Old Trinity Church 1845
The Holy Trninity Church, North Terrace, Adelaide. The Oldest standing building in South Australia
Most of our retired members will remember Jack (Jacobus Andries) Vogelsang who passed away on August 24th. He was one of the characters of the Police Force and we mourn his passing.
Volunteers have been busy during August with many projects on the way.
Transport Garage - Rex and his busy band of helpers are installing the wiring loom in the F.J. Holden and matching the numbers to the code. Sounds easy, but I have seen the large clump of wiring in the dashboard and this is a job that will take time and patience. It is hoped to fire up the motor when the wiring is installed and the car will be running for the first time since the renovations began. The upholstery is well under way and the interior will hopefully commence when the wiring is finalised.
Tony Kaukas, Bob Boscence and I have been working on the main gallery of the museum. Photographic section is providing considerable assistance to us and I was privileged to visit their area and see the latest technology for myself. Things have come a long way since I retired! The main thrust of this gallery will be to tell the basic history of the development of the police force up to the early 1900s with exhibits highlighting police trackers, camels in the outback, (we could really use a stuffed camel if you happen to have one), women police, the gold escort and Alexander Tolmer. This gallery cannot cover every development within the police force and will evolve over time.
Our Friday meeting on the 3rd September was an informal meeting with a short report by Tony Kaukas about the museum and the direction it is taking. Rex Grieg spoke about the Xmas show on the 3 December 2004 and Bill Rojas spoke about the visit to the Army Museum in October. Full details are attached to your Hue and Cry with a tear off slip to be completed and returned to Tony Woodcock if you wish to attend the lunch.
As I will be in the USA with my wife until the 9th of October, I will miss the next meeting and at least 2 weeks of elections on TV! Although Owen Bevan has been on the sick list with a short stint in hospital, he should be available to stand in for me.
8.00 pm 1ST October, 2004
SPEAKER : HAYDEN McCOMAS – CEO for S.A. Australian Customs
This promises to be a very interesting night and we look forward to seeing you there.
At the Adelaide Gaol Curran, Hughes & Fox were confined in a small stone building named by the prisoners as '”the stone jug”. One night, Kennedy, one of the guards, informed Mr. Ashton, the Governor of the gaol. That he believed the prisoners were filing the rivets of their irons and that their riotous conduct was a ‘cover’ for the sounds made. Surrounding the building with police carrying loaded carbines; Ashton opened the door and cautioned the prisoners. Their irons examined and the cut rivets renewed. The next morning Curran, Hughes and Fox were removed to the Horse Barracks and placed under tighter security. A Smith was employed to fix iron bars on the window of the chosen room. Pleading not guilty he was later charged with dropping tools & screws used in a second escape attempt. This time the filing was disguised by loud snores. Again they were detected with the result of prisoners being fitted with heavier irons.
In consequence of the escape attempts James Collins Hawker (author of “Early Experiences in South Australia” written in 1899) was requested by the Governor to go every evening to the Police Barracks to check on the safety and security of the prisoners. Curran played jigs on the fiddle whilst Hughes danced as well as he was able with the heavy irons he had on. They jeered and laughed trying, in their terms, to “prove brave to the last”.
Mr. C.B. Newenham, the Sheriff, could find no one to act as hangman from within the police force and requested of the Governor a postponement of the execution. Hawker reports Governor Hall replied to this effect:-
“The sentences of Fox, Pye, Collins & Brown have been commuted to transportation for life. As you are aware, some mitigating circumstances having influenced the Juries to recommend them to mercy, but no such recommendation was made, respecting Curran and Hughes, and their execution has been fixed for tomorrow Monday, March, 16, 1840, at 8 o’clock, and must be carried out” Newenham must now have contemplated the awful duty which he would have to perform if no substitute was procurable. However, a man came forward & was welcomed despite his exhorbitant terms. The execution took place at the Old Police Barracks, facing the Torrens River. In consequence of reports of a rescue attempt by “Tiersman” a strong fence was erected with well armed police position (within & without) the barricade. A scaffold was erected in the centre of the barrack square, with steps leading up to the drop platform.
