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Commissioners

The Commissioner is responsible for the discipline, leadership and management of the police force. Due to its size the Northern Territory does not have a Chief Commissioner but a single Commissioner supported by a Deputy Commissioner, 3 Assistant Commissioners and Public Service Directors. 

Since self government in 1978 the Commissioner has been responsible to the Minister for Police who has traditionally been the Chief Minister prior to the term of Adam Giles. 

Commissioners Roll Call

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Paul Heinrich Matthias Foelsche

1870 - 1904

Soldier, photographer, lawyer, dentist, amateur anthropologist and naturalist, and head of police in Darwin’s early days – Paul Heinrich Matthias Foelsche did it all.
He is an important – and controversial figure – in Territory history and, luckily, shot a photographic portrait of his times.
Foelsche is still commemorated each year by NT police but is reviled by many Territorians because of his treatment of Indigenous people.

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Nicholas John Waters

1904 - 1923

Foelsche was succeeded by the most enigmatic of the three leaders, Nicholas Joseph Waters, about whom few records exist. One of very few public servants to remain in position after the Commonwealth took over control of the Northern Territory, he was in charge during a period of stagnation. He was a man who, because he lacked the skills to be a ‘broker of dreams’, failed the test of leadership. 

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Major George Vernon Dudley

1924 - 1927

George Vernon Dudley was the third officer in charge of the Northern Territory Police and the first to hold the actual title of Commissioner.   Prior to this time the power or Commissioner was vested in the Government Resident although the term is still generally applied to the person in charge of the police contingent.    

 

Dudley's employment was terminated on 31 December 1927 due to behavior and disciplinary reasons.

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 Administrator of the NT

1927 - 1964

From 1927 through to 1964 the Office of the Commissioner was held by the Government Resident / Administrator of the Northern Territory.

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Robert Weddell

1927 - 1937

No biography available

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The Hon. Aubrey Abbott

1937 - 1946

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Arthur Driver BEM

1946 - 1951

No biography available

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The Hon. Frank Wise AO

1951 - 1956

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James Archer OBE

1956 - 1961

No biography available

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Roger Nott CBE

1961 - 1964

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Clive William Graham

1964 - 1966

No biography available

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Sydney James Bowie

1966 - 1967

No biography available

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William James McLaren

1967 - 1978

No biography available

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Ronald (Peter) McAulay AO

1978 - 1988

Ronald McAulay (who was universally known as Peter) was appointed as Commissioner of Police, Northern Territory in August 1978. In addition to his appointment as Commissioner of Police, Mr. Aulay had Chief Executive Officer Status in charge of a department which included the NT Fire Service, the NT Emergency Service, the Police, and a Public Service Component – in all some 1,150 paid employees and several hundred volunteers.

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Michael John Palmer AO APM

1988 - 1994

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Brian Charles Bates AM

1994 - 2001

No biography available

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Paul Cameron White

2001 - 2009

A veteran of 41 years in policing, Mr. White joined South Australia Police as a cadet in April 1968, and attained the rank of Assistant Commissioner prior to commencing his appointment in the Northern Territory on 17 December 2001.

 

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John McRoberts

2009 - 2015

John McRoberts was appointed the Northern Territory police commissioner and chief executive of the NT Emergency Services in 2009.

His time in the top job included some victories but was also overshadowed by controversial decisions.

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Reece P Kershaw APM

2015 - 2019

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Jamie Chalker APM

2019 - present

Mr Jamie Chalker APM was announced as the new Commissioner of Police and CEO of Fire and Emergency Services on 31 October 2019. Joining the Northern Territory Police Force in 1994, Commissioner Chalker has spent more than half his career policing outside of Darwin across a wide range of policing areas, including general duties, remote policing, criminal investigations and executive roles.

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Roll call

Central Australia

Between 1927 and 1931 the NT was divided at the 20th parallel under the control of the Government Resident (Centre), John Cawood and then Victor Carrington MBE.  

 

Initially Robert STOTT  was the Commissioner in Central Australia until his death in 1928. 

Central Australia

South Australian Commissioners

  • 1838 Henry Inman

  • 1840 Major Thomas Shouldam O'Halloran, CMG

  • 1843 The Honourable Travers Finniss

  • 1850 Captain George Fife Dashwood

  • 1852 Alexander Tolmer

  • 1853 Major Peter Egerton Warburton, CMG

  • 1867 George Hamilton

  • 1882 William John Peterswald

  • 1896 Colonel Lewis George Madley, ISO, VD

  • 1910 William Henry Raymond

  • NT Transferred to Commonwealth in 1911

SA
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