Ex-Police Cadets
Association of NSW

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Frank MILLS - Part I [6 June 2008] transcribed from an oral interview
Frank MILLS - Part I [6 June 2008] transcribed from an oral interview
Cadet ID: 123
Association ID: 29




30 DECEMBER 2006


Frank Mills is 89 Years of age.  He was born in 1919 and joined the police cadets in 1936.  Whilst performing duty at Howlong he was thrown from his police horse and suffered a severe back injury placing him on light duties for the remainder of his service.   He was the last mounted policeman to serve in the NSW Police Force in the field.


Ian Granland: When were you born Frank?


FRANK MILLS: I was born in Manly NSW, on the 18 January 1919. I am one of nine children;  I was the eight.  There was a drought on at Tottenham where our family lived, [a small Central West town in NSW].  It was hot so my mother decided to go to Manly for my birth.  I was born in the front bedroom of the house there without the aide of any doctor or midwife etc.


Ian Granland: What school did you attend?


FRANK MILLS: I went to Tottenham Primary School, Parkes Intermediate High School and then I had one year at Orange High School.  The depression got harder and harder and my father said he couldn’t afford to keep me at school because my younger sister was about to start so I had to pull out of school.


Ian Granland: What was growing up in Tottenham like?


FRANK MILLS: Tottenham didn’t have much going for it particularly in the depression; The town had one policeman and about 250 people.  We used to play cricket in the back yard and occasionally roll the tennis courts when the grown-ups didn’t want to play.  I don’t think we had a football team around that time.


The town was founded in about 1901.  Copper was found there and in 1916 they wanted copper for the war effort so they brought the rail line through and they also brought hundreds of men to clear the land so wheat could be grown to feed Britain.  It was a big enterprise until the end of the war, then copper wasn’t wanted so the mines closed down and the wheat fields were broken up into smaller farms so the area became a farming settlement.  Some went for wheat and others for sheep.


Ian Granland: What did you father do for a living?


FRANK MILLS: My father opened the first general store in Tottenham.  Being the storekeeper he also was the real estate agent and the stock and station agent.  My eldest brother was the first child born in the town.  Again no doctors or midwife.  The nearest doctor was 80 miles away at Trundle and that was a long way to drive a horse and sulky.


Ian Granland: What did you do at Tottenham? 


FRANK MILLS: Other things to fill my time as a kid was kangaroo shooting, setting rabbit traps to catch rabbits, riding horses then of an afternoon you had to find the milking cow, lock the calf up and chop the firewood for the house. Split up the blocks.  There was always something to do.


Sometimes they couldn’t get the eleven men for the cricket team and if you were around they would slip you in even if you were only 10 or 11 (years of age).


Ian Granland: Was yours a religious family?


FRANK MILLS: We weren’t a particularly religious family but we believed in god. There were three churches in the town when I was there but no resident minister or priest.  They came from Trundle and came out to do their service, have lunch with someone in town and then get on their horse and sulky and drive back.  There were no cars much in those days. 


Ian Granland: What did you do when you left school?


FRANK MILLS: One of my brothers was employed in the store so there was no room there for two of us so I applied for the post office, the railway, the bank , anything that was going. 


As Dad was the stock and station agent, if he sent  more than four truck loads of sheep to Sydney , that entitled you to send a man down free of charge and return fare to keep the sheep upright etc. Well on one occasion my father had eight loads of sheep going down that he was agent for so my brother Eddie and I were given the job and Eddie was keen to join the police force.  He already had a batchelor of agriculture but he couldn’t get a job.  So when we arrived at the Flemington Sales Yards we handed over the sheep and then went into Central (Railways Station) where we had a shower and a bit of breakfast then went out to the police depot at Redfern.


