Cathedral Hotel: Wrong Side of the Law
|The Cathedral Hotel North Adelaide
Photo: © 2017 – Allen Tiller
After two robberies in North Adelaide, and a number of other smaller thefts, suspicions were being raised within the North Adelaide Police station of whom the offenders might be.
During the investigation of the Cathedral Hotel robbery, which netted the criminals a substantial amount of liquor and money, a time line of events was established.
The local tram night watchman was called in as a witness, and told the police on the night in questions, he had seen Constable Edwards, at about 2am, walking his beat, and test the barroom doors to see if they were locked. He also stated, after Edwards had long passed, he noticed lights on in the billiard room.
Constable Edwards confirmed that he had tried the doors during his nightly walk at about, what he though was 1:30 to 1:45 am, and the doors were locked, with no-one else around.
The detectives investigating the recent crimes, now had a suspect, based on rumours they had heard, but more significantly, on the approximate time. The Detectives, Martin, Nation, Dedman and Goldsworthy drove out to Prospect to the house of Constable George Wyatt.
George Wyatt, a police officer of seven years, married with three children, answered the door, and allowed the detectives in. He then allowed them to search his property, where they found a few bottles of alcohol, one of which had been hand written on by Mr Opie. Also in Wyatts possession were a number of tools, barbed wire and other goods, that Wyatt could not reasonably recount where he purchased them from.
Wyatt was arrested and taken to his own precinct, The North Adelaide Police station for questioning. Wyatt refused to give up his accomplice, stating “I am mongrel enough for what I have done, but I can’t settle one of my own mates.”
The Police began to look at who Wyatts mates were, and settled upon searching the house of friend, and fellow officer of 7 years, Constable John Farrar.
Farrar was found with a sum of money, and some of the missing bottle of alcohol. He was questioned and told his fellow officers Wyatt had given him the money and goods. When asked if he knew where they came from, he stated he did, but only after the fact.
The two police officers were formally charged, Wyatt with burglary and larceny, break and enter, and Farrar with receiving stolen goods.
Wyatt was sentenced to four years hard labour at and Farrar with three years of hard labour, both at Yatala prison, amongst some of the prisoners, they had probably arrested!
Both men’s descriptions were printed in the South Australia Police Gazette.
John Farrar, tried at Supreme Court, Adelaide, on November 4th, 1918, for receiving stolen property; sentenced to three years with hard labour ; and at Adelaide, on November 11th, 1918, for unlawful possession; sentenced to 12 months with hard labour; native of England, labourer, born 1882, 5ft 11.5 inch high, dark complexion, dark hair, dark-brown eyes (lowering eyebrows) medium nose (risen on point) medium mouth, broad chin, scar on left elbow and outside forearm, very hairy on cheat and back, remains of tattoo on left wrist, black spot on centre of back, Freedom due July 14th, 1920.
George Henry Wyatt, tried at Supreme Court, Adelaide on Nov 4th, 1918 for burglary and larceny, sentenced to four years hard labour, native of England, cooper, born 1887, 5ft 11in height.
Fair complexion, ginger colour hair, blue eyes, large nose, medium mouth, large chin, small ears (projecting), boil mark on back of neck, two small scars on right knee and one on shin, small scar on left knee. Discharged in February 1921.
Researched and written by Allen Tiller ©2018
The Advertiser, Thursday 17 October 1918, p7
: South Australia Police Gazette Indexes, 1862-1947. Ridgehaven, South Australia: Gould Genealogy and History, 2009.