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GATEWAY - Old Police Barracks  Adelaide.

Sketch by M.E. Went - Courtesy her neice Mrs. Margaret Melville   See Story Page 6.



Visitors to Thebarton will notice some changes to the parade ground in which the Museum is fenced off, to make  space for heavy vehicles and scaffolding on our  Headquarters building.  The paint on the outside is lead based and will be removed using a toxic chemical.  Access to the    building will be limited, if not impossible  during this process.  Our volunteers may have holidays during this period.

Gerald Brown spoke at our monthly meeting on Friday the 2/11/07 and his subject Humorous & Eccentric Wills proved to be very entertaining with many bursts of  laughter and applause as he spoke about wills from as early as the 1700s.  I moved a vote of thanks and presented him with a  certificate of appreciation and a book to applause from the members present.  The  raffle raised $76.00

Rex Greig spoke about the FJ Holden which is about to be registered and will be available this month for some of the parades. Holger Kruse displayed new cuff links and lapel badges which are now on sale and are already selling well.

Our members have been extremely busy again this month as shown on our Volunteer page. It was pleasing to see Bill Bird with the “William Fisk” at Sunnybrae on Sunday the 28th October.


Bill was responsible for the Police Launch at Glenelg when he was the “water police”  involved in numerous rescues.  He & the “William Fisk” will be at the Glenelg & Port Adelaide pageants this year.

Please remember that our  December Meeting has been replaced by our fully booked Christmas and 30th Anniversary celebration at the Police Club on the 30th of November.  There will then be our usual break  until the AGM on Friday 1st  February.  If you would like to nominate for the Executive Committee please contact Secretary Owen Bevan for a nomination form.

Look forward to seeing you on the 30th November.

   Geoff Rawson



Australia's First Chief Constable.

Continuing the article from the February 2007 Edition of “Police Down Under” brought to our attention by member  Bill Rojas.Bill confesses he read the story on his way from work & became so  involved he actually travelled past his destination. 

Upon embarkation, Susannah and Henry were confronted with most of their goods having ‘disappeared’ during the journey of the First Fleet.  Henry Kable was determined to care for his family and stubbornly sought assistance from first fleet legal minds.  This led to his successful suit five months later in Australia’s first civil action against the captain of the ship Alexander who was  ordered to pay the Kables ₤15 pound in compensation.  The significance of this case was that as a convict in England, Kable would never have been allowed to bring a case to court (felons were “dead” in law).  It was a radical departure in common law for Phillip and Judge Advocate David Collins to allow Henry to bring the  case to court in the Colony—and says something about Governor Phillip’s liberal attitude towards convicts: Phillip wrote that he intended to build a free society here.  This case created a precedent in law; it was used down the ages by convicts and emancipists to win court cases and so accrue political freedoms that would otherwise have been denied them. Professor  Neal in his book “The Rule of Law in a Penal Colony” has a lot to say about Kable’s role in building today’s free society “(They) conscripted the rule of law to   transform New South Wales from a penal society to a free society” pp.195-6. (Remarkably in 1981 Judge Staples successfully used the precedent set by Kable to allow Prisoners at Bathurst Gaol (including the infamous Darcy Dugan) to bring a case to court

This action supports the view that Arthur Phillip governed the convict colony in a sensible and humane way, despite conditions which included poor quality food, largely infertile land and a lack of experienced farm labour which led to near famine.

Earlier Henry and Susannahs marriage ceremony was conducted on 10th February, very soon after the Fleet’s disembarkation.  Reverend Richard Johnson married them before a large crowd including Governor Phillip who personally wished them well.  St this time the settlement consisted of nothing more than filthy hovels and tents that gave no privacy to their occupants.
By the end of the first year of settlement the Kables second child Diana was born.   The settlement that progressed somewhat to include stone houses for Governor Phillip and Major Ross of the Marines,secure store houses and raked vegetable gardens.  Phillip requested a detachment of marines to stand watch at night over these gardens and attendant poultry—this however was deemed unworthy of the marines by Major Ross and led to one of many arguments between the two men.