Eddie was a quarter of an inch too short.  Rolly McKeechie was the recruitment sergeant and he eyed me off and said “What about your little brother?” I had no idea that there was such a thing as a police corps.  They measured me and were about to start the dictation test, which was taken from the editorial in the Sydney Morning Herald, for the group, and there were a lot of applicants in those in those days , so I joined in.  There were lots of words in the test that I hadn’t even heard of but I got through and through the mathematics as well.  Whilst I was at Orange at the high school I was doing an after hours course in shorthand and typing, so that gave me a bit of a start.  Then they sent us down to the Board of Health, which I think was down at the bottom of Macquarie Street somewhere, where the doctors checked us out.  Then after we went back to the depot they told me that I might hear from them in due course.


Then 3 months later, the local policeman, Constable Victor Burgess, came over and told me that I had been selected and that I was to be in Sydney on 15 September 1936 and they gave me a requisition for a single rail ticket for Sydney.  My mother knew someone in Sydney where I could board so that was all arranged and I was to report on the Friday Morning at 10:00am to Regent Street Police Station.


Ian Granland: How did that all happen?


FRANK MILLS: When I arrived there no-one seemed to be very interested in me, bar a Sergeant Douglass, and he said “If you if you spell my name correctly with two “s’s” at the end you and me will be good friends.  Well he turned out to be almost a father to me.  His son Reg Douglass joined one year later.  He steered me in the right track.  I learnt to work the switch.  There was no radio in those days you took every message down and my bit of shorthand was helping.  Then I typed them up.


The police force really opened my eyes.  Pubs closed at 6:00pmin those days and I had never seen a woman drunk before let alone lift her skirt and urinate on the floor and be told to get a bucket and clean it up and I thought “Ohhh – I’m going home”.  The next day, well we worked 48 hours a week – 6 days.  I got three pound fourteen a fortnight ($7.40) and the next day I was to start at 8:00am and just about lunch time I was called into the Inspector’s office and I thought “umm – I’m in trouble” but the Inspector said ”Would you take this packet of cigarettes to the kiosk around the corner, it’s the wrong ones.”  So I took it around and came back.  Another half hour or so later on “Son will you take them back, they are still the wrong one”.  At that stage Sergeant Douglass said “Don’t take any more cigarettes around there” and he went in and slammed the door and I could hear him bellowing at this inspector. I was carrying SP bets around to the kiosk.  Yes, that was one of the lessons in life.


Ian Granland:  So Frank you didn’t start at the police depot.


FRANK MILLS: No, it was Regent Street for those two days and then on the Monday the instruction was that we had to report to the gymnasium section at 8:00am with sandshoes, a pair of shorts and a singlet.  No mention of soap and a towel and of course I turned up with neither. I was met by a senior cadet, Ken Frost, he’d been appointed to look after me.  There were four of us joined at the one time: Bill Wright – he’d jumped on a shark out from the old Coogee Pier and was given some bravery award and lots of cash donations, he was a big hero.  I think he got cadet number 124, I was given 123, Alan Power was given was given 122 and Rex Waddington, the other fellow was given 121. 


Rex was a very French horn player and he more or less straight away went into the police band.  He was the only that I know of who ever wore a police uniform.  I think they swore him in as a special constable so they could get away with that.  Rex is still alive but I don’t think his memory is too good.  He lives down around Nowra way.


Alan Power is dead and Bill Wright never made 18 months in the job.  He used to come to work in a taxi cab.  In those days we were flat out getting a penny to travel down to Central Railway Station.


Ian Granland: How old were you when you joined?


FRANK MILLS: I was about sixteen and a half.


Ian Granland: What age were you when you were sworn in?


FRANK MILLS: Twenty one.  And we stayed on three pound fourteen until the day we were sworn in.  I had to continue with my shorthand and typing and pay for that myself.  I went to Williams Business College.  It was somewhere down near Angel Place (Sydney).  Norman Allen, who was then at headquarters and who later ended up as Commissioner, seemed to have his finger on the pulse because if you missed any of your nights at the college he would find out and your sergeant would chat you up asking what happened.  But eventually I got my speed up to 140wpm and didn’t have to attend any more which was a bit of a saving.


Ian Granland: What did you do when you went to the gymnasium on that Monday?


