Queensland Police Officer Country Winter Uniform 1896 - 1946

Contributed by: Queensland Police Museum

Front view of tunic and trousers Front view of tunic worn by Acting Sergeant Daniel Fitzgibbon View of right side of tunic Rear view of tunic View of lower right sleeve with rank insignia removed Front view of trousers Rear view of trousers View of blue collar patches and numerals on another example of the winter khaki uniform PM0189: Constable Daniel Joseph Fitzgibbon and his Native Police probably at Laura c1906.
  • Australian dress register ID:

    559
  • Owner:

    Queensland Police Museum
  • Owner registration number:

    QP166
  • Date range:

    1912 - 1913
  • Place of origin:

    Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  • Gender:

    Male
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Object information

Significance statement

The Queensland Police Officer Country Winter Uniform is one of the earliest examples of this uniform in Queensland. The fact that the whole uniform, tunic and pants, is in good condition makes this item especially signifiant. It is a hip-length, khaki green woollen tunic with long sleeves. There is nothing elaborate about this tunic, no embroidery, lace or ribbon. It is simply a uniform, designed for practical work-wear purposes. The pants are full-length, khaki as well and made from wool. It was worn by a male and records indicate this male was Daniel Joseph Fitzgibbon. Inducted into the police force in 1894, Fitzgibbon was stationed in mostly rural police stations in Queensland. In 1912, he rose to the rank of Acting Sergeant. There is evidence on the tunic that the ribbon on the right sleeve to indicate Acting Sergeant has been removed. Fitzgibbon was awarded four favourable records during his career with the police force and was a significant member of the rural Queensland community.

Other than the removed ribbon, the uniform is in very good condition for its age. It is significant for numerous reasons. Firstly, the owner and wearer of the uniform is known, Daniel Fitzgibbon. His involvement in the Queensland Police was significant. It is an unusual uniform to have in the possession of the museum due to its khaki colour. Most police uniforms in Queensland are blue. This has not always been the case and this uniform reminds the viewer of the diversity of the Queensland Police Force and its numerous functions in both the city and country.

Author: Virginia Gordon and Rebecca Lush, 22/01/2015.

Description

The uniform consists of a hip-length, long-sleeved woollen tunic. Epaulettes are on both shoulders of the tunic fastened with a small, silver Queensland Police force silver button. The collar of the tunic is soft and woollen, similar to the rest of the tunic. It is fastened by two hooks and eyes. Down the front of the tunic are five large Queensland Police Force silver buttons. Two large pockets lay either side of the opening and on each is a small silver Queensland Police Force button. Another large pocket is stitched into the lining of the tunic on the left-hand side of the front opening. There is evidence to suggest on the bottom of the right sleeve there was something stitched to the tunic. Research indicates this is where the insignia of rank would have been. The inside of the sleeves are lined with cream fabric that is patterned with thin blue lines. The back of the tunic is divided into five panels to define the shape of the tunic and two slits are at the bottom of the tunic. 

The pants are also khaki in colour and are full length made from wool. There are two pockets on the front and a fly that closes with five concealed buttons. They are high-waisted.

History and Provenance

Births, deaths, marriages, children or family information

Daniel Joseph Fitzgibbon was born in 1870, Brisbane. As he identified as Roman Catholic for his police record, it can be assumed that he was raised in a Roman Catholic household. In 1894, at 24 years of age, he entered into the Police Force and was sworn in as a Constable on the 19 September. In 1901, Fitzgibbon married Charlotte Caroline Marie Rungert and would father two children. In 1912 he was promoted to the rank of Acting Sergeant at Laura where he had been stationed since April 1900. Daniel Fitzgibbon died on May 4, 1928 and is buried in Ipswich Cemetery. 

Do you have any stories or community information associated with this?

Fitzgibbon was initially a police officer in Brisbane but was regularly transferred to country stations. Soon after being sworn into the police force, Fitzgibbon was transferred to Longreach and then Hughenden. Laura was his ninth transfer and it was here that he rose to Acting Sergeant. His role in the rural community of Queensland was quite significant. Overall, Fitzgibbon received four favourable records for good work. In 1909, Fitzgibbon was involved in the arrest and conviction of two criminals in Laura. Unlawful branding of cattle, murder case and cattle stealing are the three other cases for which Fitzgibbon recevied favourable records.

Where did this information come from?

Queensland Police Museum Archives and the Police Record for Daniel Joseph Fitzgibbon.

This garment has been exhibited

This garment has not been exhibited in the museum.

