From the President
As this is my first monthly report for the new term of 2001/2002 I would like to thank the Society members for your confidence in allowing me to be your President for this coming year. I would also like to sincerely thank the Executive Committee for again volunteering their services for what I am sure will be a busy but rewarding year.
At our March general meeting I spoke about my personal objective of ensuring that the Society is able to re-establish and expand our ‘interim’ police museum within the Thebarton Barracks complex. This will once again provide the Society with a ‘public face’ and enable school and community groups, the public in general and police friends to visually examine exhibits relating to the history of policing in South Australia. I have set a target date of June this year to commence work on this project.
In addition to re-establishing a police museum the Society will be kept busy with a number of other commitments, including the Police Anzac Service in April, Police Foundation Day on Saturday 28 April (to be held at the Old Police Barracks, Kintore Avenue), possible involvement in the International Police Tattoo in September, the unveiling of a Police Heritage Site at Kapunda and the Society Anniversary Dinner both in October.
Also due to the postponement of Governor's visit to the Society in March, arrangements are now in place for His Excellency to attend the Society's general meeting on 1 June. Sir Eric will be given a special tour of the Society's activities prior to being our guest speaker. His Excellency has indicated his keenness to meet with Society members after the meeting and join in the fellowship during our basket supper. Although His Excellency has had to postpone two previously arranged visits, Government House has assured me of his attendance in June.
Vice President Owen Bevan and Bill Rojas have been working behind the scene to develop a list of entertaining guest speakers for our monthly general meetings. Whilst the program is presently being finalised, the list of guest speakers will be published in a forthcoming Hue & Cry. I am able to advise that the April guest speaker will be Senior Sergeant Ian Buckley who will speak on his recent experience during his secondment to the UN international police contingent in East Timor. I had the pleasure to be present recently at a ceremony when Ian and a number of other officers received Australian medal awards in recognition of their contribution to the peace keeping efforts. Ian spoke to me of his experiences whilst within East Timor, including danger and hardships as well as personal satisfaction and I know that his address will be a fascinating and rewarding one. I urge as many members and friends as possible to attend the April meeting.
Our May speaker will be visiting Superintendent George Rogers from the Kent County Constabulary in the UK. Superintendent Rogers is presently on secondment
to Sturt LSA within SAPOL, where he and Superintendent Graeme Barton from SAPOL have exchange LSA commander postings for 4 months. I have already had a chance to meet Superintendent Rogers and I know that he will also be a very interesting speaker. As mentioned previously our June speaker will be His Excellency, the Governor.
Whilst I will be on leave and holidaying in Queensland on the night of our April meeting, Vice President Owen Bevan will be ‘in the chair’ and I know that the meeting will be an interesting and entertaining one.
Until my next report, best wishes.
SOCIETY MEMBERSHIP - SUBSCRIPTIONS FOR
Society membership subscriptions for 2001 are now due. Attached to your ‘January 2001’ copy of the ‘Hue & Cry’, you will find a ‘renewal’ form for the current year. Would you please complete this form and return it to the Society, together with your payment, as soon as possible.
DO NOT SEND CASH THROUGH THE POST
Prompt attention to this matter would be appreciated.
To all those ‘efficient’ members who have already paid their subscriptions, please disregard this request - your prompt payment has been greatly appreciated.
If you have any query as to the current status of your membership, please do not hesitate to contact our Treasurer, Tony Woodcock, on Thursdays at the Thebarton Police Barracks on 82074098 between 10.OOa.m. and 3.OOp.m.
Official opening of former Blackwood Police Station as meals on Wheels H/Q at Blackwood.
Stations never die, they simply trade
Former Blackwood Police Station c. 1930’s. Photo taken c. 1970’s.
For many years the area commonly known as Mitcham Hills, and including Blackwood, Belair, Eden Hills, Coromandel Valley and adjacent areas has been a very strong identifiable community, and a pleasant place to reside.
Since 1840, i.e. almost since the first settlement of South Australia, police personnel have been deployed in the Mitcham Hills area, initially at the ‘Government Farm’ (later to become the celebrated National Park at Belair the first National Park in S.A. and believed to be the second in Australia). Over the years police personnel were then stationed at various temporary rented locations in the Belair and Blackwood area prior to the provision of a permanent police station. This was initially situated in rented premises on Main Road Belair from 1923 to 1930, prior to the construction of a purpose built police station building at 17 Coromandel Parade Blackwood m 1930, during the time when the well known and highly respected Mounted Constable Albert Huxley was officer in charge.
This building served as the local Blackwood police station, initially as a ‘traditional’ inner rural police station until into the late 1970’s, and later as a police office until closure in 2000.