FRANK MILLS: We just fell in and this Ken Frost who was looking after me just told me what to do, get your gear on, strip along with the eight or ninety of us. There were no pegs to hang you clothes, you just threw them on the floor.  Someone had given me a little old gladston bag which I kept my lunch in.  Just remember in those days there were no plastic bags, you just had it in a brown paper bag.  Anyhow we got outside and lined up.  There was no welcome to the four new cadets.  Harry Bamford was the assistant.  He was a constable first class and there was sergeant Bruce Grigger. He was the sergeant in charge of us. He was a twin.  He and his brother had joined the British navy and served their time.  His brother went onto become an Admiral in the UK and Bruce came out here and joined the NSW Police.  He had this awful habit that looking at you and if you smiled he would put you down for ‘silent contempt’ and for that you would do an extra run around the ‘oval’. Everyone would do three laps and you would have to do four.  He was a tough old boy.  We had some good runners, two or three were competing in the state and they’d leave us for miles.


Ian Granland: What did you do then?


FRANK MILLS: Well you would shower and then it was a scramble because the hot water system didn’t last to long and I remember Ken Frost told me (laughs) , he lent me his soap, I didn’t have soap, “If you drop the soap, don’t bend over to pick it up, we’ve got one amongst us” And, I, being a country boy didn’t have a clue what he meant.  Well it turned out that we did have one amongst us and he was sacked as a sergeant in due course.  I’m not going to give any names (laughs).


Ian Granland:  How long did you live at – did you say Burwood?


FRANK MILLS: I stayed at Burwood until I was nearly 19, I think.  We used to do our gymnasium when they were building boys clubs at Hornsby, Parramatta, the one out at St George and one out at Cronulla I think.  We used do carnivals on the Saturdays because it got you out of going to your normal office or where every you were working on the Saturday and we go there and do displays and they used to have the Grace Bros. girls they’d come along from their gymnasium and they’d join us.  It was all good fun.  Made life a bit easier.  But we got shoved around various … after Regent Street, I went to Police Headquarters.


Ian Granland: How long did you spend at Regent Street?


FRANK MILLS: Ohhh – that’s a long while ago, I think about six months.  They moved us around on a fairly regular pattern, so went to Headquarters and worked in the correspondence section there writing up indexes and filing and occasionally they would get us to ride a big … after I’d learnt to ride the Harley Davidsons, sometimes you’d be sent down to the GPO in Martin Place.  You’d get into Pitt Street, then you’d go down a hole, down underneath the the GPO with a Harley Davidson and a big box about seven feet long instead of a side car and you’d have to lift all your mail sacks into that and then coming back up, it was a good slope and there’d be a chap up on the footpath – a GPO employee with a red flag – and he’d wave you out when it was time to come out and the trams were up the main street and things of that nature.  All hair raising, good fun.


Ian Granland:  So you would take a motor bike and side car from headquarters and pick up all the mail?


FRANK MILLS: Yes pick it up, from box 45.  Used to be the police mail box.  There’d be … some days you’d do three trips with about seven on board. Mondays and Tuesdays things would be very heavy, probably seven big bags each load and when you got back you would have to lump them up the stairs.  There was no lift, you would have to lump them up the stairs to the mail room, someone would sort them and you’d go back and get the others.


Ian Granland: Would you have a uniform them?


FRANK MILLS:  No, some days … on a wet day someone at the patrol yard would loan you a wet suit coat.  I’m not sure of the protection you got.


Ian Granland:  So there was no lift in headquarters then?


FRANK MILLS: There was a lift, but that was reserved for officers and gentlemen in those days.


Ian Granland: Was there any suggestion that you might live-in at Bourke Streetin those days?


FRANK MILLS: That came when you were sworn in, yes.  I got into a bit of a predicament when I was approaching 19 and I had to be eleven stone seven – for my height.  I think I was five foot eleven and I couldn’t make it and the police surgeon at the time sent out a letter saying that if I didn’t make it they would dispense with my services. 


