THE WILLIAM FISK RETURNS TO
THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY
On Thursday 11th May the restored Police Launch “William Fisk”
was returned to the Historical Society. See story Page 6.
43 volunteers attended at Thebarton Barracks on Sunday the 21st May for our “Open Day”
The weather was not as kind as last year, & there were many events competing, including a football match at AAMI stadium with the result that only 400 members of the public attended. The police band performed the “Tattoo March” on the parade ground & played mini concerts in the band room, to a very enthusiastic crowd. Of those members of the public who did attend, the museum, tea & coffee, videos, vehicles etc. were great attractions. Many thanks to all the volunteers who spent a long day working in various areas. Sincere thanks to Snr. Sergeant Charlie Tredrea who demonstrated the latest radio equipment, Sergeant Linda Warner, representing the Police Rangers & those members of the Mounted, Dog Squad & Traffic training .
Rod Stokes has spent considerable time working on the restoration of the “Fire Trailer” used by many trainees in Thebarton Barracks. It is now in better than new condition; Rod is to be congratulated on his excellent work.
On Friday 2nd June Senior Constable David Taylor addressed 32 members at our monthly meeting. He spoke about the Erappa Blue Light camp for children considered at risk.
David was very informative about this program & his Churchill Fellowship sponsored trip to the United States to study their methods, provoking many questions from the interested audience.
During the meeting Bill Rojas, on behalf of Supt Kym Hardwick presented the Society with a beautifully framed parchment commemorating the Australian Bicentennial Police Overland Camel Expedition held in 1987-88.
The raffle raised $70.00 which, considering the smaller number of members present, was an excellent effort.
Hope to see you all at our next meeting on the 7th July 2006.
THE WILLIAM FISK
On Thursday 11th May the restored Police MV “William Fisk” was returned, on loan,
to the Historical Society, thanks to the generosity of the City of Holdfast Bay.
It created a great deal of interest at our Open Day.
This article has been compiled from the Society’s archival files & gives us an insight into how the William Fisk came into being.
On Easter Saturday the 26th March, 1932 Disaster struck off the coast of Glenelg. The storm broke at around 4 pm when many Yachts, including Sunny South, Miss Johnnie, Qui Vive, Onward, Disturber, Boomerang & Wings were engaged in a race for the Mrs. S.B. Clevland trophy. When the boats were sent away there was no indication of foul weather. The sun was shining brightly & the water was comparatively calm. Wings had rounded the southerly buoy when the squall sprang up suddenly from the south west. The tiny craft immediately made for the shore and when almost to the beach it was swamped. The Boomerang which followed Wings, was overturned before anything could be done. Onward, Disturber, Qui Vive & Miss Johnnie quickly followed with Sunny South the last to go over. Both Miss Johnnie & Sunny South were well out to sea – more than a mile from the shore. Twenty two yachts were overturned by the storm, which also swept Victorian & Tasmanian coasts, hurling their crews numbering some 75 into the boiling sea. The majority were rescued with the utmost difficulty & at great risk to those who went to their aid.
The sea was running high & waves lashed over the Glenelg Jetty. That, & the rain which followed, obscured the view of what was happening to the crews of the capsized boats. Immediately it was realised that the crews were fighting for their lives, rescue
was organised from the jetty. Several survivors were rescued & searchers returned to shore when they were wrongly informed that everybody was safe.
The six crew members of the Sunny South, once champion of the State, were fighting for their lives. The Sunny South carried the smallest suit of sails of any boat in the fleet, 180 square feet. The other boats carried about 220. The rescue boat, Fishing Cutter Renown, was only 60 or 70 yards away & although the crew waved & shouted they could not be seen or heard because of the high sea.
As a result all but one perished.
- LEONARD ROBERT LINTON Aged 41
- WILLIAM D. WELSH ABOUT 42
- EDWARD ARMSTRONG 23
- WILLIAM ROSCORLA HAMMOND 14
- & his twin brother
- ALEXANDER (LEX) GIBSON HAMMOND
DOUGLAS BROWN was the only member found alive approximately two miles north east of the point where the Sunny South capsized.
On April 6th 1932 William Fisk, Mayor of Glenelg, wrote the Glenelg Life Boat & Sunny South Relief fund letter. In the letter he wrote –
“The recent tragic disaster that took place on Easter Saturday at Glenelg is such, that I have not hesitation in appealing to you for assistance towards the equipment of an up to date life boat for Glenelg. The sad part of the calamity is, that had this provision been available, not a life needed to have been lost.”
In response to this letter donations came from businesses, local councils & individuals throughout South Australia.
