Beecroft-Cheltenham History Group

The prelude and presence of police in Beecroft.

In 1880 a plan of subdivision shows a police station at Thompson’s Corner and in 1887 the Police Department paid James Bellamy rent for a house at Pennant Hills. Neither property, nor who staffed these properties, has been located [1].

Beecroft and Cheltenham are not noted for crime. During the 1890s there were a number of small robberies until 1895 when the first ‘major’ crime took place when the safe at the railway station was blown and nearly 7 pounds and the station master’s title deeds were stolen. In 1898 the home of Mr T C Allard, on Beecroft Road, was broken into and some valuable jewellery stolen. During this time the district was serviced by Constable Denman travelling from Hornsby.

Following representations of the Progress Association made as a consequence of the Allard robbery, Constable Kelly was appointed to serve in Beecroft from April 1898. The Police leased a home on the original property of Mr Abram in Beecroft, at present day 35 Wongala Crescent as the police station and residence [2]. In addition to a home and office, they also gave Constable Kelly a bicycle to assist in his duties – however he could not ride [3]. Upon Constable Kelly enlisting to serve in the Boer War [4], Constable William Wade arrived in February 1900, having been transferred from Picton. In 1904 he was promoted to first class constable and then in 1905 was transferred to Hornsby [5].

The Beecroft Opium Bust

Following a tip off, NSW Police detectives and customs officers raided the Copeland Road East home of May Alice Quan in March 1918. They were looking for opium. They had unsuccessfully mounted a watch the previous night to see if there would be any attempt to move the drugs.

Both the stake out and subsequent search of the bush was at considerable personal risk to the officers as the Press at the time described this area  (now known as being in the vicinity of Argyll Place, Cheltenham) as ”mountainous country [where they had to be] continually on the alert against the death adders which infested the district.” [1] As a result of searching the bush the officers found a parcel comprising tins and small capsules containing pellets of opium under rubbish at the rear of a cave near the end of Copeland Road East. The pellets were made like revolver bullets which, when strung together, could be hung around the body to avoid identification by Customs officers. Some 30 lb of opium was found to a 1918 value of 600 pounds sterling. It was thought that  the pellets had been smuggled ashore from a steamer in the Harbour.

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