Recollections of a Victorian Police Officer Chapter IV page 3

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Recollections of a Victorian Police Officer by Sup John Sadleir

(full text transcription)

I left Ballarat for Melbourne in May, 1854, and never met Foster but once again, and then under peculiar circumstances. There had been a rather extensive fire at Sandridge, which had continued throughout the night. I came on duty in the early morning, when the fire had nearly burnt itself out, and was informed by a sergeant of police named Archibald that a man who called himself Superintendent Foster was interfering with the police arrangements, and that he was drunk. I saw Foster in the distance moving about amongst the ruins, tripping and stumbling as he went, leaving me under the same impression as the sergeant. The later, who was rather an impetuous man, but an excellent policeman, then left and made his report. A little later Foster came up to speak to me, and to my surprise, and also to my great gratification, I found that he was perfectly sober. The sergeant persisted in his statement, and the matter came before a Board of Officers, who found Foster not guilty, and recommended the sergeant’s removal from the service. My evidence was confirmed by that of Mr W C Haines, Chief Secretary, who had driven Foster to and from the scene of the fire. In consideration of his general efficiency, and of the fact that he had made his report in good faith, Archibald was after a time restored to his position. In dear old Foster’s later career there was a sad falling away that brought grief to his many friends. This is however anticipating events, for I have not yet done with Ballarat of the Early Fifties.

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