Restoration and Placement of Samuel Seymour Headstone
In 2014, the FQPM completed two significant projects in connection with the first Commissioner of the Queensland Police, David Thompson Seymour. With invaluable assistance from the Metropolitan Police History Collections Group in London, the grave of David Thompson Seymour at Hither Green Cemetery at Lewisham, London was restored and a dedication ceremony held. It was attended by the Agent-General for Queensland, senior Metropolitan Police members and the family members of David Seymour.
The Seymour family grave which the FQPM found in a very dilapidated state located in the Toowong Cemetery was restored after some fine work by our contractors, Brisbane Memorial Care + Repair. The project was suitably concluded with a well-attended unveiling and dedication ceremony.
The Friends of the Toowong Cemetery who made a significant contribution to the Seymour grave project, in particular, the dedication ceremony arrangements, located the headstone of William Anthony Brown former Sheriff of the High Court in Queensland during the course of their annual archaeological dig with students from the Queensland University. On the same headstone, which regrettably has some of the portion missing, was the details of Thomas Seymour the son of David Thompson Seymour, who had been interred with his grandfather. William Anthony Brown and Thomas Seymour were initially buried in the initially buried in the Paddington Cemetery, now Lang Park which is why the headstone ended up at Toowong, together with many others.
The FQPM Management Committee approved the concept of restoring the memorial and obtained an estimate to have the headstone located with the Seymour family grave at Toowong. A quote was obtained from Brisbane Memorial Care + Repair which included fabricating a reinforced off-form concrete ‘ghost’ to replicate the missing section in profile, connect the existing sandstone to ‘ghost’ using stainless steel dowel and insert the entire headstone upright in new ‘sleeved’ concrete footing adjacent to the existing Seymour family headstone. The estimate obtained amounted to $2145.00.
It was noted that the sandstone headstone remnant is in good condition with little damage to the remaining top section. The proposed site of installation has recently installed concrete footing on the left side of the site under the gravel (poured in September 2014 when the Seymour memorial was restored). The existing Seymour memorial has no lettering on the side where the proposed installation would be placed so as not to obstruct family details.
The Management Committee considered the matter at a meeting on 2 December 2015 and approved the quotation and subsequent expenditure.
David Thompson Seymour Grave Restoration and Dedication Project
Hither Green Cemetery Lewisham London UK
The ceremony dedicating the restored grave of the first Commissioner of the Queensland Police, David Thompson Seymour was, after much communication, organisation and coordination between Queensland and the UK, eventually held on Saturday the 31 January 2015.
Grave of First Commissioner David Thompson Seymour showing the dedication plaque.
Before I provide some detail concerning the conduct of the dedication ceremony and the function following, it is necessary to firstly extend our most sincere gratitude to Sioban Clark, Chair of the Friends of the Metropolitan Police Historical Collection and her Committee for the extraordinary support and organisation they provided at the local level in the UK. The description of the events of the day will be a précis of the detailed report provided to us by Sioban Clark, the day after the event.
The morning of the occasion was heralded with a fine cold English morning. All the guests met at the old Hither Green Cemetery as arranged. It was somewhat of a family reunion for some of the ancestors of David Thompson Seymour. Several of the family meeting again after an absence.
From left: Mr Michael Proudlock, Chaplain Jonathon Osbourne, Commander Simon Letchford, Agent General for Queensland Ken Smith.
The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police was represented by Commander Simon Letchford, who arrived with Police Chaplain Jonathon Osbourne and two local Neighbourhood Watch officers in uniform (Inspector Chatterton and Sergeant Berry).
Commander Simon Letchford, Sergeant Berry, Inspector Chatterton and Sioban Clark at Hither Green Cemetery 31 January 2015.
Ken Smith, the Agent General for Queensland arrived with his wife and was charming and friendly and immediately chatted informally with the families. Regrettably, the family member who added stimulus to this project, great-great-granddaughter Lucy Proudlock was away overseas and unavailable.
The Cemetery management and ground staff had arranged green matting to surround the grave site area as some of the grass was likely to be wet.
