Late of Ulmarra
New South Wales Police Force
Regd. # ‘ Q ‘6811
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 )
Probationary Constable – appointed 4 February 1895
Constable – appointed 4 February 1896
Constable at Thackaringa ( Broken Hill District ) in December 1898. Still there Feb 1899
Constable 1st Class – appointed 1 February 1899
Constable 1st Class at Alstonville in October 1903
Senior Constable – appointed 1 May 1906
Was a Senior Constable in 1906 at Hillgrove. Still there in Oct 1912
( there was no such Rank as Sgt 3/c prior to 24 February 1915 )
Sergeant 2nd Class – appointed 1 February 1915
Was a Sergeant at Coffs Harbour in May 1916
Sergeant 2nd Class at Coffs Harbour in April 1916
Sergeant 2nd Class – Death
Stations: White Cliffs ( 1898 ), Thackaringa ( 1898 ), Grafton ( Feb 1900 ), Alstonville ( Oct 1903 ),
Burraga ( Oct 1904 ), Hillgrove ( Oct 1912 ), Coffs Harbour ( 1916 ), and only stationed at Ulmarra a few months ( from at least September 1917 ).
Service: From 4 February 1895 to 11 December 1917 = 23+ years Service
Awards: No find on It’s An Honour
Born: 30 March 1870 in Victoria
Died on: Tuesday 11 December 1917 about 8.15pm
Cause: Vehicle collision – Sulkie – Internal injuries
Event location: River St, Ulmarra between the Post Office and past the Masonic Hall
Event date: Tuesday 11 December 1917 about 5pm
Funeral date: Wednesday 12 December 1917 @ 3pm
Funeral location: Ulmarra General Cemetery
Buried at: Ulmarra General Cemetery, Coldstream Rd, Ulmarra, NSW
Grave location: 29°39’00″S 153°03’53″E
Memorial located at: ?
[alert_green]RAMSAY IS mentioned on the Police Wall of Remembrance[/alert_green]
FURTHER INFORMATION IS NEEDED ABOUT THIS PERSON, THEIR LIFE, THEIR CAREER AND THEIR DEATH.
PLEASE SEND PHOTOS AND INFORMATION TO Cal
May they forever Rest In Peace
The sergeant suffered serious internal injuries while trying to apprehend the offender McClennan at Ulmarra. He had been called to a complaint of Unseemly Words (offensive language) in the street at Ulmarra involving an intoxicated male. As the sergeant approached the offender, whom he found sitting in a sulky, the offender whipped the horses into a gallop. The sergeant caught hold of the sulky and climbed aboard, however the offender then jumped clear. As the sulky rounded a corner it collided with a pole, throwing the sergeant to the ground and causing severe internal injuries. He died a short time later.
The Barrier Miner dated 12 December, 1917 reported the following.
At Ulmarra yesterday, Sergeant Ramsay Dobbie was killed. He was endeavouring to arrest a man who had been arguing with some conscriptionists, when the man drove off in a sulky. The sergeant 1880got into the vehicle from the rear. The man jumped out, throwing down the reins. The horse commenced to gallop, and dashed the sulky against a telegraph post with great force. The sergeant was thrown out; several ribs were fractured and his chest crushed. He died in about three hours. Sergeant Dobbie was 47 years of age, and leaves a widow and seven children.
The sergeant was born in 1870 and joined the New South Wales Police Force on 4 February, 1895. At the time of his death he was stationed at Ulmarra.
Attended the service today to mark the Centenary of the on duty death of Sgt Ramsay Dobbie on 11 December 1917, at Ulmarra General Cemetery.
Several descendants of Sgt Dobbie were present and members of the Coffs Clarence Command who organised the service to ensure Sgt Dobbie is appropriately remembered.
The grave site was recently restored, with additional monument stone. Our thanks to John McDiarmid for carrying out this work.
