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GRANT, Arthur 'Saus'

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Arthur Alexander ‘Saus’ Grant

  • joined the NT Police on 29/7/1959 - registered number 116

  • Retired 7/6/1992 as Assistant Commissioner

Saus played an active part in the Retired Police Association and was recently responsible for producing the ‘Citation’ magazine in partnership with Peter Simon.

Saus Grant as senior officer in the graduation photo of Squad 42.
Saus Grant as senior officer in the graduation photo of Squad 42.

Below is a transcript of the condolence motion passed in the NT Legislative Assembly. CONDOLENCE MOTION Mr Arthur Alexander (Saus) Grant Mr MILLS (Chief Minister): Madam Speaker, I move that this Assembly express its condolences at the passing of Arthur (Saus) Grant, a leading police officer, a great family man and well-respected Territorian, and offer our profound sympathy to his family and friends. I pay tribute to a leading police officer and a well-respected Territorian. Arthur Alexander Grant - or Saus as he was called by everyone except his mother - hailed from a town called Canowindra in country New South Wales. Born in 1937, he was raised on the family farm, the sixth of 10 children. Saus moved to Darwin in 1959 to join the police force. It was the beginning of a distinguished career, marked by numerous professional accomplishments. Saus was intelligent, resourceful and hard-working. For the first 10 years of his career he worked in the Uniform Branch, the Criminal Investigation Branch, and as Officer-in-Charge of the Pine Creek Region. He then went on to lead the Training Branch where he supervised the training of many former and current members of the Police Force. In 1974, Saus was one of only two successful candidates from the Police Forces across Australia, and one of 20 from Commonwealth countries to be selected to undertake an Executive Development Course with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Ottawa. Following Cyclone Tracy, Saus’ family was evacuated to Sydney. However, Saus remained in Darwin to play an instrumental role in maintaining law and order in during the rebuilding phase - such was his dedication to the Territory. Saus was appointed Assistant Commissioner in 1975 and moved to Alice Springs to take charge of the Southern Command. At just 37, he was the youngest officer to have held that rank in any Australian Police Force. On 14 July 1977, Saus was awarded the National Medal for: diligent long service to the community in hazardous circumstances, including in times of emergency and national disaster, in direct protection of life and property. In 1982, Saus received a transfer back to Darwin to take control of Northern Command. He was again recognised with a civilian medal on 3 September 1985, and was the recipient of the Australian Police Medal for his distinguished service on Australia Day 1986. Saus was recognised with a Paul Harris Fellowship, named for the founder of Rotary, in 1989. Saus retired in 1992 after 33 years of service. He continued to play an active role in the Retired Police Association. That is Saus on paper, but on a personal level, he was a terrific family man who lived his life by a high moral code. In 1961, he met Norma Helen Bailey who was in the first squad of women inducted into the Northern Territory Police Force. They married in 1962 and had three sons: Michael, Tony and Matthew. I was moved by eulogies given by each of the sons at Saus’ funeral. Their love and respect for their father is something we strive for as parents. They also spoke of the great love their parents shared and the positive effect it had on their family life. They remembered the time spent together, the things he did for them as a father, and his role as a doting grandfather who played a significant role in the lives of his grandchildren. The moral codes Saus lived his life by was also mentioned in these eulogies: his values of fairness, accountability, trust and integrity. He was described as applying these sensitively at home, unwaveringly as a policeman, and intelligently as a member of the community. His sons spoke of the legacy being passed on to his children and grandchildren. Saus and a group of his workmates were responsible for instilling this code into the Northern Territory Police Force. These are values that govern the force to this day. These values have also been passed on to the Territory community in general. What a legacy to bestow. Saus was interested in everyone he met. His keen interest in genealogy was not limited to his own ancestry. His genuine interest, as well as his fairness and kindness, saw him remembered by people from all backgrounds, regardless of the length of time they spent with him. Saus was a man who spent all his adult years serving the community. He was a man who loved and valued his family. He was a man who was well-respected and much liked and was a man many looked up to. In his passing, the Territory has lost a great man who will be missed. My thoughts and prayers are with Saus’ family and friends. Ms LAWRIE (Opposition Leader): Madam Speaker, I join with so many others who knew Saus Grant in offering my condolences to his family on his passing. Saus passed away suddenly on 3 October this year. Although it is of little consolation at this sad time, it should be of some comfort to know that in his passing we can celebrate a long and productive life which made a significant contribution to our Territory community. Saus was raised on a farm in country New South Wales and came to Darwin in 1959 seeking opportunity and adventure. He joined the Northern Territory Police Force in that year. To put the matter into some historical context, 1959 was the year in which Darwin was first granted city status although its total population at that time was barely more than 10 000 people. Saus worked in what was then called the Uniform Branch at the Darwin Police Station. My mother met Saus back in those early days, and lived in the same hostel as Norma. I would like to put her comments about Saus on the record. I will quote my mother, Dawn Lawrie: I first met Saus and his peer group of new recruits when I lived in the Commonwealth Hostel in Mitchell Street in the early ’60s. Even then he was known as Saus, and he was the same then as he was to remain all of his life - an absolute gentleman with a lovely smile and a great sense of humour, but also with a great commitment to the NT police force. His fellow recruits looked up to him, and even then he was regarded as a leader.


