Senior Constable John FOY


Senior Constable John FOY



23 February, 1863


Senior Constable Foy was the lockup-keeper at Tabulam in the Northern Police District, west of Casino. On Saturday 23 February, 1863 the Clarence River flooded and the constable evacuated his wife and family to safety. This accomplished, he returned to the lockup-keeper’s residence to salvage his family’s personal belongings. The flood waters continued to rise however, and the police buildings and the courthouse were swept away. Senior Constable Foy was still there at the time and was drowned. The Sydney Morning Herald of 5 March, 1863 reported the tragedy.



Constable Foy who appears to have been much respected, had previously removed his wife and family to Mr Jordan’s, and returned to the court house. Young Jordan afterwards made an attempt to assist him but failed. Foy appears to have perfectly made up his mind to be last and to have met his fate with much firmness. He stated that he could not swim, and he knew nothing could save him. For half an hour before he was swept away he was seen on his knees as if praying and although within speaking distance of those on the bank never exchanged a word with them. He was washed away from the top of his house. He leaves a wife and six children, and the wife at the present time is near her confinement. The body was recovered on Sunday by an aboriginal, not more than twenty yards from where the house stood. The whole court house, constable’s residence, and lockup are destroyed.


The senior constable was born in 1814 joined the police force on 1 August, 1859. In 1862 he became a member of the newly-formed New South Wales Police Force. At the time of his death he was stationed at Tabulam.

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