INSIDE THIS ISSUE
Blast From the Past
Volunteers in Action
Next Month's Meeting
WALKING THE BLUE HONOUR LINE.
Tracy Johnson patrolling during Adelaide Christmas Pageant 1983.
November proved to be a very busy month in more ways than one. Thanks to Kevin Beare for holding the fort whilst my wife and I cruised around
. New Zealand
This period is always busy with the many pageants for our vehicle members which included Tea Tree Gully 7/11, Commissioned Officers Christmas Party 15/11, Visit by the Marion Probus Club on the 17th (33visitors), Onkaparinga Christmas and the Port Adelaide pageants on 21/11, Glenelg Pageant 22/11, and International Police Ass. Visit (50members) on the same day, Holy Trinity Mens Group visit on 24/11, Public Sector Week (Behind the badge) 27/11, Norwood Christmas Pageant 28/11, and Elees and I drove the VN Commodore to Coonalpyn for their Centenary on the same day. My congratulations to all the volunteers involved in these events.
Saturday the 5th December 82members and friends attended the Police Club for our Christmas Dinner. Guests included our Patron Commissioner Mal Hyde AO, APM, and his wife Marcia, and our Vice Patron Deputy Commissioner Gary Burns BM, APM, and his wife Denise. Holger Kruse and his wife Ros made the trip from Mildura for the event. The evening ran very smoothly thanks to the efforts of Kate Woodcock and Helen Ward, and an excellent meal was provided by Heather Greg & Staff.
Owen Bevan was MC for the evening and Vice President Kevin Beare took the stage for part of proceedings of which I was the only one in the room who had no prior knowledge. After a short speech it was announced that I had been appointed a Life Member at our monthly meeting on the 6th November when Heather and I were busy cruising. To say I was flabbergasted was an understatement. I was of course highly honoured to receive the award which was presented by Mal Hyde.
After such a busy period our volunteers deserve a break Thursday the 24th and the 31st have been declared “days off” to give us a fresh start in the New Year.
Our AGM will be held on Friday the 5th February 2010 where I will be presenting my last Annual Report as President. I encourage members and volunteers to consider making themselves available for executive positions for the next year and the challenges ahead.
The Sundown Murders &
by Reuben Goldsworthy.
Meanwhile Detectives Moran and Palmer returned to the murder scene for further checking, and then went on to Alice Springs, where Detective Palmer was admitted to hospital with swollen feet caused by the heat. Detective Ivan Patterson, the police ballistic expert, was flown to
Alice Springsto assist with the investigation.
The pathological report on the victims disclosed that Whelan had been shot in the back of the body. His head was fractured, and this was probably caused by two heavy blows. Thyra Bowman had multiple fractures of the skull and had been shot through the head. Wendy Bowman’s head was also fractured and a bullet had passed through her brain. The blows that had caused the fractures to the head were consistent with blows from the butt of a rifle.
A cartridge case of a .22 calibre rifle bullet found at the scene of the Sundown Murders. Note the irregular line through the firing pin impression caused by the tip of the firing pin of the rifle.
The bullets were tested by Detective Patterson. He reported that the bullets had probably been fired from a “Huntsman” brand 0.22 calibre rifle; they carried the same striation marks. This evidence was important, b3ecause other identical shells were later located which linked the offender with the weapon. One shell recovered later from the Wirrula area was fired several months before the murders, and another was found in his caravan after his arrest.
Detective Barry Cocks was asked for the other items collected to be examined, and a preliminary examination was made by experts at the laboratories of the Mines Department, where there was the latest technological equipment required,. It was found that the makeshift ‘moccasins’ had been cut from the other pieces of bagging found at the crime scene, and a small pin feather was recovered from the weave of the bagging. This was taken to an ornithologist at the Adelaide Museum, who identified it as having come from a Port Lincoln Ringneck Parrot,. Found only on
Eyre Peninsula. This information proved to be useful because it was later found that the culprit had shot a parrot near Wirrila some months before the murders.