Famous Opera singer of the times Miss Gladys Moncrieff was performing in Adelaide at the time of the tragedy & witnessed the whole occurrence from her hotel window. Deeply shocked & saddened by the tragedy she decided to do something practical to prevent the reoccurrence of such a disaster & instigated a Committee comprising - The Mayor of Glenelg (Mr W Fisk), Councillor E Graham (president of the Life-Saving Club), Mr L Tucker (secretary local branch of the RS&SIL) Mr A Volt (Secretary of the Glenelg Sailing Club). Mr JS Kelly (president Glenelg Optimiste), Mr J Fisher, Councillors Mr Buttrose and FH Keen and Mr J Iredale (Miss Moncrieff’s manager) - to organise the collection of donations. She arranged a charity performance at the Theatre Royal with her “Chocolate Soldier” company the mainstay of the concert and music provided by the theatre orchestra, augmented by a number of Adelaide musicians. Because of her generosity the fund is known as the Gladys Moncrieff Lifeboat fund.
Copy of newspaper clipping from the Adelaide News Thursday 31st March, 1932.
From the Money raised in 1932, the lifeboat “James Wardle” was brought to serve the coast of Glenelg. The James Wardle was named after its widowed benefactor’s late husband. Mrs. Wardle donated fifty pounds to the Lifeboat fund after the appeal went out to the public. Then, upon finding that the fund lacked five hundred pounds she donated this amount as well, saying that this was what her husband would have wanted. Initially the James Wardle was operated by the Glenelg Sea Scouts but was handed over to the Police Department in the early 1940’s. This lifeboat served the community for many years & was sold in 1946.
Next Month “the William Fisk is launched”……
Memoirs of the late Sergeant (Retired) Bob Clark (cont’d)
On another occasion there we had information that a fair number of wharfies had gathered in the vicinity of the Alberton Hotel & it was learned that they intended to waylay some of the volunteers on their way home after work. This move was forestalled by having the volunteers re-routed to go home via Torrens Road but it was found that a gang of women had gathered in the vicinity of the Wool Stores and had put lines of clouts on the bitumen road with points up. Two of us mounted constables were sent to the scene and we dismounted and picked the tacks up.
We moved off to have a look at another trouble spot and on our return found that another line of tacks had been laid. At this time the volunteers commenced to arrive and as we did not have time to pick the tacks up we wove them around that portion of the road. We had managed to get them all through when a car loaded with some of the Union organisers arrived at speed giving all and sundry in a loud voice the information that the drivers had decided to join the strike. We did nothing about this car and it drove on to the line of tacks which incidentally were 3/4 inch clouts. We came in for a fair bit of abuse from the women who blamed us for not waving this car round the tacks but their little joke had fallen a bib flat arid so did I imagine some of the tyres on their friends' car later on.
When rostered for duty on board ships where volunteers were employed it was mainly only a matter of being present arid having time on our hands we were able to communicate with members of the crews. At that period of time there were many Japanese ships loading there and it was apparent that almost every seaman that went ashore carried a camera and in conversation would request information about places of interest. It did not appear strange at the time, but as events have happened in the years following I wonder now how it was that most of these men who were only ordinary seamen could speak good English and I wonder now whether this applied to Japanese generally or whether they were hand picked for these jobs.
Several times in discussing this country I heard Japanese voice the opinion that this would be their country one day.
Some years later I was at Thevenard when a British merchant ship arrived at that port to take on a load of wheat. The captain of that ship told me that when he received his orders he was tied up in Hong Kong and was told to proceed to Thevenard and he said my first thought was "Where in the hell is Thevenard?" He then went into a shipping agency and was there provided with a detailed map of Thevenard giving the depth of water and all other relevant details and the map as you might well guess was a Japanese publication. All that and here we were in Australia taking down signs and doing our best to keep all information about place locations to ourselves when the Japanese probably knew more about our coast line than we did ourselves.
To be continued …...
Letters to the Editor
Dear Elees -
What an interesting article on the pre-history of the Society by Max Slee in your last (May, No.28/5) issue - but I was a little disappointed that one of the most enthusiastic and (dare I say it)
influential members, the late Barbara Allen, was not mentioned. Max might not have been aware of her involvement..
In the early 1950's if I remember correctly, Barbara Allen and my hubby Tom, then Commissioner's Aide/Orderly, were given the job of clearing out some of what the then Commissioner considered to be unwanted files and papers taking up space he needed in his office. As they sorted through some of the old papers Barbara very quickly realised the historical value they represented both she and Tom felt some of the files should definitely be kept or sent to the Archives and from what I remember Tom saying, several boxes were filled (with Mr. Green's agreement) and taken to the Archives and stored in the basement.. Sadly I believe some of the boxes may have been damaged in an inundation of water later - I wonder if anyone has since checked?
