13) Police Station

Law & Order 1800s Gold Rush Days

Historical - Bushranger Brothers  Thomas and John Clarke
13) Police Station Office
13) Police Station

The Police Station Building

The police station at the Original Gold Rush Colony was originally built from over 100 year old limestone bricks from the Lincoln Downs Estate in Batemans Bay NSW. They were manufactured locally using lime made from Clyde River Oysters scraped from the rocks. Liming (burning oyster shells) was carried out without first shucking the oysters. It was carried out along the Clyde River and much of the rest of the NSW coastline, and nearly denuded the oyster population.

Australian Historical Law Enforcement - Colony Government

Government buildings of the Gold Rush days were often the most strongly constructed buildings in a region. This was as much to provide security for the Police who were usually undermanned, as to reflect the power of government.

In the relatively lawless society of the gold-rush period the Police were often powerless and most certainly unpopular. This was especially so as a result of the unpopular laws they were called upon to administer, particularly in the gold rush days diggings. 

Many people in the diggings considered themselves Colonials and saw much of the English law as unfair as it often favoured the "landed gentry" and disadvantaged the diggers. In fact, some of the licensing laws were designed to force the diggers back into the paid workforce. One of the less popular laws required gold to be sold at the Police Station or Post Office within ten days at the Government set prices.

On the bulletin board of the Police Station building is documentation of the rations to be served to convicts, doing hard labour, or light work, which included 1/100th g of pepper or in jail on bread and water. The use of leg irons, ball and chain and old style handcuffs are demonstrated.

Gold Rush Days Bushrangers - Clarke Brothers

The bushrangers of the Australian gold rush era include the notorious Ned Kelly, Ben Hall, Captain Lightning, Frank Gardiner and Thunderbolt. The murderous Clarke brothers of the Clarke and Connell gang were considered to be worse than any other bushrangers of the times and became known as "The Bloodiest Bushrangers".

They were sons of an ex-convict in the Monaro, who raised his children to believe in his views of the fair and equitable distribution of property, beginning with horse and cattle stealing.

The Clarke gang of relatives and friends was well trained in bushcraft and heavily armed. They plundered publicans and storekeepers and ambushed Gold shipments from Nerrigundah and Araluen and the coaches that travelled from Sydney and the Illawarra. They moved virtually unchecked until November 1866 when they were caught by a posse of troopers.

The photo in the police station was taken in Braidwood on their arraignment

The Clarke Brothers when finally captured, arraigned and shackled where transported to Braidwood, then down the Corn Trail to Nelligen.  They were shackled to the prison tree at Nelligen while waiting for transport by Steam Packet boat to Sydney and their legal Trials.

Tom Clarke, 26, and brother John, 24, were hanged from twin gallows at Darlinghurst Jail on June 25th, 1867, ending a reign of terror on the New South Wales south coast which cost the lives of eight men.