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Updated: Sep 10, 2021

Ronald McAulay (who was universally known as Peter) was born in Adelaide on the 30th November, 1932. He joined the South Australian Police Force as a Junior Constable in Adelaideon the 8th January, 1951. At that stage he held a very responsible position of Assistant Paymaster at General Motors Holden, Woodville, even though he was only 13 years at the time. He graduated from the South Australian Police Academy in 1953 and subsequently served in a variety of city and community postings, both in uniform and CIB. In 1962 he was appointed as the Officer in Charge of the then newly established CIB unit at Christies Beach, where he served until being commissioned to the rank of Inspector in 1966. At that time he was the youngest officer ever commissioned in the South Australian Police Force.

In 1968, while the Inspector in charge of the Far Northern Division of the South Australian Police Force, he was seconded to the Commonwealth Police to serve as an officer in the Australian Police Contingent of the United Nations Forces in Cyprus (UNFICYP) That posting was for a year duration/

At the invitation of the Secretary General to the United Nations, he returned to Cyprus in February,1970 as Police Advisor. In this capacity he commanded a multi national Police Force of Austrians, Danes, Swedes and Australians. He was subsequently appointed to several advisory positions including the Deputy Chairman of the Political Liaison Committee. This committee was responsible for the settlement of serious intercommunal conflicts and also gave high level advice to the United Nations command on political, economic and legal matters. He led a number of investigations into various violent intercommunal confrontations.

He returned to the South Australian Police Force early in 1972 and then served several years in executive positions in the Management Services and Planning Research organs of that service. During that period he was made available to the Papua New Guinean Government for consultancy work relating to the design, equipping and implementation of a manual data base urban patrol system for Port Moresby. He led a small team to Port Moresby on several occasions and subsequently introduced the patrol system which was an immediate success in reducing the incidence of crimes and increasing the frequencies of arrests.

He was promoted to the rank of Detective Chief Superintendent in charge of the CIB Headquarters in South Australia in which post he remained until his appointment as Commissioner of Police, Northern Territory in August, 1978. He started on 13th October, 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 Services, the NT Emergency Services, the Police, and a Public Service Component – in all some 1,150 paid employees and several hundred volunteers. Mr. McAulay also held the appointment under the NT Disasters Act as Controller, which gave him executive in the event of national disasters or terrorist incidents. He was also a member of the Co-Ordination Committee comprising Chief Executive Officers who gave high level advice to the Northern Territory Government. He had a further appointment as a member to the Drug and Alcohol Council.

Mr.McAulay was responsible for the upgrading of equipment and training of the combined services, with a significant increase in efficiency. The Northern Territory Police Force was then arguably the most sophisticated in Australia in regard to computer and communications technology.

He also introduced some novel, if not unique initiatives including a very successful Aboriginal Police Aide Scheme, School Based Community Policing and Junior Police Rangers. Under the auspices of the Police and Citizens Youth Club he had been extremely active in the promotion of youth programs, including the introduction of stock handlers courses to train Aboriginal youth for employment in the pastoral industry.

McAulay resigned from the NT Police on 1st January 1988 to take up an appointment as Commissioner of the Australia Federal Police, a position he formally assumed on the 15th February,1988. In that position he was also Australia’s representative to Interpol and served on the Commonwealth Law Enforcement Board. He retired as Commissioner of the Australia Federal Police in 1994.

Peter McAulay died in Canberra on 14th November 1995. The Northern Territory Complex at Berrimah was named the Peter McAulay Centre in his honour.

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