Australian Police

Australian Police

The Thin Blue Line – Australian Police

First 100 years – NSW


The New South Wales Police
Force Chronology Of The
First Hundred Years
(1862 to 1962)

In this year the New South Wales Police Force is created by the amalgamation of all existing Forces into one organisation. The new force, bought about by the Police Regulation Act 1862, is controlled by Inspector General John McLerie. Sub-Districts are created across the state, and these are controlled by Police Inspectors. Police are now being issued with .36 calibre Colt Navy revolvers. Until this time they had only been issued with various single-shot weapons, which were most unsatisfactory.

All Police have their wages reduced by sixpence per day. As a result, many leave the Force.

Since 1862, 70 new Police Stations have been established and there are about 803 men in the Police Force. Australian Police begin photographing prisoners.

Edmund Fosberry becomes Inspector General of Police.

The Bertillon system of criminal identification is published by Alphonse Bertillon.

Juan Vucetich of Buenos Aires establishes the world’s first Fingerprint Registry.

Police are using bicycles in Sydney and some country areas.

Sydney Police are now issued with firearms for general use.

E.R. Henry refines Vucetich’s system of fingerprint identification by dividing print patterns.

The Police Finger Branch is established.

Ernest Charles Day is appointed Inspector General of Police.

Telephones are being introduced into country Police Stations, vastly improving communications.

James Mitchell is appointed Inspector General of Police. The Police Prosecuting Branch is established. The first Police patrol car is bought into use in the state. Lillian Armfield and Maude Rhodes are appointed as the first Policewomen in the state.

Significant uniform changers occur and a new style of cap and tunic is introduced. Police motor cycles are introduced.

The New South Wales Police Association is formed.

New South Wales Police begin using wireless telegraphy.

The Public Safety Bureau (traffic unit) is established.

The Drug Squad and the Police Motor Vehicle Branch are established.

The Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB) and the Consorting Branch are both established.

Walter Henry Childs becomes Commissioner of Police. The Missing Friends Bureau is formed (renamed the Missing Persons Bureau in 1974). The Bogus Agents & Company Squad is formed (renamed Fraud Squad in 1961). The Modus Operandi Unit and Police Motor Squad are formed.

The first New South Wales Police Wireless Room is established.

William John McKay becomes Police Commissioner.

The Police Radio Telephone System is established.

The Police Scientific Investigation Branch is established.

The Police Prosecuting Branch is formalised and expanded. The Central Fingerprint Bureau of Australia is established.

The Police Cliff Rescue Squad is established.

New South Wales Police have further uniform changes. Open-necked tunics with ties are introduced. The Police Aviation Section is established.

The School Lecturing Section is formed.

James Frederick Scott becomes Commissioner of Police.

The Police Aviation Section is disbanded. It re-emerged as the Police Air Wing in 1979.

The Minister for Transport, Mr. Sheahan, has advised ( in October ) that arrangements are in hand for the purchase of sirens to be fitted to all special traffic patrol units used throughout the state of NSW.  It is anticipated that all vehicle will be so equipped within approximately two months.

Colin John Delaney becomes Commissioner of Police.

The Police Flood Rescue Squad is established.

The New South Wales Police Driver Training School at St Ives is opened.


The New South Wales Police have more uniform changes. Tunics become optional dress in summer. There would be no more uniform changes until 1972. There are now 5,717 men and women in the NSW Police Force. 1,700 of these are serving in country areas.

The year of the Centenary of the New South Wales Police Force. There are 507 Police Stations in New South Wales. Norman Thomas Allan becomes Commissioner of Police.

4 thoughts on “First 100 years – NSW

  • Hello I’m still waiting to find out the minimum age of recruits in 1960. Can someone get back to me – please?

    • Hi Susanne,
      The minimum age, in the 1960s, would have been 15 years of age – through the Police Cadet system.
      In 1962 enrolment in the Police Cadet Service was open to youths between the ages of 15 and 18 years who were of excellent character, weighed approximately 10st. 7lbs., measured not less than 5ft. 8 1/2in. in height, educated to a higher primary or secondary school standard and were of such physical proportions as to reasonably indicate that upon attaining the age of 19 years they would fulfil all physical requirements for appointment to the Police Force.

      As young men they could now be appointed to the Police Force at the age of 19 years, but it was not the practice to accept applications for cadet appointment from youths above the age of 17 1/2 years unless the applicant was in the possession of outstanding qualifications.

  • I am researching the history of Court Houses and associated Police Station Buildings in NSW.
    Does anyone know where I may access information relating to the following aspects of Police Station Buildings in NSW.
    1 The year in which they were built.
    2 The name of the Builder.
    3 The name of the Architect.
    4 (if possible) The Architectural Style of the building.
    I can provide a list of the buildings for which I do not have the above information.
    I look forward to any assistance that may be forthcoming.
    With thanks.


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