Inspector John Walsh & Sergeant Alexander PitmanPrint Page Print this page

06-June-2015 (Bryan Hardy)
06-June-2015 (Bryan Hardy)

Photographs supplied by Angela Gallagher / Bryan Hardy

The monument commemorates police officers John Walsh, and Alexander Pitman who were brutally murdered while investigating a gold theft in Kalgoorlie. Since 1929 the names of fallen police officers and police assistants have been added to the statue.

From 1912 Walsh was a Sub-Inspector at Perth, heading the criminal investigation branch. Promoted to Inspector in 1916, he returned to Kalgoorlie in 1920 in charge of the gold-stealing detection staff. Four years later the squad was reduced by four, leaving only Walsh and Pitman to police the entire area. Threats were made against them and their wives returned to Perth.

On April 28 1926 Inspector Walsh and Sergeant Pitman left Kalgoorlie to investigate unlawful processing of gold south of Kalgoorlie. The nature of their duties meant that their movements were usually not disclosed to any other police officers.

Riding bicycles they came across two men, Phillip John Treffene and William Charles Coulter, illegally processing gold in the bush. On approaching these men, both police officers were shot, however the precise sequence of events is not understood. In an attempt to dispose of the bodies of the two police officers, they were mutilated and partially burned before being discarded down a disused mine shaft at Millers Find.

Fourteen days later when the two police officers had not returned, an extensive police search began with the assistance of local aboriginal trackers. On 12 May their charred and dismembered bodies were found in a disused shaft, some 9.6 kilometres south-west of Kalgoorlie. A week later their bicycles were found in the bush 27 kilometres to the south-east. A gold-treatment plant was nearby and evidence indicated that the murders had occurred there. Perth detectives joined the search for the killers.

On 6 June three local men—Evan Clarke, Phillip Treffene and William Coulter—were arrested. Clarke turned King`s evidence, swearing that he had only assisted in disposing of the corpses. Treffene and Coulter were found guilty of murder and hanged.  These murders were considered the worst committed against police officers in Australia and at the time received worldwide attention.  

The memorial which is to be erected by the W.A. Police Force to the memory of Inspector J. J. Walsh and Detective-Sergeant A. H. Pitman, who were murdered at Kalgoorlie, reached Fremantle on the steamer Caprera yesterday. Designed by Constable D. Cummings of the Traffic Branch, Perth, the memorial consists of a symbolical figure of Justice with bowed head, but without the traditional blindfold, surmounting plaques of Inspector Walsh and Sergeant Pitman within circlets of laurel leaves, and a similar circlet between.  Above the plaque in scroll are  the words, 'Justice,' 'Protection,' and 'Sympathy.' The memorial, which is of finest Carrara marble, will be erected in front of the Police Barracks in James-street, opposite the Public Library, and will be ten feet six inches high.
The Daily News (Perth), 20th July 1929.

The memorial to the late Detective Inspector J. J. Walsh and Sergt. A. H. Pitman, which was recently erected in front of Police Barracks, James-street, City, will be unveiled tomorrow afternoon, at 3 pm. by the Governor, Sir William Campion.  The memorial, costing approximately £500, has been subscribed to by police officers throughout the Commonwealth.
The Daily News (Perth), 7th December 1929.


Address:Lakeside Drive, Western Australia Police Academy, Joondalup, 6004
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -31.750044
Long: 115.773522
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:People
Actual Event Start Date:28-April-1926
Actual Event End Date:28-April-1926
Designer:Constable D. Cummings (Perth, WA)


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Sunday 8th December, 1929
Front Inscription

Justice  Protection  Sympathy

Erected by the members of the Police Forces of the Australian States,

To the memory of Det. Inspector J. J. Walsh, and Sergeant A. H. Pitman, who gave up their lives in the execution of
their duty.

28th April, 1926.

Source: MA,ADB
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au