Happy New Year to all members.
The holiday season is drawing to a close, however many of our workers have remained busy at Thebarton.
I am pleased to report that work is expected to start on repairs to the Museum complex on 20th February 2003 and should be completed by the end of April. We will all be looking forward to re-opening the complex, however there is much work to be done in the meantime. A sub-committee has been formed to examine issues, relating to the direction our Society should take which includes how the museum should be set up etc.
This year should be a very exciting one for the Society with further progress on upgrading our computer systems, the Police Expo in March and Foundation day in April at Bordertown.
A new initiative has been introduced in the Hue and Cry with a summary of the previous months Executive meeting. This may assist members to become aware of the issues discussed. I will be interested in any feedback for this initiative.
Our Annual General Meeting will be held on Friday 7th February 2003 at 8.00 p.m.. It is anticipated that there will be a Special General meeting later in the year to discuss possible changes to the Constitution.
FRONT COVER of THE HUE & CRY
25-9-1951. River Torrens near University Bridge. Scene depicts the first recovery operation by the newly formed Acqualung Squad using equipment just received, resulting in the successful location of a rifle connected with a homicide investigation. In the left foreground is Detective E. C. Hopkins with prisoner Zabinski handcuffed to him.
Ref. article on Page 5 - 10.
FROM THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
Executive meeting 12/12/2002
The following is a summary of the issues discussed
Microfiche reader/printer has been purchased and working well in Alan Peters Office.
Plans for Foundation day 2003 in Bordertown are proceeding. Meeting agreed to change date of ceremony from 28th April to 27th April (Sunday) to fit in with Bordertown planning. Attempts to be made to organise transport for the Sunday and leaving in early morning and returning in the evening. Bordertown committee are organising a ball to be held on the Saturday evening 26th. Police Band will be attending on the Saturday and Sunday.
Museum — Advice received via President John White that $80,000 has been approved for re-furbishment and work to commence in February 2003. Must be completed by end of June. Report submitted re removal of current exhibits and storage of same whilst work in progress.
The Chrysler Royal has been used extensively for various functions over the holiday period. Many thanks to those involved including, Rex Grieg, Mark Doilman, Tony Woodcock, Frank O’Connor and Don MeLcod.
Tony Woodcock reported on the outstanding success of the working bee conducted on 16/11/2002
A Gazebo awning has been purchased and was used in the Toy Run. This will assist Volunteers on hot days with the Chrysler and can be used for other purposes.
A report was submitted by the Chairman re the status of our office computers and associated systems. Two new machines supplied by SAPD have been installed and 4 more have been ordered. Purchase of additional equipment (CD Burner) authorised.
Tony Woodcock reported that a new and updated Firearms Register has been established. A S.A.P.O.L audit is expected to follow.
Allan peters tabled example items of memorabilia re fund raising. items to be sold at Expo and Tattoo if appropriate.
Policy of wearing of police uniforms raised- Secretary to prepare a written policy.
Colin and Joyce Beams have kindly agreed to take over the conduct of the raffles held at our monthly general meetings.
Finance — Tony tabled his report as at 10/12/2002 with total balance of $41,159.25
General Business — Tony Woodcock re future of the Police Museum. This document by Tony is some forward planning for the museum complex, to assist us to prepare for the re-opening of the museum complex when upgrading work has been completed.
‘Subscription time’ is upon us again.
“Fees remain unchanged for 2003”
SINGLE MEMBERSHIP FAMILY MEMBERSHIP
Attached to this copy of the ‘Hue & cry’, you will find your ‘subscription form’ for the year 2003. Would you please complete the renewal section of this form, DETACH where indicated and return it to the Society office, together with your payment.
‘Early attention to this matter would be greatly appreciated.’
