My name is Ian Robert GORDON, I was born on 25thAugust 1932 in Numurkah, a small country town in northern VICTORIA.
I grew up on a farm 8 miles from Numurkah, managed by my Father. I attended a country primary school with less
than 30 students, with one teacher with grades from 1st year to 8thyear. I had to repeat 5thclass (Year 5) because I was in Hospital when the exams were on. I left after 6th class to attend
Shepparton High School during WW II.
In 1947 my family
moved to Finley in the lower Riverina. I got a job working in Ford Garage in
Finley. After that in the Water
Conservation and Irrigation Commission as a surveyor’s chainman.
The local policeman
in Finley was Constable MAYFIELD. He
talked me into joining the N.S.W. Police Cadets, I don’t know why I didn’t join
the Victorian Police, because Melbourne is much closer to Finley than is Sydney
but I am glad I didn’t.
I applied and was
accepted into the N.S.W. Police Cadets and asked to be at the Police Barracks
in Bourke St. Redfern on 11th April; 1950. I was 17 Yrs, 8 months. I know that is late but I think I applied
when I was under 17. Swear in age was 19.
I can't remember going to Sydney for pre-admission. I remember filling
in application forms at the Finley Police Station, I think I supplied a
certificate from my Local Doctor.
I caught the motor
train at Finley and transferred to the South West Mail in Narrandera arriving
in Sydney at about 8am on 11th April, after a 17 hour journey. I caught a Taxi to the Depot in Bourke
St expecting to be billeted in Barracks
there. Upon attending the Recruiting
Office I was told to report to the Records Section at Police Headquarters on the
corner of Phillip & Hunter Sts., Sydney, I was given a Cadet identification
When I asked where
I was to stay I was told I had to provide my own accommodation, I was
flabbergasted, I had no idea what to do.
Luckily I had joined on the same day as Brian Costigan, Leo Givney and
Barry Lewis. They assisted me with my
worldly belongings onto the Tram. After I alighted in Martin Place, I was on my
own. I had never been further north than another Riverina town of Jerilderie,
and was traumatised. I couldn’t remember the name of the ‘Police Station’ I was
supposed to report to, so after interrogating several passers by, who were
helpful, I finally lugged all of my suit cases to the Records Branch of Police
The O.I.C. of the
Records was a Public Servant Mr. Sandstrom.
He was a very understanding and helpful man. He made me feel welcome and
put me on the dispatch desk. This job was to
receive mail and open mail, then sort it into internal and exterail mail. I also
had to address envelopes to the intended recipients. Then I had to deliver
internal mail to the various departments in the building. Metro. Super.
Commissioner. Country Super. O.I.C. of H.Q. and Sgt 1/c Norm Allan. Of course there
were others but I cannot remember them.
I was very
concerned about not having anywhere to live and was seriously considering
taking the 10.04pm train home that night.
At any rate during the day I had a telephone call from Sgt. 2ndClass Jack Wright who was the O.I.C. of Cadet Training. I do not know if Mr. Sandstrom had contacted
him but I suspected he had. Sgt. Wright
said he sometimes had cadets lodge with him and his family until they could
find accommodation. I suddenly had the
weight of the world lifted from me.
After work and
getting directions I caught the train to Wiley Park and upon arrival at the
Wright Home in Shadforth St. Punchbowl I
was greeted by Mrs Wright. She was a
lovely lady who made me feel very welcome.
She showed me to my room which I shared with another cadet, Terry
BATES. I was at last human again.
I had a wonderful
12 months with the Wrights. Sgt. Wright
was a great pianist and a very good singer, after singsongs around the piano he
talked both Terry & I into joining the Police Choir. We did, me in the baritones and Terry in the
bases. It didn’t take us long to settle
into the Choir. Another member of the
police choir was ex-cadet Ted Collins who left to join the priesthood and is
now a Catholic Bishop in Darwin. We used to perform concerts for charity at
places like the T.B. Sanatorium at Waterfall, Boy’s Club fund raising at the
Sydney Town Hall and R.S.L. Veteran’s Home at Narrabeen. Whilst I was a member the choir won the City
of Sydney eisteddfod at the Conservatorium of Music in the early 50’s. We also
travel as far afield as Canberra and Armidale for concerts.
