Sergeant Joseph WIRRELL
18 September, 1899
It is thought that while on foot patrol in the Maitland township in the early hours of 18 September, 1899 the sergeant stumbled and fell, or slipped, into the Hunter River and drowned. When he failed to return home at the completion of his 10pm to 6am shift, the river was dragged by other police and the sergeant’s body recovered near Belmore Bridge. The Sydney Morning Herald of 19 September, 1899 carried a very brief article, as follows.
A POLICE OFFICER DROWNED – WEST MAITLAND.
Monday – The body of Sergeant Wirrell, who was reported missing this morning, was found at 5 o’clock in the river below the bridge. There were no marks of violence on the body.
The sergeant was born about 1846 and joined the New South Wales Police Force in 1876. At the time of his death he was stationed at Maitland.