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William Arthur HARRIS


 William Arthur HARRIS

( late of Allawah )

aka  Jack

New South Wales Police Force

Regd. # 4222

Rank:  Detective Sergeant 1st Class

Stations?, C.I.B. Sydney, Redfern, Mascot

Service:  From  to  19 October 1970 = 32 years Service


Born? October 1915

Died on:  Sunday  26 July 2015


Age:  99

Funeral date:  Friday  31 July 2015  @  10.30am

Funeral location:  West Chapel, Woronora Cemetery, 121 Linden Street, SUTHERLAND

Buried at?


Bill Harris
Bill Harris
Bill Harris
Bill Harris

[alert_blue]JACK is NOT mentioned on the Police Wall of Remembrance[/alert_blue] * NOT JOB RELATED


 Funeral location



HARRIS, William Arthur “Jack”.
Late of Allawah

Father and Father-in-law of Bill and Lynne, Leonard, Melissa and Peter (dec). Grandfather of Jillian and Billy, Grandpa Jack of Grace, James, Benjamin and Hunter.

Aged 99 Years
A happy and long life

Relatives and friends of JACK are kindly invited to attend his Funeral Service, to be held within the West Chapel of the Woronora Crematorium, Linden Street Sutherland Friday 31/7/2015 commencing at 10:30am.
Please meet at the chapel.

Southern Cross Funeral Directors
9529 6644 9521 4422


Thursday, 30 July 2015

Deepest condolences to Bills family . Bill was adored by all our staff and will be sadly missed by all at City Tatts . A beautiful man who lived such a full life and now rests in peace x

Wednesday, 29 July 2015
Our deepest sympathy to all who were family and those touched by Jack’s presence. He was a legend within the Police and the Entertainment industry. God Bless.

Published in The Sydney Morning Herald on July 29, 2015

Funeral notice – same as above.
The Sydney Morning Herald                         Friday  5 February 1954               page 17 of 34

Dope Case Hearing Near End

Preliminary hearing of doping conspiracy charges against four men will conclude before Mr. T.  Doolan, S.M., in Central Court of Petty Sessions to-day.

The men are Reginald Aubrey Doyle, 42, who is serving a 10-year gaol sentence for forgery, fraud and theft; Jack Sharpe, plumber and former stablehand, of Park Avenue, Ashfield; Ronald Edward Irwin, 42, stud groom, of Scone; and Gordon Ray, 37, horse trainer, of Croydon Avenue, Croydon Park.

They are charged with conspiring between January 1 and April 6, 1952, to defraud bookmakers and members of the Wyong District Agricultural Association Turf Club by administering a drug to the horse Buccaneer to improve its performance.

Mr. Doolan heard the last of evidence yesterday. To-day he will hear addresses by counsel for Ray, Sharpe and Irwin, and by Doyle.

Detective William Arthur Harris, of the C.I.B., Sydney, said that information which had led to police interviewing Ronald Irwin at Scone last year had come from Harold O’Dwyer.

[ Earlier evidence was given that O’Dwyer was a racehorse trainer with stables in Avoca Street, Randwick. ]


Detective Harris said that he had been present when Detective-sergeant Frank Lynch had interviewed Irwin at Scone.

To Mr. J. Lee, for Irwin, he said that he went to see Irwin over disclosures about the racehorse Tarien. He said he had not interviewed Doyle before this time.

Nor had he read statements in newspapers to the effect that Buccaneer had been doped.

He had suspicions at the time that Doyle was implicated in the doping of race-horses, but they had not led him and other police to Irwin.

Mr. Lee: Are you willing to tell the Court why you interviewed Irwin before you interviewed other defendants in the case?

Mr. J. O’Brien, for the Crown: I object to that question. I know the source of that information, but it is not wished that it be disclosed.

Mr. Doolan: He may answer the question.

Harris said he was not willing to disclose the identity of the man who had given the information unless directed to do so.

Pressed by Mr. Lee, he said it was a man interested in the racing game.

Mr. Lee: Has that man given evidence here at the inquiry?

Harris: Yes.


Mr. Lee then asked the name of the witness. Mr. Doolan said: “He has given evidence here. I can’t see why the name shouldn’t be disclosed.”

Mr. O’Brien said: “It’s the usual procedure that the name of a man who has given information confidentially is never disclosed. It may have been mere hearsay.”

Mr. Doolan ruled against him, and Mr. Lee asked: “Will you tell the name of the witness?”

