Alexander Binning WALKER
( late of Richmond-avenue, Cremorne )
New South Wales Police Force
Regd. # 1765 ( pre 24 February 1915 which commenced the current Regd. # system )
Rank: Mounted Constable – Superintendent – retired
Stations: ?, Sydney, Grafton, Armidale, Uralla ( October 1867 – 1870 ), Glen Inness as O.I.C. ( 1 June 1870 – ? ), Wagga ( 1979 as acting sub-Inspector ), Urana ( for 8 months )-( Riverina Police District ), Walgett ( 1880 – 1882, sub-Inspector ), Gunnedah ( short time ), Young ( for 8 years. promoted to Inspector ), Wagga Wagga ( 1891 ), O.I.C., South Western District at Deniliquin ( Supt. 1896 – ? ), Albury ( 1 year as Supt. ), Goulburn ( from around 1903 – 1911 )
Service: From 4 March 1867 to 31 May 1912 = 45 years of Service
Ranks: Constable – 1867
Senior Constable – 1 June 1870 – O.I.C. Glen Inness
Sergeant – August 1870
Senior Sergeant – 1874
acting sub-Inspector – 1879
Inspector – 18??
Superintendent – 1896 – 1911
Born: ? ? 1847 in Oldbury, near Berrima, NSW
Died: Saturday 30 March 1929
Funeral date: Monday 1 April 1929
Funeral location: Northern Suburbs Cemetery
according to the cemetery records, there are two Alexander B Walker’s buried in the same grave.
One having died on 30 March 1929, the other having died on 21 December 1942.
Buried at: Macquarie Park Cemetery & Crematorium, Delhi Rd, Macquarie Park, NSW
Church of England, H11, Grave 0056
My wife is a direct descendant of this ‘Old & Bold’ Constable.
Sydney Morning Herald, Monday 1 April 1929, p 8
Walker, Alexander Binning (1847–1929)
Ex-police Superintendent Alexander B. Walker, who killed the notorious bushranger, Thunderbolt, died on Saturday at his residence, Richmond-avenue, Cremorne. Mr. Walker had a remarkable career in the police force, rising from the ranks to the rank of superintendent. For three months in 1907 Mr. Walker relieved the late Mr. Garvin as Inspector-General of Police. Mr. Walker was 81 years of age.
Mr. Walker was born at Oldbury, England, in 1847, and came to Australia when a young man. He enlisted in the mounted police, and when a constable shot Thunderbolt dead on May 27, 1870, at Kentucky Creek, near Uralla. Walker had a thrilling encounter with the bushranger, and after the latter had been shot he grappled with the young constable. During the encounter at Kentucky Creek, Walker’s horse fell and Thunderbolt rushed at him with his revolver in his hand. Walker then fired at the bushranger, who rose and attempted to grapple with the constable. The latter then struck Thunderbolt over the head with the revolver. It was Walker’s last shot that killed the bushranger.
Thunderbolt, whose name was Frederick Ward, was in 1856 at the Maitland Assizes, sentenced to ten years’ hard labour for felony. He obtained a ticket of leave, and was again convicted at Mudgee in 1861. While serving a sentence on Cockatoo Island, on 11 September 1863 he escaped, in company with another convict named Frederick Britton. Ward evaded capture for seven years until he was shot by Constable Walker.
Mr. Walker was subsequently presented with a public subscription, and received a Government reward of £200. He soon afterwards received promotion, and continued to rise in the service until, in 1895, he was made superintendent at Deniliquin. He later served in a similar capacity at Albury and Goulburn.
Mr. Walker is survived by three sons and three daughters. The sons are William Robert Walker (ex-Superintendent of Police, who only some time ago was in charge at Grafton), Alexander Walker (manager of the Commercial Bank, Narrandera) and Walter Walker (manager of the Union Bank, Oxford-street). The daughters are the Misses Pearl Walker, Olive Walker, and Mrs. Cedric Fitzhardinge (of Newcastle).
The funeral will leave the residence in Richmond-avenue, Cremorne, at quarter past 10 o’clock this morning for the Northern Suburbs Cemetery.
He only stayed at Uralla for three years, but during that time he had plenty of excitement. He was often engaged in guarding the mail from Armidale to Tamworth. One can scarcely realise it now. His regular work, for four days in the week, was to guard the mail from Uralla to Bendemeer. He was stationed at Uralla with Senior-constable Mulhall, and while there information was sent from Mr. Innes Taylor’s property at Terrible Vale – the very name jumps one back to the bushranging days – that a suspicious character had been seen at the station. Amongst other information, it was stated the man had a saddle bearing the brand of the Burburget Station, and this led the police to believe that the suspicious character was Rutherford, the bushranger, who had some time previously, in company with Dr. Pearson, shot Senior-constable McCabe on the Biree, at Goodooga.
