Menu

Museum Posts

FROM the VAULT – Terence Murray Lewis

Our FROM the VAULT series on Queensland Police Commissioners cannot exclude Terence Murray Lewis, stood down in September 1987 after 38 years as a police officer.  Mr Lewis commenced his career at Brisbane’s Roma Street Police Station in January 1949 after completing mandatory cadet training at the Petrie Terrace Police Depot.  Promotions came in quick succession for the clever Constable, to Plain Clothes Constable in 1950, Detective Constable in 1954, D/Senior Constable in 1959, D/Sergeant in 1964, D/Senior Sergeant in 1968, Inspector in 1973, and the youngest Police Commissioner Queensland had seen in 1976, at the age of 48.

Many good police services were performed by Mr Lewis prior to findings by the Fitzgerald Inquiry of his direct involvement in corruption.  In 1960 Detective Senior Constable Lewis, with Constable 1/c Glen Patrick Hallahan, Constables Kevin John Morris and James Kevin Shearer, overpowered a man wielding a loaded .303 rifle.  The former officer of the Afrika Korps was brandishing the weapon whilst threatening to shoot his wife and then himself.  During efforts to relieve the man of the rifle a shot was fired missing the target, Constable 1/c Hallahan, after which all officers pounced to successfully disarm the man at his Lota home.  Lewis and Hallahan received the George Medal for their gallantry, and Morris and Shearer the British Empire Medal.

Queensland Police Force officers and their partners, including Inspector Terence Lewis standing at left, enjoy dinner at the National Hotel, Brisbane in February 1975.
The police troop had recently returned from Darwin where they assisted the Northern Territory Police after Cyclone Tracy devastated the town.
Image No. PM2033 donated by Tony Sheil (seated nearest Terry Lewis).

In 1974 Inspector Lewis was sent to Darwin to lead a Queensland contingent of police to assist Northern Territory in connection with devastation caused by Cyclone Tracy.  Fresh from N.T. detail and now located in the Charleville District as Officer in Charge, Inspector Lewis coordinated the local flood relief in 1976 when torrential rain submerged the wide country streets turning usually dry dusty land into a mud bowl.  He was well respected for his efforts in policing during the clean-up after both devastating weather events.

By the end of the year Mr Lewis had become Queensland’s Police Commissioner.  Many new policies were introduced to improve employment conditions; simplifying short-term leave applications, major improvements to state-wide building infrastructure, better recruit training regimes, family friendly training schedules for all police, the abolition of forced transfer, optional wearing of slacks for policewomen, and an increase to the bush patrol allowance.  Of particular note; initiating the opening of the Queensland Police Museum to the public.

With the number of young offenders rising, Lewis formed the Juvenile Aid Bureau in 1963. The service branched out from Brisbane’s CBD and Commissioner Lewis is pictured here as the first ‘customer’ of the new Chermside JAB counter after its official opening in 1982, receiving advice from Detective Sergeant 1/C Dugald William MacMillan.
Image No. PM1107 courtesy of QPS Photographics.

In 1980 the great honour of ‘Father of the Year’ was bestowed upon Mr Lewis, and in 1986 he was honoured with a Knight Batchelor by the Queen for police service.  It was 1987 when Sir Terence Lewis’ luck changed and the Fitzgerald Inquiry, ordered by the State Government to investigate allegations of police crime and corruption, uncovered a shameful quantity of evidence to confirm this, including 15 counts of corruption by Lewis.  He was immediately stood aside, eventually imprisoned and relieved of his Knighthood.  Lewis, whilst Commissioner, had once wished he was back in Charleville – said he had fewer problems there.

__________________

This article was written by Museum Assistant Georgia Grier from the best resources available within the Queensland Police Museum.  The Police Museum is open 9am to 4pm Monday to Thursday and 10am to 3pm on the last Sunday of the month (Feb-Nov) and is located on the Ground Floor of Police Headquarters at 200 Roma Street, Brisbane. Contact: E: [email protected]

“FROM the VAULT- Terence Murray Lewis” by the Queensland Police Service is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (BY) 2.5 Australia Licence. Permissions may be available beyond the scope of this licence. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/au/legalcode

QPM SUNDAY LECTURE: COMputer Facial Identification Techniques


COMputer Facial Identification Techniques

26 March 2017
11:00am – 12:30pm

 Police Headquarters
200 Roma Street
Brisbane  QLD  4000

FREE ENTRY

Comfit is a facial-composite system developed within the Queensland Police Service (QPS) in 1993.  It allows a Brisbane-based operator to create a facial likeness of an offender using a set of facial features chosen by a witness from an online database.  With the assistance of investigating officers at Police Stations throughout Queensland, Comfit is available to witnesses State-wide.

