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December 1859 saw the separation of Queensland from New South Wales, however, there was no attempt to treat the police force of the newly proclaimed State of Queensland as a separate organisation from that of New South Wales until 'The Police Act of 1863' came into force.

It was only under the provision of this Act that the term 'Police Force' included the Water Police Force. C.) continued in the role of Water Police Magistrate for about 10 years and during this time a Select Committee was appointed to inquire about the management and working of the police force at which Thornton, whilst giving evidence, outlined the operation and duties of the water police.

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Although this site has been designed to be usable in any browser, it may not appear as intended. The need for some permanent type of 'police' presence for Queensland came with the transportation of convicts to Brisbane.

The "MARGARET ELIZA" arrived in Brisbane in 24 January 1864 after a passage of 4 days from New Caledonia where she had landed a cargo of cattle shipped in Sydney. The "PROSERPINE" was configured to hold 40 prisoners in 10 cells each being approximately 9 feet long by 5 feet wide and fitted with hammocks for sleeping.

Shortly after her arrival she underwent a special survey inspection carried out by William Thornton, Lieutenant G. There would have been no way the "PROSERPINE" could have been mistaken for another ship as just before she was towed to the mouth of the river to be anchored off Fishermans Island she was painted yellow, ' a color more conspicuous and better calculated to stand the rays of the sun', and on each bow in large black letters were painted the words "Prison for Refractory Seaman".

Twenty pounds a year should pay for keeping the hulk in serviceable condition".

"Including water police duties, the force has charge of the dredging plant lying at the mouth of the river off Fisherman's Island.

The other expense is for what paints are required to paint the vessel once a year.It takes up much of their time, There are 27 vessels consisting of two dredges, the "FITZROY" and the "LYTTON", one steam tug the "BRISBANE" and 23 punts.The decks of the dredges and tug have to be washed down every day and the machinery on board the dredged has to be turned once a week. It fills up their time between their other duties" Thornton said.Thornton's appointment marked the birth of the Queensland Water Police and was followed on the 30 December 1859 by the appointment of Richard Bingham Sheridan as the Water Police Magistrate for Maryborough.As Thornton was already the Collector of Customs, and in receipt of a salary of 600 per annum, no additional salary was included with his new position.

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