Many thanks to Vice president Geoff Rawson for his report in the October edition of the Hue & Cry. I would like to take this opportunity to endorse Geoft's comments in regards to the great success of the Society's 24th Anniversary dinner and the delightful and informative address presented by founding member, Rob dyne. Rob's address relating to the history of the founding of the Society was also re-produced in the October edition of our magazine. I know it certainly brought back many fond memories for many members, including myself We certainly have come a long way since that first meeting held in the Police Club some 25 years ago. I would like to particularly recognise and thank Geoff Rawson and Bill Rojas for organising the Anniversary Dinner.
I would also like to add my congratulations to Jan Hutchin on her award of life membership of the Society. The award was so richly deserved and recognises Jan's outstanding contribution not only as a member of the Society, but also for her role of editor and publisher of our magazine for over 13 years.
Since my appointment as Deputy Commissioner I have not been able to regularly attend the monthly executive meetings. I know that Vice President Geoff Rawson, Secretary Owen Bevan and the Committee have continued at a blistering pace with the Society's business. I thank all members for their continued outstanding commitment and contribution.
On Saturday 161h November Tony Woodcock organised a working-bee. As an indication of members’ enthusiasm over 23 members volunteered for the “spring clean”. Many thanks to all involved.
At the November meeting Richard Cook provided a fascinating insight into historic buildings in and around, many with heritage classification, Members may recall that early in the year I announced that an amount of money had been set aside for vital work to be carried out on the former ‘Driving Wing’ building at Thebarton Barracks. Work on this building is critical before the Society can re-establish our museum. I am delighted to report that the Commissioner of Police has re-affirmed that an amount of money is now available to ensure that this work is undertaken within this financial year. I know that this news will be gladly received by the Society and is a great morale booster.
At our November meeting it was agreed that we should continue with the chicken and champagne/orange juice Christmas supper for our December meeting. Many thanks for Geoff Rawson and Bill Rojas who volunteered to organise the night.
With Christmas now rapidly approaching, I look forward to joining you all at our December meeting as we ready ourselves for the festive season.
Sgt. A.G. WELLINGTON and MC A..H.
SPRIGG in front of the
Mount Pleasant Police Station - 1919.
Together with 2 grey ponies that Sgt Wellington bought and then set about breaking them to harness
On Saturday the 16th of November, 2002, I co-ordinated a ‘working bee’ at the Police Historical Society headquarters at the Thebarton Police Barracks. At about 8.30 a.m., a team of willing workers arrived at the Barracks armed with mops, brooms, buckets, dusters, vacuum cleaners etc, ready to start a huge ‘spring clean’ and clean they did - everything. If you stood still long enough you were given a good wash and polish!
1 have been involved with many ‘working bees’ during my life, but never have I seen such a group of dedicated people hop in and work like they did. As you are all aware, none of us are on the ‘young side’ (hope I haven't offended anyone), but that did not stop my team of 24 wonderful people. They cleaned, wash, polished, swept, vacuumed, scrubbed floors (on their knees!), climbed ladders to clean awnings, moved/relocated furniture (many times!), you name it, they did it.
By the time 4 hours had passed, the old place started to gleam, the old Mess’ room (our meeting room) the canteen and entrance hall were looking like new. Being a young police cadet, as I was in 1961, I can quite confidentially say to an old boss, friend and society member (the then Inspector Cawley), “You would be proud Jack”.
The old ‘dormitory’ (Advanced Driving Wing) building was also given a new lease of life and by the end of the day a ‘temporary’ museum was set up in the ‘J.G. McKinna Gallery’ and also in the south wing (which should be ‘formally’ designated the ‘Dorothy Pyatt Gallery’). There is however, a lot more to do before it becomes a ‘real’ museum. Many hours of work are still ahead of us. Hopefully soon, some departmental assistance may be forthcoming. As can be seen, all these beautiful old buildings (in the whole barrack area) are in a terrible state of neglect.
At 1.00 p.m., our two chefs, Dave Aylett and Frank O’Connor prepared an enjoyable B.B.Q. lunch, which included light’ refreshments. Our day concluded (after a little more work) for most around 3.00 p.m.
Might I say thank you from the bottom of my heart to the following members for all the work you did to make this day a great success. Your support has justified my action in calling for such an activity to be held. Isn’t it amazing what we can all achieve when we try!
