top of page

DOW, John Graham

This paper was written by and supplied courtesy of Graeme Fry (contacts held by the museum) and added to by Louise Paynter - NT Library


John was born on the 5th January 1867 at Branfield, West Coast of South Australia to John Dow and his wife Johanna Maria (nee Ahern). He had three brothers, Munro Ross and Gerald, also born at Bramfield, in 1865 and 1868 respectively, and Andrew William born 1871 at Gum Creek, South Australia. He had two sisters, Margaret Ahern born 1862 at Mount Gambier and Annie Richardson born at Bramfield in 1863.

John married Anna Mary Dale on 18 May 1893 in a civil ceremony at a residence. The marriage is registered as having taken place at Burra, South Australia. They had two sons, Graham and McFarlane. Life in the early settlement of Alice Springs for the Dow family would have been quite arduous. To get to Alice Springs for example, would have required a move from South Australia up to the Alice. There was no rail service and the road would have been no more than a rough track. Personal effects and rations would have had to be carried on pack animals or drawn on some sort of wagon

He joined the South Australian Police Force on 1st June 1893 and was immediately transferred to the Northern Territory, stationed at Burundi. He was also stationed in Palmerston that year from September to November. He was again posted to Palmerston, January through to November of 1895. He was then stationed at Pine Creek from 8th November 1899 until April 1901.

He returned on posting to South Australia on 1st August 1901 and transferred back to the Northern Territory on 21 September 1908.

John Dow took over as the keeper of the Heavitree Gap Goal on 1st October 1908, then at Stuart (now Alice Springs) until 6th October 1908.


He was appointed Inspector of Brands in the Northern Territory February 17 1909.

He was absent from Alice Springs for a short period from 8 March 1910. It is thought by Lawrie Debnam that he was possibly at Tempe Downs during that period.

John was Officer in Charge Alice Springs on the 16th of May 1911 when he submitted a report as requested by the Prime Minister’s Office on police staffing in the Alice Springs locality.

He was a Local Clerk in the Alice Springs Court and appointed to take affidavits to the Supreme Court.

He returned to the then copper mining and pastoral mid north town of Burra, South Australia on 1st February 1912, citing family matters as his reason.

John Dow enlisted as a private with the 14th Reinforcements of the Third Australian Light Horse Regiment. He was promoted to second Lieutenant with that Regiment on 17th January 1916. His Commission was promulgated in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette No. 12, dated the 6th January 1916. His Kings Commission as a Lieutenant was terminated on the 6th November 1919 due to cessation of hostilities. However, despite his early promotion, he was not embarked to join his Regiment in Palestine. In correspondence dated earlier than the 2nd May 1916, he was a Lieutenant with the Base Light Horse (reserve). In August 1918, he was serving as the Lieutenant recruiting officer at Port Pirie. It is possible that due to his age or some unrecorded medical condition; he was classified medically fit for Australian service rather than active service.


Biographical details of Joh's two sons

  • Graham Dow - also joined the police force and went to the two wars.

  • Macfarlane Dow - born in Darwin where he worked as a clerk prior to enlisting for the Great War.

John was married with two sons, Graham, who and McFarlane, who was



News Clipping

http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page830301


Supreme Court,

Darwin, 10th July, 1911.

HIS Honor Samuel James Mitchell, Esq.,

The Judge of the Northern Territory of Australia, has appointed the following Clerks of Local Courts to be Commissioners for taking affidavits in the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory of Australia during the continuance of their respective offices as Clerks of Local Courts : -

John Henry Niemann, of Playford

Francis George Burt, of Darwin

Robert Stott, of Borroloola

John Graham Dow, of Alice Springs.

Other News Clippings to be added

http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page4584266 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page937495 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page8507761

http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page8507943

* wife Anna registered to vote in Pine Creek in 1895 - this is not the same time that John is listed as being there. He may have been travelling on duty - further research needed.

4 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

The following paragraphs taken from "A Force Apart?" detail relationships between Aboriginal Women and NT Police members in a historical context. It is important to consider this in the context of it

(from "A Force Apart?") A more recent example of the life of a police wife was that of Mrs Jackie Gordon, whose husband, John Gordon, was stationed at Timber Creek in 1957. Again, life had hardly chan

(from "A Force Apart?") There are no extant records of the loneliness the early police wives felt, but life had hardly changed by 1945 when Vicki Darken lived with her husband at Harts Range Police St

bottom of page