Earning His Stripes

Senior Constable Albert Wallbank

After 24 years of service at Dudley Police Station, on the 20th July 1945, Constable Albert Edward Wallbank (1887-1953) was promoted to the rank of Senior Constable. Upon receiving his new rank and responsibilities, Wallbank also earned these Senior Constable stripes that were affixed to his uniform.

As a policeman, Wallbank dealt with his fair share of local incidents – everything from small-scale disputes to large-scale crimes. During his time, the Ocean View Hotel would become a familiar sight.

The Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate kept diligent track of the many reports of public nuisances, break-ins, and after-hours trading at the hotel. However. these occurrences become more contentious in light of the ‘six o’clock swill.’ This wartime austerity measure meant public houses began closing early between 1916 and 1955 in New South Wales.

It is no surprise that this attempt to improve public morality led to many dissatisfied patrons. In March 1945, Wallbank is described as intervening in yet another fight between two men at the hotel at closing time. The pair were fined two pounds for offensive behaviour.

It was several months after this incident that Wallbank earned his stripes and solidified himself as an important part of the community. He would proudly wear these stripes until his retirement on the 9th June 1948, all the while maintaining a firm but fair hand in local law and order.