Harris said, “Mr. O’Dwyer.”


Patty Macey The Daily Telegraph did a feature piece on Bill in the past few days! As well as being a very fine detective he was also a very well known and accomplished acrobat! Not to mention a capped Rugby player! RIP good man, your time has come to join your brothers and sisters in arms!


The Daily Telegraph    

Bill Harris, former detective, acrobat and rugby representative, shares stories of his luminary past

The young cop would head to Bondi Beach to practise hand balancing, something that was apparently a “thing” at the famous beach in the 1940s.

It was there that his talents were recognised by a professional acrobat who suggested he team up with Thelma Harris.

The pair would go on to tour the country with their death-defying acrobatics and even appeared on an early edition of The Graham Kennedy Show.

But his talents almost got him booted from the police force. Ironically it was those same skills that saved him.

[blockquote]With a footballer’s build and the strength of a top athlete, Harris was sometimes called on for some tough tasks.[/blockquote]

After taking a number of weeks off to tour with the Tivoli Circuit, a hugely popular group of roving entertainers, Harris was hauled in front of the Commissioner of Police.

“I’m standing in front of the Commissioner and he’s tearing strips off me,” Harris said. “He said: ‘You young fellas, there’s a book of rules and you just ignore them’.”

His boss who was also in the room urged the Commissioner to take a look at the young constable’s talents and he reluctantly agreed.

“So up I go and jump on his table and do a handstand on his table,” he said.

As Harris continued to perform, the stunned Commissioner picked up the phone.

Harris’ prowess helped him as a policeman.
Harris’ prowess helped him as a policeman.
Bill Harris as an acrobat (in the middle).
Bill Harris as an acrobat (in the middle).
He appeared on television as an acrobat
He appeared on television as an acrobat
Harris holds his son on Bondi beach.
Harris holds his son on Bondi beach.

“He got all the superintendents and all the bosses and they came in (to watch),” Harris recalled with a laugh.

After more than a decade in the drug squad, the then-detective was one day transferred out of the unit and across town to Redfern.

“All of a sudden I was transferred and nobody could tell me why. The superintendent said, ‘You are transferred as of now’ and I said ‘Can I ask why?’ and he said ‘No, you can’t’.”

It was more than 10 years later when Harris got a call from the boss of the unit he had been kicked out of.

That man, who Harris didn’t want to name, came clean with the real motive behind the transfer.

“He said: ‘I was jealous of you and your success and I told the superintendent you were on the take’.”

Harris was stunned.

“It was wrong. I was as clean as a whistle,” he said. “I was found guilty without a chance to talk.”

But he refused to take the man to task and moved on with his career.

“The next thing I had anything to do with him was at his funeral,” Harris said.

However, the move to Redfern led him to head up investigations into one of the most gruesome mysteries of that era — the Mutilator case, which he remembers well.

Harris investigated crimes committed by murderer William McDonald, known as The Mutilator, who died at 90 this month.
Harris investigated crimes committed by murderer William McDonald, known as The Mutilator, who died at 90 this month.

William McDonald murdered his first victim, Amos Hurst, in Brisbane in 1961 before he terrorised the streets of Sydney, killing four more men he had plied with alcohol before butchering them and cutting off their genitals.

“Not many people know this but that first penis — the only one we recovered — had a tattoo on it,” he said. “It read: All for a night of love.”

Harris led the task force that investigated the murders but was on leave when McDonald was finally caught in Melbourne in 1963.

“My face hit the dashboard and I had hundreds of pieces of glass over my face and one in the pupil of my left eye.”

While Harris is often referred to as one of the country’s first serial killers, Harris said they just didn’t think like that back then.

“No, we never thought about a serial killer then,” he said. “It was just one of those things that happened.”

Harris didn’t have the chance to speak with McDonald in the years after his imprisonment and had been organising to finally interview him at Long Bay jail this year when he heard the news The Mutilator had died.

With a footballer’s build and the strength of a top athlete, Harris was sometimes called on for some tough tasks.

In 1944, Roy Kable, a 32-year-old married father, killed his wife, Irene, with an axe in front of their children and neighbours in Newtown.

This accident forced Bill Harris out of the police, leaving him needing facial surgery.
This accident forced Bill Harris out of the police, leaving him needing facial surgery.

When the time came for Kable’s trial, prosecutors believed the killer would lose it when the bloodied axe was presented as evidence.

