During most of the 20th Century, young men
joining the NSW Police Force expected to remain a police officer for
the remainder of their working life and retire on a superannuation
pension at the age of 60.
recent years, the Police Force appears to be a stepping stone to
other careers. Those retiring after 30 or 40 years service wanted to
keep in touch with their working colleagues and in 1931 the Retired
Police Association of New South Wales was established, probably for
this purpose. Unfortunately, the minutes of those early meetings
have been lost over time, but we know that from those early times
the association has grown into a large and efficient organisation
with nearly 4,000 current members and 24 regional branches spread
over New South Wales and Queensland.
Independently, all other states in Australia had the same idea and
each state (and the Northern Territory) has its own Retired Police
Association. All of these associations have a connection with each
other and exchange ideas of mutual benefit whilst retaining their
independence. On the 29th September 2006, being National Police
Remembrance Day, the Police Memorial Wall in Canberra was dedicated
and the executive of all the Retired Police Associations within
Australia took the opportunity to meet in Canberra the following day
and exchanged ideas and future hopes for their members.
The earliest retained minutes of our association
are of the meeting held in February 1972. The President then was Don
Telford and the Secretary was Ted Davis. Don was also a rugby union
player who represented Australia from 1925 through to 1930. Don
relinquished the presidency in 1976 to J. Munro. However, Mr Munro
passed away suddenly shortly afterwards and Don accept the position
of President once again. In 1974 Ted Davis was the first member to
be awarded Life Membership for outstanding service to the
association. It is interesting to note that at the AGM in 1973 the
annual dues were raised from $1 to $2 a year. (Currently the annual
dues are $18.20.)
In 1987, with Harry
Rasmussen as President and Ted Davis as the Secretary, there was a
motion to wind up the association because of a lack of attendance.
At that stage Ken Fitzpatrick was the secretary of the Associate’s
Sydney Branch of the Police Association of NSW and had just been
criticised for making representations directly to a government
department without going through the Executive of the Police
Association. Ken became the state secretary of the Retired Police
Association because this organisation was independent and he could
see that his efforts to improve the conditions for retired police
and police widows would not be as restricted. Ken’s skills and
enthusiasm laid the foundations to enable this organisation to grow
into the efficient and influential association that it is today.
In 1990 Ken used his skills as a lawyer to
incorporate the association and was the author of our constitution.
Due to the sudden demise of the President Dick Cox, Ken accepted the
position of President at the 1990 AGM and I was elected as the
secretary. I might add that at this stage I had only been retired
for 2 months, but there was no other member willing to accept the
position. Over the years some of those who have led the organisation
The association’s quarterly publication is the
“RPA Gazette” and must take some of the credit for our success.
During the late 1980s and the early 1990s, it was the responsibility
of the state secretary to publish a “Newsletter” when required to
pass on the association’s activities. In 1993 the Committee of
Management decided that we should appoint a specialist editor. John
Crocket, then secretary of the South Coast Branch (now chairman of
that branch) volunteered and published quarterly “Newsletters” for
12 months, but had to relinquish this position due to the pressure
of other commitments.
In 1994 Helen
Magnus (now Armstrong), a retired police woman, was appointed as the
editor. She was assisted by a committee consisting of Bob Day, Reg
Armstrong and Barry Hocking. She introduced the woman’s touch and
successfully edited the magazine for 10 years. Her influence laid
the foundations for today’s gazette, ably refined by the editors who
followed her, John Hamer, Tony Dunn and currently, Paul Wynne.
Sponsored by the NSW Police Credit Union since March 2004, the
appearance of the RPA Gazette has greatly improved.
Each of the regional branches elect their own
executive and conduct social and welfare duties for their members.
All representations to government and other organisations for the
improved conditions of retired police and police widows are made by
the Committee of Management, with input from the branches. The
Committee of Management consist of ten full members of the
association who are elected annually at the annual general meeting.
Over the years some of the improvements claimed by
this association include:-
1966 - active in gaining the police widow’s pension and in 1989 was
successful in raising the minimum and obtaining annual pension
increases in line with the CPI.
In 1995 - convinced both the federal and state governments to
reimburse retired members who had been overtaxed in their lump sum
long service leave payments on retirement, in some cases amounting
to thousands of dollars.
1999 - convinced the state government to reclassify the police
pension superannuation as a taxed fund to allow all members to claim
the 15% taxation rebate.
2007 - convinced the Minister for Police and the Commissioner of
Police to backdate the award of the NSW Police Medal which allowed
the medal to be awarded to all retired police.
In this our 80th year, with a number of improvements
being sought by way of representations by the Committee of
Management, members can be assured that the Retired Police
Association of NSW is under sound management with a bright future
and one with which I am honoured to be associated.
Barry Hocking OAM