  1. Place of origin:

    Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

  2. Cost:

    In 1896 the cost of this uniform was 1 pound, 8 shilling and 6 pence (this included the tunic and pants). From this year contracts were designated to one company in order to ensure the uniforms were produced as uniformly as possible. The cost of these uniforms was also added to the pay of police officers. By 1911, the cost had risen to 1 pound, 5 shillings. The price to manufacture this uniform in 1912 was 3 pounds and 3 shillings. 

  3. Owned by:

    Information provided from the donor indicates the uniform was issued to Daniel Joseph Fitzgibbon. The two missing chevrons on the arm would suggest he was an Acting Sergeant when he wore this uniform. As Fitzgibbon was promoted in 1912 and moved to inner-city Brisbane in 1913, and therefore issued a new "city-uniform", the date range can be narrowed. 

  4. Worn by:

    Acting Sergeant Daniel Joseph Fitzgibbon.

  5. Occasion(s):

    None.

  6. Place:

    None.

  7. Designed by:

    Most likely designed by the Queensland Police Force.

  8. Made by:

    In 1896 the contract for Khaki uniforms was awarded to Pike Brothers in Brisbane's inner-city. In 1912, this contract was awarded to Mr S. H. Bartlett, another Brisbane tailor as being the lowest tenderer. Between 1896 and 1946 various clothing manufacturing companies made the khaki uniform.

  9. Made for:

    Country police officers to wear during the winter.

Trimmings / Decoration

There is no evidence of trimmings or decorations on the tunic. It served primarily as a uniform and its purpose, therefore, was to be practical, not elaborate. There are no trimmings or decorations on the pants.

Ribbon

None on the tunic but research suggests the impressions on the right sleeve towards the bottom of the sleeve were from chevrons indicating the rank of Acting Sergeant.

Braiding

None.

Piping

None.

Lace

None.

Tucking

None.

Embroidery

None.

Fibre / Weave

  1. Natural dye
  2. Synthetic dye

Manufacture

The tunic appears to be completely machine sewn using a tan-coloured thread. The tunic is entirely khaki in colour apart from the silver buttons which have been hand sewn to the tunic. There is additional evidence of hand sewing on the collar and lining of the jacket for alteration purposes. The pants are similarly machine-sewn with hand-sewn buttons. 

Label

No label can be found on the garment. 

Alterations

Surrounding the hook and eyes at the fastening of the collar there is evidence of repairs. A different, more green-coloured thread, has been used to fix the stitching. The lining of the jacket, similarly, has evidence of hand-sewn repairs to fix the holes or undone stitches.

  1. Hand sewn
  2. Machine sewn
  3. Knitted
  4. Other

Cut

As this is a practical uniform tunic there is no decorative cut.

  1. Bias
  2. Straight

Fastenings

The collar is drawn together using two hooks and eyes. The front of the jacket is fastened with five large silver buttons. There are buttons that fasten the epaulettes to the tunic and that close the front, tunic pockets. 

At the top of the pants, on the waistbelt, is a large hook and eye to fasten the pants. There are five concealed buttons down the front of the pants and two buttons either side of the fly. These serve no obvious fastening purpose.

  1. Hook and eye
  2. Lacing
  3. Buttons
  4. Zip
  5. Drawstring

Stiffening / Lining / Padding

No evidence of stiffening, lining or padding. Instead, panels of lined fabric have been divided on the back of the tunic to provide some structure. 

Measurements

pants tunic
Girth
Neck 380 mm
Chest 1110 mm
Waist 890 mm 1060 mm
Hip 1000 mm 1120 mm
Cuff 445 mm 310 mm
Hem circumference 1280 mm
Vertical
Front neck to hem 740 mm
Front waist to hem 450 mm
Back neck to hem 760 mm
Back waist to hem 420 mm
Sleeve length 650 mm
Inside leg 810 mm
Outside leg 1130 mm
Horizontal
Neck to sleeve head 155 mm
Cross back 380 mm
Underarm to underarm 510 mm
Convert to inches

Dress Themes

It was a winter uniform for police officers stationed in country areas away from larger towns. It was in frequent use as the tunic shows signs of wear and has faded significantly over time.

Condition

The tunic is slightly discoloured with evidence of wear. Some tears on the front of the collar and stained patches on the lining of the tunic. Besides this evidence of wear, there is no obvious damage to the tunic. The pants also show sign of wear, especially in the lining which is discoloured and stained.

Evidence of repairs

There is evidence on the collar and lining to indicate wear in the tunic and the possibility of holes/undone stitching.

Insect damage

No evidence of insect damage.

Mould damage

No evidence of mould damage.

State

  1. Excellent
  2. Good
  3. Fair
  4. Poor

Damage

  1. Dirt
  2. Discolouration
  3. Fading
  4. Holes
  5. Worn

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