While many may regret with some justification the passing of an era when a strong identifiable community such as exists in the Mitcham Hills has been deprived of its local community based police, nevertheless some good can arise out of most changing circumstances. On Thursday 15 March 2001, members of the Mitcham Hills community celebrated the opening of a new Meals on Wheels headquarters in the former Blackwood police station building.
The former police station was built in 1930 as the ‘class leader’ of 15 standard design small police stations built in the metropolitan and country districts of South Australia. All but one of these buildings, which were built from 1930-1940, are still standing in good order, a tribute to the excellent architectural design and competent construction. In contrast with a number of more recently erected police buildings, this building has over the years provided an effective ‘fit’ with its surroundings. It reflected the residential /commercial building style of its era, and has stood the test of time, to provide a readily identifiable police building and then an excellent basis for conversion from one form of community service to another.
To provide a link between the former and future use of this building, our members Rex Greig, Ernie McLeod and Joe Linnane, (in early mounted police uniform) attended the formal opening ceremony, which was performed by the present Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mal Hyde, using material in his opening address relating re the substantial history of policing in the Mitcham Hills area, and provided by SAPHS. The SAPHS restored Chrysler Royal highway patrol sedan was displayed, as usual creating considerable interest among the substantial crowd at the official opening.
We were very pleased to see our former Commissioner of Police (and former president of SAPHS) Mr. David Hunt in attendance at the ceremony in his capacity as Vice President of Meals on Wheels. Without doubt he probably played a significant and important role in the identification of the former police station as a potential site for the Meals on Wheels headquarters at Blackwood, and its acquisition.
It was interesting to be able to point out some of the salient features of the site to the new occupants, including the former stables and forage room, later used as a motor garage and storage area, together with the ‘mahogany mattress’ in the transportable metal cell which remains on site. In keeping with the SAPHS policy of providing some early police material on loan for display purposes in the former police premises, thereby providing an on-going link between its former and later uses, it is hoped that this may be achieved for this significant site in the history of policing in South Australia.
James Yates, who was hanged at the Adelaide Gaol in September 1850 for the murder of an unnamed shepherd, sent the following poorly written, yet touching poem to his lawyer, Mr. G M Stephen in appreciation of his tireless yet unsuccessful efforts in defending him.
If i had always refraiend from drink
and paid attenshion to the word of God
I never would have had to have rued the day
Or on the wretched scaffold to have trod
Since i have now come to this untimely end
And in this world i found one onely friend
Who tried his utmost for me to defend
I hope God will reward him in the end
His honner the guge to me he has proved kind
Nearley three weeks he has gave me to make up my mind
For this wicked world to leave behind
And in the next i hope soon my God to find
I was brought up by my tender parents
Who always was to me so kind and free
But little did they ever think
That i should di on the gallows treeA.P.
Northern Territoy Police
Museum and Historical Society Inc.
PO BOX 2630
ALICE SPRINGS NT 0871
— Telephone (08) 89518858
Fax (08)89 518815
Hue & Cry
I read with interest in your January 2001 edition, Bob Potts’ article on Police related sites and locations (page 3).
Mount Gason was the place name that caught my interest and the reference to Mounted Police Trooper Samuel Gason being stationed at Barrow Creek in the Northern Territory.
One of our local historians, Mrs Josie Petrick has published a book titled “The History of Alice Springs Through Landmarks and Street Names”. She makes mention of Samuel Gason where Gason Street remembers him.
Apparently, he was present in Barrow Creek when James Stapleton and John Franks were speared at the Telegraph Station on 23 February 1874. He subsequently wrote the report to Adelaide reporting the deaths.
You are probably already aware of the above but I felt it necessary to write to you and mention it. I am sure we both agree our history is important and there is a real need to preserve it.
Keep up your good work on Hue & Cry and all the best to everyone involved for 2001.
RETIRED IN JANUARY 1899
Social to Sergeant Allchurch
Ask a policeman and he will tell you a policeman's lot is not a happy one, and although this may be applied in certain cases it is certainly not applicable in every instance. If any member who dons the blue cloth doubts this let him enquire of the retiring Sergeant Allchurch who on Monday evening was tendered a farewell smoke social by the residents of Glenelg. The seating accommodation of the Town Hall was taxed to its utmost by a representative gathering, which included the Commissioner of Police (Colonel Madley), Inspector Sullivan and the clergy of the district. The Mayor of Glenelg (Mr. G. Klewitz Soward) occupied the chair, and was supported on his right by Sergeant Allchurch, Inspector Bee, Mr. H.D. Gell, Senior Constable Davidson, Councillors (paper torn — part missing) ... on his left by Hambridge and Burford. After justice had been done to an excellent repast provided by Host Duncan of the Jetty Hotel, the loyal toast was honoured.