In the twenty-four years since 1993, international research into human memory has identified weaknesses in this type of ‘featural’ process.  This research has resulted in the development of new facial-composite products that better match people’s memory for faces.

The innovative facial-composite system known as EFIT6 was developed in the United Kingdom and has been adopted in many jurisdictions around the world, including the New South Wales Police Force.  It is easy to use, making it suitable for use by operational Police Officers, without the need for a Brisbane-based specialist, and the inconvenience this can incur.

Keryl Willis is a Forensic Artist with the Visual Identification Unit and has been undertaking such work within the Photographic Section since 1995.  Over the last six months, she has been conducting a field-trial of EFIT6 in Police Stations around Brisbane, to assess its suitability for wider use within the QPS.

During the lecture Keryl will explain the differences between Comfit and EFIT, the ways in which these systems are used for police work and the best practice developments that are currently underway in the area.  This one and a half hour presentation will commence at 11am on Sunday, March 26 and will be both informative and educational, and is suitable for all audiences.

__________________

The Museum opens its doors to the public on the last Sunday of each month from 10am to 3pm from February to November in addition to the standard Monday to Thursday 9am to 4pm opening hours. Monthly Sunday openings feature guest speakers from across the historical and crime-solving spectrums.

PLEASE NOTE: The Police Museum will open on Sunday, March 26 from 10am to 3pm, and is located on the ground floor of Police Headquarters, 200 Roma Street, Brisbane.

FROM the VAULT – Sensational Developments in 1908

An early morning cup of tea turned into a man hunt at Carpentaria Downs Station in September 1908.  The station manager, his horseman, and a man-servant were all considered suspects when governess Nellie Duffy was found deceased in her double bed.  Theft was not a motive; she still wore her gold jewellery.  Assault was not a motive; her clothes and blankets, although saturated with blood, were undisturbed.  The suggestion Miss Duffy had committed suicide by piercing her own neck were quickly quashed by the unusually undisturbed bedding, smoothed neatly across her body.

Every possible detail of the scene and the crime was gathered; the position of the body in bed, blood splatter on a bedside clock, the door to the bedroom being open, whether particular lighting was on or off, the location of a writing desk and chair, bedroom window dressings and mosquito netting, the usual routine of family members and station staff and their actions on the morning of the murder.  Witnesses were cross examined by Chief Inspector Frederic Urquhart and other police, and a record by Pugh’s Almanac of the time of sunrise on the date of the murder was checked against other evidence.

Chief Inspector Frederic Urquhart, July 1 1905. Image cropped from PM0785 and courtesy of the Queensland Police Museum.

A post mortem examination by Doctor Riccardo Moni from Georgetown was conducted with Sub Inspector Byrne and Constable Reynolds present, concluding the deep wound in the neck of the victim was caused whilst alive, as were two small facial bruises, consistent with being smothered by the offender’s hand grip.

Police commenced questioning all persons in the vicinity of the home, and anyone associated with Nellie and the Wilson family, managers of the cattle station.  Chief Inspector Urquhart interviewed station-hand for Henry and Fanny Wilson, Billy Wilson, who confirmed he knew the victim, and told police he had seen Mrs Wilson carrying a clutch of eggs in a milking tin when she spoke to him and said “I want to kill Miss Duffy”.  Upon the instruction of the station manager’s wife, and fearing severe reprisal if he did not assist, station hand Billy attended the bedroom of Miss Duffy early in the morning in the company of Mrs Wilson.  She attempted to stage Miss Duffy’s suicide by writing a note, then asked Billy to hold the sleeping young woman down whilst she stabbed Nellie once in the neck with a pocket-knife.  The knife pieced the jugular vein causing Nellie’s death.

The evidence for a murder conviction quickly mounted.  Billy Wilson proved the most reliable witness, voluntarily admitting he was also responsible for the death because he had assisted Mrs Wilson with her plan by restraining the sleeping Nellie.  In Mrs Wilson’s statement, she claimed innocence, suggesting the first she knew of the murder was when Mr Frost attempted to serve the victim her usual morning cup of tea.