For quite a long while before that I used to keep an apple core or carrot called ‘Stormy’ and Sergeant Windsor, who was in charge of the horses had told me earlier never give them sugar but it was alright to give them a carrot.  He asked me if I knew how to feed a horse and I said, yes you put it in the palm of your hand so it can’t bite you fingers.  He asked if I could ride a horse and I said yes so this went on for … I’d say, two years and he’d always say g’day.  Well this went on for two years or so and I told him of my predicament I said I don’t think I’ll be here much longer, he asked why and I told him.  Anyhow within about  … before I went on my 19th birthday they  transferred me as the first cadet to go to the police stables. A week later, Alan Neilson came over, there were two of us, we used to ride horses over to Centennial Park every morning.  They gave us a pair of leggings and a pair of breaches but no sign … well the horses going out those days they didn’t wear police uniform they just  … the fellows just wore a shirt or jacket.  We’d exercise the horses out at Centennial Park, come back, groom them, muck the stables out, things like that.  Issue petrol, because the petrol bowser at the stables used to be for Darlinghurst, Redfern, Randwick.  They’d all come in for petrol.  It was one of those old ones you pumped up by hand and you had to keep records, make ‘em sign for it and things like that.


Ian Granland:  So did you go from police headquarters to the stables?


FRANK MILLS: No, ah no, I’d been elsewhere.  I’d been to Fingerprints, Modus Operandi , I had a little stint at No. 7 (division – Redfern) and I was two days at the fingerprints and the next thing this transfer came to the mounted section.  The fingerprints in those days was out in the same … at the police depot.  It had been at the CIB for ages, where the Modus Operandi Section used to be.  They were moving out there or something, I didn’t get a chance to learn much about fingerprints.


Ian Granland:  So the Modus Operandi Section was at Central Lane at one stage?


FRANK MILLS: It was at Central Lane all the time, yes.


Ian Granland: Where abouts at Central Lane?


FRANK MILLS: In the CIB Building, it was on the third floor.  A fellow named Fred … another cadet  Freddy Howell, or Storky as they used to call him.  And ah, they dispensed with his services because he was always tripping over.  A hell of a good breast stroke swimmer.  About six foot three and he looked like a stork, that’s why they called him Storky. And, ah he went to England and joined the Royal Navy.  His father was in charge of the fire brigade at Wollongong.  Someone told me later that when Storky was an able seaman about the HMS Cossak, she went into intercept the German … this was when the war had started, the German prisoner of war boat, the Aultmark, Storky tripped between the two boats and they lost him in the English Channel.


There were about seven cadets at the Modus Operandi.  All we did … if there was a stolen watch and it was described as ‘from Lucy to Jarrand’, well you put ‘from Lucy from Jarrand’ on the card and things like that.  The detectives would then come in and say “I’ve got a watch here with Lucy to Jarrand” on it they would get the card and it would be returned to the owner.  Might have been stolen at Dubbo but they would know where it was.


Ian Granland: How many cadets were at Fingerprints with you, do you remember that?


FRANK MILLS: Merv Wood was there.  He stayed most of his service at Fingerprints.  No I don’t remember how many cadets were there.


Ian Granland:  Where abouts was the Cadet Sergeants Office?

FRANK MILLS: We didn’t have a Cadets Sergeants Office.  I don’t know where Griggy went to after he gave us our training.  Went somewhere.


Ian Granland: And did you do law training as well?


FRANK MILLS: Only when we started the actual trainee class is when you got your law instruction.


Ian Granland: What about public speaking, did you do that?


FRANK MILLS: They used to get us debating classes but it wasn’t public speaking.


Ian Granland:  So your shorthand hadn’t started either then?


FRANK MILLS: Oh yes I was a competent shorthand writer.


Ian Granland: Yes, but you did that by yourself?


FRANK MILLS: No, No, there were no shorthand classes within the department. Jack Hyslop started that much later.


Ian Granland:  Was he with you, Jack Hyslop?


