A Man of Many Parts

Policeman, Horseman and Good Citizen

This photograph shows Herbert Norman Palmer (1857–1931) in his Mounted Police uniform, minus hat, and is thought to have been taken upon his retirement in 1917. Palmer joined the NSW Mounted Police in 1891 and was posted across a number of stations in the Greater Hume region including Albury, Gundagai, Wagga, Tumut and Coolamon. In 1906 he was posted to Jindera where he remained until his retirement. A career in the Mounted Police was an obvious choice for a drover and horse-breaker who was later regarded as ‘one of the best riders in the force.’

The boots Palmer is wearing are clearly well-used but were not the regulation trooper’s boots, so he, as with many of his colleagues, found they were not suitable for the riding required. Palmer in his full ‘regimentals’, including a cavalry sword, was however on show at the 1916 French National Day celebrations in Jindera. Palmer’s role went beyond what we normally associate with police duties as he was appointed inspector of dairies, stock and slaughter houses; sanitary inspector; collector of electoral rolls; and established Jindera’s first fire brigade.

The regard with which Palmer was held by Jindera residents was first evident in 1909 when he was welcomed home after an absence of five months during which he was stationed at Broken Hill. His retirement party filled the School of Arts hall and the presentation of a ‘substantial’ purse and a silver ink stand showed the esteem in which he was held. Palmer was hailed as a good citizen, ‘never behind in assisting a good cause – jovial and pleasant, but a terror to those who break the law.’