Willunga Police Station and Court-House.
National Trust 1993.
The months are passing quickly and here we are approaching Christmas 2004.
The Christmas show is fully subscribed, so if any members who have notified us that they are attending, but are unable to on the night, please let us know, so that other members wishing to attend can take their place. It is unfortunate that our meeting room only allows for a maximum of about 74 persons seated. The committee has been concerned by this situation, and we may have to look at other possibilities next year as numbers keep growing.
Our membership continues to grow although our volunteer numbers have remained fairly stable. There are many jobs that require volunteers and the museum project is one area where our resources are being tested particularly financially.
About 56 members and friends attended the Keswick Barracks on a beautiful day for our annual field trip. The event was very successful and a full report is available in this month’s issue. For those who were unable to attend I can highly recommend a visit to this excellent museum.
On Friday the 5th November a much smaller number of members attended our monthly meeting, due no doubt to the terrible weather. Those who braved the elements were able to hear our speaker Charlie Tredrea explaining the new police/government radio network. Many retired officers were amazed at the new technology which allows patrols all over the state to communicate with each other when necessary, compared with what many of our generation experienced in the past. Our thanks to Charlie, for his time and effort.
On the 17th October 4 members attended Sunnybrae Farm at Regency park for the 3rd year with the Chrysler, Bedford and Suzuki outfit for another very successful event A report will appear in December’s edition with some photographs.
There is no monthly meeting in January and please remember the December meeting is our Xmas Show and not a normal meeting night. Our AGM will be held in February where all positions for the Executive will be declared vacant. If you wish to nominate for the committee, nomination forms will be available in next month’s issue.
Wendy & Kevin BEARE
Betty & William TREGOWETH
... we welcome you
Willunga Police Station and Court-House.
A 'One Nation' grant of $20,000 enabled further conservation work to the walls of the Old Courthouse and Police Station complex at Willunga.
A large outside area of an external gable wall was reconstructed due to its structural inadequacy, leaving the inner portion intact.
This involved careful removal and marking of each stone, positioned carefully at ground level for eventual replacement in the original location. It also included the replacement of a decomposing window sill, realigning the window, and strengthening the window head and lintel.
The wall is part of the original first portion of the building constructed in 1855-56. Trust architect, Luigi Vitale, was in charge of the project and made frequent contact and inspections. Local mason Adrian Strachan was contracted to do the work, as a continuation of his previous involvement with the site.
The work was undertaken over a six week period during which time the Museum was closed. The work was completed to an exemplary standard, and will ensure the longevity of this historic structure
Our since thanks goes to the Willunga National Trust for the following article on early days in Willunga:
THE POLICE STATION
The first Police Station, store and survey party houses at Willunga were built by Mr. Davis, a contractor for the Government in the year 1839. In the following year, Mr. John Calder, surveyor of Willunga, wrote to Captain Charles Sturt. Colonial Secretary bitterly complaining of the fact that although window frames had been made, no glass was supplied for the houses. He also complained of the conduct of some of the local settlers who, when the schooner Emma was wrecked at Aldinga Bay, had hauled the wreck to the beach without even mentioning the matter to the police, who heard of it by accident the next day.
In 1843 the Commissioner of Police wrote to the surveyor general saying that the Willunga Police offices were in need of repairs as both floors were eaten by white ants. However in spite of protests from the local residents the Government did not repair the building, but in 1846 moved the police post to Noarlunga, where there were two roads to guard.
In 1847, Dr. W. P. Hill applied for permission to reside in the vacant police house. Permission was granted by the Government on condition that the building was kept in repair. Two years later Dr. Hill sold his practice to Dr. Richard Schmidt, who also desired to occupy the Police cottage. He was granted permission by the Government with a warning that the buildings might be needed for a depot for orphan girls, until they obtained employment in the neighbourhood.
