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FROM the VAULT – CoP John Smith

From the Office of the Commissioner, Brisbane, and dated 13th August 1949 by an unknown hand a short biography was written about the service of John Smith, Registered Number 1353, originally from the Darling Downs.  Some of it has been reproduced here.   Mr Smith had become the 8th Queensland Police Commissioner after a career spanning 37 years; the additional service in the top job saw many initiatives introduced.

Commissioner of Police, John Smith, c1949. Image No. PM2305 courtesy of the Queensland Police Museum

Commissioner of Police, John Smith, c1949.
Image No. PM2305 courtesy of the Queensland Police Museum

At the age of 20, Queensland’s new Commissioner of Police joined the Police Force as a Constable on the 1st July, 1910.  John Smith served in various parts of the State, including many stations in the outback, and has thus acquired a practical knowledge, not only of departmental requirements, but also of public requirements, in relation to the Department throughout the vast territory which is Queensland.  He is equally at home on foot, or horseback, or at the wheel of a modern motor car.

Traffic offences were on Smith’s radar continuously, perhaps sparked by an incident early on in his policing career.  In 1912 the young Constable took a civilised stage coach ride from Cunnamulla to Eromanga, but when leaving Thargomindah the Cobb and Co. horses began to run at cracking speed.  It was evident the driver had been drinking and had limited control of the beasts.  The quick thinking and capable policeman arrested the drunk driver, bundled him into the cabin, took charge of the coach and proceeded to Eromanga where Constable Smith charged him with the offence of Driving under the Influence.  It took 21 years for the Constable to receive a promotion to the rank of Sergeant, after which he quickly rose to the position of Commissioner.  Notable duties during his rise included several positions on the occasions of visiting royals; as a member of the Royal Mounted Police Escort during the visit of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales in 1920, and specialist duties during other royal visits in 1927, 1934 and 1945.

Left to Right: Sub Inspectors John Smith, Florence M. O'Driscoll, Charles J. L. Perrin, with Police Commissioner Cecil J. Carroll, outside Parliament House, Brisbane c1937. Image No. PM3112 courtesy of the Queensland Police Museum.

Left to Right: Sub Inspectors John Smith, Florence M. O’Driscoll, Charles J. L. Perrin, with Police Commissioner Cecil J. Carroll, outside Parliament House, Brisbane c1937.
Image No. PM3112 courtesy of the Queensland Police Museum.

Commissioner Smith was closely associated with the formation of the Police Citizens Youth Welfare Club, of which he was the first chairman.  He was also closely associated with the Police Welfare Club, of which, for a time, he was President.  He represented Australia at the General Assembly of the International Criminal Police Commission held at Oslo, Norway in June 1953.  His decorations included the Royal Victoria Medal from King George V, the Silver Jubilee Medal from King George VI, and the Coronation Medal, from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

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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- CoP John Smith” 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

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