MAY 2001

I apologise for not having a report in last months Hue & Cry. The reason being - I managed to sneak away for a weeks holiday in Queensland and missed getting my report in on time.

As usual, April has been a busy time for the Society with the Police Anzac Service held at the Police Academy on 22 April and Police Foundation Day at the Old Police Barracks, North Terrace on 28 April. Both activities were again a great success with over 80 people attending the Anzac Service and approximately 50 at the Foundation Day ceremony.

The Police Anzac Service was the 16th following its commencement in 1985. This year was only the second occasion that I can recall when the service was conducted indoors due to inclement weather. This however did not detract from the special nature of the service and all those in attendance made comment as to how nice they thought it was. Once again a special thanks to SAPOL’s Senior Police Chaplain, David Marr who conducted the service in his usual excellent way and to Bill Rojas for his usual great organisational arrangements. The service was attended by the Commissioner of Police, Mr Mal Hyde, a large number of Society members and returned service personnel and friends. Also thanks again to Dorothy Pyatt who laid the wreath at the service on behalf of the Society and for her continued dedicated research efforts in identifying further names of fallen police officers from World War One and who previously had not been recognised.

The Police Foundation Ceremony held at the Old Police Barracks, commemorated the significance of the former mounted police headquarters (1851 to 1917) with the unveiling of a splendid cairn and plaque by the Commissioner of Police Mal Hyde and the Lord Mayor of Adelaide, Mr Alfred Huang. Bob Potts provided an address on the history of the Old Police Barracks, as only Bob can do, and the presence of Alan Hyson and Joe Linnane in 1860’s mounted troopers uniforms added that extra special historical touch to the occasion. The presence of the Police Band and several Mounted Police also added to the occasion. The Officer in Charge of Adelaide Local Service Area, Superintendent Tom Osborn, gave the opening welcome and advised that compared with the Old Police Barracks of the late 1840’s which had 40 police officers, Adelaide LSA today has in excess of 450 police. Once again a special thanks to Bill Rojas for his exceptional efforts in making the day the success that it
was and special recognition must be given to the support and contribution of the History Trust of South Australia, the Heritage Unit of D.A.I.S., the South Australian Museum, the Adelaide City Council and Adelaide Police Local Service Area.

It is interesting to note that this year's ceremony marked the 11 conducted by the Society. Police Foundation Day commemorates an event, individual or site of significance in the history of policing in South Australia. Previous Foundation Day heritage sites are located at Gumeracha, Stirling, Victor Harbor, North Terrace Adelaide, Stirling, Marryatville, Melrose, Robe, Glenelg and Kingston on Murray.

Unfortunately, the previously advertised guest speaker for the Society's May meeting had to be changed and at short notice John Shepherd, a former South Australian Police Officer and now Director of Operation Flinders, accepted the invitation to be the guest speaker. John was an exceptional speaker and those who were unable to be at the meeting missed something special.

The Society has been asked to assist at the forthcoming Sensational Adelaide International Tattoo to be held from September 20 to 22 this year with Society members wearing old police uniforms to add that special touch to the Tattoo. The help of as many members as possible will be needed, so please mark these dates in your diaries now. More details will be provided in future Hue & Cry magazines.

The diary of Society's events and guest speakers is also included in this edition of the Hue & Cry. Please note the special notice about the visit to the former Angas Street Police Headquarters on Friday evening of 3rd  August, which is just prior to the building decommissioning and demolition. The tour was originally planned for the end of July, but the date has now been changed to take the place of our normal August meeting.

Our special guest speaker at our June 1 meeting will be His Excellency, the Governor, Sir Eric Neale. The Governor has indicated that he is looking forward to joining members and friends for fellowship after the meeting. It will be an historic occasion for the Society and members and friends are asked to arrive by 8 PM and bring a slightly larger basket supper than usual. Following a tour of the Society the Governor has accepted an invitation to be our guest speaker for the evening. I hope that as many members and friends can come and make this a most memorable evening.

