New South Wales Police Force
Regd. Service # 3981
Stations: ?, Central Police Station ( 1 Station / 1 Division ) – Death
Service: From 5 May 1881 to 2 July 1881 = 1+ MONTHS Service
Born: 14 September 1860 in The Hills Shire, NSW
Died on: Saturday 2 July 1881
Cause: Horse accident
Funeral date: ?
Funeral location: ?
Buried at: Dural Uniting Church Cemetery, Derriwong Rd, Dural, The Hills Shire, NSW
Plot: C of E Row 20 Plot No 12
Memorial at: ?
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About 8am on 2 July, 1881 the constable was on foot patrol in Clarence Street, Sydney when he endeavoured to stop a runaway horse and cart near Broughton-lane. As he did so he slipped and fell under the cart and its wheel passed over his head. He died on the way to the Sydney Infirmary a short time later. The runaway horse proceeded into Druitt-street, where he was stopped.
Hawkins joined the police force about two months since. He was the son of Mr. Hawkins, postmaster at Dural.
The Manaro Mercury and Cooma and Bombala Advertiser of 9 July, 1881 reported on the death of the constable.
“A POLICEMAN KILLED.
An inquest was held on Saturday, at the Coroner’s Court, with respect to the death of a policeman named James Hawkins, who was killed in endeavouring to stop a runaway horse in Clarence-street, Sydney.
Rebecca Cross deposed that deceased was her nephew and a native of Pennant Hills. He lodged with her at 401, Pitt-street. He was 21 years of age and a single man, and had entered the force on the 5th May last, and was sent on day duty that morning for the first time, having previously been employed on night duty.
John Downer deposed that he resided at 128, Harris-street, and he was a carter. He was in charge of a horse and cart on Saturday morning about 8 o’clock, and was going along Kent-street, when his horse shied and commenced kicking, and he fell off the cart, and was dragged a short distance by the reins. He got clear of them and the horse then bolted and ran down Clarence-street, and Hawkins, who was on duty there, ran up and endeavoured to stop it, but in doing so he fell and the wheel of the cart passed over his head. The accident was witnessed by Wm. Salway, of Market-street and Wm. Henry Thompson, of Goulburn-street, who gave evidence.
Hawkins was placed in a cart, and conveyed to the infirmary, but died before he arrived there.
Dr. Williamson deposed that the bones of the right side of the head and face of deceased were broken, and there was compound depressed fracture of the skull.
The jury returned a verdict of accidental death.”
The constable was born in 1860 and joined the New South Wales Police Force on 9 May, 1881. He was stationed at Central Police Station, Sydney. He is not listed in the official New South Wales Police Honour Roll.
The Sydney Morning Herald Monday 4 July 1881 p 7
An inquest was held on Saturday morning by the City Coroner, at his chambers, with reference to the death of constable James Hawkins, who died that morning from injuries which he had received whilst in the discharge of his duty. Deceased was 21 years of age, and a native of Pennant Hills, New South Wales, and was unmarried.
He joined the police force on May 5th last, since when he had always been employed on night duty. On Saturday he was employed on day duty.
He resided at a boarding-house, No. 401, Pitt-street, kept by his aunt, Mrs. Rebecca Cross.
John Downer, a young man, residing at No. 128, Harris-street. deposed that he was a carter, in the employment of Mr. Read, of Crown Road, Ultimo.
Shortly after 8 o’clock on Saturday morning, witness was in charge of a horse and tip-cart, and proceeding along Kent-street in a southerly direction. A waggon, drawn by two horses, passed witness, when his horse shied, and carried the cart on to the footpath. Witness managed to get his horse and vehicle off the footpath, and as the wheels passed over the curb, he fell on to one of the shafts. As witness endeavoured to recover his seat, one of his legs touched the horse which commenced kicking, and threw him off the cart. He was dragged a short distance by the reins, but then got free.
The horse with the dray went on.
William Salway deposed to seeing the horse gallop along Kent-street, then into Market-street, and afterwards into Clarence-street. When it arrived near Broughton-lane, constable Hawkins rushed out towards the animal, and after running alongside of it for about ten yards, he endeavoured to seize the reins, but fell, and one of the wheels immediately afterwards passed over his head. The cart was then tipped up.
Hawkins died at once. His body was conveyed to the Infirmary. Dr. Williamson deposed that death arose from a compound depressed fracture of the skull.
A verdict of accidental death was returned.
Kiama Independent & Shoalhaven Advertiser ( NSW ) Friday 8 July 1881 P 2
A shocking accident happened early on Saturday morning in Clarence-street, which caused the death of a police constable named James Hawkins.
At about eight o’clock that morning a man named Downer was driving an empty tip-dray along Kent-street.
He was going along at a walk, when he was overtaken by a waggon and two horses, the noise of which startled his mare, and caused her to bolt.
Downer was thrown out, and getting entangled with the reins was dragged a few yards.
The frightened animal then galloped off with the dray into Clarence street.
Constable Hawkins, who happened to be there on duty, ran after and attempted to stop the runaway horse, and succeeded in clutching the reins, when his foot slipped. He fell forward on his face in the road, and in a moment afterwards, the wheel of the vehicle passed over his head, killing him on the spot. The accident was witnessed by several persons, who ran to help the poor fellow, but it was seen that he was past all aid, his skull being crushed in on one side.
The deceased was conveyed to the Infirmary, and two hours later an inquest was held on the remains by the City Coroner and a jury, who found a verdict of accidental death.
Hawkins was a promising young man, who had only very recently joined the police force, and it so happened that the day he thus met his death was the first time he had been sent out on day duty.