At the same time, I met the love of his life, Norma, who also lived in the hostel and was in the very first intake of female police in the Northern Territory. I remember the women had to be in plain clothes and wear gloves and stockings. Norma was also regarded as an outstanding recruit and very supportive of the others in that intake, and extremely kind to a couple of women who wondered what they were letting themselves in for.Saus and Norma’s engagement and subsequent marriage delighted all who knew them with Saus being considered as a future commissioner, even at that early stage of his career. Darwin being Darwin I would often run into one or both of them over the years and they never changed. They were the same warm and lovely people with Saus demonstrating all the very best characteristics of a police officer: firm, intelligent, aware of the community he served and a man of absolute integrity and probity. It has been an honour to have known him, and I extend my condolences to the lovely Norma and his family. Because Saus was interested in people and family histories he quickly came to know the stories and interrelationships in the community. That made him an effective police officer because he was known and trusted by the old Darwin people, and because the majority of crime in those days was solved on the basis of information from the community. In 1961 he met Norma Helen Bailey who was, as we have heard, in the first squad of women inducted into the NT Police Force, also from country New South Wales. In another of life’s many coincidences, Saus and Norma had lived 60 miles apart for the whole of their early lives but only became aware of each other’s existence on meeting in the Northern Territory. As I said, there is some remote connection to their meeting because when Norma first came to town she was staying in the same government hostel in which my mother was staying. That was on the site of what we now know as the Transit Centre in Mitchell Street, and longer-term Darwin residents will remember that the hostel was still standing until the Transit Centre was built. Saus was accommodated with the other single police officers at the Mariner Hostel, which was strategically located right down the other end of town on The Esplanade. There are many old funny Darwin stories emanating from those two distant hostels. Saus courted Norma, obviously successfully, and they married and went on to have their three lovely sons and celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary earlier this year. Saus and Norma moved to Pine Creek at the beginning of 1964 and had three very enjoyable and interesting years there. Pine Creek Station was responsible for a huge area and police officers were on patrol 18 days out of every month. Saus became well-known on the various stations, meat works, Aboriginal communities, mines and other settlements within the region. Saus was transferred back to Darwin at the end of 1966 and worked in the Criminal Investigation Branch. His exemplary work practices and attention to detail led to his appointment as the Officer-in-Charge of the newly established Police Training College in 1969. He remained in that position until Cyclone Tracy. The officers he trained over that period remember him as a hard, but scrupulously fair, taskmaster. He also remained interested in and supportive of their careers after they had left the training college and gone onto operational work. Saus played a significant role in the reconstruction process following Cyclone Tracy. He was appointed Assistant Commissioner in July 1975, no doubt partly in recognition of his work during that time. Between 1975 and 1982 he was head of the southern command based in Alice Springs. His integrity and capacity for hard work was also recognised there and he became a valued member of that community as well. In 1982 he transferred back to Darwin to head up the Northern Command and remained there until his retirement in 1992 on his 55th birthday. Of course, the socioeconomic landscape has shifted since then and those of us presently in the workforce can only dream of retiring at the age of 55. What it meant for Saus was that he enjoyed 20 years following his retirement in which he travelled extensively with his wife, devoted himself to his grandchildren, and cultivated his relationships with the old Darwin families that had begun so many years ago? A beautiful memorial service was held at St Mary’s Star of the Sea Cathedral in Darwin on 10 October and Saus was recognised and honoured with a police guard of honour. The turnout at that ceremony was a truly fitting tribute to his standing in the community. I recall remarking to the Police Commissioner inside St Mary’s at the end of the service that old Darwin was turning out that day to show their respects to Saus. We heard beautiful eulogies from his three sons, Michael, Tony and Matthew, lovely readings from his grandchildren as well as the little