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PORT AUGUSTA  12.9.1912.

PORT AUGUSTA  12.9.1912


Crowd watching celebrities arriving for "turning of the sod" ceremony to mark

commencement of the construction of the Transcontinental Railway.  Police Escort. 



Another busy month for our volunteers included our Open Day on Sunday the 20th May, & I have included a full report in this issue.

On Friday the 1st June about 40 members attended at the Adelaide Gaol for a tour thanks to the Volunteers of the Adelaide Gaol. It was a wonderful and informative night for those who braved the cold weather.  We were split into two groups and a tour of the gaol at night is to be recommended for the atmosphere.  We enjoyed a wonderful supper watched closely by the resident ginger cat. Dianne and her fellow volunteers are to be congratulated for their efforts. 

Our members signed a petition for the Gaol to be retained as it may face closure by the Government.  I would urge our members to support these volunteers who work very hard to maintain the history of the Gaol complex. 

Monday the 13th May  saw 30 members of the Blackwood /Mitcham Hills Probus
visit us for a tour & Devonshire Tea, raising $150.00 plus donations of $39.60

Wednesday the 20th saw a visit from 21 members of ‘The Current Affairs Group’, raising a further $105.00

On Sunday the 27th we entertained the Rover Car Club of SA who enjoyed a Devonshire tea with their tour.  This was a smaller group than expected but they certainly enjoyed their day and we raised $105.00 for the society, which included a $20.00 donation. 
Volunteers assisting throughout the month included Allan Peters, Ros & Holger Kruse, Helen & Bob Ward, Helen &  Bob Boscence, Kevin & Wendy Beare, Kevin Johnson, Elees Pick & myself.

Some may wonder at why we are working so hard to raise funds for the Society.  I am pleased to advise that we have purchased a new Epsom V700 scanner for our photographic collection to replace the old scanner which has ceased to function.  This was an $800.00 purchase.  Our vehicles have been receiving upgrades and work has started on the Holden Commodore which is now registered and insured at a cost in excess of $1,000.00 which will be ongoing each year.

June is again quite heavily booked with one Tour already completed &  several speaking engagements & further  tours arranged;  & if you are able to assist on any of the following dates, please let us know
Friday the 15th June, Sunday 17th June, & Sunday 24th June, 2007. 

Our next meeting on Friday the 6th July will feature Mick O’Connell who will be speaking about Victims Rights. Mick was our speaker at our 30th March Meeting &, as a continuation of his subject, this should be a very interesting night and I look forward to seeing you there.

   Geoff Rawson




By the late Jean Schmaal.

Continuing Jean’s Story from our February 2007 issue,

Other Journal entries -
 “The Corporal’s horse fell down with him. Having put his foot in a hole which was covered by long grass, and rolled over him - horse not    injured - but Rollison very much shaken - thinks that one or two of his ribs are broken.
Suspected horse stealing. Arrested a man who had arrived with horses answering the description of some reported stolen.
Death from horse and trap upsetting.
Accidental death. Nine year old boy killed this morning by being dragged by a horse running away, he, the boy, having the rope that he had been leading with, tied to his wrist, and was  unable to disengage himself”
In that same year it was requested that a straw shed be built, the hay loft being too small to hold straw and hay. A rainwater tank was also much wanted -
“The water in the well is so bad that it cannot be used for domestic purposes, and sometimes the horses refuse to drink it, although they will drink when brought to the creek. The well cannot be wholesome as it is within a few yards of the old [filled in] closets, and is also in line with the present closets and the well being lower they must drain more or less into it. A large tank might be filled in from the new Court House [built 1864 - 1865] as well as the roof of the Station.”
Many and often were the fires reported -
“At Littlehampton ascertained great bush fires on the other side of the range”.
    “Report of fire, found barn, stables,       piggery, and other buildings burnt down. Horse burned to death in stable. Ascertained that the fire originated from the owner lighting his pipe and throwing down a match  which smouldered and ignited soon after he went away”.
And if that was not enough to keep the local constabulary out of mischief -

