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Thebarton Barracks 1917.


New Mounted Police Barracks
(Adelaide Gaol Reserve)



My thanks go to Kevin Beare (acting President) and Bob Boscence (acting Vice President) who looked after affairs whilst I was holidaying in Hawaii earlier in the month. 

 It has been another very busy month for volunteers with, Police Anzac Day 22 April Foundation Day 28th April and numerous tours of the museum. My thanks to all those who were involved and despite the weather conditions it was a great success. (See page 7 for more details.

Anzac Day at the Academy was another well organized affair thanks again to the work of Bill Rojas. (See page 4 for full report)
Friday the 13th April we had a visit from Brian Botrell (a retired UK police officer) and his wife who enjoyed a special tour. 

Friday the 20th Heather and I attended the official opening of the Port Adelaide Festival held in the Port Adelaide Railway museum.  The following day I addressed a small gathering at the old Port Adelaide Police Station on Police History with a special emphasis on Port Adelaide History.

Monday the 23rd April the Cruising and Charter tours visited the Barracks with 19 people who were given a tour of the museum, vehicle museum and mounted area.  They had a wonderful time with Devonshire tea thanks to the efforts of Elees (the cook) and the supporting volunteers. Sue Sommerville (Cruising and Charter tours) was clearly impressed and was keen to bring other groups in the future.

On the 27th we had a visit by the Grange combined Probus club who also enjoyed a Devonshire tea and Sunday the 29th 62 members of the Fleurieu Family History group enjoyed a big day with BBQ lunch. This was followed on Monday the 30th with a tour by the Unley Probus group and 19 members enjoyed a Devonshire tea once again thanks to Elees. 

Because so many members have been involved in the above events, it is not practicable to name them all here but my thanks to all of them for their fantastic support during this busy month.  The problem is our volunteers are being overworked because of the popularity of the venue and we still need more people to help with these events.  Please advise us if you would like to become more involved. 

This month we have our open day on Sunday the 20th May and we are hoping for good weather, lots of visitors and volunteers.  Please help out if you are able. 

Our speaker for our Monthly meeting Friday the 4th May was Peter Stephenson who had just returned that day from Iraq.  He gave us a very informative insight into events in Iraq illustrated with photographs.  A vote of thanks was given by Kevin Johnson who presented him with a certificate of appreciation and a book.  The raffle raised $77.00.

The June meeting will be held at the Adelaide Gaol on Friday the 1st,  at 7-30pm so please do not come to Thebarton but meet outside of the Gaol.  We will have supper at the Gaol and tea and coffee.  The Gaol is well worth a visit so I hope to see you there. 

   Geoff Rawson



Police Anzac memorial Service
10:30 am Sunday 22nd April, 2007.   FOIRT LARGS  POLICE ACADEMY

A large number of our Members attended at the Annual Anzac Memorial Service  conducted at Fort Largs Police Academy by Police Chaplain  the Reverend Chris Beal.

After the Commemorative Address by  Bob Boscence President Geoff Rawson laid a wreath on behalf of the Society.

As follows is a copy of Bob’s Address honouring Archibald Montgomery Badenoch, the first S.A. Police Officer killed in action in World War II on the lst November, 1942.

Archie, as he was called by everyone, grew up in the Port MacDonnell area & was a keen sports person, playing tennis & cricket, but his first love was horse riding.  Archie & his horse “Why Not” were very competitive & had many a duel with a great friend Jack Pick

Aged 23 Archie left the family butchering business & joined the South Australian Police Force on the lst October, 1925.  He was initially stationed for 8 years at the Thebarton Barracks.

Because of his horseman skills he became one of the somewhat elite group & one of four who had separate quarters.  This was very handy when they wanted to hop over the back
fence without permission.

Archie was to win a Silver Cup on Police Horse “Trooper” at the Wayville Showgrounds on ANZAC DAY  1928.  Today we have that cup pm display in the Keswick Mess.