The main street of Georgetown, 1908. Image PM2932 courtesy of the Queensland Police Museum

The case was referred to the Townsville Supreme Court with the all-male jury unable to agree on a verdict, both for the accusation of murder against Fanny Wilson, steadfastly maintaining her innocence, and the accusation as an accessory against Billy Wilson.  In sensational developments the Judge entered a nolle prosequi against Mrs Wilson, and the jury entered a ‘Not Guilty’ verdict upon Billy.

There are several books available telling this crime in more detail.  You may wish to search for them using the Trove website.

__________________

This article was written by Museum Assistant Georgia Grier from the best resources available within the Queensland Police Museum.  The Police Museum is open 9am to 4pm Monday to Thursday and 10am to 3pm on the last Sunday of the month (Feb-Nov) and is located on the Ground Floor of Police Headquarters at 200 Roma Street, Brisbane. Contact: E: [email protected]

“FROM the VAULT- Sensational Developments in 1908” by the Queensland Police Service is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (BY) 2.5 Australia Licence. Permissions may be available beyond the scope of this licence. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/au/legalcode

 

FROM the VAULT – First Women Sworn in at Oxley Police Academy

The world will celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, 2017, to recognise the progressive success of equality for women.  The Queensland Police Service marks the day by promoting awareness of the great work women do every day, and by rewarding those making a real difference in emergency services.  On December 15, 1972, the first induction of police recruits occurred at Queensland’s newly built Oxley Police Academy and included eleven Policewomen.

The first year of operation for the newly built Queensland Police Academy at Oxley.
Image No. PM0466 courtesy of the Queensland Police Museum.

A Forward by The Honourable A.M. Hodges, Minister in Charge of Police, inside the Induction Booklet read;

“Welcome to the Force.
Yours is one of the most interesting jobs in the world.  It’s also one of the most difficult and complex.  It’s certainly amongst the most important.
Your social potential as a policeman is great indeed; you’ll play many varied roles for society and in its best interests.  You’ll be a social worker, crime-fighter, marriage guidance counsellor, psychiatrist, defender, and friend.
You’ll learn to be tough and capable in any situation… but I also hope you’ll discover that it’s not unmanly to be compassionate and to care.
Good luck in your new career.”

The social potential of the policemen and women of ‘K Squad’ was also great, and not caring if they were unmanly or not, some of these women embarked on long and varied careers.

 

Advance Training Course No. 5, October 1973, held at the Police College, Chelmer, Queensland.
Back Row: G W Barnes, H A Rand, L Andrews, R J McCann, C R Priestly, C J Thomas, R I Raine, G A McIntosh, J C Bateson.
Centre Row: R J Loader, T J Seymour, G R Beattie, J A Arnold, B R Maidment, I J Gall, G A Savage, G R Stockdale, L C Burt, T J Atherton.
Front Row: D V Pickup, C J Hansford, C A Parry, C M Brown, Acting Inspector R A Johnson, Inspector J McMahon, P M Henigan, P E Saunderson, N A Lavender.
Image No. PM3188 courtesy of the Queensland Police Museum.

Constable Noelene Lavender, from Bellingen in New South Wales, completed her police academy training and immediately transferred to Rockhampton to undertake general duties.  Promotions to Constable 1/c and Plain Clothes Senior Constable, plus a move back to Brisbane to join the newly formed Juvenile Aid Bureau in 1978 provided Noelene with a well-rounded police career.

Constable Cheryl Parry was born in Nambour, schooled at Southport, and spent a short but highly regarded career at Woolloongabba Police Station.  Constable Parry’s good work was noted with respect to intelligence gleaned which led to the location of a potential sex offender.

The Public Order Squad, December 1974. L to R: Anne McFarlane, Sharon Booth, Trudi Sherwood and Monica O’Mara.
Image No. PM2819 courtesy of the Queensland Police Museum.

Constable Trudi Sherwood commenced her career as an Accounting Machinist before joining the Queensland Police Force.  Her first role was with the Administration Branch then the Information Bureau, Juvenile Aid in 1986 and the Missing Persons Bureau where Trudi’s leadership skills were recognised and she was rewarded with the position of Officer in Charge and promotion to the rank of Senior Sergeant.

These are the names of the other women sworn in with K Squad on December 15, 1972: Martine Braithwaite, Christine Brown, Christine Condon, Patricia Henigan, Joanne Lowry, Denise Pickup, Patricia Saunderson and Desley Stevenson.