The Irish Piper Joe Morgan led the guests to the graveside and the Agent General welcomed everyone with a short introduction. Wreaths were laid and the Piper played the Peeler’s Lament. The Chaplain finished off with the Irish Blessing.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, the guests took the opportunity to chat and take photographs. They were then ushered away to a nearby hotel for a welcomed hot drink and pastries.
Agent General Ken Smith then welcomed everybody and delivered a message from the Commissioner of the Queensland Police Service, Mr Ian Stewart. The great-grandson of David Thompson Seymour, Michael Proudlock spoke on behalf of the family. He stated how proud he was that three generations were present to pay due respects to their ancestor, although, in the main they had very little knowledge of his life until information was provided from the FQPM and local research by the Friends of the Metropolitan Police Historical Collection on the days in England.
The family were thrilled to be able to come together and take part in the event. Many hadn’t realised what a fascinating ancestor they had. The youngest guest was 2 years old. He was the 6th generation from David Thompson Seymour along with two young school girls who were allowed the time off school on the understanding they were to write all about the day’s event and the history of their ancestor for the school newsletter.
The only disappointment expressed by the family was that there was no representation from Queensland present.
Sioban Clark managed to pin down Commander Simon Letchford to do a similar project on the Metropolitan Police first Commissioner, Sir Richard Mayne, another Irishman. It would seem that his grave is in need of some restoration.
This now concludes the FQPM David Thompson Seymour restoration projects during 2014/15. These projects included his family grave in Lewisham UK as well as the family plot at the Toowong Cemetery Brisbane. We extend our sincere gratitude to all who contributed to the success of these projects.
First Commissioner David Thompson Seymour Project
In early 2013, the President of the FQPM Bob Burns APM had informal discussions with Commissioner Ian Stewart APM concerning the project the FQPM had undertaken in order to locate the burial place and research the family background of the first Commissioner of the Queensland Police (QP) David Thompson Seymour. The Commissioner expressed an interest in pursuing the project in light of the QP150 Celebrations.
Tracing the Seymour family history proved a real challenge due to the extended family from two marriages, his first wife Caroline Matilda Seymour had died in Brisbane and was buried at Toowong Cemetery. Caroline and David were married in Brisbane in 1864, the year he was appointed the Police Commissioner.
Further children resulted from his second marriage. Some family members were eventually located in Victoria and Western Australia as well as the United Kingdom.
It was later established after considerable leg work that David Thompson Seymour had retired to England and had passed away in 1916 and buried in Hither Green Cemetery in Lewisham in the south-east of England.
During the course of inquiries in England, a close working association was developed with our counter-parts, the Friends of the Metropolitan Police Historical Collection (Friends), in particular through their Chair, Sioban Clark.
The Friends arranged a preliminary clean up and removed some of the long grass together with the build up of moss and green mould so as to ascertain the precise wording on the monument and confirming that Mr Seymour was buried there along with his second wife Sara.
The FQPM continued negotiations with the Lewisham Council with a view to having the monument restored and a plaque placed to commemorate both the QP150 Celebrations and the significance of David Thompson Seymour as the first Commissioner of the Queensland Police.
We were at a stage with the project that the Lewisham Council had agreed to our proceeding with the work on the monument and the placement of a plaque providing that we completed an indemnity document as it was a private grave and therefore required family consent. Additionally, an application and costs were to be submitted to the Council.
Recently the whole concept of the project changed when in April this year.
A young girl in her early 20’s knocked on the door of the Queensland Police Curator Lisa Jones. She identified herself and asked if she could find out any information about her ancestor, Police Commissioner David Seymour.
Ms Jones said it was a jaw-dropping moment.
“It was the most amazing thing. I just said, “Really?” She was completely unaware of all that had been going on and it was purely by chance that she came here at this time,” Ms Jones said.
“She is a lovely girl and we were delighted to be able to show her the photos and D.T. Seymour’s file.”
Commissioner Ian Stewart was also amazed to hear of the chance encounter and asked to meet Ms Proudlock. He had the opportunity at a morning tea in May, along with FQPM President Bob Burns and Secretary Ian Townsley, where he presented her with a QP150 commemorative book.
Commissioner Ian Stewart, Lucy Proudlock, Lisa Jones (Curator QPM), Ian Townsley (Secretary FQPM), Bob Burns (President FQPM).
