Mounted Constable

John Charles SHIRLEY




South Australia


Shirley died of thirst near Attack Creek Northern Territory. He and a rescue party of eight men and 18 horses had set out in search of missing pastoralist and Brunette Downs Station manager Harry Readford and his party. A band of wild Aborigines had according to a message via the Overland Telegraph Line attacked the Readford group as it made its way back from Tennant Creek with some Aboriginal stockmen. Reportedly speared to death were Readford and several of his stockmen. In Shirley’s party were bushman John Rees tracker Jim Hussey George and Arthur Phillips (unrelated) Tennant Creek telegraph operator Alan Giles and a native boy. All of them, except Giles and the boy, died of thirst. Readford and his party were later reported safe. Irish-born Shirley a former mattress-maker joined SAPOL in March 1877. He transferred to Barrow Creek in July 1882 and was the first police officer to die in the line of duty in the Northern Territory.

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National Police Memorial Australia

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