Governor Hall wished Hawker to be present at the execution to inform him immediately if an attempt was made to rescue the prisoners. As follows is his description of the execution, extreme penalty of the law.
“Standing by the steps was a hideous object, a man, masked & padded so as to completely disguise his identity, for he had been known his life would not be safe after his gruesome work had been completed. As the prisoners came out, Hughes, who was smoking a pipe, behaved in a most terrible manner, seeming perfectly insensible to the awful death awaiting him. Then Rev. T.Q. Stow accompanied him to the scaffold, but he refused to listen to the minister’s exhortations, using most blasphemous & foul language, but Curran, who was accompanied by the Rev. Mr. Phillips, a Roman Catholic minister, seemed very penitent & resigned. He also seemed to be shocked at Hughes’ fearful behaviour, & begged him to desist. When the hangman attempted to put the rope around Hughes’ neck, he kicked out at him, dared him to take the mask off his face, & do his duty like a man, using at the same time the vilest language.
The hangman could not go near him, so he had to call for assistance, & the prisoner’s legs had to be strapped together before the rope could be adjusted.
At the sound of the drop-bolt being pulled Hughes made a spring, caught his heels on the edge of the aperture & the rope knot slipped to the back of his neck.
The hangman had just started to leave when he was brought back to rectify the terrible mishap, & after freeing the wretched prisoner’s legs he had to hold on them until the terrible struggles ended which had been caused by the slow strangulations. Curran’s death was instantaneous.
The hangman, on completion of his work, was mounted on a police horse, & with an escort of two troopers slipped away from the stables at the rear of the barracks, & thus evaded any recognition by the tiersmen, who were present in great numbers at the execution, but with the exception of occasional strong language kept much quieter than was expected. Rumour said that the hangman received ₤20 for his work, that the spending of his ill gotten gains led to his identity as an old convict & tiersman, and that he either escaped from the colony or was made away with by his associates.”
REPORT FROM THE N.S.W. COLONIAL
Dated 27/4/1840 to the South Australian Colonial Secretary.
“Sir .... to acquaint you in reply, that the six convicts named in the margin & herein mentioned as having been embarked on board the Mary Reagan for transportation to this Colony (N.S.W.) were duly received from that vessel on her arrival .... and that the sergeant in charge of these prisoners has reported that James Fox, the seventh man mentioned in your communication died on the voyage.”
FROM THE ADELAIDE CHRONICLE – Tuesday 17/3/1840
“However abhorent such exhibitions may be to the feelings of humanity it is absolutely necessary that the hardened villains who escape from punishment in the other colonies should be taught that they have no trifler’s hand to deal with here; and that there is a determination on the part of Government to protect to the utmost the lives and property of its constituents.
We are happy to say that on this occasion justice was tempered with mercy, and that the two other prisoners, against whom sentence of death were recorded, were reprieved, and their sentence commuted to perpetual banishment. A considerable crowd assembled to witness the execution. Several natives were present, upon whom, we doubt not, the awful scene will have a salutary effect.
The greatest decorum prevailed throughout .. There appeared to be one feeling among the assembled crowd, which was that the prisoners deserved their fate.”
----------------------------------------oooo0oooo--------------------------------------As follows is an article from our friends at the Western Australia Police Historical Society Inc.
A somewhat grizzly story of the State’s largest multiple murder
"BOULDER BOMBINGS" "GHASTLY TRAGEDY"
"TERRIBLE SCENES OF SLAUGHTER"
These are among the headlines which greeted the public after what could be described as Western Australia’s largest multiple murder.
The surprising thing about these horrific murders is the fact that they have receded into history without our current generation being aware of this devastating event.
I (Peter Skehan Newsletter Editor) worked with some of the officers who played significant roles on that tragic night, and never once was the event mentioned, nor do I recall any publicity or discussion about these bombings.
It was only in 2003, during discussions with retired Superintendent Graham Lee (recently deceased) that I became aware of this, and other events, in the early part of his police career. He had been stationed at Kalgoorlie at the time.
