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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Police Paddock & Residence, Back in 1925

This photo from 1925 shows the former Police Paddocks residence, The residence is long gone and images of it are hard to find, There is evidence on the ground still of the former buildings, which were demolished in 1956, but nothing substantial remains to mark this part of local history. At over 120 years old they were a loss even then.

Site of the first Native Police Headquarters (1839), Westernport Aboriginal Protectorate Station (1840-42) and the third Native Police Headquarters (1843-1853), it also functioned as the Police Stud Depot until 1931 and a farm until around1959.

Now perhaps only one third to one quarter of the size of the original Police Reserve surveyed in 1851 for the Native Police Corps. Prior to this first survey, the land was used for three Aboriginal/European institutions. The 1837 Corps of Native Police under Superintendent Christiaan Ludolph Johannes de Villiers, the Westernport Aboriginal Protectorate under Assistant Protector William Thomas, and the 1842 Corps of Native Police under Commandant Henry Edmund Pulteney Dana.

History documents the joint Aboriginal/European institutional use of the site from the early contact period until 1852 when Commandant Henry Dana died. Shortly before his death in November 1852, Henry Dana was appointed Commandant of the Mounted Patrol, a European force consisting of two Divisions (one of which was commanded by his brother William) raised for the protection of the roads from the goldfields to Melbourne. The Native Police Corps had ceased to exist as an institution, though there were still Aboriginal troopers who served. After the disintegration of this Corps, the site was taken over by the Mounted Division of the Victorian Police and used as their stud depot until the 1930s.

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