Gulf and Peninsula News

Preserving Coen’s police history

Retired Inspector Jock MacDonald with the restored head stone of Constable J. Herring at the Coen cemetery.

Gone but never forgotten is a message that lies deep with retired Queensland Police Service Inspector Jock MacDonald.

True to that message, Jock recently travelled to Coen to install two memorial plaques for two fallen police officers at the front of Coen Police Station.

Whilst in Coen, Jock reinstalled the renovated headstone of Constable Herring who died at 27-years-old in 1903 from Dengue fever.

Jock has close ties with the Coen area having served as a Constable at Coen Police Station in the early 1960s then returning on numerous occasions as a relieving Sergeant and then later as the Cape Inspector.

In his own words, Jock formed a “nostalgic affection” with the cape and through his research went on to write the book titled Policing ‘The Coen’ which documented the history of policing in this area between 1885 and 2011.

He initially served two years there, performing police pack-horse patrols to a number of missions and cattle stations on Cape York, before returning to Brisbane.

He soon found the big city was not to his liking and, after twelve months, returned to Coen for a second term, where he resumed general police duties, this time utilising a Willys Jeep 4WD which had then been allocated to Coen.

During his research Jock became aware of two former serving police constables who passed away in Coen during the early pioneering days of Cape York Peninsula.

Jock said it has been a privilege to arrange for the supply of two memorial plaques to commemorate the two officers.

“Their plaques now sit proudly at the front entrance of the Coen Police Station,” he said.

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