I look forward to seeing you all at the June meeting. Until then best wishes.

John White

The former North Terrace Mounted Police Barracks

 1. Introduction.

Probably one of the most significant features of the City of Adelaide is the number of early colonial buildings that have been retained in the heart of the city. It is indeed of considerable good fortune that when the wrecker's ball and jackhammer wreaked destruction among so many of the early colonial buildings of Australia’s eastern capitals, Adelaide was spared this to a considerable degree.

Possibly some of this good fortune arose from the perceived slower rate of development and ‘progress’ which has been bewailed as part of the life of Adelaide. This helped to provide the time for citizens of Adelaide to recognize that they possessed some fine early colonial buildings, and that many were worth retention and preservation.

Among the most interesting and valuable, both from an architectural and historical
perspective is the former North Terrace Mounted Police Barracks complex, situated behind (i.e. to the north of) the S.A. museum, and adjacent to the Art Gallery of S.A. and the State Library of S.A.

Situated within a major precinct of buildings relating to culture, education and government, this complex of early buildings relating to the history and development of the S.A. Police and to the early colonial military, remained a ‘hidden secret’ over a long period, and contains some of the earliest government buildings in Adelaide.

2. Background.

Following the proclamation of the Province of South Australia in December 1836, the need for an organized police service soon became evident. This led to the establishment of the South Australia Police, with the swearing-in of 10 mounted constables and 10 foot constables, together with a police inspector on 28 April, 1838, less than 18 months after the initial settlement. Based on the relatively new principles of civil police enunciated by Sir Robert Peel, and organized somewhat similarly to the Irish Constabulary Force and the London Metropolitan Police, this was the first centrally administered civil police service with colony wide jurisdiction and responsibility to be established in Australia.

Policing was provided for both metropolitan and country areas, with foot police deployed predominantly in towns and larger settlements, and mounted police predominantly in outer metropolitan and country locations. Much of the role of the early police was to provide protection and security for early settlers and travellers, and to provide protection from escaped convicts from New South Wales, which at that time consisted of all the eastern section of the Australian mainland.

Initial foot policing in Adelaide was provided from what was termed the Metropolitan Police Station. This was initially a small wooden building situated on the northern side of North Terrace, Adelaide to the west of what is now the Adelaide railway station building, and virtually in front of the present (2001) site of the Hyatt Regency Adelaide Hotel. Its location is effectively identified by a bronze plaque situated on a low wall adjacent to the northern footpath of North Terrace, Adelaide.

Initially the horses for the mounted police were kept in private livery stables in Currie Street Adelaide, and the men were quartered in public houses or private homes.

3.        The North Terrace Mounted Police Barracks.

To try to overcome this unsatisfactory arrangement, the first purpose-built mounted police barracks was erected in 1840 on the northern side of North Terrace, Adelaide, east of Government House. The exact location is not known, but it is believed to have probably been adjacent to the site of the existing former North Terrace Mounted Police Barracks buildings. Built around a three sided square, the barracks buildings consisted of two wings each with three rooms. Construction was of pise (rammed earth), with wooden roofs. One room was used for a combined guardroom, cookhouse and mess room, and the other three for sleeping apartments, and quarters for the well-known Inspector Alexander Tolmer.

It soon became evident that the original structures were inadequate, and their replacement was eventually hastened by a fire in the premises. Reporting in 1850 on the condition of the mounted police barracks and stables, the Colonial Engineer Captain Freeling reported that a plan would be made for replacement buildings, as it was ‘unwise to spend 100 pounds on dilapidated buildings, totally unfit for the occupancy of so important a force’.

Tenders were then called in 1850 by the Colonial Engineer for the erection of a purpose-built stone and brick single story barracks complex. The single story buildings that were designed by Captain Freeling and built by contractor J.H.Walker were completed in 1851. Built of limestone and brick with slate roofs and featuring gables with decorative fretted barge boards, they formed the eastern and western wings of a quadrangle that contained a parade ground measuring 210 feet (approx. 65 metres) by 110 feet (approx. 35 metres).

