|What happened to...||Click on name to see details|
|Richard John CRICKMORE|
|Cadet ID: 1287|
|Association ID: 46|
My first attempt to join the N.S.W. Police Cadets ended in bitter disappointment - deferred - under weight - back to the Rural Bank, Parramatta - "Eat plenty of bananas!" My mate John Valdmanis and I used to go and look at the police exhibits at the Royal Easter Show. There was the famous pajama girl and the shark - tattooed arm murder cases, which absolutely fascinated us. John passed the medical first try. Oh, well, persevere! So I waited a couple of more months and applied again - got through the G.M.O this time. One of my ancestral great grandfathers, Edward Moloney, had been a member of the N.S.W. Police Force in the latter part of the 19th century. First Class Sergeant Wal Glascock, then head of the Police Wireless Section, resided just up the road from us on the corner of Dorritt & Little Streets, Lane Cove. Detective Sergeant Stanley Dugald Cameron lived just around the corner at 177 Longueville Road, Lane Cove and Inspector Ken O'Hara resided not very far away. It was my ultimate objective in life to be a policeman and a detective.
On the 8 February 1956 I reported at the Police Training Centre, Redfern with a number of other fresh police cadet recruits where I was advised by Sgt. 3/c Jack Hyslop that a cadet aged 17 years or more had to be able to not only write and transcribe shorthand at the rate of 100 words per minute but to be also proficient at typing and pass rates of 45 words per minute prior to attaining 19 years of age as one of the mandatory requirements to qualify for acceptance as a probationary constable.
The officer in charge of cadets, Sgt. l/c McCorn, then accompanied three of the fresh recruits, including yours truly, to the Police Rules Section, which at that time was located on the northern side of the quadrangle near the Traffic Infringement Office. Our duties there included updating Police Rules and Instructions which, incidentally, gave me a very good introduction to the various facets of law with which I was to be associated with in numerous capacities during my entire working life - Criminal, Mining, Environmental, Local Government, Valuation, Land, Commercial and Civil Acts in N.S.W., Queensland and Papua/New Guinea. We had only been in this section for a matter of two weeks when one of my fellow recruits aged 15 committed suicide at Liverpool over a girl friend.
The O.I.C. Police Training Centre was Inspector Jim Ferguson, Brian Ferguson (son). The
Cadet Sergeantswere Sgt. 1st Class McCorn, Sergeants 3rd Class Jock Stewart, "Bricky", Jack Hyslop, while Sgt. Len Barber and Sgt. Porche were law instructors. Drill/Gym instructors were Senior Constable Ben Hall, Constables Dave Ferguson, Roy Dykes, Brian Andrews and Barry Harris. Finallym, the Shorthand Instructors were Sgt 3rd Class Jack Hyslop, Constable 1st Class Joe Smith, and Constables Keith Belcher, Ernie Carmichael and Ron Gould until he left the force to sell AMP insurance in the latter part of 1956.
Shortly afterwards I was transferred to Regent Street No. 2 Division where I carried out telephone operations and intercepted wireless messages in a small alcove alongside of the charge room. The time spent there was very enlightening, to say the least. Les Walsh was one of the station sergeants and Jack Healey was in charge of No. 2 Detectives at that time.
During this transitional period between March/April 1956, Ian Beckett, Neil Taylor, Merv Lane, Brian Bourne and myself were learning elementary shorthand at the Metropolitan Business College, Macquarie Street, Parramatta, which was located about two blocks south of the Parramatta Police Station. On one occasion a girl sitting behind me took an epileptic fit and I managed to place a ruler in her mouth to stop her biting her tongue. The college later wrote to the Cadet Sergeants and I was permitted to read the complimentary letter. I studied very hard concentrating on learning and utilising the various phonetic outlines and grammalogues, building up my shorthand writing speed by taking down and transcribing parliamentary sessions and songs during this period. I was very concerned about the limited period that I had to pass the required shorthand and typing rates before I turned 19. Constable 1/c Joe Smith was in charge of the elementary shorthand class at that time. The cramming certainly helped me a lot because I breezed through the low speed class up to 80 words per minute in eleven working days and I was writing and transcribing shorthand at a 100 words per minute in four and a half months. This then enabled me to apply for a country transfer.