To overcome the lack of protection at night twelve convicts including Kable were appointed to patrol the settlement, parted into four groups of three to patrol their sectors which included the convicts’ huts and gardens around the hospital area.  In only his Night of watch Kable made an arrest of a convict found ‘unlawfully about’.

This lawful determination of Kable brought him, to further notice of Governor Phillip who appointed him as an overseer of one of the convict gangs responsible for clearing land for the new town of Sydney.  Kable enjoyed his new found responsibility and was renowned for his forthright attitude and “forceful” method of ensuring other convicts complied with his instructions he continued on his watch duties and was able to make a harsh life a little easier for his growing family.

               Sydney Harbour  1788                    ►►►

By now the colony consisted of primitive huts, perched on the crags or nestled into the hollows of the ridges that people called The Rocks.  These tiny two-roomed dwellings were basic constructions of timber frames filled with log cuts, the joints were plugged with clay and the walls were made of sticks, twigs and grass woven together and then plastered with mud, the roofs of these huts were constructions of thatched leaves and rushes. 

On arrival the first fleet deployed in the bay
and surrounds

But a commercial centre was also growing, here were to be found the wharves and dockyards, the bonded stores, granary and provision stores, the market place, the small general hospital and the town gaol.

In 1791 Acting Governor Francis appointed Kable to the position of Constable with particular duties as night watchman for the town and to act as a jailer.  With his appointment Kable was also given a grant of land at Petersham Hill, five miles south  of the town.  During this period Kable distinguished himself on a number of occasions arresting and jailing convicts intent on stealing from the Governor’s store.

Three years serving Sydney town in this position convinced the Governor to make the (by today’s standards) momentous decision to appoint Kable as the first ever Chief Constable of the colony.  At the time Constables were of a very low social standing and Phillip was desperate to fill  supervisory positions seeing that free men thought the job beneath them!  He was provided a shack built  beside the gaol.  Kable was able to buy the land and rebuild a formidable dwelling that was demolished in 1926. 

Interestingly, before the site later redeveloped as a hotel (Regent) it was a      police station serving The Rocks and waterfront for many years.  He also received fifteen and a half acres of land to add to his grant at Petersham Hill.

Next month  our final instalment :
Henry uses his entrepreneurial skills to great advantage to both himself & the colony.

Considerable interest has been taken in the 1980’s in the restoration of the old Mounted Police Barracks in North Terrace, at the rear of the State Library.

These Barracks, however, were not the first police headquarters in this State. Less than a two years after Governor Hindmarsh read the proclamation at Holdfast Bay, it was becoming evident that some form of police protection would be needed in the new Province of South Australia. On April 28, 1838 twenty men were appointed under Inspector Inman, part of this number being mounted. Police horses were kept at Mr. James Chambers livery stable in Currie Street. By the end of the year the strength of the force had been increased to twenty five. At this stage the men were quartered in public houses and private homes.

However, moves were afoot for the establishment of adequate quarters for the  constabulary, as an advertisement in the “South Australian Gazette and Colonial Register,” dated April 28th, indicates:-

“Tenders for building barracks and stables of broad paling for the police will be received at this office on Tuesday, the first day of May; also tenders for the supply of hay and corn for 10 horses during the months of May and June.”

Early in March, 1840, the new barracks and stables were ready for occupation and, as soon as proper bedding, bedsteads and other necessities were obtained, the police troopers and their horses moved into the first Mounted  Police Barracks. The barracks consisted of two wings, each containing three small rooms, one of which was set aside as a guard room, cook house and mess room, three as sleeping  apartments, and the other two in the west wing being made over to Inspector Tolmer, who was later to make his mark in history as the author of the Gold Escorts of 1852.

Thanks to Tolmer, details of this original barracks have been reserved for posterity, and, in his words,

“The whole structure was built of pine with paling roofs. The stables extended from wing to wing, and were built of broad paling and afforded accommodation for about twenty horses, with lofts above for hay.    Fronting the stables the paling fence extended right across the yard with a wide gate in the centre, the whole forming a square. Subsequently a small barracks room was added to the western wing which was used as an office. In close proximity were the barracks which were occupied by the sappers and miners, and it was here that Captain Frome, the surveyor-general and his    family occupied quarters. A miniature fort with a few ship’s guns, their muzzles peeping out of the embrasure stood in front.