FRANK MILLS: He was ahead of us.  He saw a good lurk there and got away with it.


Ian Granland:  Was only one cadet sergeant and a first class constable?


FRANK MILLS: Yes.   We used to go to Coogee Aquarium for our swimming lessons, got the bronze medallion out there after a couple of years.  Summer time we wouldn’t go to the depot for gym we would go straight to Coogee and have your swim and do your lesson in life saving and things of that nature. 


And we did the St John Ambulance.  They used to come and give us instructions.  We’d do the wrapping of each other up in bandages, something different.


Ian Granland:  So you said there was about 80 or 90 cadets when you joined?


FRANK MILLS: Doing the gym course, yes I think we were always about 90 strong and there were always about 10 or 12 going down to the police rowing club, they would do rowing rowing instead of physical culture.  Merv Wood was one.  We never saw much of Merv until it was time to do some display, he’d be there somewhere.


Ian Granland:  So did you all know each other?


FRANK MILLS: Pretty well, yes.


Ian Granland: And when did you start doing displays and gymnastics. How did that all happen?


FRANK MILLS: I would say that was on from 1938 was 150 years of Australia, the sesquicentennial.  Prior to that we used to do a police and firemans carnival, every year, out on the Sydney Showground.  The sesquicentennial we would march but I got a crook ankle so they dressed me up as a passenger on a railway train on a float with the girls. That was good fun that day so I just stayed out there.  Had a top hat on looking like a bloke from the 1880s.


Ian Granland: How were you treated by the police as a cadet?


FRANK MILLS:  Most of them were very good to us.  There was one fellow in particular we all didn’t get on with.  A fellow named Don Ferguson.  His father was the Metropolitan Superintendent which in those days was the third highest rank.  Don had been to the Olympic Games in ’36 with the rowing team.  He would come into the M.O. Section and he treated us like … ah … how can I say … a bit of dirt. 


Ian Granland: Was he a cadet?


FRANK MILLS: No he was a policeman.  And he was one there that … no he was right against us, against the lot of us.  He finished up as the Detective Superintendent in Charge of the CIB.


Ian Granland: What other studies did you undertake as a cadet?


FRANK MILLS: Birds … um (laughs) female birds.  Nothing  else. We were required to study the police rules and instruction book and I was a bit lucky when I was at the mounted stables. Ron Livermoore was the second in charge and he wanted to pass the sergeants exam so I used to question him.  Questions and answers,  I used to type them up – the questions and he’d give me the answers and I’d check them all and I’d used to… I knew where the previous sergeants examination papers were from headquarters were so I’d get all the questions from those and I make sure he knew all the correct answers.  That was to be a great stead to me because later on Alan Neilson and I, we made up a booklet and the whole class that started on the 3 July 1939, one hundred and fifty three of us, they all wanted a copy of the booklet, so we had it printed up, someone recommended we got a commendation over it and the Commissioner of Police thought it was a great idea and we got commended on the wonderful book we produced and for years after it someone copied that book and used to sell it from somewhere over Manly way.


Ian Granland: Have you still got a copy of that book?


FRANK MILLS: No (laughs). Had it for years but it would be out of date now.


Ian Granland: When did you get sworn in?


FRANK MILLS: On my birthday, the eighteenth of January 1940.


Ian Granland:  Had shorthand been brought in as part of the curriculum by then?


FRANK MILLS: Yes.  The ruling was then I think that if you couldn’t do 120 words a minute they would not confirm you at the end of your probation; at the end of your first years service.  There were a lot got caught.  Rex Waddington was one.  He was senior to me by age and – ah, been sworn in before me he got ah, well behind me. There were quite a lot got caught.


Ian Granland: And who was running the shorthand then?  Jack Hyslop?


FRANK MILLS: No.  I think Hyslop must have started during the war years.  Our class started on the 3rdJuly there were about … there was total of 153 and I think 25 of those could have been cadets and umm, one cadet got the sack two days before the class started and they ah, grabbed Reggie Douglass and he dropped and he was a year … he was one exactly one year and a couple of days younger than me.  They brought him forward and I think Reg might have been the last of the Metropolitan Superintendents before they changed all the ranking system.


