Former Police Officer Tells of Eudunda Policing History at February Probus Meeting
Recently retired police officer Bill Prior spoke to members of the Eudunda Probus Club at their February meeting.
Bill was born at Eudunda and served in S.A.P.O.L. in various departments including the C.I.B.
Although New South Wales was founded before South Australia it only had a small localised police force operating where as South Australia became the first established police force in Australia in 1838, two years after the government was formed.
Bill mentioned that in Hedley Scholz’s book entitled, “The Hundred of Julia Creek” a police station was established approximately 5 km west from the small settlement of Julia which started in 1842 and closed in 1846 and then transferred to the copper mining town of Burra which commenced mining in 1845.
The Julia Creek police station was staffed by two mounted constables being rotated on a six monthly basis, with three horses and duties to patrol 70,000 acres of Anlaby Station.
Bill stated the area around Eudunda was settled by pastoralists in the early 1840’s with farming becoming predominant by the late 1860’s.
In 1872 Eudunda was surveyed and derived its name from a spring which the Aboriginal Ngadjuri tribe called Judandakawi meaning sheltered water.
Eudunda became the junction of crossroads for stock travelling from South West Queensland and Western New South Wales to markets in Adelaide.
The Eudunda Hotel (originally the Royal Hotel) was established in 1872 and since then there have been four police stations situated in Eudunda.
The first being in the horse stable of the Royal Hotel where people who became intoxicated were chained to a horse stall until convicted by a court of law.
The second police station was situated in Eyre Street. In 1876 this building was originally used by railway workers during the construction of the Kapunda to Morgan Railway line open in 1878. This building comprised a residence, courthouse and jail as well as a temporary post office.
In May 1914 a contract was let for the construction of a 21 km railway line from Eudunda passing through Point Pass to Robertstown.
As Point Pass was approximately halfway, a railway work camp was established there. As many workers indulged in too much alcohol at the local hotel the Eudunda police were often called to arrest those who drank too much.
This then necessitated the need to establish a police station at Point Pass. Unfortunately it is not known where it was situated.
It is believed either a room was rented at the local hotel or a temporary police tent was used.
The name given to Point Pass by Mrs. Ann Richards an elderly resident was originally named Pointz Pass, named after her hometown in Ireland.
Eudunda’s third Police Station was in Gunn Street, Eudunda, is now privately owned and the fourth, new one was built in the centre of Eudunda, Kapunda Street where Coles Brothers stock agents yards used to be situated.