Recollections of a Victorian Police Officer Chapter XXVI page 5
Recollections of a Victorian Police Officer by Sup John Sadleir
Dowling had a weakness - the attractions of the many Bourke Street drinking shops were too strong for him. But it was worth while to save him from temptation, and he was moreover quite willing to be saved. Hence it was that he took kindly to the most dismal work in the whole service perhaps-the patrol of the lower wharves on the Yarra River .
At this time the police on night duty wore the old Long Tom overcoat, and carried a bull’s-eye lantern and handcuffs slung in a broad waistbelt, with baton in a special pocket. Thus burdened, Dowling leaped into the Yarra at the time of its highest flood - December, 1863, I believe it was to the rescue of a tipsy sailor, and brought him safely to land. Time after time he displayed the same splendid courage and made a name for himself as an heroic fellow, whose memory should not be lost. The Government thought so much of his conduct that they rewarded him liberally. While his cheque lasted nothing was to be seen of Dowling, and when he did turn up for duty in a week or so, his officers seemed to be strangely forgetful of his fault.
These simple annals of brave deeds done, and of work well and faithfully performed by men in humble position, might easily be extended to include such men as David Marks, Millea, Moran (Sergeant-Major), Crisp, Joyce, Lyhane, Bysonth, and many others, not one of whom received the advancement in the service he had honestly earned. The last named, best known as Jimmy Bysonth, was a short, bow legged man, always at high pressure, and constantly engaged in fierce encounters with larrikins. He was by trade a coach builder, and it was ever a source of satisfaction and pride to him that he was the constructor of the first ‘Black Maria’ used in Australia !
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