INSIDE THIS ISSUE
Blast From the Past
Volunteers in Action
Next Month's Meeting
Police Cadets - Physical
Training at Barracks.
Tim Ferguson Instructor.Can you help us identify any of these young men?
August was another busy month for our volunteers with visits by the Masters Association, the Collinswood Probus club, the Gawler Probus and Brighton Probus clubs. The Gawler Probus club was led by John Tennant (retired) who was in charge of the Mounted Cadre many years ago. We enjoyed some of the stories with members of the current mounted members who put on a very special display for the occasion.
On Thursday the 28th August we had a visit by William Ney – a Police Chaplain from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, with Terry Natt a SA Police Chaplain. William is on exchange for 6 months and was visiting various areas of SAPOL. He is in charge of 60 chaplains in Edmonton and enjoyed our BBQ lunch.
We took the opportunity to say farewell to Doug Cox, the Storeman in the Mounted Section who retired on the 29th.
Doug has been a good friend to our volunteers assisting us wherever possible and is a real character. He is looking forward to relaxing with a fishing rod in hand.
Shirley Hayward is still on the sick list, in Amity at Morphettville, and may not be returning to her home for some time. She really appreciates visitors and certainly needs some encouragement as she was hoping to be back to normal by this time.
On Friday the 5th September our 274th meeting featured the celebration of Dorothy Pyatt’s 90th Birthday with a cake and the “OBN” certificate.
Our guest speaker was retired Police Officer Ken Duffield who spoke of his wide ranging experience in the city and country areas. He told some very funny and some very moving stories of his experiences and spoke of his association with native peoples at various times during his career. His talk was greeted with unanimous applause and I presented him with a Certificate of Appreciation and a book in thanks.
The raffle raised $79.00 and the meeting closed with supper which included Dorothy Pyatt’s birthday cake. There may still be some left for our Thursday group.
Our next meeting will be on Friday the 3rd of October and will feature Society Member - Chief Inspector Bill Prior, who will talk about the Police band’s visit to Germany last year and will be accompanied by some video footage. Unfortunately, I will be unable to attend as my wife and I will be touring the UK until November.
As a result of extensive research carried out by our Honorary Historian Allan Peters the following three deceased Police Officers, who died in performance of their duty, have now been approved for memorialisation in South Australia.
SAPOL has prepared a submission to nominate these members for inclusion on the South Australian memorials for the National Police Memorial.
Joined S.A. Police on April 6th, 1854, at the age of thirty three. He was stationed at Adelaide and Echunga, died as the result of a fall from his horse at Echunga on May 31st, 1855. It was believed that the deceased was on his way to Watergate or Macclesfield in response to a complaint lodged earlier that day at the station.
HENRY KEMP BROWN NIXON:
Joined S.A. Police on January 5th, 1854. Was severely wounded on September lst, 1855 when a native prisoner whom he had arrested for the alleged rape of a nine year old European girl named Hannah Phillis managed to take possession of Nixon’s sword and brutally beat him almost to death with it. Leaving the policeman with deep cuts and gashes to the head, neck and face. Upon the death of the policeman on October 15th, 1861 (six years after the attack) his cause of death was shown as having resulted from “disease of the brain” with the attending doctor directly contributing the death to the injuries he received six years earlier.
Joined S.A. Police on November 5th, 1880. Transferred to the Northern Territory on February 1st, 1882. Died February 1884. Very little supporting information is available. One newspaper account claims that he drowned “when on his way to assist the Gold Fields Escort, he got into a creek after dark and was swept away.” The other slightly varying description from the Northern Territory Police Historical Society states “Whilst Constable Charlesworth was searching for an overdue mail coach, his horse got into difficulties in the swollen Peter’s Creek, just north west of Adelaide River. He was thrown from his horse and due to his clothing and boots dragging him down, was unable to get back up and drowned” While some of the minor details vary there is no doubt that Charlesworth was drowned whilst on duty.
Allan is to be commended for the tremendous amount of work he has put it, over many years, to ensure that these brave police officers receive the recognition they so justly deserve.
By Allan Peters.
SAN FRANCISCO -
Authorities have arrested two teenagers for stealing a pair of koalas from the San Francisco Zoo. What would a couple of young kids want with the expensive, exotic and hard-to-care-for animals? Not to sell them for a profit, but to show off to their girlfriends. Zoo officials said the thieves appeared to have broken through a skylight and slipped into the koala exhibit. It was unreported whether the stunt had the desired effect on the girlfriends. The teens, however, were much impressed with the charges of burglary, possession of stolen property and grand theft.