__________________

This article was written by Museum Assistant Georgia Grier from the best resources available within the Queensland Police Museum.  The Police Museum is open 9am to 4pm Monday to Thursday and 10am to 3pm on the last Sunday of the month (Feb-Nov) and is located on the Ground Floor of Police Headquarters at 200 Roma Street, Brisbane. Contact: E: [email protected]

“FROM the VAULT- First Women Sworn in at Oxley Police Academy” by the Queensland Police Service is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (BY) 2.5 Australia Licence. Permissions may be available beyond the scope of this licence. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/au/legalcode

 

FROM the VAULT – Shore Patrol Station by R.A. Donovan

Well into the retirement of Superintendent (Grade 2) Ronald Albert Donovan in 1995, he recalled the start of World War II on September 3, 1939, and provided an account of his policing service during the next 5 years.  Ronald Donovan commenced as a Queensland Police Cadet on July 2, 1937, and was inducted as a Constable on December 17, 1940.  Ronald initially served at Roma Street Police Station before transferring to Brisbane Traffic Branch, but the next transfer made for some interesting recollections.

‘In January of 1944 I was transferred from the Traffic Branch to the Licensing Branch.  This section dealt with the ever increasing problem of the unlawful sale of liquor, which unlicensed persons were selling to the [Brisbane based] American Troops. 

Constable William Chapman with three American soldiers during World War II, c1943.
Image No. PM1953 courtesy of the Queensland Police Museum.

One evening just after seven o’clock a sergeant and I went to the Shore Patrol Station in Mary Street; it was in a building on the Gardens side of Mary Street between Albert and Edward Streets.  We went to the Officer of the Watch who was at his desk, and behind him was the brig [a warship prison] which contained about six cells.  There was a sailor in one cell; the other cells were empty.  We knew the Officer and after greeting him he said, “This guy is driving me nuts; he came in today off a sub and all I’ve heard from him is what he did at Tarawa.  He thinks that we’ll dock his pay, but we don’t do that to fellows from the subs; when he leaves here he’ll be taken to a spot about 100 yards from where his vessel is moored and then told to walk the rest of the way.  If he wants to tell his skipper then he can, but we won’t tell him.”  I said, “What time did he come in?” The Officer replied, “About five o’clock; he and one of your Aussie soldiers started a riot outside the T & G and we brought him down here before they wrecked the place.  They both had some of your local beer and this fellow hasn’t tasted beer like that before.”

The sailor in the cell was still shouting at the Officer and the latter said, “I’ll have to shut this fellow up.”  He then walked to the door of the brig and said, “Sailor, when did you join Uncle Sam’s Navy?”  He replied, “February, nineteen forty-two.”  The Officer said, “That was after Pearl Harbour; Now I’ve been in this outfit since 1935, and you think that I have been sitting on my butt behind a desk all of that time.  Well, I’ll tell you something sailor; I’ve seen action, and I’m going to ask you a question, and if you can’t answer it I want you to shut up.  O.K.?”  The sailor nodded his head, and the Officer said, “Now this is the question.  Where the hell were you when I was in Toowoomba?”

With that remark, the sergeant and I, keeping straight faces, left with the Shore Patrol sailor for the night’s duty.’ 

Senior Sergeant Course No. 1, from 27 January 1970 to 13 February 1970.
Ronald Donovan is dressed in Plain Clothes, and stands second from the left in the centre row. Please contact the Queensland Police Museum if you would like the names of any other officers.
Image No. PM3282 courtesy of the QPM.

__________________

The account was written by Ronald Albert Donovan, and provided to the Queensland Police Museum on June 6, 1995.  The Police Museum is open 9am to 4pm Monday to Thursday and 10am to 3pm on the last Sunday of the month (Feb-Nov) and is located on the Ground Floor of Police Headquarters at 200 Roma Street, Brisbane.
Contact: E: [email protected]

“FROM the VAULT- Shore Patrol Station by R.A. Donovan” by the Queensland Police Service is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (BY) 2.5 Australia Licence. Permissions may be available beyond the scope of this licence. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/au/legalcode

QPM SUNDAY LECTURE: Coorparoo Junction Murders

Coorparoo Junction Murders

26 February 2017
11:00am – 12:30pm

 Police Headquarters
200 Roma Street
Brisbane  QLD  4000

FREE ENTRY

The well regarded suburb of Coorparoo became embroiled in a grisly murder on 22 March 1964.  In the early hours of that day the Fire Brigade raced to a fire in the rear residence of a shop on Cavendish Road, Coorparoo.  A female victim lay injured on the patio, and two charred bodies were located in the home.