At the time of joined the NSW Police Force, Ramsay was described as:
6′ 1/4″ tall, 11 stone 8 lb, Grey eyes, light brown hair, “fresh” complexion, Native of Victoria, Single at the time of Joining the NSWPF, later married twice, previous calling is hard to decipher but similar to Kai? houseman, Presbyterian, ‘District Sent to’ – South Western.
‘Cause of Leaving Police “Killed in execution of duty”. Date of leaving Police 11.12.1917
Daily Examiner (Grafton, NSW : 1915 – 1954), Wednesday 12 December 1917, page 2
DOBBIE. — The friends of the late Sergeant Ramsay Dobbie are respectfully invited to attend his funeral, to leave his late residence, Ulmarra, at 3 o ‘clock THIS DAY (Wednesday), for Ulmarra Cemetery.
H. H. SANDERS,
Phones 27 and 68.
Daily Examiner (Grafton, NSW : 1915 – 1954), Thursday 11 December 1919, page 4
DOBBIE.— In sad but loving memory of my dear husband, and our darling devoted daddy, Sergeant Ramsay Dobbie, who was killed in the execution of his duty at Ulmarra, 11th December, 1917, aged 47 years and 9 months.
Too dearly loved, too sadly missed, To ever be forgotten.
Inserted by his loving wife, Mary and children, David, Stella, Ramsay, Edith, Jim, Bob, and Jessie.
Daily Examiner (Grafton, NSW : 1915 – 1954), Wednesday 11 December 1918, page 2
DOBBIE. — In sad but loving memory of my dear husband and our darling, devoted daddy, Sergeant Ramsay Dobbie. who was killed in the execution of his duty at Ulmarra, 11th December, 1917, aged 47 years and 9 months, The shock was great, the blow severe, To part with one we loved so dear. ‘Tis sad, but true — we wonder why — The good are always first to die.
Inserted by his loving wife, Mary, and children, David, Stella, Ramsay, Edith Jim, Bob, and Jessie.
NSWBDM – Birth – NO FIND
NSWBDM – Marriage 1 = 2102/1898 Bride = MACKENZIE, Annie Beatrice District = Wilcannia Died 19 March 1899
NSWBDM – Marriage 2 = 1043/1902 Bride = McALPIN, Mary Ann District = Casino
NSWBDM – Death = 17097/1907 Father = James Mother = Janet J District = Ulmarra
Armidale Chronicle (NSW : 1894 – 1929), Saturday 22 December 1917, page 2
Sergt. Dobbie’s Death.
The inquest into the cause of the death of the late Sergeant Ramsay Dobbie was opened at Ulmarra on Tuesday afternoon before the Coroner. Mr. McGuren appeared for William McLennan, who was present in custody.
Sergeant Swan was the first witness. He deposed as follows:— I was present when the Coroner viewed the body of Ramsay Dobbie. a police sergeant. From what I can learn, on the 11th inst. a man. William F. McLennan, now in Court, and his brother, Donald, had some altercation with the Mayor of Ulmarra, Ald. G. W. Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald had complained to the deceased sergeant in reference to the insulting and abusive language of William McLennan. Deceased made an attempt to arrest McLennan for Insulting words or behaviour. Upon the sergeant’s approach McLennan, on being spoken to, put his horse into a fast gallop, upon which the deceased caught hold of the back of the sulky, running along a few paces, still holding the sulky, and attempted to get in the sulky to arrest McLennan.
On turning a sharp curve at the end of River-street the pace was so great the sulky was capsized, the horse being then in a gallop, the sergeant being thrown against a telephone post, and so seriously injured, that he died. I went to McLennan‘s residence, and saw William McLennan I said, “I want you, McLennan.” He said. “Yes, I believe you do. What is the charge?” I replied, “I am going to charge you with causing the death of Sergeant Dobbie.” He said, “I am very sorry. Sergeant: I was drunk, and don’t know what happened.
