Ex-Police Cadets
Association of NSW

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Bryan Boyd KELAHER
Cadet ID: 261
Association ID: 430

I joined the Cadets in 1940 with twelve others.  After about 12 months, I stood for the Silver Baton Competition which finally came down to Jack McNeill and me and so, to separate us, they gave us a shorthand test to decide who would win.  Naturally, when they were not looking, we exchanged notes and we both put in a perfect transcription.  The result showed that somehow we had put our heads together and the Cadet Sergeant, CJ Delaney, gave us a blast and made us do a fresh test. It turned out they couldn’t separate us so we both received 12 months’ seniority and they decided it would be a waste of time putting us through the class.  As far as I know, we were the only two cadets not to go through the three months initial training.


I picked up my uniform from the building beside the gym, got changed in the gym, and Sergeant 1/c Delaney told me I was attached to No. 3 Division.  So I jumped aboard a tram to Darlinghurst and walked into the Station.  The Station Sergeant was Mick O’Connor who looked me up and down and grunted, “Go over to Kings Cross and relieve Ahearn for lunch.” Being a good country boy I enquired where Kings Cross was located and was told, “Go and find out!”


I walked out of the Station and saw the Traffic Constable from Taylor’s Square was giving a taxi driver a blast.  I walked over and said, “The Station Sergeant told me to handle this matter.”  I walked around the cab, got in the front seat, and said to the driver, “Take me to Kings Cross.”  On arrival, I looked him in the eye and said, “You owe me a favour and I will remember it.” He nodded his head and the question of the fare never arose.  Such was my first day in the Force.


It did not take long before I went to the CIB in Central Lane because I was a shorthand writer – there being no tape recorders in those days.  I was paired off with Ray Kelly for some years which was a real strain on the nerves.  We were involved in a number of shootouts and I was present several times when the Coroner found that a criminal had committed suicide rather than be arrested.


Later I was transferred from CIB Central to Glebe and spent 8 years working with Detective Sergeant Blissett (“The Blizzard”) which was the hardest period of my life.  Crime was forbidden in Glebe and we made it very unhealthy for criminals as they could live there but it did not matter what they did elsewhere (unless it was very serious).  Blissett was the most dedicated detective I have ever known and we not only did our own area but helped out in Balmain and Regent Street.


I “fell out of favour” over one incident and so was transferred to Police Boys Club at the Police Training Centre in uniform (being the greatest possible insult to any hardworking detective).  It became evident I was not expected to work and they merely wanted me to resign.  It did not take long for me to realise that getting back to plainclothes would be impossible so I went to Sydney University on a night time course and did Valuation and Town Planning, graduating in both.


I applied for and got a job as a Valuer with the NSW Valuer General’s Department but when I submitted my resignation Commissioner Norm Allan stopped my appointment and refused to accept my resignation.  The Valuer General thought I had been given a “rough deal” and organised with his opposite number in Queenslandto get me a job there.  I took three months extended leave to take up this appointment and then resigned because Allan could not get at me there.  I stayed there until I retired in 1980.


Then I opened my own valuation business on the Gold Coast and did motor trade valuation work for Nic Politis, who also ran the Eastern Suburbs Rugby League team.  Finally I retired in 2006 when I was 85 years of age.


I joined the Gold Coast Branch of the Retired Police Association some years ago to keep in touch with former colleagues.


Socially, I have been a fanatical member of the Surf Life Saving Association for the last 65 years.  While in Sydney I was with the Bronte SLSC and during 25 years of patrols, I missed only one. There was a State Carnival at Bondi at which the Queen was present and gave me an SLSA award.  I came to Queensland in 1965 and joined Greenmount SLSC where I am still active but only for administrative purposes.


My only real failure in life was shorthand writing.  I thought I was “the best” but two years in a row I was beaten for the Pitman Gold Medal by Miss Hornblower who wrote at 190 words per minute against my best of 180 wpm.  She was simply too good.


I look forward to getting a telegram from the Queen in due course.


In summary: the then Commissioner, William John MacKay lined us up and said, “How am I going to keep the boys down on the farm?”  He then outlined how we would receive seniority for hard work to stay in the Police Force.  The members of my group were dedicated to PROTECTING THE PUBLIC and we did so. What we had trouble with was handling the dislike and victimization by senior officers who had no ability, did nothing, and were promoted on seniority in their order on the Seniority List.