One of city’s finest honoured with medal

Monday, 15th May, 2017

Reginald Pinkerton inspects the latest police vehicle in operation ... the 93-year-old began his career as a mounted trooper.PICTURE Michael Murphy Reginald Pinkerton inspects the latest police vehicle in operation ... the 93-year-old began his career as a mounted trooper.PICTURE Michael Murphy

By Michael Murphy

A well-known police officer in Broken Hill during the ‘60s and ‘70s - Reginald Pinkerton - was awarded his National Police Service Medal on Saturday night during a reunion of more 100 former officers who served in the Far West.

The 93-year-old travelled with his family from Adelaide for the Barrier Local Area Command Reunion at the weekend, with his son Peter making the arrangements for the presentation at a function at the Barrier Social Democratic Club. 

The National Police Service Medal recognises officers of good ethical conduct who have served at least 15 years in the force, a feat certainly accomplished by Reginald.

After a stint “on the spitfires” in World War Two, Reginald joined the police force as a mounted trooper, traversing the Northern Tablelands of New South Wales, hunting down stolen cattle with the help of “black trackers”.

His next move was to Albion Park, near Shellharbour, where he worked the coast on an Indian motorbike, before upgrading to a FE Holden and in 1960 he was transferred as a Senior Constable to Broken Hill. 

Reginald said when his three sons got good jobs in Broken Hill, he decided to stay, and he worked here until he retired in 1979.

You don’t have to walk far to hear stories about Reginald and his family from those in the city at the time.

He gave a few “swift kicks up the bum” to put some on the straight and narrow, he dropped the local lads at the pictures in his police car, his wife taught macrame to the local mums. 

Reginald retired in 1979, but the Pinkerton name remains in the service; two of Reginald’s grandsons are police officers in New South Wales, one works in “prosecutions”, the other in “fingerprints”.

Local Commander Paul Smith was rapt with the turnout for the reunion and he said it was pleasing to see the older officers imparting their knowledge and experience on the younger brigade.

“I think Broken Hill is one of those places that does draw you,” said Superintendent Smith, who is on his second tour of the city after coming back to the lead the command in 2015. 

“It’s a great community and a terrific place, and not only Broken Hill either, but the whole far west.

“We have guys and gals here that have served at Tibooburra, Wentworth, Dareton, Ivanhoe, Wilcannia and Menindee, so there’s a fair mix that have worked right across the place.

“And it’s really encouraging that they’re sharing their stories of the changes in time with some of our new cops.

“We have got three new probationary constables here who were quite interested in some of the work conditions that were around 50 years ago.”

Superintendent Smith said he hoped the reunion could become a regular event, and he was hoping for some good news from Police Minister Troy Grant when he visits Broken Hill later this week for the Nationals conference.

“Certainly this is the first Back to Barrier reunion we have had for some time,” he said.

“I would like to see in the next few years that we do it again.

“And we might have a new police station to open if the police minister is kind to us next week.

“That would be a great opportunity for everyone to come back and see that happen.”