PLEASE DO NOT SEND ‘CASH THROUGH THE POST
In order to save administrative time and costs, provision has been made on this renewal form for any member who may wish to pay their subscriptions for a year or more in advance (maximum 2 years). If you would like to make an advance payment, please indicate in the area provided. In the event that subscriptions may increase in these years, those members who have taken advantage of this advance payment provision, will of course not be expected to pay any increased amount
If you have any query as to the status of your membership, please do not hesitate to contact our Treasurer, Tony Woodcock, on any Thursday at the Thebarton Police Barracks, between 11 .00 a.m. and 1.00p.m. on 8207 4098.
THE POLICE MUSEUM
THEBARTON POLICE BARRACKS
In April 1996, two historic buildings at the Thebarton Police Barracks were handed over for use by the Police Historical Society, namely the old dormitory building (or the ‘Advanced Driving Wing’ building as many of us know it) which is located on the eastern side of the parade ground and the mess building located on the southern side of the parade ground, which contained the old kitchen, canteen and dining room (mess room) downstairs and the training classrooms upstairs.
When the Society moved into these premises, the mess room became our meeting room and the old dormitory building was to be used as the new ‘Police Museum’.
As has been the tradition since the formation of the Police Historical Society, our various meeting rooms have been named the ‘Jean Schmaal Room’, which is most appropriate, as we are all aware of Jean’s background and her contributions to our Society.
Following a most successful working bee held on the 16~ of November 2002, we now have a small ‘temporary’ museum operating. Hopefully early in 2003, after the long awaited renovations are complete, a new and permanent police museum will be established.
At the Society's Executive meeting held on Thursday the 12th of December, 2002, I submitted a written proposal in regard to the naming of the museum building and the four rooms (galleries) within it.
Asia result, the Executive Committee has agreed that the museum building will be named the:
‘JOHN McKINNA BUILDING’
and the’ four galleries will be named as follows:
Ground Floor (South Wing) - ROBERT POTTS GALLERY’
Ground Floor (North Wing) - ROBERT CLYNE GALLERY’
First Floor (South Wing) - ‘DOROTHY PYATT GALLERY’
First Floor (North Wing) - ROY HARVEY GALLERY’
It is proposed to conduct an official opening and dedication ceremony in due course.
ONE OF THE BEST.
(by Ray Killmier)
The mid north of South Australia has been a fertile ground for Police Recruits. One such was Edwin Charles Hopkins born in 1923 at Burra. A child of the Great Depression, his family circumstances were of the kind which shaped his character and self reliance, a feature of his subsequent police career.
The eldest of four children in a close knit family, many tasks fell to his lot. These involved assisting with the milking of 6 cows twice daily, delivering goods for shop keepers and the local newspaper after school. At an early age he became familiar and skilled with horses, particularly during the school vacations. This included the handling of six Clydesdales, drawing a wagon loaded with bagged wheat. A further chore was regularly driving the family horse and cart seven miles to Baldina Creek to cut and grub wood for the family needs. He often accompanied his father, a rural worker in his work on farms and sheep stations, camping in shearing sheds and the like.
Another formative experience, was assisting a drover to bring a mob of cattle from an outback location. Whilst setting rabbit traps to obtain food for the drovers dogs, night fell and he became lost in the scrub, an experience still etched in his mind. Fortunately he found his way back to their camp. This, with the primitive lifestyle of the drover, with poor food and a saddle for a pillow, caused him earnest reflection about his future life and influenced him to wider aspirations; reflected in successful results in his secondary education at Burra High School.
At 15 years of age he became a member of the local rifle club and enjoyed some success at this sport. He had also excelled as a runner, winning the 220 and 440 yard foot races with ease in the High Schools Sports Day competed by Burra, Clare, Riverton, Balaklava and Kapunda High Schools. Perhaps his height of 6 feet 2 inches and still growing gave him some advantage in his stride. A friend also introduced him to boxing, a sport he followed and indulged in for some years, including demonstrating the art at Woodside Army Camp during the war years. Other boyhood interests were bee keeping and playing a musical instrument in the town's brass band. In his teenage years he also helped his father who was by now in the building trade. Here he learned skills which led him to build his own furniture when setting up home, and later extending his house.
