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Honouring service and sacrifice on National Police Remembrance Day

29 September 2021
police memorial wreath blue ribbon lowered flag

On 29 September, Australians come together for National Police Remembrance Day to acknowledge the brave police officers who serve our communities. We recognise the courage and selflessness of these officers by remembering their stories, honouring their sacrifice, and commemorating their legacy.

As part of this commemoration, Victoria Police adds new names to their Honour Roll, which recognises Victorian police officers who have fallen in the line of duty. This year, several of the new additions are officers who were laid to rest at Melbourne General Cemetery, so as custodians of their resting place we would like to pay special tribute.

Edward Hall vintage photo
Sub-Inspector Edward Hall

A strictly honourable man

Through his 34-year career, Sub-Inspector Edward Hall garnered a reputation as a “strictly honourable man” who was extremely well-regarded by his colleagues. On the night of 24 March 1892, Edward was travelling back from Warracknabeal with James McLuckie, a Police Magistrate.

The pair were travelling by horse-drawn buggy on a dimly lit rural road at night, and visibility was consequently low. Before they could react, the front wheel of the carriage caught on an unseen tree-stump and the carriage flipped over.

Mr McLuckie was not seriously injured, but Edward, aged 56, sustained serious injuries and had to be transported to hospital. He passed away several days later from complications from the accident. He was remembered fondly by his fellow officers and has now joined the Victoria Police Honour Wall.

A promising young constable

Another fallen officer added to the Honour Wall this year is Mounted Constable James Foley. James joined the police in 1887 and was described as “well-conducted” and “a promising young constable” by his supervisors.

After being tasked to investigate a theft, the 30-year-old Constable Foley completed his enquiries and set out to return to his station in Caulfield when he decided to exercise his horse by jumping a two-rail fence. Unfortunately, his horse caught the fence and James was thrown from his saddle, tragically leading to his death.

Both officers were laid to rest at Melbourne General Cemetery, and we’re proud to watch over their final resting place and carry forward their legacy.

wreath laid at the police memorial surrounded by candles
A wreath and candles laid at the Police Memorial

A timeless memorial

At Springvale Botanical Cemetery, we are honoured to host our very own Police Memorial monument. Constructed in 1999, the monument was created to serve as an ongoing tribute to officers who lost their lives in the line of duty following the passing of Sergeant Gary Silk and Senior Constable Rod Miller in August 1998.

This year, we were proud to prepare our memorial for this important occasion by ensuring the tiles around the base were properly restored and ensuring the surrounding gardens were re-mulched and tidied. As the sun rises on National Police Remembrance Day, the monument looks like it did on the day it opened in 1999.

While we are unable to formally come together on site for National Police Remembrance Day, it’s important that we honour our courageous officers both past and present.

Our yearly tradition includes laying a wreath of flowers and lighting candles at the foot of the monument and placing a blue ribbon from the Victoria Police Blue Ribbon Foundation on each grave within the Police Memorial area. We will also lower both the Australian flag and the Victoria Police flag to half mast for the day as a sign of respect.

blue ribbons on police memorial
We place a blue ribbon from the Victoria Police Blue Ribbon Foundation on each grave within the Police Memorial area

Last year we were fortunate to sit down with Mark Andrews, a former SMCT employee who went on to join Victoria Police. Watch the video below for more about his story and the significance of National Police Remembrance Day.

We would like to thank the Victoria Police for providing the stories of the newly added officers and thank all police officers who put their lives on the line for us every day for another year of brave service. If you would like to read more about the new officers added to the Honour Wall, you can find the complete booklet on the Victoria Police National Police Remembrance Day webpage.