Adjoining the sappers and miners’ barracks was the native location under the control of Dr. Moorhouse, the Protector of Aborigines. Here native children were taught to read and write and the girls to sew under the supervision of Mr. And Mrs. Ross.
A short distance from the latter stood the gaol which consisted of one stone building &  another built of wood, the whole enclosed by a paling fence. In these insecure buildings  murderers and the very worst characters were incarcerated under the charge of Mr. Ashton, the prison  governor, assisted by a limited number of guards. Mr. Ashton  himself lived in a small pise hut on the banks of the Torrens -              consequently the guards became lax in their duties and escapes by prisoners were not infrequent, and it often happened that an alarm was raised in the middle of the night of an      attempt   being made by the prisoners to break out, which of course  entailed extra work upon the police and created much dissatisfaction.”

On March 16, George Hughes and Henry Curran were found guilty of “firing with intent to murder the wife of Michael Pffender and stealing to the amount of £5” [in other words they were bushrangers], were executed at Horse Police Barracks and their bodies buried in the grounds. Their companion Fox, fared rather better; he was transported.
 [See minute book re Adelaide Gaol commencing 1839, held at State Archives.]

The Government being aware of the state of things, proposed in good sense to erect a proper building for a gaol, to cover two acres of ground, which was shortly afterwards commenced at a cost of £18,000, the contractors being Messrs,Borrow and Goodiar.

One of the standing orders in the old barracks was to have a church parade every Sunday and, after inspection, march to church. The men fell-in in their neat police uniforms, blue cloth double breasted jacket and white buttons, blue cloth cap with white band; trousers [blue cloth with white piping down seams in winter and white drill in summer], sword black belt and pouch, white cotton gloves and military spurs.

In 1842 the following were the salaries paid to members of the police force:
Commissioner of Police - £300 p.a., plus £70 forage.
Inspector - £250.
Sub-Inspector - 10/- per day, gratuity of £20.
Sergeant Major - £2 per week.
Sergeants - £2 per week.
Farrier - £2 per week.
Corporal - £1/14/0 per week.
Saddler - £1/14/0 per week.
Constable - £1/8/0 per week.
Clothing [cost to the Government]:
Town Police - £10/9/6 per year.
Mounted Constables - £12/19/0 per year.

In 1848 Adam Lindsay Gordon [to go down in history as a poet and later to end his life by his own hand] joined the mounted police and for a time acted as Tolmer’s orderly. For many years his name was to be seen carved into a brick in one of the old out-houses at the Barracks.

With the rapid growth of the colony and the expansion of the police force, these original  barracks were replaced by a more substantial building, seemingly in 1855, and these are the historical edifices the remains of which were restored in the 1980’s.

The original pioneer construction went up in smoke prior to the replacement by the more substantial building we see today. 


“The old building at the back of the Mounted Police Barracks was ablaze. The structure was one of the first built in the colony and was of lathe and    plaster, roofed with shingles. It was originally used in the early days of the province as a barracks, but has lately been tenanted by the families of Troopers Medlin and Bleechmore. Owing to the dry nature of the material the flames spread rapidly. The police reel kept on the adjoining premises was the first to play on the flames. Soon after the blaze began it was evident that the building must be consumed and,  inasmuch as it was an eyesore, deep regret cannot be felt at its  passing. The property was burning for over an hour...The Bleechmore’s lost all their family property.”

However, to end the story on a happier note -
“At a meeting of Mr. T.W. Lyons’ singing class, held in Trinity Church schoolroom on Tuesday evening,     January 13, it was decided that the class  subscribe £3/3/- out of the balance from their latest entertainment to a fund for aiding the Bleechmore family, who recently sustained an entire loss of property by fire,”


Following the restoration of the remaining buildings of the Mounted Police Barracks the  upstairs  section of the western wing was used from April 28, 1988 to  January 1997 as the South Australia Police Museum, a fitting use for these historical buildings.

Jean Schmaal.



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

Nov. 5th. 1911

Am going to Darwin per Nelson tomorrow. Will wire on arrival.