Commissioner Ian Stewart presenting Lucy Proudlock with a QP150 Book.
Since returning to London, Lucy Proudlock has advised that the whole family has become very excited about the prospect of a plaque for their ancestor’s grave and they all plan to attend when it is eventually installed later in the year.
The association with Lucy and her family has certainly simplified the administrative process in finalising the arrangements as planned in completing the FQPM DT Seymour grave project.
Seymour Grave Restoration Project Toowong
The FQPM recently learnt that the Seymour family grave at Toowong Cemetery had been listed on the Brisbane City Council (BCC) Heritage Trail. This cemetery tour included graves of persons of some note who are interred at Toowong Cemetery.
This restoration project was approved by the FQPM Management Committee and subsequently a quote was obtained from Brisbane Memorial Care + Repair. The quote listed a number of issues that required attention to complete the project. These included:
• Stabilize and straighten memorial centre monument -$2,000
• Clean marble monument – $340
• Tidy and paint metal fence – minimal repair approach – $320
• Preparation of internal space for subsequent gravel infill including weed matting – $320
• Realign rear wall – $160.
We were able to proceed almost immediately with the project as a consequence of a timely financial donation by one of our generous sponsors, the Queensland Police Credit Union to whom we are extremely grateful.
Police Tracker Sam Johnson Project
Police Tracker Sam Johnson, died in Longreach in 1919. Today Sam’s last resting place is still unmarked. Sam’s evidence was crucial in the conviction of the Kenniff brothers concerning the murder of Constable Doyle and station manager Dahlke in Lethbridge’s Pocket in 1902. Sam was the sole survivor of the police clash with the Kenniff Brothers.
It was agreed by the FQPM Management Committee that his grave deserves the dignity of a headstone. Although unmarked, it could be located with accuracy from cemetery burial records, in relation to adjacent graves.
The information concerning the unmarked grave was bought to the notice of the FQPM through now member, Mr Peter Keegan of Roma who is currently researching the arrest of the Kenniff brothers and their subsequent conviction (as a matter of interest, Constable Doyle and Mr Dalke are memorialised on a property at Tamrookum near Rathdowney).
The FQPM has established contact with the Officer in Charge of Longreach Police, Senior Sergeant Graham Seabrook and the CEO of the Longreach Regional Council Mark Watt, who have indicated that they are keen and available to assist the FQPM with the project and are prepared to undertake local research into Sam’s life in Longreach, including the history of his wife, of whom there is very little known.
We have made contact with contractors at Longreach who have experience at restoration of grave sites and have requested approximate quotes to carrying out a number of restoration options so that appropriate funding can be sought.
Peter Keegan, FQPM member from Roma undertaking research into the Kenniff brothers discovered the grave of Sam Johnson and as a consequence the FQPM became involved. Peter is intending to trek up to Longreach in the near future to confirm the exact location of Sam’s grave.
The Longreach Regional Council also provided additional information concerning the Johnson grave, “We had a look through our cemetery records and have found the late Sam Johnson died on 22 June 1919. Our records indicate that he died of Influenza Broncho-Pneumonia. Sam was buried on 23 June 1919 and his grave is located in Section Three of the old cemetery in Longreach. The grave number is P632”.
In the attached photo there are two key numbers – A632 is the marker for Sam, although it is noted on the plan copy as P632. Apparently that is a known anomaly with some markings. The other marker A309 indicates another person is buried with Sam. It is presumed that it may have been his wife, however there appears no available information to confirm this.
Hilda Maclean, Immediate Past President of the Friends of the Toowong Cemetery and historian, has commenced research on behalf of the FQPM on Sam Johnson, in particular, with a view of obtaining some detail of his wife, who in preliminary research is not referred to by her name.
The Committee would be happy to hear from any members who may have some ideas on how best to restore the grave and place a permanent marker outlining Sam’s details.
Progress to date
The FQPM carried out as much research and restoration coordination arrangements remotely from Longreach and the decision was made to travel out to Longreach and negotiate with the locals and finalise preparations.