These were the beginnings which moulded his future years. While essentially physical in kind, it was coupled with a curiosity about life which is reflected in his descriptive writings and observations of people and events. Economic and deliberate in speech, these traits, to the unknowing, tended to conceal his keen intelligence and literary ability. In his highly successful career he never forgot his roots. The old adage, “You can take the boy out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the boy”, was always true of “Chas” as he has always been known. This has always been displayed in his direct and practical approach to problems.
At age 15 his thoughts turned to a police career. His first application was unsuccessful, the police doctor deeming him too light for his height. A few months later, he passed the physical requirements and became a Junior Constable in J. Troop in 1938. His first impression of the Port Adelaide Police Depot and its primitive buildings, poor amenities and hygiene was shock, a reaction shared by many trainees to pass through that institution.
His stay there was shortened when his former musical interest was discovered and he was transferred to the Thebarton Police Barracks to fill a vacancy in the Police Band, then a part time unit, almost entirely composed of Junior Constables. Here he revelled in equitation training, frequently being the lead rider in displays. He also had an early attachment to the Adelaide C.I.B. He was to return there on a number of occasions and was allowed to accompany senior detectives on investigations. It was some 20 months before he was allowed leave to return home to visit his parents. On the meagre training wage he was not able to afford the fare home. Not to be deterred he completed the round trip of some 200 miles on a borrowed bicycle.
In his training he gained top marks in shorthand which he had previously studied at school and excelled in law studies. However he records in swimming, he “trailed dismally]’ This was often a handicap for country trainees who lacked access to opportunities to pursue this pastime. His J.C. training lasted some 5 years during which he acquired trophies for his boxing and running ability. His most lasting impression was the esprit de corps and mates hip with his fellow Junior Constables, which lasted through his career and since.
Sworn in at the age of 21 years he was immediately posted to Whyalla for uniform duties. At that time Whyalla was something of a “frontier” town, the result of its rapid expansion due to the wartime industrial and shipbuilding activities, together with its busy seaport. Melees were common, often involving visiting seamen. Mere Chas was selected for plain clothes investigational duties, as well as being responsible for policing the liquor and gaming laws for the whole of Eyre Peninsular. In his plain clothes duties he was teamed with Terry Martin, a striking 6ft 6 ins, in height. With Chas by now 6ft 5 ins, tall, they must have appeared a formidable team.
In 1948, Chas passed his Detective and Third Grade Sergeants examinations. In January 1952 was transferred to the Adelaide C.I.B., in the first instance to Special Branch. In 1953 he was given the demanding responsibility of preparing the report for the Coroner on the devastating Black Sunday, Adelaide Hills fire, in which the Marble Hill residence of the Governor was destroyed. In the same year he participated in the first Detective Training course held at the Thebarton Barracks. In 1954 Squads were formed in the C.I.B.. to handle specific types of crime and were housed in a former boarding house at the corner of Angas and Nelson Streets. Chas was posted to the newly formed Homicide Squad under Detective Inspector Gill Gully. Here followed 8 years of intensive and unequalled activity investigating serious crime including the most horrendous murders of that time. His abilities were soon recognized as a lead investigator, second to none, as attested by commendations awarded to him for his investigational ability, tenacity and tireless efforts during this posting.
lt would be difficult for present day detectives to understand the working conditions and difficulties faced by detectives of that time. The Present day Major Crime Task Force approach did not exist. Investigations usually became the responsibility of a pair of detectives with little support. Equipment for investigators was basic. Protective clothing for many of the gruesome tasks was non existent, and transport often unreliable. Post mortems in country locations took place in the field under crude conditions, often by unskilled country medicos. On one occasion Chas had to borrow a saw from the local police officer for this purpose. On other occasions he had to borrow and sterilize glass jars to transport body specimens This led him to create a now standard portable kit of instruments and equipment for homicide investigations. It must be said that conditions and facilities at the then City Mortuary at West Terrace Cemetery were only marginally better.