(There appears to be a break in correspondence at this time as it is obvious from the following letters that Eleanor has decided to travel to the Northern  Territory  & marry William.  Ed) 

Darwin Hospital Jan. 8th 1912.

Just a few lines before Guthrie comes. Am so glad of your decision to come. Nurse took your message from telephone. I am in hospital. About 9 days ago, last Thursday week I had a fall off a bike, blackened both eyes and hurt my left thigh. Had two cases pending in Pine Creek on the 3rd so I waited and conducted these cases successfully then I came to Darwin to consult Dr. Strangman who ordered me to the hospital where I could get complete rest. Do not have any worry over it, as Dr. says that I will be out in a week. Will get the necessary permission from Inspector Waters and will wire you.  Will send Mother a signed blank cheque on Savings Bank, where I have an account for £150. Mother has my passbook so you can withdraw anything you may require. Travel on the Empire or Eastern first Saloon.

Police Headquarters—Darwin 1910

Police Station, Darwin. January 18th 1912.

On Monday last I came out of hospital and will  probably be going to Pine Creek shortly. I am still a bit stiff but otherwise feeling A1. The Mataram arrived on Monday and brought me a very large mail, a lot of letters readdressed from Borroloola. So far I have not had the opportunity of asking the Inspector permission to marry but am sure it will be granted and I will wire O.K.  As Mother has my bankbook on Savings Bank am sending her a cheque to draw £150 for you to get what you require. Perhaps Father will know someone who is a good judge of Pianos, if not Bella [his sister] will no doubt know where Clem Tiver lives and I am sure he would be only too pleased to assist you to select one. He is an excellent judge and an old pal of mine. If more money is required drop me a wire. I am sorry that I have not got time to write to your parents by this mail but will later.

Pine Creek February 3rd 1912.

I returned to Pine Creek last night and found that Turner had gone back to Horseshoe Creek. My office etc is upside down and it will be a few days before I get things into working order. Am writing only a few lines to let you know that there are two ladies at present in Adelaide from the N.T. and you might call on both if you are in Adelaide and they will tell you all about this place and what sort of clothing etc is wanted here and when they will be coming back so that you may have company.

Next Month: William & Eleanor are married.

By Allan Peters.

JANUARY 25TH,, 1869.

At the Kadina Police Court, on Wednesday, a child from seven to eight years of age was brought before Mr. J.B. Shepherdson, S.M., charged with ill-treating a cow.  It appears that the little man and his brother was employed by various miners to tend their cows running upon the Crown lands at six-pence per head per week.  From inquiries we made of the officer in charge, we learned that the plaintiff refused to pay the trifle asked, finding that his cow, being used to run with the others would continue to do so, and thus he could have the benefit of the boy’s labour without cost.  From the evidence it appeared that the child drove the cow in question out of the herd, and  curiously enough the two witnesses—boys of 12 or 13 years of age gave their evidence as to this in nearly the same words, as though they were a saying a lesson by rote.  It was not pretended that any unnecessary violence was used,  there was not even the assumption of ill-treatment.  The age and  appearance of the child precluded the idea, one  witness deposing that a little stick was thrown, the other a few stones.  The child was fined 1 shilling and costs, some 10 shillings in all; and not having the money, was sent in charge of a policeman from Kadina to the Wallaroo Gaol for twenty four hours. 


Merchants & Ships Chandlers Sydney Town, 1852

1.       Godliness, cleanliness and punctuality are the necessities of a good business

On the recommendation of the Governor of this Colony, this firm has reduced the hours of work, and the   clerical staff will now only have to be present between the hours of 7 am and 6 pm on week days.  The      Sabbath is for Worship, but should any Man-of-war or any other vessel require victualling, the Clerical Staff will work on the Sabbath.

Daily prayers will be held each morning in the Main Office, the Clerical Staff will be present.

Clothing must be of a sober nature.  The Clerical Staff will not disport themselves in raiments of bright  colours, nor will they wear hose unless in good repair.

Overshoes and top-coats may not be worn in the office but neck scarves and headwear may be worn in  inclement weather.

