The following information is a copy of JK Stokes data on Mount Barker as contained in her Rootsweb ( Genealogy Website  and has been included here with permission.  No alterations or additions may be made to her information without further permission, although relevant comments and/or additions are welcome to be added at the bottom of each page.  (copied July 2014)

Law and Order

Early Police Officers

The first police officer in the town was Sergeant Swaffer, who had arrived in the colony on the "Buffalo" in 1836.  He lived in a room at Gloag's Inn in Cameron Road.  There was no police station at the time.  His fellow officer, Trooper George Uphill, slept in a hollowed out gum tree near the creek below the site of the old Tannery.  There are blocks of units built on the site today.

Mt Barker Police Station in 1929Trooper Uphill's bedroom, itself, has quite a history.  The old tree served many purposes over the years - as Mr. Uphill's bedroom, as a carpenter's shop, and as a family home for the Watts family while their new home was being built.  The tree was 37 feet around and 35 feet high.  Unfortunately, it has long since been cut down.

Sergeant Searcy was the first officer to be stationed at the police station that was built in 1842, near to where the old police station stands in Gawler Street today.  Later a house was built on this site for the use of resident Police officers.

Later still, a newer police station was built, and still stands in Gawler Street, although it is no longer used as a police station.  The present police station was built in the 1960's, and has recently had some extensions made to it, which include new cells.

Some officers who have served at Mt Barker Police Station include - Sgt. Goldfinch, Sgt. Searcy, Sgt. Swaffer, Mounted Constable Day, Trooper Uphill, Sgt. Bruce Eades, Sgt. Mitchell and many others.

Local Court

The court house in Mt Barker was built some time later than the police stations.  The first Clerk of the Local Court was John Banks Shepherdson.

The old court house was closed in 1976 by Mr. Justice Gunn, because of the poor state of repair into which it had fallen.  On the day that he closed the court house, Mr Justice Gunn was forced to sit at his bench holding an umbrella above his head so that he and the court records would not get wet from the water dripping through the dilapidated roof!  The business of the court in Mt Barker, was at that time, transferred to Stirling and continued there until the new court house and renovations to the existing old courthouse had been completed.  The new court house opened again in the mid-1980's.


[ JKS - Home ]     last updated 18 October 2005