One can only ask “Where has the year gone?” Yes, it is that time where we get the Christmas decorations out again and start planning for Christmas and the New Year.
2002 is finishing on a high note for the Police Historical Society with work to start in the new year on renovations to our museum building at Thebarton Barracks and with the continued high commitment of members to the Society’s activities.
At our December Christmas meeting it was great to see so many members and friends present as we celebrated Christmas with our now traditional chicken and champagne supper. Many thanks to Geoff Rawson and Bill Rojas for organising the evening. It certainly was a great way to finish off our Society’s monthly meetings for 2002.
Also just a quick reminder that there is no meeting in January, with our first for the New Year being our Annual General Meeting in February.
Until then, from Pauline and myself, I extend our very best wishes to you all for a very Merry Christmas and a joyous and prosperous New Year.
By Em Kirk, January 1979
An account of being a member of the Junior Constables
‘Police Band, 1935 — 1938 BEGINNINGS.
It is January 1979 and I have just become possessed of a musical instrument which I hope will give me some measure of enjoyment in my retirement that is now two and a half years old. I have bought a comet [trumpet].
Was I born with music in my soul? Maybe! Well do I remember as a scholar in Grade 11 at East Adelaide Primary School so pestering my parents that I did become possessed of a school fife. I even remember the price of 7/6d or in today’s lingo — 75 cents. One could not become a member of the school band until achieving at least Grade 111, but somehow I managed to overcome this technical difficulty. Then the band needed to change its perambulations around the school ground to allow me to ‘drop out’ at the Infant School.
I can even remember how I played the National Anthem [God Save The King] on the top three holes of the fife. To me it sounded beautiful, but how the neighbour’s ears must have been assailed! It was in Grade Vl 1 that I was promoted to Band Captain, so by that time I could apparently play with reasonable effectiveness the score of tunes in the Band Book.
Yes, I used to sing boy soprano solos in Sunday School Anniversaries at the Maylands Methodist Sunday School. Well did I remember one occasion when so doing that I dropped my verse sheet. A Church Choir member sitting beside me handed me the music book. I didn’t need same as I knew all those verses verbatim but I can remember the feeling of horror I had when all those music lines bared their fangs at me.
In 1934, March 2O1~~ to be precise, I was honoured, with 29 other youths to be inducted into the South Australian Police Force as “A” Troop of Junior Constables encamped in training at the Police Depot, No. 2 Quay, Port Adelaide, this being God’s last outpost.
We saw “B” Troop enter the camp in January 1935. The trick was that one resided in the camp until the age of 20 ‘/2 years, then went on to Thebarton Barracks, so I spent 2 V2 years at the Depot.
By February 1935 the Junior Constables’ Police Band had been formed by some members of both “A” and “B” Troops either volunteering or being conscripted as Bandsmen.
I don’t know whose wicked idea it was to form the Band, but Mulga Bill Johns was our Inspector, and I suspect that he had a great deal of strength in the promotion of the idea. The instrument, so we were told, had originally belonged to a former Police Band. When it became defunct these instruments went to the Mitcham Council to form a Town Band which in time also became defunct so the Police Department laid claim to their property which then came to the Depot.
So Junior Constables were selected as Bandsmen and I breathed a sigh of relief when my name was overlooked.
In March 1934, after serving 12 months in the Department, some of us “A” Troopers were given annual leave of four weeks. On return to the Depot two of us were waited upon with the news that we were conscripted into the Band. By this time we were attending night school for shorthand and typing at the Adelaide School of Mines two nights a week. Now another night was to be lost as Bandsmen and we already had precious little night leave as it was.
Colin Streeter was the other unfortunate Junior to present himself at our first band practice. We went as lambs to the slaughter for we had missed two months of blackboarded music theory. I was given a silver coloured comet and a black leather instrument bag. More work in cleaning both articles to inspection order! I cannot remember with authority which instrument Colin fell for, but I imagine that it was an E-Flat Bass.
This unfortunate gentleman [and I mean gentleman] was Mr. Simons, Bandmaster of the Port Adelaide Municipal Band, and a talented salesman in the instrument department of Allens [then in Rundle Street]. I don’t remember the old chap’s Christian name, but we called him “Gooie”. I don’t remember how he achieved this distinctive title, but he was very soft on us, and we certainly led the poor fellow up the garden path.
Music sheets handed to me were always marked '3rd comet” and there, marked between the lines were black notes with tails and maybe hooks, and open rings without tails or maybe hooks, and thick short lines and double dots and funny Chinese characters sitting beside this note of music, or that note of music.
