1918 Single Seater Dodge
Private motor hired to Police Department for £20-00 per year December 1928.
Ryan was stationed at Balaklava in 1927 and moved on to Hallett in 1928.
We have no further information where the picture was taken.

It is with great sadness we report the passing of Edna Wellington on 24 February 2004.

I was privileged to speak on behalf of the Society at her memorial service on Wednesday the 3rd March in company with a number of other members.  The service was a celebration of her life with time to mourn her passing.  Edna was a greatly loved character & member who will be sadly missed.  See the Vale this issue.

New curtains have been installed in the main gallery thanks to the generosity of Wardshaw Interiors of Smithfield and the voluntary help of Peter and Elees Pick and their grandson Ryan.  Many hard hours were spent in the fitting out and our thanks go to those workers.  It is a great improvement for the gallery.  Tony Kaukas and Bob Boscence are starting to move exhibits into the gallery which will become a temporary museum whilst the planning is completed for a permanent display.

Planning is proceeding for Foundation day on 28th April (Wednesday) at Penola.  This year will celebrate the work of trackers & will be focusing on Alf Ryan. (See article this issue) There are also plans for the upgrading of Alf’s unmarked grave with a plaque the same day.  Planning is still under way at Penola & Adelaide and when plans are finalised information will be forwarded to members who may wish to attend.  A 20 seater bus has been booked for members leaving early on 28th and returning on the 29th April so members wishing to use this service will need to book their accommodation.  Please contact the society if you wish to use this service or if you are intending to go so that numbers & details can be recorded.  Those members attending will be invited to afternoon tea.

Our March meeting took the form of a visit to Parliament House where about 45 members were given a guided tour around both buildings by Frances Bedford M.P. She gave us a very interesting talk on the history & the workings of this establishment. Our thanks go to Frances for giving up several hours of her valuable time. Thanks also to Owen Bevan for arranging the outing and Bob Job and Frank O’Connor who drove the buses.

Next meeting will be held on the 2nd April at our meeting room Thebarton Barracks where Dr Reece Jennings will be the speaker.  I look forward to seeing you all there.

Geoff Rawson
Vice President


Bob & Helen BOSCENCE
Dennis & Dorothy IRRGANG

Peter & Betty-Ann MOLLER
Douglas WHITE

we welcome you

Next Meeting will be on Friday 2nd April at 8.00 p.m.
Guest Speaker : Dr. Reece Jennings whose subject will be
“My part in the destruction of Railways in South Australia”

“Redda” the Rat

by Chas Hopkins

One of the most vicious criminals that I encountered in my career as a detective occurred during the mid 1950’s when I was assigned to investigate a serious assault on a victim who had been admitted to the Royal Adelaide Hospital with multiple grievous injuries to his head and face.

I visited the hospital and spoke to the medical personnel involved and was advised that it was the worst head and facial injuries that they had encountered and that all the bones forming the victim’s facial features had been shattered. This included the jaws, cheek and nose bones and it was necessary for a steel frame to be constructed which could be placed over the head in order for his facial muscles to be held in their normal position during the time the shattered bones gradually knitted together. The structure resembled a ‘halo’ to which cords were attached to hold his facial features in their natural position.

It was ascertained that friends had taken the victim to the hospital. He was about 30 years of age, of slim build and frail in appearance and a returned serviceman who served in the Australian Army in the Korean war where he was injured. He was in receipt of a war pension.

In the initial stages of the investigation the victim could not be interviewed due to the extent of his injuries. Two of his friends who had witnessed the assault were located and they advised that shortly before the incident occurred, the three of them [including the victim] had gone to the Parkside Hotel for a drink and prior to doing so had parked their vehicle which was a sedan converted into a utility [a common practice in those days] on Greenhill Road which was adjacent to the parklands. Whilst at the hotel they met a stranger who joined their group. Later they left the hotel and walked to the Parkside Returned Soldiers League Club which was nearby.

