Mounted Constable

Harry Edmonds PEARCE

YEAR OF DEATH

1881

JURISDICTION

South Australia

DETAILS OF DEATH

Harry Edmonds Pearce died soon after a habitual horse thief stabbed him 14 times in the chest on a deserted road near Kingston. Robert Johnston arrested by the trooper for supplying liquor to Aborigines near Wellington had resisted Pearce’s attempt to handcuff and escort him to Kingston police station. Johnston fled after his brutal crime but a passer-by later found Pearce still alive lying in grass just off the road. The young policeman’s father a state parliamentarian learned of the incident while Parliament was in session in Adelaide. James Pearce rushed to Kingston where he saw his son just before he died two days later. Pearce junior had identified his attacker to a colleague before his death. Johnston hanged on November 18 1881 after his arrest trial and conviction for murder. His execution was the last in the Mount Gambier jail. Pearce might not have died so young had he succeeded in his attempt when he was 22 to join the clergy. Considered too young he was told to reapply when he turned 25. Until then he figured time as a police officer would give him some valuable life experience. In 1988 the Kingston Bicentennial Committee honoured Pearce with a memorial stone and commemorative plaque near the scene of his attack. And Year 10 Wilderness School students who helped restore the Wesleyan Cemetery at Walkerville in 2001 refurbished his grave. One of his descendants Senior Constable Jill Pearce continues his bloodline in SAPOL today.

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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 Aspen Island and the National Carrillion. View in Google maps