My comet had three valves to press in some order or sequence to produce the music required. Some intelligent Junior must have shown me the necessary pressings or lippmgs so that I could get the C scale out into open air. Of course, I didn’t have a clue as to the meanings of all the funny little markings on the music sheet. I had learned fife through tonic solfa, while I had been taught school singing by the same method, so I needed to interpret Gooie’s music into tonic solfa. I marked my music thus and knew which valves to press when there were no Chinese characters present and in this latter event I found that by not pressing my tonic solfa valves I could get the note on another valve. I was becoming a valued member of the Junior Constables’ Police Band. d
p~ 3~ Cornetist I played the “pah-pah” part in waltz time, being told that it had
to be done “after the beat”. “Beat” was something about which I knew but little, while “Time” and “Counting” were things most remote. I had a good ear for music, relying mostly upon this inbuilt ability to make progression “through the ranks”.
At this time we had two l~ Comets with some ability. “Ragsy” Mutch was the Camp Bugler, while Roy Medlin played piano well, so the melody seemed to come from these two players. By 1936 Ragsy had been sacked and Medlin had transferred to the Railways Department, so my promotion came to the melody line.
Jess Jones [“B” Trooper] played that big sliphorn with the handle to aid long extension. Bob Calvesbert played Euphonium quite well, being called upon to be euphonium soloist as music might require. Jack Rosie had a tenor horn, a brass-coloured instrument bigger than a comet, but of the same character. More about Jack later. Alf Laslett took the big sliphorn from Jess Jones [sent to Barracks] and later Herb Laslett [“D” Troop] had a smaller sliphorn. Jack Colmer [“B” Troop] had a sliphorm. Max Homes [“A” Troop] was thrown out from E-Flat Bass and replaced by Jeff Lawrence, [“A” Troop]. “Fritz” Altmann [“A” Troop] played EFlat Bass with great entertainment value. “Popeye” Kewell [“C” Troop] was on B-Flat Base. One must remember that replacements to the band was common as Juniors left the Depot for the Barracks, so Bandsmen were not constant. Ralph Denley played Drums.
MAX AND JEFF
Max Homes was not cut out to be a musician, and perhaps the same could be said of Jeff Lawrence, although Jeff had longer band service. Max was thrown out of the Band to be replaced on the B-Flat Bass by Jeff. Now it would be true to say that not much noise came from Jeff’s efforts. One night at Band practice [in the Mess Room] Gooie was wandering around listening to the sounds that weren’t coming out too well. He paused over Jess’s Bass and stopped play. “Boy”, he quoth, “You’ve been drinking.” “No Mr. Simonds, I haven’t been drinking, Mr. Simonds. I’m stuck in this place Mr. Siinonds. How could I get out Mr. Simonds?” “Oh boy, boy, you’re telling lies. I’ll have to get the Instructor.” “Yes Mr. Simonds, you get the Instructor Mr. Simonds.”
We were loving this, because no music was being played. We were resting and enjoying the dialogue. The Instructor was sent for, to return in the form of Alec Alexander, one who didn’t know much about what was going on anywhere. “This boy’s been drinking Instructor!” “You been drinking Lawrence?” “No, ‘course I haven’t Mr. Alexander.” Alec takes a sniff around the upturned bell of the instrument and quoth, “Liar. I can smell it.”
By this time we are almost in hysterics, the acting was so entertaining. Alec yells, “Shut up you lot while I sort this out.” We could contain ourselves no longer and say, “We think we know what the trouble is.” “Well speak your piece.” “Put your arm down the bell of the instrument Mr. Alexander.” He does so and says, “Well”. We say, “Put your hand down around the bend at the bottom.” Alec does as he was told and encounters the largest, juiciest, rottenest, green lemon he might ever have encountered as he pulled it to the surface. Boy did it stink. We had stuffed in Max’s instrument so that no sound would come out and he got kicked out to be replaced by Jeff, who perforce had now to stay in the Band.
You know that in time and by replacement I had progressed to l~ Comet. There was another unlucky player on the 1~ Comet in the name of “Lizard” Carter a “B” Trooper. He gained his nickname because his legs were only short, making his backside low to the ground like a lizard drinking. Anyway we seemed to have to maintain the melody as required. On the march, Liz would play a few bars while I rested my lips then I would play a few bars while Liz had a break. We formed a perfect combination.
