INIDE THIS ISSUE
Our Grimmest Museum
Volunteers in Action
Next Month's Meeting
From the Black Museum.
September has been a very busy month with Police Remembrance Day celebrated all over Australia. My thanks to Tony Woodcock who deputized for me at the Academy on Friday 29th as I was fortunate to visit Canberra & attended at the unveiling of the new monument & the official launch of the exhibition in Old Parliament House. See the full story & photos in this issue.
On Monday 4th September the SA Museums Archives members toured the museum & were impressed with our activities. On the 7th September I attended at All Hallows (Anglicare) Westbourne Park to talk about our police history to about 40 members. On Wednesday the 13th a group of intellectually challenged people attended to tour the museum & my thanks to Pauline Elshaw for her work with those people. Pauline has been transferred to the Police Medical Office & we all wish her well in her new position. The 24th saw the Bay to Birdwood run with Frank & Tony.
On Friday the 6th October we had the 255th meeting of the Society with Lieutenant (ret) Fred Killick as the guest speaker. Fred joined the Royal Navy in 1941 as an ordinary seaman he was involved in convoy duties with the Destroyer HMS Antelope & in 1942 was commissioned on HMS King Alfred appointed to L Commando. In June he landed on Normandy Beach with the invasion forces & spoke of the amazing “Pluto” used to supply fuel from England to Normandy Beach & the Mulberry Wharf. His wife Dorothy was a Cypher Officer. Bob Bosence provided a vote of thanks presenting him with an appreciation certificate & a book to the applause of the members.
New member Trevor Hawthorne was welcomed at the meeting & invited guests Dorothy Pyatt, Val Harvey, Rob Clyne & Verity McKinna were presented with framed copies of the appropriate plaques representing the Rob Clyne Gallery, Dorothy Pyatt Gallery, Roy Harvey Gallery & the John McKinna building. Joy Semmler will be presented with her copy of the plaque for the Bob Potts gallery at a later date.
As usual the raffle was conducted by Colin Beames which raised $92.00.
Next month’s speaker will be 3rd November, Speaker Gerry Dillon on the History & Development of Miners Lamps.
Adelaide, South Australia, known for many decades as the ‘City of Churches’, has more recently been dubbed the ‘Murder Capital of Australia’ by writers who would have our fair city pictured as a dark and sinister region, a city, and indeed an entire state, worth avoiding. Yet South Australia has never been the home, nor the hunting ground of Australia's greatest or youngest serial killers. And we have, very fortunately, had significantly less mass murders committed in this state than have occurred in some others.
Admittedly we have had our share of major crimes including that of murder and for some years the police kept a museum of relics from some of the state's most violent and horrendous events. A catalogue, some poor quality photographs, and two newspaper articles are all that remain today of what was once listed as Australia's largest ‘Black Museum’, second only to that housed within Scotland Yard in London. The earliest known relic within the South Australian Black Museum is shown to have been a stock whip, the weighted handle of which was used in 1875 by a man named William Page to beat his sweetheart to death. Page himself was later executed for his crime.
The last item to be added to the gruesome & deeply bloodstained collection was a U.S. Army automatic carbine used by Kenneth Hosking in 1945 to take his own life at Two Wells.
The following article, which has been extracted from The Sunday Mail of May 11, 1935, gives some indication of the horrific stories attached to many of the other grim exhibits.
“A museum which for human interest is unsurpassed is housed in a cabinet at police headquarters. It comprises a collection of mementoes of many remarkable episodes in the State’s crime history since 1875.
Few or no persons except police officials ever see the museum, for it is not open to the public. But for the psychologist, the criminologist, and the lover of adventure stories alike, the records of the cases associated with the ‘exhibits’ provide a fascinating study. The records also show the heavy penalties meted out to the law breakers whose histories are represented in the museum.
Several counterfeiting outfits are included in the museum. One was found in the bedroom of a lad 15, who was charged with having made 159 pieces of false coin, including half crowns, florins, shillings, sixpences, and threepences. Moulds were found in the fireplace in the kitchen.
The boy told the court that he had become acquainted with the process of making coins through an article written by ‘some fool’ in a well-known English magazine.
Another counterfeiting set in the museum belonged to two men who received 10 years imprisonment each, the judge saying that their practices had disorganised commerce and embarrassed the public. Two of the coining plants in the museum were seized in 1933.
There are several photographs of bushrangers. One of them [Frank Gardiner] escaped from prison in Victoria four years after he had been sentenced for horse stealing. He took to bushranging and his exploits included six mail robberies under arms also the hold-up of a gold escort in which two police troopers were shot and several thousand ounces of gold stolen.
He was finally captured in another State and sentenced to 32 years imprisonment. After 10 years he was released and banished to America.
A photograph of a less fortunate associate of the banished bushranger, [Ben Hall] is in the museum, too. The second man says the museum chronicle, was shot near Goulburn (NSW), a reward of £1,000 having been offered for his capture dead or alive.
A third bushranger, [Daniel Morgan], pictured in the museum had an even higher price placed on his head - £1,500. He shot two police sergeants in one year, but was shot from ambush at a station which he had invaded, and died a few hours later – ‘without any confession,’ says the index.
