Queensland Police Commissioner's Uniform 1969-1970

Contributed by: Queensland Police Museum

Front view of tunic and trousers. Rear view of tunic and trousers. Police Commissioner's gorget patch with silver bullion thread and rank insignia. Police Commissioner's rank insignia on the shoulder strap. and silver bullion thread on gorget patch. Front view of trousers. Rear view of trousers. Police Commissioner's Cap Closer view of Police Commissioner's Cap. Labels on black silk tie. PM3489b. Police Commissioner Bauer presenting at the official opening of the Queensland Police College in February 1970. PM3489a. Police Commissioner Bauer at official opening of Queensland Police College in February 1970. PM3282. Police Commissioner Bauer in group photograph from Police course at Chelmer between January 1970 and February 1970. Bauer is seated in front row, fifth from the left. PM2303. Commissioner of Police Norwin William Bauer appointed on February 14, 1969. Tunic worn at time of appointment.
  • Australian dress register ID:

  • Owner:

    Queensland Police Museum
  • Owner registration number:

  • Date range:

    1969 - 1970
  • Place of origin:

    Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  • Gender:

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Object information

Significance statement

Police Comissioner Norwin William Bauer's uniform is of historical significance because he was Commisioner of the Queensland Police Force during the turbulent years of 1969-1970 when Joh Bjelke-Petersen became Premier and anti-Vietnam demonstrations were prominent. Bauer and Bjelke-Petersen had to work closely because the Premier was also the Minister in charge of Police. In Brisbane and other Queeensland cities, like many parts of the world, street demonstrations were passionate and often unruly. The demonstrators marched without permits, or if they had a permit they deviated from the set routes, sat in the streets and obstructed traffic. Bauer's role was controversial for a number of reasons, one being that he publicly denied that police had used violence in handling student demonstrators. He also began his administration in the middle of a political and public debate about the random use of breathalysers and covert use of radar to catch speeding motorists, with the Government being accused of using the police as revenue collectors. Bauer expanded the police force by recruiting an extra 400 hundred officers so that Queensland's size, distances and dispersal of population could be adequately serviced. In 1970, Bauer oversaw the purchase of land at Chelmer and the development of the Queensland Police College for in-service training. 

It is rare for a complete uniform belonging to one individual in a specific role in the Police Force to have been kept and preserved in very good condition. The tunic, pants, hat and tie show few signs of wear and tear. The original insignia on the velvet patch on the collar and on the epaulettes is intact. 

Bauer rose through the Police Force ranks, having joined the force in 1929. He was appointed Chief Inspector in 1963 and served in the Commissioner's Office. On the 19 October 1965 he was promoted to Commissioner's Inspector, until his appointment as Commissioner of Police on 14 February 1969. In January 1966 he was awarded the Queen's Police medal for Distinguished Service, in recognition of his outstanding service and devotion to duty in Police service and particularly in the fields of Criminal Investigation and Administrative work. This uniform represents a life long devotion to the Queensland Police Force.  

Author: Virginia Gordon (Assistant Curator) and Rebecca Lush (Volunteer), 26.05.2015.


The Queensland Police Commissioner's Uniform consists of four parts. The first is a hip-length navy blue tunic with long sleeves. At the base of each sleeve are pointed triangle cuffs on the outer arm. Shoulder straps/epaulettes are at the top of each sleeve with space for three badges, being the elements that denote the rank of Commissioner of Police. Beneath the shoulder straps is a soft collar with blue velvet gorget patches towards the top of the collar. These velvet patches have silver bullion oak leaves sewn onto them and a small silver Queensland Police Force button sitting above. The tunic has four silver Queensland Police Force buttons to fasten the garment. On either side of the jacket opening are two pockets, one on the breast of the garment and one from the waist to the hip. All four pockets are open. Inside the jacket is black lining and cream lining inside the sleeves.

The next part of the uniform is the high-waisted pants. These are a slightly darker blue than the jacket, and consist of a large black embossed ribbon running the complete length of the pants. The opening of the pants (fly) is fastened with six buttons and a hook and eye. There is one small pocket on the front right side of the pants and a larger pocket on the back right side. The lining is mainly cream with a small section at the top in cream with thin blue and red lines. Sewn inside the back of each leg on the pants is a small piece of light coloured fabric.

The third part is the tie. This is a long black tie. The final part of the uniform is the hat. The hat is blue/black with a Queensland Police Force badge decorating the front. On the badge is a Queen's Crown beneath which are the letters QP and a silver bullion thread embroided leaf motif. There is a silver braid around the hat brim and a black ribbon featuring acorns above the hat brim. The brim of the cap is a more sturdy, shiny material. 