A stove is provided for the benefit of the Clerical staff, coal and wood must be kept in the locker.  It is  recommended that each member of the Clerical staff bring four pounds of  coal, each day during cold weather.
No member of clerical staff may leave the room without permission from Mr. Ryder.  The calls of  nature are permitted and the clerical staff may use the garden below the second gate.  This area must be kept in good order.

No talking is allowed during business hours.

The craving for tobacco, wines or spirits is a human weakness and, as such, is forbidden to all  members of the clerical staff.

Now that the hours of business have been drastically reduced, the partaking of food is allowed between 11.30 am & noon, but work will not, on any account, cease.

Members of the clerical staff will provide their own pens.  A new sharpener is available, on application to Mr. Ryder.

Mr. Ryder will nominate a Senior clerk to be responsible for the cleanliness of the main office and the private office, and all boys and juniors will report to him 40 minutes before prayers, and will remain after closing hours for similar work.  Brushes, brooms, scrubbers & soap are provided by the owners.

The new increased weekly wages are as hereunder:

  •     Junior Boys (to 11 years)         1  /  4
  •     Boys (to 14 years )                  2  /  1
  •     Juniors                                    4  /  8
  •     Junior clerks                            8  /  7
  •     Clerks                                     10 /  9
  •     Senior Clerks (after 15 years with the owners)      21 /  0


(You can’t help but wonder what the current IR experts  would make of these rules !! )      Ed.


    Wayne & Marianne Bartlett,   

    Colin Cunningham,   

    Raymond & Sylvia Freak.

We Welcome you …….

Christmas meeting
30th November

7.00 pm for 7.30 pm
At the Police Club

For all members & friends who have   pre-booked!!

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Drug-possession defendant Christopher Johns, on trial in March in Pontiac,  Michigan, said he had been searched without a warrant. The prosecutor said  the officer didn't need a warrant because a "bulge" in Christopher's  jacket could have been a gun. Nonsense, said Christopher, who happened to be wearing the same jacket that day in court. He handed it over so the  judge could see it. The judge discovered a packet of cocaine in the pocket  and laughed so hard he required a five-minute recess to compose himself.

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Register 19.4.1907            
                Col. Madley in a Collision

On Thursday morning a curious accident happened to the Commissioner of Police. Col. Madley had driven in his Victoria to the Police Station in Angas Street, and his Coachman was just pulling up at a walk when a bump from behind was experienced. The Commissioner then found his carriage locked to the wheel of a baker’s cart, owned by Mr. E.J. Parker, and driven by Thomas Anderson.  The step of the cart was knocked off, while the axle of the Victoria was bent and the rubber tire of one of the front wheels was displaced.  In reply to the protest of Col.Madley, the driver of the cart stated that he did not know the carriage was about to pull up.  The Commissioner pointed out that in any case there was another 30ft of roadway open to him, and in ordering his coachman to take the Victoria to a repair shop gave the other driver to understand that he would come upon him for the cost. .  

Where is your apron Kev?

This has been a very successful month, with some 140  visitors to our Museum, combined with Kevin Beare’s outside visits to the Pines Retirement Village & The  Sporting Car Club.
On the morning of Wednesday 9th October Magors Bus  Service joined us for Devonshire tea & a tour & in the afternoon the  Clan McLeod spent a very pleasant couple of hours with us.


On Sunday 14th October  we hosted tours,   morning tea, BBQ lunch & afternoon tea to some 63 people from the Mercedes Benz Club & the  Athelstone Ions.
Friday 10th Charles Sturt Council SAGES club enjoyed Devonshire tea and tour.
On Wednesday 24th  President Geoff conducted a guided tour of the Museum for  3  visitors from China.   Fortunately they were accompanied by their interpreter, as Geoff’s knowledge of Mandarin  is somewhat limited.


The Vehicle team visited Tyndale Christian School on Thursday 25th as part of the Safer Communities Children’s Safety Celebration. 
Bill Bird, Kevin Johnson, ErnieMcLeod, Mark  Dollman, Holger Kruse & Kevin Beare braved the elements on Sunday 28th for Sunnybrae’s Annual Community Fair.
Wednesday 30th the S.A. Local History Group joined us for morning tea & a tour.



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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



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