After this outrage Pearson went down the river, and was captured by the Bourke police, while Rutherford came through the Liverpool Plains up into New England, and so to Terrible Vale.
The messenger who brought the information, instead of coming immediately, stayed the night on the station and made the trip to Uralla next day. Senior-constable Mulhall and Constable Walker arrived at the out station where Rutherford was expected to be. One of the troopers came at the hut in front, and the other from the rear, thinking that the bush ranger might make a break for it at any moment, but they found the place empty. Rutherford had left that morning.
They followed him for four days, but on the Friday night Constable Walker had to leave to take his place escorting the coach from Carlyle’s Gully to Uralla. On the Saturday they discovered that on the Thursday night they had camped within half a mile of Rutlherford! As Constable Walker left the public-house where the coach changed horses at Carlyle’s Gully, and went out of sight, Rutherford rode down the back. He had evidently been watching the coach and the constable. Rutherford cleared out again, but was shot three days later by the publican at Pine Ridge while endeavouring to stick up the house.
The story is only an illustration of some of the things that happened in ” the good old days. ” But shortly after there was another and far more dramatic incident – the end of Frederick Ward, better known as Thunderbolt.
On 24th May, 1870, races were held at Uralla, and there were many visitors and strangers in the township. The next morning was settling day. About 3 o’clock in the morning an excited Italian hawker, Cappasotti by name, came into town and reported at the police station that he had been stuck up and robbed near Blanch’s Hotel, about five miles from Uralla. Senior-constable Mulhall and Constable Walker started out immediately.
It might be Thunderbolt, it might be someone else. Before four o’clock they were well on the road, Senior-constable Mulhall, who was riding a better horse, leading the way. He arrived at Blanch’s about half a mile ahead of Constable Walker, and met two men riding grey horses towards Uralla. He had little time to ask questions, as one of them immediately drew a revolver and fired at the senior constable, who exchanged shots. It was still dark at the time. Both the strangers then turned and fled, the senior constable-galloping after them. He over took them round the fence surrounding Blanch’s place and fired, again missing his mark. Constable Walker came galloping up, and the senior constable said ” Go ahead and shoot that wretch. We have exchanged shots. ”
They both pursued the two men. One of them doubled back and the senior constable followed him, but lost him in the dark. The man, however, was apprehended shortly afterwards at Blanch’s as an accomplice. Such was not the case, as it happened.
Thunderbolt had taken the man into his custody, as he wanted the horses he had with him. In the meantime Constable Walker had followed Thunderbolt. In the excitement the constable’s revolver went off, and Thunderbolt turned in his saddle and shot at him. The constable returned the fire. It was at this stage that the two men, Thunderbolt and the stranger, separated. ” Come on, ” cried Thunderbolt, putting the spurs into his horse. ” All right, ” shouted back the young constable, nothing loth.
They galloped on, and Thunderbolt had another flying shot, which fortunately was resultless. The constable fired in reply, but the end was not to come yet. Still they raced on over rough country, both taking risks in the darkness, and never dreaming of the consequences of a fall. Over creeks they went. At the top of a rise out of one of these creeks Thunderbolt wheeled round, and it looked for a moment as if he had the constable at his mercy, as he came up towards him. The constable fired, and Thunderbolt turned, and again the wild race went on.
For a quarter of an hour it continued, the constable‘s horse gradually pulling the bush-ranger’s. Thunderbolt then led the way over a spur down into a creek they could not gallop through. Into the water he dashed, but a shot from the constable‘s revolver killed the horse. The bushranger was at bay ! Constable Walker turned his horse down the stream to cross, and when he came back he found Thunderbolt running up the creek. Before he could get to close quarters Thunderbolt crossed the stream again at a narrow channel. He stood on the opposite side until the constable came up. ” You had better surrender before you do any harm, ” said Constable Walker. ” Who are you ?” asked the bushranger. ” Never mind, ” retorted the constable. ” What’s your name ?” ” Walker, ” came the answer. ” Are you a trooper ?” queried Thunderbolt. Being answered in the affirmative, and after a pause, Thunderbolt asked ” Are you a married man ” ” Yes, ” came the answer. The two men were facing one another, with a narrow strip of water flowing between them, four or five yards of it, and each had his revolver in his hand. Any moment might mean death to one or both of them.