Following my stint at Headquarters
I was stationed at Campsie, 21 Division, and Randwick. I remember at Campsie
meeting the wonderful Del FRICKER who was a Detective there. At 21 Division I met the wrestling champion,
Jim ARMSTRONG. At Randwick, one of the
Detectives was a WW II pilot, I can’t remember his name, he used to
fly the Sunderland to Lord Howe Island on his days off. (He never invited me as luggage).
Sergeant Wright eventually
found me accommodation at 48 Wentworth St. Randwick, a well known Cadet
Boarding house. I shared a room with Dennis CATT and Brian COSTIGAN. We had
great times together. In early 1951 Dennis
was sworn in and left and Joe CORDNER took his place.
Cadets in those
days had to attend the ‘Depot’ every morning for law instruction, gymnastics
and drill training, as well as shorthand
were, Law. Sgt. BARBER and Con 1/c James
LEES (later Commissioner). Gym and Drill, Snr/Cst Steve ENGLE & Const 1/c ‘Bluey’ GRAINGER as well as Snr.
Const Garnet BRICKELL. In later years
Steve Engle was my O.I.C. at the old Public Safety Bureau (Highway Patrol)
under the bridge approaches at North Sydney.
was Snr.Const Jack Hyslop (“you can’t put anything over ex-Cadet No 27”,
he often reminded us) and Const A.F. ‘Joe’
Hall. The Cadet Sergeants were O.I.C.
Sgt. 2/c Jack WRIGHT, Sgt 3/c Harry TREES AND Sgt 3/c LENGREN.
The cadets used to
put on displays with Indian Clubs and Gymnastics, from time to time.
I remember one time
Sergeant Harry WARE, who started the Police ‘Cliff Rescue Squad’, took some of
us, I can’t remember who, up to Echo Point Katoomba to show us how rescue was
carried out. On the way up and when
passing through Penrith, he said, “Any of
you young fellows should buy a block of land up here, it might be out in the
bush, but there is a good train service to Sydney, a block up here would only
be about 10 pounds. Ha, Ha, nobody
had the necessary ‘tenner’ but we really should have thought ahead. My wagers then
were 9 pounds a fortnight of which I had to pay about half for board.
We also had to
attend Stotts Business College for typing and shorthand instruction in our own
time of a night and at our own expense. I
Stotts was in Macquarrie St everyone had to do it I think it was for about 3
months I can't remember if it was one or two nights a week. I can’t remember
how much but by the time I paid 8 shillings and 6 pence for a weekly rail
ticket to Wiley Park and was lucky to have 2 shillings left. (10 shillings = $1;
1 shilling = 10 cents and 6 pence = 5
cents.) All of my savings from Finley
gradually began to disappear.
I attended a four
weeks training course at Penrith Police Training college in June or July 1951. We lived in billets at
Penrith and had to pay board, I can't remember how much. Some went home at
weekends some stayed, in the 6 week class a lot of us studied in our room. The
O.I.C. was Sgt 1/c George Kellock (father of Lionel) The instructors were, Sgt. 3/c George Soper,
Sgt.3/c Sliger, Snr.Const. Ernie Porch. The drill instructors were Sgt 2/c Jock
Stewart, (who also showed us self defence) Const Joe ‘Ben’ Hall & Const.
Roy Leadbetter.(who was also a member of the Choir).
I attended the
Department of Health Clinic in Albert Street, Circular Quay, just round the
corner from Phillip Street Police Station, to be examined by Dr Percy, prior to
being sworn in. I thought I was a little under the 11 ½ stone, which was a
minimum requirement then. Everyone told me to have a big drink and eat a couple
of bananas, that I did. Unfortunately I
had the drink too early and when Dr. Percy asked me to pee in the little
container, I couldn’t stop, I filled the container and then made a mess of the
toilet floor. It was just as well because
after that Dr. Percy asked me to cough as he pushed his fingers into my lower
abdomen or he would have got a very wet hand.