ones with the offertory. The measure of a life well lived is through the lives it touches. Saus’ family, friends and former colleagues can confidently say his life was well lived. May he find peace and comfort, and may we all find peace and comfort now we have seen the remarkable legacy this very fine man of decency and integrity has left for the Territory, shining through in his fine sons and his many beautiful grandchildren. My deepest condolences to you, Norma, and your family. Mr ELFERINK (Attorney-General and Justice): Madam Speaker, I pass on my condolences to the family of Saus, particularly his widow, Norma. I was in the police force for about 10 years before Saus retired. I joined in 1983 and he retired in 1992, as the Leader of the Opposition pointed out. I remember my first impressions of Saus Grant - I only discovered after his death that his name was Arthur - but my first impression as a frightened 17-year-old police cadet was this grim figure who used to move about the police station, then in Mitchell Street, just across the road from this House. I remember what I considered to be a very stern figure but, of course, as a 17-year-old first year police cadet you cannot differentiate, particularly at that level of immaturity, the difference between a dignified disposition and grimness. Through the eyes of a 17-year-old, those two are not easily separated. As time passed there were certain things I discovered about Saus - I still feel uncomfortable referring to him as Saus; I am more comfortable referring to him as Assistant Commissioner. What I realised, and what I came to discover about Saus Grant, or Assistant Commissioner Grant, was that I could trust him as a source of advice, I could go to him and not have a raised voice cast in my direction. And whilst he expected the very best of me as a very young police officer, he never asked me for the impossible. Only with hindsight do you realise that when you deal with people like that, they are not riding you and are not trying to make your life difficult as a police officer, they are challenging you to become better than you are. Through that process, some of their capacity, thoughtfulness and consideration rubs off on you. I realise in hindsight that Saus was not grim or dour, he was very patient. He was patient in being a leader and taking people along with him. At no time in my career as a police officer did I ever hear a raised voice from Assistant Commissioner Saus Grant. He always carried himself with complete composure and, whilst it was a very businesslike approach, it was always thoroughly ethical, moral and upright. By conducting himself in that fashion he left for all of us who cared to look, even after he retired, a legacy we could touch upon as to what it was and should be to be an upright, decent and effective police officer. I know the Grant family; one of my first partners in the police force was Neil Grant, and we had some wonderful times together. The influence of Saus Grant could be seen through Neil and Kenny, who I met a few years later in the police force. As Attorney-General, it was my great pleasure to have his son, Michael Grant, as my Solicitor-General. He is a very fine fellow and a reflection of his father in many ways. I thought about a single word to describe Saus Grant, and I have already heard it several times here today. The word which sprung into my head was ‘dignified’. I will finish with an observation by Aristotle: Dignity consists not in possessing honours but in the consciousness that we deserve them. Mr HENDERSON (Wanguri): Madam Speaker, I thank the Chief Minister for bringing this condolence to the parliament. It is very fitting that this afternoon we speak about an incredible man. I am pleased to contribute to this condolence because Saus had a long and distinguished career in the Northern Territory Police Force and was loved and highly regarded by so many people across the Territory. My contribution this afternoon is informed by my father-in-law, Tom Baker, who served with Saus for many years, and my mother-in-law, Joy Baker, who was very close to the Grant family. As we have heard, Saus joined the Northern Territory Police Force in 1959 and retired in 1992. Thirty three years is a long, proud and very distinguished career. We have heard that Saus retired as an Assistant Commissioner and was awarded the Australian Police Medal in 1986. What a difference it must have been for Saus to come to the Northern Territory in 1959 from rural New South Wales; that was a huge decision back in those days. As the Leader of the Opposition said, Darwin was a town of 10 000 people. Over his 33 years, what a change Saus saw across the Northern Territory and within the police force. I have not gone back to the annual reports of 1959; I do not know whether they had to be tabled in parliament, so I am unsure how many police officers served in our police force in 1959, but it was obviously very different to