In 1884 records show that the resident police officer was MC Thomas S. Tuohy, designated MC 1st Class, a terminology only recently revived. During his term of office that tragic "Star of Greece" tragedy occurred. This was on the fateful day of July 13th, 1888. His story recorded in the Police Inquest Book makes interesting reading, as under:-
"The ship 'Star of Greece', bound for England from Port Adelaide, with a cargo of wheat, hove to, about 15 miles out from Port Willunga and drifted ashore during a heavy storm at 2.30 a.m., within 200 yards of the beach. At 8 a.m. she broke in two, four of the crew being washed from the wreck and subsequently drowned.
"The remaining twenty three attempted to swim ashore, but ten of them were drowned in the mountainous seas. The police and local residents rendered every possible assistance, and but for them, none would have been saved. The bodies of the master, Captain H. R. Harrower, and Alfred Orson were found later in August.
"Eleven of the victims of the wreck were buried in the Aldinga Methodist Cemetery, and the remainder, side by side in the Church of England Cemetery”
Following this tragedy a Lifeboat Crew was formed and many residents have a photo of the stalwart crew in their homes today.
The present Courthouse with residence attached was built in 1929.
Another interesting item, provided by member Val Harvey, from the first issue of the Adelaide News in “Police” news of the day giving detail of an interesting find in wooden boxes under Judges Chambers. This find makes reference to sailors being imprisoned on HMS Buffalo, with a note “from these records it would appear that the Buffalo at the time was the State Gaol”
FOUND UNDER JUDGE’S CHAMBERS
Quaint Wording of Depositions
Containing records of minor offences committed during the first fortnight in the history of South Australia, many boxes were last week resurrected from their temporary resting place beneath Mr. Justice Poole’s chamber in the Supreme Court building. In addition to the first book of Police Court proceedings, copies of many important judgements were discovered by the Court officials, after nearly half a century’s accumulation of dirt had been removed.
Owing to lack of accommodation they had been packed away beneath the flooring boards. Thanks to an enquiry from a firm of solicitors for a certain judgement delivered in 1858 the documents have been recovered from the dark corner, and are being classified and indexed for future reference. This work will take several months, and by the time it has been completed it is hoped the Government will have made available a strong room for their safe keeping.
Included in the documents are judgements delivered by the first Judge, the late Sir John Jeffcott and Mr. Justice George J. Crawford, who was appointed second Judge of the Supreme Court on June 22, 1850.
INTERESTING EARLY CASES:
A fortnight after reading of the Proclamation at Glenelg on December 28, 1836, is recorded the first information filed for a minor offence, and in this, as in subsequent information, the phraseology is quaint.
Whiteman Freeman, captain of the ship Tan O’Shanter, charged one of his seamen named S.......
“That he did on Sunday, the eighth day of January, after using the most violent & mutinous language towards him, the captain of the said ship, shake his fist several times in deponent’s face, and eventually struck this deponent.”
A fine of ₤l 2/6d was imposed but no record is made of any Court or witness fees having to be paid.
The second information is by David Douan, who charged Capt. Rolls of the ship Cignet, “That he did several times assault this deponent with a rope, his fist and speaking trumpet, without any provocation from this deponent.”
What the result of this charge was is not stated, but the next two informations are laid by Capt. John Rolls against “this deponent” and another seaman for desertion.”
The Hon. Robert Gouger (The Magistrate) decided that the two seamen should lose all wages due to them.
The next entry is an order discharging two men who had been committed to custody on H.M.S. Buffalo upon a charge of stealing tobacco, and another awaiting trial at “the next sessions” on a charge of stealing beer. From these records it would appear that the Buffalo at the time was the State Gaol.