TEENS JAILED FOR SELLING FRIEND:
Grand Rapids, MI - Four teenage girls face charges that they allegedly sold a 14-year-old acquaintance to four men for $80. The four girls range in age from 15 to 17. Three of them attended school with the victim. They're facing possible life in prison if convicted. Police Detective Karl Holzhueter said he was "shocked" by the crime. In his words - "You look at these girls, the suspects, and they are all so young looking. It just doesn't seem possible that they could have done this." The suspects allegedly picked up the victim at her home Sept. 29th and told her they'd received letters from a friend in jail who claimed the girl owed a drug debt. They threatened to beat her unless she sold her body to work off the debt.
TEEN FOILS ABDUCTION ATTEMPT:
A Coos Bay, Oregon man was guilty of bad judgment as well as assault when he attempted to abduct a 15-year-old girl. After wrestling her into his truck and driving off, the tough teen knocked him unconscious against the steering wheel. She then rolled the truck off a 20-foot embankment, crashing it on the rocky beach below. The girl told police she has taken several self-defense classes.
PIZZA—WITH THE LOT!!
A young man with dreams of being a pizza delivery boy was arrested after going knocking on the doors of an apartment complex wearing nothing but a baseball hat. The man was caught while trying to jump over a fence and was booked in thirty minutes or less.
Two undercover policewomen running a prostitution sting in Dothan, Alabama., in October declined to arrest a pickup-truck-driving john, around age 70, despite his three attempts to procure their services. He first offered to give the women the three squirrels he had just shot, but they ignored him (too much trouble to store the evidence). A few minutes later, he added to the offer the used refrigerator in his truck, but the officers again declined (same reason). On the third trip, he finally offered cash: $6, but without the squirrels and refrigerator. The officers again declined but said they resolved to arrest him if he returned, but he did not.
DALLAS - An argument between two nursing home residents ended in fatality when one of the men assaulted the other with a dresser drawer and a cane. According to homicide Sgt. Gary Kirkpatrick Jose Amador, 45, is accused of murdering 54-year old Elzie Callahan on Saturday in their room at the Professional Care Centre in northwest Dallas. Amador is also charged with assaulting a nurse's aide who went to help Callahan. She was hit over the head with Amador's cane, but was not seriously injured. Amador was finally subdued and is being held on $150,000 bond at the Lew Sterrett Justice Centre.
MAN STEALS $82,000 WORTH OF ELECTRICITY :
A 91-year-old Utah man, who authorities said drew free electricity from a nearby power line for decades, finally faces theft charges. Clarence Stucki is charged with stealing about $82,000 worth of power -- but officials from Logan Light and Power said Stucki admitted tapping into the line as early as World War II, so the total is likely much higher. The statute of limitations, however, prevents Stucki from being charged what the power company considers the full amount. The old crook would still be getting away with it if he hadn't called his local utility to complain about an outage. Crews correcting the problem discovered the diverted connection on the roof.
FIRST OFFICER KILLED ON DUTY:
By BRAD WATTS
Sydney FOOT POLICEMAN Constable Joseph Luker was recorded as the first police officer to be killed on duty in Australia, in 1803.
On August 26, during a routine night patrol of Back Row East – where a series of robberies had occurred – Constable Luker, originally a convict, was viciously attacked by a number of offenders and beaten to death.
Luker was deported from Middlesex and arrived in Jervis Bay on board the Atlantis in 1791, as part of the third fleet. The voyage took 146 days from England.
In 1796 Luker was declared a freeman and became a police constable. When he was attacked, he reportedly suffered l6 horrific head wounds and his cutlass was embedded in his skull when found dead, aged 38. Four offenders later faced court for his murder – they were Joseph Samuels,. Isaac Simmonds, Richard Jackson and James Hardwicke. Three were acquitted (as were two fellow constables).
The Death of Constable Luker 1803 by Wayne Davis, ink on Paper, 20 cm x 30 cm (Danny Webster collection).
Samuels was originally sentenced to death but this was eventually commuted when three attempts to hang him failed. Simmonds was strongly suspected of having been involved in Constable Luker’s death, but this allegation was never sustained.
(This article appeared in the Canberra Times National Police Memorial Special Supplement 29.9.2006)
A Dreadful Misfortune
and a Lucky Break.
You will remember last month that Chas.received a call informing him that a young man had reported to the police at Rosewater the discovery of a woman’s body lying in a mangrove swamp adjacent to the North Arm of the Port River. His story continues ….
At Rosewater I interviewed a young man who had discovered the body of the woman. He informed me that he had walked along an earthen embankment in this isolated area, and had been shooting birds. He shot at one bird and believed that it had been wounded, so he walked through the trees in the swamp in order to retrieve it. It was then that he discovered the body of a woman. He did not inspect the corpse, but went as soon as possible to report the find.
The embankment had been built at the turn of the nineteenth century so that salt pans could be formed on the landward side. It extended for several miles to Dry Creek where salt is still being harvested; however, the pans adjacent to the Port River have long since been abandoned.
The embankment was about ten feet (2.5 metres) high, and it was wide enough for a vehicle to be driven on it, provided that due care was taken.
At about 6 pm the young man accompanied me to the scene. We drove about a mile along the embankment when the youth pointed to a marker which he had left at the edge of the road. We found the body in the mangroves some 30 feet (9 metres) from the edge of the bank. The area was thoroughly searched for possible clues, but nothing was found.
I contacted headquarters via car radio to make arrangement for a police photographer to attend, but because it was Christmas Eve, most of the police staff were not on duty, and many were away from home celebrating. Thus it was not until about 3 am before a photographer arrived. In the meantime, except for asking for an ambulance to be called, all that I could do was wait.
Eventually the body was removed by ambulance to the City Mortuary, and all in attendance at the scene were able to leave. The embankment was not wide enough for us to turn our vehicles and it was, therefore, necessary for us to reverse them for about a mile.
It is not infrequently that detectives are obliged to be on duty for a long time without sleep and, on this occasion, I was on duty from 8 am on Christmas Eve until 11 am on Christmas Day!
At the mortuary it was confirmed that the body was that of Mrs. Gwynne. A pathological examination of the victim showed that she had been raped and strangled.
It was possibly a million to one chance that the body would have been found, even after a very long time, since the area was isolated, and the change of finding it only one day after the disappearance would have been even more remote. Thus there was what could be called a very lucky break.
The victim had no known relatives, but all who were closely associated with her were interviewed.
From these interviews we found out that shortly before her disappearance Mrs. Gwynne had spent several weeks at a sanatorium at Angorichina in the northern Flinders Ranges.
We were told that she had received a Christmas card from another patient who had also been there at the time, and that this patient acted irrationally at times; for example, despite the summer heat, he had walked about 20 miles from Angorichina to Blinman and back simply buy a packet of cigarettes.
The man was living at Rosewater, not far from the scene of the crime, and we, therefore, had a promising lead, and had high hopes of an early arrest.
We went to the address, but had to wait some six hours until he returned. However, when he was questioned he was able to prove that he was not involved. Naturally this was rather disappointing: we had followed a false lead, not uncommon in a police investigation.
As a result of extensive media coverage, we received invaluable information from several men who had been working near the embankment on the day when Mrs. Gwynne disappeared. They had seen the driver of a blue sedan car endeavouring to turn it while on the embankment, and also that the scar had slid fro it, and was stuck. They had, therefore, gone to his assistance and had managed to return it to the carriageway.
Together with the men, we went to the site, where they were able to indicate the footprints left in the muddy soil by the driver. Plaster casts of these were taken, as well as those of the treads of the vehicle. Fortunately they were also able to give us a good description of the man and his car.
Further enquiries where then made at the nursing home where the victim had lived, and we were given a description of a wharf labourer named William Henry Feast, and of his car. These matched the descriptions which had been given to us. Feast was well known at the nursing home, and was keeping company with a female cook who worked there. In fact, he had often called and had meals there. He lived at a boarding house in Maylands, a neighbouring suburb.
Unfortunately for us he had not returned there after the murder.
Not long after this, we were informed that the suspect had previously been convicted in Western Australia of a sexual offence.
Consequently, all relevant information in relation to the case was promulgated nationally via the media, and a description and photo of the suspect were sent to all state police forces.
Only a few days later, Feast was identified by a detective as he was boarding a tram in Melbourne. He was arrested and an order was made for his extradition to South Australia. I went to Melbourne and escorted him back by plane. Like some others who had not flown before, he was very fearful during the flight, becoming agitated whenever there was turbulence.
