|INSIDE THIS ISSUE
On the 29th of September each year we commemorate the lives of those officers killed in the execution of their duty as part of National Police Remembrance Day. The main ceremony will be at Fort Largs (please refer to the separate article for times). Our Society will also be represented at the Banrock Station ceremony where the members of the Murray Mallee Local Service Area commemorate the lives of Officers Wickham and Carter, the first two South Australia Police officers to die in the execution of their duties. You are all welcome to attend either of these important ceremonies.
I have also received a letter from the Secretary of the South Australian Retired Police Officers Association, inviting us to join with them for their Annual Picnic which will be held at Fort Largs Academy on Sunday the 17th October 2010. If you are also a member of the Retired Members Association, there is no cost, but the cost for non-members is just $5:00. This is a great opportunity to join with the Retired members and share ‘old tales’ and other stories, so I encourage as many of you as possible to attend. You should arrive at approximately 11:00am for a 12 mid-day start. We must advise numbers attending, so please advise me as soon as possible if you are able to attend and I will forward your reply to the Secretary.
The Guest Speaker for our September meeting was (Retired) Senior Sergeant Mick Joseph, who gave an interesting and very informative outline of policing in Mount Gambier from the 1840’s through to the 1890’s. Mick was stationed at Mt Gambier in the late 1970’s and early1980’s and while there conducted significant research into his topic during a period that he was incapacitated. His research included reading many of the original Mt Gambier Station journals and of the local newspapers (particularly the Border Watch) spanning some 35 years.
It was apparent from Mick’s address that life in those times was not easy, but interestingly, many of the issues faced by the officers were not dissimilar to those of today. In particular he spoke of concerns the local residents had of young men attending the hotel, then when leaving, ‘riding furiously through the town on their horses’. As Mick stated, today they use a car and we call it ‘hoon driving’.
Mick was thanked for his address and presented with a Certificate of Appreciation and a copy of ‘Tales of the Troopers’ a book written by Jean Schmaal, a woman Mick recognised in his address as a person who had provided him with significant assistance during the period of his research
The Advertiser, Friday 4 April 1930, page 27.
TRAFFIC CONSTABLE KILLED
CYCLE COLLIDES WITH TRAM
WHILE CHASING MOTOR CYCLIST
When travelling along Henley Beach Road, Mile-End, yesterday morning, in an endeavour to overtake a motor cyclist, a police motor- cycle with a sidecar attached, collided with a tramcar. One constable was killed, and the other was slightly injured. They were:—
Motor Traffic Constable Andrew MacBorongh Copley (25), married, of Penong-avenue, Colonel Light Gardens.
Motor Traffic Constable Richard Gordon Booth (23). married, of Morphettville Park.
The accident occurred shortly after 8.30 o'clock. Constable Copley was driving the machine, and Constable Booth was in the sidecar. It was stated that they were returning towards Adelaide, after having been on special duty on the Henley Beach Road, to take action against drivers who passed stationary tramcars at a greater speed than six miles an hour. They were pursuing a motor cycle, which was travelling west, and when midway between the stopping places at the Savings Bank and the corner of Fisher terrace, they swung their bicycle out to pass on the right side of a tramcar proceeding the same way.
Swung out Too Late.
They had just cleared the track when the driver noticed a tramcar coming towards them. Constable Copley swung the machine to the left, and Constable Booth leaned out of the sidecar to help in the turn. It was too late; the tram car was upon them, and it struck the machine on the right-hand side.
Constable Copley received severe head injuries and a fractured right knee. He was placed on a passing lorry and driven to the Adelaide Hospital, but was dead on arrival. Constable Booth's left arm was wedged in between the sidecar and the mudguard, and his arm could not be released until the bicycle had stopped.
He was taken to the Adelaide Hospital, and after treatment he was allowed to go home.
First-aid was rendered to the sufferers by Mrs. J. Easton. who lived nearby. Several cars, which were proceeding towards Adelaide, were held up for about 10 minutes. The front of the tramcar was slightly damaged. The headlight, right step, handlebars, and the petrol tank of the motor cycle were damaged. Since the inauguration of the traffic branch in April. 1922, this is the first fatal accident.