The President Bob Burns and Secretary Ian Townsley travelled by car out to Longreach on the 1 June 2015 and returning on the 4 June 2015. Following meetings with the Longreach Regional Council representatives, the dilemma of the exact location of Sam’s grave was put to rest, however during the course of the detailed inquiries it was revealed that Sam’s grave location was confirmed. We are very grateful for the preliminary work carried out by FQPM member Peter Keegan, who undertook significant research in an attempt to precisely locate Sam’s grave.
We were fortunate to be able to talk with the Longreach contractors John and Kaye Kuhn at the cemetery site to discuss the design of the proposed memorial. They provided an estimate for the work which has subsequently been approved by the FQPM Management Committee.
Proposed design and estimate
Propose a sandstone rock approximately 750mm in height set into a reinforced concrete slab measuring 3000mm x 1200mm.
The slab will be reinforced with steel mesh with a 300mm rat wall set on 6 piers approx. 1200mm x 300mm. This will minimise any movement in the black soil.
The plaque is to be attached to the sandstone – sandstone provided in total cost.
Plaque to be provided by FQPM.
Total of proposed work – $3100.
Additional expenditure will be incurred with the production of an appropriately designed cast bronze plaque which will be attached securely to the sandstone headstone.
It has been agreed that an unveiling/dedication ceremony will be held as soon as practicable once the restoration is complete. Discussions were held with representatives from the Central Queensland Indigenous Development Ltd in Longreach to ensure that no cultural issues impede the project or subsequent dedication ceremony. The local indigenous people have been invited to contribute to the dedication.
Sam Johnson Biography – Volunteers
Sam Johnson had quite a long career with the Queensland Police as a Tracker, yet his known biographical details are somewhat fragmented and to be found in a number of repositories.
The FQPM would be keen to document a detailed biography of Sam Johnson’s life.
The FQPM are therefore seeking volunteer/s who would be prepared to continue the research and record Sam’s biography, although quite an amount of material has already been gathered. Should you be interested in undertaking this project, please contact the Secretary FQPM.
A significant amount of research will need to be undertaken to ensure that no cultural sensitivities are impinged during the process.
We believe that this is a historically and culturally significant issue that would be fitting to undertake as part of the QP2014 celebrations and as a consequence the FQPM have communicated with the QPS QP150 Celebrations Committee to gauge interest from the QPS in joining with us in proceeding with the project. We are still awaiting a reply.
Presentation to Metropolitan Police Historical Group
The FQPM are very grateful to the Friends of the Metropolitan Museum Historical Group for their assistance in firstly locating the grave of David Thompson Seymour and attending to administrative matters which for the tyranny of distance would have made things potentially difficult for the FQPM.
FQPM Committee Member Clare Hackett on behalf of the FQPM presented a hard covered QP150 Book to the Chair Sioban Clark in appreciation, during a planned overseas trip.
FQPM Committee Member Clare Hackett presenting Sioban Clark (Chair Friends of the Metropolitan Police Historical Group) with a QP150 Book at Hither Green Cemetery Lewisham at the grave of David Thompson Seymour.
Whilst working on the Thomas Slattery grave project, our attention was drawn to another grave by the Friends of the Toowong Cemetery which was located only a short distance from Slattery. It was the grave of Constable Joseph Kelly. Constable Kelly was only twenty-one when he died of typhoid at the Brisbane Hospital on the 2 April 1878. He had been admitted to hospital a month earlier and his family and friends had been hopeful of his recovery.
Although Kelly’s grave does not specifically fall within the grave restoration policy of the FQPM due its location to Slattery, its simplicity of construction and limited work that was required to bring it up to an appropriate standard was minimal. The headstone was well weathered and covered in algae growths and the text was virtually unreadable.
Bob Burns and Ian Townsley (FQPM Committee Members) were fortunate to meet up Amanda Cotman from Brisbane Memorial Care+Repair whilst inspecting the Joseph Kelly grave on the 26 July 2013. Brisbane Memorial Care+Repair were responsible for the restoration work to the Slattery grave. Amanda was hard at work on another grave restoration project nearby.
Amanda inspected the Kelly grave and after due consideration indicated a reasonable cost to restore the headstone. As the Joseph Kelly grave had not been presented as a project to the FQPM Committee, the estimate was taken under advisement. Amanda then made the offer to undertake the task pro bono. This was agreed to.
