The President's Page
On this personally momentous day, I am sure you will excuse our President, Mr. John White, for not being able to include his usual message in this edition of our magazine. Quite literally, just a couple of hours prior to the writing of this message, the official announcement was made in State Parliament of Mr. White's appointment as South Australia's new Deputy Commissioner of Police. The news was received with cheering and acclamation at the Society's regular, monthly Executive meeting this afternoon - Thursday 15th August. Furthermore, I am sure that every member of the South Australia Police Historical Society, along with Mr. White's many colleagues, family and friends, will share his immense pleasure at achieving such a distinguished and important position in his outstanding policing career. In relatively contemporary times, holders of this office have been Mr. Ray Killmier, the late Mr. Pat Hurley and, most recently, Mr. Neil McKenzie. Each of these fine officers brought considerable talents and contributions to the position of Deputy Commissioner. Mr. White will continue that proud tradition and do so with great credit to himself and to our State. On behalf of all his Police Historical Society volunteers, friends and admirers, I extend sincere and hearty congratulations to him, along with every good wish for the years ahead.
Our last general meeting was both well attended and well rewarded by a splendid illustrated presentation from guest speaker, Mr. John Evans, who is a senior manager in our State Tourism industry. His topic was the history and evolution of the railway systems in South Australia and the Northern Territory from earliest days in 1856 through to 1984 when the Keswick interstate passenger terminal was opened. His many illustrations and photographs of our State's strategic (and not so strategic!) railways stations complemented his address perfectly. This was a very successful evening, made even better by the warm and delightful fellowship over supper on a very cold evening.
The guest speaker for our up-coming September meeting will be Mr. Bruce Greenhalgh. Mr. Greenhalgh is the Historical Collection Librarian at the Supreme Court of South Australia and he will share with us some interesting aspects of court history including accounts from as far back as the time of South Australia's first trial and its first judge.
We hope to see as many of our members and friends as possible that evening. May I invite those of our members who may not attend very often, to keep in mind that good attendances at our monthly meetings is a source of great encouragement to those twenty or so dedicated volunteers who keep our Society running well. These valuable people give a great deal of their time and efforts, week after week, in many cases, year after year; to ensure that our police history is preserved and recorded safely and effectively and to enable it to be shared with SAPOL employees and with many other people on a world-wide basis.
Best wishes to you all.
FRONT COVER OF HUE & CRY
JOHN WHITE, DEPUTY COMMISSIONER OF POLICE, 2002.
SA Police Historical Society
25TH Annual Dinner.
The Police Historical Society will be celebrating their 25th Anniversary at the Annual
Dinner to be held at the Police Club (Fenwick Room) at 7.0 0 pm. on Friday the 4th
The cost per person is $23.00 and includes Meal (Soup, choice of 3 mains, and
sweets). Drinks at own expense. A birthday cake suitable for the occasion is being
Photographs of foundation members and society activities will be on display.
In order to cater for this occasion please forward payment prior to 20111 September
Please forward cheque, money order, etc., with your name and address to:-
Geoff Rawson (Vice President) C/O SA Police Historical Society (33) GPO Box 1539,
Adelaide SA 5001, or in person (cash, cheques, etc.) at Thebarton Barracks
Thursdays between 0900 —l5OOhrs.
Please do not send cash through the post.
Tickets will be forwarded by return post. Telephone inquiries 82074103 (Thursdays)
or mobile 0407610755.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
I spotted this article in a book titled “The World’s greatest mistakes.” first published in England 1980.
The “Angry Penguins” saga is well remembered amongst the
more literary minded members.— Max Harris was quite a character — he operated a popular book shop in Adelaide. I know nothing of his partner in crime John Reed.
The censorship laws were simply ridiculous. I worked at Rigby’s Book shop in my early teen years and I can remember books being banned and prohibited from sale. We used to sell them in a plain brown paper wrapped parcel to book shop owners known to us. We would laugh at these books now.
Dirty works afoot
Sexually explicit literature fills the bookstores of Australia, as it does those of most major nations of the world. But it is not so long ago that a severe literary censorship operated in the country.
Within the present era,, for instance, even posters simply portraying Michelangelo’s classic nude statue of David were seized in a police raid on an Australian bookstore. And there have been as many as 5,000 books at a time on the country's ‘banned’ list, among them AIddus Huxley’s Brave New World, Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell To Arms and Daniel Defoe’s MolI Flanders.
But the petty purges on licentious’ literature were on one occasion shown up for what they were. The law was made to look an ass by blundering into an elaborately laid hoax.
It happened in 1944 at a time when censorship was at its most oppressive. Arousing police suspicion in that year was an extremely progressive literary journal called Angry Penguins, published in Adelaide. One day its two editors, Max Harris and John Reed, received at their office a remarkable cultural scoop. it came in the form of a package from one Ethel Malley and contained a mass of avant-garde poetry written by her brother Ern before his death in obscure poverty at the age of 25.
Harris and Reed were so impressed with their new find that they published a special edition of their journal ‘to commemorate the Australian poet Urn Malley’. When the journal was issued, two young Sydney poets laughed themselves hoarse. For they were the real authors of the ‘poems’, which had been composed by stringing together meaningless words and phrases at random.