EXPLOSIONS ROCK BOULDER
The events unfolded on the 1st February 1942. That evening 30 men were playing dice in the dining room at 16 Milton Street, Boulder, a boarding house run by the Kunjunzich family. Just after midnight (2nd.February), without warning, an explosive charge (contained in a metal container) was detonated in the room.
Constable Mick Leeder, on duty in the Boulder Police Station, heard the loud explosion and ran into the street looking for its source. He had not gone far when he When they arrived at the site of the first explosion they were confronted by a scene of total devastation. By shining their torches into the darkness, they were able to see the magnitude of the disaster. The roof of the premises had been completely blown off, and most of the walls demolished.
There were dead and injured entangled in the wreckage, with dreadful cries coming from the wounded and dying. A doctor living nearby, Dr. Hogan, was roused and with Dr. Shanahan, who arrived shortly afterwards, attended to those still alive. Sergeant Carmody, Constables Reilly, Gregory and Gaull were later involved in evacuating the injured and dead from the scene.
Fourteen men died as the result of the bombing, seven instantly, and a further seven within hours of the explosion. Many of the survivors lost limbs in the initial explosion, others suffered fractures, and some the trauma of later amputations.. Spinal injuries caused on-going problems, and burns and severe lacerations added to the victims' distress.
FOURTEEN MURDERED FOURTEEN INJURED Primo Bertelli – 37 years
Peter Bokan (56)
Vido Durasevich (46)
Stipan Dodig (46)
Mate Franich (28)
Mate Grgich (43)
Mate Krivich (42)
Jure Masich (42)
Mirko Misetich (30)
Grgo Selak (45)
Angelidis C. Stefanou (29)
Joze Vegar (36)
Ivan Viskovich (45)
Peter Alerick, 42 years
George Basta (38)
Nicholas Boban (40)
Ivan Brajkovich (40)
George Bryovich (47)
Chris Damson (27)
Valdo Durasovich (26)
Matthew Erceg (52)
Richard Gazevich (40)
Kristo Kosich (40)
Marin Kujunzich (43)
Remo Pavolovich (34)
Boselko Pavolovich (20)
Mate Tomas (44)
The investigation was conducted by Detective Sergeant Lewis and Detective Jones, with Constable Joe Rosich coming from Northam to assist with interpreting.
Inquiries established that, after the initial explosion, the offender had gone to the Launceston Hostel and detonated a further two charges, injuring another four persons, one of them for the second time. Kristo Kosich, 42 years, who lived at the Launceston Hostel, had been in the Milton Street Premises and received leg injuries. He had staggered out in a disorientated state, and made his way to the kitchen of the Launceston Hostel. Shortly afterwards he was confronted by the offender, who tossed a further explosive charge into the premises. Kosich received additional serious injuries. A further charge was detonated in the yard of the Hostel.
Another single minor explosion was heard about an hour later, but its cause and location were not ascertained that night.
Meanwhile, police and doctors were occupied in searching the devastated area, and transporting the injured to hospital. The remains of the dead were removed on corrugated iron sheets blown from the premises. A truck, that was used to convey the dead, broke down en-route to the mortuary, and blood from the victims was seen running onto the roadway, as frantic efforts were made to restart the make-shift hearse.
MYSTERY SOLVED - OFFENDER REVEALED
The mystery of the fourth explosion was solved at 9.30am the same day. The Rev. W.R. Forbes and a Mr. L. Armstrong were walking in the Boulder Cemetery, 2 miles from the Milton Street premises, when they came upon body parts of a male person, scattered around the cemetery. The largest section they found was part of the trunk from the hips down, with other remnants covering a hundred yard radius, some in the canopy of the trees. Two days later, part of the head was located in the general vicinity, together with the right ear, and a strip from the shoulder on which there was a large black wart. The wart proved significant in identifying the body. This, together with the clothing, was identified by witnesses as belonging to Pero Raecivich, 45 years. A local tailor identified the clothing as part of a suit he had made for Raecivich. This was verified by the use of infra-red photography on markings in the pocket. Evidence was given that, whilst at the Milton Street premises on the night of the bombings, Raecivich had made disparaging remarks about the gambling. Other evidence was tendered regarding written material: found in his clothing and in his room. In his summing up the Coroner commented on the material: 'In all these writings reference is made to a certain subject which had preyed on Raecivich's mind and I am drawn to the conclusion that they explain the reasons for the bombing of the Milton Street house and the deaths of the fourteen people." Graham Lee believed these matters related to the War, and to the German invasion of Raecivich's homeland. No doubt this information was suppressed by the authorities in order to prevent further public disquiet over the progress of the War.
