Queanbeyan Police Memorial Print Page
A monument commemorates policemen killed in the line of duty in the Monaro district. It was unveiled on National Police Remembrance Day in 2008. This day is commemorated on the anniversary of Saint Michael, the archangel charged to protect people from evil and also the patron saint of Police worldwide. The Monaro Local Area Command was the first Police jurisdiction to adopt a dawn service to be held in Australia.
Within the Monaro Local Area Command, since 1841 there have been 11 Police officers killed in the line of duty. The first official police death was local constable Patrick Kinsella whom died at Queanbeyan when his cart overturned on the Queanbeyan River in 1841.
The location of the monument is the site of which a Police Station has stood since 1 January, 1861 for over 117 years. As a special mark of respect stones from the area of the first Police Station in Queanbeyan from 1839 around the present day site of Dodsworth has been laid at the base of the monument.
Media Release (Queanbeyan Age & Police Weekly)
Unveiling of the new Police Memorial at Queanbeyan on National Police Remembrance Day, 2008.
The new memorial was finally unveiled at the annual commemoration ceremony at dawn on National Police Remembrance Day at 5.30 am on 29 September, 2008. The memorial to those officers who have lost their lives in the service to their communities has been dedicated by the Monaro Local Area Command’s new Commander Superintendent Gary Merryweather and also Queanbeyan’s new Mayor, Mr Tim Overall.
Queanbeyan Police Station is the first Police jurisdiction to hold a dawn service for its Police. It’s origins were for a small service for the nightshift and dayshift personnel who weren’t able to make it to the main joint NSW-AFP service. It then grew to commemorate the completion of the busy & gruelling nightshift. Like the miliary the approaching dawn has special meaning for Police when officers finally complete the nightshift and get to go home to their loved ones safely. During the ceremony one minutes silence is held as a mark of respect.
Local Police both from NSW and the AFP, inter-state Police, former Police, both from NSW and ACT, NSW Corrective Service Officers and members of the community attended at first light. They took time out from their busy lives to pay respects for a few short moments.
The words on the memorial did not come about by chance, there was much debate from the small committee originally formed 12 months ago. A special latin tribute “Immortales gratias agimus” is inscripted on the plaque meaning “we give undying thanks”
The memorial was blessed by our very own Police Chaplain, Father John Gibson, who also assisted greatly with the memorial planning. Father also blessed the touch stones for the National Police Memorial before they were officially imbed in that memorial at Kings Park for the main evening service. Twelve candles were light in the morning in commemoration of the local officers who have lost their lives since 1865. One of these incidents back then saw the largest mass murder of Police in Australian history in 1867 when the Clarke Gang murdered four special constables. The latest death on duty was Constable Graeme LEES on his way to work at Queanbeyan in April, 2005.
The site on which the memorial stands has seen many troopers boots pass by since 1861 when the previous police station and court house complex was first build on this very same spot. That originally complex finally demolished in 1976 to make way for the new station which was open on he 31 July, 1978. Many police worked in that building where there this morning.
The memorial has been the culmination of a lot of hard work and long hours by many people many of them also attending the unveiling at the National Police Remembrance Day ceremony. Our fellow comrades from across the border, the AFP were in large numbers to pay their respects. The stone itself has special meaning, it is part of the original granite blocks used in the construction of the current parliament house in Canberra. As an ultimate act of symbology Police have layed stones from the area of the site of the first lock up in Queanbeyan at the base of the memorial.
Our dawn service although only young in its past has already some rich traditions. During the service both a NSW and AFP member reads out the special police poem “I am”. The junior most member of the station (a probationary constable) is selected to say a few words about what is to like “to remember” and be in our Police family. Another tradition is the cook up after the ceremony for former and current members and their families.
The memorial was not the result of one person. There were many persons who contributed in many ways. Former Sergeant Grant Jewkes was instrumental throughout the project. He gave up so much of his time and effort to see this to completion. Tony Nemeth from Oskar Memorials in Queanbeyan worked on the stone itself. The Queanbeyan City Council’s very own Landscape architect Andrew McNeice who final plans and work on the memorial was inspirational. Mike Smith from Mobile fabrications constructed the solid stand on which it sits on. Police Chaplin Father John Gibson for advice and blessings. The Mayor and Councillors of Queanbeyan City Council for their contribution and assistance throughout the Project. Queanbeyan Age for following the journey of the memorial with interest. Finally my humble thanks to my fellow comrades who have stood alongside me throughout all of this, many of them attending the dawn service.
Media release contributed by :
Sergeant Paul Batista
Queanbeyan Police Station
|Address:||Farrer Place, Police & Courthouse Complex, Queanbeyan, 2620|
|GPS Coordinates:||Lat: -35.354542|
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
|Monument Designer:||Andrew McNeice (Landscape Architect, Queanbeyan City Council)|
|Actual Monument Dedication Date:||Monday 29th September, 2008|
Dedicated to the memory of those Police who lost their lives protecting and serving our community.
Immortales Gratias Agimus