Harris was called in and told he would be handcuffed to the accused in the dock during the trial.

When the time came for the axe to be shown to the court, Harris — standing alongside Kable with their hands joined in cuffs — prepared for the worst.

But what actually happened left him gobsmacked.

“He turned around to me and said: ‘She was a bloody nagger, what else could I do?’ and that was it!” Harris recounts.

“I couldn’t say anything. I was staggered.”

After a distinguished career, Harris retired from the police force after an accident in a police car left him seriously injured.

“I’ve had two facial reconstructions because when I was in the car, we hit a fence and a pole came through and hit my ear,” he said.

“My face hit the dashboard and I had hundreds of pieces of glass over my face and one in the pupil of my left eye.”

It was the end of one amazing chapter of his life but Harris has remained a big part of NSW Police since and meets regularly with detectives past and present.

He is particularly fond of current Commissioner Andrew Scipione, who calls him on each of his birthdays and visited him at home after a recent accident.

Harris will be honoured by fellow detectives in October when they come together and celebrate his 100th birthday just a few months early.

“It’s what I’m really looking forward to.”  ( Sadly, those celebrations did not happen )

Harris stands next to a marijuana plant grown by the drug squad in an effort to better prosecute against its use.
Harris stands next to a marijuana plant grown by the drug squad in an effort to better prosecute against its use.



Bill Harris looks back on memories at his Allawah home.
Bill Harris looks back on memories at his Allawah home.



I hope someone writes his biography. What a superlative detective he was!


They don’t make them like this bloke anymore…..

What a legend!




The Daily Telegraph

NSW Police farewell legendary detective Bill Harris who has died aged 99

ONE of the state’s most loved cops and a legendary detective was laid to rest with an honour guard at a moving ceremony in Sydney this morning.





Spritely Old Bill Harris, NSW oldest detective, never misses a beat

Sydney's oldest retired detective 95 year old Bill Harris. Pic. Nic Gibson - 2011
Sydney’s oldest retired detective 95 year old Bill Harris. Pic. Nic Gibson – 2011

AMONG the azaleas and roses at the Botanic Gardens grew one of the finest marijuana crops Sydney had ever seen – nurtured by the NSW drug squad with seeds supplied by the FBI.

It is just one of the amazing stories NSW’s oldest living detective – who joined the force in 1938 – has to share.

It was the 1940s and NSW police were incredibly naive about narcotics and drug use.

“We lost our first prosecution for possession of cannabis on a technicality,” retired detective Bill Harris, now 95, said. “The scientists said they needed to grow and test live samples so we wrote to the FBI. A couple of weeks later a package arrived with enough seeds to grow a large crop – which we planted in the Botanic Gardens. They grew pretty well too.”

Despite his age and being retired 40 years, he still inspires and mentors police.

An international acrobat and the oldest surviving NRL first-grade and second-oldest Waratahs rugby player, Bill’s first passion was the police.

He still attends functions as NSW drug squad patron.

“The force is probably as good as it has ever been since I can remember,” he said.

Every day at 8.30am, Bill can be found at City Tattersalls Club – where he has been a member for 50 years – recounting his time catching crooks, playing football or performing with wife Thel as acrobatic duo The Marvettes.

When he was appointed to the drug squad it brought the number in the squad to two.

“Drugs were not a big deal back then. They put me in the drug squad because I had worked in a chemist when I was 14,” he said, smiling.

“Me and Eric Baker. That was the entire drug squad.”

He also recounts how in the ’40s he spotted a car tearing up Pitt St: “We took off after him and finally caught him up around Central.

“He started going off at us, saying, ‘Don’t you know who I am!’. I didn’t and I dragged him down to Central booking and charged him with drive in a manner dangerous.

“That was the first charge ever laid against Lennie McPherson,” Bill adds with a touch of pride. At the time McPherson, unbeknownst to Bill, was the No.1 suspect in the robbery of a payroll at Cockatoo Island the day before. As with most of Bill’s stories there is a sequel.

One night performing his acrobatic show on stage at the Paris Theatre in George St, he peeked out to see the crowd.

“The entire front row was taken up with the commissioner, deputy and other senior police. In the back row was Lennie McPherson and all the crooks in town.” Bill will feature in a book being written by Patrick Lindsay for the NSW Police Force commemorating 150 years of the force. Police have asked anyone with photos or stories to contact




NSW Police farewell legendary detective Bill Harris
NSW Police farewell legendary detective Bill Harris





















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