The Kelly grave was restored by Amanda on the 3 August 2013 and the finished result exceeded all expectation.
The FQPM will now place the Kelly grave on the regular maintenance register to ensure its current condition can be preserved.
The FQPM extends our gratitude to Amanda and her organisation and can wholeheartedly recommend their services.
We have enclosed some detail of a project currently being undertaken by Brisbane Memorial Care+Repair at the Dutton Park Cemetery.
Amanda explains, “This grave is for a young lady who was an aeronautical engineer and Peter Macfarlane who is an architect as well as a stonemason created a ‘flight’ theme. It was an intriguing and intense project. The marble mosaic pieces alone took over 150 hours to stick on! (world’s biggest jigsaw puzzle).
Left: Memorial at Dutton Park Cemetery
Brisbane Memorial Care+Repair
William Considine was sworn into the Queensland Police on September 20, 1877 and served at Muttaburra; Boulia; Isisford; Aramac; Jericho and Arrilalah. The grave was in a state of disrepair and the FQPM with the assistance of the Longreach Police District was able to restore it to its original state.
Plaques for Graves in Longreach Cemetery
The FQPM also funded the production of brass plaques for four Queensland Police Officers buried in the Longreach Cemetery for whom no gravestones existed. Plaques were produced for Constable 1st Class Ernest Case; Sergeant John McHugh; Constable Joseph Vincent Murphy and Constable Harry Parnell.
Roma Street Memorial Plaque
As a consequence of research undertaken by FPQM executive members Bob Burns and Ian Townsley, the memorial plaque that had previously marked the location of the original Roma Street Police Station near the intersection of Roma and Ann Streets in Brisbane city was located. The plaque had been removed during construction work by Brisbane City Council (BCC) on the new bus-way project.
Negotiations were conducted by Bob Burns with the BCC Lord Mayor’s office and other players to have the plaque re-instated in an appropriate location near the original site.
The Roma Street Police Station was built in 1879 and remained on the corner of Roma Street and Turbot Streets until 1967 when it was demolished to make way for the Turbot Street overpass.
On the 16 July 1988, a marble memorial plaque, funded by the Queensland Police Club to mark the site of the station was unveiled by Acting Commissioner Ron Redmond and placed in the park beside the overpass.
The relocated plaque was unveiled on 5 July 2011 by Assistant Commissioner Brett Pointing, President of the FQPM and John Cummings, past President of the Queensland Police Club.
The FQPM acknowledge the contribution of Steve Lintern of the Brisbane City Council for assisting in the relocation of the memorial and T W Rafter & Sons for the excellent redressing of the monument. The FQPM expended $1980.00 towards the refurbishment and installation of the monument.
G J Olive Grave Project – Toowong Cemetery
Another police grave restoration project undertaken by the Friends of the Queensland Police Museum Inc (FQPM) has now been completed.
Information was received from a member of the Toowong Cemetery Historical Group advising that the grave of Constable First Class Gregory James Olive had sustained some damage to the photographic image on the headstone. Additionally, through the passage of time the headstone had attracted some mould and the text was virtually unreadable. The FQPM undertook to liaise with the family of Constable Olive and seek approval to effect the necessary restoration to the grave.
The photographic image has now been replaced and the headstone cleaned and the text is now clearly readable. The FQPM would like to acknowledge the financial support provided by the Queensland Police Credit Union which assisted greatly in completing this project.
Twenty eight year old Constable First Class Gregory James Olive was fatally shot on 19 February 1962 when he attended a house in the Brisbane suburb of Kelvin Grove to make inquiries regarding wilful damage to property. After Constable Olive had knocked on the door it was flung open and he was shot in the chest at near point blank range with a .303 rifle. He died almost immediately. A man was arrested at the scene and subsequently convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. He died in Boggo Road Gaol in 1985.
Friends of the Queensland Police Museum (FQPM) Management Committee members Ian Townsley, Greg Early and Bob Burns inspect the restoration to the grave of Constable First Class Gregory Olive on the 18 April 2013.
