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Theophilus Ellis

Theophilus Ellis was the first man to be appointed to commissioned rank in a WA police establishment, and the first to lose his life in the line of duty.

He arrived via James, 8 May 1830, with his sister Mary Bolger and nine nieces and nephews.

... Ellis and several members of the troop went to the Murray River with a party which included the Governor and Surveyor General. A detailed journal of the latter official - John Septimus Roe - indicates without any doubt that the purpose of the journey was to survey the area thoroughly and set-up a military outpost for a squad of soldiers from the 21st Regiment of Foot. The mounted troop members came along as 'bush-wise' protectors because a couple of young soldiers had been attacked and killed or hurt in the preceding months. One was murdered under very nasty circumstances.

The outcome was an encounter with aborigines at Pinjarra on 28 October that exploded into violence. Identifying the aboriginal people posed problems and some mounted constables rode in to take a closer look. One officer recognised a 'wanted' man, called out, and tried to make an arrest. The result was chaos and an exchange of spears and bullets. Very early in the affair, Theophilus Ellis (who was probably unarmed) was hit in the head by a spear and knocked from his horse. It is quite likely the severe fall caused his most serious injuries. Superintendent Ellis seems to have lapsed quite soon into a semi-comatose state and died on November 11, 1834.

ELLIS, Theophilus Tighe, b. 1782, d. 12.11.1834, arr. 8.5.1830 per James. Retired Captain of 14th Regt. [(Light) Dragoons] Granted 1746 acres, selected in Avon district 1831. Appointed Res. Mag. Kelmscott 1830, offered to form a Volunteer Cavalry Guard to protect settlers from Aborigines 4.12.1831. Supt. of Native Tribes 1833. Injured in the clash with Aborigines at Battle of Pinjarra & died of his wounds. His niece Miss Bolger, who was his housekeeper, wa unsuccessful in her application for a pension.

References and Links

Conole, Peter nd, 'Superintendent Theophilus Ellis - his Life and Services', - from which most of the above comes.


Garry Gillard | New: 6 June, 2020 | Now: 11 July, 2022