HENRY INMAN came to South Australia
on board the ROYAL ADMIRAL in 1838

By 1837 it was realised that a permanent police force was an urgent necessity because of the influx from the eastern states of criminals who considered the 'free settlers' to be 'easy game'. There was duality and confusion in the area of law enforcement, and the respective roles to be played by both the military presence and the civil authority. The body of marines, when sober and not the cause of disturbances themselves, were occupied principally as gaolers. The sergeant of marines found himself to be both gaoler and constable. While the marines, who had no commanding commissioned officer, and whose duties were largely uncertain, were under the direct control of the Governor, the Chief Constable and his deputies were controlled by the Magistrates.

Governor Hindmarsh lamented to George Fife Angas, a notable early settler, as to what he should do without a small military force, and complained: "It is true that I can institute a police force, but whom am I to make a policeman? Those of sufficiently respectable character are able to earn much higher wages than I dare offer, and I am restricted in the salary to a police magistrate to £100 a year. Where shall I get a gentleman fit to do such a duty who will give up his time for so small a sum?"

Hindmarsh did find a suitable person willing to accept the position of Constable, for the first reference to such an office appears in the Colonial Secretary’s correspondence on January 6th 1837. In this correspondence the Colonial Storekeeper is instructed to furnish Mr W Williams, High Constable for the district, with 3 braces of pistols, 3 swords, and 24 ball cartridges, all for the purpose of his office. Like the marines who had accompanied Hindmarsh to the colony, the High Constable was to be amply armed.

It is recorded that the High Constable received instructions from the Governor in June 1837, when he was ordered to prevent the sale of beer from taking place within two miles of the landing place at Holdfast Bay. The reason for this action was a complaint that certain premises were considered to be in too close proximity to the government storehouse.

Williams retained the office of High Constable for only a few months, for the position was advertised in only the third issue of the ‘South Australian Gazette and Colonial Register’. This advertisement stated : "persons desirous of becoming candidates for the situation may apply at the office of the Colonial Secretary between the hours of ten and twelve in the forenoon".

William Henry Gray was the successful applicant, and his appointment dated from September 29th, 1837. For the services which he rendered to this office, Gray, as the Province's Chief Constable, was paid the sum of £13.2.0 He also had the services of a Constable named Windebank, who received payment of £7.0.6. However, no further records remain to indicate Windebank’s length of service as Constable.

In November of that year, Governor Hindmarsh wrote to the Colonial Office in the following terms - 'the number of bad characters arriving daily from Encounter Bay and suspected of being runaway convicts make it necessary that a strong Police body should exist.'

Indeed, the official recordings of the various appointments which were made by the early Hindmarsh government were scant and occasional. No announcement was made either of the appointment of Gray’s predecessor, or of his successor. From an issue of the ‘South Australian Gazette and Colonial Register’ on March 3rd 1838, we learn that Andrew Birrell had been appointed Chief Constable of the Province following the resignation of Mr Lines from that office. The earlier complaint of Hindmarsh appears vindicated when one realises the brief terms during which the various Chief Constables held office. The position for which William Henry Gray had successfully applied, had been gazetted on the authority of Henry Jeckling, clerk of the Magistrates and Judge of the Supreme Court. That the office of Chief Constable was by the authority of the Magistrates and the Courts, sheds some light on the nature of the duties involved. As well as the less specified and common law duties of apprehending offenders, preventing crime, and maintaining public good order; summonses were to be issued, warrants executed, and the increasing number of gazetted Government Orders and Acts enforced.

The ROYAL ADMIRAL from London arrived in Adelaide on January 18th, 1838 with Henry INMAN on board. We understand he visited Tasmania before returning to Adelaide in April 1838 to take command of the South Australian Police Force, which he held until 1840. The new Police Force was placed under the control of four Honorary Commissioners - the Colonial Secretary (Robert Gouger), the Advocate General (Robert Burnard) and two Justices of the Peace (T S O'Halloran and T Walker).

