They Did Something Very Difficult And Very Dangerous Because It Was Their Job

Thursday, 24 October 2013 09:25

The graves of three Victoria Police officers who were murdered by the Kelly Gang have been rededicated at a ceremony at Mansfield. Here, CCP Lay explains why we need to give these men our full attention. 

All across Victoria are the bodies of men and women murdered trying to protect their state.

Here are three of them.

It is a shame that in death, another indignity befell Sergeant Kennedy and Constables Lonigan and Scanlan.

They became pawns in the long-running historical conjecture about the meaning of Ned Kelly.

In other words, they became nothing more than footnotes to the lives and excesses of those who killed them.

So today, let’s do these men the honour of stripping away the clutter.

Let’s give these men our full attention.

The simple truth is that these men were asked to do something very difficult and very dangerous because it was their job to do it.

Constable Scanlan knew there was a good chance he wouldn’t return, and so, before he left that day on his horse, he told a mate that he could have his dog should he die out there. 
He did.

They all died out there.

There was barbarism and loneliness in their final moments, and the cultural adoration of their killers doesn’t change that.

They hold a sacred place in Victoria Police—as do the other 154 Victorian members killed in the line of duty.

All that was required for their death was for them to do their job.

That was all.

They just had to respond to a call for assistance.

They simply had to honour this commitment to public service and duty.

I am grateful, and Victoria Police is grateful, for the refurbishment of these graves.

It shows an interest and a respect for our 160 years of history, as it shows a respect for the history of our state.

In many ways, the history of Victoria is inseparable from a history of its police.

These careful restorations—I think—confirm that.

Ken Lay
Chief Commissioner of Police

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