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STOTT, Gordon

Gordon Scott was the son of Robert Scott (previous Commissioner of the Central Australian District of the NT Police).

Two articles deal with his service in the NT Police. Follow the links below to read the articles.

From "A Force Apart?" p.130

Two members of the same family, Robert Stott (commonly known as Bob Stott) and his son, Cameron Gordon Heaslop Stott (hereafter referred to as Gordon Stott), were to set a record for service to the Northern Territory. Father and son served in the police force for a combined period of 88 years. Robert Stott was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in July 1858. After leaving school, he became a constable in the Lothian Police (now the Lothian and Borders Police Force). Together with two friends, he left Scotland at a young age and sailed to South Australia, where he settled in Adelaide. In August 1882, he enlisted in the South Australian Police Force as a Foot Constable. He arrived in Darwin in December 1882. In 1900, he married Mary, who had arrived from England only a few months before. He was stationed at Burrundie in 1901 when Mary died shortly after giving birth to a daughter. Stott’s infant daughter, Lily, survived her mother by only five weeks. Bob Stott married again a year later, this time to Agnes Heaslop of Cooktown, Queensland. The couple had six children, of whom one, Gordon, the second eldest, was to follow his father’s example and serve as a police officer.

Bob Stott had a varied career as a police officer, serving at Katherine, Burrundie, Roper River, Alice Springs and Borroloola (twice). His longest posting was at Borroloola between February 1904 and August 1911. In 1912, he became the Sergeant in Charge of the Alice Springs Police Station. He became Commissioner of the Central Australian Police Force in 1927 when the Northern Territory became two separate territories. He remained in Alice Springs until his retirement in 1928. On his final leave, he was struck by a train whilst in Adelaide and died early the following day. He was considered by his contemporaries as a gentleman and a good police officer.

The son, Gordon Stott, as his contemporaries knew him, was born on a ship en route to Cooktown on 14 January 1905.102 He spent his early life at Borroloola Police Station. In 1911, after the family moved to Alice Springs, Gordon attended the school run by pioneer teacher Ida Standley. When he was 13 years of age, he left the Northern Territory to attend Scotch College in Adelaide. On the completion of his education, he became a station hand in South Australia. When he tired of station life, like Cowle before him, Gordon went to work for the South Australian Railways. However, his love of the Northern Territory lured him back to his roots, where he joined the police force in 1924 at age 19, the youngest member to join the Northern Territory Police. His upbringing in remote areas and his life on a station and the railways were to stand him in good stead during his early police career. His first posting at Rankine River was a hot, rough, uncomfortable tin shed, which served as the police station and residence. His life at this station consisted of lengthy horse patrols across the Barkly Tablelands, an experience he was used to as he arrived there by horseback from Alice Springs and left the station the same way three years later. Stott was to see the bombing of Darwin and he was one of those members who crossed the divide from horse patrols to motor vehicles. His superior officers found his behaviour in his earliest years to be unsatisfactory; so much so that he found it difficult to get pay increments. In 1931, his ability was questioned so much that he was placed on monthly reviews of his conduct. He was suspended from duty on 30 October 1933 after an enquiry into his handling of a cattle case, as well as the mistreatment and intimidation of prisoners and witnesses. Most seriously, the enquiry looked at the extent of his involvement in the death of an Indigenous female. The enquiry recommended that an inquest be held into the death of Dolly, whom he had been escorting to Borroloola for medical treatment along with a number of prisoners and witnesses. Following the enquiry, Stott was charged with causing grievous bodily harm to Tommy Dodd and causing the death of Dolly through deplorable cruelty. Though acquitted of the charges, the affair dampened his career prospects and Gordon Stott never rose above the rank of Senior Constable, although, in fairness, Gordon always said that he never sought promotion, preferring life in the bush. He died on 14 December 1965, aged 59 years, whilst on leave in Darwin. At the time of his death, he was just three days short of retirement.

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