EARLY SHIPMENT OF WINE:
Light is thrown upon the early shipment of wine from these shores by a deposition contained in the book which is worth quoting:-
“Deposition of Frederick Allen, of Glenelg, in the province of South Australia, “Who upon his Oath states he is landing clerk to O. Gillies, Esquire, and that while in the performance of his duty he did on Wednesday, the 15th inst. Ship in the long boat of the vessel Coromandel, 23 casks of port and sherry wine in bottles belonging to the said O. Gillies, Esquire, and that upon going to a person whom this deponent left in possession thereof, was informed there was a man quite drunk in the said boat who would not leave it. This deponent then went to search the boat and found in the course of his inspection the head of one of the casks of wine open and covered with straw. He found that wine had been taken out to the extent of about one dozen. This deponent then charged a man of the name of P...., who was in the boat and quite drunk, with having taken part of the wine, but so intoxicated was the said P...... that he could not answer this deponent.
“And this deponent saith that upon looking further around him he observed another man in the boat also quite drunk & incapable of answering any question that might be put to him.
FOUND UNDER JUDGE’S CHAMBERS
“And this deponent further said upon his leaving the boat he observed a third man standing by boat’s side, who was also very much intoxicated 7 appeared to be well acquainted with the former two men, & that while this deponent was standing upon the beach he observed several empty bottles float by the water.
“And this deponent saith the value of the wine stolen is in the estimation of deponent, ₤2 14/-.”
The fate of the early colonial wine drinkers is not given.
A FLITCH OF BACON STOLEN.
Another interesting story is revealed in the depositions concerning the larceny of a flitch of bacon, despite the vigilance of a person who was evidently on guard at a local store conducted by one Williams. The culprit was ultimately sent on board the Buffalo.
The briefest record is that signed by I.B. Hutchinson, J.P., which reads: - “William Forrester states that John McA...., without any previous provocation, challenged him to fight, and on his refusing to do so seized him by the collar & shook him. Which, on being admitted by the said John McA...., and the assault proved, ordered by me that the said John McA.... pay a fine of 20/- to the King & be imprisoned on board H.M. Ship Buffalo until the fine be paid.”
You will remember Val Harvey’s contribution with the April edition’s article from the Murray Pioneer regarding the Swallowed Evidence (this case is still before the Courts) – now Val has provided us with some interesting items from the first issue of the Adelaide News in “Police” news of the day the first article follows and we will be including the others in future issues. Thank you Val!
“SLACKNESS CAUSES CRIME”
Slogan of Police Chief
LAW ABIDING SOUTH AUSTRALIAN
Slackness in police administration is the greatest incentive to crime, declares the Commissioner of Police (Brig.) Gen. R.L. Leane). For this reason during the three years the present Commissioner has been in office he has introduced a business like system of control.
The Police are the servants of the public, he holds, and as such must realise their duty to the citizens. An innovation which has been an outcome of the Commissioner’s policy has been the strict supervision of the men on duty for the full 24 hours of each day. Before Gen. Leane assumed office there was no night supervision. If an officer was required to investigate an urgent night crime, he had to be communication with at his home.
“Now” declares the Commissioner, “no matter what happens in the city at any hour of the day or night, an authoritative official is always on the spot and can get right on to the job.”
MERIT BEFORE SENIORITY
The efficiency of the South Australian police system is reflected in the fact that during the past two years 92 per cent of the total number of crimes reported were cleared up.
This speaks well for the success of the Commissioner’s scheme for appointment to the more responsible positions on merit instead of by seniority,. To assist him in the selection of the most suitable men, he has established a board, the present members of which are Inspector Birt (Mounted),
Inspector Whittle (criminal investigation) Left and Inspector Horseman (plain clothes).
They know what each man does each day.
CRIME NOT INCREASING
Although the Police Courts are considerably busier than they were before the war, the Commissioner does not think that crime in Adelaide in on the increase.
Activity in enforcing the law is, in his opinion, responsible for the increased work in the courts. “Custom encouraged many infringements of the law” says the Commissioner. “People have been allowed to do things without being checked, and have thus fallen into bad habits. In these instances, however, I do not blame the people breaking the laws so much as I do the administration for allowing them to do so. As I said before, slackness creates crime. It is a keener supervision over these infringements that is giving the courts more work. South Australians are law abiding, and in the main are out to lessen, instead of promote, crime”
Nor does the Commissioner think that the standard of honesty has deteriorated in any marked degree. It is true, he contends, that the war left its effect on the people and that they have not had the same regard for other people’s property as they had before.