    “Left for Echunga to make enquiries about a peacock which had been stolen”.
    “Report made by a storekeeper that a very bad smell came through his wall which resembled that coming from a corpse, and that a carpenter and another person was making a search and excavating in the next house, but could not find anything”.
    “Reported that 2 hams and 2 pieces of bacon had been stolen from a smoke-house”.
    “Police Trooper Jones arrived from  Wellington making enquiry after a man who gave a piece of parchment to a blackfellow for a pound note.”.
And, perhaps the unkindest cut of them all -
    “Reported that some person emptied a     quantity of night soil in the porch of the Wesleyan Chapel. Corporal Rollison went to the place but could not track it from any place, nor could he get any information as to who placed it there.” [Off the scene, so to speak]
By this time a ferry had been installed at Thompson’s Crossing. One of the passengers,
Joseph Francis, was charged 10/- and costs for assaulting the ferryman, and he [the ferryman] was fined 1/- for using abusive language.        [An interesting little side-light of this to-do is that Joe Francis [a one armed man] later came to work on the construction of the traffic bridge at Murray Bridge. A little pug-and-pine cottage, which he built over 100 years ago, not far from Murray Bridge, still stands today in remarkably good condition.

The wine shop at Thompson’s [now Swanport] was first licensed in 1866, and for many years it plied its somewhat dubious trade at the crossing place, and was another place to which the police patrols journeyed. It, too, has survived, although long since out of business.


Further Historical notes taken from letters written by William Charles  Miller to  Eleanor May Ewens.

Palmerston, May 8th, 1910.

We are expecting the mail in at any time today.     Everything is very quiet and during this last week I have been feeling a wee bit dull. On the night of 5/5/10 I went to church, they had a Litany and a short address. It was a beautiful  service and was the anniversary of Our Lord’s ascension. I was thinking of you, reckon you had H.C. on that day. Yesterday we got a  cablegram through about the King’s death. I would like to be in England for the  Coronation. George and May will be our Sovereigns now. Hope they will endeavour to keep peace between all  nations.

Palmerston July 5th, 1910.

I have not had a mail since my last letter of 14/6/10. I   returned safely on 29th June from Bathurst Island and am feeling A1. We had plenty of hard work walking through long grass about 10 feet high and we  succeeded in accomplishing our task, that is to say we crossed the Island from the nor west to the south east and had some funny experiences which I will  relate later on in life. I   expect you will see an  official report in the paper about our trip. The place is beautifully  watered by natural springs and I am enclosing a few pieces of fern which was growing on the bank of a creek. The soil is rich and I  expect they will start a   rubber plantation. Some of the creeks and jungles were beautiful and we struck some blackfellow’s graves at one of which Mr. Holtze took a snapshot of me and if they are any good will send you one. The day I  returned I walked into the bar and called for a drink. My landlady served me and did not know me. I had not shaved for a fortnight and had a beard and was as black  looking as a crow but have had it off.

I suppose you have read about the Boolman Silver Load Boom here. It is believed to be   genuine. The property is 80 miles from M.C. John’s Station Roper River. From a  reliable source I heard the ore which is on top is very rich but the question is will it go down. I haven’t got an  interest in it yet as they floated one and two companies while I was away and the shares were too high when I came back.

M.C. Johns and two other M.Cs. have leases pegged out but they are  disputed so they cannot do anything with them until they are settled by Court. If they win I may buy an  interest. M.C. Kelly W.A.M. is leaving here for the south   tomorrow and Jack Johns, Bill’s brother who succeeded me at  Wallaroo is taking his place. M.C. White is going to Victoria River in charge and S.C. Dempsey who was here on sick leave from that station is going to Katherine. M.C. Reed went to Pine Creek this morning to  accompany M.C. J.H. Kelly on a hunt after a cattle duffer and your humble servant is left to break young Johns in when he arrives. Being the only working John in  Palmerston I have a lot to do and have three days races this week and two young horses to handle next week. The Tanjuan left here for South  today but the Eastern will race her to Sydney so my mail is going by the     Eastern.

Palmerston 9th August, 1910.

We are expecting the Steamer at any moment. I have nothing fresh to write about. M.C. Burt has gone to W.A. for a prisoner. He left on Sunday night in the  Nelson and will be home about Saturday, then the  Nelson will take on coal and mails also your humble servant and will in all probability sail for Borroloola on Sunday or     Monday morning. I am busy this week as I am acting Clerk of the L.C. in Burt’s absence and also have a bit of shopping to do buying pipes,  tobacco and matches etc. I suppose that I’ll forget something. Time works wonders. Let us hope that it will do something miraculous and bring us face to face sooner than we anticipate. Although I am leaving here it is only 600 miles to be nearer to you. Look at the map for the McArthur, Borroloola is about 60 miles up the river. There are several stockmen here from that district who know I am going there and have promised me a royal reception so I won’t be a stranger. M.C. Stott is coming to Darwin to attend the Criminal Sessions so I will have about 3 months on my pat malone.