Whilst there they consumed more liquor and the victim had a slight argument with the stranger and they all returned to their vehicle where the stranger and the victim continued to disagree. The stranger suddenly assaulted the victim with his fists and knocked him to the ground where he commenced to kick him in the head and jump on his face a number of times. The witnesses endeavoured to stop the vicious assault but were threatened with the same treatment if they continued to intervene. The stranger then dragged the victim over to the car and placed his head in front of the rear wheel. He then got into the car and attempted to drive over the victim’s head but the witnesses on realising what he was going to do, pulled the victim free. The stranger then got out of the vehicle and replaced the victim’s head back in front of the wheel,  at the same time threatening the witnesses not to interfere or they would get the same treatment. He returned to the car and was about to drive over the victim’s head when again he was pulled clear by his friends. He was placed in the tray of the vehicle and it was decided that they would take him to the hospital for treatment. They all left the scene  and travelled via Hutt Street and when near Wakefield street, the stranger advised he lived nearby and told them to stop so he could go home. They then continued on to the hospital where their friend was admitted.

The witnesses advised they did not know the name of the offender or where he lived as they had never seen him before meeting him at the hotel. They did advise he would be easy to recognise as he had unusual reddish/auburn coloured hair, he was of medium build and about 5ft. 7 inches tall.
When I was assigned this investigation there were numerous hotels and dozens of boarding houses in area where the offender had indicated he resided. The boarding houses were mainly managed by aged women in order to supplement their pension and the various premises were usually their family homes. The area was canvassed to ascertain if the offender resided or frequented any of those premises but to no avail.

A barman who was employed at the “Stag Hotel” on East Terrace, phoned me to advise that the person I was seeking was in the front bar of that hotel. I immediately responded to this information and attended alone as my partner was involved in another matter and was not available. However I felt I was well prepared to handle the situation should the suspect resort to violence when being apprehended. On arrival at the hotel I spotted the suspect immediately because of his reddish hair. I interrogated him briefly to ascertain that I had the right person then arrested him and escorted him to the police vehicle, which was parked nearby. He gave me his name, which was later proven to be false, and also an address nearby where he rented a room from an elderly lady. I called at the address and the woman advised me she knew him by his assumed name and that he was her first boarder and had been there for a couple of weeks. When checking the bedroom he was occupying I discovered a pillowcase filled with cigarette cartons beneath his bed. It was later found that a nearby delicatessen had been broken into a week earlier and the cigarettes had been stolen from there.

When I returned to the Detective office he was further interrogated regarding the alleged assault and readily admitted to all the aspects as outlined by the witnesses but he claimed his name as given to me was correct.
When escorting him to the City Watch House for the purpose of charging him with the offences, I happened to pass Detective Don O’Doherty who called me aside and asked what offence “Redda” committed. He then told me he had seen him in police custody in Victoria on a previous occasion and identified him as one of the most vicious habitual criminals in Australia at that time. It was the first I knew of his real identity but it would have later been discovered after his fingerprints were classified and forwarded to the Central Bureau of Fingerprints, which at that time was located in Sydney, New South Wales.  It was later found that Provisional Warrants had been previously been issued for his arrest in both New South Wales and Victoria and extradition was guaranteed for return to those states in relation to serious criminal offences. It was for this reason he had come to South Australia to avoid arrest.
At that time, the Criminal Courts throughout the Nation had the authority over offenders, who were deemed to be perpetual offenders and a menace to society in general, to be declared to be “Habitual Criminals”. Under this provision, they could be detained indefinitely or until a special Parole Board were satisfied that he could be released and this was often accompanied by conditions which were strictly enforced.

“Redda” was eventually convicted of the charges preferred and he was sentenced to 6 years imprisonment. It was also later found that he had previously been a well known public identity for his prowess at boxing at the Melbourne Stadium in the post war years following World War II and due to his red hair was known by the public as “Redda L…..”

His victim in this instance remained in hospital for many weeks and it was several months before he was well enough to resume his normal life. During this time he received no compensation except for his Army pension. Had the assault occurred today, as a “victim of a crime”, he would most likely receive substantial cash and/or other compensation.


Jack Ridge Practising arrest – Thebarton Barracks

South Australia Police & Emergency Services Games
16th to 24th April, 2004.

