|INSIDE THIS ISSUE
Lt Francis Michael Nelson.
Police Anzac Day tribute at the new Academy
Sunday the 22nd April 2012.
See page 4 and 5 for details.
Francis Michael Nelson.Members of the Police Band.
Address given by Dorothy Pyatt OAM
It is now nearly 100 years since World War One.
Today we will think about a young South Australian Police Officer named Francis Michael Nelson who served in that conflict.
He was born in 1884 in Belton, a small town at the end of the road in the southern foothills of the Flinders Ranges. He came from a loving family with brothers and a sister. His parents worked the land.
In 1908 Frank was in Adelaide and joined the Police as a Foot Constable, in the City and Unley. He married a girl named Jean. In 1914 they had a son, named after his father. In a society, then newly caught up in the excitement of war, he, like many other young men thought it his duty to volunteer to serve his country. Frank was released from the Police and in June 1915 he enlisted with the A.I.F. to serve in the Lewis Gun Company of the 32nd Infantry Battalion.
Soon he was away overseas to France. His baptism of fire was to be wounded in the face and hands. Frank became an efficient soldier, rising through the ranks to Sergeant and then Lieutenant Instructor in command of the Lewis Gun School.
He was well known for his care of those around him. In situations of extreme exhaustion he would share the loads of other weary members, even to carrying their machine guns for them. He would get ahead and arrange for hot restorative drinks.
How often during those years did his thoughts fly back to his wife and child and the wide brown land of his birth.
In April 1918 the enemy offensive diminished. The British and French High Command worked out a new offensive, south of the Somme and east of Villiers-Bretonneux.
It was at this time that the Command of the Australian Corps passed to an Australian, Lieutenant-General John Monash, a man known for his extreme thoroughness and elaborate care in preparation for action. He planned a battle for the 4th of July 1918, to be near a village called Hamel, held by the enemy. Prior to the Battle, Monash planned a series of small actions to divert the enemy.
On the 26th June, Frank was in one of these raiding parties. He reached the enemy trenches, but was wounded and again while returning to his own lines. He died before reaching the ‘Dressing Station”.
His comrades said of him, “He was one of the best. A jolly good bloke always looking after the boys.”
Frank now lies in the hallowed ground of the Villiers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery.
His grieving relatives have been there to share their undying love for him. His son wept for his lost father.
The South Australian Police named a new Police Patrol Launch in his honour. He was the first Foot Police Officer to be killed in World War One.
We too mourn the loss of Frank.
He was one of us – he was our brother.
The muffled drum’s sad roll has beat
The soldier’s last tattoo;
No more on Life’s parade shall meet
The brave and the fallen few.
On Fame’s eternal camping-ground
Their silent tents are spread,
And Glory guards, with solemn round
The bivouac of the dead.
Lest We Forget
On Sunday the 22nd of April 2012, about 40 members of the Police Historical Society attended another very moving ceremony at the New Academy and Wall of Remembrance.
Dorothy Pyatt presented the story of Lt Francis Michael Nelson.
The above is a specially minted penny presented
to the families of men lost in WW1.
Portion of the new Wall of Remembrance Senior Police Chaplain Diana Bartlett
at the new Academy.
Vice President Kevin Beare OAM laying a wreath on behalf of the Society.
Some of the members of the Society present at the ceremony.
POLICING THE OUTLAW SPARROW.
by Max Slee
Over the years the SA Police have been assigned a wide variety of extraneous duties, some being pleasant to perform, and others being quite odious such as receiving wild dog (dingo) scalps. One of the more unusual related to the Sparrow Destruction Act. The origins of this Act actually had a police connection through the family of Major T.S. O’Halloran, the first to hold the position of Commissioner of Police.
By the 1860s sparrows were already at vermin levels in Victoria. Despite that, there were several attempts by Adelaide colonists during that decade to import sparrows in the cause of ‘acclimatisation’, but few had survived. Ignoring public protestations, in 1871 a son of T.S O’Halloran successfully imported a batch of these ‘feathered strangers’ and released them at O’Halloran Hill. In common with many introduced species, they rapidly became a pest, eating crops and fruit, thus leading to the Sparrow Destruction Act of 1882.
