One of my favourite resources in the Genealogy Centre is the historical set of Victoria Police gazettes. The police gazettes began in December 1853 and were originally for police eyes only. They contain an incredible amount of detail, including some rather unflattering (and sometimes flattering) physical descriptions of people. You can also find information on missing persons, inquests, crimes and criminals, police appointments, prisoners discharged, deserters, rewards, ticket of leave and more. Here are a few examples, I found this afternoon.
January 31st 1856, page 40
A warrant has been granted by the Melbourne Bench for the arrest of one William Rowbotham, for feloniously stealing a quantity of butter, the property of C. Lloyd Throckmorton, of Melbourne. He is about 5 feet 6 1/2 inches high, stout made, sandy whiskers, brown hair, rather round features, and blue eyes; is an Englishman, and speaks with rather a Lancashire accent ; a blacksmith by trade. Was dressed, when last seen, in a black frock coat, dirty moleskin trousers, white felt hat and lace-up boots.
January 25th 1870, page 19
Charles Wheeler is charged, on warrant, with deserting his children at Muckleford, Castlemaine district, on the 5th instant. He is English, a laborer, aged 35 or 37, 5 feet 7 inches high, stout build, 12 stone, fresh complexion, blue eyes, dark-brown hair, beard, and whiskers, the latter round the chin, round head, rather large broad features, broad high forehead, light-brown eyebrows, large and rather flat nose, large thick lips, slothful, fond of drink and of fighting when drunk ; wore laborer’s or bushman’s costume.
May 31st 1870, page 129
Stolen from the workshop of William Scott, Ballarat East, on the night of the 23rd instant, a pair of old light wellington boots, a pair of old light shoes, an odd right shoe and an odd elastic-side life boot.
I wonder who the mystery shoe thief was? And did he end up wearing odd shoes?
The library holds issues of the Victoria Police gazette from 1853 until 1971. Issues from 1853 until 1870 are available to view on microfiche in the Genealogy Centre.