History and Provenance

Norwin Bauer was the son of W.J. Bauer and Priscilla Bauer nee Fry. His father was born in Germany in 1867 and passed away age 56 due to a timber factory incident. His mother lived until 91 years born in Gladstone in 1877. Additional family information can be found in the births, deaths and marriages section. 

Births, deaths, marriages, children or family information

Norwin Bauer was born in October 1905 in Swanfels near Warwick. When he entered the police force in 1929 he was 23 years old. Although single when entering the police force he later married, was widowed and re-married with a total of three children. Twin daughters born in 1934 (Norma and Noela) with his first wife, Kathleen Brennan, who passed away in 1935. He later married Ethel Bate and had one daughter, Eunice. Bauer himself was one of ten children.

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

Nowin William Bauer entered the Police Depot in Brisbane on the 29 October 1928 as a probationary to commence his training. He was sworn in as a Constable on the 3 May1929 and assigned to the Depot Stables as a mounted officer and also took part in demonstrations of horsemanship in the Brisbane Exhibition that year. He was transferred to St. George, Roma Street Station, Bulimba and Southport Police Station where he performed town beat or mounted duties, traffic or plainclothes Bicycle Squad patrols. In Southport he opened a Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB) in1936 and served there till May 1938, when he was assigned as a Detective Constable at the Brisbane CIB till 1953. During this time he received a number of Favourable Records and Commendations for outstanding work in relation to cases worked on while in the CIB.

On the 4 July 1953 he was appointed to the rank of Sub-Inspector and served at Roma Street (Brisbane), Townsville and Fortitude Valley (Brisbane). He was promoted to Inspector on 16 May 1957 and served in the Cloncurry Police District, the Licensing Branch in Brisbane and then was in charge of the Brisbane CIB.

Bauer was appointed Chief Inspector on 1 September 1963 and served in the Commissioner's Office. On the 19 October 1965 he was promoted to Commissioner's Inspector, until his appointment as Commissioner of Police on 14 February 1969. In January 1966 he was awarded the Queen's Police medal for Distinguished Service, in recognition of his outstanding service and devotion to duty in Police service and particularly in the fields of Criminal Investigation and Administrative work.                

In 1970 Bauer was sent by the Government to study police training in locations such as Hong Kong, Tokyo, Osaka, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Athens, Rome, England, New York, Chicago, Fiji, Paris, Amsterdam and Los Angeles. On his return he recommended some changes to up-grade the Queensland Police Force.

Norwin Bauer retired on 27 October 1970.

In the wider Queensland community Bauer was a very active member in the Freemasonry society being the only person in Queensland to hold Supreme rank in all four Freemasonry orders. He was also involved with the Royal Geographical Society and the Red Cross.

How does this garment relate to the wider historical context?

In 1966 and and through the next decade, Brisbane and other Queensland cities provided the setting for street demonstrations. These reflected an international phenomenon which focused on a variey of issues including the Vietnam War and conscription. It was a time where freedom of expression was demanded and protesters would not be silenced. They marched without permits, or if they had a permit they deviated from the set routes, sat in the streets and obstructed traffic. In an interview with the Press the newly sworn Police Commissioner, Mr. Bauer, denied that police had used violence in handling student demonstators. The press also asked whether the Premier or Commissioner Bauer would be running the police force. Bauer replied that he felt they would work closely with each other, as the Premier was also the Minister in charge of Police. An example of the Premier's intervention was the issue of how radar traps were conducted. In January 1969 just prior to Norwin Bauer being sworn in as Police Commissioner, the Premier, Joh Bjelke-Petersen ordered that the location of radar traps be advertised and police cars marked instead of the previous covert practice.                                                                                                              

Where did this information come from?

Queensland Police records and 'The Long Blue Line' by W. Ross Johnston. 

  1. Place of origin:

    Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

  2. Cost:

    There is no indication of the cost.

  3. Owned by:

    The uniform is now owned by the Queensland Police Museum, donated by the Royal Historical Society of Queensland in 1998. Originally, this uniform was owned by Norwin William Bauer, Commissioner from 1969-1970. 

  4. Worn by:

    Norwin William Bauer who was sworn into the Queensland Police Force in 1929.

  5. Occasion(s):

    The uniforms of Commissioned Police Officers are usually worn on ceremonial occasions.

  6. Place:

    Opening of the Queensland Police College at Chelmer on 12 February 1970.

  7. Designed by:

    This uniform would have been designed by the Queensland Police Force. This design of uniform for Commissioners replaced the closed-neck tunic available prior to this time. 

  8. Made by:

    There is only evidence of manufacturer in the hat and tie. The hat was made by Mountcastle's on Melbourne Street in Brisbane. The tie was made by Rothwells Brisbane. 

  9. Made for:

    This uniform was specifically made for Norwin Bauer.