An ambulance and police detectives were immediately called to the scene, south of Old Cleveland Road and what was known as the Coorparoo Junction shopping strip.  The victim was transferred to hospital, and the bodies quickly identified as the victim’s mother and sister.

Crime Investigation Branch detectives set about unravelling the macabre events, made difficult by the house fire; the offender wanted to obliterate all evidence.

Lisa Jones, Curator of the Queensland Police Museum, will explain the meticulous way in which police gathered forensic evidence, located a suspect and eventually brought an offender to justice.  Lisa will provide images of the crime scene and describe how thorough investigation by police prompted several judicial precedents.  For this reason, the lecture is NOT SUITABLE for children under 15 years.

This one and a half hour presentation will start at 11am on Sunday, February 26 and will be both informative and educational.

The Museum opens its doors to the public on the last Sunday of each month from 10am to 3pm from February to November in addition to the standard Monday to Thursday 9am to 4pm opening hours. Monthly Sunday openings feature guest speakers from across the historical and crime-solving spectrums.

PLEASE NOTE: The Police Museum will open Sunday, February 26 from 10am to 3pm, and is located on the ground floor of Police Headquarters, 200 Roma Street, Brisbane.

FROM the VAULT – Springbok Tour of Queensland

Further to our recent article about Police Commissioner Raymond Wells Whitrod, another sporting event came into the spotlight in 1971, the tour of South African Rugby Union team, the Springboks.  In anticipation of trouble by anti-apartheid protestors a “State of Emergency” was declared.  Operational orders included for police to carry handcuffs and batons, but not firearms.  No recreational leave was granted during the team’s stay in Queensland between 22 July and 4 August; the catalyst for refusal by the Commissioner to approve Constable Wayne Bennett’s leave request for rugby league training perhaps.

The Enoggera Army Barracks was secured for police radio communications, training, accommodation, meals and recreation.  A log of occurrences commenced with meetings between key organisers; Queensland Rugby Union officials, Commissioner Whitrod and senior police, with all inspecting Ballymore Oval in Herston.  Printed media was scrutinised whilst Traffic Police, and Public Order and Emergency Squads were mobilised in readiness for the arrival of players and commencement of play.

900 police from all over Queensland assemble in the Exhibition Ground Main Oval on July 21, 1971, to be addressed by Police Minister Mr Hodges and Police Commissioner Mr Whitrod in preparations for the Springbok Tour. Courier Mail Article 21/7/1971.
Image No. PM1342D courtesy of the Courier Mail.

As the tournament loomed, so did security concerns surrounding the use of Ballymore Oval.  Alternative venues were considered, including Lang Park (now known as Suncorp Stadium) and the Brisbane Exhibition Grounds.  With demonstrations increasing, a decision was made to erect security fencing at the Exhibition Grounds, establish a mobile police station on site and hold the games at that location.  The retail sale of gunpowder was monitored, whilst specialty police squads were armed with smoke flares.  Newspapers increased their distribution of at times exaggerated reports of extreme policing methods, whilst the Commissioner continued to ready operational police for large crowds. 

Anti-apartheid demonstrators making their way towards the Exhibition Grounds, July 1971, supervised by police in cars and on motorcycles.
Image No. PM1342J courtesy of the Queensland Police Museum.

Transport was identified as a significant factor in successfully policing the event, and it became apparent extra buses were needed to move large numbers of police and the public into and away from the tournament.  Preparations were made by employing the services of private coach companies to complement Transport Department buses.  Three days prior to the arrival of the South African team in Queensland, on July 17, a rail strike threatened as senior police travelled to Sydney to watch the Springboks play there.

Queensland’s turn to host the games commenced amid heightened security for players, spectators and peaceful protesters.  Extra paddy wagons were secured in anticipation of multiple arrests.  A large crowd congregated outside the team’s accommodation at the Tower Mill Motel, with varying reports about the behaviour of university student and other demonstrators on Wickham Terrace; no chanting, chanting, motel windows being smashed, bomb threats made, multiple arrests.

The Rugby Union game between the South African Springboks and Australia, at the Brisbane Exhibition Ground, July 1971. Police keep a close watch on spectators and demonstrators. The Springboks won the game 14 – 6.
Image No. PM1342O donated by the Courier Mail.

