The Victorian Police Gazette presents a fascinating and unique view of social and family history in Victoria. Not only does it provide a detailed record on the history of policing in Victoria but it also include valuable information on individuals – the police, the criminals and the victims. Use this terrific resource to research your family – you might discover that your ancestor was a constable in the police force, a ships deserter, a horse thief or perhaps the victim of a theft.

Hargreave Vic Police Gazette April 12 1934 p458

The Victoria Police Gazette commenced in December 1853 and was distributed each week to city and rural police stations and to government offices and newspaper publishers. Its main aim was to keep the police up to date on current police affairs including recent appointments, promotions and retirements. It also provided a detailed list of recent criminal activities that appeared under such headings as:

  • Murder
  • Highway robbery and stealing from the person
  • Housebreaking and stealing from dwelling houses
  • Deserters of wives and children
  • Deserters from HM vessels
  • Deserters from merchant vessels
  • Incendiarism (burning of property)
  • Discharged prisoners
  • Escaped prisoners
  • Horses and cattle (Stolen)
  • Property lost
  • Property found
  • Warrants issued
  • Ticket of leave holders

State Library Victoria holds the Victoria Police Gazette for the years 1853 to 1971 and although there is an index to the gazette it’s frequency and depth of coverage varies. The first index appeared in  the early 1860’s and was produced annually until 1869. It then became monthly until 1935 and from then on was issued quarterly. You will find a separate consolidated index on microfiche Victoria Police gazette index : for the years 1853-1868 and we also have a Compendium index for the years 1864-1924 (available on computers NFH1 – NFH5 in the Newspapers & Family History Reading Room).

Many years of the gazette have been digitised and can be accessed through the Ancestry and Find My Past databases. Further information can be found in the Online access section of this blog.

Here are just a few excerpts from the gazette, that show the level of detail included in each report. Click on each image to enlarge.

Prisoners discharged Vic Police Gazette May 1910 1934Prisoners reported as discharged from penal establishments. Victoria Police Gazette, May 10, 1934, p 559.

Incendiarism. Victoria Police Gazette April 13 1865 p 166
Incendiarism. Victoria Police Gazette,  April 13, 1865, p 166.

Missing friends Vic Police Gazette may 11 1865 p 195Missing friends. Victoria Police Gazette, May 11, 1865, p 195.

 Deserters from merchant vessels April 1892

Deserters from merchant vessels. Victoria Police Gazette, April 20, 1892, p111.

Beer April 26 p 513 1934Property found. Victoria Police Gazette, April 26, 1934, p 513.

The Police Gazette also includes detailed descriptions of criminals and victims, which can help to paint a mental picture of what they looked like. Here’s a brief description of  James Henry Freeland, charged with deserting his two illegitimate children in May 1892.

Blacksmith, about 30 years of age, 5 feet 8 or 9 inches high, fair complexion, blue eyes, reddish hair, sometimes wears a moustache, round face and head, surly appearance. Plays the flute at concerts.

Photographs started to be included in the late 1890’s and in 1906 a monthly supplement of discharged prisoners was issued. A  separate photo supplement was issued from 1931 onward.


Photograph of John H. Webster Photo supplement to the Victoria Police Gazette, April 5, 1934, p 31.

If you do find a reference to an ancestor be sure to evaluate the information provided and make a note of the dates, places, names of acquaintances and relatives listed. These `clues’ can all be used to open up new avenues of investigation.

For instance, here is a Return of appointments from 1912, confirming the recent appointment of Henry (Harry) John Carey. Details of his promotions and transfers appear regularly in the next 30 years of the gazette, allowing us to trace his career progression.

A search of the Trove Digitised Newspaper database retrieved many articles on Harry Carey and help to flesh out his life story. They cover his career – from his early days as a constable in Melbourne; to his years as a detective and CIB chief, through to his retirement in 1949. They also provide many details on the various crimes he dealt with.

Detective Inspector H. J. Carey, (photo courtesy of Christine and Shane Reid)

Online access

A selection of Victorian and interstate police gazettes have been digitised and can be accessed through the following databases:

Ancestry Library Edition (available in the State Library Victoria and most Victorian public libraries)

  • Victoria, Australia, Police Gazettes, 1855, 1864-1924
  • Queensland, Australia, Police Gazette Index, 1881-1945
  • South Australia, Australia, Police Gazettes, 1862-1947
  • New South Wales, Australia, Police Gazettes, 1854-1930
  • Tasmania, Reports of Crime, 1861-1883 Tasmania, Australia, Police Gazettes, 1884-1933

Find my past Australasia (available in the State Library Victoria)

  • Victoria Police Gazette 1855 – 1900
  • New South Wales Police Gazette 1862, 1864-1900
  • Queensland Police Gazette 1864-1900
  • Queensland Police Gazette Index 1864-1874
  • South Australian Police Gazette 1862-1900
  • Tasmania Police Gazette 1884-1900

Find my past Australasia also provides access to over 3 million records from Victoria Petty Sessions (1854-1985). The Court of Petty Sessions was created to hear minor criminal cases such as those involving drunkenness, criminal damage and theft. These cases, brought before a magistrate, would not usually involve a jury.

The New South Wales Police Gazette and Weekly Record of Crime (1860 – 1930)
This resource has been digitised and can be accessed via Trove.

The Police Gazette of Western Australia 1876-1900
The State Library of Western Australia have digitised sections of the WA Police Gazette. You can freely access this resource from home.

Further information

For more information on researching Police ancestors, please go to the Police section of our Researching your ancestors’ occupations.

The Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) holds a range of records relating to criminals and police in the State of Victoria. Records include police salary cards and muster rolls, police correspondence, Registers of male and female prisoners (1855-1947), inquests and court cases. Information on how to access these records can be found on the PROV page Justice, crime and law.

Victoria Police Museum
The collection housed in the Victoria Police Museum includes artefacts from the present day back to Melbourne’s earliest days in the 1800s. The collection includes photographs, uniforms, equipment and examples of official police documents and correspondence; forensic evidence from major crime cases, and a large collection of artefacts relating to the Kelly Gang.

This article has 175 comments

  1. Brian Johnson

    Hello Ann , i am searching for more information regarding my wifes great grandfather Robert WALKER , he could have been the person who deserted ship ” Mary Ann ” and was released in 1860 ? He also at times used the name Robert WALLACE born circa 1831 Greenock Scotland . In later docs he is described as a master mariner . Would love to find out more on the desertion and when where he obtained his masters ticket

    • Hi Brian
      Thank you for contacting us.
      On the Ancestry Library Edition database (which is available at the State Library and atall Victorian Public Library services), there is a new collection, called
      Victoria, Australia, Deserter, Discharged, and Prisoner Crew Lists, 1852-1925. This collection contains lists of crew members who either deserted left employment on a particular ship.
      There are several sailors named Robert Walker listed.

      If he received his masters ticket in the UK you might find him listed in the Ancestry Library Edition collection called – UK and Ireland, Masters and Mates Certificates, 1850-1927.

      The Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) holds records of ships’ crew commencing or ending their voyage in Victorian ports from 1852 to around 1922. See their guide PROVguide 49: Ships’ Crew for further details.

      If you are trying to find out more about Roberts life in Australia you should have a look at our online research guide called Researching your Victorian Ancestors, which lists a number of key collections that could be useful to your research. IF he was a deserter you might find some interesting newspaper articles in the Trove digitised newspaper database. Good luck with your research. Ann

  2. Judy D'Arcy Evans

    Hi, I am looking for any information on Robert Wilson Martin who I believe was a police Constable in Victoria, could be number 4528. He was my Great grandfather. They lived near Colac for a while in the late 1800’s.

    • Hi Judy. Thank you for your comments.
      I have managed to find a few references to Robert Wilson Martin and I will send them by email to your home email address. Ann

      • Hi Ann,
        I’m researching my two times great grandfather michaelem Augustine piggot who was a police officer in swan hill and mitta mitta from 1885.
        I’d love to connect some more dot if you have anything
        Many thanks Sarah

        • Hi Sarah, thanks for your query. You can access the Ancestry database at the State Library and at most Victorian public libraries. On Ancestry you can search the Police Gazettes where you will be able to find a few references to your ancestor. I recommend you look at our online research guide called Researching your Victorian ancestor, as it lists many of the key family history resources, including wills, electoral rolls, births, deaths and marriages etc. Many of these resources can be freely accessed from home. Another excellent resource is the Trove Digitised Newspaper collection, which provides access to over 350 Victorian newspapers from 1803-1954. Try searching for “Michael Augustine Piggott” or “Michael Piggott” or “Constable Piggott”. Enclosing keywords in quotation marks ensures that the words are searched as a phrase. Good luck with your research.Kind regards Ann

  3. Hello Ann, I found mention of one of my ancestors in the Vicrorian Police gazette index on FMP. How does one access the actual record?

    • Hi Russell

      You can access copies of the Victoria Police Gazette here at the State Library.
      Some of the collection is available on microform and some is in hard copy – depending on th years you require.
      Here is a list of our holdings.

