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Policing

– The first police station in the Flinders was set up at Melrose in 1848.

  • The first slab hut there was replaced twice.
  • The 1862 stone police station and court house is now a Heritage Centre that tells the history of Melrose and of law and order in the north.

– Next, four policemen were stationed on the Angepena run, held by John Baker.

  • Two Aboriginal men murdered Baker’s stockkeeper on Angepena soon after two Angepena stockmen had brutally whipped Aboriginal women and children away from water nearby. Baker argued that Melrose was too far away for law enforcement in the northern areas, and demanded that a police station be set up on his run.

– The Angepena police station was only open for a few years, as it closed during the great drought of the 1860s, when the police moved in to Blinman. After the drought, a new police station was established further north, at Mt Freeling, on a well travelled stock route. State Library
of South Australia B39128. Blinman Police Station 1868. The buildings are made of native pine posts with mud to fill the gaps.

– The presence of police helped reduce conflict and violence in the north Flinders, especially between pastoralists and Aboriginal people. So did setting up depots for issuing rations to the Aboriginal people who were less likely to kill sheep if they had other food. Ration depots
at Mt Serle, Blinman and Beltana were run by the police.
– Port Augusta citizens petitioned for a gaol in 1865, and the first prisoner, a horse thief, was gaoled in 1869.
– Beltana’s first mounted policeman took up his post in 1879.

  • Two years later the stone police station and cells were ready for business, and were used until 1958.
  • From then until 1967 the police buildings were used as a teacher’s house.

– Cradock welcomed a mounted Police Constable in 1882.

  • The portable iron police cell was replaced in 1885 with a more substantial stone police station.
  • After the exodus of farmers and towns-people during the 1890s, the station was closed in 1901.
  • Between 1929 and 1949 it was used as a school.

Resources for Policing

• Mincham, Hans 1980. Hawker … Hub of the Flinders. Hawker Centenary Committee. Adelaide.
• Mincham, Hans 1983. The Story of the Flinders Ranges. (3rd ed). Adelaide, Rigby.
• Quorn and District Centenary 1878-1978, 1978. Quorn Centenary Book Committee, Quorn.