It seemed that the players of other instruments liked the melody to come forth so that they could commence their “fill-ins”. Gooie would hand out sheets of new music and expect us to play. I couldn’t read music then and would be at a dead loss for time and lilt.
Being of a more “forward” type I would request that Gooie play the melody at the same time handing him my comet. He would wipe the mouthpiece, put his lips through his hairy moustache and play. I would receive the message by ear, regain my instrument and play when Gooie again attacked his music stand with his wand. I would be followed fitfully by Liz’s attempts, and the baser instruments would start to make music. Boy, were we weak!
We knew two marches — Old Comrades and Slaidburn. I think there were a couple of “Old Comrades” so we must have played the simpler of the two. We knew two hymns, “Abide with Me and Lead Kindly Light. “Dead March From Saul” we especially saved for Police Funerals. There were one or two waltzes the names of which escape me and a polka or two that we could manage.
We never had one! ft we were required to do a street performance then one of our Instructors would handle the mace. They knew that if they jiggled it up and down then we would stop playing at the end of the bar. It they whistled and pointed the stick by waving it to the left, right or centre, we would change direction. Of course, we knew where we were going and how to get there but to the public, the drum major must have looked impressive.
In July 1936 the Band moved to Thebarton Barracks as a complete unit irrespective of age. Of course retirement from the Band was still achieved by age and a replacement received. In 1937 I was the only adult in the Band, as well being a Constable on the beat but more about that achievement later.
Mulga Bill Johns was seeking a decoration through the Order of St. John so we were used up in this regard. Mulga did eventually receive the decoration O.St.J. and we helped him to get it.
Once a year the St. John mob held a church parade at St. Peters Cathedral and our band had to lead them there from the assembly place at the Exhibition Building, North Terrace Adelaide, opposite Pulteney Street. The first time we did
· this little job old Mulga, leading the procession, stepped out like a gazelle and beat us to the church by about 5 minutes. I should mention here that all other Junior Constables [not in the band] had to be present, marching with paper-filled St. John bags slung over the shoulder. Indeed, I think us Bandsmen also had to be so dressed.
The following year we put out heads together and “Drums & Band” decided to slow the march down to 110 beats to the minute to help Mulga on his way. Talk about a scream! We were passing the State War Memorial when Mulga is on his own, already saluting at the South African War Memorial. When we arrived at St. Peters Cathedral I said to the old chap, “Why is it sir, that when we march you are always a long way ahead? Don’t you listen to the music?” “Humph, humph,” quoth Mulga, “When I march, I whistle “The Good Old Duke of York”. Yes, that would be Mulga!
Mulga disappeared into the Cathedral after the above dialogue. Our Drum Major was Bushy Menz [Sergeant Instructor] and he quoths “Right. Catholics break off. The’ rest of you into the Cathedral.” This was my weekend off duty and I had been forced to return for this performance and would have no more time off in its place so I was determined to resume my leave. I said, “I refuse to enter that church.” Bushy asked why. I said, “That’s the Church of England church and I’m a Methodist.” He said, “That’s just the same, you’re a Protestant.” I said, I’m a Methodist and you can’t make me go into that church. I’m going to resume my leave”. Several braves were backing me up. The Catholics had departed and so did we. Laugh, you have to laugh. We returned to Barracks by tram, changed into civvies and were leaving. I rode my bike out onto Gaol Road and who should jump from a Findon-bound tramcar, but Bushy Menz himself. He had probably found fit to disobey Mulga’ s order for all personnel, bar the Catholics, to help fill the Cathedral.
I can remember two such occasions but there may have been more. We buried Superintendent Nation with much pomp and ceremony in the West Terrace cemetery one Saturday morning when Old Pluvius decided to drench dry Adelaide with copious draughts of cold water. Talk about rain! We marched from the City Watch House, leading the procession and wearing our uniform waterproof capes. It wasn’t too bad for us players who held instruments in a horizontal position but for the upturned players, well, they did more water-releasing than valve-pushing. Oh, that slow march for the “Dead March From Saul.”
We were pretty smart at marching, if not a pretty sight at playing, but we never had the opportunity to look back to see how the rest of the procession enjoyed our “slow march”.
We buried Detective Sergeant Testrail at Magill Cemetery. The landholder who subdivided Magill in that section from Barnes Road to St. Bernards Road [Penfold Road in those days] must have made a fortune. He allowed for the narrowest streets possible. We had to march up Carey Street. The watertables were cobblestones, nice and rough. As if comet I played on the extreme right of the rear rank. You should have seen me playing the “Dead March From Saul” along those cobblestones, besides all being squeezed in by the narrow roadway. I reckon I would have outdone Fred Astaire!