The Mayor in proposing “Sergeant Allchurch”, said he did so early at the particular request of Sergeant Allchurch who had stated that he would like to give his evidence as soon as possible —laughter — as he would somehow feel a lot happier when there was once more silence in the court. (Applause) As soon as the residents beard that Sergeant Allchurch was going to sever his connections with the force there was one unanimous feeling and the result was that magnificent gathering. (Cheers)
The name of Allchurch was well known in connection with all that was good, and he believed that if they asked anyone at Glenelg to spell British constitutional law they would at once say “Allchurch”. They were doing honour to a man who had served in Glenelg for thirty one years and had always carried out his duties in a most straightforward manner. (Cheers). He was glad to think that though the Sergeant was taking a well earned rest he was enabled to take it in the town of which he had rendered such faithful service. They had learned to love and respect his family. Mrs. Allchurch had nobly assisted her husband in carrying out all difficult tasks which had fallen to his lot. (Applause). She always been exceedingly kind, and had the Sergeant ever found it necessary to handle a man with a little more force than usual he believed that Mrs. Allchurch had done something that would soothe everything. (Hear, hear). Everyone in that room had some personal reminiscence of Sergeant Allchurch — (laughter) — and he was not excepted. He was served with a piece of paper and told to appear at the court next morning, and further to bring his cheque book. (Laughter). He wished the guest every success.
The Commissioner of Police, Colonel Madley, paid a high tribute to the efficient manner in which Sergeant Allchurch had carried out his multifarious duties. He had told the chairman that he would lift his hat to a constable in future; he had never before seen such honour accorded to a civil servant. They recognised that when a man was a discredit to himself he was a discredit to the force but that could not be said of Sergeant Allchurch, and therefore he and the members of the force could share in a measure in the honour they were doing their esteemed friend. (Cheers). Sergeant Allchurch had served in the force for thirty two years and he was going to let them into a secret. There was a little book kept, and it was very rarely that anyone saw the inside of it except the Commissioner of Police. In it were written the doings of the men. Since May, 1866, nothing had been written that was detrimental to the name of Allchurch. For thirty two years he had done his duty to the State
and the Town of Glenelg, and he had always satisfied his superior officers. (Applause). Not one single punishment had been recorded against him and that was a record he might well feel proud of (Cheers). The Commissioner of Police was there to express his wish that Sergeant Allchurch might have many happy years before him and that those years would be marked with health, strength and prosperity. He had had some difficulty in filling the vacancy, but in Senior Constable Davidson he thought that they had an officer who would follow in the footsteps of Sergeant Allchurch, and he asked them to extend the same consideration, cooperation and acceptance to Mr. Davidson as they had to Sergeant Allchurch.
Inspector Sullivan joined in wishing Sergeant Allchurch success. They had been comrades for over thirty years, and he had never heard the slightest complaint against him. He had always done his duty straightforwardly and fearlessly. He was not an officious officer and they did not want officious men. He would like to see many more such men in the force but thirty years younger.
Inspector Bee said he was very pleased to be present. Thirty three years ago he had been responsible for inflicting upon the Glenelg people what they considered an incubus — their first constable — their guest that evening. It appeared to him now that the Glenelg people were loth to part with him. (Applause).
Mr H.D. Gell, on behalf of the Justices, testified to Sergeant Allchurch’s ability and wished him good luck. He had always done things well and this was borne out by the fact that those who prepared the information were greatly responsible for the success or otherwise of a case — and that there had not been a single appeal from the Glenelg Court. He also paid a high tribute to the many excellent services Mrs. Allchurch had rendered. (Cheers).
The Chairman, prior to presenting a handsomely illuminated address, the work of Mr W.G.P. Joyner, to Sergeant Allchurch, read the following letter from His Honour Sir James Penn Boucaut:
“Please apologise to Mr. Allchurch for my absence, and express regret at his leaving charge as required by the exigencies of the service after twenty four years’ experience of his admirable conduct.”
Sergeant Allchurch, who was received with applause, thanked them sincerely from the bottom of his heart for the kindness they had done his dear wife and himself. It was not to be expected that he could convey in words his feelings. The members of the Police Force had sometimes unattractive duties to perform, but he was gratified to find after his long service that he had not made an enemy. He desired to thank the Commissioner and his old friend Inspector Sullivan for their presence. Their expressions of good will from the members of the force he was thankful for and valued highly. Amid sounds of applause the Sergeant sat down, thanking all heartily for the high honour they had seen fit to confer upon himself and family.
During the evening musical selections were contributed by friends, which added to the evening's enjoyment.
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