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Named in honour of Colin Wesley Brown

Colin Wesley BrownColin Wesley Brown was born at Atherton, North Queensland on 6 November 1930. A few months later his parents, Frederick and Violet Brown, moved to Daintree where his father took up dairy farming.

Colin lived at Daintree for 17 years and was educated to the age of 15 at the Daintree State School. After school he went to Mount Molloy where he secured employment as a surveyor's assistant for six months. He then became a cane-cutter at Mossman for a season. Prior to joining the Queensland Police Force he was employed at the Dominion Flour Milling Company at Maryborough.

Senior Constable Colin Wesley Brown (pictured left) was murdered at Dayboro near Brisbane on 9 April 1969.

Police History

Colin Wesley Brown, Registered Number 5049 was appointed a Probationary Constable on 11 August 1950 and sworn-in as a Constable on November 20 the same year. He was 20 years of age.

After a month at the old Roma Street police headquarters, he was transferred to Rockhampton and then in August 1952 to Thursday Island.

During his service at Thursday Island he earned two favourable records. The first on 8 January 1953 was for good work in connection with the arrest and committal for trial of a man charged with wilful murder at Thursday Island on 29 November 1952. The second, on 22 December 1953, was for good work in the arrest of two men on 25 November 1953 on Cape York Peninsula and their subsequent conviction for possession of stolen property.

In October, 1954, he was transferred to Ravenshoe, on the Atherton Tableland where he served until his transfer in April 1965 to take charge of the police station at Dayboro, a small farming community some 35 kilometres northwest of Brisbane.

On the 9 April 1969, Senior Constable Brown was called to a small farming property on Whiteside Road, Whiteside, just five miles south-east of Dayboro. The property owner, Mr Alfred Grech, had reported that 170 gallons of milk had been allowed to run out of a vat from his dairy. Grech told Constable Brown that he questioned his employee, Leonard Charles Spencer, 54 years, about the loss of the milk. Spencer admitted that he allowed the milk to run out of the vat because he "just felt like it".

A heated argument ensued between Grech and Spencer and Spencer was told to leave the property but he refused and locked himself inside the small cottage, refusing to come out. Grech then returned to his residence and called on Senior Constable Brown to have Spencer evicted.

Constable Brown arrived at the Grech home about 9:30 am and was accompanied by Mr Grech, in the police Morris Mini 850 sedan, to an old unpainted weatherboard cottage several hundred yards further in from the road.

Funeral  Procession
"Final Tribute" police column proceeding the hearse.
Photo - Courier Mail 12 April 1969.

Grech led the way up the back steps and when Senior Constable Brown was on the fourth step, Spencer appeared at a window overlooking the step and fired at Constable Brown with a .22 calibre rifle, hitting him in the chest.

Although seriously wounded, Senior Constable Brown and the owner of the farm retreated from the steps but were followed by Spence who fired the rifle again hitting Senior Constable Brown.

Senior Constable Brown and Grech sought shelter beneath the cottage behind the police vehicle. Senior Constable Brown then returned fire from his police revolver before collapsing from his injuries.

Grech left the scene and rushed to his farm house and asked Dayboro post master, Mr L. Cooper, to call the ambulance and notify the police. He then returned to the cottage with a shot gun and found Senior Constable Brown still kneeling behind the police car.

After over powering Spencer he tied him to a post in the dairy and waited for the ambulance and police to arrive.

Senior Constable Brown, after receiving initial treatment from Ambulance Superintendent Brown, was rushed to the Royal Brisbane Hospital but failed to respond to treatment on his arrival.

Inspector F. Rockett and Sub Inspector L. W. Ingram together with three detectives from the Valley and Nundah C.I.B., Sergeant T. F. Howard and three other uniform police from Petrie police station responded to the call.

Spencer was located still tied to the post and was later arrested and charged with the 'wilful murder' of Senior Constable Brown.

Final Tribute

On the 11 April 1969, Senior Constable Brown was buried with full police honours at Hemmant Cemetery following a Requiem Mass at St. Elizabeth's Roman Catholic Church, Ekibin. The Mass was attended by about 200 relatives and friends and 300 police friends and colleagues led by Commissioner Norwin Bauer.

Following the Mass, 200 uniformed and plain clothes police formed a guard of honour outside the church with the police pipe band and a motor cycle escort leading the funeral procession.

The Trial

On the 26 June 1969, Leonard Charles Spencer, 54 years, charged with the wilful murder of Senior Constable Brown, was found not guilty on the grounds of insanity in the Criminal Court.

During the trial Detective Sergeant N. S. Harvey gave evidence that Spencer admitted the shooting and said he intended to kill. Spencer told him he had been working on the farm for about seven months. Before that he was in Goodna Special Hospital for four years. Spencer said he thought the Constable would put him out of the house.

Mr. Justice Sheehy, SPJ, ordered that Spencer be kept in strict custody until a decision on his future was made by the authorities. He was detained in strict custody at Her Majesty's pleasure.

Dayboro Community Memorial

Wording of Plaque dedicated by  the people of Dayboro to Senior Constable Brown

On the 4 November 1969 the local community in Dayboro erected a monument in tribute to Senior Constable Brown. At a formal ceremony Police Commissioner Bauer unveiled a plaque, the wording of which is reproduced on the left.