Archie became a driver & was to drive the Police Ambulance & Prison Van.

In 1933 Archie transferred to Mount Gambier & a year later transferred to Frances as Officer in Charge.  12 months later he transferred to Tarcoola as Officer in charge.  Archie was pleased with this transfer to Tarcoola as his friend from Port MacDonnell days, Jack, was managing a cattle station not far out of town.

Archie was a capable & efficient Police Officer & popular with everyone.  He Continued to play sport and when the local cricket team was short, it was not unusual for Archie to make up the numbers with a suitable prisoner or two.
When a nurse, named Margaret arrived at  Tarcoola to work in the local hospital, it wasn’t long before Archie & Margaret were spending time together.  Both being of Scottish descent they had a lot in common .

1940 Australia was at war.

Archie, now 38 years of age, travelled to Adelaide, and following in the footsteps of other family members before him in earlier wars, he too enlisted to serve his country.  He was accepted &, on returning to Tarcoola, typed out his application for indefinite leave.  Archie was to leave his valuables, including his alarm clock, with Jack.

Archie reported for military training on the 18th June, 1940 at Wayville, changing his Police I/D 62 for Army No SX6469.  On the lst July 1940 Archie was one of the first to march into Woodside Army Barracks as a member of the newly raised 2/43rd Battalion 2nd AIF.

One day when asked what experience he had, Archie replied, “Drove a Police Ambulance”.  He Sergeant said he could do better than that & the next day he was promoted to Corporal. 

Archie became a father figure to many of the younger members of the Battalion.  He was allocated to the Mortar Platoon in Headquarter Coy. And in November was promoted to Sergeant.

In December the Unit went on embarkation leave & Archie returned to Tarcoola to say farewell to his many friends in town & in particular, Margaret.

The 2/43rd left Adelaide on the 28th December, 1940 & as events in the Middle East had changed dramatically, the 24th Brigade, which included the 2/43rd Battalion, was  diverted from Fremantle to the Middle East to complete the build up of the newly formed Australian 9th Division.

Margaret also left Tarcoola & like Archie, enlisted to serve her country.

The 2/43rd first saw action at Tobruk.

On the 12th August 194l,. During an air raid, Archie received a shrapnel wound in the arm & was medivaced to Alexandria. I believe his rapid recovery may have been attributed to some extra care & attention from a Nurse named Margaret, as he was able to return to his unit a week later.

In October 1941 Archie’s Unit was relieved & they moved to Palestine.  The 2/43rd Battalion  returned to the desert at El Alamein on the 1st July, 1942 & on the 7th was to carry out a highly  successful raid that was to restore sagging morale to the British Forces.

On the 23rd October 1942, the final Battle for El Alemain began. 

The Australian 9th Division was to have a vital role in that victory.  On the night of the 31st October, 1942 the 24th Brigade replaced a somewhat depleted & exhausted 26th Brigade on a small feature with commanding views over the Battlefield.

The next day, 1st November the 24th Brigade were able to hold off many concentrated attempts by the enemy to retake this vital feature, especially as the Axis Forces were in strength to the rear of the brigade.

Using his bush skills & courageous determination, Archie had moved forward to a position from where he could better direct mortar fire onto      enemy targets. 

Archie was killed when an enemy shell  exploded nearby.  In all the 2/43rd was to sustain 198 casualties that day.  SX6469 Sergeant Archibald Montgomery Badenoch was one of 21 members killed in action. 

During the night of the 31st October 1942, for no apparent reason, the alarm clock Archie had left with Jack, fell off the shelf and, although it didn’t smash  it never worked again.

After the war Margaret returned to her nursing profession & was never to marry.

The Police Launch, Archie Badenoch, is a tribute to all South Australian Police Officers who served their country & in particular all who now lie in  foreign soil.

May Archie’s sacrifice, & those of all his  comrades in arms, never be forgotten.