the police force today. According to my father-in-law, and other police officers I have spoken to from that era, in many ways Saus laid the groundwork for today’s modern, highly professional and highly regarded police force. His contribution to the integrity of the police force and the standing the police force has in our community today should not be understated. Over his 33 years of service, Saus mentored and trained so many people, including very many in his years in charge of the Police College. He personally and positively influenced the careers of so many police officers who went on to become very senior officers in the police force. These include - and it is not an exhaustive list - former Commissioner Mick Palmer, Assistant Commissioner Robin Chalker, Assistant Commissioner Graeme Charlwood, my father-in-law Commander Tom Baker, and Commander Terry O’Brien, just to name a few - all police officers who are very highly regarded and all recipients of Saus’ guidance and influence. As we have heard, he had many personal qualities. He was a compassionate man, not just with his work colleagues but with the broader community as well and, and as we have heard, a man committed to living his life through a very strong moral code. He was passionate about the welfare of fellow police officers, not only at work but also away from work. He was always the first to offer help, assistance or advice to a fellow member going through a hard time. Some personal reflections from Tom and Joy: The Baker and Grant families were very close. My wife, Stacey, went to school with Tony in Alice Springs and both matriculated in the same year from Alice Springs High School. Joy reflected in a note to Norma, on hearing of Saus’ passing, how Saus was the first to visit her in hospital in Alice Springs when she gave birth to their fourth child, Jessica. I do not know what Tom was doing at the time or why Saus was the first to visit; I have to get to the bottom of that issue. However, during that visit Saus spoke lovingly of Norma and his mother and talked about the special glow women have in motherhood. Joy has never forgotten that visit. Saus was also a great supporter of Tom and once went to see him play rugby league for United at Anzac Oval. It was the only time that Saus went to cheer Tom on because Tom was a legend in his own mind as a player for the United Rugby League team. Unfortunately, Saus was running five minutes late for the game and Tom had been sent off within the first five minutes. Saus was so disgusted at Tom’s lack of regard for the rules of the game - he had been sent off within five minutes and had violated his own personal commitment to the code of fairness in his sport - that he never went to see Tom play rugby league again. I suppose that tells part of the story. However, Tom and Saus played squash together in Darwin for many years and shared very many memorable social occasions, but over a few glasses of red wine some might not have been as memorable as others. Tom would like to have acknowledged here this afternoon that he held Saus in extremely high regard in so many ways and that all the Baker family were very saddened to hear of his passing. I offer my personal condolences to Norma, Michael, Tony and Matthew. I know you are all very proud of Saus, his life, his compassion, and his achievements. The Baker family share so many fond memories as well. Saus made a huge contribution to the finest police force in Australia and, therefore, to the Northern Territory. May he rest in peace. Mr WESTRA van HOLTHE (Primary Industry and Fisheries): Madam Speaker, I thank the Chief Minister for bringing this motion to the House. It is with great sympathy that I note the passing of Arthur Alexander ‘Saus’ Grant on 2 October this year. Until his recent passing I did not know his Christian names; I have only ever known him as Saus. I think back to my young days as a police constable and the penchant Australians seem to have for shortening names. I remember agonising for a very long time about what name Saus might have had that could have been shortened to Saus. I never figured it out, but it was always an interesting exercise to go through. Saus joined the Territory Police Force on 29 July 1959 with the registered number of 116. That says much about the man; a registered number going back that far means he was a police officer in the days of real frontier policing in the Northern Territory. I am sure it was an amazing time to be a police officer and can only imagine the experiences he had as a junior constable all those years ago. He served until 7 June 1992, reaching Assistant Commissioner before retiring after a notable career, which as has been pointed out, was a career of 33 years. On 26 January 1986, Saus was awarded the Australia Police Medal which is an outstanding award reserved for Australian police officers who achieve distinguished service in the force. Looking back at that date makes me feel