ANNUAL FIELD TRIP
ARMY MUSEUM OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA
At about 11.00am about 56 members and friends of the society assembled at Keswick Army Barracks for our annual field trip.
LT. COL Sven KUUSK RFD (Rtd) met our group & we were split into two groups to tour the museum complex. Sven took our group for the first half of the tour whilst Maj. Jeff Ayles (Ret) conducted the second group, & at the halfway point we exchanged tour guides.
Our guides provided an excellent & informative tour of the museum and many were impressed with the quality of the museum particularly the artwork depicting the trench warfare, Tobruk and the New Guinea campaign. The artist has used his skill on the walls of the museum to give the viewer a 3 dimensional experience and it is very well done. Sven has been very helpful to the society in the past with information & assistance.
After the tour we enjoyed a magnificent lunch with a choice of various meats and the desserts were fantastic.
Most members remained for the behind the scenes tour where we visited the vehicle restoration workshops. The barracks cover an area of 45acres and Sven pointed out various buildings of interest. We were interested to learn that the army commandeered the Wayville Showgrounds during the war as a recruitment center. (There is only a train line separating the show grounds from the barracks)
The tour was completed with a visit to the large exhibits in front of the museum where Sven explained the history of some of the vehicles stored there.
Our thanks go to Bill Rojas and Tony Woodcock who were involved in organizing the event, & for their time & effort which went towards making this a very memorable outing for all involved.
For those who were unable to attend, I can highly recommend a visit to the museum, which places its emphasis on the South Australian involvement in the many conflicts.
NATIONAL POLICE REMEMBRANCE DAY
Police Academy -Fort Largs.
Dorothy Pyatt represented the society
at this event, laying the wreath on our behalf.
Kingston on Murray.
Rex Greig, Tony Woodcock and Bill Prior, accompanied by their wives Gloria, Kate and Anne, attended this event on behalf of our society.
This is the location where two troopers
Corporal William Murray Wickham & Mounted Constable John Dunning Carter, lost their lives on the 7th of May 1847 which is represented by a memorial cairn, the subject of a much earlier Police Foundation Day.
Records show that the two Police Officers were on their way to a disturbance in the area. Leaving their horses on the riverbank, one of the officers was conveyed across the river by a local person. The officer then apparently said that he was going back across the river to get his colleague. Whilst performing this act the boat, which was constructed mainly of bark, reputedly disintegrated or capsized spilling the officers into the water, resulting in their drowning. Their bodies were recovered & buried. At a later date, the bodies were exhumed & reburied at West Terrace Cemetery.
Rex and Tony laid a wreath on behalf of the society in a moving ceremony attended by in excess of 60 people. All members had praise for the organisation by the Riverland LSA for this event and recommended that we attend next year.
Sergeant Greg Burns from Berri Police was dressed for the occasion in a uniform from the turn of the century supplied by our society. He is seen in the group photograph above with Rex, Bill and Tony.
Tony is well known to most members of the Society as “The Treasurer” or as he modestly states the “World’s Greatest Treasurer” obviously trained by Paul Keating. He also suffers the nickname “splinter” but I don’t know what that really means!
He has been with the society for many years & has been involved in many facets of our volunteer group, including Canteen Manager, Treasurer, Organiser of working bees & driving society vehicles for special events. Tony is a regular contributor to the Thursday Group & is interested in all aspects of the society’s activities. He is very well organised & anybody visiting his office would note that everything is in its place & he is able to find even the most insignificant paperwork relating to Finance in seconds.
Our money is in good hands. Well done
and thanks, Tony.
The “HUE & CRY” is
Published by the
Police Historical Society Inc.,
Thebarton Police Barracks
C/- G.P.O. Box 1539