In 2002 over 750 people took part in the inaugural South Australia Police & Emergency Services Games.  Building on the 2002 success, this year’s SAPES Games include some exciting new sports including dragon boat racing, angling, orienteering, surfing, beach volleyball & a charity fun run/walk.

To kick off the 2004 SAPES Games a special opening function will be held in conjunction with the Tug-of-War event, which last year raised considerable media and public interest.  The opening function will be held in Victoria Square on Friday 16th April, 2004 from 10.00 a.m. to 11.00 a.m. and all competitors, family friends & the public are invited to join in the festivities & cheer on their respective teams.

If you need more details visit the games website, www.police.sa.gov.au or contact the Games Office ‘Phone 822 62688,email sapol.sapes@police.sa.gov.au


Sergeant R.A. Pyne  c 1936

The ill fated attempt of six men from the "Africaine" - one of the pioneer ships - to walk across (Kangaroo Island) in November 1836   The adventure went  …. Unprepared into a barren trackless country which claimed the lives of two of their number.
 Sgt. R.A. Pyne of Kingscote is shown holding a revolver and leg irons which were found near the route which the men probably followed.  The pistol it is thought may have belonged to one of the party - the leg irons were probably left behind by whalers.


Great Things are not done by impulse
But by a series of small things brought



The following, article, by Mr. J. C. O’Leary of Yankalilla S.A.,
was written as a touching tribute to his close personal friend, Police Tracker, Alf Ryan.

My Friend Tracker Ryan.

I would like to tell you about a good friend of mine known as ‘Tracker Ryan’.

During the 1920s and 30s he was stationed in Adelaide as a native tracker.

In 1928 two aboriginal men escaped from Yatala Labour Prison. The men broke into a shop at Mount Barker and stole some food and ‘borrowed’ a car from a nearby garage.

One Sunday morning, soon after the men had escaped, I was riding my pony through the scrub in the South East when I came upon two aboriginal men sitting by a campfire cooking their breakfast. I asked them if they would like me to ride into town and get them some bread. They said

“No”, so I got off my pony and started chatting to one of them. The other chap stood up, grabbed a tomahawk and set of to get some more wood for the fire. He circled the campsite and came up behind me. I was startled and quickly jumped on my pony and galloped away. They called out “come back boy, we won’t hurt you”. But I just kept riding.

I told my dad about my experience with the two men the next day. He thought it best if we told Sgt. Melroy about them.

It turned out the men were the escapees from Yatala prison, so the police sent for Tracker (Alf.) Ryan to track them down. I showed Sgt. Melroy and Tracker Ryan the campsite used by the men. Tracker went straight to work; he found their tracks and followed them for about two miles through thick scrub. We came out on a railway line near the Naracoorte Hotel and walked along the sleepers for another six miles.

The tracks we followed veered across a paddock and led to a farmhouse. We asked the farmer if he had seen two aboriginal men. He said he had just given two men a job and they had made camp in a nearby paddock.

When we approached, the men went into their tent, slipped out the back and ran into nearby bushes. The police eventually persuaded the men to give themselves up. They were handcuffed and taken by car to Naracoorte Police Station. The next day they were taken by train to the Mount Gambier Gaol.

 It wasn’t long before the men escaped again. My brother in-law, Stan Hitchcock worked at the Mount Gambier Gaol. He was about to put the prisoners back in their cells for lock-up, when one of the two men jumped onto his back. The man poked his fingers into Stan’s eyes and pulled him to the ground. The second man kicked Stan in the head until he was rendered unconscious. My sister, Lena having seen this through the kitchen window ran for help, but the men had already made their escape by the time help arrived.

The police sent once more for Tracker Ryan to help recapture them. This time he followed their tracks to some ferns by the Blue Lake where the men had taken refuge. Both men were immediately recaptured and this time sent directly back to Yatala Prison.

The men escaped a third time by jumping a guard and grabbing his gun. They made their get away in a car that was standing nearby. The Police followed them and fired shots at the car, wounding one of the men. The other man kept driving until he reached Colonel Light Gardens. There he jumped from the car and ran for his life. But the police found him hiding on a rooftop. He tried to run but was shot as he jumped from the verandah.