The Coroner, Mr. T. Ansell, found that the person responsible for the bombings, and the killing of these fourteen men, as well as the injuries to a further fifteen persons, was one Pero Raecivich, 45 years, born in Bulkovik, Montenegro. He had arrived in Australia in 1928, and lived at the Launceston Hostel, Boulder.
The Coroner held that he was of unsound mind at the time. He delivered a lengthy finding on all the circumstances, and part of those findings are quoted here:
"On the night of February 1, 1942,30 men were playing dice in the dining-room of the house occupied by the Kunjunzich's, known as No 16 Milton Street, Boulder. Without warning, at 12.10 am on February 2, an explosion occurred in this room and from injuries received 14 people died, seven being killed outright. Not one of the witnesses saw any explosive substance placed or thrown into the room by any person. From the medical evidence of the injuries, burns and powder marks on the body of Joze Vegar, it appears that he was very close to the explosion which obviously took place in the dining-room. Further that the explosive was confined in a metal container as metal was removed from George Basta and also from a stool on which some of the players were sitting..."
He went on to say: “I am satisfied from the evidence that the remains in the Boulder Cemetery were those of Pero Raecivich. It is clear that, from the description given of the finding of the remains, he died as the result of injuries received in an explosion. The writings also referred to show an intention to take his life, and I come to the conclusion that this is a case of suicide, and, as I have already said, while of unsound mind."
WAR TAKES PRECEDENCE
Since hearing of this incident, I have reflected on the reasons why this major crime has faded from the memories of the general public and of the police involved. Perhaps it can be explained by the fact that, at this time, Japan had entered the war with their surprise attack on Pearl Harbour on the 7th. November 1941: ............
Continued next month……………...
EXPERIENCES OF A POLICEMAN
: By the late John Sharp
Firstly I was a policeman in the South Australian Police Department, from June 1949 till February 1980. I served in most areas from a beat Policeman to a Detective in the Adelaide C.I.B.
During that time I was involved in Uniformed Point duty, mobile pointsman, local station work & a 2 year period on the motor cycles, I left the Department for 2 years & on my return was appointed to the Anti Larrikin Squad as original member, there were two other constables & a sergeant selected in our squad. Mr. McKenna, the then Commissioner of Police was approached by the Government of the day to get rid of the large groups of larrikins congregating in the streets of the city & suburbs. We were formed in March 1958 there being 2 squads of men (3 men & a sergeant) The squad I was attached to was the first on the streets & for that week we were very busy men.
I will give you some idea of our size & weight.
Firstly there was our Sergeant Steve Tobin - Later an Assistant Commissioner He was 6’6”
Then came Des. Moresy 6’8” (as Des would say he was 5’20”) I came next 6’ 4 ½” at the time. The shortest was Jim McDonnell 6’1” (Jim always felt that he was the poodle tagging on behind.)
Our weights were Tobin 15 stone, Des 19 Stone, John 17 stone & Jim 12 stone = 63 stone or 882 lbs. or about 400 kilos. We just fitted into a 1958 Holden, you could imagine what happened to that car when we all got out of it!
As most of you will recall the 1950s was when the Bodgie & Widgie cult was in full strength, we were there to get rid of them at all costs. Our city streets near the milkbars, fun parlours, dance halls, hotels, Coffee bars, street corners & even Churches had problems with the cult.
The larrikins not only visited the city streets, but were also very much in force later in the suburbs. We felt that we had driven them from the city to the suburbs. Large groups were moved on in the city some 250 & more strong.