Also found in the bagging was the embryo of a small shellfish, approximately the size of a match head. This was also taken to the Museum, and was identified by a conchologist, who informed us that it was a fresh water shellfish whose habitat is restricted to fresh water in central
. It seemed probable that the bagging had been used as a mat at a campsite, and that the shellfish had crawled into the bagging. Australia
A fortnight’s delay in the investigation was lost because of flooding in the region, and five weeks had elapsed since the murders, greatly reducing the chance of solvoing the case. One reason for this is that, with the passing of time, potential witnesses are less likely to be able to recall precise details of their observations – memories tend to fade. After the flood had subsided, Detective Moran and I returned to
Alice Springs, where the local police briefed us on the inquires they had made, and put their facilities at our disposal.
After our meeting with them, it was time for a beer, and we returned to the hotel. In the bar we met the Officer-in Charge of the police station, Sergeant Ron Hughes, who had previously served in the South Australian Force. He pointed out a man who was standing nearby with a group of other men and said that the man was Mick Oldfield, who had traveled the
Stuart Highwayon the night of the murders. Sgt. Hughes said that he had been interviewed, but had said that he had seen nothing. I asked Hughes to call him over, and we were introduced. On the night of the murders he had been returning home from a cattle sale at Maree, driving via Oodnadatta and the Stuart Highwayto the “who was with you?” he said “my wife”. I then said “Where is your wife?” to which he responded “shopping here in ”. I then asked if he would bring her to the police station that evening. Alice
Accordingly, Mrs. Oldfield, a very quite and refined lady, came to see me at the station. She told me that she had accompanied her husband to the cattle sale and traveled back with him. I asked here whether she had seen anything unusual on the way home. In response she said “I saw some people preparing to camp, we passed a car stationary on the road. It had a caravan attached. There was young woman seated by the van and there was a small boy nearby”. I said “On what side of the road were the car and van?” She said “the right hand side”. I asked a few more questions, and was told that the camp site was ‘reasonably close’ to the parked car and van. She said that the car was facing the north, indicating that the trio were heading for
Mrs. Oldfield was and essential witness, because she said that the car was a large black one, and this persuaded us that it could not have been a Ford Zephyr. The new information was immediately despatched to
. Previous information conveyed to the public via the media was cancelled, and the new information was published. Adelaide
We then interviewed all the managers of garages, service stations, and caravan parks, and others associated with the motoring industry in
Alice Springs. Only a few were able to supply information to identify their clients during the periods which we specified. Most of this information came from caravan parks, where clients had entered their names in the visitors’ books. All of this was sent to for follow up. Adelaide
Following this we revisited the crime area again, and then went to a number of cattle stations in order to question station personnel, fencing and boring contractors, brumby shoots, and so on, but we gained no additional relevant information.
On 21st January we returned to Kulgera Station and were advised by radio to return to Alice Springs immediately, because the offender had been arrested at
This was forty days after the murders. We were told that the Mt. Isa. AdelaideC.I.B. had sent information which we had provided to the BrisbaneC.I.B. including the addresses of those who had stayed in caravan parks in Alice Springs. As a result, it was discovered that one of the addresses was that of a Mr. Gordon Hassell-Brown, and that he had toured the Northern Territoryand with a male friend, and had been on the South Australia Stuart Highwayat the time of the murders.
It turned out that, although Hassell-Brown did not have a caravan, he had stayed in a caravan park at
Alice Springs. Then, after leaving, he and his friend had set out for Adelaide, and at a point somewhere north of Coober Pedy they had met and spoken to a family traveling in the opposite direction in a black sedan and pulling a caravan.. De Soto
The family comprised a man of a bout 25 years of age, a woman, and a boy about five years old. The man told them that he was traveling to
Mt. Isavia Alice Springs, and had been told that he could possible get employment at the local hospital which was being upgraded. He had a 0.22 rifle in the front of the vehicle, and for some reason produced a revolver from a hole in the upholstery of the front seat. This meeting took place two days before the murders were committed.
Thus Mr. Hassell-Broiwn was another essential witness, because he provided us with two vital clues, namely that the presumed offender’s car was a black De Soto, and that he was going to Mt. Isa to seek employment at the hospital.