Mary Dobbie. widow of the deceased, gave formal evidence regarding deceased’s family history. She heard loud talking in the street near the post office, where one man was in a sulky without a hat on, whilst another man was on horseback. She recognised the man now in custody as the person she saw in the sulky. At this time she saw her husband walk over to the sulky, the driver shaking the reins and forcing the horse into a gallop. As the vehicle passed where she was at her home, the sergeant was holding on to the back of the sulky. She came out to the street, and McLennan immediately passed her walking back up the street. Deceased was at first conscious. He said, “Mr. Fitzgerald gave McLennan in charge, and I was going to arrest him, and when he saw me coming and I got alongside of McLennan, he ( McLennan ) drove off. When McLennan saw me getting over on to the seat he threw the reins on the horse and jumped out.” He said no more.
Dr. S. L. Cook gave evidence. It was found that seven ribs on the left side were fractured, the pleura torn, the left lung perforated by the broken ribs. The spleen had also been ruptured. The other organs were healthy and uninjured. Death was due to shock and the injuries mentioned.
C. W. Fitzgerald, .J.P., Mayor of Ulmarra, deposed: On the 11th instant I was at Ulmarra. I saw William McLennan that afternoon as I rode into Coldstream at about 5 p.m. He was in front of O’Brien’s hotel, in company with his brother Donald, and Chas. Lee, and Thos. Mawhinney.
As I turned into the street I heard William McLennan talking excitedly, but could not hear what he was saying. When I got within 100 yards I heard McLennan say, “I’ll talk to the Puddicombes ; I’m Irish and I don’t give a **** for them.” I then heard him say, “Who is this Fitzgerald? I will talk to him.” I then went on to the public wharf, being on horseback at the time. I could then hear Mr. Lee trying to quieten McLennan. I almost got past the group where McLennan was when the latter said, “Oh ! I want to have a talk to you.” I rode on, making no reply. McLennan said, “I’m a Catholic and not-a ****** turncoat like you.” I turned round and said, “Now, you be very careful, young man, or you’ll get yourself into trouble.” I rode on, Donald McLennan saying “I’ll fight you, you ****. ” He then said, “I’ll throw you into the —— river.” I then continued on to the wharf, where I remained a few minutes. Returning up the street, Donald McLennan was in front of Spring’s Hotel, and William some 75 yards further away.
I came down towards the post office, where I spoke to C. Goode and E. Cameron. After speaking for a few minutes, Sergeant Dobbie joined us. I said to Dobbie that he should be down the town, where the McLennans had possession, and were using Insulting and obscene language. In reply to his question, I said Donald and William McLennan were there. He asked if I was sure Donald was in town and I replied that I was certain, because he had been challenging me. Later, Mr. Cameron said, “There’s Donald crossing the road now.” The sergeant later came into the post office. A few minutes later William McLennan again drove up and exclaimed excitedly, ” I want to have a word with you” ( the witness ), I replied, “No, you don’t, Billy, I won’t talk to you;” McLennan said, ” You’ll have to talk to me.” I again said I would have nothing to say to him. He jumped up in the sulky and said I was not ***** well game to talk to him. I said, “Go about your business. ” He said I was trying to send him away to the war, but was not game to go myself.
Sergeant Dobbie then came out of the post office and endeavoured to catch hold of McLennan‘s horse. McLennan, on seeing the sergeant close to the horse, sat down in the sulky and hit the horse with the reins and started off down past the police station. Dobbie caught the back of the sulky with his right hand and then with both hands. McLennan looked back and, seeing the sergeant hanging on to the sulky, furiously flogged the horse with both reins. After going a little over a chain the sergeant placed both feet on the back springs. The pace of the horse still quickened as they approached the corner, until the horse was in a furious gallop. When within a few yards of the corner Dobbie sprang into the sulky which then turned the corner and was lost to sight. I then heard a crash, immediately before which I started to move. I was about 150 yards from the corner.
To the Coroner: McLennan was either in a great rage or drunk.