Years later I took a job managing Glenroy Farm, which is situated near Penola. My neighbour was none other than Tracker Ryan. Tracker had by this time officially retired from the force but still did some tracking jobs now and again. I was fortunate enough to go with tracker on some of his jobs. These jobs included finding lost children, runaways, and people’s valuables.

During the eleven years I spent at Glenroy I got to know Tracker very well. We spent hours together chasing kangaroos, trapping rabbits, duck shooting and at times he helped me with the livestock and breaking in horses.

Tracker was a very good person. His talent for tracking has helped many people over the years to find answers to their problems, whatever they were.

One thing for certain Tracker Ryan is up there keeping track of all people, black and white.

J.C. O’Leary

Living Dangerously

      By Graham Duerden.

In late 1946 I joined the Lancashire Constabulary. After training I was posted to Huyton, about 12 Kilometres East of Liverpool.  It was the only Section in my Force where the Police patrolled their beats on pedal cycles.  My sturdy steed was a “Raleigh” with a 26 inch frame, 28 inch wheels and “Sit up and beg” handlebars.  My uniform, a peak cap, tunic, riding breeches, highly polished black leather leggings and boots.  Very smart indeed & befitting the wearer!

Trams travelled through Huyton on tracks with a picket fence either side.  The track was in the centre of the wide main road.  From time to time the Liverpool Corporation Transport Department complained about children riding on the outside of their trams.  Over the years, children had been thrown off and injured and at least one had died.  Particulars of those caught were reported to the Department who prosecuted or cautioned the offenders.

It was a sunny day; I was at peace with the world as I sedately pedalled my bike around the beat.  I felt very important riding high in the saddle wearing my splendid uniform.  However, all that changed when a tram passed with two boys standing on it’s rear bumper bar, clinging to goodness knows what with their hands!

I immediately sprang into action and gave chase as the tram bobbed from side to side at speed.  My actions were seen by the boys and when it drew to a halt, they jumped off, ran across the road and pavement, climbed over a low wall and out of view.

On reaching the spot, I quickly dismounted and laid my cycle at the foot of the wall, vaulted over.  I should have been wearing as parachute as I plummeted sown about 3 metres to the field below.  The boys, knowing the area, had obviously climbed part way down and then jumped.  They continued running away but obviously had a good upbringing because they didn’t stop to jeer or give me a ‘raspberry’.

Making a perfect landing I heard a sound similar to a 12 gauge shotgun being discharged and the threads around the knees of my breeches burst under the strain, followed instantly by exposure of white, bare, sexy limbs. Fifty seven years later, I confess to leaving my beat without the permission of my sergeant, to cycle to my lodgings to change my breeches.  Why did I commit this serious breach of Police Regulations?  I was too embarrassed to admit allowing 2 violent criminals to escape justice.  Having made this admission, will my Police Pension be terminated?

S.A.   1950’S



Alan Hyson has been with the Society for many years and is our audio-visual coordinator.  He maintains the society’s collection of film archives, VHS and other forms of video recordings.   This collection is extensive and involves material from various television stations, which need to be checked for content and details recorded.

He also maintains a collection of projectors for various formats, which we can hopefully put on display in the future.

Alan assists the society in many ways being a member of committee for many years, driving Chrysler Royal and dressing up in his favourite 1800s uniform when occasions demand.

Alan was a police officer mainly in the traffic area riding solo motor cycles and in the training arena.  His interests include the police credit union choir, woodcarving (some of his work can be seen in the meeting room).  Despite getting on a bit in years (his own words) Alan is a very active member of the society and enjoys the company of the Thursday group.

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  Thank you for your contribution Alan.

The “HUE & CRY” is
Published by the South Australian
Police Historical Society Inc.,
Thebarton Police Barracks
C/- G.P.O. Box 1539 
Adelaide 5001
S.A. 5083

Elees Pick........

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email:- historicalpolice.sa.gov.au

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