When he checked my chest expansion from breathe out to fully inflate he
lost control of the tape and had to repeat it, my expansion was 7 inches. Phew,
I passed the medical.
I then attended the
Office of the Commissioner Mr. Scott and was sworn in and given a number 7080.
I was sent to Darlinghurst Police Station to serve my probation.
'Darlo’ was an
extremely busy station. After entering the vestibule the charge room was on the
left, ,the big round room. The
Inspectors Office was in the room on the right at the bottom of the stairs. The
Superintendent, Detectives’ Rooms and Traffic Rooms were all
upstairs. Later they shifted the Station to the front Office. There was a
garage which housed the black Ford, prison van. The van was used to move
prisoners from Central Court and the Quarter Sessions at Darlinghurst to and from
Long Bay. Weekends it was used to Patrol to pick up drunks, brawlers etc.
It had a Sergeant, Driver and two Constables in seats near the back door. The
fumes sucked into the rear section were terrible, after a full late shift I
used to feel ill. I put a report in but the only effect that had was for me to
be rostered on it more often. Saturday nights saw up to 14 Constables on the
beat at Darlinghurst plus P.D. Crew Plus van. Where are they all now?.
I returned to
Penrith Police Training College in June 1952 for a period of 6 weeks. After the
6 weeks we had to sit for examinations in Law, dictation (a piece from
S.M.Herald), report writing and arithmetic.
Fred Kitto topped the class with an average of 97.5%. Ex-cadet Des Moffitt and I were equal second
with an average of 97.25%. I returned to Darlinghurst where I remained until
1955 when I successfully applied for a transfer to the Public Safety Bureau. (PSB)
Whilst at the
P.S.B., I attended a draftsman course at the Ultimo Tech. Then in about 1960 I spent about a year at
the Scientific Investigation Bureau at
the old CIB in Central Lane as a draftsman.
During that time Graeme Thorne was murdered after being kidnapped by
Stephen Leslie Bradley for a ransom after his father had won the first Opera
House Lottery. Sgt. 2/c Alan Clark was the O.I.C. and he was the best and most
thorough detective I have ever encountered. I believe it was because of his
efforts that Bradley was convicted. Bradley eventually died in Goulburn Gaol. After my 12 months on secondment I returned
to the P.S.B.
I spent form 1951
to 1955 on general duties at Darlinghurst as relieving reserve Constable,
relieving P.D. Driver and solo cyclist. From
1955 I was stationed at North Sydney
P.S.B. until I was promoted to Sgt.3/c in 1967, then transferred to Parramatta
as 2.I.C. of P.S.B there and then to
Goulburn as O.I.C. of the newly named Special
Traffic Patrol, now Highway Patrol.
In 1966 whilst
riding a Police Solo motor cycle, I injured my back when I hit a large pothole
in a pool of water in Longerville Road Lane Cove. Of course I covered it up as
long as I could, but eventually I had to go on light duties, whilst at
Goulburn. I was discharged medically
unfit H.O.D. in 1975 as a Sgt.2/c. I was
Most of my service
was in relation to traffic. After my discharge in Goulburn I opened my own
business as a draftsman and spent 15 years completing hundreds of plans for new
dwellings, Industrial buildings and renovations to both. When arthritis took
over I used a computer to prepare plans, I also had my own ‘plotter’ which drew
them for me and a printer to print them,.
I retired to my current address in 1990 and have driven 700,000 km in
firstly 200.000km in a V.W. Campervan and then 332,000 in my 1992 Toyota
I met and married
my wonderful wife in Sydney, we have our 55th wedding anniversary
coming up in January 2010, and have 1 Great Grand Child, 12 Grand Children and
another expected. Our eldest Son is
C.E.O. of Forestry Tasmania and has four sons.
Our 2nd Son is a Project Manager for a large building firm in
Brisbane and has 5 daughters (Including Twins) Our 3rd Son is a
musician in Fremantle and teaches guitar and expecting a first child and our
daughter with her husband own a sand gravel & landscape supply business at
Evans Head and have two boys & a girl.(including boy-girl twins.)