Witness, continuing, said he passed McLennan coming back, on foot. He ( McLennan ) then said: ” He’s done through you ; my horse is gone ; go up that way and you’ll get him.” I hurried on and saw Sergeant Dobbie lying on the ground against a telegraph post on the left side, of the road. I jumped off my horse and saw Dobbie appeared badly injured. A number of people were around him.
Percy O. Jones deposed: I know William McLennan and saw him at Betallick’s store about 4.30 or 5 p.m. on the 11th instant. McLennan came in and said, ” I want a hat, I’ve done mine. I’ve left the big fellow asleep round the corner. ” He then bought a hat. He was under the influence of drink.
To the Coroner: I previously heard of the accident and took it that the words “big fellow” referred to the deceased sergeant.
The Court, at 7 p.m., was adjourned until 10 a.m. on Wednesday, at Grafton.
Daily Examiner (Grafton, NSW : 1915 – 1954), Thursday 20 December 1917, page 6
LATE SERGEANT DOBBIE.
ADJOURNED CORONER’S INQUEST. ENDS IN A COMMITTAL.
An inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of the late Sergeant Ramsay Dobbie, which was adjourned from Ulmarra on the previous day, was re-opened at the Grafton Coroner’s Court yesterday morning before Mr. J. L. Shropshire, Coroner.
Sergeant Swan conducted proceedings on behalf of the police, while Mr. F. McGuren (McGuren and Pollack) appeared for William Freeman McLennan, who was present in custody.
Dr. T. J. Henry, Government Medical Officer, stated that on the 11 th inst., about 5.45 p.m. he received a telephone call from Dr. Cook at Ulmarra, asking him to go down and see Sergeant Dobbie. Witness arrived at the residence at 6.45, and saw the sergeant lying on a bed in the front room, with Dr. Cook in attendance.
Witness said to Sergeant Dobbie: “What has happened to you?” and he replied: “I was thrown from a sulky.” Witness was unable to obtain any further statement, as it obviously gave him great pain to breathe, and he was suffering from the effects of shock to such an extent that he could only speak a few words at intervals, although he was perfectly conscious.
Pointing to his left side, he said: “All the trouble is there.” Witness placed his hand on the left side of deceased’s chest, and found that several ribs were fractured, and there was a crack in the tissue, showing that the lung had been pierced and air had escaped into the tissues. There were no marks of violence visible, with the exception of bruising about the waist.
Dr. Cook and witness administered several drugs to stimulate the heart and ease the pain. The dressings usually used in cases of broken ribs were then applied. Deceased rallied after about an hour, and witness then went for tea.
In answer to a call witness returned with Dr. Cook, and Sergeant Dobbie complained of suffocation and that the bandage was too tight. Witness diagnosed this as internal haemorrhage. The bandage was released in the hope that some relief might be given. Deceased rapidly became weaker, and died about 8.15. Deceased was conscious till, about five minutes of the end.
Next morning with Dr. Cook witness conducted a post-mortem examination at the Ulmarra Court-house. The left lung was lacerated in several places, and witness found that the lacerations corresponded with fractures of seven ribs.- Witness came to the conclusion that death was due to the injuries to the lung and spleen. The injuries were consistent with the deceased’s statement that he had been thrown from a sulky.
Witness was told by an eye witness that deceased had struck the telegraph post with his left side, and seemed to double round it.
By Mr. McGuren: I made an examination of William McLennan on Friday, 14th inst., at the Grafton Gaol. I found that he had a small abrasion on the back of the left ear. The skin had been torn, and the abrasion was about the size of a sixpence. He also had two bruises on the left hip, and requested me to look at his mouth. I did so, and found indication of a tooth having been drawn from the upper jaw on the left side. He also showed me his trousers, and on the outside of the left leg were some greenish marks, such as might be made by contact with grass. The marks are consistent with a fall from a vehicle.
To Sergeant Swan: These marks and bruises could be caused by anyone falling about under the influence of liquor.