Large iron swing entrance gates ‘with massive arches surmounted by three stone structures’ were built on the eastern and western sides of the quadrangle, adjacent to the northern end of each building and were completed in 1851. (One of these entrance gates remains in position on the eastern side of the parade ground in 2001).

While the original building on the eastern side of the quadrangle has been demolished (1950’s), the two-story building still standing on the western side of the quadrangle still contains sections of the 1851 construction. These buildings are believed to have contained troop rooms, mess rooms and quartermaster's quarters.

In 1854 tenders were called for what became termed the ‘armoury building’ on the southern side of the quadrangle. Designed by the Colonial Architect W. Bennett Hayes, and built by contractor W. Lines, the building was completed in 1855, and was built of uncaused limestone with brick quoins, and with a slate roof. It is believed that the limestone used in the construction of the armoury building and the east and west wings of the mounted police barracks, came from the banks of the River Torrens, at or near the site of the present (2001) Festival Theatre. Other stone from Murray Bridge was also used.

Restoration work in 1984-1986 revealed that 3-6 kinds of sandstone and three kinds of blue stone had been used in the various stages of construction of the west wing. Evidence of this can be found by viewing the external west wall of the existing west wing building.

The armoury building, which still stands today (2001) consisted of a lofty single story central armoury room for the storage and security of police armaments, weapons etc, flanked by a two-story residential wing at each end. These residential quarters that were initially occupied by Inspectors G. Hamilton and L.Strong, each provided what was described as:

“... .a plain, substantial and commodious bachelor's residence containing a good parlour 16 feet by 15 feet, with a kitchen 12 feet square; and above , a second sitting room with two bedrooms.’

A complex of 22 horse stables and related buildings occupied the north side of the quadrangle, together with a well, washrooms, gun sheds and store-rooms.

In 1859 alterations were made to the armoury building by Messrs James Tyrie and Thomas Paxton of Adelaide at a cost of 645 pounds. These alterations included:

  • A new upper floor was constructed within the lofty central section of the building which
  • measured 54 feet by 24 feet, for the storage of police and later military armaments. This effectively increased the interior of that section of the building to two floors.
  •  To enable access to the first floor, two external stone staircases and a landing were built on the southern side (front) of the building.
  •  To provide light within the modified building, small window openings were provided in the southern wall of the building, together with four dormer windows.

  • While the armoury building formed the southern side of the quadrangle. the interesting front
    of this imposing building faced south towards North Terrace. Since the construction of the brick ‘fill-in’ section of the adjacent S.A. Museum, ability to view the front of the armoury building has been restricted, thereby providing an element of surprise when located. This was not so in the 1860’s, when an early photograph looking west along North Terrace and taken from about Frome Road, reveals the Institute building (built 1860), and the mounted police barracks as the only buildings visible on the northern side of North Terrace between Frome Road and Government House.

    There was open land between North Terrace and the mounted police barracks where the S.A. museum, art gallery and state library now stand (2001), and open land north of the mounted police barracks leading towards the River Torrens.

    During the following years substantial alterations/additions were made to the mounted police barracks buildings including:

  • 1868. Additions to Inspectors’ quarters in the armoury building.
  • 1869-1870. Powder magazine demolished and rebuilt by contractors Nuttall and Klisman at a cost of 500 pounds.
  • 1882. Major alterations/additions to western wing, including demolition of the entrance gate on the western side of the quadrangle, extension of the building south to join with the armoury building, and addition of a complete second story. The extensions were built in a style sympathetic with the original structures, and because there were no internal stairs, an unusual wooden construction split level stairway was built up over the ground floor verandah onto the second floor verandah, to provide access to each of the new rooms on the upper level.
  • These major extensions, with two stone gables, fretted wooden barge-boards, red brick quoins, multi-paned windows and iron roof, provided a substantial increase in accommodation space, including dormitories, ablution facilities, kitchen and mess room. -It provided a substantial, architecturally pleasing balanced building which stood the test of time.