Forensic support had not reached its present level of sophistication and extent, although Barry Cocks was leading and performing valuable pioneering work in the collection and interpretation of physical evidence at the scene of crimes. Much of today’s specialized expertise, facilities and techniques such as D.N.A. typing were not available. Equipment taken for granted today such as computers, tape recorders, video photography, survey equipment etc., simply did not exist. Case management as a technique, with dedicated and skilled staff for handling this and collating intelligence was not a recognized process. The successful outcome of an investigation was very much reliant on the abilities and initiatives of the few field operators to produce successful outcomes.
A litany of the serious crimes and homicides investigated by Chas during this period are too extensive to be detailed here. However one case in particular epitomizes his intelligence, and deductive ability and above all his determination and tenacity in obtaining a result. This was the brutal murders in 1957 of Thyra Bowman, her daughter Wendy and Peter Whelan, by Raymond John Bailey. These occurred some 800 miles north of Adelaide near the Northern Territory border, adjacent to the then unmade track. (now in the Pitlands). Chas with his partner Kevin Moran conducted the enquiry. The initial stage in this remote area was carried out under arduous conditions in extreme heat where even birds were falling out of the sky from exhaustion. It had been 10 days since the victims had been reported missing and the discovery of their bodies. There were few clues, although the examination of recovered bullets by Detective Ivan Patterson of the Police Ballistics Section made an important contribution. But it was the protracted persistence of Chas in going back to many remote parts of the State and the Northern Territory, and in some cases going over ground seemingly covered by others, which led to the breakthrough in identifying the offender, who was arrested in Queensland. The flight back with Bailey and his vehicle in a slow and malfunctioning R.A.A.F Bristol Freighter aircraft is a story in itself. 1
Raymond John Bailey was convicted and hanged for these murders. He was the second last South Australian murderer to meet his end in this way, the last being Glen Sabre Valance It is not surprising that Chas was awarded a Special Mention for his outstanding investigation, tenacity and tireless effort in connection with this case.
In 1960, after 8 years of intensive and unremitting effort in these gruesome and sometimes dangerous tasks, often with prolonged absences from home denying him family life and opportunities for promotional study, he obtained a transfer as an Instructor at the Thebarton Police Training College. In the same year he Contested the examination for Sergeant First Grade, achieving top marks in that demanding qualification. He was promoted to 3rd Grade Sergeant in the City Patrols shortly after. He then became one of 8 candidates in the first planned Commissioned Officers Course of 4 months duration, successfully completing this and being commissioned. This was followed by supervisory studies at the School of Mines (now University of S.A). and the Police Law Course on criminal law and evidence at Adelaide University conducted by Professor Alex Castles.
His first posting as a Commissioned Officer was in a relieving capacity at the recently inaugurated Fort Largs Police Academy. This was followed by a number of years performing shift work in a relieving capacity. It was during this period Chas made his first trip overseas, the forerunner of many more which sometimes involved the study of police organizations and methods.
1 Space precludes reporting the full and fascinating details. A number of accounts have been written of this protracted and difficult investigation . None equal the unpublished and detailed account by Chas himself. It is hoped this will be included in a forthcoming book to be published by the S.A.G.H.S. His account should be required reading for every serving and potential detective.
In 1966 he was given command of No. 9 (City) Division. Here he was responsible for a disparate miscellany of units including the Adelaide, North Adelaide and Torrens Lake Police Stations; the City Watch House and cells, as well as Court Transport Pool, Traffic Control, Minor Patrol, and Security Staff at Government and Parliament House. To this was added the sensitive and difficult Vice Squad activities as well as the oversight of the Police Canteen and Cafeteria. Shortly after administration and development of the Police Reserve at Echunga with leadership of the Police Emergency Operations Group, (later incorporated in the S.T.A.R. Group) was added to his responsibilities. It is not surprising that Chas in his memoirs comments this was the most challenging post of his career due to the variety of his responsibilities. The E.O.G. duties were to take him widely throughout the State.
