First NSW Police Appoinments
The first police force in the Australia was made up of the eight best-behaved convicts in the Colony. This Guide includes a select list of records for researching police officers in NSW.
In August 1789, Arthur Phillip established a night-watch which came under civil control. It consisted of eight of the best-behaved convicts in the Colony. This was the first Police force in the country.
The force was re-organised along English lines by Governor Hunter in 1796, with constables being placed under the control of local magistrates. It remained this way until January 1811, when a certain degree of centralised control was achieved by Governor Macquarie's appointment of D'Arcy Wenworth as Police Superintendent. As the Colony expanded and the population grew a number of specialised forces were established. These included a Water Police force which was set up in Sydney c.1832, abolished in 1843 and re-established with the appointment of a Water Police Magistrate in 1847; the Native Police corps which operated mainly in northern New South Wales from 1848; and the Border Police, who were responsible to the Commissioners of Crown Lands for policing the land regulations in the remote Squatting Districts.
The most important of these specialised forces was the Mounted Police, which had the responsibility of protecting settlers in outlying areas as well as goods in transit on the roads.
It was abolished in 1850. A Gold Escort was formed a year later in 1851 to provide safe passage for gold being transported from the diggings to Sydney.
Unification of the Police force did not come about until the Police Regulation Act of 1862. This Act placed the responsibility of the whole Police force into the hands of the Inspector General and it was organised largely along the lines of its present day basis.
A select list of sources
This list is not exhaustive and researchers should also consult:
Our catalogue under Agency No. 9 Inspector General of Police and Agency No. 12 NSW Police Service - records described include police service records, correspondence, and publications. Records of police stations are listed individually.
Index to Colonial Secretary's papers, 1788-1825 - to locate the early records of the Police Service consult the index under the term 'Police'. Correspondence relating to appointments, reports, applications, pay lists and other general police information from the early years of the Colony is listed. Researchers should also consult the index under the name of the individual.
Series Title Dates
Register of police appointments 1827
Series Title Dates
Special bundles, 1794-1825
These are all listed in the published Index to the Papers of the New South Wales Colonial Secretary, 1788-1825
Pay lists of constables at Sydney and vicinity, and returns of allowances of rations, 1822-25. Reels 6029-30, 2277
Dates Reels Item
21 Dec 1822-20 Jun 1823 6029, 2277 [4/7016A]
21 Dec 1822-20 Jun 1823, Duplicates 6029, 2277 [4/7016B]
21 Dec 1823-25 Dec 1824 6029, 2277 [4/7016C]
26 Dec 1824-24 Nov 1825 6030, 2277 [4/7016D]
Pay lists of constables at Parramatta, 20 Dec 1823-24 Sep 1825, and neighbourhood of Parramatta and South Creek, 30 Oct 1824-24 Sep 1825; and returns of constables' wives and children entitled to the commutation in lieu of rations, 20 Dec 1823-24 Sep 1825. Reels 6030, 2277
Dates Reels Item
20 Dec 1823-24 Dec 1824 6030, 2277 [4/7017A]
25 Dec 1824-24 Sep 1825 6030, 2277 [4/7017B]
Returns of police, Sydney and country districts, 1825-56 (ARK for 1825 only). Reels 1720-23, 2282; Fiche 3302
The returns are arranged alphabetically by district and include detailed lists of police officers. In some instances, numbers rather than names of constables are given. This is particularly the case after the late 1840s, and for some of the larger districts such as Sydney. The return for 1825 is indexed in the published Index to the Papers of the New South Wales Colonial Secretary, 1788-1825.