 

On the day of the Test, July 31, and after police escorted the Springboks to pre-game strategy talks at Ballymore Oval before continuing the escort to the Exhibition Ground where South Africa beat Australia 14 – 6.  The Springboks travelled to Toowoomba the next day for a final game, prompting temporary fencing of the oval and additional police resources.  No incidents were reported there and the team safely departed Oakey Airport on August 4, for their return flight to Sydney, New South Wales.

__________________

This article was written by Museum Assistant Georgia Grier from the best resources available within the Queensland Police Museum.  The Police Museum is open 9am to 4pm Monday to Thursday and 10am to 3pm on the last Sunday of the month (Feb-Nov) and is located on the Ground Floor of Police Headquarters at 200 Roma Street, Brisbane. Contact: E: [email protected]

“FROM the VAULT- Springbok Tour of Queensland” by the Queensland Police Service is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (BY) 2.5 Australia Licence. Permissions may be available beyond the scope of this licence. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/au/legalcode

FROM the VAULT – CoP Raymond W. Whitrod

Raymond Wells Whitrod served the people of South Australia as a police officer between 1934 and 1949.  His rise to the rank of Detective preceded becoming the Assistant Director of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) in 1949.  In 1953 another promotion secured the Directorship of the Commonwealth Investigation Service, based in Canberra.

Educated by the Australian National University in Arts and Economics, and then by Cambridge University in Sociology and Criminology, Mr Whitrod was an advocate of merit based promotion.  His preference to recruit and promote police officers with formal education was recognised with his own promotion in 1960 by the Commonwealth Police who rewarded Mr Whitrod with the Commissionership.  The Papua New Guinea Police then appointed him as their Commissioner 9 years later, Mr Whitrod moving his family to Port Moresby for the position.

First United Nations Cyprus Police Contingent being sworn in by Commonwealth Police Commissioner Raymond Whitrod at the R.A.A.F. Base, Canberra, 21.05.1964.
Image No. PM1969 courtesy of the Queensland Police Museum.

With this impressive policing history, and the ‘advantage of knowing police methods and routine, without the friendships and associations inevitable among officers who have spent all their working lives in the Force’, (Harris, B. Courier Mail 1969), the Queensland Police Force appointed Raymond Whitrod as Deputy Commissioner, to immediately sit in the chair of the Commissioner upon the pre-retirement leave of Norwin W. Bauer.

Queensland’s Commissioner of Police Raymond Wells Whitrod, 1970.
Image No. PM2307 courtesy of the Queensland Police Museum.

At the beginning of his time in the top job in 1971 Mr Whitrod received an application from 21 year old Toowoomba Constable Wayne Bennett, for leave without pay to attend a Rugby League training camp in Brisbane.  The application was denied due to concerns over a potential shortage of police, and setting precedents.  The ban was quickly overridden by Premier Mr Joh Bjelke-Petersen, Constable Bennett trained at Lang Park and went on to score the only points for the Queensland Firsts with a goal in front of 19,308 spectators.

The Police continent march on Queen Street, Brisbane, in the ANZAC Day Parade of 1975.
Image PRNeg 1975-SL147 courtesy of the Queensland Police Museum.

In contrast to views about denying a police officer leave, and for such a good cause, Mr Whitrod was very much on the side of his police officers.  His continued encouragement of police to increase their educational qualifications was backed by the approval of these applications, and his visitation to many country police stations in efforts to learn what makes bush centres tick was highly regarded.  Raymond Whitrod resigned in 1976 and returned to his home state, and the city of Adelaide.

__________________

This article was written by Museum Assistant Georgia Grier from the best resources available within the Queensland Police Museum.  The Police Museum is open 9am to 4pm Monday to Thursday and 10am to 3pm on the last Sunday of the month (Feb-Nov) and is located on the Ground Floor of Police Headquarters at 200 Roma Street, Brisbane. Contact: E: [email protected]

“FROM the VAULT- CoP Raymond W. Whitrod” by the Queensland Police Service is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (BY) 2.5 Australia Licence. Permissions may be available beyond the scope of this licence. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/au/legalcode

FROM the VAULT – The Decoyed Bushranger

The Queensland Police Gazette (QPG) reported highway robbery of the Condamine mailman, on horseback six miles from Roma, on October 21 1865, and named suspect Alphin McPherson, known by many aliases and as ‘The Wild Scotsman’.  A further charge of robbery was to be effected on McPherson for holding up the Taroom mail delivery.  A £50 reward was announced and McPherson captured.

