On 10 January 1881 the ship Hereford was stranded on rocks at Point Addis near Geelong. Three Constables were sent to protect the vessel. A week later Constable David Digby and Mounted Constable Purcell went to the vessel to interview the manager in charge. During the night the weather became very rough and waves repeatedly broke over the ship causing it to bump heavily on the rocks. At 7.30 the following morning the sea had somwhat calmed and it was decided to send as many men ashore as could be spared. A boat with Constables Digby and Purcell and eleven others was travelling well through the rough water when an unusually large wave swept over the boat completely upsetting it. Most of the men were able to pull themselves out of the swell. However Constable Digby and one other were carried off into deep rough water. A seaman swam to Digby’s assistance and twice placed him across the bottom of the capsized boat. Constable Purcell also pushed the boat’s mast to Digby who was able to hold on to it for some time but was eventually washed away. Constable Digby’s cap was later washed ashore but the bodies of the missing men were never recovered.

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National Police Memorial Australia

  • The National Police Memorial is located in Kings Park on the northern shore of Lake Burley Griffin adjacent to Queen Elizabeth II Island and the National Carrillion. View in Google maps