Dates Copy Item
1825 *ARK Fiche 3302 [4/7419.1]
1830-31 Reel 2282 [4/1103.2]
1831 Fiche 3302 [4/7419.2]
1833 Reel 1720 [4/7385]
1834 Reel 1720 [4/7386]
1835 Reel 1720 [4/7387]
1836 Reel 1720 [4/7388]
1837 Reel 1720 [4/7389]
1838 Reel 1720 [4/7390]
1839 Reel 1720 [4/7391]
1840 Reel 1720 [4/7392]
1841 Reel 1720 [4/7393] 1842 Reel 1720 [4/7394] 1843 Reel 1720 [4/7395] 1844 Reel 1721 [4/7396] 1845 Reel 1721 [4/7397] 1846 Reel 1721 [4/7398] 1847 Reel 1721 [4/7399] 1848 Reel 1721 [4/7400] 1849 Reel 1721 [4/7401] 1850 Reel 1722 [4/7402] 1851 Reel 1722 [4/7403] 1852 Reel 1722 [4/7404] 1853 Reel 1722 [4/7405] 1854 Reel 1723 [4/7406] 1855 Reel 1723 [4/7407] 1856 Reel 1723 [4/7408] 1788-1826 *ARK NRS 906, Special bundles Blue Books: NSW Civil Establishment, Police, 1825, 1831 [4/7419] Blue Books: NSW Civil Establishment, Returns of Police 1833-35, 1837-43 [4/7385-87, 4/7389-95] Reel 1720; 1844-49 [4/7396-401] Reel 1721; 1850-53 [4/7402-05] Reel 1722; 1854-56 [4/7406-08] Reel 1723 NSW Civil Establishment - Returns of police, Sydney and country districts, 1830-31. Reel 2282. The returns are detailed lists of constables in the various districts.They are arranged chronologically and then alphabetically by districts. Police were under the control of local justices of the peace or police magistrates. Not all ranks are named in these returns. o Returns of mounted police, 1837-50 [4/7420, 4/7205] o Returns of water police, 1841-44, 1847-56 [4/7425] o Border police - returns and covering letters, 1843-46 [4/1139.1] o Returns of border police, 1845-46 [4/7321] o Returns of police, Sydney, 1852-56 [4/7421] o Returns of the gold escort, 1851-56 [4/4723] o Returns of the police, Western and Southern Roads, 1851-56 [4/7424] o Returns of the Civil Establishment: Native Police 1854-57, Police 1856-57 [4/720.1] o Returns of the Civil Establishment: Police Muswellbrook, Jun 1858 [4/725.3] See the item lists (by year range) in the Colonial Secretary Overview Guide » Index to the Colonial Secretary's Correspondence, Convicts and Others, 1826-94 This indexes Colonial Secretary: Main series of letters received, 1826-88, NRS 905. The index, compiled by Joan Reese, may be of use to those researching policemen who served during the years 1826 to 1894.
Fiche 5557-5559, 5736-5738, 5907-5909, 5955-5957, 5966-5968, 6069-6074, 6127-6129, 6433-6435, 6448-6450, 6453-6455 NSW Police Service
It is important to note that records of the NSW Police Service do not generally provide the details of a particular police station where a police officer was working. Records will provide the name of the district in which a policeman was working. Series Title Dates NRS 10939 (Reel 2657) Registers of Sydney Police Establishment 1838-1851, 1853-1856 NRS 10946 [11/16332-16337, 3/2988-2995], Reels 1970-1974 Police salary registers
These registers provide the following: register number, name, rank, salary details and remarks (this column usually notes promotions, dismissals or resignations). 1838-1915 NRS 10947 (Reel 2658) Register of promotions, reductions, recommendations for promotion, transfers, discharges, resignations, dismissals, deaths and supernumeraries 1891-
Sep 1907, 1905-1913 NRS 10943 [8/3251-53], Reel 3043 Registers of police appointments
This series is arranged alphabetically by surname and provides: service number, name, mounted or foot, date of birth, physical description, native place, marital status, calling, district, date of appointment and date and cause of leaving the force. Search the online index » Item List Dates Registration Nos. Reel Item c.1857-83 1-4151 3043 [8/3251] c.1861-92 8-6502 3043 [8/3252] c.1862-1913 46-9700 (approx.) 3043 [8/3253] c.1857-1913
NRS 10945 (Reels 2657, 1974, 3044-3047; Fiche 846-850) Registers of police For each officer: rank; date of appointment; age; physical description; marital status; country; religion; education; previous occupation; and where stationed are recorded. Other relevant information such as demotion, discharge, death, superannuation, transfer or issue of supplies, as appropriate, is also provided. Item List Dates Pages Copy Item 1862-1904 1A-52A Index Reels 2657, 1974; Fiche 846 [7/6213] 1-30 Fiche 846 31-91 Fiche 847 92-152 Fiche 848 153-213 Fiche 849 214-245 Fiche 850 04.08.1866-10.06.1880 Reel 3044 [8/3255] 10.06.1880-08.07.1889 Reel 3045 [8/3256] 08.07.1889-09.12.1901 Reel 3046 [8/3257] 09.12.1901-29.05.1913 Reel 3047 [8/3258] 30.05.1913-20.08.1924 [8/3259] 21.08.1924-09.09.1935 [8/3260]
