Author of ‘Killing Chronicles’ Alan Leek remembers Australian Police killed in the line of duty
In August of 1803, Constable Joseph Luker was patrolling Sydney Town when he was set upon by a number of men and savagely beaten to death. When his body was found near present Phillip Street, the guard of his cutlass was embedded in his skull. He was the first constable in what would become Australia, killed in the execution of his duty.
186 years and many deaths later, as a result of a decision of members of the Australasia and South West Pacific Region Police Commissioner’s Conference, the first National Police Remembrance Day was conducted on 29 September 1989. The day has become highly significant for police throughout Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and the Solomon Islands. It is a time when all fallen officers are remembered.
Michaelmas Day, 29 September, was chosen as the day of remembrance as St Michael the Archangel, adopted as the patron saint of police, is recognised by the Christian, Jewish and Islamic faiths.
Ten years later the NSW Government announced the construction of a Wall of Remembrance to be erected. Built on the southern side of the Art Gallery of NSW in The Domain, it was unveiled by the Premier, the Hon. Bob Carr, in December 1999.
On 29 September 2006 the National Police Memorial in Canberra was opened to pay tribute to Australian police officers who have been killed on duty or have died as a result of their duties since the beginning of policing in Australia. The memorial was the culmination of over twenty years of lobbying, planning and discussion.
The long overdue tribute serves to honour those who have fallen in the line of duty, not within a specific time frame, but as a continuum. Police duty has no end; there is no armistice, often no identifiable enemy, no withdrawal from the front and no end to hostilities. Front line police officers, for the term of their sworn duty, remain on active service.
In my new book, The Killing Chronicle – Police, Service and Shattered Lives, many instances are recounted of the tragic deaths of police officers and in some cases those they attempted to protect. The accounts, seen through my lens as a seasoned police veteran, examine the men, their circumstances and the impact their deaths had on their families and the communities in which they lived and served.
The Killing Chronicle will be officially launched by former NSW police commissioner, Ken Moroney, AO, APM, FRSN at the Hawkesbury Museum, Baker Street, Windsor at 2pm Saturday, October 12.
Buy your copy here
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