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.


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