Dave Aylett Gloria Greig Fran O’Connor Joyce Beames Rex Greig Frank O’Connor Cohn Beames Ian ‘Butch’ Grose Elees Pick Greta Burgess David Hunt Dorothy Pyatt John Burgess Janice Hutchin Geoffrey Rawson Mark DoIlman AIf Jarvis Rodney Stokes Marty DoIlman Bob Job Rob Thomson Ray Freeman Ernie ‘Don’ McLeod Audrey WalkerTony Woodcock
ECHUNGA FIELD TRIP
On Sunday the 27th October 2002 approximately 60 members and friends attended at the Echunga Training Reserve for our Annual Field Trip.
Two 20 seat buses driven by Bob Job and Frank O’Connor took members from the Thebarton Barracks and Holden Hill to the reserve and back again. Our thanks to both drivers for their efforts.
The weather could not have been better, as it was a beautiful sunny day enjoyed by all.
Verity McKinna the youngest daughter of John McKinna was a special guest and mingled with the large crowd. She obviously enjoyed the occasion.
Dorothy Pyatt made an excellent speech concerning the late Commissioner McKinna and his role in the creation of the Echunga Reserve. Her speech is presented in full in this issue for your enjoyment.
A framed photograph of the Mr McKinna was presented to Dennis Patriaca representing the Police Department. The photograph included a small plaque with an inscription to commemorate the event.
After lunch the members went on a tour of the area and many members with memories of the area provided stories to the enjoyment of all.
Many thanks to those who organised the event and in particular Bill Rojas and Dorothy Pyatt.
...we welcome you
BY DOROTHY PYATT
In 1956 the South Australian Police Department was in some difficulties. The Commissioner, Mr Green, was a very sick man. There were only two Superintendents, one for the Country and the other for the Metropolitan area. The Government of the day was concerned about the situation and decided to find a responsible person to make a report on the running of the Police Department. They looked in the community and selected John McKinna. He was then the General Manager of Quarry Industries. He had been involved in the Militia since College days and held the rank of Brigadier. He had a distinguished War Service, was highly decorated and had received a high honour from King George 6th He was at that time an Honorary A.D.C. to the Governor General, Lord Slim. When approached to take the new temporary position of Deputy Commissioner for 1 year, he was not really interested. He already had a full life. Sometime later the position was advertised in the Press. He was again urged to apply. He put in a brief application with no references. Sometime after that he was telephoned, telling him that he had been appointed Deputy Commissioner and asked how soon he could take up the position.
He had had very little to do with the Police. There was an occasion one night at Norwood, when as a young man he was returning from a boxing lesson and went to the aid of a Police Officer who was having difficulties with a group of larrikins.
In Court next day one man complained that the young man assisting in the arrests had hit him on the ear and made it bleed. However, he obligingly pleaded guilty.
It could not have been an easy situation to walk into the hierarchy of the Police Department. It was inevitable that there would be some suspicion on the part of serving officers. Still, he was able to spend time with the different sections, visit Police Stations, and get out with the patrols and detectives. All the time he was listening and learning. During the year he was asked by the Government to accompany the Chief Secretary, Sir Lyell MeEwen, overseas to look into the administration of the Police Forces in Britain and America, to visit Scotland Yard and various Police Organizations. Sometime after they had been away they received the news that Mr Green, the Commissioner, had died. The Brigadier continued his task and was preparing the required report for the Government, when he was requested by the South Australian Government to return home by the 30th June 1957. On arrival home he was called into the Premier’s Office and offered the position of Commissioner. This caused him some soul-searching, as his old job had been kept open for him. Nevertheless, he could see a big challenge ahead and decided to accept.
He was then 50 years of age. The next 15 years were years of total dedication to the South Australian Police. He was ably assisted by his Secretary, our late member, Barbara Allan. She had then been Commissioners Secretary for 10 years and was as dedicated as he was. Due to his personal efforts the efficiency of the Police increased rapidly. New systems and procedures were introduced, and streamlined organisational changes were made. The morale of the Force was raised to an unprecedented degree, which resulted in the bearing of members, as well as their standing in the community.
He had long been involved in the training of young men in the Militia and his own profession of Engineer. He could see the need for better training for new entry men.
He owned a weekend cottage with five acres here at Echunga. You passed it as you came in. He could see that the cadets of that time were ill equipped for search and rescue work, lacking training in compass and map reading. He borrowed some tents from the Army and set up a camp on his own land in front of the cottage. From that small beginning emerged this Police Complex, which you see today.
Gradually, with the approval of the Government, some adjoining land was purchased, first from a Mrs. Hegarty who owned the Hotel Rundle. It was some 90 acres. A larger piece of land, some 120 acres, was acquired from the Woods and Forests Department.