Declared an outlaw, the tiny sparrow had a government bounty placed upon its head – sixpence a dozen on their severed heads, and two shillings and sixpence per one hundred sparrow eggs. The bounty was payable in the form of a voucher, issued at nominated police stations, post offices, and railway stations. The bounty hunters, mostly lads, presented their trophies for tallying and then redeemed the vouchers for cash at the Chief Secretary’s Office in Adelaide. There were even public-spirited clubs formed to hunt sparrows – one based at Marion reported 33,842 heads and eggs destroyed from 1891 to 1893.
Although the Sparrow Destruction Act was instantly popular with lads, the police received this additional task with resignation. Keen farm boys were soon bringing in hundreds of heads and eggs, often in various stages of decomposition. These not only had to be counted but also had to be identified as being of genuine sparrow origin – there was a heavy toll on native bird eggs through mistaken identity. Then the vermin booty had to be disposed of, not only hygienically but also securely, so that none were ‘recycled’ for a repeat claim.
The fecund breeding habits of the sparrow inevitably outdid the predatory skills of the boys, and so sparrow numbers soared. Orders for destruction under the Sparrow Destruction Act were discontinued by proclamation in 1884, but then a new Act was proclaimed in 1889, bringing local government into the fray. Various strategies then followed, including compulsory destruction by landowners and poisoning. By the turn of the 20th century concerted action had ceased, even though the Act continued until repeal in 1933, when the authorities finally admitted defeat. The outlaws had won the day.
Thomas Shouldham O’Halloran, CMG
POLICE FOUNDATION DAY 2012.
The theme of Police Foundation Day this year was police motor transport. A display in Rundle Mall which included the Chrysler Royal, a modern BMW police motor cycle, our early BSA motor cycle and the Harley Davidson outfit from 1924. All vehicles were presented in magnificent condition thanks to the hard work by Kevin Johnson and his team including Ernie McLeod, Dennis Irrgang The display attracted a lot of attention from the public. Geraldine White from SAPOL and our Bob Boscence were the main organisers of the event with help from the following volunteers: Geoff Rawson, Di Lugg, Spud Murphy, Helen and Bob Ward, Ron Monck Audrey Walker Kev Johnson Bob Job and Alf Jarvis. For some of us it was a 12 hour day with an early start at 7am and shed finally packed up at 7pm.
Commissioner Mal Hyde paid a visit to the display pictured here with Geoff Rawson, Di Lugg and Bob Boscence.
The display in Rundle Mall with the public interacting with our members. Below Commissioner Hyde Showing interest in the Harley Davidson.
PHS VISIT TO POLICE HEADQUARTERS
ANGAS STREET ADELAIDE.
FRIDAY 2ND MARCH 2012
At 6-30pm on Friday the 2nd March 2012, in lieu of our usual monthly meeting, about 40 members visited the new Police Headquarters in Angas Street. The Band bus was our means of transport driven by Sgt Lance Perryman(Band) and at Headquarters President Bill Prior introduced us to our host and guide for the evening Chief Inspector Guy Buckley.
It turned out to be a very revealing look at a new purpose built green building with excellent security systems. The public has access to the ground floor entrance where reception, security and recruiting are located. This is also the location of a coffee shop and a number of interview rooms. We visited several floors of the building including the Call Centre and Commissioner’s floor. Each floor has its own meal area with all facilities including dishwashers, microwaves etc and historic themes on each floor with clever use of our historic photographs. We returned to Thebarton at about 8.00pm after a very interesting and informative evening.
A work station in the call centre.
Members had a very informative talk on the workings of the call centre.
July 6th Professor Suzanne Miller:
Professor Miller is the Director of the South Australian Museum. She will speak about and discuss her present role and matters of mutual interest to our Society.