      Victoria police gazette.
      Use microform copies for 1853-1939 issues.

      For 1853:Dec.30-1870:Dec.27
      Held in the microfiche cabinets in the Family History & Newspapers room. Call number GMF 102 / BOX 1
      Duplicate copies are also held in onsite storage MF 371

      For 1871-1939
      which includes – Photo supplement to the Victoria police gazette no. 1 (1931:May 7)-no. 12 (1938:Dec.)
      Held on microfilm in Onsite storage. Call number M 401
      Phone 03 8664 7002 to order item from storage or, if you have a State Library membership card you can request it through the library catalogue.

      Hard copies are held in our Offsite store for the following years.
      no. 1 (1853:Dec. 30)-no. 51 (1971:Dec. 23)
      Phone 03 8664 7002 a day or two before you plan on visiting the library to arrange delivery from Offsite Store YA 343.945 V66

      Good luck with your research.

  4. Hi Ann, When researching ‘Find my Past’ I found the following notice for my 2xggf Frederick William Dolloffsky in the Victoria Police Gazette dated Sept 21, 1865 Pg. 353 ” .. “See Police Gazette 19th January 1865 p.34 …..charged with disobeying an order …… maintenance of his illegitimate child by Ellen Roberts …. arrested by the Daylesford police 20 Sept 1865”. As I & other family members were unaware of this matter I would appreciate your advice as to how I may be able to view / obtain a copy of Pg 34. Thanking you in anticipation. Regards Anita

    • Hi Anita
      Copies of the Victoria Police Gazette are held here at the State Library. As you are after the 1865 gazette you could use the
      Victoria police gazette.
      For 1853:Dec.30-1870:Dec.27
      Held in the microfiche cabinets in the Family History & Newspapers room. Call number GMF 102 / BOX 1

      The whole of the 1865 Victorian Police Gazette is available on FindMyPast, but for some reason the p34 article isn’t apppearing when i search Frederick Dolloffsky. It is possible to browse through the volume, but it’s a bit complicated, so I will email you details on how to browse.
      Regards, Ann

  5. Marilyn McGregor

    Hi Ann
    I have found a reference to my grandmother in the 1913 Police Gazette. It was an inquiry by Albert Edwin Shepperd as to her whereabouts. There is a number at the end of the paragraph – O.9917A
    Do you know what this number refers to or if there is any other information available?
    Many thanks

    • Dear Marilyn, Thank you for your inquiry regarding the Police Gazettes. I have checked with my colleagues and at this stage we have not been able to identify what the O numbers refer to. We will do some further research and get back to you in soon – it has us intrigued. Best wishes Ann

  6. Marilyn McGregor

    Thanks Ann

  7. Hi Ann, similar enquiry to Marilyn, I would very much like to know also if there is any way to follow up the reference number at the end of the paragraph to gather more info, if it’s a case number or linked to a police station perhaps. I have just found an entry in the Vic Police Gazette Jan 25, 1912 of my G-Grandfather Thomas Walter Seaton deserting his wife and family, it’s my first find of him in 17 years and I’d like to pursue anything I can.
    Many thanks, Donna

    • I’m actually wondering if the reference number is possibly linked to a Warrant Number issued by police?

      • Hello Donna, We will look into this and reply to your email address. Thank you for your interest.

    • Hi Donna,
      Thanks for your query regarding the O number which appears in the Police Gazette reports. We’ve finally managed to verify that the O number refers to the offences committed.
      I contacted the historian Helen Doxford Harris who co-wrote the excellent publication Cops and robbers: a guide to researching 19th century police and criminal records in Victoria, Australia. Helen informed me that the offences were initially written out on Criminal Offence Report forms and then listed in the police gazettes.
      The Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) holds a range of records relating to Victorian police, however not all records have survived and many of their files are still to be catalogued. YOu can find more information on the PROV records in their online PROVguide33: Police Records. Good luck with your ongoing research. Best wishes Ann

  8. Is it posible to find out any information on a great uncle of mine Wiliam Besch. Originally from Perth WA we have been told he worked at the Burke Street station in the 1950’s but we have also heard he spent time in prison we are interested to know what is the truth?? Many thanks.
    Lynley Besch

  9. Hi Ann,
    You are doing such an amazing job helping us all find further bits of information on our ancestors, Thank you!!
    I am wondering if you can help me!
    My gr-gr grandpa, Henry Schuler of Preston (I think but that area) apparently hit his wife over the head with a decanter, I am wondering if there is any further information available? there was a Trove article from 2/12/1887.
    well, we think he is our relative and would like to know if there is more info and also his wife’s name?
    Thanks you!

    • Hi Lauren,
      Thank you for your query. I will look into this and reply direct to your email address. Best wishes Ann

  10. Hi Ann,
    Just came across a suggestion that details of my ancestor’s arrival in Australia may be listed in the Police Gazette.
    His name was Thomas Richard ETTERY (b. 1842), and he ran away to sea in England (as a cabin boy), and so quite possibly jumped ship in Australia. Based on details from his death certificate, he arrived circa 1855 (known he married in Victoria in 1867).
    Any help or suggestions in finding out more details of his arrival?



    • Hi Kevin,
      Thank you for your query. I will look into this and reply direct to your email address. Best wishes Ann

  11. Hi Ann,
    I have found information on a relative by the name Frances.W.Wood, saying he was a Police Constable in the 1930’s .It gave reference to a number 8467. I was wondering if there was a way to find out more about him.
    Thanking you for your time.
    David Wood.

    • Hi David,
      Thank you for your query. The number 8467 would have been assigned to Frances W. Wood when he was appointed to the Police Force. There are several places you could look, to find out more information about him. If you want to find details about his career in the Police you should have a look at the Publice Record Office Victoria (PROV) PROVguide 33: Police Records, which lists the various police employment records held at PROV. Records include muster rolls, registers of employment, salary cards etc.
      If you are interested in general genealogical information go to our Researching your Victorian Ancestors research guide. This guide lists the various resources you can use to research an individual, such as indexes to wills, indexes to births, deaths and marriages, online newspapers, electoral rolls etc.

  12. Hello Ann, I have found a cutting regarding my Great Grandfather William John Timlock in February 1912 entitled “Missing Friends”. At the end of the article there are the words “Photographs at Detective Office, Adelaide – (C.288)”
    Would you happen to know if those photographs actually exist online anywhere in connection to the newspaper cutting?
    Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

    Many thanks


    • Hi Angela
      Thank you for your query. The South Australian Police Gazette is available from 1862-1947 on the Ancestry database but it doesn’t look as though any photographs or photo supplements are included. As you are researching a South Australian collection it would be worth emailing the library staff at the State Library of SA – they may know if these records are still available. I also suggest you have a look at their research guideGovernment Records and the Family Historian which has a page on researching South Australian Police Gazettes.

  13. Hello Ann,
    I have found two references to Emily Jane Bond and Emily Jane Munday (the same person), in the Victoria Police Gazette of 1896 under “Missing Friends”. After her name there is number 173. There isn’t a page number 173. What does that number mean and where would I find more information about this posting?
    Best regards.

    • Hi Wendy

      Digitised copies of the Victorian Police Gazette are available on the Ancestry database – available here at the State Library and at all Victorian public library services.
      I searched the index for Emily Jane Bond and found a copy of the full Missing Friends article on page 173 fo the June 10, 1896 issue. Here’s a transcript of it.

      EMILY JANE MUNDAY, nee Emily Jane Bond, is inquired for by Sergeant A. E. Dungey (2859), C.I. Branch. Description: 35years of age, a native of New Zealand, a hat trimmer. The woman is required as a witness in the case of Police v. Frederick Leslie, charged with bigamy. Was last heard of a few years ago in Richmond. The case against Leslie is to be heard on the 16th inst – O4942. 4th June, 1896.

  14. Hello Ann,

    I am looking for details of my late father Ronald Sydney West. He joined the army by putting up his age in 1941, but was discharged 7 months later. His army record states – Discharge – 10 Oct 1941 – Having during service been sentenced to penal servitude or imprisonment, or by Court Martial. I couldn’t find anything in the army records, so I assume it was not military. Would his crime be listed in the police gazette – he would have been 16
    Kind regards,

  15. Hi Ann
    My GGGrandmother was Phoebe Folkes, When she was only 14 or 15 (in 1900 or 1901), she had a baby. I’ve managed to find a reference in the Victorian Police Gazette (quarter ending Sept 1900) to a John N Clark getting into strife for carnally knowing Phoebe. But it’s just a single line in the index with the number 341 after it. Is there more information about the incident somewhere? What does the 341 refer to? I searched via findmypast and paid to look at the record, but it only gave me the same index line I had already found for free. My fingers are crossed you know how to find out more!
    Thanks for your time. . . Angela (in Brisbane)

  16. I am doing some research for an Ancestry friend in the UK regarding Albert Ward Newton in the South Australian Police Gazette 1862-1947 in which it is stated that a photograph of the offender can be found in Victorian Police Gazette 1906 Page 187 (C.751). Is it possible for me to obtain a copy of that photo please. Thank you for your time … Dawn (in Brisbane)

    • Hello Dawn, Thank you for enquiry. If you have access to the Ancestry database you should be able to access the Victorian Police Gazette for 1906.
      It appears as – Victoria, Australia, Police Gazettes, 1855, 1864-1924. Once you open this collection you will see a Browse option (which appears towards the right hand side of the search screen). From this select 1906 and then jump to page 187. There you will find an image of Albert Ward Newton. Best wishes Ann

  17. Hi Ann,

    I have a mother in-law who’s trying to help a friend locate her ex partner she was with for about 10 years. She has recently learnt that he has passed away in or around October 2016. She believes his funeral details and obituary were printed in the Police Gazette. How am l able to locate same.

