Arthur John VIZZARD
New South Wales Police Force
Regd. # Q 6588 ( Q = NSWPF – those who worked between 1862 – 23 Feb 1915 )
Rank: Constable – appointed 12 July 1893
Senior Constable – Death
Stations: Sydney, Richmond River, thence to Armidale, Tenterfield, Inverell, and on the 26th November, 1909, he was again transferred to Armidale as lookup-keeper & police prosecutor
Service: From 12 July 1893 to 7 November 1911 = 18+ years Service
Awards: No find on It’s An Honour
Born: 9 October 1871 in Corowa, NSW
Died on: Tuesday 7 November 1911
Cause: Illness – Suicide – service firearm
Event location: Armidale Police Station, Cell yard
Funeral date: Wednesday 8 November, 1911
Funeral location: Roman Catholic Cemetery, Armidale
Buried at: Roman Catholic Cemetery, Armidale
GPS: S30°31′ 43 / E151°39′ 35
Shortly after 10.30am on 7 November, 1911 the constable was at the Armidale Police Station, where he was the Lockup Keeper. He walked into the yard of the station where it appears he inflicted a fatal wound to his head with his service revolver. He died three hours later. He had been on sick report for about two months, suffering from rheumatism, insomnia and depression.
The Clarence and Richmond Examiner of 14 November, 1911 reported that ” A mild sensation was caused in Armidale when it was known that Senior Constable Vizzard, who was in charge of the lockup, had been found in the lockup yard with a bullet wound in the head. The unfortunate officer had been suffering greatly lately from muscular rheumatism and insomnia and had been on sick leave for the past few weeks. During the last few days he appeared very despondent, but nobody suspected he would commit such a rash act. He was removed into the house in a dying condition. Senior Constable Vizzard, who came to Armidale from Inverell, was only recently promoted. He has a wife and three young children. “
The senior constable was born at Corowa in 1871 and joined the New South Wales Police Force on 11 July, 1893. At the time of his death he was stationed at Armidale.
The issue regarding ill health for Senior Constable Arthur Vizzard dates back from approximately 5 years earlier as a result from contracting Dengue Fever when he was required to travel to Queensland and back to execute an interstate warrant and convey back a prisoner. Both he and the prisoner contracted Dengue.
He had ongoing health issues in the following years because of it and as we all know from the inquest findings he finally took his life whilst on “sick leave‘.
I have been aware of full story for about 18 years now. There are three descendants currently working in the NSW Police Force and there was an article in the Police Weekly about the family last decade.
I appreciate what you have said regarding eligibility for inclusion, which I was made aware of prior to the commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the National Police Memorial being opened.
This year will be 2 years since I got the e-mail. Still nothing progressed. Tell me this? Why was I personally notified almost 18 months ago that the inclusion was going to happen, then everything goes silent? It is disappointing to say the least.
I know the effect it had on my Grandmother the stigma growing up, her Mother never coped afterwards and the family ended up having to be split up. It is what it is. 106yrs latter the status quo remains. All we can do is wait and watch this space.
NSW State Records
Service # 6588 Reel 3043 Item 8/3253
The Armidale Chronicle ( NSW ) Wednesday 8 November 1911 page 4 of 8
Death of Sen-Constable Vizzard.
A mild sensation was caused in Armidale yesterday morning, when the shocking intelligence was made known that Senior-Constable Vizzard had been found in the yard of the lockup in a serious condition.
As was well known, Constable Vizzard had been in indifferent health for the past couple of months. He was a sufferer from muscular rheumatism, which brought on that dreaded complaint insomnia, but not even his nearest relatives anticipated that his career would be terminated in such a tragic manner.
At about 10.30 yesterday morning he appeared to be much the same, and walked through the kitchen of his residence, where his wife and nurse were, out into the lockup yard. The women were shortly afterwards startled by hearing the sounds of a revolver shot, and, proceeding to the spot from whence the sound came, the nurse was horrified to see her charge lying on the ground with a gaping wound in the temple, and a revolver lying close beside the body.
Assistance was promptly summoned, and Dr. Mummery was also quickly on hand, when the unfortunate constable was conveyed into the house.