To the Bench: In my opinion deceased was mentally capable of making a statement to within five minutes of his death, He was so lethargic from the shock that unless spoken to he rarely made any remark, and it was obviously impossible to interrogate him.
Henry Moran, a carrier, residing at Ulmarra. said that he knew the deceased, and William McLennan. On the 11th inst., a little after five o’clock, witness saw a sulky with a horse attached going down Coldstream-street without a driver. The sulky had turned right over and was being dragged along wheels upwards. Witness caught the horse and stopped him. The horse was then taken out of the shafts and the sulky righted. The horse was then put back in.
Donald McLennan came along shortly afterwards, followed by William McLennan. The latter said, ” My sulky is broken, and I can blame ‘ Fitz ‘ for that. ” Witness understood him to mean Mr. Fitzgerald, the Mayor of Ulmarra. Witness advised William McLennan not to drive but to give the reins to ” Donny. ” . They both got in and drove away. William McLennan appeared to be excited, and under the influence of drink. When the horse was pulled up the reins were found entangled in the lamp on the driving side of the sulky.
By Mr. McGuren: The reins were pulled tight, and the horse was going very steady, The horse appears to be a very flighty animal.
Sergeant Swan, again in the box, gave evidence to the effect that from inquiries made he elicited the information that when at the post office on the day in question, Sergeant Dobbie was in uniform.
By Mr. McGuren: I have known William McLennan for seven or eight years. I have always found him steady and a hard worker, and have never seen him under the influence of liquor. I give him a good character.
The police intimated that this was all the evidence they had to put forward.
The Coroner found that Ramsay Dobbie, then a sergeant of police in the New South Wales force at River-street, Ulmarra, in the Grafton Police District, in the State or New South Wales, on the 11 th day of December, 1917, died from injuries received on the same day through being thrown from a sulky attached to a horse then and there being negligently and recklessly driven along the aforesaid River-street, Ulmarra, by William Freeman McLennan, and he further found that in the manner aforesaid the said William Freeman McLennan did feloniously slay the said Ramsay Dobbie while in the execution of his duty as police officer as aforesaid.
The Coroner then proceeded to read out the committal in terms of which the case would be heard in Sydney.
Mr. McGuren objected, and stated that accused was a poor man, and would be at a big disadvantage in regard to his witnesses.
The Coroner said that he was looking at the matter from the view of expedition.
If, as Mr. McGuren had suggested, the case was committed to the next sessions at Grafton, the accused would have to wait until 9th April. ‘ Sergeant Swan said that one of his witnesses was on the point of leaving the district and would be unable to wait for the sessions.
Mr. McGuren intimated his willingness to allow the witnesses’ depositions to be put in at the trial.
Sergeant Swan: If the case is committed to the Grafton sessions the authorities will take the same action as they did in the last case.
Mr. McGuren: That was altogether different. The accused was unable to get bail.
The Coroner ( to Mr. McGuren ): Suppose it is sent to Sydney, then you can make representations to the Attorney-General.
Mr. McGuren: I would prefer it to be the other way.
The Coroner ( to Sergeant Swan ): You can make application to the Inspector-General of Police to have the case taken to Sydney. Accused was committed to the next Grafton Quarter Sessions, to be held on April 9, 1918.
Bail was allowed, self in £200, and two sureties of £100 each, or one in £200.
The sureties were forth coming.
Daily Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1903 – 1926), Thursday 11 April 1918, page 3
GRAFTON, Wednesday.— At the quarter session to-day, William Freeman McLennan was charged with feloniously slaying Ramsay Dobbie, a sergeant of police, at Ulmarra, on December 11.
Accused was acquitted.
Warwick Examiner and Times ( Qld ) Saturday 15 December 1917 page 6 of 8
Police Sergeant Killed Near Grafton.