After receipt of this information, the Adelaide C.I.B. discovered that the De Soto vehicle, valued at 300 pounds, had been illegally obtained at Renmark by a person giving the name of Raymond John Bailey of Dubbo. The significance of the pocket-sized calendar was then realized. It had been printed for a tailor in Dubbo.
We set out immediately on the 200 mile trip back to Alice Springs and on arrival there were told that the offender had been identified because his name and address were among those listed in the registers of the caravan parks in Alice Springs. The police at
Mt. Isawere contacted, and Bailey was found at the hospital and charged with false pretences in respect of the vehicle, which he had obtained illegally at Renmark. Bailey was asked questions about the murders, and at that time gave three different accounts of his conduct at the scene of the crimes. De Soto
When we arrived at Alice Springs, a small Cessna plane was on standby, and we were flown to
next morning, where Detective Glen Hallahan briefed us on the latest developments. Bailey was interviewed and confessed to the crimes. He gave us an account of what had happened, and later signed a voluntary statement. This statement confirmed what we had already deduced from the evidence gathered at the crime scene. Mt. Isa
The following is a brief summary of the information provided in the statement,
On seeing a campfire Bailey had stopped his car, and the Baileys had spoken with the members of the Bowman Party and were given refreshments. They then went on for about a quarter of a mile, and stopped for a meal, after which they went to bed. For some reason, at about Bailey went for a walk down the road towards the Bowmans’ camp, carrying the rifle with him. He then left the road and went to the camp (we presumed that he went there with the intention of stealing from the group).
According to Bailey, he approached the clearing where the group were camped, through the bush on the northern side, choosing this way so as not to reveal his presence. However, as he approached he was bitten on the left wrist by a dog. (He showed us a sore on his wrist to indicate where he had been bitten). He then turned around and attempted to shoot the dog. Then he saw a man jump up and rush at him. He fired the gun and saw the man fall down. He thought that he had killed the man, but claimed that he had shot him accidentally. He stated that he “just went mad after that”. He then thought that he would have to kill the others to ‘cover up’. The woman and the girl rushed towards him, and he shot them in turn. Before he shot the girl he hit her on the head with the butt of his rifle, knocking her to the ground.
Bailey then drove the Bowmans’ car into the scrub, removed the three bodies, and put canvas and blankets over them. He then drove the car back to the highway and walked back to his car and caravan, had a bath and went to bed.
He awoke at about next morning and went back to the place where he had shot the three people. He shot the dogs, and then dragged them to a place behind the camp, took their chains and collars off, and threw them away.
He then went back to the car, and drove it to where the bodies were, so as to make sure that they were properly covered. According to his account, he had taken a wheat bag with him before he left his caravan in the morning, cut two squares out of it, and wrapped them around his feet using wire to hold them in placed. (Thus our conclusion that he had done this was confirmed).
After going back to the bodies a second time, he had driven the car back to the roadway, and then into the scrub on the opposite side. He used water from the four gallon can to wash fingerprints from the inside and outside of the car. (Again on deductions were confirmed).
Bailey was charged with murder and a provisional warrant was issued in
IN OUR JANUARY ISSUE : An eventful return flight to Adelaide, source of rifle located, a last minute witness & a strange co-incidence almost 50 years later.
NEW MUSEUM RESIDENT.
We recently had a visit from Ann Storvik of Victoria who was looking for information on a relative who served with SAPOL in the 1860’s.
Ann enjoyed her visit, and tour of the Museum and , on hearing that we would like a camel to complete our “outback troopers” display, promised to see what she could do to help out. Her camel recently arrived and is now sitting proudly in our exhibit.
Our sincere thanks goes to Ann for her very generous donation.
It is interesting to note that our search for Ann’s relative included his service record which interestingly shows him deceased on the 18th February, 1869—appointed Police Constable in 1871 and discharged in 1871!! They were tough in those days.
Don Barrett …. Jeff Hogben …. Garry Ling ….. John Murray
Barry Newman & Noel Vears
We Welcome you …….
