Australian Police

Australian Police

The Thin Blue Line – Australian Police

Windsor Police Force 1835 – Report


The following is a copy from the news report of the government inquiry into the conditions of the police services in Australia in 1835.

The Committee (consisting of the Colonial Secretary, the Attorney General, Mr Berry, H. H. M’Arthur, and Mr Bell ) was appointed to “..enquire into and report upon the establishment and strength of the Police Force and all it’s branches, to what extent it may be expedient to maintain it, and the expense it will occasion, and to enquire into the capacity and condition of the Gaols in the colony, and to report what additional buildings appear to be required, and the probably expense of providing them..” .

Wed.3rd June 1835.
Samuel North, Esq, Superintendent of Police, Windsor.

The police district of Windsor is bounded by the Richmond Road from the mouth of the Grose to the South Creek Bridge; thence by a line almost east to the Windsor and Parramatta Road; thence by a line almost east to the Windsor and Parramatta road; thence by a line north-east to Morther Marr’s creek; from that creek by a line north to the dividing ranges between the Hunter and Hawkesbury, taking in the greater part of the County of Cook, as far as Mount Tomah and thence to the mouth of the Grose.
The population of the country I have described amounts to at least six thousand individuals.

There are at present in the district, one chief constable, who has a salary of £130 a-year, eight ordinary constables at two shillings and three pence a day each, a watch-house keeper at two shillings and three pence a-day, and a scourger at one shilling and three pence. Two thirds of the constables are free men, the remainder ticket-of-leave holders, with the exception of one, who is a prisoner of the crown, as is the scourger.
When I took charge of the district, there were thirty-three constables in it.
In the town of Windsor there is a jail and a lock-up house, there is also a lock-up house at Wilberforce, and another at Richmond.
The lock-up place at Richmond is in charge of the pound keeper, who receives no other remuneration for his trouble than permission to occupy the dwelling house attached.
The lock-up house at Wilberforce is in charge of a constable, who, when absent on duty, is obliged to leave it in the care of a servant.

An order was issued, while General Darling was governor, to build a lock-up house at Pitt Town, which was not carried into effect, but I consider that a lock-up house there and another in the Kurrajong country, are absolutely necessary.
The weekly average of cases at Windsor Bench is forty at least; of these two thirds are convict and one third free cases. I am on the opinion, that an addition of seven constables to the police is necessary and three lock-up keepers, if the necessary houses should be erected.
Suitors at the Windsor Bench have to travel partly by land and partly by water, a distance of thirty five-forty miles. There are three mounted policemen stationed at Windsor, who are quite sufficient for the duties they have to perform; they are never employed on any but police duty. Within three years, from 1st May 1832-30th April 1835, 232 runaway convicts were apprehended in this district; of this number only 23 were apprehended by the mounted police.
I have found no difficulty in procuring proper persons to fill the situation of constable in the Windsor district; the men I prefer for these situations are ticket-of-leave holders.

The amount of my pay is £300 per annum and a house is provided for me; I receive no other allowances. The business of the office occupies me five or six hours every day. I consider that it would be advisable to hold a Court of Petty Sessions, at Wiseman’s, once a month, and at North Richmond once a fortnight. I think, from his share of fines, and some other sources, the chief constable derives emoluments to the amount of £25 or £35 a-year; he is also inspector of slaughter houses but from this situation he gains very little.
I would resume that a few of the constables receive a higher rate of salary than they do now – say three shillings a day. This rate of pay, and the hope of succeeding to it by promotion, would be a very great inducement to good conduct; and when necessary to send out parties of constables, the men receiving it might with advantage be sent in command; one of the also might be employed in charge of the nightly watch. In the town of Windsor there are eight efficient constables; they are divided into two night watchmen, and take the duty night by night. They have also to escort prisoners to Parramatta and Emu Plains, and to serve summonses and warrants, and to go in pursuit of bushrangers and etc.

With reference to my statements, that I consider it necessary to increase the police force of this district, I beg leave to state to the committee, that on more mature consideration I would recommend the addition to consist of six ordinary constables, at the usual rate of pay, two conductors at about three shillings per diem, and one assistant chief constable, at four shillings per diem.
I also recommend that the town police be supplied with watch coats and a uniform. A light four oared boat, stationed at Windsor, would be a great advantage, in the suppression of ‘sly grog’ selling, which is frequently carried on in boats in the river Hawkesbury. This boat would also facilitate the apprehension of offenders and could be manned by constables.
I beg to add, that formerly a boat was allowed for the service of the police in this district.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *