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1931ArticlesBomb / ExplosiveBuriedCauseCurrently ServingDeceased PoliceFuneralGenderIncompleteLocationMaleMemorial ( plaque / trophy / room etc )MonumentNSWOf eventOf graveOn Dutyother accidentPhotosStateWall of RemembranceWW IYearYes

George Thomas WHITELEY


George Thomas WHITELEY

Late of ?

NSW Penrith Police Academy Class # ? ? ?

New South Wales Police Force

Regd. #  ‘Q‘ 9081

For the purposes of this website ‘Q‘ represents those Police joining between 1862 ( commencement of NSWPF ) – 23 February 1915 ( Commencement of NSWPF current numbering system )

Rank:  Constable ( Mounted Police Trooper ) – appointed 15 March 1910

Sergeant 3rd Class – appointed ? ? ?

Final Rank = Sergeant 3rd Class

Stations: ?, Hill End ( Constable – 1913 ), Fifield ( SenCon 1920 ), Berrigan ( 2 years ) – Death

Service: From 15 March 1910 to 25 March 1931 = 20+ years Service



World War I

Australian Imperial Force       1914 – 1919  ( completed 4 years & 235 days in the A.I.F. with 4 years & 72 days of that overseas )

Regiment:                                     Army / Flying Corps – 4th Battalion ( 1914 ), 1st Australians ( 1915 ), 1st Div HQ ( ? – 231016 ), AIF Depot in U.K. ( ? – 160419 – Retired from Duty – Ulcerated stomach ),

Enlisted:                                       25 August 1914 at Kensington, NSW  ( 51 pages of records )

Service #                                       88

Rank:                                             Private ( 250814 ), Corporal  ( 101115 ), – Acting Sgt ( 090417 ), Corporal ( 030318 ), ER Sgt ( 040318 – 230818 )

Embarkation:                              201014 at Sydney on H.M.A.T. A14 ‘Euripides”

Age at embarkation:                  25 yrs 10 mths

Occupation:                                 Mounted Police Trooper

Address:                                       Bega

Next of kin:                                  Father:  George Edward WHITELEY – A farmer

Religion:                                       Roman Catholic

Single / Married:                       Single

Returned to Australia:            191018 from Plymouth, England on D24, “Sardinia”

Awards:                                         1914 /15 Star,  Returned Solider badge # 87105

Injuries:                                        gunshot ( shrapnel ) wound to lower lip – 130515. 9 days under treatment.  Gunshot wound to left leg, left foot & right side of head.  He stated that while serving in Gallipoli, he suffered from indigestion for the first time and has suffered on and off whit it ever since.  In the past twelve ( months ) the attacks of pain with occasional vomiting have been more frequent….  Twelve days before admission and on the 5th July, he vomited about a couple of pints of blood.

Attributable to service during war and active service conditions in Gallipoli.

Discharge #:                                56009

Previously Served in the Colonial Force.

Description:  5′ 8″ tall, fair complexion, blue eyes and fair hair.  Chest = 34.5 – 40″.  11 stone 12 lbs. No marks on body.


Sgt George Thomas WHITELEY ( 29 old ) of 1st Division H.Q., ( The Hutment Camp, Abbotsbury Rd, Wyke Regis, U.K. married Kate HARPER ( 22 old ), Spinster of 2 Block A, The Flats, Tidworth, England ( occupation: Clerk ) at St. Augustine’s Chapel, Dorchester Rd, Melcombe Regis, Weymount, England by Roman Catholic Priest Thomas Sheehan on the 3 October 1918.  Registrar’s Reference # 80.

In 1936 – after the explosion, his wife was living at 134 Railway Pde, Carlton, NSW.  This address ( 2019 ) is / was the Westpac Bank, Kogarah.



Awards: No find on It’s An Honour

Born: ? ? 1886 – Bega, NSW

Died on:  Wednesday 25 March 1931

Age: 44 – 45

CauseGas Cylinder Explosion

Event location: outside Momalong Hotel, Berrigan

Event date:   Wednesday 25 March 1931

Funeral date: ? ? ?

Funeral location: ?

Wake location: ?

Funeral Parlour: ?

Buried at:  Berrigan Cemetery, Momalong St, Berrigan

Memorial located at: Photo hanging inside of Berrigan Police Station

Sgt George Thomas WHITELEY - Explosion - 25 March 1931

[alert_green] GEORGE IS mentioned on the Police Wall of Remembrance[/alert_green]



Funeral location: TBA





May they forever Rest In Peace


About 4am on 25 March, 1931 Sergeant Whiteley and Constable McRae attended a fire at the Momalong Hotel, Berrigan.

During the fire both police officers were standing on the roadway outside the hotel when a gas cylinder exploded and a piece of flying metal struck the sergeant in the face, causing “injuries of a terrible nature” and killing him instantly.

Three bystanders (of an estimated two thousand who were watching the blaze) were also badly injured in the blast and another five were hit by flying steel, however all others recovered.

The sergeants faithful dog, which was standing beside his master, was also struck by flying debris and killed instantly.


The Canberra Times of 26 March, 1931 carried the following account of the incident.


FATAL EXPLOSION IN FIRE AT BERRIGAN. Police officer killed by flying steel.

Sydney, Wednesday.

The explosion of a gas cylinder occurred during a fire at the Momalong Hotel, Berrigan. Within a few minutes the entire population had turned out. The flames spread with great rapidity. The occupants of the hotel made a speedy exit. When the cylinder exploded with a terrific roar, Sergeant Whiteley and Constable McRae were standing in the centre of the roadway. A piece of steel became embedded in Whiteley’s head. He was quickly conveyed to a local surgery where life was pronounced extinct.

Michael Hurood, Elsie McGee, and Elaine Dawson were struck by flying steel and badly injured about the body. They are expected to recover.

A bucket brigade did splendid work.

More than two thousand persons turned out to watch the fire, but when the explosion occurred there was a wild dash for safety.

Whiteley, who was 41, suffered injuries of a terrible nature, while a dog standing beside him was killed instantly.

Five other men were hurt by flying steel.

Whiteley was married with five children.


The sergeant was born in Bega in 1886 and joined the New South Wales Police Force on 15 March, 1910.

At the time of his death he was stationed at Berrigan.



George Thomas WHITELEY In Memory of Sergeant 3rd Class G.T. WHITELEY, killed in the execution of his duty. Berrigan, 25th March 1931. R.I.P.

Constable Chasling & Sgt Whitely ( Whiteley ) at Berrigan Police Station.
Constable Chasling & Sgt Whitely ( Whiteley ) at Berrigan Police Station. And, no doubt, the “faithful dog of Sgt Whiteley” also killed in the explosion.


Grave of George Thomas WHITELEY

INSCRIPTION:<br /> Dedicated to the memory of<br /> Police Sergeant 3rd Class<br /> G. T. Whiteley<br /> Sergeant Whiteley was killed near this spot while executing his duties in the early hours of 25th March 1931.<br /> He was keeping people back as the Momalong Hotel was razed to the ground by fire. An exploding gas cyclinder burled fragments of metal into the crowd of onlookers. He was struck on the head by a jagged piece of metal and killed almost instantly. His faithful dog was also killed in the blast.<br /> The Hotel was constructed entriely of weather board and the blaze was soon burning fiercely, efforts by fire fighters could not save the building.<br /> Community members seriously injured:<br /> Harry Burwood - John Jensen - Miss Elaine Dawson - Miss Elsie McGee

INSCRIPTION: Dedicated to the memory of Police Sergeant 3rd Class G. T. Whiteley Sergeant Whiteley was killed near this spot while executing his duties in the early hours of 25th March 1931. He was keeping people back as the Momalong Hotel was razed to the ground by fire. An exploding gas cyclinder burled fragments of metal into the crowd of onlookers. He was struck on the head by a jagged piece of metal and killed almost instantly. His faithful dog was also killed in the blast. The Hotel was constructed entriely of weather board and the blaze was soon burning fiercely, efforts by fire fighters could not save the building. Community members seriously injured: Harry Burwood - John Jensen - Miss Elaine Dawson - Miss Elsie McGee






 Western Argus ( W.A. )  Tuesday  31 March 1931  page 13 of 36


A police sergeant was killed, three people were hurt and nearly 1000 others scattered in terror when, during a fire at the Momolong Hotel, Berrigan, a gas cylinder exploded. The dead man is Sergeant C. George Whitley (41) married, with five children.

Whitley saw service at the war, and was at the Gallipoli landing. Mick Hurwood, Miss McGee and Miss Elaine Dawson ( was a former Echuca girl, living in High Street ) were injured by flying fragments of steel and wood. The two girls were taken to hospital.

The entire population of 2000 turned out when a fire engine rushed up the main street at 4.30 a.m. Hundreds of people assisted the firemen in trying to quell the outbreak, but the hotel was burned to the ground. In the hotel was a 40 lb. gas cylinder, which exploded during the height of the blaze. With a terrific roar it burst into flames, and sparks shot high in the air. The crowd scattered in terror. Whitley and Constable McRae were standing in the middle of the roadway assisting the fire fighters when there was a yell from the crowd. “Look out,” shouted a number of men, and they and the police ran for safety. McRae tried to catch hold of Sergeant Whitley and threw himself flat on the ground. A piece of steel, became embedded in Whitley’s head. McRae was not injured. Pieces of steel and wood cut their way into Hurwood’s leg, and the two girls were hurt about the body. They are expected to recover. The cause of the fire is unknown. Residents of the hotel hurriedly left the building, which was a single storied one, when the outbreak occurred.