These were held annually in Spring at the Wayville Showgrounds. We bandsmen who had entered various events still had to play, besides being athletes. Here we would blow our two marches, waltzes and polkas. You can imagine how we performed while lacking athletic members on other requisite duties.
Centenary year! We had two great performances to practice for before being let loose on public ears.
One. We had been entered in the Tanunda Band Competition — big deal. Anyway, we entrained for Tanunda, got fed for free and played our heart out. We couldn’t play that well, but by hell, we could march. The double broad stripes on our trousers were never out of line. In those days we wore the walking-out blues of the Mounted Police, while the double broad stripes came up around the outside of the pocket-slit to the waistband [unlike the Band of today]. Well we marched and we played, eventually to be placed 6~ in the street march. Sixth. Oh boy, how we must have marched. We came out of the 42 bands competing.
There was another occasion in 1936 where there was a gathering of bands on the Adelaide Oval. The occasion escapes me now, or the reason for it does, but perhaps it was connected somehow with Royalty or some such. We bands assembled on the oval, and I knew where my girlfriend and her sister were standing in the listening crowd. Bands had to perform, then join in a massed performance. On dismissal we marched from the oval to King William Road, and here’s the Junior Constables’ Police Band marching to Barracks. I saw my girlfriend with her sister on the western footpath, so I suddenly developed a broken anode, or a split tongue, or some such, left the band and resumed my broken leave. On, the things we got away with in those days.
A BIT OF FUN.
Our Band Room at Barracks was a smaller classroom over the Messroom with an outside balcony. I suppose it is still there. We climbed stairs to get there. Previously we had used an iron gymnasium at the back of the stables, but that has long since been removed [not the big gym of today]. Those players of the sliphorns were always out for a bit of fun. They would take paper to practice, chew up wads, pull their sliphorns apart and use one of the long rods as a blowpipe. They would get in early, wait for the door to open, or for someone to innocently appear, then WhAM! A blow on the cheek from one of their wads would almost knock you down. One night one of the Laslett boys caught Sergeant Instructor Craddock a beauty on the cheek, but he finally accepted an apology.
Fritz Altmann was a wonder on his E-Flat Bass. He was a fair musician but he would have been much better on the stage with his “impersonations.” Fritz could not exactly make his E-Flat talk but what did come out was most entertaining.
“Give us a Bib & Bub tram, Fritz.” These were the little trains that ran past the Barracks to Hindmarsh and we were frequently carried as passengers. They were small, double open seats at each end, with a small saloon in between. They ran on a double bogie under the centre of the saloon, had magnetic brakes, and could be rocked up and down to a danger point. Eventually the M.T.T. would only allow three Junior Constables to travel in the rear driver’s compartment for safety. Six of us could cause trouble with our combined weight. These trams had motors that whined considerably as they built up speed or slowed down. Away Fritz would go on his E-Flat, “Whoom, whoom, whoom, whoom,” in a rising crescendo, then a level noise as the tram maintained level speed. Then “ding” as the bell was pulled for a stop, and “whooin, whoom, who oooommmmm”, as the tram slowed to a stop. Coming through the instrument, the noise was most realistic.
Then Fritz would do his World War 1 dogfight between two ‘planes, both engines coming through, plus machine gun firing. This was his masterpiece, and
Fritz would never let us down when called upon the diversify his music.
Maybe it has never been done before, and might even be done again. We did it! Maybe we hold a record for Adelaide. We marched down King William Street on November 11th, 1937 playing two marches at the same time.
Our Drum Major on this occasion was non other than a former “A” Trooper, now an Instructor and disliked by most troops. As a former “A” Trooper [on this occasion I was a Constable] I gave the idea that perhaps we would play up a bit when we were again called upon to play on the march. “Big instruments play Slaidhurn, little ones play Old Comrades.” It was on. How horrible is must have sounded. Of course, Drum Major Schwerdt would not have had a clue that there was anything wrong with the music, for he was tone-deaf, but how the ears of the listening populace in Adelaide must have been assailed.
MY MATE JACK
I have told you he played tenorhorn. At least that was the instrument he carried. Jack was a great con man, a real nice guy that could put anything over anybody and get away with it.