Robert Boscence RFD
2nd/43rd Battalion AIF Club


This article comes to us courtesy member Tony Kaukas

In September 1930, the Commissioner of Police was requested by the Town Clerk of Adelaide to provide a report on the traffic conditions in the City.

The Commissioners’ reply ran to four pages. Listed  below are some of his more pertinent remarks, as he wrote them:

“The efficiency of any Traffic System is to found in the facility with which Traffic movement can be made.”

“Delays result in congestion. This occurs when  delays reduce the speed capacity of traffic”.

“Every effort is made by the Police to reduce delays, keep congestion at a minimum and move traffic as freely as possible …………..   the Police Department in this State is minimum of danger to road users. Visitors with a knowledge of  traffic conditions in other countries have been complimentary of the efficient and courteous manner traffic is handled by the Traffic Police in Adelaide”.


“Tram Cars slow down Traffic. This is particularly noticeable in Adelaide. In addition, the system operated in Adelaide increases Traffic difficulties, congestion, and danger to the travelling public. The principal thoroughfares are congested at peak periods with tramcars proceeding to all destinations through the main artery, ie. King William Street.

This necessitates turning at busy intersections, holding up the traffic flow and causing inconvenience to all road users. The centre of the City, ie, Currie Street and Grenfell Street King William Street intersection is used as a Terminus. While such a state of affairs is permitted to exist, ideal Traffic conditions cannot be expected or hoped for”.

There is no doubt that the Traffic Police Official can control traffic more safely & efficiently than by any other means. London can be used as an example.      Probably no City in the world has more difficult traffic problems to solve.
This method is expensive if applied to all City intersections and consequently electric signals have replaced the traffic  policeman in many countries.

Traffic accidents increase at points where  electric traffic signals are operated, & there is ever the danger of the motorist speeding up to “beat the signal”. Complaints have been made, usually without foundation that the Traffic Constable  encourages motorists to speed up at intersections. It will be seen that this trouble     increases with the adoption of electric traffic signals”.


Despite the inclement weather approximately 80 members & special guests joined us at the Barracks to commemorate the Anniversary of the day upon which the first governor of South Australia, Captain John Hindmarsh, swore in a Police Inspector, 10 Mounted Constables & 10 Foot Constables to create the South Australia Police—the first centrally controlled Colonial & then  State, police service in Australia, the third   oldest in the world.  Since that historic day, SAPOL has forged a reputation for achievement that continues to be built on today. 

This year we commemorated  90 years of valuable and dedicated police service that has been delivered from the Thebarton Police Barracks.  Complementing this focus we celebrated the official launching of a new book by Allan Peters & Jim Sykes
“Police Troopers of the Outback”
Many of the troopers after 1917 can trace their early careers back to the training they received at the Barracks & later as they set out from there to take up their postings throughout the country.

The original foundation plaque, fully restored by Holger Kruse, was unveiled by Deputy Commissioner Gary Burns BM APM.  All Members and Guests then adjourned to the Meeting room for a special afternoon tea.  We were also given the opportunity to buy an autographed copy of “Police Troopers of the Outback”

President Geoff Rawson’s historical address gave us all an insight into the diversity of policing services at the Thebarton Police Barracks past and present and our hopes and plans for it’s continued use in the future.  An excerpt
of Geoff’s address follows—

The Thebarton Barracks was officially opened on the 1st March 1917 mainly for the use of the mounted constables as the North Terrace Barracks were no longer suitable.  The original buildings consisted of kitchen/mess, administrative quarters, dormitory and stable groups, chaff mill, farriery, saddlery, exercise circuit and quarantine shed.  The inspector’s residence stood in relative isolation on the eastern extremity of the site. There was also provision for the Aboriginal Trackers who worked with the mounted police when required. The construction was completed at a cost of £16,000
The Government acquired the land from the Adelaide City Council in exchange for the terrace at the rear of Government House and the land extending to the Military Parade Ground between Government House and Victoria Drive.