Daily Standard (Brisbane, Qld. : 1912 – 1936), Thursday 26 March 1931, page 9



SYDNEY, Wednesday.

Police-sergeant George Thomas Whitley, 41, married, with five children, was killed, three persons hurt, and about 1000 others scattered in terror this morning, when, during a fire at the Momolong Hotel, Berrigan, a gas cylinder burst.

A fire broke out at 4.30 o’clock, and the entire population turned to in an effort to save the hotel. Nothing, however, could be saved, and the hotel was burnt to the ground, though adjoining premises were saved from destruction.

There was a 40lb cylinder of carbonic acid gas in the hotel, and during the fire this exploded with a terrific roar.

Sergeant Whitley was standing in the roadway with Constable McRae when the cylinder burst. McRae threw himself to the ground, endeavoring to pull Whitley with him, but a piece of steel embedded in Whitley’s head, killing him instantly.

Michael Hurwood, Elsie McGee, and Elaine Dawson were injured about the legs and body by flying steel, all being seriously hurt. They were taken in motor cars to Corowa Hospital.

Whitley was a well-known and popular officer, aged 43, and joined the force 21 years ago.

Mrs. Whitley is prostrate with grief.




NSW Government Gazette – issue 108, page 3292.  Friday  4 June 1920

Electoral Appointments

Second Class Constable George Thomas WHITELEY, Fifield ( near Trundle ). – Electoral District: Murrumbidgee – Polling place: Fifield   In lieu of McLean – on leave. To take effect on 22 March 1920



Bathurst Times (NSW : 1909 – 1925), Wednesday 8 January 1913, page 4



HILL END, Tuesday.

Considerable interest was centred in the local Police Court proceedings on Saturday morning, when Vivian Clyde Cook, a resident of Hill End, was charged with assaulting Constable George Thomas Whitley while in the execution of his duty.

The accused was represented by Mr. Casey, solicitor, from Orange, and Inspector Rank appeared for the police.

The facts of the case as stated by Constable Whitley were that on New Year’s night he was in Clarke-street when he heard the Roman Catholic Church bell ringing. He hastened away to the church, and when near there heard stones being thrown on the church. He also saw three men running away.

Witness and Constable Creevy gave chase. After running about 400 yards he came up with one of them, whom he recognised to be the accused. Witness said, “Alright, Cook, I will give you a summons for this.” Then he turned to run after the other two. When he had gone a few paces he was hit on the head with a stone, which knocked him down on the ground. He got up again quickly, and saw the accused lying on the ground, he also heard him saying someone had hit him.

Then witness and Creevy arrested Cook, and locked him up for the night.

Dr. Michael John Ryan stated that about 2.30 on New Year’s morning Constable Whitley was brought to him suffering from a severe wound on the head. He dressed the wound and put in two stitches. The wound was about a quarter of an inch from the temple.

The doctor said that he considered the constable was out of danger, but Constable Whitley could not go on duty for at least one week yet.

At this stage, Mr. Casey, solicitor, made a very strong appeal to the P.M. not to send the accused to gaol.

He pointed out that he had never been before the Court before; that he was a hard-working young man; that he was extremely sorry for what he had done, and that he belonged to a very respectable family.

There were a number of young men, most of whom were in the Court, at the time, who had made up their minds to give the police all the trouble they could. They were known as the “Kelly Gang.”

The police had had no trouble whatever with anyone.

The P.M. said that the case was a very serious one indeed, and on hearing the doctor’s evidence he had made up his mind to send accused to gaol.

The accused promised to be of good behavior.

The P.M. then imposed a fine of £15 and £3/4/ costs.

Four days were allowed in which to pay.

Two other charges— one for insulting language and the other riotous behavior were withdrawn.




2/1/2019, Deniliquin Times.

Eight honoured on police memorial wall’ –

Seven former local police officers and a former police chaplain were honoured during a police reunion in Deniliquin.
They were the first to be added to the police memorial wall at the new Deniliquin police station.
Honoured were
Constable Charles Chapman (died 5/3/1866),
Senior Const James Morrison (19/1/1898),
Senior Const Thomas Smith (19/4/1910),
Superintendent Henry Grugeon (10/1/1911),
Sergeant George Thomas Whiteley (25/3/1931),
Detective Senior Const Risto Vic Baltoski (2/1/1989) and
Senior Const Jennifer Louise Edgerton (August 2015) and

Rev David Bond.




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