Hall, James John (Mounted Police)

Date of Birth/Death:


James John Hall was born in 1821 in Bedford, England. His parents were James Hall and Susannah Hall (née Dunning). On James’ baptism certificate, his father’s occupation is given as Gent. It is not certain on which ship James travelled to South Australia, However, it is possible that he was the ‘Mr Hall’ who was a passenger on Daniel Wheeler, which arrived at Port Adelaide on October 3, 1841. About a month after this ship’s arrival, unclaimed letters addressed to Hall, J.J. were advertised in the South Australian papers. No such advertisements can be found prior to Daniel Wheeler’s arrival.

James joined the Mounted Police on February 21, 1842. He would have spent some time at the Adelaide Barracks and then it appears he was stationed at Willunga from around 1845 to at least October 1846. James probably replaced Thomas Naughton at the Willunga Police Station. It is also probable that he met Bridget Atkinson, who was to become his wife in 1848, during this posting at Willunga.  They had four children: Catherine Clarissa (1854–1859), Thomas George (1856-1898), Susannah Ada (1858-1863) and Spencer Atkinson (1861-1927).

James was promoted to corporal in 1847. He was stationed at Angston in June 1848 and Mt Barker by February 1848, where he stayed until at least October 1850. He was promoted to Sergeant on March 1, 1852 and Sergeant Major on February 8, 1853. Finally, he was promoted to Inspector of Metropolitan Police in June 1861.

James had had a stellar career in the Police Force and had featured prominently in high-profile cases. In 1855, he was highly commended by the Police Commissioner in General Order No. 55/55 for his zealous conduct in pursuing and capturing Charles Walker, who was charged with forgery. It was noted in Police records that James had ”apprehended twenty-five persons on charges of Felony, and has been concerned in six other cases of a similar mind. Is, in my experience, well behaved, active and intelligent officer, and has never appeare in the Defaulters Book.”(1)

In October 1861, after James applied for and was refused leave of absence, he absented himself from duty. It was found that he was suffering from severe anxiety and had been admitted to the Lunatic Asylum for treatment. James was not allowed to re-enter the Police Force due to the stigma surrounding mental illness, and retired to Willunga with Bridget. He was replaced by Richard Pettinger. Pettinger was later killed by an assassin’s bulletin. James died on November 22, 1863 at the age of 42. He is buried at West Terrace Cemetery. George Sara carved his gravestone.


Passengers in History, South Australian Maritime Museum.

Genealogy SA Database

Family Search, Wills

GRG 5/16 Defaulter and good conduct book – Mounted Police 1851-1858. 29

1846 ‘Monday, Oct. 19.’, South Australian, 20 October, p. 5, viewed 20 Dec 2023,

1847 ‘Thursday, 22d July.’, Adelaide Observer , 24 July, p. 7, viewed 20 Dec 2023

1851 ‘NEW ZEALAND COMPANY.‘, Adelaide Times, 8 November, p. 8, viewed 20 Dec 2023,

1863 ‘THE WEEKS NEWS.’Adelaide Observer, 28 November, p. 1. (Supplement to the Adelaide Observer), viewed 20 Dec 2023,


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