The Office of Sheriff in Australia today
In 1824, New South Wales included the whole of the eastern half of Australia, as well as Van Dieman’s Land (now called Tasmania).
Sheriffs were appointed in the colonies of Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania after their separation from New South Wales, and also in the colonies of South Australia and Western Australia. These colonies later became Australian States, and there is now a Sheriff in every State of Australia.
Positions similar to that of the Sheriff were created at a Commonwealth level in 1901 with the introduction of the Australian Constitution. The Constitution created the position of executive officer of the High Court of Australia – called the office of the Marshal. Similar positions have been created for the Federal Court of Australia and the Family Court of Australia, although deputies normally carry out the day to day responsibilities. These positions carry out the same functions as the Sheriff’s in each State.
The idea of deputising members of the public to go after suspected criminals was carried on in colonial America for many years. The head of the police service in many areas of the United States of America are still called Sheriff to this day. Today, Sheriffs in Australia play a very different role to the Sheriffs of old.
History of the Office of the Sheriff
The Sheriff in Australia
The Sheriffs of the Colony and State of New South Wales