Hue and Cry




August 1949

front cover

Feeding the swans is part of the pleasant side of the Torrens Water Constable’s work Water Constable Ernie W. North throws bread to some of his bird friends.


28th Annual Report
Presented by President Geoff Rawson
At Thebarton Barracks
Friday 4th February, 2005


  It is with much pleasure that I present the 28th Annual Report of the South Australian Police Historical Society for the year 2004-2005, my first Annual Report as President of the Society.

During the year we mourned the passing of Edna Wellington, who has been with the
society for many years and was much loved by all who knew her.

This year’s Annual Report provides a detailed overview of the many activities of the Society over the last 12 months & includes our ambitions for the future.

As in the past 27 years, the strength of the Society has been in the enthusiasm, dedication & strong commitment of its members &, in particular, our volunteers without whom little could be achieved. The following is a list of many of the positive outcomes achieved.


Geoff Rawson


During 1886 the Mayor (Sir Edwin Smith) presented a number of black swans as a gift to the city.  However, the swans were vulnerable to attacks by vandals & dogs, especially at those times when the Lake was lowered. The unofficial arrangement whereby the Police Constable at the Lake undertook to look after the swans was formalised in 1929.  The first official reference to the “Keeper of the Swans” appeared in the Digest of Proceeding of Council on 27th May 1929.

In 1895 an exchange of black swans for white was arranged with the Vintners’ Company in London.  All twelve survived the trip.  Six went to the Zoo & six were put into the lake, but five of them died within the year.

In 1922 a further five swans died on the Torrens Lake & it was suggested that the Water police Constable assist in feeding & protecting the swans and “innumerable wild fowl of all descriptions” which existed on the lake.
Four Adelaide policemen had a most unusual “beat” – the River Torrens.  Their work included-

They were – Water Constables Ernie North, Sid French, Don Cole & Rod Miles – the guardians of the Torrens, its surroundings & its wild life.

Variety was the keynote of their work, which required a thorough knowledge of birds, boats & bodies.  Although their duties could be grim, they were mostly pleasant & never dull.

The Torrens had become a dumping ground for stolen property.  Whenever the weir at the end of the lake was opened the police would don their oldest clothes & invade the river bed en masse to recover articles – usually stolen – which had accumulated in the mud since the last opening.
A horse & dray, a motor cycle, dozens of bicycles, firearms, cash registers & scores of bottles have been found on the Torrens bed.

Once when no fresh water had come from the hills for three years & the lake had not been emptied for that time. The police got a huge haul of empty bottles from the river bed.  They also found a kitbag full of household taps & about 400 smoking pipes.

The feat of which they were proudest was finding a woman’s engagement ring on a layer of mud.  She had dropped the ring over the side of a boat.  The police placed a stake in the water at the approximate spot, &, when the weir was opened some time later, they found the ring resting on the mud.     


did you know

by Jim Sykes

In 1864
Port Adelaide Publicans complained of the necessity to place dead bodies in their hotels in order for an inquest to be held as there is a Port Casualty Hospital operating and that should be used. The local Magistrate declared that the Casualty Hospital was unsuitable as it comprised of only one room and people attend in that room for treatment. The Chief Secretary directed that the police cells were to be used. The police objected stating that bodies are often in a decomposed state. Eventually a “Dead House” [Morgue} was erected on Ocean Steamers Road near the Colac Hotel.

In 1924
The Police Association held its first meeting with the Commissioner of Police to discuss pay, conditions and grievances etc.
Police salaries were paid each fortnight for the first time.
Prisoner Digby was shot dead whilst escaping from the Port Lincoln Gaol.

In 1926
Foot Constable T.A.J. Tregoweth died from burns he received fighting a bush fire at Waterfall Gully.

The Royal Commission at Port Pirie refused recompense for expenses incurred by Constable E.J. Davis for his attendance as a witness.

Detective G.P. Nichol took out a writ for slander against Foot Constable L.B. Fenwick in relation to comments that “Police were receiving bribes to forego betting offences”

In 1928

On the 15th September, Foot Constable C.F. Clayton was killed on West Terrace Adelaide when his police bicycle was struck by a motor car which allegedly had faulty brakes. The car driver, R.K.I. Aldrige was charged with murder.