Very Popular Officer.
Inspector G. Horseman (officer in charge of the branch) stated that he could not speak too highly of the late constable. He was very popular, and was always cheerful and bright, and was a member of the motor traffic cricket team and the Police Athletic Club.
Constable Copley was born at Plympton on July 4, 1904, and joined the police force on January 3, 1928. After being in the force for four mouths he was transferred to the traffic branch.
He leaves a wife and two children. Constable Copley will be accorded a police funeral, which will leave his residence at 3.30 o'clock this afternoon for the West-terrace Cemetery.
Reference in Court.
Messrs. F. W. Harrop and James Fowler, sitting in the Traffic Court yesterday, asked the Assistant Police Prosecutor (Mr. J. A. Buttfield) to convey their sympathy to the relatives of the late Traffic Constable Copley.
National Library of Australia.
Letter to the editor.
From Geoff Cardwell (Riverland CIB) “I just wanted to give you a footnote regarding your article on the Death of S/C Barr in 1990 as I was the arresting officer who with very limited assistance from the Major Crime Squad arrested Lindsay Alan Fry and I am also described as the ‘Police Officer in the court to hear the sentence’. I was a Detective at Elizabeth CIB at the time. I’d also like you to know that Lindsay Allen Fry at 61years of age was discovered dead in his cell at Yatala Labour prison on 28th March 2009; he died of a suspected heart attack. Now with the passing of Fry, David and Gwenda ends a dreadful era for a most unfortunate family.
Thank you and continued the good work”
The Argus (Melbourne, Vic.), Friday 1 August 1930, page 11 (Follows on from the Battle of Enfield last month)
FIGHT WITH CONVICTS.
ADELAIDE, Thursday; The story was retold today of the battle at Enfield between the police and four prisoners who escaped from Yatala labour prison on July l8, when two convicts were shot dead and others were recaptured. The two recaptured are in custody on remand, on charges of escaping and attempted murder.
The coroner (Mr. H. M. Muirhead S.M) held an inquest to-day into the death of Arthur Harold Harrington aged 27 years, rabbit trapper, one of the men who were shot, and after hearing evidence, announced that he would deliver his finding tomorrow morning.
According to Dr. Lynch five bullets struck Harrison, the one which caused death penetrating the lungs and heart.
The coroner commended for his courage, B M Menadue the driver of the corporation lorry which was commandeered by the convicts, and on which they were riding when they were shot.
Mr. Dete SEKULLA,
Ms Elizabeth DINOS;
Mr. & Mrs. Kevin and Meryl KELLY;
Mr. Ian BRIDESON
We Welcome you to the SA Police Historical Society Incorporated.
Our next monthly meeting will be held on Friday the 1st October 2010 at 7-30pm and will feature Band Member S/C Neil Percy who will be speaking about the S A Police Band’s visit to the 2010 Basel Tattoo, Switzerland.
The Observer November 6th, 1909.
FIGHT IN THE DARK.
SENSATION AT HINDMARSH. FOURTEEN SHOTS EXCHANGED.
A plucky arrest.
The fatal shooting of Constables Hyde and Ring has made the public aware of the dangers in which the police are constantly moving. At Hindmarsh early on Thursday morning there was a brush between the police and a burglar, the narrative of which is as sensational as any that has happened for some time. Fortunately however, the police suffered no injury from four shots fired by an assailant, and there is the added satisfaction that the man who is said to have fired the shots has been arrested, after a plucky chase by two constables.
Followed a Man.
F.C. Moulden, stationed at Hindmarsh, reported to the Watchouse on Thursday morning that at about 12 o’clock on Wednesday night, when on duty, in company with F.C. Nicholls, near the corner of Wells Street and the Port Road, he saw a man walk away from the front door of Mr. L.E. Rowe’s furniture shop, situated on the corner of those streets. He walked out on to the road in the direction of the plantation, which is in the middle of the Port Road, and the constables thereupon followed him.
Police Fired At.