  18. Robert Collins

    Hello Ann
    I am looking for information on my mother Dorothy Craig. My late auntie said that she was taken in by the Craigs after being abandoned with 2 other girls & 1 boy in the coffee Palace
    hotel in king st. Melb. I have found 2 articles in Trove on 8 Feb 1921 about this.
    I was hoping that the police gazette would have there names & any information.
    Robert Collins

    • Hi Robert,
      I will take your comment as an enquiry and someone will get back to you shortly,

  19. Victoria Briggs

    Hi Ann,

    I have found an Ancestor – Amy Furrell, in the Police Gazette in NSW, she was originally tried at the Denilquin Quarter session in July 1906 for manslaughter of her newly born daughter, this was later changed by the jury to Concealment of birth. In one of the Police Gazette docs, there is a column, “on Whom committed”… says Rex, What does Rex mean? I haven’t found any further docs pertaining to this trial? Where do I find the result of this trial?

    Kind Regards

    • Hi Victoria
      Thanks for your query. I found some information on Amy and emailed it to you last week. I will try resending it today. Best wishes Ann

  20. Hello Ann

    I have an inquest record for a Richard Ward who died in police custody on 25 July 1867. I also have his death certificate. Neither documents have any details for wife or family because of the circumstances in which he died. Would the police gazettes have any further information specifically on next of kin?

    He is 1 of 2 possibilities to be my Great Great grandfather. The other died in the care of the Melbourne Benevolent Society and his death certificate also does not have any family records.

    Kind regards

    Tony Ward

    • Hi Tony
      Thank you for your query about Richard Ward.I will take your comment as an enquiry and get back to you shortly.

  21. How do get hold of information on serving officer Daniel Darcy,published in
    Victoria NSW Police Gazette circa 1908

    • Hi Desmond
      Thank you for your query about Daniel Darcy.I will take your comment as an enquiry and get back to you shortly.

  22. Hi Ann, My wife and I have recently found a very small photo of her father, Ronald James Spence (now deceased) with the number 148371 across it. Are you able to ascertain if it is a police record?

    • Hi John
      Thank you for your query.That happens to be his WW2 service number.
      If you click on this link it will bring up his entry on the National Archives of Australia website. It provides a few brief details but also gives you an option to pay to have his service record digitised. Look for the `Request copy’ link on the right hand side of his details.
      It’s also worth searching for his name in the Trove Digitised Newspaper database. Try searching his full name in quotation marks, which will search his name as a phrase. You should be able to find a few articles on him.

  23. Hello Ann,
    I am after some advice please.
    I found this reference to and Edward Lawrence Martin whom I believe may be my great grandfather.
    MARTIN, Edward Lawrence, deserted wife A. and children at North Melbourne in 1928. He was 59 years, had been working at a sawmill; photo obviously taken when younger. 8 pages, List 6.
    I would very much like to read the contents and see the photo. Do I need to make an appointment at the State Library to do this?

    • Hi Mandy
      Thank you for your query about Edward Lawrence Martin .I will take your comment as an enquiry and get back to you shortly.

  24. Hi Ann ,my father was a tram driver during the 1950s we believe he was involved in an accident while driving a tram ,one story is, that a horse hit the tram , but as dad died 5 years ago we cannot verifie the story now, and the tramways are not overly helpful ,we are hoping a serarch of old police records might show up somthing.
    Dads name is Evan James Whelan
    And he drove trams out of the Glenhuntly tram depot
    Sorry there is no year or month I could give you

    • Hi Robert, thanks for your inquiry. I’m afraid the Police Gazette doesn’t include information on accidents. It focuses mainly on police officers, victims of crime, missing persons and criminals. You could try using the Trove Digitised Newspaper database to look for a newspaper report of the accident. Most of the Victorian newspapers on Trove only go up to 1954, but The Argus goes up to 1957. Try searching for such keywords as tram hit horse, then limit the results to Victoria. There are quite a few articles on Trams hitting horses and many of them do not mention the name of driver involved.
      Records of the Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways Board are held at the Public Record Office Victoria (PROV). It would be worth contacting PROV to see if the records contain details of accidents etc. Good luck with your research. Ann

  25. Just found this Ann

    I’m desperate to research my maternal grandmother Rachel Amy (Winning) Stephen and would be grateful if you could tell me how to access information on her from the Victoria Police Gazette circa 1903. I’ve no photos or any information about my grandmother or my grandfather for that matter who was James Mair Stephen. Any help you can provide will be really appreciated. Many thanks, Colin

    • Hi Colin, Thank you for your query. There is only a brief mention of your grandmother in the 1903 Police Gazette. I’ve transcribed the text from the notice here – See Police Gazette, 1903, page 3. John A. Robertson’s housebreaking. Stolen at the same time, a silver plated mug, ‘J.A.R.’ on side: and a lady’s silver band bracelet, the latter the property of Rachael Winning, servant.- O.11975. 6th Janauary, 1903. The notice is actually referring to a previous report of a robbery that appeared in an earlier issue of the Gazette.
      I will email you some information on how you can research your grandparents. Regards Ann

  26. Hi Ann

    I found a reference to my ggrandfather Henry Westrop on ancestry referring to a warrant for deserting his illegitimate child. It says to see Police Gazette 1877,p.90. There is also a no -O 3545. June 11th 1877. I was wondering how I could find out a bit more information as he was arrested and discharged in april 1882.
    Thank you for any help.

    • Hi Beverly
      Thank you for your query about your ancestor Henry Westrop. You can access digitised copies of the Victoria, Police Gazette on the Ancestry Library Edition database – available here at the State Library Victoria and at all Victorian public libraries. Here’s a transcript of the offence which was reported in the 1887 Gazette.
      Henry Westrop is charges, on warrant issued by the Rokewood Bench, with deserting his illegitimate child on the 3rd April last. Description – English, 27 years of age, 5 feet 7 inches high, stout build, fair complexion, light whiskers, no moustache; wore colored moleskin trousers, dark coat, and black wideawake hat. He is kangarooing with a man named Charles Thornton at Redback, N.S.W. – O.3545. 11th June, 1877.
      The O number refers to the offence committed. Although a collection of Police Correspondence Records are held at the Public Record Office Victoria, there are no surviving offence records for the period you are researching.
      Try using the Trove Digitised Newspaper database, which provides access to digitised Australian newspapers from the early 1800s to the 1950s. I did a search using the keywords Henry Westrop desertion and found this article which is particularly interesting. Regards Ann

  27. Hi Ann,
    My wife’s great, great Grandfather was Senior Constable Mullane of Beechworth. He was involved in Ned Kellys apprehension and surpervised him whilst in Beechworth gaol. Patrick Mullane also received part of the 8,000 pound reward. We have been trying desperately to find a picture of him or some more information. He was born in Tralee in Ireland and as well as Beechworth, lives in Mansfield where he retired as a policeman at a large send off ceremony. Any assistance or photos would be greatly appreciated. Given Ned Kellys notrierty it would be surprising if there wasn’t a picture of Patrick Mullane. At that time in the 1880s did they take pictures of each member of the police force for record purposes? Best Regards, Rod North

    • Hi Rod,
      Thank you for your query about Patrick Mullane. I’ll take your comment as an inquiry and someone will get back to shortly.
      Best wishes Ann

      • Hi Ann,

        Were you able to find anything out about Senior Constable Patrick Mullane when he was in Beechworth in the 1880s? We are desperately trying to find a picture. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. He was involved in the apprehension of Ned Kelly and was also Irish and 10 years older than Ned and had some sympathy for the way the Kellys were treated

        • Hi Rod, Thanks for your message. My colleague Sarah responded to your inquiry on July 18, but it sounds as though you didn’t receive her email. I’ve found a copy of her response and will email it to you immediately. Best wishes Ann.