09.09.1935-04.07.1949 [8/3261]* 04.07.1949-31.03.1958 [8/3262] 31.03.1958-11.06.1965 [8/3263] 11.06.1965-15.09.1969 [8/3264]
* [8/3261] is unindexed, however [8/3265] (Police appointment and equipment book, NRS 10951) can be used to obtain the registered number of the police officer. 1862-15 Sep 1969 (1862-1904 *ARK) NRS 10944 [11/16339], Reel 3048 [7/6219], Reel 2658 Registers of pensions Information provided includes: name, rank, district, gratuity or pension, and amount. Nov 1851-Jan 1907 NRS 10940 (Reels 1974, 3042) General Register for New South Wales Police c.1852-59 NRS 10941 (Reel 2657) Returns of Sydney and Brisbane Constabulary 1 Jan-30 Jun 1852, 25 Dec 1853-31 Dec 1854 NRS 10942 [7/6362], Reel 2657 Register of appointments, promotions, dismissals and retirements Details include: name, physical description, marital status, trade/calling, date of appointments and previous Colonial government service. 1855-61 [AK724] Police service cards This series provides details such as: name, date of birth, physical description, previous calling, marital status, examinations and qualifications, district and station, duty, and cause and date of leaving the force. 1913-c.1986 NRS 10948 Register of special constables enrolled. Reel 2658 8 Aug 1917-1921 NRS 10949
Salaries account register (Southern District) 22 Jul 1921-6 Jan 1922 NRS 10950 [11/11767-1177, 6/20576-20609] Police service registers
These registers relate specifically to those officers who left the Police Department between the years 1966-80 (some joining the Force as early as 1927). Details provided include: appointment and promotions, personal descriptions, previous calling, examinations, medical history, uniforms and equipment issued, duties, misconducts and commendations, and special abilities and qualifications. They relate not only to police officers but also to Junior Trainees, Cadets, Special Constables, Trackers, Matrons, and Parking Police. Item List Names Item A-Bettison [11/11767] Betts-Cavanagh [11/11768] Chadwick-Dennett [11/11769] Dermott-Gill [11/11770] Ginman-H [11/11771] I-Lye [11/11772] Lynch-Munns [11/11773] Murphy-Rankin [11/11774] Ray-Smith, H [11/11775] Smith, H-Vivian [11/11776] Visner-Z [11/11777] 1927-80 NRS 10951
Police appointment and equipment 4 Jan 1939-4 Jan 1955
Registers of appointments confirmed, discharges, trainees and probationary constables, police cadets, promotions, resignations, vacancies for promotion and police strength
Item List Dates Item 14 Jul 1947-7 Jan 1955 [11/16345] 3 Dec 1954-29 May 1961 [11/16346] 14 Jul 1947-29 May 1961 NRS 10956 Cadet registers Entries record: registered number; name of cadet; date of birth; height; weight; eye and hair colour; complexion; native place; religion; level of education; where stationed; date of appointment and remarks (which record whether the cadet was accepted into the force). Entries are arranged by the date of entry into the cadetship. Police cadets trained at Redfern, known as the Police Depot until December 1954 and the Police Training Centre from December 1954 to 1983). The Police College (later the Police Academy) at Goulburn opened in 1984. 1950-1977 Mounted Police Colonial Secretary Series Title Dates NRS 906 Special bundles Returns of Mounted Police, 1837-50 [4/7420, 4/7205] Returns of the Gold Escort, 1851-56 [4/7423] See the item lists (by year range) in the Colonial Secretary Overview Guide » 1826-1982 NSW Police Service Series Title Dates NRS 10998 (Reels 2901, 3041) Record of offences by members of the Mounted Police Corps 1839-50
NRS 10999 (Reels 2901, 3041) Nominal Roll of the Mounted Police Corps 1848 NRS 11000 (Reel 2901) Orders to Mounted Troops Jul 1841-Sep 1850 NRS 11001 (Reel 2901) Mounted Police Adjutant's Office Sydney: Copies of letters sent Jan 1842-Sep 1846 Water Police Colonial Secretary Series Title Dates NRS 906 Special bundles Returns of Water Police, 1841-44, 1847-56 [4/7425, 2/8022, 2/8028] See the item lists (by year range) in the Colonial Secretary Overview Guide » 1826-1982 Border Police Colonial Secretary Series Title Dates NRS 906 Special bundles Border Police: reports on conduct and employment, 1842 [4/1132] Commissioners of Crown Lands. Reports and returns of Border Police Portland Bay, New England and Clarence River districts, 1843-46 [4/1139.1] Commissioners of Crown Lands. Reports and returns of Border Police Darling Downs and McLeay River districts, 1843-46 [4/1138.1] Commissioner of Crown Lands, Bligh District. Reports re Border Police, 1843-47 [4/7204] Commissioners of Crown Lands. Reports on