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Branch Chairman, Kent Vild presided at the March meeting. Kent told about a solicitor who had a problem donating to charities; a little girl who performed cartwheels in the schoolyard; a chap who made a trade involving his wife and a bottle of wine; and an older fellow who sought a season pass to the ladies quarters at the retirement village.

Attending the meeting were Allan Simpson, Ike Ellis, Kent Vild, Charles Bonett, Fay Bonett, Denise Behringer, Bruce Kennedy, Irene Kennedy, Edward Czerkesow, Don Eyb, John Seward, Glenda Macdonald, June Campbell, Laurie Campbell, Kay Whitty, Kathy Parker-Smith, Vince Coluccio, Margaret Thornell, Keith Thornell, Janine Newell, Paul Biscoe, Greg Thane, and Bruce Howe.

Apologies were received from Daryl Irvin, Peter Hamer, Brian Breakspear, Ray James, Mike Edgtton, Alan Randall, Bill Fleming, Nita Fleming, Jenni Choat, Robert Norval, Ray Godkin, Warwick Brown, and Gwen Martin.

The meeting was informed that Leon Creagh turned 90 on 10th March. Leon has a marvelous memory and Kent suggested that members might ring Leon on 02 9817-4061 and have a chat about old times.

The guest speaker was Karen Davis, a former NSW police officer for over twenty years. She joined the job when she was nineteen years of age and after completing her training at the police academy in 1987, she was posted to No. 5 Division, Newtown, in the inner west of Sydney. After a time on general duties, she moved on to work as a detective and undercover operative in a variety of sections, all of which specialised in the investigation of organised crime.

When Karen left the force over ten years ago her mother (the author of twelve novels, the late Lynne Wilding) encouraged her to write about her police experiences. Creating her own book of memoirs uncovered a love of writing and a real life situation triggered the inspiration for her first novel.

Karenís first fictional crime novel Sinister Intent was released in 2013. This was followed by Deadly Obsession in 2014 and Fatal Mistake in 2017. All three novels feature Detective Lexie Rogers and are set in Sydney. Karen sold, and signed, several of her books to members present.

Ed Note: The editor has personally read all 3 novels and would recommend them as a good read as Karen writes from the Police point of view. Canít wait for the next Lexie Rogers adventure.

Due to the absence of the Branch Chairman, Kent Vild in April, the chair was occupied by Paul Biscoe, (yes, THAT Paul Biscoe!). As well as being the RPA President, Paul is also a member of the Sydney Branch.

Members who attended the meeting were Gwen Martin, June Campbell, Lawrie Campbell, Bonnie Hocking, Margaret Thornell, Jim Redman, Janine Newell, Ian Hayes, Kay Whitty, Vince Coluccio, Paul Biscoe, Alan Randall, Greg Thane, Kathy Parker-Smith, and Bruce Howe.

Apologies came from Kent Vild, Allan Simpson, Denise Behringer, Ray Godkin, Carmella Ohmenzetter, Robert Norval, John Dwyer, Bruce Kennedy, Irene Kennedy, Jenni Choat, Angus Macdonald, Greg Coulter, Don Eyb, Roy Kimpton, Barry Hocking, Keith Thornell, Glenda McDonald, John Seward, and John Dwyer.

Margaret Thornell reported that Brian Hetherington had moved, due to the onset of dementia, from Maroubra to Newcastle, to be near his son, who could care for him.

Paul Biscoe reported that with Anzac Day approaching, it should be noted that any police officer with Defence Department experience should be encouraged to join the Police contingent for the Anzac Day March. As well, he suggested that an advertisement could be placed in the RPA Gazette, encouraging those members who qualified, to join the NSW Police RSL sub-Branch.

Paul also detailed why there was a need for the increase of fees which will be effective from 1 July 2018. He specifically referred to the expenses incurred in the printing and postage of the RPA Gazette, which informed readers of all activities within the RPA, as well as the news from each Branch. In answer to a question, Paul explained how Branch Grants were calculated.

