1920 - 2020

Photographs published in the PANSW Magazine circa 1920 of the first Secretary and first President

1920 Police Association Formed

A small group of police including Betram Fortescue, the Association’s first General Secretary, and Seargent William MacKay, who later became the Commissioner of Police, presented a proposal to the Inspector General. Read the Story
Front cover of the first edition of Police News

1921 First Edition of Police News

First edition of Police News was eagerly awaited by the membership as they had previously relied on press reports and the bush telegraph to hear about what was going on in their own department. Read the Story
Photographs of members at the first annual conference

1921 First Police Association Conference

The first annual conference of the Association was held on 28 of February 1921 and lasted a lengthy seven days. It looked at a wide range of issues such as independence of the Secretary and President, examinations for promotions,... Read the Story
PANSW Magazine 1924, October Edition, Page 4

1924 Association Fights for Recognition of Injury on Duty

Association Legal action in the District Court wins justice for officer who was thrown from a police motorcycle but classified as ineligible for compensation. Read the Story

1926 Police win landmark decision of 44-hour work week including weekly rest days

In September 1925 the Association Executive places seven matters before the new Chief Secretary Carlo Lazzarini. Read the Story
Excerpt of the Gibbons vs Duffell case circa 1932

1930 Police Association legal representations to support member

Legal representations to support member in the Gibbons vs Duffell matter was one of the first instances of Police Association legal assistance. Read the Story
Captain Chaffey (Chief Secretary), Inspector Colmer, Commissioner Childs, Sir Phillip Game, and Sergeantt. J . W a lsh.

1931 Police suffer pay cuts 8-20%

Introduction of the Public Servants Salaries Reduction act by the Lang Government mean all public servants have their wages cut by 16.5% despite frantic efforts by the Police Association. Read the Story
Police Memorial commemorating fallen police at Police Headquarters. Published in the Police News June 1933

1933 Memorial plaque to honour fallen police

Police Association push to erect memorial plaque to honour police killed in the execution of their duty since 1900 following a series of on-duty deaths. Read the Story
PANSW Magazine circa 1946 included a proposed copy of the Constituation for the newly formed Austalian Federation of Police Unions

1945 Police Federation of Australia Formed

The Police Association of New South Wales was a dominant force with the largest membership at the time. The NSW Police had never gone on strike, persuing negotiation and resolution to solve difference. Read the Story
 Industrial Relations Commission Building Wikimedia: Sardaka

1946 Police Association gain the right to approach the NSW Industrial Commission (only on wages)

Access to IRC lead to a historic wage rise, one that regained the losses accumulated through the Depression years Read the Story
Lillian Armfeild with Amy Millgate and Glady Johnson circa 1948

1947 Association Membership extends to Police Women and Police Cadets

Women remained ‘special constables’ in the NSW Police structure until 1965, however were admitted membership to the Association following a decision from Conference Read the Story
Policewomen circa 1940

1952 Police Women addressed the PANSW Conference

Grace Hopkins of Traffic brought the concerns of policewomen before conference speaking of the deplorable arrangements which existed or failed to exist, including the absence of lavatories for women. Read the Story
The December Edition PANSW Magazine 1955 notes new pay rates for NSW Police officers

1955 Police Association gain further pay rises

Realising that action before the Industrial Courts was a time consuming process and expensive, the association adopted a new strategy and made an application to the Public Service Board. Read the Story
Police News Article on Ssecondary employment 1965

1956 Association takes a stance on Secondary Employment

A number of unions had complained to the Association because police were working in other jobs prompting the Association to write to members in the Police News Read the Story
Police Women being sworn in as full constable status circa 1965

1964 Policewomen gain the rank of constable

Legislation passed to allow for the conferring of the status of constable to policewomen, removing the previous arrangement as special constables. Read the Story
Front Cover of 1969 February Edition of Police News shows flamability of uniforms