Barbara Allen was Personal Secretary to six, or was it seven, Commissioners of Police during her working life. She often began work at 8am or well before, and worked on until late in the evenings whenever there was a rush on paperwork - which happened often! for the Commissioner of the day (incl. both Mr. Salisbury and Mr. McKinna) and I've heard it said that if anyone wanted to know anything about correct protocol in Governing /Government circles, one only had to ask Barbara Allen. She had an enormous knowledge -and she never lost her enthusiasm for the eventual formation of a Police Historical Society and somewhere to keep these precious files giving so much history of the whole State.
Max Slee certainly "hit the spot" with his last para. re the hard-working members' achievements of today. An excellent article. Congratulations to our Honorary Historian!Regards,
The late Barbara Allen’s exceptional services to the Society were formally recognised on the 11th December 1987— when she was made a Life Member.
Pam & Graham DUNCAN
We Welcome you …….
Friday 7th July at 8.00 pm
SPEAKER: Mr. Robin McKnight
SUBJECT: South Australian History
Our intrepid band of Volunteers has been very busy this month, not only with Open Day but a variety of other
activities, including The Police Tattoo, visits from The Salisbury District Historical Society, Central Justice Group, Whyalla Legal Students & several school tours.
Geoff Rawson also visited the Kensington & Norwood Historical Society. Our sincere thanks goes to all those who participated in these activities. The photos below show the team who spent many hours at the recent Tattoo.
Passed away 15.05.06
Assistant Commissioner (ret.)
respected member of the Historical Society
REST IN PEACE.
THE POLICE MUSEUM OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA
In April, 1996, the South Australian Police Historical Society’s office and artefact collection moved from the old North Adelaide Police Station to the Police Barracks on Port Road. Shortly after, our magnificent Police Museum on North Terrace, Adelaide (the original mounted police barracks) was closed.
Whilst the society had a new home at the Police Barracks, there was no museum. Our history was packed in boxes.
Considerable planning, by many society members, has taken place over the past years in order to establish a new police museum.
In December, 2002, the Society’s ‘Executive Committee’ agreed to my proposal to name the old dormitory building, which would eventually house our museum, the ‘John McKinna Building’ after the late Brigadier J.G. McKinna who was our Commissioner of Police from 1957 to 1972.
In addition, it was agreed to name the four rooms (galleries) within the building after respected members of both the South Australian Police Force and the South Australian Police Historical Society, namely; Robert (Bob) Potts, Dorothy Pyatt, Robert Clyne and Roy Harvey.
During the past two years particularly, many hours have been worked by a dedicated team, headed by Mr. Tony Kaukas, in order to create a first class museum. These members are to be congratulated for their grand effort. The end result is absolutely fantastic.
Finally, in April 2006, 10 years after our relocation from North Adelaide, our new police museum was ready to be commissioned.
On the 28th of April, 2006, ‘Police Foundation Day’, the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Malcolm Hyde, APM, our patron, officially opened the new police museum in a moving ceremony held in the society’s meeting room, adjacent to the museum at the
“A PROUD DAY IN THE HISTORY OF POLICING IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA”
As follows is a copy of the invitation issued to The Society’s inaugural meeting together with a list of the first Committee members. This information was provided by member Jim Sykes.
THE SOUTH AUSTRALIAN POLICE HISTORICAL SOCIETY
The first meeting of the South Australian Police Historical Society will be held at the Police Club, 27 Carrington St., ADELAIDE, at 8pm, on Friday the 9th of December 1977.
The meeting will take the form of an informal gathering of all those persons interested in Police History in South Australia. The evening will be introduced by the Working Committee, and will be addressed by Dr. Ron GIBBS, President of the South Australian Historical Society, and by Mrs. Jean SCHMAAL, on aspects of Police History.
At this meeting, a list of provisional foundation members will be established, and a copy of the proposed Constitution will be provided to all members. It should be noted here that all "business" matters are to be left to the second meeting of the Society, which is to be held on Friday the 10th of Feb.1978.
If you are unable to attend this meeting, and you would like a draft of the Constitution, please contact Robert. CLYNE, c/o Region 'B', or 2 Birdwood Ave., UNLEY.
We're looking forward to seeing you all, and trust that it will be a great night. Please bring along a Basket Supper if you can.
Robert E. Clyne On behalf of the Working Committee.
INAUGURAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE (Elected 10th February, 1978)
President: Wally Budd Vice President: Ken Harrod
Secretary: Robert Clyne
Treasurer: Bob Potts
Committee: Dorothy Pyatt
Committee: John Bartlett
Committee: Max Slee
Patron: Harold Salisbury
The “HUE & CRY” is Published by the
South Australian Police Historical Society Inc.,
Thebarton Police Barracks
C/- G.P.O. Box 1539