Jack conned old Gooie into thinking that he was his best player. We never were called upon individually to stand up and perform,, so Jack was able to get away with it. Jack was very good at telling other players how to best bring out their music, but his own was not often forthcoming.
One night Gooie was getting around the band listening intently, stopped the band and said, “Jack, Jack, you can’t play boy.” It was me who yelled out, “We could have told you that Mr. Simmonds.” Poor old Gooie.
I did not want to be sent bush when I turned 21 years and sworn in, so I conned old Gooie into the fact that if he asked specifically for me to remain in the band as his leading 1~ cornet, then he might win me. I have already mentioned that no adults were retrained in the band.
I won! I was kept in the band, but only attended practice once in three weeks, that occasion being on afternoon shift when I would be released from the beat. As there was never any new music to learn, practice was not all that difficult for me. We still played the old tunes that had been with the band since almost its inception.
Powers that be asked me to go to Port Pine. I refused, saying my presence was required in the Band. I won! I stopped in Adelaide, was used in the band, and sought permission from the Commissioner to marry [as per regulations then]. Permission granted. Married! Didn’t go to band practice any more! Handed my instrument in, then got a bill for 8/6d. Now I was on 10/- a day and 8/6d was nearly day’s pay. I was in trouble over a mouthpiece that Gooie had loaned me — a bigger mouthpiece than was normal, for I had my top dentures removed and used a backing plate [made by a dentist from a melted down gramaphone record] until I had a regular plate. I had handed this mouthpiece to Liz Carter, who now denied all knowledge of it, and I got the bill. Oh well, it only cost me 8/6d to get out of the Junior Constables’ Police Band.
The original LOXTON iou was moved to the home of its new own
T ers, Brenton and Shana Schultz, on the weekend. Inset:
The loll is lifted from its original place behind the scout hail
Loxton Jail moved to new homeBy LISA SYMONDS
Loxton’s original jail was moved to a new resting-place last weekend.
Loxton residents Brenton and Shana Schultz bought the small corrugated iron building, once a three-cell block, from the Loxton Scouts earlier this year.
“We’re into the history and we appreciate all of it,” Mrs Schultz said.
Mrs Schultz said she and her husband planned to restore the building and utilise it as a garden shed. She said she had removed the old carpet and nailed in the floorboards.
“Brenton found an old ticket under the carpet that he will have laminated and put up in the jail,” she said.
The Australian Workers’ Union ticket was dated from 1910 to 1911 and is testimony to the building of the jail next to the police station on the corner of Pyap and Drabsch Streets in 1911.
The couple also found some graffiti dated 1958, on a section of wood near the ceiling. "It’s a good solid building
and there’s one of the original cell doors with the heavy iron bars above it,” she said. The jail, which has been painted in sections on the outside, will be blasted to remove the paint and to “try to get it back to a more original looking state”. “It’s also a talking point To be able to say that it was the old Loxton jail is quite something.”
Mrs Schultz said the jail was offered to the Loxton Historical Village, who declined because they own the original Alawoona jail.
“We’re not going to deface it and we don’t want to ruin it by pulling it apart. If anything, we will be beautifying it and turning it into a use.
“I think we’re very lucky to own it and we’re very proud,” she said. “It’s always- nice to preserve
history and we hope that some old stories about the jail will come Out of the woodwork.”
Loxton Scouts cub leader John Lipacis said the group put the jail up for tender to “get the feel of who would be interested in buying it”.
Mr Lipacis said the scouts planned to erect a new storage shed in place of the old jail.
He said the scouts are hoping to raise the $7000 needed to erect the shed to store the group’s canoeing equipment and drinks trailer through government and public grants and fund-raising. The scouts were awarded the jail by tender in 1964. The original police station was demolished and the existing station was opened in 1962.
Submitted by Val Harvey
* *** * * * * * * * * *** *** *** ** * *
‘CRIME & PUNISHMENT BEFORE 2000.
A Swedish man was arrested when he threatened to kill his neighbour with his pet poisonous snake, a King Cobra.
Police said he was the first person in Sweden to be arrested for using a snake as a weapon. The cobra was taken to a nearby zoo.
FROM THE EDITOR
MANY THANKS to all those who contributed letters and articles to the HUE & CRY. These are what make the HUE & CRY interesting and enjoyable for members to read.
I am looking forward to receiving more of the same toinclude in future issues of the HUE & CRY in the NEW YEAR
With Best Wishes for Christmas,
and the year 2003.
|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