During this period we were attending the Police Training Centre on a daily basis, carrying out physical training, learning law and debating as well as participating in sport. While we were members of the N.S.W. Police Amateur Swimming and Life Saving Club, we swam mainly at the Sydney Domain Baths but on occasions held long distance swimming events at Brighton (outside of the baths). During the earlier part of 1956, various ideas were put forward as suitable "shark repellants" and on one occasion, just prior to our swimming out to the two distant buoys and returning to the shore, dry ice was used as "an efficient shark repellant". All it appeared to do was send up enormous amounts of bubbles and whilst swimming back to the beach when some cadet yelled out "Shark!" That sure encouraged everyone to treble the speed and be running by the time we reached the shore. Johnny Raper (with Ray White and Andy Lynch hanging out of the box) rang the Daily Mirror from a public telephone down the road and reported the incident. I do remember that dry ice was not used as a shark repellant on any future occasion we swam there.
After working at Regent Street for a period of about three months, I was transferred to Parramatta Police Station No. 18 Division where I carried out similar station duties - Jack Fisher was in charge of the Detectives at that time about May, 1956.
Two months later I was transferred to country duties at Maitland Police Station arriving there in early July 1956. My duties there were carried out in the Public Safety Bureau office, typing up traffic breaches for PSB officers Dick Burgess and Ted Hamilton - Inspector Dave Sutherland was in charge at Maitland, assisted by Sgt 1/c Fraser with Ted Cahill, Prosecuting Sergeants Maurie Baker and Tom Sleeman were in the detective office at that time.
For the first four weeks that I carried out duties at Maitland, I did not receive my fortnightly salary, as there was a mail strike in Sydney. Things were really tough as I was boarding in Church Street and was unable to pay my second fortnight's board until my parents had wired some money up to me. To the best of my knowledge the pay rate was seven pound twelve shillings and sixpence per week at that time because prior to my leaving home, my parents deducted five pound per week board and I had approximately two pound left, which just managed to see me through until the next fortnightly pay.
One day whilst performing duty at the old Maitland police station, which was directly behind and part of the court house, a list of stolen vehicles was broadcast over the radio from Newcastle police station and included: "Stolen - one sanitary motor truck". The on duty police constable Tommy King called Newcastle by radio and said: "We're all pretty browned off about that up here!" On another occasion, I was requested to accompany Detective Tommy Sleeman to a tennis court at East Maitland where I was directed to walk into the shelter at the rear of the courts and in a discreet manner, ask a man who had been previously identified to me by Det. Sleeman, to accompany me back to the car where he was interviewed by the detective and arrested on warrant for committing Bigamy.
In August 1956 I attended a medical examination at Maitland Hospital for National Service, which was compulsory in that decade - Hunter River Lancers. I was then transferred back to Police Training Centre, Redfern in September 1956 for initial induction of 28 Police Cadets into uniform and pedestrian crossing duties.
After the parade, I was transferred to the Public Safety Bureau, Parramatta No. 18 Division for duties on school pedestrian crossings and typing up breach reports etc. After receiving suitable instructions in signalling etc. on pedestrian crossings, I was taken out to the then pedestrian crossing adjacent to the four way intersection on Victoria Road, Rydalmere (Family Hotel corner) in motor cycle and sidecar by O.I.C. Public Safety Bureau, (Parramatta) Sgt. 3rd Class Arthur Hancock. Traffic was considerably heavy on this main road. One afternoon shortly after commencing duties and whilst operating the intersection, I had occasion to signal traffic travelling in both easterly and westerly directions in Victoria Road to stop prior to allowing school children and pedestrian traffic from the nearby factories to cross at the pedestrian crossing. The leading vehicle travelling in an easterly direction failed to stop when clearly signalled and continued east across the pedestrian crossing. All other vehicles became stationary. I obtained the registration number and typed out a breach report when returning to the station. The driver was subsequently summonsed and appeared at Parramatta Court where he pleaded "Not Guilty". Cadet Sergeant Brickell was present as an observer in the courtroom. After I had given evidence under oath, the magistrate found the offence proved and a conviction was recorded. I am not aware whether any other cadets in the first uniform intake had similar experiences or not but it was my first and one of many later court appearances. If my memory serves me correctly, the offender's name was William Henry Diggleman and he had prior convictions including for D.U.I.
At some time about November, 1956, Cadet Bill Scotcher and I were requested to attend Police Headquarters then located in Phillip Street where we were paraded before the then Commissioner of Police, Colin John Delaney and complimented on our outstanding shorthand ability. Christmas 1956 saw uniformed cadets on duty at the pedestrian crossing at George and Park Streets, Sydney and I was temporarily stationed at Clarence Street, No. 1 Division.