It is noted that in 1917 a request was made for bedsteads for the Barracks.  None had been purchased for the previous 30 years, the older  bedsteads having collapsed, requiring some members to sleep on the floor; thankfully their request was granted.

In 1919 Adelaide was hit by an influenza epidemic and 25 members were affected at barracks.  In the same year it is noted that Gaol Road was flooded from Port Road and an upgrade was requested.

After the formation of the Police Force in 1838 the mounted police were located in a stockade adjacent to the Torrens near North Terrace and by the 1860s a more substantial building was built and additional buildings as required until the 1900s. 

The site chosen for the Barracks was controversial and there were complaints that the site was too far from the city for mounted men to travel in case of fire or other incidents.  In the Register 3rd Feb.1917 an article headed “Attractive Buildings” speaks of the finishing touches to the new barracks situated in the olive plantation on the Port Road near the Adelaide Gaol.

Apparently the  dust was also a nuisance, and because of the broken condition of the Port Road, wood blocking of the road was suggested a newspaper representative visited the premises and reported “oceans of dust” covering the area with grit. 

Described as an attractive collection of pretty red and white buildings nestling comfortably in the shade of acres of shrubs -  an area of seven acres, surrounded by a 7ft high picket fence of stringy bark. 

In 1937 there is mention of a Manure Fund.  Books to be kept by the police accountant of funds returned for sale of manure from stables at Thebarton Barracks and the Port Depot.

In 1937 the new dormitory block was completed and the mounted members moved to the new facility leaving the previous quarters, which now houses the police museum.  The hospital was also completed; this later became the Star Force Headquarters.

The mounted division has always had a strong presence in the Barracks, as it does today but men were no longer required to live in the barracks and many chose to live away from the area.

Commissioner Leane decided to recruit junior  personnel (Junior Constables) in 1934 and the Port Adelaide depot was used for this purpose for about 10 years when the Port Adelaide facility was abandoned and the Junior Constable Training was transferred to Thebarton Barracks.  This was another very important phase for the facility.

The mess building was extended to accommodate the mess hall downstairs, now the meeting room, and adult training classrooms upstairs. These offices were later used by the Traffic Branch and now house the uniform and photographic collection for the society.

Many of the Junior Constables who graduated   excelled and became senior officers including one Neil McKenzie who rose to the rank of Deputy Commissioner.

A gymnasium was built and is now used by the Police Band.

In 1956 the facility housed the Traffic Branch, Aged Driver testing and the Advanced Driving Wing.  The Underwater Recovery & Emergency Operations Group, incorporating Cliff Rescue & Bush Search squads, later became amalgamated with the STAR Force. 

In 1951 the Police Garage was removed from Angas Street and was re-erected at Thebarton,   becoming the centre for vehicle servicing, car washing and motorcycle workshops.  A Robo  Carwash was installed in later years and was well known to patrol officers who forgot to wind up their windows on a hot day. This garage now houses the Police Historical Society vehicle museum.

One of the more unusual uses was referred to as “Kelly’s Court” where police officers (including yours truly) involved in departmental accidents were called to “Please    Explain”.

A new lube and speedo testing facility was installed in 1966

In 1958 Constable F. G. KNIGHT transferred to Thebarton Barracks as Weapons instructor and   became well known as a drill instructor both here at Thebarton and Fort Largs. In the same year another well known personality, Sergeant           Instructor G Hearnes, moved to Thebarton, who trained cadets in unarmed combat.

In later years a helipad adjacent to the barracks was used by Star Force members. 

The old facility has seen many changes and has performed many useful functions since 1917 and continues to do so today.  The Mounted Operations Unit, the Band and the Police Historical Society the main occupiers along with the Police Security Services, Dog Operations Unit, Armory and Ballistics, and  other services.

