Frederick William POTTINGER, Bart
New South Wales Police Force
Regd. # ?
Trooper, Inspector ( 1862 )
Stations: ?, Lachlan Police District, Forbes
Born: 27 April 1831
Served: From ? 1857 to 9 April 1865
Died: 9 April 1865
Cause: Accidentally Shot
Buried at: St Judes, Randwick
Sir Frederick Pottinger was the officer-in-charge of the Lachlan Police District when he came under official scrutiny for riding in a public horse race on 5 January, 1865 and was suspended from duty. He was subsequently dismissed despite the submission of many letters and petitions from the public. On 5 March, 1865 he set out for Sydney to apply for reinstatement, and en route, the coach stopped at Wascoe’s Inn in the Blue Mountains (now the town of Blaxland). Pottinger left the coach for a short time to get some fruit, and as he reboarded to resume the journey a pocket pistol he was carrying in his waistcoat accidentally discharged. The shot entered his body just below the rib cage. Following treatment he appeared to be progressing well and was eventually conveyed to Sydney to recuperate. His condition, however, took a turn for the worse and he died on 9 April.
He had gained a reputation as a most fearless and tireless police officer at a time when the bushranging plague was at its peak. Pottinger was the original subject of the derogatory term “Blind Freddy” – which he certainly did not earn or deserve. Some sources also allege that he had committed suicide that day, but this is highly unlikely considering all the circumstances. Another version of the incident is that he was “showing off” with his pistol to some ladies on the coach when the pistol discharged, which appears to be a far more likely event.
It was originally believed that the wound suffered by Sir Frederick would not be fatal however the Clarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser of 11 April, 1865 announced the following.
DEATH OF SIR FREDERICK POTTINGER.
Sir Frederick Pottinger, who it will be remembered by our readers, received a gun-shot wound, from the accidental discharge of a small pistol, which he carried in his waistcoat pocket whilst on his way from the Lachlan to Sydney some few weeks back, the ball from which lodged in his body, and could not be extracted, has terminated fatally, Sir Frederick having expired on Sunday last.
Sir Frederick joined the police force about 1857 as a trooper. In 1862 he became an inspector in the newly-formed New South Wales Police Force. Prior to his dismissal he was stationed at Forbes. He was not a serving member when he died.