Moulden called out, “I am a police constable, and I want to speak to you.” The stranger, then walked hurriedly alongside the plantation fence in the direction of Adelaide. F.C. Nicholls rushed across to get in front of him, when the man turned round and ran in the opposite direction. Moulden again called out, and when within 9 feet of the latter, the fugitive stood for a moment, whipped out a revolver, and fired at the constable’s face. Moulden felt the whizz of the bullet as it passed his right cheek.
A Running Fire.
The stranger then took to his heels, with the constables in hot pursuit, and a running fight in the dark was entered upon. Shots were freely exchanged, and altogether the fugitive had ten bullets ineffectively sent after him. Six of them were fired by Moulden, and four by Nicholls. The chase continued for about 200 yards and when the constables drew up with their quarry he threw the revolver he had been using which struck Nicholls a heavy blow on the thigh. F.C. Moulden then grappled with him and Nicholls coming to his assistance, the man was secured.
F.C. Moulden arrested him on a charge of attempted murder, and when cautioned he replied, “You are lucky that I did not settle the pair of you.” The street lamps were out at the time and the night was particularly dark. Nicholls picked up the revolver, which the prisoner had thrown on the ground, and the man was taken to the Hindmarsh Police Station. There he gave the name of Bruce Root, and stated he lived in Nelson Street, Stepney. As the result of a search, the officers found in his possession a number of skeleton keys, two woollen socks [used to guard against the possibility of leaving telltale fingerprints], and one unspent revolver cartridge.
A Haul of Utensils.
Afterwards, in company with Sergeant Radford and F.C. Nicholls, Moulden went to Rowe’s shop, where the prisoner had been noticed to walk from. The door was found to be open and in the plantation across the road were found a washing copper, 3 kettles, 2 iron tubs, 9 tin dishes, 2 dippers, 2 pannikins, and a broom. The skeleton keys were tried on the door of Row's shop and it was discovered that one of them would lock and unlock it; in fact, the police were of the opinion that they would open any door in the town. The man was wearing a large pair of felt slippers.
A Woman Arrested.
At about 5 o’clock on Thursday morning, Sergeant Radford and F.Cs. Moulden and Nicholls went to a house in Frost Street Brompton Park and saw a woman there who the prisoner said was his mother.
They went into a room which was apparently occupied by the woman and found a five chambered revolver, fully loaded on the dressing table. In this room also were several large trunks, containing new drapery, articles of clothing, etc. When asked where she had obtained them, the woman said she had purchased them. The police, however, considered that she had not given a proper account of them and detained her on a charge of unlawful possession of goods. At the police station the woman gave the name of Eva Ussher, and stated that she was a widow. The man who called himself Bruce Root is understood to be Bruce Ussher. It is remarkable that, although over a dozen shots were fired in the street, that not one took effect, although the bullet that grazed Moulden’s cheek represented a close call.
The goods found in the room were mainly piecestuff drapery. There were blankets, linoleum, boots, and other articles on an estimated value of fully £100. Mr. H.J.L. Worthley, draper and mercer of Port Road, Brompton Park recognised certain boots as his. On Thursday last Mr. Worthley found the back door of his shop open and several pair of boots scattered about. He did not miss any boots, and until he saw the footwear at Ussher’s house did not know that anything of his had been stolen. Mr. Rowe however, had from time to time missed goods. About a month ago he lost all trace of a couple of pairs of blankets, and a nickel clock. He considered that a heavy roll of linoleum which was among the rest of the spoil was his, and altogether that Ussher had about £20 worth of his goods. It is believed that much of the linen goods came from a shop at Norwood, where there was recently a burglary.
Shooting at the Police.
Ussher imprisoned for life.
Eva Ussher  and Bruce Ussher  were charged at the Criminal Court on Wednesday with having stolen on or about September 4, three pairs of blankets, three alarm clocks, and other articles, together of the value of £3/16/6; and on or about September 4, one hearthrug and other articles worth £7/12/3, the property of Louis Edward Rowe, Hindmarsh. The Crown Solicitor [Mr. Dashwood. K.C.] prosecuted, and Mr. B.S. Penny appeared with Mr. F.V. Smith, for the accused, who pleaded not guilty.
The Jury returned a verdict of guilty against both the accused.