    1940’s. The northern end comprising approx 1/3rd of the western building was demolished to make way for construction of a trade school, and/or university buildings, and to provide road access.

    1950’s.   The eastern building was totally demolished to provide a site for art gallery and workshops.

    1958. The external double-staircase on the southern side (front) of the armoury building was removed, (but replaced later during the major renovations of the mid-1980’s).

    Over the years numerous utilitarian lean-to’s and prefabricated buildings were somewhat indiscriminately added, mainly in the area south of the armoury building and on the former parade ground area.

    1968. The eastern gateway and archway was re-built. This was the first indication of conservation of the area rather than previous demolition policies.

    1984-1986. Major restoration work was carried out, including removal of numerous temporary buildings, replacements of brick and timber palisades enclosing small yards, as shown on an early photograph, and replacement of verandahs etc.

    4. Use of North Terrace Mounted Police Barracks complex... S.A. Police.
    This complex was used by the Mounted Police branch of the South Australia Police from its construction in 1851 until 1917, when the mounted police function was transferred to the newly constructed Thebarton Police Barracks on Port Road, Adelaide.

    During its period of use, the North Terrace Mounted Police Barracks provided facilities for a number of functions, including;

  •  Headquarters and accommodation for mounted police personnel stationed at Adelaide.
  •  Administrative headquarters for mounted police throughout South Australia
  • Stabling, training and caring for large number of horses used for mounted police duty. This location was supplemented by external agistment areas, including the government farm at Belair from 1840-1907 (which became the Belair National Park.)
  • Some training facilities for mounted police personnel and horses.
  • A facility for major parades and related mounted police ceremonial activity.
  • A secure repository in the form of a central armoury for the storage of firearms and other weapons, ammunition, stores and equipment.
  • 5. Use of North Terrace Mounted Police Barracks .........Military
    While independent volunteer rifle units were established in S.A. as early as 1844 in metropolitan districts of Adelaide, it was in 1850 that the first South Australian regiment, ‘The Adelaide Rifles’ was raised. The regimental headquarters of this unit was located within the armoury building in the North Terrace Mounted Police barracks complex, which it shared with the S.A. mounted police. The companies that made up the regiment remained at their particular metropolitan locations.

    Over the years, soldiers from this regiment, later to ultimately become the celebrated 1 0”~ Battalion of the Australian Military Forces, served with distinction in many theatres of war during the Boer War, World War 1 and World War 2.

    A military parade ground, as distinct from the mounted police parade ground, was situated between the front of the armoury building, i.e. its southern side, and North Terrace. prior to the erection of museum buildings on that site.

    For a number of years in the 1 ~ century the armoury building was a shared facility between the colonial military and the S.A. Police for the storage of armaments and related equipment. Painted over several doorway entrances to the armoury building are references to its military occupants. both before and after federation in 1901 .The inscriptions include:

    ‘Australian Light Horse and Scottish Infantry” and

    ‘Commonwealth Military Forces, South Australian.

    These indicate the use of the building for military purposes for a number of years after 1901.

    6.        Use of North Terrace Mounted Police Barracks    1917-2001.

    Since 1917 the former North Terrace Mounted Police Barracks complex has been used for various purposes, often depending on the demand for office, classroom, storage or workroom facilities etc in the area. Uses believed to have been made of various sections of the complex have included:
  • 1920’s. West wing. Annex of the Adelaide Teachers College.

  • 7.        Some historical events associated with the former North Terrace Mounted Police Barracks.

    7.1.    The well known Inspector Alexander Tolmer, later to make his mark as the leader of the gold escorts from the Victorian goldfields to Adelaide in the 1850’s, occupied 2 rooms of the original 1840-built mounted police barracks.

    7.2. In 1853, Adam Lindsay Gordon, celebrated poet and horseman, who served as a
    Mounted Constable in the S.A. Police from 1853-1855, was deployed as Tolmer’ s orderly at the North Terrace Mounted Police Barracks, prior to service in the south­east of S.A.