like a young fellow because I joined the police force on 20 January 1986, just six days before he was awarded that medal. He had already been in the job 27 years when I joined the police force. Saus played an active part in the Retired Police Association of the Northern Territory and was recently responsible for producing the Citation magazine in partnership with Peter Simon. As a former Territory police officer, I had the privilege to meet Saus. He was well respected and much liked by his former colleagues. As the member for Port Darwin pointed out earlier, he was always an imposing figure to us junior constables - a little headmaster-like, perhaps. With that said, junior constables in those days knew their place. This is why I probably did not know Saus very well. You did not fraternise much with brass, you tended to stay on the ground floor of the Alice Springs Police Station and not venture upstairs too often unless you had a good reason to be there. Like all Territory police officers, and many of them are notable, Saus was amongst those who achieved some amazing results under very trying circumstances. There are stories you hear about some of the well-respected police officers in the Territory. I was never part of this story but I heard it enough times to think it had some creditability: Apparently, Saus had gone away to do a course in police management. When he came back he was talking with his colleagues in the commissioned officer ranks and was asked if what he learnt at the course would benefit the other police officers around him and the people who worked for him. He was reputed to have replied, ‘I am not going to waste that stuff on those so-and-sos’. As I analysed that, I do not know that Saus did not intend to share it with us. I do not think he needed to because of his management style and the person he was; he was able to manage the police officers and resources around him and deal with day-to-day policing without having to go to the books because he was a police officer who had come through the ranks. He had done the hard yards and he was able to bring that level of capability and capacity into the role he had as a senior police officer. I express my condolences to Saus’ family. His contribution to the Northern Territory police will be remembered for a long, long time. Mr STYLES (Sanderson): Madam Speaker. I rise today to add to what has been said about a great Territorian, Saus Grant APM. I arrived in Darwin to join the police force in 1981 and for me, as it was for my former colleagues the members for Port Darwin and Katherine, Saus Grant’s reputation preceded him. He was always known as a fair man and one came to find he was very highly regarded and revered by other police officers who had been here for some time. He was a great leader of men and a great role model. He and his wife, Norma, have raised three fantastic sons who provide a great contribution not only to the Territory but to the Australian community. Saus was one of those guys who got the job done. One of the quiet achievers who did not need to scream and shout; wherever he moved, things happened and the job was done. One of the most important things he did was look after the troops. We always hear these days that people in management roles do not necessarily look after their employees, but Saus Grant was one of those people who really did a fantastic job. He cared and he demonstrated that in so many different ways. I recall during the most tragic time of my life when my wife was suffering from cancer, Saus Grant was there on a regular basis to check on how I and my family were going. He turned up time and time again, quietly, with a supporting hand on your shoulder. That is something I will carry for the rest of my life. The measure of a police officer is not necessarily the laws they uphold, it is the way they do it. It is the care and compassion people show when they look after people and have to apply the law. Saus Grant’s legacy to all those he touched on his journey is why he is held in such high esteem by all members of the Territory Police Force. He has obviously transferred that to his family and to so many other police officers. That is probably one of the reasons the Northern Territory Police Force is one of the most highly regarded police forces, not only in Australia, but in the world. It is because of people like Saus - the way he trained police officers, and through his role modelling – that we enjoy one of the best police forces in the world. As a sign of respect, members stood for a minute’s silence. Madam SPEAKER: On behalf of honourable members, I also pass on my sincere condolences to Mrs Norma Grant and the Grant family on the loss of your husband, father, grandfather, colleague and friend. May you receive some comfort from the generous and kinds words that have been expressed today by members of this parliament. Motion agreed to.

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