An unfortunate tragedy occurred at Ulmarra on Tuesday afternoon, by which Sergt. Ramsie Dobbie lost his life. It is alleged that an individual was using strong language towards the conscriptionists, and information was sent to the Sergeant, who attempted to arrest the offender, but the latter got into a Sulky and drove off. The Sergeant endeavoured to climb into the back of the vehicle, and eventually did so. The offender then jumped out, throwing the reins on the horses back. The animal went off at a gallop and dashed against a telephone post with terrific force. Sergeant Dobbie was thrown out, sustaining several fractured ribs and injuries to his chest, and he succumbed three hours after. He leaves a widow and seven children. The eldest is only 13. He was a very popular officer, and had been only a few months at Ulmarra, having come from Coff’s Harbour, and formerly from Hill Grove. He was 47 years of age.
Mary Ann DOBBIE ( nee McALPIN ) – Wife to Ramsay, passed away 7 September 1967 – aged 87 years. Buried at Grafton General cemetery, Villiers St, Grafton.
Ramsay Vickers DOBBIE – son to Mary & Ramsay. Storeman – late of Alice St, Turramurra. Died 21 February 1953 Buried at Grafton General cemetery, Villiers St, Grafton.
Stella DOBBIE – daughter to Mary & Ramsay. Died 1961 – aged 58 years. Buried at Grafton General cemetery, Villiers St, Grafton.
WEDDING: At St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church on Saturday, November 4, 1939, Jessie Mary, youngest daughter of the late Sergt. Ramsay Dobbie and of Mrs. M. Dobbie, 48 Clarence St, Grafton, to Percy Samuel, youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel.
Richmond River Express and Casino Kyogle Advertiser (NSW : 1904 – 1929), Friday 14 December 1917, page 4
AN ULMARRA FATALITY.
An unfortunate tragedy, resulting in the death of Sergeant Ramsay Dobbie, occurred at Ulmarra on Tuesday afternoon. It seems that a man named W. McLennan, a resident of the Coldstream, aged about 30, who was said to be more or less under the influence of liquor, had during the afternoon been waging wordy combat on certain conscription advocates. About 5 p.m. he appeared in front of the post office in a sulky and again verbally attacked some well known residents standing there. His language was very lurid and Sergt. Dobbie hearing it, hurried out of the Police Station near by. As soon as he saw the sergeant approaching him, McLennan whipped his horse and drove off, but the sergeant, after calling on McLennan to stop, caught hold of the sulky and commenced to climb in as it was careering down the road. It is said that McLennan then jumped from the sulky, and before he could get possession of the reins and pull up the horse Dobbie was dashed against a telegraph post as the vehicle swung round the corner in the narrow roadway. Quite a number of horrified residents witnessed the whole affair and medical assistance was speedily forthcoming, but the sergeant, whose left side was frightfully smashed,, died about three hours later.
Deceased, who was a most efficient and popular official, had only been stationed at Ulmarra for a few months, having been transferred there from Coff’s Harbor. He was 47 yours of age and leaves a wife and seven children ( ranging from 15 years down to a few months old ), for whom the deepest sympathy is expressed, McLennan was arrested at his home at Lower Coldstream on Wednesday, and on the same day was brought before the Ulmarra Police Court. Sergeant Swan gave evidence that he visited defendant’s residence, and with Constables Walklate and Warburton, arrested accused. McLennan replied : ” I am very sorry, Sergeant, I was drunk at the time and do not know what happened.” He then brought McLennan to Ulmarra, McLennan was then charged with, that on the 11th December at Ulmarra he caused the death of Sergeant Ramsay Dobbie. Accused applied for bail. Sergeant Swan said he would strenuously oppose the application. A man had been killed, and it was his duty, in the circumstances, to object to bail, The bench refused the application, and accused was then remanded to the Ulmarra Police Court on Tuesday next.
Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 – 1954), Monday 19 March 1900, page 2
DOBBIE. – In loving memory of my dear wife, Annie Beatrice Dobbie, who died March 19, 1899 ; also my dear little daughter, Beatrice Irene, who died March 28, 1899.
As the ivy clings to the oak, My memory clings to thee.
Inserted by her loving husband and father, Ramsay Dobbie.