To be continued...............................................



Heather Merrett .


                  We Welcome you …….

6th July, 2007 at 8.00 pm.

SPEAKER:    Mick O’Connell

   SUBJECT:  “Victims’ Rights —
   Realising the Dream
or Continuing the Nightmare.

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Allan Peters

In 1885, John Lee of Babbacombe, Devon, England, was sentenced to hang for murder.  On  February 22nd of that year he was taken to the scaffold, but when the hangman pulled the lever, the   trapdoor, which had been repeatedly tested, refused to open.  Three times the exercise was repeated with the same result, though testing between each attempt proved the lever to be operating perfectly.  After the third attempt, Lee, who became known as “the man they couldn’t hang”, had his sentence commuted to one of twenty-two years imprisonment.  He was released from prison in 1907.  He  insisted to the day he died that he had dreamt the night before his execution was to take place that the trapdoor would not work.

By a strange quirk of coincidence Joseph Samuels. Who had been sentenced to death in Sydney in 1803 for the murder of a constable, was also saved from death when the rope failed to support him on the three attempts that were made to hang him.  Later testing of the rope proved that each of the three strands of rope, when tested individually was more than capable of supporting a weight three times greater than that of Samuels’  body.

Those who have studied the two very bizarre cases in depth have said that the one major difference between the two was that while Samuels may well have been innocent of the crime for which he was convicted, Lee was almost certainly guilty!!

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THE PEOPLE’S WEEKLY  20th May, 1893. 

Every time a bank in China fails they cut off the bank officials heads, a proceeding which seems to have good effect, as no bank has failed there for 500 years.  Couldn’t we try it in Australia? 


Patricia Testrow

  Passed away in Bunbury WA on 23.4.07.

Esteemed member of S.A.P.H.S.

      Our sincere condolences to Jack & family.











A very successful day thanks to the 43 volunteers, who answered the call for help at our  2007 Open Day at      Thebarton Barracks. The weather was cool to cold and overcast, and thankfully there was no rain until very late in the day.  So many helpers did make life easier, however, it was still a very long day and I must congratulate all those volunteers who assisted. 

Police Personnel from operational areas within the Barracks provided outstanding support including:

SC Bob Dunn from the Mounted Operations Unit, who conducted tours of the stables with groups of 20-30 visitors given a very comprehensive tour of the mounted area, including the feed shed and four 6month old horses. Bob spent most of the week preparing for this and worked extremely hard decorating the area with photographs, handouts for the children and as a consequence the feedback from members of the public was outstanding.  Bob was ably assisted by Kendall Virgo who entertained the crowd by donning a leather apron & firing up the blacksmith’s forge.

The Band Members Neil Percy, Nigel Davies & Nigel Oaklands presented a power point presentation of the   history of the band especially  prepared for this event which  proved very popular.   A copy of this display has been provided to the society.  We did, however, need more signage for this event as many members of the public were not aware of the display. 

The Dog Operations group provided two sessions  -  Craig Charles in the morning with a Shepherd and a Labrador drug dog with Nigel Hearnden in the afternoon.  Large crowds eagerly watched each  demonstration and the officers involved handled themselves very professionally answering every question raised.

The sausage sizzle started out slowly but around 3.00 pm  there was a surprising surge which helped boost the coffers.

At about 2-30pm Sam Thorne from STAR group attended in the Clyne Gallery with some of his equipment and quickly found himself   surrounded by members of the public with plenty of questions.

 Charlie Treadrea arranged for one of the newest  police vehicles to be on display with the latest technology, which he was able to explain to the visitors.

 Although there were quiet times on the parade ground with smaller groups around our  vehicles, there were surprising numbers in the various galleries of our museum.  The meeting room  volunteers were kept busy with continuous videos, tea, coffee and biscuits. 

 Our volunteers on the memorabilia sales were kept busy for most of the day.

Initial estimates suggest that a profit in excess of  $1,400.00 was raised thanks to all those volunteers who assisted. 

Next year we may look at a more appropriate  time of year for this activity.

VALE      Vic Semler

Vic. Semmler        

Esteemed member of S.A.P.H.S

          Our sincere condolences to Joy & family.

The following article is taken from
A Fortunate Locality written by David J. Towler.