Spears with which two natives fought at Streaky Bay in 1887 are preserved. Both of the blacks died from wounds – one after having survived long enough to be arrested and committed for trial for manslaughter.
The first tomahawk in the collection was used by an aborigine in the slaying of a drover at a waterhole while they were returning to a station after having delivered a mob of cattle in Adelaide. A death sentence against the native was commuted to imprisonment for life.
Romance, which lived on despite tragedy, is associated with a revolver, which a cabdriver fired at his wife. The judge decided that the husband should go to gaol for life and receive as well 20 lashes. But the order for lashes was remitted because of a petition started by the prisoner’s wife, who had recovered although severely wounded.
A knuckle-duster, revolver, and knife found in the possession of two men arrested at Port Adelaide in 1891 on several charges of larceny and stealing in dwellings have a place in the museum.
So has a knife with which a Chinaman killed his European wife. The Chinese, who also slew a countryman, then took a dose of opium from which he died in hospital.
Of another exhibit the record book merely says ‘Opium pipe and lamp found in a Chinese den.’
The gallant death of Mounted Constable Pearce in a struggle with a horse thief near Kingston in 1881 was included among deaths of police officers on duty which were recently commemorated by the unveiling of a tablet in the police recreation hall. The knife, which the thief repeatedly thrust into the constable, is in the police museum. Arrested several hours after he had left his victim dying on the roadside, the murderer went to the gallows at Mount Gambier.
With a knife that is now in the museum a man stabbed his wife in four places. He decamped, leaving her for dead. But she eventually recovered, and the husband, who had been traced, was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment. The knife was in those days a more popular weapon for would be assassins than it is now.
Another relic is a butcher’s knife with which a bailiff was fatally stabbed while in enforced possession of a house at Wallaroo. The assassin, who was the owner of the house, was executed.
An axe is the grim relic of a quarrel between two navvies, one of whom later found the other asleep in a creek and inflicted fatal injuries on his head.
A crime on the high seas is also recorded in the museum index. While a vessel was on its way from the Baltic to Port Adelaide a seaman killed another member of the crew with a knife. The ship arrived at Port Adelaide three months later, and the seaman was charged with murder, and executed at the Adelaide Gaol.
A farmer wielded a bar of iron, [which is now on display], to slay his wife and three children, and then hanged himself.
The shooting of a wife and three children by a civil servant, who killed himself with a fifth shot, is recalled by a bullet extracted from the woman’s brain.
A butcher’s cleaver, [exhibited] was used by a baker in the killing of his wife and two children.
With a boot maker’s knife, now housed in the museum, a well-known surveyor and bank chairman was seriously stabbed in his office, and a woman in the office also received wounds. Their assailant was found guilty of unlawful wounding, but not guilty of intent to murder. The jury recommended mercy on the ground of great provocation, and the sentence imposed was 18 moths hard labour.
There is a knife with which a man stabbed his wife 17 times. She survived for four days in hospital. The husband was sentenced to imprisonment for life – ‘great provocation having been proved,’ according to the records.
A tomahawk and a razor are silent witnesses to a crime committed one Christmas morning by a greengrocer, who, running amok, slew his wife and three children and then himself.”
Unfortunately the entire ‘Black Museum’ was dismantled during the 1950s and the grisly exhibits either destroyed or lost, all that remains are some of the photographs as mentioned above. If anyone knows of the existence or whereabouts of any items that once formed part of this display, please contact Allan Peters, Elees Pick, or other members of the S.A. Police Historical Society.
OPENING OF THE NEWThe new Gawler Police Station will be officially opened on Friday 27th October, 2006 at 11.00 am. The building will be opened by the Hon. Minister for Police, Mr. Paul Holloway & the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mal. Hyde.
GAWLER POLICE STATION
Guests will be various Federal & State Politicians, members of S.E.G., Elizabeth LSA personnel various representatives from Plenary (owners of the building) Hansen & Yuncken (builder) other Emergency Services, retired personnel, who have served at Gawler & local dignitaries.
The opening will be held in the grounds of the Gawler Station. Members of the Police Band will be in attendance & the Historical Society is providing a static display.
For any further information please contact Chester Geue on 85 221088.
Gawler police Station prior to
Station prior to recent demolition to make way for new building/
NATIONAL POLICE MEMORIAL DEDICATION
29 September 2006
Kings Park Canberra
It was a humbling privilege to be present at this dedication service in company with my wife Heather, Elees Pick, Dorothy Pyatt, as guest of the Police Association, Bill Prior with the band along with Alan & Betty Hyson as well as Bill Rojas, who managed to attend the service at the Academy, jump on a plane & arrive not long after the service had commenced.