  28. Bill Hecker Forestville SA

    After seeing who do you think you are it mentioned the Victorian Police Gazettes
    I am trying to discover if a relative discovered by a DNA test probably born in the 1870’s who changed his name when he enlisted in the First World War and was injured in the Gallipoli Landing and repatriated to Birmingham, married and had children there and never returned to Australia.
    I wondered with the Police Gazettes as to what sort of index do they have
    I wondered if he changed his name because of Police action and the Gazettes might throw some light
    I planned to visit the Library from Adelaide and wondered how to physically research
    Appreciate if you could point me in right direction

    • Hi Bill
      Digitised copies of the Victorian Police Gazettes from 1864-1924 are available on the Ancestry Library Edition database. You can access Ancestry here at the State Library Victoria, at the State Library of SA and in most public libraries. Try searching this collection using his known names. If you have trouble doing this, just send me his name and I can do a look up. It’s also worth searching for his name in the Trove Digitised Newspaper database. Try searching his full name in quotation marks, which will search his name as a phrase. Good luck! Ann

  29. Hi Ann,

    Similar question to above. I have found a Victorian Police Gazette dated 29 March 1923 on Ancestry where Richard Fagan (a baker about 28yrs) was charged on warrant in Colac for deserting his illegitimate child. His description was provided also. Offence No.O4030 dated 27 March 1923.

    Is there any way I can find out any more about this? The reason being the “child” was about 23 at the time of this charge so the father could not physically have been the one listed. I have confirmed his approx. age with his war service record – about 9 years old when his supposed illegitimate child was born. His father Edward was more likely to have filled the bill but is pure speculation at this point…….

    Any assistance is really appreciated.

    Best regards, Lorraine

    • Hi Lorraine. I’m afraid his dates don’t quite add up. In the 1923 Police Gazette he’s listed as being 28 years old. Using the index to the Victorian birth, death and marriage registry I found a birth citation for Richard born in Warrnambool in 1890 (reg 28503) – Father Edward and Mother Bridget Annie Cummings. I also found his death aged 54, in 1942 (reg 12355). Yet on his service record in 1915, he’s listed as being almost 24. Theresa Kathleen Atherton was the mother of the child he deserted and was born in 1901,so I’m afraid the illegitimate child couldn’t have been 23 at the time Richard was charged. Best wishes Ann.

      • I thought the charge was made in the child’s name not the mother’s – that makes sense now!!! Thanks for clarifying Ann 🙂

      • Hi Ann, I am researching my family history & came across this article. I’m having difficulty finding the birth of my grandmother who wa an Atherton, however documents we hold shows her name as Theresa Kathleen born circa 1900 & her eldest daughter who we’re also having trouble finding. Could this be one of the same. Any information would be appreciated. Thanks Jen

        • Hi Jen, thanks for your post. I’ll take this as a deferred inquiry and will get back to you shortly. Cheers Ann

    • Hello I’m Richard the 5th and this person is my relation

  30. Hi, I’m looking for any information about Henry Vicars Justice… Born 1830 Huntingdon England, Mounted Police Victoria 1850’s … Married (Eliz Le Guier) Castlemaine Vic1860’s school room ? any information will be helpful, thankyou Thomas Justice

    • Hi Thomas, thank you for your query about Henry Vicars Justice.
      I will take your comment as a deferred enquiry and get back to you shortly.Regards Ann

  31. Anthony Richards

    Hi ann, I am looking for information on my uncle who was a Victoria police officer, I have heard he was kicked out and ended up in jail, would like to know more. His name was Leslie Thomas Richards, busy. 1930.

    Thank you


  32. Hi Ann,
    I’m hoping that you can help me. One of my ancestors is an Aboriginal person Called Merriman / Merryman who was originally from Wangaratta but was well known in all areas on the North East of Victoria. The last place I have him is that he has escaped custody of the Wangaratta troopers and it makes reference to a gazette in 1859 page 43 # 412 for more details. Whilst Merriman spends most of his life resisting colonisation, I have yet to discover his fate or when he died- but it would not be without some kind of altercation. I believe there might be an incident in Albury at a hotel where things came to a head after this year. Getting to the library is a little tricky as I am not located close by. Any help you can render is something I would be grateful for.

    • Hi Megan
      Thanks for your post. I’ll take it as a deferred query and see what I can find. I’ll get back to you soon. Regards Ann

  33. Greetings Ann

    I am trying to locate my great Grandfather who arrived in Melbourne on the merchant vessel Barque ” “Maori” British ship #24710, which was unloading at the Williamstown railway pier from December 1871 to February 1872. Would the police gazette have listed any crew deserters from this merchant vessel ! All names would help if any recorded..
    Kind Regards

    • Hi Kevin. There are two collections that might help you with your research. On the Ancestry database is a collection called Victoria, Australia, Deserter, Discharged, and Prisoner Crew Lists, 1852-1925,
      We also hold a microfiche index called Deserters – Victorian deserters from ships index 1853-1880, which was compiled from the Victorian Police Gazette. If you send me the name of your Great Grandfather i’d be happy to do a lookup for you. Best wishes Ann.

  34. Hi Ann, I am so impressed with the amount of help you give. I just wanted to say that!

  35. Hi Ann I wonder if you might be able to help me. I’m trying to track my ancestry and I’ve found a link to the police Gazette for 25th January 1888 for a relative James Cameron Bell. Please can you find out why the police were looking for him? Or even if they have a photograph in the archive. He seems potentially dodgy. He only appears once in the UK 1851 census before going to Australia and claimed to be from Canada but I cannot find hard evidence there. Thanks

    • Hi Giles, Thanks for your query. The Victoria, Police Gazettes are available on the Ancestry database for 1855 and 1864-1924. Using Ancestry I found one reference to James Cameron Bell. It reads – Inquiry is requested for James Cameron Bell, who sailed from London in 1863 and landed in Sydney. He was employed by Mr. Dewhurst, draper, Inglewood, from February 1864 until the following December. In 1865 he opened a draper’s shop in Collins Street Melbourne, but his name cannot be traced in the Melbourne directories. Description – Native of Nottingham, draper, 62 years of age, 5 feet 7 inches high, dark complexion, used to wear whiskers only, no beard or moustache, married, but left his wife in England. Photo taken 27 years ago, is now in the Russell Street Police Office. O.496. 21st January 1888..
      Surviving police records are held at the Public Record Office Victoria, but unfortunately many of these records have not been indexed and can be quite difficult to access. You might also like to try searching the Trove Newspaper database to see if you can find any other references to James Cameron Bell. Best wishes, Ann.

  36. Hi Ann , I have found more about this relative of mine and you might be interested. If you are please reply to my personal email. I have traced his story to the USA.
    I still want to find out more about his Australian sojourn but I know where he ended up.

  37. Trudy Larson-Curl

    Hi Ann
    I live outside of Australia and want to access the Victoria, Australia, Police Gazettes for the year 1883. I have reviewed the holdings for both FMP and Ancestry and neither of these sites have the 1883 gazette and I was hoping you could let me know why (fingers and toes are crossed these haven’t been destroyed)?
    Would the gazette give me further information on children that ‘were entered as neglected’, the term used in the newspaper report and their mother being charged for vagrancy?
    It is believed the children went to live with various family members and I have checked both the following with negative results:
    Children’s Registers of State Wards in the Colony of Victoria, 1864-1899 through PROV
    Index to Children’s Registers c. 1850-1893 through Ancestry
    Hoping the gazette may yield more answers.
    Thanks in advance and look forward to your reply 🙂

    • Hi Trudy, Unfortunately Ancestry only has access to a limited range of Police Gazettes. We hold a complete set in a print or microfilm version. Unfortunately there is no index to the 1883 copies, so you would have to browse through all issues to try and find an entry.You might have found a very brief report on the mother being charged with vagrancy, but newspaper reports are usually a better source of information. I would have also recommended the Children’s registers as a good source. Feel free to send me the details of the child and her parentsand I’ll see if i can find anything. Cheers Ann

      • Trudy Larson-Curl

        Hi Ann, thanks for you offer and prompt reply :).
        I have been scouring newspapers and decided to approach it from the ‘neglected children’ angle rather than the family name, since OCR isn’t always reliable and came up with more info. Definitely my folk and another newspaper report advises the four prisoners where discharged (mother and 3 children), “as the bench thought the woman capable of earning and providing enough income to support herself and offspring”!!! Gotta love the compassion and empathy from the bench!!! Eliza had 5 children, the oldest barely 15yrs but she along with her 12yr old sister must have already been employed otherwise they should have been under the ‘neglected children’ list along with their siblings and their father had died 3yrs earlier. Eliza must have then approached family to look after the children. Eliza was no saint and had several more run ins with the law, spending time in gaol for vagrancy etc.
        I would be most grateful if you could look at the Victorian Police Gazette for the period covering late May/early June1883 to see if there is a mention of this incident and if there is any further info on what may have happened to the children, after being discharged.
        The Herald, Melbourne dated 30May1883, states “Eliza BERNASOCHIE, a middle aged woman, was charged with vagrancy to-day. Her three young children were entered as being neglected”. The Age, Melbourne dated 31May1883 under Police News mentions at The City Court yesterday.
        NB: Spelling could also be as BARNASOCHIE or without the “E”.
        Once again, thank you, your assistance is greatly appreciated :).
        Cheers Trudy

        • Hi Trudy, thanks for all the additional information. I’ll do a search early next week and will email you with anything that I find. Cheers Ann

          • Trudy Larson-Curl

            Thanks Ann 🙂

          • Thanks for sending through the Petty Register Session information. That one is already in Eliza’s repertoire :). It’s still the report on the 30May1883 that eludes me, the case was dismissed according to the paper, but the children were still ‘entered as neglected’. I’m wondering if it was a private agreement that saw them go to their Mother’s siblings. Thanks again for all your help.
            Cheers Trudy

  38. BERNADETTE Hanisch

    Hi Ann, Hoping you may be able to help me. I have a relative my grandmothers brother. He changed his name several time however what I am particularly interested in is In the Police Gazettes Victoria 3/6/1890 He was charged under warrant in the Prahran Court for disobeying Order of maintenace for an illegimate child. He ended up paying this 21/9/1890.
    His name at this time was Arthur Jostlear. reference AU7103-1890 0.7986. I WANT TO KNOW THE NAME OF THE PERSON FOR WHOM THE MAINTENANCE WAS TO BE PAID. Mother and child if possible.
    Arthur was born in 1864 under the name Arthur Johnson, then his parents took the name Jostlear. Around late 1880’s he used Artthur Davies and later Arthur Davis. He died in 1927.