    7.3. In 1881 Joseph Maria Gordon, later to become a General in the Australian Military Forces served as a Mounted Constable and drill instructor at the North Terrace Mounted Police Barracks.

    7.4. For more than 25 years int he 1850’s-1870’s, the noon day gun’ was fired daily.
    except Sundays from the grounds of the North Terrace Mounted Police Barracks. The 6 pound gun was fired by police at noon, with its time taken from an astronomical clock in the surveyor-general’s office. This enabled businesses, workers and citizens to be assured of an accurate indication of the time at least once a day.

    7.5. In 1862 a mounted police party rode from the North Terrace Mounted Police Barracks to welcome and escort John MacDouall Stuart and his exploration party in from Prospect on their return to Adelaide, after his third and successful exploration journey to and from the north coast of Australia.

    7.6. On 11/12/1862 the remains of the explorers Robert O’Hara Burke and William John
    Wills, having been recovered from the Cooper’s Creek area near Innamincka in the far north of S.A., were transported to Adelaide, and were taken to the North Terrace Mounted Police Barracks. There they awaited to be taken to Melbourne by ship on board the Havilah, leaving Adelaide on 24/12/1862.

    7.7. In March 1870, foot police were attacked by demonstrators at the treasury buildings
    and government offices in King William Street, Adelaide leading to an unprecedented riotous situation. A troop of mounted police from the North Terrace Mounted Police Barracks under the command of Chief Inspector William Searcy put down the riot, using the backs of drawn swords to disperse the crowds.

     8.        Conclusions.
    The former North Terrace Mounted Police Barracks complex without doubt contains some of the most significant early colonial government buildings remaining in the City of Adelaide. These heritage-listed buildings reflect the impressive and somewhat timeless architectural style of their era. Although some of the original buildings have been demolished or considerably altered, sufficient of them remain to provide an excellent indication of the extent and quality of the original substantial structures.

    For 150 years the buildings and this site have provided the location for very important public
    functions in a growing community. For over 65 years it was the base for the well-respected mounted police of South Australia, and could be viewed as ‘the spiritual home of policing in South Australia.’ In its later years it was used for important functions associated with the military, arts, education and science. Today it continues to provide an important facility for museum and related purposes.

    R.J. POTTS
    Chief Superintendent (Ret.)
    Hon. Secretary
    S.A.Police Historical Society Inc.



    Inspector William Charles Miller.

    (by R. E. Kilimier).

    Mounted Constable W.C. Miller
    William Charles Miller was born in Glasgow Scotland on 1 December 1882. The Glasgow of those days was a notoriously depressed city and his father subsequently emigrated to Adelaide, leaving his family behind for the time being. In Adelaide he obtained work as a skilled craftsman with the firm of Wendts jewellers.

    Tragically, he became ill and died before the family became re-united. Encouraged by the good reports from her late husband, his widow and family came to South Australia in 1895. The young William was only 13 years of age.

    He went to the Gilles Street Public School, leaving to commence work as a baker for his elder brother at the age of 14 years.

    In 1900 he went to the Boer War as a mounted trooper (No 61) in the 8th Battalion of the Australian Commonwealth Horse. In South Africa his Commander in Chief was Lord Kitchener.

    In 1904 he joined the South Australia Police and in 1908 was stationed at Yorketown. There he met and courted Eleanor May Ewens, the daughter of the police officer in charge at Yorketown. His attentions were obviously reciprocated and this led to an interchange of letters when he was posted to Wallaroo in 1909. His letters to his fiancee over a number of years are still existent in his family, and reflect a descriptive literary ability, as well as his manly values.

    Writing of their future, he mentions the inevitability of being transferred to Adelaide if he marries. He rejects the life of a Foot Constable in Adelaide and the prospect of Night duty amounting to 8 months of the year. His fiancee agrees with him. He decides to transfer to the Northern Territory. On the 7th November 1909, he is writing from the Katherine River.

