Captain Standish History The Police


Obituary for Captain Standish.

Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), Tuesday 20 March 1883, page 6


The illness of Captain Frederick Charles Standish, the late chief commissioner of the Victorian police force, terminated fatally yesterday. He died at the Melbourne Club about half-past 5 o’clock. For some months the condition of his health had been such as to leave little hope of other than a fatal ending. About two years ago he had a slight attack of apoplexy , and since that time he has been gradually failing. He was suffering from disease of the heart and of the liver, and there were also indications of softening of the brain. He was confined to his bed for the past few days, and on Sunday his medical attendants, Dr. Bird and Mr. T. N. Fitzgerald, were convinced that recovery was hopeless. The immediate cause of death was disease of the heart, aided by a general break-up of the system.

The deceased gentleman was the son of Mr. Charles Standish, of Standish-hall, Wigan, Lancashire, England, one of the companions of George IV, when he was Prince Regent. He was born in the year 1824, and was educated at Prior-park College, and was subse-quently transferred to the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich. He obtained a commission in the Royal Artillery, and served as a lieutenant in the artillery for nine years, during a portion of which time he was on the staff of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and retired with the rank of captain. Shortly after his arrival in this colony, in the year 1852, he made his way to the goldfields, and during the greater portion of two years worked on the McIvor (now Heathcote), Fryerstown, Castlemaine and Beechworth diggings. In 1851 he was appointed assistant commissioner of goldfields at Sandhurst, and subsequently Chinese protector. The latter position he held until 1858, when he was nominated by Mr. R. D. Ireland, then Solicitor-General in the O’Shanassy Administration, for the office of chief commissioner of police. On the 1st of September of that year he succeeded Captain (now Sir Charles) MacMahon, who resigned in consequence of a disagreement with Slr John O’Shanassy respecting the transfer of an officer of police from Kilmore to the Richmond depot. Captain Standish remained at the head of the Victorian police force until the 11th September, 1880, when he retired on a pension of £468 per annum. The force was thus under his control for a period of 22 years. When in the full vigour of health, Captain Standish was credited with the possession of considerable ability as an administrator, but during his closing years he evidenced a lack of firmness which resulted in the police force falling into a state of disorganisation. This became painfully manifest during the Kelly outbreak, when the conduct of the pursuit was carried out in a manner which led to severe reflections being cast on the higher officers of the force. It is evident now that at that time Captain Standish was suffering from the disease which subsequently developed itself unmistakably. Personally he was popular with the members of the force, and on his retirement was presented with a handsome testimonial and address, in recognition of their appreciation of his services. Captain Standish was a prominent freemason, and belonged to the order under the Irish Constitution prior to his leaving England. In 1864 he joined the Golden and Corinthian Lodge of Bendigo, at Sandhurst, English Constitution, and subsequently the Meridian Lodge of St. John’s, Melbourne, then the leading lodge in the colony, and remained a member of the lodge up to the time of his death He was made R.W. Grand Master under the English constitution in 1861, under a patent from the late Earl of Zetland, and was formally installed at Huckin’s Hotel on the 12th of June of that year. He was also appointed for a year M.E. District Grand Superintendent of Royal Archmasons in the following year. In this colony, as in England, Captain Standish took a very active interest in racing matters. For many years he was a member of the committee of the V.R.C., and during the last two years occupied the position of chairman.

By AJFPhelan56

I am a 30-something father, writer and artist residing in Melbourne, Australia. Currently writing novels and screenplays on top of running the popular bushranger site A Guide to Australian Bushranging.

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