In November 1912, there occurred one of the most bizarre mysteries ever to confuse the combined police forces of three countries.  Mounted Constable S. Jones of the Morphett Vale Police Station sent the following communication to his superiors in Adelaide:

‘At 2.30 pm on 10th instant, Levi Harold Sparrow of Morphett Vale reported that Joseph Richard Fox of Morphett Vale, butcher, had found a man dead, with his throat cut, on the bank of the Onkaparinga River near Sea View that day at 12.30 pm.

I proceeded to the vicinity reported, and found the body of a man of the following description – from 27 to 30 years of age, 5 feet 9 inches high, clean shaven, dark brown hair, fair complexion, blue eyes, sharp nose and features, was wearing blue serge coat and trousers, brown striped tweed vest, soft white shirt, grey woolen (sic) undershirt, grey tweed cap, lace up boots and black socks, he was lying on his right side, there was a wound in his throat about four inches in width, and one and a half inches in depth.  I examined his clothes and in the right hand coat pocket found an empty razor case, a white handkerchief soaked with blood, there was nothing to identify him, except in one of his vest pockets was part of a cigarette packet written on it with lead pencil “J. Thomston, 68 Ponsby Road, New Zealand”, also on the neck band of his shirt the letters “W.T.” were printed thereon.  I examined the place carefully where the body was found on the 10th inst., committed the deed, nor could I detect any signs of a struggle, or foul play having taken place.

Deceased was a perfect stranger in the district; the body was removed to the Police Station, Morphett Vale, and seen by several persons but no one could identify it.

Dr. Clive Newland performed a [post-mortem and the Coroner, D.S. Forsyth, handed down his ruling: “Seeing the circumstances of the Case, I am of the opinion it was one of suicide, and deem an inquest unnecessary. D.S. Forsyth, J.P. Coroner.

Extensive enquiries by the police failed to reveal the identity of the deceased and a death certificate made out in the name of ‘Unidentified Man’ was issued by the Registrar.  Enquiries continued throughout the Australian States and New Zealand.  As a result, the Police came up with not one, but two, names for their mystery man.  The names were disturbingly similar – Charles Hubbart Tompson, and Charles Herbert Thompson.

Initially, police believed the two names belonged to just one man and confusion over spellings had created the illusion of a second.  However, patient, methodical work by the police uncovered the fact that Charles Hubbart Tompson and Charles Herbert Thompson were, indeed, two distinct and separate identities.  Eerily, it was also discovered that the two men had more in common that just the unlikely similarity of their names.

Both had arrived in Australia from England in the same year.  Both had jobs that required a great deal of moving about the country – one was a commercial traveler, the other an insurance salesman.  Both went to New Zealand at about the same time.  Both were married.  One had sent his wife back to England, the other had left his wife in New Zealand.  Both returned to Australia in the same year.  And both had now apparently disappeared.

Photographs of the deceased were sent to each of the wives, one in England, the other in New Zealand.   Each of the women identified the body as being that of her husband!  The police scratched their heads and continued their inquiries.  Perhaps the deceased had been a biogamist?

In October 1913, Charles Hubbart Tompson was found alive and well and living in Brisbane.  Shortly thereafter, Charles Herbert Thompson was found to be living in Adelaide!

So, who was the dead man found on the banks of the Onkaparinga?  To this day, the question has remained unanswered.

[This story bears a remarkable similarity to The Somerton Beach Mystery  - a case which will be further discussed at our September 7th Meeting  -  Ed ].



Museum Visits.

Unley Probus

OVER 60:

  1. Kidnappers are not very interested in you
  2. In a hostage situation you are likely to be released first
  3. No one expects you to run into a burning building
  4. People call at 9 pm and ask “Did I wake you?”
  5. People no longer view you as a hypochondriac.
  6. There is nothing left to learn the hard way
  7. Things you buy now won’t wear out
  8. You can eat dinner after 4 pm
  9. You can live without sex but not your glasses
  10. You can enjoy hearing about other people’s operations
  11. You get into heated arguments about pension plans
  12. You have a party and the neighbours don’t even realize it.
  13. You no longer think of speed limits as a challenge
  14. You quit trying to hold your stomach in,  no matter who walks into the room
  15. You sing along with the elevator music.
  16. Your eyes won’t get much worse
  17. Your investment in health insurance is finally beginning to pay off.
  18. Your joints are more accurate meteorologists than the national weather service.
  19. Your secrets are safe with your friends because they can’t remember them either
  20. Your supply of brain cells is finally down to manageable size.
  21. You can’t remember who sent you this list.

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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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