Between February and June 1957, I served my compulsory National Service with No. 12 Battalion, Holsworthy, N.S.W. for the first six weeks of training. Another police cadet, Nelson Chad, was also in "A" Squadron with me at that time, where we both attended O.T.C (Officer Training Course) and were promoted to the rank of corporal. For the remaining initial three month period, I was transferred for specialist duties to the Armoured School, Puckapunyal, Victoria.
After this phase of national service, I was transferred to Burwood Detectives, No. 9 Division conducting school pedestrian crossing work there as well as clerical duties in the detective office until passing my final medical, being sworn in as a probationary constable after completing the inductional class at the Redfern Police Training Centre during August/September 1957.
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Subsequently, I worked in the capacity of insurance investigator, handling contentious matters arising from workers compensation, third party, public risk liability and other mercantile claims, as well as carrying out external and internal security audits. However, owing to the 1962 recession and being the last employee on, naturally I was the first to go. Retrenchment compelled me to broaden my employment scope and I diversified by obtaining employment on progress planning work associated with boiler production for the Hazelwood, Vales Point and Mossman power stations, at Babcock & Wilcox, Regents Park N.S.W. This was a completely new experience which gave me an insight into the various phases of boiler manufacture from inception including drafting, reading drawings and production planning, through the various stages such as procurement, marking out, welding, cold and hot pipe bending, X-raying of joints, heat treatment, fitting and turning, machining and sometimes assembly prior to final despatch to the various sites for construction.
After spending three years with Babcocks, I joined the production planning department at Hawker de Havilland, Milperra, N.S.W. which had the contract for the manufacture of the initial batch of 75 Macchi jets for the R.A.A.F. My duties there entailed the partial translating of Italian blueprints and bills of materials into Australian; then compiling materials procurement schedules, incorporating priority job numbers and parts coding for subsequent evaluation data processing (the forerunner for computers in 1965-66). To assist me in this phase of the planning operation, I had a design draughtsman and two aeronautical cadets working for me. There were three stages to the overall planning, i.e. working from the original Italian drawings, converting their metric quantities to our imperial (this was before the introduction and changeover to metric conversion in Australia); and then upon receiving the amended drawings from the drawing office, I initiated a stores card indexing system incorporating the parts and job coding from the previously compiled materials procurement schedules and commenced requisitioning sufficient materials through the Department of Supply to enable the manufacture of the sub-assembly components for the initial batch of 75 aircraft, that is, with the exception of all hard core items such as extrusions etc; which were to be supplied by Italy for installation in the Macchi jets.
Just prior to Xmas 1966, I applied for the position of private secretary to the general manager of Placer Development Limited in Bulolo, New Guinea. Placer was a large gold mining and development company, which had taken over Bulolo Gold Dredging after the Second World War and also had a half share of Commonwealth New Guinea Timbers Limited. I was interviewed for this position by the General Manager in Goldfields House, Circular Quay and was successful in obtaining the position as advertised as private secretary to the general manager of Placer.
Acting in this capacity and at management's direction, I carried out internal security audits into a number of departments and resulting from these investigations, caused a number of major changes and various cost reductions and security controls to be implemented, producing substantial and ongoing savings for the company as well as improved profitability from a number of departments.
Shortly afterwards, I was appointed to the position of Stores Superintendent, where I was entirely responsible for the administration, supervision and control of the company's seven stores, mess and bakery, employing some 25 expatriates and 48 Papua New Guineans. Purchasing, costing, stock, security, fire control, together with associated shipping and transport co-ordination, particularly for repetitive consumable stocks, were also part of my responsibilities. Whilst in Bulolo and Lae, I was also an active member of the Royal Papua New Guinea Reserve Constabulary where I gained local experience in criminal investigations and other matters pertaining to law enforcement. I was presented with a plaque by the then Commissioner of Police, Robert Cole, and later promoted to Constable 1st class.
There was ample opportunity to participate in various sporting activities in the Territory and I was fortunate enough to excel at some of these, winning as Billiards Champion, Bulolo New Guinea 1967-1970 and Medal of Medallists through the range, Bulolo Small Bore Rifle Club, 1968-1969. Towards the end of 1970 when my wife was expecting our first child, pre-natal complications arose which necessitated her receiving close medical attention which was not available in Bulolo and, unfortunately, I had to resign from my position with Placer and moved to Lae where I obtained employment as Tyre and Accessory Manager with Tutt Bryant on a temporary basis until my wife had recovered sufficiently after a complicated child birth to enable us to repatriate to Australia the following year.
