Trooper Harry PearcePrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Chris McLaughlin

The plaque near the scene of his attack commemorates Trooper Harry Pearce who was murdered while escorting a prisoner to Kingston in 1881.

Harry Edmonds Pearce died soon after a habitual horse thief stabbed him 14 times in the chest on a deserted road near Kingston. Robert Johnston arrested by the trooper for supplying liquor to Aborigines near Wellington had resisted Pearce’s attempt to handcuff and escort him to Kingston police station.

Johnston fled after his brutal crime but a passer-by later found Pearce still alive lying in grass just off the road. The young policeman’s father, a state parliamentarian, learned of the incident while Parliament was in session in Adelaide. James Pearce rushed to Kingston where he saw his son just before he died two days later.

Pearce junior had identified his attacker to a colleague before his death. Johnston hanged on November 18 1881 after his arrest trial and conviction for murder. His execution was the last in the Mount Gambier jail.


Address:Princes Highway, About 4 kilometres from Kingston, Kingston SE, 5275
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -36.837497
Long: 139.900961
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:People


Front Inscription

1788 - 1988

Near this site 16.5.1881 Trooper Harry Edmonds Pearce aged 24 was brutally attacked and stabbed by prisoner arrested nearby.

Pearce died in Kingston 3 days later. Prisoner was retaken near Reedy Creek, tried and hanged Mt Gambier.

Pearce was second SA policeman to die on duty.

Unveiled by Commissioner David Hunt

15. 5. 1981

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