Police milestone marked
BATON RELAY TO CELEBRATE LADIES’ ROLES
A FEW years after the suffragettes successfully fought for the right for women to vote in Australia, the NSW police force advertised for two female officers.
A century later there are now more than 7000 policewomen across the state, including more than 60 at Mt Druitt.
To mark the 100-year milestone a custom-made NSW police baton is making its way around the state and will arrive in Mt Druitt on July 29.
Inspector Donna McCarthy, who joined the police force 29 years ago, said the relay was a celebration of how far women had come since the first were made officers in 1915.
“The 1900s was a real era of the suffragettes and the push towards that sort of equality,” Insp McCarthy said.
“It’s really their dedication and work that got through that transition from a very significantly male workforce into what we have today.”
Officers from Mt Druitt, along with representatives from the community will start the baton relay at 10am at Mt Druitt police station, run along Luxford Rd, Aurora Ave, Debrincat Ave, and end at Whalan Reserve.
The first female officer at Mt Druitt police station, re- tired Detective Sergeant Deborah Swain, will also take part in the relay.
There will then be a festival at the reserve with a number of activities by the police band, highway patrol and the dog unit, as well as a special visit by a Polair helicopter.
Insp McCarthy said it was because of the efforts of many policewomen and -men that having females in the police force was now the new normal. “It was a noticeable thing back then that there were female police officers, and now it’s just accepted,” she said.
The baton will make its way to St Marys police station the next day, before eventually ending up at the Sydney Opera House in September.
Mt Druitt policewomen Inspector Donna McCarthy, Constable Emma Roberts, Constable Bianca Peacock and Senior Constable Madeline Walsh.