What you can find in Police Gazettes

I have just dragged myself away from the library, where I could well have become seriously lost in the Police Gazettes. These addictive volumes contain all manner of information about criminal and policing matters and are particularly interesting in what they reveal, often in minute detail, about the things people did, what stuff they had, where they lived and who they knew. Of course, to be included people mostly had to be either a criminal, wanted by the police, a victim of crime, a missing person or the like (although others do get a mention for various reasons).

Many of the Police Gazettes have been copied and are available on CD as searchable PDF documents. (You can find more about these on the Archive CD Books website – just search for ‘police gazette’). This is very handy, and a little bit of keyword searching in random volumes could well occupy many a happy hour.

Here’s a few ‘Chinese’ things.

Theft

From Victoria Police Gazette, 16 September 1909, p. 363

JAMES CHIN YOUNG, cabinetmaker, 300 Exhibition-street, Melbourne, reports stolen from his dwelling, on the 14th inst., 2 carpenters’ planes, “Louey Won, maker,” stamped on end, one about 16 inches long and the other about 6 or 7 inches long; a 56-lb bag of rice, bag made of Chinese straw, “F.K., No. 1, Melbourne,” on it and some Chinese characters; an English-Chinese dictionary, with “James Chin Young” stamped inside, 9 by 6 inches; a gent’s black silk umbrella, crook handle, opens with a spring; and a Chinese bangle. Value £6. Entrance was effected through the back window.–O.6759. 15th September, 1909.

From Victoria Police Gazette, 2 September 1910, p. 414

AH HOW, gardener, Albert-street, Brunswick East, reports stolen from his dwelling, on the 26th or 27th inst., a small round alarm clock, “Ah How” on back, and in Chinese letters “Louie How”; a blue jumper; a pair of cotton pyjamas; a cotton singlet; a pillow slip; a butcher’s knife; a corkscrew; a tin opener; a gent’s umbrella, crooked handle; 2 photos. of complainant’s garden; and some celery and lettuce seed. Value £3. Entrance was effected by breaking the glass in a window.–O.5805. 29th August, 1910.

Desertion

From Victoria Police Gazette, 13 October 1910, p. 472

YEN MEE LANG TIP is charged, on warrant, issued at the instance of his wife, Ethel Theresa Lang Tip, green-grocer, Korumburra, with deserting his six children, at Korumburra, ont he 17th ult. Description:–Half-caste Chinese, 34 years of age, 5 feet 10 inches high, rather stout build, square shoulders, light-brown eyes, dark moustache only, shiny black hair, with curl in centre of forehead, false teeth on top jaw, speaks good English, two fingers of left hand are turned in.–O.6635A. 7th October, 1910.

Forgery

From New South Wales Police Gazette, 2 November 1910, p. 376

Tamworth.–A warrant has been issued by the Tamworth Bench for the arrest of Amy Camoline Win, charges with forging a cheque for £30. She is 13 years and four months of age, about 4 feet 10 inches high, slight build, rather sallow complexion, dark-brown straggly hair, brown eyes, good teeth; dressed in green straw hat with black velvet band, white linen blouse, lace insertion front and buttons at back, green serge skirt, black leather belt, tan lace-up shoes and tan stockings; a half-caste Chinese, but shows little Chinese.

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