Australian Police

Australian Police

The Thin Blue Line – Australian Police

John McLerie


LAW and ORDER in the Pioneering Days of NSW.

Captain John McLERIE Inspector – General
21st January, 1862 – 6th October, 1874

Captain John McLerie

Captain John McLerie was born in Ayrshire, Scotland, in 1809, and came to Australia in 1844. He became an adjutant of the 58th Regiment and later saw military service in Tasmania. During the period 1845 to 1847 he served with the military forces in New Zealand during the Maori uprising in that country. On the 1st October, 1856, he was appointed a Superintendent of Police and a Police Magistrate for the district of Sydney. A few weeks later he was appointed Inspector-General of Police, succeeding Captain William Colbourne Mayne. Captain McLerie was responsible for the drafting of the Police Regulation Act, which was passed on the 21st January, 1862. The Act divided the Colony into districts each controlled by a Police Superintendent, and each district was divided, in turn, into mounted patrol areas. The total strength of the Police Force at the time was 800 men. The new system of organisation enjoyed immediate success, particularly in suppression of State-wide bushranging actives and the high incidence of stock stealing throughout the Colony.
Captain McLerie was responsible for immediate dress reforms, particularly in the mounted section, and the basic principles of the Police Regulation Act, still operative today, is a lasting monument to his careful planning and administrative foresight. The career of Captain McLerie, was distinguished by great resolve and tenacity of purpose, pursued in a country which, at the time, was vast, unknown in parts, and highly undeveloped. He served as Inspector-General until the 6th October, 1874, on which date he died.


His role was taken over by Edmund Walcott FOSBERY.


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