Between 1962 and 1972, Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam war was an event which bitterly divided our community in a manner not previously experienced. This was exacerbated by conscription by ballot introduced in 1964. Demonstrations in the Adelaide Streets were almost a daily occurrence posing enormous Public Order problems for police. These often involved University academics and students in large numbers,2 and was not helped by the encouragement given them by the Dunstan Government. We awaited with concern the first death in action of a National Service conscript from South Australia’s
Chas Hopkins was in the thick of this, giving calm and effective leadership. Particularly valuable were the Cage Cars of his Minor Patrol with their experienced crews.
In 1968, as Officer in Charge of the Vice Squad, Chas established a Drug Squad within that unit to meet this emerging problem and soon after was appointed a member of the Drug Council of Australia and attended its quarterly meetings. In 1970 he qualified at an International Drug Course held at the Manly Police College.
In 1966 saw him awarded the Imperial Medal for Long Service and Good Conduct. The requirement for this was 22 years of sworn and approved service. This award was later discontinued when the Australian Honours system was introduced. In 1968, Chas was also awarded the Queens Police Medal for distinguished service.
At about this time serious crime problems developed at the Andamooka Opal Field in the absence of a police station there. Charles led a team of’ detectives and uniform personnel in a highly successful “saturation” policing operation over an extensive area. This was based on an Operation Order prepared by Brigadier Mckinna from his military experience and its format became the model for subsequent police operational orders.
At this time there was no dedicated unit for the investigation of regulatory or other alleged misconduct by police officers. Whilst this was normally the responsibility of the appropriate Line commander, Chas was often detailed by the Commissioner to enquire into selected matters of this kind because of his investigational skills. It was characteristic of Chas he accepted this additional and unpopular function without demure. However he records his relief when a specialist section (the Internal Affairs Branch) was established for this purpose.
2 This writer who with the late Superintendent Alf Laslett led police in the first mass arrest of 63 persons outside the National Service Office, in Currie Street following a wild melee, can attest to the difficulties in controlling these situations. The police were invariably hugely outnumbered, but discipline and flexible police tactics usually carried the day. SAPOL can be very proud of its performance during This troubling period. We were fortunate in the leadership of Commissioner McKinna and his unequivocal stance for the rule of law.
3 Private Noack was the unfortunate victim.
In 1972 after six plus years as 0.0. No. 9 (City) Division he returned to the C.I.B. where he assumed responsibility for C.I.B.. branches in the country and suburbs, as well as the Motor Squad and Homicide Squads located in the city. This was to end in 1974 when he was ,chosen by the Commissioner to be his Staff Officer in the rank of Superintendent. He enjoyed his association with Commissioner Salisbury and his Deputy, Laurie Draper, but describes the posting as one he would not have sought. His inclination always tended towards operational challenges, rather than an administrative and public relations role.
During this period he was charged with the task of visiting all police stations and retrieving documents and artefacts of historical value. This was an immense task with some 180 tons of records collected and assessed. The consequences of his work led to the formation of this Historical Society, and helped to establish much of its present collection, the value of which gains significantly as the years pass.
On Christmas Day 1974, in the early hours of the morning, Cyclone Tracey devastated the City of Darwin, resulting in almost total devastation of that city and with 65 deaths and 140 persons seriously injured. Chas led a contingent of 24 South Australian Police to assist in many unpleasant tasks in trying conditions in the aftermath. In the 1960s and 1970s he had a major role in disaster planning in relation to bushfires, airport emergencies, floodings, chemical spillages, emergencies at sea, to mention some. In this connection he attended training and exercise programmes at the National Disaster College at Mount Macedon in Victoria. It was during this period, with his wife June, he made one of his many overseas trips to Asia, England and Europe.
