Chief Constable George WOOD
New South Wales Police
6 January, 1855
The death of the chief constable followed a boating incident during a search for a body, and was described by the Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser of10 January 1855.
DEATH OF MR. GEORGE WOOD – Many of our distant readers will learn with great regret that the well-known chief constable of Maitland, Mr. George Wood, is dead. Few officers holding such a position have more deservedly merited the universal sorrow his death has caused in Maitland. Uniting cool and determined courage with the greatest gentleness, vigour and promptness with the kindest forbearance, Mr. Wood was in the highest sense of the word a peace officer, and to his exertions and example it has been greatly owing that this district has been so quiet and well-ordered for many years past. His long and well-tried services may be said to have been fitly closed by a death resulting in part from the performance of duty. After a recent fatal accident by drowning, Mr. Wood was as usual one of the most persevering in his efforts to find the body; and while so engaged the boat he was in was upset, he got entangled among the lines and ropes in use, and being unable to swim, he was quite exhausted before he could be got out of the water. For two or three years past his frame had shown signs of increased suffering under the effect of old wounds and injuries, and the shock he now received threw him on a sick bed, and brought on an attack of old disease, from which he appeared likely at first to recover, but a relapse occurring, he died on Saturday morning last. His funeral on Sunday was attended by a great number of persons, twenty carriages, above fifty gigs, a hundred and fifty horsemen, and many persons on foot, following his remains to the grave.
At the time of his death the constable was aged 52 years and was chief constable at Maitland Police Station. He left a wife and seven children.
Nick Wiles I’m putting together the map of police graves and I’ve come across the Grave of Chief Constable Woods. It looks that the current state of this grave is deplorable. The grave is in the East Maitland Anglican Cemetery (aka Glebe Burial Ground) off George Street in East Maitland. It’s such a shame that a man who was held in such esteem he had “twenty carriages, above fifty gigs, a hundred and fifty horsemen, and many persons on foot” at his funeral and his grave is no longer remembered or tendered to.