Tag Archives: policing

Simmering tensions, 1851-1852

A tent city sprang into existence and the early diggers peacefully devised ways of organising the goldfields. [1] Nonetheless, the Victorian Government acted quickly sending Commissioners within weeks to collect the gold license fee. [2] The first Resident Gold Commissioner, … Continue reading

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Policing lawlessness

Initially recruiting for the police was difficult. Wages bore no comparison to potential earnings on the diggings. Also, most possible police recruits were unreformed convicts, many lacking the honesty necessary for law enforcement. The diggers recognised ‘good’ authority when they … Continue reading

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The problem of lawlessness

How critical was the nature of policing to the development of resistance among miners in Victoria in the early 1850s? [1] The development of policing in Victoria was influenced by two traditions of law enforcement: a crime preventative, ‘civilian’ style … Continue reading

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‘Khaki fever’

The outbreak of war saw an epidemic of ‘khaki fever’ across Britain. A sexual excitement among young women at the sight of soldiers in towns, cities and near army camps, something largely missing from popular mythologies that dwell upon the … Continue reading

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Worker and protest movements 1870-1900

Before the 1880s, radical movements tended to be short-lived and focus on specific issues. From this decade on, however, as waged labour became the only means for the majority of people to make a living, industrial unions expanded and socialist … Continue reading

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Policing the goldfields

The overcoming of Aboriginal resistance did not see police in Victoria lay down their arms and adopt a less military mode of policing; the discovery of gold in 1851 transformed the colony and provided new enemies for the authorities to … Continue reading

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Policing the Victorian frontiers

From the beginning, the nature of policing in the Port Phillip District, Victoria after 1851, was profoundly influenced by the need to overcome Aboriginal resistance to dispossession.[1] Aboriginal resistance expressed itself in a type of guerrilla warfare involving sporadic attacks … Continue reading

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Ambivalence to policing: Franklin and Eardley-Wilmot

The debate over who should fund police costs in VDL demonstrated the difficulty of the Colonial Office making strategic decisions for colonies at considerable distance from London. Though there may have been a good case for the British imperial decision, … Continue reading

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Eardley-Wilmot as governor

During Eardley-Wilmot’s tenure as governor, the colony experienced further depression and he tried to reduce the expense of the public service without seriously affecting the police.[1] He courted Stanley’s anger by intimating that the colony would require some help with … Continue reading

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Franklin and policing

On his arrival in the colony, Franklin found that the police force was in a ‘very efficient state’ and effectively managed by Chief Police Magistrate Forster.[1] With the spread of population to remote areas, Franklin appointed new Assistant Police Magistrates … Continue reading

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From Arthur to Franklin

After Arthur’s departure[1], the economic and social situation in VDL deteriorated and this had an impact on policing. First, Arthur’s successors, Sir John Franklin[2] and Sir John Eardley Eardley-Wilmot[3] lacked his autocratic personality and the administrative ability to make the … Continue reading

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The end of Arthur’s rule: more corruption, the courts and the police

Other cases where political differences intersected with allegations against the police involved editors Henry Melville[1] and Gilbert Robertson[2]. They gave much space in their Hobart Town newspapers to the meetings of the Political Association, which was formed to organise opposition … Continue reading

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Corruption and policing in the 1820s and 1830s

In 1829, Arthur noted that, although his police system had been introduced ‘chiefly with the view of controlling’ convicts, it also ‘necessarily operates upon the Community generally’ and he was ‘most vigilant’ in keeping the department, ‘as far as possible, … Continue reading

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Policing and the Police Act

Arthur’s police numbered 254 in August 1828, increasing to 346 in December 1833 and 453 in April 1835.[1] In 1835, the population has been estimated at 40,172, giving a ratio of one policeman for every 88.7 people; in Sydney and … Continue reading

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Convict constables in Tasmania

As in NSW, suitable men were hard to find and most of Arthur’s police were convicts under sentence.[1] A committee of senior public servants appointed in 1829 to enquire into the cost of the police concluded that convict police were … Continue reading

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