Two Years for Mother.
Mr. Justice Homburg, said he fully concurred with that decision. There was no doubt that Mrs. Ussher was aware for months that her son was a thief, and that large quantities of goods found in her room were ill-gotten property. It was a pity a woman of her age, against whom there was no previous record of a conviction, should stand in the dock as a malefactor. She would be ordered two years’ imprisonment with hard labour.
The Son’s Crimes.
The male accused had previously pleaded guilty to charges of having, at Hindmarsh on November 14, shot at Constables Henry Moulden and George Harold Nicholls with intent to kill and murder them. He also admitted the theft on September 13, at Adelaide, of a bicycle valued at £8, the property of Eustace Cowper Black.
His Honour said the young man was guilty of four serious felonies – two in attempting to kill Constables Moulden and Nicholls, and two charges of larceny. The only suitable place for him was the Stockade. He hoped however, that Ussher by his conduct in prison, would be able at some future time to satisfy the authorities that it would be prudent to discharge him either conditionally or unconditionally. For the deliberate attempted murder he had no hesitation in sentencing the accused to imprisonment for life on each of the counts, and to two years’ imprisonment on each of the charges of larceny.
Ussher, who had a few minutes before, leaned forward in the dock and scowled in an ugly and threatening manner at F.C. Moulden, was then escorted away, his face a picture of misery.
AN EVENT IN THE LIFE AND TIMES OF AN OUTBACK POLICEMAN.
By Jim Sykes. B.E.M.
Superintendent (Retired) South Australia Police Force.
Having served in the South Australia Police Force for 42 years from 1942, I retired but kept up my activities in a number of community services. For 23 years I did voluntary work for the South Australian Police Historical Society. Over the past few years, I decreased my physical contribution and embarked on writing police history with another Society member. The books we edited and published have been very popular.
Recently I came across an old 35mm colour slide of an event which occurred many years ago and realised it would make a good story in part of the “Life and Times of an Outback Policeman”
During the late 1950s I was stationed at the town of Marree in the far North of South Australia. It was a one-man station and my patrol district was about 400 by 300 miles. When I arrived I found I had about 25 or so extraneous duties to perform for other government departments as well as my police duties. I was appointment Commissioner for taking affidavits in and for The Supreme Court of South Australia. This meant I had my regular patrols to remote areas to carry out those duties. Some of these related to the movement of cattle and others of a personal nature such as driving licenses, firearms licenses, service of summonses, executing warrants’ Keeper of the Pound, Crown Lands Ranger and Keeper of the Marree Commonage in addition to meeting all the workers and owners of many cattle stations. All along the railway line between Marree and Oodnadatta there were fettlers’ camps about 30 miles apart. There were about 9, each housing about 30 track workers. I also represented the Aboriginal Protection Board and so looked after the welfare of aborigines and saw that they were well clothed, healthy and had the proper accommodation while working as cattle hands. The natives kept a lot of dogs which they fed with their rations and other food which was given to them by the station owner/manager.
In many cases I was required to keep dogs to a manageable number to ensure the natives did not starve. Some camps had between 50 and 100 mongrel dogs.
My patrols were random, primarily to stop the natives and law breakers moving on before I arrived. Usually that worked with the white population but the aborigines had the uncanny ability to “know” when I was likely to be around.
Patrols varied in a number of directions - west to Andamooka and surrounds - north to Anna Creek cattle station and Edwards Creek fettlers’ camp - northeast to Birdsville (just over the border in Queensland), Cordillo Downs and lnnamincka (cattle stations) and south to Farina (early old township now abandoned) and Witchelina cattle station. One day, on the spur of the moment, I decided to go to Anna Creek and visit all the Railway fettlers’ camps on the way.
Usually I travelled halfway to Anna Creek without stopping on the first day and visited about four camps and the men late in the afternoon after they had returned from their work on the rail tracks. After attending to some matters at various locations, I began to make my way home, visiting the remainder of the camps, again late in the afternoon before arriving back at Marree the same day or early the following day.