There was a march by members of all Australian Police Forces which included our magnificent greys, the SA Police Band with the NSW Band followed by a flyby of police air wing & helicopters (AFP, QLD, NT & NSW). The Prime Minister arrived by police launch & made a magnificent speech with no apparent reference to any notes & followed with the unveiling of a plaque. Flags were presented from all Sates & the Commonwealth
The lighting of candles by members of legacy & children of fallen officers brought most of us to tears but later the Prime Minister assisted the Alysha Taylor the niece of Angela Taylor (Vic) killed in the Russell Street bombing & the Jordon Lees (NSW) son of one of three men who died in an aircraft crash . The PM assisted them with their floral tributes & walked hand in hand to the memorial. After laying the tribute he walked back squatted down, shook hands &, after a short talk to them, returned to his seat. I saw hardened police officers in uniform reaching for the tissues & I have to admit to being one of them.
Ita Buttrose AO, OBE was the master of ceremonies & did a magnificent job. It was fitting that she was presented with a framed momento by the AFP which contained some articles from the SAPHS collection. Ita has a connection with South Australia Police in that her Great Great Grandfather was a member of the SA Police in the 1800s.
Later in the evening Elees, Heather and I attended the official opening of the “In Line of Duty” exhibition in Old Parliament House along with Bill Prior & Bill Rojas. The exhibition is excellent & the curator is hoping to take the exhibition on tour of Australia. The exhibition has been produced on 30 large panels of vinyl, consisting of a time line of all the police forces including photographs & text, with a touch screen video in one of the corridors. There were large photographs from each state produced on the same format & life-size photographs of uniform officers from each state on foam-core, & display cases with historic articles including bushranger Dan Kelly’s armour Helmet which has already attracted a lot of public attention. This display will continue until early next year & can be viewed on the internet at www.inlineofduty.com.au.
Geoff Rawson - President
Our own ‘National Police Remembrance Day Service’ was conducted at the Fort Largs Police Academy by Police Chaplain, Dianna Bartlett.
The Governor, Her Excellency, Marjorie Jackson-Nelson AC CVO MBE, attended the ceremony.
After the Acting Commissioner of Police Mr. John White APM LEM, gave the ‘Commissioner’s Remembrance Day Message’, wreaths were laid at the ‘Wall of Remembrance’ by the Governor, Commissioner, Ministers of the Government, service and organizational representatives.
Tony Woodcock, in the absence of President Geoff Rawson who was attending the National Service in Canberra, laid a wreath on behalf of the South Australian Police Historical Society.
ACADEMY RERUITS LAYING WREATHS.
A special birthday
On Saturday the 26th of August, 2006, Dorothy May Pyatt, our oldest life member, celebrated her 88th Birthday. To mark this auspicious occasion Dorothy and friends attended a special luncheon at ‘Pancakes at the Port’ where much fun & merriment took place.
In the afternoon, the South Australian Maritime Museum made the old police launch ‘Archie Badenoch’ available for a wonderful two hour trip down the Port River. Our ‘skipper’ for the occasion was Captain Mike Parsons & his assistant (or officially his ‘deck hand’) was retired Senior Sergeant Ron Marsh..
Both Mike & Ron provided us with a most informative commentary of all items of interest along the river. Although the tide was low, we Managed to venture a short distance up the north arm & visit some of the old ship wrecks along the shoreline. A most interesting history lesson.
During the return trip, afternoon tea was provided & an enormous birthday cake was shared by all. Dorothy was given her own ‘china’ cup & saucer whilst the rest of the guests had to use ‘foam’ cups.
After the traditional singing of ‘Happy Birthday’, which was a pretty out of tune affair, Dorothy was promoted to the rank of ‘Vice Admiral’ & permitted, under strict supervision, to take the wheel of the old ‘Archie’ & bring her up the river.
A memorable afternoon was had by all, to celebrate the birthday of a wonderful lady.
'HAPPY BIRTHDAY ‘DOT’
President Geoff also celebrated a special
milestone this month— his 65th.
To mark the occasion he shared a delicious orange
mud cake with the Thursday Group.
A surprise visit from retired Chief Superintendent
Claire Bottroff gave Colin Beames & Claire the
opportunity to reminisce on old times.
Another busy month for our Volunteers
with several visits to the Museum.
WEST BEACH PROBUS
The Y Options Group from the YMCA also visited,
together with the Birds of a Feather Antique Society
& a group from the SA Museum Archive Section.
An outside visit was also made to All Hallows,
Anglicare at Westbourne Park & once again
we were represented by the Chrysler Royal in
the 2006 Bay to Birdwood
Tony Woodcock & Glen Dix
assisted during the month.
ADVANCE DATES TO
Friday 1st December -
Members Christmas Dinner (See enclosed leaflet.)
Raffle & door prize donations still required.
Friday 8th December—6.00 pm
Carols at the Academy—more information next month .
Sunday 10th December—9 am—5pm
Police Expo 2006 at the Police Academy -
further information in next month’s newsletter.
Sunday 17th December
Police Heritage Day—Special outing Fort Largs—more information next month.
Deputy Commissioner John White
& Tony Woodcock at Fort Largs
Heather and Geoff Rawson together with Bill Rojas and Ita Buttrose at opening of "In the line of Duty.
The “HUE & CRY” is Published by the
South Australian Police Historical Society Inc.,
Thebarton Police Barracks
C/- G.P.O. Box 1539