Constable James W.H. HerringPrint Page Print this page

The plaque was erected in memory of Constable James W.H. Herring who died of recurring Dengue Fever on the 12th May 1903 after becoming ill in Coen. 

Constable James W.H. Herring was sworn into the Queensland Police Force on May 8, 1896 having come from Malloon near Ipswich.

He was initially transferred to Cooktown, then Thursday Island and then on to Laura in July, 1902. In April, 1902, whilst at Thursday Island, he was diagnosed by Dr. Wassell, Government Medical Officer as suffering from Dengue fever and was granted sick leave. He arrived in Laura a couple of months later still suffering ill effects. He performed mounted duty at Laura carrying out pack horse patrols to the scattered mining camps and cattle stations.

In May, 1903, he had patrolled to Coen carrying out inquiries and duty but there he became ill and lapsed into unconsciousness. After two days he died at 1am on May 12, 1903. His Death Certificate indicated he died of recurring Dengue fever.

Gone but never forgotten is a message that lies deep with retired Queensland Police Service Inspector Jock MacDonald.

True to that message, Jock recently travelled to Coen to install two memorial plaques for two fallen police officers at the front of Coen Police Station. Whilst in Coen, Jock reinstalled the renovated headstone of Constable Herring who died at 27-years-old in 1903 from Dengue fever.

Jock has close ties with the Coen area having served as a Constable at Coen Police Station in the early 1960s then returning on numerous occasions as a relieving Sergeant and then later as the Cape Inspector.

In his own words, Jock formed a “nostalgic affection” with the cape and through his research went on to write the book titled Policing ‘The Coen’ which documented the history of policing in this area between 1885 and 2011.

He initially served two years there, performing police pack-horse patrols to a number of missions and cattle stations on Cape York, before returning to Brisbane. He soon found the big city was not to his liking and, after twelve months, returned to Coen for a second term, where he resumed general police duties, this time utilising a Willys Jeep 4WD which had then been allocated to Coen.

During his research Jock became aware of two former serving police constables who passed away in Coen during the early pioneering days of Cape York Peninsula. Jock said it has been a privilege to arrange for the supply of two memorial plaques to commemorate the two officers. “Their plaques now sit proudly at the front entrance of the Coen Police Station,” he said.
The Express, 16 October 2019.


Address:Shephard Street, Coen Police Station, Coen, 4871
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -13.945511
Long: 143.198531
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:People
Sub-Theme:Government - State
Actual Event Start Date:12-May-1903
Actual Event End Date:12-May-1903


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:October-2019
Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au