Architectural drawing of the Bowen Lockup, by J.B.C on February 2, 1885.
Image courtesy of the Queensland Police Museum.

A successful escape from Bowen Police at Port Mackay, on June 10 1865, preceded a crime spree including stock thefts by McPherson, firstly of a valuable four year old bay gelding branded to Messrs McEwen and Green, and six fine horses owned by P. Caldwell Esquire of Oakey Creek.  A silver pocket watch crafted by ‘Goldsmith, London’ was also found to be unlawfully in the possession of the suspect.  The gelding was eventually found near Gayndah by Sergeant Denis McCarthy.

The Wild Scotsman was described as about 23 years of age, 5 feet 10 ½ inches high, square shouldered, stout build, long arms, light hair, no whiskers, small downy tuft of hair on chin, Roman nose, blue eyes, face much sunburnt, gunshot wound inside left forearm from wrist to elbow, a native of Scotland and speaks the German language fluently (various QPG’s).

Snippet from the ‘Queensland Times’, supplied by the National Library of Australia via Trove.

Subsequent robberies under arms of Her Majesty’s mail from Orion Downs and Brown River prompted an increase in the reward, announced in the QPG of February 7 1866, to £250 for the apprehension of, or information leading to the capture of McPherson.  It was believed he was heading towards the Maranoa district of New South Wales via the Balonne River.  The theft of two strong horses from T.M. Bowman and allegedly ridden by McPherson at Galloway Plains on February 23 were located at Milton completely knocked up (QPG 4 April 1866, page 31).

First Queensland Police Commissioner David Seymour named McPherson in his second Annual Report, submitted in 1866 for the previous year, writing, “… it is not difficult for a good bushman, well supplied with information, to continue to ‘stick up’ with impunity for some time the solitary mailman.  I am in hopes that the active measures now taken, will shortly put a stop to this description of crime.  I am sorry to say that the opinion so confidently expressed some time back, that bushrangers would meet with no sympathy in this Colony, turns out to be incorrect.  The criminal can obtain plenty of assistance and information, the police but little.”

St Helena Island Penal Establishment ruins, 2015.
Image courtesy of Georgia Grier, Museum Assistant.

Police were now clued up to the bushranger’s modus operandi, his equine knowledge and riding prowess, and using the local mailman at Gin Gin as a decoy, successfully flushed McPherson out of hiding.  It didn’t take long for the fugitive to figure out the sting however, and he decamped at speed on horseback.  Fortunately for the police his chosen steed was too tired to gallop too far, enabling McPherson’s capture and arrest.  After trial The Wild Scotsman was given a lengthy prison term, to be served on St Helena Island Penal Establishment.

__________________

This article was written by Museum Assistant Georgia Grier from the best resources available within the Queensland Police Museum.  The Police Museum is open 9am to 4pm Monday to Thursday and 10am to 3pm on the last Sunday of the month (Feb-Nov) and is located on the Ground Floor of Police Headquarters at 200 Roma Street, Brisbane. Contact: E: [email protected]

“FROM the VAULT – The Decoyed Bushranger” by the Queensland Police Service is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (BY) 2.5 Australia Licence. Permissions may be available beyond the scope of this licence. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/au/legalcode

FROM the VAULT – Wool Washing Thwarted By Want Of Water

The following was recorded as written by Constable 1/c Michael O’Toole of Wyandra Police Station, in the Charleville District, 114 years ago and by hand in the station letterbook.

9th February 1903
To the Sub Inspector of Police, Charleville

Report of Michael O’Toole 1/c Constable relative to the dead body of a man found near No. 2 bore on Claverton run.

1/c Constable M. O’Toole reports that on the evening of the 7th instant [February] at about 6.30pm a young man named Albert Dowsett, a stockman on Claverton, reported having found the dead body of a man about 10 miles from No. 2 bore and about 30 miles from Wyandra.  On the morning of Sunday the 8th instant the Constable had to borrow a horse as he could not ride the Government bicycle as the country was very ruff [sic] and scrubby, to go with Dowsett to where the body was, leaving Wyandra in company with Dowsett, and arrived at No. 2 bore at about 2.30pm where the Constable and Dowsett was [sic] joined by a young man named Patrick Higgins, another stockman.  Both are living at No. 2 bore and in the employ of Mr Arthur Leeds.  After making some preparations for the burial of the body the three of us left immediately for the place where the body was, a distance of about 14 miles from the bore.