The Reserve became a place of activity for the Cadets. They were engaged on field exercises, as well as the development of the Reserve. Fencing was included in their duties. Trenches were dug for pipes, Land clearing progressed and a Small Arms Range was included. An area was sown with oat seed and green pasture was grown for the horses at Barracks.
Pedro Warman was the cook. The menu occasionally included grilled snake. The whole area was declared a Wild Life Sanctuary, perhaps because of the depredations of native species by Pedro Warman.
The Mounted Branch had long been wanting land for the Police Horses, where they could have plenty of space for grazing and soft ground beneath their feet, after the hard-standing of their working hours. The Commissioner was sympathetic to their needs. He was himself the last Commissioner to perform duty while mounted. This led to the establishment of an area set aside for the horses. Prior to this the horses had to be agisted in private paddocks, at cost to the Department.
With the Reserve up and running, the Commissioner saw a very real need for a Police Academy. In this objective he was warmly supported by Eric Meldrum, then responsible for Cadet Training. In 1961, the old Fort Largs, owned by the Army was to be disposed of by them. The Commissioner could see that this property would make an ideal situation for Police purposes. There were large buildings and some 34 acres of land.
He became concerned to learn that several other bodies were keen to buy the place, and there was a great risk, that with the usual delays of applying through slow Government channels it might mean that the Police would miss out.
He decided on a somewhat desperate measure. He would dash over to Canberra and secure the place before anybody else. He told no one but his secretary Barbara, who had to hold the Fort, in more ways that one, during his absence. He left one morning, flew to Canberra and set about the purchase agreement on behalf of the South Australian Government with no authority whatsoever, for the price of 1 30,000 and caught the 5.30 plane back to Adelaide. Contemplating what he had done he didn’t sleep very well that night. Next morning he sought an early appointment with the Premier, Tom Playford. The Premier greeted him jovially, saying,” Well, John, come in. Now, what do you want”
When the Commissioner told him the story of the previous days events, the Premier just sat there, looking at him as if it was a joke. Then he said “John, you shouldn‘t have done that. “He did a bit of grumbling, then said, “all right, we'll find the money somehow.” He was a shrewd man and could see the enormous benefit the purchase would be and as usual, they parted good friends. The Commonwealth had to wait until the next year's estimates for the Bill to be paid. They had added an extra 4 shillings and 1 O pence, but nobody knew what the 4 shillings and 10 pence was for. The Commissioner offered to pay the 4/1 O pence. but the Auditor waved it aside.
During his years as Police Commissioner for South Australia, John McKinna’s ability as an administrator became widely known. He was requested to enquire and report into the administration of both Queensland and Papua New Guinea Police.
By the time of his retirement in 1972 he had established a Police organization,
which was second to none in the nation, and we are his inheritors.
In retirement he was a foundation member of the Police Historical Society. When the members would still address him as “Sir” he would smile and say, “Call me John.” Many found it difficult to address the old Chief in this familiar way, because they had for so long held him in high esteem.
There have been many fine serving officers in the South Australian Police, and he is up there among the best.
We honour his memory with pride and affection.
25 YEARS AGO
from the files of The Southern Argus
THURSDAY, AUGUST 18, 1977
The S.A. Police Department plans to spend $18,984 at it's Echunga horse-yards. Funds made available from the State Government Unemployment Relief Scheme will see the Police Department erect shelters and fencing at the horse-yards, the existing barbed wire boundary fence injuring police greys to be replaced by electric fencing;
Looking back - an image from yesteryear
Renmark Police Station, 1921
By HEATHER EVERINGHAM
This building of Springcart Gully sandstone was begun in 1908, officially opened in March 1909 and served the town until 1962 when it was demolished.
The first resident police officer was Mounted Constable D.W. Teate who was posted to the town in 1889 and his job also included the duties of Customs Officer.
Before that date the nearest police station was at Overland Corner where three troopers were stationed and John Robertson of Bookmark Station was the only J.P. for hundreds of miles.
The first police station was situated at the corner of Thirteenth Street and Thurk Street and comprised s timber and iron station house, quarters, cells and stables for the Police Greys.
The left-hand side of the Building above was the courthouse and the first sitting in the building took place in June 1909 with presiding Senior Magistrate Mr. Charles H. Hollingdrake.
On that occasion he took the opportunity to begin the proceedings with a talk on the past and present prosperity of Renmark and mentioned that the town had "attained its majority in the matter of age.
Taken from the Murray Pioneer, 1/10/2002.
The owner of a Wild West Show touring Queensland in the early 1900s placed a rubber ring over the tail of a black snake, tied one end of a piece of string to the ring and attached the other end to his cash box. He was never robbed.A.P.
|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