Wegener, Edwin (Mounted Police)

Date of Birth/Death:

1890/1940

Edwin Wegener was stationed as a Mounted Constable at Willunga Court House and Police Station from 1919 to 1921.

Herman Carl Edwin Wegener (“Edwin”) was born on 19 April 1890 at Blumberg, now Birdwood, in SA. He was the son of a shearer Hermann Carl Albert Wegener and Christine Maria Louise Wilhelm.   Edwin Wegener was baptised at the Lutheran Church in Blumberg and attended the German school attached to this Church. He then moved to the Government school at Mount Pleasant, which he left after Grade 4 to work on his father’s property at Mt Pleasant, clearing scrub, carting supplies and travelling as a shearer.

In 1911, aged 21 years, he joined the SA Police Force as a Mounted Constable, initially stationed in Adelaide followed by postings to Port Augusta (three times) Maree, Hawker, Iron Knob, Caltowie from May 1915 to July 1917 and Magill for two years from 1917 to 1919.  While in Port Augusta on 16 July 1914 Edwin Wegener married Ina Jones daughter of Richard Jones of Port Augusta. They left by train for a honeymoon in Sydney. Their first child Ina Louis was born on 8 August 1915 at Port Augusta and second child Eric Edwin was born on 20 December 1917 at Murray Park.

In May 1919, Mounted Constable Wegener moved with his wife and family to Willunga Police Station where his third child Richard was born on 6 July 1919. During his time here, he set up an extensive vegetable garden beside the creek below the Police Station. Police in country towns such as Willunga took on multiple roles including clerk of the local Court, bailiff and collector of livestock statistics. Apart from his more routine duties, Constable Wegener was involved in the much-publicised tracking and apprehension of the ‘Boy Bush-ranger’. In 1920 he was one of a group of mounted police detailed for duty in Adelaide for the visit of HRH the Prince of Wales.  Mounted Constable Wegener was stationed at Auburn (1923-1928, Kapunda (1928-1934) and Pinnaroo (1934-1936). He studied and became an Inspector (3rd Class), earning him a promotion to Adelaide in 1936 on a salary of £401 per annum.

His interests and activities included breeding pigeons, gaining a pilot’s license in 1930, horse-riding with the Pinnaroo Hunt Club, exhibiting his vegetables in local agricultural Shows and being a member of the Masonic Lodge. Although a mounted police officer, he bought and registered a Ford motor car in September 1922.  However, his work and family life had underlying tensions, and while still a serving police officer, Edwin Wegener took his own life in September 1940. He was buried in Mitcham General Cemetery. He was ‘noted for his fearlessness, and on coming to the city [in 1936] won a quick and firm command over the city uniform in his charge’. He was survived by his widow and three children.

References:

Margaret Minney ‘Commissioned by the King’ in South Australian Scrapbook 1979

Port August Dispatch Newcastle and Flinders Chronicle, 17 July 1914 p 5

Observer, 2 September 1922 p 13, News Thursday 17 July 1930 p 3

The Advertiser, 21 June 1934 p 11, Chronicle Thursday 23 August 1934 p 65

Advertiser, 9 September p 8, Recorder Monday 9 September 1940 p 1

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