Ian Granland: Have you ever used shorthand in your service, in your life?


FRANK MILLS: Ah.  They transferred me to Wagga to learn to be a detective out there and, I took a statement from a  girl who tossed her baby in the canal and that was … that was produced in court and it wasn’t queried.  Ummm - quite a few times I’d used shorthand, yes.  Ah, I … they also used to … because I was out that area there was a police inquiry, entered, an internal police going I would be taken away and do the shorthand for that and, on two or three appeals  when the police had been dealt, my shorthand was never queried.  But it gradually slowed down you could keep up if you weren’t using it.


Ian Granland: What hours did you work as a cadet?


FRANK MILLS: It was six days a week.  The gymnasium was always 8:00am till … 8:00am then you would go down to wherever you were working then you would knock off at4:30.  On the Saturday you would go straight to your branch or station wherever you were working.  That might be a bit altered you might be told to be there at 9 o’clock instead of 8 and things like that.


Ian Granland: Did you work police headquarters and the M O section of a Saturday?




Ian Granland:  So everyone in society worked of a Saturday?


FRANK MILLS: Yes.  It was a 48 hour week.  I think it might have been 1948 before it became a 40 hour week.  I was at … Through the war years it was decided we should give one day a week extra and that was supposed to raise money for the spitfire fund or something so we worked 13 days out of the 14.  No overtime.  You never mentioned overtime.


Ian Granland: Did you get time off in lieu for overtime?


FRANK MILLS: Ahhh .  If you were game enough to look for it and ask for it. It was just part and parcel of life you worked the hours and that was it.


Ian Granland: And at police headquarters.  Were there all cars underneath and motor bikes, there was no horses there?


FRANK MILLS: There was no horses were at police headquarters.  All the horses were out at the stables and well they are still are under that new agreement with the monks who bought the depot … the police depot is now owned by some monks and ahh, but the stables are heritage and they’ve got a peppercorn lease for 99 years I believe.  I went down to the opening of the new stables its very, very nice. Stainless steel  horse troughs.  We used to have to walk round with buckets of water.  They have their own troughs now, never empties.  Their meal comes down in one shoot into their stainless steel bins.  Theres no need to get amongst them.


Ian Granland: How long did you spend at the stables as a cadet?


FRANK MILLS: I was there from the time I was 19 until I was 21.  Nearly two years.


Ian Granland: And you put that weight on – obviously?


FRANK MILLS: No, at that stage I umm, I had moved out of Burwood into a boarding house about 200 yards from the stables in Redfern.  I was doing some … competing in some amateur wrestling - for the police. I won it for two years, in 1938 and ’39 while I was still a cadet.  And the police team used to come and wrestle in the gymnasium.  And Stan Windsor, who was the sergeant in charge of the mounted used to often say “Come on over, I want to see you wrestling”  I’d go over there and mix it with the big boys and the little boys and occasionally I get a wrestle out at Leichhardt Stadium on the quiet and get four pounds for it.  The promoter got one pound, the bloke who minded your clothes, gave you a locker and loaned you a pair of wrestling boots, he got a pound (laughs) you got two pounds for getting bashed about for four rounds or so.


Ian Granland: Wasn’t bad money though.


FRANK MILLS:  Good money. It made a difference between starving, well not starving you had that extra bit of pocket money.


Ian Granland: How did you put that weight on you spoke about earlier?


FRANK MILLS: Well, because I was a mounted man, they didn’t seem to worry about me getting to be eleven seven.  I was still wrestling at eleven four but I could lift it up and lift it down sort of business, and (laughs) I might mention that throughout my life I’ve been around fourteen seven and I’m still around 14 stone 7. When I think of all the fat guys they had in those days that couldn’t climb up the ropes in the gym and couldn’t run around there was one of the Bowies, there was two Bowie boys.  The elder Bowie, nice fellow, Alex, he became a judge in the finish. A good barrister then became a judge.