” Walker, keep back ! You are a married man !” came the warning cry from Thunderbolt as the constable edged forward. ” Will you surrender ?” ” No ; I’ll die first. ” ” All right, you and I for it. ” The constable put his horse to the water, head first. While the horse was under the water Thunderbolt rushed at the constable. A shot, the fatal one, rang out from the constable‘s revolver and Thunderbolt went under. He rose and grappled, and the constable struck him on the head with the butt of his weapon. Again the bushranger went down, and when he came up the blood rushed from his mouth. Thunderbolt‘s career was over. The shot had passed through the chest, and the effect was not instantaneous, this accounting for the struggle in the water. Thunderbolt‘s revolver was found in the creek bed with one shot still in it. The cap had failed to explode, although the mark of the hammer was on it. Had it taken effect there might have been a very different story to relate. Needless to say the courageous behaviour – one might almost call it the reckless disregard of danger – on the part of Constable Walker aroused the greatest enthusiasm.
At the inquest £32 was subscribed in the room, and the warmest feelings were entertained for him at Uralla. Of course, the Government reward of £300 was handed over, but more dear to the heart of the young constable was his promotion, on 1st June, to the rank of senior constable, and being placed in charge at Glen Innes. In August he was made sergeant.
In 1871 or 1872 the tin mines were discovered, and the number of men stationed at Glen Innes was increased from two to five. Ordinary police work followed.
While at Glen Innes Senior-sergeant Walker effected a clever capture of a notorious character in the person of Aboriginal Tommy, while the black had a loaded revolver in his possession. Tommy had stuck up some fencers, and after being arrested escaped. It became Senior-sergeant Walker‘s duty to re-capture him. In company with a constable he set about the task. They found Tommy working for a selector, ring-barking. He was in the selector‘s house at the time of his capture. The sergeant and constable stepped in smartly, and before Tommy was quite aware of what had happened Senior-sergeant Walker had him by the breast with a revolver at his head. ” I’ll shoot you if you move, ” he rapped out. But Tommy did move, and tried to get possession of a revolver in his pocket. The constable, however, snapped the handcuffs on. Even then the trouble was not over. They put the black on a horse, but he threw himself off his horse and fought for six miles. They had to tie him to a tree while the constable went to Shanahan Vale to get a cart. Tommy was eventually committed for trial. The charge was that he threatened to shoot the fencers, and he got out on a technical point, as the Crown Prosecutor had failed to prove the firearm was loaded ! The jury consequently brought in a verdict of not guilty. But Tommy had not learnt his lesson. He got a horse, and near Oban robbed a digger‘s hut, where he also got powder and bullets. He rode into the blacks’ camp and deliberately shot a blackfellow dead.
The police were after him immediately, and used to give him a chasing now and again, but they never got within sight of him. They had black trackers, but, ’tis said, Tommy used to often track them.
One day he stuck up a public house at Bald Knobson, the Glen Innes – Grafton road. Two mounted constables, Wainwright and Goodhew, the latter a brother to Senior sergeant Goodhew, of Taralga, were sent out. They followed him, and had an encounter. Tommy was armed with a revolver and a tomahawk. They came on him lying on the ground taking stock of them. ” Are you Tommy MacPherson ?” asked one of them. ” That’s the question, ” said the black. He let drive with the tomahawk, which grazed the back of one of the troopers as he bent down to dodge it. A bullet from the weapon of the other trooper, however, quietened Tommy, who died the same night.
In 1874 Mr. Walker attained the rank of senior sergeant, and in 1879, when the Kelly Gang stuck up Jerilderie, he was promoted to the rank of acting sub-inspector, and sent to take charge of Wagga, during the absence of the sub-inspector there at Albury. On his return Mr. Walker was sent to Urana in charge of a party of police in the Riverina, remaining there for eight months. The police were on the look out for the Kelly Gang, but from then till the time they were captured the gang never re-visited New South Wales.
Mr. Walker went to Walgett in 1880 as sub-inspector, remaining there for two years. After a short stay at Gunnedah he went to Young for nearly eight years, during which time he became inspector. Wagga Wagga saw him again in 1891, and in 1895 he was placed in charge of the South-Western District, with headquarters at Deniliquin. Next year he was made superintendent, the district comprising Broken Hill, the South Australian and part of the Queensland borders. After a year in Albury Mr. Walker. came to Goulburn, where he has been for the last eight and a half years, during which time he has had charge of the whole of the South Australian border in New South Wales, the Victorian border, and portion of the Queensland border. During his time Mr. Walker has had men under him who have risen to the rank of superintendent, a fact speaking volumes.
Mr. Walker is the last of ” the old brigade ” who joined during ” the sixties, ” and his experience is wide and varied.
Speaking of the police work now, he says it is only child’s play to what it used to be in the olden days, and in a sense one can well agree with him. As for the men of the Southern District, Mr. Walker says he leaves behind him a staff of good men, all sober and reliable. ” They are second to none. I am very pleased to say that. I cannot specialise any of them. They are all good. ”
Mr. Walker will finally retire on 31st May, and by next March he will have completed forty five years of service.