Shaw, John (Mounted Police)

Date of Birth/Death:


John Shaw was born on 1 August 1833 in Scotland. He became a mounted policeman, living in Willunga (1855-1866), Redruth (near Burra), Overland Corner and Kent Town.  John Shaw married Margaret Mary Peat(t)ie (1830-1907), who was born in Fife, Scotland.  They had eight children:

  • John Peatie (1855-1880) who became a Mounted policeman. John died in Adelaide, aged 25.
  • Christina Martha (1857-1932) was born at Willunga and died at Kensington Park.
  • Barbara Ann (1859-1935) was born at Willunga and died at Kensington Park.
  • Francis David (1860-1877) was born at Willunga and died at Overland Corner, aged 16.
  • Charlotte Pattulla (1862-1863) was born and died at Willunga, aged 6 months.
  • Wellesley Wellman (1863-1933) was born at Willunga and married Annie Louisa Wenske at Chalmers Manse, Adelaide, in 1886. He died in Adelaide.
  • Janet Elizabeth (1866-1951) was born at Redruth near Burra and married Richard Charles Stopp (1866-1940).
  • James Trussell (1868-1953) was born at Overland Corner and married Isabella Fanny Coombe in 1903. He died in Perth, WA.

John Shaw was appointed constable in the Mounted Police on 11 January 1855. He replaced Corporal George Weal at Willunga by August of 1855 and was a Mounted Policeman stationed at Willunga for about 12 years. During this time, he was involved in some serious cases including an attempted murder at Port Willunga, the stranding of the ship Manhow, He was promoted to Corporal in late 1855 and left the town after 12 years of service in 1866.   John was the Honorary Secretary of the Independent Order of Oddfellows (IOOF) in Willunga. In 1863, the IOOF presented him with a watch inscribed: “Presented to P.G. John Shaw from the members of the Loyal Willunga Lodge, I.O.O.F., M.U., South Australia, for gratuitous services in the cause of Oddfellowship. August 8, 1863” (1). At his farewell in Willunga in 1866, John was invited to a supper at the Old Bush Bush Inn and was presented with “a handsome testimonial, in the shape of a silver inkstand, and also with a memorial numerously signed, signifying the high estimation in which he was held” (2).   In 1867, John Shaw was sent to take charge of the Overland Station Police Station and was later promoted to Inspector of Police. John Shaw, aged 76, died of pneumonia at Pirie Street in Kent Town on 18 August 1909. He was buried at West Terrace Cemetery.


1855 ‘Advertising’, Adelaide Times, 26 January, p. 3, viewed 16 Dec 2023

(1) 1863 ‘WILLUNGA.’, Adelaide Observer, 29 August, p. 3, viewed 16 Dec 2023

(2) 1866 ‘THE WEEKS NEWS’, Adelaide Observer, 16 June, p. 8, viewed 16 Dec 2023

1909 ‘PERSONAL.‘, The Advertiser, 19 August, p. 4, viewed 16 Dec 2023

1909 ‘Family Notices’, The Express and Telegraph, 19 August, p. 1. (4 o’clock), viewed 16 Dec 2023

1909 ‘CONCERNING PEOPLE.’The Register, 19 August, p. 4, viewed 16 Dec 2023

Schmaal Jean. Tales of the Troopers: Stories from the Wild Colonial Boys. Wakefield Press. Adelaide,

South Australian Birth – Index of Registrations 1842-1906. Vol 9 S, Statton Jill (Ed). 1986.

Biographical Index of South Australians 1836-1885 Vol 4. South Australian Genealogy and Heraldry Society Inc. Adelaide,

Willunga Branch of the National Trust Blue Folder 40-17. Family Histories “S”,

Willunga Branch of the National Trust Blue Folder 38-4. Marriages Baptisms –Anglican.

Search Our Web Pages