From the outset, the doctor held out no hope of recovery, his prediction proving all too true, as the end came a few minutes after two o’clock.
The late Constable Vizzard was a zealous, capable, and conscientious officer, in fact, as Senior-Sergeant Hogan remarked to the writer when speaking of his late lieutenant, he was over conscientious.
The deceased was born, at Corowa in October, 1871, and was thus 40 years of age at the time of his sudden death.
As a young man of 22 he joined the New South Wales Police Force, and after going through his term of probation at the barracks, was sent to do duty on the Richmond River, thence to Armidale, Tenterfield, Inverell, and finally on the 26th November, 1909, he was again transferred to Armidale as lookup-keeper.
He was ever active and energetic, and his zeal was not long in being rewarded, for he rose from a constable to a first-class constable, and then to senior-constable.
Although he always did his duty – and a policeman’s work is ofttimes unpleasant – he ” tempered justice with mercy,” thereby gaining for himself universal respect and admiration from all sections of the community.
As prosecutor in the police court, the late officer displayed undoubted ability and knowledge of the law, and was worthy of any attorney’s ” steel. ” Here, again, could be seen his generous disposition for he was always strictly fair and honourable in any cases he was in charge of.
He is survived by a sorrowing wife and three young children, to whom much sympathy has been extended in their hour of affliction.
The North Western Advocate & the Emu Bay Times ( Tas. ) Wed. 8 Nov. 1911 page 3 of 4
NEW SOUTH WALES. POLICE CONSTABLE’S DEATH. SUICIDE SUSPECTED.
SYDNEY. Tuesday, — Senior Constable Drizzard was found in the lockup yard at Armidale to-day in a dying condition with a bullet wound in his head. He suffered from insomnia and is supposed to have committed suicide.
Daily Telegraph ( Launceston, Tas. ) Wed. 8 Nov. 1911 page 4 of 8
ATTEMPTED SUICIDE CONSTABLE SHOOTS HIMSELF. ( ” DAILY TELEGRAPH ” SPECIAL copyright. )
SYDNEY, Tuesday. — Senior Constable Drizzard shot himself, while in the lock-up yard at Armidale. The unfortunate officer had been suffering from insomnia, and is in a dying condition .
The Armidale Chronicle ( NSW ) Saturday 11 November 1911 page 2 of 10
Death of Sen.-Constable Vizzard.
An inquest concerning the death of Senior-Constable Vizzard, which occurred under tragic circumstances in the yard of the Armidale lockup on Tuesday morning last, was held by the Deputy-Coroner ( Mr. C. A. Jackes ) in the Courthouse on Wednesday. The following evidence was elicited:
Frederick Wm. Vizzard, brother of the deceased, said the deceased was born on 9th October, 1871, at Corowa. He was a married man, with three children. Witness had not seen his brother, previous to that day, for nine months.
Senior-Sergeant Hogan deposed to knowing the deceased for the past eight or nine years. At about 11 o’clock on Tuesday morning he received a call to go to the lockup, which place deceased was the keeper of. With Constable Eagleton, witness went to the charge-room, and there saw deceased lying on a stretcher. The mark of a bullet wound was noticeable on his left temple, and blood was oozing from the place. He was unconscious, but breathing strongly.
Witness next went to the cell yard-room, and there saw a large quantity of blood on the floor. The deceased’s hat was lying near the door, with his pipe. Close by was a police revolver, containing four loaded cartridges and one recently exploded shell. Witness afterwards went to a drawer in the charge room, which was always kept locked. The lock of the drawer had been forced open, evidently by a tomahawk as such implement was lying in the drawer in the place where deceased’s revolver had been put when not in use. Deceased had been off duty for two months, through illness. He complained of muscular rheumatism and attacks of insomnia. When first going on sick leave, he went to Dr. Nash’s private hospital, but returned, and for the remainder of the time was with his wife and family in their own home. Deceased gave no reason for the police to anticipate that he would take his own life. In conversation with witness on Sunday morning, deceased said, ” I would give everything I possess to be able to resume duty on Monday. ”
Witness told him not to resume until the doctor had given permission to do so. Deceased was an efficient officer, trustworthy, and very painstaking.