He admitted his involvement, but claimed that he had been affected by liquor when he committed the offence. He had seen Mrs. Gwynne leave the nursing home to post a letter, and had offered her a ride in his car.
Having often been in his company when having meals, she know and trusted him, and accepted his offer. He then drove her to the isolated are where the murder was committed.
east was brought before the Port Adelaide Magistrates Court on 17th January, 1956, and as a result of the hearing was committed for trial. At the hearing he was represented by Mr. G. Hollidge, a well known barrister who was renowned for his ability.
Before the commencement of the trial a woman came forward and informed us that she had met the accused at a hotel in Port Adelaide a few weeks before the murder and had gone to a nearby beach with him. At the beach he attempted to commit what could be called perverted acts with her but, because it was still daylight and there were other people in the vicinity, she was able to escape.
It was evident that Feast, who was forty two years of age, had a penchant for older women. The cook at the nursing home was some years older than Feast, and the woman he met at the hotel was in her mid-sixties. Of course, Mrs. Gwynne at age seventy nine, was very much older again.
The case went to trial in the Supreme Court in February 1956, and other than a claim by defence counsel that Feast did not realize what he was doing because he was affected by liquor, the case was not contested.
Geoff Menz & Nelda Philp . .
We Welcome you …….
Friday 3rd October 2008.
SPEAKER: Chief Inspector Bill Prior.
SUBJECT: The Police Band in Germany.
Between April 2001 and January this year Bill prior was the Officer in Charge, Community Programs Support Branch. In that role Bill performed a number of duties, including Officer in Charge, Band of the South Australia Police and Executive member of the Police Historical Society.
In January Bill travelled with the Band to Bremen Germany, where they performed at the 44th Annual Musikschau Der Nationen event. Bill will give an overview of the logistics involved in preparing to attend such an event and show a video of some highlights of the event.
From the Archives
Adelaide Advertiser March 23rd, 1956
PORT KILLER TO HANG TOMORROW:
William Henry Feast, 42, will be hanged at the Adelaide Gaol at 8 am tomorrow.
At a special meeting yesterday, Executive Council decided not to interfere with the death sentence passed on Feast for the murder of Mrs. Eunice Flora Gwynne, 79, a widow of St. Peters. The murder was committed in a swamp at Port Adelaide on December 22.
Executive Council rejected a petition for the repeal of the death sentence. The petition, prepared by Feast’s legal advisers, asked for a reprieve mainly on the grounds that Feast was drunk at the time of the murder and did not know what he was doing. Feast did not appeal.
For an hour before the execution the road leading to the gaol will be cordoned off to prevent unauthorized visitors. The death sentence was last carried out in S.A. on August 26, 1953, when Joan [sic] Balaban, 29, industrial chemist, was hanged for the murder of Zora Kusic at Torrensville.
Adelaide Advertiser March 24th, 1956
PORT KILLER HANGED:
William Henry Feast, 42 wharf laborer, the Port Adelaide swamp murderer, was hanged at the Adelaide Gaol at 8 am yesterday. Feast walked quietly to the scaffold attended by two priests. Only a few officials were present at the execution.
Feast was sentenced to death in the Supreme Court on February 24 for the murder of Mrs. Flora Eunice Gwynne, on December 22nd.
Wild Toby's Rampage.
by Allan Peters.
In the early 1880s a notorious aborigine known as Wild Toby, terrorized the district between Roma and Taroom, in Queensland. He was a daring and elusive scoundrel to whose villainy, it was said, there was no limit. He was responsible, at that time, for most of the local criminal activities.
On one occasion he visited the homestead of a station some distance from Taroom, when the owner, who had been married for just six or seven weeks, was out on the run mustering with the stockmen. His wife, an old native housekeeper and an old man, who used to potter about the place, were the only people at the homestead. They were not able to offer serious resistance to Toby when he abducted the young mistress of the house and took her to his bush camp where he kept her against her will for a day and night.
Surprisingly he did not murder the woman and dispose of her body in the bush. Instead he let her go and she managed to find her way back home.
An all out effort was made to capture Toby, and about three weeks later, a particularly skillful bush policeman, Mounted Constable James Edwards, succeeded in doing so.