    • Hi Bernadette, From what i can see Arthur appeared in the Victorian Police Gazettes several times in 1890, for child maintenance issues and also for disobeying a summons. Unfortunately the police gazettes only provide a brief amount of information. You might be able to find more information by viewing the police records held at the Public Record Office Victoria. Unfortunately the records can be quite difficult to use. Not all records have survived and I believe that the existing records have not been properly indexed yet.
      I’ve found a few interesting pieces of information on Arthur, so i will email them to later today. Cheers Ann

  39. Jeanie-Maree Hughes

    Hi Ann,
    I am hopeful you may be able to assist in us being able to find information on my grandmother Dorothy Rees (b1923) her brother William Rees (b1920) and sister Margaret Rees (b1922) they were abandoned sometime during the 1920’s and spent time in seperate orphanages we dont have their parents details, there are no birth certificates or record for my g.mother her brother or sister. We would dearly love to find information on how we can locate their details and would appreciate any advice you could offer. Thankyou Jm

    • Hi Jeanie-Maree,

      Thank you for your comment! I have entered your enquiry via our Ask a Librarian service, and will be in touch shortly.

      Kind regards,

      • Thank you Kate

      • Hello Ann,
        I am wanting to put a name to a photograph of a policeman possibly 1880-1920??
        The number on his helmet is 5942 and I think he would have been around the Bendigo, central Victoria area.
        Thank you, Marg

        • Hello Marg. Thanks for your post. I have entered your enquiry into the State Library Victoria’s Ask-a-Librarian service. A staff member will respond to your enquiry within 10 working days. Grant Hamston

  40. Michael James Greenwood

    Hi Ann,
    I am researching my Great Uncle Constable Robert Ballantine No 5460.
    I have found several references in the Police Gazette one being his death 12 July 1919.
    His age was 31. My question is when he signed up are these records available and did they have their photo taken? Thank you in advance. Kind regards Mike.

    • Dear Mike, Thanks so much for your query. Surviving Police employment records are held at the Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) I don’t think the records contain photographs but they do include muster rolls, registers of employment and salary cards etc. If you go to the PROV Victoria Police Employment webpage you can find out more about the collection. The Trove digitised newspaper archive is a great resource for finding historical newspaper articles. Go to Trove and search for the phrase “constable ballantine”. You will find several articles about his police career. If you are interested in doing further genealogical research on your Great Uncle you should have a look to our Researching your Victorian Ancestors research guide. This guide lists the various resources you can use to research an individual, such as indexes to wills, indexes to births, deaths and marriages, online newspapers, electoral rolls etc.
      Regards, Ann

  41. Michael James Greenwood

    Hi Ann, Thank you for your informative response. I have already started my searches on Trove as you suggested, Wow so many news articles on Constable Ballantine.
    I will follow your other suggestions next, Thank you for taking the time to reply to my query
    you have been a great help. Once again thank so much.
    Kind regards

    • Thanks Mike. I’m glad you’ve already managed to find some material. Good luck with your research. Ann

  42. Dear Anne,
    i’m searching for information on gg uncle Alfred Rooke Turner, mercantile marine. Arrived Australia c 1850. May have jumped ship. Became a gold miner. Had a history of going awol from home and family(s). He might be mentioned in ‘missing friends’. Wife’s name Mary Anne Lane. Contracted a bigamous marriage with one Margaret Devine.
    Family legend has it that he killed or wounded a man over a game of cards and fled Melbourne with troopers in hot pursuit. Any record of such an incident in police gazette? Police didn’t catch him as he later went to Singapore as tin miner.
    Death date unknown.
    We’d love to find out more about him as he was such a colorful character.

    • Hi Kaz, He sounds like an interesting person to research. I will take it as a deferred query and get back to you if I find anything. I’ll also send you some details on how you can research him further. Regards Ann

    • Did you find out anything further? He’s my ggg grandfather. Cheers

  43. Hi Ann, I was wanting to know some more info on a crime committed by a family member in Sept 1958 in Victoria, and also possibly more crimes committed by him at a later date. He died in prison in 1974. Name of Ronald Alvah Giles born 1914 in Vic. I cant find anything about it on Trove.
    Thanks from Lisa

    • Hi Lisa
      Unfortunately the Police Gazette doesn’t contain a comprehensive list of all crimes in Victoria. Although it includes some details on criminal activities but it’s main aim was to keep police up to date on current police affairs. I have had a look through the Victoria Police gazette index: 1853-1868, but I’m afraid I could find no mention of Ronald Alvah Giles. In regard to newspaper research – Trove contains out of copyright Victorian newspapers up until 1954, but the State Library actually holds copies of all Victorian newspapers in a variety of formats. For the period you are researching you could access the major Melbourne newspapers, which are available on microfilm in the Newspapers and Family History Reading Rooms. However because the films have not been indexed it would mean that you’d have to browse through each title for the dates you are researching. we also have an online research guide called Court cases in Australia which might be of use to you. Regards Ann

  44. Dear Ann, I am looking for a picture of a man who apparently went missing. His name was Max Wiese and there is an inquiry request in the Victoria Police Gazette of January 16th, 1887. There appears to be an identifier at the end of the inquiry of O.384. There is also a sentence that says there’s a photo of him “in the office of the Melbourne C. I. police”. Are you able to find that photo and send it to me by any chance?

    Thank you.

    • Hi Gale, Thanks for your inquiry. The O number does relate to the offences committed. They were initially written out on Criminal Offence Report forms and then listed in the police gazettes. The Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) holds a range of records relating to Victorian police including Police correspondence record from 1853-1920. Unfortunately not all of the police record have survived and many of the files are still to be catalogued or indexed. If a photograph of Max Wiese still exists then it could be in one of the collections at PROV. Contact details for PROV are available here. Regards Ann

  45. Thanks, Ann, I have just sent an inquiry to PROV. I don’t hold out much hope but I have to try.

  46. Hi Ann I am trying to find any record of my great grandmother (Ethel (Ella) Eleanor Sparrow who was supposedly born in 1882 at Newtown (not sure if Victoria or NSW) but there is no record of her birth
    Information is that at age 13 years she traveled to Western Australia with a Walter Henri DeMorton (circumstances unknown)
    I have found no records that she was a Ward of the State and contacted St Catherines and MacKillop Family Services
    Is it possible that there is a police record as a missing child?
    Any information on her would be gratefully received as I ahve been searching for over 30 years
    Colin Kerr

    • Hi Colin, thanks for your query. I’ve searched through the online collections of the Victorian and NSW police gazettes and the registries of births, deaths and marriages but found no reference to Eleanor Sparrow. The only reference I’ve found is the WWI service record for Walter DeMorton on the NAA website. This has him listed as being a widower, so it appears that Eleanor died before 1916. There are also several articles on Walter De Morton in the Trove Digitised Newspaper database. You could try and obtain a copy of their son Edward’s birth certificate, from the WA registry. This might provide personal details about his mother. You could also consider hiring a genealogist to undertake research on your behalf. Good luck! Ann

  47. Thank you Ann
    Eleanor Sparrow actually died in 1955 She took the name of DeMorton when she travelled to WA with Walter Henri DeMorton and later to Morton after he enlisted in 1916. She then married my grandfather in 1921 and became Kerr
    I have Walter’s War Records and death certificate. Edward’s birth certificate was burned in a fire in Bunbury but have his death certificate and after 30= years am now in touch with his daughter and siblings.
    Your resarch at least rules out yet another avenue and is therefore very helpful.
    She remains a mystery and I have asked a genealogist to assist but still no results
    Once again thank you so much for your assistance as it is much appreciated

  48. Hi Ann
    Just found this blog. I was wondering if the Victoria Police have a list of enlisted members from around 1860 onwards. I’m researching my family tree and believe there is a Denis/Dennis Sullivan who was a police member and possibly became a detective later in life. This Denis died in South Melbourne about 1901.He was my Great great grandfather.
    I’ve had a bit of a search to see if there any any lists of police members, but no luck

  49. Hello Ann,

    I came across this blog via the weekly email from Family History Matters at GSV where it mentioned the following link –

    I am researching my great grandmother, Caroline Lane (nee Webby) who was married to Samuel Lane and lived at Clydebank (near Sale), Both were ex convicts and arrived from Tasmania in the late 1860’s. They seperated about 1885 and I believe Caroline was in trouble with the law. She drowned in Corio Bay (Geelong) on 10th April 1991 and went by the name of Ann Lane. I have found 2 listings under the female prisoners for Ann Lane #5104 & #5212 that seem to link back to Sale (one listed an alias name)

    Can you please advise how I can find more details about these offences and if infact they are the same person. What I can’t work out is the mention of “per Swallow in 1830” as she arrived in Hobart on the “Stately in 1849”. Is there somewhere where I can find more details about the offences and trials to confirm that this is infact my great grandmorther.