Border Police in the various districts, 1843-47 [4/1141.1] Returns of Border Police, 1845-46 [4/7321] See the item lists (by year range) in the Colonial Secretary Overview Guide » 1826-1982 Aboriginal Trackers Trackers protected rural industries by pursuing cattle, sheep and horse thieves. Trackers went on patrol with other police in their districts. Trackers were often skilled horsemen and one of their duties was to train horses and maintain the stables. The Pathfinders - The History of Aboriginal Trackers website focuses on the history of Aboriginal trackers between 1862 and 1973. Series Title Dates NRS 10946 [11/16332-37, 3/2988-95], Reels 1970-1974 Police salary registers Item List Dates Reel Item 1838-45 1970 [11/16332] 1846-52 1970 [11/16333] 1853-56 1970 [11/16334] 1862-63 1971 [3/2988] 1866-67 1972 [3/2989] 1868-73 1972 [3/2990]
1874-81 1972 [3/2991] 1882-88 1970 [11/16335] 1889-93 1971 [11/16336] 1894-98 1973 [3/2992] 1899-1902 1973 [3/2993] 1903-07 1971 [11/16337] 1908-12 1973 [3/2994] 1913-15 1974 [3/2995] 1838-1915 NRS 10953 Registers of men transferred to districts c.1859-1871 NRS 10958 Police Gazettes 1862-1982 - Diary of duties and occurrences Kept by individual police stations. See what is available in our catalogue using the search term Diary of duty and occurrences. NRS 10950
[11/11767-77, 6/20576-609] Police Service Registers 1927-1977 Police Reward and Superannuation Funds Series Title Dates NRS 12045 [4/1250-1251] Treasurer - Orders on Police Fund This series includes rewards paid to constables and others for the capture of runaways and bushrangers. 16 Dec 1821-14 Mar 1825 NRS 11013 [7/6218, 11/16341-16342] Minutes of proceedings of the Police Reward and Superannuation Funds Board The minute books record the names of the Board members present, the cases under consideration, and the Boards recommendation. There are indexes in the front of the volumes. Item List Dates Item 5 Sep 1871-26 Mar 1912 [7/6218] 24 Apr 1912-2 Jul 1929 [11/16341] 5 Sep 1871-4 Apr 1946
NRS 11014 [7/6220, 11/16343] Printed balance sheets for the Police Superannuation and Reward Funds 1852-1960 NRS 10954 [11/16344], Reel 3048 Record of pensions subsequently granted to police who were in active service at commencement of the Police Regulation (Superannuation) Act of 1906 This volume includes: name of pensioner; rank on retirement; station or district of last service; age on retirement; date of retirement; the relevant section of the 1906 pension act; date of commencement of pension; address; date of death and remarks. Feb 1907-c.31 Dec 1946 NRS 10955 [11/16347], Reel 3049 Record of gratuities awarded under the Police Regulation (Superannuation) Act of 1906 Includes: name of person receiving gratuity (police or next of kin); station or district at time of death or retirement; section of act gratuity granted under; nature of injury causing death or disablement, or nature of illness causing death or incapacity; amount awarded; date of approval of gratuity; date of appointment; date of death or retirement; and circumstances under which gratuity awarded. Between 1907 and 1917 the number of relevant Chief Secretarys correspondence is noted in the last column. 1907-1955
Information relating to policemen may also be located in the publication Police Gazettes, NRS 10958.
This is a printed publication issued on a regular basis to Police stations. Its purpose is to provide a means of communication between the members of the police force and it contains information such as wanted criminals, crimes committed, missing persons and criminals who have been apprehended. Police Gazettes also contain information relating to Police officers. There are several supplements to the Police Gazettes. Supplement A provides information about Police officers such as vacant positions, appointments, promotions, and administrative arrangements. The years 1862-99 are copied onto Reels 3129-3143 and 1900-1930 are on reels 3594-3606. Police Gazettes are also held by the State Library NSW.
Brian F. Inman, "Service in Two Uniforms" The War Years 1939-1945, New South Wales Police Personnel. The Author, 2010
Daniel P Webster, Beyond courage: the circumstances of New South Wales police officers who have lost their lives. 3rd ed. Sydney: New South Wales Police Association, 2012. ARCHIVES IN BRIEF / SHORT GUIDES
Content in the Guide first appeared in Archives in Brief 20 - Police Service Records and Short Guide 10 - Professions and Occupations
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