In 1929

On the 23rd February, Foot Constables John Clement King and Ernest Budgeon arrested armed criminals who shot at them and who had a short time before, shot and killed Constable John McLennon Holman, 23 yrs of age. King and Budgeon both received the King’s Police Medal for “The fearless discharge of duty in imminent risk of death”

Ceremonial Parade of Police Officers at Parade Grounds Gov. Sir Alexander Hore-Ruthven presenting Kings Medal to Const. C.J. King (right) Const. E. Budgen for bravery shown in execution of duty when Const. Holman shot in February 1929.
(centre)  Police trumpeter giving royal salute.
General view of ceremony foot police on left.  Mounted police, traffic police in  background.

"Observer"  May 15th  1930


You will remember our story in the December Hue & Cry on our very busy member Jim Sykes, well here he is again with the latest addition to our very sophisticated communications system – A truly MOBILE PHONE



Pioneer Women
An article dedicated to the “Weaker Sex”

 Compiled by Allen Cliff


Since the world began we have heard of the great feats of men, Explorers, Artists, Political men, Empire makers & world wide heroes.  Occasionally we hear of one of the so called ‘weaker sex’ – the woman who has tried to achieve greatness alongside the great men of history, BUT it is only occasionally.

Daisy Fry in her story of the town of Keith has this to say  ..  “We must admire the courage, tenacity & wonderful perseverance or staying power of the men pioneers & their capacity for hard work; but what of the women pioneers?”

Poor brave mothers.  We cannot imagine in these days of fast cars & good roads & telephones, their difficulties, their sorrows & their lonely monotonous lives in the early days of this colony.

No matter what part of this undeveloped country of ours we travel, we will find that some woman has made a home there before us.  There perhaps is an old almond tree, a few bulbs bravely flowering, the remains of a roughly built stone chimney &, not far away, a little grave or graves, that of a child who becomes ill & so far from a Doctor & medical assistance.  These little graves are spread up & down the whole of this unknown “Ninety Mile Desert” & in all country places from Wellington to Kingston & beyond – proving to us that women have been pioneering & settling this country for well over two hundred years.

No man can settle in a country without his women-kind & these women surely deserve the palm of courage, settling as they did, miles from a neighbour in the primeval scrub, in just a little clearing between the trees.  Shops, streets, doctors & schools were left in Adelaide or at coastal towns, & only the awful loneliness, the dreaded isolation & the dread of their children becoming ill were their companions.
These women of the early days, in most cases, toiled alongside their husbands & children, in the fields & forests & in many cases starved themselves, when food was short, so that they could feed their children & give them a chance in  life.  Braving the nights alone when the husband was away for supplies, dreading the thought that they could at any time be visited by not only wandering blacks, but scavenging whites who roamed the countryside, scrounging their way from one property to another.

One instance of the loneliness is contained in this extract from the diary of the Rev. Milne, one of the first Ministers to travel the outback stations & give prayer & comfort to the settlers.  He had left his home in Crafers & travelled on horseback to Echunga, Strathalbyn, Langhorne’s Creek, Wellington, thence up river to Tunkillo, to Melrose’s at Mount Pleasant, Blanchtown, back to Wellington on to Baker’s station at Lake Albert, McCallum’s at McGrath’S Flat, Woods Well, Hack’s Station and so on.  Travelling the whole south east from station to station, visiting camps, missing very few, stopping to leave a christian text on the men’s beds in their tents if there was no one there.  An incredible man of most amazing physical strength & indomitable will.  No less amazing must have been his horse, for on one trip to the southeast he travelled on horseback over 1200 miles.

At one place the Rev. Milne relates .... “I visited two huts, the great complaint that Ministers do not visit at the huts.  One of the women had   been in the bush for ten years, another for eight years & they said that no minister had ever called at their huts before.  Read a prayer & left.  Mr. Jones, who went with me to the huts on the station, introduced me to his people-conducted family worship”  ....13th March 1865  “left for Mr. Rankine’s at the Monster (near Keith), visited a hut on the way.  The poor woman seemed very thankful for the visit & turned down the leaf of her Bible, saying she would read it to her husband & tell him what I had said ………………….  ....” Eight or ten years in the scrub without their spiritual guidance, without their electric washing machines, refrigerators, electric irons & radio or many more of the wonderful inventions we take for granted.  Sit quietly, close your eyes & think what it must have been like in those first days.
 Perhaps a makeshift tent, then a makeshift wooden hut with dirt floors, the wind whistling through the cracks, water to be carried from a well, oil lamps (if you were lucky) & above all, that feeling of complete loneliness
from other souls outside of the immediate family  ..!
I have wondered all my life, & shall continue to wonder how women can be called the WEAKER SEX!

