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City’s finest to reunite

Thursday, 14th July, 2016

BEST EVER: A Ford 351 GT/XB 2 door hardtop patrolling the border at Curlwaa near Wentworth circa 1977. BEST EVER: A Ford 351 GT/XB 2 door hardtop patrolling the border at Curlwaa near Wentworth circa 1977.

By Michael Murphy

Former local police officers have already begun telling tales of the good old days ahead of a reunion next year.

Ray Gardoll, who served with the local police force from 1995 to 2009, has started to get inquiries from as far away as Thailand about the two-day event planned in May.

Even a 95-year-old former sergeant has put his hand up to make the trek back to the Hill for the occasion. After he got word on the street, former sergeant Reg Pinkerton rang the local police station to confirm details.

Sergeant Pinkerton retired around 1979. As well as Broken Hill, he served at Albion Park, Mullinbimby and Nowendock, where he was issued a horse and had the assistance of “black trackers” to look for stolen cattle throughout the local ranges.

One local bloke reported he had been “saved from a life of crime by a swift boot up the bum from Sgt Pinkerton back in the day”.

Many locals would remember one of the city’s longest serving police officers, Garry Nowlan, who has been in fine form posting old pictures and yarns on the Back to Barrier Facebook site.

The former highwayman rated the Ford 351 GT/XB 2 door Hardtop as the best patrol car he ever had the pleasure to drive.

“It was easy to catch the hoodlums at the Hill in those days,” Nowlan wrote.

“If they got away, you just parked in Argent Street for a while and they were back in 10 minutes.

“They just could not resist doing ‘the lap’ and we were there waiting for them.”

Ray Gardoll got the idea for the Back to Barrier reunion after celebrating a similar event in Blacktown, NSW, earlier this year.

“I had a ball, an absolute ball, and I thought I would do it here and see what the response is ... and the response has been great.”

He said word was beginning to spread, and about 300 people had logged on and liked the Facebook page, with about three quarters of those having served in the local district.

The Barrier police region stretches from Tibooburra in the north to Wenworth, Dareton and Buronga in the south, to Ivanhoe in the east.

Ray said about ten local retired officers still lived in the Hill.

Ray’s own career was cut short when a “drunken crook” tripped over and destroyed his knee.

“We were carrying her out to put her in the cells, and she tripped and fell and grabbed the first thing she could, and it just happened to be my knee,” Ray said.

Ray said he would love to hear from anyone who would be interested in the reunion, and he would be forming a committee in the next few months to work out and organise the finer details of the event.

If you know anyone who would be interested, point them to Facebook.com/BarrierReunion2017.

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