Thomas Slattery Grave Restoration Project
The FQPM work closely with other like minded organisations. The Friends of the Toowong Cemetery is one of those organisations. A list of police graves that are located at the Toowong Cemetery was provided to the FQPM, with a view of ascertaining those historically significant graves that may be in need of refurbishment.
It was considered by the Management Committee that the grave of Thomas Slattery was in need of restoration and was certainly an historically significant site to the Queensland Police. Slattery was buried in 1878.
The historic, weather beaten and damaged grave of Thomas Slattery is to be found at Portion 7, Section 9 in the Toowong Cemetery, Brisbane.
Who was Thomas Slattery?
Thomas Slattery was born in Tipperary, Ireland in 1824 to Edmund Slattery and Mary Ann McMahon. He later immigrated to Australia and joined the Victorian Police on 21 November 1854. He was allocated registered number 1128.
Slattery served in numerous locations within Victoria and resigned on 19 November 1863 having served nine years and leaving with the rank of Detective First Class. It is likely however, that Slattery may have had previous police service, probably with the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) due to his mature age enlistment and the rise to detective in a short period of time.
Thomas Slattery then moved to Queensland, joining the Queensland Police on 3 May 1866. He provided details of his age as 35 years. He was probable older, if his Victorian Police records are accurate. He was appointed Detective Constable on the same date. Slattery rose rapidly to the rank of Inspector of Detectives on the 1 July 1876. In the absence of contrary information, Slattery may well have been to first to have held this position.
Slattery took his policing responsibilities very seriously and over time was awarded numerous monetary sanctions under the hand of the Governor in Council, as well as attracting considerable newspaper coverage of his activities.
Thomas Slattery died of illness on the 5 February 1878 and was interred at the North Brisbane General Cemetery (Toowong Cemetery) the following day. The information concerning Slattery’s Death Certificate details was provided by his cousin Robert Slattery who had also served with the RIC and retired as a Detective Sergeant with the Queensland Police.
Quotations have been obtained from appropriate cemetery masons to undertake the necessary restoration and repair work to the grave, as well as seeking financial support to commence work.
Grave Restoration – an expert’s view
Restoration of the graves of former members of the Queensland Police is an important objective of the Friends of the Queensland Police Museum (FQPM). To date the FQPM have been involved in the restoration of three significant police graves.
The latest grave project was that of Thomas Slattery, first Inspector of Detectives. The grave lay in a serious state of disrepair for a long period of time and may have remained this way but for the information provided to the FQPM by Hilda McLean, the President of the Friends of the Toowong Cemetery group.
The FQPM recognised the importance of the site and in partnership with State Crime Operations Command (SCOC), the restoration process commenced. Much of the work involving the refurbishment of the metal fence and the stonework was undertaken by the members of SCOC. The major effort to restore the site involved significant repairs to the headstone which had broken into three pieces. Additionally, Thomas Slattery’s son, Edmund (who is buried in the same gravesite) remained unacknowledged on the headstone.
SCOC engaged monumental specialists, Brisbane Memorial Care+Repair who offered a full range of services to restore and enhance the project.
Mandy Cotman from Brisbane Memorial Care+Repair advised, “My brief for the job was to clean and repair the old memorial and create a new layout for the marble. In addition, we were to add new lettering honouring Thomas’s son, who had not been recognised on the original grave. The decorative ironwork had already been restored and we were engaged to do the remainder of the restoration.”
“My first priority was to re-do the jointing around the stonework, sealing it and adding stability to the foundation. I added a drain-hole for rainwater runoff.”
Brisbane Memorial Care+Repair poured a reinforced concrete base on the dirt in-fill and then constructed the formwork for the supportive plinth, including a narrow fin to hold the cross. This was also heavily reinforced with steel. The plinth was angled to allow water-runoff and to allow the lettering to be read comfortably from the foot of the grave. The plinth was designed as a recessive detail to make the marble the focus rather than a concrete slab. The slab was painted black to further minimize the concrete visual.
New lettering was carved into the marble by architect and memorial stonemason Pete Macfarlane. Pete has 30+ years of stonemason experience and his initial training in Tasmanian heritage work allowed him to use traditional methods here to carve new lettering in the old-fashioned style. It is almost identical to the antique lettering.