We were spat on, abused, kicked & punched as we walked through the large groups to disperse them.
We eventually broke them up but as I said they then congregated in the Suburbs, we then went to Kilburn, Norwood, Unley, Hindmarsh, Glenelg, Port Adelaide, Burnside, St. Georges, Brighton, Parkside and a host of other areas where problems with the larrikins were reported.
Arrests were many & for nearly everything in the law book, from fighting to murder.
I remember the day that an elderly woman was found dead in a house at Parkside, she had been stabbed to death, it was thought. Finally a youth was arrested and charged with her murder & it led to another youth being involved. The first youth told police that he & the other youth played a game of cards & the loser would kill her. The first youth lost & he elected to murder her with rat poison in her coffee, this only made her sick & had very little effect on her. Another game of cards was played & this time the second youth lost & he decided to kill her while she slept. This youth attempted to strangle her, smother, bash & later stabbed her to death.
I was instrumental in arresting this youth at another boarding house in Parkside. We had hidden ourselves in his boarding house during the day & waited for him to return to his room. Late into the evening the other person, living in the same room, left & walked down the passage toward us, this was the signal that the youth had returned. He had climbed in the window to his room. My workmate & I rushed up the passage & ran into the room. I was first & as I entered the door to the room I could see the youth standing beside his bed I continued on into the room & the lights went out. In the darkness I could see nothing, but I could remember exactly where the youth was standing. I had my pistol in my hand & I grabbed at the youth pushing him onto his bed & I lay on top of him pushing the pistol into his ribs as I said “Don’t move” - By this time the lights had come on. The youth who was sleeping in the other bed in the room had a system of strings across the room to the light switch. As I rushed in crouched down, I hit the lower string putting out the light. As my partner was a few steps further behind me & standing upright, raced in & the lights came on as he hit the other string
. I can tell you it was a great experience & one I would not like to go through again. The youth was arrested & put before the courts & given a life sentence. He has since died in jail of a heart attack.
I must tell you there was no bullet in the pistol as the magazine holding the bullets was in my pocket.
Anti Larrikin Squad – Barry Presgrave & Colin Edwin Lehman 1963.
The Following items were taken from the SA Register 1880
September 25 P753 C2 – Discovery of Human Bones – Believed to be of an aboriginal named Mambery Bill. In 1849 PT Battams was escorting a prisoner to Adelaide who had committed A double murder at Nelshaby & Baroota. When crossing the Rocky River, the prisoner’s horse threw him and he was killed on the spot. He was buried at the place referred to.
November 9 P351 C2 – Locusts – A state of affairs never known to exist before – on the plains as far as the eye can reach the only thing discernible are myriad's of locusts. Land laid completely bare by the sad havoc they have made upon the wheat crop, grass and cotton bush. One farmer had 300 acres of splendid crop cleared entirely by the locusts in two days – on many hundreds of acres the reaping machine will not be required.
November 12 P377 C5 – Warning to Drovers – At Mount Remarkable Local Court a drover named Lawsen, in employ of Mr. J.H. Angas of Willowie Station was ordered to pay ₤50 compensation and costs for wilful neglect – by which his employer lost 46 valuable stud rams. Lawsen took delivery of them from the steamer at Port Augusta – then drunk for 10 day & during that time lost of sold the 46 rams.
Rex Greig (not Grieg) is our Vehicle Curator, responsible for all the vehicles in our fleet including a collection of motorcycles, Chrysler royal, Bedford prison van, the Black Maria, replica spring cart (Tolmer gold escort replica) and is currently working on the restoration of the F.J. Holden sedan
Rex is ideally suited for his job with his previous experience as a traffic man and his skills with spray painting and welding. He, along with a team of very able volunteers, maintains all the vehicles and co-ordinates requests for vehicle displays and parades.
He is an active member of the Executive committee and is always willing to be involved in other areas of the Society.
Thank you Rex, your efforts are appreciated.
The “HUE & CRY” is
Published by the
Police Historical Society Inc.,
Thebarton Police Barracks
C/- G.P.O. Box 1539