In 1974, major Force re-organisation occurred, co-inciding with the arrival of Harold Salisbury as Commissioner of Police. In the Metropolitan area this took the form of three territorial Regions and for the first time brought disparate units, including Uniform Patrols, CIB. and Traffic and Station personnel with others, under the single command of the Regional Commander. In 1975 Chas was promoted to the rank of Chief Superintendent and appointed Officer in Charge of Region B. The boundaries of this Region were formed naturally by the River Torrens to the north, the Adelaide Hills to the east and south, and the South Road to the west. Importantly this Region contained the City area with its special policing problems. This period co-incided with the establishment of the Rundle Mall and one of the initiatives taken by Chas was the establishment of bicycle patrols to police the Torrens environs and the Mall. Another innovation was the provision of an electronic system displaying the photographs and history of potential offenders at Shift briefings. This initiative was taken up in other Regions.
In 1976, a further re-organisation occurred in Region C, an area which included all the area west of South Road to the sea. This Region had been created in this form to ensure all the coast line and its associated policing requirements came under one Command. With further development to the south three large patrol bases were located at Port Adelaide, Darlington and Christies Beach.
Chas sought and was appointed to command this Region. He writes, “It proved to be my speciality, as it offered challenges and complete job satisfaction. All my personnel were marvellous and had my utmost admiration? He made it known that he intended to stay there until his intended retirement in 1983. To this end he turned down opportunities for further promotion, preferring to remain in that satisfying but challenging operational posting. He was to remain at this post for nearly 6 years.
However in 1981 a phone call from Commissioner Draper announced he was considering transferring Chas to Command Region A. This was, a functional Region based at the Thebarton Barracks, comprising a mixture of support units, including Traffic Police, Mounted Cadre, Star Force, Police Band, Armoury etc. The reaction of Chas to this was one of dismay as he considered it a retrograde step. His reaction was not lost upon the Commissioner who pointed out he was his first choice for the position and that Chas had not applied for promotion for some considerable time.
This dilemma forced Chas to re-think his attitude towards promotion. Fortunately a promotional vacancy occurred in the position of Director of Police Operations, (formerly Metropolitan Superintendent) in the rank of Senior Chief Superintendent (now Commander rank). He successfully sought and gained this position and promotion. The role entailed the co-ordination and oversight of all police in the metropolitan area, amounting to some 2000 personnel. Unusually as a condition of his promotion he was required to sign an agreement that he would remain in the position for a period of two years and believes this was the first occasion this occurred. 4
Two notable events during this term was the visit of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and in 1983, the Ash Wednesday bush fires. The worst in the in the history of the State, these devastated areas of land from Clare in the north to Nangwarry in the South East with considerable loss of life and property, particularly in the Adelaide Hills.
Chas retired on 31st March 1983, after an honourable police career of some 44 years, distinguished by his quiet and complete reliability and effectiveness in meeting any challenge. This was coupled with the universal respect of his colleagues of all ranks. Retirement is often a time for retrospective reflection on policing, because for the first time, one has the time and detachment, together with the breadth of experience for this. Charles was no exception and his post retirement writings reflect his wisdom and strong views on the role and significance of the uniform patrol officer in the police system.
Rightly, he also pays tribute to the supportive role of his gracious wife June, herself the daughter and sister of police officers. In retirement they have travelled extensively overseas, including attendance at the 1990 Edinburgh Tattoo, at which our Police Band appeared for the first time.
A consuming retirement interest has been his involvement in the S.A.P.H.S in which he was an early member and to which he has made a considerable contribution, resulting in his being honoured with Life Membership. One of his major achievements in retirement was the writing of the book, “South Australia Police 1838-1992” with the sub-title, ~A History of the Development and Operations of the Force since its establishment.” This has been a valuable and major addition to the preservation and understanding of our Police past.
But his other writings have been prolific, revealing his descriptive literary skills and powers of observation. These include a 55 page autobiography in rhyming verse, as well as interesting accounts of his police experiences and extensive travels. The writings also reflect his interest in outback Australia and its characters. This no doubt stems from his country origins in Burra, which shaped his own character, personality and service to the Police community over the years, deservedly leading to the accolade, “One of the Best.”
4 This device was also occasionally applied when Commissioned Officers were posted to some country locations for which they gained promotion.
|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