Finding a policeman in 1860


Australian Police in 1860There was a legend in my family that a mounted policeman existed and he had been part of a police force trying to catch Ned Kelly. The only other thing I knew was he was based in Kiama. I found our policeman but found no great connection with Ned Kelly as our relative had actually retired five years before Ned Kelly was chased by mounted policemen.  I did find a treasure trove of information about GGG (each G stands for Great) Grandad Goddard. He lead a very interesting life as a police man in the small town of Kiama.


As I knew that John Goddard was from Kiama my first port of call was the newspapers. Trove is an amazing resource of newspaper articles and I have found many relating to John The first and most detailed report of John’s police career was a horrific murder of a ten week old baby in Jamberoo; a nearby town to Kiama. John Goddard attended the scene and found that the murdering aunt still had the left leg of the baby wrapped up with a book. The aunt had cut the baby into pieces and when she was asked by constable John Goddard where the instrument she used was, she said she would only answer if she got the book back. After getting the book back the constable had to climb on the roof where he found the reaping hook and some brains still stuck in the teeth of the instrument.  John was a policeman for 16 years and I have found numerous reports of what John attended in those years as they were reported in the Sydney newspapers. To find those articles I just searched for “John Goddard Kiama” and narrowed it down again when I found he was a constable to “Constable John Goddard Kiama”.


Another interesting source of information was the New South Wales records, They hold a police register which I found by typing in police in their search engine. I used the online index of the police register which allowed me to search John’s name and then found his year of birth listed and knew I had the right John.  I had to pay $15 plus some postage and admin fees and I got John’s service record and it had some interesting facts on it. It showed that his service was from 1857 to 1873 and he had formerly been a soldier. His appearance was 5 foot and 9 and half inches with brown eyes, auburn hair and fair skin. He was born in 1823 in England, he was married and Protestant. He also went from Constable to Senior Constable.  All details that made John come a little bit more to life.


I found John’s obituary in the trove articles and he retired to Harris Park in Sydney. He died in 1900 at 77 years old and sure had an interesting life in the police force. I look forward to going down to Kiama in the future and trying to turn up more information or a photo of John. Have you found any policeman in your ancestors and heard some hairy stories about their service?




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