Madge Connor was born in Waterford, Ireland in 1874.  She married Edward Connor at 16 years of age and the young couple made their way to Melbourne, Victoria.
Edward died in 1916 and it whilst registering his death in 1916 that she came to the attention of the Victoria Police.  Madge began working for them later that year investigating illegal gambling and going undercover to gather evidence in the boarding house of a notorious criminal.
In 1917, after a campaign by women’s groups to appoint female police members, Madge became the first police agent. In effect, a special Constable with no uniform, no powers of arrest and no weapons.
Madge would become part of a group who advocated for the appointment of female police members.  This came to fruition in November 1924, when Madge and 3 other women were sworn in as the first female Police Officers.
 Madge was forced to retire due to age regulations in 1929 and was ineligible for a pension as she hadn’t served the requisite 15 years.  She went on to become a private investigator instead.
Madge died in October 1952 and is buried at the Booroondoora Cemetery in Kew.

On This Day – April 21, 1928

“Spite” Against Police Sergeant

Ellen Mcpherson, aged 50 years, of ,Evandale road, Malvern, was charged at the Malvern Court on Monday with having on April 13 and on April 21 placed grease and garbage in a public place. Senior constable Langslow prosecuted. There was no appearance of McPherson. With Mr C.J. Rogers, PM , on the bench, were Messrs W.T. Hattam,  T. Patterson,  A.R. Bailey and Dr. Player, JPs.

John Robert Chamberlain sergeant of police, in charge of the police of the superintendent of the south-eastern police district, said -I live in Evandale road, Malvern. I left my home at 7 o’clock on the evening of April 15, and the foot path in front of the house was then clean.  When I returned about 10 minutes to 8 o’clock I saw grease spots on the footpath extending the whole length of the front of my house.  The grease was of a green in colour, and had evidently been boiled.  On April 21 I saw on the footpath household garbage including bread, tea leaves, potato peeling, mutton bones, and what appeared to be oil, in a zigzag course on the footpath in front of the house. There was a very disagreeable odour from the grease. I reported the matter to the Malvern police.

Plain clothes Constable Leopold Barnes said -On April 23 I questioned Mrs McPherson, who said that she did not know anything about the matter. Later she admltted having placed the oil and grease on the footpath.  When I asked her why she did it she said I suppose it was for spite. I am a sick woman.

In answer to Mr Rogers, Constable Barnes said – It appears that two years ago the woman had an accident and reported the matter to Sergeant Chamberlain who not take up the case.  He is not stationed at Malvern

McPherson was fined £2 in default imprisonment for 14 days on each charge.

Shortly after 3 p.m. on Sunday, 9th January 1921, the motor launch “Nestor” sank in the Hopkins River, near Warrnambool

The boat had set out with 80 passengers aboard heading 5 kilometers upstream to Jubilee Park.  The Nestor had only gone about 1700 feet (518 meters) when the first alarm was raised that she was taking on water.  The owner of the boat, Edward Geary made attempts to beach the boat and had sent two boys ashore to fasten it off but it unfortunately did not hold. Ten people would ultimately drown.  Geary would be charged with manslaughter but the charges would later be dropped.

Constable William Sharrock was on duty on board the Nestor to keep order.  However he died a hero saving three people, including his sister in law Eleanor and her child, before succumbing to the water.  He was later found to have died by strangulation caused by the neck on his coat being too tight.  His body was recovered the next day.

Constable William Sharrock had joined the police force in 1901, having been a labourer before he joined.  He had spent his 20 years in the force mostly in South Melbourne and then Warrnambool.  Sharrock was a well respected and liked officer.  In 1921, William was a widower, with his wife having passed away two years before leaving behind 5 children.  The youngest child was just two years old at the time of his fathers death.  The children were taken in and raised by William’s brother Joseph.

Sharrock was awarded a posthumous Valour Badge for his actions on the day of his death.  He lay in an unmarked grave in Warrnambool cemetery until 1998 when a headstone was erected and unveiled by former Chief Commissioner Neil Comrie.

In 2017,  Sharrock was one of the policemen recognised in Warrnambool for losing their lives while on duty with a new memorial behind the Old Courthouse.

On January 11, 1881, the Hereford ran aground at Inglesby Reef near Port Phillip Heads, close to Point Lonsdale, Victoria, Australia.  The 1456 ton ship would remain stranded until she would be finally towed off the reef on March 12, 1881.

But her running aground would lead to the deaths of 2 men – Constable David Digby and Lumper Frank Wright.

On January 17, 1881, a police presence was requested aboard the wreck of the Hereford and Mounted Constable Purcell and Foot Constable Digby were transported out to the ship.  There were about 30 other persons on board looking after the safe removal of the cargo and those in charge of the ship.

Once the policemen were aboard the ship, the weather took a turn for the worst.  It was decided that the seas were too rough for the two constables to return to shore.  But overnight, the weather became tempestous! Waves were breaking over the ship and water was running into the cabins, the ship was bumping horribly against the reef.  All on board were fearful for their lives.  At 7.30am the following morning it was decided to launch the remaining boat in an attempt to find the boat that had come loose in the night and to return the policemen to the shore.

The two Constables, a crew of five and seven lumpers began the journey from the Hereford to shore.  Everything was going to plan until about 50 yards from shore the boat run onto a sandbank.  All the men were instructed to jump overboard but unfortunately a large wave capsized the boat.  Most of the men would manage to grab the upturned boat to avoid being swept out to sea by the receding wave, but Constable David Digby and Frank Wright were not so lucky.  Constable Purcell was brought to shore with great difficulty.

A search was undertaken for the missing men but was called off around 11am with no sign of the two men.  Their bodies were not recovered.

Constable David Digby was aged 50 years and left behind a wife and a large family to mourn his loss.

Constable Digby is listed on the Police Honor Roll for those who lost their lives while doing their duty.