1838 April: Governor Hindmarsh organised a Police Force comprising ten Foot and ten Mounted Constables. It was formally proclaimed on April 28th, 1838. In the same month, Henry Inman arrived from Tasmania to take command and he was made Inspector of Police. At this time the Force cost the Treasury forty pounds (£40) per week.
1838 Oct: On October 17th 1838, Governor Hindmarsh was succeeded by Governor Gawler, Superintendent.
Henry Inman (Inspector of Police) signed Letter of Welcome to the newly arrived Lieutenant Colonel Gawler KH, Governor of the Province of SA on October 15th, 1838. Henry Inman was raised to the status of Superintendent of Police on October 24th, 1838. Henry Inman was said to be the driving force behind this establishment and its early growth.
The existence of the Police Force was accepted by the settlers and became a necessary and integral part of the life of the colony. After the Police Force was established, Aboriginal troubles caused concern in the community and led to an increase in Police strength. The original Police Force comprised one Superintendent, two Inspectors, three Sergeants and forty seven Constables.
In 1839 The Legislative Council, to fulfil a guarantee made to the settlers by the South Australian Board of Commissioners, authorised the formation of the Police Force on a proper basis. The new Force was placed under the control of four Honorary Commissioners - the Colonial Secretary (Robert Gouger), the Advocate General (Robert Burnard) and two Justices of the Peace (T S O’Halloran and T Walker).
February 1840 After a most unpleasant trip, the BRAKENMOOR arriving in Adelaide, South Australia on February 4th, 1840. One of the passengers ALEXANDER TOLMER presented his LETTER OF INTRODUCTION to Colonel Gawler, where he was received kindly. Almost immediately (February 19th, 1840) he was offered a commission as a Sub-Inspector of Police.
As the police force was rather undisciplined, Tolmer was expected to assist in its reorganization.
However this occurred the wrath of Superintendent Henry Inman, Officer in Charge of the police force since 1838.
Police Superintendent Henry Inman was known to Tolmer from his time in Portugal, and had already noted Tolmer's brashness.
April 1840 Politics clearly played a part in what happened next.
and about THE HAY TRANSACTION - May 1840

Major T S O’Halloran, one of the original Board of Commissioners, was appointed Commissioner of Police.- the first paid officer in that capacity - after which the old Board was dissolved. The Commissioner of Police was the sole source of orders from the Government to which he was responsible for the efficiency and discipline of the Police Force. Two other men, Matthew Smith and William Field Porter, were appointed District Commissioners for the Port Lincoln district at the same time, as because of its distance from Adelaide, decentralisation of administration was necessary.
In April 1841 We understand that after Henry Inman left the Force, he became a pastoralist. Whilst he was in charge of a party travelling overland from NSW they were attacked by natives after crossing the Rufus River near Lake Bonney, leading to the dispersal of five thousand sheep and eight hundred head of cattle. Henry Inman was severely wounded.

Governor Gawler, now in the last month of his governorship, took immediate action with the despatch of a combined police and volunteer party under the command of police commissioner Major Thomas O’Halloran to retrieve the lost property. The function of the expedition was primarily peace-keeping, but the major’s journal, written en route, reveals his expectation of a more forceful kind of punitive action. Oscillatating perpetually between the determination to avoid violence and the anticipation of dispensing it, the Major expressed the commonly held sentiment that only ‘severe punishment’ would be a deterrent to Aboriginal threats. When this became known, the party was subsequently recalled.

Very little is documented about HENRY INMAN. The Biographical Index from South Australia (BISA pg812) indicates his father may have been a doctor. HENRY INMAN married Mary FOOKS nee Lipson on January 19, 1839. Her parents were Thomas Lipson and Elizabeth Emma nee TOOK. Mary came to South Australia with her parents and her two brothers and three sisters, in September 1836, on board the CYGNET from London with Captain John Rolls and 84 passengers. Henry and Mary Inman's son Henry was born in 1839.

We understand that Henry Inman snr. eventually returned to England and became a Church of England pastor in the town of Derby ...."Inman eventually returned to England, entered the Church and had a charge in the town of Derby".