The marble was cleaned and hand-sanded for hours to return it to a pale state. The two main pieces were carefully aligned on the new concrete plinth and jointed together. The marble cross, which had broken into three pieces, was restored. The original copper core was located in the dirt and re-attached the base and then core-drilled the other section with a stainless steel dowel so that it was a strong repair.
Finally, part of the original stone which had supported the marble was re-used in order to provide a place for the bronze plaque and the base of the grave finished with polished black Kashmiri pebbles.
Below are a series of photographs depicting the restoration process:
Cross in damaged state
Positioning the cross
The headstone before and after
Adding the additional text
Headstone joined & Stone work repaired
Preparing the base and plinth
The plinth & finished product
Re-dedication of the Grave of Thomas Slattery
The Re-dedication of the grave of Thomas Slattery was held at 10.00am on Monday 1 July 2013 at the Toowong Cemetery. The ceremony was conducted by the Queensland Police Service’s Roman Catholic Padre, Graeme Ramsden OAM and was attended by the Commissioner of Police, Ian Stewart APM, Deputy Commissioner Ross Barnett APM, Acting Deputy Commissioner Peter Barron APM together with other members of the Queensland Police Service, Members of the Friends of the Queensland Police Museum and invited guests.
Following the successful restoration of the grave of Senior Constable William Considine (a police officer who died in a horse riding accident in 1887) in 2010, the Friends of the Queensland Police Museum (FQPM) initiated a project to research and identify the location of the graves of Queensland Police officers who have died in the course of their service.
Rear: Ian Townsley (FQPM Member); Ed Thring (FQPM Member); Richard Batty (FQPM Member); Assistant Commissioner Mike Condon (State Crime Command).
Centre: Virginia Gordon (FQPM Member); Commissioner Ian Stewart; Lisa Jones (Curator Queensland Police Museum).
Front: Hilda McLean (President, Friends of Toowong Cemetery); Win McCormack (FQPM Member); John McCormack (FQPM Member); Bob Burns (President FQPM).
During the course of this project, the grave of Inspector Thomas Slattery was identified at Toowong Cemetery. Thomas Slattery died in 1878 having served in the Queensland Police and previously the Victoria Police Service and most likely the Royal Irish Constabulary, prior to his immigration to Australia. His grave was paid for with contributions from 136 of his fellow police officers and colleagues. On best information, it is believed that Thomas Slattery was the first Inspector of Detectives in the Queensland Police.
Left:Brass plague affixed to the base of the Thomas Slattery grave.
The FQPM were alerted to the grave by the Friends of the Toowong Cemetery. The grave was in a state of considerable disrepair with its headstone lying in three broken pieces after having toppled some twenty-five years ago. His son, Edmund (who is buried in the same gravesite) remained unacknowledged on the headstone. The FQPM commenced a project to restore the gravesite.
Following preliminary costing of the project, it was accepted that assistance would need to be sought so as to be able to raise the funds required to restore the grave. Taking into account the last appointment held by Thomas Slattery (Inspector of Detectives), a meeting was held with Assistant Commissioner Mike Condon, State Crime Operations Command who was keen to undertake the project on behalf of State Crime Command.
State Crime Operations Command coordinated the restoration, fund raising and arranged the re-dedication ceremony. With the support and assistance of the Queensland Police Service, the Queensland Police Commissioned Officer’s Union and the Queensland Police Union of Employees, the grave has been fully restored.
At the Re-dedication ceremony Commissioner Ian Stewart said, “While this project is not about singling out any particular rank or role, it is certainly worth highlighting the importance of this find. Detectives certainly play an important role in investigating some of the state’s most serious and significant crimes.”
To ensure that the Slattery grave will be cared for and maintained in the future a serving Detective has been appointed as the Keeper of the Grave. Plain Clothes Constable Kent Ellis is the current appointee. Kent delivered the Police Ode at the ceremony.
As the sun surely sets dawn will see it arise,
For service above self demands its own prize.
They have fought the good fight, life’s race has been run,
and peace their reward, for eternity begun,
and we that are left, shall never forget.
Rest in peace, friend and colleague, for the sun has now set.
We will remember
The Thomas Slattery grave is located at: Portion 7, Section 9 (Grave 4) of the Toowong Cemetery.