August 3rd Sergeant David Scutchings:
Sergeant David Scutchings is a STAR Group member and Churchill Fellow. His subject will be Churchill Fellowship studies and experiences in Helicopter Use for Emergency Operations
September 27th Ms. Emily Jateff :
In April this year Ms Jateff managed a major display at the South Australian Maritime Museum to commemorate the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic. She is an authority on this subject and has actually dived to the wreck itself in the North Atlantic. She will have a remarkable story to tell and her visit should not be missed.
October 25th Mr. Rob McLory:
Rob McLory has recently joined the Society and is a former SAPOL Senior Sergeant. Following his retirement he spent a number of years with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and will talk to us about his overseas experiences in particular.
APRIL MEETING HELD 30TH MARCH .
Maintaining the now familiar high standard of guest speakers from among our own members, Vice President Kevin Beare provided us with an illuminating and very interesting talk about the history and character of SAPOL’s illegal drug investigations. Lavishly illustrated with photographs, exhibits and real-life personal experiences, our audience much appreciated Kevin’s presentation and learnt much from his extensive and all-embracing specialist experience. Kevin was one of the inaugural members of the Drug Squad following its establishment in South Australia in 1969 and later in his impressive career occupied a senior office on the squad for a number of years. Thank you Kevin!
He was presented with a certificate of appreciation by President Bill Prior to applause from a very appreciative audience.
Kevin using some of the photographs to illustrate his talk.
Friday the 4th May 2012—General Meeting.
Nigel Hunt was to be the speaker for this meeting but he was unavailable, and will be available later in the year. Owen Bevan was up to the task and entertained the group with photos of older events including
President Bill Prior, fresh from his overseas trip to Ireland spoke of his visit to the new Titanic Museum which he found to be a must for anyone thinking of visiting Ireland in the future. Discussion on the night centred around our impending visit to the New Academy and with winter approaching it was agreed to delay this visit until the Spring possibly in August or September. Further information will be circulated about this event.
MURRAY BRIDGE CENTENARY CELEBRATIONS 2011.
On Sunday 27th November 2011 Bob Boscence dressed in the old troopers uniform represented the Society at Murray Bridge with his wife Helen. Bob resplendent in his uniform fitted in well with the many other residents and visitors who dressed up for the occasion . Job well done Bob.
1911 I.H.C Auto Wagon
(Ron Clarke current owner)
It has a drop down tailboard, rear seat is quickly detachable to make a wagon or buck-board.
Vehicle was purchased new by Louis and Carl Will of Goode, near Ceduna on the West Coast of S.A. It was delivered by ship and was in almost daily use for several years.
PORTABLE CELL RENOVATION AND RE-LOCATION.
A portable cell has been languishing between the South side of the Transport Shed and the native trackers building for many years. As a result of demolition works commencing, it was decided to re-locate the cell under an old palm tree at the entrance to the parade ground. It was in very poor condition after such a long time and needed restoration.
Thanks to the very hard work for more than a month (for 3-4days a week) by Max Griffiths and Bethany Boettcher the job is done and we now have a magnificent portable cell which will be on display by the time of printing. It took 5 of us with a jack to get the heavy door back on to its mounting. Our congratulations to Max and Bethany and all those involved for a job well done.
The Cell at the start of the renovation. Max hard at work completing the new gutters.
The completed cell, now in pristine condition and ready for its big move as
another show piece for the Museum.
Gumeracha Police Station
Tribute to Mounted Constable George Thomas Smith
Gumeracha Police Station which was built on its current site in 1856 is the oldest police building currently occupied and used for its original purpose. It is one of two police stations built using the same design. The other, at Riverton, was demolished in 1972. The Gumeracha Police Station and adjoining Courthouse (now used as a community centre) had been considered for demolition in the 1970's but has since been subjected to considerable conservation work.