Training in some form continues with the Star Force, Dog Squad, Mounted, CIB and many other units making good use of this facility. It’s role continues to evolve in line with SAPOL’s needs.

All of the original Barracks buildings are now Heritage listed &, with good care, will continue to be a very useful and functional area for the South Australia Police for many years to come.  

Geoff Rawson

Historical notes taken from letters written by 
William Charles Miller to Eleanor May Ewens.

Palmerston, March 6th, 1910. Sunday 2 pm

Received from you since the last mail left here for the South, four very welcome letters, two on the 15th ultimo and two on the 2nd inst. This one will not leave here until the 10th or 11th so it will be nearly the end of March before you get it. But you can see its not my fault. We must shake the Government up for not having a more regular mail service. We only have one R.C. Priest here. A young man reads the service in the C of E every Sunday night.
I am sending this mail two P.Cs. [pictures]. One is the SS Nelson which took Johns around to the Roper River and the other is the arrival of the Pine Creek train at Palmerston. I was with the photographer when these views were taken. Sending £7 to get a ring which will please you. Talking about the 28th September 09, I often think about that eventful day but always drive it from my mind as it makes me feel sad and I do not want to look back but to look ahead and always feel bright and happy. We ought to follow the scripture a little more and take no thought for the morrow, but it is human nature to be trying to peer into the future instead of having full confidence in God.
We are doing some night patrols from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m.. M.C. Reed and I take it turns about. Will be jolly glad when I get out bush. I bought a riding saddle yesterday in anticipation of getting a shift soon. The saddles which are issued are big unsuitable things for long journeys like we have to do. Johns sent me a letter from Roper River and wishes to be remembered to you and Gertie. He is getting on well and likes the N.T.

Palmerston April 7th, 1910.

I went to Pine Creek on the 1st, returning with ballot box on the following day, having taken he railway employees votes along the line. Everything went A1 with me here ending my first attempt as residing officer, for which I will get £2/2/-. It is nearly certain that we will return one Liberal Brown 261 and one Labour Crush 271. Of course all the votes are not to hand yet but they cannot make any difference now to the above named Candidates.
I sincerely hope we get the Transcontinental Railway started soon. It will mean advancement for me. Don’t know how much longer I will be here in Darwin. M.C. Kelly W.M.A. may go South after June so in all probability I’ll be here until then. Some time ago G.G. Jaensch J.P. who was postmaster at Katherine River went South. I gave him a letter to Bob so I expect Mother will tell you when he calls on them. He is a fine fellow and will be very interesting. He tried my first prisoner in the Katherine and put me up to a lot of wrinkles with the natives.

Palmerston, April 15th, 1910.

And to think your lovely hands worked those neckties. I am sorry to say that ties are never worn by me here but if we get some cold weather later on I will wear them. They are welcome not only for their intrinsic value but because they show your handiwork and patience with love. This last week I have been thinking very deeply about reading Robbie Burns as he is a beautiful writer. Will be glad to hear when you are wearing the ring. I suppose you are by this time. Your last letter took just 18 days to reach me, one of the quickest. Glad you liked the verse, more to follow. I will sent you a copy of Burns Cotars Saturday Night. I think it a beautiful piece. The niggers are getting very troublesome in the Victoria River district but I fancy the Whites bring trouble on themselves. May get a shift out there soon. Holland and Dempsey are there.


1st June at 7.30 pm 
Visit to Old Adelaide Gaol
Meet at front of Gaol
at 7.30 pm
Supper as usual

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SUNDAY 20TH MAY, 2007  10 am – 4 pm





4 Galleries depicting Policing
    through the ages  including :-

  • extensive unique badge collection
  •  Tour of Police Horses
  • S.A. Police dog display
  • Display of past Police Vehicles
  •  S.A. Police Band exhibition
  • Continuous Police Videos
  • Sausage Sizzle & refreshments
  • Police memorabilia sales

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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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