I finished all my work at Anna Creek and was heading homewards on a fairly straight piece of graded road. The road surface was just dirt and bulldust (soft as talc powder and very dusty) and only about 3 yards wide. I was getting along quite smartly when I heard an unusual noise. Fearing I had gearbox trouble or even a faulty wheel bearing, I stopped.
However the noise persisted and at that moment a light aircraft flew low overhead and landed on the road in front of me. (Met the pilot who told me he was on his way to Port Augusta. He was on a flying holiday to random destinations around Australia when he stayed overnight at Alice Springs.
The next morning, when about to take off he found a defect in his aircraft. Having made a repair he stayed another day then commenced his next holiday flight to Port Augusta. On the way he saw my vehicle and decided to land and for a chat and that is exactly what happened. He was about to fly off when I heard a different noise and saw the Ghan (the passenger/goods train) coming along the line about 300 yards away.
The engine driver sounded his klaxon horn and waved. I quickly picked up my camera and took a photo of the three mechanical means of transport, the police vehicle, the aircraft and the train.
At that time I was not fully aware of the quite amazing coincidence I had witnessed. I was returning from an impromptu patrol and the weekly train was running nearly a day behind schedule and the pilot was a day later than he had planned. This road was not the main North-South highway from Adelaide to Darwin, that being about 65 miles to the west.
Normally a motorcar might traverse the road which I was on, three or four times a month, a light aircraft possibly twice a year and of course the train once a week unless there was engine trouble or rain which could wash out the rail tracks.
I have heard of some amazing coincidences of events around the World and the odds of them occurring were very high indeed. I feel that I was indeed fortunate to have been at the right place and the right time to have witnessed this most unlikely event in one of the remotest areas in Australia.
Our thanks to Jim for making this article available for the Hue and Cry. We are always interested in the experiences of police officers particularly in such remote areas. Please forward any stories to the Editor for consideration. (Editor).
2010 Christmas Dinner
President Bill Prior & the Executive Committee have pleasure in inviting
South Australian Police Historical Society Members
To attend the Society’s Christmas Celebration Dinner
to be held on Saturday 11th December, 2010
at the POLICE CLUB, Carrington Street, Adelaide
at 7.00pm for 7.30pm start
Cost $35.00 per person
payable to the Treasurer by our November 5th Meeting.
Prawn Cocktail with Special Cocktail Sauce
Choice of 3 main courses:
Roast Turkey with Cranberry Sauce
Roast Lamb with Mint Sauce
(All served with vegetables)
Plum Pudding with Brandy Custard
Fruit Salad with Cream
Tea or Coffee
Drinks may be purchased at the bar.
Please advise us if you have any special dietary requirements
Numbers are limited. If you propose attending please return the
booking slip, together with your payment, to
Treasurer Tony Woodcock
AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
but not later than Friday 5th November 2010
Max Griffiths at work on the door of the Bob Potts Gallery.
He has been busy repainting all the entrance doors to each gallery.
Thanks to his preparation and attention to detail the doors
completed are in as new condition.
WHYALLA SHOW .
On Friday the 20th August 2010, Ernie McLeod, Max Griffiths, Dennis Irrgang and Bob Boscence took the Chrysler Royal and Holden Commodore with trailer containing the two BSA motorcycles for the 40th Anniversary of the Whyalla Show. Our group was selected to lead the grand parade. As usual the vehicles attracted interest not only in Whyalla but on the way up and back. Our volunteers were provided with meals and accommodation for the trip and the organisers were thrilled with the effort made by the Historical Society members for this visit. Well done boys.
A couple of very hard working Ladies.
FJ Holden Owners Club Visit 22 September 2010.
42 members and 12 children from FJ Holden Owners Club visited the Thebarton Barracks for a tour of the museum on Sunday the 22nd September 2010 at 9.30am. Thanks to the efforts of Kevin Beare, Bill Prior, Geoff Rawson, Ray Freak, Di Lugg, Isobel Brooks, John White and Glen Mattingly the day was a great success. Our gratitude to the mounted operations group who were very helpful with the large number of visitors.
The “HUE & CRY” is Published by the
South Australian Police Historical Society Inc.,
Thebarton Police Barracks
C/- G.P.O. Box 1539