A Diverse and Dedicated Career

The Life of a Local Policeman

When Albert Edward Wallbank (1887–1953) joined the New South Wales Police Force in 1913 the role of a police officer was significantly broader than it is today. After serving at Carrington for seven years Albert was posted to Dudley Station in 1921 where he was to remain for 27 years until his retirement in 1947.

Dudley was very much a mining town dominated by a colliery employing around a third of the local population and producing much of Constable Wallbank’s workload. Along with attending accidents at the mine and giving evidence at inquests into deaths at the colliery, Wallbank was also responsible for distributing food relief to miners made unemployed as the coal trade collapsed in the late 1920s. Other duties performed by Wallbank fall within the current perceptions of police work. Arrests for public drunkenness, obscene language and embezzlement, levying fines for no lights on a motor cycle and attending shark attacks. However, his duties also extended to being the agent for the Government Savings Bank of NSW and conducting the Census in 1926. As a member of Dudley community Wallbank acted as auditor on the School of Arts Committee, in 1940 he organised a dance in support of the Police War Fund, was a NSW warden during WWII and the whole family was described as ‘very helpful to all sections of the community.’

Constable Wallbank and his wife Alice Irene (1888-1952) raised three children in Dudley: Albert Arthur Robert (1909–1975), Nancy Irene (1910–1981) and Gwendoline Joyce (1912–1971). Albert and Irene remained in Dudley after his retirement but he was not replaced. So along with being ‘the best ‘john’ we ever had’ he was Dudley’s last local policeman.