    In the next month, Lord Kitchener visited Palmerston (Darwin). He had been invited by the Commonwealth Government to inspect and report upon the fledgling Australian Defence Forces. Australia then had Universal Training, and he was uncharacteristically generous in his praise of the Defence organization. Mounted Constable Miller was detailed to act as his orderly in full dress uniform in the heat of summer.

    In April 1910 he expresses the wish that the proposed Transcontinental Railway will be started at an early date. The only existing railway line was that to Pine Creek. In this year 2001 it does seem that his wish will finally eventuate.

    On 18 August 1910 he left Port Darwin by steamer for the McArthur River to take up a posting at Borroloola some 45 miles upstream.

    After a rough voyage he transferred to a steam launch with a lugger in tow. 20 miles along the river the lugger was stranded on a sandbar and the journey was continued in the launch.

    On arrival at Borroloola Miller found that the Officer in Charge, Mounted Scott believing the boat had met with an accident had already departed by horse on a 600 mile overland journey to Darwin where he was required for court. An aborigine was sent after him and brought him back.

    In his letters to Eleanor, M.C. Miller describes his varied working day; speaks of his contentment with his lot and reflects “No one can understand without the experience what a teacher Nature and solitude is.” Unusually, in this very small settlement he found a library of some 2000 books donated by the Carnegie Institute.

    An unusual activity was the planting for the Government of 9 different kinds of Indian wheat as well as a crop of white oats. These were intended to show the possibilities of irrigation in the area. There were also extensive and varied gardens of vegetables.

    In September 1911 the little community was enlivened by the arrival of Captain Barclay’s exploring party of 7 Europeans, 2 aborigines and 19 camels.

    William’s letters to Eleanor, copies of which are in this Society’s records, contain much detail of Territory policing and conditions of that era, too extensive for here. In February 1912 he is writing to Eleanor from Pine Creek, arranging for her to join him.

    After a harrowing sea journey and suffering from sea sickness all the way, she is reunited with him. They are married in Darwin on the 24th May 1912.

    South Australia relinquished the Northern Territory to the Commonwealth in 1911. However it is obvious that the South Australian members did not depart immediately for William and Eleanor only returned to South Australia in 1914. Sadly while in the Territory, their first son, George, died at the age of 3 months.

    William had been an enthusiastic photographer in the Territory. Today the products of that interest in the form of many photographs reside in the Miller Collection of the Darwin Library.

    After service in Adelaide as a Mounted Constable, postings followed at Lucindale, Kingston, Millicent, Mount Gambier, Renmark and Clare.

    In 1935 William was commissioned as a Third Class Inspector in charge of the Prosecution Branch in Adelaide. In 1939 he was promoted to Second Class Inspector and was Officer in Charge, No. 15 (Mid­Northern) Division at Wallaroo. He retired in that rank on 30th June, 1943.

    Following an active retirement, he died on the 27th October 1961, at the age of 79 years. He is survived by 5 children.

    One, William Ewens Miller was a Police Constable at Port Lincoln in 1939. He enlisted in the R.A.A.F as a pilot in that year. After discharge, he followed a career in civil aviation.

    In 1885, John Lee, of Babbacombe, Devon, England, was sentenced to hang for murder. On February 22, 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 the 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.


    A drunk that smelled like a brewery got on a bus and lie sat down next to a priest. The drunk's shirt was stained. Iris face was full of bright red lipstick and lie had a half empty bottle of wine sticking out of his pocket.
    He opened his newspaper and started reading. A couple of minutes later, lie asked the priest. Father, what causes arthritis ?
    Mister. It's caused by loose living. being with cheap wicked women, too much alcohol, and contempt for your fellow man.”
    "Well. I’ll be damned". the drunk muttered. he retur-ned to reading his paper.
    The priest thinking about what he had said. turned to the man and apologized. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to come on so strong. How long have you had arthritis ?
    1 don't have arthritis, father but I just read in the paper that the Pope does.


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