Qld Police Vessel "C. W. BROWN" - Gold Coast

"C. W. BROWN I"- 23 December 1978

"C.W.BROWN I" 23 foot Shark Cat glass reinforced epoxy resin catamaran, powered by twin 175 h.p. Outboard motors, manufactured by Shark Cat on the Gold Coast.

"C W Brown 1" crossing Southport Bar circa 1983

"C.W.BROWN I" commenced service with the Gold Coast Water Police on the 23 December 1978 and was officially launched in February 1979.

Following the addition of the "D.W.WREMBECK I" to the Gold Coast Water Police fleet in 1984 she was exchanged with the Thursday Island Water Police for the launch "W.CONROY I", 18-foot Shark Cat.

The "W. CONROY I" was renamed "C.W.BROWN II" and continued duty on the Gold Coast. The "C.W.BROWN I" was renamed "W. CONROY II".

"C. W. BROWN I" crossing Southport Bar
 circa 1983

The "C.W.BROWN I" was powered by twin 175 h.p. Evinrude outboard motors. She had a cruising speed of 25 knots and a top speed of 28 knots. The vessel was purpose-built for search and rescue operations and police patrol work off the Gold Coast and was manufactured in an open speed boat configuration.


QPV C W BROWN 2 "C. W. BROWN II" - Loders Creek Southport circa 1986
Crew (left) Senior Constable Mark Landells
(right) Sergeant 1/c Neville Cooper


"C.W.BROWN II" a 18 foot Shark Cat, glass reinforced epoxy resin catamaran, was powered by twin 115 h.p. outboard motors and built for the Queensland Water Police the "C. W. BROWN II" was manufactured by Shark Cat on the Gold Coast.

The "C.W.BROWN II" was originally commissioned into service with the Thursday Island Water Police and named "W. CONROY I" as outlined above.

QPV C. W.  Brown 3

"C.W.BROWN III" Carters Basin, Southport circa 1995 and Qld Ambulance Marine Officer Mobbs

"C. W. BROWN III" - 11 December 1992

"C. W. BROWN III" a 7 metre Shark Cat glass reinforced epoxy resin catamaran powered by twin 175 h.p. outboard motors was manufactured by Noosa Cat on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.

The &quotC.W. BROWN III" was launched at the Gold Coast by Mrs Veronica Smylie, widow of the late Colin Wesley Brown, on Friday 11 December 1992.

At her launching the "C.W. BROWN III" was blessed by Father J. Simpson, Police Chaplain, Brisbane in the presence of the Honourable P. J. Braddy, MLA, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Commissioner J. P. O'Sullivan and South Eastern Regional Assistant Commissioner L. J. Pointing

The "C. W. BROWN III" was equipped with extensive electronic equipment for navigational and radio communication purposes. The vessel was purpose built for police and rescue operations off the Gold Coast and had the latest safety and ambulance medical equipment fitted onboard offering the community specialised treatment in emergency situations.

The "C. W. BROWN III" was surveyed for 2 crew and 4 passengers. She carried 560 litres of fuel and had a cruising range of approximately 11 hours, a cruise speed of 25 knots and a top speed of 40 knots.

The "C. W. BROWN III" was especially designed in an open runabout configuration with a low profile windscreen and easily removable bimini that enabled it to perform search and rescue operations into the 'white water' zone of beaches and open coastal bars of the Gold Coast.

QPV C. W. Brown 4

"C.W.BROWN IV" and Senior Constable Paul Hastings

Carters Basin, Southport Yacht Club 1999

"C. W. BROWN IV" - 7 October 1999

"C. W. BROWN IV" a 7.2 metre Shark Cat glass reinforced epoxy resin catamaran and powered by twin 200 h.p. outboard motors was manufactured by Noosa Cat on the Sunshine Coast.

"C. W. BROWN IV" was launched on the 7th October 1999 by Mrs Terrie Dullens, daughter of the late Constable Colin Wesley Brown.

At her launching the "C. W. BROWN IV" was blessed by the Reverend Garry Mohr, Police Chaplain, in the presence of the Honourable Tom Barton, MLA, Minister for Police and Corrective Services, Mr R. McGibbon, APM Acting Commissioner of Queensland Police Service, Mr Peter Freestone, Acting Deputy Commissioner and Mr A. R. Roberts, Assistant Commissioner of Police, South Eastern Police Region.

In addition to the latest in electronic and navigation equipment the "C. W. BROWN IV" was built to operate as the equivalent of a Class 1 Ambulance vehicle and was equipped with an extensive range of medical equipment by the Queensland Ambulance Service. A specialist Queensland Ambulance Marine Officer crewed the vessel in addition to the water police crew of 2 for the purpose of providing a rapid response to boating accidents and people suffering medical conditions on the waterways of the Gold Coast.

The "C. W. BROWN IV" was fitted with a low profile specially strengthened windscreen and wrap around seats for broken white water operations in the surf zone and open coastal bars of south east Queensland.


Click for more photos of the "C.W.BROWN"

© 2009 Copyright John Rice
Last Modified June 2009