In May 1990 former Commissioner David Hunt unveiled a Plaque which had been erected in front of the Gumeracha Police Station to recognise the efforts of Mounted Constable George Thomas Smith, who died while attempting to rescue two men from a well. Thanks to the efforts of Senior Constable Brian Edwards, (pictured above) currently stationed at Gumeracha, a further tribute has now been unveiled inside the Police Station.
On Monday 7th May 2012, members of several local Neighbourhood Watch groups, the Gumeracha Historical Society, the SA Police Historical Society, staff from the Hills-Fleurieu Local Service Area and relatives of the community members involved in the incident gathered at the Gumeracha Police Station to witness the unveiling of an additional tribute. It consisted of photographs of George Smith and a medal the community presented to his family, together with a copy of a citation posthumously awarded to him by the Royal Humane Society and was unveiled by Superintendent John Bruhn, Officer in Charge of the Hills-Fleurieu LSA.
George Smith (born George Schmidt - but changed surname by deed poll during World War I) had been stationed at Gumeracha for about 4 years and had apparently become well respected by the local community. On 31st December 1928 the local blacksmith, George Farley, has been working on a pump down a well on his property in Albert Street, Gumeracha. There was an explosion which was heard by several members living or working within the vicinity. A workmate, William (Bill) Crook descended the well, but was apparently overcome by fumes. George Smith arrived at the location a short time later and although advised by another workman not to do so, also descended the well. He knew he was also being affected by the fumes and commenced to climb the rope ladder but as he neared the surface, lost his grip and fell into the well. Another community member was then lowered into the well, but he too, was overcome by the fumes and was lifted out of the well.
Rescue efforts continued for some time during which community members, Frederick Fry, Louis Schulze and Donald Nosworthy made numerous attempts to retrieve the bodies. They managed to retrieve the body of M/C Smith, but could not locate Farley or Crook.
Some-time later that day, firemen from Adelaide attended and aided by gas masks entered the well and retrieved the bodies of Farley and Crook. A subsequent Coroner's Inquest conducted on 9th January 1929 concluded that the three men had 'met their deaths accidently by asphyxiation and drowning.' The Coroner was apparently unable to determine what had caused the explosion. William Crook and George Smith were both awarded posthumous citations by the Royal Humane Society of Australia in their 1929 Annual Report. Community members, Frederick Fry, Louis Schulze and Donald Nosworthy were each awarded a Silver Medal in recognition of their efforts to rescue Farley, Crook and Smith.
The community of Gumeracha was significantly affected by this tragedy. Subsequently the community designed and produced five gold medals that were presented to Frederick Fry, Louis Schulze, Donald Nosworthy and the families of Bill Crook and M/C Smith. The medal presented to M/C Smith was presented to the SA Police Historical Society by M/C Smith’s family in 1990 and is currently displayed in our Museum.
EARLIEST POLICE PRESENCE.
By Heather Everingham (Murray Pioneer 14/2/2006)
Overland Corner became a recognised stock camp after Joseph Hawdon drove 300 cattle from the eastern states in 1838. Cattle and sheep droves became frequent as new pastoral areas opened up which had to be stocked, in addition to supplying meat to the new settlers.
Constance and Samuel McIntosh inspecting the original 1855 police Station. The newly married couple occupied the second police station from 1896 to 1900 when Mr McIntosh took up duties as Inspector of Village Settlements and River Fisheries
Trouble soon erupted between natives and cattle duffers and the authorities in Adelaide sanctioned the building of a police outpost in 1855 at Overland Corner. This was accomplished for £90 and police reports record at the close of 1855 that Corporal Hooker, two mounted constables and one native Constable were employed at this station.
Around 1875 the building of a new police station with attached cells was contracted to Mr Trigg, of Port Elliot. All the joinery work was made in his workshop at Port Elliot and every piece marked and packed and transported by paddle steamer to the site. Stone lime and sand were available locally. The stones were obtained by blowing out the cliffs, and sawn up to the required size.