Trimmings / Decoration

There is some ribbon and braiding especially on the hat and some decoration on the pants. The only decorative aspect of the jacket is the two velvet patches that each have a silver bullion thread leaf motif sewn onto them.


There is a black, leaf and acorn motif embossed ribbon on the pants running from the side pocket to the bottom of the garment. The same patterned black ribbon also runs just above the brim of the hat around the entire circumference.


The hat has two black braids knotted together sitting above the brim and running half the circumference of the hat. There is a silver braid on the brim of the cap.

Fibre / Weave

Judging by the time period of this uniform it is most likely a natural fibre/synthetic and not natural dye. The tunic is made from navy blue wool with a cotton fabric lining the inside. The internal lining is black on the body of the tunic and cream inside the sleeves. The only other fabric used on the tunic has been the lighter blue velvet for the gorget patches. The pants are made from navy serge material with a similar cream coloured lining to the sleeves on the jacket. The tie is 100% pure black silk. The hat is made from a navy blue wool (Navy Venetian) with a stronger synthetic black brim/peak trimmed with silver bullion thread. 

  1. Natural dye
  2. Synthetic dye


The main body of the jacket has been machine sewn with a light yellow or cream thread. The stitches are uniform in size and length. There is some evidnece of hand sewing on the lining of the jacket with uneven stitches. This could have been for the purpose of repair as some of the stitches are diagnoally overlapping each other. The pants are almost entirely machine sewn with the same yellow or cream thread. The only evidence of hand stitching is the twelve black buttons have been hand sewn onto the pants. The tie and hat are both completely machine sewn.



Rothwells Brisbane

Argee Cravda 


All Pure Silk



High Grade Hat, Cap and Helmet

Manufacturers and Retailers

119 Melbourne Street, South Brisbane 



SIZE....7 1/8.....


There is no evidence of alterations on any part of the uniform just minimal evidence of repairs on the internal lining of the jacket.

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


All parts have been cut straight.

  1. Bias
  2. Straight


The jacket has four medium sized Queensland Police Force silver buttons to fasten the opening. There are two smaller identical buttons used to fasten the two top pockets. On the pants there is a hook and eye at the top opening of the fly and six black buttons. There are no fastenings on either the tie or the hat.

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

Stiffening / Lining / Padding

All items are lined with either a black or cream cotton material. There is some stiffening used in the hat around the band to help keep its shape.


jacket pants
Neck 640 mm
Chest 1058 mm
Waist 1109 mm 965 mm
Hip 1203 mm 1098 mm
Cuff 290 mm 580 mm
Hem circumference 1305 mm
Front neck to hem 568 mm
Front waist to hem 290 mm 1075 mm
Back neck to hem 794 mm
Back waist to hem 404 mm 1078 mm
Sleeve length 610 mm
Inside leg 750 mm
Outside leg 1068 mm
Neck to sleeve head 174 mm
Cross back 429 mm
Underarm to underarm 551 mm
Convert to inches

The velvet patches on the jacket are 68 mm in length. The tie measures 1286 mm in length. The inside of the hat measures 531 mm. 

Dress Themes

All four parts of the uniform combine to create a Police Commissioner's Uniform issued to Norwin Bauer in 1969-1970. The uniform was mostly worn on ceremonial occasions.

Additional material

Articles, publications, diagrams and receipts descriptions

The photograph of Commissioner Bauer taken on February 14, 1969 shows a gorget patch with a Queensland Police oval badge. This tunic replaced an old style closed-neck tunic that was phased out. The photographs we are highlighting in this entry are of Commissioner Bauer in a slightly new style tunic. The gorget patches on the new uniform - most likely available from early 1970, perhaps January - has the oak and leaf style silver buillons.

You will note that the tunic and trousers in this entry are different in colour. The trousers were probably a match for the tunic that Commissioner Bauer wore when he was sworn in on February 14, 1969. In 1970 preparations were under way in the Queensland Police to transition back to blue uniforms in 1971 and away from Khaki that the non-commissioned officers (Constables) had been wearing. It is probable the the blue fabric of uniforms for commissioned officers such as the Police Commissioner and Inspectors were updated at this time.


Overall the tunic is in good condition. There is some evidence of fraying down the front of the tunic on the side of the opening with button holes. There is some discolouration of the tunic to indicate wear. The holes, possibly from moths, are on the left sleeve (half way down and the cuff), above the left pockets and on the lining from the waist down on both the left and right sides. There is only evidence of wear with the pants and hat. Inside the hat especially are perspiration marks. The tie is in excellent condition.

Evidence of repairs

There is evidence of repairs on the inside lining of the jacket.

Insect damage

There are tiny holes on the jacket and pants that may have been made by moths.


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


  1. Discolouration
  2. Frayed
  3. Holes
  4. Worn
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