In January, 1971, my wife, our three weeks old baby daughter and I were residing in Lae when a very severe earthquake measuring 6.7 on the Richter Scale with the epicentre at Karkar Island, near Madang, hit at about 3.00am in the morning. (Yapping dogs always give you a few seconds warning, that is if you are awake at the time). Owing to the high and constant humidity on the coastal plains, I had got into the habit of sleeping in the nude and after being rudely awakened in the dark, I quickly tried to put on a pair of shorts but found it was my wife's slip instead! This particular tremor was quite a traumatic experience; when trying to move, it could only be likened to being on the "turkey trot" at Luna Park, Sydney; in other words, moving but not getting very far for one's efforts. Three severe after shocks occurred during the course of the following four days but fortunately each tremor was diminishing in size.
After returning to Australia, I carried out further insurance investigation work before being specifically employed as titles officer with Cudgen R.Z. Limited, a mineral sands company operating from Kingscliff on the far north coast of N.S.W. As titles officer, my duties included maintaining continuity of action for processing of titles and associated property management, including land tax, royalties, valuations, rates and rentals, in addition to establishing a good working relationship with government departments to ministerial, secretary and director levels. My other duties covered, inter alia, company attorney and agent, preparation of documentation for board approval, public relations, litigation and court representations, legal preparations, negotiations, rationalisation, liaison with governmental bodies and instrumentalities, environmental planning and preparation of both declarations of environmental factors and impact statements, lodgement of development applications, together with the interpretation and application of various acts, regulations and ordinances associated with mining and the environment.
In 1975 I was transferred from Kingscliff to the group’s head office located in the M.M.I Building, Queen Street, Brisbane, where my duties were further broadened Australia wide as Titles Officer for Cudgen R.Z Limited, Minsands Exploration Limited and Consolidated Rutile Limited (the group of companies then controlled by Union Corporation of South Africa), I also carried out the duties as rehabilitation manager and supervised working parties of between 10 to 50 personnel as well as being responsible for budgeting, costing and preparation of relevant returns to government departments.
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I also carried out duties associated with my appointment as a Justice of the Peace in New South Wales on the 6th June1979.
After being retrenched in 1982 through a severe retraction in the industry, I obtained work as a commercial sub-agent with Dun & Bradstreet Limited at Newcastle, until forming my own company, Co-Ordinated Investigations Pty. Limited, A.C.N. 002 608 040, in May 1983. From that date until the 30 September 2004 when I retired burnt out, I had been operating that company, initially from Newcastle and finally at Largs N.S.W. This work was varied and amongst other things, entailed the carrying out of various criminal investigations, including a number of homicide matters, organised crime, accident investigations, process serving, commercial debt collection work, court appearances representing numerous clients, all associated administrative and accounting tasks, computer operation and other facets relative to the normal running of a small business with G.S.T. I was also a member of the National Association of Investigators, the Australian Insurance Institute and had been appointed a Justice of the Peace for the State of Queensland by the Department of Justice on the 24th November 1988 by gazettal but subsequently returned to New South Wales late in l988 without performing this function interstate.
On 28 December 1989 I was residing on the hill in Church Street, Newcastle, not very far away from the Cathedral, which was virtually at the epicentre of the shallow Newcastle earthquake, which measured 5.7 on the Richter scale. At about 10.35am that morning I was just in the throes of leaving the front door of my third floor unit when the earthquake occurred. This catastrophic episode could be likened to a large explosion, completely different to the type of earthquakes I had previously experienced in New Guinea. There was only the one extreme movement which struck with devastating force causing the building to sway at least one metre backwards and forwards, tossing loose items such as vases, radios and other items from one side of the room to the other. Almost simultaneously, I heard a resounding thump, which did not appear to be very far away. I looked out the unit window in a northerly direction towards the Stockton Bridge and although the bridge appeared to be intact, there was a huge flame leaping into the sky from nearby B.H.P. In an endeavour to ascertain the cause of the noise, I quickly went to the rear of my unit and looked out but all I could see was a large cloud of dust. Subsequently, I ascertained that part of the Workers Club in King Street, Newcastle had collapsed killing at least nine people. Another two people were killed in the nearby Hamilton area and quite a few people were injured. Structural damage near the epicentre in Newcastle and adjacent suburbs was very substantial but as they say, occasionally good things come from bad. The lower Hunter area had been going through a downturn and the construction and associated repair work generated by the quake provided a great stimulation to the local economy which has really never looked back since.