9th November 2020

Thanks to Noble Numismatics for these interesting images of Tasmanian colonial police uniform buttons.

Tasmanian Police Forces

Tasmania had a chequered history with regards to policing. Convict watchmen were replaced by military patrols, then by martial law and increasing numbers of constables, but crimes and bush-ranging were out of control. In 1828 Lt-Governor Arthur established 9 police districts with centralised control in Hobart. However, as most police were convicts there were abuses of power and so around 1858 the people demanded a decentralised system with non-convict police. Twenty Municipal councils controlled their own police, with non-municipal areas divided into 8 policing districts. As councils wished to reduce costs, this lead to poor police wages and/or reduced police numbers. It also meant that there was uneven policing as councillors expected favourable treatment! The councils relinquished control, and in 1898 a Police Regulation Act created a state wide force under a commissioner and answerable to Parliament.


Launceston Municipal Police

Launceston Municipal Police, 1889-1898. (Launceston was declared a city in 1889, This button has the City’s coat of arms on it.)


The Cornwall Chronicle (Launceston), 12th May 1858 page 4. White metal buttons are not mentioned, and must have become part of the uniform at a later stage.

Libraries Tasmania photo #PH30/1/9330

The Tasmanian (Launceston), 6th July 1895 page 28.

Hobart City Police.

Hobart also had a municipal police force from 1858-1898.

Port Arthur Police

This existed from 1858 until 1898.

Thanks to Noble Numismatics. c 1850.


Tasmania Police Force

Presumably this button dates from after the re-centralisation of the Tasmanian Police Force in 1898 until Queen Victoria’s death in 1901.



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