Four men in a two horse heavy dray and one saddle horse left Port Elliot on a Monday morning and arrived at Overland Corner on a Sunday afternoon, having crossed the river at Wigleys Flat where the horses swam across and the dray was put on a flat-bottomed boat.
Seven men took 18 weeks to build the new police station. The station closed on April 12, 1894, and today this building is a private residence.
Some of the troopers were accompanied by their families. Life for women folk was an isolated one. When the river was low for seven months, supplies had to be hauled overland from Morgan by spring dray. The troopers were considered good bushmen who would often be away for long stretches of time, tracking cattle and sheep thieves and earlier times escaped convicts. More often they would track travellers who had become lost and without water stood little chance of survival.
Long patrols would take troopers from the Corner to Chowilla Station and sometimes as far as Lake Victoria. Sergeant John Shaw was one officer respected and always welcomed by the pastoralists of the district. The grave of his 17-year old son Francis, who died in 1877, lies on the track leading to the Overland Corner Hotel.
Other police associated with this station are Jenkin Coles (later Sir Jenkin Coles) Trooper James Howe (later the Hon. J Howe, MP) H.E. Schmidt, L.C.O’Mahoney, R.C. Stewart, Mounted Constables Watson, Feathersone and Corporal T Solley. MC David W Teate was transferred from the Corner to Renmark in October 1889 owing to sly grog and other troubles in that settlement
Volunteers have been extremely busy during this period with so many events it is difficult to cover all. Police Anzac Day and Foundation Day have been covered. During the last three months the Transport Group have attended the Police Basketball Team community event on 12/2/2012, Power of the past, Mount Barker Oval 4/3/2012. Tanunda Show 10/3/2012, Court House Classic Motor Show, Mason Street, Wellington 7/4/2012, Tapari Wellbeing Day Port Pirie 18/4/2012 and the McLaren Vale Vintage & Classic 29/4/2012. If this was not enough these hearty workers also had heavy work to do moving their trailers and other equipment, including sheds from the South side of the Transport shed to the North side to make way for the building works for the new Road Safety School. The following are to be congratulated for the remarkable amount of work done during this period.Kevin Johnson– Ernie McLeod– Diana Lugg-Peter Moller– Ross Edwards– Dennis Irrgang– Jan Coventry– Bob Boscence– Ron Monck– Max Griffiths–Phill Butterworth & Alan Ziegler.
Sunday the 4th March—Power of the past at the Mount Barker oval with Kevin, Ernie and Max in full relaxation mode.
Saturday the 10th March at the Tanunda show with Dennis Irrgang and the FJ Holden,
McLaren Vale Vintage car rally with Kevin Johnson, new member “Cat” Curtis and Ernie McLeod.
Peter Moller and Ernie McLeod busy with the FJ Holden.
Museum Tours kept our volunteers very busy this period with the tours by;—Neighbourhood Watch Group 8/3/2012-
Burnside Probus Club 17/3/2012–
Pooraka Men’s Probus Club 15/3/2012–
University of the 3rd Age 28/3/2012–
Off Road Club 15/3/12-
CYP National Trust Maitland 3/5/12–
Liekumia Foundation visit 6/5/12-
Moonta Probus Club 8/5/12–
Erimus Social Club 20/5/12.
The following volunteers were involved:-
Di Lugg-Helen & Bob Ward– Kevin Beare-Kevin Johnson-Max Griffiths– Bethany Boettcher-Audrey Walker– Alf Jarvis-Ray Freak-Bob Boscence– Geoff Rawson..
Sgt Tony Passmore (former UK Police Officer) Mounted Operations Unit speaking to members of University of the 3rd Age.
Burnside Probus Club members with one of our police horses.
Sgt Danny O’Mahoney brought a small Neighbourhood Watch Group to tour the museum on 8/3/12, with Geoff Rawson and Vice President Kevin Beare as tour guides.
Liekumia foundation visitors presenting awards to their members before the Devonshire Tea.
Visitors enjoying a visit to our Transport Museum.
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Editors:- Geoff Rawson and Charlie Tredrea.