Wednesday, April 24, 2024

SA marks Police Foundation Day


South Australia Police (SAPOL) and the South Australian Police Historical Society celebrated Police Foundation Day on Friday.

On 28 April 1838, a Police Inspector, 10 mounted constables and 10 foot constables were sworn in as the first members of the South Australia Police – the first centrally organised police service established in Australia.

Since 1992, SAPOL has acknowledged Foundation Day and focussed on a theme which reflects its rich and diverse history. This year, Police Foundation Day acknowledged the establishment of the restored Millicent Police Station Horse Stables and Cells as a Police Heritage Site.

President of the South Australia Police Historical Society, Bill Prior gave a history of the site, which was first established in Millicent in 1874 by Mounted Constable Shiels.

Millicent Stables and Police Station

In 1877, the first permanent Millicent Police Station was built adjacent to this site comprising two rooms, a veranda and cells. The following year the stable and hay loft was built at the rear of the police station, being used for police horses until the 1930s.

In 1948 the stables were converted into two police cells and were used as such until decommissioned in 1981. As the only structure remaining from the 1877-built police station, this is also a rare and nostalgic example of historic South Australian police architecture.

A second Foundation Day ceremony was held at the Millicent Old Cemetery – with the unveiling of a replica headstone of Mounted Constable George William Manhood.

South Australia Police Historical Society’s, John White, described Mounted Constable Manhood as a remarkable man and who made an outstanding contribution to his community.

Born in Millicent, George joined the South Australia Police in 1927 at the age of 21. He was a popular and dedicated police officer and in 1938 he was appointed Officer in Charge of the Summertown Police Station. Tragically, in 1943 he contracted diphtheria and suddenly died. Aged just 37, George was subsequently buried in his hometown in the Millicent Old Cemetery.

He was so highly regarded, that following his death, the Adelaide Hills community raised funds for a marble head stone on his grave and the erection of a large obelisk memorial, in his honour, in Summertown. It is believed to be the only one of its kind ever erected in South Australia for a serving police officer.

GM Manhood head stone

Suffering from weathering over the years the headstone deteriorated to such an extent that it could not be restored.  A replica of the headstone, gifted by the Police Association of South Australia, and positioned alongside the original, was unveiled on Friday.

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