No meeting in January
Next meeting : ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
FRIDAY 5TH FEBRUARY, 2010
Election of Officers & Committee
Nomination Forms available on request.
President Geoff Rawson
Presented with South Australian Police Historical Society
Following a short introduction by Vice President Kevin Beare, Commissioner Mal Hyde presented a very surprised Geoff Rawson with a Certificate and Life Membership medal in recognition of Geoff’s outstanding service to the Society.
Geoff was nominated and accepted for life membership by Society members at the November General Meeting, while he and wife Heather were cruising New Zealand. A richly deserved honour.
The month of November has seen our volunteers at Barracks almost every day of the week. The usual round of Community Christmas Pageants has kept the Vehicle Team on their toes & all involved will be glad of a break over the next couple of months in time for a number of events in February.
Saturday 7th November, 2009 - Kevin Johnson, Bob Boscence & Ernie McLeod joined in the Tea Tree Gully Christmas Pageant
Sunday the 15th saw the Vehicle team once again representing the Society at the Commissioned Officers’ Children’s Christmas Party.
On Tuesday 17th November—33 members of the Marion Probus Club joined Geoff Rawson, Max Griffiths, Kevin Johnson, Kevin Beare, Helen & Bob Ward, Ray Freak, Bethany Boetcher, Mary Furnell, Dianne Lugg, Ian Radford & Glen Mattingly for a tour and Devonshire tea.
Saturday the 21st November was a very busy day for the vehicle team, when our vehicles were again the centre of attention at the Westfield Christmas Pageant at Christies Beach in the morning & once again in the evening Kevin Johnson, Bob Boscence, Ernie McLeod & Max Griffiths together with the Chrysler Royal, Holden Commodore & 'William Fisk' the BSA and Suzuki motor cycles were greeted with applause by a most appreciative audience.
Sunday 22nd it was the Glenelg Pageant with Kevin Johnson, Mark Dollman, Ernie McLeod & Bob Boscence once again flying the flag for the Society down at the Bay, while Geoff Rawson, Ray Freak, Kevin Beare, Max Griffiths, Dianne Lugg, Tony & Kate Woodcock, Alf Jarvis, Audrey Walker , Dave & Gaye Aylett, Ian Grose & Max Griffiths entertained some 64 members of the International Police Association at Barracks.
On Tuesday the 24th members of the Holy Trinity Church Men’s Group joined volunteers Geoff Rawson, Ray Freak, Max Griffiths, Isabel Brooks, Dianne Lugg & Glen Mattingly for a tour & Devonshire tea.
Friday 27th we opened the Museum as part of the SAPOL Behind the Badge Day. The crowds were somewhat disappointing with volunteers Geoff Rawson, Kevin Beare, Max Griffiths, Kevin Johnson, Tony Woodcock & Dianne Lugg representing the Society.
Saturday 28th saw another busy day with Kevin Johnson, Ernie McLeod, Dennis Irrgang & Bob Boscence joining in the Norwood Christmas Pageant, a very boisterous and wet day but the enthusiastic crowds certainly showed their appreciation of our efforts Geoff Rawson & Elees Pick traveled to Coonalpyn for their centenary celebrations and although it rained for most of the day the response was good with tremendous interest in the Holden Commodore Highway Patrol vehicle, which was parked at the front of the Coonalpyn Police Station, alongside the current police vehicle. Thanks must go Police Officer Stan Lowcock & his wife Heather for their hospitality & tremendous effort on behalf of SAPOL. Geoff particularly enjoyed the home made sausage rolls Heather made for lunch.
This was an exceptional month for displaying our vintage vehicles. The interest generated is invaluable, with young and old anxious to learn more about SAPOL & the workings of the Society in general. Many spectators requested information about our tours for 2010 and this type of publicity is something money can’t buy. Our thanks to all those who gave of their time & energy throughout the month.
The “HUE & CRY” is Published by the
South Australian Police Historical Society Inc.,
Thebarton Police Barracks
C/- G.P.O. Box 1539