Patrick Short was the first native born Queenslander to reach the rank of Commissioner. Born at Ipswich, in the Colony of New South Wales before separation, Patrick joined the Queensland Police Force on 15th May 1878. Following just six weeks’ training at the old police depot, Victoria Barracks, Petrie Terrace, Mr Short steadily rose through the ranks serving at St George, Booligar, Taroom, Roma, Mitchell, Hodgson, Southwood, Ipswich, Marburg, Clermont, Rockhampton, Caboolture, South Brisbane, Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB), Maryborough, Toowoomba and Brisbane. Mr Short was regarded as a very experienced administrator in all phases of police work.
On 16th January 1921 Patrick Short became Commissioner of Police and a report of police strength in June showed he was responsible for 1066 General Police, 28 CIB Investigators, 13 Water Police, 13 trainees and 91 Native Trackers. Queensland’s population at the time was 766,426. The newly appointed Commissioner stated “Naturally, I am very pleased at having been promoted to the Commissionership. I am also very gratified at having attained that rank from the humble one of an outback constable.”
During Commissioner Short’s tenure he condensed the number of police districts from twelve to ten and oversaw changes to the police act in regard to improving police pensions and family allowances. In 1924 he witnessed legislation which provided a system of appeal against promotions to members of the Police Union up to and including the rank of Senior Sergeant.
After more than 46 years’ service with the Queensland Police Force, Commissioner Short retired on six months leave of absence as from 15th January 1925. He died at Wooloowin on 14th February 1941 at the age of 81 years and is buried in the Lutwyche Cemetery.
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]
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