Image of a section  of the Wyandra Police Station letterbook, held at Queensland State Archives, taken by history lover Jim Spurdle in 2014.

Dowsett pointed out the body to the 1/c Constable, the body had all decayed away, and could not be recognised, and apparently had been over 12 months dead.  The 1/c Constable examined the body carefully and could not find any marks of violence on it, there was not part of the body missing, the body was clad in a light coloured Tweed trousers and a flannel shirt, and a pair of Blucher boots very much worn.  The body was lying partly on the right side, the right foot stretched out, left foot slightly bent, and the right hand bent under the head, and the boot off the left foot.  About 1 yard away underneath the head of the body the Constable found the remains of an old vest which is of a very peculiar black pattern.  The 1/c Constable at once recognised the vest as being like a vest that a young man named John O’neil used to ware and in the left hand side and in the top pocket he found a rolled gold watch with a double silver chain attached.  In the left hand trousers pocket he found a brown leather purse which he found in it an addressed envelope with the words as follows; Mrs L.O’neil, Edward Street, Kennedy Estate, Toowoomba.

Wyandra Police Station, c1980. In 1903 the original station building was not equipped with cells, and prisoners were secured to a ring in the floor of the police office by means of a chain.
Image No. PM1173 courtesy of the Queensland Police Museum

1/c Constable was well acquainted with a young man by the name of John O’neil who used to stop at times at Mr John Moody’s Commercial Hotel Wyandra and was last seen alive about the 15th January 1902.  When O’neil had a conversation with Mr Moody he told Mr Moody that he would [have] left the hotel before any of the would be [awake] in the morning.  Mr Moody states that he asked him which wasy did he intend to go.  He stated that he did not know whether he wold go to Eliman and work for Mr John Brayley who had the contact to wash all Messrs Fletcher Bros. wool, or go to Oakwood. O’neil has been missing ever since.

The 1/c Constable has shown the rolled gold watch to Mr John Brayley who positively identifies it as the watch he sold John O’neil some time previously, and O’neil had been working for Brayley several times.  No doubt O’neil had started on a short cut track for Eliman and lost his way, and the 1/c Constable states that he must have perished for want of water.  It is stated that O’neil had no water bag in Wyandra, and was supposed to start on foot.  There is no water between Wyandra and where the remains was [sic] found.  No doubt he thought to strike one of the Claverton bore drains but lost his way, the nearest water at present to shere the body was found is about 6 miles, at the time he left Wyandra the weather was very hot.  There was no money found on the body, or any other property with the exception of watch, chain, and purse and the address enveilope.  Mr Moody states that O’neils mother lives on Kennedys Estate, Toowoomba, and that John O’neil used to get letters addressed to him , to the Commercial Hotel Wyandra, but none lately.

The old Commercial Hotel, Wyandra. Image taken in 2010 by photographer John Coyle.

With the assistance of Albert Dowsett and Higgins they [sic] buried the body and returned to No. 2 bore that evening, a distance of about 42 miles.  The 1/c Constable returned to his station at about 1pm on the 9th instant, a distance of about 25 miles.  There is a post-mortem and some articles of clothing at Moody’s hotel which is the property of deceased, also a coat similar to the vest found under the head of deceased.

Signed, Michael O’Toole, 1/c Constable Reg 620

__________________

This information has been supplied by the Queensland Police Museum from the best resources available at the time of writing.  The Police Museum is open 9am to 4pm Monday to Thursday and 10am to 3pm on the last Sunday of the month (Feb-Nov) and is located on the Ground Floor of Police Headquarters at 200 Roma Street, Brisbane. Contact: E: [email protected]

“FROM the VAULT- Wool Washing Thwarted By Want Of Water” by the Queensland Police Service is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (BY) 2.5 Australia Licence. Permissions may be available beyond the scope of this licence. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/au/legalcode

Page 1 of 3212345678...»

Sign up for myPolice Museum

Follow @QPSMuseum

2017 SUNDAY LECTURE SERIES

April 30
Forensic Mechanics
11:00-12:30

May 28
Fingerprint Bureau
11:00-12:30

June 25
The Petrov Affair - Petrovs in Queensland
11:00-12:30

September 17
Off site, and by special invitation for myPolice Museum subscribers

October 29
Fraud Prevention
11:00-12:30