By Evelyn Leckie
A police officer who died while on duty in 1894 was commemorated at a Victoria Police memorial dedication last Tuesday in Avenel.
Mounted Constable John Joseph Glynn served the Avenel Police station from 1887. He died as a result of being thrown from his horse while on duty on February 14, 1894.
The Irish immigrant joined the police force in 1878 and was believed to have assisted in the hunt for bushranger fugitives who murdered three police officers at Stringybark Creek.
Retired Superintendent Rod Johns said the tragic loss would have turned the Glynn family’s lives upside down.
“John failed to return home from patrol and was found the next day with his mount nearby – a tragic loss of the life of a servant to the community and a tragic loss of a husband and father to his family,” Mr Johns said.
“Bridget, his wife, said it had been her husband’s intention to ride to Seymour and then patrol to the river in search of fishing nets which had been reported.
“The untimely death would have had a huge impact on the town.
“It’s a shame that it’s taken over a century to occur [the memorial].”
Mr Glynn’s grandchildren attended the memorial and Deputy Commissioner of Victoria Police Shane Patton presented the Victoria Police Star to his family – an award which is given when a police member has been seriously injured or died in the line of duty.
“The star recognises the unique and unpredictable dangers of police work and the terrible sacrifices that members pay in the course of serving Victoria Police,” Mr Patton said.
Senior Sergeant Mel Healey also spoke at the memorial saying policing was a lot different now compared to how it was 150 years ago.
“Today’s police force encourages gender equity, we wear the same uniform and are paid the same pay and we always work in pairs now due to occupational health and safety,” Snr Sgt Healey said.