To the Superintendent : During his nine months in Armidale, witness was practically all the time in deceased’s confidence. Deceased had never at any time expressed dissatisfaction with his position or work in the police force.
Dr. N. Howard Mummery said that shortly after 11 o’clock on the fatal morning he, in answer to a summons, proceeded to the lockup. He found the deceased lying on a stretcher, and being attended to by a nurse. He appeared unconscious. There was a wound on the right temple, the skin around which was stained with gun-powder. There was another and larger wound on the left temple. It was obvious he could not live long. The wound in the head had been caused by a bullet, which had passed through deceased’s head, struck the brick wall of the yard, and rebounded into the middle of the yard, where witness picked it up.
Dr. J. A. J. Murray stated that on his arrival at the scene of the tragedy, deceased was being cared for by Dr. Mummery. Deceased had been ailing since last August. While still on duty, he complained of insomnia, indigestion, and occasional fits of depression. In September he also had an attack of asthma, which was followed by influenza, the after effects of which he never appeared to shake off. He seemed to be in an anxious and dispirited condition. Witness urged him to get a holiday immediately, because no treatment seemed to do him much good. Deceased took the holiday in Sydney, and, on his return, about three weeks ago, witness was again called in. Deceased was then in a worse condition than when he went away. Witness visited him at intervals up to Monday. Deceased had such a serious nervous breakdown that it was necessary for him to undergo a complete rest cure, and witness had made arrangements for him to enter a suitable hospital for the purpose. Deceased had told witness that some times he felt as if he didn’t care to live, but, from the way he said it, witness did not think he contemplated taking his own life – it was said more to express to witness how really depressed he was. The idea of taking his life would come on him suddenly, owing to the condition he was in.
Nurse Ethel Sheerman, residing in Victoria-street, Sydney, said she came to nurse the deceased, and arrived on Monday. She had been sent by Dr. Nash. At about 10.30 on the morning in question, deceased said he was going down the yard to cut some kindling wood. He then seemed in a normal condition. About five minutes afterwards, witness, who was in the kitchen with deceased’s wife, beard the report of a firearm. Witness and Mrs. Vizzard immediately rushed to the spot. Deceased was reclining on the spot. Deceased was reclining on his left side. There was a great quantity of blood flowing from the wound in the head. She picked a revolver up, which was lying near the body, and threw it on the step. Deceased never regained consciousness, and died about two o’clock. Witness had not the faintest suspicion that deceased contemplated such a rash act.
John Purkiss said that between 10.30 and 11 a.m. on Tuesday morning he heard a woman scream, and immediately ran across. He met Mrs. Vizzard, who said, ” My husband has shot himself in the charge-room. ” and then fainted. Telling another woman to attend to Mrs. Vizzard, witness went into the charge-room and then followed the nurse into the cell-yard, where deceased was lying. With the assistance of the nurse, witness carried the deceased into the charge-room.
The Coroner returned a verdict that the deceased, Arthur John Vizzard, met his death from a bullet wound self-inflicted, whilst- temporarily insane.
The Armidale Chronicle ( NSW ) Wednesday 8 November 1911 page 4 of 8
The remains of the late Senior Constable Vizzard,. whose tragic death was reported in our last issue, were interred in the Roman Catholic Cemetery on Wednesday afternoon. The funeral was largely attended by members of the M.U.I.O.F. and local police force marching in the cortege. The Rev. Dean Tobin officiated at the graveside, M. Hirschberg having charge of the arrangements.
The Armidale Chronicle ( NSW ) Saturday 18 November 1911 page 7 of 10
In the Supreme Court of
New South Wales.
In the Estate of ARTHUR JOHN VIZZARD, late of Armidale, in the State of New South Wales, Senior Constable of Police, deceased in testate, –
APPLICATION will be made after Fourteen Days from the publication hereof, that Administration of the Estate of the abovenamed deceased may be granted to MARY VIZZARD, the Widow of the said deceased. Creditors are requested to send their Accounts to, and all Notices may be served at, the Office of the undersigned.
Faulkner street, Armidale.
By his Agents MESSRS. Weaver & Allworth,
Australasia Chambers, Martin Place, Sydney… . . i87