 Mounted Police Troopers
By Chas Hopkins

 (cont’d from January 2005)

Edward Napoleon Bonaparte Catchlove was a police trooper with an interesting history that I consider worthy of mentioning. He joined the S.A. Police on 4th March 1863. His Christian names alone should arouse interest. I first learnt of this character through a close neighbour who was a relative [Phillip Catchlove]. He loaned me a copy of the diary the Trooper had prepared when he accompanied the first contingent of  S.A. Police to be based in the Northern Territory in June 1870.   The Police Service Record of Catchlove is
as follows-

Date of appointment . Rank    Station.  or promotion.
4/3/1863      Third Class Trooper         Adelaide
13/4/1865    Second Class Trooper   
14/4/1866    First Class Trooper   
1/1/1867     Third Class Trooper   
10/5/1867    Second Class Trooper   
2/6/1867     First Class Trooper   
14/4/1870       “       “          “            Northern Territory
30/4/1872    Resigned   
13/12/1875  Third Class Trooper        Adelaide
1/1/1879     Second Class Trooper   
1/7/1880    2/Class Mounted Const.   
1/9/1880    1/Class Mounted Const.    Waukaringa
                       “          “           “       Yongala
                       “          “           “       Farina
4/11/1887        “          “           “       Diamantina
29/11/1892      “          “           “       Beltana
31/12/1897      "          “           “       Port Augusta
17/1/1898        “          “           “       Fowlers Bay
17/4/1903        “          “           “       Adelaide
?/5/1903          “          “           “      Winnecke’s Depot
1/1/1904    Senior Constable                  “              “
31/3/1907    Resigned   

Notation on file.  £185-17-6 compensation paid on April 1907.

I have been unable to find any documents which indicate the reason he was paid this compensation. A pension system and long service leave payments were not in operation at that time.

Due to the shortage of provisions at Darwin after the police contingent arrived there, it was necessary for the inhabitants to travel to a nearby lagoon to shoot wild birds for food.
The supply ship from Adelaide was irregular, as it had to half circumnavigate the Continent to make the deliveries. There were instances where weeks had passed from its expected arrival time.
As there were no enclosures to paddock the police horses, it was necessary at times to travel in excess of 20 miles to recover them. On one occasion in searching for the police horses they discovered a horse abandoned by the explorer Stuart, on his epic journey travelling across Australia. It had probably broken down, but was in good condition when they sighted it and the fact it had eluded the crocodiles, which were prevalent in the area.
On another occasion when a gold exploration team was searching the area 100 miles south of Darwin they discovered a tree marked by Stuart. The entry in the diary included that when he, Catchlove, left Adelaide, only a few people there believed Stuart had achieved his goal in crossing the Continent.
It is well documented that Stuart, although an expert Surveyor, was also a chronic alcoholic at the time he was selected to explore the country, so much so, that police were instructed to ensure that all premises licensed to sell liquor in the areas he was to pass through, were to close for business until he was well clear of their area.
Another character I found to be of interest was Mounted Constable George Aiston.
   George joined the Force in the early l890's and spent most of his service in the outback stations.  He spent several years at Fowlers Bay and when he married was transferred to the Tarcoola Gold Field.  Tarcoola in those days was really in the back-blocks as there was no east-west Railway and it was necessary for him to travel to Coward Springs on the Ghan Train and then collect his camels to travel the 400 miles to his Station.  In fact the old Tarcoola Township was located approximately 5 miles from the present town, which came into existence when the railway reached there during the 1st World War.  After spending a few years at Tarcoola, Trooper Aiston was transferred to Mungerannie Police Station, which was located on the Birdsville Track.  He remained there for 12 years, and resigned when he was informed he was to be transferred.
    In fact the old Tarcoola Township was located approximately 5 miles from the present town, which came into existence when the railway reached there during the 1st World War.  After spending a few years at Tarcoola, Trooper Aiston was transferred to Mungerannie Police Station, which was located on the Birdsville Track.  He remained there for 12 years, and resigned when he was informed he was to be transferred. 
When he resigned, he shifted to the Mulka Bore, which was also located on the Birdsville Track and supplied water to the drovers at a penny a head [for the cattle]. He remained there until his death in about 1920. During his service in the outback he had made a study of anthropology and was regarded somewhat an authority on the aborigine. In fact he accepted an invitation to lecture at the Melbourne University on several occasions when on annual leave.