1969 Association prompts change in fire-prone uniforms

The highly flammable shirts featured on the front cover of the Police News that year prompting public and political outcry. Not only were the shirts flammable, but the Commissioner had allegedly known for months. Read the Story

1969 Further salary increases gained for members

Police Association gain further salary increases for members by $149 via application to the Public Service Board. Read the Story
General Secretary Bob Page and President Bob McClelland on a union visit to broken hill

1974 Drive to improve police training

The executive of the Association led the drive to improve police training. They supported the idea of a dedicated, residential college, making representation to government and the department on the benefits of such a model. Read the Story
General Secretary Bob Page and President Bob McClelland inspect the mines on a union visit to Broken Hill

1974 Association introduce industrial training

Executive organised a seminar for all branch secretaries to cover a range of industrial issues and give a broader understanding of the increasingly important role of the union. Read the Story

1980 Changes to structure of the Association

Report recommends that five divisions be created within the Association Management structure spreading duties and responsibilities throughout the secretaries. Read the Story
Strength Campaign poster circa 1980s

1986 Introduction of the 38 Hour work week

The Association instituted a series of work-to-rule bans after six days of consultations between with the Public Service Board had failed to produce a result. The work bans had the desired effect. Read the Story

1994 15% salary increase under Enterprise Bargaining

The move to enterprise bargaining was in line with a shift in the direction across the Australian Industrial Relations landscape, representing a departure from wage cases before the Industrial Commissions or the Public Service... Read the Story

1994 Association co-operate and support Wood Royal Commission

Delegates voted that the Association would co-operate and support the royal commission during a special conference called just days before annual Conference in Wollongong. Read the Story

2003 OHS improvements driven by branches

Branch develops best practice in safe storage of firearms Read the Story

2004 Protecting Police from civil litigation

Prior to 1 January 2004 Police could be sued as individuals for any injury or damage caused while carrying out their duties in good faith. Read the Story

Full Timeline

Centenary Celebration Countdown


100 Years Of Staying Strong

A Message from Tony King

As I look back at the history of our Association over the past 99 years, one fact is crystal clear.

Those that came before us fought long and hard for the creation of an organisation to represent NSW police officers, taking on direct opposition from Governments and senior police. It wasn’t a given.

During the 1900s, Members of Parliament including Edmund Walcott Fosbery CMG, an Inspector-General (equivalent to the role of Commissioner) of Police for 33 years, strongly opposed granting rank and file members the basic right to appeal matters of discipline and promotion.

We had a stalwart supporter in the Hon Ted Larkin, a former policeman, who said in 1914, “It is the manifest right of the police to form their association, and the request should be granted.”

Unfortunately, World War I intervened and Larkin, who was a member of the 1st Battalion, tragically died in battle at Gallipoli.

It took many years of hard work, and with the permission of a sympathetic Premier of the day, the Association finally formed in 1920 with the first Association meeting held on 8 September 1920.

Initially, police officers worried that joining the Association would be a black mark against them.

Chief Secretary, (equivalent to the role of Premier) James Dooley directly intervened, reassuring them that joining the Association would not prejudice their position or status as a Police Officer. 

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PANSW Centenary Events

Centenary Celebration | Gala Dinner

Tuesday 7 September 2021
Join in our celebrations with a Gala Dinner on Tuesday 7 September 2021 as we reflect on what it means to belong to this organisation
All Events

Stories & Inspiration

History of the Assocation

5 Events That Shaped the Association

Geoff Armstrong identifies five events that capture the essence of the Association, its objectives and aspirations during its rich history.

War Mission: Constable Transports Precious Cargo

Fifty years after the war Bob Phillips, then a Constable attached to the Traffic Branch, breaks his silence on a top secret assignment to convey an important load to Garden Island. Following is his account of the mission.

Police Family: Family of Heroes

Constable 1st Class George E. Tarrant, stationed at Blake N.S.W., held the record for having the greatest number of brothers in Australia's Fighting Services at that time. Constable Tarrant forwarded photographs and details of his brothers.

More Stories