The two hoaxers planned to keep their secret for a while, to prolong exposure of the experts who were so quick to praise such gibberish. But events overtook them. For South Australian police seized copies of the journal and accused Harris, as editor of the poems, of publishing indecent matter.
In court, the detective who had impounded this volume of nonsense interpreted one of the poems as being about a man who went around at night with a torch. I think there is a suggestion of indecency about this poem,’ he said. ‘I have found that people who go around parks at night do so for immoral purposes. In fact, the whole thing is indecent.’
Of another poem the detective said: ‘The word incestuous is used. I don't know what it means but I regard it as being indecent.’
Harris was convicted and the detective was commended for his zealousness and competency.
A Visit to Japan
By Chas Hopkins
In 1963 I made arrangements to travel to several of the East Asian countries which were not then a popular destination of tourists. It included Japan, China, Taiwan, Philippines, Hong Kong and Rabaul in New Guinea.
When the commissioner of Police, John McKinna heard of my plan he advised that he would write to the Chiefs of Police of the countries I was visiting, requesting they may consider assisting me with my itinerary. He said he knew of the police commander in Hong Kong but no others and he did not know if they would act to his request.
When I reached Yokohama in Japan by ship, I was requested that I call at the Purser's Office and there met a Chief Superintendent of police of that Protectorate [Region] accompanied by his driver and interpreter. He advised he was prepared to assist me during my 5 day stay at that Port and handed me a printed itinerary [attached] of the things and places that he suggested I may be interested to see, adding that he realised I would have my own plan of the things I wanted to do and see whilst I was there. He asked me to study the itinerary he had prepared and delete that which did not appeal to me.
The itinerary was prepared on a time schedule for the length of my stay there and included a tour of their police establishment and many of the recognised tourist areas including Niko, and the Mount Fuji areas. It proved to be a wonderful insight into the functioning of their police force but also their fascinating tourist industry but in particular the public relations. I was treated with magnificent respect and dignity including visits to theft police academy, the police secluded resort in the mountain area adjacent to Mount Fuji. Special meals were taken in the Japanese tradition where guests are seated on the floor and partake of their meal accompanied with cups of their green tea and a drink of their “Sake”??
Preceding the meal an invitation was given to partake of a “Spa” bath where the heated water flowed from natural volcanic springs located there. However I was regarded as an oddity due to my 196 centimetre height, and I myself realised I towered over everyone I met who due to their natural build were noticeably much smaller.
I considered their Police Force was well organised and I noted two aspects of theft wonderful technology which had not been considered for introduction into South Australia. The first was the microfilming of their entire record system which greatly reduced space as microfilm stored in a container the size of a normal match box held records previously stored in large folders. It was easily accessed by inserting a small container in which the film was stored into a machine which had a viewing screen [similar to a norman T.V. screen]. I realise this now has been incorporated and updated in the computer system which are now commonplace in the other system which impressed me was related to their Fingerprint Department where they had introduced, as I had considered at that time a far easier method of taking fingerprints. At that time the Indian Ink method was used internationally and often proved a delicate and messy operation as the ink was difficult to remove from the hands after the prints had been taken. Also there was a likelihood of soiling the clothes of both the suspect and the member taking the prints. The new method was the use of graphite dust being brushed onto the areas of the hands where the prints were to be taken from, using a camel hair brush. The graphite dust was the material used in lead pencils and the prints were applied to a special sensitised paper similar in design to that used internationally. A copy is attached. The powder was easily removed from the person’s hands after the operational and I considered, although I realised I was not an expert in this field, that the image of the prints on the paper appeared much clearer than those created using the old Indian Ink method.
I do not know whether the Japanese had introduced National Identity Cards at that time which would require everyone to be fingerprinted and photographed, as it was being considered in Australia but never materialised. If that had been in force it would have greatly reduced the time taken to fingerprint the entire community.
This reminds me of a visit I made to Police Headquarters in Mexico City shortly after my visit to Japan. The city had a population of about 7 million at that time [now is the large populated city in the World with 25 million] and the Police Headquarters Building was smaller in size to the current Police Headquarters m Flinders Street Adelaide. However it was continually swamped with the public, making access difficult. I enquired as the reason and was advised that the Government, due to the high crime rate had introduced legislation where employees seeking employment were required to obtain an Identity Card from Police Headquarters. The card was issued after they had been fingerprinted and it also contained their photograph and any convictions. The police charged about A70 cents or eight pesos for the certificate which was demanded by most employers before considering their application for work.
Whilst on this tour I also made contact with senior administrators at Hong Kong Headquarters at Arsenal Street on the Island where all senior personnel had a British background and naturally its functions had been influenced to operate in that manner. However, I considered the South Australian Regime, which was undergoing a major uplift at that time due to John McKinna’s influence was on a similar plain to it.
|The “HUE & CRY” is
Published by the South Australian
Police Historical Society Inc.,
Thebarton Police Barracks
C/— Box 1539 S.A. 5083
G.P.O. Adelaide 5001