    Also, Is there somewhere where I can find more about time spent in prison as I am trying to work out why she ended up in Geelong.

    Thank you so much for your time.

    • Hi Sandy
      Thanks for your inquiry. The two entries on the Central Register of Female Prisoners certainly look as though they’re for the same person as the physical description, date of birth and other details all match up. Interesting that the Swallow reference has 1830 on one record and 1883 on the other. I afraid I can’t find anything to verify what that was. The trials were held at the Court of Petty Sessions in Sale. You’re in luck because the FindMyPast database actually hold copies of Victorian Petty Sessions Registers. Unfortunately, remote access is not available for this database at the moment, but I’ve had a look at the records and managed to get some information for you. I will email it to you separately. This will provide you with the date of the trials, offense details etc You can also access an online copy of Ann Lane’s inquest from the Public Record Office Victoria. This confirms that she was married to Samuel Lane and that she went by a number of aliases. Using the details in the Petty Sessions Registers and the Inquest report you can then use the Trove Digitised Newspaper database to look for newspaper articles relating to these events. As an example, here is one article that reports on her death – FOUND DROWNED IN CORIO BAY. (1891, April 11). Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1859 – 1929), p. 4. Best wishes, Ann.

  50. Thanks so much Ann for your reply & information – much appreciated.
    Yes, received your email too, thankyou.
    And it sounds like our Ann Lane was a bit of a ratbag and obviously records are under different aliases too. Do you think I would be able to locate a photo, seeing there was quite a few offences and that she spent time in the Melbourne Gaol? If so, any suggestions where to look?
    Thanks again for this wonderful service you provide on this blog.
    Thanks again

    • Glad I could help Sandy. She does sound as though she had a hard life. Copies of mugshot photographs often appeared in the Prison registers, but as you’ve seen from the two entries for Ann Lane, there are no photos listed. Sorry, but it’s unlikely any other official photographs would be available. All the best, Ann

  51. Hi Ann
    I was looking for some guidance in my searching as I have hit a wall
    My wife’s great great grandmother gave birth to a child in Maryborough jail on the 19th Feb 1866. She was awaiting trial on a charge of “cutting and wounding” and it was set down for the 23rd Feb 1866 in the Maryborough Circuit Court.
    I have used TROVE and got most of my information from the Maryborough & Dunnolly Advertiser copies of the 1860s. Interestingly Charlotte had earlier court appearances in 1861-62 as a 13yo-14yo having been born in Hobart on 18th Jun 1847. She was 18 at the time of the trial and she had three children prior to this birth (only one survived)
    The Advertiser has no record of her court appearance & court verdict
    I have also had no luck with an online search in the Vic Police gazette
    I am now looking for some guidance – can you please help
    Many thanks in anticipation

    • Hi Kevin, thanks so much for your inquiry. I will take it as a deferred query and get back to you shortly. Regards Ann

  52. Hi Ann
    I realise that I have not provided you with all the information about this query.
    Charlotte’s surname was Main (variations are Maine and Mayne)
    Elizabeth Mayne was born 19.02.1866 regn # 9357 Thanks Kevin

  53. Francis Noonan

    I’m trying to research a gentleman whose name either Walter George Love Horton or Walter George Horton, on his Form of Application For Registration as an Alien during World War 2 he stated his Date of Birth was 12-6-1879, Birthplace New York City, Date of Entry into Australia 1882. When he married Kathleen Frances Boddington at Holt’s Matrimonial Agency 448 Queen Street Melbourne in 1906 he stated he was 25, an Engine Fitter, born New York United States of America, living City of South Melbourne, parents Thomas Horton, mariner, and Annie Love. Walter and his wife lived in Port Melbourne and died 18 May 1959 and buried in Footscray Cemetery.

    His son told a friend of mine that Walter “Jumped Ship” in Melbourne which would mean he would not have arrived in Australia in 1882 and if he did “Jump Ship” I assume he would be in the Victoria Police Gazette on, or before, 1906 as he married in Melbourne that year and as I am not in a position to attend the State Library would it be possible to you to find out if he mentioned?

    • Hi Francis, thanks for your inquiry. I will take it as a deferred query and get back to you shortly. Regards Ann

  54. Hello Ann,

    I was hoping you could help me. I was wondering if there is any information on what constables would have been logged to work on a certain day back in 1891-1895?
    My 2nd Great grandfather was a Senior Constable at the Marong Police Station in Victoria.
    His name was John Myers and police number 3431.

    I only ask as my 3rd Great grandparents on my fathers side by the names of John and Emma Brown, were farmers in Marong at the time he was a constable there. My 3rd great grandmother died in 1895 in Marong on her farm called ‘Fairfield Farm’. The records we have found state that a constable rode out to inspect the deceased. And we were curious to know if perhaps he was the constable who went out that night. He is my 2nd great grandfather on my mothers side.

    Your help would be much appreciated!

    Thank You 🙂

    • Hi Hannah, thanks for your query. A large collection of Police Correspondence Records are held at the Public Record Office Victoria, in North Melbourne. This is a very large collection of surviving police records, but I don’t think it’s been indexed yet. If there was information recorded about the death of your great grandmother, it would appear in the record book for the Marong Police Station. PROV is closed at the moment, but it would be worth contacting with them at a later date. If you haven’t done so already, try looking on the Trove Digitised Newspaper database. You might find articles in the local newspapers reporting this incident.

  55. Hello Ann – Published in The Age on 21/8/1899 is the following add placed in the Deaths..
    18/8/1999 Thomas Smith, husband of Esther Smith – Police Constable of 93 Cruikshank St Pt Melbourne, aged 33 -Deeply Regretted.
    Can you confirm if this means he was a Police Constable or that he was killed by a police constable. It is my GGGrandfather and we have no trace of him except for his marriage to Esther and the birth of his son in 1894

    • Hi Daphne, thanks for your query. Yes the death notice in Trove includes his occupation – Police Constable. Try searching the Trove newspaper collection using his name enclosed in quotation marks (which searches the words as a phrase) “constable thomas smith”. Then either limit the results by decade or add additional keywords such as “Port Melbourne”. This will help you to find more articles on your Great Great Grandfather. Here’s one that sounds like it’s about him. Also try searching using “Constable Smith” “Port Melbourne” , This brings up a few interesting articles about him, including a copy of =”″>obituary. Kind regards, Ann.

  56. Hello, I have been researching my 2nd Great grandfather Robert Stinson Hannan born in Ireland between 1834-1836, emigrated to California as a child and then at an unknown date arrived in Australia. My first record of him is his marriage in Launceston, Tasmania on 14th March 1859 and his occupation is listed as a Policeman. I have found many news articles on him via Trove and have found he was promoted from No. 2079 Constable to a 3rd class Detective on 1st Sep 1871 and spent time at Gulgong, then to Fiji as a sub inspector of police for a few years, there is even a photo of him at Gulgong online I have found, however I have hit a wall with his time previous to 1870 however and was hoping there may be some records of when he first become a policeman?
    What makes this more fascinating is we have his old police diary from the 1870s onward with newspaper articles of his arrests and other items.
    Thank you for any help you can offer.

    • Hi David. The appointment of police constables was reported in the Police Gazette, for the relevant state, each week. If he was in the police when he married in Tasmania, it’s possible that he originally joined the Tasmanian police force. The Tasmanian Police Gazette is only available on Ancestry from 1884 onwards, but digitised copies appear to be available through Libraries Tasmania. Click on this link to access the records. If you believe he joined the force in another state, you would need to check the relevant state’s police gazettes. You could also try looking at the Victorian Government Gazette or the equivalent interstate gazettes, to see if there is a mention of him. Police correspondence files for Victoria are held at the Public Record Office Victoria. Here’s a link to information on their collection. Unfortunately many of these records have not been indexed, so searching through them can be a slow task. The diary is such a valuable item to have. You are very fortunate to have such an heirloom. Kind regards, Ann.

