Accounting for History - Tasmania Police Historical Group
Attempts had been made to establish a police museum in Tasmania as early as 1957, when Deputy Commissioner Harry Lewis authorised Detective Superintendent Fletcher to establish a Police Museum at Hobart. Whilst a collection of old photographs and other items were collected together, little else occurred of any significance until the Tasmania Police Academy opened at Rokeby in 1976. A notice published in the Tasmania Police Gazette on 5 May 1977, called for "the identification and collection of historic items from various locations throughout the State for subsequent inclusion in the police museum". Thereafter, a quasi museum of sorts was established on the ground floor of the Police Academy accommodation block to display a collection old uniforms, weapons, and other items which had been sent to the Academy for safekeeping and storage. Sometime around the mid 1990's, when the area occupied by the museum was needed for other purposes, the museum was closed and many of the items considered of no significance were disposed of. The remaining uniforms, hats, badges and other items were later moved to glass display cases around the outside of the Academy auditorium where they were displayed with minimal security and little thought about ongoing preservation. At this time there was little effort to conduct research, or to collect and preserve additional items of historical significance to policing in Tasmania. There were also questions about ownership and responsibility for the items held at the Academy and elsewhere around the State.
The Tasmania Police Historical Group was formed in Hobart in 2003, following the inaugural meeting held on 26 July of that year, which attracted 12 serving and ex-members of Tasmania Police and State Service Employees. It was a suggestion from Inspector David Plumpton of Hobart Division to the then Commissioner Richard McCreadie, which saw the formation of the Tasmania Police Historical Group, with the Commissioner agreeing to become the Groups inaugural Patron. Inspector Plumpton found that at that time there was no real representation of artifacts, records, anecdotes and information pertaining to the history of policing in Tasmania.
The flagship of the Tasmania Police Historical Group is the Tasmania Police Museum, situated at 28 Bathurst Street, Hobart. The Museum came about when former Commissioner McCreadie made a number of rooms available to the Group on the ground floor of the police-owned 'Cruikshank Building', which was the earliest part of the Hobart Technical College and had previously housed the police uniform store. The establishment of the Group’s museum in Hobart eventually saw all historical holdings held at the Academy transferred to the Bathurst Street Museum, where they were properly catalogued and are now displayed (or stored) in a more secure environment.
Members of the Group conduct family history research for members of the public and other research projects in an attempt to document the history of police and policing from colonial days to the present. With the objective of establishing a group for the purpose of researching, preserving and fostering the history of Tasmania Police, the concept of the Group is underpinned by the desire to engender pride and promote the ethos of Tasmania Police through its history.
Commissioner Darren Hine, APM, is the patron of the Tasmania Police Historical Group and the Tasmania Police Museum.
The inaugral meeting of the Tasmania Police Historical Group held at Hobart on 23 July 2003.