Ian Granland: Was he a cadet?


FRANK MILLS: He was a cadet.  Umm, his brother, what was his name.  We always called him ‘Guts’.  Umm Guts and a detective named Ahearn went out to Long Bay one morning to pick up a criminal and bring him into court over something and, Ahearn trusted Bowie to receive the prisoner and as Bowie said afterwards he wouldn’t have expected a prisoner to have a gun in his pocket and Bowie ran and Ahearn got shot, shot dead. Bowie didn’t last too long.  I did hear he started a private inquiry agents or something up in Queensland


Ian Granland: Did he get sacked over it?


FRANK MILLS: I don’t know whether they sacked him or he decided that , you know, whether it was your proper…. Don’t know all the details of that.


Ian Granland: Was he a cadet then?


FRANK MILLS: No, No, he was a young trainee detective.  His father was a detective inspector.  You know, if you had a dad who was an inspector in those days you got on pretty well in the force.  They looked after them.


Ian Granland: How many holidays did you get then Frank, when you were a cadet?


FRANK MILLS:  Fourteen days.


Ian Granland: Would you go home.


FRANK MILLS: Umm, yes, on the train and out to Tottenham.


Ian Granland: What type of things did you get up to as a cadet?  Anything unusual or …?


FRANK MILLS: There were plenty of jokes played, I suppose..  I don’t know, it was a pretty pleasant life.  Sing under the showers.  There was a few good singers.  Old father Thames was one of their favourites I think.  We’d beef that out, the whole lot of us.  The ahh, the … police radio was there and a great big aerial used to come all the way across above the oval, the green grass and we used to take great delight in trying to kick a football up to kick that and when it did a fellow, a fellow named Salmon, Soccer O’Salmon, was the sergeant in charge and he’d have his headphones on, cause I’m talking of the days then when it was all morse code, two or three radio cars only had morse code and if you hit that it would get static and bloody … he would come out flying. We knew when to scoot back inside, “who's kicked the ball was never found out…”


Ian Granland: Did they have a canteen at the training centre in those days?




Ian Granland: Well where were your classrooms?


FRANK MILLS: The classrooms were   … they built a brand new building over the … armory was down underneath, we had three classrooms over it.  That would be on the western wall of the police depot.  You have the gymnasium on the eastern side and that would have been on the western (I think he means the southern side).  Our class of 153 cleaned up.  You had all the foot police up the front, then there were five cadets in that room, more foot police and more cadets and then the mounted men were behind that were there with the rest of the cadets.


Ian Granland: Were the mounted men separate?


FRANK MILLS: Yeah, because they came in … they got their numbers after, it was a bit unfair.  If you have a look at the classes of those days the foot police always got their numbers and … and you were promoted by that numerical system. 


Ian Granland:  So - mounted police, were they only mounted police in the academy then or were there still mounted police out in the bush?


FRANK MILLS: Oh yes, still had them in the bush.  I was the last of the mounted police at Howlong.  I was the only active one that was still one stationed at the … north of … north of Gloucester, as you go up the mountains there. There was a station there, they had the horse but there was no mounted men to ride him. 


That’s where the horse fell with me at ah, Howlong and buggered my life up.


Ian Granland:  So you went to Howlong as … as, and I know we are diverging here, but as a mounted policeman?




Ian Granland: What year was that?


FRANK MILLS: 1946 and I was Officer in Charge of Howlong, a one man station, Balldale (a nearby town) was closed down for the war years but it was still active so I had to go out there and … Brockelsby.  You rode the old troop horse from – Howlong to Balldale and issued petrol and cleaned up the mail and rode him home again.  Two days later on out to Brocklesby and did the same.  Petrol rationing was on at that stage, and you’d be going along and the farmer would be pulling up in his big flash car and saying “how long will you be, Ive …" you know.

Continued in Part IIwh