  57. Hi ,
    My name is Helen. I am researching my great grandfather who was in trouble with the law at times. His name was Henry Samuel Legg. Im wandering if the police took photos of people they charged as I don’t have any photos of my Great Grandfather.
    He lived in Surrey Hills Victoria from about 1892 – 1910. He was up on a manslaughter charge in late 1880s.

    • Hi Helen, Thank you for your query. The Victorian Police Gazette only started including photographs in the early 1900s, so they wouldn’t have an image for your great grandfather from the 1800s. There is an online index to the Register of Male and Female Prisoners (1855-1947 )available on the Public Records Office Victoria website. This register sometimes includes images. I found one entry in 1873 for a Henry Legg, but unfortunately it doesn’t include a photograph. Have a look at it though as it might be your Great Grandfather. Surviving Police Correspondence Records are held at the Public Record Office Victoria, but unfortunately many of these records have not been indexed and can be quite difficult to search through. It would be worth contacting PROV for advice. If you haven’t done so already, try searching the Trove Newspaper database. Do a search for :”Henry Samuel Legg” and you should find several articles. Kind regards, Ann

  58. Alan Le Page MORRIS

    Dear Ann

    I am trying to locate the cemetery where Nicholas Girard Sauvarin ex Guernsey was buried somewhere in Victoria likely in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s I have tried the usual on-line resources such as TROVE, PROV, etc to no avail. Nicholas deserted his wife and 6 children at Belfast [Port Fairy] in 1871. I know a bit about what happened to them but nothing further can be discovered about Nicholas. Another Nicholas Sauvarin [half cousin] is buried at Harcourt Cemetery. People confuse the two! Sauvarin has been mispeled as Sovereign, Souverine etc. Can you help or suggest a way forward?

    • Hi Alan. Unfortunately it might not be possible to locate him. In the time period you’re researching it would have been very easy to relocate to another town or even move interstate and take a new name and identify. Many people didn’t leave a paper trail and simply disappeared. On our Researching your Victorian ancestors research guide, there’s a page on Cemetery records, which includes a PDF of all known Victorian cemeteries and their indexes. You could try searching through these indexes. Don’t forget that the details recorded are only as good as the knowledge of the person who registered the death/burial. So if little was known about him, his details may be inaccurate or hard to find. You could also try looking for records relating to any relatives he had in Australia which may link to him. For instance he may have placed a death notice for a relative in a newspaper. Also, don’t confine your searching to Victorian records, as he may have moved interstate or even travelled overseas. Check outward passenger lists to see if he’s listed. If he did take another name then it’s unlikely that you’ll find him, as any relevant documents such as death certificate and wills are likely to be in his new name. I did come across a will for a Harry Nicholas SAUVARIN who died in Wangaratta in 1916. Would he be a relative?

  59. Alan Le Page MORRIS

    Hi Ann,

    Thanks for your help. Much appreciated. Alas I had tried all your suggested tracks to no avail. Is it possible that he was apprehended and arraigned and a note written up in the Police Gazette? This was the case for a Sauvarin relative in NSW.

    • Hi Alan, The Victorian Police Gazette is on Ancestry for the years you are researching but I’m afraid the only entry for Nicholas is from 1871 where he was charged with deserting his wife. There’s no entry for him in the NSW Police Gazette but you could try checking through each of the Police Gazettes for the other states. They are all on Ancestry. Good luck, Ann

  60. Hi Ann

    I wonder if you would please determine from the Victorian Police Gazettes for the years from 1880 to 1890 incl. when one William SAUVARIN[E], was in trouble with the law. A clue. General Sessions at Port Albert May 11, 1893 described him as “an old offender”! I take “old” to mean “serial”. Thank you and all the best for 2021..

    • Hi Alan. Between 1882 and 1893 there are seven entries in the Police Gazette for William Sauvarin. Some of the entries relate to him being charged with larceny of cheques belonging to other people. There are also reports of him being discharged from prison. The information in these records is quite detailed and interesting. You can access the Victoria, Australia, Police Gazettes, 1855, 1864-1924 through the Ancestry database – available here at the State Library, at other State Libraries and at most public libraries. Also, Victorian members of the State Library can access Ancestry from home until the end of March. If you’re not a member you can register here. Once you find his entries in the Police Gazette you will be able to download and print each entry – well worth doing! Regards Ann.

  61. Hi Ann

    Much appreciated. The best for 2021.

  62. Hi Ann,
    I wonder if you have any suggestions on how to find records related to Rewards posted in the Victoria, Australia, Police Gazettes, 1855, 1864-1924 (via Ancestry). I have found a reward posted for an abandoned child and would like to follow the story further if possible. Thanks for any direction you can give.

    • Hi Annabel. Historic records relating to the Victorian Police are kept at the Public Record Office Victoria (PROV). I suspect that anything to do with the administration and payment of rewards would be kept in the Police Correspondence records. You can find out more about this collection by going to this webpage. Apparently there are many police records held at PROV that have yet to be indexed, so you might have some difficulty finding the relevant records. I recommend that you contact PROV and ask for some advice on accessing this collection. Good luck! Ann

  63. Hello Ann – This is such an interesting article and I wonder if you would give your permission for me to re-print it in our family history journal which is sent out to our members? I’m sure they would appreciate the information. Kind regards, Sandra.

    • Hi Sandra, Thank you for your feedback. I’d be happy for you to reprint it in your journal. I’m actually creating a short video on the Victoria Police Gazette which should appear on our website in mid August. That might be of interest to your members too. Kind regards, Ann

  64. hi ann, i’am trying to find out about a constable crothy or croffy , stationed at branxholme ,vic in 1888, his name was written in the inquest papers of my great great grandfathers death, the constable says that he new him very well the question is what did he know, my great great grandfather was james mc pherson he was an ex convict who came to vdl in 1830 aboard the persian 2 regards jenny

  65. Hello Ann,
    Could you please tell me what the annual salary of a Victorian Police Magistrate was in 1890.
    I understand that when they retired, Police Magistrates received a Victorian pension. Approximately what amount would the pension have been in 1909?
    Thank you.

    • Dear Belinda. Thanks for your inquiry. Between 1863 and 1975, lists of employees in the Victorian Public Service were regularly published in the Victoria government gazette. For the period 1886-1965 you can find salary information by searching the Victoria government gazette with the subject “Public Service Act” and the keyword “lists” or “persons employed” In the Government Gazette. January 31, 1890 on pages 446-47 you will find a list of police magistrates which includes their date of appointment, salary, classification etc.
      Finding the pension details was a bit tricky. On page 2896 of the Public Service Act of 1890 there is a section on pensions that states “All persons classified or unclassified holding offices in any department of the public service at the time of the passing of The Public Service Act 1883″ except persons appointed since the passing of the Act No. 710 shall be entitled to superannuation or retiring allowance compensation or gratuity to be computed under the provisions of Act No. 160…”
      Act 160 is the Act to regulate the Civil Service, which was created in 1862. On page 294 there is a section on Superannuation which states that “Any officer who at the time of the passing of this Act has attained or within ten years thereafter shall have attained the age of sixty years if or as soon as he shall have been ten years in the Civil Service of Victoria or of the district of Port Phillip or of both and if he has not received any other compensation or retiring allowance in respect of such service shall retire from active service on an annual allowance of half of the average annual salary received by him during the two years preceding his superannuation”. By using the details in these acts you should be able to work out what the pension rate would have been for the person you are researching. I should also point out that in 1900 Victoria introduced a means tested age pension and that in 1908 the Commonwealth passed the Invalid and Old Age Pensions Act – payable to men and women who had reached the age of 65. I hope this assists you with your research. Kind regards Ann

  66. Thank you very much Ann. That is an amazing piece of research.
    Best regards

  67. Hello Ann, I am currently looking for a note that my grandfather gave to the police before disappearing. The date of his death is listed as 15/10/1939, even though no body was ever found. He apparently wrote a letter to his wife and she took it to Brighton Police Station. Any suggestions as to where to find it. and would that sort of thing be in the police gazette.