Superintendent Mark Hutchings, the Officer in Charge of the NSW Police Marine Command, was the designated guest speaker. Unfortunately, at the last minute, Mark became unavailable, having to attend court. His place was taken by Acting Superintendent Darren Wood. Darren gave a very interesting talk about each vessel in the Police fleet. His description of the current flagship, Nemesis, left many members wondering if this vessel might one day be commandeered by the Royal Australian Navy, such are the capabilities of this ship.

The training of Police divers, and the work of those involved in flood rescue, was explained by Darren in an engaging manner, leaving Branch members amazed at the equipment, technology and resources available to the NSW Marine Command. One amusing incident occurred when Darren asked if any member present had Water Police experience. On learning that Bruce Howe was attached to the Water Police Station in 1961, Darren queried if that was his last year of service. Bruce responded immediately exclaiming that at that time he was a mere bright eyed 15 year old Police Cadet! Many questions were asked of Darren and each reply delivered an entertaining and educative response. Members left the meeting dazzled with the operational capabilities of the Marine Command.

With Kent Vild back on dry land after his voyages afloat, he opened the May meeting by telling two anecdotes involving blondes: the first involved a blonde seeking the assistance of her mechanic due to her faulty vehicle, the second about a blonde driver required to produce her driving licence to police. His final amusing story concerned three Irish gentlemen observing the arrivals at a brothel opposite the pub they were drinking in.

A visitor to the meeting was Jan Dreyer, a student from Germany living in Sydney for six months on a study internship. His father is a police officer in Germany and collects, as a hobby, various police emblems. Our member, Vince Coluccio, who could not attend the meeting due to family commitments, donated a police notebook cover and two police shoulder patches which were gratefully received by Jan. Secretary Bruce gave Jan the email address of one of our members who was also willing to assist Jan collect police insignia.

Those at the meeting were Allan Simpson, Lance Williamson, Glenda Macdonald, Barbara Williamson, Denise Behringer, Kent Vild, June Campbell, Laurie Campbell, Edward Czerkesow, Guy Pianta, Denise Pianta, Angus McDonald, Grace McAlister, Graeme McAlister, Janine Newell, Brian Dale, Don Eyb, Bruce Kennedy, Irene Kennedy, Bonnie Hocking, Kathy Parker-Smith, Greg Thane, Kay Whitty, and Bruce Howe.

Apologies were received from Gwen Martin, Alan Randall, Margaret Thornell, Keith Thornell, and Vince Coluccio.

Angus McDonald reported that Thomas Jones, a former Detective Senior Sergeant, now resides in the Quakers Hill Nursing Home and that he has severe mobility problems.

We wish those who cannot attend meetings due to illness, a swift recovery. The Branch acknowledges that many members do not, or cannot, attend meetings due to their circumstances. These include family, health and employment commitments. To enable those members to be kept aware of Branch affairs, they receive a copy of the minutes and the Branch newsletter, as well as the RPA Gazette. It is hoped that when circumstances permit, we might see them soon at a meeting.

The guest speaker was to be Ken Buxton, an antiques dealer who would examine items brought to the meeting, explain their provenance, and give an approximate value. Unfortunately, Ken did not appear on the day.

Consequently, thanks must go to Denise Behringer, Lance Williamson, and Guy and Denise Pianta, who had brought to the meeting items of memorabilia and explained how these various pieces came into their possession. Each item was unique and members considered them to be very valuable family heirlooms. The appearance of these items was of immense interest to the members present.

Don Eyb then entertained the meeting with accounts of Mounted Police history and discussion ensured about the next meeting being held at the former Police Training Centre at 749 Bourke Street, Redfern.

If you are visiting Sydney, why not attend one of our Branch meetings and catch up with old friends? The Branch meetings commence at 11:00am on the third Tuesday of each month at the City of Sydney RSL Club, 565 George Street, Sydney with an interesting guest speaker after the formal meeting. Members then adjourn to the Clubís bar and bistro for drinks and lunch Ė Chinese cuisine. Visitors are made very welcome so see you soon!

Bruce Howe



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