Mr. Aiston travelled extensively in the outback, and in particular in the Cooper Creek area. After his death his widow remained at Mulka
& was employed as a bookkeeper on the Station and stayed there until the mid 1950’s. Trooper Aiston had Australia’s best collection of aboriginal artefacts and his widow subsequently donated them to the Adelaide Museum.


Prior to Christmas the Society was well represented at a variety of functions including:-

Frank & Fran O’Connor, Bob & Helen Ward, Peter  Moeller, Tony & Kate Woodcock once again participated in the very successful Annual Charity Toy Run.
The Society’s Coffers were boosted by a further $107.50 from sales of books & memorabilia at the Fort Glanville Open Day – a well-organised event in the military tradition. Volunteers Bob Job, Kon Reintals, Dennis & Dot Irrgang, Holger Kruse, Rex Greig & Kevin Beare represented the Society with the exhibition of the Chrysler Royal, Bedford Van, Suzuki motorcycle outfit & the Black Maria.


  The Annual General Meeting of the Society was held on the 4th February 2005 in the meeting room at
Thebarton Barracks with a group of about 50 members present.

A framed certificate was presented to our former President John White who is now our Vice
Patron in recognition of his services to the Society.  A similar certificate will be presented in the future to the Commissioner Mr. Hyde as our patron.

The Premier’s Certificate of Appreciation was awarded to Jim Sykes, Dorothy Pyatt and Rob Thomson, in recognition of their outstanding contribution to the Society.  However, as Rob and Dorothy were unable to attend, we were only able to present Jim’s certificate.  The remaining certificates will be presented as soon as is
 practicable. The Premier is also Minister for Volunteers and this is a new initiative of  Government to recognise volunteers in South Australia.

Certificates of Appreciation were awarded to  Colin and Joyce Beames and Peter Malpas.

After positions were declared vacant, John White took over and the following members were elected to the Executive.

 Myself as President, Owen Bevan as Secretary/Vice President, Tony Woodcock Treasurer.  Committee members are Rex Greig, Jim Sykes, Allan Peters, Elees Pick, Bill Rojas and Tony Kaukas. Bill Prior is also a member of committee representing SAPOL.

Thanks to Colin and Joyce Beames, and those members who contributed prizes, Approximately  $75.00 was raised at the raffle for the evening.

Work on the FJ Holden is moving in the right direction and I am informed that the vehicle will be going to the upholsterer’s workshop in the next week or two for the next phase.

Work is proceeding in the museum area, with the picture rail completed in the upstairs gallery and fitting out of the stainless steel wires and other equipment to hang photos in position. 
The downstairs galleries had minimal work owing to the work upstairs in the photographic room, and the
exhibition room needing to be sorted out after a lot of  exhibits from the Dive shed have been placed in there but not properly sorted yet.

Jim continues to refine the material in the new shed updating the computer and re-sorting material more
effectively into the compactus.

Next month’s meeting will feature Terry Arnott who will be speaking about South Australia’s Whaling History.  I look forward to seeing you there.

Geoff Rawson.



Peter has been a valued volunteer for several years, assisting Alf & Audrey with the Maps & Plans Project.

Members will remember the outstanding musical talent of Peter & his twin brother John at our Christmas Dinner. Peter is a man of many talents with a very interesting and varied career including 3 years from 1948 to 1951 as a Mounted Constable, working with several SAPOL ‘characters’ such as “Blue” Johnson & Ron Arney.
During the serious bushfires in 1951 Peter was seconded to the Emergency Fire Services visiting various South Australian Country areas, lecturing the District Councils - a precursor to the current Country Fire Service. 

Peter organised yearly competitions between the districts with finals held at the Wayville showgrounds and presentation dinners at the Norwood Town Hall.

In 1978 Commissioner McKinna chaired a Meeting which decided to place the E.F.S. under the public service so Peter left the Police Department to become the Deputy Director of the Country Fire Service.  He was highly regarded by the many Country Shires and was duly recognised for his service with the Police Medal for 22 years exemplary service, British Fire Services Award, Queens Honours 1981, and the British Empire Medal.

Peter is one of nature’s gentlemen and is well liked and respected by his fellow volunteers. 

Well done Peter.

The “HUE & CRY” is

Published by the
South Australian

Police Historical Society Inc.,
Thebarton Police Barracks
C/- G.P.O. Box 1539 
Adelaide 5001
S.A. 5083



Elees Pick........

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