William James HARRIS

William James HARRIS

Queensland Police Force

Regd. # ?

Rank:  Constable


Service:  From  to  ?



Died on:  24 August 1915

Cause:  Injuries received riding a Police horse

Age:  28

Funeral date:  Friday  27 August 1915

Funeral location:  Rockhampton Cemetery, Qld

Buried at: Rockhampton Cemetery, Qld

RC    Section 15X   Burial # 4002d

[alert_green]WILLIAM IS mentioned on the Police Wall of Remembrance[/alert_green ]


 Funeral location:


The Capricornian  ( Rockhampton, Qld )        Saturday  28 August 1915            page 31 of 52

The funeral of Constable James William Harris, who met his death as the result of an accident on the Scrubby Creek Bridge, took place yesterday afternoon. A large body of officers and men of the Rockhampton police force, as well as others from outside stations, assembled at the police barracks, and, in charge of Senior sergeant M J. Carmody, marched in royal blue uniforms and white helmets to the late residence of the deceased in Arnold street and afterwards followed his remains to the Rockhampton cemetery, three marching on either ride of the hearse and the others immediately in the rear. Among those present at the funeral were the Police Magistrate, Mr. H. L Archdall, and the Clerk of Petty Sessions, Mr. W. G. Moran. The Rev. Father T. Grogan officiated at the graveside.



Morning Bulletin ( Rockhampton, Qld )       Friday  3 September 1915                   page 10 of 12


A magisterial inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of Constable William James Harris, at the Rockhampton General Hospital on the night of the 24th of August last, as the result of an accident on the Scrubby Creek Bridge the same night, was held before the Police Magistrate, Mr. H. L. Archdall,  yesterday.

Senior-sergeant M. J. Carmody, conducted the examination of witnesses.

Senior-sergeant Carmody deposed that he instructed the deceased on the morning of the 24th of August last to go to Kabra to make some official inquiries and expected his return that night unless something occurred to delay him. About eight o’clock, that night he was advised by telephone from Gracemere that the deceased had met with an accident on the Scrubby Creek Bridge and that the ambulance was taking him to the Hospital.

After stating his course of action immediately before the deceased’s death and subsequently, witness added that the horse ridden by the deceased was quiet. The   deceased was twenty-eight years of age and had a wife and a child fifteen months old. He was an excellent horseman and a most reliable and trustworthy constable.

Robert McKim, labourer, living at Gracemere, deposed that when on horseback within 100 yards of Scrubby Creek Bridge, about seven o’clock on the night of the 24th of August last he saw a horseman on the bridge. The horse shied and bounded about 4 ft. into the air. Both horse and rider fell on the off side ( right side ). Witness hurried to the scene as quickly as possible, and as be got on to the bridge the horse came towards him. Having tied up both horses, witness went towards the man, and recognised him as a constable, as he was in police uniform. He could get no reply from the constable as to whether he was hurt. Through the slabs he could see a fire underneath the bridge at a man’s camp, though he did not see a man there until shortly afterwards. The horse was just about over the spot where the fire was when it bounded. Rain had fallen in the afternoon, and, in consequence, the bridge was slippery. If a horse with shoes on slipped on a board, it would fall very heavily. The reflection from the light, he thought, caused the horse to shy and bound. He was satisfied that the horse was only walking on to the bridge when the accident occurred. If the horse had been cantering witness would have heard it. Witness telephoned to the Ambulance Office from the Gracemere railway station, a mile from the bridge.

In reply to the Police Magistrate, witness said that he could not say whether the horse fell on the deceased or whether the deceased struck the slabs independently of the horse.

W. G. Daniel, Superintendent of the Ambulance Brigade, gave evidence to the effect that, when summoned, he went in the ambulance motor car to the Scrubby Creek Bridge, five miles distant from Rockhampton, and on the bridge saw Constable Harris, who was quite unconscious.   There was a contused wound, with effusion of blood, on the forehead over the right eye. The deceased, who was in a serious condition, was conveyed in the car to the Hospital.

Alexander MacDonald, butcher, Gracemere, testified that he had known Constable Harris as a steady and reliable and a good horseman, and adding that, after inspecting the bridge with Constable Cullen on the following morning, he had formed the opinion that the horse bounded just after it got on to the bridge, jumped to get over the reflection of the fire, and then fell owing to the bridge being slippery from the rain. The horse was marked on the off shoulder.

The inquiry was then adjourned to a date to be fixed.



Morning Bulletin ( Rockhampton, Qld )          Thursday  9 September 1915       page 6 of 12


The inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of Constable James William Harris, as the result of an accident on the Scrubby Creek Bridge, was continued before the Police Magistrate, Mr. H. L. Archdall, yesterday.

Senior sergeant M. J. Carmody conducted the examination of the witness, Constable Robert Lindsay Cullen, who, in the course of his evidence, stated that his examination showed that the deceased’s horse was going at a walking pace to the bridge and afterwards slipped about 9 ft. on the bridge when attempting to bound, and then skidded about 15 ft. before it started to scramble to get on its feet.

It appeared to him that the horse bounded over the reflection of the fire underneath the bridge.

Judging by marks, the horse fell on the off side ( right ).

The deceased was a good horseman and a very careful man with horses, while he was most sober and reliable.

The bridge was very slippery on the night of the accident, and it was a dangerous bridge at any time. The inquiry was further adjourned.