Robert Cousins de Champflour DARKEN known in the force as Robert Charles DARKEN was born on 9/7/1919 and appointed to the NT Police on 23/9/1940.
He was married on 23/6/1943 and had children Sondra Robin 5/2/1944 and Joanne Marie 10/3/1946.
Bob's War Service was from 29/9/42 – 31/8/43 and he resumed duties with Police due to staff shortages. He died in Alice Springs on 17/2/2000.
Bob wrote his memories some years before he died and he sent a copy to this museum and thankfully the pages have been preserved. Bob was well thought of while a serving member – and was considered a great bloke in and around Alice Springs until his death).
The following information was extracted from Mr Bill McLaren’s unpublished books:-
Pages 963/4 - The Police Barracks at Darwin which comprised of a double storied building with four bedrooms on the ground floor and four bed rooms on the top floor was demolished in the first air raid on Darwin on 19th February 1942. On the ground floor three of the four bed rooms had been occupied by Constables Mofflin, Darken and Law. In the fourth room was stored the property of Constable Fitzgerald and others, although Fitzgerald did not reside there.
On the top floor the bed rooms were occupied by Sergeant McKinnon, Constables Doyle, Lullfitz and Hall. Fortunately none of the above occupants we r e in the building at the time when it was bombed but, unfortunately little or none of their personal property was salvaged.
Several were lying in slit trenches about one foot deep by 18 inches wide. They were about 10 yards from where one bomb exploded and about 20 yards from another. They all survived.
Page 983 - It was recommended that Constable Fitzgerald be sent to be in charge of Pine Creek Police and that Constables Lullfitz and Brown be released from the Army and Air Force for active police duty - one to be stationed at Pine Creek and the other at Adelaide River, where transport by motor vehicle should be arranged.
Constable Darken who was absent on war service leave from 29th September 1942 to the 31st August 1943 was granted sick leave on full pay till 29th September 1943.
Page 1007 - On 24 August Constable Darken of Tennant Creek was directed to proceed to Harts Range by police utility. He took over from Constable McFarland on 26 August 1945.
Page 1051 - On the 25th November 1946, Constable R. C. Darwin was stationed at Harts Range which was located 120 miles N/E of Alice Springs – his mode of transport was horses and the Constable’s own car.
Pages 1067/8 - Within the Police Force the following changes took place - Constable Brown telegraphed the Superintendent on 2nd January 1947 that he had taken over Harts Range Police Station from Constable Darken as from 1st January. Darken took charge again on 18th April 1947.
Pages 1161/2 - The shortage of police personnel continued and it was considered that either Hatches Creek Police Station or Harts Range Police Station should close.
It was reported in January 1950 that less than ten miners were then operating at Hatches Creek whereas at Harts Range it was reported that over 100 miners were operating.
Both police districts served approximately the same number of people as more people in the Hatches Creek district followed pastoral pursuits. If sufficient Constables had been available neither stations would be closed. Due to the number of miners operating there, Harts Range remained open and Hatches Creek Police Station closed on 28th February 1950, as approved by the Administrator.'
Constable Robert G. Darken who was in charge of Harts Range Police Station had resigned with effect from 31st January 1950. Constable Deans who had been in Charge of Hatches Creek Police Station transferred to Harts Range. He remained there until 26th October 1950 when he was replaced by Constable Thompson.
Constable Darken had complained, when stationed at Harts Range, of the poor water supply. On numerous occasions he had to take the horses 14 miles away to be watered and also had to cart his domestic supply from the same source. At the end of 1950 the price of wolfram rose sharply which caused a large number of miners to return to Hatches Creek. The Police Station was again re-opened. It was destroyed by fire and closed on 2nd July 1960.
Page 1234 – Darken R. C. Constable resigned 08/06/50 – (earlier it is shown that Bob resigned with effect on 31/1/1950 – one date may have been when he finished work and the other when his recreation and long service leave cut out.)
Bob Darken 1949 - National Archives Image shared on TROVE.