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SA Police Tattoo

Warning: May contain images and names of Aboriginal people who have died.

In 1986 South Australia hosted an International Police Tattoo at the Wayville Showgrounds. The event was held on October the 8th and 9th and a contingent of Northern Territory Police Aides under the command of Sergeant Peter Aebersold traveled south to take part in the tattoo. In his words the Aides were a 'great reflection on their communities' during the trip and thoroughly impressed their counterparts from other jurisdictions.

Special mention was made by both the SA Commissioner and then NT Commissioner Peter McAulay at the after event party generating applause from the assembly.

Victorian Chief Commissioner Mick Miller and Victorian Police Pipe Band Drum Major John (Kevin) Quinn both praised the on and off field performances of the Aides.

(photos courtesy of Peter Aebersold, NT Police and SA Police)

After the March in the members had to make a quick change for the traditional dancing and spear throwing. They then had to wash off the warpaint afterwards for the final parade. Hard to handle when there was only a cold water shower at the back of the cattle pens to use in chilly SA.

After the tattoo most of the Aides sold or swapped their weapons to interstate and international police members. The Akubra hats were all lost around the same time but under instruction all of the hat badges were guarded to ensure they were returned to the NT. An International Police Association conference was being held in Adelaide at the same time and many of their members took part in the Tattoo.

Following the tattoo the contingent went to the SAPOL training facility in the Adelaide Hills and met with the members of the first intake of a similar scheme primarily for the SA/NT border areas.

The Police Aides marched everywhere during the lead up phase in South Australia to get in plenty of practice and keep warm. The only warm weather clothing the department provided was the dark green 'Southern Command' jackets seen in some of the photos.

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