Western Australia Police Historical Society Inc.
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"Patron: Commissioner of Police for Western Australia   -   Col Blanch APM"


Very few people in Western Australia know much about the history of their police force. When did it begin? What type of work did the pioneer police officers do? How did they carry out their duties in the remote areas of the Colony/State? How did they live? And so on.

The Western Australia Police Historical Society has been formed to research and preserve this history.


The first peace-keeping constables consisted of fifteen men, working part time and paid for services they performed on behalf of the Courts and local Justices. They commenced duty on December 4, 1829. The Police Force was formally established in 1853, although different types of police were active in the colony in the intervening period.

Since then over 20,000 men and women have served this State as police officers - some for less than one month, others for periods exceeding forty years. The longest period served was over fifty years by John McKenna who joined on January 1, 1874 and retired on February 29, 1924 as Chief Inspector. This was then the second highest rank in the force. McKenna's career was interrupted for about 12 months in 1898 when he took up a short term position as Senior Inspector of Distilleries.

The first police officer to lose his life in the execution of his duty was Captain Theophalus Ellis (the then Superintendent of Police) who died on November 11, 1834, from a spear wound he received during an incident at Pinjarra, approximately eighty kilometres south-west of Perth. Sadly, since then, more than two hundred other officers have also lost their lives in tragic circumstances in the execution of their duty. Their memory is preserved on a memorial at the Police Academy in Joondalup and is recalled during the annual Police Remembrance Day Service held in September of every year.


Do you want to know more about the history of your police service? Please use the buttons above to explore this site or to contact the Society about any matters of policing historical interest.


Every endeavour has been made to present the historical data on this site as accurately as possible. Unfortunately because history is a reconstruction of past events, taken from a wide and varied source of material, it is impossible to guarantee that every column inch of it is completely accurate.

The society would be grateful for advice from any visitor to the site who finds errors and/or omissions and can provide verifiable data to correct any anomalies.

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The society expresses its gratitude for the considerable help and support it receives from the Western Australia Police Force and the Western Australian Police Union.

Site designed and maintained by Peter William Thomas DipPhot, retired WA Police Senior Sergeant 4891. 2006