Tag Archives: Tasmania

Bushranging and public order

The Police Act first passed in 1833 and amended in 1838, provided police with considerable discretion and ample opportunity to make money. It contained seventy-two sections, with ‘a multitude of rules and directions relative to the regulation of the Police, … 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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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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Sir George Arthur and his police

Arthur made a number of changes. His first task was to suppress bush-ranging and win the confidence of settlers. In 1826, he selected a number of convicts to serve as armed field police, under the direction of respectable settlers and … Continue reading

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Sir George Arthur and transportation

Convict discipline was ‘the grand consideration to which every other in the Territory must be subservient.’ Arthur expected ‘unquestioning obedience,’ not only from convicts and convict officials, but also ‘established landholders and merchants.’[1] At least one secretary of state for … Continue reading

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Sir George Arthur as Lieutenant-Governor

The fragile order of VDL concerned the British government especially as it planned to increase transportation to the Australian colonies.[1] After Bigge found that transportation was an ineffective deterrent, the British government removed the popular Sorell[2] and in 1824 appointed … Continue reading

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Early policing in Van Diemen’s Land

The penal colony of VDL was founded by the British in March 1803. Since this island of 65,000 square kilometres was strategically placed to the south of the Australian mainland, Governor King of NSW feared French attempts to colonise it. … Continue reading

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Policing in Australia: importance of the 1820s

In the early decades of NSW, a decentralised police system was in operation. Lay magistrates in rural areas controlled the police and had discretion to decide ‘what would and would not be policed.’[1] They used their power to protect their … Continue reading

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