District Constable

Thomas SMITH

YEAR OF DEATH

1844

JURISDICTION

Tasmania

DETAILS OF DEATH

District Constable Thomas Smith is listed in the Police Establishment Records for the District of Southport on the 1st March 1842 as a serving police officer. The rank ‘District Constable’ indicates he was probably a free settler not a convict. It was not uncommon to employ convicts who had received a ticket of leave in the police force; the rank District Constable was normally reserved for free settlers. According to several Tasmanian newspapers, District Constable Thomas Smith was called out to investigate a number of squatters reported to be cutting timber on Crown land without a license. To access this particular area of Crown land Constable Smith and several police colleagues had to travel by boat. A violent windstorm hit the boat and overturned it tossing all the occupants into the sea. It is clear from all newspaper reports and an entry in the Deaths in the District of Hobart for 1844 record book that Thomas Smith (entry 437) accidentally drowned on the 31st October 1844. The Colonial Times (5 Nov 1844) reported Thomas Smith serving 12 years as a police officer and “…was a most excellent officer.” The report goes on to note his “…excellent character and great length of service.” The Launceston Advertiser published a brief account of Lanceston’s Chief Constable ‘canvassing the town’ to raise money for District Constable Smith’s wife and young baby.

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National Police Memorial Australia

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