Edwards took Wild Toby in chains to the nearest cattle station, where he put up for the night, for he had had a grueling time tracking, and capturing the aboriginal outlaw, and had barely eaten or slept in the past several days.
There was an old-fashioned storeroom at the homestead – an excavation about eighteen feet (5.5 metres) long and eight feet (2.5 metres) deep. It was roofed with heavy squared logs, and the sides and ends were lined in similar fashion. Toby was put into this and chained to one of the upright logs, and was considered to be absolutely secure. But when Constable Edwards went to the storeroom at daybreak, Toby was gone, having worked the log, to which he had been chained, loose and burrowed his way out.
When a confirmed sighting of Toby was reported at Juandah Station some weeks later. A small police party, consisting of Sergeant William Wright, Constable William Dwyer, and a tracker, set out from Taroom, in pursuit.
Early on the morning January 26, 1883 the lawmen spotted a spiral of smoke some distance away on Sandy Creek. Both policemen were armed with revolvers and the tracker was carrying a Snider rifle. The party cautiously made their way in the direction of the smoke and there, large as life was the ferocious looking, Wild Toby. He had obviously not heard their approach and was standing alongside the rotted stump of a fallen tree, about fifty yards (50 metres) from his fire. Beside the fire were three spears stuck in the ground, and a nulla nulla. Noting this, the policemen cut off him from the weapons and called on him to surrender.
Toby never moved, except to put up his hands when ordered to, he stood there facing his captors, his back to the old tree stump until the police came right up to him. Constable Dwyer dismounted from his horse and went up to the prisoner to secure him with handcuffs.
Just as he was putting out his hand to seize Toby, the native raised up his right foot, with a tomahawk held between the toes; his right hand instantly grasped it, and before the policeman could react to the danger the tomahawk was buried to the handle in his brain. Constable Dwyer died instantly.
Wright, who was still mounted on his horse and had Toby covered with his revolver, fired four shots into him in succession. The bullets seemed to have no effect on Toby as he made a rush for the weapons near the fire. He grabbed up the nulla nulla, and threw it at Wright with such force that it very nearly unhorsed him. Wright at the same time fired the last bullet in his revolver and by good fortune it hit Toby in the jaw knocking him unconscious to the ground. Before Toby regained consciousness, the other bullets had also taken effect and left him in a state of collapse. He died within a few minutes of regaining his senses.
At the subsequent inquest, which was held at Juandah Station to inquire into the death of the outlaw, it was shown that each of the first three shots fired into Toby’s chest and abdomen had inflicted fatal injuries. Yet, after being so wounded, Toby managed to reach his weapons near his campfire and then though mortally wounded, very nearly killed Sergeant Wright and probably would have done so had the chance shot in the jaw not knocked him senseless.
As it was, the nulla nulla inflicted such injury to Sergeant Wright’s hip that he walked with a noticeable limp for the rest of his days.
The black tracker, in contrast to the many heroic deeds performed by his numerous counterparts, played an inglorious part in the matter. He disappeared the instant Dwyer was killed, taking with him the one weapon that could have been of most benefit to Sergeant Wright. In excuse of his action, the tracker later said that his horse bolted when the sergeant fired his revolver.
Mounted Constable Dwyer was buried at Juandah Station not far from the homestead, and Mr. Ryder, the owner of the station, later arranged to have the grave suitably fenced and cared for.I
Yes it’s getting close to that time of year again and preparations are in hand for our Christmas Celebration on Saturday the 6th December.
We are in the process of organising the Christmas Raffle and would appreciate any donations of prizes suitable for this special fundraiser.
Donations can be dropped off at the Society on Thursdays during the months of September and October, or at any of our Monthly Meetings.
Several groups have visited us during the month of August keeping our volunteers very busy.
On Wednesday 20th August Members from the ‘82 Masters Association and the Collinswood Probus Club joined us for morning tea and a tour of the Museum, vehicle shed & the stables.
On the 27th August Gawler Para Probus & Brighton Probus Clubs spent a very busy day with us and enjoyed a very informative time with the Mounted Division with former Mounted Officer John Tennant sharing his many entertaining memories of his time in this area.
Tour donations and sales of memorabilia have once again boosted the society’s funds and we sincerely thank all those volunteers who are so generous with their time and energy on behalf of the Society.
The “HUE & CRY” is Published by the
South Australian Police Historical Society Inc.,
Thebarton Police Barracks
C/- G.P.O. Box 1539