her
guilty but recommended mercy.
♦The recommendation was refused.
♦On December 30, 1873, Elizabeth Woolcock
became the first & only white woman hanged in
VICTOR HARBOR HERITAGE WEEKEND
Sunday 25th April, 2004
A convoy of our vehicles including the Chrysler Royal, Bedford Prison Van, and Suzuki outfit set out for Victor Harbor with Alan Hyson, Ernie McLeod, Peter Moller, Mark Dolman and myself where we set ourselves up, adjacent to the site of the original police station. Allan Peters also attended and set up shop in our gazebo (even though we didn’t read the directions on how to erect it).
We were surprised by the large crowd who, despite the threatening weather, showed a great deal of interest. Our photo display was also set up and we found ourselves very busy entertaining the public. Allan again proved to be a super salesman selling some $200.00 worth of books and memorabilia. We packed up to leave at 3.00pm, with the public still showing interest, and drove carefully back to Adelaide after a very successful outing.
A woman was driving down the highway about 75 miles an hour, when she noticed a motorcycle policeman following her. Instead of slowing down, she picked up speed. When she looked back again, there were two motorcycles following her. She shot up to 90 miles an hour. The next time she looked around, there were three cops following her. Suddenly, she spotted a gas station looming ahead. She screeched to a stop and ran into the ladies' room. Ten minutes later, she innocently walked out. The three cops were standing there waiting for her. Without batting an eye, she said coyly, "I'll bet none of you thought I would make it."
- VALE -
Mavis Jean Bidmeade
Passed away 6.4.04
Esteemed member of
Police Historical Society.
Our next meeting, to be held on Friday 4th June, 2004, at the usual time of 8.00 p.m., will take the form of a visit to the Historical Society of South Australia, whose regular meetings, coincidentally, are also held on the first Friday of each month.
The guest speaker will be Denise Schumann & her subject will be:-
The Dream & the Reality:
An Insight into Charles Sturt 1795-1869
and the art of exploration .
The venue for this meeting is the Prince Alfred Theatre at Prince Alfred College, Kent Town & the accompanying map indicates the location & access.
At the conclusion of the meeting we will share refreshments with the Historical Society Members in identical fashion to our own regular meetings. Police Historical Society members are requested to please bring their normal supper contributions. Tea & coffee will be supplied.
WIN SOME-LOSE SOME By Graham Duerden
This is yet another story whilst as Probationary Constable between 1946 and 1948 in the Lancashire Constabulary stationed at Huyton, near Liverpool, England. My previous one was published in the March Issue.
It was a fine dark winters night & I was rostered for night duty commencing at 10.00 p.m. On parading on duty with others at Huyton sub police station, I was detailed to go & patrol from Huyton Village old Police Station. I pedalled there on my trusty “Raleigh” cycle built like a battleship, the journey taking me about 15 minutes.
As I entered the Charge Office, the Reserve
P.C. had just received a 999 emergency telephone call to the effect that 2 men in a tray top truck were stealing a pair of wooden gates from the driveway of a house just 3 minutes from the Station.
I ran to the cycle shed, jumped on my bike & pedalled like a bat out of hell to the scene. As I turned left into the street, I noticed that gates were missing at the address given in the 999 message. I then saw the red rear lights of a vehicle which had stopped at the “T” Junction at the bottom of the street. As it turned right into Rupert Road, I recognised it as a tray top truck. When I reached the junction I saw the lights again as it sped along the straight road illuminated by street lights.
Hot in pursuit, I began to puff a bit & work up a sweat. I’ve just remembered that at the time I was wearing a police issued heavy woollen reefer “bum starver” coat over my tunic.
The truck then turned left into another road where I lost sight of it. On reaching this spot, & to my great relief, the truck was parked against the nearside kerb & 2 men were standing by the open driver’s door. Stopping, I saw the double gates on the tray top, the cabin empty of persons, & so I presumed the 2 men were the felons.
I remind readers at this point, this was an era when the only communication between a policeman on the beat & the police station was by means of a public telephone box & vice versa. Also very few homes had telephones connected & at that time of night, about 10.50 p.m., it was unusual to see anybody out and about.
As I couldn’t leave the men, to go to a nearby house or public telephone box for assistance, I had no alternative but to tell them they were under arrest for stealing the gates. I then put my cycle on the tray top & ordered the driver to take us to the police station. Sitting inside the cab by the passenger door, I directed the driver to the police station.
About 5 minutes later he drove between the two huge stone gate posts into the police station yard & parked as directed. Waiting for them to alight, I then ushered them through the back door of the station & into the Charge Office.
To my surprise, the Chief Inspector was there. He & his family lived in the police house, which was part & parcel of the old police station, & I assumed he was paying a routine visit before retiring to bed. No doubt the Reserve P.C. had told him about the 999 emergency ‘phone call & he was waiting for my successful or unsuccessful return. The Sergeant then arrived from the sub station on his bike. Sounds unbelievable & amusing in these days of fast police cars with radios & computers, personal radios & other modern innovations!
The Sergeant then asked me to relate the circumstances of the arrest. After telling him, he then asked the men if they had anything to say. Each expressed their guilt. At this point, the Chief Inspector beckoned the Sergeant and myself to the day room, leaving the reserve P.C. to guard the prisoners. Quietly the Inspector asked “Didn’t you see the driver was drunk?” I was gob smacked! During the puffing, sweating excitement of the chase, I hadn’t noticed! The matter was never mentioned again by either the Inspector or the Sergeant probably because they did not wish to dampen my enthusiasm.
Under the Sergeant’s watchful eye, I typed out the larceny charge on the appropriate form & then cautioned & charged the men. Kept in custody until their appearance at Court the next morning, they pleaded guilty. Each was fined.
McDonalds for breakfast
Sgt. Noel Vears of the mounted branch with Police Horse “Emir” on patrol near Government House and then being served a McMuffin for breakfast at McDonalds, Hindley Street. Apparently Noel often gave Emir Big Macs, he loves them and Emir’s nickname is Macs.
Published by the
Police Historical Society Inc.,
Thebarton Police Barracks
C/- G.P.O. Box 1539
Web site: www.sapolicehistory.org/