    • Hi Lois. Copies of surviving police records are held at the Public Record Office Victoria (PROV). This page provides information on their Police Employment records holdings. You can contact PROVfor further advice regarding their holdings. If there was an inquest into his death you can access Inquest records at PROV. It’s also possible that his disappearance and death was reported in a Victorian newspaper. Try looking for his name in the Trove digitised newspaper database, which provides access to over 350 digitised newspapers from the early 1800s to 1954. Good luck with your research. Ann

  68. You can contact PROVfor further advice regarding their holdings. If there was an inquest into his death you can access Inquest records at PROV. It’s also possible that his disappearance and death was reported in a Victorian newspaper

  69. Hi Ann
    You certainly have helped a lot of people on your blog. My question is a little different. My GGGrandfather Thomas Wells left his wife and family (8children) in 1862. There is a notice on 29 July 1869 of him being charged on warrant with deserting his wife at Belfast (Pt Fairy) in May 1862. I am wonder about the 7 year gap before the announcement. Could it be for the wife to claim property?
    She never married again nor had a partner.
    Or are there other reasons that you know of?
    I would love to hear your opinion or ideas
    Thank you
    Isabel Flynn

    • Hi Isabel. Thank you for your query. It’s hard to know why there was such a gap. You could try looking at the Police Gazette for 1862, to see if anything was recorded when Thomas first deserted his family. Unfortunately the Gazette isn’t online for 1862 but you can access microfiche copies in our Newspaper and Family History Reading Room. Something might have appeared in the local Belfast/Port Fairy newspaper – the Belfast gazette and Portland and Warnambool advertiser. This title isn’t on Trove but we hold the years 1851-1875 on microfilm.
      I wonder if his wife was hoping to remarry and had to see if he could be located first. Or perhaps he had disappeared interstate, and it was only when he was known to be in Victoria that they sent out a warrant. It’s a very tricky question. Perhaps someone who reads this blog, might have an answer. Kind regards Ann

  70. Hello Anne This is a great blog . I have been a member of Ancestry for 12 years now. My Query is a still missing Gr Gr Grandfather. All my life he has been Joseph Silva, to me. I have never received a different Surname, He was born in the Azores in 1830. He travelled to Boston in 1854, then took a large clipper as a seaman to Australia. He arrived in Melbourne on 19th Feb 1855, and then with all his sea mates, all eleven of them, deserted ship. I have gone through the police Gazettes many times, but no luck . I really hope you can assist me. I would be so grateful. The name of the clipper was, ” White Swallow”. So the clipper left Boston in November 1854 and headed for Australia, back up and into “Hobsons Bay”. The workers all left the ship and a couple of weeks later, it received permission, to leave and sail for Guam and back to Boston. Lyn Budden.

    • Hi Lyn. Thanks for your feedback. I will email you directly regarding your family history query. Kind regards Ann

      • Hello Ann, it is great to catch up with you. I wrote to you about my Gr Gr Grandfather Joseph Silver. I wrote on this blog on May 23, 2022 at 21:25 Reply, and you did respond to me.
        Ann Copeland May 25, 2022 at 17:26Reply
        Hi Lyn. Thanks for your feedback. I will email you directly regarding your family history query. Kind regards Ann. So I waited and something jogged my memory, today. could you please let me know if you have seen anything in your travels. If you need more info, please let me know. I have changed Josephs Surname, as this is the way his name is marked on his Wedding Document. Thank you Ann and I do hope to contact you soon. Lyn

        • Hello Lyn, Thanks for your message. I sent you a reply on May 25th regarding your family history query, however i sent it to your Gmail account. I’ll resend it to your current email today. Kind regards Ann

  71. Hello Ann
    I have been researching my great, great great grandfather Jeremiah Dobson who came to Melbourne in the Royal Standard late December 1866 with his wife Mary Dobson (then pregnant),whom he deserted shortly after arriving. Later he was charged with rape near Mansfield in 1874 information sourced from Victorian Police gazette of 26 July 1874. Obviously a past relation that one is certainly not proud of. My interest is about whether he was apprehended and what finally happened to him, as he seem’s to have totally vanished. The references in the gazette mentioned he might travel to a married sister in Gippsland – again I was unaware of any siblings of Jeremiah. any information would be very much appreciated
    Kind Regards
    Bill Sheridan

    • Hi Bill. Thank you for your inquiry. I’ve had a look at a number of resources, but I’m afraid that I haven’t been able to find out what happened to your ancestor Jeremiah. In the 19th century it was very easy for a person to simply disappear without a trace – leaving no paper trail of their movements. So it’s quiet possible that he may have taken a new name, moved throughout the countryside or traveled overseas.
      I’m not sure if you found this record, but in the Victoria Police Gazette August 4, 1874 (available on the Ancestry database) there an entry that states that was in the company of a man named William Wright and that they may have been making their way to Mackay’s station in Blackheath, NSW (between the Murray and Murrumbidgee), where Wright sheared in 1873. So you might like to try looking for articles on Mackay’s station in the Trove database. You could also try looking through the NSW Police Gazette and NSW Government Gazette for additional information. Good luck. Kind regards, Ann

  72. Hi Ann
    I’m trying to get some information on my father.Inspector John Robert McIver.
    All I have is he was Chief Inspectors Office,No 5 Division,A District Headquarters,
    Russell Street.I’m guessing around late 60s early 70s? If you could give me any
    information it would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you

    • Hi Rob, We recently created an online research guide called Researching your ancestors’ occupation, which includes a page on Police resources. If you go to this page you will find various collections that may help you with your research. The Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) our State archive, holds some Police employment records. More information can be found on their Victoria Police employment website. Newspapers can also be a good source of information. For the period that you are researching, you could try looking at the Australian Newspapers Collection (1831-2000), which contains full text access to The Age (1854-2000) Victorian residents can access this database from home with Library membership. Good luck with your research. Ann

  73. Jacinta Dennett

    Hi Ann
    In the Victoria Police Gazette, 1889, p. 286. William Diamond is listed as charged with intending to desert his wife Maggie Diamond, 13 Bouverie Street, Carlton (September 12, 1899).
    In the description there is a mention of a “photo filed in the C. I. police. –O.7568.”
    Can you let me know where I could find this photo of William Diamond?
    Thank you

    • Hi Jacinta. Copies of surviving police files are held at the Public Record Office Victoria (PROV). If you go to the PROV Police Correspondence Records (1853-1920) website you can find out more about these records. I believe that individual boxes of records have not been indexed, so you may need to talk to PROV staff regarding access to these items. Good luck with your research. Ann

  74. I am looking for a photograph of a relative named jack James William Sales born 1908 who was Victorian policeman from 1936 to 1963. He died 20.12.1971. Wondering you can help me please.
    many thanks

    • Dear Helen, Thank you for your inquiry. I have transferred your question to our Ask a Librarian service, and one of our librarians will get back to you soon.

      Kind regards,

  75. Ann after many years looking have finally found my gg grandmother Sarah Morrell(Banks) under the name of Sarah Norrey. She died of starvation in the Maryborough goal. are there any records of her stay at the goal. I have her inquest but would like to find out more of her time in the goal.

    • Dear Marlene, Thank you for your inquiry. I have transferred your question to our Ask a Librarian service, and one of our librarians will get back to you soon.

      Kind regards,

  76. Alan Le Page MORRIS

    Dear Ann or is it now Carmen?

    I am researching one John Le Page supposedly from Jersey who arrived in Victoria circa 1856. In 1886 he ran into a spot of trouble by being incarcerated, in error, for not paying a fine for drunken damage in Ballarat. I suspect earlier colonial life was exemplary but not too sure how to prove that. Can you please confirm? Kind regards.

    • Hi Alan. From what I can see there appears to be at least four men named John Le Page, living in Victoria in the 1880s. If you search through various family history resources for your John Le Page and limit your searching to to a particular place and time, you will hopefully be able to see whether he was or wasn’t involved in any criminal activity.
      Three of the most useful resources for finding records of crimes are – the Trove digitised newspaper database, The Victoria, Police Gazettes (available on the Ancestry database) and the Court of Petty Sessions registers (available on the FindMyPast database). Ancestry and FindMyPast can both be accessed onsite at the State Library.
      The only records I found in the Police Gazettes relating to any John Le Page, were to do with liquor licences, or having goods stolen from their property. The Court of Petty Sessions had records for a John Le Page in Majorca and Maryborough relating to monies owed. Trove lists the event that took place in 1886, but i haven’t been able to find anything else. You might like to do some further research using these resources. I also recommend that you read our blog – How to trace your ancestor’s criminal past, which lists many other useful resources that you could use. Kind regards, Ann

  77. My Name is James McCann and I am looking for my Great Grandfather Benard Mitchell
    Looking for my Great Grandfather Bernard Mitchell from the Richmond Police Station in Victoria
    Register No 2193 DOB 00/11/1842 Appointed 14/12/1866 DOD 23/08/30
    please contact me on the email below !

    • Thank you for your query James. I have sent you an email with some relevant research information. Regards Ann.

  78. Hello Ann,
    I am after information on my grandfather Joseph Albert COOPER B. Glenorchy 7/7/1893 and d. 1965.
    I believe that he spent time in jail in Melbourne for sexual assault charges in 1950. My father said that he didn’t attend his daughter’s wedding in 1950 as he was incarcerated. Address at the time was Fogarty’s Road, Tynong North. Vic. Kind Regards, Jan

    • Hi Jan. Unfortunately the indexes to the Police Gazette do not cover the period you are researching. They do not usually list information on prisoners and those who have been charged with a crime, they focus more on wanted men and women. I had a look at the online Register of Male and Female Prisoners (1855-1948) and the Victoria Prison Registers (1855-1960) available here at the library through the FindMyPast database, but I’m afraid that I could find no record of him. You could try looking through historical newspapers for articles on his crime and arrest, however without knowing the relevant dates, this would be a lengthy process. You could also try contacting the Public Record Office Victoria to see if you can access any prison registers from the 1960s. It’s quite possible that they would not yet be available – because of privacy issues. Kind regards Ann

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